Like many issues the idea of action versus consequence is contained in each character’s motivations. Whether it is living up to expectations, maintaining a steadfast point of view without selling out or simply paying for sins of the past, this week’s comics show that progression, especially in terms of The Punisher. Different points in life dictate differing reflections.
Avengers Of The Wasteland #5 The key in creating new characters while not losing the essence of the ones that came before them is to saddle them with expectations while understanding that they need to make their own choices whether it is necessary or not. The path in this series is Dr. Doom and his need for one last battle that shows his mettle. The question becomes the intentions of those that carry the mantle of Thor, Ant Man or Captain America, what does it mean to be that person…and where does their own identity lie. Without spoiling any of the plot points, it is about the choices being made, whether it it is good or evil and how it reflects legacy.
Force Works 2020 #3 Robots overrunning an island is not a new occurrence but when it is two different factions of evil trying to find the less damaging side, it can be an interesting paradox. The members of Force Works led by War Machine are a diametric group even if they are paler reflections of The Avengers. Quake seems like the most straightforward but understands the necessity of her work while the others seem preoccupied by the sociological and philosophical intention of tech versus the greater good. In trying to save a world where does acceptable collateral damage lie. Force Works’ job as a team is to help cover up the elements of power while still maintaining to some standard of ethics. When a giant baddie in the form of Ultimo combines with a Deathlok giant it is a powerful visual image. The switched perspective in the final battle moments is well executed while the epilogue plays to the united front knowing that the greater good will prevail…for a few days.
Revenge Of The Cosmic Ghost Rider #5 Having someone as bad-ass as Frank Castle taking on the Ghost Rider mantle especially that of the Cosmic variety is a great idea. While the texture filters in with a mix of Heavy Metal and Lobo, the ride, however archetypal or metaphorical is rife with beauty. Mephisto, as a character who takes an innocent girl’s soul into the underworld, has enough charm and sarcasm to build an sinister yet alluring path to lure Castle down into the depths of Hell. Unlike some cosmic plots, this issue is both clear and convoluted in the most visceral way making for brisk action and story. Mephisto sitting on his chair in Vegas with a straw in a decapitated frat boy’s eye while Castle is roaring on a fire steed down Las Vegas Blvd. is the greatest kind of comic imagery. Then the resolution especially the irony of different deals made gives this story a beautiful kind of tragedy.
Scream: Curse Of Carnage #6 This continuing series with this entry “Suffer The Children Part I” shows our symbiote host finding her way through shelters just living a wandering existence. However now there seems to be a kidnapper on the loose taking young children. She feels a sense of protection for some but the symbiote inside her wants to look out for itself. At one point in the middle, she gets into a 3 way fight with Sandman and The Punisher who are all looking to dispense justice on a recent perp who is just one part of the puzzle. Each character here needs different information which all gets lost in a jumble. The more interesting story that moves towards the end is a mythical creature which, for all intents and purposes, provides a very focused point on what these kidnapped children are being groomed for.
By Tim Wassberg
With “Penny Dreadful: City Of Angels” the balance between reality and what is being altered by the Goddess of Darkness, switches from episode to episode. It is a very good approach to pace. One episode involves chess moves while the next one shows the consequence and how it is dealt with. The pendulum of ying and yang teeters back and forth between the potency of human good and the need of opportunism and gluttony. This is the battle that is waged. Here in Episode 5 “How It Is With Brothers”, it is a balance within trust, loyalty and the greater good. Tiago (as played by Daniel Zuvatto) has to ride between the two worlds, and while Zuvatto sometimes overplays it (in the Robert Sean Leonard style of acting), his point is true. However it is the subtlety of an older pro like Nathan Lane, which might be a metaphor and a directorial choice, that can bring the grounded darkness within the light. The decisions are very gray in this episode, not just for the brother but for his mother.
A very telling scene also involves a mother’s intent to save her son from the dark side. It is that struggle of identity that permeates the episode through and through. Mateo, whom Tiago is protecting as his brother, is acting out of rage and not logic, acceptance, and not compassion. But the same can be said of Sister Molly. Is her mother trying to protect her or exploit her, see her happiness or search for her own. One specific revelation that this reviewer had not noticed is the German wife that has been slighted by the German doctor who has himself been seduced by the Goddess Of Darkness is none other than Piper Perabo from “Covert Affairs”. It is a smaller role for her to take but the disappearance is undeniable. Whereas her accent and blonde looks were always on display before, this is an inherent and textured reveal especially as her husband seeks to send her to detox. As with other aspects, motivations and choices are not what they seem whether to protect, serve or to subjugate,
By Tim Wassberg
The essence of Selina Kyle in a new perspective has always been an interesting idea. In a DC Universe where all the heroes comes from some trajectory of tragedy, one more is not necessarily a big surprise. In “Under The Moon – A Catwoman Tale” [Lauren Myracle/DC/208pgs], we get an origin story of sorts. Selina had possibility in terms of a moderately passable childhood but had a mother that either neglected or didn’t understand his own self worth. The reality of the situation is a truism as the actual idea of how this works runs in parallel to Regina Louise whom IR talked to in an interview recently. The situation creates a texture but also the experience of the individual. The story line that involves CInders, which was Selina’s cat she rescues and then loses because of the cruelty of her mother’s boyfriend, scars her for life but causes her not to trust anyone. She runs away from home and lives on the street. Her training with Ono seems organic in terms of how she gains skills. She was already stealing from stores before that so the element of this kind of life is ingrained into her personality anyway. The psychological elements of trust are brought to bear especially with Bruce Wayne whom we see a bigger backstory in terms of their youth. Selina has the modes of communication but she also wants people to make the effort to connect which sometimes is not the nature of human behavior. Because of this stubbornness, she continues to live on the streets and finds her way even if those she really wants to be close keep her at arms length or vice versa. “Under The Moon” is a Catwoman origin story for the new age which unfortunately keys into the isolation of the intention of the character while still keeping it in a time void with its own voice.
By Tim Wassberg