Ben Grimm Battles The Streets of New York City – Fantastic Four (Vol 3) #61

The cover to Fantastic Four Vol 3 #61.
C’mon, don’t you know knuckle cracking is a bad habit?
From Series: Fantastic Four (Vol 3)

What Happened:

The Yancy Street Gang has been making Ben Grimm’s (The Thing) life miserable for years. The faceless kids who run Yancy Street, where Ben Grew up, have been playing pranks on him ever since he became a famous superhero. So nothing is really surprising when Ben opens a package and gets a pie to the face.

This time though, the joke shop which sent the spring-loaded pie package forgot to remove the order slip. Now Ben knows where the prank came from. Now he can go there and get the name of the person who ordered it. Now he can find the people who has been mocking him for all these years. Now he can make them pay. Now Johnny (The Human Torch) is scared. Because it was never the Yancy Street gang that did these things.

It was him.

Sue Storm (The Invisible Woman) is in the midst of trying to whip Johnny into something that resembles a responsible adult. She learns Johnny did this and Ben’s going to find out and probably kill him with a punch. You see, the Thing is a rock monster so he can easily kill things with punches. She sends Johnny off to fix things with Ben.

So Ben and Johnny head off to the joke shop and do millions of dollars of damage to New York City. They should probably be in jail. Ben tells a dude to “bill him” when he takes the car he was just driving and throws it. Even if Ben had the money to cover this, pretty sure you can just throw other peoples’ cars willy-nilly. A cop should at least yell at him for doing this, come on!

Back at the Baxter Building Reed (Mister Fantastic) is alarmed to find an alarm. He runs off to alarm his kids but they are alarmed by the alarming monsters on the wall. Then spiders alarmingly crawl out of his infant daughter Valeria’s face. Then it all stops. Reed has no idea what happened or how it happened. This alarms his son Franklin.

What a great paragraph!

Sue gets to the joke shop before Ben and makes it invisible. This leads Ben to think he was tricked by the Yancy Street gang again and gives up, thus letting Johnny off the hook. But wait! He isn’t off the hook! Because Sue!

Sue puts him in charge of the Fantastic Four’s financials. She’s decided this is the only way to force him to step up and be responsible. It’s sink or swim because if he doesn’t do this he’ll ruin the family, which is probably the only threat which could make him really try.

The path from the Baxter Building to the joke shop remains in rubble.

What I Learned From This Comic:

The Thing could probably smoosh a guy in public and everyone would smile and say “oh you”.

The Creators:
Writer: Mark Waid
Penciler: Mike Wieringo
Inker: Karl Kesel
Colorist: Paul Mounts
Letterer: Richard Starkings & Albert Deschesne
Editor: Tom Brevoort
Assistant Editor: Marc Sumerak & Andy Schmidt

Agent 355 Finds The President – Y: The Last Man #2

The cover of Y: The Last Man issue 2, featuring Waverly, Ampersand, and Yorick Brown in disguise.
Pop that hip. No reason you can’t make the collection of rotting corpses in exchange for food look good. Even the monkey knows it!
From Series: Y: The Last Man

What Happened:

Yorick is traveling in disguise to Washington DC in hopes of finding his mother. Along the way there he bumps into a friendly ex-model collecting the decomposing bodies of men in exchange for cans of food.

You see, nobody wants those bodies lying around rotting so the CDC is paying people to round them up for cremations. For health and safety! The woman is carrying all the dead dudes in a garbage truck. For symbolism!

Yorick and the “Bring out yer dead!” woman swap story notes. It’s been a couple months since the disaster and all men are dead (besides Yorick who is keeping his gender a secret with his disguise). Everyone seems to believe a different thing caused the sudden death of every man. In particular the new extremist group the Amazons believe it was the will of God. In order to continue the work they’ve started bombing sperm banks and hopefully cleaning up the mess afterwards.

When his monkey companion Ampersand accidentally reveals Yorick is a dude-er the woman gets an idea to try to make some food money off the last man alive. She captures him for barter but Yorick is an escape artist and manages to slip out of the handcuffs.

While this is going down, Agent 355 is getting the real work done. She has tracked down Margaret Valentine the Secretary of Agriculture who is now the President of the United States through the chain of succession. Margaret is not okay with this. Margaret was in the middle of some serious moping around and no where near being done. Not only has Agent 355 interrupted this moping, but now she wants Margaret to be the President? After the world’s greatest known tragedy? How will she find the time for the moping now?

But Agent 355 says something patriotic and somewhere a bald eagle throws a perfect spiral football pass, which makes Margaret give pause.

In the White House, Yorick’s mom is spending another night there rather than going home in order to feel safe. Yorick, a dude with an untrained monkey, is able to sneak in. So much for the security of the White House.

They have a quick and tearful reunion before an explosion rocks the White House. Yorick and Congresswoman Brown look outside to see spotlights.

What I Learned From This Comic:

People are willing to pay top dollar just to get rid of what stinks even during the collapse of society.

The Creators:
Writer/Co-Creator: Brian K. Vaughan
Artist/Co-Creator: Pia Guerra
Inker: Jose Marzan
Colorist: Pam Rambo
Letterer: Clem Robins
Separations: Digital Chameleon
Editor: Heidi MacDonald
Assistant Editor: Zachary Rau
Cover Artist: J.G. Jones

Aquaman Shows Up Uninvited – JLA #2

The cover to JLA #2.
Mullets are Superman’s Kryptonite.
From Series: JLA (Vol 1)

What Happened:

Hyperclan has been hard at work since last issue. The manipulative team of super-beings built, or dug up, or teleported –Ah who knows it’s pretty unclear, regardless there are three watchtowers on Earth now. Three! That’s two more than The Justice League had! This is some real old school white-glove-to-face-slapping-at-a-dinner-party insult-throwing going on between these two super groups.

The towers serve a function other than flipping the Justice League the triple bird, though. They are emitting a mild frequency which is swaying public opinion away from the Justice League and towards The Hyperclan. The Justice League decides it is time to do some snooping around these towers. Or maybe some punching around these towers. It really depends on how bad they are at snooping.

Martian Manhunter is guest coaching this away game against the Hyperclan. Batman lets him make the plan because he has the most experience with The Justice League. He decides upon ol’ reliable and breaks the team up into pairs to investigate the different watchtower locations. Wonder Woman is sent on her own because J’onn knew that Aquaman was bound to show up in this issue.

Green Lantern and The Flash butt heads after being paired together. Then the Hyperclan shows up. They fight the Hyperclan! The Flash runs after their evil speedster Zum which leaves Green Lantern to be captured.

Wonder Woman runs into Aquaman (oh hey!) and bosses him into helping her destroy the watchtower built in the ocean. They are both captured.

Batman and Superman are just hanging out having some bro time in the skies. Then… you guessed it, they’re captured.

Meanwhile, Martian Manhunter is having a secret meeting with Protex, leader of The Hyperclan. Protex offers him a place on their team since the martian J’onn has never felt like he belonged on Earth. Drama!

What I Learned From This Comic:

The Flash has crummy taste in watches.

The Creators:
Writer: Grant Morrison
Pencils: Howard Porter
Inker: John Dell
Colorist: Pat Garrahy
Separations: Heroic Age
Letterer: Ken Lopez
Editor: Ruben Diaz

The Superhero Celebrity Lifestyle – Fantastic Four (Vol. 3) #60

The cover to Fantastic Four (Vol 3) 60
Exciting new direction of the Fantastic Four as The Human Torch becomes The Human Match! It’s a tiny joke! He looks tiny on the cover!
From Series: Fantastic Four (Vol 3)

What Happened:

Mister Fantastic (Reed Richards) has hired a consulting firm to help re-brand the Fantastic Four. Buckle up folks because things are about to get pretty meta!

The consulting firm deals mostly with musical acts so they send their new guy, Mr. Shertzer, to spent a week with the team in order to get familiar with them. This is unfortunate for nebbish Mr. Shertzer because a typical week with the Fantastic Four includes fighting other dimensional bugs… helping out a bunch of scientists who accidentally break gravity… walking on air outside a sky scrapper to fix super villain damage… trying to figure out why Jennifer Garner (This is pre-Ben Affleck, I assume) broke up with Johnny Storm (The Human Torch)… OH, and introducing Ben Grimm (The Thing) to hip hop music.

So Mr. Shertzer isn’t really built for this lifestyle and spends most of the week being patronized by Sue Storm, The Invisible Woman. Meanwhile Johnny, Ben, and Sue all spend the week wondering why a guy like Reed would even care about their level of celebrity.

When the week is up Mr. Shertzer advises his consulting firm not to market the Fantastic Four as super heroes. Instead they are a family who will do anything for Reed’s thirst for knowledge. They don’t patrol. They don’t report to the government. Sure, they will fight Galactus if Galactus were to show up, but they’re more likely to be exploring some weird idea Reed thought up. See? Meta!

Reed ends the week by letting his infant daughter Valeria know why the celebrity of the team is important. Reed blames himself for the accident which turned them into what could have been considered as “freaks” by the public. Faced with the reality of no longer being able to live normal lives, Reed decided that celebrity would be better than infamy for his family. So he works hard to keep Sue, Johnny, and Ben in the positive public eye.

What I Learned From This Comic:

The Thing will love any genre of music as long as the songs are about himself and nothing else.

The Creators:
Writer: Mark Waid
Penciler: Mike Wieringo
Inker: Karl Kesel
Colorist: Paul Mounts
Letterer: Richard Starkings & Albert Deschesne
Editor: Tom Brevoort
Assistant Editor: Marc Sumerak & Andy Schmidt

Yorick Brown Survives – Y: The Last Man #1

The cover to Y: The Last Man #1
Hey wait, that DNA is helping him escape from the straight jacket! Fraud! Fraaaauuuud!
From Series: Y: The Last Man

What Happened:

We travel back, to 29 minutes ago. A time long before anyone had said or done anything that would have made the sudden death of every man on earth tragically ironic. We meet… Yorick.

Yorick is your everyman. He likes studying English. His girlfriend is away on a trip to Australia. He is an magician/escape artist. His mom’s a Congresswoman. He adopts monkeys. Just like all of us! It’s like looking into a mirror of my own day to day!

Anyway, after explaining to his Australia-traveling girlfriend, Beth, that he both didn’t get “the job” he also drops the bomb that he has adopted a monkey. How is he going to support a monkey without a job? It’s a bad situation. College tuition! Braces! These things cost money.

The only thing he’s getting right is locking down a mother for Ampersand the monkey. Yorick is going to ask Beth to marry him… but wait! Beth has something to say to Yorick as well…

But phooey with that because we’re going to meet some other characters now!

Across town Yorick’s sister Hero is having a lot of fun boinking her boyfriend. She really likes this guy! I hope they last! What’s this comic series called again?

Are there other characters? You know it! Agent 355 is trying to extract an amulet to the United States despite being warned that by doing this she’ll be setting off a curse and cause a great tragedy. Doctor Mann is about to give birth to her own clone. Israeli soldier Colonel Tse’elon (Alter) does some serious butt kicking. They’re all really interesting and I can’t wait to know more about them– on no the timer’s up, it’s not 29 minutes ago anymore– it’s NOW!

Spoiler: All the men die.

Second spoiler: Except for Yorick.

Yorick’s phone is cut off right before he has a chance to pop the question to Beth. Aw man!

What I Learned From This Comic:

Brian K Vaughan has a silly name generator and isn’t afraid to use it.

The Creators:
Writer/Co-Creator: Brian K. Vaughan
Artist/Co-Creator: Pia Guerra
Inker: Jose Marzan
Colorist: Pam Rambo
Letterer: Clem Robins
Editor: Heidi MacDonald
Assistant Editor: Zachary Rau
Cover Artist: J.G. Jones

A Justice League Too Many – JLA #1

The cover to JLA 1
I guess Batman’s straightedge under that cape?

From Series: JLA (Vol 1)

What Happened:

The President of the United States is acting like a bipolar during a mania period. He is not ready to handle a close encounter with alien superheroes. Alien superheroes show up despite this. They are called Hyperclan and they tell everyone that they’re here to fix all the world’s problems. The people of the world are really stoked that all the world’s problems are going to be handled.

Meanwhile, Superman (Clark Kent) makes sure everyone knows that problems are hard to fix and maybe superheroes from space aren’t the ones to do this. The public decides Hyperclan’s leader Protex are too shiny and pretty to be lying. It’s pretty much decided Superman is just butt-hurt that everyone now cares about these new superheroes more than him.

Superman’s concerns are sort of validated when Hyperclan starts killing unnamed villains who are clearly, actually Marvel Comics characters. When this creates a large drop in super villain crime, the public doesn’t see the problem with it.

Up in the satellite base of the Justice League, The Watchtower, the old team is packing up their stuff. They got fired for not being characters your Dad knows so they’re preparing the Watchtower for the new Justice League. They get really scared when a bunch of people dressed up like the X-Men character Juggernaut start attacking them. This seems a little weird since they were protecting the entire planet the day before but now they’re cracking under the pressure. Anyway, luckily Green Lantern and Wonder Woman are there and protect the old Justice League as they retreat inside Metamorpho’s weird shape-changing body.

Being a weird-body-bullet-with-a-face-in-outer-space is too much for Metamorpho though. The rest of the old Justice League survives the trip back to earth but they wake up in a gooey pile of their teammate.

Hyperclan is next seen digging something up they had buried on Earth a long time ago.

Superman thinks the dudes who attacked the Watchtower were actually Hyperclan. The new Justice League gathers to decide their next step. Then Batman (Bruce Wayne) shows up like a creep, shows off in a very passive aggressive way, and declares war.

What I Learned From This Comic
Grant Morrison has zero time for B-list super heroes. Get out of the way for the big dogs!

The Creators:
Writer: Grant Morrison
Pencils: Howard Porter
Inker: John Dell
Colorist: Pat Garrahy
Separations: Heroic Age
Letterer: Ken Lopez
Editor: Ruben Diaz