Mick vs The Marvel Universe – 04 – Vewy vewy quiet on the western front

I’d planned to have at least one of these out a week, every Wednesday in fact. Obviously this didn’t go as planned this week. For once I wasn’t distracted by organising my digital collection, that’s mostly done for Marvel. I was distracted because I got really into a rather long series of books and couldn’t pull myself away. I’d hoped to get Avengers Disassembled finished this week and push (backwards chronologically) onto Grant Morrison’s New X-Men run or onto the comics that take place between Avengers Disassembled and Civil War. That didn’t happen. I was going to post this Thursday but held of thinking I’d read more. That also didn’t happen. But here’s what I thought of what I did get read.

Land of Confusion

I’ll just get this out of the way now. While I don’t dislike Falcon I’ve always found him boring. To me he’s always been “Just a guy with wings, and maybe he’s like friends with birds?” These three issues did nothing to change my mind. Like the Iron Man issues I mentioned last time these also have a “Story so far…” bit on the inside cover. It didn’t help. I don’t know if that’s because the story is complex or shit. I’ve a feeling it’s both.

I’ll cover the artwork first. It’s ok in wideshot but terrible in close up would probably be the best way to describe it. The action scenes and full body shots range from ok to decent but in close the faces are often weirdly distorted and change from page to page. It wasn’t always slapping you in the face with how bad it was but I certainly wouldn’t say I was a fan.

The story itself was as mentioned a complex confusing mess. It starts with Cap and Falcon heading to Caps gaff discussing how they have a navy super soldier (super sailor) and a bio weapon developed for the navy by the Rivas crime family. Said drug cartel are waiting at Caps flat where they fight for a bit. We cut to the Daily Bugle where Fury, Robbie Robertson and an admiral are waiting for Cap and Falcon to cut a deal. Oh yeah Fury and Cap talked Falcon into breaking national security so they could smoke out the super sailor, this will be relevant later. We cut back to Cap and Falcon who are fleeing, Falcon doesnt have wings but has handguns now for some reason, Scarlet Witch shows up dressed as an old timey cab driver to save them and bring them to Luke Cages house where after some questionable racism they get some of his blood which they need to make patches for the super sailor whos a super junkie or some bollocks.

Scarlet Witch then drives them to the Wakandan embassy where they stashed super sailor, Cap and Wanda share a long weird look. While talking to SS (super sailor), why couldnt he have a codename?, Cap has Bucky flashbacks. Relevant plot points are navy wants SS back as hes a secret they want buried (literally), Cap doesnt want to hand over the virus or the kid. They head to the Bugle, argue who gets the aforementioned hot potatoes, they cant arrest Cap so the admiral tries to arrest Falcon, swat swoops (swats?) in and Falcon shots the admiral.

That was only one fucking issue. The other two issues were equally dense and I couldnt be arsed. The next issue summary Falcon shot him because hed a vest, Cap and Falcon escape while Falcon points out Cap a bit of a dick making all the decisions, Scarlet Witch shows up and helps them escape, and Hank Pym (he beats his wife you know) turned up to say it wasnt a bio weapon it was a DNA sample of “SOMEONE THEY KNOW” (DUN DUN DUN). Falcon meets the Wakandan ambassador and gets new wings, the head of the Rivas crime family turns up, Cap and Falcon flee helicopters and split up. Cap has weird visions of Wanda and being frozen in ice (and Bucky of course). Falcon talks about the ROM chip on his new wings for no earthly reason. Cap reaches the embassy, is talking to SS, more bucky flashbacks, then Wanda shows up and they kiss, presumably in front of SS? Cap shows his startlingly wonky neck.

The next issues starts with Wanda on caps couch where they have a really weird conversation. We cut to Falcon’s ex-girlfriend in bed with her boyfriend. She goes to make tea to find Falcon in the kitchen. Boyfriend comes out to ask Falcon to leave and Falcon puts him through the wall. They seem to be trying real hard to push super edgy Falcon. He just comes across as a psychotic dickhead. More Bucky/ice/Wanda flashbacks with Cap and he wakes up in a pool of water (using all my willpower not to make the obvious joke). Falc shows up and they chit chat about Cap losing his mind and what to do with super sailor and the sample and Wanda. Some more very weird art of Caps face. Cap heads to the UN building where Iron Man is talking to the UN Council on behalf of the Avengers (and Im wondering how any of this ties into disassembled).

Cap has an incredibly cringey Peep Show-esque moment with Wanda where it seems clear that he french kissed his own dementia. Cap leaves while Pym tries to talk to him about the DNA. The last few pages are a slow extended sequence featuring the head of the Rivas family and this little charmer.

You know while reading it I thought it was just confusing and OK. The dialogue was stilted but wasn’t too terrible and the action sequences were good. I attributed my confusion to jumping in sort of mid story. But after thinking back over it was bad, confusing and bad. A character slowly losing their mind can and has been done well. But it needs more than just post psychotic break exposition. It’s a largely visual medium, there needs to be visual cues to distinguish between what’s real and what’s not real as its obviously all fiction to the reader. Falcon as written didn’t feel believable. He was written like a side character on Law and Order and it showed. The only reason I want to read more of this is to find out what the fuck is going on. It really didn’t feel like this had anything at all to do with Disassembled. Honestly the only ones so far that felt like genuine tie-ins were Thor and Iron Man.

War Crimes

This was just terrible. It felt like a parody of itself. Given the cover perhaps it was supposed to be? It starts with Cap beating up Mr Hyde. Captain America then rents a movie and goes back to his flat to find Diamondback waiting for him (why does everybody know where he lives?). She’s trying to re-start their relationship and Cap’s into it. Which was confusing to me as wasn’t this happening the same time as Captain America & The Falcon? Anyway Nick Fury shows up with a fucking hoverpack and says he has a mission for Cap who invites Diamondback. They jet off to an incredibly sinister looking version of the helicarrier.

Fury gives Cap (and his yet again weirdly drawn face) a mission to rescue a senator from Hydra. After cap leaves Fury drops his holographic disguise while talking to a figure in shadows. Cap and DB go and bust up Hyrdra, including comedy bits where the guards are on coffee break and they eventually rescue the senator drop him off with Fury and go home. The senator reveals he’d paid Fury and it was a political stunt to help with his presidential campaign. The senator looks exactly like Trump which was meant to be a joke at the time, not so funny on reread (or honestly then). Cap gets an Avengers alert and tells DB he’ll call her. DB then goes to her flat where our favourite red headed villain awaits.

This issue was really bad. As I said above it felt like a parody of itself but that should be clarified, it felt like a bad parody of itself. It didn’t so much feel like humorous exaggeration as it did the author not so subtly saying “I think this if fucking stupid”. The dialogue all felt like it was pulled straight from a Saturday morning kids cartoon and there wasn’t a single realistic human response from any of the characters in it. I also wasn’t a fan of the art. The entire thing was just tonally a complete mess. The only bit I liked was the Hydra guards on break. But it felt completely out of place. That’s something for Deadpool not for Captain America.

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