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July 15, 2007
Taking Notes: Volume 1

Here we are, the first real installment of Taking Notes. This week I want to kick it off with a bang with some recent comics for fans to enjoy. Today's Marvel heavy, but next time I am looking to get some DC in there and maybe even some Dynamite Entertainment as well.

This week:
- Cable & Deadpool #42
- X-Men: Endangered Species
- Deadpool GLI Summer Fun Spectacular
- World War Hulk: X-Men #1

Lets move right along to it now, shall we?

Cable & Deadpool #42
Concluding the story in three parts, "Fractured", that began in issue #40, we're lead on to expect a conclusion worthy of the set up, right? Right about here you should be nodding like an idiot, if you haven't read them. For everyone playing along at home that hasn't read these particular issues of the saga of the Merc with a mouth, Wade Wilson (/Deadpool), and Savior from the Future, Nathan Daysping Askani'Son Summers (/Cable) [mouthful], I'll have to run down the important information.

War were declared, on Nathan's island of Providence (established as a safe refuge), which was being torn apart by a beastie known as the Hecatomb, and try as he might, ol' Super Jesus couldn't do anything about it. That isn't to say he didn't know how to stop it, more specifically the great tactician knew just the way, but due to the inherent complications of this tactic he was incredibly apprehensive of doing so; but after some sage words of advice from Wade (which included a song) he was capable of finally making his choice. The final result no better for it. Now, Providence falling apart, Nathan's battle isn't over yet, as some unexpected visitors show up to jack his shit, but luckily for him Wade is on his way to save the day, like Superman, I mean... if he were insane, and very pop-culture centric, with an affinity for Bea Arthur, and a compulsion to kill people.

Now that we're up-to-date, it's time to look at issue 42. This issue focuses heavily on Nathan, and his coming to terms with what he has to do. As dark as the previous two issues may have been, I would have to say this one is much more so, as we see Nathan delving back into his war torn past; struggling to remember things he had long forgotten. It's all very dark, but quite an interesting look into this side of his history and what made him who and what he is, as well as explain why he intends to do what he will.

Along this way, it was quickly determined that in the wake of the destruction caused by the Hecatomb, that wasn't the end of this. He was in for yet another confrontation, but from individuals seeking to profit from his downfall. Predictability of the set up not withstanding, I find it particularly hard to swallow that the team of: Sunfire, Gambit, Sabretooth, and Senyaka, all went unresolved as to their motivation as well as any other explanitory details as to the big 'why'. While it could be considered a device to further suspense, but, the resolution of the issue, much less the storyline, thereby made their involvement pointless at best. Such suggesting that they were merely tossed in at the last second to be one more annoyance to Nathan and Wade, more than anything else.

It's not all that difficult for me to give it a pass. For my disappointment with the ending, the story itself is worth reading to see the destruction of an icon, a symbol of hope, within the story, which also sets the tone for how the books will progress there after. However, it is difficult to say that, as a whole, I was displeased with the very turn of the book to a great extent; being that, because I am a great fan of Deadpool and by extension, this series of books. That's also not to say the ending is entirely bad, just the parts involving Nathan's would be thieves; but the specific conclusion of the book, which ends on Wade himself remarking about the circumstances, does set up a nice little consideration over Nathan himself for the next issue.

But even at that, I honestly find myself struggling to get past the seemingly trivial involvement of several characters, to the extent that I'll have to say that much of this very issue may be worth entirely ignoring, save the last page, unless you need a little Wade fix.


X-Men: Endangered Species (One Shot)
Taking place during the aftermath of the House of M storyline, Endangered Species really works to set the tone of the continuing story, giving a dark, foreboding sense to the current period in time for the mutants. What we're looking at here, is a race of people who, as the result of one of their own, have been reduced to a small collective from their once vast entirety, struggling to survive in a world that hates and despises them.

As a set up to continuing books, I really think Endangered Species really caught the mood well. The starting chapters seem to be It almost seems like it's going to be another dark, gritty, mopey book in the beginning; which is mostly what it is, but beyond that it really explores how the mutants are struggling to cope with the very reality they're existing in. It's difficult to say how the event will really run its course, quality wise, however, for a single issue with the burden of launching a decent sized storyline off of I have to say that I enjoyed what I read.

On the other hand, while the premise is actually quite strong as far as things go, especially in the comic world, I also have to say that as much as I like dark, gritty, and dramatic tales, it seems like the market has been flooded with them to a great extent, at this point I would like to see more up beat, happier, and generally less depressing stories than recent offerings; or at the very least, happier endings.


Deadpool GLI Summer Fun Spectacular (One Shot)

Deadpool & The Great Lakes Initiative in "Drunk with Power."
The first part of GLI Summer Fun Spectacular begins on Olympus, where Dionysus, the god of revelry and wine becomes quite intoxicated; in doing so he has the unfortunate luck to fall from the hallowed land and find himself on Earth, specifically Christmas Mountain, Wisconsin, where he is kidnapped by the notorious A.I.M. and used to create a nefarious device to impair every superhuman in the world, so that there would be no one to stop them from following through with their plans. But they made a critical mistake, as Deadpool and the Great Lakes Initiative arrive in Wisconsin Dells, their base of operations, clearly unimpaired and ready to put a stop to them and their ways.

Deadpool & Big Bertha in "A Date with Density!"
In the second part of GLI Summer Fun Spectacular, we find Deadpool wearing out his welcome on the GLI headquarters quite effectively. Because of this it is decided that, Big Bertha would use his affections toward her and help her fellow teammates be rid of their foul guest. Meanwhile Squirrel Girl leaves their headquarters in search of an old flame, Robbie Baldwin: Penance, formerly Speedball; but when further unfortunate circumstances arrive in doing so, she steals away to Latveria.

Deadpool & Flatman in "Fight or Fold?"
In the third and final part of GLI Summer Fun Spectacular, and in the wake of frustration bread in the previous chapter, Flatman and Deadpool combat each other, while Squirrel Girl is off in Latveria seeking the help of a notorious Latverian dictator, and enemy, from the sorted past; but soon finds that her quest must inevitably lead her back to the GLI headquarters, and the final conclusion to their biggest problem.

The Deadpool GLI Summer Fun Spectacular issue, sounds great, right? I mean, they make fun of my very home, WISCONSIN, and even MILWAUKEE itself! Generally it's great when a comic or movie takes a pot-shot at my little neck of the woods, but the Summer Fun Spectacular, for me, wasn't nearly as spectacular as the name indicated. Primarily, the story is fine, not solid, but acceptable enough for a one shot; however this isn't my problem. Really, it comes down to Deadpool himself, who is a generally very witty individual, who dives deep into a bag of cheap, but funny, pop culture trivia in order to make, much of the time, the most appropriate dialog given to any situation he is in.

Here lies the problem, though. While we're treated some some classic Deadpool wit, much of what we're given is very basic. The closest we get to actual Deadpool retort is a song, which is a poor effort at best, as well as references by other characters about specific points of interest about the character, which serve little more than an attempt to make this almost faux Deadpool seem more like the real one; which as it comes down, just isn't enough, and as a complex character that balances a poor grasp on reality with a complete lack of sanity, that happens to translate itself into ideas, statements, actions, as well as hit witty references, retorts, and obsessions, it really is "all or nothing". A lot of this is why Agent X was a terrible series.

Moving along, we get the most generic heroes ever. Squirrel Girl, Flatman, Doorman, Big Bertha, and Mr. Immortal? Yeah, that's about as generic as it gets. I have to think that was the intention, make the saddest sacks seem like real heroes, and include Deadpool to inspire the levity of the situation; didn't really work. The sad sack angle is almost... endearing to their situation, but the real problem is, is that they're so goddamn annoying, that for me, any real care about whether they were successful or got their heads pounded in was killed instantly. Except when Deadpool made sport of Mr. Immortal, by... killing him. What the hell is that?! You can kill an immortal?

When push comes to shove, I wasn't impressed, nor did I really enjoy this one. Would I give it a pass? Hell no. If you're a fan of Deadpool and his wit, this one definitely wont give you that fix.


World War Hulk: X-Men #1 (of 3)

Hard Questions
From page one: "Born with genetic mutations that give them abilities beyond those of normal humans, mutants are the next stage of evolution. As such, they are feared and hated by humanity. But a group of mutants known as the X-Men fight for peaceful coexistence between mutants and humankind.

While trying to save the life of an innocent, Dr. Bruce Banner was caught in the blast of a Gamma Bomb and became The Incredible Hulk.

Recently the Illuminati, comprised of Mr. Fantastic, Iron Man, Dr. Strange, Black Bolt and Namor, sent Hulk to space where, unbeknownst to them, he crashed on the alien world of Sakaar. There, he became emperor and took a queen. Later, his ship exploded and destroyed everyone he cared about. The Hulk blames the Illuminati."

The plot: Taking place in the aftermath of House of M, Charles surveys the ever diminishing mutant race through Cerebra, and questions how much damage had actually resulted in the wake of Scarlet Witch's alterations, and what those implications have had for mutant-kind. Meanwhile, the Sentinels originally positioned to guard the Xavier Institute, and watch their every move, are mysteriously recalled in the wake of the Hulks return to Earth, and the calling out of the members of the Illuminati.

Shortly thereafter, the Hulk comes to the Xavier Institute with the sole purpose of calling out Charles Xavier, but is met with resistance from Hank McCoy and a group of students.

When I first heard about the, at the time upcoming, World War Hulk mini series, it peaked my interest. I've been a long time fan of the Hulk, although not a very avid reader of his stories. Not because I didn't like them, but because for a long time I would frequently lose track of anything I was reading, due to a lack of knowledge about when a particular book would be released and when I would re-visit the comic book shop; so I was constantly falling behind. These days I am keeping better track of what I am reading, which better helps me stay current; not that this has much of anything to do with my interest, but more that it facilitates my interest in this book as well as other that I've read.

Really, World War Hulk, for me, was a lot of fun. Seeing the Hulk in print again, it was an enjoyable experience. The story, well, if you're a fan of the X-Men, the Hulk, and read and enjoyed the House of M books, it really establishes itself in such a way that it's takes place within that continuity, and is a lot of fun for it, as well as being significantly less dark and foreboding than Endangered Species, which also takes place within this period. The Hulk tends to be one of those gray area anti-hero, anti-villain characters that just tends to make a good story better for his involvement, if you're into the mindless destruction thing.

Being on the cusp of "M Day" as it were, as well as a continuation of the "Planet Hulk" books from 2006; and faced with senseless anger and destruction, care of the big green bad ass, you've just gotta' revel in the kind of hell that he alone entails, and for myself, I am actually quite interested to see how the story continues. Definitely a pass; hardcore fans may or may not find flaw in the series with the Hulk himself or other characters, but frankly, I could care less about character flaws with how fun this book was for me. Now I can only hope the next issue lives up to the first.

-- lost in thought

Tags: Column, Taking Notes, opinion, Cable and Deadpool, X-Men, GLI, Hulk

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