Welcome to the first installment of io9's weekend comic book review column Needs More Dazzler, a column founded on the ethos that most comics would be improved by a dose of the most divinely flamboyant X-lady, Dazzler.
First off, what's with the column's name? Am I serious that most comics - the good, the bad, the in-between - would benefit from the mere presence of mutant disco icon and on-again, off-again X-woman Dazzler? Yes. Mind you, I'm talking about the sequined bodysuit and roller skates and Ultimate Warrior greasepaint Dazzler. I realize Dazzler is running around in more respectable attire these days, but I really lost interest in her as a character after she jettisoned the Olivia Newton John aerobics wear.
How does Dazzler immeasurably improve most - if not all - comics? Think about it - if you're reading a terrible comic and Dazzler pops up, you're first thought is "Well, this comic sucks, but at least Dazzler is in it!" Similarly, if you're reading a fantastic comic and Dazzler cameos, you think, "Hot dog! Dazzler! That's like some Grand Marnier on my parfait!" If you're perusing an overly serious title, Dazzler adds necessary levity, and she makes kitschy fun even kitschier. Ali Blair truly is a woman for all seasons.
Now that you have a sense of my aesthetic preferences, it's on to this week's comics!
Captain America 604 (Marvel)
Screw the hurt feelings and handwringing over whether or not the Watchdogs are Tea Party demonstrators - it really takes away from the fact that Ed Brubaker is spinning a crackerjack Captain America yarn here. Bucky Cap is kidnapped by an insane Captain America from the 1950s. I know the conceit of a retconned, failed Captain America has been done before, but Brubaker really makes it shine. Crazy 1950s Cap is gleefully deluded, sporting a shit-eating grin that's equal parts Jim Nabors and Jim Jones. Add some clutch Sam Wilson fight sequences from Luke Ross and you've got a star-spangled winner.
Deadpool 21 (Marvel)
Deadpool reminds me of Steve Martin. Steve Martin used to be in funny movies - nowadays he's working on Cheaper by the Dozen 3: The White House Wreck. Barring the obvious existential dread this film will inculcate in audience members, this movie will be labeled a comedy because it's a Steve Martin movie.
Similarly, Deadpool used to be pretty damn funny; nowadays he's become the symbolic placeholder for humor. In other words, when you see a Deadpool comic, the comic's screaming "BUY ME! I'M A FUNNY, WACKY COMIC!" But is the comic funny? Usually not, but his appearance allows the plot to be sloppy and disposable like a Benny Hill routine. Is the idea of Spider-Man and Deadpool fighting an uzi-toting monkey funny on paper? Yes. Does it work in execution? Barring some gags with Deadpool attempting to fire uzis with his feet, no.
Supergod 3 (Avatar)
In Supergod, Warren Ellis is in full Planetary global conspiracy mode. The governments of the world are caught in a superdeity arms race, and India's supergod, Krishna, has gone rogue, nuked Pakistan, and reduced Indian's population by 90%. The series is gearing up for a Kaiju Big Battel of Ragnarok-sized proportions as the rest of the world's supergods, from England's mycological three-headed astrogod Morrigan Lugus to America's Jerry Craven eventually descend on Krishna. The series is narrated from a post-apocalyptic London by Simon Reddin, a scientist who worked on Morrigan Lugus, so you know there's no happy ending here. This is like Akira meets Destroy All Monsters meets Street Fighter 2 meets World Religion 101. Insanely recommended.
Green Lantern 52 (DC)
You will enjoy this comic depending on your predilection for big, splashy speeches about the nature of the DC universe. In a nutshell: Sinestro becomes the Guardian of the Universe blah blah blah Xanshi almost falls into Earth yabba dabba doo we meet the rest of the Rainbow Gang's answers to Ion and Parallax bippity-boppity-boo beautiful Doug Mahnke artwork.
The Guild 1 (Dark Horse)
Felicia Day's comic adaptation of her MMORPG-themed web series of the selfsame name crackles with zippy, self-effacing one-liners from the lead gamer Cyd ("I'll never be a princess too. Screwed that up. Stupid hymen."), but the introduction to her "woe is me" life is maudlin overkill. Things pick up when she enters the digital world, though. This will appeal to fans of the series.
Nemesis 1 (Icon/Marvel)
Mark Millar and Steve McNiven's ivory arch-asshole is window dressing for the rest of the plot, but it's blissfully profane window dressing at least. Despite a fun conceit and a solid line-up of creators, something seems a smidge off about this issue. Perhaps it's that Nemesis is kind of generic for a baddie. Indeed, he doesn't have the verve of the rogues gallery of Millar's previous superheroes-gone-bad project Wanted. Muggers drop the F-bomb all the time, let's see something more florid.