NEW Damn Dirty Comics #1: AQUAMAN, AVENGERS, & More!
Agent of S.T.Y.L.E.: The Life Aqua-chic
We've tangled with Skrulls. We've made the Gods tremble. We've slayed the zombies. Now, it's time to take on the entire comics industry! Welcome to All-New, All-Different 80-page Giant Sized NEW Damn Dirty Comics #1!
Due to popular demand, aka two guys on twitter who actually liked this thing, we have decided to bring back the Damn Dirty column even though there aren't really any proper "events" going on right now. The good news is, every comic is an event now, if you believe the solicitations! If you're unfamiliar with the Damn Dirty columns, we irreverently summarize, and sometimes editorialize on, major comics of the day. These are summaries, but we're also trying to have a little fun. Some will be big-time summaries, some will be little snippets or sidenotes. We pretty much make up the rules as we go along, which if you read the old columns, you already knew.
Kicking things off, we start with the results of our Brightest Day Halfway Point Poll. The results were OUTRAGEOUS! with about 45% of you enjoying the Aquaman family story the most. With that, Aquaman gets a full recap, and the others (Hawks, Firestorm, Martian Manhunter, Boston Brand) will each get no more than 3 sentences. Is this an ingenious way of being lazy or what?
After some Damn Dirty Brightness, we deal out some Damn Dirty Big Time, some Damn Dirty Cosmos (space, not fruity drinks), hit it up with Damn Dirty Mightiest Heroes, poke briefly at Damn Dirty Dying Heroes and round it out with some Damn Dirty Birds.
Oh, and probably needless to say, SPOILERS ARE ON IN FULL FORCE.
Brightest Day #1-13: Aquaman: Aquaman's story kicks off, as it should, at sea. The resurrected sea king and his wife Mera take on some kidnappers, and we see that the qualities that made Mera the ideal temporary Red Lantern have not gone away, as she overtly reminds readers in the dialogue by declaring her RAGE while Aquaman reminds the world that he's bullet resistant. Things aren't all sunshine and lollipops for the royal couple though; when Arthur tries to call for some sealife assistance, he instead brings some seadeath assistance. A dead giant squid and dead shark come and kill all of the pirates, showing that while he's back, his black lantern connection may not be entirely gone.
Meanwhile, a man working at a fish mart hears on the news that Aquaman is back. Unlike some vocal Twitterers, he is not a fan, and fears more harpoon-hand stories, so he mercilessly slaughters everyone in the store. He blows it up, and walks into the water, somehow emerging in his full "high-tech suit" as Black Manta. I guess he had it in a trunk by the coastline, and we just have to consider ourselves lucky no fishermen, kids, or recreational boaters found it while he was relaxing in his temporary day job.
When next we see the Aquacouple, they dive into the water in Dubai and leave a bunch of dead fish in their wake. Either this has something to do with the Black Lanterns, or someone has a not-so-fresh feeling.
Scared of this leftover power, they travel to a remote island in the Atlantic to do some testing. We find out where the orca from Free Wily wound up, and Aquaman kills the undead beast by tearing its jaw in half. A touching conversation reveals Aquaman and Mera both feel like outcasts from their people, and will stay on their own, happily, though Mera looks a little bit concerned about that…
Meet Jackson. He and his girlfriend Maria live in New Mexico and want to go for a swim. Unfortunately, the lake they were going to spend some splashy time in is gone, having been there just the day before. Much more on Jackson later.
Jumping to the Bermuda Triangle, we see two plane crash victims who similarly have been drained of all water. Just then, a portal opens (maybe the source of all the ship disappearances over the years?) and a very Mera-looking woman emerges with some mer-soldiers doing her best impression of The Governor when he arrives at the prison in The Walking Dead (go ahead, dig out your trade or hardcover, I'll wait. That's right, it's the exact same dialogue!).
Just outside the Bermuda Triangle, there's a massive oil leak. This is clearly BP's covert new campaign, blaming the oil leak on fish-people and a rip in dimensional space. Before Mera and Aquaman can fix the leak, they're attacked by a water construct then sends Arthur flying. The Mera lookalike stands over Aquaman, telling the "King of Atlantis" (she didn't read the Mera/Aquaman convo a couple issues ago, did she?) that he's about to die on his knees. He's currently on one knee here, so it's safe to assume she'll be knocking his other foot out from under him first, which just seems unnecessary.
A quick fight and some broken bones later, we find out Mera knows this mystery woman's name: Siren. Fearing for their lives, she forces Arthur to escape with her while Siren calls out "You haven't told him, have you?" behind them. When Arthur questions Mera about these new sea-people, she drops a bit of a bomb: "I was sent here to kill you."
Arriving on the Southern Coast of the United States with lots and lots of dead fish (these two could really use a shower), the couple continues their conversation. Her people are actually a rebel offshoot of Atlantis, sent to the Atlantean version of Australia. Raised to be the ultimate weapon against the proper Atlanteans, Mera came to kill Arthur but fell in love with him instead. When Black Manta killed their son, it was actually to get at both of them, in some twisted revenge against both the Atlanteans and the Aussie-Atlanteans. Finally, Mera reveals that the girl that looks so much like her, Siren, is in fact her younger sister! In other shocking news, water is revealed as wet!
Arthur responds surprisingly cool-headed, telling Mera it's all good. He gets zapped by his second dose of white light, cleaning the oil, restoring the fish to life, and finding out he needs to find the aforementioned Jackson "before they do."
After a much needed issue off, Arthur tells Mera of his vision, including an eel tattoo on the arm of the boy, something she strangely recognizes. They are interrupted by the arrival of Boston Brand, the one returnee who still has a white ring, and Dove, who has an as-yet explicitly unexplained connection to the White Light. Aquaman tells Deadman (Aliveman) to tell the rest of the resurrected about their ultimate mission: finding a new hero, presumably to take the white ring. Meanwhile, he and Mera will go find the boy, which will be substantially easier considering Mera knows exactly who he is and why they have to get to him first. She's just a fountain of knowledge now, isn't she?
Back in New Mexico, Jackson stands in the rain and reveals… the lamest transformation ever! "I touch water... and my eyes and tattoo (which I've mysteriously had my whole life and never asked any questions about) glow, and I grow gills and webbed fingers on one hand!" His dad comes out and tells him he can't do this, and "it's time." The question is, if he "can't" stand in water, does that mean he also never showers? What is with these Aqua folk?
Black Manta desecrates Arthur's father's grave, then gets attacked by the Aussie-Atlanteans. Siren stops the fight midway and tells Black Manta that they need to go find his son… Jackson!
At this point, having discovered so many secrets that Mera has been holding, Aquaman is a bit peeved and decides to go after Jackson alone, telling her to find someone to help her hold back Siren & her posse. Jackson and his "father" go out to a cottage, where daddy dearest gives him a chest that Mera gave to the adoptive parents along with baby J. Just as he's about to open the chest… SPEARGUN! It's Black Manta. Father and Son get into their car, and father drives it off a cliff to save Jackson. Black Manta dives right in after him, and Jackson hits him hard with a water construct (hmm, who could his mother be?). He saves his father temporarily, but Manta and Siren soon find them on the shore and attack again, only to be stopped by Aquaman.
Aquaman manages to take out the Aussie-Atlanteans with one big hit, but only stalls Black Manta for a moment as they exchange blows. Manta's harpoon manages to pierce the atlantean armor and enhanced skin that earlier in the story deflected bullets with a shrug, and Manta electrocutes Arthur while taunting him with knowledge of what exactly is really going on. Arthur declares that he lives for himself now, while shoving Black Manta in front of a truck, which he, Jackson, and Jackson's dad hop into for a little hitch-hike. Somehow, someone managed to hang onto the mysterious chest that belongs to Jackson, and opening it with his glowy eel tattoo reveals a map clearly drawn by a 10 year old playing Atlantis.
In Firestorm's side-story, the Black Lantern Firestorm "Deathstorm" gets ahold of the White Power Battery, which is carefully called the White Lantern despite decades of calling such devices Power Batteries, cause, well, who wants to talk about a "White Power" Battery, which is a hate crime in most states? He uses it to bring back the Black Lantern versions of all the resurrected heroes and villains, proving these Damn Dirty Zombies aren't quite done with us after all, including Aquaman.
That's where we're at halfway through Aquaman's story in Brightest Day!
And now, the other stories…
Brightest Day #1-13: Deadman: Deadman is now Just one hour until the relaunch of the Damn Dirty column in All-New, All-Different 80-page Giant Sized NEW Damn Dirty Comics #1!, and doesn't know how he feels about that. He's the only one of the resurrected who still has a white ring, and is journeying amongst the others, searching for a new hero to take it from him, who he currently thinks may be the recently returned Bruce Wayne. He may also have a thing for Dove.
Brightest Day #1-13: Martian Manhunter: He kills all plant-life he comes in contact with. He finds another Green Martian, and finds that as he kills plantlife on Earth, he makes it regrow on Mars. The other Green Martian is one crazy bitch, but he really should've known that from her name, D'Kayy, sounds like Decay, aka the most obvious villain name in the history of villains. (Science Note: Martians hate fire, but love cinammon).
Brightest Day #1-13: Hawkman and Hawkgirl: In an effort to tie up their death-resurrection cycle once and for all, things are only getting more complicated for the Hawks. They're on a Hawkworld with lots of anthropomorphic animal people (yes, that was a bit redundant), and at one point Hawkwoman's mom talked about breast milk (Science note: birds don't lactate).
Brightest Day #1-13: Firestorm: Ronnie and Jason can't seem to get it together, which is pretty important in the Firestorm matrix. Deathstorm, their Black Lantern counterpart, is back, and he now has the White Pow- White Lantern, which he used to bring back the other Black Lantern versions of the resurrected heroes and villains, which you'd know already if you just read the extensive Aquaman section. (Science Note: Nuclear explosions don't TYPICALLY give people superpowers).
Birds of Prey #6: This issue gives us two sides of The Huntress. One is the full-on action side, ready to take a beating for a friend. The other is the sentimental lonely side; in the closing narration, she tells us that she used to be a loner before she found her pack with the Birds. It turns out that particular section was a re-write. We have the original dialogue below:
Huntress: You guys might not know this, but I consider myself a bit of a loner. I tend to think of myself as a one-woman wolf pack. But when Batman brought Oracle home, I knew she was one of my own. And my wolf pack... it grew by one. So there... there were two of us in the wolf pack... I was alone first in the pack, and then Oracle joined in later. And six months ago, when Oracle introduced me to you guys, I thought, "Wait a second, could it be?" And now I know for sure, I just added two more girls to my wolf pack. Four of us wolves, running around the world together, in Thailand, looking for strippers and bottles of Grappa. So tonight, I make a toast!
There is no confirmation that Huntress will be adopting a baby named “Carlos” in the next arc.
The Amazing Spider-Man #648: "Big Time": The new era of Spider-Man begins here! With a moniker like "Big Time" being used to market this story by Dan Slott and a trio of artists, things have to be, well… big, all the time. Sure enough, the issue kicks off with an "AVENGERS ASSEMBLE!" being hollered by none other than the webbed himself. Spidey and the Avengers are in the midst of battle with Doc Ock's Octobots, which are now gigantic machine monsters destroying much of Manhattan, 38 of them, in fact. A very specific number, but why wouldn't Tony Stark by specific? After telling the Avengers how to fight the Octobots, Spidey takes one down himself, and saves a random new Yorker in the process. He either steals that New Yorker's wallet, or is falsely accused of it by the guy; you be the judge!
Meanwhile, a dude in a tech suit that looks a bit like the Black Beetle that menaces another universe is stalking NYC Mayor J. Jonah Jameson. Jonah and his wife are having some marital problems, and she also wants him to back off of Spider-Man. Colonel John Jameson (Jonah's son, and former Man-Wolf) hops in a jet to check in on the situation in NYC. Steve Rogers, Super Soldier apparently shows up to guard a special vehicle called the Vertex Shuttle just after John leaves.
Spidey's tour of NYC while fighting Octobots has him run into the Fantastic Four. Spidey gets overwhelmed, and naturally calls out for Snooki, which officially hits the breaking point for the popularity of The Jersey Shore. It's now time for them to disappear, never to be heard from again. Black Cat keeps the cameo train a'rollin, and puts her back into it before he ditches her, trying to force himself to think about his girlfriend, Mar- er, Carlie Cooper.Power, Responsibility, yadda yadda, and back to the Air Force Base.
Here, Electro joins Chameleon, who posed earlier as Steve Rogers, and they drop several small Octobots off in the hangar. The rest of the new Sinister Six is revealed, with Doc Ock, Mysterio, Sandman, and Rhino having a pose-off in their secret headquarters. I think Ock, with his creepy straightjacket Hannibal Lecter look wins. They power off the Macro-Octobots, and set a two and a half minute timer to blow them up, along with all of Manhattan. Doc Ock says or Spider-Man "he defeated me in a battle of minds. Trust me. The man is a genius…" in some excellent double-foreshadowing.
With Reed Richards and Tony Stark unable to figure out how to disarm the Octobots and only seconds left, Parker jumps in and synchronizes all their clocks to the operating system clock, which is luckily connected to the internet, and sets itself back an hour with the end of Daylight Savings Time, which happens simultaneously with the countdown reaching 0, giving them a full hour to dispose of the Octobots somewhere in the Atlantic, killing millions upon millions of seal life, inevitably raising the prices of lobster and sushi on the East Coast and setting up a confrontation between Spidey and Aquaman.
Here, Spider-Man gets packed away for awhile, in favor of Peter Parker introducing the rest of his supporting cast. He starts off at Frontline, the small, independent Newspaper that he works at as not a photographer, but just an errand boy. Norah Winters, Phil Urich and his journalist extraordinaire uncle, and Joe are introduced. Pete leaves as Jonah and his wife come in to gift the Frontline staff with instant credibility, the name "Daily Bugle," which Jonah bought back from Dexter Bennett, current owner of The DB, the paper formerly known as the Daily Bugle.
Michele, Peter's roommate, was one too many characters in his cast, so she decided to move out, kicking him out at the same time. He tries to move in with a couple friends, like Randy Robertson, Betty Brant, his girlfriend Carlie (who doesn't want to move too fast), and Flash Thompson, who is "working out" with the aforementioned Betty Brant. He even stops by Mary Jane, his ex-fiancée's place, and they share a good laugh about living together again, what with the devil-deal and all that.
Finally Pete shows up at his Aunt May's deus ex penthouse, where Jonah's wife is waiting, having just received the "Peter Parker Pep Talk" from May. Marvel-Black-Beetle watches them leave the penthouse together, and Peter's spider-sense goes a little wah-wah on him.
Meanwhile, at the Raft, Maximum Security Prison, the Venom symbiote is removed from Mac Gargan, former Scorpion. The government plans to study the symbiote. Cue speculation: John Jameson? Flash Thompson? Who'll be the new Venom?
Peter is taken to Horizon Labs, which is basically every tech company that ever existed combined into one. Peter is given a tour of the company's 7-man "think tank" where supergeniuses pretty much have free reign. In the process, one of the scientist's experimental Vibranium substitute "Reverbium" goes haywire. Peter reprograms it on the fly, doing complicated Wakandan Calculus to fix the material instantaneously. he then uses his time as Spider-Man to answer 3 tricky science questions, and he is offered a job as the 7th member of the think tank. His first paycheck is massive, and he's thrilled to have this new job.
Of course, not all can be well in Peter Parker's life, and the Kingpin has plans for him, the Reverbium, and an old friend named Roderick Kingsley, the Hobgoblin.
The Thanos Imperative #6: Some heroes take long walks. Other heroes make like Butch and Sundance against the mad god of Titan in the wastes of a dead universe that had infected other realities like a cancer. The Raccoon wasn’t the only one that shed a tear.
New Avengers #6: If Jericho’s brother was upset, imagine how Rick Remender must have felt. Seriously, we get a new Sorcerer Supreme, we get a reimagining of his mythology, we get him an Avengers subtitle, we get his ongoing truncated to a mini, we get him guest-starring in an arc totally tailored to him . . . then we get him backseating to Wolverine and killed off? That’s just not cool. Hilarity is reserved for the ending though. After the Avengers save the world and Doctor Voodoo dies, Damion Hellstrom comes out and lectures the people about how they should kiss the Avengers’ asses for saving the day again.
Imagine what would happen next in the real world. Invariably, a reporter standing nearby would ask . . .
Reporter: And what’s your name sir?
Hellstrom: Damion Hellstrom.
Reporter: And are you an Avenger?
Hellstrom: Uh, no. But I am an occasional super-hero.
Reporter: Do you have a code-name?
Hellstrom: The Son of Satan.
Reporter: That’s your code-name? It’s terrible.
Hellstrom: Well, it’s more of a title.
Reporter: Wait! You’re THE son of SATAN? Like the Devil?
Hellstrom: Um, maybe I should direct you to the Avengers PR office . . .
Random Bystander: Did you hear that?! The Avengers are in league with the DEVIL!!
Random Bystander 2: I KNEW IT! Remember when they had that Witch on their team?! And a druid!!
Random Bystander 3: And blacks and gays!
Random Bystander 4: Hey, watch that shit!
Random Bystander 5: Who was gay? Starfox?
Random Bystander 6: No, Living Lightning.
Random Bystander 3: And I forgot Hispanics!
Random Bystander 6: What about those Avengers that all turned out to be villains?! Not to mention that menace Spider-Man?!?! AND THE HULK?!?!
Following Day’s Daily Bugle Headline: New Satanist Avengers Provoke Race Riot in NYC
T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents #1 If you only read one comic this month that’s a reboot of an older comic that was supposed to rebooted years ago but ran into legal trouble and had to have its reboot pushed off for years before and during which time you’ve seen everything from Strikeforce: Morturi to Suicide Squad invoke different levels of the same premise but now with increased diversity among the characters handled by the guy that all of the new books are going to before the first full issue of any of the runs are even out, then this is the one to read.