After last week's financial brutality, it's nice to see things settle down a bit this week. The major title for the week seems to be...
ASSAULT ON NEW OLYMPUS PROLOGUE: This kicks off the Assault on New Olympus, one of Marvel's many events that'll be starting over the next few months. This issue sees Athena and Amadeus Cho looking for help from the other gods (who've all become mortal Wall Street types...hmm, I need to pick up a Herc trade), but not getting anywhere. This all happens as rogue Japanese god Mikaboshi (who first popped up recently in the Secret Invasion tie-in) continues his rampage against the other pantheons, this time wiping out the Shi'ar (!) gods. Back on Earth, Herc decides to try and recruit Hebe for the battle ahead, but she happens to be on a date with Peter Parker. Herc responds as any reasonable person would by punching Parker into next Tuesday. And that's how we get the cliched Wacky Superhero Fight That's Just A Big Misunderstanding, this time between Herc and Spidey. After that fight, Spidey joins the team and brings Wolverine and Spiderwoman along for the ride. A good starting point for new readers and the Agents of Atlas backup story is icing on the cake. The past Incredible Herc trades are recommended reading, but not required. Thumbs up!
CAPTAIN AMERICA REBORN #4: NOW it all starts to come together and make sense...well, more sense than before anyway. Red Skull and entourage touch down in Latveria where they meet up with Doom and Arnim Zola. We get scenes with New Captain America and the good guys, but they're largely inconsequential at this point, aside from the revelation that Reed Richards can track Sharon Carter. The issue ends in a big way, as Steve Rogers is pulled from his time warp and brought back to the present. That's right, Steve Rogers RETURNS...with the Red Skull in the driver's seat. And now, it gets good. Thumbs up!
DOCTOR VOODOO: AVENGER OF THE SUPERNATURAL #2: Unlike last issue, Jericho Drumm isn't looking like such hot stuff this time around, as we jump into the issue in the middle of his ass being handed to him. The rest of the issue is decent stuff, particularly once Son of Satan joins the fun. Issue ends with the aforementioned Daimon Hellstrom wiping out Voodoo and taking the Staff of Legba to bring Nightmare to the mortal realm. Notably, Voodoo begins incorporating Haitian Voodoo into his magic, which is nice character detail. Not as much fun as the last issue, but Doctor Voodoo hasn't let me down yet. Thumbs in the middle.
SECRET SIX #15: A really good one-shot character piece with Deadshot, as he finds himself unable to keep control of his bearings and his urges to kill. We get an explanation that it correlates with the disappearance of Batman, which if it didn't come from Deadshot-creator John Ostrander, I'd think that was a horribly tacked-on explanation. Not much to spoil, but highly recommended for fans of Deadshot, as Ostrander takes us further into the mind of the mercenary. Thumbs up!
Coming up next week: Batman, Batman & Robin, Ted Kord returns as a Black Lantern, Deadpool meets Spider-Man, Stephen Strange begins his new life, and Punisher MAX relaunches with the debut of MAX Kingpin.
One of America's premiere literary minds dead at 71. link: http://edition.cnn.com/2004/SHOWBIZ/books/12/28/obit.sontag.ap/index.html Susan, we barely knew ye. R.I.P. [Edit]: I recently read her last book, Regarding the Pain of Others.