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Most Surprising Scene - Avengers: The Initiative #13
Despite the fact that no skin is shown and few sex acts take place, this is a boundary pushing sequence.
Here we have Emery, a nerdy, shy teen who happens to be indestructible, and a ex-villain who burns up anything she touches. Alone at an unauthorized Initiative beach party, she realizes that his powers would allow her to have sex with him. So she gets on him and starts, despite the fact that he's not into it. Is this rape? That's a yes. In a medium dominated by male sexual power fantasies, it's extremely surprising to see a scene in which a young man receives genuinely unwelcome sexual attention, and in a way that's not played for laughs or irony. Here the reader is made to feel the discomfort and confusion of this young man, and it's a powerful, sad moment. The last time I remember seeing anything like this in a comic is in Bomb Scare, a great Optic Nerve story. Here's to Christos Gage and Steve Uy for pulling off something truly unconventional in a mainstream book.
Pop Art, Stephanie Brown, Reed Richards: Ladies Man and more, after the jump...
The Reclamation of Pop Art - Amazing Spider-Man #560
The villain in this Spidey storyline is "Paper Doll," a 2D woman unhealthily obsessed with celebrity Bobby Carr. Her and Spidey have a dustup in a Pop Art gallery in this ish, which justifies the awesome cover with Paper Doll actually becoming Pop Art and creeping up on our hero (look at those nails! Creepy!). Later Spidey lands a well-placed punch in front of an explosive WHAAM! piece. Awesome!
The Power of Fans - Robin #174
Wow. Those who hated the way the War Games storyline ended have had just about all their demands met as of the end of last week's Robin. Let the retconning begin!
Exhibit A: Steph never got a memorial because Batman never really thought she was dead. This also explains his insensitive-even-for-him reaction to her death in the first place.
Exhibit B: Dr. Leslie Tompkins, heretofore believed to have actually allowed Steph to die as an outrageously irresponsible warning to teen superheroes across the nation, actually helped the poor girl fake her own death in order to start a new life.
Exhibit C: Editor Dan Didio is killed. Guess that ties up all the loose ends!
Smooth Operator - Reed Richards, Fantastic Four #557Mr. Fantastic gets a bad rap sometimes for being cold and inattentive, but Mark Millar has a very different view of the smartest man on Earth. In fact, he writes him as a superbrained George Clooney. What a smoothie! Not to mention the fact that the location of their anniversary dinner is back in time for front row seats to when they first met.
Reputation Alert - Avengers: The Initiative #13
As seen in a previous issue of this series, Hank Pym's greatest fear is that he will be forever remembered not for his years of heroism, but for being a vile dirtbag who beat up his wife (BOOO!). He supposedly came to terms with that fear in that same issue, but now it looks like even the younger generation of heroes (who probably grew up on The Ultimates) aren't so forgiving. Sorry dirtbag!