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Review of The Twelve 4 (4 stars) April 4, 2008

Posted by lotrking in Comic Book Reviews.
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Overall rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Next to something as huge as Secret Invasion, it might be easy to forget that anything else came out this week, especially when it might be tucked into its own little corner of the Marvel Universe (unless one of the Twelve have been replaced by a Skrull! 😐 )The Twelve may also have fallen into the overlooked territory because so far, the actual story hasn’t really gone anywhere. Regardless of this, I’m still loving this series, mainly because of the characters. In fact, the characters are what this story is all about, which is exactly what old school, Stan Lee Marvel was all about: let the characters be the main story, and throw the rest of the story in around them. So, while this may not be the most action packed book at your comic store, it is certainly one of the more interesting ones.

The story starts with Master Mind Excello, who is still suffering from severe headaches from all the background electromagnetic radiation that we have floating around today, and he decides that he needs to build his own house with a lead lining to shield his brain. The cool part is that he is going to do this with money that he has saved in a rolling trust fund “just in case” he ever ended up in the future. (Now that’s planning ahead!) In the event of the departure, the rest of the Twelve decide to throw him a going away party, but before this actual party happens, we check in on a few of the other members.

The Laughing Mask has gone back to crime fighting, and some police officers stop by to question him about his activity, and to register his guns, and he willingly complies. (See, the SHRA ain’t that bad if you just comply. 😉 ) The police also tell the Phantom Reporter of a grisly scene they happened upon the previous night which, unbeknownst to them, but beknownst (if that’s a word) to us, was caused by the Black Widow. (Up until now, I just felt sorry for her situation, now after one of the most graphic panels I’ve seen in a comic, she’s starting to really creep me out.)

Blue Blade is still trying to get a job in show biz, but he is looking for a partner, and approaches Rockman. Rockman ends up telling his “origin story” to Blue Blade, and it ends up to be a rather interesting story. The only thing I wonder is how it fits into Marvel continuity. How is it the Mole Man never stumbled upon Abyssia? Are the “Evil One” and Mole Man related at all? And of course the obvious question, where do they get their light from? Course, I’m not really blaming this on JMS, as he has to work with the actual stories from 60+ years ago, and so far he has kept the stuff from the 40s from being cheesy, and that in and of itself is an accomplishment.

The story finally moves on to the party, and as Dynamic Man enters, he questions why everyone is still moping around instead of fighting evil. Phantom Reporter argues that not everyone can recover from shock quickly, and notes that they are not as “perfect” as Dynamic Man. This leads to an altercation between the two, before Captain Wonder steps in and breaks up the fight before it can really start. Dynamic Man brings in Electro, so that the gathering can be “complete,” and then departs. It is here also hinted that Blue Blade may use Electro as his “sidekick” (further leading me to believe that Electro is the one that goes on the murderous rampage). As the party ends, we learn that the Witness is also Jewish and that Phantom Reporter once more fails to “hit it off” with Black Widow.

In an ending “montage scene” that seems to have become commonplace for this series, we see Excello leaving, Dynamic Man still patrolling for crime, Black Widow at a heavy metal concert (okay, this part confused me, anyone have any ideas what is going on here?), Rockman still pounding the ground, Mister E crying himself to sleep, Laughing Mask’s guns getting registered, and Phantom Reporter finally writing his article using an old school typewriter. (When do you think someone will show him how to use a computer? 😉 ) The issue ends with a copy of his article on heroism. Reading through this article, did anyone else get the feeling that Phantom Reporter wants to die? He noted that a hero was someone who gives up his life others, and later says that he wants to be hero. To me, that sounds like he wants to lose his life to a cause. (Lieutenant Dan, anyone?)

Overall, another great issue, Straczynski’s writing is flawless, and Weston’s art is the perfect look for this book. I can’t wait to see what will happen to these characters next!

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