So the rest of the titles I got, briefly because I want to focus on two of them (and give a third one its own entry):
Secret Six #whatever. I'm not actually current on SS, but I'm getting the issues because I'll catch up and want to have them. This is how I think.
Athena #2. Remember how I was excited that there was in independent press doing a Greek god story? And remember how I was disappointed by the end of issue one? Yeaaah.
Stumptown #1. Good good good good great. Pick of the week. It's getting its own entry, because I'm a Greg Rucka fangirl.
And then last, but not least, the two I'll talk about in this entry:
X-Men Origins: Iceman (one shot).
Black Widow: Unholy Origins #1.
First things first: Iceman. I'm an Iceman fangirl. Bobby Drake is pretty much my favorite X ever. Maybe it's because I met him before the other Xs, when he was hanging out with Spider-Man and Firestar on my Saturday morning cartoons. Maybe it's because I sort of like his personality and how a guy like that is one of the most powerful mutants on the planet. Maybe it's because I feel for his total and utter lack of ability to maintain a relationship.
For me, if you're going to do an origin comic (not to be confused with an origin movie), you should remain true to where the character ends up, while updating and changing things for the time you're writing. Also, maybe have some fun art. The art in this was fine. It was like a weird Norman Rockwell comic. I wasn't blown away. Also, I prefer Bobby as a brunette, but that's a personal thing.
Here's the deal: this retold Bobby's origins, but made his dad less of a bigot. What? The guy had to go back in time to work things out with his parents, and he still wasn't kosher with his dad until that whole Creed presidential thing. It also made him way more sure of himself. What? Bobby is not sure of himself in certain ways. This is why he'll date Mystique when she shows him attention: because he needs that sense of being wanted. I suppose we could still get that from what's-her-name's rejection of him after he freezes Rocky, but c'mon. His lack of self-confidence is why he needs Emma to unlock his most powerful abilities. His lack of self-confidence makes him interesting!
If you want to set up some origins universe that starts fresh, eh. But this seemed to be a one-shot trying to draw in fans of the movies. I can tell you that I wouldn't care about Iceman at all if I read this book. Considering he's already my favorite X, that means this book sort of failed. Immensely.
But Black Widow: Unholy Origins didn't disappoint. After I finished reading (and enjoying) it, I went back and looked at who the author was. Paul Cornell! I love Paul Cornell, because he wrote the best Doctor Who book ever, Human Nature, which was turned into a pretty decent episode (would have been better if it was the seventh Doctor still, but whatever). I also have met him a couple of times at the annual Gallifrey convention, and he is awesome. He's funny, witty, and loves the medium he's writing in, whether DW or comics. (I will also be bringing this issue for him to sign next year.)
So I know this is meant to stir up interest in ScarJo's Black Widow coming up in Iron Man 2. Whatever. She's not even going to get to be in the Avengers movie, so I'm still annoyed.
I've always had a passing interest in the character, but I started to get really interested when I started getting into Winter Soldier. I think I've spoken before about my love for the new Captain America, so when I saw this origins title, with a "also featuring Wolverine and Winter Soldier" I knew I had to pick it up. (I got the variation with Bucky on the cover, the one on the left.)
The artwork was good, but especially in the flashback scenes. Also, Bucky with that 50s-era chunky arm was priceless.
The story kept me going, and I think Cornell did a good job of finding the black humor in it, which is important. I like that it wasn't just straight origins, that it tied in the present with the past. Also that line about James Barnes being a good enough boyfriend to get to call her Natasha made me laugh out loud. Literally. I got funny looks from the people walking by me.
The reason this succeeded where Iceman failed is two-fold. First, it keeps the past linked with the present. I need that to enjoy an origin story. I like flashbacks that aren't heavy-handedly telling the story, while the present scenes create the framework. Second, the writing was stronger. The characters had good voices, voices that I'd associate with them anyway, and the plot moved forward towards an interesting climax (that was the first of many, since this is a miniseries).
Maybe Iceman didn't get the benefit of a miniseries, but I can't help but feeling it's more about what was told in the issue itself than having a chance to write a longer story. Iceman was schmaltzy, Black Widow was interesting. Iceman took a character I enjoyed immensely and made him less likeable. Black Widow took a character I enjoyed a bit and made me want to follow her more closely.