ROUND 3, BATTLE 6
HOWARD THE HUMAN #1
The five intrepid soldiers who took on the task of finding the single best Battleworld title have spent as much time discussing comic books over the last four months as they have discussing how to discuss comic books, specifically the comics of the Battleworld event. What does a Battleworld comic need to do in 22 pages in order for it to be good? It’s a question you have to ask and answer at the same time, while you slowly find out that Battleworld, by design or not, grew into a giant, amorphous belly full of pus and zaniness. What’s good and bad in Battleworld, and is it even OK to assume there is a good? Maybe there are times where you can’t set up your own rules, and be pissed when things don’t follow them. Maybe this is a time where we have to work backwards, choosing something we know feels like it’s great, and then trying to figure out why, instead of the other way around.
The first three issues of Siege can be a little bit confusing at times, and every once in a while author Kieron Gillen gets in his own way, going for the big moment even when it doesn’t feel totally organic. But these are things I might complain about if this was something in a different medium, or a non-Battleworld comic. At this point, Battleworld has taught me to not care of such things. Battleworld has taught me that Siege rules, and if – IF – those complaints are legit, then they do not matter. What does matter is Illyana Rasputin and Leah ride a giant, werewolf-Colossus into battle. What matters is Kang is always hanging out, even though he’s a shithead that everyone hates. What matters is that Nick Fury left the Shield, the giant wall that separates Battleworld from the monsters, only to come back as a badguy robot that kills superheroes. Leonardo DiVinci is on the Shield. So is Miss America and that Renaissance version of Kitty Pryde. What matters is that for three issues now, we have known that Thanos is coming, and the Shield will fall. We know that Abigal Brand, a lock for list called “The Top Ten Marvel Characters That Haven’t Been in a Movie Yet,” is going to be the person in charge of the Shield when it finally falls, and that sucks, because she’s awesome. What matters is this book is wall-to-wall batshit insane, in the greatest way possible. It finally feels like at least one Battleworld writer has figured out exactly how to take advantage of this opportunity, and use all of his Marvel action figures in the best ways possible.
Howard the Human also does a great job of establishing a tone and getting through it’s story in a very short amount of time (it’s a one shot). It’s worth a read, but the biggest difference here is that Howard the Human gets off on riffing on the Marvel Universe. Siege pushes it forward, even if the part of the universe it’s pushing forward will be over soon. And it’s doing it in such a Marvel way: big ideas, jam-packed action, with no idea every being too insane, and all led by a hero is totally fallible and human. Siege makes it to the Elite 8, where it will have to beat Civil War in order to move on. It’ll be interesting if Battleworld has dictated its own rules to us by that point, as opposed to the other way around. That could be the difference between making the Final 4, and going home.