The world of comics seems to be obsessed with seconds lately. The second-to-last Wednesday Comics is on stands as we speak, the Bat-family is awash with former second bananas (Tim Drake, Damian Wayne and Dick Garyson), and Scott Summers and Emma Frost find themselves calling an island “home” for the second time. So let’s take a few seconds and survey a few highlights and lowlights. Click on the thumbnails for a larger view.

Getting to Second

Secret Six #13

The best comeback of the week, by far, is scored to the Secret Six’s Deadshot.

With a defeated Wonder Woman, lying prostate at their feet, our anti-heroes are pressed by their benefactor into the next phase of their mission. Meanwhile, Ragdoll scrutinizes the boots on the princess of power:

Hmm…Do you think these things would fit me?

As the conversation later turns to him, he has donned both the boots and the tiara.

Ragdoll:What? wait. Sorry. Wasn’t listening. What are we discussing again?…Hey… I wonder, could I get into that bustier?

Deadshot: Dunno. Lotsa people tried.

Second in Command

Green Lantern Corps #40

With the Guardians of the Universe missing in action, the Clarissi assumes leadership of the Green Lantern Corps — and that’s Salaak.

It’s not unusual for a newly appointed leader to borrow the inspirational words of another great leader to rally his troops. In a way, it’s like channeling the essence of the leadership into the new one — until experience earns him the trust he needs and he doesn’t need to borrow it any longer. But Salaak’s choice is a little strange, considering his past. Just listen as Clarissi explains it all:

Salaak: I’m not usually fond of quoting him, but as Lantern [Guy] Gardner would say in his own inimitable way: Get your red-and-blue metal asses out of here and defend Oa and the Corps against those vile abominations before there is nothing left!

Second Act

Dark Avengers / Uncanny X-Men: Exodus

Danielle Moonstar, having made a deal with Asgardian death-godess Hela in a very sexy scene, has once again regained her Valkyrie powers. How cool was it, by the way, that Hela hangs out in Vegas? And she uses these powers with extreme prejudice to level the god of war, Ares, himself. It looks as if she has been reunited with her winged steed, Brightwind, as well, which connotes a tremendous new era for Moonstar. Until it’s time to offer recompense for this gift.

And then, there’s gonna be Hela to pay.

Until then, enjoy her choice in words as she faces off against the Dark Avenger.

Moonstar: I borrowed power from Mistress Hela herself to make sure you stay the hell down. (Emphasis mine.)

Second Feature

Doom Patrol #2

OK. I know I had this book on last week’s Five to Pull. I made a mistake. I couldn’t make it through this book for the life of me. And I really tried. I was relieved to have a Metal Men second feature, but that was a disappointment, too. This is doubly daunting because, as I said, the MM feature was done by one of my all-time favorite teams in comics. But it felt as if their hearts just weren’t in this one. And when I got to the panel to the right, I began to wonder if they kinda felt that way, too.

Second Chance

Dark Reign: The List / Avengers #1

Meanwhile, in a safehouse in Brooklyn, the underground Avengers struggle with how to deal with the uberthreat that Norman Osborn has become. The first ten pages in this book are some of the finest reading I remember in a long time. Clint “Hawleye” Barton argues furiously that there’s only one option — to kill Osborn (“like Spidey should have done in High School”). His fellow heroes disagree. Clint fumes that Luke Cage’s wife, Jessica, should have a vote. “Because she’d side with me,” he reasons. Sounds like a good reason to me.

Then he moves into that old question of scruples that has been handed down from generation to generation: “If you could go back in time and kill Hitler, wouldn’t you?”

And here’s where we really see how difficult an adjustment this new Marvel Universe is for Captain America, who sits, quietly, hands folded, near a desk lamp.

Cap.: I did.

Miss Marvel: You did what?
Cap.: I, uh, killed Hitler.


Cap.: Um, what were you saying?

Barton proceeds to storm Avengers Tower alone and manages to soundly thrash a fair number of Dark Avengers — including throwing Mac “Venom” Gargan out a window by his ear — before being subdued and imprisoned.

No Second Shot

Thunderbolts #135

This issue of T’bolts was among the very best in a series with a lot to love. An awful lot of plot comes to a head in this one (sorry, Nick), including the realization of a prediction that Yours Truly made about Ghost:

Just don’t think that we’ve completely forgotten about Ghost, though, Diggle. It’s been about two or three issues since his character was sniffing a little too close to a few of Osborn’s secrets, so it’s just… about… now that he should be popping out of nowhere with the results of his ill-gotten gains.

OK, so I was close. Ghost pops out of the woods to assist Natasha “Black Widow” Romanov (who had been spying on Norman Osborn as Black Widow II) and Songbird. Of course, it’s a double-cross, and he allows them to lead him and his co-horts straight to Nick Fury’s safehouse (below the new Yankees Stadium).

At this point, Natasha finds out that her undercover mission was orchestrated by none other than Norman Osborn himself.

Osborn: All he [Nick Fury] ever was to you was a grainy hologram on a secure channel. Just make him sound like every word’s being growled through gritted teeth, and the rest is easy.
Natasha: It was you the whole time.
Osborn: Of course. I was the one who assigned you to impersonate Yelena Belova [Black Widow II] and “infiltrate” the Thunderbolts. And all the while, you were pressure testing the loyalty of my team… You were unwittingly reporting your findings back to me.

Once the T’bolt boys give Fury a good-old-fashioned Film Noir working over, Osborn aims a handgun at Nick’s bruised and battered skull. Nick Fury responds with a single sentence — one we can only imagine as being delivered through gritted teeth:

You better not miss.

Fear not, true believers. In the ensuing kill shot, Fury is flung backwards by three point-blank shots to the forehead, and we can see no blood nor visible gore. It’s gotta be one of Fury’s many robotic doubles. Still, that ‘bot had balls.

Wait Just a Second

New Avengers #56

And as we wind to a close, let’s leave on a note that holds incredible promise for the Marvel Universe. It’s a direction that I desperately want to see this story go towards. It’s the retreat of the Dark Avengers and the defeat of Norman Osborn at the hands of…

…the Earth’s mightiest villains.

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