Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Venom 13.3: Circle of Four - Thoughts So Far

Well, we're over the mid point hump. So how did this fair?

For Ghost Rider, Red Hulk, and Venom it was pretty good.

For X-23, it seems they let the lack of knowledge shine. While we got futures from the others, X-23 only got the immediate present.

I'm not sure what I was expecting. I was thinking maybe they'll dive into her solving the Kimura problem without it being a quest for revenge and finding her family again. Maybe they'll dive into her mother being in hell. Maybe they'll show her growing into her own hero before it all goes bad.

Pretty much all we got was a really brief touching moment of her "I have a soul realization" followed by her taking delight in destruction. Then it bled over into her calling triggerscent a pheromone and attacking Wolverine while still concious of her actions.

Since this is hell though, I can let a lot of that slide since it was supposed to be conveyed as nightmares gone real. Considering how guarded Laura is with her thoughts and memories it wouldn't surprise me that even the devil himself couldn't get a bead on her real fears and dreams. I'm not sure if that was intended, or just a happy accident. There's no clear push to establish that for the audience.

The ending pact seems odd, but we'll see how that goes. Considering everything X-23 has overcome, it could prove to be interesting to see how that pact is handled later after ample amounts of research is done into the character. Plus it does setup a potential sequel if the pact isn't dealt with in this arc.

Overall, this issue just illicits a kind of shrugged whatever on the X-23 front from me. It's picking up though over how it started. It's still not quite where it could have been. Overall this just feels like a classic throwback to old comic adventures but without the 'anything matters' feel to it or attention to detail. I hope the buildup here to suggest that's changing does indeed change though. Lots of promise here, but without any sense of it was intentional or not.


  1. I can understand why she would be aware of her actions while under the influence of the trigger scent in hell. Since X-23 rarely thinks in the long term I can forgive her more immediate paradise when compared to the others' more long term paradises.

    Otherwise though, she was poorly written in this issue. Delighting in destruction? Calling the trigger scent a pheromone when it's been described as a chemical trigger? There's a slight definitional difference between a pheromone and a scent. Focusing on her "soul realization" would have worked better, or since she already knew she was in hell - bring her mother back instead of Wolverine.

    At least Remender's writing the last two issues, he's always good.

    (edit, slight grammar mistake)

    1. Yeah, but the aware of her actions in hell kind of also blocks the purpose of her lack of awareness of being in hell which makes the torture obvious and the world blatantly and recognizably false. That's what threw me for a loop at least on it.

      And yeah definitely on the trigger scent. The ongoing had a new one that was a chemical reaction, the original scent was an induced berserker rage from stimuli by using torture during the scent being present.

      All around this arc has just been very insulting to the intelligence of readers. I hope Remender's issues can salvage it. So far I'm not fond of the idea of reading comics from the other writers anymore. One of them being the same who wrote Fear Itself: Uncanny X-Force should have been an immediate red flag for me to lower my expectations. =/

    2. Err, induced blind berserker rage. Described as with the smell present she blacks out and wakes up with everyone being dead.

  2. I wouldn't say it's insulting to the reader's intelligence, but it's obvious that the conference call between the writers and Marjorie Liu wasn't enough for Jeff Parker to understand X-23

    At least Christopher Gage seems to have a decent handle of X-23. Yes, he made a few mistakes - most notably the healing factor comment. Since then, he's admitted that and has been asking fans for advice on the Comic Book Resources forums. I have nothing but respect for a writer who asks fans for advice on a character.

    He also said that X-23 will barely be in the Avengers Academy series until the AVX tie-ins; he didn't know her series was being cancelled and he likes to write ahead.

    1. Yeah. I kind of wish they would have included Craig Kyle in who they asked in the conference call. Not that I mind Liu on the character at all, but her knowledge seems limited to NYX and the first origin miniseries. Craig Kyle could have helped with info on the second origin miniseries that has a focus on her family, as well as academy X.

      I kind of worry about Gage asking fans for info on X-23. Some fans, not all, have a really screwy perception of X-23 that could break the character.

    2. And yeah, insulting to the intelligence of fans is a bit too far. Some elements do feel like cheap shots put into the dialogue to provoke a reaction though.

  3. Most of the fans have been giving good advice though. They mostly stick to telling him to re-read Innocence Lost, Target X and remind him that her eye colour is a pet peeve among many of X-23's fans.