This week I try to find some diamonds in the rough of Civil War Ii mania! Can Power Man Luke Cage Fly? What happened to Banner after Amadeus became the Hulk? Is Hank Pym really back? All these questions answered and more! Got a book you’ve been thinking about reading but want to know more before picking it up? Let me know and I’ll review a few issues for you!
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Captain America: Sam Wilson #10
STORY: Nick Spencer ART: Angel Unzueta COLORS: Cris Peter
Review: Nick Spencer has been writing a really fun series here staring Sam Wilson as Captain America and all the trials and tribulations he has to go through carrying that moniker. Sam is a very different Cap, whereas Steve Rogers would try to stay out of the politics unless needed Sam is very much calling people out and taking a public stand on issues. This has caused quite a bit of backlash on him, on top of the fact no one really was asking for him to be Captain America. He’s on bad terms with SHIELD, bad terms with the public, bad terms with the government in general but despite it all he stands tall. Spencer does a fantastic job really letting us into the inner monologues of Sam Wilson and the struggles he goes through as Captain America. This time around, he has to deliver the eulogy of James Rhodes (War Machine) after his untimely death at the hands of Thanos (see the terrible Civil War II story). The problem is while Sam really liked Rhodes and thought he was a good hero, he’s just not certain he’s the guy to deliver the speech.
To be honest in my opinion, he’s right. He shouldn’t be giving the speech but the powers that be over at Marvel wanted Sam Wilson to do it as it helps beat over the head the overlying story of “Hey, this is a Black character that also has taken up the mantle of a famous superhero!” (See Rhodes being Iron Man) Which pretty much is all Sam Wilson (or Nick Spencer) has to write about. It should have been Tony and the weak excuse “oh well Tony is having a hard time dealing with it” was just not something I bought. Or the fact any other number of heroes who were close with Rhodes could have made the speech. Regardless, we get the heroic feel good speech from Sam after members of the black superhero community urge him to do it since Sam Wilson is a sort of inspiration and role model for many people of all races and backgrounds. Eh, maybe he was the right guy for the speech!
Civil War II: Choosing Sides #1
STORY: Delcan Shalvey, Brandon Easton, Chad Bowers, Chris Sims
ART: Declan Shalvey, Paul Davidson, Leonardo Romero
COLORS: Jordie Bellaire, Andrew Crossley, Miroslav Mrva
Review: Standard Marvel Event Tie-In where you’ve got three stories of a few pages with each by a different creative team that sort of explains where characters are during this event. First up is the new Nick Fury being sent on a mission by Maria Hill to infiltrate a Hydra Sleeper cell, only to find out the crew he’s been commissioned with are actually double agents who believe killing Nick Fury will somehow make SHIELD greater. The story is by Declan Shalvey who is a fantastic artist, but as a writer is not something I probably will be able to handle much more of. Next up we got Night Thrasher (Remember him?) who is also a young billionaire tech genius turned vigilante/superhero (the comic book world doesn’t have enough of those).
He’s not the same NightThrasher from the old New Warriors, this is his brother, I think (honestly I don’t care), and he partakes in the big battle against an alternate dimension creature that all the Civil War II books keep referencing and showing clips of that involved pretty much every single character in the Marvel Universe. This is his particular moments during the battle, as he saves a young girl’s life and interacts with Iron Man and Captain Marvel and feels glad to be acknowledged. Like this comic book should feel with me reading and reviewing the garbage writing. The last story is about Damage Control. They do some stuff that I don’t even remember because it was boring but looks like it had something to do with living sentient construction machines. There ya have, a fun Tie-In book to skip!
Doctor Strange #9
STORY: Jason Aaron ART: Chris Bachalo, Tim Townsend
Review: We are getting closer to the conclusion of “The Last Days of Magic” storyline and things are picking up fast! I’m not sure how this story fits into Civil War II as there is a scene in that series where all the magic users come together and banish and evil interdimensional entity. So perhaps all that is after this event, since ya know at this moment in the story Magic basically doesn’t exist. The Empirikul want to destroy Strange’s Mansion but the thing from his cellar has gotten free and proves to be quite difficult to kill. Meanwhile Strange has collected the last remnants of magic in the world, while Won has gathered the few remaining magic inclined individuals to come serve as a sacrificial monks to take the damage Stephen Strange normally would in battle (like a transference type thing).
None of it matters since when Strange shows up he disagrees with what Wong has been doing and acknowledges that this might be his last fight and he won’t have anyone else suffer for him. So there goes Wong’s idea. The remaining major magic players along with Dr. Strange take the fight to the Sanctum and next issue will be the big battle between Strange, Imperator, and Strange’s pain and torment taken form (the creature from the cellar). I’ve made issues known with Bachalo’s work on this series. He’s a fine artist, still not good for this book and a part of me hopes he leaves after this storyline is done and we get someone else to take over. Move Bachalo over to a book where he can have more fun with his exaggerated anatomy and art style. But definitely keep Jason Aaron as the writer! He’s making this book solid!
The Mighty Thor #8
STORY: Jason Aaron ART: Rusell Dauterman COLORS: Matthew Wilson
Review: Speaking of Jason Aaron, another series he’s been doing a great job with is this little one here, The Mighty Thor! It’s been a slow burn (which over the last few years seems to be Marvel’s standard of storytelling, probably to sell Trades). As Malekith continues his war against the realms with the assistance of Loki (who’s running for president of America- I guess that’s in continuity since this issue addresses it) and Dario Agger (The head of Roxxon Corporation). In this issue, Aaron introduces us to a secret cabal of evil business tycoons as all the top players are gathered (can you think of an evil corporation outside of Oscorp? Well their evil CEO/Owner is in this scene).
The meeting goes from somewhat pleasant to harsh when Dario’s deal with Malekith is brought to everyone’s attention (weapons in exchange for drilling rights on these mystical alien worlds). Agger goes all Minotaur on them but that doesn’t scare anyone, and things do not end well for the Roxxon owner! While all that is going on, Jane Foster is being interrogated by aggressive SHIELD agents about the identity of the New Thor flying around. They know Jane has a connection to Thor, so somehow she has to know the current one’s real name! Does Jane spill the beans? How does Dario get taken down? Will Jon Snow rule the north?!! Keep reading to find out!
STORY: David F. Walker ART: Ramon Villalobos COLORS: Tamra Bonvillain
Review: I don’t think I can take much more of Villalobos’s art. It’s just bad, and very amateurish. As I turn each page I keep wondering, does someone owe this guy a favor? Is he really good friends with David Walker or someone important? I’ve seen so many guys in the indie comic book world who can blow this dude away on art duties. It astounds me someone like this has work. Can he do better than me? Sure. But I’m not an artist. I’m not saying David Walker’s story here is mind-blowing and the art is ruining it, actually the story is pretty generic and I’m a little disappointed in Walker.
‘Disappointed’ pretty much sums up my opinion on how any and all Squadron Supreme characters have been handled with Marvel since post-Secret Wars. Nighthawk is an angrier Batman (if that’s possible, maybe more like Frank Miller Batman angry) who busts up bad guys. Insert Night Thrasher (see I brought him back!) and you’ve got the same series going. There’s absolutely nothing special or unique about Nighthawk. So after this issue I will be dropping the book unless someone convinces me otherwise. My prediction-all Squadron books will be cancelled and forgotten about before December 2016.
Power Man & Iron Fist #5
STORY: David Walker ART: Flaviano Armentaro COLORS: Jon Rauch
Review: I gotta be honest; I almost didn’t realize Sanford Greene was the artist on this issue at first. There are subtle differences and I definitely think Flaviano has a “cleaner” style but overall the tone was kept the same and still fits perfect with the dialogue and content Walker is putting out here! I think Walker shines when he’s doing comedy or some mixture of the two, as I really enjoyed his work on SHAFT and here in Power Man & Iron Fist, whereas I just can’t get behind Nighthawk at all. Maybe I will try to go read his Cyborg series (from DC Comics).
Regardless, his crowning achievement is right here in this series! This issue is a perfectly self-contained story as we pull a Rashomon narrative getting the same event from a few different perspectives. It’s all done via a call in DJ show, full of hijinks and good old action! I was super glad to not see any Civil War II tie-in nonsense, but unfortunately the “stay tuned for next issue” had the dreaded logo attached to it. Oh well, it’s just one issue that hopefully gets ruined, and then we can get back to the status quo! Here’s to Power Fisting!
The Totally Awesome Hulk #7
STORY: Greg Pak ART: Alan Davis, Mark Farmer COLORS: Chris Sotomayer
Review: Greg Pak finally gives us some insight into the events that took place post Amadeus “curing” Banner of the Hulk. Suffering some PTSD, Bruce struggles at first with accepting the fact that he’s free of the Hulk and can live a normal life again. Constantly putting himself in danger, it is as though the man has a death wish, perhaps to atone for all the wrong he’s done. He still has anger issues, but luckily no big green giant. I like Alan Davis as an artist but wow! do I already miss Frank Cho and Mike Choi on art duties. They were drawing such an awesome series here, and not that Alan Davis doesn’t do a good job on his own (he is a legend) but his style just doesn’t fit the tone of the book at all.
I hope we get back Choi (or Cho) at some point as I really did enjoy their work on the series. With Ulysses predicting Banner’s Hulk as the cause for all the super heroes’ deaths, I’m curious to see if either this series or just Civil War II will continue the Banner storyline. Can the Hulk really be “cured”? How much longer will Amadeus Cho be the Totally Awesome Hulk? Guess we’ll find out soon!
STORY: Al Ewing ART: Kenneth Rocafort COLORS: Dan Brown
Review: I really wanted to drop this book, despite the beautiful art by Rocafort (who’s totally wasted on this terrible series), Al Ewing just isn’t a good writer to me. I don’t like anything he’s done, as it’s full of needless exposition, cheesy dialogue, and boring flat characters. I had to read this series as it ties so deeply into Civil War II and we finally get to see the piss poor planning done to ambush Thanos. Yeah, ya know the plan where people thought “Sure,War Machine, you definitely have the fire power to make a difference against Thanos. Go head-to-head with him!”.
So by now most readers know the deal, She-Hulk gets hit by a stray missle from Rhodes which ends up putting her in a coma (‘cause, ya know, that’s obviously the worst thing She-Hulk has had to experience), Rhodes gets killed when he goes face-to-face with Thanos (shocking!) but somehow (and this isn’t shown, because—why not?) the Ultimates and some Avengers are able to capture Thanos. So pretty much this story just depicts how that cluster*k went down, and it seems Thanos is exactly where he wants to be making all the fighting and sacrificing even more pointless. Yeah, I don’t care anymore how much this ties into anything or reveals or who’s drawing it. I’m done. Goodbye Ultimates.
Score: C+ (that’s all on Rocafort’s art-otherwise it be an F)
Uncanny Avengers #10
STORY: Grery Duggan ART: Pepe Larraz COLORS: David Curiel
Review: Spoiler ALERT! (Except not really) Hank Pym really isn’t back, it’s Ultron in control! Shocking? No? You saw it coming too? It was predictable? Well I guess not predictable enough for Ulysses (Civil War jab right there). So yeah, The Avengers are able to figure out pretty quickly this isn’t really Hank Pym come back, in control of Ultron’s body and wanting to be a hero again. It is in fact Ultron who has evil intentions again (cause ya know, that’s just how Ultron rolls). Gerry Duggan ends the issue with a bit of a moral dilemma as the Avengers have Pymtron (Ultrapym?) on the ropes with Deadpool having a killshot lined up. Does he take it? Captain America Says no! (but who cares, he’s Hydra anyway, right?) Janet Pym says yes! (and we all know better than to argue with Janet Pym).
What’s the right call? You tell me! On the art front, Pepe Larraz and David Curiel dish out some nice clean pages here, with clear linework and solid colors. I actually enjoyed the departure from Ryan Stegman as his figures lately seem to be rushed and relying too heavily on his inker to fill in. Larraz presents a much cleaner, straight forward art style that works for this series. While I like Curiel’s colors, I do wish Isanove was on the book full time. Regardless, Uncanny Avengers is still right up there with All New Avengers for strong titles in the Marvel line up.