No DC COMICS reviews for me this week as it seems Rebirth is taking a break (unless you need to go pick up those 2nd printings!-and you should!) So I will focus a little more on Marvel. Rumbles in the rumor community are suggesting ANOTHER reboot coming Marvel’s way real soon which promises to change the landscape of the Marvel Universe again! I’m guessing it will be the fallout from this terrible Civil War going on. Remember if there’s a book you want to have checked out, let me know and I will review it!
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All New-All Different Avengers #11
STORY: Mark Waid ART: Mahmud Asrar COLORS: Dave McCaig
Review: Waid continues to the write THE best Avengers book at Marvel right now. The guy just gets comic books and has consistently put out amazing stories for years. He’s a true pro and his fun Annihilus story here is a pretty excellent adventure for this relatively young and inexperienced Avengers team. Mahmud Asrar delivers the perfect balance of comic book art with the right attention to detail so no one feels too cartoony, and Dave McCaig keeps everything lively and vibrant.
I’m glad this team has stuck around for eleven issues and hopefully will stay on the book for quite some time. I’ve mentioned the Alex Ross covers before, but how impressive is it that they’ve had him doing covers for eleven issues! That’s pretty amazing because I’m not sure what the last consistent cover run from Ross was. The big take away from this story is the return of the cosmic bands which most likely means the return of Quasar! But will it be Wendall Vaughn? That would be pretty sick! I know a future issue involves the young Avengers quitting so I’m curious how we get there.
Black Panther #3
STORY: Ta-Nehisi Coates ART: Brian Stelfreeze COLORS: Laura Martin
Review: Ta-Nehisi is really setting up a big story here. I know it’s a slow burn for many, but each issue builds upon the last, with an increase in tension and intrigue. I do wonder if maybe there are too many stories being juggled though. There is T’Challa and his struggle with once again being King of Wakanda after all the turmoil it’s been through and the state of its civil war, the Midnight Angels crusade to liberate imprisoned women of Wakanda with extreme prejudice, and now the return of T’Challa’s sister-Shuri! Stelfreeze continues to draw a beautiful Wakanda, and almost every character in the book feels unique and special. They all stand out, each with little nuances of their own. There is a reason right now Black Panther is one of the top selling books, and it’s because of this all-star creative team.
Captain America: Steve Rogers #2
STORY: Nick Spencer ART: Jesus Saiz
Review: So only the second issue in and we get the big reveal for why Cap would suddenly be spewing phrases like “Hail Hydra!” or even why Selvig would be wanting to help Hydra. Many conspiracy folks are thinking this was all to appease the sudden uproar of fans regarding the iconic hero, but let’s be serious for a minute. Nick Spencer had this planned out, the book was approved by the editorial staff months in advance, and Jesus Saiz is not so fast that he can draw up an entire NEW comic book in under a month. This was the plan from the get go, folks, so maybe next time some of you won’t go and flip out because in the opening first issue a writer does something dramatic that you feel uncertain about. Enjoy the story; enjoy the ride for at least a few issues before you want to hop off.
That all being said, I liked Spencer’s plot twist here and how the Pleasant Hill fiasco is having bigger ramifications than I originally thought it might. We get the full backstory here of how deep Red Skull’s current manipulations go and his ability to influence a newly created Kobik (the sentient cosmic cube that created Pleasant Hill and is currently appearing in Thunderbolts). With so many various Captain America tales existing, I’m actually digging what Spencer is trying to do here. He might not always be on the money with dialogue (his characters still all speak like they should be in The Fix or Superior Foes of Spider-Man) but it still remains entertaining. Jesus Saiz steps up in this issue as it’s obviously he’s becoming more comfortable with these characters and action sequences. His recreations of the events of Pleasant Hill were pretty spot on, and very well crafted. I think between his two Captain America books, Steve Rogers might end up being my favorite by Spencer. Now let’s all wait and see how Civil War II forces its ugly head into the narrative over the next few months.
Captain Marvel #6
STORY: Ruth Fletcher Gage, Christos Gage ART: Kris Anka COLORS: Matt Wilson
Review: I haven’t been a big fan of the latest Captain Marvel series but I’ve followed it out of curiosity and I enjoy Kris Anka’s artwork. I liked her dynamic as leader of Alpha Flight in space, her reluctant desire for a position of power, and the respectable feud with Abigail Brand. All of it was working, with cosmic battles, saboteurs, etc. Then came Civil War II, and Marvel just had to have Carol Danvers front and center of it. So we begin our forced “catch up” in this issue, as Civil War (main series) is definitely way ahead time wise than what’s going on here. At this point no attack on Thanos has happened, no death of Rhodes, just the early interdimensional invasion predicated by Ulysses, has occurred.
This results in a meeting of a planetary “congress” which Carol needs to report in to. She keeps the truth about Ulysses a secret, instead blaming the ability to predict some of the events on secretive Inhuman technology. Gyrich (how is this guy still in any form of power in the Marvel Universe?!) is his typical A-hole self and is demanding Carol gets a hold of the tech so it be further studied. I suppose next issue will be about Carol handling the fallout from capturing Thanos, and her conflict with Tony Stark. Basically the deal with this issue is this: collectors will want it to compete Civil War II, Captain Marvel fans will want it since it sort of continues her story, and anyone else can probably skip and just pick things back up when Civil War runs its course.
Extraordinary X-Men #11
STORY: Jeff Lemire ART: Humberto Ramos, Victor Olazaba COLORS: Edgar Delgado
Review: A lot of fans are loving the Apocalypse Wars story line taking place across the different X-Men books right now, but I’ll be honest-I’m just not feeling it. I get that the movie just came out and Marvel wanted to get some sort of tie in, and the character hasn’t really been used in recent months, but I’m just also kind of over a destroyed future in which Apocalypse has wiped everything out, and it’s all desolate and for some reason once former good guys are now bad buys as Apocalypse’s Horsemen. Maybe I’m just over X-Men stories in general as it all seems so damn repetitive (even for comic books!). Lemire is an excellent writer and he’s crafting a fun story where we get big actions sequences from just about every character, and a mix of some intense and tragic moments.
I love Ramos’ art work here as well- when he draws Venom it looks amazing. Yet with all that taken into account I’m just kind of “blah” about it all. I almost want Apocalypse to just win already or give up. I’m over him doing the same thing every time. I’m over the X-Men reacting the same way every time, as if this is a new concept or threat and they haven’t dealt with it a twenty times before. I guess with Lemire I was hoping for something more, something different that didn’t feel like it could have been a story told by just about any other writer in the X-Men history. Eh, maybe after this all wraps up and Civil War II dies down, and Marvel decides if they like mutants or not, I’ll see something new and unique from this creative team.
STORY: Chuck Wendig ART: Nik Virella COLORS: Romulo Rajardo
Review: Yeah, I’m done with Marvel and its Squadron Books. They just aren’t good. Full of dull, generic dialogue and action, boring plotlines, and tons of missed opportunities. What had a ton of potential has deflated into a used beach ball. We get Hyperion, Marvel’s (supposed) butt kicking version of Superman getting his ass handed to him by circus freaks (not even a known villain or guys with legit powers worth mentioning), along with some sort of existential crisis taking place.
I just don’t care about this character. This is the character that made a big debute by ripping off Namor’s head only to evolve into this? Now I’m more positive than ever the Namor moment was just a big “F U” to Fox along with the dissemination of the Fantastic Four all over, and once again killing off Mutant kind. Maybe they will just cancel this book, along with the core Squad book and Nighthawk. Either way, I’m done with the series.
STORY: Chelsea Cain ART: Kate Niemczyk COLORS: Rachelle Rosenberg
Review: This series is so much better than anything else out right now, that I can’t believe it. Seriously, the stories have been fun, well crafted, beautifully illustrated and easily self-contained. It really has almost everything a reader would want. I never would have thought that a Mockingbird series would get me to say something like that. Chelsea Cain delivers another great issue here, as Bobbi needs to save Clint (her former lover and hero known as Hawkguy) from an underwater AIM off-shoot base.
Cain captures Clint’s mannerisms perfectly and it was very reminiscent of Fraction’s Hawkeye series. Niemczyk and Rosenberg really do make an excellent pairing. I thoroughly enjoy each character interaction, and the tons of fun little details to the background that allow this book to stand out above all the rest. I cannot say enough great things about this series and I hope this creative team doesn’t change anytime soon.
STORY: Sam Humphries ART: Javier Garron, Will Robson COLORS: Antonio Fabela
Review: So while this is my first time reviewing a Star-Lord book, I recently decided to binge read all the current Guardians of the Galaxy books (including the spin-offs). First and foremost, I do not like Bendis writing Guardians. As is typical with him, he essentially writes the characters however he feels like writing them with no regard to prior personalities or demeanors. In truth the only Guardian related series that I’ve enjoyed is Guardians of Infinity which has Dan Abnett writing, and HE is someone who gets these characters perfect. Here, in Star-Lord by Sam Humphries we get a very over the top cartoony version of Peter and Kitty. It’s as if Sam is writing what he “thinks” a nagging girlfriend should sound like, and what the loser lazy boyfriend would do.
To accompany these cartoony versions of these character is the equally over the top artist style of Javier Garron and Will Robson. Everything here feels more like a slapstick cartoon comedy than it does a book about Star-Lord! I say just let Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning have full control over all things cosmic in the Marvel Universe. Oh yeah, the issue centers around the Collector wanting to “collect” the story of why Peter and Kitty broke up, in hopes it will get him to shed a tear (which is super valuable, the tear of the Collector, so he can collect his own tear…umm yup) and thus we are presented with what happened after Secret Wars that set up Peter as Emperor of Spartax and Kitty Pryde as the new “Star-Lord”.
Uncanny X-Men #9
STORY: Cullen Bunn ART: Ken Lashley COLORS: Nolan Woodard
Review: The X-Men Fatigue continues here, which is unfortunate because Ken Lashley is a damn fine artist, Cullen Bunn is a really good writer, Nolan Woodard is superb with colors (and really lets Lashley’s artwork shine) but I don’t care about this Apocalypse War storyline. I don’t know why Angel is being experimented on, how “Arch Angel” and “Angel” can be separated to begin with, and why is Magneto even being kept alive at all? I like Holocaust being back, as he’s been a villain I felt was underutilized in the X-Men world.
Still, we are a few issues into this plotline and all I keep asking is “who cares?” and “Why?” There doesn’t seem to be a real end game in sight or any explanation for character’s actions. The better story is really taking place in the Morlock Tunnels with Sabretooth, M and Calisto facing off against Emplate. My other hope is that the Civil War II tie-in series won’t effect this series too much either, so far so good.
Venom: Space Knight #9
STORY: Robbie Thompson ART: Kim Jacinto, RB Silva COLORS: Java Tartaglia
Review: This series is so much better than it should be. I mean it’s literally a series of Flash Thompson’s Venom in space going on galactic adventures. I suppose that’s not too strange as he is a regular member of the Guardians of the Galaxy (although how he’s there and doing this all at the same time, I don’t get). Kim Jacinto seems to be the new regular artist, and he’s doing a fantastic job but it does feel a little less awesome not having Ariel Olivetti doing the pages (he still is doing the covers).
Thompson has been creating an excellent storyline here, and this time around he doesn’t hold back. While being “consumed” by Venom, Flash must overcome some of his darkest fears and face his own inner demons. It’s a story that’s been done a bunch of times before, but is perfectly executed here by Robbie. There’s a great juxtaposition of Flash’s friends/crew battling against Venom from the outside while Flash has to contend within. The issue has a satisfying conclusion and I’m looking forward to seeing where the story progresses to next and what it means for the Venom Symbiote.