Here are some Marvel Comics I got to read for the week of May 25.
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Totally Awesome Hulk #6
Story: Greg Pak Art: Mike Choi Colors: Andrew Crossley
Review: Greg Pak turns in another fun chapter in the “Chulks” life, as Amadeus experiences the fun “misunderstanding/fight/team up against villain” encounter with Thor. Last issue Hulk was brainwashed into doing something pretty bad for Enchantress and now he must make things right. The story loosely ties into the struggles Thor is going through in her own book at the moment with Malekith nicely, and I enjoyed the continuity there. Mike Choi continues to deliver some absolutely spectacular art and really is a stand out to keep an eye on, along with the beautiful colors by Andrew Crossley. The series continues to be entertaining and nice departure from the old “Hulk Smash” story lines.
Story: Chelsea Cain Art: Kate Niemczyk Colors: Rachelle Rosenberg
Review: This time around Chelsea Cain doesn’t so much focus on the current standing of Bobbi Morse (with whatever is affecting her) but instead goes back in time a little bit and gives us a very deep story about just what makes a person a hero. We get a funny montage of the ways Bobbi tried to give herself powers, only to discover later in life that she didn’t need any of that because what made her a hero came from within, and while she’s not perfect she will continue to do her damndest . This time around it means having to find a way to handle a hostage situation where the culprit is a teenage girl who just doesn’t want to deal with it. Chelsea handles perfectly the struggles Bobbi expresses as a non-powered female hero in a primarily super powered male world; along with the ways most of society just can’t seem to relate to teenagers anymore. Mix in the continued great art from Kate Niemczyk and Rachelle Rosenberg and Mockingbird remains a stand out title for all readers.
Dr. Strange #8
Story: Jason Aaron Art: Chris Bachalo, Tim Townsend, Al Vey, Mark Irwin, John Livesay, Victor Olazaba
Colors: Chris Bachalo, Antonio Fabela, Java Tartaglia
Review: There are a lot of people involved in this book, and while Jason Aaron’s storyline of The Last Days of Magic continues to be pretty damn interesting, I just can’t get behind the art here. Bachalo’s work is great given wide open panels, and expressive faces and big action sequences, but in Dr. Strange the pages are tighter, more confined and the artwork gets easily muddled with all the various mystical/extra-dimensional beings. It takes me out of the story sometimes as I have to go back over a page to see exactly what’s going on. In this issue that problem is especially true as Jason Aaron has Strange and the other mystical beings of the Marvel U having to rely on some artifacts and minimal magic to stand against the incoming threat. It’s great seeing these characters in this situation, and exactly what they can do without their abilities. That twist in the story keeps this series moving but I would definitely like to see Bachalo work on a book like Spider-Man and someone else take over for Dr. Strange.
Captain America: Steve Rogers #1
Story: Nick Spencer Art: Jesus Saiz
Review: So by now most of anyone reading this review knows the big reveal: Steve Rogers has secretly been a plant by Hydra since potentially his days as a child. That twist has made a lot of people mad, and some fans have prematurely jumped all over the story line, not to mention send insane death threats to writer Nick Spencer. It’s a strange world we live in where a drastic change in a comic book character storyline is the cause for such a ruckus. Hopefully it results in big sales for Marvel and this potential gamble pays off. I personally am a big fan of Nick Spencer because he is excellent at imbuing his stories with both fun humor and action. While I believe writing Captain America will be a big departure from his usual story telling style (see Astonishing Ant-Man, Superior Foes of Spider-Man, etc) I’m excited to see where he takes this Hydra Cap and what the future has in store for Sam Wilson Captain America. With the revelation that Hydra apparently has infiltrated every known Marvel Team (didn’t we get this storyline with Secret Invasion a while back?) I’m guessing post-Civil War II the big event will be Hydra using its sleeper agents and a whole “who can you can trust?” (Again, Secret Invasion) crossover event will probably happen. I’d also be wrong not to mention that Jesus Saiz is doing an awesome job on the art. I admit for a few pages I wasn’t sure how I felt about it, but as I continued to read the art grew on me and I found myself really enjoying Saiz’s control for facial expressions and Cap’s movement. For now, I say readers give this series a chance and don’t be discouraged by all the negative hype from irate fans.
Mighty Thor #7
Story: Jason Aaron Art: Russell Dauterman, Rafa Garres Colors: Matthew Wilson, Rafa Garres
Review: Jason Aaron splits this issue up into two stories: the continued look into the history of Thor with an early deception by Loki (along with a character that comes across as a Viking Hulk), and modern day where Loki is helping Dario Agger (head of Roxxon Corp) increase the strength of his soldiers. I’m hoping there will be some bigger payoff to some of these older stories, and they aren’t just “fun” filler. Personally I just could not get behind Rafa Garres art for the ancient Viking era storyline. It was muddled with poor anatomy, and at times I couldn’t really figure out what was going on. I much prefer Russell Dauterman who continues to do beautiful work with Matthew Wilson on the series. Although I think I’m ready for the big war of the realms to happen and finally see how this all plays out for Dario, Malekith, and Loki.
Extraordinary X-Men #10
Story: Jeff Lemire Art: Humberto Ramos, Victor Olazaba Colors: Edgar Delgado
Review: The X-men are once more trapped in a possible future seemingly ruled by Apocalypse and this time Colossus is one of his Horsemen! While the X-men have to deal with problems in the future, Magik is helping a new recruit get a better understanding over her seemingly mutant/mystical powers to control demons and summon Golems-but what else can she do? Jeff Lemire continues to do his best to keep this storyline of Omega World feeling contained and fresh, but still part of the larger Apoclypse Wars taking place across the X-men books. Ramos continues to bring his superb artistic skills, backed by the super talented Edgar Delgado. The two of them really are a dynamic team, and help make this one of the more interesting X-men books on the market.
Story: Chuck Wendig Art: Nik Virella Colors: Romulo Fajardo
Review: Hyperion continues to be an ok series, but overall it just feels like a watered down Superman story. I want my Hyperion to be violent; I want him to be unafraid of holding back and releasing his power. He’s supposed to be a kickass Superman, not a mindless brute or sociopath but the type of guy who isn’t afraid to use his powers to get the job done (see: taking Namor’s head off in Squadron Supreme #1). I want the heroes and villains of the Marvel U to be afraid of Hyperion. Instead we get him fighting worm guys and potentially a travelling circus of bad guys. Womp, womp. Chuck Wendig is doinga fine job telling the story- its just not that interesting of a story. Nik Virella and Romulo deliver suitable art, but we still don’t get many big action sequences of Hyperion showing what he can do. The biggest moment comes in this issue at the end where Hyperion throws a car into a room, but I want to see the Hyperion that really lets loose on the villains. Maybe in a future issue but for now, in Issue #3, my interest is fading.
Story: David Walker Art: Ramon Villalobos
Review: I’m not sure when or where this Nighthawk story takes place. The most recent Squadron Supreme book acknowledged Hyperion is off doing his own thing and Nighthawk was about to battle and deal with the Marvel U version of Nighthawk. Now, here we are in his own series and it seems like he’s just off busting heads and being a very “Batman” like character but, ya know, more violent. Which is fine, but it’s a bit off putting not to have had a better segue into this series from Squadron Supreme. While I enjoy David Walker’s writing on the new Shaft series and Power Man and Iron Fist, I’m not sure if he’s the right voice for Nighthawk. I find the writer in Squadron Supreme handles the character much better. Also hurting this series is the art style of Ramon Villalobos, I’m not just enjoying it. It comes off overly cartoony, but not in a stylish way that helps the story, more in a poorly handled character way. More than likely I will be skipping this series going forward.
Story: Charles Soule Art: Matteo Buffagni Colors: Matt Milla
Review: Charles Soule continues to give a very interesting and fun take on Matt Murdock as we see him struggling with being a low level civil servant working at the DA’s office while trying to be a mentor and vigilante at night. This time around, we get Elektra back in Daredevil’s life believing to have a Daughter (which may or may not be Matt’s) that’s been kidnaped by Daredevil. Is it a hoax? Is some new player manipulating pawns on a board? Only time will tell, as Daredevil must convince Elektra not to kill him before anything can be sorted out. Buffagni and Milla are working great together and its was a seemless transition so far going from Ron Garney’s art to Buaffagni. The the art style continues stand out, but I hope at some point Soule addresses the return to the black costume for Daredevil.
Story: Kate Leth Art: Natahsa Allegri
Review: No. Just no…no no no no. I didn’t mind the more “kid” friendly art style and storytelling for this series. It was different, unique and definitely felt very out of continuity with the rest of the Marvel U but it had its charm and I followed along. This issue, just nope. Couldn’t even finish it. Maybe the art is there for some people, but it was like a bad Nick Toons cartoon. So nope. Kate Leth is a fine writer, just not this series. Nope.
Captain Marvel #5
Story: Michele Fazekas, Tara Butters Art: Kris Anka, Felipe Smith Colors: Matthew Wilson
Review: Captain Marvel continues to be a series I really want to enjoy and get into, but just seems to fall flat. The payoffs are never really that great compared to the buildup and some of the actions of the characters don’t always make sense. There seems to be a big swing in tension and emotions between characters with very little need. It’s as if the writers are saying “we want them to dislike each other for a few panels but then it’s all good again” just to have some tense moments. Also, this title, and along with others, keep saying “Road to Civil War II” yet none of these stories seem to have any indication on what Civil War II will be about. On the plus side, Kris Anka, Felipe Smith, and Matthew Wilson keep bringing their A game-A for Art! Ok I’ll stop.