Comic Book Reviews: MARVEL ROUND UP WEEK 06-01-2016

– by Jeremy Scully
Civil War II, Marvel Comics

This week a Civil War Erupts and makes no sense, we gets some Wolverines actions (Logan and Laura), The Avengers deal with a galactic foe! The Punisher kills some bad guys (what else is new?) and Moon Knight just might be crazy! Read on to get some insight into this week’s Marvel Comics!

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CIVIL WAR #1

Story: Brian Michael Bendis Art: David Marquez

Review: I don’t really get why this event is happening. I mean I get it in the sense of Captain America: Civil War is out in theaters and Marvel is I’m sure hoping to gain some traction from that, I get that the previous Civil War event was a big deal and its sort of “resurrection” during Secret Wars was popular, and I guess in the end Marvel just absolutely had to do another Civil War (See the term “Cash Grab”). However, the event so far still doesn’t make much sense to me. Here’s the basic premise: An Inhuman ends up having the ability to see vague horrific events about to take place in the near future. Medusa and the Inhuman Royal Family find him, and bring him to the Avengers/Carol Danvers for introductions and a sort of way to “work together to save the future”. Everyone seems pretty on board with this as who doesn’t want to know what some of the bad guys are gonna do before they do it? (Ya know, like the bazillion and one alternate future, come back to the past or travel to the future storylines that almost every Marvel character has been a part of?) I’ll tell you who doesn’t want any part of this-Iron Man! 

How can we possibly trust this Inhuman and how can we possibly trust his visions will come true (even though they all have, and what’s the worst case scenario if they don’t? oh yeah that isn’t explored here.) The rest of the big hitters in the Marvel U sort of just stand aside as it becomes blatantly obvious that Carol and Tony are going to have a stand off on this issue. Carol is all – Umm yes we want this! The Ultimates is all about stopping big catastrophes before they happen, Tony is all- No way! I don’t have really great reasons for this except this time I wanna take the “moral” high ground so I don’t look like such a jerk! (See Civil War I). So what happens? Well Carol secretly uses the Inhuman’s intelligence/foresight and she gathers the Avengers and others to battle a returning Thanos! The result? They do capture him but at a horrible cost, some of the heroes don’t make it out alive (GASP! They killed who?!). 

Tony finds out and is super mad! How dare Carol defy him and go off doing this anyway! How dare she take the Avengers to battle Thanos (cause ya know, that’s never happened before) with Thanos unprepared and with it being possibly the best chance the Avengers might have to stop him! How dare they! Now Tony is pissed, and he will avenge the loss of the dead heroes, by going to, and possibly (its implied by his last statement) to kill, this Inhuman so no one can be tainted by his visions of the future again! Yes, that is the start of Civil War II. I genuinely believe Bendis caught the tail end of “Minority Report” while at home watching TBS in the background as he was writing and thought “oh hey that be a cool comic book idea” and then pitched it at one of those little Marvel retreats, and someone else said “yeah, and then all the heroes would be like either Team Tom Cruise or Team Colin Farrell!” And thus Civil War II was born. It’s so phoned in of a story that even artist David Marquez was like “eh, this story sucks ill just do the bare minimum”. 

Seriously, everything about the book just feels rushed, poorly handled and not cared about. Even the “Road to Civil War II” books have nothing to do with this story!! Seriously you can skip pretty much every book leading up to Civil War II and still be just as caught up (how can I say this? Because I’ve been reading and reviewing each and every one of them pretty much). Storylines that would have been much better suited for a “Civil War II”? The fact Captain American and other potential heroes are sleeper Hydra agents, or the Attack on Pleasant Hill which showed that some heroes are for this type of prison/others against it. There are so many better options. Bottom Line, this is the big Summer Event for Marvel so most likely there will be repercussions for what happens in this series (how I’m not sure as no other book so far has shown any sort of “tie-in” and if they do in future issues it will be so forced and not organic at all so it might be worth reading but overall I think it will be skippable.

Score: F

 

A-Force #6

Story: Kelly Thompson Art: Ben Caldwell, Scott Hanna Colors: Ian Herring

Review: A-Force continues to be a fun, mostly light hearted story giving these female heroes a great spot light and some excellent character development.  Singularity is a fun character, and she takes center stage for the first arc, this time around has blended into the whole cast as Kelly Thompson truly writes an ensemble piece here. I’m never quite sure how or where these stories fit into the greater Marvel U but at the same time I’m perfectly ok with it being its own little story that’s just a ripple expanding from the tidal waves of the main books. Ben Caldwell with Scott Hanna are consistently making these characters great! She-Hulk’s expressions upon waking up imprisoned and chained is excellent! And the turmoil Nico feels as she’s forced to hurt her friends is superb! 

Ian Herring’s colors bring these characters to life, and accentuate all of Caldwell’s line art. The only real complaint would be that the Countess isn’t really all that much of a big threat. It’s really the fact she has Nico under her spell, but otherwise it seems like something these characters should easily overcome but sort of just don’t thanks again to mostly the “convenient” powers of Nico. Still, I will be looking forward to seeing how the ladies get out of this mess and fix everything, also about the ailment it seems Dazzler-Thor is suffering from!

Score: B-

 

All-New Wolverine #9

Story: Tom Taylor Art: Marcio Takara Colors: Mat Lopes

Review: Why is this a Road to Civil War II labeled book?? There’s been a bunch of these tag lines on books and none of them are even remotely tied to the lead up or first issue of Civil War II. It’s absolutely stupid. That dumb attachment aside, I’m really enjoying this series more and more with Takara on art duty. Tom Taylor continues to craft a fun, lovable Laura as Wolverine, and mini side kick/clone Gabby is pretty fun too. 

I like the addition of Old Man Logan here as it brings a different perspective to the Logan/Laura dynamic. I’m not sure how this is taking place while over in Old Man Logan he’s off in the north and deciding to start taking down villains, but eh with everything else going that doesn’t make sense in Marvel-why not? So we got Laura and Logan fighting Fing Fang Foom (how’s that for alliteration?!) and it’s pretty damn awesome! Takara and Lopes craft some really nice big action sequences that Taylor plots out well. We get a nice conclusion and interesting set up for the series going forward, all around a solid outing!

Score: B

 

All-New All-Different Avengers #10

Story: Mark Waid Art: Mahmud Asrar Colors: Dave McCaig

Review: First off, I want to say I wish I had Marvel money. They’ve been getting Alex Ross to do these covers for the run and each one is just spectacular! Seriously, I’d just want one original drawing from the man in my life, much less having an entire run of covers done by him. It’s just insane how amazing he is. Ok, that fanboy moment over, I can jump into how Waid is still one of the best damn comic book writers out there today. It almost doesn’t matter what book he’s on, it’s going to be pretty good! 

In All-New Avengers (which again I have no idea how any of these characters wind up in Civil War II!) Waid has the team on an alien planet believing it to be where Nova’s dad is being held. It turns out the distress beacon is actually a decoy, and a very old cosmic threat might be behind it all! Dialogue and pacing of the story is on point, and Asrar and McCaig are able to design one highlight page after the next. Without a doubt this is the premier Avengers book (with so many going right now) and is really a don’t miss series.

Score: B+ (A- for those covers)

 

Invincible Iron Man #10

Story: Brian Michael Bendis Art: Mike Deodato Colors: Frank Martin

Review: This is what annoys me about Bendis. He’s a good writer, don’t get me wrong, but he seems to really not give a damn about continuity, or character personalities/development. He pretty much has a story in mind, and knows how he wants the characters to act in that story and just writes it. He doesn’t care how these characters were portrayed in the past, or even in his own books, he will write them in his new story however he wants (see Iron Man here and Iron Man Civil War II), he also doesn’t care what’s going on in his or other books, so characters doing something elsewhere (elsewhen) just doesn’t matter. That little rant over, I do enjoy this book by Bendis quite a bit. 

I’m not sure why this is the cover as the Mary Jane aspect is small and happens mostly in just a few panels, but I like the cover regardless. As for the rest of the story, it’s a bit of filler as we have Tony undercover showing he’s more than just a dude in a cool Iron Suit and can handle himself when a situation arises. We learn more about the mysterious inhuman that seems to be able to control electronics, and Rhodes brings in the All-New Avengers to launch a rescue mission. 

Mike Deodato continues to do some really solid work here, but he’s a mainstay in the industry and is always someone you know will give you a good looking book. There’s never anything too spectacular, but always solid very fundamentally sound artwork. Frank Martin conveys the lighting perfectly, and his use of shadows is really excellent through the issue. Overall this continues to be the better of the two Iron Man series (although I do enjoy Maleev’s artwork on International Iron Man) and despite NOT tying into Civil War II (despite the preview/press claims) I am excited to see how Tony gets out of this one!

Score: B

 

Moon Knight #3

Story: Jeff Lemire Art: Greg Smallwood Colors: Jordie Bellaire

Review:  I gotta admit, the way Jeff Lemire is crafting this story even I’m not sure if Moon Knight is batshit crazy or not. I mean, he’s definitely crazy but is all of this in his head? I’m guessing not, but I also wouldn’t hate this retcon that Mark Spector was NEVER Moon Knight and that he was living the exploits of the REAL Moon Knight (who’s out there busting criminals heads right now, maybe) vicariously in his mind.  While I’m all but sure in the end Lemire will just make it known Spector is in fact Moon Knight and all of this is the work of Seth, it’s still fun to think “what if it isn’t?”. 

That’s where Jeff Lemire excels, crafting a fun and totally different take on the character. I’m enjoying the fact Mr. Knight is still relevant and Greg Smallwood is killing it on the art front in every aspect. I do miss Declan Shalvey, but by no means is Smallwood in his shadow. The issue has some loss, and some gains as Spector and his crew finally make it out of the Asylum and to NYC but at what cost and can they stop the chaos over taking the big apple? That’s for next issue!

Score: B+

 

Old Man Logan #

Story: Jeff Lemire Art: Andrea Sorrentino Colors: Marcelo Maiolo

Review: Lemire is really writing up a storm over at Marvel. His work in DC for Animal Man was excellent but so far between Moon Knight and Old Man Logan, I might be enjoying his Marvel tenure the most of his career (even counting Sweet Tooth). Logan finishes off the Reavers and even deals with Lady Deathstryke (although how that fight ends was a bit weak and I’m guessing for editorial reasons it wasn’t allowed to get a true-finale). Logan comes to terms that this isn’t really his world, and he can’t do the things like he did back on his, but one thing he can do is make sure the bad guys don’t ever hurt anyone again. 

So hopefully we’ll get a new list and he can go all Arya Stark on these baddies! Just make sure Andrea Sorrentino and Marcelo Maiolo never leave the book! It’s just the perfect choice for the series and I can’t picture anyone else coming in and giving it the same vibe and tone these two do. This is a great little team putting this book out and I hope everyone keeps checking it out.

Score: B+

 

Punisher #2

Story: Becky Cloonan Art: Steve Dillon Colors: Frank Martin

Review: I’ll just say it; I’m not a Steve Dillon fan. I know, that seems like heresy to a lot of comic book fans but I just can’t get into the guys style. That being said, I don’t hate it either (It’s not like Hellcat-Nope!) but it just doesn’t do much for me either. It’s adequate for the story, but I’d much rather have someone else on art duty, like a Declan Shalvey, or Eduardo Risso, someone with a more gritty style. Anyway, two issues in and Cloonan seems to have a strong handle on the character, making Frank more of a “mysterious” force that comes in like a hurricane and leaves the next, thus allowing a certain allure and mystique to develop around him. He’s the boogey man for scumbags, and Cloonan is handling that well. I’m anticipating the showdown next issue when Frank goes after the drug manufacturers he’s been hunting down.

Score: B-

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