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– by Tim Jousma

Comic Book Reviews: Marvel Round-Up Week 07-20-2016

After a nice vacation overseas, I’ve returned to see how much has Civil War II invaded the nice worlds of my favorite comic book series! In some cases it’s bad! And in others, not so bad. Regardless, I know a bunch of big changes are coming to the Marvel U, and Civil War II is just the tip of the iceberg. So sit back, read some reviews and see if anything strikes your fancy this week!

 

A-Force 7 Cover

A-Force #7

STORY: Kelly Thompson ART: Ben Caldwell, Scott Hanna COLORS: Ian Herring

Review: We are finally getting the wrap up issue of the Countess Saga! Not an official name, just what I’m calling it. For the past several issues, we’ve seen the team completely fail to stop the Villainess and become powerless to the mind controlled Nico. Well no more! Kelly Thompson has She-Hulk putting together a plan of attack, but will the deteriorating condition of Dazzler-Thor throw everything into chaos? Ben Caldwell with Scott Hanna (master inker!) workg with Ian Herring to continue to give A-Force a delightful colorful presentation. The characters simply pop off the page, full of life and action. A potential sleeper hit, I highly recommend for fans of these characters who are tired of how they might be portrayed by other writers in a different series. Here, I feel the characters are true to who they are, and react how they’ve been written for quite some time. Of course next issue will get sucked into Civil War II, so bully to that.

Score: B

 

 

 

 

 

Wolverine 10 cover

All-New Wolverine #10

STORY: Tom Taylor ART: Ig Guara, Bob Wiacek, Victor Olazaba COLORS: John Rauch

Review: Well it didn’t take long before Marcio Takara was off the book, that’s disappointing. I enjoy Ig Guara, Great artist! I was just really enjoying what Marcio had been doing with the characters. So, regardless never fear readers, you will be given some awesome art! Mix that with Taylors excellent characterization and you’ve got another strong issue. Don’t let the cover fool you though, there is no Old Man Logan vs Laura here. Instead we get some bonding moments and a humorous moment with some burglars. The X-23 vs Logan fight might happen next issue thanks to the Civil War II nonsense, but for now this is a much more laid back issue, dropping little plot elements to be followed up on later. Is it missable? Eh, maybe, but I wouldn’t suggest skipping it.

Score: B

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Astonishing Ant-Man #10

STORY: Nick Spencer ART: Ramon Rosanas COLORS: Jordan Boyd

Review: This is it, the ending to the Small Time Criminal story line, as we finally get to see Scott and Darren Cross go at it, and the team pull (or not pull off) the big heist. The dialogue here is spot on, as Nick Spencer really gives us a lot of nice payoffs for everything that’s happened thus far. His two Captain America books might be getting a lot of attention right now, but Ant-Man is where Spencer really shines. Ramon Rosanas and Jordan Boyd continue their streak of producing grade A artwork, keeping the series fun and expressive. The entire series has read like a fun action comedy TV series, and I’m eager to see how they handle Scott in jail, and what will happen to Cassie.

Score: A-

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Black Widow #5

STORY: Mark Waid, Chris Samnee ART: Chris Samnee COLORS: Matthew Wilson

Review: This series really doesn’t stop! Samnee and Waid just keep pushing the action and intrigue issue after issue.  Natasha is still on the run, an agent of SHIELD hot on her trail and the Weeping Lion manipulating it all from afar. How can she handle it all, and still keep the world safe? Well, after this issue things are going to keep getting tough for the world’s deadliest spy.  If Mark Waid writing a badass spy action series isn’t enough for you to read the book, then pick it up for the excellent moody and big movie feel artwork of Chris Samnee! Seriously this book has everything one could want!

Score: A-

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

guardinfin8cover.jpg

Guardians of Infinity #8

STORY: Dan Abnett, Jen Soska, Sylvia Soska ART: Carlo Barberi, Tom Palmer, Jose Marazan JR, Juanan Ramirez COLORS: Israel Silva, Jesus Aburtov

Review: If you haven’t been reading Guardians of Infinity, then you’re missing out! Essentially it’s been a sort of “anthology” series involving 1-3 different stories by various creative teams. While the backup stories change, the main series is by Abnett and involves several generations of Guardians of the Galaxy teams working together to stop a common enemy. Abnett’s handling of these characters is flawless, as to me there has not been a better writer for Rocket, Groot or any of the Marvel cosmic characters. What I wouldn’t give for him to just replace Bendis on the main Guardians book.  Definitely check this fun, short series out, to see some cool appearance by various Guardians from past present and future!

Score: B

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nighthawk #3

STORY: David Walker ART: Martin Morazzo COLORS: Tamra Bonvillain

Review: Yeah, I am officially done with this book. David Walker is a really good writer, but on this series everything comes off as phoned in. The story is generic, the dialogue is cheesy generic, yeah we get some slightly brutal fight scenes but Morazzo’s art is just as bad as Ramon Villalobos, making me care less and less about what I’m reading. Honestly, towards the end I just started skipping pages and by the conclusion I was able to still figure out and know everything that happened by simply guessing. My guessing using standard literary cliché’s predicted it all. That mixed with the poor art just make the story boring. My suggestion is avoid completely.

Score: C

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nova #9

STORY: Sean Ryan ART: R.B. Silva, Adriano Di Benedetto COLORS: Andres Mossa

Review: Nova has really been a fun series to read so far. There has been a nice push from Marvel to develop some of their younger characters, and give us heroes who are still insecure with themselves, who aren’t super smart tech geniuses or billionaires, or been doing this for “too damn long”. Instead we get bright eyed, emotionally unstable, naive yet brave characters who wear their hearts on their sleeve and genuinely want to do good.  It hasn’t been since Ultimate Spider-Man that I can think of a series that really handles the struggles of the highschool superhero, dealing with all the pressures of being a kid while balancing the responsibility of being a hero-in Nova’s case a galactic hero! This is where Sean Ryan really showcases his talents, and makes you give a damn about Sam and his struggle with losing his father and the mysteries behind his helmet. Also this issue we get “The Captain” and a Nextwave shout out! So BAM! Awesome points. All of this and some really nice artwork by R.B. Silva and Benedetto. Excellent use of panels and space, nothing feels cluttered, but a lot gets fit in. I definitely recommend checking this series out, especially if you’re new to the Nova character.

Score: B

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Squadron Supreme #9

STORY: James Robinson ART: Aco COLORS: Marcelo Maiolo

Review: We get the much anticipated origin of Warrior Woman! Now we can learn all about this amazing character that has proven to be so well thought out and scripted, that people are just dying to find out the big mystery behind her and how she wound up on the squad! Why did she betray them! What’s going to happen!!!….actually I don’t care. Its lame, generic storytelling again. She’s bad, she lived on a world where the Squad was bad, they all killed each other to escape the planet, she was under estimated because the other bad versions were chauvinistic and believed she was weak cause she was a woman, she killed them, she pulled a freaky Friday sort of with a good version of Power Princess, and apparently Warrior Woman at some point will be paired up romantically with a returning Namor to conquer the world. So there ya go, just saved you some wasted energy and time reading this nonsense. The only saving grace for this issue would be the fantastic artwork by Aco, otherwise just skip it.

Score: C

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thunderbolts #3

STORY: Jim Zub ART: Jon Malin COLORS: Matt Yackey

Review: I feel like this serious would have been awesome around 1997. The action is amped up, the plot is kind of weak and centered around getting characters to fight, the dialogue is full of quips and one liners, and the art screams early IMAGE. Still, while other books might end up failing due to the current trend in comics, I find myself oddly interested in Thunder Bolts. It isn’t quite as horrible in dialogue and plot as Nighthawk or Squadron, or lacking in an interesting plot like Hyperion or Patsy Walker. Instead it’s a bit of a borderline homage to the days of old “intense” story telling. I can see it not being for everyone, and I’m sure it will be getting sucked into big storylines soon thanks to Kobik (the living cosmic cube in the form of a little girl) so it might be worth reading up just to be in the know when all those crossovers start happening (aside from Civil War). I’m not entirely happy that people just assume the Thunderbolts are villains again, and any good work they’ve done as heroes since their first inception way back when seems to be pointless including that of Bucky. Still, I will follow it for a bit longer to see where all this ends up before dropping the book entirely.

Score: C+

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ultimates #9

STORY: Al Ewing ART: Kenneth Rocafort COLORS: Dan Brown

Review: Kenneth Rocafort! That’s the reason you pick up this series. You can’t go wrong with him and Dan Brown doing the colors. It’s just incredible work and each page feels amazing. Al Ewing’s story telling?  That I can do without. This time around we get a much more integrated Civil War II tie-in, as it’s Ulysses that helps predict the arrival of an alien being that’s been trying to enter our universe for decades. Thanks to Ulysses the Ultimates have had time to figure out a way to get the being into our world safely. Once again Ulysses predicts something, it comes true, and it helps tons of people. Even with the ridiculous Hulk situation, more than likely it was going to come true. I still don’t see the conflict here. Anyway, back to Ultimates, aside from the big story we get some small subplots involving Thanos, and potential divides among the team regarding how to handle the information by Ulysses. Seriously, get the series for Rocafort and Brown.

Score: B-

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Uncanny X-men #10

STORY: Cullen Bunn ART: Ken Lashley COLORS: Nolan Woodard

Review: So I don’t really get what the end game was here for everyone involved. I mean Cullen Bunn mostly set up an ok story, but was Holocaust just gonna keep making ArchAngel clones and have them kill everyone? Were they just gonna be sent to kill Inhumans? Why even both having Angel hanging out like some sort of savior? They could have just kept him underground and used his blood whenever they wanted. Why did they keep magneto and the others alive once they were captured? There are a lot of silly plot holes, but I guess that’s par for the course when it concerns X-men books. Luckily we get some excellent work from Ken Lashley who makes it all look really cool. Lashley can be a little muddied when it comes to straight dialogue moments, but once the action heats up then the dude really turns out some dynamic pages! I still feel like this is probably the best of the X books currently out, as it feels the closest to what X-men books tend to be. Meaning in tone and story content. Another nice aspect is while this is all part of the “Apocalypse Wars”, you don’t need to have read any of the other x-men books to enjoy this series and story. The “cross-over” wasn’t so heavy that it forced readers to pick up every issue involved.

Score: B-

Well that’s everything I got for week 07/20/2016 from Marvel! Is there a book you’d like reviewed? let me know and I’ll be sure to check it out! Have a suggestion on formatting? ways to improve the review system? Let me know!

The Comic Book Guy!

Jeremy Scully

Follow me on Twitter @LRM_Jeremy