Comic Book Reviews: MARVEL BREAKDOWN WEEK 06-08-2016

Marvel Comics

The Civil War continues to wage on (Kinda? Maybe? Eh) Daredevil plays some cards, Moonstone needs a heart and why is The Vision a book about almost nothing, still so damn good!? Read on for this week’s Marvel Comics Reviews!

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FCBD: Captain America #1

Story: Nick Spencer, Dan Slott Art: Jesus Saiz, Javier Garron

Review: This was a fun little lead up to Captain America: Steve Rogers #1. It doesn’t really show anything about the Hydra/Cap storyline, more or less it’s a standard Captain America taking down the bad Hydra thugs story. There is a follow up with Sam Wilson Cap teaming up with the new Falcon as well. Neither is really something that’s stand alone as both are tie-ins to their own respective series. I was kind of hoping for something of a Hydra/Cap teaser here, but it’s just a bit more of the same. Still, some fun dialogue from Spencer and the art work of Jesus Saiz has really grown on me already (the coloring is almost like Frank D’Armata) and it has a feel similar to the older Ed Brubaker Captain America run. Also, it’s free so shaddap and enjoy!

Score: B-


Civil War II: Amazing Spider-Man #1

Story: Christos Gage Art: Travel Foreman Colors: Rain Beredo

Review: I think I’m just not a Spider-Man fan anymore. Or maybe it’s the whole forced Civil War II tie in, but everything here just sort of came off predictably, and seemed more like “hey, we didn’t want to interrupt the flow over on Spider-Man so we just decided to do a one shot here” which sort of ties into Civil War, but doesn’t feel like Civil War? Does that make sense? Pretty much it’s just Spider-Man and Ulysses (the new Inhuman that can see the future) hanging out, with Ulysses predicting where bad guys are going to show up so Spider-Man can beat them up. It’s supposed to be a “test” from Spider-Man to see how reliable the information is. Guess what? It’s reliable. He predicted the future and bad guys got stopped. Pete decides why should Ulysses just use his powers to figure out bad guys, why not apply it to see what Parker Industries tech will prove useful and which will prove worthless? Pretty cool idea actually- why aren’t all clairvoyants in the Marvel Universe doing this? 

Anyway, the big issue comes when a former villain turned employee (as he tries to right his wrongs) is seen in a vision by Ulysses to become a villain again, and will attack Spider-Man! The dilemma now becomes what should Parker do? Arrest and put down this pretty nice dude who’s trying to redeem himself for something he MIGHT do? Or, ya know, talk to him, maybe investigate further to see what would cause this to come about? ……Seriously, people, in this day and age why is this really thing? Are we really writing comics with this as a “big moral” choice in a world where this has happened countless times?!! Christos Cage does what he can, but I feel like him and Travel Foreman were forced into this story. It just doesn’t feel like a Christos type of plot, and Foreman does some of the bare essentials for the artwork (which is still pretty impressive btw). If you’re already reading Spider-Man this probably is a safe bet to buy, or collecting all of Civil War II, otherwise you can skip it.

Score: C+


Civil War II: Gods of War #1

Story: Dan Abnett Art: Emilio Laiso Colors: Guru-eFX

Review: I gotta preface this by saying that I am not currently reading the Hercules series. Not because I think it’s bad or anything, I really don’t know as I’ve not read a single issue. I read the old Incredible Hercules series and it just didn’t do much for me. I’m not big into the character (although as part of a team he’s fine). That all being said, Dan Abnett crafted a pretty cool book here that might actually have me interested to go catch up on Hercules. I’m guessing the tie in is that over in the main Hercules books he must be taking on these new “Gods” of the world (it’s very similar to the Neil Gaiman book American Gods, btw) which represent what people of today “Worship”. These new gods want Hercules to essentially become the god of Chaos, so they keep messing with his head and making him doubt himself, or others doubt him. Now we enter Civil War, the super hero community has apparently lost favor with Hercules; they all think he’s a loser and loose cannon. 

So much so that when Ulysses (the Inhuman who can see the future) predicts a potential super world ending deadly Invasion, the heroes are so stuck up and self-centered they seem to call in anyone and everyone EXCEPT Hercules, cause, ya know, F* saving the world, Hercules might end up causing a few extra buildings to topple. Seriously, how dumb is this crossover event going to get? Anyway, I digress, let us move on. Hercules is upset because the heroes didn’t call upon him and he feels he needs to show the world he’s still a hero and still someone to look up to but he can’t stop these new jerk gods on his own, so he’s gonna get together a team of gods…you guessed it a team of Gods of War! The best thing about this story is it easily could be happening in Hercules own book (I’m guessing) right now, it doesn’t need to even have the Civil War label on it. It’s a cool premise all on it’s own. Hercules is on the outs with the larger Superhero community, he teams up with some other Gods of Wars to take down a force no one really believes exists. Bam. Done. Fun story. Dan Abnett is a great writer for it. Emilio Laiso is a pretty damn good artist for it. Guru does excellent work on colors. Just read the book and ignore all the stupid Civil War II nonsense forced into it.

Score: B


Daredevil #8

Story: Charles Soule Art: Goran Sudzuka Colors: Matt Milla

Review: I think Matt Milla can make any artist look great for this book! There have been three different artists on this book so far (Ron Garney being the best overall) and I have to really look to see a difference. Props to Matt Milla! Also props to each artist emulating each other’s style enough that the constant changing line up is not jarring at all. Goran Sudzuka seamlessly slips into the art duty and I really dug the work he does here. Charles Soule continues to create some pretty fun DD stories (although I felt his Elektra story ended a bit abruptly), with Matt now hunting down a lead that brings him a high stakes poker game. Soule does a great job making it feel credible that Matt would be able to win the game, and even handle himself going up against a telepath! The whole story felt very Bond Casino Royale, and I hope we see more departures from typical DD stories going forward from Soule.

Score: B


The New Avengers #12

Story: Al Ewing Art: Gerardo Sandoval

Review: So I think I’m just not a big Al Ewing fan. His Ultimates does little to nothing for me and is often overly filled with exposition, and the same is happening here. Sandoval is a very expressive artist, and to confine him to such smaller panels really seems an injustice, it just doesn’t showcase what he can do. The Civil War II tie in for Wiccan begins the issue and is a bit flat. After that happens the rest of the issue seems more set up than anything else, which makes it feel like Al Ewing wrote the Civil War part early just to get it out of the way. So in this issue after the Civil War aspect we have Roberto and his semi A.I.M. team going rogue, which has drawn the ire of Maria Hill and SHIELD, also his former team mates really don’t like him (Da Costa dropped them off in the desert before going off to do something that might incriminate them, so ya know I guess that makes him a jerk for looking out for his team) but for really dumb reasons they decide to still team up with him for a future mission. In truth I’m probably going to drop this book. I’m not that crazy about the team, I don’t care much about what Da Costa is doing with AIM, and Hawkeye is not even remotely written as witty or fun as he is in his own series so it’s just a dud all around.

Score: C


Thunderbolts #2

Story: Jim Zub Art: Jon Malin

Review: The latest Thunderbolts series would have felt right at home in 1990s IMAGE comics. Sharp, super dynamic action poses somewhat regarding anatomy, constant intense dialogue filled with what should be witty banter but just comes off a little flat, and brooding characters. I honestly don’t really get what makes this a Thunderbolts team other than it has a lot of the original member’s in their hero persona outfits. The jig is up so I don’t think anyone is still fooled by the “they might be heroes” aspect, so I don’t really care what this team’s purpose is. Really It seems like just a way to get Winter Soldier front and center someplace and get “extreme” action going. 

They are taking care of the Kobik which is a cosmic cube that has taken the form of an hyperactive little girl. She ripped out Moonstone’s, well, moonstone last issue, resulting in a giant hole in her chest which is easily fixed by Kobik this issue after some really over dramatic moments. Then we get some big alien fighting action sequences and what I’m guessing was supposed to be a comedic moment of Atlas flinging some aliens away, only to realize he needs to now go get them because who knows where they will land, which is in a surburban area next to kids playing basketball. We get the scene of giant Atlas showing up, doing the whole “oh excuse me while I just squash this alien guy here” as the kids look on in amazement. Meanwhile Winter Solider shoots stuff and orders people around. All of this is crafted by Zub who has a story going here sort of, and Malin who really is bringing in that mixture of Liefield meets Portacio. It works, and if you can check your brain at the door reading it then it could potentially be enjoyable. I’ll see where this goes.

Score: B-


Venom: Space Knight #9

Story: Robbie Thompson Art: Kim Jacinto, Ariel Olivetti

Review: I still can’t say enough fun things about this series. I really thought I was gonna be bored of a story about Flash Thompson as Venom in space, but then each issue just got wackier and more fun than the next. Robbie Thompson has made a crazy idea into something really cool, and from saving an enslaved alien race to now having to hunt down his own Venom Symbiote (Klyntar as they are now known as) is pretty cool. Flash needs to face not only his “Friend” in Venom but his own demons as well. The supporting cast is really unique here, and who doesn’t love a robot that wants to die? Ariel Olivetti really made this series look amazing (as he does with anything he touches) but Kim Jacinto is definitely no step down. The book continues to look and read great, and I’d recommend to any potential Venom fans out there.

Score: B+


Vision #8

Story: Tom Kin Art: Gabriel Hernandez Walta Colors: Jordie Bellaire

Review: If someone told me awhile back that there would be a series about The Vision, and it consisted of just him and his own artificially made family and their lives, I’d probably tell you that was a dumb idea. Yet here we are, and Tom King is just killing it on this book! I’m completely immersed in the story- reading every word and taking in every bit of detail that artist Gabriel Hernandez Walta displays (with brilliant color work by Jordie Bellaire).  The book appears to almost just be about this family trying to fit in but having a hard time because, well, they are robots (A.I. specifically), and yet things keep happening.  

Sometimes subtle things and sometimes not so subtle things that just propel the story deeper and deeper. We have two murders committed by the wife of the Vision, two murders that Vision is covering up because he is desperate to keep this family he’s made together at any costs. Just as it seems everything is calming down, in comes Victor Mancha (He’s Visions “brother” as in another AI created by Ultron but this time with synthetic skin and appears to look like a normal person) who settles in with the Visions while working in the DC area. However, while Victor gets in close with the family it’s revealed he has other plans in mind, and those plans involve none other than the Avengers.

Score: A-

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