Marvel comic book reviews for the week of 9/22/14 part 2

1. Guardians of the Galaxy Original Sin #19 is the continuation of the story where Peter Quill returns to the Guardians of the Galaxy with Drax after surviving the Cancerverse. Quill had attempted to trap Thanos there with Nova but it looks like they were unsuccessful. In addition it appears that Nova is dead. At the end of the last issue Gamora was interrogating Quill to get answers about everything that happened. Quite a bit happened. Without giving anything away, let’s just say the laws of nature in this universe don’t exist in the other universe

There is only one downside to this issue…it’s a cliffhanger. What I had hoped would be resolved has not been.

There are some tense moments in this book. Quill clearly did not want to tell Gamora what happened in the Cancerverse but he also wasn’t going to let her walk away from him before the can of worms she opened was completely emptied.

Bendis does a great job with these characters and the book is a good read. It’s also very nice to look at. The artist didn’t feel like there was call for overtly creative drawing and no drastic liberties were taken with the art. I’m giving this book a grade of A. It is very good but is still not quite incredible

2. Edge of Spider-verse Aaron Aikman The Spider-man 003 is a beautifully rendered comic book. The level of writing and artwork in this book exceeds many of the books I’ve read in the last two years. The lines in this book are very exact and looks so smooth that it’s a wonder to look at

The book also does an excellent job at introducing us to its characters. Aikman is older than Peter Parker so we get a much more mature lead character with problems that are bigger and seem more mature.

Each of the problems the character has are problems the reader cares about.

This is by far the best of the character introductions so far. I would love reading more about this character. Great job!

Loki Agent of Asgard #006 is a book I’m not sure I completely understood. So I’m going to tell you what I think happened. This review is not Spolier free.

There are two Lokis. One in the present and an older version of Loki that is free to roam through time creating mischief.

There is one Doctor Doom and he is trying to turn over a new leaf(kind of). He decides he wants to go into the future to see if his creation( Latveria) is still thriving. When he gets there he finds the old Loki who has had a hand in the destruction of Latveria. He decides Loki must be stopped.

Present day Loki is back from the tenth realm and trying to patch things up with his friend Verity Wells and not succeeding. As he is doing that, he is attacked by Doom and transferred to Latveria and challenged to a duel

In between the two story lines is a third plot line where two Latverian construction workers are discussing whether or not Doom is a “God” of sorts. There seems to be an implication made that one of the two works might be doom in disguise but that part is unclear to me

That is actually my only problem with the book. The issue raises philosophical conversations, but I’m not sure I understand the purpose of the conversations and why they are being talked about.

Because of that I’m giving the book a B. What I did understand, I enjoyed.

4. The Punisher vs Thunderbolts part 5 had its moments. For anyone who hasn’t been following this story arc, Rulk( Thunderbolt Ross) wanted to hire doctor Faustus to become a member of the tam. The Punisher objected to it and quit the team. When he got home there was a sign on a bomb that told him his resignation was not accepted. It detonated and almost killed him. Hell bent on revenge, he took out all the members of the team( except Elektra) and left red hulk for last.

In this issue we learn about Thunderbolt Ross’s whereabouts and that he’s not as easily hidden as he thinks he is.

The majority of the book is focused on the confrontation between Rulk and Punisher but there are guest appearances as well. We also learn who is behind the attack on The Punisher.

The issue was good but it felt a little rushed. That is actually a pretty big problem for Marvel. They always try to pack so much into a multi-part story that they rush the reveal and everything gets revealed in the last few pages of the series.

Everything else was fine with the book. It was just the pacing that forces me to grade the book with a B

5. The last of my reviews this week is Secret Avengers 008. Lately this book has been a hit or miss proposition. The reason: it’s trying really hard to be a Deadpool comic book but it’s failing. The humor in this book is stupid. Deadpool is written by a stand up comedian. It works.

But the humor in this issue was muted and at times the writing is downright creepy. This issue focuses on two sides of the same coin. Maria Hill thinks M.O.D.O.K is behind the teams problem and M.O.D.O.K is planning his attack.

There is not much action in this book. It is largely two discussions between Maria Hill and Spider Woman and M.O.D.O.K and his assistant.

The art in this book is pretty annoying, putting that aside, it’s a great story with some creepy images. Grade B

Thank you for reading my reviews this week. If you have any comments to add, feel free.

Cya next week!

Marvel Comic book reviews for the week of 9/22/14

Welcome back to my little corner of WordPress where I read and review the comic books I collect for Marvel each week. Last week I had 12 titles to look at. This week I have nine titles. I’m going to divide it into 2 posts to make it less cumbersome to read. So let’s get started

1.) Amazing Xmen 011 was an alright comic book. As I mentioned before, I’m not a big fan of The Wendigos. It just feels like Marvel universe ran out of ideas for villains and decided to use the abominable snowman.

But for all that the writing was pretty decent. In this issue we learn more about the Wendigo curse and why it’s happening. We also learn who is behind it. That part of the story was very cool

Where the writing could have been better is in deciding how many characters really needed to be in the book. We are treated to some of the X-men, some of The Avengers, Alpha Flight( who doesn’t show up often) and a team of villains. It’s hard to keep them all straight.

The art here has moments of brilliance hidden within mediocre art. I’m giving the book a grade of B

3. I’m not entirely sure I enjoyed Mighty Avengers 014 or not. It had an almost religious message but I’m not sure if it was executed right. The story is a continuation of the Original Sin story where the Mighty Avengers of the past and the Mighty Avengers of the present are trying to stop The DeathWalkers who have combined to form one giant monster. It’s happening below a cathedral and they used a chalice filled with blood to make the transition.

So here’s my qualm about this issue: using religious imagery in a book in a subversive way can come across heavy handed and become even more heavy handed when the heroes see how the imagery is being used and reverse what has already been subverted. Now I know that this explanation but if you’re looking at this before before reading it, I would be giving too much away.

The writing in this book was nowhere up to snuff. It bordered on corny with imagery that bordered on biblical. I don’t mind when a comic borders on corny but only if it’s done in a way that makes me smile.

The book’s art was very detailed and was good but didn’t have the same as Greg land’s art that is usually featured in the book. Greg Land did the cover of the book though. Grade: B-

4. The next book that I read was Magneto March to Axis 010. The book seems to be a bridge between Uncanny Avengers and other books that will be a part of the new Marvel crossover event called Axis. The writing in this book was very strong.

In the last issue Magneto was captured by Red Skull at the end of the book. In this book we learn that Magneto is trying to find refuge from his torturer by diving into his own memories. The problem with that? Red skull has implanted Charles Xavier’s brain in his head and has the telepathic power to enter and distort each of those memories making the torture even worse.

There will be a lot of people who will say why do we need another backstory issue for Magneto but I was okay with it. After an almost 20 year hiatus from comic books it was a good tutorial in “X” history.

The art was very unusual in this book and may have been a bit too jarring to be enjoyable. The book starts with the dark and gritty visuals we come to expect in these books and once we get to the memory portion of the book, the art changes to a much brighter hued story with art that I can only describe as 1950’s science fiction b-movie poster art.

Still the writing in this story is strong enough to give it an A-.

Marvel Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D episode 201 review

BIG TIME SPOILERS: One thing about fall TV shows is that when they end for the season they leave you with a bit of a hole that needs plugging. For the most part Marvel Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D season one was pretty good. It took a while to get started but by the end it turned out to be a pretty fun ride

As you may already know, Shield( yes I know there are periods between the letters but I’m going to have to ask you to use your imagination and pretend they’re there) was infiltrated by HYDRA( no periods in the name) and now Coulson and his team have gone dark. They are still fighting the terrorist group but they are doing it from behind the scenes.

Shield is also getting help from other teams and other agents to track down alien hardware. The hardware in question appears to turn people to stone at the touch, which we learn from a flashback that Agent Carter and Captain America’s team in the first movie are in

We are also introduced to a new villain. His name is absorbing man and he has the ability to change his skin into any substance he chooses at the touch. He is also fascinated by the artifact which has been procured through some backwater deals.

There is also a plot line introduced between Skye and Ward. He wants her to trust him. She wants none of it.

Fitz is not doing well and has suffered a TBI and he is having difficulty expressing himself

There was a lot to enjoy about this book. With Coulson’s team trying to regroup and be cohesive, they are a much more focused team. As a result, the episode did not feel too disjointed at all.

The special effects were great. They created Absorbing man to look very impressive

I think my only real problem with the show is how intelligent the agents of Shield are and how dumb everyone else seems. In one scene the stupidity of the other characters telegraphed a plot point minutes before it happened.

The twist at the end of the show was great. I guess I should have seen it coming but didn’t.

All in all, it was a very good episode. Much darker and serious, but really good. Grade: B

Comic reviews for the week of 9/15/14 Part 2

As I mentioned in my previous post, I had 12 comic books to read and I was dividing them into two posts. My reason: 12 reviews in one sitting is a lot to read but it also had to do with my work schedule and being able to get all the reviews written in one sitting. So let’s get started.

1. There are very few comic books that I read solely for the art. Avengers World is one of those books. Since the books inception, it has largely been drawn by Greg Land. Until I picked up this comic book, I had never even heard of Mr. Land. Now I look forward to getting this book each month to look at his amazing artwork. It was a disappointment when I picked up this week’s issue( Avengers World 013) and found that another artist was taking the reins of the issue. It’s not that Raffaele Ienco did a bad job, it’s that there are very few artists that match Land’s level of talent. In fairness, panel’s with the dragon and one of the final panels of the book are great!

The writing was different in this issue too. It took a detour. As many of the readers know, this comic book has had a lot of different stories happening all at once. The author, in an attempt to make things easier, focuses on each of the problems in separate comic books. One of the problems in this series has to do with the slumbering dragon head that Madripoor is resting on. The dragon has awoken and is attacking China. S.P.E.A.R.( China’s version of S.H.I.E.L.D.) is helping the Avengers with their team called The Ascendant to stop the dragon. With a plot point this big, readers should be able to assume that the comic book would focus solely on the battle. Instead, we are given flashbacks where The Ascendant are introduced.

I am not a big fan of detours like this book took. My reason? If I wanted to read a comic book about The Ascendant, I would have bought a comic book about The Ascendant. I understand that each character needs background given but not at the detriment of the story. Grade: B.

2. I could almost review Uncanny X-men 026 in one sentence by saying the writing was great but the art was annoying. But I won’t stop there. Michael Bendis does an amazing job with the different X-men books that he authors. The idea that Charles Xavier married Mystique and that he muffled the powers of a Mutant instead of encouraging them is a pretty big bombshell both for the readers and the characters of the book. In addition, Professor X is withholding the wishes of his last will and testament until the rest of the X-men have assured that this extremely terrifying power is still subdued and out of the purview of S.H.I.E.L.D. The problem here is that professor X is too late and a mutant with god-like powers is free.

There is also a second story line that seems to emerging where at least one of the new recruits of Cyclops’ School of Higher learning are beginning to question whether or not they are being trained to fight against The Avengers and if that really is a good thing.

As I mentioned, the writing is fantastic. The art, not so much. This time the problem with the art is not the artist but with the Colorist. The shading in the book is designed to set a mood for the book but instead it creates an “artsy-fartsy” feel that I find pretentious and annoying. For that reason I’m giving this book a grade of B.

3. Edge of Spider-verse Gwen Stacy Spider Woman 002 is a comic book that I’m not sure how I feel about it. It’s clear that each of the “Edge” books are designed to introduce us to another version of Spider-man that will be necessary to taken on the threat that has not been introduced yet. I have never been introduced to Gwen Stacy as Spider-woman before, and as a result, I am being introduced to a completely foreign story line where Peter Parker is dead as a result of trying to imitate Gwen Stacy being Spider-Woman. This is her story.

I really enjoyed this story but it took some getting used to. The art was caustic and it matched the wit of the book. Sometimes when you’re not sure what the best way to review a book, it’s best just to give it the grade….A-

4. I loved reading The Superior Spider-man Edge of Spider-Verse 033. As many of you know, I’ve not been the biggest fan of the new The Amazing Spider-man comic book run. My biggest reason for not loving it is because Dan Slott did a much better job writing Otto Octavius as Spider-man than Peter Parker. I always knew that it was a limited run but it was so good I had hoped the intensity of the series would have continued. So when Marvel announced that there would be a new event where Otto would be back as Spidey, I was stoked.

The premise: When Horizon Labs was destroyed Otto was sucked into a time vortex(of sorts) and he was transferred to the year 2099 while Spider-man 2099 was brought to present day. While he is in 2099, he is confronted with a number of different versions of himself. He learns about a threat to all versions of Spider-man in every different earth.

In this issue we are introduced to the villain. His name is Karn and he looks like a cross between a Civil War General and one of the creatures from the Bioshock video game series( once you’ve read it you will understand). Most of the issue focuses on an epic battle between Karn and all the gathered Spider-men( and women) but after the battle is finished the book breaks away from that story and tells the Origin of Karn.

I really liked that the author didn’t try to combine the two stories. The flow of the book was not interrupted. In addition, the art was excellent. This was very easily a grade A book.

5. Savage Hulk 004 is a fairly unique book for Marvel. The reason? This 4 part story is not told inside the current Marvel Now! timeline. It is faithful to the continuity of The Hulk but each story is told with previous characters that may no longer be alive. The premise of the first story arc is the Hulk and X-men fight The Abomination and because The Hulk was helpful, the X-men bring Hulk to Professor X who with the help of a machine that Bruce Banner created, combines technology with telepathy to try to cure Bruce. In the process, the X-men were kidnapped by The Leader and his minions. They are attempting to siphon the Gamma Radiation from Bruce and give it all to the leader. This issue focuses on the battle between The Leader and The Hulk.

There was a lot to like about this book. I really loved the retro feel of the book. It harkened back to the days when battles between Heroes and Villains bordered on cheesy but still provided readers with enjoyment.

I really enjoyed the art in this book too. It looked retro but also felt new and that is a pretty cool skill to have. This is a grade A book.

6. Uncanny Avengers 024 was the last Marvel book I read this week. I have to say, I actually really enjoyed it. I was curious to see where the series was going to go after spending two years of the same story line but Marvel gave us a direction. Red Skull has created concentration camps for Super powered individuals and our heroes are in them( but may not know it). Magneto is also captured and there is going to be Hell to pay for that.

This is very clearly a book that is leading up to a confrontation with the X-men and Avengers. Both the story and art in this book are excellent. Grade: A

Marvel reviews for the week of 9/15/14

I think every so often I get a week where I get an over abundance of Marvel comic books to read. This is one of those weeks. This week I have 12 titles. I’m going to review 6 of them here and the other six in a second post. So let’s get started.

1.). The first book I read this week was Original Sin Thor vs Loki: The Tenth Realm 5 of 5. Let me start by saying that I really wanted to like this book more than I did. This off shoot of the Original Sin story has been one of the more interesting of the tie ins where Loki and Thor learn that they have a sister and there is another realm that was hidden away from normal existence due to a war between the Asgardians and the Angels where Odin’s daughter was murdered. Or so Thor was told. Thor refuses to believe she is dead and enters The Tenth realm where he is attacked by the angels.

Loki is in his element here playing the angels and Thor off of each other and eventually frees his father from prison which is where the last comic book left off.

The confrontation between Angela( from Guardians of the Galaxy) and Thor is in the book but is not as electrifying and fun as I had hoped.

The fault of this issue is not in the art but in the writing. The ongoing conflict between Thor and his sister seemed to only scratch the surface of the conflict. This is a huge revelation going into the final issue of Thor and there are a lot twists and turns in this final chapter of The Original Sin. Still it left me feeling a bit empty because we still don’t know why Thor is having difficulty picking up his hammer. I liked this issue. Just not as much as the others. Grade: B

2.

Thor God of Thunder 025 God sized final issue might be the best book of the run. There were decisions made in this book that were very gutsy and paid off very well.

What makes it so gutsy? It’s the final issue of the series( a new one starts next month) and Thor is only in flashback scenes. The main gist of this issue is that Thor is training his granddaughters to be warriors and he wants their minds to be as sharp as their swords. He sends them to the library on Asgard to read the histories of their past. Without giving away what they read, let’s just say each of the stories is moved along by the art.

I am usually not a big fan of books that change artists half way through a book but the changes make sense and are incredibly cool.

The art changes were based on the premise that if you picked up two books in a library with art in them, it would be logical that the art would be different. I really liked the art in the second story a lot because it made me believe that the illustrations in the book they were reading were drawn in chalk.

I would only caution readers in one way about this comic book. Some of the imagery in the first story is pretty gritty, dark and sometimes pretty violent. It is not for kids.

Also, if you’re looking for answers from that the Original Sin story line left the readers with, you won’t find them here.

There is a pretty big twist at the end of this book that most of my readers probably know about but I’ll keep hidden in case there are new readers. This was a great comic book! Grade A.

3. So what do you do if you if a gamma radiated bomb gave you super strength and turned you into a monster? You’d probably try to find a cure. What if you accidentally created other monsters when the bomb went off? You’d probably want to find a cure for them. What would you do if you had a cure and you needed to test it but your test subject didn’t want the cure? That’s what Hulk 006 tries to answer that question. Needless to say, it creates some problems.

This issue did a good job in giving us an insight into the guilt and mindset of Dr. Green( Bruce/Hulk’s new name). His insistence on curing people is almost overwhelming and it’s going to cause some future problems for the doctor and his friends.

I’m not sure two opposing people would have an ethical decision like the one listed above in a heated battle, but, nonetheless, it is an interesting discussion.

The art in this issue was really good. Especially the art done near the end of the book. I really liked this book. Grade:A

4. Hulk Annual 1 was a very strange book in that they created a villain that had almost been created before by DC in the form of Poison Ivy. This character is Poison Ivy on steroids.

This issue focuses on one of Bruce Banner’s staff who is dying. The issue gives us a very detailed look into why she placed herself on his staff. We learn it’s to create a biological computer.

Whenever a new villain is created it always strikes me that most of them are created through the shortsightedness of their own creations. In other words, villains are created through mistakes they made themselves. The same is true here. The villain is Vista and Dr. Green is asked to help find a solution to the problem. Of course, the problem and solution are both tied together

I didn’t hate this comic book but I’m not sure I loved it. It was good and it read like more of a classic villain origin story but at the same time it was a bit too quirky for my taste. I’m giving this book a grade of B. I found the art to be good but the shading choices a bit annoying.

5. Once again a comic book gives us a complete misdirect on it’s cover. All New X-men 032 leaves us with the impression that Miles Morales is a part of the X-men. He is not! That’s not to say he won’t be, but he isn’t yet.

There is a lot going on in this issue. But before we can look at it, we need some background to understand it. In the last issue of the book the original team of x-men were left without a leader and decided that they want to go on a mission of their own to locate and recruit a new mutant with extraordinary powers. When they get there the person they try to recruit misunderstands their intentions and displaces the mutants.

Each of the mutants lands somewhere different and the most interesting displacement is of course Jean Grey who ends up in The Ultimate Universe with Miles Morales and can’t get back to her universe.

Maybe I’m missing something but that seems to be a variation of a theme that started the whole series in the first place. Do we really need another displaced mutant story?

It wasn’t that the story was bad, it just seemed unnecessary. I’m not sure where it’s going and I’m not sure it makes that much of a difference.

The art was fine and the writing too. It was just a boring issue. B-

6. I have no problem admitting that I didn’t understand Avengers 035 at all. And honestly, that has been my problem with the series since it started. There is so much scientific babble in the book that it can be very difficult to read.

But here’s what I did get out of the book. The multiverse is collapsing and it’s having an effect on The Builders who have identified earth to be the center of the conflict. On earth a number of the Avengers have disappeared( mainly the illuminati) and Sue Storm and others are trying to find them.

This book is a chapter leading to an event called Time Runs out. Once again, Marvel drops us off in the middle of the event and leaves the reader feeling disoriented enough.

The art has always been a joy to look at but I’m too confused to grade it with anything above a B-.

Those are my first six reviews. I will review the other six by Friday night or Saturday