Marvel Comic Book Reviews for the week of 11/24/14

Today I got a chance to do something I’ve not done since I was 18 years old. I’m 44 years old now. I got a chance to visit the store I grew up collecting comic books from. Rick’s One Stop Comics in Oak Park, Illinois has been in business for a long time and has a very impressive number of comic books in their store. If you live in their area, I’d encourage you to visit his store.
Most of the time I collect from Reader Copies in Anderson, Indiana. It’s a smaller shop but I am always impressed with Rembert’s(the owner) knowledge of comic books. He is very familiar with the comic business and has even hosted Comic conventions in the past. I have spent countless hours, and dollars, at his store and he has helped me restore my love of comics. We don’t always agree on what we like, and dislike, but we have spirited conversations and I have found a new love for the Medium.
This week was a slower week for Marvel, but not that much slower. So let’s get started.

1. The first Comic Book I read this week was Amazing X-men #013. As I was reading this book, I was struck by the emotion behind the story. James Tynion IV did a great job at capturing the raw emotion of feeling alienated because of how you look. I think I can identify most because I’ve been judged for having a physical disability. On top of worrying about looks, the main character of the story, Chelsea, is worried about meeting someone for a blind date.

When Nightcrawler notices that one of the students is missing, he asks another of the students for help in finding her. They find their friend being attacked psychically and bombarded by her fears. In order to keep some of the comic worth reading I won’t reveal the ending of the comic book.

Jorge Jimenez did a pretty good job with the art, but for all the panels that were great, there were also panels that could have been better. All in all, I thought this was a fantastic comic book. Grade: A

2. Death of Wolverine The Logan Legacy #005 was a brutally violent comic book that makes you want to know more as your reading it. As many readers may know, Wolverine had a son named Daken. He looks almost identical to Wolverine but has an evil heart. When we meet him, he has come to recover the body of his father. As we continue to read the book, we see the death ritual that Daken goes through to preserve his father.

There is a second story within a story in this book and it’s where the violence starts. In the second plotline, we see a Hydra agent being interrogated about an illegal auction for body parts that belonged to Wolverine. Daken gets involved. Very involved. The brutality of the book is its fun. To go explain it would take away the fun of reading it.

The art is what makes the book even more brutal. The artwork for the steps of the ritual is very cool. Grade: A.

3. Captain America and the Mighty Avengers #002 has two stories in it (maybe three) and only one of them was pretty great. The middle story has a number of the Mighty Avengers chasing after some villains on roller skates that have different powers. They would yell out their names as they moved. The story itself was corny enough to be very enjoyable. It really felt I was reading a comic book that I read growing up. A lot of fun to read and very humorous

A second story has Luke Cage selling The Mighty Avengers to Cortex Corporation. Cortex is a very bad villainous company. If you read this story within the framework of the AXIS storyline, it makes sense because the villains on Genosha( the island where red Onslaught took some of the Avengers and X-men hostage. It’s also where villains are now the heroes and the heroes that were on Genosha are doing bad things.

While I had no real problem with the story, it seems like Marvel is trying to make the inversion a little too cheeky for my taste. I liked this comic, but I didn’t love it. Grade: B.

4. Deathlok #002 was a very cool comic book. For those of you unfamiliar with the story, there have been different versions of the Antihero. This incarnation of the hero was created in the Original Sin comic book event. I have to confess. In order to do this review, I had to do some research. Henry Hayes worked with Doctors Without Borders. While overseas, he had to have his leg amputated. He was fitted with a steel prosthetic from Biotek and they also put him under mind control.

While being manipulated, Henry is forced to go on missions where he is doing nefarious jobs for a mysterious benefactor (he’s hidden in shadows). He wakes up the next morning without any memory of what he did. There is a second story where S.H.I.E.L.D. is searching for the man who killed one of their agents. Of course, it’s Deathlok.

There is also a third story where Henry Hayes is trying to be a single father to his teenage daughter and failing.

I love the writing in this book. It feels like Secret Avengers felt before they destroyed it with corny attempts at humor. It is full of intrigue and is very intelligent. There is also a great plot twist with some very good art at the end of this book. Grade: A.

5. One of the biggest problems that the Spider-Verse comic book event is that it’s not terrifying. During the events preceding the event there was one comic book that was done in the style of the horror comics of yesteryear. If the entire series was done in the same vein, this would be a killer series. Instead, there are tenuous connections between the prologue and main story.
One stylistic choice that I’m not sure I understand is that each time Daemos or the other villains in this story start to drain the essences of the Spider Totems, they spare us the gore of it. By doing that, they create a villain that seems flaccid in its power.

That being said, Peter David is a pretty masterful storyteller and does a pretty decent job with the hand that has been dealt to him. Spider-man 2099 #006 was a decent comic book but not as engaging as I had hoped.

I have another confession. I don’t know much about this comic book. What I do know is that Miguel O’Hara was sent back into the past to the year 2014. How is related to this storyline? When Daemos was killed in the one of the last comics, his body was stolen by Miguel and others and taken to Alchemax 2099 to be studied. Daemos resurrected in a new body and followed them.

There is a lot of action in this book but it still feels very static for most of the book. The art looks good, but for whatever reason, Will Sliney( who is most of the time one of my favorite artists) has trouble creating motion in this issue. This issue didn’t quite catch the emotional tone I had hoped. Grade: B-

6. Scarlet Spiders #001 might be one of the first Spider-Verse titles I actually really enjoyed. Jessica Drew, a clone of Peter Parker, and two other clones find the Inheritors’ home to find a factory where additional clones are being created. They also find a familiar face they thought would be a friend. Something in the book needs to stay a secret, so that’s all I’ll reveal.

The best thing about this comic book is the artwork. There is a panel near the beginning of the book when the clones arrive in the Inheritor’s world that is pretty stunning. There are also others throughout the book that are very nice to look at. With solid writing and solid art, this comic book deserves a grade of A.

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Marvel Comic Book reviews for the week of 11/17/14 part 3

1. I read on another site that starting a comic book title in the middle of an event is not a great idea. I agree that it’s not a great idea because the main character doesn’t get any development. That being said, I think this story had to be the potential to be a better Silk #001. Spider Woman #001 Spider-verse puts us in the middle of a story where Jessica Drew is having to babysit Silk by going on the run through dimensions because Morlun and his spider-vampires are very attracted to her.

I’m conflicted about this comic book. I’m not a huge fan of the writing in this issue, however, if I was a young girl that had been imprisoned for years, I would want to see everything around me, and jumping from dimension to dimension would be a smorgasbord of visual stimuli that I’d want to check out. The writing was believable to the character but it was still kind of surface level writing.

The art was pretty great! Greg Land has a great gift for detail and I really love seeing what he does. I’m giving this book a grade of B-. It’s not a terrible book but it’s kind of unusually placed.

2. I have a confession to make: I saved Axis #6 until the end of my reviews because I wasn’t expecting too much from it. I was mistaken. Everything about this book was good. Last week watching the villains be heroes and vice-verse seemed forced. This week the situations are genuinely funny and fun to read. The scenes with Loki and Thor are especially good. There is a reveal near the end of the book that was both unnerving and could be interesting to read in future comic books.

The intro page of the comic book will give you everything you need to know about AXIS. It would seem though that this book is the last part of the second act of the Marvel event.

The art in the book was also excellent. I especially liked how Dodson drew Scarlet Witch in this book. Grade: A

3. Magneto Axis #012 was a fairly strong book with a twist I’m not sure I believe. I’m generally not a big fan of comic books that revisit stories from one particular character’s viewpoint because, it usually means that the reader was conned into reading the same story twice, but I thought the writing here was solid

This book brings us back to where Magneto begins attacking Red Onslaught with the Marvel Universe villains. It also brings us to the point where Magneto’s daughter has begun the inversion process. There is a conversation between Magneto and another character that is kind of shocking and could change the course of the X-men

The art was different in this book than in previous issues,which, in my mind,means it’s better. Grade: B

4. Loki Agent of Axis #008 was a mixture of humor, action,and pure cheese ball situations. And before you ask about the title, yes that is the title of the comic book this week. Watching Loki try to be heroic with the same sense of self he had as a villain has been a lot of fun. In his heroic nature, he becomes even more cruel.

The highlight of the book is Oddball and his battle cry. Grade: A. The art reflects the writing. This was a fun book

5. Avengers World #015 feels like it’s borrowed from Forever Evil. This is another recruitment issue where villains are recruited to be heroes. This time Shield is in the mix. Art is great….Grade: B

Marvel Comic Book Reviews for the week of 11/17/14 Part 2

1. As my comic book dealer knows, my opinions are pretty strong when I think Marvel is making a mistake. Fantastic 4 is ending as a comic book because Disney doesn’t have the movie rights to the team. I think this is a huge mistake. FOX has had two opportunities to make a good Fantastic Four movie and failed both times. There is no indication that a third movie will be any better. In fact, there is even more evidence this time around that they are going even further away from the origin of the team.

Admittedly, there have been runs of the comic book that have been awful too. These last 13 issues have almost been perfect. Watching the team disintegrate very quickly then rise again has been a joy to read. Fantastic 4 #013 is no exception. I read another site that suggested that this issue is like a love poem to the team. I agree.

While there were some plot points in this issue that are tied to some Marvel title’s I don’t read, I thought this issue was a very strong reminder of what we love about the team, It is a reminder that when teams get kicked down, they find the strength to get back up again.

The art has also been some of the best art each week it comes out. Grade: A.

2. If you understood Avengers #038 you should post the review here. And that is it’s problem. There is no doubt that the writing is intelligent but it might too smart. There is so much techno babble in each of the issues that it’s hard to figure out where the plot is. As far as I understand it, some of the Avengers are not happy with the way the Illuminati are handling the planetary incursions. Neither is A.I.M. So they are teaming up to find an alternate way to handle everything.

Because I’m very uncertain about what’s happening, I think its better that I don’t grade this.

3. The Amazing Spider-man #010 Spider-Verse Part 2 is stronger than last week’s installment but, for reasons I’ve not been able to figure out yet, I’m not on board with this event. It still feels completely disorganized as an event. Peter Parker is supposed to be at the center of this event but everything else seems like a distraction.

Part of the problem is they have chosen to focus on Spider-men that nobody cares about. The Steam Punk and Gwen Stacey books were fun but they may have been the only ones worth the emotional investment. It has been interesting watching Superior Spider-man and The Amazing Spider-man interact with each other.

In fairness to the series, the writing(for what it is) is not terrible. It’s just not giving me the same kind of chills the horror edge of spider-verse gave me. Grade: B-

4. Rather than going into detail for Spider-verse Team Up 001 I’m only going to briefly touch on it because I feel the same way about it as I do Amazing Spider-man #010. The Villains look nasty but they still feel very two dimensional. There are two stories told in this issue. The first elicited some laughter and the art was excellent but it didn’t pack the punch I was hoping for.

The second story was a semi interesting take on the story. If you can’t get a spider to join the team, keep him from being a spider. I’m giving this comic a grade of B.

Comic book Reviews for the week of 11/16/14

Hi to my friends and followers this week. This week has turned out to be one of my biggest weeks of the year for comic books. I have a lot to read and a lot to write. I will be breaking these reviews up into posts so that it’s easier to digest. So, let’s get started. There are spoilers in these reviews

1. The first book I read this week was Black Widow #012. I have never been a huge fan of the art in this book because I felt that it seemed kind of flat. But, this week I was impressed. The level of detail is much improved.

However, the real part of this book that is worth bragging about is the writing. This was a compelling story from start to finish. The story focuses in on a report that Anderson Cooper files for CNN suggesting that Black Widow is more dangerous than helpful and that the Avengers are overstepping their boundaries in the way they operate. Of course, Maria Hill is on the defensive.

In what might have been a little too convenient, Black Widow is on a secret mission to rescue a journalist in Somalia. In order to save about 1/3 of the comic for you, I won’t give away the ending. This issue has some real ramifications for the rest of the Avengers. I’m really looking forward to the next issue. Grade: A+

2. I think that Charles Soule might be a master of writing comic books. While many writers try to keep a certain heroic tone to the characters of a book, Soule has the ability to create situations that are not only believable but realistic. Death of Wolverine The Weapon X Program 002 was an incredibly strong comic that introduced us to 6 complete strangers and made them interesting characters that I want to follow.

In the last issue, Paradise, the location where Wolverine was killed, was set on fire. Six people that were being experimented on escaped. One of the escapees looks a lot like Wolverine. In this issue we learn a lot more about the characters as they are learning about themselves. Each of the characters are learning they have been augmented and what that means for them. They also figure that they’ve been embedded with trackers

There is a pretty cool plot twist at the end of this book. It is very much worth the read. This book deserves a grade of A.

3. I know a lot of people like having Venom on the Guardians of the Galaxy team but I’m not one of them. Truthfully speaking, I’m not a big fan of Flash Thompson being a good guy. Most readers know that Venom is mostly only fun to read when he is out of control. Which is why Guardians of the Galaxy #021 should have been much better than it was. I mean there were some decent fight scenes, some great humor but the pay off on this comic should have been better

Flash Thompson was sent into space to be earth’s representative to the GOTG team. The only problem? His Symbiote is kind of going crazy and taking over Flash’s body. He eventually gets under control but not before some twists and turns.

My understanding is that this issue is a bit of prologue for a storyline called Planet of the Symbiote. If Venom finds his planet, it could be very interesting. But this issue was a let down. Grade: B-

4. Moon Knight #009 was a very unusual comic book. But, in all honesty, that’s one of the reasons this was fun to read. Spektor returns to the Doctor who has been trying to kill him.

During the meeting they share a hypnotic trance where they dive into the past of the doctor. The hypnotic trance becomes a dance of power plays where each of the players reveals secrets of the other that were thought hidden.

I realize that this review is a bit murky in its explanation, but it’s actually difficult to review a book that is more about making sure the tenor of the book is very dark and disturbing. One of the ways the book accomplishes this is through the art work. Although the art work is all very simple, it is all very ethereal and, as a result, spooky.

This may be the first issue where there is a cliffhanger. I’m looking forward to reading the next installment. Grade: B

The last review I’ll post in part 1 of 3 is Uncanny X-men 028. Brian Michael Bendis has done a great job writing this comic but, I have to admit, I am getting tired of not knowing what is in Charles’ Xavier’s will. As most readers know, Xavier has been dead for a while now. When he died, he recorded a holo will where he dropped two bombshells. He had married Mystique, and he had met a Mutant with powers so powerful that he was forced to suppress the powers.

When Cyclops heard this news, it made him very angry because Xavier had preached the encouragement of those powers so much. Xavier refused to disclose the rest of the will until his X-men had this mutant under control

In this issue we see Cyclops trying to convince Michael Malloy that he can be taught to control his powers and he doesn’t have to be alone. However, Michael is not certain of these promises. The writing in this book, while good, seems to be trying too hard to prolong a story.

The art in this book is not my favorite.

There is a twist at the end of the book that should be fun to read next week though. Grade: B