Marvel Comic Book Reviews for the week of 2/23/15 part 2

1.  I don’t know if Inspired By The Hit TV Series! Strategic Homeland Intervention Enforcement Logistics Division S.H.I.E.L.D. Is the real title of the book but that’s what it says on the front cover of the comic book.  Issue #003 was a very fun issue.  The cover is a tad misleading but it was still fun.

If you are looking for Doctor Strange, you won’t find him any where in this issue.  If you are looking for Doctor Strange’s house you’ll find it.

A team of thieves has broken into his house to steal an artifact while he’s offworld.  Agent Coulson is on the case and he has brought Spider-man along with him to stop anything from leaving the house.  They need a guide because getting through all the traps is like getting through a demonic fun house.

This book read like a comic book I’d read 30 years ago.  It was fun and even though the danger in the book was there it was never so overpowering that the book became dark.  Of course with Spidey in the comic there is also humor.  Grade: A

2.  I’m always a little leery of Annuals because they usually have nothing to do with the current story line.  This annual is no different.  Most also usually showcases artists that haven’t made a name for themselves yet.

This issue has three stories in it.  The first of these stories is the story of King Thor and his granddaughters on Midgard as they prepare a birthday gift for the king.  If you are religious it will be uncomfortable to read.  It was well written.  However, the highlight of the story is the art.  Very well done.

The second of the stories has Odinson’s friends testing the veracity of our new hero’s claim of being Thor. She is given 3 tasks that she must complete.  If she completes them she will win the favor of Odinson’s friends. The art in this story is unusual and not my favorite but the writing is great and fun to read

The third story has been talked about for awhile.  It was written by WWE ex wrestling legend CM Punk.  And, all in all, he does a pretty good job.  He asks:  if Satan had a drinking contest with Thir who would win.  It’s funny and whimsical and worth the read.  The art is also whimsical and funny and fits the story pretty well.  This annual deserves a grade of B.

3.  I was so very happy to hear that Spider-Verse was ending and oh so disappointed to learn there was an epilogue and a Secret Wars chapter with the same title.  All the loose ends are tied up in this issue, though.  Only one villain remains, Otto Octavius.  He doesn’t want to go back to his earth because it will mean his death.  So he wreaks enough destruction to potentially unravel time.  One of the spiders must stay behind to mend what is destroyed.

I don’t suppose it’s fair that I judge this book on the rest of the others.  It was a relief that EOSV is over.  It was an okay story only.  I found no fault with the art.  Grade: B-

4.  Uncanny Avengers has always been a bit otherworldly and sometimes the ethereal nature of the book can detract from its enjoyment.  However, this time it works.  Issue #002 wasn’t all that bad

The High Evolutionary on Counter Earth has created beings and when he sees their faults he kills them.  The ghosts want revenge and they are going to get Captain Voodoo to help them.  The art in this section of the book is amazing.  I really thought the facial expressions on the ghosts were creepy and expertly drawn.

The comic starts with a death, sort of.  The scene is somewhat disconcerting.  One of the things that makes this title work for me is how evil the High Evolutionary is portrayed.  This is an enemy that has power behind its words.  

Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch are beginning to learn their origins in all of this.  Scarlet Witch is incredibly well drawn.  I am looking forward to what happens next.  Grade: A-

5.  The last Marvel book I read this week was Wolverines #008.  It took a strange turn this week.  Fang, A Shi’ar guard, and friend of Wolverine has come looking for Wolverine and he’s willing to kill all his enemies in order to find out who killed him.

There is a lot of action in this book but the writing is a bit annoying.  It was as if the characters were having conversations that only they were having.  Another B- book

This ends my thoughts on this week’s comics.  See you next week. 

Marvel Comic Book Reviews for the week of 2/23/15 part 1

Welcome back to my corner of the Galaxy.  This week I have 10 titles and I’m happy to bring my thoughts on them to you.  So let’s get started.  Spoilers abound.

1.  Brian Michael Bendis and Angela Sorrentino brought us this week’s installment of Black Vortex. This is chapter 4 of the story and is issue 038 of All New X-men.   It is ethereal and just a little creepy.  Gamora, Beast and Angel have submitted themselves to vortex and have been imbued with cosmic power.  They stole the artifact and have plans to change the universe into their image.  Will they be able to?  You’ll have to read to find out

There are two guest appearances in this issue.  One we have seen in the Guardians of the Galaxy movie but not in the current run of comic book and a return player to the game.

The art, combined with one phrase used numerous times at the beginning of the story brought us a very strange feeling that Gamora, Beast and Angel believe they are gods.  The writing and art in this book are both good at creating the tone that they clearly want to create.

I have one problem with the story.  There are moments in this entire story where it feels like I have been reading one giant cosmic game of Capture the Flag.  We are slowly learning the importance of the flag but it still feels like a game.  This issue takes some of that feeling away but it needs to go further.  Grade: A-

 Fantastic Four #643 might be the prettiest comic book I’ve seen in a long time.  The imagery and rendering is so incredibly rich that I was eagerly awaiting each page.  Leonard Kirk did an amazing job.  The colorist also did an amazing job helping the visuals.

There is a difficulty in making a book look too slick in that it can detract from the writing in a book.  James Robinson, however, does a great job keeping up with the art.

There are two parts to this comic that are connected.  At the end of the book last month, Fantastic Four recruited Sleepwalker to enter Franklin’s dreamworld to kill the monsters that Mr. Quiet released.  That story has not been resolved yet.

In addition, the Avengers teams are dispatched all over the world to fight the threat.

From beginning to end this is s great book.  While I would have liked to have seen more of the Sleepwalker I was very content reading this book.  Grade:  A

3.  Amazing X-men #017 had great writing and very inconsistent art.  I’m not sure why but the artist seems to use heavier pencilling in scenes than in others and as a result, the reader is left scratching his head wondering if the artist is good or not.

Prior to beginning this storyline I had never even heard of the Gem of Cyttorak so I had no idea why it was important.  For those of you who don’t know, the gem is what makes the Juggernaut, the juggernaut.

A lot of bad guys want the chance to be The Juggernaut including Cain Marko, who at one time was Juggernaut.  In this issue we learn who will become the villain

I would love to say I loved this issue but the art ending jarring me back into reality.  I’m giving this book a grade of B-.

4.  I haven’t quite figured out what it is about the Darth Vader series that I don’t like.  Issue 2 has allowed me to get closer to figuring it out but I’m still not committed to one reason yet.  I think it is a number of factors.  

One of them is the pacing.  If I remember correctly, Vader was always cunning and collected when planning to confront his enemies.  He had a patience in him when things were frenetic.  While the author has done a great job matching the tone of Darth Vader, he still reads like a scolded child and not the truly evil mastermind that he is.

I had trouble with the action sequences in the book.  All the laser fire and light sabers seemed static on the page instead of showing any movement.  There is nothing that allows the reader to feel the movement in each scene.

Putting Vader second to General Tagge was a mistake.  I hope this aspect of the book will change over time.

I wanted to love this book. I’m giving this book a B-.  The author and artist have only barely scratched the surface of the magic of Star Wars.

5.  The last book I read for part 1 of this week’s reviews is Spider-Gwen #1.  From what I’ve been told the heat on this book is pretty intense.  Gwen Stacy is dead.  At least she is in our universe.  In Spider-Gwen’s universe she is alive and well and has taken on the roll of Spider-woman.

Spider-Gwen was first introduced in Edge of Spider-Verse #2 and immediately people were clamorong for more.  Sales on eBay of that issue with a CGC rating of 9.8 are being sold for close to $300.00.  The Greg Land variant cover closer to $600.00.

Although the character was introduced in that comic book, we meet her again in this book.  We see all the ways she’s trying to juggle her personal life and her hero life.

I liked the writing in this book but I’ve always had issues with alternate dimensions is that the story is still very similar and it’s never done in a way I find so clever that it makes me desperate for more.  There are far too many parallels to Peter Parker and I hope the comic will try to distance itself from that.

Still this was a cool comic book.  The imagery might be geared toward a younger crowd but it was still fun to read, with moments of seriousness locked in.  Grade: B+

So ends part 1.  Part 2 coming soon

Marvel comic book reviews for the week of 2/16/15 part 3

Loki Agent of Asgard #011 tells the continuing bad luck of Loki in all of his timelines( except the one where he’s pretty evil). He is on trial for his crimes and now he’s been stripped of his title and banished from Asgard. In addition, things in Manhattan are not going well for him with Verity Willis.

If you are looking for a comic book with action this is not it. This is a plot driven book. The writing is decent but it seems like the authors of this book and thor are trying real hard to bring Odinson and Loki together based solely on their bad luck. Grade:B

2. Sometimes it nice to read a story that isn’t doom and gloom in comic books. Avengers World 017 is that book. This story takes place before Time Runs Out so its not full of incursions and other scientific numbs jumbo that makes your toes curl.

This book is about Smasher and Cannonball and the lengths the two of them will go to to stay with each other.

There is some action in the book and those scenes were way too easily resolved. Still I don’t think the point of this comic book was to do anything more than tell a love story. Most books have ignored that this month is valentines month but Marvel chose this book to honor the day

For what the book is the writing is good. But the art has always been the reason to pick up this title. Checchetto has a very cool and steady hand in his art. Grade: A-

3. I missed the last issue of She-Hulk so the final issue of the series was a bit of a blur for me. Issue 12 is the final issue of the series. I have never been a gigantic fan of the art in this book but Charles Soule has always created a strange and different view of the character.

There is s bit of a huge challenge writing the story of a Super hero lawyer. On the whole Lawyers are not very interesting and intriguingLuckily enough her clientele kept the book interesting. From Doctor Doom’s kid to Steve Rodgers this has been an interesting run.

But perhaps the best of the book is the letters column. I met Charles Soule at C2E2 and he seemed well aware of his talent to the point where he may have come across cocky. However, in this book he wrote a letter to his fans that was humble and a pretty cool tribute to his fans. Grade: B

4. I make it a point to not review books I don’t understand. Captain America and The Mighty Avengers 005 tends to be that book. There are things I understand but not that much. Blue Marvel is looking for one of his kids in the negative zone. His son thinks he found him. Jason Quantrell wants control of the Avengers. He is evil.

The art in this book is fantastic. I’d give this book an A but I had to dig into my memory to figure out what was going on. Grade: B

Although I had 13 books I’m reviewing only 12. Please come back next week for more

Marvel Comic book Reviews for the week of 2/16/15 part 2

1. Magneto #015 Was an absolutely excellent book, but not for the art. Last month we learned that Magneto allowed himself to be captured by S.H.I.E.L.D. In this issue we learn why.

This issue is a combination of present action and flashbacks between Magneto and Xavier. Each scene is woven together with ease to give us a story with motivations that are believable even if the characters are clearly fictional.

This issue is a little different than others because Magneto is working with a team rather than just one other. The Marauders joined him in his quest. There might even be ramifications with Wolverines, if the timelines are congruent.

In most instances the art is good but the pencils are still odd when coming to facial expressions. This is definitely a grade A book.

2. Deathlok #005 just made this entire series a must read for me. Nathan Edmondson has done an absolutely fantastic job giving us enough intrigue each issue that it absolutely makes me want to read more. This is no different.

In the last issue Henry Hayes was shot in the head by Domino. This issue takes place immediately following things. S.H.I.E.L.D is actively trying to determine what happened. Deathlok’s control is also trying to figure it out and now Tony Stark is trying to figure it out.

The best part of the book is the last few pages. There is a twist that, while not completely unforeseen, should make things interesting. Mike Perkins is doing a great job with the art too. This was an A+ book

3. Uncanny X-men #031 finally wraps up a very long storyline that has had some very shocking moments. To be honest, there is no way to do this review without serious spoilers. If you don’t want to know what happened in this book, I’d recommend going to the next review.

Time travel is one of the most overused plot devices of any comic book. One of the biggest temptations involved in using this device is to tell a story then undo it within a few pages so that everything that happened before never really happened at all. While it may not bother a lot of people, it makes me feel like a sucker for buying 6 or 7 issues for something that never happened. In addition, it leaves a sour taste in my mouth about the past issues.

There are things to enjoy while reading this book. Cyclops makes a tough decision that will have ramifications across all X books. And Xavier gives a warning to Eva Bell that is ominous at best. I have to give this book a grade of B-. It would have gotten a better grade but I feel a bit duped

4. My last review for part 2 of my reviews is Silk #1. The author of this book is also the writer behind the television show Supernatural. Cindy Moon, Silk, was originally introduced as an offshoot to Original Sin. Peter Parker learned that another person had been bitten by the same radioactive spider and as a result had powers like he has.

After discovering her he finds that he can’t keep his hands off her.

She also had a large part to play in Spider-verse.

It can’t be easy creating a new hero. I imagine it’s kind of like throwing a lot of ideas against a wall hoping one of them will stick. The good news: I think this book has a good chance of sticking.

I thought this book was a strong debut. The writing was fun and the art enjoyable. If I had one criticism of the book is that I think it might have tried to cover too much ground. I also think Cindy’s origin is too parallel to Peter’s. I really enjoyed this book. Grade: B

Marvel Comic Book Reviews for the week of 2/16/15 part 1

Welcome this week to another round of reviews for the week. I’m a bit overwhelmed by the fact that I have close to 300 pages of comics to read and review. But I will endeavor to do my best.

1. The first book I read this week was Legendary Star Lord #009 The Black Vortex. As my readers know, I have liked this event for the most part. The summary of the event is found in the first page of the book but to give a very brief account of the series so far: Billions of years ago there was an alien race known as the Viscardi. They were given an artifact called The Black Vortex which imbues its users with cosmic energy. The artifact caused the Viscardi to be destroyed because the cosmic power caused them to turn on each other.

Somehow, in the future, Star Lord learns that his father J-son of Spartax, now Master Knife, has used this artifact to imbue his henchmen. Peter Quill and his girlfriend, kitty Pryde, steal the artifact and she transports the crew to a moon of Spartax but not before recruiting The Guardians of the Galaxy and the X-men to fight off Mister Knife’s henchmen. In the battle, Gamora senses they will lose the fight and uses The Black Vortex to become a god-like version of herself. She also uses the mirror to show the other team members what they could be with cosmic powers. This prompts a long conversation between characters as to whether or not the mirror should be used.

In this issue we learn if any of the team members succumb to the temptations of using the artifact. We also learn the effect that the mirror has on each of the characters that use it.

As I’ve said, I’ve enjoyed most of this series. Although this book was not as good as others. I couldn’t help but remembering the scenes in The Incredibles about monologuing. The dialogue in this issue was a bit too long winded. The art on the other hand, is fantastic. Paco Medina( not the funky cold type) does a great job of pencilling this issue.

I don’t think this was a bad issue but I think it could have been a little less wordy. Grade: B

2. First off, let me say I LOVE the writing in Rocket Raccoon #008. Skottie Young has consistently made me laugh out loud while reading the misadventures of Rocket and his friend

. I also need to give a shout out to Bradley Cooper whose voice is in my head as I read Rocket.

This issue is both serious and funny. Groot is dying. He was poisoned by a Nogu beast and the only cure is the yolk of a Nogu queen’s egg. The only way to do that is to enter her cave and extract the yolk.

With the writing being as good as it is, the art was as equally awful. This is not American Manga but its representative of Asian art. While some people might love it, it is definitely not my cup of tea. The wispiness and abstract nature of the art makes the reader have to concentrate too hard on something that should be fun. I think the writing in this book is great but I also think the book as a whole could be better. Grade: B

3. Black Widow #015 continues Natasha’s vendetta against Chaos. Chaos is the organization that killed her attorney. At the end of the last book Natasha had tracked down the organization to a cruise ship but she was thrown overboard along with a grenade but that doesn’t stop her

If you are looking for a comic book that has a ton of action, you should read this book. The action continues to read like a female James Bond. I loved reading this book. Especially the scenes with the helicopter.

The art was also very well done here. I love reading a book where the art is a great representation of the character. There is also a guest appearance by Bucky Barnes and Black Widow finds that she has an ally.

The end of the book gives us a cliffhanger and the story of Chaos is not done yet. Grade: A

4. Moon Knight #012 ends the run of another creative team and what appears to be the end of another story arc. Marc Spektor has lost the influence that Khonsu has over him because his “doctor” convinced the spirit to inhabit her. That’s bad news because Marc is falling from a plane in the sky.

This issue gives us an insight into why the doctor wants Khonsu’s help.

Brian Wood and Greg Smallwood did an honorable job filling Ellis’ shoes. I look forward to a new team but at the same time, I dread it. I’m hoping the art direction stays the same. Seeing Moon Knight as pure white with only a hint of black is very cool. Grade:A

So ends part 1 of 3. More to come soon