Marvel Comic Book Reviews for the week of 3/23/15

1.  Nightcrawler #012 is the last of the issues in this ongoing series.  I have mixed feelings about this title ending.  On the one hand, I love Nightcrawler as a character but on the other hand, this comic run relied too heavily on pirates from Hell as the villains and it got a bit cumbersome reading the same plot month after month.

This book dealt with the final confrontation between Volge the pirate and War Dogs against Bloody Bess and Nightcrawler and his students at the school.

On the whole this book was decent.  However, there were moments when the dialogue felt a bit schmaltzy.  That can happen when kids are characters in the books.  

I liked that the kids played a role in the action of the story but even more that they wanted to play a role in the story.

The book did an alright job in tieing up the plots.  

The art in the book was a bit inconsistent.  There were moments where it was excellent but it also seemed that there were moments where the art seemed both over and underdone.  Grade: B

  

2. Uncanny X-men #032 follows what started out as a great story but ended up being very disappointing.  In the Last Will and Testament of Charles Xavier we learned that Charles had muted a mutant’s powers because they could have caused an extinction level event.  Charles left a hologram projected will where he stated he needed the x-team to make certain those powers were still muted.  It turns out that the Mutant in question found out what Xavier had done and killed a couple X-men.  Before we could find out what was left to whom in Xavier’s will, kitty Pryde travels into the past and brings back the young Charles Xavier and everything that happened to that point was undone.

When the Will is eventually read, we find out the school was left to Scott.  Cyclops, racked with guilt decides to leave the school

This issue of the series covers the repercussions for making that decision.  His students are pissed.  Emma Frost is pissed.  The only person that is in Cyclops’ corner is his brother, Havok.

I think this book did a pretty good job asking one fundamental question.  What was Cyclops fighting for and if he walks away from it what does that mean?  It is clear that Cyclops doesn’t know.  I thought this was a pretty good issue.  I’m looking forward to what comes next.  Grade: B+

  

3. When I originally saw the cover of Star Wars Darth Vader #003 I was really hoping that Mara Jade was going to become a part of the Marvel Universe.  She’s not.  Instead we are getting a woman that reactivates battle droids for clients.  Because of his falling out with Emperor Palpatine, Vader is having to create his own private army.  He hires the woman in the cover to help him with that.

The writing in this book is generally excellent. However, this chapter was kind of lackluster.  We get the real impression that Vader is very methodical in his planning but there are moments where he seems too methodical and, as a result, the plot plods along

The artist still has difficulty creating motion in his art.  The detail is next to amazing but his inability to create motion can be disappointing.  Grade: C+

  

4. Guardians 3000 #006 starts another time hopping adventure.  Unfortately these adventures are over done and so far there is not a lot of changes to make the story completely original.  There is a twist that should prove interesting

The GOTG 3000 go back in time 1,000 years and meeting the GOTG 2015 to see how to stop the time continuum is falling apart and how it can be stopped.

A page or two is dedicated to arguments between the teams over their name.

I really dislike it when comic books are willing to spend time arguing over petty things.  Grade: B-

  

Marvel Comic Book Reviews for the week of 3/23/15

1.  Up until the 80’s Comic books were written for a younger audience and used a lot of words like “Gee Whiz!” to express surprise.  Now we have solid writing with amazing plots that are complex and worth every moment you put into them.  One of the best written books that Marvel releases monthly is Deathlok.  

I originally picked up this book because of Deathlok’s role on Marvel Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.  I have not been disappointed in any of the first six issues.  Before I continue, it’s important to mention this is not the same character as the show.  The backgrounds are remotely similar but they are different characters.

In this iteration we are treated to a man who is given false memories of being a doctor without borders while really finishing missions where he kills people.  Through a series of events he gets shot by Domino.  Something breaks inside his cybernetics which is causing him to remember the missions he’s supposed to be forgetting.

In Deathlok #006 he has a conversation with his handler who warns him that he needs to continue his missions or else….

The magic of this book is its writing.  We are learning the lengths the company that is controlling him are willing to go to get what they want.  We genuinely feel for the character.  I’m giving this book a grade of A.

  

2.  To say a lot happened in Guardians of the Galaxy 025 Black Vortex Chapter 7 would be a bit of an understatement.  When you read a comic book and the only voice of reason is the villain regarding the artifact called Black Vortex then you know the artifact is a very big deal.

This has been a very well written series.  In many events the weight of the actions is not really portrayed in a way that communicates the severity of the situation.  That is definitely not the case here.

There has been a ton of destruction in this series and a huge amount in this issue.  The art is beyond good here too which can largely be attributed to the colorist.  I highly recommend reading this series.  Grade: A.

  

3. Nova 028 The Black Vortex chapter 8 was a nice change to the series.  So far the event has been pretty dire and dark.  This chapter injects some very funny humor into the event. As we found out in the last chapter Nova has The Black Vortex but he hasn’t figured out where to put it.  ****Spoiler Alert**** he brings it to his mom’s house.

In a very memorable dinner scene we are treated to The Collector meeting Nova’s mom.  Both the art and the writing in this book and the “too little, too late” part of this story is great.  This is another grade A book.

  

4.  Legendary Star-Lord 010 The Black Vortex Chapter 9 may have been the first book in the crossover event that faltered in its greatness.  The fault is not in the art.  Warning:  there are spoilers throughout.

First: I loved Thane’s deal he made with the brood and his encasing the Spartax planet in a sort of Amber encasing was cool too.

Second: I did not like the miniature brood who were designed to eat through the Amber while the other heroes couldn’t break through the encasing.  And why was Kitty Pryde the only one who broke her bonds?

I also thought the dialogue was very heavy handed.  This was a mediocre chapter.  Grade: B-

  

5.  I seldom read a comic book that pisses me off but Amazing X-men 018 really ticked me off.  Why?  Because last month a new Juggernaut was created and instead of trying to stop it immediately the X-men decide that they are tired of fighting and decide a pow wow around a campfire would be better.  Whether it’s arrogance that causes the team to act that way or just very annoying writing, I don’t know.  But I do know it was a bad choice

This issue felt like it was phoned in.  Everything about the book felt lazy from the art to the writing.  There was a confrontation but I felt like the characters were thumbing their nose at me before I got there.  All in all, very disappointed.  Grade: D

  

Marvel Comic Book Reviews for the Week of 3/16/15 Part 2

1.  Spoilers abound: I’m usually not a big fan of .1 stories but I gotta say: I liked The Amazing Spider-man #16.1 Spiral #1.  Peter is back from his Spider-verse adventures( thank God) and he is having trouble getting back to his life.  Things haven’t necessarily changed around Spider-man but he has changed coming face to face with alternate versions of himself.

As he’s doing his rounds in Manhattan he comes across Officer Watanabe( also known as The Wraith) who is in a shootout with Tombstone and his men.  The shootout ends up killing Watanabe’s mentor and when she tries to find out why her attempts are blocked by her commanding officer.  Tombstone is released from jail( I’ll keep that part a secret as to why.).  

Officer Watanabe doesn’t feel justice is being served so Wraith and Spidey go after Tombstone.  Spidey cautions against being a vigilante but it’s unsure if Wraith will listen.  The premise is that Tombstone is vying for control of the gangs.  

There is nothing I find objectionable about the  comic book with the exception of the obligatory watch yourself lecture every time a hero comes in contact with someone who has the potential to be a vigilante.

I really liked the pencilling and coloring in this issue.  The team of Barberi, Vlasco, and Silva have done a great job with the art.  This book deserves a grade of: A.



2.  The beauty of Silk #002 is in Robbie Thompson’s writing.  It’s almost as if the author of the book has known Cindy Moon’s history intimately.  That level of personal attention to the details of her life makes Cindy and Silk both intriguing to get to know and watch.

Cindy’s family has disappeared and she exhausts all her leads in hopes of finding them.  Early on in the book we are treated to a flashback of Cindy with her first love, Hector.  She meets him on the street 10 years later and he’s engaged to be married.  Cindy is beginning to understand what her confinement has cost her.

There is some fighting in this book and we are slowly learning that some of her confrontations with villains are designed to test her abilities.  Of course, she doesn’t know that.

The art work in this book has a very manga feel to it but it works very well.  I loved this book.  Grade: A.



3.  To say Loki Agent of Asgard 012 is confusing might be a huge understatement.  Let’s just say: It would take a diagram to figure it all out.  A diagram I’m not willing to create.  Loki has killed his past self and present self so that his future self could be king of his own realm.  He has orchestrated a plan where he could erase his past sins and grab power.  The problem is:  he has destroyed everything he could have power over.  Which begs the question: why bother?

Usually I’m a huge fan of this series.  It’s been fun watching Loki but the last few issues have been too convoluted.  Things come to an end next month.

I will say this:  the art has improved and may be the one redeeming feature of this convoluted story.  Grade: B- 

  

4.  The last book I’m reviewing this week is a pretty heavy read.  Magneto #016 is a pretty heavy story and is definitely not a book for kids.  Briar from SHIELD has joined Magneto on Genosha and a romance is brewing.

There has been a murder on Genosha.  Erik has been trying to create a utopia for his fellow mutants and and a mysterious figure has murdered some of his fellow mutants leaving behind a swaztika.  It’s a terrible symbol. 

There is terror and intrigue in this story and the cliffhanger is something else.  It might be a blessing that the art is a bit lacking in this story.  Too detailed would have made the story too heavy to read.  Grade: B.  This book is not for the faint of heart

  

Thank you for reading this week’s reviews.  See you next week.  By the by:  a few mountain dew’s were harmed in the making of this blog 

Marvel Comic Book Reviews for the week of 3/16/15

As many of you know, I did things a little differently this week.  I reviewed my local convention first.  I figured since it was the last I’ll go to for a while I’d give my thoughts.

This week is probably my favorite comic book week of the month because it has some of the best writing of all the series I read in it.  Magneto, Hulk, Moon Knight and others are all represented.  So let’s get started.   There are spoilers in these reviews.

1.  The first book I read this week is my favorite hero of all.  Hulk 013 continues Doc Green’s obsession with finding and curing anyone effected by Gamma radiation.  At the end of the last issue we learned that Doc Green hired Deadpool to find Rulk( Thunderbolt Ross).  This issue we learn that Doc Green has garnered some unwanted attention and Deadpool is working as a double agent( sort of).

Lyra is still on the loose and no one can find it.  In a rare moment of humility, Doc Green admits he’s wrong and absolves some of his employees. 

Doc Green goes after The Red Leader and there’s a trap being set for Doc.  The end of the book starts the confrontation we’ve been waiting for.

This was an excellent issue.  Jam packed with intrigue and complex plot lines.  The art is absolutely excellent.  Grade: A



2.  The best way to review All New X-men #039 Black Vortex chapter 5 is to summarize the past issues and then add my thoughts.  The Viscardi no longer exist.  Using the Black Vortex killed them by imbuing the entire race with cosmic powers and, as a result, they turned on each other.  Mister Knife, formerly J-son ruler of Spartax, has possession of the artifact and has hired henchmen and imbued them with the cosmic power given off by the black vortex.  Peter Quill and his girlfriend, Kitty Pryde, hire the X-men and The Guardians of the Galaxy to deal with the situation.  Instead of healing the situation, Gamora, The Beast, and Angel used the Black Vortex imbuing them with cosmic power.  With their God-like powers they destroy the Kree home world.  In the meantime, Mister Knife destroys the Spartax moon using his ship

This book was good but not incredible.  With Cyclops showing up in the last issue, there are some moments between Scott, Laura and Jean that are great.  We may even see the beginning of the romance between Jean and Scott. 

This issue divides the teams into two groups.  One must go to the Kree home world and the other must deal with the threat to the Spartax moon.

I thought the art in this book was mostly fantastic, however, there were moments where it was a little distracting.  I’m giving this book a grade of: B.



3.  Guardians Team-up 003 The Black Vortex chapter six is the weakest of the chapters in the saga so far.  In this issue we learn that the ancient race, The Viscardi, has not been completely decimated.  There is one left and he has been sent on a mission to destroy the black vortex.  He also wants to avenge his people.  

The second storyline has to do with Ronan the Accuser asking permission to use the mirror to stave off the attack of Gamora, The Beast and Angel.  I will save the outcome of that request for you to read.

My problem with this chapter has been my problem with the team up books so far.  The art is flat.  It lacks feeling.  It’s not that it’s poorly drawn per se, it’s just that it is expressionless in parts of the story.

As a whole, I’ve really enjoyed this story.  I think The Black Vortex represents a tangible threat and it has been pretty well defined.  I’m giving this book a B-, though.  This issue fell flat for me.



4.  I have been a huge fan of the new Moon Knight series.  Even when there was a team change but Moon Knight 013 marks the third change in writing and art direction and I’ll be honest: this wasn’t my favorite issue.

Never in the 13 issue run have we seen him communicate with any other dead than the ghost of Khonsu.  He has suddenly become the Ghost Whisperer.  Khonsu has asked Marc to avenge the death of a household of ghosts by figuring out why a number of guys are capturing ghosts in witch orbs.  When you find the reason you might groan a little.

One of the things that I previously loved about the comic book was the subtlety of the art.  The art was understated and, as a result, the violence was even more alarming.  The art this time around is more pronounced.  I don’t think the art is bad, it’s just different and changes the tone of the book.  Grade:  a weak B.  I’m reserving judgement until I read another issue



Thank you for reading part 1.  Part 2 will be here tomorrow

My thoughts on Indiana Comic Con

So this week I went Indiana Comic Con. I shared some images from my time there a few days ago. I wanted to give my thoughts before I write my reviews. Last year the people putting on the con grossly underestimated the people who would be interested in the event. This year they made the mistake of making it bigger and not giving attendees enough to do. The line to see Carrie Fisher was constantly busy and the other celebrities had their lines too but there were not enough panels going on at all times to keep people out of the lobby. Moving around while not in the convention halls was almost unbearable.

The organization did not need to open the ticket counter at 8:30am unless they were planning on allowing attendees on the main floor at the same time. Instead, they closed it until 10am. What they should have done is had let people with VIP tickets in early so that it would have thinned out the crowd.

There were a lot of vendors but not as many comic book shoppes as I had hoped. Word is( and this is just what I’ve heard, not what I researched) that the thinning amount of comic shops represented has to do with vendors losing money.

Artist alley was fun but it didn’t have the same fervor as I saw at C2E2. Mark Waid had some interest at his table. He was a really nice guy. I told him I was enjoying his writing in SHIELD. He explained that he was enjoying writing it.

The highlight of Artist Alley(for me) was meeting Greg Land. Another super nice guy with an immense amount of talent. I had him sign an issue of Sojurn and Spider-woman.

I met Jenna Coleman(Clara from Doctor Who). I had a chance to ask her any question, any question at all. I asked her if she knew the name of The Doctor. She answered that no one knows the name of the doctor. I suppose its better than the guy who asked her if she would have his baby.

I really liked her Q and A session. She is a very attractive woman and I think the character of Clara masks her beauty. I learned a lot about Doctor Who and she was very patient answering questions.

The Game of Thrones panel was great! Although I would imagine that Jason Momoa might have some apologies to make for telling his detractors to F— off! He also took a selfie flipping off the guy holding the camera. The panel was funny and for nearly 30 minutes it was nothing but laughs

Comic con was fun and it was definitely bigger but it needs more activities for people. I’d move the Con to a weekend when it doesn’t have to share the building with different conventions. I think there was a cheering competition there. Add more panels and spread their locations out.

Comic shops brought a lot of good comics but I didn’t see very many high end comic books there. It was better than last year but it needs to be better