Reviews for the Marvel Comic Book releases on 7/29/15

Welcome back to my little corner of the interweb.  This week I have a number of comics to review including two of my favorite Marvel titles: Deathlok and Black Widow.  Let’s get started.  

1.  As I’ve mentioned in the past, the reason that Deathlok continues to be my favorite comic book is the writing.  There are very few times that I can honestly say that I am entranced by a story enough to hang on every word.  I also love it when a book throws you for a curve and you’re left thinking ‘Wow! That was cool.’  Deathlok #010 is that book.

In some ways the book takes the course you expect it to take.  Henry Hayes has been threatened to comply with the people that are giving him orders by them threatening to kill his daughter unless he completes their missions.  When that happens you have one of two choices.  You can either continue to do the missions in hopes that your daughter won’t be hurt or you can go after the people that are threatening you.  Guess which avenue Henry chooses to walk down.

Henry actually does few shocking things in order to escape the influence of Biotek that surprise and excite.  I just finished reading the book and I can tell you that there are three major scenes in this book that propel the story.  One is a bit gruesome and the other two are surprises.  One of them you will not get until the last page.

Every action in the book makes sense.  That is another reason to love this series.  When plot twists pop up they aren’t made to shock and awe, but because they are carefully thought out plot devices that genuinely work.

I had one small gripe with Domino’s actions in that I’m not sure her dialogue is in line with her character or not.  However, it’s not a big enough gripe to change my opinion of the book.

The artwork here is fan-freaking-tastic!  The gruesome scenes especially where you can feel the agony of the characters in the scene.  I’m giving this issue a well deserved grade of A.

2. I read a letter from someone associated with the book, at the back of the book, saying that if you get to take part of 20 issues of anything, you are doing well.  I guess that’s true, but it’s also unfortunate.because really, really good books don’t get a chance to develop.  Black Widow #020 was the last of what might be one of best titles that Marvel has introduced in recent years.  I really wanted to see more of this title.  It is not often that a book leaves you in awe and allows you to ride the roller coaster that the main character is riding as if you were on the same ride.  Marvel is missing out on dissolving this title because they desire to create first issues to create additional revenue.

 This issue was an unusual send off.  It was dark and gritty and morally ambiguous.  But it clears the slate for her and it also makes sense for the character.  I’m going to miss this series.  Grade: A

3.   Star Wars #007 is not really an action centered book but it is, nonetheless, intriguing.  The book centers on Obi Wan’s diary entry as he tries to straddle the line between being normal and being a Jedi.  The thrust behind the story is that Tatooine is experiencing a drought and Obi Wan is deciding how much of a part to play in the conflict between the citizens and Jabba’s forces.

It is unusual, but cool, to look at these issues and see them as Canon but Marvel and Disney have announced that they are considered part of the Star Wars timeline.  With that in mind, there is one particular scene that adds to the mythology that is pretty astounding.

The writing in this issue, and in past issues, is very consistent with the cadence of the characters in the movies.  It is fun to have the movies as a reference for the rest of the series.

One of the things that makes this series great is that the writers and creators have been working with Lucasfilm on this comic to create a truly authentic experience.  

The art is a reflection of the movie and the details do remind you of the settings in the movie.

There is a lot of untapped potential in this series and so many different ways that this book could travel direction wise.  Great job.  B+

4.  Okay, up til now S.H.I.E.L.D has been a pretty vanilla book.  It has been thrilling to see the agents work with Superheroes but, in reality, the book has not delved into any territory that the show hadn’t teased.  This issue changes that.

S.H.I.E.L.D. #008 is much darker than previous issues.  Mark Waid may have channelled his Inner Chris Carter and given us a comic book that feels more like an X-Files story than a story about a government agency designed to stop superhuman threats.

The thing that makes this issue even more intriguing is that the book focuses on powers that are not genetically given powers.  The imagery in this book is dark and the subject matter is even darker.  I would be even more excited about this series if all the books were written at the same level of suspense and horror as this one.  Grade: B+

5.  Well, we have an art winner this week…. 

  
This is the opening panel of the book and most of the book is drawn at the same level of complexity and wonder of the rest of the book.  Only once does it falter.  

This story is beyond what I imagined it to be.  It’s like watching an episode of Law and Order that takes place in Battleworld.  The mystery continues on trying to find Jane Foster and why her others are being attacked.

There is one shocking moment during the investigation that provides us with a plot twist that could have dramatic consequences for Thor to come.

This was a very well written book.  I’m giving this a grade of A-.   There were only 2-3 panels I wasn’t too fond of.

Review of Marvel Comic books released on 7/23/15

Every week that I sit down to read my comics I look at my titles and put them in the order I enjoy reading them.  Lately,I’ve been putting my Reviews of Secret Wars separate from my other books.  Not this week.  This week I’ll be putting them all together.  So let’s get started.

1.  Unfortunately I had to wait until Magneto #020 to get the art I wanted for the entire series.  Especially since this is the penultimate issue.  In previous issues the characters faces were drawn to look like potatoes with human eyes.  But this issue had really great art.

This entire series has been dark.  It has been even a bit disconcerting watching Magneto do anything to provide a future for mutants.  He is, by no means, a hero but, in ways, he attempts to be heroic for those he is passionate about.  

This issue focuses on his very strange relationship with his mysterious benefactor.  Magneto doesn’t believe in her intentions.  Enough to torture her using his powers to try to get them.

It also focuses on his daughter and their relationship.  Magneto is trying to stop an incursion using his powers.  There are some pretty disasterous consequences.

This is not a book for kids.  The scenes in this book are not for anyone who is remotely impressionable.  Grade:B.  While the art is much better, there were times when it got in the way.

2.   Uncanny X-men #035 was a little heavy handed, but other than that it was good.  X-men books have always been about how incredibly alienated they feel but they took the book a little too far.  

This book does a good job with social commentary but for shock value they take an abrupt turn which we’ve come to expect from any of the X-books.  I just wish that there was more that could be done to focus less on the discrimination and more on the teams succeeding in being heroic.  I don’t think it needs to be all the time but I already know that the public hates mutants.  Move on please

The star of the book is the coloring.  The richness of the hues really makes each panel pop.  This was a fun book to look at.

Grade: B

3.  Spider-man #009 started off pretty light hearted and about 2/3 way through it gets pretty strange.  It felt a lot like Cabin in the Woods.  In that movie it starts lighthearted and got very dark but quirky and weird very fast

Porcupine Man, Spider Woman and Ben Urich go on a trip to find the villains that have disappeared.  There are many fun moments in the book, and it’s clear that Jessica Drew is not having a good time having the travel mates that she has

The visuals in the last third of the book are creepy and full of dread.  But I’m interested in seeing where it goes.

I’m not a big fan of abrupt mood changes in books.  I also wasn’t a big fan of Cabin in the Woods.  My reason:  when changes occur that are too abrupt the style outshines the content.  There was a little easing into the change but, all in all, it might have been distracting.  Grade: B

4.  Future Imperfect #003 might have won the Marvel Comic Book race this week.  That is largely due to Greg Land.  His art is so detailed it makes you think that he must spend hours on each panel.  To give you an example:

  
It is a joy to read books he draws.

The writing here has been very entertaining.  Thaddeus Ross( The Thing in this series) has been captured and taken to the Maestro’s Castle.  

There is plenty of great action here and there are some plot twists that I look forward to seeing how they work out.  One of the bad things about August’s Marvel Previews is that we already know who survives.  The good thing:  the journey has not been decided.  I really liked this book.  Grade: A

I know this was a bit of a shorter blog entry.  I’ll be adding Sidekick and Birthright reviews( both Image Comics) tomorrow.  Tonight though I’m getting acquainted with a new novel

See ya soon

A girl who likes comic books

Something I wrote recently:

I want a girl who likes comic books

A little nerdy but still got the looks

She doesn’t have to be a poster queen

Or a princess from a movie scene
I want a girl who knows wrong from right

And not afraid to stand up and fight

Doesnt have to be a star in the ring

Doesn’t have to be my everything 
I want a girl who loves Rock and Roll

And knows that music can somehow heal the soul

Doesn’t need to be a superstar 

Doesn’t need to drive a fancy car
I want a girl who gives up her past

Puts in place the things that’s gonna last

Won’t compare me to those other guys

Won’t waste my time by telling lies
I want a girl that somehow could be you

I want a girl who sticks around and is true

Doesn’t need to swear it up and down

But she’ll be there when I come around
I want a girl who likes comic books

A little nerdy but still got the looks

Doesn’t have to be a beauty queen

Or grace the pages of a magazine

 

¬†Review of Marvel Studio’s Ant Man

Some Spoilers but not enough to ruin the movie….

So…people who have read my reviews of past Marvel movies know that I don’t sugar coat how I feel about them.  I have some pretty high standards when it comes to these movies.  Most have been pretty good but there have been some huge flops too( Iron Man 3 and Fantastic four, both of them, and Spider-man 3 which was a disaster).

On a scale of 1-10 this one lands about an 8.  First off, I think it’s important to recognize that even though Ant Man has played a huge part in the Marvel Comic book universe, what most people know of the character comes from Hank Pym.  Hank is in this movie but he is not Ant-Man.  He has retired and has turned over the reins to Scott Lang.  Michael Douglas did a great job playing Hank.

Paul Rudd does a commendable job as a hero with a checkered past who is trying to redeem himself in the eyes of his ex-wife so he can spend time with his daughter.  The movie spends a very short amount of time setting up that he was a thief who is trying to go legit.  Of course he gets sucked back in but for a mostly noble cause.

The movie did a pretty great job with the Origin stories of each of the characters.  Enough emotion was put into the movie that you have a very clear picture of the motivations of each character.

Evangeline Lily was also enjoyable as Hank’s daughter and plays the strained relationship very well. 

As far as the humor is concerned, there were very few times where the jokes didn’t hit.  There are a lot of jokes in the movie and some very funny moments that worked really, really well.  But I also thought there were moments that elicited giggles where it was clear the writers wanted big laughs.  I was a little disappointed that the humor wasn’t a bit more consistent.

The special effects are great.  However, because it’s a movie about a guy who has command over ants, you have to give yourself a minute to get over the absurdity of that statement.  For the most part, you get to the point where it all seems pretty cool.  But if I’m honest, I found myself asking the question about its cheesiness a lot.  As I mentioned I thought most of it was very cool.  One way that the writer helped that along was by giving us an entomology lesson on what different kinds of ants can do.  

I think the only big gripe I had about the movie is that it took too long for us to meet Yellowjacket and once we meet him there is not enough of him in the movie.  The fight scene at the end was great and there are some awesome visuals that are both very funny and great to watch.  That and I would have enjoyed seeing more of Michael Pena who steals every scene he’s in.

This was a very fun movie.  Would I have liked it to be a bit better?  A little.  I enjoyed this movie a lot more than Age of Ultron.  There are some areas in the movie that could have used some polishing but not enough to keep me from enjoying it.  Oh, and stay through the credits.  There are two scenes and one of them teases another movie franchise.  Grade: B

Reviews for Marvel Comic Books released on 7/15/15

This is a smaller week for Marvel comic books for me.  I only have six titles to read.  However, Marvel has a major studio release that I’ll be seeing Thursday night.  Truthfully, I’m not a big fan of Ant Man in the comics. Marvel seems to focus on him as a technological genius and nothing else.  I’m not expecting too much out of the movie but, as I write this the movie is enjoying a 71% grade on Rotten Tomatoes so somebody likes it.

But I did promise some comic book reviews this week, so I’m determined to write some.

1.  So far I’ve only read one comic book this week and, to be honest, I have mixed feelings about the book.  The first half of Moon Knoght #17 was great.  This was a truly creepy issue in a warehouse with no indication of where the book is headed.  This works incredibly well.  The reveal about half way through this issue is exceptionally cool.

Unfortunately, after the reveal the book takes a turn into the supernatural arena.  The writing team has done that recently focusing on Moon Knight as a ghostly character instead of s human bent on revenge.

The art here is still great and even in its strangeness the book is still pretty cool.  Grade: B

2. I have to admit that I’m a bit perplexed by the mini series Secret Wars Battleworld.  I’m not sure I understand the writer’s desire to make it a quirky series.  Doom holding together remnants of destroyed worlds is a strange way to try to be funny.  Issue 3 is no different.  

The format of this book seems a lot like Avengers Arena except two of the three stories the characters are fighting versions of themselves.  While this is a cool idea, the art is not my favorite.  My favorite books are books where the art is almost indiscernible from the story.  When one stands out from the other a book can feel lopsided.  This was the case here.

The story in the middle of the book with Deadpool and it’s mildly entertaining.  The title is great!

All in all, I’m giving this book a grade of B-.  I didn’t hate it or love it 

3.  Planet Hulk #003 Secret Wars may have won the Marvel Comic Book Universe with this single panel:

  
But instead of stopping there, the artist gave us this panel too:  

  
If you haven’t figured out yet, I think this art is astounding.  Marc Laming has created visuals that border on the verge of being as good as Greg Land’s art.  

The story has been cool too.  Doc Green and Captain American going across Green Land in search of Bucky has been a fun and harrowing adventure.  I also appreciate that this issue is starting to incorporate the bigger event.  Grade: A.

4. When Marvel puts a black box with large red letters on it saying “Parental Advisory Not for Kids” and then underlines the word Not, there is a reason.

Where Monsters Dwell #003 is that book.  It took a very strange turn too.  What started out as a pulp fiction, Indiana Jones like story and turned into a story about a tribe of lesbian Amazonian women who use men as semen dispensers and execute the men who outlive their usefulness.

I’ll be honest, I wasn’t a big fan of the tone shift of this book.  I was really enjoying the surface tension that felt innocent and a bit flirty.  This issue feels a little more cruel and if the end of the book doesn’t make most men cross their legs I don’t know what will

I understand that heroes have to have a point where they suffer in every story, and the hero in the story probably deserves some of it but the tone change was so abrupt that it took me out of the zone where I was enjoying the book.

Grade: A weak B.

I may complete the other two reviews at a later time.  I don’t feel like writing all day.  I’ll be doing more writing after Ant Man

This week’s reviews¬†

Hey faithful readers.  This week is gonna be a bit different.  Since Marvel has a movie coming out this week( Ant Man for those not paying attention) I’m going to pay most of my attention on reviewing the movie.  If my local theater has a showing Thursday I’ll be seeing it.  I’ll probably review a few other comics but my primary focus is the movie