Marvel Comic book reviews for the week of May 21st 2017( Part one with spoilers)

Welcome this week to another installment of Marty’s Meanderings, the place where I look at Marvel’s best, and sometimes worst, comics for the week.  This week has turned out to be a very busy week for me and the comics I read.  Let’s get started.

1.  The first comic I read this weelk might also be my favorite for the week.  X-Men Blue #004 has all the markings of a classic story.  Jean Grey and the rest of the X-Men have been sent to Colorado where they are hot on the trail of what appears to be a mutant.  The problem is that Cerebro has been a bit glitchy and can’t seem to correctly identify if it really is a mutant.  When they land they see a dead body with its heart torn out.  The local sherrif believes that the mutant is wolverine.  Could she be right?  You’ll have to read to find out.

This comic has it all.  Intrigue, action, old characters returning and art that seems much more reminiscent of 80’s comic books.  Both the writing( by Cullen Bunn) and the pencilling( by Julian Lopez) are top notch.

It is nice to be able to read a comic that is free of political or social commentary, as so many X-Men books are prone to do.  It is a plot rich book without trying to get a message across.  Grade:A

2.  Jean Grey #002 is a good comic that, at times, was distracting.  In the last issue of the book we were left with Jean having a very disconcerting vision of the Pheonix force saying it was coming.  This issue she tells her fellow teammates and they aren’t exactly open to the idea that Jean saw anything at all.  So, to get advice on what to do, she uses Cerebro to locate the other mutants that the Phoenix force had inhabited to see what she should do.  In the process she sees one of her fellow mutants in trouble and decides to help her.  That is where the book gets a bit complicated.

I didn’t think the transitions in this book were necessarily smooth 9enough.  The action in this book shifts between battle sequences and being inside the character’s  mind6s and there are times when the transitions are distracting.  I also have trouble believing that any of the mutants would casually dismiss jean’s claims that she had a vision of the Phoenix Force after the X-Men suffered such a tragic loss to it.  While I thought the book had its moments(one particular one where Jean acknowledges Marvel’s past events by breaking the 4th wall, sort of, sticks out) but all in all, this book seemed a bit disjointed to me.  Grade: B-

3.  This week’s The Totally Awesome Hulk #019 starts a new crossover series between Weapon X and TTAH called Weapons of Mutant Destruction.  This issue serves as a prologue.  As you may have read in past reviews the Weapon X program has been targeting Wolverine, Sabretooth, Domino, Warpath, and Lady Deathstrike by using cyborgs made of Adamantium.  Both Wolverine and Sabretooth can’t smell them coming and Warpath and Lady Deathstrike have been captured.  Now they’re after Amadeus Cho.  There has been no indication as to why but I think the Weapon X program is trying to harness the powers of each of the characters to create something to destroy mutants.

This event has the potential to be a very intere8sting crossover event.  Weapon X is a darker series with TTAH is much more light hearted and fun for teens.  I have to admit I’m nervous about this event not carrying the weight of its subject matter.  I’m giving this book a grade of B.  Its a promising start.

4.  I am not a huge fan of The Inhumans.  To me it seems that they are versions of mutants with a slightly different origin story.  That being said, Secret Warriors is becoming one of my favorite comic books to read.  

Whether or not it was wise to start a brand new series in the middle of a Marvel event remains to be seen, but this is a high octane book filled with excitement and plenty of action.  The book follows Daisy Johnson a.k.a Quake and her team of Ms. Marvel, Karnak, Quake, Moon Girl, Devil Dinosaur, and Inferno.  The Secret Warriors are trying to avoid Hydra while rescuing Inhumans that have been captured by them.

The book jumps around a lot between different time frames but it is never confusing.  In this issue we are transported between Philadelphia and New Jersey.  In Philadelphia we see the inhumans being captured by S.H.I.E.L.D.( which is now run by a brainwashed Captain America who believes he is the head of Hydra).  In New Jersey we get a fight between the iinhumans and the howling commandos lead by another hydra leader.

There is plenty of action in this book.  It is a lot of fun.  Grade: A.

5.  Steve Rogers Captain America #017 is a continuation of the Secret Empire Storyline.  There is not a lot of action in this book, however, there is quite a bit of tension.  Captain America has invited Sally Floyd, a reporter who had interviewed captain America before but gets irritated by the questions she is asking.  What happens to her?  You’ll have to find out by reading the issue.

This is an issues issue which is fine because it goes along with the story.  The question is posed:  how much power is too much power.  The writing in the book is fine.

The art, on the other hand, is annoying.  That may be because of the shading.  Each face is overdrawn and shaded in a way that each character looks like they are wearing one of those clear masks from the purge.  All in all, I’m giving this a grade of a low B.  While the story is intriguing, the art leaves something to be desired.

My comic book reviews for the week starting May 14, 2017( some spoilers )

Birthright #24- am not a huge Image fan but mostly because it seems they push the envelope of good taste just because they can.  That being said, there are a few excellent titles that are worth picking up.  One of those comics is Birthright.  Birthright is the story of Mike, a young boy who is playing ball by the woods with his father, when he disappears.  Fast forward only a few years in the comic and he returns but now as a fully grown man.  Come to find out, he was transported to a magical land called terrenos where he becomes a sort of savior to the masses by going to war with an evil sorcerer.  He is given an opportunity to return home to earth and he takes it.  Come to find out he has been inhabited by a nevermind, which in essence is a demon.  The story continues when different family members of mikey’s family become embroiled in the battle for mikey’s soul.

In issue 24 we learn that Mikey has been tricked in to believing that if he kills all the good mages that evil will have no more reason to fight and terrenos can be at peace.  Rya, his pregnant girlfriend from terrenos with wings, tries to stop him from killing them.  The issues is bloody and violent but it’s still as fun to read as the previous issues have been.  Sometimes the art in the book can seem a bit muddled and unspectacular but not enough to detract from the story.  If you like good fantasy stories this book should be right up your alley.  Great story.  Grade: A

2.  Secret Empire #2-  Secret Empire has turned out to be one of those comic events I never expected to like.  Mostly because I haven’t been reading any of the Captain America books.  However, I am intrigued by the story.  As many of you may remember, Maria Hill had used a cosmic cube, kobik, to trick marvel villains into believing they were peaceful.  However, Red Skull stole the cube and with the help of Professor X’s brain, which he had also stolen, used the cube to rewrite Captain America’s history and fooling him into believing he was a sleeper agent for Hydra.  Cap kills Red Skull and takes over hydra and starts a war with The Avengers and the rest of the Marvel Universe with the help of the Chitauri, a race of aliens that are attacking from outer space.  Several heroes in Las Vegas are fighting the Hydra regime while some are trapped under a dark force bubble in new York city.

In issue 2, a video of Rick Jones makes its way to our heroes and he explains that Kobik has been shattered and it’s pieces scattered.  This leads to what, undoubtedly will be the main plot point of the series.  Since the cosmic cube has the ability to re-write history, our heroes have to find all the pieces before Hydra does.  Not only does that need to happen, it needs to happen before another faction of heroes decides to kill Captain America.

There is a lot of info to absorb in this issue and maybe too much.  The tension is growing and the final panel throws a curve ball that leaves it’s readers wondering exactly what is going on.  This issue was still very intriguing but the coloring and art are a little too abstract for me.  All in all, I’d say it’s a good issue but not as good as past issues.  Grade: B+

3.  This week I learned that Marvel will be changing the art in one of its comics.  In X-men Gold #1 the artist made reference to a verse in the Koran that says that Christians and Jews should not be allowed to be leaders.  Marvel’s second printing of that comic is removing those references.  The artist of the book has been fired and the value of the book has skyrocketed to close to $35.00 on Ebay.

Issue #004, on newsstands today, is the first book of the series that doesn’t have some controversial message to it (and it’s about time).  In this issue Gambit is the main character.  He has been asked by Bolivar Trask’s daughter to steal what we learn later is nano technology.  His luck runs out and it causes all sorts of trouble.

We also learn that the captured member of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants is nothe even a mutant and lastly, Old Man Logansport and Storm visit a morgue to pick up a dead mutant.  Right now all these incidents seem unrelated and I’m sure they will be all tied together but for now there is no cohesion in the stories.

The art in this book is very Saturday morning cartoonish.  Syah, the artist who was fired with good cause, was still a better artist.  I enjoyed the story, and though the art was not as good as previous weeks, I enjoyed reading this comic book.  I’m giving the book an A-.  It wasn’t perfect but it felt less like a commentary on something and more of just an enjoyable book.

4.  For the past two weeks I’ve been reading Star Wars:  the Screaming Citadel and I have been enjoying the artwork immensely.  Last week Checcheto was the artist.  His art focused on landscape and scenery and his artistry in issue 1 was breathtaking in its rendering.

This week the story is continued in Star Wars #031 and this week it is drawn by an artist with the last name of Larocca.  His specialty is faces.  Each frame the characters are drawn to look exactly how they looked in the movies.

The writing in the Star Wars comic book has always been top notch.  This issue is no different.  Each narration and speech bubble does a great job at capturing the cadence and sound of the characters on film.

The story surrounds Luke being approached by Doctor Aphra, an archeologist who has found an artifact she believes contains the consciousness of a Jedi Master.  However, she can’t activate it and the only person who might be able to is a queen who likes to kidnap and collect things she shouldn’t be able to have.  In this issue we learn the queen”s intentions for Luke and the doctor.  We also see Han and Leia gearing up to rescue them.

I found nothing wrong with this comic.  I’m giving this book a grade of A+.  I’m having a ton of fun reading it.

Those are my reviews for the week.  You should also pick up Luke Cage #1.  It’s funny and serious and intriguing all at the same time.  My only gripe:  the type face is too small.

My Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2. Review(Spoilers abound)

So last night I went to the movies.  Got in line, got ready to pay, and found that my friend, who happens to be the GM of the theater, had comped my ticket.  I was very thankful.  I got in line to get my pop and headed in to the theater where I was treated to two minute trailers of both Spider-man homecoming, Thor: Ragnarok and Star Wars: The Last Jedi.

When someone comps your ticket to anything there is a certain amount of pressure to like what you’ve seen.  To be honest, I was very disappointed.   Let me explain.

When the original movie came out, I loved it.  It was colorful, funny with a sense of urgency, witty and the special effects were at a level that people working on Star Wars even perked their heads up and took notice.  The characters in the movie seemed to be written relatively close to the comic books as well.

Fast forward to Vol. 2.  Why didn’t I like it much?  It seemed to be pandering to the crowd a little too much.  For instance, the opening sequence could have been a very cool fight scene between an interdimensional monster and the Guardians but instead it was a Baby Groot dance sequence.  It seemed like executives at Marvel saw dollar signs behind the Funko toy and decided they needed an obligatory dance scene.  The problem was it was 5 minutes of the team fighting and then stopping to warn Groot to get out of the way.

My biggest beef with the movie is, again, the hopes that the movie might try to follow some of the canon of the comic.  In the comic, Peter Quill”s father is the narcissistic ruler of a planet called Spartax that came to earth and had a child with an earth girl which led to Peter quill.  In this movie, and you should not read beyond this point if you don’t want to know, a celestial by the name of Ego came to earth to find a species he could impregnate so she could have another celestial being.  The two celestials would go on a father/son romp through the galaxy destroying civilizations and rebuilding them in their image.  To do this Ego plants what looks like an innocuous looking plant in a forest that we learn wI’ll kill everything.  

But first Ego must find Peter.  Luckily, he tracks them down to a planet of golden aliens that have asked The Guardians to kill the interdimensional being that is stealing from them.  Their prize for killing the beast…. Nebula’s(Gamora’s sister) freedom from captivity.  Instead, rocket steals from them( a bunch of highly expensive batteries, yes you read thst right) setting off a giant manhunt for The Guardians that eventually includes Yondu and his crew.

The majority of the movie is set to a very lackluster soundtrack and takes place between Ego and Quill.  Ego has used his celestial power to build a planet that he actually has become.  He is trying to convince Peter that Peter has the same powers too.

While this is happening, Yondu and Rocket are forming a plan to rescue Quill because Yondu knows that Ego is a bad dude because he used to bring children to Ego to determine if they could be celestials too (his progeny after many failed attempts to create another celestial).   Yondu was hired to bring quill to Ego, but didn’t, which was one of the final plot lines delivered in the last movie. 

The movie spends it’s time too heavily on preaching to its audience about the importance of family.  There is a subplot between Nebula and Gamora being family that feels forced, Rocket feeling connected to Yondu, Ego and Quill and a love story brewing between Gamora and Quill.

The characters are softer this time around too which is uncharacteristic.  In the comic both Nebula and Drax are bad ass.  In the movie, she still has moments where she’s the assassin she’s in the comics but she’s also a sentimental love sick character which is not true to her at all.

Drax, who has some funny dialogue in the movie, has some one liners that come off as cruel instead of funny.

And Baby Groot goes right up to the line of being cute but highly obnoxious and teases us at that line.  He, however, does have one of the best scenes in the movie that plays very well.

What was good?  The last 15 minutes of fighting.  The special effects here were very cool.  A little gross but very cool.  The movie was fun to look at but nothing stood out as being something we hadn’t seen before.   All in all I’m giving this movie a grade of C.  It was very medoicre.