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.

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

Comic book reviews for the week of 8/25/14

I have a lot of comics to read this week and at least 10 to review. I came home with every intention of diving right in and tackling each title head on but I got home to an air conditioning unit that was broken so right now my concentration is waning between how incredibly uncomfortable I am and trying to read these books.

1. Everyone has a trusty “something” in their lives. In my life my comics are my trusty “something”. I can usually rely on All New X-men to bring me a great amount of joy. Issue 31 was again an enjoyable ride, even though it was a little confusing for me.

Brian Michael Bendis did something that I read about a few days ago but wasn’t sure how it’s going to work. He linked the Marvel Ultimates universe with the Marvel Now! Universe. This week’s issue starts with Tony Stark and Doctor Cho( kid cho) are examining a portal between their universe and the universe the All New X-men are in. The sequence was interesting but I’m not entirely sure where it’s headed.

I liked this issue despite the art being uneven at times. It was fun to see the Original X-men team take initiative and try to complete a mission on their own . I like that there is pushback. Let’s just say: without leadership there are unforeseen complications.

This was a fun issue and well worth reading. I know nothing about the Ultimate Universe( but I’m under the impression that it’s geared toward a younger crowd) but I really didn’t need to. We are given just enough information to figure what we need to know. I’m giving this issue a grade of A. It only misses a perfect score because I thought the art wavered from great to okay

2. Wolverine #012 was the last book of the Wolverine series and it features three separate stories. SPOILERS AHEAD: The first of the stories ends the conflict between Sabretooth and Wolverine and leaves us with one very big question: is the death of Wolverine metaphorical or will it come to pass? We do see him retire but beyond that we learn nothing more.

The second story doesn’t has a historian writing about Logan . It takes place in the future where we see a sort of alien invasion taking over the earth. We are only briefly treated to this section of the book but one familiar face that is key in this ongoing series makes an appearance

The final story seems unnecessary and relates the story of a super hero bar for people with and without super powers that work with super heroes named after a Painting by Pablo Picasso. I don’t know why it was there.

The art in this book was decent but the shading seemed off. There were times when the coloring and shading seemed to obscure the art. Other than that, the penciling was fine.

I didn’t love this issue. I thought the writing was too detached and rushed. I’m giving this a grade of B-. It could have been a lot better

3. Savage Hulk has been an unusual book to read because the entire time I’m reading it, I’m wondering why it exists at all. Issue #003 continues a story that is outside the current time line and exists when Xavier was still a part of the x-men team and Marvel Girl was still in the X-men.

The premise of the story so far is that The Hulk and X-men are fighting The Abomination and defeat him. As a way of thanking Bruce for helping him in other personal matters, Charles Xavier tries to separate the hulk from Bruce with disastrous consequences. This story picks up at that point

Both the writing and the art fit the general style of the book and I think they accomplish what they set out to do but I don’t understand why Marvel is telling this story. All in all I’m giving this book a low B.

4. I loved Fantastic Four 009. It has everything that a good comic book should have. Drama, some humor, some violence and great art.

The past nine issues have shown the virtual destruction of The Fantastic Four. Anything that can go wrong for our team has.

What makes this book so good is that it’s not just about Superheroes and their battles with otherworldly beings. It’s about humans with super powers trying to balance their Super hero lives with their every day lives. It becomes even more interesting when their Super lives become what makes their ordinary lives a living hell

The only problem I have with the last few issues is their doesn’t seem to be too much being done with Johnny( Human Torch). We see him without his powers but he seems to be in the background. I’m giving this book an A.

5. Uncanny Avengers 023 is a transitional comic book. Which is a great thing. The last 22 months of this series have been one continuous series. At times it’s been cool but, more often than not, it has dragged on.

After the earth has been avenged and Kang has been stopped then the team needs to recoup. A lot of the team is comforting each other and Rogue is pissed because her powers are back. Scarlet Witch is trying to help.

The art has always been great. I am giving this book a B because there is new direction. My only gripe: I really don’t like the way the artist is drawing Red Skull.

6. Avengers #34 may be one of the only comic book in recent months that I’ve understood almost all of. Captain America has gotten to the end of the( time) line and he’s greeted by some familiar faces which try to convince him that he needs to let the rest of The Avengers prevent the incursions from happening. Captain America, deeming himself a saver of human life, is not comfortable with that solution and a fight ensues. He eventually makes it back to present day where he makes a decision that will affect every team member. That decision will be unveiled in the next issue.

Both the writing and the art are good in this book. The plot line continues to get stale but it’s not so bad that I’m ready to throw in the towel yet. However, it’s getting close to that point with the incursion stories. I have quit reading one avenger book because of it, I don’t want to quit two. Grade:B. Although the story is a bit repetitive the art is pretty nice in this issue

7. This review recaps the story so far:

Original Sin Thor and Loki: The Tenth Realm #4 was a pretty excellent comic book. As readers already know Thor and Loki, with the help of the Watcher’s eye, have learned that there is a tenth realm that was sealed off by Odin when a war between the Angels and Asgardians took place. Odin sealed things after his daughter was murdered. Even though both Thor and Loki are told their sister is dead, Thor refuses to believe that is the case and asks his brother to help him create a rift from Asgard to the tenth realm.

When they arrive, the angels are not happy to see the duo and attack them full on. Loki tries to side with the Angels who have imprisoned Thor

In this issue there is at least one pretty big surprise which on review of the information shouldn’t be too surprising. There is also a pretty good twist that manifests itself near the end of the book.

The writing in this book is very cool and keeps the reader wanting more. However, it’s the team of Simone Bianchi and Lee Garbett that stand out in this book. I really enjoyed looking at this book almost as much as I’ve enjoyed reading it. I’m giving this book an A+

8. I am at a bit of a loss reading Original Sin: Guardians of the Galaxy #18 because I never read The Thanos Imperative and this book is an extension of that event. Apparently, Peter Quill and Richard Ryder( Nova Sr.) went to banish Thanos to the Cancerverse and only Quill and Drax returned without Richard Ryder. So what happened to him?

The readers, and Gamora, want answers. The problem: you’re not getting the answer yet. If you’ve read Nova Original Sin you’ll get some idea but this has to have happened before the events in this book.

The art in this book is stellar. Ed McGuinness does a great job with the penciling in this issue. This is a very, very cool issue. I’m giving it a grade of A. The cliffhanger here feels a bit manipulative but other than that, what a cool issue.

9. The review for The Amazing Spider-man Learning to Crawl 1.4 will probably be a fairly short review. Here’s why: the art and the writing in this book don’t match. While this book does it’s best to tell a story of Peter Parker in High School, it also mentions the World Wide Web which doesn’t match the art, that is drawn to look like a story from the 50’s.

Normally I really like Dan Slott’s writing but it seems like this story has been rehashed too many times. Boy meets hero. Hero ignores boy. Boy becomes bad guy. What is missing from this story is the reason it’s being told. I’m not sure I understand. This story just sort of bores me. Maybe the final chapter will be better. B-

10. Thunderbolts 030 had its moments. As we have read in the past 3 issues, The Punisher had an assassination attempt on his life and it looks like Red Hulk is behind it. As a result, Punisher has gone after the team killing a couple members already.

This issue Frank Castle goes after Electra. From the beginning of this fight we know it’s going to be a strange one. The two are romantically linked over their love of killing people.

But as weird as this story is the art was stranger. At times the art looked like the graphics from an 80’s video game crossed with an episode of Johnny Bravo.

I wanted to love this book. When this series started it was pretty bad, but as time has gone by the writing and art has improved dramatically. Still this book seemed to settle somewhere between just ok and good. I’m grading this with a B-

Those are my reviews for the week. Hope you liked them. Cya next week

My Review of Captain America: Winter Soldier

When the first Captain America came out in movie form, I didn’t know what to expect.  As a comic book reader I knew enough of the story to have a very basic idea of what to expect but I wasn’t so familiar with Steve Rogers that the movie wasn’t surprising for me.  That is actually one of the things that made the original movie one of the best of the Marvel movies up until that point.  The movie did an excellent job of telling the fictional story of Captain America while capturing the real symbol that he came to be during Hitler’s reign.   I also liked the fact that the special effects in the movie furthered the story rather than being too overbearing.

The second movie, Captain America Winter Soldier spends some time visiting the same misgivings that Captain America was feeling at the beginning of Avengers.  He is still having difficulty adjusting to the new world.  Steve Rogers is used to a world where things are black and white.  Things are not that way anymore.  S.H.I.E.L.D. has the challenge of anticipating problems before they happen.  As a result, it appears that they are becoming guardians of earth through intimidation and fear.  Captain America doesn’t like that and starts questioning whether  or not he is doing the right thing.

There is a lot of action in this story and it is well choreographed.  Most of the scenes are really fun to watch.  However, there are times when the action seems to cover the fact that the moviegoers are not told who the Winter Soldier is and why he is who he is until half way through the movie.  When we finally learn about The Winter Soldier, it is less than satisfactory of an explanation.  Despite that, the pacing of the movie seemed to fall back into place in the second half of the movie.

The second half of the movie was a joy to watch.  There are enough swerves and intrigue to make up for the awkward pacing in the first half of the movie.  There is plenty to like about this movie.  I love that Colbie Smulders actually got to be a bad ass in this movie as Maria Hill.  Anthony Mackie was fun as Falcon too.  As far as Marvel Comics go, I still liked it better than most of the Iron Man saga but not as much as Avengers.  It was a fun movie.  3 out of 4 stars