Tag Archives: brian michael bendis

Review: Guardians of the Galaxy #2

Guardians of the Galaxy #2Meet Emperor Quill and his Imperial Guard. What brings the Guardians into their crosshairs?

Guardians of the Galaxy #2 answers a bunch of questions I had and also catches up new readers on some important events pre-Secret Wars.

Writer Brian Michael Bendis runs us through where the Kree empire stands. It’s good to know as it’s someting I’ve been wondering about the new Marvel status-quo. The Kree homeworld is destroyed and the Accuser Hala is out for revenge. She’s going after the Guardians to make them pay for the state of of the Kree empire. Don’t worry, Bendis does a good job catching you up without overwhelming readers with too much information.

The comic is enjoyable but something hasn’t clicked in the first two issues. The characters each have their signature catch phrases and personalities, but the group as a whole doesn’t quite have the rapport I really enjoyed back in the Abnett and Lanning days. So, while it’s enjoyable, the comic doesn’t feel super deep. It’s like when characters say their catch phrases on television shows, the audience laughs, and that’s it. It also doesn’t quite feel “cosmic” yet in scale, something Abnett and Lanning did really well as well. Right now, we have Avengers in space.

The art by Valerio Schiti is really good and the action is presented with some cool panels and motion. There’s a mix of character types and Schiti is able to present so many different characters and make them all look like they fit together.

So far, the two issues are ok, and entertaining, but it’s not quite as good as some of the classic runs we’ve seen. It’s not bad, but there’s just something missing.

Story: Brian Michael Bendis Art: Valerio Schiti
Story: 7.1 Art: 7.9 Overall: 7.7 Recommendation: Read

Review: Uncanny X-Men #600

Uncanny_X-Men_600_CoverSo here we are the end of an era.  The latest chapter in the annals of Uncanny X-Men marked with a milestone renumbering. Or in other words PLEASE BUY ME!  This issue is what it is. Writer Brian Michael Bendis‘ attempt to wrap a bow on what was (to me at least) a very haphazard run on an iconic and beloved franchise.

The issue was very emotional, intimate and essentially centered on Hank McCoy being held to account for his unilateral decision-making a dangerous encroachment on the laws of nature. We are reminded how vast the X-Cast really is on numerous panels as the entire X-family assembles to witness Hank’s intervention, or as he astutely surmises his “Trial.”  Beast comes off very arrogant and bitter this issue. His wounded pride about the very public nature of this encounter seemed very petty and unlike him at all. Select X-Men are given the moment to express their concern and frustration but this is ultimately cut off by Beast who leaves abruptly.

This was unfortunate as it was a long overdue encounter, and Beasts justification or perhaps his position seems weakened by his response. This scene is interrupted by another loose end with the appearance of Cyclops who is addressing the world with congregation of mutants at Washington DC. By his own admission Scott Summers confesses to the world that when he initially used the word revolution he did not really know what he wanted to convey or implement. In this panel Cyclops sets out to prove his “revolution” correct by showing a benign amassing of mutants. This is punctuated with the arrival of Magneto who smiles and assures cyclops this is something Xavier would have approved.

My reaction to this was a big fat “Really?”

Not only does this display say nothing for the problem of mutant externality which directly impacts mutant-human relations but it completely undermines everything we’ve been reading about prior. Cyclops has always been the master strategist. Since Messiah Complex all the way through to Second Coming nothing he has ever done has been random, and more recently his threats have been very calculated. There’s no phoenix force to blame his judgement on this time. To take this revealed “revolution” at face value, we’ll have to ignore all his militant preparation and his espionage chess game with SHIELD. My verdict…sloppy. This is just bad characterization, and aborted plotting, the former of which Bendis has showcased with alarming consistency. Overall this reads like an abrupt cancellation where the writer was unable to finish or flesh out their initial plot planning.

Now to Bendis’ defense the aftermath of the Last will and Testament of Charles Xavier, and the reveal of SHIELD’s “mole” may have changed Cyclops thinking. But there’s no reflection of that (on Cyclops’ part) or any explicit justification for the complete 180 degree turn. I think most readers will be left scratching their heads, and inferring the reason for themselves. This is a major gripe for me because I was really curious about Cyclops revolution and how it would unfold, and to have such a weak pay off to so much hype and buildup is very frustrating, it makes me want to request a refund for everything I have read.

Bendis primary challenge with this post was balancing a huge cast of characters and adding some fresh blood to the formula. With the re-invigoration of mutantkind post Avengers vs X-Men, he was able to do that, with some interesting new mutants. The most stand out  character among these fresh faces in my opinion is Eva Bell, who has an interesting encounter with Hank McCoy. Eva mentions to Beast that she’s a time traveler and has some interesting insight for him, but something happens which is interesting and not explicitly explained on panel, save for beasts frightened expression in the end. *SPOILER*  She disappears  mid conversation, when discussing the consequences of his actions. Did Beast break time? Or did she disappear on purpose? *Spoiler* (Highlight to read)

I really love Eva. The X-Men have always had an interesting relationship to time travel and seeing that expressed in a mutants power set and seeing how that has shifted their outlook just seems very poignant for the franchise. At the very least we give kudos to Bendis for achieving that.

Other interesting developments was the coming out of Robert Drake the elder, after a discussion with his younger self and the younger Jean Grey. Seeing him come to terms with why he stayed in the closet for so long while freezing his tears was such a nice touch.  The interaction between the various generations and the current occurrences of things that did not originally take place (i.e. young Beast and Jean’s romance and Iceman coming out earlier) is another achievement we can credit to Bendis, at the very least this was executed very well.

The art was very expressive, and it was nice that Bendis got to showcase work with most of the artists he admires (as his own admission). The emotional tone of the issue was matched with the facial expressions, and the otherworldly art of Frazer Irving really punctuated the creepy (at least to me) encounter between Eva and Beast perfectly. Overall and by endpoint standards, this issue was sub-par, more could have been done to tie up loose ends and offer some intrigue for the transition going forward. Though I applaud Bendis for handling this new mandate with its bold status-quo, I am ultimately left feeling relief that the creative guard is changing.

Story: Brian Michael Bendis Art: Various
Story: 5 Art:  8 Overall 6.5 Recommendation: Read

Review: Invincible Iron Man #1

Invincible_Iron_Man_1_CoverThe Marvel Universe has revolved around a few characters or teams over the years, and reflecting the movies, it’s Tony Stark/Iron Man’s time to shine at the center of it all. Courtesy of writer Brian Michael Bendis and artist David Marquez, Invincible Iron Man #1 kicks off what should be a crown jewel of All-New, All-Different Marvel. While the first issue isn’t bad, it also isn’t great.

This new Iron Man series promises new armor (check), new villains (not yet), a new supporting cast (sort of), as well as diving deeper into finding out who Tony Stark’s biological parents are (and I guess he’s no longer inverted as far as alignment).

The teaser for the series said the last page is a shocker, and we’d see what really happens at the end of Secret Wars, and that’s part of the problem I have with this first issue. It’ll be a few months more before we finish off Secret Wars due to delays, and with that still ongoing, the shock isn’t one as much as a confusing ho-hum twist that loses it’s value. If we got to the end of Marvel’s summer (now fall) event, maybe the ending of this issue would have more impact, but all it did was remind me of the delays of that series, I was distracted from really focusing on this one. It may not bother some other folks, but it did me.

Tony though is interesting in this comic. We get him as both how he was, an obsessed futurist tinkerer, and how he’d like to be, not so much a horndog with a reputation. It reminds us that Stark as a character is a lot of things, and thus any writer can mold Stark to be what they want. Bendis wants ours so far to be a techno geek who’s reflecting on who he was, a nerd in crisis. The actual banter and story flows nicely with a lot of nice, entertaining moments. The comic is good, but also feels a bit empty due to all of that too. It’s a lot of flash, but like Stark at times, the depth isn’t quite there. There’s nothing wrong with that, but it also lacks some excitement.

Marquez’s art is solid. He does a great job making Tony look smooth and the women look different from each other. The key here is the blending of the tech into the comic, and he does that flawlessly, especially in the beginning while Stark is working on his new suit. An ongoing key will be his new armor (which I’m not a fan of the design so far) which it seems blends a lot from various past suits.

Like a big budget film, the comic is good, not great. It has some very humorous moments, but also feels a bit empty at the same time too. You’ll enjoy it while reading, but as soon as you’re done you’ll forget about it and move on. With past runs that had us examine Tony attempting to change the world for good through business, as well as confronting his self absorption, this debut is very dialed back. There’s some decent groundwork laid out, but as a single issue it doesn’t quite hold up. Hopefully future issues will give us a bit more.

Story: Brian Michael Bendis Art: David Marquez
Story: 7 Art: 7.75 Overall: 7 Recommendation: Read

Marvel Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Uncanny X-Men #600 Showcases Iconic Creators For Epic Variant Covers!

Before Secret Wars ends and the All-New, All-Different Marvel Universe begins, cap off Brian Michael Bendis’ epic X-Men run with a bang! Marvel has released a look at all the covers to October’s oversized Uncanny X-Men #600 – brought to you by some of the industry’s most iconic artists!

Featuring new artwork from Art Adams, Paul Smith, Rick Leonardi, Adam Hughes Olivier Coipel, Ed McGuinness, Leinil Yu and Kris Anka – each of these stunning variant covers showcases a different era of Marvel’s Merry Mutants, brought to life by some of the X-Men’s most memorable artists. Plus, don’t miss three all-new Action Figure Variants by rising star John Tyler Christopher as Emma Frost, Jean Grey and Iceman get the blister pack treatment.

Featuring 38 pages of new stories written by Brian Michael Bendis with art by Stuart Immonen, Chris Bachalo, Sara Pichelli, David Marquez, Mahmud Asrar, Kris Anka and Frazier Irving – close out this chapter of Mutant history in style this October!

UNCANNY X-MEN #600 (MAR150760)
Variant Covers by ART ADAMS (MAR150768), PAUL SMITH (MAR150765), RICK LEONARDI (MAR150770), ADAM HUGHES (JUN158867), OLIVIER COIPEL (MAR150766), ED MCGUINNESS (MAR150767), LEINIL YU (MAR150769), and KRIS ANKA (MAR150764)
Action Figure Variant A by JOHN TYLER CHRISTOPHER (MAR150761)
Action Figure Variant B by JOHN TYLER CHRISTOPHER (MAR150762)
Action Figure Variant C by JOHN TYLER CHRISTOPHER (MAR150763)
FOC – 10/12/15, On-Sale – 11/04/15


The Raccoon’s in Charge. A Look at Guardians of Galaxy #1!

This October, blast off into the stratosphere as the recharged group of galactic guardians explode into the All-New, All-Different Marvel Universe in Guardians of the Galaxy #1! Coming to you from legendary comic writer Brian Michael Bendis and rising star artist Valerio Schiti comes a team unlike any you’ve seen before!

Eight months have passed since the end of Secret Wars, and Peter Quill didn’t waste any time abandoning the Guardians and taking the throne as ruler of Spartax. And Rocket didn’t waste any time taking his place as leader of the Guardians of the Galaxy either! Leading a team comprised of Kitty Pryde (now known as Star-Lady), Drax, Groot, Venom and newcomer Ben Grimm, the everlovin’ blue-eyed Thing – Rocket and the Guardians are out to show that even though Secret Wars may be over, the galaxy still needs guarding.

Strap in and hold on!

Cover by ART ADAMS
Variant Covers by SKOTTIE YOUNG (AUG150763), VALERIO SCHITI (AUG150766),
Action Figure Variant by JOHN TYLER CHRISTOPHER (AUG150765)
Hip-Hop Variant by SHAWN CRYSTAL (AUG150761)
Cosplay Variant by CONTAGIOUS COSTUMING (AUG150762)
Kirby Monster Variant by MIKE ALLRED (AUG150769)
Adams Sketch Variant Available (AUG150767)
Blank Variant Also Available (AUG150764)
FOC – 09/21/15, On-Sale 10/14/15


Review: Old Man Logan #4

oml4The original Old Man Logan by Mark Millar and Steve McNiven remains one of the best Wolverine stories that have been written in the last decade, and with Marvel revisiting old stories from their past with Secret Wars (with mixed results), it was somewhat inevitable that we would return to visit the world of Old Man Logan.

Whether fairly or not, this series will invite comparison to the original, and as such it has some pretty large shoes to fill.  Although this volume of Old Man Logan has, on the whole, done a decent job of filling those shoes, up until I read this issue I felt that this volume had been gradually falling a little short of the original story.

With Old Man Logan #4, the penny finally dropped for me. The comparatively weak third issue has given way to arguably one of the best comics featuring Wolverine I’ve read in a long, long time, and in doing so it’s shone a new light on where Brian Micheal Bendis is going with this tale; giving me a new appreciation for the third issue in the process. What I’ve come to realize about Old Man Logan Vol. 2 is that much like the original was a story about Logan more than Wolverine, the sequel is about more than a man finding his place in a broken world. In many ways this is a story about hope in the worst of times.

We’ve seen some very inventive page layouts from Andrea Sorrentino during this series, and Old Man Logan #4 is no exception. The layouts in this page showcase the stunning artwork to great effect; the way in which the harshness of the art style itself reflects Old Man Logan‘s surroundings, and what he’s going through in this issue is fantastic and perfectly lends itself to the more horror themed elements of this issue. While there may have been some concerns (now alleviated) from me regarding the quality of the story, what I’ve never questioned is the consistency of the artwork, and with Old Man Logan #4 artist Andrea Sorrentino, with Marcelo Maiolo returning to provide the colours, gives us something truly special.

To say the second volume of Old Man Logan doesn’t hold up to the first volume of Old Man Logan, isn’t entirely fair; the first volume was an outstanding series that evoked the feel of the Spaghetti Westerns as it told one of the best stories about the Canadian mutant in the last ten years. The second volume, while it didn’t impress me as much during the first three issues, is a sequel that is beginning to shine in it’s own right. Yes, as a tie-in title by it’s very nature it will be bound to Secret Wars in some form that may require an ounce of understanding of the larger arc from readers eventually. That being said, this is a story focusing on Old Man Logan‘s perspective, and since he’s trying to find out just what on earth is going on in the rest of Battleworld, as a reader who is in pretty much the same situation, it’s been enjoyable to follow along with Old Man Logan‘s sense of discovery.

As it stand thus far, you can read Old Man Logan independently of Secret Wars, but whether that will change or not is still up in the air. What this issue had done, for me, however is reinvigorate my interest in the story being told; I went from being largely indifferent about the last issue to devouring every page of this comic. Twice.

Which brings us to our conclusion.

This is a fantastic horror tinged issue featuring everybody’s favourite zombified Marvel characters, and regardless of whether you’re reading Secret Wars or not, Old Man Logan #4 is an absolute blast to read, which is more than I said for the prior issue. Should you read that before picking this one up?  Maybe. Maybe not. If you’re a fan of Wolverine, then this issue is worth a read regardless of whether you’ve been following the series it has spun out of, or even this miniseries. Contrary to what I said about the previous issue, the second volume of Old Man Logan has become one of the highlights of the summer for me, and I can’t wait to see where the old man ends up next.

Story: Brian Micheal Bendis Art: Andrea Sorrentino Colours: Marcelo Maiolo
Story: 8.5 Art: 8.75 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Suit Up With Your New Look at Invincible Iron Man #1!

This Fall, the Marvel Universe is reforged and recharged as All-New, All-Different Marvel kicks off in full force! New titles, new characters, and new creators explode on to the scene as only Marvel could bring you. Leading the charge for this movement is the blockbuster new title Invincible Iron Man #1 – from the explosive creative team of Brian Michael Bendis and David Marquez! Today, Marvel is pleased to present your new look at the highly anticipated first issue coming to comic shops on October 7th!

Exploding out of the pages of Secret Wars comes a fresh new take on the Armored Avenger in a gigantic new series! New armor, new villains, a new supporting cast and a new purpose as Tony Stark bursts across the landscape of the Marvel Universe. And a shocker of a last page that will have the entire comic industry talking! Plus, questions will be answered – what really happened at the end of Secret Wars #8? Who are Tony Stark’s biological parents? The quest begins here!

Strap in and suit up, True Believer. The marquee comic launch of the fall is coming as Bendis and Marquez armor up to bring you a new Iron Man for a new Marvel Universe.

Art & Cover by DAVID MARQUEZ
Deadpool Party Variant by YASMINE PUTRI (JUL150710)
Variant Covers by BRUCE TIMM (JUL150700), ADI GRANOV (JUL150702), SKOTTIE YOUNG (JUL150703)
Action Figure Variant by JOHN TYLER CHRISTOPHER (JUL150704)
Hip Hop Variant by BRIAN STELFREEZE (JUL150699)
Design Variant by DAVID MARQUEZ (JUL150701)
Cosplay Variant by DALE OLIVER (JUL150698)


Invincible Iron Man #1 Comes To Comic Shops For an Epic Launch Party!

All-New, All-Different Marvel kicks off in full force this fall, and Marvel is making sure all comic book stores worldwide are armed and ready for the new flagship Marvel title as Invincible Iron Man #1 explodes into comic shops on October 7th! You won’t want to miss comic superstar Brian Michael Bendis and red-hot artist David Marquez’s opening salvo in their explosive new ongoing series. And Marvel is ready to make the launch one to remember. In addition to being first in line to purchase Invincible Iron Man #1, fans will also be able to receive special items at participating retail stores, including the first piece of the exclusive Build Your Own Iron Man promotional item!

Launching alongside Invincible Iron Man #1, the first piece of the Build Your Own Iron Man promotional item will allow fans to assemble their very own Iron Man armor. Based on artist David Marquez’s new armor design, collect all six pieces, launching alongside Invincible Iron Man and five other October Marvel titles, fold and compile your very own Iron Man standing nearly a foot tall!

To ensure these parties are a massive sales success, each retailer opting into the event will receive exclusive Invincible Iron Man Party promotional materials. Check your Marvel Mailer for more information on how to opt-in by 8/10 to ensure your store has these items.

All qualifying retailers who opt in will receive the following as part of the INVINCIBLE IRON MAN launch:

  • Invincible Iron Man Invitational Postcards
  • Invincible Iron Man Build Your Own Iron Man Promo Item Piece 1 of 6
  • Invincible Iron Man Skottie Young Lithographs
  • Invincible Iron Man #1 Exclusive Deadpool Sketch Party Variant by Yasmine Putri
  • Mass media promotion around the launch of Invincible Iron Man and the associated parties

But that’s not all! Retailers who qualify will also be eligible to order the Invincible Iron Man #1 Deadpool Party Variant. Everyone loves Tony’s new armor – even the Merc With a Mouth! From rising star Yasmine Putri, fans won’t want to miss this exciting variant only available at the upcoming launch parties.

Strap in and suit up! Prepare for the marquee comic launch of the fall as Brian Michael Bendis and David Marquez armor up and bring you a new Iron Man for a new Marvel Universe. Don’t miss the blockbuster on-sale October 7th !

Art & Cover by DAVID MARQUEZ
Deadpool Party Variant by YASMINE PUTRI (JUL150710)
Variant Covers by BRUCE TIMM (JUL150700), ADI GRANOV (JUL150702),
Action Figure Variant by JOHN TYLER CHRISTOPHER (JUL150704)
Hip Hop Variant by BRIAN STELFREEZE (JUL150699)
Design Variant by DAVID MARQUEZ (JUL150701)
Cosplay Variant Also Available (JUL150698)

Invincible_Iron_Man_1_Cover Build_Your_Own_Iron_Man_Promo_Item_Mock_Up Invincible_Iron_Man_1_Putri_Party_Variant

Around the Tubes

The first day of Gen Con is done, and the team there and Boston Comic Con are gearing up for fun weekends of geeking! What’s everyone else doing to pass the time away and relax?

While you contemplate that, here’s some news you can use to pass the time away.

Around the Tubes

The Outhousers – CBR Willing to Publish Literally Anything; Takes Bendis Joke as “Hint” of Second Iron Man Series – Bwahahahaha

ICv2 – Z-Man Parent Buys Plaid Hat – Mazel Tov!

AV Club – What’s it like to be a top Magic: The Gathering player? – I could have gone pro…

Tech Times – Patrick Osborne Will Direct The Film Adaption Of Graphic Novel ‘Battling Boy’ – Can’t wait for this film.

GamePolitics – Consumers complain to FCC about ‘data caps’ – Good!

Review: Old Man Logan #3

oml1Old Man Logan originally ran for eight issues beginning in 2008. The original story was written by Mark Millar with Steve McNiven providing the artwork; it remains one of the best Wolverine stories that have been written in the last ten or more years. With Secret Wars revisiting old stories from across Marvel‘s past, it was somewhat inevitable that we would return to the world of Old Man Logan. The original story evoked a Spaghetti Western feel in a world fifty years from now where the villains had finally beat the heroes; it’s a critically acclaimed comic that is more a story about Logan than it is about Wolverine.

The Secret Wars tie in series Old Man Logan has some pretty large shoes to fill.

And while this volume of Old Man Logan does an admirable job of filling those shoes, it does fall a bit short of the original story. Brian Micheal Bendis can write a fantastic comic book, and while the series started out very strongly, it has continued to slowly dip in quality as it continues. Last issue we saw some very inventive page layout from Andrea Sorrentino, and Old Man Logan #3 is no exception. There are some very inventive pages in this comic, and while the story quality is slowly declining the artwork is not. Now for full disclosure, this is the only Secret Wars comic I am reading, and there is a very good chance that the reason I notice a decline in quality from the first issue is because the series is slowly beginning to reference the larger story.

To say the second volume of Old Man Logan doesn’t hold up to the first volume of Old Man Logan, isn’t entirely fair; the first volume was an outstanding stand alone series that evoked the feel of the Spaghetti Westerns as it told one of the best stories about the Canadian mutant in the last ten years. And while the first issue of this series echoed that very well, as volume two of Old Man Logan continues, by it’s very nature as a tie-in comic, it is losing some of the first story’s magic as it slowly merges with the larger Secret Wars tale. However that being said Brian Micheal Bendis is writing this comic from Old Man Logan‘s perspective, and since he’s largely ignorant of what is happening in the rest of Battleworld, as a reader who is in the same shoes, it’s nice to find out little snippets of the world as the main character does. This comic can be read independently of Secret Wars, but if you are reading the main series then you’ll probably enjoy this story a bit more.

Which brings us to an interesting conundrum.

This isn’t a bad comic, and perhaps were I reading Secret Wars, or not comparing this to the original Old Man Logan story, then I may have enjoyed it more. There were some good moments in this comic; the art team of Andrea Sorrentino and Marcelo Maiolo provide some solid, and at times great, work. But as somebody who loves the original Old Man Logan, is a huge Wolverine fan, and isn’t reading Secret Wars, Old Man Logan #3 didn’t meet my expectations. Now if you are keeping up with Secret Wars then this may have been exactly what you’re looking for.

Old Man Logan #3 is connected by name to a great Wolverine story, and it doesn’t quite measure up, but it is still a decent story that can be read outside of the main Secret Wars story.

Story: Brian Micheal Bendis Art: Andrea Sorrentino Colours: Marcelo Maiolo
Story: 6.5 Art: 8 Overall: 7.25 Recommendation: Read

Also published on Ramblings Of A Comics Fan

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