Tag Archives: brian michael bendis

Review: Civil War II #5

civil-war-ii-5The devastating fallout from the first half of this event is enormous and being felt in every corner of the Marvel Universe. The truth about Ulysses’ future-seeing power is revealed and it is a game changer. Sides are irrevocably drawn and the gauntlet is thrown for the biggest battle in Marvel Universe history. And that’s just the stuff we can tell you. All this, and the story goes galactic!

I’m not going to harp on how Civil War II lost its promise early on in the series. Instead lets just focus on this jumble of an issue where you need a pin board of pictures to keep track of who’s on what side. First, I read the issue digitally and this issue has a lot of double page spreads and pages that flowing interestingly from one into the other, so that’s not optimal and didn’t help matters at all figuring out what’s going on.

The entire issue is one giant battle as Tony and his folks face off against Carol and hers. Various individuals get their moments to fight and banter, except unless you’ve really memorized who is on what team, it’s kind of hard to remember whose side folks are on during this, and thus care about an outcome. I was distracted by it all, and the dialogue that was present didn’t give a ton as far as motivations to figure out where people stood. Things aren’t helped that I found myself trying to reference the team break down at the beginning and the two-page spread of the teams to figure out who was on what side, which killed the flow of reading. So, best to keep notes if you care.

Writer Brian Michael Bendis again gives us a comic that’s paper thin. There’s a lot of statements made back and forth to what comes to maybe 100 words total as the comic is mostly people throwing fists. The problem is we’ve seen this before in the first Civil War, and also Secret Invasion, Dark Reign, and each of those times it felt more impressive. This is the third or fourth sequel of the film where the sequence is repeated to lesser impact.

And as expected the issue goes for shock value towards the end. I’m sure folks will spoil it, but not here! It’s an interesting aspect and plays into another storyline in another shock series, at least I expect it does. It’s foreshadowing for what’s to come down the road based on statements from other creators on other series.

The art from David Marquez is still the best part of the series, but that too is a little lessened here. There’s some very cool page layouts, and some scenes have some awesome detail, for instance Tony’s army getting beat to crap, but other scenes the detail is just lacking.

It all feels like there were issues putting this issue together. Some things are rushed, othere things there’s not enough detail or discussion. I’d guess it was around this issue that plans changed and the series was expanded. Overall, the issue continues an event that’s more flash than substance.

Story: Brian Michael Bendis Art: David Marquez
Story: 6 Art: 7 Overall: 6 Recommendation: Pass

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Civil War II #5 Pits Iron Man vs. Captain Marvel in All Out Grudge Match!

The battle lines have been drawn and war erupts! As the devastating fallout from the death of Bruce Banner sends shockwaves across every corner of the world, Iron Man and Captain Marvel duke it out with the future of the Marvel Universe on the line!

Marvel has released a first look inside the explosive Civil War II #5 – coming at you this September from the A-List creative team of Brian Michael Bendis, David Marquez and Justin Ponsor. As punches are thrown and the war hits a fever pitch, truth behind Ulysses’ predictive powers stands revealed – and it’s a game changer! Plus – an ending so shocking it’ll have the world talking!

CIVIL WAR II #5 (JUN160760)
Variant Covers by KIM JUNG JI (JUN160761), MICHAEL CHO (JUN160762) and PHIL NOTO (JUN160763)
FOC – 08/29/16, On-Sale – 09/21/16


Riri Williams Isn’t Iron Man, She’s…

Last Month, Marvel announced that Riri Williams would be stepping into the role of Iron Man, taking over for Tony Stark. There were lots of differing opinions on the change and you can read two here and here. A big question was left hanging, would she be known as Iron Man? Well, Marvel has announced not only is who’s in the armor changing, but the name is too when Riri takes flight in November.

While the debut is Invincible Iron Man #1, Williams will be known as Ironheart.

Creator and writer Brian Michael Bendis said the name came from a discussion about what Williams should be called. In talking to Wired, Bendis recounted:

Iron Woman seemed old fashioned to some. Iron Maiden looked like a legal nightmare. And Ironheart, coined by Joe Quesada, after I told him my planned story for Riri, speaks not only to the soul of the character but to the Iron Man franchise as a whole. Tony first put on the armor to save his heart. Riri puts it on for different reasons altogether but still heart-related. When people see her story, you’ll be amazed at how simple and brilliant Joe’s suggestion was.

For those that don’t know the character, Riri Williams is a 15-year-old MIT student who reverse-engineered a suit of armor in her dorm room. Her armor A.I. will be based on Tony’s personality.

The change in character is one of numerous changes Marvel has made over the years diversifying their line-up of characters. It’s a shift that has sped up after the success of Miles Morales as Spider-Man and Kamala Khan as Ms. Marvel. Changes include Asian-American Amadeus Cho as the Hulk, and long time Thor ally Jane Foster as the new Thor.

Invincible Iron Man #1 1 Invincible Iron Man #1 2

Around the Tubes

BGBOP_Cv1_dsIt’s a new day! Yesterday was comic book day and there was lots of cool comics released. What’d you get? What’d you like? What’d you dislike? Sound off in the comments below!

While you decide on that, here’s some comic news and reviews from around the web in our morning roundup.

Around the Tubes

The Mary Sue – Diverse Characters Need Diverse Writers: Why Brian Michael Bendis Needs to Let Other Kids Play With His Toys – Sharing is caring.

The Beat – Creator Derf posts photos from the ‘My Friend Dahmer’ movie set – Can’t wait for this film. The graphic novel is fantastic.

Previews World – Batman #1 Special Edition for Batman Day 2016 – Look forward to it.

CBR- “Agents of SHIELD” Casts AIDA, Gives JARVIS Some Competition – Cool.


Around the Tubes Reviews

Talking Comics – The Backstagers #1

Newsarama – Batgirl and the Birds of Prey #1

The Beat – Batman #5

Newsarama – Batman #5

Comic Vine – Black Widow #6

Newsarama – Captain America: Sam Wilson #12

The Beat – Suicide Squad #1

Newsarama – Suicide Squad #1

Comic Vine – Suicide Squad #1

The Beat – Supergirl: Rebirth #1

Newsarama – Supergirl: Rebirth #1

Comic Vine – Supergirl: Rebirth #1

Newsarama – Superman #5

Civil War II Expands to 8 Issues

It’s the story that has the world on the edge of its seat as heroes stand on opposite sides and fight to preserve the security of the future. And if you thought it couldn’t get bigger – you thought wrong! Marvel has announce the expansion of the blockbuster Civil War II event with Civil War II #8 – coming to comic shops later this year!

Creators Brian Michael Bendis and David Marquez will extend their stay in the trenches of battle for one more unforgettable issue. Cracks are starting to immerge in the predictive visions of the new Inhuman, Ulysses, and the foundation where our heroes once stood is starting to fracture.

Will the heroes of the Marvel Universe wield the power of “predictive justice” to change the future or battle to protect tomorrow? The additional issue of Civil War II will bring the explosive event to its powerful conclusion, but with an Inhuman at the center of the conflict with the ability to see what’s to come, has the future already been foretold or can it be changed?

Ideologies have been challenged, alliances have been tested, and battle lines have been drawn. What will be the end result as the final vision from Ulysses is revealed to the heroes of the Marvel Universe and which side will stand triumphant over the other? Join Marvel this fall as Iron Man and Captain Marvel gather their sides and come head-to-head for the epic confrontation!CivilWarII008Teaser

Powers Cancelled After Two Seasons

Powers March 10I was surprised that Powers was renewed for a second season, but it’s not getting a third as of now. Co-creator Brian Michael Bendis announced that Sony has cancelled the show that airs on Playstation Network.

The comic was originally published by Image in 2000 and then moved over to Marvel’s Icon imprint in 2004. The story follows a police division whose job is to deal with superpowered criminals. Sony had optioned it for a feature film in 2001. Fox optioned it for tv in 2009 and the series was passed on by FX before winding up on Sony’s Playstation Network.

Though the television show is over, the comic still continues.

Review: Civil War II #4

Civil_War_II_Vol_1_4Sides are harshly divided as the Marvel Universe’s trial of the century reaches its shocking verdict! Now, the abstract issues are very real for the heroes of the Marvel Universe and battle lines must be drawn. Captain Marvel or Iron Man, who will each hero stand behind?

We’re starting on the back half of Marvel’s summer event in an issue that gives us the truth about Ulysses’ power. Civil War II #4‘s entire purpose is to set up the final three issues, the actual conflict, and the battle that’s been brewing. The issue also continues to fail at giving us anything more than just what will be yet another fight between heroes. It uses a real-world issue as a prop making this issue, like those before it, thin in its execution.

At its core, Civil War II was set up to be about an Inhuman with precognitive ability and whether it’s right to use that power to prevent crime/wrongdoing. It’s a similar plot to Philip K. Dick’s Minority Report written in 1956.

It’s also a real issue that’s worthy of discussion. As I wrote in my review of the last issue it was reported in 2012 that algorithms to predict crime were being embraced by police forces. In May it was revealed that these algorithms were riddled with bias, flagging black people twice as often as white people, having low accuracy, and generally being unreliable predictors of crime. In an age of Black Lives Matter and police murdering individuals, this could have been a comic event with something to say. The series began with the death of an African-American character (a “fridging” to move the story along, much like what happened in the previous Civil War event). That death was a short focus as the event pivoted to the death of Bruce Banner, a white character. Now in this fourth issue, we see this algorithm at play as it’s used to arrest a white banker who may be a Hydra sleeper agent.

Instead of focusing on the real issue of bias towards minorities that real world issue is co-opted and applied to white individuals. The victims of the pre-cog algorithm are white here. The African-American character is a casualty of the action, not a victim of its use to prevent a “crime” which may or may not happen. That’s saved for two white characters. Writer Brian Michael Bendis fails to challenge the reader or properly explore the issue at hand.

The art by David Marquez continues to be solid though. So, there’s that. A lot of the issue involves characters standing around giving soliloquies, but it’s beautiful to look at. The use of panels and positioning of characters really sets the tone and helps build the mood throughout the issue. His character design is top-notch and everyone looks fantastic. For as bad as the story is, the art is actually fantastic.

Much like the previous issue, this issue thinks it’s smart, but is paper thin when it comes to its deeper themes. This is a box office event blockbuster on the printed page, when it’s over you wonder what the point was other than to watch folks beat each other up. With three issues to go, I don’t see things improving based on the final few pages.

Story: Brian Michael Bendis Art: David Marquez
Story: 4 Art: 8.45 Overall: 4 Recommendation: Pass

TV Review: Powers S2E9 Slain Dragons

Powers Season 2Powers start dropping from the sky and Walker (Sharlto Copley) suspects an old friend is behind it. Pilgrim (Susan Heyward), however, pursues “Ghost” believing he’s responsible. Calista (Olesya Rulin) confronts SuperShock (Michael Madsen) but the encounter causes her to reconsider being a Power.

Powers confirms what was pretty clear for a while, who’s killing the various Powers out there. It’s not too surprising and it’s a storyline we’ve seen played out numerous times in comics. What is that? I’m not going to spoil it in a review, we’ll save that until next episode’s review most likely.

But, this continues the pattern this season of storylines that are predictable (for example Kutter’s fate last episode) or utterly make no sense at all (Calista’s father deciding to rob a bank). It’s been a drifting season from one setup to the next without any of the scenes really enhancing the narrative at all.

We get some action sequences and learn a lot more about Diamond’s history, but overall it feels hollow like the writers weren’t quite sure to get to the confrontation that’s coming. They had ideas but failed to connect the dots into a cohesive story that gelled. Too many side tracks and easily to spot fake outs distracted from a season that could have been greatly simplified by focus just on origins and the present.

Once again Olesya Rulin’s acting distracts as she attempts to act both scared and broken in a segment that spotlights her. Unfortunately, she can’t act making the entire scene comedic in a sad sort of way. It’s distracting and completely takes me out of the episode. What’s supposed to be serious just fails miserably and becomes comedic and laughable.

Predictable. Bad acting. It’s all here!

The series is building towards a big showdown. Will it be unpredictable? Bets are no.

The series has such potential, but this episode is a perfect example of where the potential gets sidetracked and distractions detracts from the whole. The seasons has been full of ups and downs, and there’s just been too many downs.

Overall Score: 6.0

TV Review: Powers S2E8 Chasing Ghosts

Powers Season 2Walker (Sharlto Copley) learns that something isn’t quite right with SuperShock (Michael Madsen), while Pilgrim (Susan Heyward) and Kutter (Justice Leak) investigate an elusive “Ghost.” Calista’s (Olesya Rulin) estranged father unexpectedly comes to town.

Powers is a mix of good and bad, mostly falling on the bad end of things with this episode that does its best job at making it look like Michael Madsen’s SuperShock is crazy and also dealing with Calista’s father.

The middling part of the episode is Madsen who can act and does a decent job with what he’s given. That’s pretty limited to him mumbling to himself and wandering around as Walker slowly realizes not everything is right. It feels more like a possibly homeless person than anything really menacing and definitely does not give enough for Madsen to really do on the acting end of things.

Then there’s the return of Calista’s father who decides to commit a crime. Why? Mostly to get Calista to do something stupid and put her in danger. The plotline makes so little sense and the decisions made to deal with Calista’s father makes you question the entire competence of the police force. With so many other solutions that can easily be had and result in a positive outcome, you can only wonder why the show even thinks this was a good plot point, let alone good writing. It isn’t helped at all by acting that’s some of the worst of the season.

And the final negative of the episode is the ending with Pilgrim and Kutter which is so predictable it might as well had a billboard spelling things out. The writing is completely by the numbers for these two, and things have been telegraphed as to what would happen for quite some time now. These two and their relationship show off the complete lack of creativity along with a lack of coherence when it comes to the plot of the season.

We had three episodes that were actual quality and this one slides right back into old habits and lazy writing. I guess good things can’t last for long as this episode attests. Absolutely dreadful.

Overall Score: 6.05

Review: Civil War II #3

Civil_War_II_Vol_1 #3This is the one everyone will be talking about! One of the biggest heroes in the Marvel Universe will fall! Who it is and how and why will divide fans for years to come. Will the heroes of the Marvel Universe survive the unthinkable happening? The fallout to this issue is enormous!

Written by Brian Michael Bendis, Civil War II has the interesting (though borrowed) concept of using precognition to stop crime before it happens. It’s a story that we’ve seen before many times, most notably in Minority Report the film and television show which was based on a short story of the same name by Phillip K. Dick written in 1956.

Dick was prescient and well ahead of his time with his story as it was reported in 2012 that algorithms to predict crime were being embraced by police forces. In May it was revealed that these algorithms were riddled with bias, flagging black people twice as often as white people, having low accuracy, and generally being unreliable predictors of crime. This is an admirable thing to discuss and explore in a series. Sadly that isn’t what’s happened.

Instead, the series kicks off with the death of James Rhodes (much like the original Civil War, killing off an African-American character to propel the story) and in today’s issue the death of Bruce Banner by Hawkeye as a prevention so he doesn’t “Hulk Out.” I’d warn of spoilers, but Marvel spoiled this one themselves in the mainstream media. The comic is nothing more than a split over the death of two individuals, lacking much social commentary at all. It’s so far an empty shell that’s made out to be this grand thing. It’s popcorn comics, all flash, little thought. What could, and should, challenge us is thrown to the side for a “shock death.”

Civil War II had potential, but so far it’s a failure to explore real world issues that disproportionately impact people of color instead fridging a popular African-American character to kick off the story and then quickly moving on to deal with the death of a white character by a white character. It has failed at any social commentary that it has attempted.

It was clear by the second issue the noble discussion of “algorithms” to predict crime was jettisoned for the impact of using that algorithm which led to deaths, and in this third issue, it’s the death of a white man who leads to a trial over using such power. As if those killed before, or the rights violated, didn’t matter or relegate the need for anything more than some terse words. It’s the subversion of one valid movement with another that distracts from the point. Sound familiar?

And the trial is the one good thing I’ll say about the comic’s writing, how Bendis tells the actual story. Going back and forth between the current trial and the past of events he slowly builds to the moment Banner is murdered. The tension is there and there’s a sense of dread and horror as it slowly builds. It’s an excellent narrative in that aspect with fantastic pacing.

The art by David Marquez is excellent though. His art captures the tension and seriousness of the matter. The use of panels and positioning of characters really sets the tone and helps build the mood throughout the issue. His character design is top-notch and everyone looks fantastic. For as bad as the story is, the art is actually fantastic.

In the end, what’s the point of spending money to read a comic that has little more to say than what’s already been spoiled by the publisher? Things may pivot from here and be redeemed, but I need to judge this one issue at a time. This is a hard pass.

Story: Brian Michael Bendis Art: David Marquez
Story: 4 Art: 8.7 Overall: 4 Recommendation: Pass

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