Tag Archives: comcs

Preview: The Harbinger #5

THE HARBINGER #5

Written by COLLIN KELLY, JACKSON LANZING
Art by ROBBI RODRIGUEZ
Colors by RICO RENZI
Letters by HASSAN OTSMANE-ELHAOU
Cover A by ROBBI RODRIGUEZ
Cover B by ISAAC GOODHART
Pre-order Connecting Cover by IBRAHIM MOUSTAFA
On sale FEBRUARY 23rd | 32 pages, full color | $3.99 US | T+

Peter tries to protect Psiot City and encounters a terrifying nightmare monster that seems hauntingly familiar.

Featuring FAITH!

THE HARBINGER #5

Underrated: Ultimate X-Men

This is a column that focuses on something or some things from the comic book sphere of influence that may not get the credit and recognition it deserves. Whether that’s a list of comic book movies, ongoing comics, or a set of stories featuring a certain character. The columns may take the form of a bullet pointed list, or a slightly longer thinkpiece – there’s really no formula for this other than whether the things being covered are Underrated in some way. This week:  Ultimate X-Men


Ultimate_X-Men_Vol_1_1.jpgUltimate X-Men was a series launched under Marvel’s Ultimate Marvel imprint that aimed to do away with 40 years of so called convoluted continuity into a more modern and updated setting. The second title to launch after Ultimate Spider-Man, Ultimate X-Men was written by Mark Millar and drawn by Adam and Andy Kubert. Millar was largely ignorant of the storied history of the X-Men, and reinvented the characters with the 2000 X-Men  film as his primary reference. Millar has admitted in an interview with Sequential Tart that he knew bugger all about the characters before Joe Queseda and Bill Jemas asked him to pitch for X-Men, expecting them to use the script as toilet paper. Instead, because Millar knew next to nothing about the franchise, they decided that he should be the one to reboot the X-Men for Marvel’s Ultimate line of comics.

Free from the shackles of the past Millar set about crafting a new, and more modern universe for the X-Men to inhabit aimed to bring a return to the mainstream appeal the franchise enjoyed years before.

Launching in 2001, Ultimate X-Men was also part of Marvel’s “dot-comics” format, which was an early translation of print to digital using a slightly animated Flash format. Comic pages would appear on the screen showing a handful of panels at a time, and speech and thought bubbles hovering over the characters. The format would eventually pave the way toward Marvel Unlimited. Although not the first comic on the dot-comics format, it was one of the first that I read that way. Because the dot-comics were free to whomever had an internet connection and the patience to read the comics in their episodic form (if memory serves, five or so pages were uploaded every few days), they were a great way for people like myself to get introduced to a series that I otherwise would not have before.

Ultimate_X-Men_Vol_1 interior.jpg

Although I had previously dabbled in the X-Universe before, I was never a constant reader. Ultimate X-Men drew me into reading an ongoing series featuring Marvel’s merry mutants for the first time. The characters were familiar and yet felt fresh, the situations they were in reflected more of the world around them than the main Marvel universe characters did. Or at least that’s how it felt at the  time. It was here, with a newly discovered love of the characters that I truly became an X-Men fan and not just a Wolverine fan. At the time the irony that the series was being written by a man who knew bugger all about the characters was something I was unaware of, but the benefit of hindsight brings into sharp focus that provided one is a competent writer and has some understanding of the subject, then the essence of characters one is writing about shine through. And Millar, for the most part, had that understanding.

Running from 2001 until 2009 where it was cancelled at the conclusion of the critical and commercial failure of the Ultimatum crossover, Ultimate X-Men enjoyed nearly a decade as the fan favourite X-title. Although it was eventually relaunched as Ultimate Comics X-Men in 2011, the series never enjoyed the success of its pre-Ultimatum days.

Would Ultimate X-Men have worked had it been released today? Although we’ll probably never know, you can look at DC’s New 52 and to a lesser extent the successor to the Ultimate line (Ultimate Comics) to get an idea – although there are obvious faults with either comparison. The New 52 replaced DC’s continuity in its entirety, to much chatter from fans, and the Ultimate Comcs line tried to pick up after the failure of Ultimatum which had driven many fans away already. However you look at it, for nearly ten years Ultimate X-Men, and some of its companions under Marvel’s Ultimate line, were among the pinnacle of superhero comics. The reimagining of the characters, stripping them down to their core and putting them in a different world was a brave choice, but one that I, and thousands like me, fell in love with.

I grew up reading Ultimate X-Men, both as a comics fan and a human, and it hurts me a little to see people ignore it as an unimportant part of Marvel’s past because it’s not chronologically relevant in the X-Men’s story. It’s not, not really, but that doesn’t mean the stories told under the Ultimate X-Men banner remain among some of my most cherished to this day. If, for whatever reason, you haven’t read them then you can find the collected editions easily enough at your favourite online retailer (or, maybe your LCS can get them in for you).

That’s all we have for this week, folks. Come back next time  when there’s something else Underrated to talk about.

 

Marvel Relives Phase Two of the MCU with Variant Covers in March

This March, Marvel will continue to spotlight the Marvel Cinematic Universe with stunning variant covers by some of the industry’s top artists! Following November’s Infinity Saga Phase 1 Variants come six brand-new covers paying homage to Phase 2 of the MCU’s Infinity Saga. Adorning upcoming issues of your favorite comic book series, the Infinity Saga Phase 2 Variant Covers will depict the characters and moments from this second era of legendary MCU films.

Alexander Lozano showcases Tony Stark’s epic arsenal of armors as seen in Marvel Studios’ Iron Man 3, Ryan Stegman delivers an electrifying illustration of Thor’s battle with Malekith from Marvel Studios’ Thor: The Dark World, Declan Shalvey captures the explosive energy of Marvel Studios’ Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Skan revisits the first outing of the Marvel Studios’ Guardians of the Galaxy, Valerio Schiti depicts the epic showdown between the Avengers and Ultron from Marvel Studios’ Avengers: Age of Ultron, and David Nakayama puts his spin on the small-scale showdown between Ant-Man and Yellowjacket from Marvel Studios’ Ant-Man!

Check them out now below and collect all six Infinity Saga Phase 2 Variant Cover when they hit stands in March!

  • CAPTAIN CARTER #1 INFINITY SAGA PHASE 2 VARIANT COVER by DECLAN SHALVEY
  • THOR #23 INFINITY SAGA PHASE 2 VARIANT COVER by RYAN STEGMAN
  • AVENGERS #54 INFINITY SAGA PHASE 2 VARIANT COVER by DAVID NAKAYAMA
  • CAPTAIN AMERICA/IRON MAN #5 INFINITY SAGA PHASE 2 VARIANT COVER by VALERIO SCHITI
  • AVENGERS FOREVER #4 INFINITY SAGA PHASE 2 VARIANT COVER by SKAN
  • IRON MAN #18 INFINITY SAGA PHASE 2 VARIANT COVER by ALEXANDER LOZANO

Legends of the Dark Knight Returns in a Brand New Series

Debuting in 1989, Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight put Batman in the hands of some of the most talented writers and artists in comics, such as Denny O’Neil, Grant Morrison, Ed Hannigan, Mike W. Barr, Doug Moench, José Luis Garcia-López, Klaus Janson, and others. Their efforts yielded unforgettable story arcs for comic book fans, such as “Shaman,” “Prey,” which redefined the evil and twisted Dr. Hugo Strange, “Gothic,” and “Venom,” the story that introduced the dangerous super steroid to a Santa Prisca prison inmate who would later be known as Bane.

On April 2, this influential anthology returns as a new DC Digital First series, Legends of the Dark Knight. Stories will be released digitally as 10-page weekly “chapters,” with two digital chapters making one print issue; issue #1 arrives in comic book stores on May 18Legends of the Dark Knight will serve as a place for both well-known and up-and-coming creative talent to tell new, evergreen stories, appealing to a wide variety of fans, all based on one of the most beloved and enduring characters in popular culture.

Legends of the Dark Knight kicks off with a six-part weekly/three-issue monthly tale, written and illustrated by Darick Robertson, with colors by Diego Rodriguez and letters by Simon Bowland. In “Bad Night, Good Knight,” a new player has arrived on the scene in Gotham City and is selling deadly chemicals to the worst villains in town: Mr. Freeze, the Penguin, and even The Joker! It’s up to Batman to stop the villains, track down the supplier, and save Gotham City from not only his most vicious foes, but this new mystery villain.

Future stories will showcase the talents of writers Stephanie Phillips, Becky Cloonan, Brandon Thomas, Matthew Rosenberg, Brandon Easton, Che Grayson, and comics writing newcomer Yedoye Travis.

Contributing artists include Cian Tormey, Giannis Milonogiannis, Karl Mostert, Max Dunbar, Dike Ruan, Belén Ortega, and Nina Vakueva.

The series debut issue features a dynamic cover by Robertson, with a card stock variant cover by David Marquez, 1:25 ratio variant cover by Riccardo Federici, and a special “teams” variant cover by Francesco Francavilla available to retailers ordering more than 250 copies. At the series digital launch on March 28, each digital chapter sells for $.99 on all participating digital platforms. Each 32-page monthly issue sells for $3.99, with the card stock variant priced at $4.99.

Around the Tubes

New Mutants

It was a long weekend in the US so Monday’s news was rather quiet. Still, we’ve got some from around the web to kick off your Tuesday. While you start your day, here’s some comic news and reviews from around the web in our morning roundup.

Comicbook – New Mutants Movie Will Feature Credits by Bill Sienkiewicz – This alone will make it worth seeing the film.

Newsarama – Nicola Scott, John Tyler Christopher Join Hero Initiative’s Pro-Fan Events Line-Up – A great organization. Go and support them!

The Beat – A Year of Free Comics: BOYFRIEND OF THE DEAD proves love exists even during an apocalypse – Free comics!

Reviews

The Beat – I Know You Rider
The Beat – Wave, Listen to Me!

Review: Harbinger Wars 2 #4

HW2_004_COVER-A_JONESWe called it the biggest, most impactful, most ambitious Valiant event ever attempted – and we meant it! From across the Valiant Universe, the paths of all of the world’s most formidable heroes – X-O Manowar, the Harbinger Renegades, Bloodshot, Ninjak, the Secret Weapons, H.A.R.D. Corps, and dozens of newly activated psiots – have finally converged, drawn together by their old ally Livewire’s last-ditch effort to protect the powerless.

Well here it is. The culmination of Valiant’s biggest and most hyped miniseries/event for some time. The company has been building toward this moment for nearly two plus years, and now that it is finally here, does Harbinger Wars 2 end with a bang or a whimper? Are we left with a lot of build up to a lacklustre ending, or did Valiant break the mould and deliver a story that has a high quality and impact-full ending?

Uh… Kind of.

The issue wraps up almost every loose end and plot point, pulls most Valiant heroes to an agreement, and… just feels sort of underwhelming. In a comic that should provide an epic conclusion,  Harbinger Wars II #4  feels more like the  Cliff’s Notes version of what was an epic conclusion. There’s really no other way to describe the way that I felt coming out of this issue other than with a case of “Huh. That’s it?”  To  say that is a disappointment would be an understatement after the way the series opened with the Eric Heisserer scripted prologue; unfortunately, Matt Kindt‘s script just never quite lived up to that promise and gradually dropped in quality as the four issues progressed.

The saving grace here is the post finale scene with the surviving psiots talking about the ramifications of the events, and how they should react – it’s not quite enough to save the book, but it adds a bit of an upswing at the end.

Artistically, the issues feels muddled. There is quality there, but once again something feels off – although full disclosure here, I read this comic in a coffee shop on my laptop, and am prepared to give the benefit of the doubt that various contributing factors (glare, the watermark on the review copy and the brightness) may have had an adverse effect on the art, so I’m not going to penalize the comic for things it can’t control.

Although this comic will (potentially) change the way the characters in the Valiant universe react, and it should have very far reaching consequences, you will be able to get the same conclusions and information from reading a preview pages (where relevant) in an upcoming Valiant comic or a synopsis online.

To say I am disappointed this series ended this way would be true, but there’s always hope for the Aftermath, right?

Story: Matt Kindt Art: Tomas Giorello with Renato Guedes
Colours: Diego Rodriguez Letters: Dave Sharpe
Story: 6.0 Art: 8.2 Overall: 7.0 Recommendation: Read if you’ve come this far

Valiant provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Underrated: Ultimate X-Men

This is a column that focuses on something or some things from the comic book sphere of influence that may not get the credit and recognition it deserves. Whether that’s a list of comic book movies, ongoing comics, or a set of stories featuring a certain character. The columns may take the form of a bullet pointed list, or a slightly longer thinkpiece – there’s really no formula for this other than whether the things being covered are Underrated in some way. This week:  Ultimate X-Men


Ultimate_X-Men_Vol_1_1.jpgUltimate X-Men was a series launched under Marvel’s Ultimate Marvel imprint that aimed to do away with 40 years of so called convoluted continuity into a more modern and updated setting. The second title to launch after Ultimate Spider-Man, Ultimate X-Men was written by Mark Millar and drawn by Adam and Andy Kubert. Millar was largely ignorant of the storied history of the X-Men, and reinvented the characters with the 2000 X-Men  film as his primary reference. Millar has admitted in an interview with Sequential Tart that he knew bugger all about the characters before Joe Queseda and Bill Jemas asked him to pitch for X-Men, expecting them to use the script as toilet paper. Instead, because Millar knew next to nothing about the franchise, they decided that he should be the one to reboot the X-Men for Marvel’s Ultimate line of comics.

Free from the shackles of the past Millar set about crafting a new, and more modern universe for the X-Men to inhabit aimed to bring a return to the mainstream appeal the franchise enjoyed years before.

Launching in 2001, Ultimate X-Men was also part of Marvel’s “dot-comics” format, which was an early translation of print to digital using a slightly animated Flash format. Comic pages would appear on the screen showing a handful of panels at a time, and speech and thought bubbles hovering over the characters. The format would eventually pave the way toward Marvel Unlimited. Although not the first comic on the dot-comics format, it was one of the first that I read that way. Because the dot-comics were free to whomever had an internet connection and the patience to read the comics in their episodic form (if memory serves, five or so pages were uploaded every few days), they were a great way for people like myself to get introduced to a series that I otherwise would not have before.

Ultimate_X-Men_Vol_1 interior.jpg

Although I had previously dabbled in the X-Universe before, I was never a constant reader. Ultimate X-Men drew me into reading an ongoing series featuring Marvel’s merry mutants for the first time. The characters were familiar and yet felt fresh, the situations they were in reflected more of the world around them than the main Marvel universe characters did. Or at least that’s how it felt at the  time. It was here, with a newly discovered love of the characters that I truly became an X-Men fan and not just a Wolverine fan. At the time the irony that the series was being written by a man who knew bugger all about the characters was something I was unaware of, but the benefit of hindsight brings into sharp focus that provided one is a competent writer and has some understanding of the subject, then the essence of characters one is writing about shine through. And Millar, for the most part, had that understanding.

Running from 2001 until 2009 where it was cancelled at the conclusion of the critical and commercial failure of the Ultimatum crossover, Ultimate X-Men enjoyed nearly a decade as the fan favourite X-title. Although it was eventually relaunched as Ultimate Comics X-Men in 2011, the series never enjoyed the success of its pre-Ultimatum days.

Would Ultimate X-Men have worked had it been released today? Although we’ll probably never know, you can look at DC’s New 52 and to a lesser extent the successor to the Ultimate line (Ultimate Comics) to get an idea – although there are obvious faults with either comparison. The New 52 replaced DC’s continuity in its entirety, to much chatter from fans, and the Ultimate Comcs line tried to pick up after the failure of Ultimatum which had driven many fans away already. However you look at it, for nearly ten years Ultimate X-Men, and some of its companions under Marvel’s Ultimate line, were among the pinnacle of superhero comics. The reimagining of the characters, stripping them down to their core and putting them in a different world was a brave choice, but one that I, and thousands like me, fell in love with.

I grew up reading Ultimate X-Men, both as a comics fan and a human, and it hurts me a little to see people ignore it as an unimportant part of Marvel’s past because it’s not chronologically relevant in the X-Men’s story. It’s not, not really, but that doesn’t mean the stories told under the Ultimate X-Men banner remain among some of my most cherished to this day. If, for whatever reason, you haven’t read them then you can find the collected editions easily enough at your favourite online retailer (or, maybe your LCS can get them in for you).

That’s all we have for this week, folks. Come back next time  when there’s something else Underrated to talk about.

 

Review: New Suicide Squad #13

Suicide Squad 13The Suicide Squad finds themselves in Rio De Janeiro, trying to find a new drug that gives users superpowers. Being the Suicide Squad, things quickly fall apart and mass violence and chaos ensues.

This is the type of issue where the Suicide Squad really shines. The Squad attempt to complete a drug deal that goes poorly. Captain Boomerang acts as the main point of contact. The problem is, he wants to actually see the drug because that is how he always sees it done on TV. This ends in a large gunfight and Amanda Waller, who has joined the team on this mission, is not too happy. This comic is just fun. Each member of Task Force X is equally hilarious at how poorly, yet calmly, they handle being in an all out gunfight with a drug cartel.

Aside from the killing, there is a lot of good story set up and character moments. Harley Quinn continues to be the highlight of the series. Her struggle to really identify if she is the killer everyone claims is fascinating. Deadshot’s story is also very well done, focusing on his body forcing him to accept limitations he has never had to face before. The main mystery of the story centers less around the actual drug and more about the company who looks to be working with the cartel. Not to give anything away but, Amanda Waller’s own dealings seem to be coming full circle and it creates a very interesting set up for both her and the Squad.

The artwork does not live up to the fun of the main story. None of it is particularly bad but, sometimes faces look bland and the powers that the drug users get end up being nothing more than different colored beams shooting out of their hands. The gunfights do look good though. The physical humor of seeing the Squad’s calm demeanor in all the disorder is really well drawn as well.

Overall, this issue is a large improvement over the last arc. The story is full of funny moments and good character interaction. For the first time in a while, Suicide Squad finally has a grasp of who these characters are. This, coupled with the new direction of the team, creates a really exciting future for this comic.

Story: Sean Ryan Art: Phil Briones
Story: 9 Art: 6 Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Read