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Preview: Fallen World #4 (of 5)

FALLEN WORLD #4 (of 5)

Written by DAN ABNETT
Art by ADAM POLLINA
Colors by ULISES ARREOLA
Letters by JEFF POWELL
Cover A by RICK LEONARDI with DAN BROWN
Cover B by CHRISCROSS with ULISES ARREOLA
Cover C by BEN HARVEY
Pre-Order Edition by DAVID MACK
$3.99 | 32 pgs. | T+ | On sale AUGUST 7th

Rai’s greatest enemy has returned in a whole new form, and he’s got an army with him!

Can the cyborg samurai save innocent people from the powerful foe?

What roles will fan-favorite characters Eternal Warrior, Geomancer, and War Mother play in the battle?

FALLEN WORLD #4 (of 5)

Messages from Midgard #12- Analog Iron Man

With only a single issue left in the War of the Realms core series, the tie-in writers have fallen into the unenviable trap of wrapping up their story, connecting it to the event’s inevitable conclusion, and maybe leaving a loose thread or two when their comic returns to its normally scheduled programming.

Six comics came out this week, and one was heads and shoulders over the pack: War of the Realms Journey into Mystery #5. The McElroys, Andre Araujo, and Chris O’Halloran have finished crafting an ensemble cast that I want to read an ongoing series about, made Ares sympathetic, Laussa more than a MacGuffin, connect all the seemingly random plot threads of the series, and made me laugh out loud a couple times. No other book came close to this, but with snark, grit, and one hell of a Wasp cameo, Gail Simone and Paolo Villanelli made up for last month’s disappointment and delivered a nifty science vs magic clash in Tony Stark, Iron Man #13. I enjoyed it and wish Simone had more time on the book.


War of the Realms: War Scrolls #3

War of the Realms’ anthology tie-in War Scrolls wraps up with its third issue. There is the conclusion to Jason Aaron, Andrea Sorrentino, and Matthew Wilson’s Daredevil serial as well as a Dr. Doom story from Christopher Cantwell, Cian Tormey, and Dan Brown and a She-Hulk one from Charlie Jane Anders, Simone D’Armini, and Federico Blee. Daredevil, God without Fear continues to be an accomplishment in panel layouts, fight scenes, and theodicies. This three part story is a turning point in Sorrentino’s career as an artist as he transitions from flowing tapestry layouts to strict grids that work like slow-mo while Daredevil fights Malekith with Bifrost shruikens. Aaron’s narration continues to show the perils of omniscience, and even if Daredevil can’t defeat Malekith, he can inspire his blind children hostage to escape and cut God a break along the way.

Halt and Catch Fire co-creator Christopher Cantwell tells the story of the Dark Elf invasion of Latveria from ordinary citizens’ POVs. Dr. Doom has a godlike status in this country, and even when he makes silly mistakes like wasting his troops on a Saving Private Ryan-esque rescue mission, they look to him to save them. The switching point of views can be disorienting, but Cian Tormey gives the story a documentary feel and builds to one badass crescendo where Doom is part-Superman, part-God of the Old Testament, and still authoritarian. It’s a tasting menu that really needs to be expanded to a full feast of the regular lives of Latverians.

War Scrolls #3 wraps up with a story of She-Hulk and Freyja fighting dragons and talking about relationships. Charlie Jane Anders’ writing sometimes feels like she’s making her characters have her interests like making Blade a Beyonce fan and Punisher a Joni Mitchell aficionado, but she nails the conversations between Jennifer and Freyja. She-Hulk talks about how she is dating Thor and not sure how serious it is, and Freyja understands how much She-Hulk cares for her son and that they are both insecure about their “worthiness” and status as heroes. The cherry on top of this pretty good story is D’Armini’s artwork that makes She-Hulk incredibly muscular and monstrous. For the most part, War Scrolls has been full of thought provoking character studies and memorable visuals, and issue three is no exception earning an Overall Verdict of Buy.


War of the Realms: Journey into Mystery #5

Journey into Mystery #5 wraps up this god demon baby starring road trip saga into a neat little bow and uses continuity to enhance and deepen character development and humor instead of as a crutch. The McElroys seamlessly transition from podcasting to mainstream comics while Andre Araujo and Chris O’Halloran enhance their jokes and punch up the action scenes beginning with Wonder Man sweeping to save Laussa. They keep their character portrayals internally consistent like having Wonder Man continue to be a pacifist and having Sebastian Druid being uncertain about his powers, but reminding readers he had a relationship with Ares’ son back in Jonathan Hickman’s Secret Warriors.

This kibble of continuity isn’t just a piece of cute, fanboy trivia, but sets up Ares’ road for redemption. He isn’t a bad guy and doesn’t have a quarrel with this book’s cast; he just like to fight and wants to be reunited with son in the afterlife. Journey into Mystery #5 isn’t just a slugfest between the team and Ares, but is filled with twists and turns about Laussa that aren’t 100% deus ex machinas. The comic does have a pleasing plot, but its real magic are in the small moments like any time Miles Morales and Thori interact, or Laussa’s expressions with the world around him. And for this mastery of both the macro and micro aspects of comics, Journey into Mystery #5, and by extension, the whole miniseries earn an Overall Verdict of Buy.


War of the Realms: Spider-Man & the League of Realms #3

Unless it’s for a storytelling purpose, having two or more artists on a comic usually means it was rushed to meet its deadline, and that seems to be the case with Spider-Man & the League of Realms #3. Gone are Nico Leon’s slick cartooning and well-choreographed set pieces of the previous two issues, and writer Sean Ryan giving each League member a distinct personality beyond fantasy race action figure. This issue is mostly a slugfest against Malekith’s lieutenant, Kurse and peppered with awkward poses, constipated facial expressions, and basically, generic visuals from Leon and Marco Failla.

The angel Fernande goes a bit ballistic in the middle of the fight, and Spider-Man finds a shared connection because they have both lost loved ones. But this was already covered in the previous issue so it feels a lot like padding in Spider-Man & the League of Realms #3. The main plot point of this issue (and a cool connection to War Scrolls #3) is that Kurse was once League member, Waziria, and for the first time in all of War of the Realms (Except the Cul Borson story in Thor.), the Dark Elves aren’t treated like evil cannon fodder. In the end, this comic was about saving people instead of punching evil, and that’s a good sentiment from Ryan and Leon. However, it ends on this week’s “standard” heroes pose together and jump into the final battle panel and earns an Overall Verdict of Pass because of art issues and the difficulty of writing a large cast.


Captain Marvel #7

Spider-Man & the League of Realms #3 wasn’t the worst “War of the Realms” comic this week. That honor goes to Captain Marvel #7, which wraps up the unbearably banal if well-colored by Tamra Bonvillain body swap story featuring Carol Danvers and Dr. Strange. This issue does have a few positives like Kelly Thompson’s gift for quick banter and cutting one-liners like Strange roasting Carol for only knowing magic from various pop culture things. However, it’s pretty shallow, Strange and Carol’s ineptitude with each other’s powers are quickly resolved, and afterwards, they and an underutilized Black Widow go separate ways.

One slight positive about Captain Marvel #7 is Annapaola Martello’s art. She’s equally good at drawing fun facial expressions/hints of flirting and things that go boom/pew pew. Even if the story is thin, it’s pure joy to see Dr. Strange in Carol’s body go Binary and kick undead ass and then steal a little moment at the end. And about the ending, it seems random and tacked on even if it’s our first glimpse of a post-War of the Realms world. Carol is hanging out in her apartment like everything is normal, and the last story had no effect on her. Honestly, this is for the better as Thompson no longer has to shoehorn a quick tie-in and can tell her full story. My Overall Verdict for Captain Marvel #7 is Pass, and it’s worth skipping for regular readers of her title and those just following “War of the Realms”.


Deadpool #14

If there’s any comic that Deadpool #14 shares DNA with, it’s Simon Bisley’s Lobo books of the 1990s with their combination of serious, detailed fantasy art and silly dialogue and situations. In this comic, Skottie Young and Nic Klein chronicle Deadpool’s defense of Australia from Ulik (Which is apparently a very common name for trolls.) and his minions with the help of a knock-off Captain Britain and Daredevil and then an assist from some real superheroes. Young continues to have fun breaking the fourth wall and poking fun at his own writing like ending the issue with a deus ex machina and commenting on the legality of including a figure that’s all but named Tasmanian Devil.

Nic Klein draws and colors his own work in Deadpool #14 and turns in some gorgeous splash pages of Deadpool, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, Daredevil, and various Z-list Australian heroes beating the shit out of trolls. He can also do funny too like his depiction of the solution to Australia’s troll problem, which is feeding them and putting them to work at New Zealand’s copyright-friendly version of a Lord of the Rings set tour. The panel of trolls chasing tourists with selfie sticks around a “bobbit” hole is like something out of Mad magazine and a wonderful Deadpool-esque way to wrap up the plot. For its humor, skilled art, and ultraviolence, Deadpool #14 earns an Overall Verdict of Buy. (And, apparently, the next issue is the final one of the series.)


Tony Stark, Iron Man #13

Free of continuing subplot from previous issues (Except for the important Tony Stark relapsing in a VR environment one.), Gail Simone and Paolo Villanelli are free to tell the story of the battle between Iron Man and the wyrm Sadurang, who wants to rob the New York Stock Exchange. They make fantastic parallels between traders and hoarding dragons, and starting off a conversation between Sadurang and a now homeless broker about how riches cloud one’s morals sets the tone for the issue. And what happens is a back to basics Iron Man story where Tony must destroy or deactivate all his magic infected armor and get back to the analog days to defeat this greedy dragon.

Edgar Delgado’s powerful colors match Villanelli’s art, which can be loose and scratchy when Tony is getting his ass kicked and trying to quip his way out of a bad situation or tighter and tougher when he’s in the Mark I armor doing his best St. George impression. Also, Simone brings in the very winsome Wasp as a guest star in this issue, and she brings Tony hope and her stings and fast flying gives him enough time to rally his counterattack. Then, they get to share a sweet moment after the fight is over, but Tony doesn’t tell her about the relapse and is interrupted by Malekith’s initial invasion of New York. This two steps forward, one step forward approach to Tony’s journey works for Gail Simone and Paolo Villanelli and coupled with a satire of capitalism via knight/dragon metaphors, Tony Stark, Iron Man #13 earns an Overall Verdict of Buy.


Even though it’s sad to see Captain Marvel’s portrayal stumble in yet another event, and some writers love doing the “heroes join the final battle” ending to their tie-ins, this wasn’t a bad “War of the Realms” week. Skottie Young and Nic Klein turned their Deadpool two-parter into an exercise in maximum absurdity and pulled off the first funny Lord of the Rings reference of the event while Gail Simone added Iron Man to characters she excels at writing. But the real highlight was Journey into Mystery, which is a redemptive road comedy starring a great mix of heroes, tons of quick jokes, and a coherent plot that zigged where others zag. I’m definitely looking forward to Clint McElroy’s upcoming work on Marvel Team-Up.


Panel of the Week

Mark I armor, Ben Day dots, snarky Gail Simone dialogue. I’m geeking out, y’all. (From Tony Stark, Iron Man #13; Art by Paolo Villanelli and Edgar Delgado)

Review: The Life And Death Of Toyo Harada #3

The Life And Death Of Toyo Harada #3

Wait, did we kill Toyo Harada in the middle of his own series? It is called THE LIFE AND DEATH OF TOYO HARADA, after all… A young Toyo spends some quality time with one of the most brilliant men in history: Albert Einstein. Yes, really. And things get veeeeery violent with Toyo’s savage alien friend, LV-99…

I won’t lie, reading the above preview text before the comic kind of gives away more than it should, and left a bit of a sour taste in my mouth as I read the above before the comic itself. I am, after all, a man who abhors spoilers (even ones from the publisher). So when I say that despite the above text acting like a pair of weights around a sprinter’s ankles as they start the race, I still thoroughly enjoyed this issue.

The Life And Death Of Toyo Harada is a journey, and not a comic that needs to have every revelation hit you without you seeing it come. That being said, I did strike through the worst of the offending text above.

The opening to the second issue was breathtaking in what it achieved with the raging power of a storm depicted on the page, and so it was with some surprise that the third issue is equally as breathtaking, but in an entirely different manner. Joshua Dysart has Harada meet a man I never would have expected, and the encounter in interspersed throughout the comic, culminating in a scene that will leave you thinking about the consequences of the seemingly innocuous actions you’ve taken – and just how things can be twisted.

Toyo Harada is the kind of character that doesn’t come around often, and when they do, they’re always divisively popular as they begin to make one question whether they are truly villainous or merely driven by their goals. Harada was often framed as the villain in Harbinger, though one can argue that was simply because of the side of the story we were following, rather than the character being evil (again, there’s the divisive aspect of the man – there are more times than not that I find myself agreeing with his goals, but not always his methods). As Alan Moore wrote in Watchmen “I understand. Without condoning or condemning, I understand.”

I wrote this in the review of the second issue, and felt it needed repeating. This is a book that lives in the moral grey areas, and I love it.

Artistically, this book is just as wonderful as the previous issues. Cafu is joined this issue by Adam Polina, and the two artists create a visual epic that dances between the deepest of human emotions and the serenity of unaided flight. This is a book that has the artists running free, and there’s a true sense of that freedom on every page that you’ll read. This is truly wonderful stuff.

Once again, there’s honestly very little about this issue that I can fault – the only gripe you may have would be resolved by reading more about Harada (though Dysart does an admirable job conveying all you need to know about him in this series alone).This is currently the front runner for my miniseries of the year, because The Life And Death Of Toyo Harada is a series that highlights what comics are capable of.

Story: Joshua Dysart Art: Cafu abd Adam Polina
Colours: Andrew Dalhouse and Kat Hudson Letters: Dave Sharpe
Story: 9.5 Art: 9.4 Overall: 9.5 Recommendation: Buy

Valiant provided a FREE copy for review, but this is a book I’ll be buying when it hits the racks.

Review: The Life And Death Of Toyo Harada #2

The deadly campaign of the most powerful psiot in the Valiant Universe continues! 

In the present: Toyo Harada finds himself and The Foundation Zone under attack by a coalition of world governments, as one of his own teammates begins to turn on him. In the past: Toyo Harada escapes Japan aboard a fishing vessel, and sets sail for the new world.

Lightening struck with the first issue of The Life And Death Of Toyo Harada, and while I obviously hoped to be shocked through my bones again when opening this issue, I was prepared to be a touch let down. I honestly wasn’t prepared to be hit once again with a bolt from the skies. That the comic opens amidst a raging storm, complete with some incredibly atmospheric artwork, was nothing but a wonderful coincidence.

The opening to the second issue is breathtaking in what it achieves within a handful of pages. Joshua Dysart explores blind faith in a messianic figure, the insignificance of man and the frailty of the human condition as a Toyo Harada becomes aware of what he’s going to be capable of.

I’ve honestly read this book three times since I’ve had a digital copy in my inbox, and each time the comic drew my attention in more completely than the last

Toyo Harada is the kind of character that doesn’t come around often, and when they do, they’re always divisively popular as they begin to make one question whether they are truly villainous or merely driven by their goals. Harada was often framed as the villain in Harbinger, though one can argue that was simply because of the side of the story we were following, rather than the character being evil (again, there’s the divisive aspect of the man – there are more times than not that I find myself agreeing with his goals, but not always his methods). As Alan Moore wrote in Watchmen “I understand. Without condoning or condemning, I understand.”

This is a complicated character who lives in the moral and ethical grey area, and Joshua Dysart doesn’t tell you how to feel about Harada; allowing the reader to come to their own determination as to whether he’s the hero, villain or somewhere in between. It’s this decision to allow you to form your own opinion, or to reinforce an already formed opinion, that’s a personal highlight.

Artistically, this book is just as wonderful as the first issue. Cafu is joined this issue by Butch Guice, and the two artists create a visual epic that dances between the deepest of human emotions and the serenity of unaided flight. There’s honestly very little about this issue that I can fault (and even that would be a stretch at this point), because between the artistic team and Dysart, Valiant have published the second issue in a pretty freaking amazing series.

Although it’s still (probably) too early to call this series a masterpiece, I’m getting a lot closer to using that word as an actual descriptor for this book. The Life And Death Of Toyo Harada is a series to make other publishers jealous.

Story: Joshua Dysart Art: Cafu with Butch Guice
Colours: Andrew Dalhouse and Dan Brown Letters: Dave Sharpe
Story: 9.5 Art: 9.4 Overall: 9.5 Recommendation: Buy

Valiant provided a FREE copy for review, but this is a book I’ll be buying when it hits the racks.

Review: Marvel Comics Presents #2

Marvel Comics Presents #2

Three fantastic fables in one mighty magazine! First, a tale of Logan in the fabulous fifties! Then, a new swinging story of the jungle’s cursed crusader, Gorilla-Man! Finally, Reed Richards and Victor Von Doom enter the space race as Sputnik takes orbit!

I don’t have a long history with Marvel Comics Presents, although I have read stories reprinted from the original series, I’ve never read one of the original issues. The first one I had picked up was the first issue of the 2019 series, and I was immediately taken with the format. Probably because I’m a big Wolverine fan.

Thus far, each comic features two standalone stories, with the series being linked by a multi-part story featuring Wolverine (though even that can be read starting here is you missed MCP#1). It’s a format that immediately brings me back to a time when I didn’t care about continuity as much as I did a good story (now I’m a little more concerned with continuity whilst also wanting a good story). This issue has three stories that decline gradually in quality from the first to the final, though I’d happily read the issue for two of the three, so one average tale in an anthology style comic isn’t bad (especially when it takes up the least amount of page space).

Charles Soule‘s Wolverine tale kicks us off, and was the highlight for me. It follows on from the previous issue, though one can read this without having read the first part. The story is set in the fifties, and finds Logan teaming up with a young mystic to combat an unkillable demon named The Truth from corrupting the world; one can argue the allegories and symbolism in this till the day is long, but even on face value this is still a very entertaining tale.

Mark Waid‘s revisionist take on the Fantastic Four before their powers is interesting, and a neat twist on Marvel’s First Family focused more on Reed and Ben’s relationship against a Cold War setting. It’s an interesting What If? style story that I’d love to get more of in the future.

Lastly, we have the Gorilla-Man feature by David and Maria Lapham. It isn’t bad by any means, but certainly isn’t the highlight of the issue. In fairness, this may be more down to my lack of knowledge of – and desire to read about – Gorilla Man than any indication of the ability of the writers. It wasn’t my cup of tea, and I found it a touch jumbled as it seemed to bounce the story between present and flashback. Still, this is far from unreadable, and suffers more because of the stories it’s paired with than anything else.

All in all, Marvel Comics Presents #2 is a win. Easily one of the more fun comics for Marvel right now., unencumbered by continuity and story constraints as it is.

Wolverine: The Vigil
Story: Charles Soule Penciler: Paulo Siqueira
Colour Artist: Frank D’Armata Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Story: 8.6 Art: 8.9 Overall: 8.7

Liftoff featuring Mister Fantastic
Story: Mark Waid Artist Djibril Morissette-Phan
Colour Artist: Dan Brown Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna

Story: 7.5 Art: 8.1 Overall: 7.8
This Man, This Gorilla featuring Gorilla-Man
Story: David & Maria Lapham Artist: David Lapham Colour Artist: Lee Loughridge Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna

Story: 6.3 Art: 7.2 Overall: 6.7

Marvel Comics Presents #2 Recommendation: Buy

Marvel Provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Hunt for Wolverine: The Claws of a Killer

Wolverine is back? His body is missing and Sabretooth, Lady Deathstrike, and Daken are on a mission to find him and put him back in the ground.

Hunt for Wolverine: The Claws of a Killer collects Hunt for Wolverine #1 as well as Claws of a Killer #1-4 by Charles Soule, Mariko Tamaki, David Marquez, Rachelle Rosenberg, Paulo Siqueira, Walden Wong, Ruth Redmond, Butch Guice, Mack Chater, Cam Smith, Dan Brown, and Jordan Boyd.

Get your copy in comic shops now and book stores December 18! To find a comic shop near you, visit www.comicshoplocator.com or call 1-888-comicbook or digitally and online with the links below.

Amazon/comiXology/Kindle
TFAW

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with FREE copies for review
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Preview: Hunt for Wolverine #1

Hunt for Wolverine #1

Story: Charles Soule
Art: David Marquez, Paulo Siqueira
Color: Rachelle Rosenberg, Walden Wong, Ruth Redmond
Letterer: VC’s Joe Sabino
Cover Art: Steve McNiven, Jay Leisten, Laura Martin
Variant Covers: Marco Checcetto, Elizabeth Torque, Nolan Woodard, Adam Kubert, Dan Brown, Mike Deodato, Morry Hollowell
Editors: Jordan D. White, Mark Paniccia
Assistant Editors: Annalise Bissa, Christina Harringnton
Rated T+
In Shops: Apr 25, 2018
SRP: $5.99

The RETURN OF WOLVERINE begins here, providing the first piece of a mystery that will leave no corner of the Marvel Universe untouched. Just as the X-Men have finally come to terms with Logan’s death, they learn a terrible secret. Old wounds will be re-opened, truths questioned, and an epic quest begun. The earliest clues to the mystery of Wolverine’s return are laid down here… who will solve it first?

Preview: Legion #3

Legion #3

Story: Peter Milligan Art: Wilfredo Torres
Ink: Wilfredo Torres, Marc Deering Color: Dan Brown Letterer: VC’s Travis Lanham
Cover: Javier Rodríguez
Graphic Designers: Jay Bowen, Anthony Gambino
X-Men Group Editor: Mark Paniccia Editor: Darren Shan Assistant Editor: Chris Robinson
Rated T+
In Shops: Mar 28, 2018
SRP: $3.99

TRAUMA PART 3
• In order to protect Legion’s mind from Lord Trauma, an overwhelming dark personality, Dr. Hannah Jones must band the other personalities together and fight back!
• But the only way to rally everyone is to first recruit the biggest, baddest personality there is… You can call him RIDER.
• Will he accept?

Exclusive Preview: Doctor Strange: Damnation #3

Doctor Strange: Damnation #3

Story: Donny Cates, Nick Spencer Art: Szymon Kudranski
Color: Dan Brown Letterer: VC’s Travis Lanham
Cover: Rod Reis
Variant Covers: Ron Lim, Rachelle Rosenberg; Greg Smallwood; Leinil Francis Yu, Morry Hollowell
Designers: Jay Bowen, Anthony Gambino
Editor: Nick Lowe Assistant Editor: Kathleen Wisneski
Rated T+
In Shops: Mar 21, 2018
SRP: $3.99

Wong’s makeshift Midnight Sons (Iron Fist! Blade! Moon Knight! The Scarlet Spider?!) stand against a whole platoon of Ghost Riders!

Preview: Legion #2

Legion #2

Story: Peter Milligan Art: Wilfredo Torres Cover Art: Javier Rodriguez
Color: Dan Brown Letterer: VC’s Travis Lanham
Graphic Designers: Jay Bowen and Anthony Gambino
Editor: Darren Shan Assistant Editor: Chris Robinson X-Men Group Editor: Mark Paniccia
Rated T+
In Shops: Feb 28, 2018
SRP: $3.99

TRAUMA Part 2
• Celebrity psychologist HANNAH JONES has been sucked into LEGION’s bizarre mind-world!
• What strange alternative personalities, painful memory spores and mind-bending paranoia storms will she encounter?
• And will Hannah be able to heal the fractured mind of her patient – and keep her own life and sanity intact?!

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