(W) Dennis “Hopeless” Hallum (A) Michele Bandini (CA) Clayton Crain Rated T In Shops: Jun 19, 2019 SRP: $3.99
THE SINISTER SIX STRIKES!
• A prison break at the RAFT unleashes six of SPIDER-MAN’S most sinister foes! • ELECTRO! RHINO! SCORPION! VULTURE! MISTER NEGATIVE! And…who is their mysterious leader? Plus: the unrevealed history of the partnership of PETER PARKER and OTTO OCTAVIUS!
(W) Dennis “Hopeless” Hallum (A) Michele Bandini (CA) Clayton Crain Rated T In Shops: May 29, 2019 SRP: $3.99
PETER AND MJ – SECONDS FROM DEATH!
• Daily Bugle rookie reporter MARY JANE investigates MISTER NEGATIVE’s tragic City Hall bombing and uncovers something far worse in the making! • But even armed with this knowledge, can she and SPIDER-MAN act quickly enough to disarm the DEVIL’S BREATH bomb before it destroys the city?
(W) Dennis “Hopeless” Hallum (A) Stephen Mooney (CA) Greg Smallwood Rated T In Shops: May 29, 2019 SRP: $3.99
NEVER MESS WITH THE BEST! • We all know DARTH VADER as THE EMPEROR’S iron fist, but as any rebel can tell you, he’s also a terror in a TIE Fighter. • What does it feel like in that X-WING cockpit when you’re nose-to-nose with the EMPIRE’S deadliest pilot? • Will you even live to tell the tale, hotshot?
In what is probably a law of averages/regression to the mean situation, a decent issue of War of the Realms happened as Jason Aaron, Russell Dauterman, and Matthew Wilson stopped crafting trailers for tie-in issues (For the most part.) and turned in a damn good Odin and Freyja story. Throughout his run on Thor, Aaron has done a fantastic job creating character journeys for Odinson’s supporting cast and rekindles some of that old magic as Iron-Odin and Freyja go all Thermopylae against the Dark Elves. As far as tie-ins, we’ve got two hits and a (near) miss. Inconsistent art and directionless plotting squander the amazing cast that Dennis “Hopeless” Hallum, Kim Jacinto, and Ario Anindito have been gifted with in War Avengers while Spider-Man and the League of the Realms and Giant-Man are basically throwing shit at the wall to see if it sticks. And it does thanks to Nico Leon’s clean art, Sean Ryan’s heroic writing of Spidey, and Leah Williams’ wonderful wit.
War of the Realms #4
Freyja has been a complete and utter badass during the course of the “War of the Realms” event leading the charge as all her male relatives are Frost Giant food or injured. With the foresight that comes from her background as a Vanir goddess, she can both ward off hordes of Dark Elves and coordinate the Avengers recruiting surviving members of other realms to make a last stand on Midgard. Russell Dauterman and Matthew Wilson channel Jack Kirby a little bit when showing her action using Kirby krackle and squiggly lines to demonstrate her magical powers and a black and pink palette that intensifies into red once her situation gets more dire.
And speaking of dire, this is what motivates an injured Odin to jump into battle. He truly cares about his wife and is angry that Ghost Rider, She-Hulk, Blade, and Punisher left her by herself at the Black Bifrost. He is very pissed off, and not even Captain America’s good wishes can calm him down. Luckily, Tony Stark has forged him an incredibly cool, golden suit of armor in one of the series’ most badass moments. Aaron also does an excellent job writing a bickering couple even sneaking in a joke about how Odin isn’t great in bed as they reach their end. Over the course of four issues, he and Dauterman have taken almost everyone away from Thor, and he is ready to be a hero with his axe, hammer, metal arm, and interruption of Jane Foster. This arc for Thor is very in line with his recent characterization in the Marvel movies, and I’m curious how many of these “deaths” will actually hold up once the event is over.
War of the Realms #4 has bits that feel like trailers for other issues (She-Hulk’s motivational speech to the dwarves of Nidavellir is very funny though.), but Jason Aaron’s focus on Freyja and Odin’s characterization combined with Russell Dauterman and Matthew Wilson’s beautiful, yet tragic visuals of their final stand give the comic an Overall Verdict of Read.
War of the Realms Strikeforce: The War Avengers #1
Writer Dennis “Hopeless” Hallum, artists Kim Jacinto and Ario Anindito, and colorists Java Tartaglia and Felipe Sobreiro’s War Avengers one-shot is set up back in War of the Realms #3 with Freyja sending a team led by Captain Marvel to coordinate the defense of Midgard. The members of this team are Deadpool, Sif, Weapon H (Hulk and Wolverine combined for some reason.), Winter Soldier, Black Widow, and Captain Britain comes into help later. Hopeless understands the voices of these characters very well with inappropriately timed quips for Deadpool, a badass warrior vibe for Sif, strong military leadership from Carol, and simmering black ops chemistry between Natasha and Bucky that would make Ed Brubaker and Mark Waid smile. As the team heads to London to try to take out Malekith, he even writes one hell of a Union Jack, who quaffs a pint while waiting for the next wave of Dark Elves.
This previous paragraph made War Avengers #1 sound like a damn fine team comic, but it’s not. I know that deadlines are a thing and this issue is longer than usual Marvel ones, but Jacinto and Anindito’s art is very hit and miss and doesn’t really mesh. Some scenes are more cartoonish while others are stiffly rendered. This stiffness comes at awkward moments like an extended bit with Deadpool and a shark, or Black Widow and Winter Soldier doing a cool stealth mission to steal mechs from Frost Giants. But there are some good panels here and there like when Deadpool makes a joke about a scene of Natasha leaping from an explosion being a good movie poster for her. Sometimes, this comic does feel like Dennis Hallum unloading every joke he has for Deadpool at one go.
So, unlike the excellent Dark Elf Realm one-shot, Hallum doesn’t really have a focus after the Frost Giant heist mission and the failed attack on Malekith wrapping the comic up with some statements about war straight out of All Quiet on the Western Front’s Cliff Notes. With the exception of Venom’s capture, he doesn’t show the War Avengers being beaten back by Malekith and ends the issue with a Carol voiceover and setting up their next “mission”. This lack of conclusiveness plus inconsistent art earns War Avengers #1 an Overall Verdict of Pass even though I personally love this team lineup.
War of the Realms: Spider-Man & the League of Realms #1
Sean Ryan, Nico Leon, and Carlos Lopez take one of the coolest concepts from Jason Aaron’s Thor run and craft a heartwarming, occasionally quirky heroic story in Spider-Man & the League of Realms#1. The story opens with Spider-Man driving a jeep to Lagos, Nigeria with a Light Elf, Dwarf, Mountain Giant, and Vanir god in tow. They’re trying to liberate Lagos from the Angels of Heven, who now rule the continent of Africa. The result is Spider-Man awkwardly trying to keep a team that has a couple killers at bay and looking out for regular people while angels rain down fire and fury from above.
What really makes this comic work is the clean lines of Nico Leon, which make the story fun and easy to follow even if you, like me, forgot half the names of the League of the Realms members. Leon works with colorist Carlos Lopez to highlight important parts of each panel like a gorgeous church in the background where Fernande, the Angel commander and a definite crusader type, has her headquarters. His Spider-Man is quite expressive, and he treats the mask like a face and not something static. Ryan gives him plenty of action to draw, but this comic has a pretty peaceful ending for a “War of the Realms” tie-in. It’s a done in one story and also has a cool cliffhanger plus Ryan creates tension between Spider-Man and the more violent members of his team that will probably lead to more conflict down the road.
Even though he’s in Lagos, not Queens, and is palling around with an Elf, Dwarf (I love me some Screwbeard.), god, troll, and not the Human Torch or Mary Jane, Spider-Man & the League of Realms #1 is still a great Spider-Man story. Spidey takes responsibility for every life he comes in contact with on his mission and truly lives up to Thor’s description of him as “the most Midgard of men”. Throw in Nico Leon’s artwork, and this comic earns an Overall Verdict of Buy.
I would love to be a fly, er, ant on the wall when Leah Williams pitched Giant-Man #1 to Marvel. Basically, four size changing superheroes (Scott Lang aka Ant-Man, Raz Malhotra aka Giant-Man, Tom Foster aka Goliath, and Atlas) grow to their full height, disguise themselves as Frost Giants, and take a trip to Florida to whack Laufey’s Frost Giant buddy, Ymir. Freyja is channeling the power of “big boy season” to get revenge for Laufey eating her adopted son, Loki back in War of the Realms #1. Scott wants to go back to Florida to look for his daughter, Cassie, and Williams and artist Marco Castiello do a great job having him and Freyja connect over their love for their children. Their care also extends to Goliath, who struggles with powers and being in the shadow of his uncle Bill Foster as well as Raz, who is a cute wholesome soul that had a recent breakup with his boyfriend, and of course, Atlas, who is just happy to have a shot at heroism again and comes to the mission already in “giant” mode. At first, Goliath seems like the team asshole, but Williams and Castiello prod his vulnerabilities and insecurity and add layers to his character.
for all its humor, general adventurous tone, and creative uses of size
changing, Giant-Man #1 has a few
flaws. There’s some Freyja dialogue at the beginning when she’s giving the
mission that needed to be copy edited, and once the team has their “disguises”
on, it’s sometimes hard to tell the characters apart except for Scott, who
wears a larger version of his Ant-Man helmet. There’s a real flying by the seat
of their pants quality to the characters’ interactions especially once they
reach the Frost Giant haven of Yeehaw, Florida, which is a fantastic name for
comedy purposes. The cast of Giant-Man has
similar powers, but no real bond with each other except for Scott and Raz, who
was trained by him in a previous comic. This is a definite liability for such
an important mission as this one, and shit almost immediately hits the fan and
doesn’t let up. Also, Frost Giant dogs make look cute, but they’re actually
Leah Williams and Marco Castiello go full hog with the fun, weird side of “War of the Realms” in Giant-Man #1, which also features plenty of jokes (Including a very good dick one), three dimensional characters, and characters riding on each other’s shoulders and in pockets. One line of clunky dialogue and occasional art clarity issues aside, it gets an Overall Verdict of Buy.
This was one of the better “War of the Realms” weeks in recent memory with Jason Aaron, Russell Dauterman, and Matthew Wilson doing strong work with Thor and his family in the main title while Spider-Man and the League of the Realms and Giant-Man showed there’s room for traditional hero stories and wacky capers in this event. War Avengers was kind of a disappointment, but extended panel time for Captain Britain, Union Jack, Sif, and non-surveillance state Carol Danvers is a good time. I like how Dennis Hallum wrote these characters, and maybe we’ll get a spinoff with a better artist. I still don’t get the deal with Weapon H other than as a cash grab.
Darth Vader, a name that strikes fear in the hearts of countless across the galaxy…but there is one lonely heart that beats just for him. What is it like to be in love with Lord Vader? And what fate will befall one who is infatuated with the tall, dark mystery behind the mask?
Tragedy. Is there any other expectation to come of this story? Writer Dennis “Hopeless” Hallum has been exploring Darth Vader through the eyes of others in a galaxy far far away. The first issue delivered us a tale of hope and heroics. The second horror. The third is a love story that can only end in one way.
Star Wars: Vader – Dark Visions #3 is a story that while expected is still very entertaining focusing on a medical assistant whose role brings her in to the orbit of Darth Vader. And that proximity brings obsessions and the belief of love. While there’s an aspect to the story about spiraling obsession there’s also a a tragedy as we see Vader’s reaction to someone who thinks they love him. There’s a monster destroying its maker aspect to it all giving the story a Frankenstein like spin to it.
The art by David Lopez and Javi Pina with coloring from Munsta Vincente and letterer Joe Caramagna is interesting as it’s able to balance a horror like sensibility about it but also in a stylized way. Vader himself looks off at times with an inconsistent design but overall it’s a look that feels fresh and unique and helps with the anthology aspect of the series.
The issue is predictable in some ways and not in others delivering another issue to get you to think about Lord Vader and how those in the galaxy view him. It’s a series that with each issue shows that he’s more than has been presented and no matter how you view him, he’s an interesting part of the Star Wars myhology.
Story: Dennis “Hopeless” Hallum Art: David Lopez, Javi Pina Color: Muntsa Vicente Letterer: Joe Caramagna Story: 7.85 Art: 8.05 Overall: 7.9 Recommendation: Read
Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review
Valiant Entertainment has announced the creative team behind the upcoming X-O Manowar ongoing series this November!
Writer Dennis “Hopeless” Hallum and artist Emilio Laiso will be taking on the iconic character beginning November 2019.
Hallum said in the announcement:
The Valiant universe is full of intensely human characters with wild origins and interesting flaws. We always give the cool robot suits to billionaires and scientists. I love how Aric flips that on its head. He didn’t build the suit. He can’t explain the suit. And he could kick your butt up and down the road without the suit. The anachronism is fascinating and I can’t wait to play around with it.
(W) Dennis Hopeless (A) David Lopez (CA) Greg Smallwood Rated T In Shops: Apr 24, 2019 SRP: $3.99
THE STAR-CROSSED LOVER! • DARTH VADER, a name that strikes fear in the hearts of countless across the galaxy…but there is one lonely heart that beats just for him. • What is it like to be in love with LORD VADER? • And what fate will befall one who is infatuated with the tall, dark mystery behind the mask?
(W) Dennis Hopeless (A) Michele Bandini (CA) Clayton Crain Rated T In Shops: Apr 17, 2019 SRP: $3.99
CONTINUING THE SAGA OF SPIDER-MAN FROM THE BRAND-NEW UNIVERSE! • The worlds of PETER PARKER and SPIDER-MAN continue to collide – with his beloved AUNT MAY and current crusading Daily Bugle reporter (and former girlfriend) MARY JANE – caught in the middle! • Teenager MILES MORALES has two heroes – Spider-Man and his police office father, JEFFERSON DAVIS – but how will their chance meeting lead to both triumph and tragedy? • Plus: Who are the INNER DEMONS, and how is their crime spree connected to the fall of the KINGPIN…and the rise of an even darker foe?
Publisher: BOOM! Studios Writer: Dennis Hopeless Artist: Jake Elphick, Kendall Goode, Hyeonjin Kim, Rodrigo Lorenzo Cover Artist: Lucas Werneck Price: $16.99
NXT has become WWE’s third global brand and the launching pad for some of today’s biggest Superstars including Seth Rollins, Charlotte Flair, Alexa Bliss and many more.
Learn the untold stories behind NXT in this special event from writer Dennis Hopeless (WWE) and artists Jake Elphick (WWE: WrestleMania 2018 Special), Kendall Goode (Maze Runner: The Death Cure) Hyeonjin Kim (Sisters of Sorrow), and Rodrigo Lorenzo (WWE: Undertaker).
To command an Imperial Destroyer is a coveted position. But with such great responsibility comes grave consequences if you fail your mission. How far will one officer go to spare himself from the judgment of Darth Vader?
Some of the most memorable scenes from Star Wars is that of Darth Vader choking individuals who fail him (or threatening to). The fear that it generates is a motivator for some and lets face it, there’s some wish fulfillment there for some of us. Star Wars: Vader – Dark Visions #2 explores that concept with a story of a commander who doesn’t want to fail Vader and knows if he does what that means.
Writer Dennis “Hopeless” Hallum delivers an entire issue to what an officer would do to avoid being choked out. The situation spirals in comedic ways to deliver a story that’s actually kind of funny due to the absurdity of it all. As commands are issued, the reader knows things aren’t going to work out, but how badly things goes is so over the top it’s hard to not laugh at times.
Brian Level‘s art, with color by Jordan Boyd and lettering by Joe Caramagna, is interesting and helps add to the levity of it all. The story could easily have taken on a much more serious, almost horror like quality easily. But, as presented, there’s a slapstick like quality about the art style that enhances the humor of it all. There’s also interesting use of panels and perspectives that makes the comic a bit more interesting visually.
The issue is an entertaining one that’s a quick read but had me laughing throughout. It’s a less serious take on Star Wars in a way poking fun at what is a serious matter. While not as good as the first issue, it’s still succeeds in delivering an aspect of how others view Vader, in this case fear of his wrath. For those that want a laugh or are Star Wars fans, this is well worth checking out.
Story: Dennis Hopeless Art: Brian Level Color: Jordan Boyd Letterer: Joe Caramagna Story: 7.95 Art: 7.45 Overall: 7.75 Recommendation: Read
Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review