(W) Jason Aaron (A/CA) Ed McGuinness Rated T+ In Shops: Nov 27, 2019 SRP: $3.99
STARBRAND REBORN Part One: RIOT IN THE SPACE PRISON!
Artist Ed McGuinness returns for an epic space adventure that takes the Avengers into an alien prison the size of a galaxy, where a mysterious new wielder of the all-powerful Starbrand has suddenly appeared, unleashing cosmic chaos. Good thing the Avengers brought along their newest member, the Black Widow.
In celebration of Marvel‘s 80th anniversary this year, scores of comic creators – some Marvel icons, some first-timers – are assembling for an epic comic book story in honor of the very first issue of Marvel Comics. This August, get ready for Marvel Comics #1000, a massive collaborative effort that will see 80 different creative teams weave together one, expansive story.
In honor of an 80-year legacy, we’re proud to present an incredible lineup of variants, all by an exceptional roster of artists, that exemplify the richness and scope of Marvel history. Collect these iconic covers soon!
MARVEL COMICS #1000:
MARVEL COMICS 1000 40’S VARIANT COVER BY MARK BROOKS (JUN190850)
MARVEL COMICS 1000 60’S VARIANT COVER BY MIKE ALLRED (JUN190851)
MARVEL COMICS 1000 70’S VARIANT COVER BY GREG SMALLWOOD (JUN190852)
MARVEL COMICS 1000 90’S VARIANT COVER BY RON LIM (JUN190854)
MARVEL COMICS 1000 00’S VARIANT COVER BY MARK BAGLEY (JUN190855)
MARVEL COMICS 1000 DECADE VARIANT COVER BY KAARE ANDREWS (JUN190856)
MARVEL COMICS 1000 VARIANT COVER BY JEN BARTEL (JUN190858)
MARVEL COMICS 1000 VARIANT COVER BY CLAYTON CRAIN (JUN190857)
MARVEL COMICS 1000 VARIANT COVER BY GABRIELE DELL’OTTO (JUN190845)
MARVEL COMICS 1000 VIRGIN VARIANT COVER BY GABRIELE DELL’OTTO (MAY198761)
MARVEL COMICS 1000 HIDDEN GEM VARIANT COVER BY STEVE DITKO (JUN190862)
MARVEL COMICS 1000 COLLAGE VARIANT COVER BY MR GARCIN (JUN190849)
MARVEL COMICS 1000 VARIANT COVER BY GREG HILDEBRANDT (JUN190860)
MARVEL COMICS 1000 VARIANT COVER BY INHYUK LEE (JUN190846)
This week marks the end of both “War of the Realms” and the Messages from Midgard column. There are a few straggler tie-ins like Unbeatable Squirrel Girl and an Omega issue, which I will cover in its own review, but the core miniseries plus three ancillary tie-in minis and Jason Aaron’s arcs on Thor and Avengers wrap up this week. Plus there’s a fun Superior Spider-Man story where Peter Parker and, of all people, Gwenpool, teaching Doc Ock that heroism is about saving individuals and not just trying to glory hog the whole event. That privilege is reserved for Thor, of which there are four, because its their event.
War of the Realms #6
In War of the Realms #6, Jason Aaron, Russell Dauterman, and Matthew Wilson knuckle down to give both this event and basically Aaron’s seven year run on Thor one hell of a conclusion. It’s centered around a simple premise. If only Thor can break the magic circle and confront a Knull-infused Malekith, then why not bring four of them: Odinson, King Thor, Young Thor, and Jane Foster’s Thor, who now wields Mjolnir from the Ultimate Universe. What follows is an exercise in fighting, bickering, and true heroism while the rest of the heroes confront Laufey on Midgard.
Before digging into the fantastic things that Aaron does with both Thor and Jane Foster’s arcs, I would like to praise the visuals of Dauterman and Wilson, who really outdo themselves in issue six. Wilson’s palette is majestic and varied ranging from the eye of the storm to the clash of lightning on symbiote ooze and a snowstorm to end all snowstorms. Like the different hammers and weapons used by the Thors, Dauterman switches up his inking style to fit the scene from looser work when Malekith does anything symbiote-y to more clean polished art when Odinson forges Mjolnir anew in the eye of a storm. His attention to detail is uncanny, and he draws many epic moments like when Odinson punches his own hammer and memorable small ones like Screwbeard and Ivory Honeyshot doing their best Gimli and Legolas imitation at the end of the world.
One word that can be used to describe War of the Realms #6 is “satisfying”. Odinson has gone on a painful heroic journey that draws comparisons to the one his own father, Odin, went on to become All-Father sacrificing body parts to gain the wisdom and power to rule Asgard. There are also parallels to the journeys of Dionysus and Jesus Christ in his story as he humbles himself and suffers to save the whole world. But, lofty comparisons aside, this is really the story of a man who becomes a hero and “worthy” in spite of his flaws, which is a metaphor for most of the Marvel heroes, who have fantastic abilities and feet of clay. It is a rare sight to see such an iconic character, like Thor, grow and change over a run, and Jason Aaron has pulled this off with War of the Realms #6 being the finishing touch and earning an Overall Verdict of Buy.
War of the Realms: New Agents of Atlas #4
In New Agents of Atlas#4, this new pan-Asian superhero team finally gets their act together to assemble and prevent Sindr, the Fire Goblin queen from melting the polar ice caps. Greg Pak and artists Gang Hyuk Lim, Moy R, and Pop Mhan take their cues from third act of the 2012 Avengers film from Jimmy Woo playing the Nick Fury role and lying about Pele’s true nature to get the team to work together and lots of big epic splash pages of heroes doing team-up moves. However, with the exception of Brawn, Shang Chi, and the Filipina heroine Wave, I feel like I barely know these heroes so the big fight scenes look pretty, but feel like action figures in position, not characters reaching the end of their journey.
Pak, Lim, Federico Blee and the guest artists and colorists had a tall order introducing new characters and ones who had only appeared in Korean and Chinese comics as well as mobile games to a new audience. Having four issues and a big, yet underdeveloped baddie helped, but in the end, the cast of New Agents of Atlas was simply too large to get to know the new folks. Hopefully, the upcoming miniseries will take its time to develop their personalities as well as show off their cool costumes and powers. Unfortunately, New Agents of Atlas #4 earns an Overall Verdict of Pass despite its one genuinely memorable twist.
War of the Realms: Punisher #3
War of the Realms Punisher#3
features the same fantasy baddies as the rest of “War of the Realm’s” tie-ins,
but Gerry Duggan, Marcelo Ferreira, Roberto Poggi, and Rachelle Rosenberg
take a grittier, more violent, and at times, fatalistic approach to their story
beginning with Frank Castle having guns pointed to his head by former mobsters.
He gets out of this pickle pretty easily by swearing on the souls of dead wife
and kids that he’ll spare the criminals once they get the civilians to safety.
Most of them don’t have to worry about living as they’re immediately set upon
by a squad of trolls; one of which Frank tortures in a chilling scene that
makes the criminals realize that they’re not getting out of this alive too.
Duggan and Ferreira portray Frank Castle as a hardened soldier in War of the Realms Punisher #3, and his enemy is the criminal element, both mortal and otherworldly. Sure, he’ll get the civilians to safety in New Jersey, but he’ll also gun down the last criminal standing with him while the doctor he was assisting shrieks in terror. This is because Castle is as much of a monster and a force of nature as the trolls and Fire Goblins that he was gunning down or blowing up tanker trucks to stop. Duggan’s understanding of Frank Castle’s character, and that we can cheer for him to take out the bad guys and recoil at killing one in cold blood as well as the hellish visuals of Ferreira, Poggi, and Rosenberg earns War of the Realms Punisher #3 an Overall Verdict of Buy and definitely has me interested in Duggan’s upcoming Punisher Kill Krew series.
War of the Realms: Uncanny X-Men #3
Even though it’s nice to see Cyclops, Multiple Man, and your
favorite former New Mutants defending Citi Field from Frost Giants, Matthew Rosenberg, Pere Perez, and Rachelle
Rosenberg’sWar of the Realms: Uncanny X-Men has been the weak link of the tie-in
minis. Issue three is no exception with the pointless killing off of Sunspot,
the repetitive dialogue of (dead in the main series) Wolfsbane’s lover
Hrimhari, and a tacked on sequence with Dani Moonstar and the Valkyries even
though this plot point was only touched upon at the end of issue one. It could
have been a good hook for the miniseries and a through-line to the main action,
but in the end, it’s too little, too late.
War of the Realms: Uncanny X-Men #3 does have a few cool moments like Multiple Man’s dupes luring the Frost Giants into a Limbo portal, a visceral claw on claw fight between Sabretooth and Wolfsbane, and Cyclops precision sniping Frost Giants. However, these are few and far between, and after three issues, this miniseries has really done nothing to justify its existence and earns an Overall Verdict of Pass. But the silver lining is that Jonathan Hickman is coming in a month and probably all these events/pointless character deaths will be retconned.
Jason Aaron, Scott
Hepburn, and Matthew Wilson’s story in Thor
#14 covers much of the same ground as War
of the Realms #6, but from the POV of Young Thor as the Fantastic Four
summon him from brooding and trying to lift Mjolnir to a fight for all ten
realms. I read this almost directly after War
of the Realms #6, and there are obvious re-draws of Russell Dauterman’s art
although Hepburn has an earthier take on the material to match the boisterous,
shit-talking Young Thor. The issue also has more direct connections to the last
adventure of the three Thors in Aaron’s Thor,God of Thunder series and a similar
art style although Hepburn is no Simon Bisley. There’s a lot of gruffness, talk
about hammers, and an indirect reference to Back
to the Future along the way.
However, compared to the standalone issues about Loki, Cul Borson, and even Gorilla-Man in Aaron’s tie-in issues of Thor and Avengers, Thor #14 seems less essential because Jason Aaron and Russell Dauterman portrayed Young Thor’s carelessness, brashness, and adventurous nature so well in War of the Realms #6. He does get a cool action sequence against a gnarly Hepburn-drawn Venom symbiote and lifts Mjolnir in a moment that again proves that “worthiness” and heroism is not something bestowed externally, but internally. Most of the material in Thor #14 is covered in Realms #6, but that scene and the sheer joy that Aaron gets at writing Young Thor earns the issue an Overall Verdict of Read.
Avengers #20 is yet
another standalone success from Jason Aaron, Ed McGuinness, Mark Morales, and
Jason Keith and is a metafictional
look at She-Hulk, and how she’s changed as a character in the past few years.
The opening sequence is brilliant and set in side a Wakandan therapy simulation
where She-Hulk looks at a pinup of the John Byrne version of her and beats up a
version of her that looks like it was drawn by Javier Pulido. The comic is a
narration about how she likes embracing the monster and getting to beat up
enemies with her new powers instead of being sexually harassed while in
costume. Unlike Bruce Banner, she enjoys the freedom of being Hulk, and
McGuinness and Morales use wide panels to show the swath of destruction she
causes with her bulging forearms.
Using the character of She-Hulk as a case study, Avengers #20 is also a bigger commentary about how women have to fit pre-conceived roles in the workforce (Even if that means the Avengers.) and society and get pushback whenever they’re assertive or show anger. Deadpool asking She-Hulk why she doesn’t crack jokes or break the fourth wall any more is the metafictional version of a male co-worker asking a woman why she doesn’t smile. And, on a more a geeky level, this issue also has some foreshadowing of Aaron’s future plans for the Avengers title with the help of omniscient Daredevil showing Aaron can work on both a micro and macro level. Avengers #20 is a fantastic, holistic character study of She-Hulk and her recent developments and easily earns an Overall Verdict of Buy with a side dish of allusions to Immortal Hulk.
Superior Spider-Man #8
to be an underrated delight and study in ego from Christos Gage, Lan Medina,
Cam Smith, and Andy Troy. Doc Ock continues to be terrible at reading the room,
er, event and wants to take out Malekith all by himself with the help of the
Fantastic Four and West Coast Avengers. He doesn’t want to protect New York
City, but basically hack America Chavez’s portal abilities to get to what he
thinks is the real action. This ends up backfiring, and he gets one hell of a
dressing down from Spider-Man in the nature of heroism while Spider-Man is
wearing his helmet from the Land of
Giants one-shot and is immediately abandoned by his “minions” aka the West
Gage and Medina use the wide scope of “War of Realms” to tell an entertaining and at times fourth wall breaking (Thanks to Gwenpool.) story about how heroism isn’t just about defeating the final boss, but saving one person from death and danger. Having Spider-Man deliver the lecture about this topic makes sense because for the most part, he has focused on protecting his neighborhood instead of mixing it up with gods and monsters. Gage’s script is self-aware, and Medina and Smith have a classic, illustrator style approach where it is easy to follow the action even in a Southern California blizzard. For commenting on the nature of heroism, being funny as hell, and having plentiful America Chavez side eye, Superior Spider-Man #8 earns an Overall Verdict of Buy.
the Realms #6 was the best ending to a summer Marvel event since
Jonathan Hickman and Esad Ribic’s Secret Wars,
and it shipped on time too. One thing that these two events shared in common is
that they were a culmination of two macro-stories, namely, Jason Aaron’s Thor
run and Hickman’s Fantastic Four-Ultimates-Avengers/New Avengers project. The
War of the Realms has been foreshadowed for years, and the early battles were
fought in the pages of Mighty Thor and
Thor so the event was really just
icing on the cake. Sometimes, the montage of the different battles were a
little insufferable, but when Aaron, Dauterman, and Wilson grabbed onto the
character journeys of Odinson and Jane Foster, the book really sung. Nowhere
was this more evident than in War of the
Realms #6, and the spinoff I’m most excited for is Valkyrie even if I’m little disappointed that Tessa Thompson’s take
on the character is nowhere in sight although Al Ewing may pluck her from
somewhere in the multiverse.
(W) Jason Aaron (A/CA) Ed McGuinness Rated T+ In Shops: Jun 26, 2019 SRP: $3.99
WAR OF THE REALMS TIE-IN!
The final battle for Midgard! Captain Marvel leads the War Avengers! Hulk battles Ulik! Blade takes on the Black Berserkers of Roxxon! Plus: Daredevil the God Without Fear has a cryptic message that will decide the future of the team.
Free Comic Book Day 2019 is the perfect chance to dive deep into the Marvel Universe with new stories and exciting adventures alongside some of Marvel’s most acclaimed creators – and this year, Marvel is bringing you the biggest and boldest stories yet!
In FCBD Avengers #1, industry superstars Jason Aaron and Stefano Caselli spin in all-new tale for Marvel’s main Avengers series, while Savage Avengers, from Gerry Duggan and Mike Deodato, creates one of the most dynamic, and deadly versions of the Avengers ever!
In FCBD Spider-Man #1, creators Tom Taylor, Saladin Ahmed, and Cory Smith take the superstar heroes of the Spider-Verse in a shocking new direction, with a story that will build to one of Marvel’s most fantastic and epic tales! Meanwhile, Donny Cates and Ryan Stegman remind us that “everyone is a target” by bringing absolute terror to the pages of this year’s FCBD with a prelude to Absolute Carnage – the most fearsome event in the Marvel Universe! With a cover by Ryan Stegman and Frank Martin!
Both FCBD Avengers #1 and FCBD Spider-Man #1 are available in comic stores everywhere on May 4th. In addition to the comic, select retailers will receive FREE Avengers promo buttons highlighting the dynamic and stunning cover art from FCBD Avengers #1 by Ed McGuinness, available while supplies last!
It’s an all tie-in week in “War of the Realms” country after last week’s utter victory for Malekith’s forces and the slaughter (Fridging?) of the Valkyries. Jason Aaron keeps right on going with his sneaky good Avengers run and provides insight into the very jingoistic and almost copyright infringing Squadron Supreme of America as they kick Frost Giant ass from Pennsylvania Avenue to Erie, PA. He uses the events of “War of the Realms” to set up a very good future antagonist for his comic and gets to write one hell of a “Superman” scene. Over in Venom #13,Cullen Bunn and Iban Coello pinch hit for Donny Cates and Ryan Stegman and do a damn find job as a symbiote-less Eddie Brock tries to find safety for him and his son Dylan as Dark Elves and War Witches attack San Francisco. It’s The Last of Us with a heavy metal twist. This week’s final book is War of the Realms: Uncanny X-Men #1, which is the definition of unnecessary tie-in although Matthew Rosenberg gets kudos for remembering Dani Moonstar’s Valkyrie connection.
In a story cheekily titled “Crisis on Ten Realms”, Avengers #18 is Jason Aaron’s riff on DC Comics characters and critique on nationalism with art from Ed McGuinness (Who drew a fair number of DC books in the early 2000s), Mark Morales, and Justin Ponsor. The Squadron Supreme of America have been set up in the background of Aaron’s Avengers run as Thunderbolt Ross, Phil Coulson, and the American establishment have been a little wary of an Avengers team led by a foreign monarch, Black Panther. However, this is the first time that Hyperion, Nighthawk, Power Princess, The Blur and Spectrum have been featured and fleshed out. And, boy, do they love the United States.
Using “War of the Realms” as a metaphorical background for the United States’ constant foreign interventionism in the 21st century, Aaron and McGuinness channel The Authority a little bit as the Squadron Supreme of America is literally programmed to defend the United States and nowhere else in the most violent of ways. They don’t get to chase and pursue the Frost Giants into Canada, but are relocated to fight in the “battleground state” of Ohio in another winking bit of political humor. Even if the use of DC Comics character archetypes is a little heavy handed, Aaron adds layers to the “War of the Realms” events by showing the historical connection between foreign wars and nationalism. He also gets to roast Batman’s mommy issues big time through the character of Nighthawk, who is the paranoid congressman from Washington D.C. in this incarnation.
The Squadron Supreme of America will make great villains for the more diverse Avengers in future storylines even if Aaron handwaves their motivations into a literal “devil made me do it” situation. (Probably to appease the Coulson fans.) Avengers #18 fleshes them out and shows their rise in connection to “War of the Realms” while crafting a superhero team that Roxx, er, Fox News set would like. For its satirical value and longterm planning, Aaron’s fantastic writing of Superman analogue Hyperion, and Ed McGuinness and Mark Morales’ depictions of bloody violence that contrasts with the more peaceful ways of the Avengers, Avengers #18 earns an overall verdict of Buy.
Compared to Avengers #18’s big action, big ideas, and comments on geopolitics and the superhero genre, Venom #13 is more intimate. Especially in the early going when Eddie Brock has to get him and his son, Dylan (Who thinks he’s Eddie’s little brother.) to safety without the use of his symbiote that “broke up” with him in the previous issue of Venom. But, then, it gets loud and violent like your typical Venom comic with some great moments of mayhem like Venom beheading a troll with a flick of his tongue courtesy of artist Iban Coello.
With series creators Donny Cates and Ryan Stegman working on the upcoming “Absolute Carnage” storyline, writer Cullen Bunn, the aforementioned artist Coello, and colorist Andres Mossa team up to tell a three part Venom story set during the events of “War of the Realms”. But the event is just a backdrop for more internal conflict between Venom’s (anti)heroic side and his monstrous one. Bunn’s narration sets this up long before Eddie Brock accepts the War Witches’ gifts and gets a spiky, runic new Venom look and then promptly eats her hand. He is supposedly the protector of innocents, but in this case, he just wants to kill everyone and the “War of the Realms” is like an all you can eat buffet of elves, trolls, and other beings.
The final pages where Coello and Mossa let Venom cut loose are entertaining, but they and Bunn’s most memorable work is when Eddie and Dylan are sneaking around San Francisco in the mode of a good stealth video game. Eddie fighting three Dark Elves with no powers and breaking one of their necks to rescue Dylan shows how much he cares for his son, but then he gives into temptation and the heavy metal symbiote of the first arc of Venom is reborn. Because of its strong internal conflict, powerful action and character interaction cartooning from Iban Coello, and black and blue Andres Mossa color palette, Venom #13 gets an Overall Verdict of Buy and is worth checking out if you like what Cates and Stegman were doing on Venom and aren’t keeping tabs on “War of the Realms”.
War of the Realms: Uncanny X-Men #1
Disclaimer time. Unfortunately, I haven’t been keeping up with the current run on Uncanny X-Men even though I’m a huge fan of Matthew Rosenberg’s work on various Black Mask titles as well as Phoenix Resurrection, Kingpin and Secret Warriors. Also, it’s damn cool that Cyclops is back, and Rosenberg has his and the other X-characters’ voices down like Havok, Hope Summers, Multiple Man, and especially Dani Moonstar in War of the Realms: Uncanny X-Men #1. However, artist Pere Perez’s fight choreography is underwhelming, and the story lacks any kind of momentum with the current X-Men lineup running around New York and fighting various “War of the Realms” beasties after the events of War of the Realms #2 left NYC with no defenders or really any people.
Rosenberg and Perez try to build the story around Dani Moonstar’s connection to the Valkyries, but there is a lot of in-fighting, occasional funny banter, and more fights and running until we see her mourning over her dead sisters. It’s filler and not particularly well-drawn filler as Perez’s attempt at a big splash of the X-Men fighting Frost Giants and Dark Elves isn’t well balanced and is a lot of figures splayed over two pages. The plot is driven by various X-Men disappearing and running after each other plus the conflict between the main team and their “prisoners” Hope Summers and Banshee, which I guess is established in the core series.
It’s cool to see Marvel (Due to the post-Disney/Fox merger) integrate the X-Men into their linewide events with the presence of Wolverine in the core War of the Realms book and the Uncanny X-Men in this tie-in miniseries. However, the haphazard execution, subpar visuals, and the lack of an emotional hook until the final page earn War of the Realms: Uncanny X-Men #1 the overall verdict of Pass.
I definitely find the core metaphor of the X-Men more interesting than the Avengers and have never found Venom compelling until Donny Cates and Ryan Stegman’s run. However, Avengers #18 and Venom #13 were solid macro and micro, respectively, tie-ins to “War of the Realms” while War of the Realms: Uncanny X-Men #1 was the weakest one yet. The world has turned upside down, or maybe it shows with the right combination of creators or compelling story, any character can be cool and relevant.
(W) Jason Aaron (A/CA) Ed McGuinness Rated T+ In Shops: Apr 24, 2019 SRP: $3.99
WAR OF THE REALMS TIE-IN!
See the greatest heroes of Washington, D.C., in action as the War of the Realms comes to the nation’s capital. Who needs the Avengers when you’ve got the all-new Squadron Supreme of America? But who are these mysterious new heroes, and where did they come from? Only Agent Coulson knows.
They stopped the Dark Celestials but what’s next for the Avengers? The team gets their house in order including a new headquarters but also take on the Winter Guard and Defenders of the Deep! Plus more about the Avengers of 1,000,000 BC!
The Avengers Vol. 2 World Tour collects issues #7-12 by Jason Aaron, Sara Pichelli, David Marquez, Ed McGuinness, Frazer Irving, Adam Kubert, Andrea Sorrentino, Cory Smith, Elisabetta D’Amico, Mark Morales, Scott Hanna, Karl Kesel, Justin Ponsor, Erick Arciniega, Matthew Wilson, and Giada Marchisio.
Get your copy in comic shops today and book stores on March 19! To find a comic shop near you, visit www.comicshoplocator.com or call 1-888-comicbook or digitally and online with the links below.
Marvel provided Graphic Policy with FREE copies for review This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links and make a purchase, we’ll receive a percentage of the sale. Graphic Policy does purchase items from this site. Making purchases through these links helps support the site
The War of the Realms has begun, and no part of the Marvel Universe will be untouched! Every hero is at risk – and every hero is at war…
Avengers Mountain reigns as the last stronghold for Earth’s Mightiest Heroes – but can it stand the wrath of Malekith’s powerful forces, as they seek to destroy our realm once and for all?
The battles are raging all around the world and different forces and factions will defend the planet, from Namor and his Defenders, to the Winter Guard, to the Squadron Supreme.
Don’t miss Avengers #19, the epic War of the Realms tie-in arriving in comic shops this May written by Jason Aaron! And check out the stunning War of the Realms tie-in connecting cover by Ed McGuinness, featuring covers for Avengers #18, #19 and #20!