Tag Archives: fear itself

Whatever Happened to Jessica Jones?

JessicaJonesNYCC

Unfortunately, Jessica Jones hasn’t had a solo series since The Pulse was cancelled in 2006, except for a special one-off for 2015’s New York Comic Con. She’s had stories featuring her as the lead character in Brian Michael BendisNew Avengers, had a solo story by Bendis and her co-creator Michael Gaydos that is all but a pitch for Alias II in the Marvel 75th Anniversary Special, and even was a co-headliner in Chris Yost and Mike McKone‘s Spider-Island: The Avengers with Carol Danvers, but there have been no ongoing or miniseries with her as protagonist.

Also, even though Bendis gave her the semblance of an arc through six years of New Avengers as she went from mom to superhero and back to mom, Jessica has sadly become defined by her relationship with her husband Luke Cage and her daughter Dani. However, along the way, he has developed her relationships with Carol Danvers, Daredevil, and even Spider-Man, who she used to have a crush on back in high school and inspired her to first put on the Jewel costume. (This story is told in a wonderful backup drawn by former Marvel editor-in-chief Joe Quesada.)  And when Bendis was running the Avengers (and by extension) and the main Marvel events, she made appearances in such high profile storylines as Secret Invasion, Siege, and Fear Itself and the tie-ins to Civil War and Avengers vs. X-Men. With Hickman in charge of the Avengers the past couple of years and Bendis focusing on the X-Men and Guardians of the Galaxy, she hasn’t appeared in any recent Marvel events, but this is going to change with Bendis penning Civil War II with artist Dave Marquez. Finally, Jessica is a consistent source of sarcasm and one-liners in the Marvel Universe making her a natural fit for the quip-heavy back and forth of the New Avengers team.

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The first defining post-Pulse event in the life of Jessica Jones as a character is her marriage to Luke Cage in New Avengers Annual #1, which acts as kind of an epilogue to The Pulse. Also, it ensured that thousands of more readers would be exposed to the relationship between Jessica and Luke, and it gives their wedding an “event” feel, like the previous high profile Marvel weddings between Reed and Sue Richards, Vision and Scarlet Witch, and Spider-Man and Mary Jane Watson. Luke and Jessica were separated once when she decided to sign the Superhuman Registration Act to protect her and her baby, but they still remain married after 10 years. Bendis also doesn’t give into cliche in this issue and has the New Avengers fight the Super Adaptoid before the big day instead of having Black Widow’s replacement ruin the fun. Jessica also makes her own vows and says that Luke has inspired her and helped her not be stuck in her own head all the time, like the early arcs of Alias. It is touching climactic moment in their relationship, and artist Olivier Coipel captures it in usual clean art style and gives her a really poufy dress.

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The next big Jessica Jones moment (Sans her final guest spot in Young Avengers as team mentor where she gives Hawkeye’s bow to Kate Bishop and a couple appearances in Black Panther with Luke) is in New Avengers #22, which is a Civil War tie-in focused on Luke Cage deciding to not sign the Superhuman Registration Act. Bendis uses lots of loaded language and metaphors about the KKK and Jim Crow laws, but basically Luke wants to protect Harlem on his terms, not the government’s. Plus Jessica gets to call SHIELD, “the United States of corporate sellouts”. She shares a sad moment with Carol Danvers as it looks like the superhuman Civil War is going to fracture their friendship for a while, and she ends up not taking part in it going to Canada with her still unnamed daughter in tow for the duration of the event.

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After the war, Jessica ends up on the run with the New Avengers, but instead of going on cool missions with them in Japan and fighting Japan, she stays cooped up in the Sanctum Sanctorum with Dani. Wong or Luke even does her shopping for her because of the Registration Act. Of course, this leads to some major cabin fever, and she snaps in New Avengers #33, which kicks off “The Trust” arc when the New Avengers decide to work with the Mighty Avengers to take on the Hood and a consortium of supervillains, who want to blow up Stark Tower. As a stay at home, she feels like she is suppressing who she really is, and this is confirmed in New Avengers #34 when Doctor Strange does an “imagery” spell on the team to see who they really are on the inside (and if they’re Skrulls.), and Jessica’s image is her in her Jewel costume. Bendis is foreshadowing her possible return to the superhero life, but she won’t join the New Avengers for quite a while. She does get to name her daughter, Danielle, after Danny Rand even though she jokes that the baby was named after Danny Partridge and empathizes with Luke’s paranoia that Dani is a Skrull in light of Elektra being outed as a Skrull in a previous arc.

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If New Avengers Annual #1 was the happiest moment for Luke and Jessica’s relationship, then New Avengers Annual #2 and its followup issue New Avengers #38, which is drawn by Michael Gaydos, is its darkest hour. In a frightening sequence of events, the Hood, who is majorly overpowered, overcomes the defenses of the Sanctum and Sanctorum causing Jessica to give Dani to Spider-Man while she runs away. She and Dani almost get sniped by Punisher villain Jigsaw, but Spidey saves them with his webs. The trauma of this attack causes Jessica to go to Avengers Tower and sign the Registration Act to protect Dani from both supervillains and Skrulls. She and Luke have a long argument where she tells him that he put his principles before being a father, and that all she cares about is Dani’s safety. He even almost gets arrested by the Mighty Avengers, but Carol does Jessica a solid and lets him go if he “thinks” about registering. Because Luke put his ideology before his family, Jessica and him separate with her staying in Avengers Tower, and him in an apartment owned by the Rand Corporation with the other New Avengers.

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However, thanks to a Skrull invasion and crossover event, Jessica and Luke reunite as she joins the fray in Secret Invasion #7 leaving Dani with Jarvis in Avengers Tower. This is the first time Jessica has been in action since she fought Norman Osborn in the first arc of The Pulse, and there’s nothing like a big group superhero fight to rekindle a relationship. Unfortunately, Jarvis is a Skrull and kidnaps Dani. In spite of this momentous event, Bendis even takes some time away from the action to tell a flashback story in New Avengers #47 with Michael Gaydos from her days in Alias Investigations when Luke hired Jessica (His third P.I. choice after Jessica Drew and Dakota North.) to find his dad so he can tell him that he’s not a criminal, but a hero. The flashback part is paced much like an issue of Alias with silent opening sequence and a dialogue heavy interview sequence shot with Luke emoting while Jessica is quiet and listens. Jessica does track him down and meets Luke’s step mom, who reads about his exploits as Power Man in the newspaper, and tries to show his father Luke’s good side. Sadly, they aren’t reunited, and Gaydos puts a literal screen door between them. However, Luke and Jessica grow closer and share a joke about Luke’s costume choices during the Bronze Age, and it cuts to the present where they talk about how Dani won’t have a normal life because they’re both superpowered people, but at least she’ll see the world.

Bendis uses Dani’s kidnapping as an opportunity to make Jessica and Luke the focus of the first post-Secret Invasion arc of New Avengers during 2009’s Dark Reign when the US government thought it was a good idea to put Norman Osborn in charge of SHIELD. After being just a mom and wife for most of his New Avengers run, Bendis and artist Philip Tan give her a more active role in the plot as she, Luke, and Wolverine interrogate a SHIELD agent, who is a Skrull after Jessica gets a Skrull detector from Invisible Woman. Then, Luke shows that he is willing to put Dani first and teams up with Norman Osborn and the Dark Avengers to get her back from the Skrulls. However, he beats up Venom and Bullseye with a crowbar to show them that he doesn’t work for Osborn, which creates a tension leading to a conflict between the New Avengers and the government sanctioned, yet utterly evil Dark Avengers.

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At her new abode of Bucky’s apartment (He’s the current Captain America.), Jessica doesn’t get to play superhero, but she has more input in the New Avengers plans, like telling them to keep their battle with the Dark Avengers out of the apartment, and starts to forge a platonic relationship with Spider-Man after he reveals his secret identity to the team. Bendis and Tan mine a lot of humor out of Jessica’s high school crush on Peter, Luke’s feigned (Or is it.) jealousy, and the fact that he only knew her as “coma girl”. Bendis and Joe Quesada explore their relationship in more depth in a backup story in Amazing Spider-Man #601 retconning a background girl in Stan Lee and Steve Ditko’s Amazing Spider-Man #4 to be Jessica Jones as she watches Spider-Man beat up Sandman. She also gets a great line about Spider-Man starting his own religion with  “With great power comes great responsibility” and says she’ll teach Dani about that. Spider-Man talks to Jessica about showing Dani her best side, and maybe that means a return to superheroing. It’s a great backup that gives Jessica another relationship outside of Luke and Carol, but Quesada’s art is overly posed and not his best work. Jessica Jones also looks like Mary-Jane Watson with brown hair for some reason.

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And Jessica does return into action when the Dark Avengers kidnap Luke, and Stuart Immonen ups New Avengers‘ visual quality when he becomes the new artist on the title towards the end of 2009. After shaking off some criticism from her mother, who is keeping Dani, Jessica spearheads Luke’s rescue by saying, “You don’t fucking mess with Luke Cage.”, a one-liner that should definitely be said some time in the Netflix Defenders show. And, in New Avengers #59, she assembles her own Defenders lineup of Daredevil, Hellcat (First canon meeting between Patsy and Jessica.), Dr. Voodoo, Misty Knight, The Thing, Valkyrie, and of course, Iron Fist to spring him from Norman Osborn. They rescue him easily, but in action movie villain fashion, there’s a bomb on Luke’s chest. It doesn’t detonate when Spider-Man plays it cold and blows up Osborn’s summer home again. (He probably did Harry’s homework there.) These events cause Luke and Jessica to consider their mom’s advice about finding a more normal life about Dani, and they daydream about walking through the park with Dani in her stroller and finding a place to live where they don’t have to be in hiding.

JewelisBack

Continuing the tradition of big Jessica Jones moments in New Avengers annuals, New Avengers Annual #3 features the return of the Jewel costume thanks to artist Mike Mayhew, who did the covers for The Pulse. The setup is reminiscent of DC’s Birds of Prey as the female members of the New Avengers: Ms. Marvel, Spider-Woman, and Mockingbird plus Jessica Jones team up to rescue Clint Barton from the Dark Avengers. They infiltrate Osborn’s helicarrier, kick around Mentallo aka the wannabe version of Mastermind, and grab Clint in a majestic fashion thanks to Mayhew’s painted art style. The successful mission has Jessica even more interested in being a superhero again and also features the return of Steve Rogers back from the dead to throw a wrench into everything as he becomes the head of SHIELD after Norman Osborn is arrested after the events of Siege, and the Superhuman Registration Act is repealed. This has a huge effect on the life of Jessica and Luke as they are no longer fugitives and take Dani on a simple walk in a New York City park in a gorgeous splash page from Bryan Hitch in New Avengers Finale #1.

But even if the happier times of the Heroic Age are upon Jessica Jones, she drew the short straw as Luke Cage got his own four issue miniseries called New Avengers: Luke Cage, written by BPRD‘s John Arcudi and drawn by Eric Canete (Martian Manhunter) and Pepe Larraz (Kanan). While Luke is off busting a crime and drug ring in Philadelphia, Arcudi writes Jessica Jones as a stereotypical nag constantly calling about him being back home instead of being sarcastically empathetic as a former superhero and private eye. To add insult to injury, Canete draws her like a teenage girl in a manga instead of an adult woman adding an air of creepiness into her all too brief scenes. Arcudi can spin a crime yarn, and Anete’s Philadelphia has real character, but their depiction of Jessica Jones is one note.

JessPunchesAgamotto

But even as she is turned into a sitcom wife in New Avengers: Luke Cage, Jessica Jones fared much better in the Heroic Age relaunch of New Avengers where Luke Cage bought Avengers Mansion from Tony Stark for $1 to house and support the New Avengers, who received a paycheck from SHIELD. Luke was still wary of getting a government paycheck because of his desire for independence, but Jessica accepted the check on his behalf and made a great quip about him being the original “hero for hire”. And she almost immediately jumps right back into battle when the Eye of Agamotto possesses Luke in New Avengers #2. Jessica punches it off him, and there is a lot of magic and possession genre stuff going like The Exorcist meets a standard superhero comic. She does get to punch ghosts and fly in Luke Cage to stop Agamotto (He’s a guy, actually.) opening a portal to scary dimensions along the way and rescue Carol Danvers from being incinerated by magical energy. You basically just want her to join the team.

JessBeatsDoombot

And she does take another step to being a full-fledged New Avenger by searching for a nanny in New Avengers #7, which features some funny Marvel D-lister cameos as Bendis and Immonen show they can deftly balance humor and action. She and Luke eventually settle on Squirrel Girl even though she has a bushy tail and a weird past with Wolverine because she can easily control her powers and is interested in working in childcare while she is a student at NYU. Getting Squirrel Girl as a nanny allows Luke and Jessica to go on their first real date possibly ever in New Avengers #8 as Daniel Acuna draws her at her most gorgeous. Luke thinks that Jessica would make a great Avenger as well as a mom and suggests the moniker “Power Woman” for her, which of course, she vetoes. In the issue, Bendis shows her torn between wanting to be present for Dani while wanting to inspire her as a superhero. And there’s a battle between her, Luke, and Doombot where she take the robot out with a fire hydrant. This is the spark that she needs to decide to join the New Avengers for real with Luke adorably saying, “Boo yah.” New Avengers #8 is the lighter counterpart to New Avengers #31 as Bendis focuses in on Jessica and Luke’s ever changing relationship and takes a break from villain plots or magical mumbo jumbo to give her a real milestone as a character even if she is technically a supporting character in the title.

JessJoinsAvengers

Jessica’s first mission is a pretty fun espionage tinged one fitted for Mike Deodato‘s photorealistic, noir style of art as she and the New Avengers hunt down Superia, who they later find out has a briefcase with the Infinity Formula that Nick Fury alive, not too old, and strong. She gets a pretty fun moment as she actually drives a truck to take down Superia while Luke carries his with his super strength with Iron Fist in it because Danny doesn’t have a driver’s license. Later, as a tie-in to Fear Itself, Jessica gets to punch Nazi robots controlled by the Red Skull’s daughter Sin, who has godlike status. It’s nice to see Jessica have an active role in a Marvel event for once instead of running away to Canada in Civil War, or staying in some kind of domicile like in Secret Invasion and Siege. She also gets a mini-team up with Squirrel Girl, who surprises Jessica with her squirrel summoning abilities, and successfully sets up the Avengers Mansion safety protocols to protect Dani. Nothing climactic happens to her in New Avengers Annual #1, but Bendis remembers she has a friendship with Daredevil from his days as her lawyer in Alias and client for her bodyguard services in his run on Daredevil. This is why it’s fitting that she gives him an Avengers keycard and welcomes to the team for a short duration as Bendis basically gets to make the New Avengers a clubhouse of all his favorite characters.

NormanThreatensDani

However, Jessica Jones’ Avengers status is less than permanent, and she completely unravels as a superhero in New Avengers #16.1, a special issue drawn by Neal Adams. Jessica is part of an escort to transfer Norman Osborn to the Raft when he becomes the Green Goblin again and threatens to kill Dani until Wolverine forces him to stand down with his claws. However, he ends up escaping, and a few issues later, Jessica confides in Luke that she is afraid to leave Dani’s side because Norman Osborn on the loose. Jessica’s concern for Dani’s safety causes her to sit out of the team’s next mission even though Squirrel Girl is there to watch the baby. Later, she uses her status as a relatively unknown superhero and tries to speak to protesters who decry the destruction left in the wake of the Avengers’ battle, but gets called a spoiled princess. This causes her to go on the run yet again with Dani and Squirrel Girl and argue with Luke for putting their daughter in harm’s way by being at Avengers Mansion. This is basically a rehashing of what went down in “Dark Reign”, but with Deodato instead of Immonen art except with Jessica quitting the Avengers team. Bendis and Deodato also make a clumsy parallel between Luke’s participation in Avengers vs. X-Men with a soldier going to war and leaving his family behind.

JessCaptainMarvel

Michael Gaydos makes his final (for now) return drawing the character of Jessica Jones in New Avengers #31, which is mostly a conversation between Jessica Jones and Carol Danvers, who has taken on the identity of Captain Marvel. Jessica feels like she has driven Luke to quit the New Avengers and is a “bad wife”, but Carol reassures her by telling her that it just took him a while to understand his responsibilities as a father and husband. Jessica is really happy with Carol’s new name and costume saying that it suits her as a great superhero and friend as she gets sarcastically sentimental. Even though some of the writing makes Luke seem flighty or a deadbeat dad, Bendis and Gaydos really capture what is great about Jessica and Carol’s friendship, and it’s a pity that they haven’t had much time to interact in issues after this arc of New Avengers. This is probably because Carol’s solo books, especially the past two volumes of Captain Marvel, are more concerned with cosmic threats and adventures than earthbound things. With Bendis on Civil War II, their lack of interactions will likely change, and it will be interesting to see if they resent each other after such a long absence.

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After a magically caused battle between the New Avengers and Avengers team, Jessica Jones finally says her goodbye to the team in New Avengers #34 as she, Luke, and Dani are there for the unveiling of a statue of Victoria Hand, who went from Norman Osborn’s stooge to government liaision to the Avengers, and dying heroically. It’s a pretty touching issue filled with lots of jokes about the events of previous issues, and she even gets a warm hug from Spider-Man. Deodato draws a beautiful double page spread showing all their big moments from Alias onwards as Bendis tries to make an argument that they were the heart of his New Avengers run. I could maybe see that Luke Cage was the focal point of his nine years on the family of books as he went from being a barely used supporting character in Daredevil and Alias to a team leader of both the New Avengers and the Thunderbolts. (He was more of the Tbolts’ babysitter.) However, Jessica Jones, despite her showcase issues, ended up mainly being a mom and sarcastic comic relief. For every scene where she got to punch a Doombot or joke around with Spider-Man, there’s another one where she’s standing silently with Dani on her arm with a baby bottle.

But, at least, while Brian Michael Bendis’ New Avengers was a key book in the Marvel Universe and led to or tied into the big summer event books, Jessica Jones got panel time. This hasn’t been the case since Jonathan Hickman and other writers have taken over the books titled Avengers and New Avengers. Gerry Duggan, Brian Posehn, and Mike Hawthorne use her as a nagging wife stereotype in a couple of stories dealing with Deadpool’s team up with Luke Cage and Iron Fist against the racist supervillain, White Man. It’s a pretty funny parody of the old Power Man and Iron Fist comics, and Jessica Jones does get one great moment when she punches Deadpool out a window when he remarks on her “post baby body.”

Jessica later becomes a supporting character when Luke Cage starts yet another Avengers team in Mighty Avengers, but Al Ewing is careful not to tread on old Bendis plot points and has Luke have the team meet in an old theatre while Jessica and Dani have their own apartment. She doesn’t factor into the plot much except for a great scene where she gets to clock Superior Spider-Man (When Dr. Octopus’ brain was in Peter Parker’s body, and he was a pompous ass.), but continues to be occasional support and comic relief and gets past Blue Marvel’s hard shell to chat about his college age daughter. Jessica plays a similar supporting role in David Walker and Sanford Greene‘s Power Man and Iron Fist where she exists to say funny lines and get on Luke’s case for not spending enough time with Dani. Again, she hasn’t factored into the plot so far in the first three issues.

On a brighter note, Jessica made an appearance in the epilogue of Patsy Walker AKA Hellcat #5 in an homage to her friendship with Patsy in the Jessica Jones television show, which is the equivalent of her friendship of Carol Danvers in Alias without the extra Avengers and cosmic baggage. Jessica Jones is a P.I. for Alias Investigations in Hellcat and is actually working for Patsy’s rival, Hedy, which should stir up some real drama as the comic continues. And hopefully this portrayal continues to seep into the other corners of the Marvel Universe as Jessica is supposedly playing a role in Civil War II and getting her own solo series in its aftermath, written by Bendis with art by Michael Gaydos and covers by David Mack.

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Thanks to the high status Brian Michael Bendis has had in the Marvel stable of writers since in the mid-2000s, Jessica Jones had consistent appearances in the New Avengers titles as well as appearing in Avengers when she became a New Avenger during the Heroic Age. Because of her friendship with Spider-Man, she also appeared in some issues of Amazing Spider-Man, like when the New Avengers helped in the whole “Spider-Island” situation when random New York citizens all got powers, including Dani Cage-Jones, who promptly stuck Squirrel Girl to the wall. But her myriad appearances were mostly in support of Luke Cage or the New Avengers team with the exception of the occasional “solo” issue of New Avengers that Gaydos drew, or special annual that gave her a semblance of an arc.

Fans of Jessica Jones can only hope that Marvel’s heroic character who doesn’t want to be a superhero, overcame PTSD to be a great mom and Avenger, and might have the sharpest wit in all the Marvel Universe, but cares for the little guy and often helped out civilians while the rest of the New Avengers were punching things, gets a story of her own in the years to come and doesn’t have to play second fiddle to Luke Cage. The other Jessica gets a nuanced portrayal as mother, friend, and superhero in Dennis Hopeless and Javier Rodriguez‘s Spider-Woman, and I hope Jessica Jones gets a series like that soon, especially with the critical and commercial success of her Netflix show.

Game Review: Legendary Villains – Fear Itself

legendaryFollowing on the perhaps poorly conceived relaunch/reintegration of the Marvel Legendary franchise from Upper Deck comes one of the most bizarre choices possible for the continuation of the series.  The previous Villains title offered some fan favorites, though acting as the protagonists rather than as the the villains, potentially strange choice for the format which has mostly favored heroes.  This expansion, the first of the Villains base game and the seventh title thus far in this series, takes on the same dynamic with the strangest inspiration yet.  While there might have been a few minor problems with previous releases, they nonetheless gave fans an outlet for their favorite characters by providing a lot of these favorites as playable characters.  For instance while some of the mechanics of the Guardians of the Galaxy expansion were a little different from what had come before, at least fans got to play as their favorite character from the books or movie.

While Marvel doesn’t tend towards the company wide crossover as much as DC Comics does, it still occurs, and one of the more recent crossovers was also one of the more lackluster – Fear Itself.  Although big things were planned for this story, it ended up as a bit of a missed opportunity for Marvel to pull out all the stops.  This crossover thus is a strange inspiration for the first expansion of this series.  After all while the villain focused approach to the games might be a little weird, it is still conceivable that someone might want to play as Magneto or Venom.  But how many comic/board games fans have always wished that they could invoke the essence of Null or Skadi?  No?  Then how about Kuurth, Nerkkod or Greithoth?  Probably also no.  It is conceivable, especially considering that the following expansion is for Secret Wars, that there is some hope of a boost to sales of trade paperbacks through these release of expansions for the Legendary Universe, because really nothing else makes sense in terms of the overall logic behind the releases.

For the non-comic fans among the gamers interested in the Legendary franchise, this will likely be more of the same, another sequence of cards that mean little outside of their in game text, but for fans of both mediums, they are likely to be somewhat confused by the choices here.  It is nice to see some of the usual Marvel heroes making an appearance here as adversaries, but once again that is only a tease for their own inclusion in the game itself as playable characters (such as Ms. Marvel.)  On the whole this is the most confusing and least sensical of all the expansions thus far, taking the direction of the otherwise fun base game(s) in a strange direction.

Score: 7.0

Around the Tubes

It’s the end of the week, yay!  Lots and lots of comics to read.  Sort of yay!  Here’s the news you might have missed while I go and do that.

Around the Blogs:

Bleeding Cool – How Liberalism May Be Hurting Comic Book SalesBetter believe I have a response coming….

The Capital – Local publishing firm seeks digital comic fans – Um, k…

Kotaku – Gotham City Impostors‘ January Release Date Was Some Kind of JokeCan’t wait to play!

Kotaku – Confirmed: Lego Batman 2 Will Assemble a MiniFig Justice League This Summer – Never have played one of these games.

 

Around the Tubes Reviews:

CBR – Action Comics #5

MTV Geek – Fatale #1

CBR – Fatale #1

Saffron Walden Reporter – Fear Itself and Fear Itself: The Home Front

Karissa’s Reading Review – Neverland

Cambridge First – One Model Nation

IGN – Comic Book Reviews for 1/4/12

Comic Book Weekly Reviews – 11/16/11

A thick stack of books this week.  We’re coming up on the end of the year, what’s going to make our best of list?  There’s only a few weeks left for comics to qualify.  Find out if any of this week’s comics stand a chance below.

The Avengers #19 – This continues the transition as we find out who is going to be a member of the new Avengers team.  Unfortunately, while there’s a lot of discussion of who might be on, we’re not given tons of reason of the why.  The team though seems interesting.  The other focus is Osborn’s escape.  There’s a twist at the end as well that I didn’t expect, that’ was pretty damn interesting.  Overall a ho-hum issue that looks to set up a decent upcoming story arc.

Story: 7 Art: 7.75 Overall: 7

Avengers Academy #22 – With the academy on the West coast close to Utopia it was only a matter time before Cyclops, Magneto and others paid a visit.  That’s happened sooner than later with a rather silly fight breaking out.  The issue could have had some great emotional impact with Magneto’s seeing Quicksilver, but a needless fight just dilutes the situation and makes it rather eye rolling.

Story: 6.75 Art: 6.75 Overall: 6.75

Batman #3 – We’re dragged further into what exactly the Talon is and what it has to do with Bruce’s relatives.  It feels like a bit of a stretch as far as the family connection, but I like the pacing and some of the ways the story is laid out.  The art is fantastic as well.  Out of all of the lines DC has, the Bat one is definitely the strongest and this series is a good example of that.

Story: 8 Art: 8.25 Overall: 8

The Bionic Man #4 – I’m not sure if the “we can rebuild” it refers to the actual making of the Bionic Man or Kevin Smith and Phil Hester’s ability to breath new life into this franchise.  The build up is fantastic and there’s tons of winks and nods throughout the comic, including why the nu-nu-nu happened anytime Steve Austin does something.  There’s a lot of explanation of the process which makes it seem that much more plausible and adds a bit of realism (especially that the writers have thought it through).  The series has been a slow start and it’s taken four issues to get to this point, but it’s well worth.

Story: 8.25 Art: 8.25 Overall: 8.25

Captain America #4 – Cap is still stuck in the dream world as we get to see some of the bigger plan as well as the motivation.  The issue is interesting, but there’s too much “Inception” in it without really using that movie’s landscape bending abilities.  The story is decent, but it actually doesn’t go far enough to show us the entertainment that a world without rules could be.

Story: 7.5 Art: 8.25 Overall: 7.5

Captain Atom #3 – Some amazing philosophical questions are thrown out there as far as Captain Atom’s powers and his ability to “play god.”  What should he do?  What’s the difference between his actions and miracles?  That’s all thrown out there.  Also, he meets up with the Flash in Libya dealing with that situation.  DC promised heroes dealing with real world situations and it looks like they’re doing just that.  An amazing issue.

Story: 9 Art: 8.75 Overall: 9

Deadman #3 – Really this is Quantum Leap in comic book form, but there’s certain parts of this issue that are heart wrenching.  The comic has an emotional impact and it’ll be interesting to see this story arc through completion.  So far so good in what’s been one of the standout series of the DC relaunch.

Story: 8.5 Art: 8 Overall: 8.5

Fear Itself #7.3 – During Fear Itself, what happened in Paris opened up a storyline that could have been explored for years.  Unfortunately, in this one issue, that pretty big act has been undone.  That’s the bad part.  The good part is that Tony decides to see the Grey Gargoyle and discuss what it is to be a God and what happened.  That part is an interesting conversation.  Overall, hopefully we see the PTSD impact I’d expect from what Tony has gone through and here’s to some decent stories in the future even if the horrific act committed is undone with a flick of the wrist.

Story: 7.5 Art: 8.25 Overall: 7.5

Fear Itself: The Fearless #3 – Generally not feeling this twelve issue limited series that follows the chase for the hammers left on Earth.  The story is meh and there’s some poor attempts to tie in the past and the present.  The follow up mini-series is of the same quality as the event that proceeded it.

Story: 6.75 Art: 7 Overall: 6.75

Generation Hope #13 – The series has only glimpsed what it could be in the short year it’s been around.  I haven’t praised the series too much and with this first issue of it’s new creative team it also shows what could be.  The art is improved in spots, but is still inconsistent.  The story is also inconsistent.  I’m sticking with the series in hopes it sees improvement, but so far I’m weary.

Story: 7 Art: 7.25 Overall: 7

Green Hornet #19 – This is the first issue I haven’t liked a whole lot.  We learn the origin of the Red Hand and the way he’s defeated is meh.  Something is off with this issue, both in story and the art.

Story: 6.75 Art: 6.75 Overall: 6.75

Green Lantern Corps. #3 – It’s a last stand as the team dispatched to fight a mysterious enemy hold out for the cavalry to arrive.  The story is interesting, but it’s a small part of a larger story.  The larger story is really a draw, this one issue doesn’t stand on it’s own.

Story: 7 Art: 7.75 Overall: 7

Justice League #3 – Darkseid is looming as the team continues to gather.  There’s an interesting dynamic going on and I can’t say I’m a fan of all of the depictions of the characters, but overall the series is pretty damn solid and gives the feel of that big story you’d want and expect.

Story: 8 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8

New Mutants #34 – The team begins to settle down and see what a normal life is like, but at the same time they’re on the lookout for Blink who is hopping around where strange weather phenomena are occurring.  The issue is interesting and series has potential, but I remain skeptical to see if it ever finds it’s own voice.

Story: 7 Art: 7 Overall: 7

Nightwing #3 – Hmm, it’s interesting to see them try to flesh out Dick’s life in the circus, and it’s interesting to see where the series goes, but the idea of a killer going after Dick, for something, just doesn’t seem to jarring to really get me excited.  These first three issues have been one big set up.  We’ll see what’s actually used going forward after this arc wraps up.

Story: 7 Art: 8.25 Overall: 7

The Punisher #5 – An interesting issue that’s supposed to make you think of what a soldier doing their duty is.  It could stand on it’s own, but is a follow up to the previous issue.  The story takes place 100 days since his ass whooping and the Punisher is on the mend healing his wounds.  Not the best of the series, but not too bad either.

Story: 7.5 Art: 8 Overall: 7.5

Supergirl #3 – Kara is still getting acclimated to her new world as Superman attempts to give her the rundown.  We also get to find out who the bad guy is.  It all really doesn’t have much interest in me.  What does seem interesting is Supergirl’s learning of her new world and coming to grips with her new reality and the fantastic art.

Story: 7.75 Art: 8.5 Overall: 7.75

Thunderbolts #165 – Generally an enjoyable comic, but there’s something missing about it.  I generally don’t like time travel stories, and this is really just that.  Overall, not bad, but not great.

Story: 7.25 Art: 7.25 Overall: 7.25

Ultimate Comics X-Men #3 – Stryker continues his plan as the X-Men are on the run and the team begins to form up a bit.  It’s all very interesting, enough to make me want to go back and see everything I’ve missed.  Overall, this has the danger and excitement that’s been missing from the 616 X-Men for some time.

Story: 8.25 Art: 8.25 Overall: 8.25

Venom #9 – The emotional trauma has been building up for some time and a villain attempts to take advantage of the chaos post Spider-Island.  During the crime spree he kills a few pedestrians which sends Venom over the edge.  The series has a nice feel of a man living on the edge which I hope it plays up more as it gets back to standing on it’s own.

Story: 7.75 Art: 8 Overall: 7.75

The Walking Dead #91 – It feels like the usual calm before the storm.  The group is dealing with winter and dwindling supplies as Carl learns to live with his injury.  Tensions are mounting and I’m sure it’ll explode into something big knowing Kirkman.

Story: 8.25 Art: 8.25 Overall: 8.25

Wonder Woman #3 – We get the truth about Wonder Woman and her lineage as some Amazon’s aren’t too happy with what’s occurred.  The first three issues have been interesting, setting up the new status quo.  The art is fantastic and overall this series is one of the better DC is putting out there.

Story: 7.75 Art: 8.25 Overall: 7.75

X-Factor #227 – Lots of fighting, kind of silly, but that was an interesting ending….

Story: 6.75 Art: 7 Overall: 6.75

X-Men #21 – A small nation is gathering Sentinel technology to defend itself from anything.  That’s interesting but would be even better if compared with the right of Utopia to protect itself.

Story: 7.5 Art: 7.75 Overall: 7.5

X-23 #17 – Laura gets a call from the Future Foundation, to babysit.  The story is cute and fun, but it’s the art that stands out, back to the anime inspired look we saw a few arcs ago.

Story: 7.5 Art: 8.5 Overall: 7.5

Comic Book Weekly Reviews – 11/9/11

A pretty good stack of books this week.  Find out what’s worth it below.

Avenging Spider-Man #1 – When a comic has me laughing out loud multiple times that’s a good sign.  The comic has energy, fun and excitement dripping out of it’s pages.  The writing by Zeb Wells is perfect with some amazing one-liners and the art by Joe Madureira is as fantastic as I’d expect.  I can’t wait for the second issue.  Is all of Spider-Man this fun?

Story: 9 Art: 9 Overall: 9

Batgirl #3 – Everyone is worried about Barbara Gordon.  She’s recovering you know… That fact and that she’s experienced a miracle is beat over our head throughout this issue as she attempts to diffuse a bomb, chats with her dad and goes toe to toe in a flirtatious fight with Nightwing.  Some lines in this comic just make me even more confused about the new 52 timeline.  Just best to ignore all of that.  The comic isn’t bad and is quite entertaining, it’s just the repeated mentioning of some simple facts in Babs life that keep being repeated each issue, that feels old already.

Story: 7.75 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8

Batman and Robin #3 – The first three issues really seem to be about Damian and the fine line he walks between vigilante who has some sort of moral code and a full on murderer.  The villain is the represent that latter side.  A “good guy” who brings the ultimate justice to criminals.  Damian is caught between that and Batman’s style and interesting intro story.  This issue is good continuing to build on what’s been one of the better comics of the new 52.

Story: 8.25 Art: 8.25 Overall: 8.25

Battle Scars #1 – An attempt to introduce a new character post Fear Itself it would seem.  I’ll read it, but so far not too impressed.

Story: 7 Art: 7.75 Overall: 7

Batwoman #3 – The art is amazing, absolutely stunning.  The layouts just make you question the visual aspect of comic book story telling and show what can be done.  The story though is a mixed bag.  There’s a lot I like here, like Kate Kane’s personal life and her juggling that with being Batwoman but the Weeping Woman thing confounds me.

Story: 7 Art: 9.5 Overall: 7.5

Black Panther: The Most Dangerous Man Alive #525 – The other pulp comic Marvel is doing. Black Panther now faces the Kingpin who is making a move on Wakanda and has the Hand to help him.  The story is interesting, art great as usual.  The series is one that deserves an audience as it’s pretty high quality and entertaining.

Story: 8 Art: 8 Overall: 8

Fear Itself #7.2 – Wait, what the hell happened?  We get a new God of Thunder, which everyone just seems to accept but hoisting beers and he seems to have no issues with his fellow Avengers and then is that Don Blake?  I’m so confused.  Then there’s the ending which we could all predict.  Sigh….

Story: 6.75 Art: 9 Overall: 7

Green Lantern #3 – Um, that was a bit unexpected.  Jordan has to come to grips with his new role and Sinestro’s as well.  The two have to team up too, which makes it all a bit more complicated.  All the while it seems the Guardians are plotting on what to do next.  There’s some hints we’ll be seeing some fireworks soon and that ending definitely caught me off guard.

Story: 8 Art: 8 Overall: 8

Huntress #2 – Pretty similar to the first issue but Huntress now has a better idea as to who the first target should be, but clearly there’s someone higher or something bigger going on.  The art is great and story is solid, I just wonder if it really needs to be six issues and whether it might read better as a trade or graphic novel.  Still, a strong female lead, great story and art, it’s a comic that’s a buy.

Story: 8.25 Art: 8.25 Overall: 8.25

Jennifer Blood #6 – This is a very interesting series.  Jennifer has got her revenge and lays it out there for the final victim.  After all her talk, you’re left to think.  Is she as bad as they are?  Is she somehow more perverse due to her duality?  Is she a new type of feminist?  It’s a series I’d love to debate folks about.  A female lead with twisted violence and sexuality that only Garth Ennis can do.

Story: 8 Art: 8 Overall: 8

Journey Into Mystery #631 – An interesting issue where Loki has to deal with the new status-quo of Asgard.  It’s all about setting up the future and the pseudo Shakespearean speak bothers me still, but the character of Loki is back to his roots and very entertaining.  This is really for the hardcore Thor fans.

Story: 8 Art: 8.25 Overall: 8

Magneto: Not a Hero #1 – A lot I like, especially the interaction between Cyclops, Magneto, Captain America and Iron Man but the second half teeters a bit diving into X-Men history I’m a bit fuzzy on.  It’s not quite as new reader friendly as I’d hope, but still entertaining.

Story: 7.75 Art: 8.25 Overall: 7.75

The New Avengers #18 – Osborn is back and he’s forming his own group of Avengers again.  This issue focuses on that as well as why A.I.M., Hydra, some Hand and H.A.M.M.E.R. are all coming behind his leadership.  Something awesome is brewing here, you can just tell.

Story: 8.5 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.5

Point One – Hmmm, there’s a lot here and about half of it gets me interested, but that’s for stuff I’d probably buy anyways.  Also, a lot of the stories teased here have been set up in other series.  It’s also probably not quite enough to suck in and get a new reader interested.  But, it’s interesting for the most part.  I have to give Marvel props for trying, but this comes up short overall.

Story: 7 Art: 8.25 Overall: 7

Rachel Rising #3 – It’s a horror comic that’s creepy more than anything.  There’s a lot here that’s disturbing and still a mystery as to exactly what’s going on, but I’m hooked.  It’s all interesting and different, definitely a comic I look forward to each month to see how it’d unfold.

Story: 8.25 Art: 8.25 Overall: 8.25

Resurrection Man #3 – We get a bit better of a sense as to what’s going on here and the mystery deepens really.  Isn’t the “caught between heaven and hell” schtick more of a John Constatine thing?  No matter, the comic is entertaining as it explains a lot of what’s going on, but the ending makes me feel like I missed something.  I’m sure for long time DC fans it’s a cool moment but for me, I shouldn’t have to go to wikipedia to get the back story after the relaunch.

Story: 8 Art: 8.25 Overall: 8

Suicide Squad #3 – The issue is a bit choppy in the story telling as it just back and forth in time though that’s not totally clear.  There’s an essence of time with the series that could be played up a lot better, but overall it seems to just be getting it’s footing and it’s pretty entertaining.

Story: 7 Art: 7 Overall: 7

Superboy #3 – Well, I think that answers who Red really is.  Superboy is out and discovering what the real world is like.  That’s interesting, but there’s not enough of it.  We also learn a bit about who this Superboy really is, also interesting stuff.  Overall though, we’re still in the set up phase and the verdict is still out on the series overall.

Story: 7.5 Art: 8 Overall: 7.5

Ultimate Comics Spider-Man #4 – Bendis has put together a comic that plays off nicely on what’s coming before creating a connected transition that doesn’t feel forced but a natural passing of the torch.  The story is still in the whole discovering powers phase but Miles and his friends seem interesting and there’s a sense of fun that flows off the page.  I’ve never been a big fan of the Ultimate universe, but I’m a fan of this newly rebooted series.

Story: 8.25 Art: 8.25 Overall: 8.25

Uncanny X-Force #17 – Wow.  The issue is impressive and is filled with moments that make me say holy shit.  I have no idea what to expect and what’s going to happen next.  For a series to keep my on my toes just shoes how top notch it is.  So far everything has been on the table and so much being pulled out of so many different places.  The Dark Angel Saga is going to go down as one of the best “X” arcs ever.

Story: 9 Art: 8.75 Overall: 9

Wolverine #18 – A nice mix of action and humor as Logan and friends take on the Jade Claw.  An entertaining issue that’s leading the series away from the depressing morose plot it’s had for way too long.

Story: 8.25 Art: 8.25 Overall: 8.25

X-Men: Legacy #258 – Why is there a moment where I can see the writer pausing to figure out how to end this arc and get everyone home?  The X-Men save the day and get folks back to Earth, shocker.  It’s really all to set up what happens next.

Story: 6.75 Art: 7.5 Overall: 7


Comic Book Weekly Reviews – 11/2/11

The pile of new comics has started to dwindle as I’m figuring out the comics from DC’s relaunch I’m keeping and what’s just not making the cut.  Will things get cut this week?  Find out below!

American Vampire #20 – The lead up to the origin of Skinner continues as we learn more about how his maker became a vampire and there’s hints why the “American vampire” is different than it’s European cousins, though that’s not completely laid out.  The story is entertaining and it’s fun to see a western mashed up with a good ole horror tale.  Snyder continues to put out a solid product here.

Story: 8.25 Art: 7.5 Overall: 8

Animal Man #3 – Vertigo is in full effect in the DCU.  This comic is so out there and so crazy and at the same time so entertaining.  Animal Man and his daughter head into The Red and we learn a bit about the origin of Animal Man.  Meanwhile the rest of their family are attacked too.  The series is so crazy and “out horrors” the rest of DC dark.

Story: 8.25 Art: 8.25 Overall: 8.25

Avengers Academy #21 – I haven’t been the biggest fan of the series, much preferring it’s incarnation as the “Initiative,” but this issue kicks off it’s new direction with a lot of new characters and one hell of an ending.  I’m still a bit skeptical due to the past, but this first issue has piqued my interest.

Story: 7.5 Art: 7.5 Overall: 7.5

Batman: Detective Comics #3 – So, we finally get to find out who the Dollmaker is, but something about this issue just doesn’t quite seem right.  It might be because it’s predictable.  It might be that the whole schtick for this bad guy doesn’t quite make sense.  Out of the three main Bat-titles, this is the weakest of the bunch.

Story: 7.5 Art: 8.25 Overall: 7.5

Batwing #3 – Huh.  The politics is very subtle so far, but this issue delves a little into that with The Kingdom, but mostly the issue is Batwing getting his ass kicked and we get to see a bit of his past that adds a whole lot of depth about him.  The series is interesting and surprisingly good.  The art is solid and stands out.  Overall, it’s a welcome addition to the Bat-family and DC comics.

Story: 8.25 Art: 8.25 Overall: 8.25

Dark Shadows #1 – All I know of Dark Shadows is that it’s a former television show involving a vampire that has a cult following and is highly regarded.  So, I went into the first issue as a blank slate and I came out pretty impressed.  The issue focuses on the individuals giving enough for new readers to figure out who everyone is and what their deal is and I’m sure fans will have a lot more to go on.  The story is interesting and I can’t quite tell if this is a horror soap opera or a straight up horror story.  There’s enough to make me come back for a second issue.

Story: 8 Art: 8 Overall: 8

Fear Itself #7.1: Captain America – The first of three epilogue’s for Fear Itself reveals the fate of Bucky who’ll get his own series starting in January (I’d say that’s a spoiler, but it’s been all over).  It’s funny that this comic is so much better than the event in spun out of, but it really feels like a lead up and pitch for a new series as opposed to closure to Marvel’s sub-par event.

Story: 7.75 Art: 8 Overall: 7.75

Fear Itself: The Fearless #2 – The series is focused on Valkyrie’s and Crossbone’s attempts to regain the hammers.  Valkyrie’s story is a bit of a stretch as it attempts to flesh out her background and Crossbone’s seems to avoid the change that happened to him in Thunderbolts.  The first issue was entertaining, but this second one quickly has fallen into issues that Fear Itself had.

Story: 7 Art: 7 Overall: 7

Huntress #1 – I’ve had a lot of people recommend this comic that came out a few weeks ago, so I decided to give it a shot.  Huntress heads to Naples and takes on a smuggler of women and guns.  The series is pretty solid, but I don’t quite get why it doesn’t take place in the new DCU.  The Huntress is a solid, strong, female lead which is great to see.  She kicks a lot of ass and the bad guy is down to Earth in that, he doesn’t have super powers sort of way.  The series could have a hell of a message if the writer wanted, but as it stands it’s an entertaining read.

Story: 8.5 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.5

Moon Knight #7 – Moon Knight deals with the fact that he was snitched on and the Avengers were called.  He also hatches a plan to find out who the bad guy behind it all is.  Those around him also begin to deal with the fact the man is clearly nuts.  The series is fantastic with amazing art, and some great action.  The interaction between everyone is top notch as well.  This is one of the best comics Marvel is putting out right now.

Story: 8.5 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.5

New Mutants #33 – The split is done and the team must decide who they’re sticking with and what their role in the “X” world will be.  The art I think is still off and there’s some parts of the story I liked, but overall something is still off about the series.  It seems that they’ll be playing a more integrated role with human society in Cyclop’s world and their first mission seems interesting, but there’s a lot of talk in this issue that doesn’t shed a lot of depth on the characters.  It is a decent hopping on point for new readers.

Story: 7 Art: 7 Overall: 7

Red Lantern #3 – Writer Peter Milligan is attempting to give depth to characters who have been one note up until now.  His direction has them being the Ghost Riders of rage and so far it’s been ok.  But, the characters have been mindless beasts for the most part driven by rage.  Next up to get the fleshed out treatment is Bleez whose mind is cleared and becomes the second in command.  But, with that promotion there’s also hints there’s more to it.  Not the best issue, but Milligan is doing what he can with what he’s been given.

Story: 7.5 Art: 8.25 Overall: 7.5

Stormwatch #3 – This is supposed to be one of the pillars of the new DCU but the comic has been a bit hard to sift through and figure out everything that’s going on.  We’ve been thrown into the action without much of an explanation and while it’s all quirky and somewhat entertaining, I can’t yet declare it an “A” list series.  I’m giving it the first arc, then I’ll make my decision.

Story: 7.5 Art: 7.75 Overall: 7.5

Swamp Thing #3 – We’re starting to get a clearer picture as to what the big baddie Swamp Thing will face.  I also get a sense that this same bad guy is also who Animal Man will deal with.  It’s interesting that these two series are relying on colors as much as Green Lantern mythos does.  The horror feel is still present and the two books are definitely Vertigo come to DC.  Snyder is always slow to start with his series, that’s his style, but when it’s still so good, who cares.

Story: 8.5 Art: 8.25 Overall: 8.5

Uncanny X-Men #1 – The good is they’ve finally thrown it out there and equated mutant powers as a deterrent and Utopia as a nation with one.  They’ve been hinting at it for quite a while, but never just laid it out there.  It’s some interesting logic thrown around and hopefully we finally get to see what was promised, the focus on a true mutant nation and what that really means as well as what it takes to pull that off.  The action itself revolves around the Dreaming Celestial and Mr. Sinister, that’s all off.  If anything, this first issue shows a lot of potential, but doesn’t quite excite.

Story: 7 Art: 7.75 Overall: 7.25

Villains for Hire #0.1 – We’ve seen the heroes, but this point one issue sets up the villains out there looking to be hired to pull off jobs.  The first issue is interesting, but doesn’t quite set up the series to come enough.  Instead it focuses a lot more on the heroes stopping the villains, not what brought them together.  Together the two series should be fun and here’s hoping it has the exploitation movie feel like it’s sister series.  But, this “first issue” doesn’t quite excite me enough.

Story: 7 Art: 7 Overall: 7

X-Men #20 – Hmmm.  The team is interesting and first issue of it’s direction much like Uncanny has potential.  I don’t dig the overused good guys versus good guys over a misunderstanding before they team up schtick.  But, the story continues the whole proliferation of Sentinels story, so that’s cool.  But, overall, meh.

Story: 7 Art: 7.5 Overall: 7

X-23 #16 – Um, yeah.  Can’t say I dig the Captain Universe thing.

Story: 6.5 Art: 6.75 Overall: 6.5

Around the Tubes

The weekend is almost here!  Yay!  My plan is to catch up on writing reviews, what about you?  While you decide on that, here’s the news you might have missed.

Around the Blogs:

Spinoff Online – Universal Chief Unloads on Wolfman, Cowboys & AliensSome honesty here.

ICv2 – Comics in Turnaround?I remain skeptical for the direct market.

Gizmodo – Exclusive: All Marvel Digital Comics Will Be Available Same Day as PrintKind of shocked this didn’t happen sooner.

Screenrant – Interview: comiXology CEO David Steinberger on Digital Comics, Pricing, & The New 52A pretty decent interview.  Worth the read.

Comics Alliance – ‘Real-Life Superhero’ Phoenix Jones Loses Job, Prohibited from Working with ChildrenForget bad guys going after your family, the first issue is keeping your job.

Kotaku – Should You Buy Batman: Arkham City’s Nightwing Bundle Pack? No. – The first weakness in Batman’s pretty damn strong armor.

Around the Tubes Reviews:

CBR – Action Comics #3

CBR – Fear Itself #7.1

IGN – Comic Book Reviews for 11/2/11

Comic Book Weekly Reviews – 10/19/11

A week behind in comics, but I’ll be caught up with reviews this weekend.  What stands out?  What’s not worth the read?  Find out below!

The Avengers #18 – The battle is over and Avengers Tower has fallen, so everyone has gathered in the mansion.  There’s also a back story about a former S.H.I.E.L.D. agent.  That’s all that really happens.  The cover asks who will be a part of the Avengers, and it’s not answered in this issue.

Story: 7 Art: 8 Overall: 7

Batman #2 – A pretty solid second issue.  There’s a nice mystery here and we still don’t quite know who or what the villain is.  Unfortunately, an interesting character is done away with and part of the comic stretches belief a bit, but an entertaining comic.

Story: 8 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8

The Bionic Man #3 – Steve Austin is a broken man and an offer is made to him that’ll change his life.  But, the world thinks he’s dead and he wishes he was.  The series isn’t as straight as the original and seems that it will focus a bit on a man whose life is shattered and has to deal with not being the man he once was.

Story: 8 Art: 8 Overall: 8

Captain Atom #2 – This second issue gives us a bit of the origin for Captain Atom and we learn a little bit more about his powers.  I like how the issue slows it down a bit having the character taking on a very real opponent instead of some grand villain.  It’s a quieter issue for the series and I think it actually improves upon the first.

Story: 8.5 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.5

DC Universe Presents #2 – The second issue sees Deadman attempting to figure out what the hell is going on and what his mission is.  Not quite as good as the first issue and I can’t say I was a big fan of the denizens of the club he visits, but I like the overall direction of the comic.  An interesting take on the character and fun to see a non-superhero comic be a part of DC’s new 52.

Story: 7.5 Art: 7.75 Overall: 7.5

Fables #110 – The debate as to who will be the next North Wind continues as the other three winds plot about how to handle the situation.  Meanwhile a revolution is brewing in Oz as more and more allies join the team.  The series has a lot going on, and I can’t help but feel what’s going on in Oz isn’t similar to things we’ve seen before.  Still, an excellent series.

Story: 8 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8

Fear Itself #7 – The final issue of the main story would work much better as an animated movie with such action, but it’s the numerous endings that steals any emotional impact at all.  This isn’t really an ending at all, but the beginning of what comes next.  For such an event, it feels hollow in a way as it just leads into an even longer story.  No real conclusion steals any impact that might have been had.

Story: 7 Art: 8 Overall: 7

Fear Itself: The Fearless #1 – The first of the series to spin out of Fear Itself picks up right where the event ended with the decision as to what to do with the hammers being made, others would disagree or try to gain them.  Interestingly enough, this first issue is better than the series it spun out of.

Story: 8 Art: 8.25 Overall: 8

Fear Itself: The Homefront #7 – Generally forgettable, the final pages to Speedball’s story is ok, and the last story is actually pretty decent, but overall this miniseries, like so many tied into Fear Itself, wasn’t a must read and added little to the overall storyline.

Story: 6.75 Art: 7.5 Overall: 7

Fear Itself: Youth in Revolt #6 – That last little bit with Prodigy was awesome, really funny.  The rest of the comic, especially Thor Girl’s bit, what the hell!?  Especially Thor Girl’s part!  I’m just totally confused.

Story: 6 Art: 7.75 Overall: 6.25

Green Lantern Corps. #2 – Looks like Guy and his team have bumped up against a bunch of other folks who use willpower.  The story is pretty crazy and entertaining and that ending was really solid.  It seems quite a few of the DC revamp second issues haven’t lived up to the first, but this one remains solid.

Story: 8.25 Art: 8.25 Overall: 8.25

Invincible Iron Man #509 – The back story of how the heroes got their weapons from Odin ends here and that part is forgettable.  What’s great is Tony struggling with his drinking and what happens to Pepper.  Not as solid as past issues, but the story works, even if it’s tied into Fear Itself and that’s primarily due to it’s focus on the human aspect of it all.

Story: 7.75 Art: 8 Overall: 7.75

Journey Into Mystery #629 – The first half of the story I wasn’t the biggest fan of but the end where Loki discusses what he’s done and what the reaction might be is fantastic.  I can’t say I’ve gushed over the series, but I’ve really appreciated it’s style and what it’s doing.  Now that it no longer has to deal with Fear Itself, I’m expecting some big things.

Story: 7.5 Art: 8 Overall: 7.75

Justice League #2 – The team is still coming together and I can’t say the character portrayals is all that good.  Superman is still a dick and Batman like a dad, but Green Lantern and The Flash have a nice thing going and hints there’s been interaction before.  The story slowly is revealed and it’s ok.  If this is the lynchpin of the new DCU, it still needs some help.

Story: 7.5 Art: 8.5 Overall: 7.75

Nightwing #2 – Nightwing/Dick Grayson seems to be getting back to his roots with the circus in this series.  It’s nice to see him getting pulled back to that and that makes him unique from Batman.  I’m not quite totally sure where the series is going, but so far so good.  I really like Dick being the playboy he should be, there’s something fun about his version of it, like you get a sense he’s having fun versus Bruce’s brooding.  Not great, but an entertaining second issue.

Story: 8 Art: 8.25 Overall: 8

Superboy #2 – An interesting second issue, what might keep me going with the series is it’s tie in with the Teen Titans.  I really like Superboy’s attitude and what they’re setting the character up as, but the rest is meh.  I feel like I’ve seen it before.  It’s all interesting, and the question of where it’s going may keep me around, but none of it is totally original or stands out.

Story: 7 Art: 7.5 Overall: 7.25

Supergirl #2 – We learn Kara/Supergirl’s connection to Superman, but not the why she’s now on Earth.  I’m digging the story.  Her reaction seems natural and there’s a slow progression I dig.  This is a series I’ll be sticking with for a bit I think, cause I really like what I’ve read so far.

Story: 8.25 Art: 8.25 Overall: 8.25

Superior #7 – Become a super hero at the cost of your soul, that’s all one handicapped kid has to do to become god-like.  This second to last issue is utterly fantastic in the type of series Mark Millar should constantly be writing.  There’s a few holy shit moments and some great personal ones as well.  Beyond top notch.

Story: 8.5 Art: 8.75 Overall: 8.5

Ultimate Comics Hawkeye #3 – Hawkeye and his team assault the two cities.  There’s some cool moments, but this third issue isn’t quite as tight as the first two.  Still, entertaining.

Story: 7.25 Art: 8.25 Overall: 7.5

Uncanny X-Men #544 – A pretty solid look back at the X-Men with some great interaction and discussions between various folks.  There’s also a lot of hints as to what’s to come as we see the next villain the X-Men will face.  A bitter sweet end.

Story: 8.25 Art: 8.25 Overall: 8.25

Wolverine #17 – Ok, now this is the type of Wolverine story I like.  Before heading back East, there’s still some things Wolverine needs to take care of in Chinatown.  A great mix of humor, action and a touch of heart.  After a few arcs of Wolvie I haven’t enjoyed, it seems we’re getting something I can finally get behind.

Story: 8.25 Art: 8.25 Overall: 8.25

Wonder Woman #2 – We’re given a story about Wonder Woman’s origin, but I’m not convinced that’s the whole story.  Overall, a really entertaining second issue that has this series standing out as one of the best of the DC relaunch.  Great art and a solid story.

Story: 8.5 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.5

X-Factor #226 – The team is back in all of their entertaining form.  Great banter and interaction and some things I wasn’t expecting.  After a few issues that seemed very off in tone the team is back on track it’d seem.

Story: 8.5 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.5

Catching Up on Reviews, Part 13 — New & Secret Avengers

New Avengers #9 (Marvel) – I’m a big fan of Brian Michael Bendis’s writing and it’s good in this issue although the historical “Avengers” tale going on here throws me a bit. I don’t fully get it. I’m not a huge fan of either Mike Deodata or HOward Chaykin’s art here, although none of it is bad. The shocking ending to the issue is well-done.

Story: 8.5 Art: 7.5 Overall: 8

New Avengers #10 (Marvel) – I’m still not sure the Avengers 1959 story works very well and the main story is weaker than usual. This is the worst issue of the series to date, although that isn’t to say it’s a bad comic, just not as good as the rest.

Story: 7.5 Art: 7.5 Overall: 7.5

New Avengers #11 (Marvel) – More of the same here keeps the series in a holding pattern. The image of a superhero riding a whale is a bit jarring, in a bad way.

Story: 8 Art: 7.5 Overall: 7.75

New Avengers #12 (Marvel) – The writing gets a bit better in this issue, but the art, if anything, is worse.

Story: 8.5 Art: 7 Overall: 7.75

New Avengers #13 (Marvel) – This issue gets the series back to its higher quality level, with a focus on revenge for the attack on Mockingbird and some interesting foreshadowing about what might be coming down the road.

Story: 9 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.75

New Avengers #14 (Marvel) – This Fear Itself tie-in is one of the best of the entire event. The focus is on the return of Mockingbird and it’s very well done, to the point of being one of her best appearances ever. It’s very much a Bendis comic book, in the best sense of that concept.

Story: 9.75 Art: 8.75 Overall: 9.25

New Avengers #15 (Marvel) – Bendis does his best to write a good Fear Itself story featuring Squirrel Girl, but, in the end, it’s still a story featuring Squirrel Girl.

Story: 8.5 Art: 8 Overall: 8.25

New Avengers #16 (Marvel) – Bringing Daredevil fully into the Avengers fold through a well-told Fear Itself story is a good idea.

Story: 9 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.75

New Avengers Annual #1 (Marvel) – This may be the most interesting thing ever done with the character of Wonder Man. Bendis takes a character that had long been a one-note thing and makes him one of the most interesting adversaries the Avengers have seen in a while. On top of that, he surrounds him with a cast of b-level characters that are all brought into the story in a great way. This is action-packed and looks great thanks to Gabriele Dell’otto

Story: 9.75 Art: 9.75 Overall: 9.75

Secret Avengers #10 (Marvel) – Ed Brubaker tells a very action-oriented tale that gives a lot of time to Shang-Chi and shows that Steve Rogers is a master tactician.

Story: 9 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.75

Secret Avengers #11 (Marvel) – I’m not sure I like the revival of the John Steele character in modern times, but if it’s going to be done, this is about as good as it’s going to get.

Story: 9 Art: 8 Overall: 8.5

Secret Avengers #12 (Marvel) – This series is consistently high quality and even when the premise is one that doesn’t grab me, it’s very well-executed. The art is starting to decline a bit, but I’m sure that’s temporary.

Story: 9 Art: 7.5 Overall: 8.25

Secret Avengers #12.1 (Marvel) – This point one issue offers a lot of philosophical ideas related to the Avengers, the Secret Avengers, government informants, how to react to dangerous situations and more. It may be a bit heavy for a jump-on point, but it is a good issue for those who already have some knowledge of the Avengers.

Story: 9 Art: 8 Overall: 8.5

Secret Avengers #13 (Marvel) – There are a few cheesy moments here, but this is really a tale of right and wrong, civil rights and the multiple approaches that can be taken to change the world.

Story: 9.75 Art: 8.75 Overall: 9.25

Secret Avengers #14 (Marvel) – Nick Spencer uses this Fear Itself tie-in to explore what it means to be a soldier and a warrior and writes one of the more compelling elements of the entire crossover.

Story: 9.5 Art: 9 Overall: 9.25

Secret Avengers #15 (Marvel) – Secret Avengers seems to be the designated place in the Fear Itself event to discuss philosophical issues — this time it is with the responsibility of the media when it comes to dealing with big issues and people’s lives.

Story: 9 Art: 8 Overall: 8.5

Secret Avengers #16 (Marvel) – Finally breaking free from Fear Itself, Warren Ellis comes on board to write a fun, action-packed tale that fits into the Heroic Age concept very well.

Story: 9.5 Art: 9.5 Overall: 9.5

Bermejo, Larroca & Olivetti Cover Fear Itself # 7.1, #7.2 & #7.3 Variants!

Official Press Release

Bermejo, Larroca & Olivetti Cover FEAR ITSELF # 7.1, #7.2 & #7.3 Variants!

Kick off Shattered Heroes in style as you catch your first look at the all new variants for Fear Itself #7.1, #7.2 & #7.3!  Following the catastrophic events of Fear Itself, superstar artists Lee Bermejo, Salvador Larroca, & Ariel Olivetti provide these must have covers for the issues launching readers into the next big story arcs for each member of Earth’s Mightiest! No fan can miss these emotionally charged issues that will change these heroes forever.

FEAR ITSELF #7.1 (SEP110497)
FEAR ITSELF #7.1 BERMEJO VARIANT (SEP110498)
Written by ED BRUBAKER
Pencils by BUTCH GUICE
Colors by ELIZABETH BREITWEISER
Variant Cover by LEE BERMEJO
FOC – 10/10/11, ON SALE – 11/2/11

FEAR ITSELF #7.2 (SEP110499)
FEAR ITSELF #7.2 LARROCA VARIANT (SEP110500)
Written by MATT FRACTION
Pencils by ADAM KUBERT
Variant Cover by SALVADOR LARROCA
FOC – 10/17/11, ON SALE – 11/9/11

FEAR ITSELF #7.3 (SEP110501)
FEAR ITSELF #7.3 OLIVETTI VARIANT (SEP110502)
Written by MATT FRACTION
Pencils by SALVADOR LARROCA
Colors by FRANK D’ARMATA
Variant Cover by ARIEL OLIVETTI
FOC – 10/24/11, ON SALE – 11/16/11

Fear Itself #7.1 Variant CoverFear Itself #7.2 Variant CoverFear Itself #7.3 Variant Cover

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