Tag Archives: galactus

Review: Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #26

SquirrelGirlCoverUnbeatable Squirrel Girl takes a little break in issue 26 for a special in-universe zine comic written and drawn by various heroes, villains, and denizens of the Marvel Universe. In real life, they are all written by Ryan North with Erica Henderson switching roles with her Jughead collaborator Chip Zdarsky to pen a surprisingly sultry Howard the Duck story. It’s a fun sampler that mostly hit and very little miss from the much vaunted series of three panel Galactus gag strips by Garfield‘s Jim Davis to Anders Nilsen and Soren Iverson’s poignant story of Wolverine befriending a Sentinel and shotgunning a beer with his adamantium claws. The series Unbeatable Squirrel Girl has a lot of fantastic action, jokes, and the occasional superhero parody, but it’s a book where Doreen listens to both her opponents and allies and tries to work things out with eating nuts and kicking butts. S

So, it’s fitting, we get this comic that is written by a wacky range of POVs beginning with Squirrel Girl herself who stutters through the intro about his being a fundraiser zine. We get to listen to Kraven, hear Spider-Man’s retort, and see the world through Tippytoe’s eyes, which is drawn and colored in an adorable manner  Madeline McGrane’s art and colors make this frame story definitely look like a zine you might pick up at the local coffee shop or one of those fancy schmancy zine stores in bigger stories. It’s followed up by Chip Zdarsky going the closest he’ll ever get to his work on Sex Criminals in a mainstream comic with Erica Henderson doubling as a film noir director, but more awkward. They use close-ups and small panels of Howard the Duck and his femme fatale/client like they’re egging Marvel editorial to linger on this scene more while adding a funny caption. Zdarsky doing Big Two interiors is a big treat, and he barely holds back.

Tom Fowler’s Brain Drain story is a nice showcase of the underrated Unbeatable Squirrel Girl supporting character and hews the closest to Henderson’s usual style on the book. His take on Brain Drain is philosophical, adorable, and structured like the computer science programs that the character loves. It’s oddly motivational too and worth a reread thanks to its erudite writing style. Speaking of rereads, Carla Speed McNeil draws a Loki comic that only makes sense forwards and backwards and is a great example of how the comics medium allows for flexibility of meaning using Loki as a litmus test. It’s a wonderful double page spread, and the best Loki story since Journey into Mystery.

After this, Michael Cho draws a Kraven the Hunter comic/Spider-Man diss story, which is a pretty fun riff off “Kraven’s Last Hunt” and features dead presidents. His art has a light hearted old school vibe while having a subversive take on superhero/supervillain relationships kind of like the main Unbeatable Squirrel Girl title, but from the bad guy’s perspective. It’s followed up by a one page retort from Spider-Man with some gorgeous, yet still funny digital painting work from Rahzzah, who teams up later in the book to do Nancy Whitehead’s photo collage comic with the help of North, who channels Dinosaur Comics in the strip. It’s a well-designed remix story that will make the non-artists reading this comic smile and the kind of mash-up that you would find in a real zine.

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But the heavy hitter of the bunch is Anders Nilsen and Soren Iverson’s Wolverine story that is fitting for an artist who had done a comic called Poetry is Useless. Anders Nilsen has a minimalist Euro style perfect for a comic about Wolverine getting talked out of killing a Sentinel, who challenges him to look past his shiny mutant killing exterior and team up with him to beat up some kaiju. (Sadly, this part of the story is off panel.) Wolverine gets a big epiphany moment when he realizes that he’s “hating and fearing” the Sentinel just like the X-Men have been treated for most of their career. This story is proof that more Fantagraphics and Drawn and Quarterly guys should draw superhero comics.

Following this weighty, yet fun story is a couple of candy confections. Unbeatable Squirrel Girl colorist Rico Renzi draws an adorable and faux edgy Batman parody starring the one and only Tippytoe. It pokes fun at Batman’s angsty backstory as well as the fact that Tippytoe always plays second banana. Renzi’s art style is similar to the cartoon The Amazing World of Gumball with lush digital backgrounds and colors. Finally, Jim Davis, whose work I was familiar with eons before I ever opened a Marvel comic, transposes the classic Garfield and Jon relationship to Galactus and the Silver Surfer. It’s the same dad-ish, three panel punchline jokes, but told in a more cosmic key, and Davis has a lot of fun showing Galactus doing his planet devouring, face stuffing thing. His literal eye popping Silver Surfer has a similar manic energy to Robin Williams’ Genie in Disney’s Aladdin.

Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #26 is a real treat as independent cartoonists, the creator of Garfield, and even the book’s colorist get to take a stab at some of the more familiar faces in the Marvel Universe while also giving Squirrel Girl’s supporting cast a moment in the sun. It’s sometimes poignant and always funny.

Story: Ryan North, Erica Henderson Art: Madeline McGrane, Chip Zdarsky, Tom Fowler, Carla Speed McNeil, Michael Cho, Anders Nilsen, Rico Renzi, Jim Davis Colors: Madeline McGrane, Chip Zdarsky, Rico Renzi, Rahzzah,Soren Iverson
Story: 9.5 Art: 9.0 Overall:9.2 Recommendation: Read

Review: Ultimates 2 #100

Ultimates_2_Vol_1_100_TextlessAl Ewing’s ambitious, multiple reality and multiverse spanning run on Ultimates comes to a suitably hopeful and abstract conclusion in Ultimates2 #100 with some fantastic art and colors from Travel Foreman, Filipe Andrade, Marco Lorenzana, Scott Hanna, Dan Brown, and Matt Yackey. Ewing starts out crowd pleasing with a great fight scene between both teams of Ultimates and the malevolent Ultimate Reed Richards plus sharp, quick satire of Mark Millar and Bryan Hitch’s Ultimates before they return to the larger task of restoring Eternity to its proper place in the universe with the help of anthropomorphic embodiments of past multiverses.

I was slightly disappointed that the abstract beings and concepts got more panel time than the actual team of Ultimates. However, it’s incredibly cool that Ewing, Foreman, Andrade, Lorenzana, and Scott Hanna use them to make a metafictional comment on the Marvel Universe with its mixture of magic, science, and other fun stuff and superhero stories in general and the idea of “illusion of change” and no one really staying dead in superhero comics. (Hence, the Ultimate Universe Ultimates, Chaos, and Order coming back.)

Except Galactus does change throughout the series and continues to be the bringer of life to the whole multiverse and set the Ultimates on hopeful paths as they return to their own comics with his bright gold coloring from Brown and Yackey. In the past, the heralds of Galactus have been harbingers of doom and general bad guys, but in this case, they are his helpers in helping everything return to normal. One thing I have enjoyed about Ultimates2 as a whole is seeing more of the series from Galactus’ POV instead of having him lurk in the background when the team needs a heavy hitter or feature in a one-off issue. He is basically the team leader in Ultimates2.

Even though there is some spectacular punching like America kicking Ultimate Captain America’s jingoistic ass to next week and then some, Ewing makes the Ultimates more like “paramedics” (As America describes them.) than the paramilitary heroes that Millar’s Ultimates were. They are all about fixing the multiverse’s problems through science and logic than executing preemptive strikes on Middle Eastern countries in service of American imperialism. The Ultimates are a search and rescue team on a cosmic level trying to preserve hope in a universe filled with cynicism like whatever is going on with Captain America and HYDRA. Technically, they’re sealed off from Earth by the planetary defense shield that was built to withstand hungry purple Galactus, but this doesn’t hinder the Ultimates and company from saving the Marvel universe light years away from Hydra Cap and the Secret Empire event.

The unsung hero of both Ultimates and Ultimates2 is colorist Dan Brown, who gets some help from Matt Yackey on this issue. They make Ultimates2 #100 look otherworldly with intergalactic blues, blacks, and purples as Al Ewing wraps his storyline up. And even when the storyline gets a little too metaphysical, they save the day with bright golds and orange that instantly evoke hope and rebirth. Foreman, Andrade, and Lorenzana complete this lightness with their art that is fluid like the Superflow that crosses the multiverses although their lines get more rigid during the fight scenes, and there are some epic speed lines when Blue Marvel one punches Ultimate Hulk, who is a total MRA.

In Ultimates2 #100, Al Ewing ties his team of Ultimates in with the original Mark Millar and Bryan Hitch in a non-awkward way and also paves the way for any alternate universe characters to return after the events of Secret Wars. Once again, he shows a rare talent for combining epic, high level plotting with characters (Including Galactus), who have genuine emotional arcs. Honestly, he should be in  charge of Marvel’s next blockbuster event

Story: Al Ewing Art: Travel Foreman, Filipe Andrade, Marco Lorenzana with Scott Hanna
Colors: Dan Brown with Matt Yackey
Story: 8.0 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.3 Recommendation: Buy

Marvel Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Fashion Spotlight: Eaters of Worlds, The Eternian Masters, Ratbatman

Ript Apparel has three new designs! Eaters of Worlds, The Eternian Masters, and Ratbatman, by Obvian, B-Fan, and DannMatthews are on sale today only! Get them before they’re gone!

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The Eternian Masters

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Review: The Ultimates 2 #1

ultimates21-coverIn Ultimates 2 #1, writer Al Ewing, artist Travel Foreman, and colorist Dan Brown depart from the petty in-fighting that dominated the book thanks to Civil War II and return the Ultimates to their initial purposes as a team of intelligent powerhouses who solve cosmic scale problems proactively. The comic starts macro with a bird’s eye view of chained Eternity and goes micro as it focuses on the tense relationships between Blue Marvel and Spectrum and Captain Marvel and Black Panther for the brunt of the book before the team reassembles in a logical, yet epic way as the double page spreads from Foreman fly.

Since the beginning of Ultimates‘, Dan Brown has been a major ingredient in the comic’s success from his depictions of the multiversity as a slightly trippy and overwhelming place that would make Jack Kirby smile  to the different energy attacks that the characters use. His colors have given the book an extra level of grandeur, and he plays an even bigger role in Ultimates 2 #1 in matching Travel Foreman stride for stride as the artist goes from sketchy and slightly cartoonish to photorealistic from panel to panel. This might make it seem that Ultimates 2 has inconsistent art, but Foreman has a purpose behind the difference in his figures. He’s like a cinematographer who uses different camera filters to shoot varied and interesting scenes. For example, he draws Captain Marvel and Black Panther with lighter lines and more cartooning when they’re pretending to be on an awkward online date to avoid suspicion as they talk about possibly reforming the Ultimates. However, Foreman goes full photorealistic and Brown puts on a hearty helping of black and silver when Black Panther responds to Captain Marvel’s claim that he would do anything for Wakanda.

It’s a visual representation of the “I Am Wakanda” moment  as well as yet another example of what is sort of becoming a signature of Travel Foreman. In Civil War II: Amazing Spider-Man, he used nearly photographic flashbacks of Uncle Ben, the robber, and Aunt May to show how much loss affected Spider-Man as a hero in a ultimates2interiorpivotal moment. In Ultimates 2, he uses a fierce panther behind T’challa to show how much the legacy of ancestors means to him, and how his destiny is wrapped up in his state. But he still sees the bigger picture, and Brown opens up his palette with reds and golds as Galactus reassembles the Ultimates to fight the binder of Eternity as the issue comes to its conclusion.

Along with somehow reassembling the Ultimates and setting up Ultimates 2′s premise of Eternity being bound, Ewing spends a lot of time looking into the relationship between Blue Marvel and Spectrum. His usually clinical, scientific dialogue for Blue Marvel has taken on a new romantic angle as he has really fallen for Spectrum. Also, a good way to connect with your partner is to share their interests, and Blue Marvel takes this to a new level by trying to give himself Spectrum’s cosmic perception through light waves to himself. Superpowers have been used as a metaphor for everything from racial discrimination to puberty, but Ewing is more creative and uses Blue Marvel’s attempt to replicate Spectrum’s light powers to both show how he is trying to see the world from her perspective and also share something in common. It also connects nicely to seeing Eternity in pain bridging plot and character nicely.

Ultimates 2 #1 is a slow burn start to Al Ewing and Travel Foreman’s cosmic story of redemption as former baddies Galactus and Anti-Man lead the fight against a nefarious force that threatens to destroy the multiverse, timestream, and basically everything. But even though the comic’s scope is massive (And Dan Brown’s color palette is intoxicating.), they don’t neglect the individual personalities of the Ultimates’ members and their relationships between the double page tapestries of nearly omnipotent beings in pain. (Poor Eternity!)

Story: Al Ewing Art: Travel Foreman Colors: Dan Brown
Story: 8 Art: 9.5 Overall: 8.7 Recommendation: Buy

Marvel Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Ultimates #12

ultimates__12With the fighting against Thanos and between the Ultimates having wrapped up back up in the last couple of issue, writer Al Ewing and dazzling guest artist Christian Ward team up to show the end of the team in Ultimates #12 while focusing on the strained relationship that Captain Marvel has with her teammates. There’s remorse, a tiny bit of romance, shady government organizations, and of course, punching. Ewing and Ward also rev things up for Ultimates 2, which is going for more of a cosmic scope and bringing Galactus and Anti-Man to the forefront as they find out who chained Eternity, a storyline that was sidelined for Civil War II.

Because of scheduling issues, we don’t what went down in the last couple of issues in Civil War II, but in-universe and among fans, Captain Marvel has lost a lot of her good will as the Earth’s mightiest hero. Therefore, it makes logical sense that Ewing has the most annoying government bureaucrat ever, Henry Gyrich shut the team down, especially after video circulates of Black Panther and Captain Marvel’s confrontation. Making an enemy of Wakanda after a costly war isn’t a good idea so the Ultimates get the boot.

Even though he’s mostly known for his cosmic tapestries in Ultimates and the Image series Ody-C, Christian Ward is solid at character acting, and the flashback of Black Panther facing off against Carol burnishes orange. His T’challa is unbelievably haughty and doesn’t give Carol the time of day as she scolds him for breaking up the Ultimates. There is regal power in these scenes even if it’s all been orchestrated by the now government orchestrated Troubleshooters, who will hopefully get more fleshed out in the next volume.

The extended scene she shares with Ms. America and trip to a universe that is the Latverian remake of Minority Report that Carol shares with are a real demonstration of Al Ewing’s ability. Plus Ward gets to draw Ms. America andultimates12interior Carol having a flex off and sort of sets up America’s solo spinoff as defender of the multiverse. America takes Carol on a trip to a universe that is governed by predictive justice and is basically a tyranny. It’s a fantastic payoff from an earlier line of dialogue he shows her the slippery slope Ward gets to switch up his usual colorful palette for drab, dystopian greys that culminate in a gorgeous reunion of the women with the stars that make up their costumes (and are connected to their powers) shining in the background. Ewing applies Ultimates’ theme of  proactive redemption and rehabilitation that worked so well with Galactus to the most hated woman in the Marvel Universe, and there is a possibility that she could be a great hero and leader again. with the way she and America part.

Even though his work on Matt Fraction’s Ody-C prevents him from being the main artist on Ultimates, any page that Christian Ward gets to draw of this series is a real treat. His double page spreads of Galactus and Anti-Man interacting with the Superflow that surrounds the Marvel multiverse are worth the price of the comic alone, and he also gives the Troubleshooters some personality with their strong poses and distinct outfits as the future Ultimates won’t have the government’s backing. His linework is wispy and definitely not traditional superhero art, but Ward still coaxes expression and humanity from this style that particularly shines in the moments where characters are with their loved ones, like Spectrum and Blue Marvel the science heroes and Kate Bishop, Ms. America, and Lisa joking about a famous scene in Young Avengers. (You know the one I’m talking about, princess.)

He appears in just the prologue and epilogue of Ultimates #12, but Al Ewing continues to redefine the role of Galactus in a beautiful way. The whole idea of him being the Lifebringer instead of the Devourer isn’t just a one-off, but Ewing and Ward continue to evolve his character and turn him into the leader of his own superhero team while even giving him a herald in Anti-Man, who he redeems with his powers and turns him into a potent ally.  It’s nice to see a character who has been a thorn in the Ultimates’ find a kind of redemption in these final pages as Ward’s colors shift and sway. But it also means that the Big Bad in Ultimates 2 is gonna be pretty tough.

Ultimates #12 ties up the loose relationship ends, especially concerning Captain Marvel and makes final remarks about predictive justice so that Al Ewing and Christian Ward can tell a full blast cosmic epic in the next volume of the series. By the time, you turn the final page, it is guaranteed that you will be a Galactus fan.

Story: Al Ewing Art: Christian Ward
Story: 8.5 Art: 10 Overall: 9.3 Recommendation: Buy

Marvel Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Fashion Spotlight: CONSUME, Naughty, The Scream in Mordor

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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.

Fashion Spotlight: Surfing with the Alien, Never say die, and Neo-Tokyo’s ESPer Academy

Ript Apparel has three new designs! Surfing with the Alien, Never say die, and Neo-Tokyo’s ESPer Academy, by Samiel, inaco, and pigboom, are on sale today only! Get them before they’re gone!

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Never say die

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Neo-Tokyo’s ESPer Academy

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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.

Strange Comic Trends: Villains Eating Heroes

ant-man003This past week featured what might be a first in the history of superhero comics.  On two separate covers from the same publisher, a supervillain appeared posited to eat a superhero.  On the cover of Ant-Man #3, Taskmaster is seen trying to do away with Scott Lang simply by eating him, a solution that not many consider when facing off against the diminutive hero.  On the cover of Silver Surfer #10, Galactus is seen to be in the process of eating the Silver Surfer, though he is shown to be putting up more of a fight than Ant-Man.

While this is a bit of an oddity, it is with good reason that it stands as an oddity.  Heroes generally have pretty amazing powers, either the godlike heroes from DC or the generally more down-to-earth heroes from Marvel, but among these amazing powers the powers of super-eating rarely come up.  My knowledge of Marvel is not as strong as with DC, but even at DC I can think of only two semi-prominent characters that can eat as a power.  In the 1980s and early 1990s, Chunk acted as a villain and later as a friend to the Wally West Flash.  Though evidently a dedicated eater based on his physique, ss010his power was not strictly super eating, rather he could open a pocket dimension through his mouth.  Another character is Matter Eater Lad, who can bite through and consume anything, even if it should otherwise be fatal to him.  On a grander scale at Marvel, Galactus can be considered to be an eater of sorts, even if the eating is more figurative than literal, and this his inclusion in this strange comic trend is not surprising.

Regardless of how often a supervillain decides to bite into a hero, it is something which is rarely seen on a cover, even going so far in both of these cases to seem to be a complete consumption of the heroes.  The incidence of this on two covers in one week from the same company is certainly an anomaly but also highlight the strange place of eating in the realm of superpowers.

 

 

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