(W) Leah Williams (A) Marco Castiello (CA) Woo Cheol Rated T In Shops: May 29, 2019 SRP: $3.99
WAR OF THE REALMS TIE-IN! ON THE SHOULDERS OF GIANTS!
Four of the biggest men in the Marvel Universe are on a mission in Frost Giant territory: kill the patriarch of all Frost Giants himself, Ymir, on behalf of Lady Freyja. But how exactly will they penetrate Laufey’s forces? By becoming masters of disguise!
It’s a new week and we’ve got a lot on tap here! More interviews, reviews, our weekly video news show, our podcast… so much going on! It’ll all be right here this week, so stay tuned! While you wait, here’s some comic news and a review from around the web.
In what is probably a law of averages/regression to the mean situation, a decent issue of War of the Realms happened as Jason Aaron, Russell Dauterman, and Matthew Wilson stopped crafting trailers for tie-in issues (For the most part.) and turned in a damn good Odin and Freyja story. Throughout his run on Thor, Aaron has done a fantastic job creating character journeys for Odinson’s supporting cast and rekindles some of that old magic as Iron-Odin and Freyja go all Thermopylae against the Dark Elves. As far as tie-ins, we’ve got two hits and a (near) miss. Inconsistent art and directionless plotting squander the amazing cast that Dennis “Hopeless” Hallum, Kim Jacinto, and Ario Anindito have been gifted with in War Avengers while Spider-Man and the League of the Realms and Giant-Man are basically throwing shit at the wall to see if it sticks. And it does thanks to Nico Leon’s clean art, Sean Ryan’s heroic writing of Spidey, and Leah Williams’ wonderful wit.
War of the Realms #4
Freyja has been a complete and utter badass during the course of the “War of the Realms” event leading the charge as all her male relatives are Frost Giant food or injured. With the foresight that comes from her background as a Vanir goddess, she can both ward off hordes of Dark Elves and coordinate the Avengers recruiting surviving members of other realms to make a last stand on Midgard. Russell Dauterman and Matthew Wilson channel Jack Kirby a little bit when showing her action using Kirby krackle and squiggly lines to demonstrate her magical powers and a black and pink palette that intensifies into red once her situation gets more dire.
And speaking of dire, this is what motivates an injured Odin to jump into battle. He truly cares about his wife and is angry that Ghost Rider, She-Hulk, Blade, and Punisher left her by herself at the Black Bifrost. He is very pissed off, and not even Captain America’s good wishes can calm him down. Luckily, Tony Stark has forged him an incredibly cool, golden suit of armor in one of the series’ most badass moments. Aaron also does an excellent job writing a bickering couple even sneaking in a joke about how Odin isn’t great in bed as they reach their end. Over the course of four issues, he and Dauterman have taken almost everyone away from Thor, and he is ready to be a hero with his axe, hammer, metal arm, and interruption of Jane Foster. This arc for Thor is very in line with his recent characterization in the Marvel movies, and I’m curious how many of these “deaths” will actually hold up once the event is over.
War of the Realms #4 has bits that feel like trailers for other issues (She-Hulk’s motivational speech to the dwarves of Nidavellir is very funny though.), but Jason Aaron’s focus on Freyja and Odin’s characterization combined with Russell Dauterman and Matthew Wilson’s beautiful, yet tragic visuals of their final stand give the comic an Overall Verdict of Read.
War of the Realms Strikeforce: The War Avengers #1
Writer Dennis “Hopeless” Hallum, artists Kim Jacinto and Ario Anindito, and colorists Java Tartaglia and Felipe Sobreiro’s War Avengers one-shot is set up back in War of the Realms #3 with Freyja sending a team led by Captain Marvel to coordinate the defense of Midgard. The members of this team are Deadpool, Sif, Weapon H (Hulk and Wolverine combined for some reason.), Winter Soldier, Black Widow, and Captain Britain comes into help later. Hopeless understands the voices of these characters very well with inappropriately timed quips for Deadpool, a badass warrior vibe for Sif, strong military leadership from Carol, and simmering black ops chemistry between Natasha and Bucky that would make Ed Brubaker and Mark Waid smile. As the team heads to London to try to take out Malekith, he even writes one hell of a Union Jack, who quaffs a pint while waiting for the next wave of Dark Elves.
This previous paragraph made War Avengers #1 sound like a damn fine team comic, but it’s not. I know that deadlines are a thing and this issue is longer than usual Marvel ones, but Jacinto and Anindito’s art is very hit and miss and doesn’t really mesh. Some scenes are more cartoonish while others are stiffly rendered. This stiffness comes at awkward moments like an extended bit with Deadpool and a shark, or Black Widow and Winter Soldier doing a cool stealth mission to steal mechs from Frost Giants. But there are some good panels here and there like when Deadpool makes a joke about a scene of Natasha leaping from an explosion being a good movie poster for her. Sometimes, this comic does feel like Dennis Hallum unloading every joke he has for Deadpool at one go.
So, unlike the excellent Dark Elf Realm one-shot, Hallum doesn’t really have a focus after the Frost Giant heist mission and the failed attack on Malekith wrapping the comic up with some statements about war straight out of All Quiet on the Western Front’s Cliff Notes. With the exception of Venom’s capture, he doesn’t show the War Avengers being beaten back by Malekith and ends the issue with a Carol voiceover and setting up their next “mission”. This lack of conclusiveness plus inconsistent art earns War Avengers #1 an Overall Verdict of Pass even though I personally love this team lineup.
War of the Realms: Spider-Man & the League of Realms #1
Sean Ryan, Nico Leon, and Carlos Lopez take one of the coolest concepts from Jason Aaron’s Thor run and craft a heartwarming, occasionally quirky heroic story in Spider-Man & the League of Realms#1. The story opens with Spider-Man driving a jeep to Lagos, Nigeria with a Light Elf, Dwarf, Mountain Giant, and Vanir god in tow. They’re trying to liberate Lagos from the Angels of Heven, who now rule the continent of Africa. The result is Spider-Man awkwardly trying to keep a team that has a couple killers at bay and looking out for regular people while angels rain down fire and fury from above.
What really makes this comic work is the clean lines of Nico Leon, which make the story fun and easy to follow even if you, like me, forgot half the names of the League of the Realms members. Leon works with colorist Carlos Lopez to highlight important parts of each panel like a gorgeous church in the background where Fernande, the Angel commander and a definite crusader type, has her headquarters. His Spider-Man is quite expressive, and he treats the mask like a face and not something static. Ryan gives him plenty of action to draw, but this comic has a pretty peaceful ending for a “War of the Realms” tie-in. It’s a done in one story and also has a cool cliffhanger plus Ryan creates tension between Spider-Man and the more violent members of his team that will probably lead to more conflict down the road.
Even though he’s in Lagos, not Queens, and is palling around with an Elf, Dwarf (I love me some Screwbeard.), god, troll, and not the Human Torch or Mary Jane, Spider-Man & the League of Realms #1 is still a great Spider-Man story. Spidey takes responsibility for every life he comes in contact with on his mission and truly lives up to Thor’s description of him as “the most Midgard of men”. Throw in Nico Leon’s artwork, and this comic earns an Overall Verdict of Buy.
I would love to be a fly, er, ant on the wall when Leah Williams pitched Giant-Man #1 to Marvel. Basically, four size changing superheroes (Scott Lang aka Ant-Man, Raz Malhotra aka Giant-Man, Tom Foster aka Goliath, and Atlas) grow to their full height, disguise themselves as Frost Giants, and take a trip to Florida to whack Laufey’s Frost Giant buddy, Ymir. Freyja is channeling the power of “big boy season” to get revenge for Laufey eating her adopted son, Loki back in War of the Realms #1. Scott wants to go back to Florida to look for his daughter, Cassie, and Williams and artist Marco Castiello do a great job having him and Freyja connect over their love for their children. Their care also extends to Goliath, who struggles with powers and being in the shadow of his uncle Bill Foster as well as Raz, who is a cute wholesome soul that had a recent breakup with his boyfriend, and of course, Atlas, who is just happy to have a shot at heroism again and comes to the mission already in “giant” mode. At first, Goliath seems like the team asshole, but Williams and Castiello prod his vulnerabilities and insecurity and add layers to his character.
for all its humor, general adventurous tone, and creative uses of size
changing, Giant-Man #1 has a few
flaws. There’s some Freyja dialogue at the beginning when she’s giving the
mission that needed to be copy edited, and once the team has their “disguises”
on, it’s sometimes hard to tell the characters apart except for Scott, who
wears a larger version of his Ant-Man helmet. There’s a real flying by the seat
of their pants quality to the characters’ interactions especially once they
reach the Frost Giant haven of Yeehaw, Florida, which is a fantastic name for
comedy purposes. The cast of Giant-Man has
similar powers, but no real bond with each other except for Scott and Raz, who
was trained by him in a previous comic. This is a definite liability for such
an important mission as this one, and shit almost immediately hits the fan and
doesn’t let up. Also, Frost Giant dogs make look cute, but they’re actually
Leah Williams and Marco Castiello go full hog with the fun, weird side of “War of the Realms” in Giant-Man #1, which also features plenty of jokes (Including a very good dick one), three dimensional characters, and characters riding on each other’s shoulders and in pockets. One line of clunky dialogue and occasional art clarity issues aside, it gets an Overall Verdict of Buy.
This was one of the better “War of the Realms” weeks in recent memory with Jason Aaron, Russell Dauterman, and Matthew Wilson doing strong work with Thor and his family in the main title while Spider-Man and the League of the Realms and Giant-Man showed there’s room for traditional hero stories and wacky capers in this event. War Avengers was kind of a disappointment, but extended panel time for Captain Britain, Union Jack, Sif, and non-surveillance state Carol Danvers is a good time. I like how Dennis Hallum wrote these characters, and maybe we’ll get a spinoff with a better artist. I still don’t get the deal with Weapon H other than as a cash grab.
It was new comic book day yesterday! What’d everyone get? What’d you like? What’d you dislike? Sound off in the comments below! While you think about that, here’s some comic news and reviews from around the web in our morning roundup.
Giant-Man #1 might be one of the more surprising comics to come out of Marvel‘s unimpressive War of the Realms event. At the behest of All-Mother Freyja, four men must rise to monstrous heights and infiltrate the most savage territory of New Jotunheim: Florida!
Written by Leah Williams, Giant-Man #1 is a hell of a lot of fun. Williams keeps the fun in to what should be a much more dour story. Four men, all with similar powers, must infiltrate Florida for an assassination. Williams though keeps the personalities of each front and center. Each brings a unique voice and together it’s comedic entertainment never taking itself too seriously.
The War of the Realms as a whole has been uneven as an event. This comic stands out from the pack in a positive way. The first issue makes it clear as to what’s going on. New readers don’t need to pick up anything else. That’s one of the best things about it. Many of the event tie-ins haven’t felt like a standalone complete story. This does, taking us on the mission and never taking itself too seriously.
Williams packs the issue with laughs as each character brings their flaws with them and boy do they have flaws. The mission goes as you’d expect as they attempt to infiltrate and complete it.
The art by Marco Castiello is good. Along with colorist Rachelle Rosenberg, the art has a fantasy quality about it. The art also keeps the comedic tone of the story itself. It doesn’t dive too heavy into fantasy and that’s most apparent by the disguises the heroes must wear. Joe Sabino‘s lettering also stands out. The Frost Giants’ dialogue delivers a unique style emphasizing their gruff nature and tone.
The comic is a solid issue and one that you don’t need to read the main event to enjoy. This issue stands out from the pack as far as War of the Realms tie-ins. Giant-Man #1 isn’t anything groundbreaking but it is a fun and entertaining read.
Story: Leah Williams Art: Marco Castiello Color: Rachelle Rosenberg Letterer: Joe Sabino Story: 8.0 Art: 7.65 Overall: 7.9 Recommendation: Buy
Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review
Wednesdays are new comic book day! Each week hundreds of comics are released, and that can be pretty daunting to go over and choose what to buy. That’s where we come in!
Each week our contributors choose what they can’t wait to read this week or just sounds interesting. In other words, this is what we’re looking forward to and think you should be taking a look at!
Find out what folks think below, and what comics you should be looking out for this Wednesday.
Alexandria Ocasio Cortez & the Freshman Force: Who Dis? (Devil’s Due Comics) – We’re a sucker for these types of comics and we’ll admit the political nerds in us are really interested in seeing exactly what’s within the pages of this issue.
All-Time Comics Zerosis Deathscape #0 (Floating World Comics) – An all-new five issue miniseries and if it’s like the previous releases, we’re psyched. This superhero world is a mix of modern and classic and just a lot of pulp action fun.
Black Badge #10 (BOOM! Studios) – One of the best comics on the market, it’s a twisted take on a Boy Scouts like group that’s used to recruit and train young assassins. You can learn more about the history of the program here!
Fathom Vol. 8 #1 (Aspen Comics) – Aspen has been hit and miss lately with a few false starts over the years but they seem to be more focused this time and we’re excited to see if this new volume reflects a renewed Aspen.
Giant-Man #1 (Marvel) – The many individuals who have used that name come together in this War of the Realms tie-in and we’re kind of excited for it.
Last Stop on the Red Line #1 (Dark Horse) – A supernatural crime story from Paul Maybury and Sam Lotfi that has us really intrigued to check it out.
Marvel Action: Spider-Man #4 (IDW Publishing) – IDW’s Marvel line has been great for kids and each issue a lot of fun. So, check it out, especially if you’re looking for comics for kids.
Planet of the Nerds #2 (AHOY Comics) – The first issue was funny and AHOY packs so much in each and every issue they put out. Just a great value for your dollar.
Science Comics: Cars, Engines that Move You (First Second) – First Second’s graphic novels in this line are fantastic if you want to learn more about the topic. This is solid for kids and adults who want to learn.
War of the Realms #4/War of the Realms: Spider-Man & the League of Realms #1/War of the Realms: Strikeforce – War Avengers #1 (Marvel) – We’re suckers for this, we’ll be honest. The event has been very hit and miss but we’re hoping it turns around. It has to, right?
A collector must-have, this unique and rare Ant-Man and Giant Man wooden figure set has been individually numbered within its series (included on the packaging as well as the bottom of each figure). Ant-Man is number 3, and Giant Man is number 4. Breaking the traditional 2-inch Pin Mate™ size, Ant-Man measures a miniscule 1-inch tall, and Giant Man measures an impressive 6-inches tall.
Designed to highlight the movie-inspired costumes, each retro-style figure is wrapped in 360-degree, hand-painted artwork that includes some decal elements. Limited to only 1200 pieces, the personalized production of the hand-painted artwork gives each figure a one-of-a-kind authenticity that cannot be duplicated. Plus as an Entertainment Earth Convention Exclusive, each limited edition set is individually numbered with a holographic sticker – making this already highly collectible set even more collectible! Ages 14 and up.
Available for the first time on July 20, 2016 at the Entertainment Earth booth #2343 at San Diego Comic-Con, fans will have the first opportunity to grab these individually numbered and limited edition exclusives!