Tag Archives: Juggernaut

Review: Iceman #5

“Oh no, love. You’re not alone. No matter what or who you’ve been… Give me your hands!”- “Rock ‘N’ Roll Suicide” by David Bowie

In Iceman #5, Bobby finally comes out as gay to his parents, and they don’t accept him unconditionally. It’s an issue that really hit home for me personally and is easily Sina Grace’s best writing on the series. The scenes where the Drakes ask their son insensitive, probing questions about his sexuality are more painful than any blow from the unstoppable, time displaced from the 1960s Juggernaut, who is this issue’s villain of the week. Artist Alessandro Vitti and colorist Rachelle Rosenberg draw a mano a mano battle between Iceman and Juggernaut that is juxtaposed with his coming out letter. These scenes show the cathartic nature of superhero comics for queer people, and their ability to make me escape from my issues with a tale of derring-do and overcoming seemingly unbeatable odds.

In previous issues,  I feel like Grace portrayed Bobby’s parents more sympathetically, but their insensitive, bigoted words towards him in Iceman #5 show why he didn’t come out to him earlier and wanted to do it via letter where he could filter and write out his thoughts in a more organized manner. Vitti draws them with big wrinkles and glaring, ugly expressions as they treat Bobby’s sexuality as hypothetical and even ask him questions about sex life. His mom even uses “mutie” and “queer” as slurs and blames his dad’s side of the family for passing these “genes” to him. Instead of accepting, she constantly talks about how he’s a disappointment, and Mr. Drake won’t even recognize him as their son anymore. Grace and Vitti defuse the tension a little bit with some Idie and Quentin Quire antics, but they get blocked off from the narrative by a literal wall of ice given a glistening sheen by Rosenberg. And Kitty Pryde shows she’s an amazing friend by giving Bobby the opportunity to cut loose against Juggernaut (He probably should have backup though.)

IcemanAngry

And after taking non-stop verbal body blows from his parents, a solo fight against Juggernaut is what Bobby (and the plot of Iceman #5) needs. When the battle begins, Vitti draws a craggier Iceman (Because he’s angry.), and Rosenberg emphasizes the red on his uniform shirt. The battle itself is a blockbuster one and extremely creative as Bobby doesn’t have to hold back against the Juggernaut, whose only motivation is to wreck stuff and kill the X-Men blue team, who brought him to present times from the 1960s.

The dad jokes are gone, and Vitti and Rosenberg replace with double page, shoujo manga-esque spreads of Bobby freezing the speed of light to hit the Juggernaut and then using his ability to change into a vapor to escape his clutches and finally put the kibosh on him. After these pages and a beautiful transformation, the fact that Iceman is an omega level mutant is at the forefront of his character and not just a trivia fact. As he mentions to his dad at the end of the issue, being honest about who he loves has helped him use his mutant powers more effectively. This is definitely true because Bobby does a lot of cool things this issue like impaling Juggernaut on an icicle and sending his ice golems to save civilians while he focuses on keeping Juggy occupied. Water is all around us, and in Bobby’s capable hands, it can be a powerful weapon. Vitti and Rosenberg get really creative with his powers in this issue, especially when he is about to beat the Juggernaut.

The bittersweet ending to Iceman #5 where Bobby and his dad have a polite chat about his letter, say they love each other, and reconcile in the snow rings true to my own experience as a queer man. My parents don’t approve of my sexuality, but they actually do still care about me, and we have a pretty good relationship. Personally, this makes me hurt a lot deeper than a simple Westboro Baptist Church type of hate because it’s infused with love.

Iceman #5 works as a comic because Sina Grace, Alessandro Vitti, and  holds a mirror to mine and other queer men’s experiences using mutant powers and superhero battles as big visual metaphors of both triumph and empowerment when Iceman defeats Juggernaut all by his lonesome and the feeling of being an outsider with his vapor abilities.

Iceman #5 is a powerful, cathartic end to the first arc of the comic and showed me that I’m not alone…

Story: Sina Grace Art: Alessandro Vitti Colors: Rachelle Rosenberg
Story: 9.5 Art: 7.5 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Marvel Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Entertainment Earth Spotlight: X-Men Marvel Legends Wave 1 & Deadpool

The X-Men Marvel Legends 6-Inch Action Figures Wave 1 brings your mutant favorites to life in a stunning 6-inch scale action figure form. Each figure includes awesome accessories and amazing detail, plus a build-a-figure piece. Ages 4 and up.Case features 8 individually packaged action figures, including:

A case features 8 individually packaged action figures, including, Wolverine, Deadpool, Rogue, Kitty Pryde, Iceman, Cable, Havok, and Phoenix, plus the build-a-figure Juggernaut!

The figures are hard to find so you can get the entire wave through Entertainment Earth! Or, if you want a specific character, you can do that too!

x-men-marvel-legends-6-inch-action-figures-wave-1

 

 

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Catching Up on Reviews, Part 8 — Fear Itself

Fear Itself #1 (Marvel) – For the record, I am a big fan of the thematic art that ties Fear Itself together. I think I like just about every single cover of the series and tie-ins. I also like the story better than any of the recent Marvel events, maybe going back to Secret Invasion. Issue one is exactly what the launch of a big event should be like. Matt Fraction’s writing really pulls us right into the story and sets up the importance of the conflict. Suart Immonen’s art is near-flawless, it takes chances and it captures the grandness of the epic. Some of the keys here are the supposed helplessness of Steve Rogers, the fall of Thor and the cryptic rise of the Serpent.

Story: 10 Art: 10 Overall: 10

Fear Itself #2 (Marvel) – I’ll say that the hammer concept used here is just great and the idea that the Worthy are drawn from across the spectrum of good and evil is great as well. The level of the threat established here from the very beginning is awe-inspiring. How can anyone stand up to eight of the most powerful characters in the Marvel universe who have all been given significant power boosts. Plus the Serpent, the one who gave them all the power boosts. Plus Odin and all of Asgard. Fraction continues to tell a great story and Immonen’s art impresses as well, particularly the new appearance of Juggernaut, which I think is one of the coolest-looking characters I’ve ever seen, and the opening shot of Blitzkreig U.S.A., which is breathtaking.

Story: 10 Art: 10 Overall: 10

Fear Itself #3 (Marvel) – It would seem difficult for Immonen to improve his art, but in this issue, he does it. Some of the most epic battle and apocalyptic artwork to ever appear in Marvel is in this issue. Fraction also ups the ante on the story with a shocking death that you wouldn’t have expected.

Story: 10 Art: 10 Overall: 10

Fear Itself #4 (Marvel) – While it would seem likely that four issues into a series like this, it would be prime time for a letdown and, to be fair, this issue is the weakest so far, but that’s not a knock on this issue, which is better than most things on the market, it’s just not quite as good as the previous issues, which were all superb. There is still some amazing art — Immonen’s Thor looks amazing — and a couple of great plot points towards the end, involving Tony Stark-Odin and Thor-Hulk-Thing. Issue #5 will have to be a barn-burner with a set-up like this.

Story: 9.75 Art: 9.75 Overall: 9.75

Fear Itself – Book of the Skull (Marvel) – Another example of the over-used Marvel device of extensive retcons that add backstory to current events. This one isn’t a bad one, and it helps set up Fear Itself, but I think I’ve already forgotten the point of the story, and I just put it down.

Story: 6 Art: 7 Overall: 6.5

Fear Itself – Deadpool #1 (Marvel) – Cartoonish art and a cartoonish story — and I don’t mean that in a good way — make for another bad comic in the extensive overuse and killing off of the quality of the Deadpool character.

Story: 5 Art: 5 Overall: 5

Fear Itself – Deadpool #2 (Marvel) – When the best thing about an issue is the picture on the cover of Deadpool in MC Hammer pants, you know that reading a comic would be a waste of your time.

Story: 4 Art: 5 Overall: 4.5

Fear Itself – Fearsome Four #1 (Marvel) – The art in this series is my least favorite in the past few months, but even the art is better than the story, which inexplicably teams up Howard the Duck, Frankenstein’s Monster, She-Hulk and Nighthawk and calls them “Fearsome” because they are interacting with the Man-Thing. It isn’t as coherent as it sounds.

Story: 3 Art: 4 Overall: 3.5

Fear Itself – Fearsome Four #2 (Marvel) – The art here is a little worse, almost unprofessional, but the story is a little more coherent. It’s still a bad comic and a terrible series. Has to be a very strong contender for Worst Limited Series of 2011.

Story: 4 Art: 3 Overall: 3.5

Fear Itself – FF #1 (Marvel) – Much better premise for a Fear Itself spin-off, how do the Thing’s friends deal with his conversion to a monster? The issue has great tension and a compelling story, something missing from most of the Fear Itself tie-ins. Kudos to writer Cullen Bunn.

Story: 9 Art: 7 Overall: 8

Fear Itself – Sins Past (Marvel) – I’m not a fan of these reprint issues from Marvel. While it does have a little bit of new material, it doesn’t reprint stories that are important enough or compelling enough that they should’ve wasted an issue on it.

Story: 7 Art: 7 Overall: 7

Fear Itself – Spider-Man #1 (Marvel) – It’s pretty clear that, to date, The Spider-Man Fear Itself spin-off is the best of the mini-series. Chris Yost does an amazing job here of framing the Fear Itself story in terms of the regular people who face it and not just the super-heroes. Sure, Spidey is the lead here, but he’s really just another small figure going through this big event and not sure he’s going to be able to cope with it. Mike McKone’s art is stylish and unique and adds to the story.

Story: 10 Art: 9.5 Overall: 9.75

Fear Itself – Spider-Man #2 (Marvel) – Yost’s story continues to impress, but the key in this issue is McKone’s art, which takes chances and more often than not succeeds. This issue has a lot of stunning art and a strong story to go with it.

Story: 9.25 Art: 9.75 Overall: 9.5

Fear Itself – Spider-Man #3 (Marvel) – The art isn’t quite as good in this issue, although it has its moments. The story is an interesting twist on past Spidey-FF crossovers, this time with Spidey clashing with the Thing instead of the Human Torch, who isn’t around anymore.

Story: 9.5 Art: 8.5 Overall: 9

Fear Itself – The Deep #1 (Marvel) – I’m not really that big a fan of Namor and stories that focus on him frequently leave me bored, but this one has enough guest stars (Including Dr. Strange, who I like a lot) and good enough art to make it worth a read.

Story: 7 Art: 8 Overall: 7.5

Fear Itself – The Homefront #1 (Marvel) – I’m not a big fan of the Marvel anthology mini-series, either, as most of the time, the individual stories aren’t that good. That is only partially true here. The first story, starring Speedball is awfully compelling and has amazing, almost photo-realistic art. The team of Christos Gage, Mike Mayhew and Rain Beredo does a great job. The Agents of Atlas story, though, is much like the rest of the Atlas stories, in that it doesn’t really grab my attention and I forget about it right after reading it since the characters and the story don’t do much to excite me. It isn’t poorly executed, just nothing special. The final story, about the residents of Broxton, Oklahoma, after the departure of the Asgardians, is interesting if not essential.

Story: 7.5 Art: 8 Overall: 7.75

Fear Itself – The Homefront #2 (Marvel) – The first two stories in this issue are amazingly consistent with the first issue. The Speedball story is just as good and the Atlas story is just as mediocre. The third story, which is about Liz Allan and Tigershark, I think, aims high, but doesn’t quite deliver.

Story: 7 Art: 7.5 Overall: 7.25

Fear Itself – The Homefront #3 (Marvel) – The Speedball story, if anything, gets better in this issue. The story in the Atlas tale is growing on me a little bit, but the art is losing me. A third tale, starring Cardiac, has a compelling tale to tell about revenge and redemption, but the art is too cartoonish for the weight of the story.

Story: 7.75 Art: 7 Overall: 7.5

Fear Itself – The Homefront #4 (Marvel) – My thought is that the Speedball story here should’ve been expanded and given its own series or one-shot and that the Atlas story, which ends here, should’ve been eliminated altogether. Some of the art in the Speedball story is amongst the best in the entire Fear Itself storyline. The third tale here, starring someone apparently known as the Blue Marvel, is puzzling. If I’m supposed to know who he is, I don’t. If I’m supposed to get something big from the story, I don’t. I’m left with nothing but question marks, mostly the one after the question “Who is Blue Marvel and why am I reading about him”?

Story: 7 Art: 8 Overall: 7.5

Fear Itself – Uncanny X-Force #1 (Marvel) – While Simone Bianchi’s art takes a lot of chances, and some of them succeed, I don’t like a lot of the detail of the characters’ faces. The story itself is only vaguely related to Fear Itself, but it is a pretty good and interesting.

Story: 9 Art: 7 Overall: 8

Fear Itself – Wolverine #1 (Marvel) – I don’t really find much about this comic compelling, not the premise, not the story and not the art. I think that Marvel (and probably DC, too), should cut back on the number of extra series that are related to their events and make sure that every series really has a good premise and a point to its creation. This one doesn’t seem to meet that.

Story: 6 Art: 6 Overall: 6

Fear Itself – Youth In Revolt #1 (Marvel) – I like the idea of bringing back the Initiative, it wasn’t a bad idea when it was done before and done right now, it could be a good thing. I’m not sure the characters they chose to focus on in this series are the best ones, though.

Story: 7 Art: 7 Overall: 7

Fear Itself – Youth In Revolt #2 (Marvel) – So after the first issue, which doesn’t really have great, compelling characters, the way to expand that is to bring in Frog Man? Really?

Story: 6 Art: 7 Overall: 6.5

Fear Itself – Youth In Revolt #3 (Marvel) – Much better, bring in Juggernaut, improve the art and end it with a shocking finale that makes you actually care what happens in the series.

Story: 8 Art: 7.5 Overall: 7.75

Fear Itself – The Worthy #1 (Marvel) – Okay, so we know a little bit more about Sin’s background and it’s obvious why she is Worthy, but this isn’t something that is particularly memorable.

Story: 6 Art: 7 Overall: 6.5

Fear Itself – The Worthy #2 (Marvel) – To date, I think that Juggernaut is the coolest of the Worthy, but this issue doesn’t do anything to explain why and is a bit of a weak link in the Juggernaut portion of Fear Itself.

Story: 5 Art: 5 Overall: 5

Fear Itself – The Worthy #3 (Marvel) – This issue seems to give a little bit of insight as to why Titania is Worthy, but I can’t escape the feeling that she gets in because she’s dating the Absorbing Man and he’s Worthy.

Story: 6 Art: 6 Overall: 6

Fear Itself – The Worthy #4 (Marvel) – If anything, this story makes it seem like the Grey Gargoyle is unworthy. He’s a bit of a whiny loser, how does that make him a prime candidate for serving the serpent?

Story: 5 Art: 5 Overall: 5

Fear Itself – The Worthy #5 (Marvel) – Solid, if not spectacular, tale of why the Hulk is Worthy. Doesn’t tell us anything we don’t know, but could be valuable to newer readers.

Story: 7 Art: 8 Overall: 7.5

Fear Itself – The Worthy #6 (Marvel) – I’m not sure I get the point of this backstory of why Attuma is Worthy. It tells a little bit more about his background than we previously knew, but we already knew he was an evil bastard, what does this add to that?

Story: 7 Art: 6 Overall: 6.5

Fear Itself – The Worthy #7 (Marvel) – A brief bio of Absorbing Man that doesn’t tell us anything we don’t know, doesn’t explain why he’s worthy and doesn’t help the story.

Story: 6 Art: 4 Overall: 5

Fear Itself – The Worthy #8 (Marvel) – This one focuses on the last of the Worthy, the Thing, and moreso than any of the other issues, it makes it clear why the Thing becomes one of the Serpent’s servants. The only issue of this series that really adds something to the story. Too bad the art is so weak.

Story: 9 Art: 5 Overall: 7

Catching Up on Reviews, Part 7 — Uncanny X-Force and X-Men

Uncanny X-Force #5 (Marvel) – Esad Ribic’s art, while good, is a step down from what had been appearing in X-Force’s earlier issues. Rick Remender’s writing is fine, but I don’t really care for the Deathloks or this particular storyline.

Story: 8 Art: 8 Overall: 8

Uncanny X-Force #5.1 (Marvel) – Rafael Albuquerque’s art has its moments, but I’m not a huge fan. It is good to see the return of characters like Gateway, Lady Deathstrike and the Reavers, though, which make this an entertaining issue.

Story: 9 Art: 7.5 Overall: 8.25

Uncanny X-Force #6 (Marvel) – While the idea of all of the Marvel heroes being turned into time-traveling Deathloks is interesting, it’s problematic, though, to think that after all of the enemies that these heroes have collectively defeated, they’d somehow fall this way. Not buying it.

Story: 7.5 Art: 8 Overall: 7.75

Uncanny X-Force #7 (Marvel) – The Deathlok storyline finally concludes, which it couldn’t have done soon enough. While the creators of this series are good and they do good work, this is not the best use of the series, I think.

Story: 7.25 Art: 7.75 Overall: 7.5

Uncanny X-Force #8 (Marvel) – This is a transitional issue from the subpar Deathlok storyline to what looks much more promising with the Dark Angel storyline. The final page of this issue is chilling.

Story: 8 Art: 7 Overall: 7.5

Uncanny X-Force #9 (Marvel) – Two issues into his run and I’m not sure what to think of Billy Tan’s art. There is definitely some good stylistic and structural stuff being done here, but I’m not sure about the faces and details.

Story: 8.25 Art: 7.75 Overall: 8

Uncanny X-Force #10 (Marvel) – The Dark Angel storyline is really starting to hit its stride in this issue and Bill Tan’s art seems to be improving. Overall, a good issue, on the verge of being great.

Story: 9 Art: 8 Overall: 8.5

Uncanny X-Force #11 (Marvel) – Mark Brooks provides the best art this series has had in a while and Remender’s storytelling is at its peak in this issue. The Age of Apocalypse was one of the better storylines to come out of the 1990s and it’s good to see it revived here.

Story: 9.5 Art: 9.5 Overall: 9.5

Uncanny X-Men #533 (Marvel) – Greg Land’s art continues to mostly impress while I can’t say I like the character of Lode. I do like the idea of the drug that gives people mutant powers, although it seems like DC already did this with Lex Luthor a few years ago, so the idea isn’t that original.

Story: 8 Art: 9 Overall: 8.5

Uncanny X-Men #534 (Marvel) – The parts of this issue that feature Paul Renaud’s art are noticeably not as good as Land’s stuff. The Quarantine storyline ends on a high note, though, with Cyclops once again shown to be one of the smartest and toughest characters in Marvel. I really like where Matt Fraction and Kieron Gillon are taking him.

Story: 9.75 Art: 9.25 Overall: 9.5

Uncanny X-Men #534.1 (Marvel) – Great concept for this issue, what do you do to convince the world that Magneto has changed his ways and isn’t the evil bastard he used to be. Hire a PR firm, of course…

Story: 9 Art: 8 Overall: 8.5

Uncanny X-Men #535 (Marvel) – Terry Dodson’s art isn’t perfect, but it is distinctive enough that I like it a lot. This issue ties back into the Breakworld story from Astonishing, and I’m not sure I’m a huge fan of that.

Story: 8.5 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.5

Uncanny X-Men #536 (Marvel) – More Dodson and more Breakworld means more of the same quality work as the previous issue, but this issue’s somewhat expected twist is still entertaining.

Story: 9 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.75

Uncanny X-Men #537 (Marvel) – Dodson’s art seems a little weaker in this issue and the Breakworld stuff is starting to drag on, right up until the last panel, which is an amazingly good shocker.

Story: 9.25 Art: 8.25 Overall: 8.75

Uncanny X-Men #538 (Marvel) – It’s good to finally see the conclusion of the Breakworld saga, both this particular one and the original one, restoring Kitty to her natural state. A number of the recent X-storylines are ones that I don’t particularly like, even though they are very well-executed.

Story: 8.5 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.5

Uncanny X-Men #539 (Marvel) – Really one of the worst issues of Uncanny in a while, which isn’t to say it’s terrible, just that it isn’t that great, either. That may be because there is a whole lot of Hope in this issue and nobody has really figured out much of a personality or point to her character now that she’s an adult.

Story: 7 Art: 7 Overall: 7

Uncanny X-Men #540 (Marvel) – Greg Land is back, which is awesome. Fear Itself is crossing over, which is pretty good. This issue doesn’t have much action, but it has politics and Juggernaut and character growth and all that. Very good issue for regular readers and X-Men fans.

Story: 9 Art: 9 Overall: 9

Uncanny X-Men Annual #3 (Marvel) – If Nick Bradshaw didn’t have to draw people, his art in this issue would be amazing. There are lots of people here, though, so it’s problematic at best. The story fits the recent Marvel trend of frequently matching up teams against someone else’s villains — in this case Blastaar — and I’m not sure that it works very well.

Story: 7 Art: 7 Overall: 7

Catching Up on Reviews, Part 6 — Osborn & Thunderbolts

Osborn #3 (Marvel) – The story here seems to stall a bit after the promise of the first two issues and the issue is also weak because of the art, which just isn’t that good.

Story: 6.5 Art: 5 Overall: 5.75

Osborn #4 (Marvel) – The art once again drags down what could’ve been a great series. Norman Osborn was such a great villain and has so much of a story built up after Dark Reign that it’s sad to see this series wasted.

Story: 7.5 Art: 4.5 Overall: 6

Thunderbolts #153 (Marvel) – Kev Walker’s art is good with potential to grow into something even better, but the key to this issue is the action-packed tale of revenge that takes place inside. The characters in Thunderbolts are always more complex than in just about any other comics and the Juggernaut’s battle with Hyperion in this issue is epic.

Story: 8.5 Art: 8 Overall: 8.25

Thunderbolts #154 (Marvel) – Jeff Parker continues to do a good job writing the various characters on the Thunderbolts team and while Declan Shalvey’s art falls a little bit short, it’s more than adequate.

Story: 8.5 Art: 7.5 Overall: 8

Thunderbolts #155 (Marvel) – Walker’s art begins to show some improvement and could develop into something really good, I think. Parker’s writing continues to impress and there are some cool new elements introduced in this issue, including the development of the new generation of Thunderbolts.

Story: 8.25 Art: 8.25 Overall: 8.25

Thunderbolts #156 (Marvel) – The series continues to bring in new characters and make them an interesting part of the overall mix while at the same time managing to tell fun and action-packed stories. Parker and Walker seem to work well together and they are producing one of the most consistently good comics Marvel publishes these days.

Story: 8.5 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.5

Thunderbolts #157 (Marvel) – Another solid story that helps develop the characters and add to an ongoing narrative about the team. Walker’s art is the worst amongst this run of issues I’m reviewing today.

Story: 8.5 Art: 7 Overall: 7.75

Thunderbolts #158 (Marvel) – This Fear Itself tie-in is the first to deploy the new Thunderbolts B Team in action and the story is handled well. Juggernaut’s character is also one of the best characters in the Fear Itself stories, even if he is a bit overused.

Story: 8.75 Art: 8.25 Overall: 8.5

Thunderbolts #159 (Marvel) – There are four Fear Itself-related stories here, all of which seem to fall a bit short both in terms of art and story. They aren’t bad, but they aren’t great, either.

Story: 7.5 Art: 7 Overall: 7.25

Thunderbolts #160 (Marvel) – This might be the best issue of this run of Thunderbolts. It starts off as a continuation of the great tie-in from Fear Itself that started two issues earlier, and it is a well-executed tale. But late in the issue it has this shift to a surreal tone and art style that is just plain awesome to read and view.

Story: 9 Art: 9.5 Overall: 9.25

Thunderbolts — From the Marvel Vault (Marvel) – I can forsee an instance when going back and completing a proposed issue that was never published could turn out to be a good thing and add something to the published material about a character or team. This isn’t one of those instances. The art in this issue isn’t great and it’s easy to see why this issue wasn’t published earlier.

Story: 5 Art: 5 Overall: 5