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Review: The Avengers #14

The Avengers #14

TRANSYLVANIA IS BURNING! As vampire civil war throws the world into chaos, the mysterious Shadow Colonel and his squad of undead revolutionaries have one burning question on their murderous minds: Where is Dracula? And if the Avengers find him first, will the lord of the damned be friend or foe?

The vampire war has begun as The Avengers #14 takes us into the middle of the battle and chaos. Writer Jason Aaron delivers an issue that’s entertaining though it feels like something is missing as far as issues. For as far along as everything is, it feels weird the Avengers are only now acting on the situation.

Aaron takes us on numerous fronts in the war as the team has broken up to resolve the crisis that has arisen. What Aaron touches upon is a population displaced due to conflict and war with either bringing direct threat or implied. It’s hard to not see it as a thinly veiled commentary on today’s refugee crisis, though in this case the threat is real and not imaginary. One scene in particular involving Iron Man and Black Panther and how they see the situation is rather interesting and hints as to what could have been had the issue gone more that route.

The art by David Marquez, color by Justin Ponsor and Erick Arciniega, and lettering by Cory Petit is on point. Every scene is full of action and other than some moments here and there the perspective and focus of the panels and pages is top notch. It really feels like a wave of vampires crashing in on our heroes. They are overwhelmed and visually we can see that they’re overwhelmed.

The issue is a good one with a lot of action and some interesting concepts. Though not perfect, it’s a solid start to a story which feels like it could have been an event all on its own. With some minor tweaks this could have been a hell of a story reflecting on today’s socio-political climate. We’ll see where it goes but Aaron and the team have laid interesting groundwork.

Story: Jason Aaron Art: David Marquez
Color: Justin Ponsor, Erick Arciniega Letterer: Cory Petit
Story: 7.5 Art: 8.0 Overall: 7.75 Recommendation: Read

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE comic for review

Review: Avengers #10

Issue “700” of the Avengers is here and Marvel has downplayed how big of an issue is. This will set the course of the Marvel Universe for years to come and begins to answer questions set up years ago.

Avengers #10 is by Jason Aaron, Ed McGuinness, David Marquez, Frazer Irving, Adam Kubert, Andrea Sorrentino, Justin Ponsor, Erick Arciniega, Matthew Wilson, Giada Marchisio, and Cory Petit.

Get your copy in comic shops Wednesday November 14. To find a comic shop near you, visit www.comicshoplocator.com or call 1-888-comicbook or digitally and online with the links below.

TFAW

 

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with FREE copies for review
This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links and make a purchase, we’ll receive a percentage of the sale. Graphic Policy does purchase items from this site. Making purchases through these links helps support the site

Review: Spider-Man #240

Trade paperback copies of Brian Michael Bendis and Mark Bagley’s Ultimate Spider-Man from the local public library were what got me into comics, and the first Marvel comic I ever subscribed to was Ultimate Comics Spider-Man featuring Miles Morales. So, it’s safe to say that I was rooting for Spider-Man #240  to be a fantastic ending to Bendis’ 18 years on Spider-Man and seven years writing Miles. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case even though Oscar Bazaldua is one of Marvel’s best up and coming artists and can fill a page or double page spread with action and emotion beats. Speaking of emotion, Bendis’ farewell letter at the end is more moving than anything except Sara Pichelli and Justin Ponsor’s final page. I’m surprised I’m saying this about a Bendis comic, but Spider-Man could have used one more issue with the return of Uncle Aaron/Helicarrier theft storyline ending in Spider-Man #240, and the next issue acting as a proper send off for Bendis’ work with Miles Morales and Spider-Man instead of this rush job/bottle episode.

After a cliched present-to-flashback sequence, Spider-Man #240 has a pretty nice fight sequence between the Champions, the new Sinister Six, and the Latverian army. Bendis and Bazaldua even make the stakes personal with both Miles and his uncle Aaron tumbling off the Helicarrier with a black and gold color palette from Laura Martin in an almost silent double page spread. But, then, it all cuts to black, and we’re back in the hospital. There’s a lot of fades to blacks and hospital scenes like Bendis was simultaneously streaming the ER and Sopranos finale while scripting his own finale. To go with this, there’s a lot of telling and not showing and a bunch of abrupt cuts in the storyline like Bendis was trying to set up a quick subplot or two at the end and didn’t resolve it.

For example, Miles is in the hospital after his battle with the Latverians because there is something up with his genetic code, but we never find out what it is even after a shoehorned Tony Stark cameo. Bendis also seems to be setting up a new path for Miles and his new writer with a connection to espionage, but cuts before the “reveal” of the Marvel Universe big shot, who wants his help. Less egregiously, he resolves a Ganke subplot with expository dialogue and hand waves the ending of the issue’s opening battle with an off panel Avengers appearance. Dialogue is still one of Bendis’ strengths, and he has a lot of fun with the banter between the Champions members (And Goldballs!) without resorting to awkward “millennial speak” like Mark Waid, but seeing Miles’ mom Rio interact with Captain America would have been way cooler than just a word balloon.

Also, Bendis and Bazaldua drop the ball when it comes to the interactions between Miles and his Uncle Aaron in Spider-Man #240, which was the through line of this final arc as Miles tries to help his uncle use his technological skill for good and not crime. Aaron disappears during the final battle and then reappears at Miles’ hospital bed in a darkly lit scene from colorist Martin. Bendis’ writing for Aaron is simple; his time with Miles over the past few days has helped him think about doing good. But then there are some really awkward visuals like a close-up of Miles utterly freaking out when Aaron touches his hand before yet another fade to black. Intentional or not, there is a dreamy quality to the hospital scenes, and it is like the Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode “Normal Again” where Buffy think she has hallucinated the past six years of her life. Thankfully, Bendis doesn’t go for “It was all a dream” cop out ending, but the hospital setting limits the type of interactions Miles can have and hamstrings the whole ending.

However, Spider-Man #240 isn’t all bad, and there is one series of scenes that made me smile. Brian Michael Bendis and Oscar Bazaldua spend a decent amount of time closing the curtain on the main constant in Bendis’ run writing Miles Morales: the friendship between Miles and Ganke. (There’s a reason that they’re the sole stars of the final Pichelli and Ponsor drawn page.) After weird medical testing talk, it’s refreshing to just listen to them talk about girls, video games, and how crazy their lives have been. After fighting supervillains and Latverians, Miles just wants to hang out and be a regular teenager. Bazaldua also includes a nice sight gag of Spider-Man (The Peter Parker one) lounging in a web hammock outside the hospital room in a great nod to Miles’ origin as taking on the dead Spider-Man’s legacy in the Ultimate Universe as well as Bendis’ 11 years of writing Peter in Ultimate Spider-Man.

Some cool flight blocking from Oscar Bazaldua, smart color shifts from Laura Martin, and every time Ganke shows up, Spider-Man #240 is an unceremonious end to Brian Michael Bendis’ time writing Miles Morales. There were some good ideas in this storyline, like the return of his “Uncle Ben figure,” Aaron Davis, but it’s squandered with start and stop subplots, and can we seriously stop with the fading to black panels. Bendis stuck the landing with Jessica Jones and Defenders as farewells to his other big Marvel creation and his work on street level and team books, but sadly strikes out in his final issue of the book that got him in the door and made him a star back in 2000.

Story: Brian Michael Bendis Art: Oscar Bazaldua Colors: Laura Martin with Matt Milla and Peter Pantazis Final Page Art: Sara Pichelli with Justin Ponsor
Story: 5  Art: 8 Overall: 5.5  Recommendation: Pass

Marvel Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Avengers #1

*MINOR SPOILERS BELOW*

I am happy to say The Avengers are back. Now that we have gotten that out of the way, let’s get into why Avengers #1 is such an awesome thing for Marvel, and Avengers fans everywhere. While the last Avengers story, which introduced the new character Voyager (complete with a big plot twist of who she really is), was a lot of fun, I felt that the core Avengers title was fairly lackluster for a few years. I enjoyed The Uncanny Avengers far more than the main book, and I felt the title that should be Marvel’s biggest and best book was not living up to it’s legacy (pun intended).

So how do you inject life into a title that has had so many good runs over the years while also keeping it somewhat original on the storytelling front? You bring in Jason Aaron. This is the man who has been writing The Mighty Thor for years with both Jane Foster and Odinson and all of the wonderful characters of that world. He wrote Original Sin before that as well as many other titles like Wolverine, and more. It makes a ton of sense to bring Aaron on, since he is easily one of their top writers. I could go on for quite a bit about his awesome work on Southern Bastards, and more of his creator owned work, but let’s focus on The Avengers shall we?

Avengers #1 brings us back to a status quo for some of our big classic heroes like Captain America, Thor, and Iron Man. There is even a great joke in this book where Aaron takes a jab at Hydra Cap, Unworthy Thor, and gives us a new name from Tony Stark himself, Coma Tony. It is a great moment where the three of them are in a bar and discussing getting the band back together. It is great dialogue, and something Aaron excels at. You can tell the three of them need this, after what each of them has been through the last few years, even if all of them may not want to admit it yet.

We also get to see Doctor Strange and Black Panther together investigating some disturbances below the Earth. Again we get some fantastic dialogue between Stephen and T’challa, and another great joke from Doctor Strange about his Strange Sense tingling. I loved the dynamic between the characters, and can’t wait to see more conversations as more team dynamics expand. The book also gives us glimpses of Robbie Reyes as Ghost Rider, She-Hulk, and Captain Marvel all in different parts of the world, but by the end, all of them are converging on the massive threat that is hitting Earth, which is pretty awesome, and very epic in scope.

It would be wrong of me to not mention the awesome 1 Billion BC Avengers, because they are also a lot of fun, and a great set up. You may remember them from the Marvel Legacy one shot from last year, if you read it. The team is made up of Odin, Iron Fist, Ghost Rider (with a flaming Mammoth), Phoenix, Black Panther, Starbrand (who is a Hulk), and Agamotto. These characters are great not only because of their design and the introduction of them fighting the Celestials, but because of the legacy they provide to our modern day Avengers. When I first heard about this older team, I had my doubts, but they really pay off in this issue in a very cool way.

The pencils by Ed McGuinness is classic style Marvel. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mean that it is outdated, but that it really has that old style superhero comic approach where everyone is a bit bulkier and wider. It is nostalgic while also feeling unique. There is a lot to draw in this issue, and McGuiness drew the hell out of it. From the opening pages alone, the 1 Billion BC Avengers look fantastic, as does the Celestials, as well as our modern team. Also, the panel work that McGuiness provides is really interesting and varies quite a bit. On some pages, there’s no panels at all and the scenes just blend together in a very cool one or two page spread, where on others, the panels are done to uniquely move the story forward in different ways. The inks by Mark Morales keep everything crisp and along with the colors by David Curiel help everything pop with awesome shadows and scenes that cover such a wide array of tones.

I would recommend this book to anyone who is a classic Marvel fan, a new Marvel fan from the movies, or really anyone who enjoys superhero comics or movies. It’s a great jumping on point for fans of the old and the new. It gives us the heroes we missed, while giving us some other members that I cannot wait to see shine in their new larger roles. It’s been a while since She-Hulk has had big moments, Captain Marvel deserves more of the spotlight and is getting even more popular, especially with her upcoming film, and Robbie Reyes has always been a great character, and also gives us Ghost Rider while also giving us someone new under the hood. Not since Jonathan Hickman’s last run on the book have I been so excited about The Avengers title. Avengers Assemble!

Story: Jason Aaron Pencils: Ed McGuinness
Inks: Mark Morales Colors: David Curiel Letterer: Cory Petit
Cover: Ed McGuiness, Mark Morales, Justin Ponsor

Story: 9.5 Art: 9.5 Overall: 9.5 Recommendation: Buy

Marvel Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Spider-Men II

It’s Wednesday which means it’s new comic book day with new releases hitting shelves, both physical and digital, all across the world. This week we’ve got Spider-Men!

Spider-Men II features issues #1-5 by Brian Michael Bendis, Sara Pichelli, Mark Bagley, John Dell, Elisabetta D’Amico, Justin Ponsor, Chris Eliopoulos, Cory Petit, Kathleen Wisneski, Devin Lewis, and Nick Lowe.

Get your copy in comic shops today and in book stores April 3. To find a comic shop near you, visit www.comicshoplocator.com or call 1-888-comicbook or digitally and online with the links below.

Amazon/Kindle/comiXology or TFW

 

Marvel​ provided Graphic Policy with FREE copies for review
This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links and make a purchase, we’ll receive a percentage of the sale. Graphic Policy does purchase items from this site. Making purchases through these links helps support the site

Around the Tubes

Tomorrow is new comic book day! What’s everyone excited for? What do you plan on getting? Sound off in the comments. While you decide on that, here’s some comic news and reviews from around the web.

The Baylor Lariat – Kickstarting a Comic Career: three prominent comic artists visit Baylor – This is cool to see.

ICv2 – ReedPOP Makes Another Big Move, Acquiring EGX Events and Content Network – This is… interesting.

The Beat – GoFundMe Fundraiser to help Marvel colorist Justin Ponsor’s cancer treatment – Chip in and help!

 

Reviews

Comic Attack – Black Panther Annual #1

Talking Comic s- Bloodshot Salvation #1

Comics Bulletin – Postal: Mark #1

Sequart – Prism Stalker #1

Review: The Defenders #10

Defenders_Vol_5_10

*Minor spoilers ahead*

10 issues of The Defenders? I didn’t think the run would be that short but there you go. Okay yeah, it’s obvious why this was book was greenlit given the then upcoming Netflix show of the same name at the time (both the comic and show were published/uploaded roughly around the same time last year) and both lineups were the same with the team consisting of Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage and Iron Fist. Amusingly, it’s Iron Fist’s recent books that are better than the Netflix show but I digress.

This is the first of the final issues of each comic written by Brian Michael Bendis. Others like Spider-Man and Jessica Jones will follow. And it appears that Bendis wanted the book to be self-congratulatory of sorts because it does feel like he wants to showcase much of what he’s accomplished in over 20 years or so. But it doesn’t feel arrogant, don’t get me wrong. It’s a decent issue that I really, really like. Bendis as a writer, when given the right task than event comics, he can do solid down to earth superheroic plots. And the chemistry between Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage and Iron Fist is well done such as the first panel with Jessica, Luke and Rand (Iron Fist) looking over proudly at the newly installed sign for Heroes for Hire so yeah, that’s still going. It’s a nice scene and ended on an amusing note once people walk by.

Despite solid characterization and decent set up for The Hood as the main villain, there is a major flaw with this book; it just ends. That’s it. There’s this whole setup of The Hood being the new Kingpin as well as he plan with the other villains of the Marvel universe and the two final pages or should I say, a two splash page that promises something of a final confrontation and it just ends. Maybe the point is to set up a Heroes for Hire book full time given the amount of heroes but even then, it features characters either created by or who Bendis has written for. It just feels so annoying because it feels like the book got started.

And it’s a huge shame because as I said, Bendis can be a good writer under the correct material and he had something here!

But in any case, Bendis is Bendis with his ups and downs and this is a solid book he’s written despite my main issue. David Marquez‘s art is also solid, good dynamics in regards to the action and facial and physical expressions, they compliment Bendis’s writing well. And colors by Justin Ponsor give it a nice shaded look but not too much. All very well done.

It’s a decent end to The Defenders and whether you like the book or not, you can’t deny he no doubt had fun writing these characters. And if you’ve been enjoying the series so far, maybe you’ll like it fine and hope based on the final splash page, it’ll go somewhere.

 

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: The Defenders Vol. 1 Diamonds are Forever

It’s Tuesday which means it’s new comic book day at book stores! This week we’ve got Luke Cage, Jessica Jones, Daredevil, and Iron Fist!

The Defenders Vol. 1 Diamonds are Forever collects issues #15-5 and material from Free Comic Book Day 2017 by Brian Michael Bendis, David Marquez, and Justin Ponsor.

Get your copy. To find a comic shop near you, visit www.comicshoplocator.com or call 1-888-comicbook or digitally and online with the links below.

Amazon/Kindle/comiXology or TFAW

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with FREE copies for review
This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links and make a purchase, we’ll receive a percentage of the sale. Graphic Policy does purchase items from this site. Making purchases through these links helps support the site.

Review: Spider-Man Vol. 3 Miles Morales

It’s Wednesday which means it’s new comic book day with new releases hitting shelves, both physical and digital, all across the world. This week we’ve got Miles Morales!

Spider-Man Vol. 3 Miles Morales collects issues #15-21 by Brian Michael Bendis, Szymon Kudranski, Oscar Bazaldua, Nico Leon, Justin Ponsor, Jason Keith, and Rain Beredo.

Get your copy in comic shops today and bookstores on November 21. To find a comic shop near you, visit www.comicshoplocator.com or call 1-888-comicbook or digitally and online with the links below.

Spider-Man Vol. 3 Miles Morales
Amazon/Kindle/comiXology or TFW

 

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with FREE copies for review
This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links and make a purchase, we’ll receive a percentage of the sale. Graphic Policy does purchase items from this site. Making purchases through these links helps support the site.

Preview: Spider-Men II #1

Spider-Men II #1

(W) Brian Michael Bendis (CA) Justin Ponsor (A/CA) Sara Pichelli
Rated T+
In Shops: Jul 12, 2017
SRP: $3.99

THIS IS IT, TRUE BELIEVERS!
The moment five years in the making is finally here! The first time Peter Parker and Miles Morales met ended with a question – WHO IS THE MILES MORALES OF THE MARVEL UNIVERSE?! Now that the Miles you know and love is with Peter in the Marvel Universe, you’re finally going to get that answer to who the OTHER Miles Morales is! And that’s just the tip of the iceberg as Brian Michael Bendis and Sara Pichelli bring you the next heart-stopping adventure for both Peter Parker and Miles Morales!

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