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Messages from Midgard #8- Noble Jester Warriors

This installment of Messages from Midgard is dedicated to the memory of Marvel Comics colorist Justin Ponsor, who passed away from cancer earlier this week. He worked on many fantastic comics, including Ultimate Spider-Man and the Avengers comic that led into “War of the Realms”.

“War of the Realms” hit critical mass this week with eight total tie-ins featuring characters as diverse as Spider-Man, Punisher, the X-Men and even Gorilla Man and one of the Jack’o’Lanterns. There were some books this week that screamed “unnecessary” or even “cash grab”, such as War of the Realms: Punisher and War of the Realms: Uncanny X-Men, which did the mean thing of bringing Wolfsbane back after she was fridged a couple issues back in Uncanny X-Men #17.

But there were also some hits this week. The McElroys’ and Andre Araujo’s War of the Realms: Journey into Mystery continues to be a delight, Jason Aaron and Ed McGuinness play 3D chess by using Avengers to flesh out parts of “War of the Realms” while laying the foundation for future storylines in the book, and Tom Taylor and Jorge Molina turn in a Strikeforce: Land of the Giants one-shot that has pathos, humor, action, and made me with they were writing an Avengers book. Honestly, that book is how you do a superhero comic with popular, long established characters in 2019.


War of the Realms Strike Force: Land of the Giants #1

Tom Taylor, artists Jorge Molina and Adriano Di Benedetto and colorist David Curiel depict Captain America, Spider-Man, Wolverine, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist’s Pegasus-riding, Asgardian armor wearing quest to find Thor in War of the Realms Strike Force: Land of the Giants #1. Taylor makes Spider-Man the narrator and POV character as he processes all the violence, destruction, and fantasy beings around him in narrative captions that are him talking to Mary Jane. He is generally freaked out about what is going, but there is a feeling of real glee when Captain America swoops in on a flying horse to pick him up for a secret mission. The humor, both physical and verbal, is the secret ingredient in this comic from Wolverine messing with Spidey by putting a random helmet on his head to Luke Cage’s deadpan reaction to Spider-Man talking to his horse, Buttercup aka Queen Artorius.

And the character of Queen Artorius is the real emotional linchpin of Land of the Giants #1 as Taylor and Molina show that the death of the Valkyries’ steeds in War of the Realms #3 wasn’t animal cruelty, but mighty warriors fighting to avenge their riders. Also, her description of Spider-Man as a “noble jester warrior” captures his essence. When the team hits Jotunheim, Molina, Di Benedetto, and Curiel’s become quite dark as they must kill all the Frost Giants for Thor to snap out of his berserker rage. This ability to blend a fun superhero ensemble piece with the horrors of war and genuine emotion is why Land of the Giants #1 gets an Overall Verdict of Buy.


War of the Realms: Journey into Mystery #3

Journey into Mystery is the one “War of the Realms” tie-in that I’m glad is a five and not three issue miniseries. Who would have thought that a group of guys (The McElroys) who hang out on a regular basis would excel at writing an ensemble cast that you wouldn’t mind hanging out with? In this issue, the team goes Western and ends up at a literal ghost town populated by old Marvel Western characters. This prompts Death Locket and Wonder Man to debate about their favorite Westerns that culminates in finger guns at dawn. The sassy teen Death Locket’s love of classic Westerns (Nothing after 1970’s Rio Lobo.) is a weird trait, but the McElroys connect it to character background because those were the only movies she had access to as an LMD living with her “Uncle” Dum Dum. (Another LMD).

It’s safe to say that Death Locket geeks out the entire fight sequence against characters like Apache Kid and Phantom Rider, and artist Andre Araujo and colorist Chris O’Halloran use all kinds of grids to make the action easy to follow. Their strong storytelling allows the McElroys to pepper in jokes and character insights like Miles and Thori bonding, or Balder admitting he’s a bad leader and letting Kate Bishop take charge. Kate was already a cool character, but her ability to know where arrows land by looking an archer’s stance and holds puts her on another level. There is still an ongoing story with Thor’s sister Laussa and Ares as the divine Javert, but the McElroys and Araujo continue to give each issue its own distinct flavor of adventure, which earns Journey into Mystery #3 an Overall Verdict of Buy.


War of the Realms: New Agents of Atlas #2

I’m really glad that a New Agents of Atlas miniseries was announced in Marvel’s August solicits, but these characters deserve better than they’re getting in this miniseries. Greg Pak, Gang Hyuk Lim, and Federico Blee fill New Agents of Atlas #2’s pages with action, but the only character whose personality that I have a grip on is Pele, the Pacific Islander fire elemental. She’s much more serious than her compatriots, Aero and Wave, and her connection to Earth allows her to see the big picture. Clayton Cowles stately world balloons for her really drive the point home in this issue that is full of strategic retreats, carefully timed Amadeus Cho teleports, and the takeover of South Korea by Fire Goblins.

New Agents of Atlas #2’s pacing is the opposite of decompression as Greg Pak and Gang Hyuk Lim try to move from battle to battle and show off new characters, like Sword Master’s powers, while using Jimmy Woo to comment on the “team’s” lack of teamwork. They are allergic to establishing panels and locations and want to skip to the cool moments of which there are a few like Shang Chi kicking a Fire Goblin in the face. New Agents of Atlas could be a new team of international heroes with different cultures, personalities, and abilities, but right now it’s just a big old jumble with house style visuals, which earns this issue an Overall Verdict of Pass. Hopefully, the team fares better when they don’t have to be an event tie-in.


War of the Realms: Punisher #2

The Punisher has fared quite well in the “War of the Realms” event as Freyja made him the leader of her team to invade Malekith’s realm and destroy the Black Bifrost. His background as a veteran of wars, both overseas and against organized crime, fits the series’ themes and has led to some unlikely bonds between him and the Asgardians. But, none of this comes through in War of the Realms: Punisher #2 where writer Gerry Duggan, artists Marcelo Ferreira and Roberto Poggi, and colorist Rachelle Rosenberg tell the story of him and team of prisoners leading a group of people to safety from New York to New Jersey via the Lincoln Tunnel. It’s all (cool looking to be honest) violence, a predictable plot twist, and a non-existent antagonist/supporting cast. Also, Frank is drawn as ugly as the trolls he’s mowing down.

The first issue of War of the Realms: Punisher established the characters of Dr. Baldwin and the criminal Ferrante, but the first does nothing and the other just betrays Frank on the last page. Duggan’s writing of Frank is one dimensional too with the exception of a touching, sepia colored scene where he remembers being stuck in Lincoln Tunnel traffic with his wife and kids during a happier time. Punisher is there to kill and make gritty faces. His using lighter fluid, lighter, and a grenade to blow up a troll is cool, but this story continues to feel unnecessary because Frank is written much better in the main series and the Dark Elf Realm tie-in. The concept of a vigilante teaming up with the criminals he usually executes to protect innocent people is intriguing, if a little 1970s. However, Duggan, Ferreira, and Poggi can’t pull it off on the page so War of the Realms: Punisher #2 earns an Overall Verdict of Pass.


War of the Realms: Uncanny X-Men #2

I despised War of the Realms: Uncanny X-Men #1, but issue two isn’t as bad with Matthew Rosenberg, Pepe Larraz, and Rachelle Rosenberg leaning more into the X-Men’s role as the last protectors of Queens with Citi Field as a base. But, then, there’s the whole Wolfsbane subplot featuring a child and a Norse god plus a wild Sabretooth appears with no explanation of why he’s acting this way and teaming up with Frost Giants. Except Wolfsbane is dead in the main series so the subplot comes across as an arbitrary something to move the story other than team action sequences.

The highlight of War of the Realms: Uncanny X-Men #2 is Larraz’s mostly solid fight choreography from Jamie Madrox and his dupes leaping and slicing Frost Giants with an axe to Havok and Cyclops blasting things and finally a heavy on the reds and claw shaped panels battle royale between Wolfsbane and Sabretooth. But, then, it seems Rosenberg realizes that he has to throw in some kind of a cliffhanger so he introduces Wolfsbane’s ex on the last couple pages and goes full soap opera. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing for the X-Men, which has always been a soapy comic, but comes across as disingenuous in relation to Wolfsbane’s recent death. Like War of the Realms: Punisher, a band of fan favorite X-Men protecting New York from the friendly confines of Citi Field sounded like a cool concept, but it can’t really sustain its own miniseries and earns the Overall Verdict of Pass again.


Avengers #19

Jason Aaron is using the events of “War of the Realms” in Avengers to maneuver pieces in his overall plan for the series as well as show the events of the War from a different POV with the help of wide screen art maestros Ed McGuinness, Mark Morales, Justin Ponsor, and Erick Arciniega. In this case, it’s Gorilla Man, who is an alcoholic with an ancient curse as well as the head of security for Avengers Mountain and an Agent of Wakanda. Aaron uses him to provide some snarky commentary on crossover events as well as share his honest opinions on A-listers like Captain America, Captain Marvel, Black Panther, and Tony Stark (Respect, respect, fear, douchebag.) He also gets to check in on some Avengers ongoing plotlines like Russia’s superhero team Winter Guard and the fate of Dracula and have a chance to be a hero.

The choice of art team really impacts the story of Avengers #19. McGuinness, Morales, and Ponsor are known for their work on blockbuster comics and for the most part, play Gorilla Man’s entry into the War of Realms straight even if he and Russian double agent Ursa Major meet in a zoo to swap intel. Gorilla Man isn’t an Avenger, but his quick swinging and technical know-how allows Shuri and Tony to score a hit on the invading Frost Giant/Dark Elf army with a Celestial weapon. But, in keeping with the previous issue’s dark and shady tone, this isn’t the triumphant tale of a Z-list hero finding redemption, and Avengers #19’s subversive ending, characterization of Gorilla-Man, and big time art earns it an Overall Verdict of Buy. Aaron’s Avengers run is really the love child of Brian Michael Bendis’ sharp, savvy character interactions and Jonathan Hickman’s long term planning.


Asgardians of the Galaxy #9

Out of all the “War of the Realms” books, Asgardians of the Galaxy #9 does the best job of exploring the emotional impact of the death of the Valkyries in War of the Realms #3. But this isn’t just a sit around and mourn issue. Cullen Bunn, gritty, yet pretty artist Paolo Villanelli, and colorist Federico Blee send the team (Minus Angela and Urzuul) on a magical mission with the Inhuman Ren Kimura to rescue her girlfriend and fellow Asgardian of the Galaxy, Annabelle Riggs, from a limbo-type state.

Basically, Bunn and Villanelli take the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice and make it lesbian and more action-packed. Villanelli and Blee veil the area around Valhalla in shadow and fill it with revenant warriors that are a perfect punching bag for Ren, Clea, and the wholesome boys/frog Thunderstrike, Skurge, and Throg. But this story isn’t just about smiting, and Bunn gives the unique relationship between Valkyrie and Annabelle Riggs real closure and motivates the team to fight back against Malekith and his forces. Also, there’s smooching, Valkyrie’s sacrifice is justified, and the usually standoffish Angela empathizes with Ren because she had just gone through a similar situation with her girlfriend, Sera. Asgardians of the Galaxy continues its great tradition of telling fantastic stories under the constraints of crossover events and gets an Overall Verdict of Buy. Hopefully, it will get more issues after getting name checked in Avengers Endgame of all places.


Venom #14

One of the big continuity boo-boo’s of “War of the Realms” is that currently Venom has his normal symbiote and is a slave of Malekith in the core series while he has a magic symbiote and is doing his own thing in the comic called Venom. However, Cullen Bunn, Iban Coello, and Andres Mossa’s focus on the relationship between Eddie Brock and his son (Who think he’s his little brother) Dylan and monster movie worthy battle between Venom and Jack’o’Lantern made me forget about the continuity issue. Basically, in Venom #14, Venom fights Jack’o’Lantern, who initially is a puppet of Malekith’s War Witches, but then goes off the reservation and starts burning down San Francisco.

If Venom #13 was The Road with elves and magic, Venom #14 is a kaiju movie. Less Dylan means less pathos, but there is more crazy symbiote action and yet another costume change for Eddie Brock that is more Viking berserker than Todd McFarlane. Coello’s loose cartooning is perfect for a clash between a fire character and viscous fluid character, and Bunn continues to tap into the “Lethal Protector” characterization of Venom as a monster who protects innocents from worst monsters that include corporations in a nice bit of political satire. Venom #14 is messy and angsty, but it’s a lot of fun and still has the emotional core of Eddie and Dylan so it gets an Overall Verdict of Read.

Reading through the “War of the Realms” books this weeks definitely felt like going to one of those all you can eat buffets off the Interstate. There were parts of the meal that I definitely savored with Journey into Mystery and Land of the Frost Giants being the yummy, yet healthy salad bar and Venom being that terrible for you, yet addictive fried chicken. And then, there were War of the Realms: Punisher, Uncanny X-Men, and sadly, New Agents of Atlas, which felt like yesterday’s warmed over leftovers. Writing for an event can be handcuffs on some creators, but others, like Tom Taylor, Cullen Bunn, and the McElroys, use it to craft stories that are fun and sometimes even a bit emotional. (RIP Buttercup/Queen Artorius)


Panel of the Week

Spider-Man and a talking, majestic horse is easily the best team-up of “War of the Realms” so far. (War of the Realms Strikeforce: Land of the Giants #1, Art by Jorge Molina, Adriano Di Benedetto, David Curiel)

Absolute Carnage Infects the Marvel Universe with Tie-Ins

This summer, everyone is a target in Absolute Carnage, Marvel’s epic summer event!

At the Diamond Retailer Summit in Las Vegas this past weekend, Marvel announced upcoming Absolute Carnage tie-in titles debuting this August, including the new limited series Scream, featuring the return of a classic symbiote…the daughter of Venom! Check out all the covers for the tie-ins announced below, along with a handy checklist to make sure you don’t miss any of these exciting stories!

Don’t miss these thrilling tie-in adventures to the deadliest story in the Marvel Universe, available at your local comic shops this August!

VENOM #17

Written by DONNY CATES
Art by IBAN COELLO
Cover by KYLE HOTZ

VENOM #17

ABSOLUTE CARNAGE VS. DEADPOOL #1 (of 3)

Written by FRANK TIERI
Art by MARCELO FERREIRA
Cover by TYLER KIRKHAM

ABSOLUTE CARNAGE VS. DEADPOOL #1 (of 3)

ABSOLUTE CARNAGE: LETHAL PROTECTORS #1 (of 3)

Written by FRANK TIERI
Art by ALBERTO JIMENEZ ALBURQUERQUE
Cover by BENGAL

ABSOLUTE CARNAGE: LETHAL PROTECTORS #1 (of 3)

ABSOLUTE CARNAGE: MILES MORALES #1 (of 3)

Written by SALADIN AHMED
Art by FEDERICO VINCENTINI
Cover by CLAYTON CRAIN

ABSOLUTE CARNAGE: MILES MORALES #1 (of 3)

ABSOLUTE CARNAGE: SCREAM #1 (of 3)

Written by CULLEN BUNN
Art and Cover by GERARDO SANDOVAL

ABSOLUTE CARNAGE: SCREAM #1 (of 3)
ABSOLUTE CARNAGE: SCREAM #2 (of 3)

ABSOLUTE CARNAGE: SEPARATION ANXIETY #1

Written by CLAY McLEOD CHAPMAN
Art by BRIAN LEVEL
Cover by PHILIP TAN

ABSOLUTE CARNAGE: SEPARATION ANXIETY #1

Preview: War of the Realms: Punisher #2 (of 3)

War of the Realms: Punisher #2 (of 3)

(W) Gerry Duggan (A) Marcelo Ferreira (CA) Juan Ferreyra
Parental Advisory
In Shops: May 22, 2019
SRP: $3.99

MONSTERS, MONSTERS EVERYWHERE!
• Punisher leads his band of criminals and hospital patients through the Lincoln Tunnel, but traffic is the least of their concerns.
• Hordes of monsters from every realm are using NYC as a hunting ground, and the hospital denizens look like easy prey.
• In the dark, surrounded by monsters and with only his wits and weapons, Frank Castle may have never felt more at home.

Review: War Of The Realms: Punisher #1

War Of The Realms: Punisher #1

PUNISHER: AVENGER OF MIDGARD!

The War of The Realms has brought monsters to the streets of New York City, but New York has a monster all its own…Frank Castle, A.K.A. THE PUNISHER! And he’ll be damned to Hel if he’s going to let a bunch of Ten Realms tin-pot tyrants terrorize his town. But given he’s one man against an army of monsters, Hel might soon have him! The War of Realms is about to meet Marvel’s One Man Army. Expect Punishment!

It has been a long time since I’ve bothered to read any of the spin off series that a Marvel event usually produces, but lately I’ve been on a bit of a Punisher kick (almost entirely due to the Netflix series), and so despite not having read either of the first two issues of War Of The Realms, I decided to pick this issue up.

I can honestly say that you don’t need to have read anything regarding the main series to enjoy this book because once the Punisher starts fighting giants and dark elves nothing else matters other than his surly one-liners and the explosive actions as Frank Castle shows the forces of Malekith why you don’t mess with New York and innocent lives.

There isn’t a whole lot of depth to this book, though there is an interesting scene with Frank on a bus that playing into your expectations of the Punisher. Instead, Gerry Duggan focuses on giving the reader something that we can all get behind; a really fun comic.

After decades of watching the Punisher battler monsters in human form, with War Of The Realms: Punisher #1 we’re treated to him shooting literal monsters. It’s not quite a fish out of water tale, as Frank seems more resigned to his current task than overwhelmed by the nature of the enemy he faces which leads to the previously mentioned dry one-liners.

The comic is drawn by Marcelo Ferreira with inks by Roberto Poggi and colours provided by Rachelle Rosenberg. The trio give the comic a clean style that conveys the weight and gravitas of the situation without ever coming off as cheesy (which would be an easy trap to fall into , given the nature of the story.

When it comes down to this comic, and its place in the greater arc, I assume it fits in, but seeing as how this can be read independently to the main series, there’s no real excuse for fan of the Punisher to pick this book up and enjoy the book you’re reading.

Story: Gerry Duggan Pencils: Marcelo Ferreira
Inks: Roberto Poggi Colours: Rachelle Rosenberg Letters: Cory Petit
Story: 8.1 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.3 Recommendation: Buy

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Messages from Midgard #3: Daredevil Rules, Punisher Drools

Wait, I thought this was an Asgard-centric event? Even though the bad guys are all elves, trolls, giants, and evil minotaur CEOs, the predominantly Big Apple-centric setting of War of the Realms #1 and #2 allows for some of Marvel’s street level vigilante to shine (Daredevil) or fall flat on their faces (Punisher). This week’s issue of War of the Realms and its tie-ins were the true definition of a mixed bag. War of the Realms #2 continued and wrapped up the big New York battle from the previous issue before spending a lot of its page count setting up various upcoming tie-ins in a pretty way from artist Russell Dauterman and colorist Matthew Wilson. Plot-wise, there’s one small surprise, and we’re finally up to the events described in last week’s Unbeatable Squirrel Girl tie-in. Speaking of tie-ins, they run the gamut from the instant classic that is Thor #12 to the should have been a one-shot and the first true stinker of “War of the Realms” that is War of the Realms: Punisher #1. In the middle is War of the Realms: War Scrolls #1, which tells some entertaining side-stories about Daredevil, the Warriors Three, and Wolverine (Confession: I don’t know how he’s back from the dead.) and squanders a cult book creator reunion.

War of the Realms #2

Feeling a little nostalgic for the 1980s, writer Jason Aaron titles this story “Midgard Massacre” in homage to the “Mutant Massacre” crossover where Morlocks were killed by Reavers, and characters like Daredevil, Thor, and the Power Pack showed up in X-books. A bunch of seemingly mismatched characters show up in War of the Realms #2, but Aaron, Russell Dauterman, and Matthew Wilson’s story lacks the emotional resonance of the previous Massacre until the final page. Plus Aaron and Dauterman wring out some great moments for Jane Foster and Freya beneath the fighting/strategic retreats. Jane gets to ride Valkyrie’s horse, Aragorn, fight with a sword, and is hinted to want to become Thor again even though it would mean the return of her cancer.

So, a big pitched battle in New York between superheroes and various fantasy creatures is an objectively cool idea and a reason why I decided to do this weekly column. However, it really starts to drag in War of the Realms #2 even with gorgeous Dauterman/Wilson tapestry pages to show the Valkyries entering the battle with a heavily wounded Odin to turn the tide Wagner style. Aaron tries to do the whole Battle of Hoth, “good guys get their butts kicked and retreat to another area” plot maneuver and succeeds in getting all the heroes from point A to point B, but stumbles in the execution. They don’t lose because they’re overwhelmed by sheer numbers, but because Dr. Strange’s teleport spell malfunctioned, which is a weak plot device featuring a tangential character. We don’t even see the costs of his spells like in Bendis and Hickman’s Avengers runs.

The big plot development other than a death for a character, who is already in a grey area between life and death and is about to be swapped out with her more popular movie version, is Malekith and his forces taking over Midgard. This is told to us with word balloons instead of on-panel, or in the tie-ins, which mainly take place in New York. There’s no heroic last stand, or emotional connection, but Aaron rushes off to characters setting up the next issue or tie-in’s plot in expository dialogue with the occasional fish out of water joke like Luke Cage’s eye roll when he talks about fighting trolls in Harlem. War of the Realms #2 feels like a giant action figure battle with a slight touch of emotional resonance every time Jane Foster brandishes her sword, or when Freyja decides to lead the rescue mission to get Thor in Jotunheim. It barely gets the overall verdict of Read because of a harrowing final page, Russell Dauterman and Matthew Wilson’s art, and because it has the seeds of potential to be a great Freyja and/or superhero buddy team-up book.

Thor #12

For better or worse, the modern character of Loki will always be defined by the way Tom Hiddleston portrayed him in the MCU films and the way Kieron Gillen wrote him in Journey into Mystery and Young Avengers doing clever plotting, world-building, and crafting a character that desperately wants to change, but can’t. These stories were often in the middle of event tie-ins, and Jason Aaron and Mike Del Mundo join this tradition in Thor #12, which is Journey into Mystery meets A Christmas Carol. Loki is being eaten by his own father, Laufey the Frost Giant, and wants to just die when he’s visited by his past, present-ish (Kid Loki), and future self aka Loki the NecroGod. Aaron has established the past and future selves in various flashback and flashforward stories in Thor so he can get straight to the character study part.

Thor #12 is full of “a-ha” moments beginning when Loki realizes that he basically created the villain Malekith when he orchestrated a war between the Dark Elves and trolls, and young Malekith was subjected to the trauma of constantly burning the corpses of his people into a mass grave. He and his past sins are responsible for the War of the Realms, and Del Mundo nails this moment of recognition with great facial expression work for an artist who is mostly known for his layouts and Heavy Metal approach to superhero stories. He uses a varying color palette as Loki goes from the fires of Svartalfheim to the cold of Jotunheim and finally ooey gooey stained glass of the end of all things. This issue is easily my favorite work of his since Elektra.

But Thor #12 is more than great art. Jason Aaron offers a pinpoint look into how Loki is just a man who has been lying to himself all his life about who he is and the consequences of his actions beginning with one about how his magic tutor, Eldred, would have died in a dungeon any way. This lie led to others and became Loki’s character and story that he is fated to follow even though fate, er, the Norns are off the table in Aaron’s Thor run. This self-deception coupled with a death wish persists until the end of time, or currently, in some kind of hellscape caused by being eaten by his own father. Even if you’ve sworn off “War of the Realms”, Thor #12’s overall verdict is a Read because of Mike Del Mundo’s triple threat of art styles and Jason Aaron’s razor sharp characterization of Loki that is conversation with Gillen’s work while also breaking fantastic new ground.

War of the Realms: War Scrolls #1

One of my favorite pleasures from event comics are the anthology miniseries that tell either serial or one-shot stories about fan favorite D-list characters or give up and coming creators a chance to play in a shared universe sandbox. War of the Realms: War Scrolls #1 has a good amount of this with Josh Trujillo (Dodge City) and Ricardo Lopez-Ortiz (Kingpin) doing a combo Warriors Three and Cloak and Dagger story while Ram V (Paradiso) and Cafu (Imperium) tell the story of an Asian-American teenager’s experience with Wolverine. Chip Zdarsky, Joe Quinones, and Rico Renzi’s return to Howard the Duck is well-drawn, if underwhelming and sophomoric. This is made up for by an intelligent, wonderful Daredevil by Jason Aaron and drawn by Andrea Sorrentino in a looser style with colors by Matthew Wilson that should have gotten its own mini and is the multi part serial of the bunch.

Jason Aaron’s Thor: The God of Thunder (Especially the “God Butcher” arc.) was as much theodicy as Viking metal space opera, and his work on the various Asgardians have touched on big questions, like faith, belief, fate, and higher powers, from a predominantly skeptical point of view. So, it’s very intriguing to see him write Marvel’s man of faith, Daredevil, who is shocked when he meets Thor and his heartbeat is steady when talking about being a god.

Plus the flashback is a chance for Sorrentino to kick it Silver Age style, Ben-Day dots and all. The present narrative features Daredevil playing the role of street level hero, protecting his neighborhood from otherworldly threats, and then getting an Asgardian upgrade that will be described in an upcoming issue of War of the Realms. It’s nice to see one of Marvel’s consistently best written and drawn heroes play a key role in an event comic, and Kingpin’s role in the story makes my mouth water. There’s also the aforementioned Andrea Sorrentino style switch up that isn’t at the cost of making his work less iconic beginning with a little Frost Giant dismemberment.

Speaking of cartooning, Trujillo, Lopez-Ortiz, and colorist Felipe Sobreiro go for lower stakes, but don’t skimp on the fun in their Warriors Three story where Hogun, Fandral, and Hildegarde have to drag an indisposed Volstagg to the Sanctum Sanctorum. There’s action, derring do, Shakespearean English type banter, and slapstick humor with a side of horror as they meet up with Cloak and Dagger and protect the ordinary citizens of New York on the way to their destination. Ram V and Cafu’s Wolverine story is in a similar vein as teens named Jae and Chris rush through the streets of New York to make it to the Sanctum Sanctorum and watch Logan’s six along the way. Cafu’s renderings are a little stiff, but Ram V truly believes in the inspirational power of superheroes even ones that are rough around the edges. His banter between Wolverine and Punisher is also deadpan funny too, which makes it all the more sad that Chip Zdarsky and Joe Quinones return to Howard the Duck isn’t witty, satirical, and filled with sight gags, but one long pee joke. However, War Scrolls #1’s overall verdict is still Read, and I’m very excited to see what Jason Aaron and Andrea Sorrentino do with Daredevil and Kingpin.

War of the Realms: Punisher #1

On the surface, I thought that War of the Realms: Punisher #1 and “War of the Realms” was just an excuse for Frank Castle to kill things with no moral dilemmas, and unfortunately, I was right. Writer Gerry Duggan, and capital “G” gritty artists Marcelo Ferreira and Roberto Poggi along with solid colorist Rachelle Rosenberg make the Punisher a heroic figure compared to the dark elves and fire trolls he fights and the prisoners he recruits as allies to escort patients from a hospital in Manhattan through the Lincoln Tunnel into New Jersey. Old Uncle Frank will ignore your weed stash in return for some piano wire, not take revenge on a Frost Giant to get a man out of a burning car, and even shoot a criminal in the head to show what happens if you don’t help him escort some “innocent” patients to Jersey.

The Punisher shooting elves and trolls while helping people get from New York to New Jersey with hardened criminals as allies would make a decent action-oriented one-shot. Like a high fantasy version of The Raid, but with a vigilante, not a cop. However, War of the Realms: The Punisher #1 spends almost its entire page time on Frank Castle hero worship and mowing down purely evil creatures and only sets up its premise at the very end saving the tunnel action bits for the upcoming two issues.

War of the Realms: The Punisher #1’s is drawn in a superhero house style with thicker and darker inks from Roberto Poggi and flashes of powerful colors from Rachelle Rosenberg like when a car becomes almost entirely flame. It’s the comic book equivalent of Eli Roth’s footloose and conscience free Death Wish remake with extra trolls, giants, and elves and no pesky moral grey areas. It’s no surprise that its overall verdict is Pass.

Two issues in, and Jason Aaron, Russell Dauterman, and Matthew Wilson are still in pure action figure geek mode matching up a plethora of superheroes against fantasy races established in their work on Thor’s solo title. There are still compelling stories between the fights, obvious tie-in setups, and off panel plot developments like Aaron and Mike Del Mundo’s captivating standalone Loki story in Thor #12, Aaron and Andrea Sorrentino’s intriguing Daredevil/Kingpin serial, and Josh Trujillo and Ricardo Lopez-Ortiz’s Warriors Three short. But there are also stinkers like War of the Realms: Punisher, an ill-fated Chip Zdarsky and Joe Quinones Howard the Duck reunion, and hopefully not the core War of the Realms miniseries. But, hey, at least, we have a few more issues of Sorrentino drawing Daredevil.

Panel of the Week

Logan circa 2013 feels personally attacked by this panel. In all seriousness, Jason Aaron writes a great Loki (Thor #12, Art by Mike Del Mundo.)

Review: War of the Realms: The Punisher #1

The War of the Realms is raging across the Marvel Universe and come down upon on New York City. The Punisher is stepping up to defend it the only way he knows how.

War of the Realms: The Punisher #1 is by Gerry Duggan, Marcelo Ferreira, Roberto Poggi, Rachelle Rosenberg, and Cory Petit.

Get your copy in comic shops April 17th! 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
TFAW

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with FREE copies for review
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Preview: War of the Realms: The Punisher #1 (of 3)

War of the Realms: The Punisher #1 (of 3)

(W) Gerry Duggan (A) Marcelo Ferreira (CA) Juan Ferreyra
Rated Parental Advisory
In Shops: Apr 17, 2019
SRP: $3.99

PUNISHER: AVENGER OF MIDGARD!

The War of The Realms has brought monsters to the streets of New York City, but New York has a monster all its own…Frank Castle, A.K.A. THE PUNISHER! And he’ll be damned to Hel if he’s going to let a bunch of Ten Realms tin-pot tyrants terrorize his town. But given he’s one man against an army of monsters, Hel might soon have him! The War of Realms is about to meet Marvel’s One Man Army. Expect Punishment!

War of the Realms: The Punisher #1 (of 3)

Preview: Ghostbusters: 35th Anniversary: Real Ghostbusters

Ghostbusters: 35th Anniversary: Real Ghostbusters

Cavan Scott (w) • Marcelo Ferreira (a & c)

The 35th Anniversary of the Ghostbusters is upon us! Let’s celebrate with four spooktacular weekly comics featuring different Ghostbuster teams in all-new standalone adventures!

THE REAL GHOSTBUSTERS keep losing business to a flashy new rival ghost-catching company: SPOOKS AWAY! They seem to have better gear, better threads… better everything! In fact, Spooks Away seems determined to ruin the RGB. But there’s something far more sinister than a hostile takeover going on here, and it’s up to Ray Stantz to go undercover to find out who—or what—is behind Spooks Away’s sudden rise to supernatural elimination superstardom.

FC • 32 pages • $3.99

Ghostbusters: 35th Anniversary: Real Ghostbusters

IDW Celebrates the Ghostbusters 35th Anniversary with a Weekly Comic Event in April

Are you troubled by strange noises in the night? Do you experience feelings of dread in your basement or attic? Have you or your family actually seen a spook, specter, or ghost? If the answer is yes, then four fearless Ghostbuster teams are here to serve your supernatural elimination needs, courtesy of IDW!

In celebration of the 35th anniversary of Ghostbusters, IDW Publishing will release a different Ghostbusters comic weekly in April, each focusing on a different team, including the original “Prime” team from the classic film, the Real Ghostbusters of 1980s cartoon fame, the all-female team that “Answered the Call” in 2016, and the next generation of Extreme Ghostbusters!

it’s been an amazing eleven years. With Ghostbusters hitting such a milestone anniversary, it’s time to celebrate every facet of the team’s history… and to get ready for everything that’s coming next!”

April 2019’s Ghostbusters one-shot specials include:

Ghostbusters 35th Anniversary: Ghostbusters

by Erik Burnham (writer) and Dan Schoening (artist)

First out of the Firehouse are the original ‘busting team of Peter, Winston, Egon and Ray, who have seen a lot of things during their time as paranormal investigators, but the latest case might just turn history on its head! Could it be that they’ve found proof of… Atlantis?

Ghostbusters 35th Anniversary: Ghostbusters

Ghostbusters 35th Anniversary: Real Ghostbusters

by Cavan Scott (writer) and Marcelo Ferreira (artist)

The Real Ghostbusters keep losing business to a flashy new rival ghost-catching company: SPOOKS AWAY! But there’s something sinister in the neighborhood, and it’s up to Ray Stantz to go undercover to find out who—or what is behind these new supernatural elimination superstars!

Ghostbusters 35th Anniversary: Real Ghostbusters

Ghostbusters 35th Anniversary: Answer The Call Ghostbusters

by Devin Grayson (writer) and S.L. Gallant (artist)

Do demons get visitation rights? A harried young mother tries to accommodate a stream of otherworldly visitors, intent on paying their respects to her half-demon toddler, and Erin, Abby, Patty, and Holtzman find themselves mediating the custody battle from hell!

Ghostbusters 35th Anniversary: Answer The Call Ghostbusters

Ghostbusters 35th Anniversary: Extreme Ghostbusters

by Jim Beard and Keith Dallas (writers), and Tim Lattie (artist)

Ever wish you could talk to animals? Well, when the furry, feathered, and finny inhabitants of the Central Park Zoo star demanding their release, the people of New York just wish they’d shut up! It’s up to Egon and his Extreme Ghostbustersto free the beasts from their fiendish possession!

Ghostbusters 35th Anniversary: Extreme Ghostbusters

Preview: Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man #1

Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man #1

(W) Tom Taylor (A) Juan Cabal, Marcelo Ferreira (CA) Andrew Robinson
Rated T
In Shops: Jan 09, 2019
SRP: $4.99

Spider-Man is the worst neighbor EVER! There are always crazy villains and property damage and drama and…and he CATCHES the villains. And he tries to fix the damage and he helps carry your groceries and actually that property damage keeps the rents down. You know what? Spider-Man is the best neighbor ever and this book will give you a closer look at Spider-Man’s (and Peter Parker’s) neighborhood than any book ever. Also, it wouldn’t be a Spider-Man adventure without a threat that could destroy not only Spider-Man, but all his neighbors. Superstar writer TOM TAYLOR (X-MEN RED, ALL-NEW WOLVERINE, Injustice) and rising art star JUANN CABAL (ALL-NEW WOLVERINE, X-23) give you the most local Spider-Man ever!

Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man #1
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