Tag Archives: marvel

TV Review: Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. S4E2 Meet the New Boss

agents of shield season 4Daisy goes to battle Ghost Rider at a terrible cost, and Coulson faces the new Director, and his bold agenda surprises them all.

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. keeps up the momentum with the second episode of the fourth season with a whole lot going on to move the various plot points along.

Daisy talks to Robbie and gets to know him a bit. Sadly this is both good and a low point in some ways in that it follows the rather stereotypical path of fighting and then teaming up eventually. I wish things went a bit differently, but it is what it is.

Most of the episode though is to introduce the new S.H.I.E.L.D. Director Jeffrey Mace played by Jason O’Mara. That’s a character that comic fans will know, but this one is a bit different and how much the television version is similar to the comic version remains to be seen. But, there’s a reveal here that’s pretty cool.

The episode also moves along the whole “ghost” story and it’s interesting. It’s clear from the make-up that this part ties into Doctor Strange which is out this November, but what’s going on and how Ghost Rider fits in is actually a solid mystery.

This second episode was really solid with great action, a great build to whatever is happening, and a slow reveal. I have no idea what happened over the summer but the show really feels like a solid reboot in many ways and I have to say, the show is finally working.

For once… I’m actually looking forward to seeing what happens next.

Overall Score: 8.15

WizKids Begins to Tease Their Deadpool Dice Masters Set

Out in November, the next Marvel Dice Masters set is based on the world of Deadpool. WizKids has started to tease what we can expect in the set by showing off by the uncommon Dogpool and common Deadpool. The set gives us a “Deadpool” team (shocker) with cards that’ll play off of that, and it looks like at least one new keyword “Deadly.”

They’ve also revealed the first Inhumans card, Lockjaw! The common card looks to be an interesting spin on the name the die mechanic that can do some serious damage to weenie swarm builds.

The set not only features characters from the world of Deadpool and Weapon X, but also some Spider-Verse characters and the first appearance of Inhumans. Super rares will continue the “What If?” theme. The set also features foil versions of every card like the recent DC Comics Dice Masters: Green Arrow and The Flash.

14435033_10154223745849079_1595162785878626267_o

Review: Captain America: Steve Rogers #5

captain-americ-steve-rogers-5-coverCaptain America: Steve Rogers #5 dives deep into the current Civil War II event answering a lot of questions that I have had throughout the event. Written by Nick Spencer, the comic continues to bounce between the past and present showing Steve’s indoctrination into Hydra and his current machinations. We learn he’s had a lot more planned than we’ve known about and in some ways manipulating behind the scenes of Civil War II.

Throughout the comic we finally get Steve’s perspective on Civil War II and he realizes that someone who can see the future threatens his plan and allegiance. It’s a question and concern that I’ve had for quite some time, and thankfully it’s answered. We get some other realizations that feel slightly forced in, but overall what’s shown also reshapes some of the key moments of the series. That’s both good and bad in that it again moves the overall point of the event from being about preventing crime through precognition and profiling to being more about white men. That’s a criticism I’ve had about the event as a whole and your mileage may vary.

But, Spencer plugging in Captain America as he has is interesting and it shifts the narrative a bit. That I have to give some credit, it’s not easy to do and works pretty smoothly.

The art by Javier Pina is hit and miss. The flashbacks are fantastic, but I think that’s primarily a combination of the art and the coloring. The minimal use of black, white, gray, and red, look fantastic and really make those scenes stand out. The modern times art isn’t quite as smooth and some detail is lots. It’s not bad in any way, it’s just not as fantastic as we’ve seen in the past for a Cap series.

Captain America: Steve Rogers #5 is an interesting issue that will give you a lot more information about Civil War II and may even change your perspective about the event as a whole. It’s interesting issue and as a part of the bigger storyline going on throughout the Marvel Universe it’s more intriguing, but on its own it still feels gimmicky and sowing the seeds at the next event to come after Civil War II.

Story: Nick Spencer Art: Javier Pina Cover Art: Paul Renaud
Story: 7 Art: 7 Overall: 7 Recommendation: Read

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Graphic Policy’s Top Comic Picks this Week!

the-paybacks-3Wednesdays 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!

We’re bringing back something we haven’t done for a while, what the team thinks. Our contributors are choosing up to five books each week and why they’re choosing the books.

Find out what folks think below, and what comics you should be looking out for this Wednesday.

Anthony

Top Pick: Wayward #16 (BOOM! Studios)Wayward returns and looks to switch gears from its setting in Japan back to Rori’s homeland: Ireland. The team of Jim Zub, Steven Cummings, Tamra Bonvillain and Marshall Dillon (and some always excellent back material) created a very energetic and emotional ride in Japan with a battle between the traditional yokai and the new school of people with powers. It will be exciting to see what will be incorporated in Rori and her friend’s world with Ireland and its rich folk tale history being brought to life.

Island #11 (Image Comics) –  Island has been a consistent treat from its inception, featuring a wide variety of creator stories that are a pleasure for the eyes and mind. This issue features Matt Sheehan and Malachi Ward (whose story reaches its conclusion) and pieces from Grim Wilkins and Robin Bougie.

Saga #38 (Image Comics) –  It’s Saga. Nuff said.

Generation Zero #2 (Valiant) – Valiant is one of those companies whose titles are always worthy of taking a stab with each and every first issue. The first issue of Generation Zero focused on Keisha Sherman and her personal investment in revealing the shady things going on in her hometown. The members of the former Project Rising Spirit team called Generation Zero were more in the background during the first issue but look to thrust themselves forward as they meet with Keisha for the first time.

Kim and Kim #3 (Black Mask Studios) – It’s great having a title that truly cares about fleshing out its characters first and foremost, while the plot progresses alongside. This isn’t to say that the story and world of Kim and Kim isn’t lively or vibrant, it embodies just that, but the true heart belongs between the two titular characters weaving in and out of this sci-fi adventure romp.

 

Alex

Top Pick: The Paybacks #3 (Heavy Metal Comics) – There have been so many great comics released this year, and many of them from publishers other than Marvel and DC. This is one of them. What started out as a brilliant take on super-heroic debt has taken on a new life as the second series kicked off with a question of how far would you go to clear said debt, wrapped up in a brutally funny cast of characters. If you can find this, buy it.

Action Comics #964 (DC Comics) – Superman takes Clark Kent to his fortress of solitude (kinda). If that sounds interesting to you, then you need to read this.

Conan The Slayer #3 (Dark Horse) – When you think of Conan, violence is often not far away. And this comic has an almost poetic brutality to the fight scenes, which is awesome, but it’s Cullen Bunn’s narration style the has a throwback feel to the pulp novels where Conan first appeared that really pulls me in. I can’t get enough of this series.

Hal Jordan and The Green Lantern Corps #5 (DC Comics) – This is an honest surprise for me. I never used to like Green Lantern, but this series (as well as Green Lanterns) have been one of the highlights post Rebirth for me. I can’t wait for this one.

X-O Manowar #50  (Valiant) – Well, here we are. The final chapter in the current run of X-O Manowar is promising to be epic, and part of that is the large page count. The breakneck pace of the story so far has been exhilarating, and that nothing has been going well for X-O and his allies when facing the godlike Torment leads me to believe that we’re going to see a sacrifice of some kind this issue.

 

Javier

Top Pick: The X-Files: Origins #2 (IDW Publishing) – I’m re-living reading those old Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew mysteries from back in the day, with Jody Houser’s and Matthew Dow Smith’s take on a juvenile Scully and Mulder.

Deadly Class #22 (Image Comics) – Rick Remender starts a new arc with the survivors from the last installment’s bloodbath, and a new incoming freshman class. Plus, I still don’t believe Marcus is really dead.

The Paybacks (Vol. 2) #3 (Heavy Metal Comics) – Superheroes in debt, willing to do anything to pay off their outstanding balances. I know I’d kill to get rid of some of my old student loan debt.

Lake of Fire #2 (Image Comics) – Crusaders and Heretics versus Aliens? I liked Cowboys versus Aliens, so why not. I’m in for now.

Bloodshot Reborn #17 (Valiant) – One of my favorite series from Valiant.  It is consistently well written by Jeff Lemire, and the art is top notch (with Mico Suayan for this issue).

 

Jason

Star Trek: Waypoint #1 (IDW Publishing) – Even as a kid I was shrewd about my money and quickly learnt that a lot of my passions and obsessions had some truly awful and lazy spin-offs, Star Trek being one of the worst offending money grabbing staples of my youth, and one I happily ignored for a decade or two. I’m a fan, but money will always trump slavish in my devotion to any ‘franchise’, even now. Except somewhere in between then and now licensed properties quietly became, well, kinda awesome. Titans’s unstoppable Doctor Who or BOOM!’s magic touch on the seemingly inexhaustible Adventure Time comics get great ideas and writers and the readers will follow. Even so, I’ve been skeptical of my childhood repeat offender until now.

Waypoint is a brand new series from IDW offering up anthology stories from all across the breadth and time of the thankfully lens flare free Prime Universe for all us bitter old school nerds. This time around with two stories,  a classic original series story by Sandra Lanz and one that finally got me buying Star Trek comics again, “Puzzles”. Written by Donny Cates and Mack Chater set sometime after the Next Generation, with a mysterious ship appearing, with Data and Geordie sent out to investigate. Not giving too much away, it gives a heady sci-fi spin on Data and Geordie’s unusual but lasting friendship and the preview pages made me smile with where Cates and Chater have taken it and how much they understand the unusual pairing.

Jonesy Vol. 1 (BOOM! Studios) – Collecting all six issues of the colourful, charming and captivating miniseries from writer Sam Humpries and artist Caitlin Rose Boyle. Self described “cool dork” Jonesy, introduces readers to her high school life, spending her time making zines and most importantly, using her super secret power to make people fall in love. A modern day Cupid with converse, plaid and attitude.

Like Allison or Tynion, it’s hard to believe this isn’t written by teenagers. Told from our anarchic math makers point of view the dialogue is snappy and genuine, coupling perfectly with  the delightfully brash and vivid cartoon style of Boyle, it would appeal to fans of slice of life fantasy-realism like Scott Pilgrim or Giant Days.

 

Shay

Top Pick: Black Panther Epic Collection TP Panther’s Rage (Marvel) – Marvel has always been a master of political undertones. They’ve brought light to injustices in a palatable way to bring the masses together. This is a throwback TP where we get some of the awesome that is Black Panther and why he’s so important, not just to the MCU but, to the world. This collections shows the Panther taking care of business in Wakanda, sharing some of their culture. It expands horizons which is great for promoting global awareness in a time , much like now, where people don’t think about their neighbor , let alone people far away . This TP follows him from his culture to the south in the US where he fights the Klan and Soul Strangler. Considering how race relations are in this country , and across the world, this is a great time to read this and remind ourselves what’s at stake, what used to be, and what could be again. Understanding leads to compassion and compassion leads to the end of hate.

Batgirl #3 (DC Comics) – Part 3 of the Beyond Burnside arc is getting popcorn at the movies good. There’s a second villain, the mysterious “the Student” mark and a trip to Korea keeping BATGIRL hella busy. Should be a fun read.

Suicide Squad #3 (DC Comics) – Has got the people at Bele Reve losing their collective minds thanks to more dark & mysterious forces. Meaning the Suicide Squad doesn’t get to enjoy R & R. In the midst of the chaos the always crazily awesome Harley manages to stay “sane”. Plus more Katana backstory. The Black Vault story arc is interesting and getting better by the issue.

The X-Files: Origins #2 (IDW Publishing) – I need to know what was in the woods that Mulder ran off into to check on his friends after the men in black appeared. I also need to know how Scully’s Sunday school teacher ended up dead and if her father is in for a similar fate. Issue 2 promises to show us the first mystery these two solve, even if it’s not the two of them solving it together.

Kim and Kim #3 (Black Mask Studios) – I’ve been waiting to see what happened next in this awesome LGBT positive space cowboy action comic. I also want to see if the hunt for Lady Babylon leads to some more answers & a stop to the space slave trade.

 

Brett

Top Pick: Teen Titans: Rebirth #1 (DC Comics) – A new Teen Titans team headed up by Damian sounds fun and exciting to me. The first issue is really fun and generally what I expected. The clash of personalities is something that should be entertaining and add on top that this sets the team off on the wrong foot makes it even more entertaining.

Captain Canuck #9 (Chapterhouse Comics) – Captain Canuck always puts a smile on my face. It’s a throwback in many ways before comics became grim and gritty and that’s pretty awesome.

M.A.S.K.: Revolution #1 (IDW Publishing) – This is straight up nostalgia for me. I loved these toys growing up and to see them return in comics has me super excited.

The Paybacks #3 (Heavy Metal Comics) – The funniest and most entertaining comic on the shelves right now. Each issue has been amazing.

Tomboy #8 (Action Lab: Danger Zone) – Maybe the best comic you’re not reading? A brutal vigilante story starring a teenage girl.

Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 9/24

Sometimes, the staff at Graphic Policy read more comics than we’re able to get reviewed. When that happens you’ll see a weekly feature compiling short reviews from the staff of the comics, or graphic novels, we just didn’t get a chance to write a full review for. These are Graphic Policy’s Mini Reviews.


Alex

bm_cv7_open_order_varBatman #7 (DC)* I’m not usually a fan of crossover stories, but I’m going into this with an open mind as this issue sees the start of the Night Of The Monster Men, and I can’t help but compare it to the excellent 2006 six issue mini Batman And The Monster Men. That being said, this is an interesting start to the story. Overall: 7 Recommendation: Read

Judge Dredd #10 (IDW) I don’t remember the last issue of this comic that I read, but that didn’t impact my ability to follow the story here. This is a fun issue that feels like it’s just moments away from taking the piss out of itself every couple of pages. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

Nightwing #5 (DC) And here’s the second chapter of Night Of The Monster Men. We get to see a little more Nightwing this issue than last (which is to be expected given that this is a Nightwing comic), and there’s an unseen threat that permeates this issue, which leads us a almost horror-esque feeling to the proceedings. Overall: 7.25 Recommendation: Read


revolution01_cvrri_bRevolution #1 
(IDW) Even without knowing anything  about the comic universe, this first issue knocked my socks off. It was chaotically awesome, and the stakes are certainly set pretty quickly. I’m going to be diving into the tie-ins pretty soon, because IDW’s crossover is looking fantastic. Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Vote Loki #4 (Marvel)* The ending shouldn’t really come as a surprise to anybody, but the journey to get there was quite entertaining. Vote Loki was a fun diversion that may not hold up in the years to come, but right now it’s worth a read. Overall: 7 Recommendation: Read

Antony

Black Hammer #3 (Dark Horse Comics)**: Barbalien, or Mark Markz, takes centre stage in this issue of Black Hammer. We get to see a glimpse into Markz’s past on Mars and where his ideology of solving problems through “words over sword” began, leading to his moral black-hamer-3struggle once he journeys to Earth. Once again, Lemire writes out some very insightful conversations, especially a heated moment shared between Markz and the sheriff. Ormston and Stewart capture these multiple emotional conversations by focusing on what can be felt about these characters through their eyes, almost not needing dialogue at times to get more of an impact on what is being said. The issue ultimately focuses on the questioned idea of unwarranted, cowardly fear of people like Markz, whose choice to keep to himself causes those skeptical of his interiority to form him and others like him as an enemy. It paints those, like the sheriff, in a light guided by their own insecurities to turn to questionable methods of ‘finding one’s self’ through Christianity (presented in a great opening sequence), forming truths that justify a hurtful, judgemental understanding of the world around them. Overall: 9. Recommendation: Buy.

Brett

Justice League #5 (DC Comics) – A ho-hum comic wraps up a ho-hum story arc. The story overall felt like a Michael Bay film in comics. Lots of action, but not much else. The story itself also makes little sense at this point. Hopefully there’s a long game here, but for being DC’s top tier team, the comic itself feels anything but. Overall Rating: 6 Recommendation: Pass

ga_cv7_dsGreen Arrow #7 (DC Comics) – A one shot for the must part. The comic does a lot to shed some info on Emiko. It’s really entertaining and the art continues to shine. The series as a whole has stood out and shown you can echo the live action without being a direct copy or continuation. Overall Rating: 7.9 Recommendation: Read

Batman #7 (DC Comics) – The first part of the first crossover in Rebirth, “Night of the Monster Men” is Batman and his allies fighting kaiju. It’s interesting so far with solid art and good pacing. It’s definitely not typical Batman, and that’s not a bad thing. Overall Rating: 8.05 Recommendation: Read

Nightwing #5 (DC Comics) – The second part of “Night of the Monster Men.” It’s the Bat-team versus kaiju part two! Like the first part this is all entertaining and it feels like something new to Bat-fans. It’s also nice to see Nightwing continue his independent streak established in his series. Plus, Batcycles! This is building into a nice mini-event. Overall Rating: 7.75 Recommendation: Read

Patrick

I Hate Fairyland #9 (Image)**: In which, in order to welch on a gambling debt, Gertrude descends deep into the Hat of Holding and is forced to reckon with all of the stuff she’s dropped in there over the years. Imagine Skottie Young cleaning out the pockets of that jacket you wore that one time a couple of years ago to go bar-hopping in that Central European country you backpacked through because some improbably hot girl told you to meet her in that bar whose name you promptly forgot. And that bar-hop lasted thirty years. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

superf_ckers_02subSuperf*ckers Forever #2 (IDW)**: SuperDan has returned! And that means it’s time for Princess Sunshine and Jack Krak to fight for his attention. Meanwhile, Vortex lies in a couch full of Jack and Ultra Richard’s piss (“Pee free and live easy, that’s my motto!” says Richard) while Grotessa attempts to cheer him up with a lamp made of a skull she found in a dumpster. Meanwhile, Orange Lightning joneses for some Grotus and the lamp turns out to be Omnizod. What I love about James Kochalka’s work here is that he a) absolutely nails superhero comics and b) totally messes with them. All this Silver Age Legion fan needs is more super-pets and some hero club auditions and I’m good to go for a long time. Overall: 8 Recommendation: buy

Weird Detective #4 (Dark Horse)**: In which Sebastian dons a white Miami Vice suit and discovers the true identity of the Juice Box Killer. Don’t get me wrong, I like Fred Van Lente and I love me some Lovecraftian horror, but, as I’ve said before, the detective part of the mashup is interfering with the weird part, not boosting it. I’ll stick with this till next issue’s conclusion, but I really wish it would get weirder. Side note: DC, if you’re paying attention, this is your path to a new Martian Manhunter series. Overall: 6.5 Recommendation: skip

Ryan

Batman #7 (DC) *- “Night Of The Monster Men” kicks off with a decent-enough opening salvo featuring fun and stylish art from Riley Rossmo and a thoroughly readable script from Steve Orlando and Tom King that, truth be told, is better than King’s solo stuff on the Nightwing #5book has been. A weird amalgamation of Kaiju and the current story arc from the “Gotham” TV series, this is by no means super stuff, but is a step above what we’ve gotten from this series so far. Overall: 7 Recommendation: Read

Nightwing #5 (DC)* – Steve Orlando and Tim Seeley continue “Night Of The Monster Men” with bog-standard art from Roge Antonio. An amusing and relatively light-hearted romp that moves the story forward and has sharp, on-target dialogue and cool monsters. Far from “must-read” storytelling, but solid fun. Overall: 7 Recommendation: Read

Karnak #5 (Marvel)* – This series has been a victim of its own shipping inconsistency more than anything else, and an art change after issue two didn’t help matters much, but Roland Boschi has stepped into his role well and Warren Ellis’ story is a thought-provoking, action-packed psychodrama. This issue sets up for the conclusion, and moves the pieces into place in a manner our protagonist himself with no doubt approve of. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

The Vision #11 (Marvel)* – I miss Tom King and Gabriel Hernandez Walta’s series already, and it’s not even done yet. This penultimate chapter starts out feeling like it’s going to be a bit “quieter” than the battle royale we’d been expecting, but then we get an ending that — damn. Seriously, just damn. Another issue certain to stick with readers for a good, long time. Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Shean

britannia_001_variant_guinaldoBritannia #1 (Valiant): When it comes to the catalog of books at Valiant, most of their stories at most , elegant like Doctor Mirage. So when I heard that they were putting a historical epic , I was interested, and then when I found out it was set in Rome, I was very interested, as I was a fan of Spartacus and Rome. This story leans more towards the much touted HBO series, as our protagonist is a centurion who goes about investigating rumblings in one of the empire’s farther regions. What plays out is more than palace intrigue with the story flipping back and forth between Nero and Antonius, it is a power play told from opposite ends. Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

From Hell HC (IDW): When I watched the 2001 movie adaptation of this seminal masterpiece, words cannot surmise the disappointment I felt , as it made me question why so many true crime fanatics are still so obsessed with this infamous crime spree. So when I got around to finally reading the original source material for the movie, I finally saw why Alan Moore hates all of the adaptations of his work to celluloid, as not one has come close to satisfying the scope and depth his writing brings . So when IDW re- released it in Hardcover format, not only did they capture what made the book so special in the first place, but they give the whole story in one huge omnibus. This is must buy for true crime fans and the master, Alan Moore. Overall: 9.4 Recommendation: Buy


Well, there you have it, folks. The reviews we didn’t quite get a chance to write.

Please note that with some of the above comics, Graphic Policy was provided FREE copies for review. Where we purchased the comics, you’ll see an asterisk (*). If you don’t see that, you can infer the comic was a review copy. In cases where we were provided a review copy and we also purchased the comic you’ll see two asterisks (**).

Protect Your Collection With New Marvel Graphic Comic Boxes!

Face front True Believers! Welcome to the Marvel Age of Comic Boxes! Yes, you heard that right. Marvel is already bringing you some of the best comic characters in the world and now, you can even get a box to store them all! Starting this December, store your treasured collection in the first ever Marvel Graphic Comic Boxes. Featuring characters you know and love, these sturdy boxes feature artwork by some of the industry’s finest artists. Kicking off this bold new initiative? Marvel’s newest teen team supreme – the CHAMPIONS! Measuring in at 15-1/2” x 7-5/8” x 10-7/8” – these beautifully rendered boxed hold anywhere from 150 to 200 of your favorite Marvel comics! The Champions are out to “Change the World”, and they’re starting with the way you store your comics! Look for the first ever Marvel Graphic Comic Boxes in stores December 2016 for $5.00 each! Plus, be on the lookout for other designs coming soon.

marvel_graphic_comic_box_champions

Ilex Press and Marvel Partner for 1000 Dot-To-Dot Book Titles

Ilex Press and Marvel have partnered to produce a collection of exciting new ‘adult activity’ books.  Marvel’s Amazing 1000 Dot-To-Dot Book will release in the US/UK this October and Marvel’s Spider-Man 1000 Dot-To-Dot Book will soon follow.   Expect more Dot-To-Dot Books based on major Marvel characters throughout next year as well.  All will have foreign translations for worldwide release.

Marvel’s Amazing 1000 Dot-To-Dot Book – will include 20 satisfyingly complex Dot-To-Dots including Iron Man, Hawkeye, Thor, Ant Man and Captain America, among other favorite faces from Marvel’s universe of Super Heroes. Marvel’s Spider-Man 1000 Dot-To-Dot Book will feature 20 characters connected to the web-slinger, including Jonah Jameson and Doctor Octopus.

Marvel: The Amazing 1000 Dot-to-Dot Book Paperback is out October 11th in the US and retails for $14.99.

Marvel: The Amazing 1000 Dot-to-Dot Book Paperback will retail for £9.99 and is out October 1st  in the UK.

Monsters Unleashed Prelude Sets The Stage For Marvel’s Monstrous New Series!

Long before Super Heroes patrolled the skies, mammoth monsters roamed the Marvel Universe – leaving wanton destruction in their wake. Now, they have returned! Before their explosive re-emergence in the all new spectacular Monsters Unleashed #1 – catch up on the rich history of these marvelous monsters with the Monsters Unleashed Prelude TPB coming to comic shops and bookstores everywhere in January! Peel back this brand-new cover from artist Greg Land and you’ll find a treasure trove of iconic stories and first appearances! Titanic tales from the past and present designed to get fans everywhere prepared for Monsters Unleashed!

Before the can’t-miss first issue of Monsters Unleashed in January, meet a menacing menagerie of unforgettable monsters, Marvel mainstays, and some major players in Monsters Unleashed! Featuring Monstrom, Grottu, Moomba, Bruttu, Orrgo, Elsa Bloodstone, Lady Hellbender, Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur and many more!

Monsters Unleashed Prelude TPB collects Fearless Defenders #8, Marvel Zombies (2015) #1, Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur #1, Totally Awesome Hulk #2-3 and material from Strange Tales (1951) #73 & #90, Tales to Astonish (1959) #11-13, #15, #17, #19 and #23; and Tales of Suspense #15, #17, #19 and #22.

MONSTERS UNLEASHED PRELUDE (OCT161023)
ISBN: 978-1-302-90089-2
Written by STAN LEE, LARRY LIEBER, CULLEN BUNN, SIMON SPURRIER,
AMY REEDER, BRANDON MONTCLARE and GREG PAK
Art by JACK KIRBY, WILL SLINEY, KEV WALKER, NATACHA BUSTOS & FRANK CHO
New Cover by GREG LAND
264 pgs…$34.99
FOC – 11/14/16, On-Sale – 01/04/17

monsters_unleashed_prelude_tpb_cover

Review: Uncanny X-Men #13

uncanny-x-men-13-coverThe X-Men join The Hellfire Club?! To investigate a string of violent attacks perpetrated by mutants, the Uncanny X-Men ally themselves with their (former?) foes. But what they’re about to uncover may be too much for even their combined might to handle…

For his X-Men run, Cullen Bunn has been mining a lot of recent classic characters from the X-Men universe (think 90s characters). His run kicked off with the return of the Dark Riders and in this issue we get the return of another character that I personally think not enough has been done enough with… but I’m not spoiling who.

The issue has a whole lot of action as Magneto’s X-Men team up with the Hellfire Club to figure out what the deal is with mutants going into cryogenic sleep. And of course there’s something up and they come into retaliation and have to fight before getting some answers eventually leading us to the reveal at the end.

It’s a pretty entertaining comic and definitely has a bit of a feel of the 90s considering the characters involved. But, even though Bunn is mining a lof the 90s he gives us a lot of new too. Magneto having a big picture game plan going on is the most interesting thing of the series and I want to see what he has up his sleeve. The fact the X-Men and Hellfire Club are teaming up is interesting. We’re getting a greater look inside the world of the Club and it’s entertaining to say the least. The new leadership is fascinating. Bunn is playing the long game here.

Greg Land‘s art is decent. I’ve usually had issues with his art as I feel his characters tend to look a lot alike, but things are a bit better here. You know Land art when you see it and while I used to think it was pretty bad, there’s been improvements so that it’s not as much of a distraction for me.

The issues really gets things rolling as far as Bunn’s next story arc and we get some answers. On it’s own it’s ok, but like a good X-Men story it’s the big picture that’s what really matters for me.

Story: Cullen Bunn Art: Greg Land
Story: 7.4 Art: 7 Overall: 7.35 Recommendation: Read

Review: Civil War II: Choosing Sides #6

choosingsides6coverIn the final installment of this anthology tie-in series, Civil War II: Choosing Sides #6 offers up three distinct perspectives on the conflict between Captain Marvel’s predictive justice side and Iron Man’s conventional justice faction. There is a Jessica Jones story from writer Chelsea Cain (Mockingbird), artist Alison Sampson (Genesis), and colorist Jordie Bellaire as the superpowered P.I. looks into the precog Inhuman Ulysses’ life before his powers. It is followed by a story featuring White Fox, a South Korean secret agent and superhero from Al Ewing’s Contest of Champions, written by Christina Strain (Runaways colorist) and drawn by Sana Takeda (Monstress). The final story in the comic is this conclusion of Declan Shalvey and Jordie Bellaire’s Nick Fury Jr. saga.

Chelsea Cain, Alison Sampson, and Jordie Bellaire’s Jessica Jones story is the kind of story fans have been waiting for since Alias wraps as Jessica hits the road to get some background info on Ulysses. Cain really gets Jessica’s trademark sarcasm and cynicism as she is convinced that Ulysses is hiding something beneath his average college freshman posters and books. The comic is really funny too, and Sampson nails the disdain on Jessica’s face when she has to interact with Ulysses’ Civil War reenactor parents. (They named him after Ulysses S. Grant and are tour guides at his birthplace in Ohio.)

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Sampson also puts her own visual stamp on Jessica Jones using Post-It Notes in her layouts to follow Jessica’s investigation of Ulysses’ bedroom. (And porn stash.) She uses a lot of close-up shots of toads, dragonflies, and other critters to show how out of sorts the Hell’s Kitchen based P.I. is in the rural Midwest. The small town setting gives Bellaire a chance to work with an idiosyncratic color palette, like a disgusting green when a dragonfly flies into Jessica’s windshield or an equally disgusting pink when she runs over the toad. The interiors of Ulysses’ childhood home are muted and mundane showing his utterly average nature. This story is an anti-mystery mystery as Ulysses is just a normal kid with no dark secrets and even got a friend to hide his porn stash in case he went missing. This absolute normalcy causes Jessica to conclude that maybe Captain Marvel was right to trust his visions. Without her appearing or a mention of Carol’s friendship with Jessica, this story makes the world cop, borderline fascistic Captain Marvel seem slightly sympathetic.

If the Jessica Jones story made Captain Marvel a tiny bit sympathetic, the White Fox story is the complete opposite as Christina Strain and Sana Takeda combine Korean mythology with espionage in a story that goes completely against Captain Marvel and her predictive justice. Strain also connects this to American interventionism as White Fox tells off Abigail Brand by saying that South Korean delegates weren’t even allowed in the room when the Korean War armistice was signed. To go with this anti-imperialism, Strain and Takeda also make White Fox a part of the kumiho stories where a nine tailed fox can transform into a woman and seduce and kill men. Except White Fox’s grandmother could control her powers and so can she.

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In eight pages, Strain and Takeda craft a smart, savvy, and fiercely independent heroine, who definitely deserves her own miniseries. The climax of the story is a sparring session between White Fox and Abigail Brand, which is fluidly choreographed by Takeda as she switches angles and uses speed lines to show both character’s agility and competence culminating in one powerful strike. The comic ends in a poster worthy image of White Fox with her bird familiar soaring above her defiantly saying that she and South Korea will make their own choices about being involved in Civil War II. And hopefully, we’ll see more of her soon.

The final chapter of Declan Shalvey and Jordie Bellaire’s Nick Fury arc is more reflective than action packed, but truly sets Nick Fury Jr apart from his father as he burns the rogue LMD of Nick Fury and sets aside the eye patch for his own look and unique role in the Marvel Universe. The combination of burning and walking away wearing sunglasses reminded me a lot of Nick Fury’s final scene in Captain America: Winter Soldier, but Shalvey and Bellaire make this iconic scene their own as Fury Jr is returning to SHIELD and not going on the run as a fugitive.

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Nick Fury Jr is part of SHIELD, but he only trusts himself after Maria Hill sent him on a suicide mission after one of Ulysses’ visions said that killing Nick Fury would save SHIELD. This individualism in the midst of a twisted system has kind of defined what Nick Fury is for better or worse, and over six chapters, Shalvey and Bellaire have built Fury Jr up as a viable solo threat and not just lipservice to the Marvel movies.

Also, each chapter has been a masterclass in comics storytelling, and Choosing Sides #6 is no exception. Red is the most prominent color in Bellaire’s palette, and she brings it to bear as Shalvey slows down time and spends a page having Fury ponder his next move. This kind of decompression doesn’t feel like padding, but lets the reader into Fury’s head as he struggles with returning to SHIELD when he could pull a James Bond in Skyfall and relax far away from the world of HYDRA, spy games, and superheroes. Ultimately, the comic ends with a close-up on a pair of sunglasses and a one-liner as Shalvey and Bellaire have returned Nick Fury to his proper place as the coolest, cold blooded spy in the Marvel Universe.

Choosing Sides #6 has three solid stories from three talented creative teams that fall all across the Civil War II “ideological” spectrum. They also fit in three different genres: small town mystery, a superhero story grounded in both spy stories and Korean mythology, and a straight up espionage thriller.

Choosing Sides #6 is a testament to the range of stories that can be set in the Marvel Universe. Hint: they don’t all have to be superhero slugfests.

Story: Chelsea Cain, Christina Strain, Declan Shalvey Art: Alison Sampson, Sana Takeda, Declan Shalvey Colors: Sana Takeda, Jordie Bellaire
Story: 9 Art: 9 Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

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