Tag Archives: ultimates

Review: Ultimates 2 #100

Ultimates_2_Vol_1_100_TextlessAl Ewing’s ambitious, multiple reality and multiverse spanning run on Ultimates comes to a suitably hopeful and abstract conclusion in Ultimates2 #100 with some fantastic art and colors from Travel Foreman, Filipe Andrade, Marco Lorenzana, Scott Hanna, Dan Brown, and Matt Yackey. Ewing starts out crowd pleasing with a great fight scene between both teams of Ultimates and the malevolent Ultimate Reed Richards plus sharp, quick satire of Mark Millar and Bryan Hitch’s Ultimates before they return to the larger task of restoring Eternity to its proper place in the universe with the help of anthropomorphic embodiments of past multiverses.

I was slightly disappointed that the abstract beings and concepts got more panel time than the actual team of Ultimates. However, it’s incredibly cool that Ewing, Foreman, Andrade, Lorenzana, and Scott Hanna use them to make a metafictional comment on the Marvel Universe with its mixture of magic, science, and other fun stuff and superhero stories in general and the idea of “illusion of change” and no one really staying dead in superhero comics. (Hence, the Ultimate Universe Ultimates, Chaos, and Order coming back.)

Except Galactus does change throughout the series and continues to be the bringer of life to the whole multiverse and set the Ultimates on hopeful paths as they return to their own comics with his bright gold coloring from Brown and Yackey. In the past, the heralds of Galactus have been harbingers of doom and general bad guys, but in this case, they are his helpers in helping everything return to normal. One thing I have enjoyed about Ultimates2 as a whole is seeing more of the series from Galactus’ POV instead of having him lurk in the background when the team needs a heavy hitter or feature in a one-off issue. He is basically the team leader in Ultimates2.

Even though there is some spectacular punching like America kicking Ultimate Captain America’s jingoistic ass to next week and then some, Ewing makes the Ultimates more like “paramedics” (As America describes them.) than the paramilitary heroes that Millar’s Ultimates were. They are all about fixing the multiverse’s problems through science and logic than executing preemptive strikes on Middle Eastern countries in service of American imperialism. The Ultimates are a search and rescue team on a cosmic level trying to preserve hope in a universe filled with cynicism like whatever is going on with Captain America and HYDRA. Technically, they’re sealed off from Earth by the planetary defense shield that was built to withstand hungry purple Galactus, but this doesn’t hinder the Ultimates and company from saving the Marvel universe light years away from Hydra Cap and the Secret Empire event.

The unsung hero of both Ultimates and Ultimates2 is colorist Dan Brown, who gets some help from Matt Yackey on this issue. They make Ultimates2 #100 look otherworldly with intergalactic blues, blacks, and purples as Al Ewing wraps his storyline up. And even when the storyline gets a little too metaphysical, they save the day with bright golds and orange that instantly evoke hope and rebirth. Foreman, Andrade, and Lorenzana complete this lightness with their art that is fluid like the Superflow that crosses the multiverses although their lines get more rigid during the fight scenes, and there are some epic speed lines when Blue Marvel one punches Ultimate Hulk, who is a total MRA.

In Ultimates2 #100, Al Ewing ties his team of Ultimates in with the original Mark Millar and Bryan Hitch in a non-awkward way and also paves the way for any alternate universe characters to return after the events of Secret Wars. Once again, he shows a rare talent for combining epic, high level plotting with characters (Including Galactus), who have genuine emotional arcs. Honestly, he should be in  charge of Marvel’s next blockbuster event

Story: Al Ewing Art: Travel Foreman, Filipe Andrade, Marco Lorenzana with Scott Hanna
Colors: Dan Brown with Matt Yackey
Story: 8.0 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.3 Recommendation: Buy

Marvel Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Logan’s Favorite Comics of 2016

Some amazing comics came out in 2016 from both the Big Two and the indie ranks. This was the year that I had a lot of fun reading the books that came out in the “margins” of Marvel and DC that didn’t feature their top characters, but had idiosyncratic, top notch visuals, or just a good sense of humor. Black Mask continues to be my go-to for hard hitting indie work, and the whole BOOM! Box imprint continues to be as fun as ever.

Without further ado, these are my personal favorite comics of 2016, the ones that stimulated and entertained me the most in this difficult year.

kimandkimFI

10. Kim and Kim #1-4 (Black Mask)
Writer: Mags Visaggio Artist: Eva Cabrera Colorist: Claudia Aguirre

Kim and Kim was a super fun sci-fi miniseries with some wild and wacky worldbuilding, rollicking action scenes, and lots of hilarious interactions between the two leads, Kim Q and Kim D. Writer Mags Visaggio put their friendship front and center giving the comic a strong emotional through-line between bounty hunter shenanigans. Also, Eva Cabrera excels at drawing attractive humans as well as strange aliens, and I enjoyed Claudia Aguirre’s pastel-filled color palette. It was also nice to have a story starring two queer women not end in senseless death.

jonesy #2 featured

9. Jonesy #1-8 (BOOM! Studios)
Writer: Sam Humphries Artist: Caitlin Rose Boyle Colorists: Mickey Quinn, Brittany Peer

Every year, the BOOM! Box imprint seems to churn out a new title that captures my heart. Jonesy is a fire cracker of a comic starring a teenage girl, who can make anyone fall in love with anything. Unfortunately, that power doesn’t work on her personally, and it gets her into a lot of trouble. Sam Humphries’ writing has as little chill as his protagonist, and Caitlin Rose-Boyle’s art evokes the zines that Jonesy loves to make about her favorite pop star, Stuff. The hyper-stylized plots and faces that Jonesy pulls kept me laughing while Jonesy’s struggles with finding someone to love her and her strained relationship with her mom in the second arc gave me the feels. Her and her friends’ unabashed passion for life is kind of inspiring too.

ultimates2fi

8. Ultimates #3-12, Ultimates 2 #1-2 (Marvel)
Writer: Al Ewing Artists: Kenneth Rocafort, Christian Ward, Djibril Morrisette-Phan, Travel Foreman Colorist: Dan Brown

Ultimates and Ultimates 2 were the gold standard for team superhero book at both Marvel and DC, and not even Civil War II could stop this title’s momentum. The Al Ewing-penned comic was more of a science fiction saga that happened to star a diverse cast of superheroes than a straight up team book as they tried to find productive solutions to problems like Galactus and the Anti-Man instead of just punching things. And like all good team books, there’s some great interpersonal tension like when Black Panther puts Wakanda before the team, Ms. America defies Captain Marvel, and Spectrum and Blue Marvel start smooching. Ultimates also has some wonderful tapestry-style double page spreads from artists Kenneth Rocafort, Christian Ward, and Travel Foreman that match its multiversal scope. It’s an entertaining and esoteric comic.

 

deadman-2-featured

7. Deadman: Dark Mansion of Forbidden Love #1-2 (DC)
Writer: Sarah Vaughn Artist: Lan Medina Colorist: Jose Villarrubia

In 2016, DC really stretched its wings genre-wise with the Young Animal imprint and comics, like a satirical take on the Flintstones. But, the best of this quirky bunch was a Gothic romance take on Deadman from Fresh Romance‘s Sarah Vaughn, Fables‘ Lan Medina, and atmospheric colorist Jose Villarrubia. The main character, Berenice, can see ghosts, including Deadman, who are trapped in a haunted British mansion. There are secret passageways, mysterious backstories, and an epic, bisexual love triangle, but mostly, Deadman is a meditation on mortality and relationships, both platonic and romantic with some jaw-dropping scenery from Medina and Villarrubia.

Hellcat7FI

6. Patsy Walker AKA Hellcat #2-13 (Marvel)
Writer: Kate Leth Artists: Brittney Williams, Natasha Allegri Colorists: Megan Wilson, Rachelle Rosenberg

Patsy Walker AKA Hellcat is a comic that acknowledges how annoying getting your life together can be for twenty-somethings, who live in the city. Kate Leth, Brittney Williams, Megan Wilson, and Rachelle Rosenberg also throw injourneys to Hell, guest appearances from Jessica Jones and Jubilee, telekinetic bisexuals quoting Hamilton, and nods to the old Patsy Walker romance comics to a quite relatable comic. Brittney Williams’ Magical Girl and Chibi-inspired art is great for comedy purposes, but she and Leth also had some emotional payoffs throughout Hellcat thanks to the relationships developed between Patsy, Ian Soo, and She-Hulk, especially when she reacts to She-Hulk’s injury in Civil War II. Hellcat is fierce, high energy comic that is the best of both romance and superhero comics with the occasional trippy scene shift from Williams, Wilson, and Rosenberg.

mockingbirdyas

5. Mockingbird  #1-8 (Marvel)
Writer: Chelsea Cain Artist: Kate Niemczyk, Sean Parsons, Ibrahim Moustafa Colorist: Rachelle Rosenberg

Mockingbird was experimental, unabashedly feminist, pretty sexy, and just happened to star a former West Coast Avenger and be published by Marvel Comics. Thriller novelist Chelsea Cain plotted a pair of mysteries, involving cosplay cruises, doctor waiting rooms, corgis, and Marvel Universe deep cuts that were engaging thanks to detail filled art from Kate Niemczyk and inker Sean Parsons. Loaded with background gags and subtle foreshadowing for future issues, Mockingbird certainly has “replay” value as a comic and is triumphant, messy, and funny just like its lead character, Bobbi Morse and was a coming out party for Marvel’s next great colorist, Rachelle Rosenberg.

love-is-love-featured

4. Love is Love (IDW)
Writers: Various Artists: Various

I just reviewed this comics anthology a few days ago, but Love is Love is the 2016 comic that affected me personally the most as it showed the effects of The Pulse shooting on the LGBTQ community in a variety of ways. I latched onto stories about the vibrancy of the queer community in Orlando, the sanctuary effect of gay clubs that provided some of the anthology’s best visuals from Jesus Merino, Alejandra Gutierrez, and Michael Oeming, and the use of superheroes like Batman, Midnighter, and Supergirl as simple analogues of hope in the middle of heartbreak. Love is Love saddened me, but it also inspired me to continue to uplift my LGBTQ siblings as the racist, sexist, homophobes Trump and Pence take the office of president and vice president. It was also cool to see so many talented creators using their gifts to help raise money for Equality Florida.

WicDiv18FI

 

3. The Wicked + the Divine #18-24, #1831 (Image)
Writer: Kieron Gillen Artists: Jamie McKelvie, Stephanie Hans, Kevin Wada Colorist: Matthew Wilson

In WicDiv‘s third year, Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie, and Matthew Wilson went a little blockbuster with big battles, splash pages, and an unexpected character death. But, the comic is still about the journey of Laura (Now Persephone.) from fan to artist, and how it has changed her life and relationships. And, in time honored tradition, WicDiv wasn’t afraid to get experimental with an issue featuring a Pantheon of Romantic poets and writers, like Mary Shelley and Lord Byron with lavish guest art from Journey into Mystery‘s Stephanie Hans, or the magazine issue with professional journalists interviewing Kieron Gillen roleplaying as Fantheon members with beautiful spot illustrations from Kevin Wada. As WicDiv enters its “Imperial Phase”, McKelvie and Wilson’s art is both opulent and disarming while Kieron Gillen has started to expose the personalities behind the explosions and drama of “Rising Action”.

giantdaysfi

 

2. Giant Days #10-21, Holiday Special #1 (BOOM!)
Writer: John Allison Artists: Max Sarin, Liz Fleming Colorist: Whitney Cogar

Giant Days is funny, true, shows the value of a good inker in Liz Fleming to nail a face or gesture, and reminds me of a weekend I spent in its setting of Sheffield over two years ago. John Allison and Max Sarin have developed the personalities and mannerisms of the three leads: Susan, Esther, and Daisy that any situation that they’re plugged into from music festivals to housing selections and even cheating rings is pure entertainment. Allison, Sarin, and the bright colors of Whitney Cogar nail the ups and downs of college life with a touch of the surreal, and the series continues to be more compelling as we get to know Susan, Esther, and Daisy better as people.

midnighterandapollofi

1. Midnighter #8-12, Midnighter and Apollo #1-3 (DC)
Writer: Steve Orlando Artists: David Messina, Gaetano Carlucci, ACO, Hugo Petrus, Fernando Blanco Colorist: Romulo Fajardo Jr.

Steve Orlando’s run on Midnighter and Midnighter and Apollo has the most bone breaking action, the coolest panel layouts from David Messina, ACO, and Fernando Blanco and yes, the hottest kisses and other sexy stuff as Midnighter and Apollo are back in a relationship. Orlando shows his passion for the DC and Wildstorm universes by bringing in obscure or neglected characters, like Extrano, and making them instantly compelling or frightening in the case of Henry Bendix. Watching Midnighter skillfully take down opponents from the Suicide Squad to subway pirates or demons is an adrenaline rush, and Orlando tempers these action scenes with plenty of romance and personal moments. Midnighter and Midnighter and Apollo aren’t just the best superhero comics of 2016, but the best ones period. Come for the one-liners and shattered limbs and stay for the self-sacrificing love.

Review: The Ultimates 2 #1

ultimates21-coverIn Ultimates 2 #1, writer Al Ewing, artist Travel Foreman, and colorist Dan Brown depart from the petty in-fighting that dominated the book thanks to Civil War II and return the Ultimates to their initial purposes as a team of intelligent powerhouses who solve cosmic scale problems proactively. The comic starts macro with a bird’s eye view of chained Eternity and goes micro as it focuses on the tense relationships between Blue Marvel and Spectrum and Captain Marvel and Black Panther for the brunt of the book before the team reassembles in a logical, yet epic way as the double page spreads from Foreman fly.

Since the beginning of Ultimates‘, Dan Brown has been a major ingredient in the comic’s success from his depictions of the multiversity as a slightly trippy and overwhelming place that would make Jack Kirby smile  to the different energy attacks that the characters use. His colors have given the book an extra level of grandeur, and he plays an even bigger role in Ultimates 2 #1 in matching Travel Foreman stride for stride as the artist goes from sketchy and slightly cartoonish to photorealistic from panel to panel. This might make it seem that Ultimates 2 has inconsistent art, but Foreman has a purpose behind the difference in his figures. He’s like a cinematographer who uses different camera filters to shoot varied and interesting scenes. For example, he draws Captain Marvel and Black Panther with lighter lines and more cartooning when they’re pretending to be on an awkward online date to avoid suspicion as they talk about possibly reforming the Ultimates. However, Foreman goes full photorealistic and Brown puts on a hearty helping of black and silver when Black Panther responds to Captain Marvel’s claim that he would do anything for Wakanda.

It’s a visual representation of the “I Am Wakanda” moment  as well as yet another example of what is sort of becoming a signature of Travel Foreman. In Civil War II: Amazing Spider-Man, he used nearly photographic flashbacks of Uncle Ben, the robber, and Aunt May to show how much loss affected Spider-Man as a hero in a ultimates2interiorpivotal moment. In Ultimates 2, he uses a fierce panther behind T’challa to show how much the legacy of ancestors means to him, and how his destiny is wrapped up in his state. But he still sees the bigger picture, and Brown opens up his palette with reds and golds as Galactus reassembles the Ultimates to fight the binder of Eternity as the issue comes to its conclusion.

Along with somehow reassembling the Ultimates and setting up Ultimates 2′s premise of Eternity being bound, Ewing spends a lot of time looking into the relationship between Blue Marvel and Spectrum. His usually clinical, scientific dialogue for Blue Marvel has taken on a new romantic angle as he has really fallen for Spectrum. Also, a good way to connect with your partner is to share their interests, and Blue Marvel takes this to a new level by trying to give himself Spectrum’s cosmic perception through light waves to himself. Superpowers have been used as a metaphor for everything from racial discrimination to puberty, but Ewing is more creative and uses Blue Marvel’s attempt to replicate Spectrum’s light powers to both show how he is trying to see the world from her perspective and also share something in common. It also connects nicely to seeing Eternity in pain bridging plot and character nicely.

Ultimates 2 #1 is a slow burn start to Al Ewing and Travel Foreman’s cosmic story of redemption as former baddies Galactus and Anti-Man lead the fight against a nefarious force that threatens to destroy the multiverse, timestream, and basically everything. But even though the comic’s scope is massive (And Dan Brown’s color palette is intoxicating.), they don’t neglect the individual personalities of the Ultimates’ members and their relationships between the double page tapestries of nearly omnipotent beings in pain. (Poor Eternity!)

Story: Al Ewing Art: Travel Foreman Colors: Dan Brown
Story: 8 Art: 9.5 Overall: 8.7 Recommendation: Buy

Marvel Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Ultimates #12

ultimates__12With the fighting against Thanos and between the Ultimates having wrapped up back up in the last couple of issue, writer Al Ewing and dazzling guest artist Christian Ward team up to show the end of the team in Ultimates #12 while focusing on the strained relationship that Captain Marvel has with her teammates. There’s remorse, a tiny bit of romance, shady government organizations, and of course, punching. Ewing and Ward also rev things up for Ultimates 2, which is going for more of a cosmic scope and bringing Galactus and Anti-Man to the forefront as they find out who chained Eternity, a storyline that was sidelined for Civil War II.

Because of scheduling issues, we don’t what went down in the last couple of issues in Civil War II, but in-universe and among fans, Captain Marvel has lost a lot of her good will as the Earth’s mightiest hero. Therefore, it makes logical sense that Ewing has the most annoying government bureaucrat ever, Henry Gyrich shut the team down, especially after video circulates of Black Panther and Captain Marvel’s confrontation. Making an enemy of Wakanda after a costly war isn’t a good idea so the Ultimates get the boot.

Even though he’s mostly known for his cosmic tapestries in Ultimates and the Image series Ody-C, Christian Ward is solid at character acting, and the flashback of Black Panther facing off against Carol burnishes orange. His T’challa is unbelievably haughty and doesn’t give Carol the time of day as she scolds him for breaking up the Ultimates. There is regal power in these scenes even if it’s all been orchestrated by the now government orchestrated Troubleshooters, who will hopefully get more fleshed out in the next volume.

The extended scene she shares with Ms. America and trip to a universe that is the Latverian remake of Minority Report that Carol shares with are a real demonstration of Al Ewing’s ability. Plus Ward gets to draw Ms. America andultimates12interior Carol having a flex off and sort of sets up America’s solo spinoff as defender of the multiverse. America takes Carol on a trip to a universe that is governed by predictive justice and is basically a tyranny. It’s a fantastic payoff from an earlier line of dialogue he shows her the slippery slope Ward gets to switch up his usual colorful palette for drab, dystopian greys that culminate in a gorgeous reunion of the women with the stars that make up their costumes (and are connected to their powers) shining in the background. Ewing applies Ultimates’ theme of  proactive redemption and rehabilitation that worked so well with Galactus to the most hated woman in the Marvel Universe, and there is a possibility that she could be a great hero and leader again. with the way she and America part.

Even though his work on Matt Fraction’s Ody-C prevents him from being the main artist on Ultimates, any page that Christian Ward gets to draw of this series is a real treat. His double page spreads of Galactus and Anti-Man interacting with the Superflow that surrounds the Marvel multiverse are worth the price of the comic alone, and he also gives the Troubleshooters some personality with their strong poses and distinct outfits as the future Ultimates won’t have the government’s backing. His linework is wispy and definitely not traditional superhero art, but Ward still coaxes expression and humanity from this style that particularly shines in the moments where characters are with their loved ones, like Spectrum and Blue Marvel the science heroes and Kate Bishop, Ms. America, and Lisa joking about a famous scene in Young Avengers. (You know the one I’m talking about, princess.)

He appears in just the prologue and epilogue of Ultimates #12, but Al Ewing continues to redefine the role of Galactus in a beautiful way. The whole idea of him being the Lifebringer instead of the Devourer isn’t just a one-off, but Ewing and Ward continue to evolve his character and turn him into the leader of his own superhero team while even giving him a herald in Anti-Man, who he redeems with his powers and turns him into a potent ally.  It’s nice to see a character who has been a thorn in the Ultimates’ find a kind of redemption in these final pages as Ward’s colors shift and sway. But it also means that the Big Bad in Ultimates 2 is gonna be pretty tough.

Ultimates #12 ties up the loose relationship ends, especially concerning Captain Marvel and makes final remarks about predictive justice so that Al Ewing and Christian Ward can tell a full blast cosmic epic in the next volume of the series. By the time, you turn the final page, it is guaranteed that you will be a Galactus fan.

Story: Al Ewing Art: Christian Ward
Story: 8.5 Art: 10 Overall: 9.3 Recommendation: Buy

Marvel Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Preview: Ultimates #12

Ultimates #12

(W) Al Ewing (A) Christian Ward (CA) Kenneth Rocafort
Rated T+
In Shops: Oct 26, 2016
SRP: $3.99

CIVIL WAR II TIE-IN!

As the heroes meet in final battle – is there any saving the Ultimates? Or have they found the one problem they can’t solve? Meanwhile, in the depths of space, the Lifebringer comes to a decision that will change the team forever – if they survive! Are you ready…for ULTIMATES 2?

ultimates__12

Around the Tubes

ultimates-11It’s new comic book day tomorrow! What is everyone looking forward to? Sound off in the comments below. We’ll have our picks in an hour.

While you decide on that, here’s some comic news and reviews from around the web in our morning roundup.

Around the Tubes

Kotaku – Batman, Resident Evil Appear To Be Timed PlayStation VR Exclusives – Who’s looking forward to this?

The Beat – NYCC ’16: Why fire marshals inspect comic cons – If you’ve ever ever wondered why…

 

Around the Tubes Reviews

Comic Attack – A&A: The Adventures of Archer & Armstrong #8

The Beat – Monster Pulse

Talking Comics – Ultimates #11

Graphic Policy’s Top Comic Picks this Week!

DIVINITY2_003_VARIANT_PEPOYWednesdays 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.

Alex

Top Pick: Divinity II #3 (Valiant) – Quite frankly, this is one of the best miniseries you’ll read all year. And I’m saying that having only read half of it.

Rai #14 (Valiant) – Another tie-in to Valiant’s summer 4001 A.D.event, and this one is sure to she some light on the recent(ish) past of New Japan. It should be fun.

Red Thorn #8 (Vertigo) – A new arc? Oh, twist my rubber arm, why don’t you? I took this off my pull list five issues ago, but yet I just can’t stop buying it…

 

Anthony

Top Pick: Bitch Planet #8 (Image Comics) – Kelly Sue DeConnick and Valentine De Landro have been proving, issue by issue, that Bitch Planet is one of the most important titles on the comic stands. It continues to jab and stab at the patriarchy with an exploitative, 1970s aesthetic to De Landro’s art style, heightened by Kelly Fitzpatrick’s nuanced colours. The comic alone is worthy of the price tag so it is a bonus, and a great treat at that, in which every issue includes a back essay analyzing particular issues from a feminist approach. How could you not pick up the next part to the arc entitled ‘President Bitch’?

Autumnlands Tooth and Claw #11 (Image Comics) – The recent issues of Autumnlands has done a solid job at exploring more parts of the world, encountering a wider variety of anthropomorphic groups and the towns/lands they belong to. Kurt Busiek is one of the best in the business at world-building, making those slower-paced issues hit their mark instead of feeling like an unnecessary breather. Benjamin Dewey has been doing a beautiful job at capturing the variety of environments and characters in this fantasy series. Dewey’s visuals naturally pop through another wonderful creator in Jordie Bellaire and her colours. Not only is the world of Autumnlands being further explored, more knowledge is being provided on the mysterious past history as well.

I.D. (GN) (Image Comics) – Originally printed in the Island anthology magazine from Image, I.D. tells the story of three people whom are in the midst of a transformation into another body, maintaining their mental selves upon the transition. Emma Rios poetically questions ideas of identity and how comfortable or uncomfortable we are in the bodies we are born in and thus grow up in. The visual style is unique in that it focuses on a glowing red within the detailed panels. Rios crafts a beautiful, thought provoking tale that points at the dilemmas of gender and identity conformity.

Divinity II #3 (Valiant Entertainment) – Though Valiant has been releasing a steady flow of great, entertaining titles for years now, the Divinity titles easily stand out. Divinity II has picked up right where the last series left us, in terms of quality of storytelling through Matt Kindt’s flowing scripts, Trevor Hairsine’s striking, emotional pencils with Ryan Winn’s inks, and David Baron’s purposeful colour palette. Taking the perspective of Valentina, this title is taking a different direction from the one guided by Abram Adams. Judging by the jaw-dropping last few pages of the last issue, including a little time travel, it will be really interesting to see the journey this creative team has in store for Valentina and her Stalinism values.

 

Javier

Top Pick: Lucas Stand #1 (BOOM! Studios) – Kurt Sutter, that guy behind Shield and Sons of Anarchy, makes his comic book writing debut.

Divinity II #3 (Valiant Entertainment) – This book took me by surprise with the introduction of the Russian cosmonaut Myshka, who battles with Divinity for control of the Valiant Universe.

 

Mr. H

Top Pick: Action Comics #958 (DC Comics) – The twice monthly epic continues! I am really enjoying this story so far. Everything from Luthor trying to be the new Man of Steel, to the return of Doomsday and finally the apparent return of a de-powered, possibly amnesia Clark Kent. Everything seems to be really hitting on all cylinders and I am  just so glad the Real Superman is back.

Detective Comics #935 (DC Comics) – The Bat-Family cometh. In a new way though. I like the boot camp style of sidekick training that Batman and Batwoman are putting the young heroes through. The only odd mud ball out for me is Clayface, which hasn’t sold me yet. Bringing the Wayne and Kane heritage back into the title is gold though. Team Batman could just be it’s best yet.

The Flash #1 (DC Comics) – The introduction of a new villainous speedster : Godspeed. I want a front row seat to this race. Probably standing room only.

Justice League #52 (DC Comics) – Aftermath of the “Darkseid War.” After one of the most incredible tales in League’s history and all the bombshells dropped, where do they go from here? I have to find out.

 

Paul

Top Pick – Ultimates #8 (Marvel) – I’m hoping this book shows us what happened between the Ultimates and Thanos that cost the team dearly, and set Iron Man into motion to choose his side in the Civil War.  Also hoping the tie ins give us more insight, and not just “filler” stories to slog the main story along.

Civil War II: Choosing Sides #1 (Marvel) – This could be interesting.  Sure, we’ll see how the main heroes deal with this new Civil War, but what about the lesser seen players?  Everyone will be affected by this latest skirmish between the heroes, and I’m curious to see the impact on those around them.

Uncanny Avengers #10 (Marvel) – Hank Pym IS Ultron?  Ultron IS Hank Pym?  Curious to see what’s going on with this story.  And excited to see the return of Janet (aka The Wasp).

 

Brett

Top Pick: Lucas Stand #1 (BOOM! Studios) – While Kurt Sutter has had his works turned into comics, the creator of The Shield and Sons of Anarchy makes his comic writing debut in this new series from BOOM!. The concept is a vet who’s recruited by Lucifer to send demons back to hell. I feel like we’ve seen this before, but I’m sure Sutter and co-writer Caitlin Kittredge will make it unique.

Acton Man #1 (IDW Publishing) – The British version of GI Joe is getting a new comic series and for those who read the Free Comic Book Day release, you’ll know why this should be interesting. Action Man is dead, long live Action Man!

Bitch Planet #8 (Image Comics) – It feels like forever since the last issue, but every one of this series has delivered and no matter how long between issues, it’s a warm welcome back.

Princeless: Raven, the Pirate Princess #9 (Action Lab Entertainment) – Speaking of a series that delivers… this is a female centered kick-ass comic that also delivers with every issue. You want diversity and to break from the comic “norm?” Well, here you go.

Transformers: More Than Meets the Eye #54 (IDW Publishing) – It’s the Autobots versus the Decepticon Justice Division and I’m expecting a lot of death.

Thanos vs. The Ultimates in Your First Look at Ultimates #8!

They are the ultimate team for the ultimate solutions. But what happens when they come face-to-face with the ultimate foe? Marvel has released a look inside Ultimates #8 – the blockbuster Civil War II tie-in from fan-favorites Al Ewing and Kenneth Rocafort!

Thanos has made landfall on Earth. It’s  the Ultimate’s job to stop him. And they won’t be enough. Even if they win this battle – will the ultimate super team survive the high cost of victory? As the conflict of Civil War II begins – can Carol’s team stick together? Plus – as the Ultimates prepare for war, the deadly Anti-Man plots his next move. Be there as the Ultimates enter the Civil War II fray this June!

ULTIMATES #8 (APR160898)
Written by AL EWING
Art & Cover by KENNETH ROCAFORT
Civil War Reenactment Variant by MIKE MCKONE (APR160899)
FOC – 05/23/16, On-Sale – 06/15/16

Ultimates_8_Cover

Review: The Ultimates #7

Ultimates_007_cover_krSome of its figure work is less than stellar (Carol Davners looks like a Barbie Doll instead of the powerful leader she is depicted as by Kris Anka in Captain Marvel.), but artist Kenneth Rocafort has impeccable layout sense whether he’s drawing a secret underground prison or cosmic vistas. Ultimates continues to be Marvel’s smartest and densest team book as writer Al Ewing balances character interactions with high stakes moral conflict and Hickman-esque science fiction.

In Ultimates #7, the team is dealing with the fallout of the previous arc as the Blue Marvel, Ms America, and Black Panther debate on where to keep Anti-Man, an extremely powerful and insane friend turned enemy of Blue Marvel, and either to try him in American or international courts. This sounds a tiny bit boring, but Black Panther decides to put a third door on the table: capital punishment claiming his rights as king of Wakanda to get rid of a threat to his country and the multiverse. Of course, Blue Marvel is a moral man and decided to let the legal system deal with Anti-Man instead of giving into vengeance so he doesn’t like Black Panther’s idea. They don’t come to blows just yet, but Rocafort draws Blue Marvel with his fists out in a rage while Black Panther regally strides away. This exchange definitely connects to the authoritarian streak that T’challa is showing in the solo Black Panther comic and shows that this team isn’t immune from interpersonal conflict even though they mostly deal with problems, like the time stream being broken or the shift in Galactus’ status quo.

IAmWakanda

And while this is going on, Ewing seeds in another plot that will be important in the Civil War II series as the Shi’ar leader M’Korr tells Captain Marvel that Cosmic Cube activity has been detected on Earth, and that he wants to investigate. (Ewing gives Carol a great one-liner about the Shi’ar’s obsession with red heads and the Phoenix force showing that despite the weighty subject matter, it still has its moments of comic relief.) Ewing connects this seemingly disparate plot to the Blue Marvel/Anti-Man subplot by making Blue Marvel’s daughter, Adrienne Brashear, the head of Project Pegasus, which is looking for alternative energy sources through Cosmic Cube shards, which have already caused a lot of problems in the Avengers Standoff crossover. This leads to yet another moral impasse with Carol seemingly being in the right after SHIELD used the Cosmic Cube to brainwash supervillains, but with Adrienne’s work being more important in the big picture of Earth’s survival.

Basically, Ultimates exists to critique decisions made in other Marvel titles while showing that its protagonists have moral shortcomings and vulnerabilities too. It comments on other comics and storylines while still retaining its unique identity as a superhero team that exists not to punch supervillains (Ms. America does like punching though.), but to solve complex scientific and even ethical problems in a more upfront manner than, say, the Illuminati during Bendis and Hickman’s Avengers runs.

CarolandMonica

But Ewing and Rocafort don’t neglect the personal feelings of their characters in the vast tapestry of ideas, debates, and Thanos appearances. In Ultimates #7, they show the effect that seeing the ever shifting, fluid past and future timestream of the Marvel Universe (That isn’t actually real.) has on Carol Danvers as she tries to cope with this revelation while dealing with the earlier mentioned extraterrestrial emissaries and over eager scientists. Ewing and Rocafort don’t spend pages of Carol brooding and angsting, but just a simple two page scene of her chatting with  her friend Monica Rambeau (Who used to be Captain Marvel.) over coffee. Monica tries to cheer her up with jokes and coffee, but that isn’t going to cut it for now with her newly increased awareness. Rocafort and colorist Dan Brown illustrate her feelings in a single panel filled with possible Marvel futures, like Age of Ultron or Days of Future Past, filled with grey melancholy and fiery orange destruction as Carol doesn’t know where to start to protect and save the world.

Ultimates #7 has picturesque layouts from Kenneth Rocafort, cosmic and mundane colors from Dan Brown, and continues to ask the heroes of the Marvel Universe (and readers) the tough questions even though that process might be expedited with a power packed final sequence featuring Thanos tearing through Shi’ar soldiers that is eons better than those MCU end credits stingers.

Story: Al Ewing Art: Kenneth Rocafort Colors: Dan Brown
Story: 8.5 Art: 7.5 Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

Around the Tubes

Black_Panther_1_CoverIt was new comic book day yesterday. What’d folks get? What’d you enjoy? What’d you not like? Sound off in the comments!

Until then, here’s some comic news and reviews from around the web.

Around the Tubes

Kotaku – The Politics of the Black Panther – A good read to get you ready.

Black Nerd Problem – The Shrewd And Cynical Brilliance With DC Universe Animated Movies – They’re really good usually.

Lawyers, Guns & Money – Superman Is Not The Bad Guy – A good read!

 

Around the Tubes Reviews

Newsarama – All-New, All-Different Avengers #7

Comic Vine – Batman #50

Newsarama – Batman #50

CBR – Batman #50

Flayrah – Klaw

Comic Vine – Ultimates #5

« Older Entries