Marvel NOW! – Review Post 6

FearlessDefendersFearless Defenders

“Couldn’t you just go knock on their door instead of digging around in the dirt and chasing down smugglers?”

“That wouldn’t be much fun, would it?”

An all female cast taking on the Defenders name and with no big names starring in the series. This is a unique little series, unusual even, and it is refreshing seeing Marvel taking these kinds of risky choices.

To be completely frank, not much happens in this first issue and you can really sum it up with one sentence: Valkyrie and Misty Knight team up to fight the undead. This is not a bad thing as it can be really good to have a single premise for a first issue and just build off of that… unfortunately other things do happen here, they just have no weight. Misty Knight fights some henchmen on freighter, Valkyrie stands on a cliff as blood rains on her… This issue could have really used a revision to be tightened up. That being said, the dialogue is good with all of our characters having clearly defined voices. Hell, it was a stroke of genius to team these two up because they are so different and speak so completely differently, the comedy is inherent and the author realized this… Still the overall story is stumbling out the gate.

The artwork is a mixed bag. The colors are wonderful, both bright and vibrant. However the proportions for our female cast can be a bit ridiculous, with really bizarre mouths and eyes at times. One panel that stood out as particularly heinous is one of Misty Knight fighting on the ship, posing with her ass sticking out at the audience while she is dripping wet from the rain. It is not Marvel Divas bad, but it is really hard to take your female-focused series seriously when the artist obviously doesn’t offer correct respect to the female form. Oh well, I still have X-Men to look forward to I suppose.

Not a bad issue, and overall a solid premise for a series, however it needs to pick up the pace if it wants to keep the audience’s attention.

GOTG

Guardians of the Galaxy

“Imagine what you could accomplish if you were doing what you were supposed to be doing instead of cavorting around the galaxy with your broken friends.”

I am  a huge Guardians fan, so I have been impatiently waiting for this one ever since it was announced. One of the thing that makes me so excited about Marvel NOW is how it is not disregarding continuity, and in this first issue we have some niggling mysteries that are mentioned, so we can definitely hope to see how Starlord escaped the Cancerverse. While a strong first issue though, this book does have some problems.

The story is actually perfectly fine for a first issue, it quickly establishes the main conflict, the fact that Earth has been declared a cosmic No Man’s Land. Earth has reached a critical point and the other alien races it needs to stand on its own if it is to ever stand beside them… however this does leave it vulnerable to other threats, thus the Guardians are stepping in to protect her border. Our team is already assembled here(thank god) with only one new member with Iron Man. I am not incredibly opposed to Tony on the team as a matter of principle, he is a science fiction hero and the lure of space makes a great reason for him to sign up… on the other hand I don’t think you can rationally quantify his time in space with his time on Earth… but then again neither can Captain America or Wolverine, so I guess that is just a curse of comic books.

The artwork is very well done throughout, with strong pencils and good color that works well for a space series… the main problems coming in with design. The Guardians are wielding new weapons and armor, which isn’t bad, however the new style seems to be there more because it looks cool than functionality. The Guardian’s tech was always very mechanical and solid, Rocket used big guns, Starlord’s helmet looked like a modded gas-mask, Drax used whatever big ass weapon he could get his hands on… Now everything looks extra shiny and well… like Mass Effect. Our team is wearing clear visors, with shiny led lights everywhere, and wielding laser axes. I don’t know why this bothers me so much, but with the older styles is grounded things in a way that made things more real and believable… and now it creates a disconnect and the action becomes unrelatable.

Overall I enjoyed this issues and would recommend the series. If you are an older Guardians fan you will want to jump on board, however expect to be a bit perplexed by artistic choices.

Nova

Nova

“The universe has a sense of humor and I don’t get the joke…”

Sigh.. okay let’s shoot the elephant in the room before we move on. Nova is a hero best known as Richard Rider. A member of the Nova Corps., an intergalactic peace keeping group, he was a popular character, especially in recent years. A few years back, Richard was the only surviving member of the Nova Corps. After an attack and he absorbed the entirety of the Nova Force, the battery that powers their abilities, making him one of the most powerful cosmic superheroes in the Marvel Universe. This was a huge turning point and made the character even more popular. The last anyone saw of Richard, he was trapped in the Cancerverse with Starlord. Now Starlord is back and Richard isn’t, with a new teen hero taking the Nova mantle… a lot of fans are very upset over this and feel cheated. The feel cheated that Starlord somehow escaped and Richard didn’t… they think it makes no sense for there to suddenly be a new Nova as the Corps were wiped out. I acknowledge these concerns, however I think if people give this one a chance they will find a really fun series.

Nova stars Sam Alexander, a teenager whose father is an alcoholic janitor and ex-Nova. Sam naturally doesn’t believe this last part, but his sister and he had been raised on the cosmic adventures their father had told them. Sam’s father still has his old helmet and is waiting for the Corps. to call him back to the stars. In the meantime Sam is stuck cleaning up his father’s messes, literally, cleaning the bathrooms while his dad is drunk so that he can get paychecks. The resentment is obvious, and feels earned, you get the feeling that Sam doesn’t hate his father yet, but its headed there.

I also like how they address the issue of his father’s place in the Nova Corps. as he belonged to a different division, marked by their black helmets(normally Nova’s have gold helms). So it is currently a mystery if these Black-Helmed Novas are still out there or if this is the last helmet, but it does create a plausible reason for the helmet to be there as Sam’s father has been on Earth for the past fifteen years raising a family.

The series is really great looking, incredibly vivid colors and this hyper-ness to the battles that makes it fun to read. While I can understand some fans trepidation about this series, it is very solid and enjoyable. Also you are going to end up reading it when Richard finally reappears in the series, so you may as well just start reading now.

Secret Avengers

Secret Avengers

“Reverie”

Wow… this may very well be the darkest thing to come out of NOW.

The Secret Avengers stars a black ops team of superheroes used by SHIELD. The roster will apparently change from mission to mission depending on needs. The first issue revolves around the recruitment of Black Widow and Hawkeye, and their first mission. The story takes its dark turn when the crux of the series is introduced, mental implants. They will have their minds wiped after every mission, never knowing what they were did, or that the team even exists. Anyone who knows even a little bit about Natasha knows that she would kill someone for even suggesting mind controlling her, however she and Hawkeye agree to join the team in order to REDACTED.

This series is something I see as being very confusing to both new readers and readers who have been out of the game for a bit, as this is the series most affected by the Avengers film. Both Agent Coulson and Nick Fury Jr are present in this series and are very well utilized, I personally like them, but I know plenty of people who feel like they are shoehorned into the comics. Still both those characters get their moments to shine with Coulson both recruiting and outmaneuvering Clint and Natasha, and Nick’s conversation about James Bond with Clint had me cracking up.

This series is very science fiction, in a good way, there are healing factor bullets and truth-telling demon squids. However the biggest factor is the dark nature of the premise, this shows our heroes doing very dark things and having their minds fucked with in the name of the greater good. This is not your standard superhero romp and I am certain we will see some despicable things happen, if you are up for that, then I can safely recommend checking out the first issue.

Also, I really want that Pineapple Coconut Scone recipe…

UncannyXMen

Uncanny X-Men

“He is talking freedom and revolution at any cost, and people are listening.”

The Marvel Universe has become a much more interesting place, and we have Cyclops to thank for that. Now, for those who have talked with me before, I have made it clear that I fall into the camp that views Scott as a villain now. However do not mistake that for disliking the character, he has been on a slope for awhile and even though I view him as having finally crossed the line, I am really enjoying him as a believable, conflicted, and fascinating character. A recent poll placed the fans at about half and half, 60% supporting Cyclops and viewing him as a hero, the other 40 viewing him as a villain now. Can we just take a moment and realize how amazing this all is? We have a complex character like this changing the landscape, who is not easily quantifiable, and we are not being lead by the nose on how to look at him.

Now we have Cyclops and his new team of X-Men, who have made their base at the old Weapon X facility. I do love the use of the place… but Scott does realize that this is just going egg on Logan even more right? Then again that’s probably the point. The X-Men are teleporting around the globe and snatching up new mutants left and right as the emerge, as sentinels are hunting down mutants once more. By the end of the issue, we have three new mutants on the team: Tempus, an Aussie with the power to stop time and the uncanny knack for not flashing her panties in the world’s shortest skirt. Christopher, a young man who can heal and has yet to pick out a codename. Finally there is Fabio… who can make golden balls that go POINK! He is the Jubilee or Dazzler of the team it appears.

This is a great first issue, starting off with SHIELD speaking to a mysterious mutant(whose identity you can guess by page 3) and the mutant expositing Scott’s current position. The X-Men then go and rescue Fabio from Sentinels, which is all awesome because the artwork was done by Bachalo who kicks all kinds of ass, especially with huge splash page brawls. The team started out together and we get to see them move forward and the plot immediately starts rolling. This is an exemplary first issue.

If you are at all interested in the Marvel Mutants, you should be reading this series.

Wolverine

Wolverine

“SNIKT”

Wow, I feel really bad for Wolverine lately… Currently headlining in three series, and none of them are currently as of writing. Look this issue was a boring disappointment, so I will keep it quick. This issue revolves around a naked Wolverine fighting a man with a ray gun. That is pretty much it. Wolverine gets blasted, he heals, he attacks the guy. We see Wolverine comforting the man’s son… who has been freaking out about how his dad was action and once Wolverine kills his dad, he starts acting strangely… obviously they are somehow possessed, and the kid takes the gun and runs off. Wolverine then takes off, not allowing the police to call in help or the Avengers because this is his responsibility… its not like there is an otherworldly force possessing a kid who is killing people with a disintegration beam. Seriously, man! Call in Dr. Strange or Reed Richards to figure out some way to pull this thing out… get a mutant who could contain this thing’s power so that it can’t hurt anyone.

So yeah, we have this fight which if it was going to be anything should have maybe been an in media res opening of Logan fighting some guy with a raygun in the mall, lasting two pages and we all have a laugh… its not interesting enough to be the first arc and it has nothing to do with a hero like Wolverine. Hell, he just lost Xavier, his best friend stabbed him in the back  and half the world loves him, he just DROWNED HIS OWN SON! There is so much compelling stuff in his life right now but instead they are ignoring everything to tell a very dry, dull story that may as well take place in a bottle.

Finally there is the art… its pretty damn bad, not Thunderbolts bad, but right behind that. Anatomy and facial expressions are all over the place, and the colors are so desaturated and uninteresting that I don’t care what’s happening on the page. This type of art was acceptable in the late 80s but nowadays it just looks uninspired… which is the best word I can think of to describe this whole mess. It is uninspired. They realized they didn’t have a Wolverine main series and I guess they must have drawn straws because no on wanted to write it because this does not come across as someone who enjoys writing the character, it comes across as minimum effort, and that is just unacceptable.

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Best/Worst Marvel Covers – June 2013

Five Worst Covers

APLUSX009covA+X- From the expressions to Jessica’s absurd proportions and pose, this cover unfortunately falls past cartoonish and into ugly.

SAVWOLV2013006_COV_COLSavage Wolverine- What the hell?! Seriously, what is going on with Logan’s face here? Did he get further mutated like Beast? Coupled that with the fact that the artist screwed up the Superior Spider-Man Costume? Yeah this is a really crappy cover.

SECAVN2013005_covSecret Avengers- This one reminds me of the Fearless Defenders’ cover from last month… in that these characters all look like paper cutouts. I get no feeling that this was drawn as a cohesive whole, instead it looks like our characters were just pasted together in a semblance of action posing. Natasha looks so similar to her appearance on cover one that its distracting and Hulk looks really, really crappy.

THANOS2013003_COVThanos Rising- Okay lets get it out of the way before the more serious issues, Thanos’s crotch is the foreground of this due to the position and layout. I would normally take that as an unfortunate side effect of bad layout, but I can’t help but see it as on purpose due to the loving detail put into the Mad Titan’s codpiece. Okay, now the big problem here is that this piece doesn’t flow at all. There are elements all over the place that could have been unified into a cover but are just shoved onto there and it makes the entire thing chaotic and unappealing.

WolvX-Men-31_Wolv_varWolverine & The X-Men- Logan has a teenage girl on his shoulders and has the creepiest expression…. Okay So there are a lot of problems here, but I am going to keep this simple… LOOK AT JUBILEE’S FEET!

 

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Ten Best Covers

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Fearless Defenders- This is so clever that I kind of hate it. Seriously, this is the kind of thing that makes me want to punch myself for not coming up with it myself. The artwork itself is gorgeous and even our floating heads in the character select look amazing. Couple that with showcasing female heroes that aren’t obvious choices? This one is a winner.

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Captain America- Even with myself not being a JRJR hater, his covers for this series have been hit and miss. This cover however looks like something iconic. The composition is simple but very strong and this is a really great image that sums up the entire arc of Captain America.

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Cable and The X-Force- This one surprised me with how effective I found it. I really like the simple choices made here that seem like a throwback to older comic covers. The Uncanny Avengers look incredibly foreboding with their silhouettes despite being heroes. Hope running away with what I assume is the Phoenix icon below her feet is very cool and this reminds me I would see as a cover during The Days of Future Past run. This one definitely loses points on the artist’s signatures… I realize that its a necessary evil but come on, blank ink on the brightest spot just makes it glaring and they mar an otherwise solid cover.

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Age of Ultron- HOLY SHIT! This is an awesome cover and the best Pym image I have seen in years. I would be questioning why he looks human as last time I saw him he was turned into a Dethlok… but then again Age of Ultron is severely messing with the timestream so I will just have to see what happens.

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Guardians of the Galaxy- This picture really made me want to start a caption contest in the comments, “What is Gamora yelling?” Anyway, this is again a really damn cool GotG cover coming off of Rocket last month. Gamora is looking badass and the warm background offsets her skin tone really well. I also really like her new suit as opposed to her old stripperific uniform, I however do really dislike the change of her makeup from red to yellow as its too faint and just makes her look almost sickly. HAWKEYE2012012_cov

Hawkeye- Oh, look, Hawkeye has an amazing cover! I am shocked. Okay, this is really cool and while more complex than most Hawkguy covers it really sticks with iconography in a cool way, I especially like the two longbows making a window through which we see Clint, very subtle.

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The Indestructible Hulk- This one made me laugh. I really like the Hulk’s body here, the proportions are very well done. Matt Murdock and Daredevil is a fun twist on the angel and devil on shoulders symbolism. Simple concept, solid execution, other artists should be taking notes.

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Thor: God of Thunder- Seriously, did they somehow resurrect Frank Frazetta to draw Thor covers?! This is incredible work and although I realize the word is terribly overused I feel it is appropriate here. This image is epic. It also is another cover which sums up what is going on in the story arc quite nicely. You have Thor from different points in his life fighting side by side. It’s Dr. Who by way of a heavy metal album, and that is just groovy with me.

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Uncanny X-Men- Giving Thor a run for its money for “Most Metal Marvel Cover” We have Magik, I believe, standing here amongst Limbo…. I have no idea what the hell is going on but I sure as hell going to read it and find out. This thing drips menace while also being a just ridiculously impressive piece of art. Bravo.

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X-Factor- I have not read this series and I have no idea what is going on here but damn does it look cool. It can be really hard to make a one-man portrait into an effective cover but this is just perfect. The red background pops, and the figure with his hunched stance and spike creates a well balanced but interesting negative space. Really cool looking character, really cool looking cover.

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X-Men Legacy- I almost didn’t pick this one because at first glance it seems too simple. However that is when comparing it to other Legacy covers, whereas it still shines bright enough compared to the rest of the Marvel solicits, to earn a spot here. The main gimmick here is the X from the logo instead of a swastika which in turn, turns into the logo. It is a very simple idea but is really well done here, besides that Red Skull himself is really creepily done and I love the little details and nuance in the jacket and face.

Best/Worst DC Covers – June2013

Judging comics by their covers because a masked man has a gun to my head.

A Quick Complaint

While I was looking through this month’s solicitations, a realization struck that left me feeling sick. Damn, Batgirl is presented as a victim way too often! With female heroines one has to be careful when presenting them in peril, keeping a solid balance of strength. In terms of awareness, I would say that Batgirl is DC’s best known heroine besides Wonder Woman, yet look at some of these covers:

BG

Bloody and knocked to the ground, drowning and panicked, electrocuted, openly weeping, and stabbed. Yay!

This is not saying I am against showing our heroine in danger, hell that is what we are here for. My problem is making her appear as a victim, especially on the covers. For contrast look at these Wonder Woman covers for comparison:

WW

These three covers all show Wonder Woman in peril, however only one shows her not in a position of strength. The second cover could be particularly squicky with her in bondage about to be hanged, but her strong posture tells us that she is not worried, she is not a victim, she is in danger. Hell the only one where she looks freaked out is by a swarm of flies, which is fine, its a nonhuman threat, there isn’t a man standing over her bleeding body holding a knife like in the Batgirl cover. Anyway I can understand that I may be reading too much into this, but it is happening enough that its becoming a trend and it should be stopped now before it goes too damn far.

Five Worst Covers

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TIE: Talon/Vibe – Okay these two are tied for both having really bad female proportions. Strix on the Talon cover is getting to Power Girl-tit status where I swear they balloon every issue she is drawn in, which is super bizarre for a Japanese Zombie. However its her face that is incomprehensible, looking at where her mouth is while screaming and where her nose and eyes are supposed to be… That coupled with the fact that it looks like neck is just far too long.. yeah horrible female anatomy. Then there is the Vibe cover which unfortunately features Slut-Harley… Guess what? SPINES DON’T WORK LIKE THAT!

4

Superboy – First Impression: Oh they decided to bring in Wolf from Young Justice? Cool. Second Impression: The artist had no idea what kind of animal they were drawing at all.

3

Legion of Super-Heroes- While I am not a fan of this artwork in general, the main problem of this piece is the distance. The villain is so far away that we can barely make out any details in our hero, not giving them a chance to look heroic or even clearly defined. It also takes away and drama that could be had because with the villain lunging at them and this far away in mid-air it seems like they have plenty of time to either blast him or you know.. move out of the way? The cover is busy and while not incomprehensible, it needed a better layout. Put the main characters closer with their back turned? Conveys threatening menace. Right now our foreground villain looks like a mook who is one Wilhelm Scream away from being forgotten by our readers.

2

Batman, Incorporated- What the hell? Okay this is the Batman, Inc. Damian just died so obviously Bruce is spiraling here, depressed, angry, sad… I get that. That is not conveyed here, with that face and stance it looks like he just got hit with joker venom. Seriously just imagine if the cover had some green HA HA HA on it and it would be perfect. Oh and then there are the bats… seriously their faces are ridiculous.

1

Stormwatch-  Lazy.

Ten Best Covers

10

Action Comics- I really dislike Action Comics but this is a really solid cover. The colors and the lighting are great and if this was a good issue it could even become something Iconic… however I feel like we have seen this particular fight too many times, to be too high on my list.

9

Teen Titans- This is the first appearance of these Titans that I have ever liked. I read this comic for awhile because I love Tim and the Titans and really wanted to like it but couldn’t help but hate it. This is great however, everyone has their own identity, its clear and not too busy which is so rare for this series. The only problem with it? SUPERBOY AND WONDER GIRL HAVE THE SAME FACE!

8

Green Arrow- Holy Hell, Green Arrow has gotten good. I would say that I am shocked but I guess that is what happens when you butcher one of your best series and put the team on a failing one. Still this is great, it oozes menace and ever since the new team came on they have had a lot of fun playing green against other colors, very smart, very slick.

7

The Movement- I am still surprised how much I like this cover. I know nothing about this team, I do not recognize a single person but I already like them more than the Titans. Why? Well, everyone looks different, they all are wearing different styles of costumes and everyone has their own color scheme. The linework is clear and the colors are great and my favorite detail is the moevement, everyone is headed in the same but looking back. Just that little thing tells you so much about the team already. Also the fact that they had such strong movement on a title called the Movement? Clever. I hope they continue that in the future.

6

Green Lantern Corps- This is a simple concept done well. The colors they chose work great and it is impressive enough to attract someone new to picking it up whilst informing fans what is going on.

5

Batman/Superman- I am looking forward to this series so damn much and the artwork is a huge factor in that. I love this artist and the cover here is beautiful. Showing the difference in Clark’s hopefule pose and Bruce’s intimidating demeanor but both showing strength. A great contrast while showing them both united.

4

Swamp Thing- Okay I guess we are going to have to get used to Swamp Thing showing up on these lists. This is amazing, the way Swamp Thing is shown here as almost a collage of various leaves and greenery is awesome and the praying woman in negative space is mysterious and makes me want to read to find out what is happening.

3

Batgirl- I almost didn’t pick this one as I was worried about mixed signals with my complaint at the top. However this is a great cover, the artist here is to be commended. It is creepy, it is menacing, and you get the feeling Barbara is in danger but you don’t feel like she can’t act, more like she just doesn’t want to touch the creepy ass dolls. Which I totally understand.

2

Batwing- So is Batwing turning into Black Panther? Becuase I am totally down with that! Look I have no idea what is going on in this cover, but it is so damn cool. Batwing’s armor is kick ass and he is fighting a giant lightning lion! This is why I read comics! Seriously, this cover is so cool that it made me start reading Batwing again just so I can read this issue, now THAT is a good cover.

1

Wonder Woman- So long as Cliff Chiang is drawing Wonder Woman covers, they will be in my top ten. The color, the movement, the expressions… seriously. Chiang is my favorite artist working at DC and I discovered him via this series, and he is, in my opinion, the best artist Diana has ever had. Another great cover for a great series.

Best/Worst Marvel Covers – May 2013

Judging comics by their covers because its an easy target and I am too lazy to be nuanced.

Notes and Nitpicks-

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Nova – Okay first off this is not a bad cover. I simply thought it was interesting to note that the main Marvel Universe is bringing in the Chitauri from the Avengers Movie… with their very Egyptian aesthetic I really hope they wind up serving Kang. Also do me a favor everyone… yes I mentioned Nova but please don’t take that as a cue to bitch about Sam and how much you miss Richard… He is dead. Let it go. Move on.

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Avengers: The Enemy Within: Okay I love that DeConnick’s series are colliding here… but seriously if this is a lead-in for a Captain Marvel cancellation I am going to SCREAM. Okay the nitpick here is Carol’s hair…. I do not understand what artist’s problem is with her new haircut, she got it cropped on the sides and has the top slicked back. It looks good, it’s a unique hairstyle that only she has… however so many people who draw just flat out cannot draw her without flowing long locks! They can do her costume right, but god forbid they draw a woman with a non-traditional hairstyle!!

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Carol’s hair on a good cover for reference.

00Wolverine Max: Nope. Wolverine has lost the privilege to have covers that just slash marks… it is the bare minimum of what you can do for his covers. Shame on you.

0

Winter Soldier: Aww, man I forgot to delete the lines I had before I decided to draw her with a hood! Okay lets just delete those… oh shit that made them white… meh whatever. PRINT!

Five Worst Covers

5

Uncanny Avengers: Oh no! An evil, airbender is spewing out poorly illustrated Avengers! RUN FOR COVER! Also, Sunfire? Your mask is bad… it is worst than the entirety of Avengers vs X-Men. That bad.

4

Captain America: I am in the minority of people that actually enjoys Jon Romita Jr’s art most of the time. But this cover blows. Cap’s shield is TINY… and well everything’s proportion looks really damn off. While I wouldn’t call it lazy as there is definite effort in this cover… I would say that effort was misplaced.

3Iron Man: This is, I believe, a reprint of an older cover for a collection of older comics. That said.. I still hate it. From invisible bike Iron Man on the right to pissed of center Iron Man who is upset because someone drew squigglies on his face. This cover has all these armors just slapped on here in a random pose and its just lazy and uninteresting.

02

Captain Universe: The Hero That Could Be You: Another reprinting. Yes, I realize that I am putting a Steve Ditko drawn cover on my list and that means I am going to comic-reader hell where I only get to read All Star Batman and Robin for the rest of eternity. Seriously though? I don’t care, I really dislike this cover… a LOT.

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Wolverine and the X-Men: I despise this artist.. DESPISE. I fell in love with this series when Bachalo was the artist and then when they switched to this guy… it felt like the biggest bait and switch. From the horrifically drawn New Beast in his weird float-y ass, awkward pose. To the second cover shown where not a single person’s face looks remotely human. Seriously! The best you have there is Quentin.. but I have no idea what is going on with Evan, who started out with a clean cut quarterback look, then moved onto a Gerard Way look-a-like, and now he just looks like Seance smeared his lipstick. Oh and fucking Wolverine.. did he suffer brain damage or something? He doesn’t look like he is drooling from being feral… he looks like he has suffered muscle damage… its like if Wolverine had a baby with Arseface from Preacher… shudder

Ten Best Covers

10

Deadpool: This is a great, actually understated Deadpool cover. The underwater shark sequence is beautifully conceived and brought to life… and then you just have Wade there pointing and going Oh Shit… Also they resisted the urge to throw in a dialogue baloon with him quipping… very restrained for Deadpool and it really works well.

09

Guardians of the Galaxy: ROCKET FUCKING RACOON! This is a really beautifully drawn piece, however I can’t help but think this cover got made just because Marvel thought they needed an image to update Rocket’s wiki with… and I am cool with that.

08

Avengers: The Anime nerd in me just adores this cover. I am also quickly becoming a Shang-Chi fan so its great seeing an issue dedicated to him. But the japan-influenced cover is really clever, with the speed-lines as the background and all the tropes they playing with here. It is just really damn clever… however I have to say that it was Sailor Spider-Woman that sealed this cover onto my list.

07

Daredevil: End of Days: The Rising Son iconography gets played to death on comic covers(hell its where Bloodshot’s whole design comes from… However I think this works really well. Matt looks very strong yet subtly in his design and I adore the writer’s signature done in a kanji-like aesthetic. Really cool piece.

06Thunderbolts: Ah, Thunderbolts.. I will never stop hating you for your squandered potential and nothing shows that as much as your covers. This series has great dynamic covers with really strong use of the color red that could have given this series an iconic look… however this is probably going to be the first thing to hit the NOW! chopping block. Still its a good cover however it may actually still be too red for my tastes… still it is a damn good cover.

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Fearless Defenders: This series has had great covers so far. The first issue was the simplest but then with issue 2 having the action figure cover and 3 having the title tattoed on Hippolyta’s back? Awesome. The paper doll Valkyrie is also just a stunner… my only disappointment is that I can’t actually cut the pieces out without ruining the book… BTW Marvel? if you don’t do paper doll variants of the rest of the team, then you are just throwing money away.

04

Age of Ultron: HOLY SHIT ITS ULTRON! This is so damn awesome. Seriously this is now tied for my favorite Ultron image along with his iconic Annihilation cover. You really get the menace from him and can tell what a threat he is from a single image… My only problem is that the piece may be too busy with the lightning and the lighting and all the damn debris… so yes, its a busy illustration, but damnit, its one that works!

03

Thor: God of Thunder: Forgive them Odin, they knows not what they do! Okay, this series is just gorgeous and every cover looks like it belongs on a metal album, which is kind of the perfect thing for Thor’s series. Gorr is dripping menace in the background and Thor looks absolutely stunning… and also like he is super dead.

02X-Men: Legacy: I love this series so hard. It is hands down the biggest surprise from Marvel NOW! and its covers are always a treat. Well thought out, cleverly design, and beautifully rendered. This cover made laugh and and I am going to be super pissed off if the covers for this series aren’t collected in the trade.

01a01b

The Superior Spider-Man: Holy shit do I love this covers. The first one is great, using the title as a maze and anyone reading the series knows exactly what is signified by the cover and will want to pick it up… The second cover… is my favorite spider-man drawing ever. Just hand’s down. I can’t even explain it but the colors work beautifully and the line work is immaculate. Everything just comes together with that something extra that makes you want to get a cover turned into a poster. Also I love the title there, it looks great and helps tie the whole thing together as opposed to being obtrusive… I seriously hate that this artwork will be marred by credentials and pricing when it hits stores. My personal favorite Marvel cover of May.

Hope you enjoyed and see you next month!

Best/Worst DC Covers – May 2013

Judging books by their covers because they get paid to do it and I am bitter as hell!

Dishonorable Mention

6

World’s Finest: Oh hey look, Huntress hurt on a WF cover, that’s totally new! Okay, the main reason this gets on here is the return of the Power Girl Boob-Window costume. While I hate the current Power Girl costume because it does not flow in anyway and the nipple circle that is sometimes going on(because the art is way inconsistent on her P). The answer is NOT to return to the Boob Window… hell you could easily have returned to this and had that part filled in! Hell you could just fill it in with a circle and her current P logo, it would have been fine. The only reason this stayed off the list proper is because the art itself is gorgeous.

Five Worst Covers

5

Nightwing: Help! Someone put masking tape X’s over my mask and I can’t see!

4

Phantom Stranger: Not a single facial expression works here… not one.

3

Batman: The Dark Knight: This is just bad art. I feel like a more competent artist could have made this idea work with a more interesting composition, but this falls flat… actually it falls further than flat into the mirror-verse and becomes talf… that is how bad it is.

2

Justice League of America: I AM GONNA SMOOSH YOU TWO INTO THE SAVAGE MANHUNTER! Okay I really hate the generic photoshop clouds with filters for the background(its unforgivable with professional artwork)… This one  gets this spot for the amount Selina’s suit is unzipped. It is literally at her navel. I have seen parodies of her zipper troubles that were more zipped up and exposed less tits. Seriously, don’t they have editors for this? Or did they want one of their premiere female characters unconscious on the ground with her top mostly off… god I hate DC somedays…

1

Legends of the Dark Knight: Look I generally give the online comics a pass as they are almost always less refined than the stuff that goes to stores… but come on WHAT THE HELL ARE UP WITH HIS LEGS! Seriously, even with the more cartoonish style the proportions are so off that it hurts me deep inside. Its like Batman tripped onto a wormhole to the Uncally Valley so hard that lightning shot out and all the bones in his lower half liquidated. When Mr. Fantastic shows more restrained proportions and realism its time to scrap the sketch and start the hell over.

Ten Best Covers

10

Catwoman Annual: An interesting, well composed cover from Catwoman. I am pleasantly surprised! It is dropped down to number ten due to its zipper fail… but still a good cover overall.

09

Batman: The Dark Knight: As much as I hate this series(its a lot. it is like flames on the side of my face), I really enjoy this cover. Batman perched on the side of Arkham and the inmates inside are all really well drawn. Kudos.

08

Batman and Robin: At first I was shocked that Red Hood managed to get such an amazing cover drawn… then I noticed it was for Batman and Robin, so the world still makes sense. This is just great, the simple colors of Batman, the reds of  the hood standing out but still desaturated enough to not pull away all the attention, the detailing on the mask’s little pieces. Really, really strong cover.

07

Animal Man: Hell Yeah, Buddy Baker! I am totally digging the new Animal Man cover artist and this one is great. It really does a good job of illustrating the disconnect of Buddy between superheroics and the real world that is present in his life. Huge points for him mirroring the movie poster without using the same pose cut and pasted. Also points for the Man of Steel easter egg!

06

Wonder Woman: Cliff Chiang I would totally give you my baby but you already have one. This is great, actually all the Wonder Woman covers have knocked it out of the park and this one is as strong as its protagonist.

05

Batman: Capullo… Seriously I could nearly forgive all the bad DC has down with the 52 because of Snyder/Capullo on Batman. This is a gorgeous cover with a simple composition yet a lot of detail.

04

Batwoman: Batwoman has amazing covers… always. It is her superpower. This one is actually one of my least favorites as I feel her hair is a bit off and overall it may be trying to have too many things happening. However it is still a really gorgeous piece.

03

Batman Incorporated: Wow. Normally I really dislike Batman Inc.’s covers (the squareness of Batman’s jaw is ridiculous) This however is just great. I love the woodcut Paradise Lost-esque backdrop. Talia looks amazing and powerful… however my only nitpick is just how utterly shear that fabric is… Honestly I can forgive it due to the statuesque form she is given here, but it still bothers me.

02

Suicide Squad: I had two thoughts upon seeing this: Wow I can’t believe we got such a powerful yet simple cover from Suicide Squad! and Wow! I can’t believe we are getting a cover without shoving Harley’s tits in our face! Seriously, if that is her blowing up on the cover and she is dead forever I would be fine with it… fucking 52 and its universal slut mandate.

01

Swamp Thing: Yes, this… all of this. Swamp Thing is losing Snyder and gaining some of the best cover illustrations at DC. I love the detail in Swamp Thing. The contrast between colors and the playfull-ness of the reds? Its brilliant. The whole bloody thing is brilliant.

______________

Be sure to leave a comment if you would like to see more cover commentary next month.

Marvel NOW! – Review Post 4

Avengers Arena

AvengersArena

“Welcome to Murder World”

Hot Damn! This book is gorgeous. The colors, the composition of pages…. this is one dead sexy book. That is… if you want to watch children kill each other.

Okay, let’s go ahead and shoot that particular elephant in the room. This book is based on Battle Royale/Lord of the Flies/Hunger Games. It acknowledges this in the first issue. The first 3 covers of this series are all homages to these series(The Lord of the Flies cover is EPIC!). It’s not a rip off, its a tribute. Still I can understand that some people do not want to read a series about teenagers killing each other, and that is perfectly understandable. This series is exactly what it says on the tin and I won’t be changing your mind. However for others, we may have discovered a rather interesting series.

Arcade, a failed, game-themed villain who has over the course of the years constructed elaborate deathtraps and “murder worlds” has decided to once again seize glory, this time constructing his greatest arena and pitting teenage heroes against each other. I am actually a big fan of most of Marvel’s teen series and loved seeing characters here, with members of the Runaways and Avengers Academy present(Arcade notes that the Jean Grey school has much better security), and while I understand that the Young Avengers aren’t present due to their new series I would have loved to see Patriot here. Many other characters come from the Braddock Academy, an organization that we know nothing about but most likely stems from the Captain British Corps and the Multiverse. One of the most expected things I heard about this series was that they wouldn’t follow through, you would have heroes believing in friendship and no one would kill each other except for C-Listers and newbies… And then Arcade kills one of the main characters in Issue One…. Horrifically. Arcade has set himself up as a God in this Murder World and no one can touch him but he can kill you with a snap of his fingers. Between those powers and the fact that the contestants have life bars I am pretty certain that this whole scenario is taking place in a virtual reality… which is perfectly fine, so long as they don’t cop out and reveal that no one really died. I honestly would love to see if this series could take things further, I mean what happens when there is a surviving group… how do they continue past that with what they have done. Hell, can you imagine the team you could create from the survivors of this? Still that remains speculation and we can only hope the author gets creative with the series past the initial arc.

Bottom Line:

Beautifully illustrated and smartly done, if the initial premise doesn’t turn you away then its well worth a read. Also, Arcade wins best villainous entrance of 2012

Cable and the X-Force

UncannyXForce

“The man’s a terrifyingly powerful telekinetic who’s has been unstuck in time since his birth. I wouldn’t be surprised if you told me his brain was made of dark matter, called itself ‘Nagillum’, and tasted like chocolate chip cookie dough.”

This is very strange damn book. While this is an X-Force title, Cable’s name in the front is not a mistake as this is without a doubt HIS book. Cable is currently in the modern era, his daughter Hope having cured his techno-organic virus that had held him back his entire life, he is now one of the most powerful psychics on the planet as well as loaded to bear. However since losing the virus he has been having prophetic dreams of destruction and Cable realizes its time to get the band back together. Forge is building his tech, including his new armor for his now atrophied arm, which shoots ROCKETS. (Seriously, his metal arm shoots rockets this is the most 90s thing you are going to read in the modern era besides for Bloodshot, albeit with a blessed absence of pouches. ) Dr. Nemesis has been brought in to deal with Cable’s constant headaches brought on by his new powers emerging, to be fair I know nothing about Nemesis but already I love this guy. Colossus is shown as well, being bribed onto the team with tech that will stabilize his mutation as he is constantly in flux since being touched by the Phoenix Force. Finally we have Domino and while I love how she is written… God do I hate how she is drawn. She constantly has this horrific scowl on her face and for some reason her hair is gray rather than black. Which is another thing… the art on this whole book is just kind of… off.

Domino

The colors for the whole book feel a bit off and while I can’t entirely put my finger on it, I feel like a large part of it is how they under-utilize the color black. They use it only for outlines and not for shadows or black uniforms(making black look like a really nasty washed out gray) and while doing this makes the colors stand out and the characters are clearly defined, the color choices that are made are bland and don’t hold interest. These pages should pop but they just sit there limply. Hopefully the art teams hits their stride soon and this book injects some more color into both its art and its story.

Bottom Line:

A series about a team of superpowered individuals who are kill and destroy at the command of the voiced in their leader’s head. Cable fans are sure to check it out but I wouldn’t okay this book for mass consumption yet.

Morbius: The Living Vampire

Morbius the Living Vampire

I am not a vampire.”
“I am not a villain.”
“I am not a super hero.

First off I want to apologize for keeping this series off my Marvel NOW! round-up, this one completely slipped under my radar. While I think I can safely say that we are are, as a culture, officially done with Vampires in cinema, they are having quite a damn good time in comics as of late. Both American Vampire and I, Vampire are two of the better written series ongoing at the moment, so while it may seem strange at first, now really is the best time for Morbius to get his own series.

This series jumps right into things, so while new readers may be slightly confused, Morbius’s backstory and lead up to this series is detailed in Amazing Spider-Man 699.1, which may as well have just been a #0 for this series as it serves as a form of ‘backdoor pilot’ for Morbius. To start with my initial opinion of the series, the word that kept coming to mind was “hip”, this is a very “hip” comic issue, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. During the start of the book we have Morbius on the run and explaining his abilities and drawbacks of his Vampire-ish-ness, and while it is a completely unsubtle way of informing the audience, it does so in a self aware style that works, at least for me. The story of the issue itself is pretty strong for a first issue, beginning in media res and then rewinding to show how Morbius got there, it gives the illusion the the issue is longer than it actually is, I certainly felt I got the full bang for my buck. Morbius has escaped the Raft, a supervillain prison, and is currently hiding out in Brownsville, as apparently Superheroes don’t bother with that place and the cops are all worthless and corrupt. Morbius is trying to stay out of everyone’s way, however it is already apparent that he is not going to be able to stand for the people being stepped on. In actuality the series gives a Batman: Year One or early Nightwing in Bludhaven vibe, which isn’t a bad thing!

Bottom Line:

If you are a fan of Morbius or simply looking for a new hero amidst the rest of Marvel NOW!, this is a good first issue that is worth your consideration.

New Avengers

New Avengers

“Tell me… if I told you I came here to destroy a world, would you try and stop me?”

This issue one does not focus in a major way on the how this team comes together, instead focusing on T’Challa the Black Panther…. Don’t just stand there, GO BUY THIS ISSUE.

God I love T’Challa, and this issue is almost a love letter to him, but we will get to that, first off we need to talk about the Marvel Illuminati. The Illuminati were a group of Marvel’s greatest heroes who had come into possession of the Infinity Gems, each member holding one and thus creating a system of checks and balances against each other and hopefully preventing any one person from ever possessing the full set. Eventually meeting began taking place in which they began to talk about the future of the world and how to lead things. T’Challa recognized the folly in this and left the table, knowing that this would eventually lead to fallout and they shouldn’t be meeting in secret to lord over others to decide their futures. Almost every decision the Illuminati made would come back to haunt them and the would eventually disband. Now onto Black Panther. First off let me say how much I love how Wakanda is displayed here. The most technologically advanced nation on the planet that chose to retain its tribal aesthetic, you see how the technological and the archaic meet in a wonderful anachronism, it delicious. The head proponent of this is Black Panther, who at first appears to be wearing a simple black bodysuit and necklace. However as the issue goes on you see the subtle changes his suit makes as it works with him, his mask melting away and reforming as he needs it, camouflaging his presence as he enters combat, hell, he even fit a teleporter in there.

The issue revolves around a new albeit familiar threat arising. T’Challa discovers a strange barrier and when he steps beyond it he sees another planet above ours and speaks to beings who approach his Earth from theirs. From the villain’s dialogue we are able to glean that she is from a different Earth and that she has traveled through many, her goals and origins appearing to fall into the same mythos as Ex Nihilo’s from the Avengers series(which makes sense as these two series are supposedly a paired set). Upon realizing the scope of this, T’Challa summons the Illuminati, worrying that by doing so he has damned himself.

Bottom Line:

Well worth the read. This serves powerfully as a first issue and wisely delegates the gathering of the team to the last two pages. This is going to be one of the most important books of Marvel NOW! and I am very curious already. Also it start T’Challa already and Beast will be joining shortly. BUY THIS SERIES!

Marvel NOW! – Review Post 2

All New X-Men

“I’m telling you if the young us saw what was going on today it would feel worse than the mutant apocalyptic nightmare we used to worry about!”

This is the series I was most excited about with NOW! starting as its all about shaking up the Mutant status quo. With new mutants emerging all over the planet, multiple factions are snatching them up as quickly as possible, we see that this has become Cyclop’s focus at the moment as we see him recruit two incredibly powerful mutants, one who can control time and the other who can heal people even after their death. These sequences where we get to see both powers emerge and Team Cyclops go into battle is where the art explodes in this issue, its absolutely gorgeous and worth the price of admission alone. Back at the Jean Grey School, the X-Men are unsure of how to proceed, many still in shock of what Cyclops has become… Beast, however, is firing on all cylinders to try and put the world in order as he has learned that he does not have much more time left. Once more Henry McCoy’s mutation is jumping forward, and from his predictions… his body just won’t be able to handle it. So Beast fires up his flux capacitor and snags the original team of X-Men into the future. Hopeful that by seeing what has become of their world… they can stop it from ever occurring.

If I had to describe this issue in one word it would be bold. The premise, the art… everything here is going for the knockout and its fantastic. The idea of forcing the current world to come face to face with its more innocent past is great and there are certain characters who I am really curious to see how they face their future… except Iceman, don’t get me wrong I love Bobby but he hasn’t changed much besides unleashing his Omega level potential and starting to date Kitty Pryde… Hell that should be the whole point of Beast’s lecture to the original team, “Be more like Bobby. Just be relaxed and groovy and everything will turn out well in the end!” Meanwhile Bobby and Bobby can kick back and make sweet ice slides. Hell Yeah.

The biggest downfall of this issue is that if you have been following the series online than you already know everything that happens in this issue. Still that is entirely a problem with poor marketing on Marvel’s part and this issue itself is nothing but quality.

Captain America

“I sometimes forget how to be a normal person. I’ve been the soldier for so long… might be there’s no turning back.”

First off, a moment of silence for Ed Brubaker’s historic run on Captain America. You respected the character, integrity, and legacy of the hero all while telling a fun story, and for that you have our thanks.

This series begins with a tonal shift that I am sure will lose some readers from the previous series, however it is so well.. comic book that I am devouring it like cake. Captain America is attacking an airplane containing eco-terrorist, The Green Skull, who will destroy mankind to restore the planet Earth. This whole intro is pretty much here to set the standard of Steve being badass and show him doing his thing, I would honestly say its the weakest part of the issue… however I REALLY want to see more of Green Skull, its just hilarious to me. Steve then meets up with his long time girlfriend Agent 13 aka Sharon Carter for his birthday. Two things here get applauded by me here.

1: Steve Rogers is stated to be 90 years old.  This had felt off to me, and I was worried they were either pushing up Cap’s age or that the Marvel U is behind us. However Steve Rogers was born in 1922 so they got that right. It’s one of those minor details I really appreciate.

2: Sharon Carter. I love these two together and its really nice that they gave Steve time with her before the adventure start. When he is with her he gets to just be Steve Rogers and not Captain America, so I am glad they managed to fit in some time there. Also important is that Sharon has proposed to Steve and is still waiting for his answer… the fact that she was the one who asked makes me smile broadly.

AND THEN CAPTAIN AMERICA IS ROCKETED INTO… DIMENSION Z!!!!!!

Seriously, that is amazing. We also meet our villain for this arc, Arnim Zola… One of Cap’s strangest villains who is a perfect fit for the feel Remender is going for. While I am not a Zola fan, myself, there is already some new threads to this character that have colored me intrigued. As for the artwork, Romita Jr is an incredibly polarizing artist and many people openly revile his artwork. Personally, I am a fan, I think he has a unique style and I enjoy it, especially here as the colorist on the series is top notch. Still there are some people who will not buy the comic on Romita’s sake alone. This is an interesting set up for the Sentinel of Liberty, it however does stumble a bit as most of the issue is set up. A return to a more glorious and psychotic age of comics, looking forward to it.

Fantastic Four

“Is there anything in the known universe that can reverse molecular decay of this rate, on this scale?”
“Negative, sir”
“So that just leaves the unknown universes then, hm?”

The Fantastic Four is at its best when it is rocketing into science fiction so fast and hard that it gives physics and causality whiplash. So let me set up the basic plot for this starting arc…

Reed Richards’ powers are decaying in a way that would kill him, and he there is no way to save him.. so he decides to pack up the family into their spaceship and travel into unknown, uncharted universes where a cure might exist all the while treating the whole thing as a family outing. They will spend a year traveling this way through the outer reaches of infinity and the trip will only seem like four minutes on Earth… theoretically.

This proves once again that Reed Richard’s real superpower isn’t stretching… its making the universe his bitch… WITH SCIENCE!

Everyone gets a scene to shine here… save perhaps Sue although she is prevalent throughout as the glue that holds everything together. While I found Johnny’s scene amusing and was quite thankful for them introduce(shudder) Miss Thing before hand, I was also going “Really? You have been a hero and an adult for this long and you are still THIS guy?” We also find out the reason for the new FF series. They are a team put together in order to guard the building/Earth and fill in for the Fantastic Four… while they are gone for those four minutes…. yeah I get the feeling they may not make that deadline. This is a good start with an intriguing premise and I am expecting it to only get better when they get into space.

Overall this is a strong premiere for the first family. With a great premise, interesting threat, and, most importantly, the presence of Franklin Richards. I am going to continue on this one personally, if you are interested in the Fantastic Four at all, even if you haven’t read them before, I feel this is a good place to start.

This issue’s story will link directly into FF #1.

The Indestructible Hulk
“I will be lucky if my tombstone doesn’t simply read ‘Hulk Smash.’ So. How do we fix that?”

In many ways Hulk is Marvel’s Superman. The single most powerful hero in their stable to the point that it becomes hard to become invested because there is no danger to the character, the more danger there is to the character and the more powerful they become. One of the ways writers try to balance this is by making the Hulk more of a natural calamity like in the old days, Hulk would appear and would level a city… no reasoning, just the brute… that school of thought still doesn’t allow us to empathize or connect with the character, it simply allows us to enjoy the spectacle of the carnage. This, however, is a folly… it drives the character back to who he was ages ago, Hulk has been a hero for decades now. A founding member of the Avengers, and while he still has rage and causes collateral damage, he is not a mindless brute….  Finding the method to both invest and intrigue us is the balancing act and the key to the whole thing… is Banner. This is something Waid both recognizes and capitalizes.

Bruce Banner is one of the smartest men on Earth(alongside Stark, Pym, Richards, and T’Challa) however he has spent all of his vast intellect on one thing for years… how to fix himself. This series begins with him realizing that he can’t, not now at least, so he needs to stop think of it as something to cure and as something to live through… This series begins after Banner has this realization and he confronts Mariah Hill in a diner. Bruce tells her his plan for his immediate future, SHIELD will fund his research and in exchange he will provide them with miracles. Also when and if the Hulk emerges SHIELD will deploy him, “a cannon instead of a bomb” as Banner puts it.

The set up in this book is brilliant, its a wonderful direction to take these characters in, and its especially great to see such a focus on Banner. Another thing of note is the art which is pretty damn good, one or two awkward talking head scenes aside, the color is fantastic though. Mark Waid is a phenomenal author and an inspired choice to write this, here is hoping he can do for the Hulk what he did for Daredevil(btw go read Waid’s Daredevil). This is one of my favorites so far to come from Marvel NOW! and I recommend it to everyone.

Journey Into Mystery

“The worthy get that which they warrant.”

Journey Into Mystery is a continuing title into NOW! and did not restart its numbering, this story begins with #646.

I started reading Journey about a month ago because Kid Loki is amazeballs, however that storyline has reached its heart ripping end(to be continued in Young Avengers!). I wasn’t sure if I would continue the series after that because Asgard doesn’t always suit my taste… then they announced that Lady Sif would be our new lead and I fist pumped so hard that I shattered continuity.

I am really happy to see Marvel putting a spotlight on so many of their female characters with NOW! and its quite an honor for this character to be the one carrying this title(besides as awesome as she is Journey Into Mystery is a much cooler title than The Lady Sif)…. Now as far as the issue goes… I have to admit I was bored when it started, Sif saved a child from a burning library and then talked with Volstagg’s family. I get that we are establishing the character for new readers via some dialogue but this dragged for me. The story picks up in the middle with Sif going Hoth in Hel and continues picking up pace until the smashing finale. From what I have seen so far, this is looking to be an interesting storyline… I do feel that it could have been told better however but this was simply the first issue so I won’t judge to harshly until I have read some more. That being said there are some really cool moments here, all just toward the end of the issue, with Sif’s questing for power taking a really unexpected and dark turn.

I enjoyed this issue even if it didn’t have quite as much polish as some of the number ones. If the story continues its pace where we had left off I think we will have a Lady Sif story worth hearing and worth a recommendation.

Red She-Hulk

“You want to see what superhuman is?”

Red She-Hulk is a continuing title into NOW! and did not restart its numbering, this story begins with #58.

Okay I can understand the re-numbering on a lot of series, and some series didn’t need. Hawkeye, Captain Marvel, Daredevil, Wolverine and the X-Men… all new enough that they didn’t need to be shaken up and rebooted. I also get that some characters are not A-List and may need to carry on a title in order to find their readership(like Sif and Journey Into Mystery)… this doesn’t make sense to me though. This series WAS Hulk… Hulk got up to 57 and then the name changed to Red She-Hulk and began its numbering at 58. You changed the title! Why not just start with an issue one to begin with?!

Okay so that aside…. I do not like this series. For those not in the know, Red She-Hulk(god I wish she had stuck with Hellion) is Betty Ross, Bruce Banner’s ex wife(this character was portrayed by Liv Tyler in the most recent Hulk film). I am familiar with the character only with the most recent Defenders series… and I was really looking forward to it based on her from there, she was fun, she had her big ass sword and bombed around being awesome. Here though… she is just so annoying. The series begins with the government showing off military super soldiers, and Red She-Hulk shows up, throws a tank, and beats the crap out of them. Its like we missed a step and skipped over her justification/motivation… I mean I get that she was given powers against her will and may be against the idea of people getting power implanted… but these are all people who volunteered for the process, she may as well start attacking Captain America. Later on she goes undercover to the lab where they are doing the research and one of the subjects is a criminal and threatens to rape her so she hulks out and kills him. First off, this is a really lame way to try and justify her rampage… that since they are willing to use a guy like this in their program the whole thing must be evil… Also I am really, REALLY tired of female heroes being threatened with rape. Don’t get me wrong, I have no illusions about how prevalent it is in our society… but if you have a man against a woman it seems to his Plan A is to go straight for rape. Its disrespectful to women, its insulting to men, and it shows a lack of imagination from the author. Hell, one of the best examples I can think of around this is from Alias, where Jessica Jones was mind controlled by the Purple Man for eight months and at no point in that did he use her sexually.

Then we have the man who is chasing after Betty… AARON STACK, THE MACHINE MAN!!!

Nextwave being, quite possibly, the best thing ever written in the history of human intelligence. I was giddy as hell to see Aaron again… but I really dislike his design now, its just too busy and glowing and I feel like he is from TRON and not an android. While Aaron is suitably badass in this so far, he also feels underutilized and wasted in THIS series.

While I have mostly been restricting these reviews to first issues, the second issues of this has come out and well… it was even worse. Red She-Hulk is being chased by the Avengers(BECAUSE SHE ATTACKED A MILITARY INSTALLATION) and at no point does she try and talk to these people even though she is friends with some of them and known others for years.. hell her Dad is a member… and then the issue ends with her blowing up a bridge to stall her pursuers and yeah… I really don’t think I can sum up my reasons for not enjoying this any better than that line… In Defenders she was this fun woman who ran with the bulls and crushed on the Silver Surfer…. she gets her own series and now she is a domestic terrorist. My only hope for Betty at this point is that she will get added to the Fearless Defenders series later on and is treated better by that writer… I WILL NOT be continuing to read this particular series.

Thor: God of Thunder

“I am Thor, warrior of Asgard, Avenger of Earth, and I swear on all that is holy no one will die here today.”

Dear Gods of Asgard, this is METAL. This series follows our favorite God of Thunder through 3 ages as a mysterious foe emerges and hunts him through each age. Firstly we have Thor in his early days, carousing on Midgard, killing Frost Giants, and taking maiden’s virginities left and right. This is a very brash and arrogant Thor, very much a teenager and obviously unworthy of Mjolnir. While crashing in a Norse Village he discovers the head of a severed scraeling and with both fear and excitement comes to the realization that this is a God…. someone murdered and butchered a God. Cut to the Thor of present day, and I have to say right away this scene shows everything I love about Thor as a character. An alien girl on a desert planet has heard of the Thunderer being one of the greatest of the gods and heroes in the universe and prays to him to bring rain to save her home. Thor obliges. While I understand the reason in the movies to not allow leeway on the whole “God” aspect of Thor, he has always been a God in the Marvel Universe and seeing him answer a prayer is wonderful. Thor shows up and brings the storms with him, saving her village. Its a great moment. Easily convinced to stay and consume copious amounts of alien ale, he learns that the reason he was prayed to is because these people have no gods… Thor has never encountered a planet that was not looked after by deities and sets off to have a word with their reclusive rulers. This book is beautiful but the sequence of Thor in the Sky Castle is great, giving off great amounts of alien and horror that make the entire thing unsettling.  Lastly we have Thor at the End… King of Asgard. This is an ancient Thor, covered in battle scars and missing an arm which has been replaced by a metal prosthetic. With both the Odinsword and Mjolnir at his side, this is without doubt the most powerful we have ever seen him… but there appears to be no one to fight, Thor is alone…. or so it appears. Asgard is besieged and Thor is the only one left alive, possibly in all the Nine Realms, and the last scene of this issue is Thor leaping into the opposing army, hoping at one last chance for Valhalla.

This comic is original, gorgeous, and left me awe-struck. Thor can be a very one-note character in inept hands however I am glad to report this team is anything but…. So far one of the best things to come out of NOW!

X-Men Legacy

“The old king is dead. Long live the new king.”

Legion. Son of Charles Xavier. Omega Level Mutant. Completely batshit crazy. He is without doubt a character that makes many readers groan when he appears on page as he makes situations… complicated is probably the best way I can put it. For those of you who aren’t aware of the character, a bit of history. Legion is a mutant who contains just about every power you can imagine, each power is possessed by another personality inside of him, each personality vying for power with occasional strong ones bubbling to the surface. If Legion could learn to control himself he would be a great man and one of the world’s most powerful but as it is he is broken and undependable. When the series starts, Legion is in a commune for psychics, and is being instructed in controlling his powers. Legion has constructed a mental jail cell, imprisoning his personalities and taking them out of their cells when he needs their powers, it is a system that is working but takes a vast amount of concentration. This however is shattered when his father, Xavier, is murdered by Cyclops. The psychic shockwave ripping through the world and releasing the inmates in Legion’s head. This is an interesting series however I don’t see it gaining as much success as other and find it hard to recommend. Legion has never been a fan favorite character and this issue does not lend itself well to being a jumping on point for his story, however if you are a fan of the X-Men and are curious about the legacy of Xavier, this is the book you want to pick up.