Review: Secret Warriors #4

May 15, 2009

Secret Warriors #4

I want to talk about a crackpot theory, so let me get the issue out of the way, quick.

This is a breather issue. Daisy and Sebastian try to recruit a new member because of Yo-Yo’s tragedy last issue. Fury gets his Howling Commandos back in order, with plenty of “old friends” talk. J.T. and Alex invade Fury’s privacy. The “Hydra Cabal” (Has this group been named yet? Oh well, it’s a Dark Reign comic, so “Hydra Cabal” it is) plots their villainous deeds. Even though that may sound boring, it isn’t. I’m thoroughly onboard this series. It’s nice to see Hickman and Caselli improve every issue. I’m excited for the next issue because, literally, at the end of this, we get: “You’ve been patient, you’ve been kind. Next month, all hell breaks loose! It’s the Howling Commandos vs. Hydra vs. H.A.M.M.E.R.”

Ok, now onto something that piqued my interest. I knew that Fury and Strucker were parallels. Besides the whole nemesis business, you have their eyes as well. Fury lost his left eye, and Strucker lost his right. Also, they both view things in black and white terms. They’re willing to get the job done, no matter the cost. Already, in this series alone, one blew up their own base, population in the thousands, just to get rid of the Skrull problem. The other is using children to do his dirty work, a decision that has already crippled one of the kids. Again, heroes and villains have this thing going on all the time, but in this issue, we have some religious ties. The book that Stonewall is reading Yo-Yo is “Angels With Monster Feet. Monsters With Angel Wings.” Dum Dum tells Fury they’re doing “the lord’s work.” When Madame Hydra speaks of Nick Fury, Gorgon comments, “You speak of him as if  he were something other than a man.” Also, one of Hydra’s ancient headquarters is Gehenna. Lastly, Fury and Strucker both used the same codes (In issue #1 and #2). Fury is a Gemini and Strucker is a Sagittarius. I’m no expert on the Zodiac, but I do know that Gemini is a symbol of duality, and that Fury’s birthday could be on June sixth.

So, what does all of this nonsense mean? Well, some of it could be Apophenia, some of it could be Hickman’s intention, but only to be seen symbolically. Or, is it possible that Fury and Strucker are God and the Devil? Maybe I’m thinking of this because the Devil just popped up in Batman, but certainly there’s something big going on here, right? Anyway, this is quite possibly the Marvel title I’m currently most excited about.

Grade: B+

For more comic goodness, go here.


Review: Free Comic Book Day 2009

May 9, 2009

I was a terrible fan on FCBD. I didn’t even go to a comic shop. You know what I did? I spent the day hanging out with friends. New friends, old friends, beer, sports, and girls culminating with the Manny Pacquiao vs. Ricky Hatton fight. Yeah, remember how that went?

Sorry, that’s actually when Hatton got knocked out by Mayweather, but you get the idea. We got what? Five minutes of boxing? I would’ve asked for my nickel back, but I watched it at a friend’s house. For those who did throw down the money, blame Hatton. Anyway, my FCBD was spent doing the most non-comic book things ever, but I still got my books. Be friends with your comic book guy, kids.

(***1/2)

Atomic Robo: I’ve heard that this was good, and it is. The nice, clean art and sharp writing is impressive. It left me wanting more. Sadly, even though it’s huge on the cover, this story wasn’t the longest in the issue.

Drone: This was the longest story. I’m a bit underwhelmed. Average art and writing, with a ton of words isn’t the best sales pitch. It’s a bit of an interesting concept, though.

We Kill Monsters: I don’t know what to think of this. It just didn’t really hook me at all. It’s not bad.

(***1/2)

Because I like complaining about Bendis:

For a book with both New and Dark Avengers, this isn’t in continuity, is it?

This book has way too many words for kids and new readers.

Why is this book rated teen? Why not write for kids, Bendis? Why the swears?

Why does Spider-Man mention global warming? It’s not even a joke. It’ll just offend adults and confuse the kids.

This book was so damn wordy, and yet it still didn’t introduce all the characters.

Other than all that:It’s pretty good. I mean, it’s Jim Cheung drawing 24 pages of Avengers action. Throw in Thor, and you actually have a memorable FCBD comic. Oh, and we get more pages in this issue than we do in a four-dollar Avengers comic. And why is this book at reduced-size? Every publisher, large and small, is printing normal size, but Marvel? Tiny comics! Boo!

(****)

Some publishers, even the tiny ones, will put out an issue #0 for three bucks, but DC? They put out the #0 of their big, new event for free. Way to go DC! Wednesday Comics, three-dollar comics, and now this? Is anyone still reading Marvel? As for the actual issue, I would have liked to get a good look at all of the corps. We do get that, in a way, but those pages have been online for weeks. I even posted them. What we do get, is a nice conversation between Hal and Barry, an exploration of some of DC’s dead characters, and the Black Lantern Oath. Throw in some sweet Ivan Reis art, and you’ve got an awesome package. Oh, and for those who have been noticing my bitching about Aquaman being brought back in Final Crisis, that’s actually addressed in this issue. Apparently, those were just rumors. BUT I SAW HIM WITH MY OWN EYES! Oh well, way to screw with Morrison’s vision, DiDio.

(**)

“The Simpsons” is my favorite show. Having said that, I don’t think I really laughed once while reading this. That’s bad. The comic is free, features nice art, and may entertain children. That’s good.

(***1/2)

Shazam: This was three pages! I heard this was good, but three pages! Boo!

Brave and the Bold: Entertaining, adequate art, and the kids are the hero of the story, that’s awesome. Also, just like the cartoon, it features a relatively unknown villain, the Thinker. Although, I think Batman and Blue Beetle kill him in this story. What’s up with that?

Tiny Titans: I’ve read this comic before and it’s very fun. I dig the art, too. This one? Not so much. It’s still awesome, and if any of you have kids, this is a good comic.

(**)

I have a friend who absolutely adores this book. Well, he used to. Now, even he isn’t reading it anymore. I’ve tried to get into it. I like the art and some of the pop culture references are funny, but it’s kind of boring. It’s lost its spark.

(***)

If you like Wolverine: First Class, this is right up your alley. It’s Fred Van Lente being Fred Van Lente. It also has some pretty art. I find Wolverine: First Class to be forgettable and unnecessary, so this isn’t my thing, but I think a lot of kids and adults will have a blast.

For more comic goodness, go here.


Desiato Returns for the End of Secret Invasion

December 28, 2008

Currently writing this from back home in Pennsylvania. I finally acquired myself a job, and even though I don’t start until January 5th, things have been quite hectic. Even still, I’ve got some free time right now so I wanted to throw out some reviews before I return to Boston.

Mighty Avengers #20 (****)


This is Bendis’ last issue of Mighty Avengers, and is really the true “requiem” issue for the Wasp (as opposed to Secret Invasion: Requiem, which will primarily be reprints of important Wasp issues). This issue features the Wasp’s funeral, and primarily deals with Hank Pym’s attempts to reintegrate into society after escaping from the Skrulls and discovering the death of the love of his life. We’ve got three artists on this book, with Lee Weeks covering the opening couple of flashback pages, and Jim Cheung and Carlo Pagulayan drawing the rest of the issue. It’s a funny thing, because one of the annoying things about this issue was the device that Bendis used to catch Hank Pym up on the goings on of the world using five silent full page splash collages of House of M, Civil War, Cap’s death, World War Hulk, and Secret Invasion. It’s a waste of pages, but the work Jim Cheung did on these was fantastic. It reminded me a lot of the Young Avengers Presents covers, as well as that double page spread from the first Secret Invasion New Avengers book featuring Spider-Woman’s history. So I didn’t like the pages being there, but they were beautiful to look at. Ambivalence. I loved the funeral scene, and while it’s another example of everyone piling on Tony Stark post Secret Invasion, I think it fits here because of the emotionally charged nature of the scene, and the way Hank didn’t necessarily get the full story of the events he missed when Carol Danvers caught him up. This book did give us a much more appropriate send-off to the Wasp that we didn’t see in SI 8. It’s a strong way to leave the book for Bendis, and I’m looking forward to what Dan Slott plans to do with the book from this point on, because this team seems to be the odd one out.

Secret Invasion: Front Line #5 (****)


Front Line #5 is structured in a very similar way to issue eight of the main series. The title of this issue is “Dark Reign,” and it basically follows the end of the Central Park fight (starting with the Wasp’s doomsday device whatever thingie being activated), quickly finishes that plot thread and moves on to confronting the idea of a world led by Norman Osborne. You can definitely understand why Ben Urich being the main character of the book was done, because it pays off in spades due to Urich’s long personal history as a man from the Spider-Man family with a long history with Norman. The scene where Ben confronts him and both he and the crowd completely blow him off is great. It also does a nice (if perfunctory) job of wrapping up the other characters we saw throughout the five issues. I still like the premise and import of the Front Line idea, and this was a worthy companion to the Secret Invasion event.

Secret Invasion: Dark Reign (***1/2)


Okay, so we all know that Maleev messed up Namor something fierce. Crazy homeless Bendis isn’t exactly what you would expect from the long faced, regal king of the seas. However, I do think Maleev did an excellent job with the rest of the characters in the book (Norman’s hair notwithstanding), and the art in a book like this isn’t as important as the writing. It’s a bit easier to ignore the art in a board room book compared to something that’s heavier on action. And I think that the board room scene itself was well done. The goals for this book are simple. You’ve got six people in a room with explosive personalities and different agendas. You have to find out why they’re all agreeing to work together and how Norman Osborne could keep these people in line. So obviously this is designed from the perspective as a callback to the original New Avengers: Illuminati and Road to Civil War books, and I think Bendis pulls this off creating a twisted mirror of craziness where the trust is completely nonexistent, and no one is looking out for anyone other than themselves. Really, Emma is the only one here who’s acting from the angle of potential altruism, as she seems to be willing to partially compromise her beliefs in order to make absolutely sure that the mutants will be kept safe. I’m not exactly sure what made Bendis decide to bring in the two vingettes about Kitty Pryde and Swordsman, as they could probably be better served in the X-Men and Thunderbolts books, but at the same time, I do also see them as quick little hooks that might make you want to pick up some X-Men or Thunderbolts issues, so maybe that’s why we saw those framing scenes. I think the characters were written well, and I’m looking forward to the other shoe dropping for Doom and Namor, as well as where we’re going to see the continuing story of The Hood. I liked the book for the most part, but it was generally inconsistent in both the writing and art categories.


Bruce Castle Presents: Green People + Red People=Christmas Time!

October 2, 2008

 

Hulk #6 (*****)

Isn’t it funny that all of the “late books with great art that are hated by everyone” comics came out in the same week? Yes, I’m reading all of them. Again, this book is sooo fun and it’s sad that only me, Billy and like 10 other people know it. Last issue wasn’t quite as cool as usual but this one more than makes up for it. Like every issue of Hulk there’s humor, action, and gorgeous art! Oh, and all you fanboys who cried “Whaahhh! Rulk can’t beat Thor (even though I don’t know Rulk’s power level)”, you should be happy now. The art is beautiful. There are a lot of awesome guest appearances and sea monsters and they’re all drawn wonderfully. We even get the classic “duh duh duuuuuuuh (music)” ending. Did I mention Ed McGuinness rules? Hulk is entertainment, laugh-out-loud moments, and McGuinness drawing the hell out of this book. This is the series Ed was meant to draw and I hope he’ll come back on issue #10. Until then we can enjoy Art Adams and Frank Cho and they’re fantastic artists too. If you haven’t tried this series yet, pick this issue up. If you dislike it, don’t read it anymore. If you like it, join in on the marvelously drawn fun!

Hellboy: The Crooked Man #3 (*****)

Why is Mike Mignola so awesome? Hellboy has been around for over 15 years and he still manages to surprise me. Do you think of Hellboy adventures as European fetishistic tales about ancient legends or mysterious artifacts? How about a Hillbilly Gothic story that takes place in the Appalachian Mountains? Not only is this new territory for Hellboy, but the lovable demon is almost a supporting character. This is about willpower. It’s about corruption and the relationship between man, God, and Satan. Richard Corben has been around for a long time but he’s still producing marvelous work. If you think Hellboy can only be properly drawn by Mignola, this may change your mind. Corben manages to stay true to his own style as well as Mignola’s which creates a fantastic mixture. Have I mentioned this is the scariest Hellboy series yet? I have in my other reviews and I will now. It’s Deliverance with creepy religious undertones that will make your skin crawl. I love Hellboy and this is another example that explains why.

  

New Avengers #45 (***)

I read House of M, but it’s been a long time. It’d be hard to remember anyway, but it doesn’t help that I didn’t like House of M very much. Does this issue add to the SI story? Yes, but I wish it would’ve been more than it is. Bendis uses Cheung well and poorly at the same time. There are several wordless panels which look beautiful, but I wish there was more meat when it comes to a story this dense. There are questions that remain unanswered and the Skrulls are again portrayed as incredibly powerful. The green meanies winning seems to be almost a foregone conclusion at this point. If that is the case, am I the only one who wishes Marvel would have made it less predictable? All of these Embrace Change advertisements shoved brutally down our throats is not appreciated. I guess Bendis is trying to show why they can conquer us which is cool. But now, whether the Skrulls win or lose I won’t be surprised. How crazy would it have been if out of the blue the Skrulls won? It’d be like Cap dying at the end of Civil War. I don’t know if this an editorial decision or Bendis’, but considering how much power Bendis seems to have at Marvel, I’d guess the latter. Anyway, this issue isn’t bad. In fact, it’s more than passable. Cheung’s art is impressive and I’m sure if you’ve enjoyed the previous SI Avengers tie-ins, you’ll like this. I just can’t help letting my overall disappointment of this event seep into my opinions of these issues. Plus, there are a few things in this issue that I didn’t like.


Foilball’s Review Roundup #31 – More Secret Invasion Tie-Ins!

July 2, 2008

 

So far, to pretty much everyone’s surprise, the tie-ins to the main Secret Invasion mini-series have been made of pretty high caliber stuffs. Especially, in my opinion, MI-13 and the Fantastic Four spin-off mini. This last month’s crop of books, of which I will review quickly here today (and which Desiato already did over here), have been no different.

First, I fricking love these covers, especially the Mighty and New Avengers “homages.” They really help give them that “everything ties into everything else” feeling. Second… let’s skip ahead to the individual reviews:

• Avengers: The Initiative #14 (****): This was a great issue of The Initiative, and I guess that’s mostly due to the fact that Dan Slott came on to co-plot this baby. He handled the Pym flashbacks/reveals expertly and his use of the 3-D Man was retro but at the same time very, very cool. I hungrily await the next installment.

• Fantastic Four: Secret Invasion #2 (****): The Fantastic Four mini has to be the most surprising of all the tie-ins. Although Aguirre-Sacasa is uber-talented and has done a fantastic job with the FF in the past, I don’t think anyone was expecting this one to be the great read that it certainly is. I think the quality has to be chalked up to AS’s obvious affection for these characters. The way he writes “The Brief Loves of Johnny Storm” is evidence enough of this, not to mention the touching make-out scene in the Negative Zone. I don’t know about you guys, but I really felt for these two characters caught on opposite sides of this holy war. I’m hoping maybe Lyja and Johnny get their happy ending… although, with Millar on the main title, I won’t hold my breath.

• Ms. Marvel #28 (*****): I can’t believe I’m about to say this, but… Ms. Marvel is my favorite of the bunch. WOW. Finally! We get some action! Some suspense! This one was epically written! There are not enough exclamation points in the memory of mankind to express how much I loved this issue!!! Her attitudes on war, murder and purpose? Loving this shit!

• Runaways/Young Avengers: Secret Invasion #1 (****): I love how, in the absence of the series’ creator, Marvel is keeping the Young Avengers franchise alive. Just like the Young Avengers: Presents, this crossover fills that YA fix nicely. Also, thank God that awful Whedon arc is over so we can get back to enjoying good Runaways comics. As far as the issue’s plot, I’m glad we finally find out what it is those freaking Skrulls were saying to each other over in Secret Invasion #3, and… what Teddy and Xavin’s respective roles will be in SI.

• The Incredible Hercules #118 (****): Not much to say here, besides pointing out how impossibly well written this book continues to be. Oh, and how about that Snowbird/Hercules hook-up? JEEZ! Herc sure does get around! AND, OH… Skrully coyote!

• The Mighty Avengers #15 (*****): The sordid life of Henry Pym… you know what? EFF that! Janet is such a ####! She totally left his ass, so like, he’s totally in the right to sleep with the first student/Skrull infiltrator that happens by… like, good for him, except, you know, when he gets beat up and replaced by an alien invader. That was kind of bad. And probably his fault. But, whatever. Screw, Janet!

• The New Avengers #42 (****): Jim Cheung is godly on the art. GODHEAD. Also, special thanks to one Mr. Bendis. The pieces finally fit. Everything fits! She’s been a Skrull since before the breakout? WHA!?!? …awesome. Now, all he has to do is explain that Skrull that showed up in one panel of Disassembled. Then, I shall be satisfied. Maybe.

So, yeah. High quality shit right here. This shipment of books has totally restored my faith in this event. I think the main action of Secret Invasion won’t really happen in the main book till we pass the midway point. Bendis is slow-rolling the hell out of this one. Which, I’m okay with, as long as the payoff is huge. Not talking “No More Mutants” huge. I’m talking “Death of Captain America” huge. Know what I’m saying?

 


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,856 other followers