Review: Dark Reign: The Cabal

Dark Reign Cabal


“Forgettable and useless.” Sounds harsh, but that’s the name of the game. I’m a Matt Fraction completionist, so that’s why I bought it. I’ll never read it again and I’ll forget about it in a month or so. It’s basically an advertisement for titles like Uncanny X-Men and Thor.

Now, does that mean that what is here is terrible? No. Marvel must have told the creators involved to write about whatever the hell they wanted. The five stories break down like this:

Doom wants to kill everybody.

A deeper look at Emma Frost (The Fraction tale, and probably my favorite).

The Hood is keeping a secret.

Namor is Solomon-esque.

Loki is trying to move in with Doom (That’s old news).

I’d only recommend this to hardcore fans of the creators or characters involved.

For more comic goodness, go here.

Bruce Castle Presents: Old Friends Fight Skrulls, Alternate Earths, and “Louie Louie”=Party Time!

Secret Invasion Thor #3 (of 3)

Secret Invasion: Thor #3 (***)

Misfire is a good word to describe this series. It was aimed correctly and it appeared to have the necessary ingredients to fire well, but could not. Fraction is an extremely capable writer and he’s proved himself with Thor in his fantastic one-shots released this year. But he just doesn’t deliver here. The series tries to be unique or exciting but it always seems to fail. Braithwaite is very capable as well. I was just reminded of that when I reread Justice. Sadly, I believe his art was hindered by Brian Reber’s colors. The book looks very muddled and at times it’s difficult to tell what’s going on and it seems to be because of the colors. This series is not terrible, but it’s not worth your money.

Astonishing X-Men Ghost Boxes #1 (of 2)

Astonishing X-Men: Ghost Boxes #1 (***1/2)

I wonder if this mini was planned or if this was a last minute development to deal with Bianchi’s delays. Judging by the incredibly small page count of 16, I’d say the latter. The lack of pages is the biggest problem here. The bright side is that Ellis’ entire script along with all the naked (Or penciled, I just like saying naked) pages of this issue are included. I don’t think I’ve ever read an Ellis script and the naked art comes from Alan Davis and Adi Granov so that was a treat. But if you don’t care about that stuff, this issue is a bit of a hard sell. This comic is written well and it looks great, but I’m not sure how important it is (The 4 bucks bothers me too). But I don’t know this could be imperative information.

Boys #24 (cover A)

Boys #24 (***1/2)

Talk about great covers, this one is amazing! The pic doesn’t do it justice, but you can still see all the detail Robertson put into this. If you like Animal House (If you don’t, what’s wrong with you?), you’ll appreciate all the visual references. That’s pretty much all this issue was, comedy. The plot moved along a bit, but it was overshadowed by all the laughs. So, I’d say this was a pretty average Boys issue. That’s good, but not great. Still, the cover alone may be worth the price of admission. But if you don’t like that cover (Again, what’s wrong with you?), you can still enjoy the fart, masturbation and X-Men jokes.

Bruce Castle Presents: The Golden Avenger


Invincible Iron Man #4 (****1/2): I always love comics that prove that you can have an entire issue sans action and still walk away satisfied. It’s no easy task, but Fraction manages to pull it off with ease. Fraction definitely knows how to write an Iron Man comic. Sure he’s flawed, but he also does things like buy a multi-billion dollar soda empire just so he can distribute vaccines to third world countries. The issue is filled with lovely character moments and the scenes involving Tony and Reed Richards and Tony with Pepper Potts are particularly well done. The main complaint I have is with Larroca’s art. I think his Iron Man looks great, it’s very impressive. But he handles the characters incorrectly. His character’s fail to convey the necessary emotions. This flaw is highlighted in this issue because this one is all about the people. Fraction is definitely the main attraction here and he’s writing some of the best Iron Man issues I’ve ever read. If you liked the movie or if you’re an Iron Man fan, this is a must read series.

Iron Man: Viva Las Vegas #2 (**): I love putting these two books together to review. The aforementioned Invincible Iron Man book is very similar to the recent Iron Man movie which is a good thing. And then you have a book produced by the people that made the movie and it’s very different which is a bad thing. Lateness aside, I almost didn’t pick this book up because the first issue was so disappointing. It was more than disappointing, it was just plain bad. But I gave it another shot because I’m such a big fan of the creative team. I try to be a positive guy so let’s start with the good stuff first. Well, it’s better than the last issue. The dialogue is much better (No more “leaping lizards”!), and Foom is in the issue which is nice. Granov’s art still impresses me. Does everyone look too perfect? Yes, but it’s still pretty to look at. Okay now onto the bad stuff. Favreau’s writing strength is in his dialogue which, though much better than last issue, still seems a bit off especially when compared to the movie.  Something that fascinates me is that this comic follows the movie continuity less than Invincible Iron Man does! There is a scene when Tony has to buy a honeymoon suite (ha ha?) just to change into Iron Man. I think the next two issues will be better, but I’m off at this point. Invincible Iron Man and this book were released at the same time and Invincible has had four issues to Las Vegas’ two. Who knows when the fourth book will come out? Also, this comic has fewer pages than Invincible has and it’s a dollar more. But I love Iron Man, I love Foom, and I’m a fan of both Jon Favreu and Adi Granov, so I’ll probably buy the 20 dollar HC when it comes out but until then I’m out.

Foilball’s Review Roundup #22 – Iron Man Edition!

I haven’t been feeling right since the near flooding of my street last week, hence the no Origin Stories or Planetary Series Review (or if you follow my other blog, no new Invulnerable pages). Add to the not-rightness the fact that I waited till the last minute to complete a couple of work projects, means I’m stressed and more than a little tired. I don’t want your pity, I just thought it would be thoughtful of me to explain my laziness and the down and dirtiness that will soon follow this epic paragraph of the whine.

The Invincible Iron Man #1 (*)

Not a good couple weeks for Iron Man… in the comics at least. Obviously, the movie has been doing tremendous business at the box office. Well, Marvel was prepared this time. Released during the movie’s fist week at the B.O., The Invincible Iron Man is meant to hook new readers stumbling into their local comic store, high off their asses on movie adaptation. Good news for those folks, especially if they liked the movie, this comic has more in common, continuity-wise, with the movie than it does with the post-Civil War Marvel Universe. I don’t normally consider myself a continuity stickler (shit, I know a lot of stuff but that doesn’t mean I don’t welcome change, mo-fo!), but I hated this book. This book has nothing to do with the current depiction of Tony Stark in the pages of Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. or the Avengers books. Sure, sometimes it’s nice to have multiple POVs on a character, but in this instance its way too jarring. There seems to be a pattern forming here… Punisher War Journal is trash compared to the MAX Punisher as well. Isn’t Fraction writing that pile? Other stuffs that sucked:

1) Suicide bombers using Stark-Tech… this is not a new idea.
2) Tony Stark sleeping with hot chicks… not too bad, its way worse in “Viva”.
3) Tony Stark considers having a drink in his caption boxes… WHA?!?!
4) Dum-Dum is alive and not a Skrull… ok, ok. I can let this one go.
5) Yet another AIM splinter group… KILL ME NOW!
6) Jim Rhodes wearing the wrong armor… ARGH!!!!
7) Pepper Potts… too forced. Matt Fraction Ihateyoudie.
8] Matt Fraction, you are not Warren Ellis.

The only idea in this book that wasn’t stainy was Stane. Him, I like.

Iron Man: Legacy of Doom #2 (***)

Oh, God… what happened? The first issue was so much fun! Oh, that’s because Doom was actually in that one! WTF Michelinie?!? I don’t give a flying monkey shit about Iron Man fighting his lamely rendered demon father! I want witty/funny/entertaining/awesome Doom/Stark banter! Fix please! Less FAIL!

Iron Man: Viva Las Vegas #1 (**)

…which brings us to the disaster that is Viva Las Vegas. Wait, disaster is too harsh. The art is great, isn’t it? You know, the dark haired tattooed beauty on the cover reminds of a girl I know… maybe I’ll give the book to her and tell her Adi Granov used one of her pin-ups as photo reference. Heh. Anyway, we’re in Vegas and Tony has lots of sex. WOOO. And then some lizards attack and Pepper Potts is acting all lame and lo and behold, Fin Fang Foom is the villain of this piece. Don’t care. Hmm, now that I think about it (really, really hard I might add), Viva feels like Invincible’s issue 0. UGH. UGH, I said!

Marvel, why do you blow so hard? At least Viva is a mini, so I won’t have to put up with Favreau’s writing every month, but why oh why did you put Invincible in regular continuity? Why not simply publish that Ultimate Iron Man ongoing? God knows you’ve been dying to! I guess I could just stop buying it… nah.