Ultimate Spider-Man; Miles Morales

A while back as part of a Divided We Fall review I ranted over Miles Morales version of Spider-Man; more or less I called him a black clone of Peter Parker.  After hearing a friend state they’ve only heard awesome things about him and that she was enjoying the comic, and my local shop stating they actually gained (and had no one drop) buyers when Miles took over, well I decided to give him more thorough look.  Beware of Ultimate Spider-Man spoilers…

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Review: Secret Invasion #8 – Spoilers!

It’s finally over. Ok, so I could just bash the hell out of this, but I don’t want to. I’ve been doing that since about issue two when everyone loved this book. Now it seems most people are on the same page as I am. Dclebeau just wrote a pretty good lengthy review that points out a lot of the faults that I would have. So if you want his negativity, go here. If you want my negativity on previous issues, go here, here, or here. But as for this issue, I’m going to keep it positive.

I know what you’re thinking. What nice thing can I say other than I like the art? Well, I do like the art, but everyone has said that already, including me. Um, Tony went old school. That was cool. That can’t be all I liked, right? Let me flip through my book here. Wasp dies? Don’t care. Norman kills the Skrull Queen? Um, yeah that’s kind of…uh, I liked Ellis’ Thunderbolts? Iron Man finds all the people who were captured (And doesn’t get credit for it). Well, I guess I’m glad they’re alive. So, yay? Luke Cage’s baby is missing and that isn’t resolved? That’s kind of…lame? Don’t care. Don’t care. Thor gives Tony more shit and Bucky gives him the dreaded silent treatment. Why Marvel why? Can’t they all just get along? I have to live with their ten panel team-up in a book I didn’t like? Damn you! Shit this is getting negative, isn’t it? Ok here we go. They kick Tony, a hero, out and bring Osborn, a pumpkin bomb throwing monster, in? You suck, faceless Marvel president! I like that though. It shows the crazy things people do when they’re scared. Well, I already knew that, I’ve lived in America for the last eight years, but kids may not know that. But I do like the idea of villains in control. So maybe Marvel comics will be cool if you can get past their new 3.99 price tag? Maybe, I guess I’m done talking about this issue, but while you’re here, I’ll talk about those new Dark Reign books I’m interested in.

Dark Reign

How can I not buy this? So what do you guys think of this Evil Illuminati or Evilnati as I’m sure it will soon be called? Or if you take the Illumin as illuminate, would you then use the antonym? Would that be darken? Darkenati? Whatever floats your boat I guess. So what do you think of the members? Loki? I liked him before Stracynski gave him an operation. The Hood? Yeah, I do like him and hey I like Dormammu as well. Emma Frost? Love her, but I guess I am one of the many who hopes she isn’t evil. She’s had to fight that lack of trust for eight years! Give the lady a break Bendis! Namor? So he continues to go both ways? Way to be a turncoat fish boy. And what evil alliance would be complete without Doom and Stormin’ Norman? I approve of these baddies.

Large Cover of New Avengers #48

I wish I could quit this book, but I’m too far down the rabbit hole. So Spider-Man is back in the old blue and red. That’s fine. Wolverine is back. I see they still have to make this team as popular as possible. Captain America? More popularity? That’s ok. Bucky on a team will be interesting. Will he have to lead? Luke Cage? Cage on a Bendis team? No way! And Ronin? Will this still be Clint or will he be too busy lovin’ his girl now that she’s back? I still think Daredevil will be on a Bendis team at some point. So what do you think of this new team? It’s even more street than before! At least the last team had magic. Can these guys handle a cosmic baddie? Or even a flying one?

I heard Fraction talk about this a long time ago. Iron Man’s “Born Again” arc. It’s eight issues I believe. The first seven issues of this series have been pretty fantastic. I hope that will continue. Maybe after this, Tony will at long last cease to be Marvel’s whipping boy. It could happen. Please?

Large Cover of Punisher #1 (50/50 Variant)

“Just when I thought I was out, they pull be back in”. I love Frank, but I was just about to break up with him. Ennis and Fraction left the building. Punisher MAX not only decreased in quality but will also cost 3.99 soon. So I was just about to leave until I saw this cover. The villains control everything? Bring in the Punisher! And hey, this book isn’t 3.99! Yet.

Large Cover of Dark Avengers #2

Damn it! I can’t find a good picture of New Avengers #50, but you all saw it, right? Plus it would be weird to put a New Avengers cover for Dark Avengers. I only bring it up because you can really get a good idea of what the line-ups will be. Oh, first I should add that it looks like Ms. Marvel and Spider-Woman will be on the New Avengers. So they do have some women and one member that can deal with flying or cosmic threats. That’s a little better. For the Dark Avengers you have Iron Patriot (Osborn?), Marvel Boy (Yay!), Ares (Yay!), Sentry (So once again, the New Avengers should totally get their asses kicked when they face this team), Black Suit (Venom, but no teeth and less bulky. New host?), Hawkeye (Should be Bullseye which would be cool), Daken (If you’ve seen the cover of NA #50 and you know what Daken’s claws look like, you could confirm this too. That middle claw is clearly below his knuckles), Ms. Marvel classic suit (Moonstone probably). So what do you think of this team? I’m a big fan. Again, I love villain books, so this should be a blast. Oh and I also loved Ellis’ Thunderbolts run and we have Deodato back. Can Bendis fill Ellis’ shoes? Probably not, but it’s still worth a look.

So please let me know what you guys think! And again, doesn’t that new four buck price suck?!

Review: Secret Invasion #7 – Spoilers!

Secret Invasion #7 (Yu Variant Cover Edition)

The Good: The book looks fantastic! Sadly, the best thing about Secret Invasion has been the art and that continues here. Leinil Yu provides stunning panels that you could stare at for quite awhile. Thor, Cap and Iron Man fight together! Skrull Pym gets shot in the eye! It looks like Bullseye did the shooting and was he aiming at Spider-Man?! Crazy! Howard the Duck (page 10, at the bottom) is in this fight?! Noh-Varr shows up (everyone please go read that Marvel Boy mini because it’s awesome)! Hawkeye gets his bow back and shoots the Skrull Queen in the face! The Janet bomb is activated!

The Bad: The Thor, Cap and Iron Man team-up only lasts about five panels. The dialogue is boring! Bendis is seen by many fans as writing great dialogue but none of that is present here. Many of these pages could be wordless and it wouldn’t detract from the quality of the issue. That’s a bad thing. Uatu shows up! Boo! His face should still be broken from Rulk! Even though he looks cool, Noh-Varr still hasn’t done anything! Grrr! This series could have been four issues long. At four bucks a pop and in America’s current economy that really hurts my wallet!

And The Ugly: This is a great example of how a lot of fighting can still be boring. The big battle issue in an event book should be a lot more exciting.

Foilball’s Review Roundup #59 – Secret Invasion and Final Crisis, The Tie-Ins!

Deadpool #3 (***1/2)

Not as good as 2, and way worse than 1. I hope this series has somewhere to go once the Invasion ends. Or maybe I don’t. Can I really afford another monthly?

Guardians of the Galaxy #6 (***1/2)

Wacky misunderstandings in space! Heh, but seriously, how the hell is Peter gonna convince all his buddies to come back and play nice? He basically brainwashed them! It would be pretty sweet if they all formed their own group and told Starlord to piss off.

Iron Man: Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. #34 (**)

BORING. Is this what we should expect from the forthcoming War Machine ongoing? Perhaps I should adjust my pre-order?

Mighty Avengers #19 (*)

Complete waste as it failed at making me care about Marvel Boy. UGH. You can’t just go through the motions, Bendis, you actually have to write clever character stuff!

Secret Invasion: Frontline #4 (****)

Still the best tie-in. Do you get the feeling that maybe Ben Urich is gonna bite it at the end of this mini? I hope so. I like him, but he bugs me. Actually, Sally Floyd bugs me more. Kill her, Marvel!

Secret Invasion: Inhumans #3 (****)

This issue makes me very excited about the direction Marvel is taking the Inhumans. The War of Kings story is going to be epic, people!

Final Crisis: Legion of 3 Worlds (***)

I started to read this, and then I got bored. Heh, maybe I’ll finish later…

Final Crisis: Revelations #3 (***)

I don’t really know how to feel about this comic. It’s well written, but I’m not sure if I like it. Is that weird?

Final Crisis: Rogue’s Revenge #3 (*****)

THIS WAS AWESOME! Those Rogues are some cold-blooded bastards, right! It’s interesting that Captain Cold thinks murdering Inertia makes up for murdering Bart Allen/Flash/Kid Flash/Impulse. I don’t think that’s how it works, dude. And, oh man, having the Rogues cringe at the possibility of the return of Barry Allen as the Flash really gets the mind buzzing for next year’s big flash event. As far as this being a tie-in to FC and not just a cash grab? FAIL. Sure, this mini explains why the Rogues opted out of Libra’s Society, but did anyone really care? That subplot was completely irrelevant to the main plot, that being the murder of Inertia. I’m sure I would have enjoyed this book just as much without all the FC hoopla.

Spoiler Review: Secret Invasion #7

…kind of unsatisfying? Here’s why:


There are a number of HUGE payoff scenes/fights/panels in this issue and pretty much all of them fail to get the blood pumping. For instance:

• The Big Three fighting side-by-side!

This dialogue is boring. BORING. And then a couple of pages later, Tony whines about his armor and leaves. Wow, great team-up.

• Janet vs. Hank Pym Skrull!

First, Wasp doesn’t even get to reply to Pym’s misogynistic comment, because stupid Stature swoops in to steal her thunder. Then, Bullseye (I think?) shoots Pym in the eye with a rocket (I guess?). Poor Janet, she never gets to have any fun.

• Spiderwoman vs. Everybody!

Wolverine takes her on and gets owned. Lame? Which brings us to…

• Hawkeye picking up his bow… again, and then…

…the part where Clint skewers the Queen’s face! This? This was awesome and it was just about the only part of the entire book to get me even the slightest bit excited. UGH.

• The Watcher finally shows up!

I mean, we’ve been waiting what seems like forever for this douche to arrive, right?

• Noh-Varr’s spectacular debut!

…and then I turned the page and thought, “so?”

• Hank Pym Skrull sets off whatever it is he put in Janet!

Janet growing all big and glowy is supposed to mean what exactly? The effect reminds me of how Wonder Man used to look. Hmm…

This is “going through the motions” at its worst. You can see Bendis trying, trying really extra super hard to make this shit cool, but I think in the end, Secret Invasion just got too fricking big for him. BUT! It wasn’t all terrible. Aside from the Hawkeye stuff, there was one other scene I enjoyed: Jessica Jones saying goodbye to her baby. Aw, sadness? Character moments, Bendis! What happened to the GREAT character moments!?!

Ah well, once again the art is super-spectacular pretty and the story registers just above “not-so-much”.

Review: Secret Invasion #7

I have about an hour before I leave for an interview, so now’s as good a time as any to comment on the latest issue of Secret Invasion.

We knew going in based on the last pages of issue 6 (as well as the last page of Front Line #4, which I thought was a very nice continuity moment) that this thing would pretty much be all fighting, all the time. And that’s basically what it was. It makes you wonder if Bendis felt bad about making Leinil Yu draw as many characters as he had to in this book. Between nearly every New York based Marvel hero on Earth (and a lot of villains too) and the gaggle of Super Skrulls duking it out in every panel of every page, it’s a hell of a sight to behold. Yu manages to keep the foreground character detail pretty darned consistent, and to my eyes the art did not seem rushed or sub par. They may have shipped a week or so late from time to time on a couple of these issues, but the artwork has been astounding considering that the book has remained on schedule for all intents and purposes. I’m going to list some of my favorite moments bullet point style (while keeping as vague as I possibly can), as there isn’t a whole lot to talk about from a meaty plot perspective:

  • The Thunderbolts remain some of my favorite characters in all of comics right now; there were some great moments with Norman Osborne and Bullseye just adding to the mayhem.
  • I love the sequentials of the double page panels during the assault on Skrull Hank Pym.
  • Stature is kind of a badass. There’s a really great image of her punching out Skrull Galactus in the shadow of The Watcher.
  • Jessica Jones dropping everything to enter the fray? Awesome. Leaving her baby with Jarvis Skrull? Well, that can’t be good (apparently he made it out of that helicarrier explosion)
  • Woo! Marvel Boy come to save the day! (You’ll hear more about this when I get a chance to talk about Mighty Avengers #19)
  • Clint taking up Kate Bishop’s bow and doing exactly what he promised at the end of SI #5. This is another example of Yu doing stellar work.
  • Of course, the issue ends with Janet Van Dyne’s comeuppance. I don’t know exactly what it means (or exactly what’s going on with her, for that matter), but it’s a great play off a one off moment during the first arc of Mighty Avengers. Is she going to be the subject of Secret Invasion: Requiem? Possibly, but she’s still alive and kicking at the end of the issue, so who knows?

This issue served better to spotlight Yu than Bendis. Bendis did his standard good work with some solid dialogue, but this was not the type of issue where you really feel Bendis’ voice come through. That’s not really a bad thing, as an issue like this really had to happen in order to set up the end game, and Yu’s artwork is so fantastic and enriching that it just makes the book work really well.

Foilball’s Review Roundup #55 – A Secret Invasion in September

The New Avengers # 45 (****): The art plus explanations (can’t really say answers as I do not believe anyone was even asking these questions) makes this a solid read. Yes, “wasting” a page on the Queen vomiting in the toilet may have turned off some people, but I loved it. Vulnerability is always cool. I mean, this panel did wonders for Tony Stark.

The Mighty Avengers #18 (***): More Secret Warriors!!! I feel like I’ve read this story already, yeah? And the whole V for Vendetta/Alias/Every spy fiction fake torture sequence EV-VAR! thing was more than a lot a bit unnecessary in my not so humble opinion. Unlike the clone Reed Richards torture scene, I don’t think the scene in this book fooled anybody. Truth.

Avengers: The Initiative #17 (**): WOO! Wait, what am I so excited about? This was awful. The Queen doing her best “twirling moustache” routine at the end had me gagging on my own tongue, and then there’s that tossed in Star Wars reference… to one of the BAD ones? BLAH.

Black Panther #41 (*****): EPIC. And final. I’m glad we ended our relationship on a high note, T’challa. I would’ve been truly sad if your last arc had been balls. Although, I do wish the payoff for this arc had been that Storm was a Skrull the whole time. That may have saved the book for me.

Deadpool #2 (****1/2): Even better than the first issue, even with the predictable ending. BOOYA! Good Deadpool writing is back, baby!

Guardians of the Galaxy #5 (****1/2): GARSH! When did this comic get so good? Out of all the anti-Skrull plans, I think I like Drax’s the best: ‘Kill ‘em all.’ Perfection. OH, NOES! Cosmo… a Skrull agent? Say it ain’t so, dawg!

Iron Man: Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. #33 (***): ‘War Machine: Weapon of S.H.I.E.L.D.’? ALL IN, DUDERS! I even like the Transformers ending. DING. This first story was mediocre, but I’m looking forward to this new direction.

Ms. Marvel #31 (****1/2): Technically no longer tying in with Secret Invasion, instead dealing with the post-SI aftermath, the “Dark Reign”, whatever that is. Man, where has Reed been hiding this story? It was so good! Character building moments! Good times! No fight scenes! So, questions: Why does Carol want to kill Norman Osborn? Could he be responsible for this “Dark Reign”? Is it related to what’s happening over in Thunderbolts right now?

Nova # 17 (*): UGH, this was the opposite of awesome. DnA are really letting me down on this title. To be frank, it sucks. It’s boring. I’m bored. Project P.E.G.A.S.U.S. is boring. Quasar is boring. Dick Ryder’s family life is boring. Darkhawk is boring. BORED FOREVER!!! The most interesting stuff in this issue deals with the Super Skrull fake betrayal, but that’s over by the first couple of pages and then the book quickly reverts back to its natural state: boringtowne.

She-Hulk #33 (****): What a difference the art makes. Same writer. Same shitty story. But somehow the fabulous art makes everything more interesting.

Secret Invasion: Inhumans #2 (****1/2): finally got my hands on this and I was not disappointed. Tom Raney rules.

Secret Invasion: The Amazing Spider-Man #2 (***): Better than the first issue? I don’t know. It was still UGH-inducing.

Secret Invasion: Thor #2 (**): UGH. This book is FAIL. Why even make this a mini? There were absolutely ZERO interesting plot turns before Thor shows up at the end. Just skip the two filler issues and make this a one-shot where Thor beats the shit out of a legion of Skrulls. DING.

Skrulls vs. Power Pack #3 (-): This books makes me cry.

Thunderbolts #124 (*****): …and THIS book makes me giggle like your little sister on weed. WHEEE!!!!

Bruce Castle Presents: Skrulls! Zombies! Werewolves! Which One Has The Best Comic?

Mighty Avengers #18 (****1/2)

Why?! Why isn’t Bendis always this good? This is the best Bendis comic I’ve read since Mighty Avengers #12. Is it a coincidence that the main character in both issues is Nick Fury? This comic was so much fun! Who knew Nick Fury training a bunch of D-Listers could be so awesome! I laughed out loud several times. In addition to Bendis’ enthralling writing, Stefano Caselli’s art is very easy on the eyes. Please stay away Khoi Pham! My only criticisms are that I wish Bendis would have the courage (or power) to execute what Nick Fury promises in the beginning of the issue. Also, I wish Bendis had more time to flesh out the characters a little. This leads to the conclusion of my review. Mr. Bendis, could you please write a new Nick Fury’s Howling Commandos series? There isn’t a single Skrull or costumed character in this issue and it’s remarkable!

Secret Invasion: Thor #2 (***1/2) SPOILERS!!!!

Is there anyway Asgardians fighting “Godkiller” Skrulls couldn’t be cool? Speaking of these “Godkillers”, you can add this story to the “Skrulls are going to win” evidence pile. The Skrulls have designed hundreds of creatures to fight Gods. They harness the power of Stormbreaker, Bill’s hammer that has all of the strengths of Mjolnir. Oh and they created a Super-Skrull that is genetically modified to mimic Thundra, Titania, Volcana, and Battleaxe that beats Beta Ray Bill! The Terrans are doomed! While the battle is raging, we also get to see what the people of Broxton are up to. This is the weak part of the issue. Donald Blake delivers a baby. Yes it’s well done, but I think it’s another “I just had a baby and I want to write about how cool it is” concept from Fraction. Oh and there’s another unnecessary scene with the Broxton volunteer firemen. I’m not a big fan of that stuff, but there’s still plenty to enjoy here. Braithwaite’s art is more than satisfactory. Fraction writes the action well and provides an ending that leaves me wanting more.

The Walking Dead #52 (****)

This is probably one of the issues that would support a reader’s want to read this series in trade. I’m sure several people will walk away saying “nothing happened”. The fact that this issue was late doesn’t help. Maybe it would be better if I waited for the trades, but I love these characters too much. And that’s what I took from this issue, lovely interactions. We get some gore too, don’t worry. In fact, that’s probably what a lot of people will love about the post-prison Walking Dead. More dead zombies! Another element that I think readers take for granted is Charlie Adlard’s art. Adlard, along with Cliff Rathburn, consistently perform well. In typical Kirkman fashion, the ending leaves me wanting more.

The Astounding Wolf-Man #8 (***)

What I said about Walking Dead in regards to the lateness and trade concept goes double for this issue. Since its conception, this series has been bimonthly. However, this was supposed to be the start of the book going monthly. This was due in July. All of that may not bother me, except that it took me about five minutes or less to read the issue. It’s still good, but because of the delay I can’t give this more than a mild recommendation. And I was so excited after last issue. Kirkman has stated several times that he’ll make an announcement soon about all his books going monthly for a long time. I find that a bit hard to believe considering his track record, but I still have hope. I mentioned earlier that this was a quick read. Of course that’s because there are several wordless panels. When you have an issue like this, the art is a huge factor. I’m happy to report that Jason Howard pulls it off. I’ve grown quite fond of his style as I’ve watched his improvement in this book. If you regularly read my reviews, you may recall my praise for the current colorist on Invincible, FCO Plascencia. Well, he’s on this book now too! So, the pictures are pretty and the story wouldn’t bug me at all in a trade, but reading it monthly is a bit frustrating.

Foilball’s Review Roundup #50 – My Late Secret Invasion Reviews

The New Avengers #44 (****1/2): This was the much needed issue to explain how the Skrulls did what they did. But here’s the thing, I think it makes the Skrulls look too smart. Like, these guys got cloning down to a perfected science? Shapeshifters, genetic manipulators, interstellar space travel? Dude, how the hell can Earth win? They can’t. They really can’t. So now, after reading this issue, if Secret Invasion ends in any way that isn’t total victory for the Skrulls then it’ll just ring false to me.

The Mighty Avengers #17 (***1/2): This was an okay issue, but in no way a must-read. Hank Pym is hard to mimic… who cares? Unless… unless this means that the Skrull Pym over in the main title plans to betray his people. Interesting…

Avengers: The Initiative #16 (*****): OMG! This book was sweet! The Skrull Kill Krew was never this awesome! The art! The dialogue! This book was just too much fun! Can you guys imagine an event book written by Dan Slott? Poor Robert Kirkman, now I understand his bitterness. Marvel replaced him with Slott!

Black Panther #40 (*****): You know what this arc reminds me of? It reminds me of the very first arc of the series; the arc that made me love the Black Panther. It’s as if Aaron went back and read those first six issues, and nothing else, and then sat down and wrote this wonderful tie-in. It’s sad that it’s taken 30 odd issues to get the Panther title back to this level of good.

Captain Britain and MI13 #4 (*****): Finally got a copy… wow, this was good. Should I be watching Dr. Who? Also, I’m glad I read the Wisdom trade before picking up this series. Continuity is great when it works!

Guardians of the Galaxy #4 (*****): It took four issues, but they got me. I’m hooked. Something about the character dynamics this issue makes me feel like this is a book worth reading.

The Incredible Hercules #120 (*****): Herc rises to the occasion and beats up a god. Not much more to say than that. Also, it was brilliant!

Nova #16 (****): Indeed, this was one of the better issues of Nova, and I like how it tie-ins with Secret Invasion, but what bugs me is how horribly it seems to sync up with…

She-Hulk #32 (****): … so I guess Nova gets away then? As for She-Hulk, I’m still enjoying the new artist but as for the story, I’m kind of wishing this Skrull Pope guy would just go away. He’s annoying. And unnecessary.

Secret Invasion: The Amazing Spider-Man #1 (***): Meh, why did this even need to get published? And the title is total lies. It’s a story about Jackpot (jack-who?), not a story about Spider-Man. Waste.

Thunderbolts #123 (*****): Christos Gage, you are a master.

X-Factor #34 (*): Larry Stroman, you are not.

Bruce Castle Presents: Take Two Ultimates And Call Me In The Morning

Ultimate Origins #4 (**1/2)

Well, it pulled out of that downward spiral. In fact, this issue was even better than last. Unfortunately, it’s still not enough for me to recommend. This issue’s “reveal” was particularly lackluster. Ultimatum is coming, I get it. Stop talking about something big happening and actually show it please. Butch Guice’s art has been mediocre at times, but after looking at this issue, you can see that the man has talent. His renderings are probably the most impressive ingredient in Ultimate Origins. Sadly, this series has turned out to be a moderate retelling of well-known origins with an ultimate twist. Is that really worth your money?

Ultimate X-Men/Ultimate Fantastic Four Annual#1 (****)

Ah, another “people from a warped future come to the present” story. Isn’t that kind of boring now? Yes, but it can still be fun when done well. This comes from two Heroes writers, Joe Pokaski and Aron Coleite. They’re both fairly new to comics, but they’ve already become quite proficient. As I mentioned, this is one of those future yarns. We get to have some fun discovering what’s happened to all our favorite characters. Don’t worry. We still get to see plenty of the current ultimate heroes. They’re drawn wonderfully by Mark Brooks and Dan Panosian. Panosian is a name I’m not familiar with. I found his art to be quite pleasing though. He has a cartoonish style that I’m very fond of. Some more good news is that this issue may actually contain a clue as to what will occur in Ultimatum. Whether it does or not, this was an extremely entertaining read.

Review: Secret Invasion #6 – Spoilers!

Time for more invasion! I’ll just flip through my issue here and I’ll reveal some stuff while giving you my thoughts.

The issue begins with Marvel Boy crashing down. Yay! We’ll get to see what Benids has been planning for him right? Oh, he just watches Captain Mar-Vell die in his arms. Skrully Mar-Vell mentions something about Marvel Boy being “here for a REASON!” Ok, we get it. Why Bendis? I guess we’ll have to wait more (Really? How many months ago was that Illuminati issue with Marvel Boy? And also, I guess the reason why the captain was brought back was just to show that Skrulls have a conscience and then die? That’s kind of weak.)

Next, we see a bunch of the tie-ins mentioned. That’s cool. It gives Bendis a reason to show the Savage Land (again!!!!) and also reminds the reader of the cool comics that have come from SI. Uh, the Skrulls are chatting about stuff and mention that Wasp bomb (Which was already implied in another book).

We next see that ship filled with the people from the Savage Land. Tony mentions that his armor is down. He does have a back-up system, but he’d have to purge the virus. So Tony is down for the issue right? Have you seen all that “embrace change” stuff lately? Well, we get a little bit of that stuff with the cliché “love the aliens” stuff, but not enough for it to be the big deal that Marvel seemed to think it was. We see more of the Nick Fury fight. The Hood and his crew want to go into action, but Hoody is waiting for the right moment. So, it’ll be a big thing when they get involved right?

We see Cap and Thor together. Oh that’s cool, oh wait that was revealed two issues ago, never mind. So, then all the heroes line up and all the green dudes line up and they fight. Remember when Tony said he was down and out unless he could purge the virus? Well, he’s fighting in what seems like top form at the end with no explanation. There’s so much worthless dialogue in this issue, Bendis didn’t have time to explain that? Or do we have to wait for an NA or MA issue, either way it’s crappy. Oh and apparently The Hood found his right moment because he’s in the big fight too. That’s kind of a letdown.

Let’s see what Marvel promised in this issue:

EMBRACE CHANGE! With these words, the Skrulls have made their intentions clear but not everyone thinks they sound all that bad. Which heroes and icons are hell-bent on defending the Earth from the invasion, and who thinks a new era has dawned for mankind? The final double-page spread of this issue will send chills down your spine, and that is a promise!! The blockbuster event of the year heads towards its shattering conclusion by Bendis and Yu.

Well, the embrace change stuff was barely in it. There weren’t any heroes fighting for the Skrulls that I saw. Oh, and that double-page spread didn’t send chills down my spine. They’re cool two pages for sure, but that has nothing to do with the story, it’s just Leinil Yu showing off.

Were there cool moments in this issue? Yes there were. Yu’s art looks impressive as always and of course I loved the Iron Man, Cap, and Thor reunion. But there are just too many things that disappointed. This is issue #6 and it could’ve been issue #3. Well, I’ve ranted enough. This could’ve been a lot better than it is. I guess I’ll just have to turn my brain off the next two issues and enjoy the fun pretty action.

Oh whoops! I forgot something. They finally revealed who “he” is. Spider-Queen says “he loves you” and Spider-Man asks “he who?” Turns out it’s God. Nick Fury replies “Yeah? Well my God has a hammer!” And then action ensues. Can you understand why I forgot it? Something that should have been a big deal turned out to be kind of weird. It was revealed in bizarre fashion too. And who says God is a he anyway? Didn’t Bendis see Dogma? Man this comic rubs me the wrong way. I hope some of you are at least enjoying it as a fun blockbuster.

Spoiler Review: Secret Invasion #6

Captain Marvel, what say you about Secret Invasion?

*Here’s the thing: Around two years ago, Marvel brought an amnesiac Captain Marvel back during Civil War. At the time, many fans speculated as to the “why”. Later, we learned that the reincarnated Marvel was in fact a Skrull agent, planted on Earth to prepare the way for his brethren. But, this Skrull had second thoughts and managed to subvert his programming. During Secret Invasion, Captain Marvel decided to attack Thunderbolts Mountain (an act whose motive still remains unclear (due in large part to editorial screw-ups, one would think)), but was somehow convinced by Norman Osborn to instead take out his frustration on the orbiting Skrull Armada, and in this issue’s opening pages we watch him die in the arms of a confused (he’s not the only one) Marvel Boy, thus meeting his final epic, yet tragic fate… or so Marvel would have you think. Now, question, was bringing Captain Marvel back into modern continuity just to have him die so unceremoniously in a neglected Secret Invasion subplot worth all the ####ing hassle? Methinks that mayhaps this Secret Invasion death was not the original plan for our old Kree friend. I’d love to ask someone at Marvel this question at the next convention I go to, maybe I should ask Brian Reed?
*Speaking of neglected subplots: Bendis wasted an entire issue of the Illuminati series on Marvel Boy, presumably to prepare us for his stunning return in the pages of Secret Invasion. Thus far, consider me un-stunned. Seriously? What’s with all the wasted character and story potential?

-Ah, hello there Mr. Black Panther! Secret Invasion has firmly been established within tie-in continuity!

STATUS REPORT… for those, like me, that like keeping score.

*Your agenda appears flawed: I call BULLSHIT! Why isn’t nuking an assembly of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes on the blasted agenda?!? Step 1) Lure them to the Savage Land. Step 2) Distract them with doppelgangers. Step 3) BLOW THEM ALL TO HELL!

-WHA!?! You mean that growth serum Skrull-Pym gave the Wasp was actually some type of secret weapon of mass destruction?!? Interesting…

-It’s nice, but does it feel weird to anyone else that the Mighty and New Avengers can occupy the same space and NOT try to kill each other?

-Come on, guys. This isn’t really the time for super hero posturing.

*Obviously, I loved it: Yep, total fanboy moment and I’m not too proud to admit it.

-That’s a lot of Skrulls, yo!

-Oh, BURN! Point to Spider-Woman!

SNAP! Nick Fury takes the lead!

-…we now join the epic final battle already in progress


Gotta say, this issue really got the blood pumping there toward the end. Secret Invasion feels like one of those good old-fashioned beat ‘em up crossovers done in the Mighty Marvel Way, and it’s about damn time! Next issues promises… let me repeat, PROMISES to be 22 pages of FIGHT. That’s fine. We haven’t had one of those since issue two… and that one sucked. Expect to see Marvel Boy finally make an impact, The Hood launch into his master plan and a whole bunch of dead Skrulls… or maybe, not so much? Marvel recently announced the name of the banner that will be appearing on the cover of all the post-Secret Invasion books: “Dark Reign”. I mean, kind of sounds like the Skrulls win, don’t it?

*HEY! Where’s my Maria Hill action?!?

Bruce Castle Presents: Venom Is Popular?

I have to ask a question before we get down to the reviews. Why is Venom getting so much love right now? He isn’t in any newly released movies. He was in Spider-Man 3, but that was a while ago. I heard there will be a Venom movie coming out, but not anytime soon right? It’s not his anniversary. So why is he in Amazing and Ultimate Spider-Man, Thunderbolts, Moon Knight, and even that Venom Origins thing right now? Is there any reason for this?

Amazing Spider-Man #569 (***1/2)

This is the second part of New Ways to Die. It should probably be called New Ways to Make Money. This issue has already sold out according to Marvel. It has another superstar (Adi Granov) cover and it even has the first appearance of a new character. Like last issue, this contains some solid entertainment. We get some beautiful art from JRJR (Twice in one week!) and some impressive writing from Slott. It isn’t anything too spectacular yet, but this issue is produced well and it’s fairly enjoyable.

Ultimate Spider-Man #125 (***1/2)

After how bad last issue was, this is a breath of fresh air. I’m happy to report that USM seems to be back on track with the coolness. The plot seems to be moving along nicely now and there wasn’t any video game flashbacks. The Ultimate Beetle seems incredibly more interesting than last issue and he even has a humorous moment in here. I was a little surprised at the level of violence featured. Venom eats a few things including some people and a horse! I’m not usually too impressed with Immonen’s art, but he brings his A-game here. There’s also a nice Peter and MJ exchange and an intriguing ending. If the improvements continue, this still has the potential to be a pretty good arc.

Foilball’s Review Roundup #47 – A Thick Batch O’Marvel!

The Amazing Spider-Man #567 (***1/2)

I’m probably giving this book a higher rating than it deserves, since it did something I liked, but I’m pretty sure it was unintentional. You see, in order to explain away why it was that Peter’s friend Vin was mistaken for Spider-Man by the new Kraven, Peter (as Spidey) tells him, “To protect my identity, I’ve pegged some people as, well, decoys. Y’know, in case anybody gets too close to figuring out who I really am, I put them on the trail of, well… somebody else.” Now, this is a lie. Obviously, Peter Parker would never do something this foul or selfish. I mean, hell, this is the type of thing to get innocent people hurt or worse, horribly tortured and murdered by some super villain. I assume most fans hated this and called shenanigans. I would too, if I didn’t like how douchey it makes Peter. I like a little dark side with my web-slinging. Ah, but, this was probably one of those ill-conceived ideas… so, I guess maybe this really is just bad writing? Regardless, the rest of the issue was fun and resolved satisfactorily, and the art continues to impress.

Cable #6 (****)

This was definitely the best issue of Cable yet, and Cable was barely in the damn thing. Swierczynski tackles a bunch of continuity issues and manages to make it less of the mess that it is. For instance: do the X-Men kill now? Does Emma know about X-Force? If not, how can she not, she reads minds, y/y? Is Forge still pissed about what happened to his lab? Is sex the only true remedy to insomnia? And, my favorite, just how shark jumpingly smart is Beast? We spend the entire issue in Cyclops’ head, one of the most boring X-heads of all-time, and yet… by the end I was sad to get kicked out. If only Swierczynski could bring this type of depth to the titular character.

Halo: Uprising #3 (***1/2)

OMG, there’s an actual story here? Thought that needed to be pointed out. I like it. I don’t like Halo, but I like this. I like the Bendis/Maleev team. Anyone else reading this? Is the brother of the main character civilian dude, is he Master Chief?

King-Size Spider-Man #1 (*****)

What a surprisingly fun book! Unlike Spider-Man Family (SEE below), every story in this collection was neat and entertaining. I especially liked the very first page, the one with the warning—that I would show you but, SCANNER NO WORK!!! All the stories were exactly what out-of-continuity stories should be. Namely, fun. OH! And then there’s a preview of the new Mini Marvels Digest in the back and I liked it so much I pre-ordered it on Amazon. YAY!

Punisher: War Journal #22 (**)

More action packed—well, cooler action at least—than last ish, but it’s still shit. Like, it’s just bullshit. The content is crap. Reading this, after reading Ennis’ final issue (or any Ennis Punisher comic) where you see that the writer has a grasp on the character and his motivations, and a delicate handling that no other writer will ever match, and then you read the Fraction/Remender penned GW Bridge speech and it makes you want to vomit. Amazing Spider-Man Family style vomit. I’m losing words. Words are fail work describing hate this the Punisher. UGH.

Quick Hits:
• The Amazing Spider-Man Family #1 (**): Vomit. Which, of the many forgettable stories did I like… oh, the reprint of issue 300 was awesome!
• Astonishing X-Men #26 (**1/2): Still bad, but not terrible. In terms of quality, this is the exact opposite of his run on Thunderbolts.
• Avengers/Invaders #4 (****): This issue was tons of good with limited engagements of suck, the suckiest being the panel where Cap winks at Bucky. That was just creepy. Like child molester creepy. CHILLS! Down my spine!
• The Last Defenders #6 (***1/2): I don’t think this book ever reached its full potential, and I’m confident it is a story that could have been told in three less issues. Will I pick up a monthly Defenders book by Joe Casey based on the strength of this mini? Probably not.
• Fantastic Four #559 (***1/2): More of the same, but it definitely feels like a midpoint. So, that’s cool. Like everyone else, I found the two-page splash exciting… and that was about it.
The Invincible Iron Man #4 (****): Tony Stark does not beat Mr. Fantastic at chess. No. Wrong. Fail. Other than that, another solid read. I especially love Fraction’s take on Pepper Potts. She’s becoming a very strong female lead under his guidance, but Mr. Fraction, please, please, PLEASE do NOT make her a superhero. Please?
• The Punisher #60 (*****): The perfect end to a perfect run. Gosh, I hope Marvel puts out that last Punisher MAX hardcover (volume 5). I don’t want to start all over again with the stupid omnibuses. Don’t screw me, Marvel!
• Ultimate Origins #3 (**1/2): Know what? Whatever. I don’t even care anymore. This is a story that needed to be told three years ago. Whatever. Like, is Ultimatum just some Celestial story? Maybe that would be cool, if we didn’t already have an Eternals ongoing over in the 616. Whatever!

Bruce Castle Presents: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly (w/SPOILERS)

Justice Society of America#18 (****1/2)

After taking a quick break in Earth 2 for the annual, we’re back to Gog. The JSA and Gog run into some dudes with guns attacking a village. The JSA quickly handles them out of fear of what Gog would do to hurt people. We get a nice 6 page or so fight complete with Hawkman being badass. After the fight, Gog says “I will end war”. The recently healed Damage hits on Judomaster with humorous results. We get some nice character moments and the JSA decid to continue following Gog. They run into more war and this time Gog works his magic. Does he kill them? No, he turns them into fruit trees. It’s eternal community service basically. Oh, next came the spoiler that DC already freaking spoiled! That Lance dude with the gun hand dies. So Gog regenerates him turning him into Magog! Now we clearly see the problem. Does Gog answer prayers? Yes, but when he does he screws stuff up. He’s kind of like Elizabeth Hurley in Bedazzled. Anyone remember that movie? So Power Girl gets sent to Earth 2, but it turns out it’s a different one and the heroes end up hunting her. Sandy gets to sleep and dream well, but he is in eternal sleep. Damage’s face is healed, but now he’s a vain pretty boy jerk. Dr. Mid-Nite can see again, but as he says in the issue, “I’m more blind than I am before”. Starman’s schizophrenia is gone, but he’s less happy now. And Lance is dead, but he’s now Gog’s servant, Magog. So, be careful what you wish for. Oh and if that Magog reveal wasn’t cool enough, Power Girl tracks down Earth 2 Mr. Terrific with an alternate universes book in her hand. So there you go. I’m really digging this arc and a lot happened in this issue. The people who have criticized this book recently for being too slow should be pleased. This is more solid storytelling from Geoff Johns and I can’t wait to see what happens next.

New Avengers #44

New Avengers #44 (**)

“The dark secret of the Illuminati. Marvel’s most covert gathering of heroes has a secret so dark that they never speak of it, even to each other. And it could be what has brought about the Secret Invasion.” That’s what is supposed to happen in this issue. It turns out the Illuminati never actually appear in this issue. Is that lame? Yes sir. Basically, the Skrulls keep experimenting with those Illuminati copies they can conjure. The issue does begin with a cool scene, but that’s ultimately what this issue boils down to, a lot of flash with little substance. Can that still be cool at times? Yes, and there was almost enough for me to call this one good. However, due to the poor advertising, the poor story (People respond better to love than force. Did you know that?), and the fact that this has practically no significance whatsoever, you can certainly skip this “most important tie-in”.

Mighty Avengers #17

Mighty Avengers #17 (-)

A Hank Pym Skrull goes rogue so he gets replaced. I just saved you three bucks. This issue’s pure awfulness really caught me off guard. I haven’t been a big fan of MA or NA lately (or of SI in general), but this issue was truly terrible. I really wasn’t kidding about that first sentence. That is all that happens. On top of that, the art is poor and so is the writing. This issue is literally three pages of Skrull Pym enjoying coffee, three pages of plot, two pages of meaningless action aftermath and 14 pages of shoddy action. What’s interesting is that if you look at the solicit for this issue, it’s a different cover and it’s supposed to be about Captain Marvel. What happened? Please, even people who love SI, do yourself a favor and DON’T BUY THIS BOOK!!!

Review: Secret Invasion #5 – Spoilers!

Secret Invasion #5 (Yu Variant Cover Edition)

It’s very revealing that I’m writing this review only a day after this book was released and we already have two other reviews of this book on the site. I guess that lets you know how fast we are on read/RANT! (Plug! Plug! Plug!). So I know you’ve already got two great write-ups on this book, but I’ll still through in my two cents. I’ll be looking at this with a little more negativity.

We deal with that whole Thunderbolts Captain Marvel thing (Didn’t this happen four issues ago? Wasn’t it already written about like two other times already?). Oh and Norman Osborn says “We’re at war.”, really?! Splash pages of a bunch of famous people who I guess are Skrulls? Maybe not, I guess it’s just supposed to be a cool gimmick. Agent Brand knows Skrull and then kicks some ass! Ok, that was cool. She frees Mr. Fantastic and he’s pissed.

We then get to that Jarvis Skrull Maria Hill conversation that’s been going on for a while. Some cool stuff happens there too. Captain Marvel is going ape-shit where Mr. F and Agent Brand are. Why? Because Norman gave him a pep talk? We’re back at the savage land now. Don’t you just love seeing the Savage Land? We’ve been here the entire event! There are some more moments with those heroes that came off the ship in the first issue. That’s right, there’s more! Did anyone really think that these guys weren’t Skrulls? Uh, that ship that Mr. F and Brand were on crashes right next to the heroes (convenient!).

Mr. Fantastic shoots a Skrully detector thing. Wait a minute, we’ve had that “who do you trust” thing shoved down our throats and all of a sudden all of that is taken away with a silly gadget? Can you say cop out? So all of the Skrulls are revealed including Clint’s squeeze. Oh no! Oh wait, that wasn’t surprising. Clint is cold blooded too. He pops a cap in that Skrull’s crown right away. Skrull Jessica Jones gets eaten! Ha Ha! Lastly, we get the weakest last page ever (at least in this series). It’s just Clint pissed. Oh man does that get me excited about the next issue, or not.

So I guess it sounds like I hated it huh? Well, hate is too strong a word, but I’ll try to break it down. The art looks pretty good. I’m not a big fan of Leinil Yu because his art is usually so weird and muddled. If you’ve read his New Avengers issues, you’ll know what I’m talking about. But it looks pretty here though, although most events have better art. There are some cool moments in here for sure. It’s kind of a fun blockbuster at times, but there is a lot more bad stuff. It’s slow, we don’t get enough bang for our buck (It only takes like 5 minutes to read and costs 4 bucks!), and it’s not broad enough for an event book. I’m doing too much bashing here, but after 5 issues, I guess I can finally realize how poor it is. This probably would have worked a lot better as a New Avengers/ Mighty Avengers crossover from Bendis and have someone else write the event. It might have been pretty good if that were the case.

I apologize for the mass amounts of negativity in this review. But as I stated before, you have two other positive reviews to choose from, so I guess I’ll be the odd man out. I guess I’m just disappointed. This should have been one of the best things Bendis has ever written instead of something mediocre. Anyway, because I do try to be positive, I’ll end with a compliment. I thank you Bendis, for giving other titles, writers, and artists the material to create their own great stories. A lot of the tie-ins are fantastic. Again, even though I’ll probably be disappointed again next month, I really do hope the last three issues are awesome.

Immediate Thoughts: Secret Invasion #5

Things keep moving. I think more has happened in this issue compared to others, as you’ve got some big moments (Agent Brand rescuing Reed, Reed’s Skrull identifying plasma gun thingie, Skrull-Vell going AWOL again, everyone from the ship in the Savage Land officially being outed as a Skrull) that are still balanced with the character moments.

Things I liked:

LOVED the double page spread of the Skrulls’ media takeover. I don’t think it’s supposed to indicate that everyone on the TV screens have been replaced by Skrulls (John McCain, Barack Obama and Dr. Doom are Skrulls! Oh noes!), but it’s creepy and effective and has this otherworldly vibe to it that reinforces the “you’ve already lost” motif of the Skrull occupation/invasion.

I also like the way that Bendis is very specifically choosing the characters that are making waves in combating the Skrulls are just the folks that the Skrulls didn’t take into account. No one on the Skrull ship even recognized Agent Brand as a potential threat (or a likely candidate for a Skrull sleeper agent), which gave her the opening to rescue Reed. No one took Nick Fury into account (which is a little odd, considering they sent a Skrull after him and he killed it. Makes you think they would have found out about that one), which allowed him to burst on the scene with a bunch of other unknowns (his new Howling Commandos/Secret Warriors), warn Maria Hill to start using LMD’s, and coordinate the final battle. He’s got an in with Bucky, which would explain Cap joining the fray presumably in issue six. Everyone the Skrulls assumed would be a threat had been successfully compromised. That’s good planning on Bendis’ part.

Poor, poor, pitiful Hawkeye. Bendis takes him down a peg AGAIN (yep, Mockingbird’s a Skrull, but just like New Avengers 43 showed us, she didn’t know she was a Skrull, which’ll probably make him even more enraged) and he’s out for blood. Green blood. And I wouldn’t be surprised if his rage leads to some accidental red blood being spilled (watch your ass, Kate Bishop).

This is the macro side of the Secret Invasion story. It’s designed to hit every major and important story beat that will allow for the overarching story to be told from beginning to end. And Bendis realized that the story he wanted to tell was too big for one miniseries. I’m glad that the event has been structured in the way it has been because it allows for the story to be told in the best and most satisfying way. Yes, it is expensive. But you also get great stuff like Secret Invasion: Inhumans (I read it! It’s awesome! More on it later tonight or tomorrow!) or New Avengers or Captain Britain to fill in the gaps and create this rich tapestry of characters and events that reach all through the vast galaxies of the Marvel Universe. Bendis did set himself up for a fall in a way, because the only way to really pull it off and give every moment its fair shake is to sacrifice the main mini somewhat and turn it into more of a spine for the entire event, setting up side stories as waypoints into other series that will take the time to give them a fair shake. But I do think that Bendis has delivered from the perspective of the small moments that you do see in the SI issues (like the Hawkeye/Mockingbird confrontation from issue 2 or the Tony/Spider-Woman/Black Widow moments from issues 3 and 4, or Veranke’s monologue from 4, or the Agent Brand stuff from this issue) where he gets the chance to really delve into these characters and what would happen when faced with such an awful circumstance as a shape shifting alien invasion.

The book is not perfect, but it’s impossible to (and even if it weren’t, I resolutely refuse to) separate it from the rest of the event. Which is fantastically awesome. So it’s all gravy in my book. Delicious green gravy.

Spoiler Review: Secret Invasion #5

…and then there was ACTION, and there was TONS of it, and it was GOOD.

Tom Cruise to World: “Everybody chill! Scientology will save us!”

Agent Brand is cool under pressure.

Which Delegation? The ones that kicks your ass!!!

Yes, when forced with the choice, I too would pick explosive decompression.

Reed Richards is about to break his only rule.

OH HAI, Jarvis the Skrull.”

…and then Maria Hill brings the comeuppance big times! (Also, add another Helicarrier to The List!)

Eh, sorry for choking you out, weird green-haired lady.

Tony is still alive… barely.

I’m not an alien!

“I’ll tell of a plan…”

“Oh, uh… this is awkward.”

That’s some cold-blooded shit, Clint.

I’m sure they could have made it work, if only he’d been willing to try… but Clint wants “man-flesh”!

…and now for my favorite series of panels in the entire book: “What the-?” & “AAAIIEE!!!”

• So sad for Clint and Bobbi…
• Jessica Jones Skrull eaten by Zabu? GROSS.
• Tom Cruise!
• Agent Brand can tap into The Bullet Time now?
• I want to make-out with Maria Hill, STAT!
• The Tony vomit panel should have been a full page splash.
• Sue Storm Skrull has the worst dialogue in ages and it totally fits.
• I really would have liked to hear more about Skrull Thor’s plan…

Okay, this was a good one. Secret Invasion, for me, finally pays off the way it’s supposed to. This is great mindless summer fun. I’m annoyed that the Avengers are still in the Savage Land after five issues, but at least Bendis finally answered most of the “Who’s a Skrull” questions. Judging by the cover (Cap/Thor/Iron Man!) and the direction of the plot, issue six should be even better! So, despite the quote unquote slow start, Secret Invasion may turn out to be a satisfying read after all. Hope springs eternal, as they say.

Bruce Castle Presents: Monster Origins!

Monster Pile-Up (-)

It’s only two bucks. That’s about the best thing I can say about this. I bought it because I’m reading Astounding Wolf-Man and this was supposed to feature “compelling tales essential to each series!” That is a load of bull! I only got 4 pages of Wolf-Man and all it did was inform me of stuff I already knew and spoiled things for new readers! It spoiled a twist that actually surprised me too. I’m not reading the other three titles nor do I want to after reading the samples in here. Oh and they give misinformation about the Astounding Wolf-Man trade to put the ass tasting icing on the cake!

Ultimate Origins #3 (**)

This book is caught in a downward spiral. I really liked the first issue. It revealed some pretty shocking information and had good action and pretty art as well. The second issue didn’t really give us anything shocking but it was still a well-written retelling of Cap’s Origin. That’s cool too. It is Origins after all. But with this issue, again there is nothing shocking revealed. I guess what’s bothering me is how this book began and how it was advertised. This book was supposed to show dark secrets about the Ultimate U and how everything was connected. That theme has been absent these last two issues in a five issue miniseries which isn’t good. There was a little bit of behind the scenes stuff going on here, but it wasn’t anything to get excited or even care about. It’s a decent book when it comes to the retelling of origins, but we’ve already seen a lot of that sprinkled throughout the Ultimate books for eight years. So this was disappointing to me, but hopefully the last two will blow me away.