Top 5 Best Comics of May 2009!

Continuing the feature I started last month, here’s my list! I read 17 comics in May, and these were the best.

 

5. Green Lantern #41

I’m sorry. I haven’t written a review for this comic, and two others on my list, but this was a great Green Lantern issue. This issue, like most of the Johns-penned Blackest Night preludes, is packed with interesting information. On top of that, Johns continues to make Larfleeze (Larfreeze sounds so much cooler) a really interesting villain. But the absolute awesomeness of this issue can be found on the last page. Oh, what a last page.

 

4. Irredeemable #2

Oh, I love this feeling in comics. The book is new, and it just feels like the best thing ever. Ok, so Irredeemable isn’t flawless, but it’s a damn fine book. When we reflect on the man’s career, this could be the best Mark Waid comic. He’s writing the hell out of this book.

Here’s my review.

 

3. Ultimate Wolverine vs. Hulk #6

It’s sad. I think a lot of people dismissed this after the delays. I can certainly understand their reason for doing so, but if you did drop this book early, you missed out on a great series. Lindelof, while being a bit too unchained, actually wrote Wolverine and Hulk as fully fleshed-out characters. You know where they stand. And it’s so refreshing that the real “Wolverine vs. Hulk” of this series was much more psychological, instead of just a flurry of punching. Yu’s art is easy on the eyes as well.

 

2. The Walking Dead #61

Often thought of as my favorite ongoing series, instead of thinking “Will this issue be good?” I wonder “Just how good will this issue be?” This is definitely in the top-tier of The Walking Dead issues. There’s some bad stuff that happens here. If you aren’t reading this series, you should be.

Here’s my review.

 

1. Wolverine #72

Wow! Two Wolverine books in one month? That never happens! That’s because, with so many damn Wolverine books, most of them are repetitive and/or mediocre at best. But that’s exactly why “Old Man Logan” is so good. Millar takes a character that has been severely overused, and breathes some new life into him. Ok, so his actual characterization of Wolverine is more like Clint Eastwood than anything else, but this is a Wolverine story that is actually innovative. This series is packed with off-beat, fresh ideas. Oh, and Steve McNiven’s art is GORGEOUS!

So there it is! Agree? Disagree? Please, let me know!

April’s list

For more comic goodness, go here.

Review: Ultimate Wolverine vs. Hulk #2 – Spoilers!

Ultimate Wolverine vs. Hulk #2 New Printing

(**1/2)

Are you ready for another trip down memory lane? I just read this issue about a week or so ago, and yet without opening the page I can barely remember anything about it. All I remember is that things didn’t really progress at all in this issue. That’s right, it’s flashback time! What happened in Ultimates 2, how Hulk got all those beautiful women and so on.

That’s really all this issue is. What’s Hulk’s side of the story? It’s him finding peace and all that jazz. Again, is it well-written? Maybe, there were some fascinating moments like when Banner refuses to eat meat and then goes green and eats cows, hands and so on. Do we know that stuff about Hulk? Yeah, but it’s still fun to see. Because of the lack of story, I’ll focus on the art. This is from Mr. Yu. I don’t know what to think of this man’s work. There are times when his art is muddled or esoteric and others when it’s extraordinary. As much as I disliked Secret Invasion, it looked undeniably marvelous. I’m not sure if that was because of time or effort or as with most things in life, a bit of both. Yu certainly gets the job done here and he does aid Lindelof’s writing immensely. Still, this is definitely pre-Secret Invasion Yu. I’m eager to observe post-Secret Invasion Yu. The second issue promises “The Damn Fight”. I just hope we don’t delve into the opposite extreme and receive excessive action.

Review: Ultimate Wolverine vs. Hulk #1 – Spoilers!

Large Cover of Ultimate Wolverine Vs. Hulk #1 of 6

(***1/2)

This is an early review! This comic comes out tomorrow and…wait, what? Didn’t this comic come out over three years ago? Yep, it’s getting a new printing that comes out tomorrow. So why not take this opportunity to fight off the spiders, dig through my long boxes, and reread this sucker!

It seems like just yesterday when I flipped to the second page of this comic and saw this. Say what!? Did you hear as many fanboys bitching about that as I did? Oh well, I thought it was a humorous and shocking beginning. A good start for sure. The rest of this comic? A bit disappointing after that blood-pumping start.

This is the standard set-up issue. Government man (Samuel L. Ja…I mean Nick Fury) recruits a badass (Wolverine) to go kill that monster (Hulk). Wow, it’s like the 80’s all over again. Was the set-up well-written? I suppose, but it remains ultimately unmemorable. I believe this is Damon Lindelof’s first comic adventure, so I’m willing to wait while he gets his act together. And hey, at least the issue ends with Wolverine giving the old “Snikt” staring down the Hulk and a bunch of beautiful ladies. So maybe Lindelof just needed one issue of set-up, eh?

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.

Spoiler Review: Secret Invasion #7

…kind of unsatisfying? Here’s why:

BIG FIGHT SCENE ISSUES SHOULD BE EXCITING!

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 #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

GALACTUS SKRULL!!!

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?!?

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!!!”

NOTES:
• 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: Gods, Invasions, and Origins Oh My!

4 stars = Stop reading review and go buy now!!!!
3 and a half stars = Great issue and make room on your trade shelf someday soon
3 stars = Recommended and maybe even trade worthy
2 and a half stars = Recommended
2 stars= Not the best, not the worst, not recommended
1 and a half star = Terrible issue and vocalize your disgust at your next social event
1 star = Awful awful awful and you may want to consider dropping this title
0 stars = Next con you attend where the writer and/or artist are present you should throw this issue in their face

Justice Society #17

This issue, much like Action Comics, doesn’t move the plot forward all that much, but it’s still a hell of an issue. I probably talk about this in almost every Geoff Johns book I review, but he is one of the best character writers around. He can make you love an iconic character that seemed a bit stale (Hal Jordan or Superman), he can make you love an older character that was never given a chance to shine (Booster Gold), and he can take a completely new character and make you love them (Cyclone). This issue’s great moments include: Maxine ogling the newly healed Damage, oh and a monkey too! The exchange between Mr. Terrific and Dr. Mid-Nite. Ugh there are too many! Anyway, the plot doesn’t develop too much but I love where it seems to be going. Again, it’s more epic storytelling so I’m sure there will be a few naysayers, but I love this book!

4 stars

Secret Invasion #4Well, again Desiato and Billy got their review out a lot quicker. They seem to be more excited about and enjoy this series more than I do. Although, this was the first comic I read on Thursday. I’m still waiting for this series to live up to its expectations. I was about to breakdown each previous issue but there is no need. Let’s just move on to a few things about this one. Sentry cries, Ms. Marvel tears up, and Agent Brand cries. What’s up with all the crying? I suppose it’s supposed to add to the gravity of the situation, but it’s done in such a way that I don’t think a lot of people will even notice it. Not that it was subtle, but it just didn’t add to the story. This is an event and a HUGE one at that. Every panel should matter but that’s not the case here. Fury blasts Ms. Marvel, ok that’s cool. But is it just pointing out that “who can you trust” thing that we’ve been bludgeoned with over the past six months? Hopefully not, but that does seem to be the way Bendis is writing these days. I see it as more of a question of why. Is Fury a Skrull? Or is this just the Ms. Marvel Skrull thing? If she is a Skrull at this time then it seems her buddies didn’t get the message. We get another green eyes shot that I would think Mr. Yu would be getting tired of. Is Black Widow a Skrull? She is certainly not acting like a Skrull or is she? In this issue we get a close-up of The Hood’s face. Am I the only one who thinks he looks like Tony Stark? I looked at my Hood HC and the character looked nothing like this guy and certainly didn’t have blue eyes. It’s hard to tell though. I’m not sure what I think about Yu’s art. I used to think he was pretty good, but this whole Skrull business has kind of convinced me otherwise. With this and that whole baby thing ugh. That would be interesting if Tony was a Skrull and the Hood was the real Tony. Again, the way Bendis has been writing lately I doubt that’s a possibility, oh well. Thor and Bucky showed up too. I would usually be happy about this, but instead I have just a bad taste in my mouth. This review is long enough with me going into details. Anyway, the important thing isn’t the background. It’s not the tie-ins or anything else it’s just THIS ISSUE. And THIS ISSUE in my opinion was just ok. I got a bit excited over the last issue and I didn’t have that feeling here. It has nothing to do with the “reveal”, but more about the overall quality of the issue and the expectations that one should have about a 4 buck event that has been building for 5 years and is supposed to overshadow the last few Marvel events. I’m a bit of a sad panda after this issue.

2 and a half stars(It’d be lower but I have to recommend it, you should read it at least once)

Ultimate Origins #2– Got to review this quick. Not as great as last issue but still pretty good. It’s cool to see Steve in the early days. Not a whole lot revealed that I remember but it’s still very promising. The art is still nice and so is the writing.

2 and a half stars

Immediate Thoughts On: Secret Invasion #4

Ok, so it’s technically not immediate because I read it five hours ago while on lunch, but here goes…Bullet point style!

SPOILERS TOO!

 • I’m going to start sounding like a broken record soon. I LOVE COMPELLINGLY WRITTEN CAPTION NARRATIVE. I’ve said it about Identity Crisis. I’ve said it about Planet Hulk. I’ve said it about Kraven’s Last Hunt. Now I get to say it about Secret Invasion 4. I got such a kick out of the first half of the book with the narrative overlay. It sets such a strong tone for what the Skrulls are doing and how they’re going about doing it and the confidence that they’ve already won and their general contempt for the human race and on and on and on. AWESOME.

• Reed Richards getting tortured/experimented on AGAIN in the pretty much the exact same manner as NA: Illuminati #1? Nice touch. He’s going to be PISSED if/when he gets out of there.

• Bendis messing with our heads AGAIN with eye color. Last issue it was Jessica Drew. This issue it’s Black Widow. Both naturally have green eyes, so even though it’s been an indicator in the past of apparent Skrullyness, we can’t trust it, and everything’s still up in the air.

• Nick Fury’s gun being nearly the width of a page? Silly, but fun. His treatment of Ms. Marvel? Chilling.

• Black Widow’s shoot first, ask questions later approach makes perfect sense. And why the hell doesn’t Tony know the secret word? Did Black Widow and Wolverine just confirm to each other that they were Skrulls? WE DON’T KNOW!!!

• The Hood getting down on the side of Earth? I’m going to love the look on the face of the heroes when the cavalry arrives consisting of everyone the New Avengers have been fighting for the past nine months.

• Agent Brand watches her world crumble before her and responds with a single tear. Who needs word balloons?

• Bad ass Jarvis Skrull keeps on keeping on.

• Thor calls down the thunder. Bucky watches from a distance.

I know a lot of people are going to talk about how nothing happened in this issue just like nothing has happened in every other issue of Secret Invasion so far. No Earth shattering events or reveals, blah blah blah. This issue, though, is a HUGE step in quality for me, and I’ve liked all the issues so far. Easily as good as the first issue and probably better. This was a big sweeping epic action movie of a comic with that great substance to justify all the explosions and battles and thunder.

Great book. I loved it.

Spoiler Review: Secret Invasion #4

Wow, this almost feels like an issue packed to the gills with action, exposition and drama… just like a real event comic should! The first few pages consist of the skrully Jessica Drew explaining to Tony Stark that the war is already over and that Earth has lost.

The next section deals with the sheer awesomeness of the HAS-TO-BE-HUMAN Black Widow.

KA-CHOWWW!
Beast and Phoenix go down!
Shoot first, ask questions later!

Then, Widow gets about as close to shaking Stark out of his Skrull-induced paranoid delusion as one can get with a rather simple, yet effective call to arms.

Agent Brand sheds a single tear.

Maria Hill has a similar, yet infinitely more embarrassing moment. I hope she gets her revenge. I know people hate her, but I really want to her redeem her naiveté.

Next, The Hood decides that alien invasions are bad for business.

And then Thor… and then Bucky… and then I threw the comic into the air with a gleeful “YAUS!”

So, to sum up: Skrulls. Not a Skrull… for now.

Thoughts right now:

• Glad Phoenix was a Skrull. Too stupid if she wasn’t.
• Sad that Beast was. I liked the idea of getting the old Beast back.
• Maria Hill and Agent Brand need to team up! It can be all about proving how empowered women in comics can be.
• Tony needs some new armor. Like, he needs to cobble together something new or put on an old standby. Basically, he needs to get his shit together.
• Thor and Bucky? WOW!
• Black Widow is the coolest Avenger of all-time. “Look, I’m just gonna kill everyone. Sorry.”
• …and Jarvis is the pimp of the year. Have they explained which Skrull he is? I hope he’s like Paibok or something cool.

If you can’t tell, this issue rocked!

Bruce Castle’s July Previews Order

Action Comics #869
Astounding Wolf-Man #10
Astonishing X-Men #27
Boys #22
Captain America #42
Conan The Cimmerian #3
Daredevil #111
Dark Ivory #4 (Of 4)
Final Crisis #4 (Of 7)
Fc: Legion Of Three Worlds #2
Fc: Revelations #2
Fc: Rogue’s Revenge #3
Green Lantern #35
Hellboy The Crooked Man #3 (Of 3)
Hulk #6
Invincible #56
Invincible Iron Man #5
Justice Sociey Of America #19
Mighty Avengers #18
New Avengers #45
Punisher #62
Punisher War Journal #23
Secret Invasion #6
Secret Invasion Thor #2 (Of 3)
Skaar Son Of Hulk Presents Savage World #1
Ultimate Fantastic Four X-Men Annual #1
Ultimate Origins #4 (Of 5)
Ultimate Spider-Man #126
Ultimate X-Men Fantastic Four Annual #1
Uncanny X-Men #502
Walking Dead #55
X-Factor #35
X-Force#7

Damn! Still over thirty titles! Damn all those Final Crisis tie-ins. The Final Crisis is in my wallet! Well, this is the last Dark Ivory. That’s the last Hellboy. That’s probably my last Punisher War Journal. Skaar and X-Force are teetering on the brink of dropping. They’re great now but they could easily tip off my pull list. Can’t wait for Final Crisis! I hope Astonishing X-Men stays strong. I’m looking forward to what Walking Dead and Ultimate Origins reveal. And…

Reunited and it feels so good!

Spoiler Review: Secret Invasion #3

Secret Invasion #3 could easily end up the most talked about book of the summer. WOW. I can’t believe I just wrote that. Hey, didn’t Bendis say a while back that issue #3 would have one of, if not the biggest reveal of the entire story? I do recall he did. Hmm… Okay, finally we’re out of the damn Savage Land! Finally! Some real action!

I never noticed how “pimpy” Jarvis is.

YAUS! Bendis addresses the biggest bitch I have with Marvel books!

Teddy tries to reason with his people.

Giant-Man Super Skrull gives Wiccan the high, hard hand.

Who’s a Skrull? I don’t really think this is much of a spoiler, since it’s been hinted and flat out admitted in other titles, but in this issue, Bendis officially outs Spider-Woman as a Skrull. Oh, Jesus. Does that “CRACK” mean Echo’s dead? Please, I pray for death!

Alright, if you don’t want to know the biggest reveal in the entire story so far, do not, I repeat… DO NOT click on the following image links. You’ve been warned.

SPOILER LINK 1

SPOILER LINK 2

Deep ####ING cover, dudes. See, I tend to believe everything she’s saying here. Why? I think it’s a little late in the Invasion to still be playing head games. I don’t know, I know they said that what happens in this issue would definitely NOT occur in this story, but Bendis and Quesada have lied about key plot points before… hmm, this smells like the real deal and I LOVE it. I’m totally BACK IN, bitches!!!

And finally, your cliffhanger for this segment… where are all the ####ing heroes?

Meh, not as exciting as last issue’s cliffhanger, but it’s enough to get this fanboy revved up for more!