AGE OF ULTRON #8 (Marvel NOW!)
The entirety of this issue takes place in the modified future after Logan and Sue Storm have killed Hank Pym. Things are definitely bleaker and, whereas the last issue kind of showed Tony Stark as being a total dick, we find out the truth: he is a dick, but he’s a dick trying to protect everyone. He is assisted by Charles Xavier (who, if Wolverine were to meet him, would probably sh*t bricks) and Emma Frost; after all, since they are no longer dealing with Ultron in this world, you just might need a couple of telepaths on your side! We see Ben Grimm get the Defenders to help him find Sue Storm who is being interrogated by Stark and his team, and then things happen. The ultimate evil in that universe, Morgan LeFay, attacks and is accompanied by her army of demonic Doombots. We have only a single artist on this issue in Brandon Peterson as we have no time shifts going on, but we all know that with only 2 issues left and how the art work has been broken up (Peterson on the alterna-present, Hitch on the previous present, and Pacheco on the past) we’ll end up seeing the trio working together again to tie everything up. And with some teasers as to AoU #10 working around, such as the inclusion of Neil Gaiman’s Angela into the issue as well as a single word lurking as an aftermath of the series – “Hunger” – there is definitely more to come within the Marvel Universe as a result of the AoU. -Kelly Cassidy
AVENGERS: THE ENEMY WITHIN #1 (Marvel NOW!)
This is the first issue in a crossover between Captain Marvel and Avengers Assemble, both books written by Kelly Sue Deconnick. With what’s been going on with Captain Marvel since the launch of her series, we see some of the conflict (including her losing her powers) coming to a head in this crossover. The story actually goes back further than this series, dealing with the object that turned Carol into Ms. Marvel in the first place. Although she has been depowered before (when Rogue stole all her memories and powers WAAAAY back when), I’ve never seen her be this… down. She has her Avengers pals to help her, though, which is good; they even get to toss a little humor into the fray. From Spider-Woman pulling a prank on her to Thor even getting a one liner as they are fighting T-Rex’s – “Mayhap your enemy hath wee little arms.” This is part 1 of 5, with the remaining 4 issues taking place in the aforementioned Captain Marvel and Avengers Assemble. The story is strong, the art is good, and I am looking forward to the next 4 parts of the story. -Kelly Cassidy
THE COLONIZED #2 (IDW)
So what happens when you have aliens arriving on Earth just in time for a zombie invasion in a town full of rednecks and ‘anti-government’ hillbillies? Well, The Colonized pretty much answers this question. Another question I have is did the aliens cause this? They were hoping to study a human before they made full contact because they needed to know if there were germs or anything that could harm them. But there is still the question, to me anyway, if they actually caused this or if something else made the dead rise? But this issue gave us some interesting developments. We find out the aliens cannot become zombies because when they die they turn into dust. But what was really interesting is when a zombie bites one of them the zombie seems to regain some of its former personality and dies again… and for good this time. So can the aliens cure and kill the zombies? I guess it doesn’t really matter because at this point there aren’t enough of them to fight the zombie hordes. There is also the question of the ATF Agent who was supposed to be finding out their weapon and man-power capabilities because they insist on living ‘off the grid’ who sees the aliens and now figures he can use them to make his career he just needs to try to survive the zombie attack first.
The story by Chris Ryall is fine and intriguing. It certainly can’t be easy to have this many different elements in one story and make it work but Ryall actually does it. What could easily be little more than a campy sci-fi story can actually be taken a little more serious even with zombie cows attacking people.
Oh, and eagle-eyed IDW fans should be on the look out for Archibald, the alien character from IDW’s Groom Lake miniseries by Ryall and Ben Templesmith, he also appeared in the Infestation 2 event in a one-shot. -Skott Jimenez
DOOMSDAY .1 #1 (IDW)
This comic book series is another edition to the flooded market of apocalyptic storylines. I’m going to try to avoid spoilers in this Bullet Review but zombies were not the cause of this particular doomsday. The first issue of Doomsday.1 introduces us to several characters that all have some cliché background or connection. We’ve got the woman who is early in her pregnancy, the son whose father never truly apologized or worked things out. We have a farmer type who seems completely out-of-place given the location and an early hero who is portrayed in a somewhat negative light but who sacrifices himself to save others. The dialogue is just as clichéd but it’s used to push the played out plot points.
To be honest, by page 8 of this 32 page book, I was ready to stop reading. I feel like this issue doesn’t bring anything original to the table, well nothing that survives for more than a few pages. In fact, the only unique things about this story literally go up in flames and that is unfortunate because I would have rather had them explore what would happen to a handful of people stranded in space after a doomsday occurs on Earth. Instead, we are introduced to many characters in specific different situations, the White House, a religious group (I’m assuming the Catholic Church’s top Bishops and maybe the Pope), prison inmates, a military sub and then our primary characters whose unique situation becomes completely irrelevant in a matter of this one issue.
I might give the second issue a chance in hopes that the writers to have a plan that gives this story its own unique voice but based on the stereo typical characters and plot devices used in just this first issue, my hopes are not high. Unless you simply have an unbridled love for doomsday stories, I’d skip this particular series. – Derreck Mayer
FABLES #129 (Vertigo)
We bring Snow White to an end and, unlike the Disney versions of these stories, this time there is no ‘happily ever after’. The final showdown between Snow and Brandish ends in death as fans of the series figured because whenever a story is named after a character… the story usually has a sad ending and for Fables Fans this ending is probably up there with the ending of Amazing Spider-Man #700. But that’s what makes this issue sad but grand at the same time. But it’s also a shining example of why this has been one of the best books being published today, and has been for over 10 years. Just as with ASM #700 we didn’t get a cheapened ending with a last-minute save, we got a sliver of hope that things might not get worse and still have a chance to get better but with a tap of a sword things went south and we are now without a long running character. You’ll notice I’m not being very specific here, that’s because I know a lot of readers follow this series through trades only and I don’t want to spoil it. So just be prepared when you reach this point.
But then there are the plans by the Witches to try to fix the situation. Can it work? Should it? Young Ambrose makes a very good point about bringing people back from the dead and how in the stories it never ends well to bring someone back from the dead and makes the connection they are all from ‘the stories.’ It all can possibly lead to future stories but this issue here is, and I know I say this a lot, one of the best issues in the series because it had a real ending and there was no cheap exit. Fables #129 will go down in history as a game changer for this series, the loss of a major character in any series will do that but unlike your typical superhero stuff… in Fables death is usually not something you get better from. This character will be missed and will never be replaced and now, while we grieve the loss, we must move forward. What’s really sad about this is since it isn’t Spider-Man or Superman this death isn’t going to get major coverage outside of fans like me and others who have outlets to talk about it online. -Skott Jimenez
FF #7 (Marvel NOW!)
This has been one of those books that I have been on the fence about keeping. I am still on the fence, but I have not dismissed it yet. Although I have been liking Fantastic Four, FF is something… that I cannot put my finger on. Yes, we are seeing the series tie together (this issue of FF seems to do something to Blastaar that we are seeing the resulting actions of in the last issue of Fantastic Four), but… that’s about it. The cover of the book is also somewhat misleading, as the Human Torch and She-Hulk are actually nowhere to be found within the pages. Well, She-Hulk shows up at the end of the book, but that’s about it. I do get that the cover is an homage to an old Buscema cover and so we needed the 4 members of the team there. Although I love Mike Allred’s work usually (iZombie was an amazing book), I’m still on the fence for him here. Maybe it’s the uniforms for the team which are just… Well, they wouldn’t have designed an outfit like that for the FF back in the 1960s so to do it now just seems… garish. Apart from the outfits Allred does a great job here; I really, REALLY like his rendition of Dragon Man. But this story was really about Scott “Ant Man” Lang becoming comfortable in his role as team leader, and that eventually happened. His grief of his daughter being taken from him always overwhelmed him at the wrong times, and now he’s coming to see the team as his family. He couldn’t save Cassie, but he can save this crew. The only other notable thing to say: we see the Inhumans here. I have heard rumors that something is coming down the pipe at Marvel that includes them and, since Medusa is a team member here, we can assume there will be some overlap and some teases here as the months go on. -Kelly Cassidy
JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA’S VIBE #4 (DC)
If you’ve been reading this series and it’s “parent” title, Justice League of America, you know that Vibe has been a reluctant hero. He’s part of the team being formed in order to take down the Justice League, should the need arise. Even though DC architect Geoff Johns helped to bring Vibe back to the DCU, this is the first issue where his name no longer appears in the credits. He took co-plotter and co-writer on the first few issues, but the writing of the book here shows that maybe he was more plotter than anything as the dialogue appears consistent from the first few issues. Sterling Gates continues to run with Vibe as being the reluctant hero who has no clue as to what’s going on, and considering this issue contains his old JLA teammate of Gypsy (from the old DCU) it’s a nice touch. It was nice, as a longtime JLA fan, to see the two of them together, even if Vibe’s mission is to hunt her down. Having Dale Gunn as his handler (Dale was the civilian helping the League out back in the day, as well) is a nice touch to give the feel of that era again. Gypsy’s powers seem to be different from what they used to be, though; she used to be able to generate illusions and turn herself invisible but anything more powerful seemed beyond her. Maybe her time as a prisoner of ARGUS has boosted her powers somewhat? Who knows? Maybe we’ll get to see more of the old JLA in this series – perhaps Steel and Vixen will show up soon. -Kelly Cassidy
MARK WAID’S GREEN HORNET #2 (Dynamite)
I’ve been impressed with the Dynamite books of late, really for their pulp nature. I recall listening to some of the classic Green Hornet audio serials on the radio a long time ago and had not given the Green Hornet series a try. But, with Mark Waid’s name tied to the story, I had to give it a shot. This issue continues the story set by Waid and artist Daniel Indro in the first issue with the Hornet attempting to cement his place into the criminal underworld. He does this in a number of ways, including setting a man on fire, as well as using his alter ego to place the Hornet into a negative light. It all comes to a head when things don’t go as planned and the Hornet and Kato are suddenly in range of a number of police guns. Waid and Indro do a great job in bringing you into this story, however if you missed the first issue you might be a little confused. Not a lot, but it does make things clearer with the perspective of what that first issue has. This is a definite great read, especially if you like heroes without powers or simply the pulp style of story. -Kelly Cassidy
SWORD OF SORCERY #8 (DC)
This is the final issue of the series which has suffered low sales. I really wanted this book to succeed ever since I first heard that it was being released, as there are many fantasy stories that originated within the DCU. I think the problem, though, was tying it too tightly to the DCU. I mean, we have Eclipso as the big bad and then we had Constantine being… well, a dick in earlier issues. Had Amethyst’s story begun as taking place in the New 52 somehow, that would have been different, but Christy Marx did not have the history in writing the character as, say, Palmiotti and Gray who put Jonah Hex into the New 52 and somehow made it work. I think this series suffered from trying to re-introduce Amethyst without initially tying her to the New 52 (with the exception of the brief Constantine cameo in the first issue), but also that most of the books that have backup stories trying to put too much into an issue. The price point of this series was $3.99, but really the book could have been cut to $2.99 and just had the Amethyst story and I think it would have been OK. The backup stories were not strong enough to keep the series going. I would recommend picking up this series in trade as it is worth a read; I am sorry to say, though, that I don’t think the run was done as well as it could have been. -Kelly Cassidy
TRANSFORMERS: REGENERATION ONE #91 (IDW)
The Autobots are recovering from the effects of Scorponok’s Gene Key that really messed up a lot of the inhabitants of Cybertron, making them see a side of themselves they never knew existed. While some are able to cope with it, many aren’t and are practically begging to be punished for their actions even though they had no control over themselves. Add to this the rather unpopular Hot Rod, appointed leader by Optimus Prime, and his strange obsessions with Cybertron’s inner depths and its history/future and you have a population on the verge of total breakdown. What ever happens next these ‘Bots need to get their acts together because there is not one but two major threats heading their way and if they can’t pull themselves together there won’t be many Autobots surviving this series.
For a series based on a toyline that celebrates 30 years next year, this series has more intrigue that you’d expect. There are story threads spreading all over the place but writer Simon Furman does an amazing job keeping them straight and ending some at the right time while introducing new threads seamlessly. I’m not sure how the other Transformers books are going but as long as this one keeps firing on all cylinders I won’t need to find out! -Skott Jimenez