Hey, check it out! We’re at twenty-five Bullet Reviews and still going strong! I wonder if we should reboot these from #1 so new Comic Bookers won’t feel like they need to go back and read the first twenty-four to get an understanding of what these are? (Sorry, I couldn’t resist! Seriously, though, keep an eye out for some major coverage of the New 52 when the DC reboot officially begins later this month!) Anyway, Bullet Reviews: our weekly column of quick reviews from various contributors here at Comic Booked. It’s fast, fun and affordable and, we hope, will turn you on to some new books to check out!
AVENGERS #16 (Marvel)
Fear Itself tie-in!
Former sidekick to Steve Rogers – a.k.a. Captain America – and one-time Captain America himself, James “Bucky” Barnes, has apparently been killed in battle by Sin, the new Red Skull and daughter of the original. In response, Rogers puts together a task force consisting of former S.H.I.E.L.D. agent and current Avengers team leader Maria Hill; former right-hand-woman to Norman Osborn and current Avengers ally, Victoria Hand; on again/off again flame and former S.H.I.E.L.D. agent/current Secret Avenger, Sharon Carter; and Rogers himself, in the hopes of ending the conflict once and for all. But Rogers ultimately finds that he’s ill-prepared for what’s waiting for them in Helsingborg, Sweden. Specifically, the team encounters Master Man and The Exiles, who were compatriots of the original Red Skull back during World War II. This issue obviously focuses on Captain America and how he deals with the death of his friend and former comrade-in-arms, as well as his fellow Avengers’ views on the man himself and what he stands for. While it’s a powerful tribute to Cap and a testament to how important Bucky’s friendship was to him (the last page is particularly heartbreaking), these talking head panels have somewhat worn out their welcome. Though, I will say the action in this issue far outweighs the talking, so that’s neither here nor there. On the whole, Brian Michael Bendis consistently turns in top-notch writing, and this issue is no exception. As for John Romita Jr.’s art, it’s as dynamic as ever, and I will truly be sad to see him go. His talents were made for a title like this. I won’t lie, I haven’t really been feeling this whole Fear Itself story, but the Avengers tie-ins have, at least, been pretty interesting and this issue is certainly no exception. -Eric Scroggs
CAPTAIN AMERICA #2 (Marvel)
It’s no secret that I basically adore Brubaker’s run on Captain America, but this one.. I’m just kidding! Another home run by Brubaker, McNiven, et al! I was very intrigued by the first issue and how they brought back Jimmy from the earliest of Marvel (or Timely) days. There were a few unanswered questions at the end of the issue. As Jimmy Jankovicz awoke, the team left in Nowhere Land was free to return to this world. Bravo and his team, outside of our linear timeframe, now have developed tech over-taking the likes of A.I.M. We see that Hydra and Bravo’s Hydra team are working together under the direction of (presumably) Madame Hydra to an end we can only guess at this point. But just as the physical battle ends, the battle for the mind begins. Bravo’s motivation is further fueled by the original Agent 13, Peggy Carter, falling for Steve instead of him. So in a retaliatory effort, Sharon is seduced within the dreamscape. However, it doesn’t take her long to figure out that it is not her dreaming, but Bravo manipulating the events in her mind’s eye. She then breaks free just in time to see Steve ripped from their high-rise apartment by the giant hand of Lyle Dekker’s Ameridroid. One thing that Brubaker is consistently good at is reinvigorating the villains of the past. His goal seems to be to update the age-old nemesis for a new time and make them pose a true and pressing threat to our hero. I can’t wait to find out how this all fits together. Keep on writing! -The Andy Kirby
DAREDEVIL #2 (Marvel)
As a definite non-fan of Daredevil, I always enjoyed seeing him in larger, Universe-affecting stories but I never really read his title. Despite that, I decided to pick up the Mark Waid-written reboot which began last month. So far, I’m glad I did.
The first half of the issue is a resolution to the appearance of Captain America at the end of the first issue. Cap’s intentions are to place Daredevil under arrest for his actions during Shadowland. The inclusion of Captain America felt really forced, especially considering how quickly their confrontation ended. If Captain America was really set on arresting Daredevil, it would have taken more than DD’s proclamation of “I was possessed by a demon” to let him get off.
The second half of the book added much more depth. While it is generally the rule that Daredevil’s superhero antics affect Matt Murdock’s life, issue 2 of the Daredevil reboot shows the opposite. Murdock’s most recent client is in far deeper trouble then he realizes, but when Daredevil goes poking around for answers, he lands in some pretty deep trouble also. What Hornhead finds is the return of Klaw, or at least a Klaw-robot factory. The pairing of Klaw as a villain against Daredevil is a great choice, given that Klaw’s sonic powers wreak havoc with Daredevil’s enhanced hearing.
Overall, the new series doesn’t really change my opinion of Daredevil, but it has captured my attention. I probably won’t hang onto it for too long, but at the very least I’d like to see how this first arc plays out. -Michael Wirth
JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY #626 (Marvel)
Fear Itself tie-in!
You know, I have no idea what’s going on in Fear Itself. I dropped it with the second issue because, to me, it was boring, unimpressive and uneventful. If that’s what I get for the first two issues I’m not going to stick around for another five, sorry. However… Journey Into Mystery has been a real treat! The adventures of the recently re-reincarnated Loki in the form of a boy is very entertaining. He’s still on his quest to gather all the pieces of a puzzle he’s created in an attempt to save Asgard from the Serpent. The thing is, having sacrificed himself for Asgard already, he isn’t to eager to help them again. So why is he? And what makes him think Surtur will help? That’s an interesting question, and one I hope to get an answer to very soon. Again, I can’t express how much fun this series is… to be honest, this is as much fun – with the proper mix of adventure and humor – as Thor the Mighty Avenger was! -Skott Jimenez
LENORE #3 (Titan)
America’s favorite Cute Little Dead Girl get caught having fun with her friend Ragamuffin while he sleeps. As he dreams of being a flower, he soon learns that the whole reason for the dream that was Lenore had been planting him in hopes of growing Little Ragamuffins. Does it work? Well, this is Lenore and the most outrageous things are usually the most normal in her world. Need an example? Ragamuffins brains are cotton candy. There. I’ve finally gotten used to Lenore being in color, the fact the stories are the same helps. It’s amazing that after all these years, including those few years Hot Topic spent over-saturating the character, that this series is still as much fun as ever. Dark humor is something we honestly don’t have enough of in comics these days! -Skott Jimenez
SPIDER-ISLAND: SPIDER-GIRL #1 of 3 (Marvel):
With Spider Island, Marvel is taking many of Spider-Man’s allies from over the years and giving them some of the spotlight. The first issue of Spider Island: Cloak and Dagger was awesome, so I expected a little bit of the same magic for Spider-Girl.
Well, I wouldn’t exactly call it magic, but SI: S-G#1 was a great read. Tobin manages to pull from the history of Spider-Girl, originally Anya Corazon who started the super hero game as Araña, an agent for the secret Spider Society. So when the Society Of The Wasp, the sworn enemies of the Spider Society, send out an army of Wasp Drones to deal with all of the “spiders” appearing across the city, Anya recognizes them immediately and sets out to stop them.
That’s when things get weird.
The Hand, Marvel’s band of mystical ninjas, show up. Anya mistakes them for enemies, but they, for some reason, pledge to protect her. Then Hobgoblin appears on the scene, also lending a hand to stop the Wasp Drones (though he does reveal his true nature by kidnapping Spider-Girl).
There is so much action going on in this issue that the reader barely has a moment to breathe. I have to admit, though, that I really enjoyed it. I wasn’t expecting nearly a fraction of what was delivered in Spider Island: Spider-Girl. While it may be unreasonable to expect more action than a summer blockbuster movie from a single issue of a comic book, I really hope Tobin has the same in store for the rest of the series. I bought Spider Island: Spider-Girl on a complete whim, but I truly have no regrets doing so. -Michael Wirth
X-MEN: SCHISM #3 of 5 (Marvel)
Schism is supposed to be the Main Mutant Event of 2011, along the lines of Utopia or Second Coming. The third issue in the mini-series shows a small team of X-Men trying to repair the tarnished reputation of mutants by attending the opening of a Mutant Museum in San Francisco. But when the new Hellfire Club show up, threatening the museum’s opening, the X-Men are forced into a very public battle.
First of all, I kind of enjoy the new Hellfire Club, composed entirely of the children of wealthy people. We’ve already seen Kilgore Kade, the “Black King” of the Club, in action in the first two issues, but issue 3 elaborates on the other members. Granted, this “elaboration” is merely an info dump, meant to get the back stories out to the reader in as few panels as possible, but it is done humorously enough to make it enjoyable.
We are also given glimpses into the deepening rift between Cyclops and Wolverine, the effects of which are the purpose behind the Schism storyline. Given the actions Cyclops has taken in the past few years, Wolverine’s reactions to Cyclops orders to a cornered Idie in the museum just seem forced. Wolverine gets angry with Cyclops, protesting that Idie is “just a kid” and shouldn’t have had to make the choice Cyclops advised her to make. At this point, it just seems like Marvel had a good concept for the X-Men, but this is the best they could do to execute it.. Hopefully, the end of Schism will be better, because, while I was blown away by the first couple of issues, I’m really underwhelmed by the middle. -Michael Wirth
Check it out! New feature! In addition to the forums where we always invite our readers to engage us with your opinions of what we review and even suggest books that you think we should read, starting this week, right in this spot, I’ll be giving you a more direct way to contact our Bullet Review Contributors! Yes, the email addresses of the fine folks who contribute will be listed so that you, our Faithful Readers, can tell us what you think. If you’re to shy to post on The Forums, that is!
This week’s Contributors:
Eric Scroggs: EricScroggs@ComicBooked.com
Michael Wirth: MichaelWirth@Comicbooked.com
The Andy Kirby: AndyKirby@Comicbooked.com