It’s Tuesday and that means BULLET REVIEWS!!! Quick looks at recently released comics. If you’re having a light week, maybe something here will catch your attention! This week: Amazing Spider-Man #688, Avengers #27, Avengers Academy #32, Fatima: The Blood Spinners #1, Marvel Zombies Destroy! #4, New Avengers #27, Savage Dragon #180, TMNT #11, Uncanny X-Men #14
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #688 (Marvel Comics)
Just in time to show up the big screen debut in the new Spider-Man reboot movie, The Lizard returns full force to the comics page as Spider-Man and Morbius team up to try to stop his vicious rampage!
This issue is told from two points in time: First we get the present where Spider-Man is in the sewer fighting The Lizard and the second is right after the events of Ends Of The Earth which concluded last issue.
While the fight between Spidey and The Lizard is great, it’s the second story that has the meat: Parker is depressed because while he saved BILLIONS of people, Silver Sable died in the process. He still has this ‘no one dies’ thing going (seriously, it needs to be dropped) and just as I was thinking that, Mary Jane tells him basically the same thing! She’s finally proven useful for something! (Sorry, I never really cared for MJ for anything beyond a supporting cast member. She owns a nightclub now, though, so that’s cool). During their conversation, Peter gets a call from his recent ex, Carlie Cooper (who I personally like more than MJ) which leads Spider-Man to the now empty grave of Billy Connors, who was killed by his father, The Lizard, in a story called Shed (which will be in the next It Came From The Longbox column, July 8th!).
Following the clues leads Spider-Man to Horizon Labs and Morbius! Yes, Morbius did steal the boy’s body and was taking it apart but it was in hopes of finding a cure for Curt Connors!
By the end of this issue we have Connors back but is it Curt or The Lizard who’s in control of the body?
I’m not sure how I feel about the art but Dan Slott’s writing it on the ball as always! Also? I love having Morbius around, I love that guy! I just wish he’d get rid of that old costume of his. -Skott Jimenez
AVENGERS #27 (Marvel Comics)
An AvX Tie-In!
It would appear that nearly everyone in the world wants a piece of the Phoenix Force. Noh-Varr, the poor sap that has started going by the code name Protector, has turned on the Avengers in hopes of saving Earth. Sometimes I think Noh-Varr has no idea what he is doing. This isn’t the first time something like this has happened. Either way The Supreme Intelligence has tricked him once again into betraying the ones he loves. One thing Marvel has done such a good job on throughout time is developing their characters. Noh-Varr has such a good heart but he is so drastically connected to the Kree that he can’t seem to find the right side to align himself with. Permanently. This issue is no different as Protector acts surprised when he finds out that the Kree really had no intentions of helping Earth and its people. They just wanted the Phoenix Force for themselves. Once Noh-Varr realizes he messed up (again). He attempts to flee back with the Avengers who tell him to shove it. When Beast threatens to kill you it is a pretty good indication that nobody likes you anymore. Ms. Marvel, who has the closet connection to Noh-Varr, looks very upset and disappointed as she tells him to stay away from Earth. But Noh-Varr hasn’t exactly always been the best at doing what he is told. Or being trustworthy. At least he can go hang out with his punk rock girlfriend some more. -Nick Furious
Avengers Academy is one of those books that has been hard for me to follow. It feels like a lot of issues are definitely “filler” issues. Nobody hates filler issues more than me. This issue is NOT a filler issue, though, as it’s intended to set up a bigger story arc. But like all issues that set the tone and build the tension towards resolution, not much happens. Gage writes entertaining moments and tries to push characters into finding themselves but like most of Avengers Academy (recently) it falls short of what I’m looking for. Jouston might be the most annoying character as his love for his Sentinel is borderline disturbing.
With all that bashing I just did allow me to point out what I loved about this issue in particular. X-23 and her flashbacks with the puppy. Brilliant. Absolutely brilliant. X-23 has been molded into such a damaged character that she makes Wolverine look like a boy scout. One thing is for certain: Emma Frost is going to destroy Jouston’s buddy Unit and hopefully he meets his demise as well. The issue ended right as a stand-off between the Avengers Academy and Emma Frost. Someone better die because this is a chance to get rid of one of the most annoying characters in comics today. I think of Jouston as the Jar Jar Binks of Marvel Comics. Not a good sign. -Nick Furious
FATIMA: THE BLOOD SPINNERS #1 (Dark Horse Comics)
“Spin” is a highly addictive drug that has a terrible side effect. It turns people into zombies. Literally. But even armed with this knowledge, the population is too self-centered to care, opting instead for the “It won’t happen to me” defense. Now one woman has taken up the crusade to stop the zombie onslaught, putting the walking dead at their “final peace”.
This is the premise behind Dark Horse Comics’ newest series, Fatima, from the co-creator of the hit Love and Rockets, Gilbert Hernandez. The first chapter of The Blood Spinners, focuses on Fatima’s past with a covert military spec ops crew with intentions of bringing down a major supplier of Spin. It’s an extremely fast-paced read that sets the groundwork for the four issue series. What I like most about the issue is that Hernandez doesn’t take it too seriously, as it’s littered with cheesy, tongue-in-cheek quips. In addition to that, the violence is completely over the top, with exploding heads and eyeballs falling out.
The art itself is simplistic by nature. The entire story plays out in black-and-white with stylized character designs. Despite the lack of color, Hernandez makes the best of his craft through clever shading and hatching, adding depth and life to the panels. Don’t let the monotinted artwork turn you off from the book. Though it may not be the overly vibrant event story from one of the Big Two, Fatima offers a lot in the ways of its art.
Though Fatima: The Blood Spinners has more in common with a webcomic than it does with other Dark Horse books, the story itself warrants the $3.50 cover price. Hernandez has crafted a new twist on the zombie mythology. And though the artwork isn’t the prettiest by today’s standards, it has a certain quality that makes it charming, despite the immense amount of blood and gore. -Michael Wirth
MARVEL ZOMBIES DESTROY! #4 (Marvel Comics)
Thank you, Peter David, for bring back the fun! With the exception of a few artistic hiccups on Howard The Duck, this series has been the most fun I’ve had with Marvel Zombies in some time. In this reality, it wasn’t a flash in the sky that started the zombie plague, no, it was Loki who created it in hopes of tormenting his half-brother, Thor, who was recently barred from returning to Midgard by Odin. But even the best laid plans can fail and this one did when Odin himself went to Midgard to help stop the plague and ended up infected himself. Through their connection to the All-Father, the rest of the Asgardians were infected. Loki isn’t Asgardian. He’s just cool.
So, with that out of the way, our heroes can begin to figure out a way to stop the zombies and keep them from spreading to other realities. Dum Dum has to disguise himself as his zombie-self by taking a cue from Leatherface.
Things begin to go south when the Asgardians show up and Loki takes off leaving Howard’s group high and dry, but with a goal in mind, and Dum-Dum smack dab in the middle of the Red Skull’s legions of zombies…alone.
This series has been nearly perfect, from the covers to the dark humor, the only thing really missing is the gore and over the top violence. But, with the final issue out in a few short weeks, I’m sure we’ll be getting that soon enough! -Skott Jimenez
NEW AVENGERS #27 (Marvel Comics)
The story between the legend of the Iron Fist and Phoenix Force has finally come to its thrilling conclusion. And by thrilling I mean I’m not entirely sure why that was even introduced. Don’t get me wrong, I love Iron Fist and K’un Lun Dynasty as much as the next guy. I just didn’t find this story all that riveting. But on the plus side we have learned more about the Phoenix and the responsibility of possessing the Phoenix Force.
Building on more and more back story of the Phoenix has gotten some fans in a frenzy as they feel like all of this is just a rehashing of old stories mixed with the concept of Avengers vs. X-Men. I don’t necessarily agree as I feel most of the overall concept of this entire scheme seems to be going towards something much bigger that none of us can see coming.
Anyways we cut to Iron Fist and Hope talking as it is revealed Iron Fist has been telling Hope this whole backstory, something he probably should have told the X-Men back in the day as well. On the plus side, Master Yu Ti continues to be hilarious and wise beyond entertaining. Speaking of entertaining, our boy Parker now enters the tragic fold that is Hope Summers as he is the one who is supposed to train her. Although apparently Danny Rand is not supposed to be the only Iron Fist, which is probably the most intriguing part of this issue. That and Yu Ti, who just brightens up my day. In a movie adaptation of Iron Fist they will need to cast him very carefully. Definitely a good issue for those wanting more back story on Phoenix, not exactly the story I was looking for but you take what you can get. -Nick Furious
SAVAGE DRAGON #180 (Image Comics)
It’s been over 15 years since I’ve read a single issue of Savage Dragon. It always stood out to me because of the original premise it had. I even loved the old Savage Dragon cartoon series way back on USA. For some reason I always thought Dragon would be the successor of the TMNT crown of indie comics that took off to become a household name. Unfortunately that never happened. I decided to give the old dragon a whirl again and I soon realized some things are better left in the past.
I do give Eric Larson some credit. Not only is he one of the founding members of Image comics, but he’s still chugging away at his creator owned book while the others have moved on from theirs. Eric’s approach to writing Savage Dragon always felt like a “kitchen sink” style to writing. It sometimes feels like he throws every plot and premise ever created towards his book at one time or another. It’s great to keep the book fresh, but if you haven’t kept up with it for a long time it can be a little daunting.
Thankfully I wasn’t completely lost when reading issue #180. In this issue our heroes are engaged in a worldwide intergalactic war. Apparently the Dragon I grew up with isn’t really the main star anymore. The original Dragon is in space with a bunch of other dragons. I’m really not a fan of Fin-head being an alien, but that’s another story.
All in all, it was good to catch up on the Dragon after all these years, and I’ll probably check him out for a little while to see where this all goes to next. I’m hoping for a big status quo change soon. Dragon does that every dozen or so issues anyway. I’ll have to give this issue a “B-” -Raphael Moran
TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES #11 (IDW Publishing)
This continues from last week’s Micro-Series: Splinter issue as Splinter continues the fight of his life against the Foot and Shredder while the Turtles try to form a plan to save him, even though they have no idea where he’s being held. We’re then introduced to the Purple Dragon Gang, who is taking the appearance of the Turtles in their neighborhood as more of an infestation of ninjas, something they have been having to deal with since the Foot showed up.
It’s the sort of issue where roles are reversed some: Splinter is having to tap into his more violent side in order to keep fighting and stay alive while the Turtles, who are still Mutants in this series, have to think things through and end up forming an alliance with the Dragons. It’s a nice change of pace and yet another piece of the picture that keeps this book fresh and interesting month after month.
It also doesn’t hurt to know that next month we’re finally going to be getting the long-awaited fight between ancient enemies as the last page of this issue shows Splinter and Shredder charging at each other!
The Michael Bay version of the Turtles has been shelved (thank god!) so, until the new animated series begins on Nickelodeon this is all the Turtles we’re going to get, in terms of new stories. I’d say that, after seeing the teaser for the new series, that this is all the New Turtles that we actually need. Trades for this series are now available and recommended! -Skott Jimenez
In what can only be labeled a very “Prestige” like issue, we check up on Mr. Sinister and the cloning thing that he’s at again. But this time he has made a lot more clones than normal. Gillen writes a very captivating dose of story telling as we dwell on how Sinister views himself. He knows he is sick and disturbed but that doesn’t change his desire to further his own race.
While I said it was very “Prestige” like, it also had a very Mary Shelley feel to it as well. Basically we follow a Sinister Clone’s quest to destroy the real Sinister. The original Sinister. The game is set, and if he can stop Sinister maybe he can change things. Maybe Sinister won’t be able to play God and twist things and add things that shouldn’t be added. Sinister continues to push the mold of someone who is so obsessed with genetics that he can’t seem to find luxury in women. Which fits his character perfectly.
We find out that Sinister has been part of something much bigger and twisted than anyone thought possible. When the newly powered Phoenix Five come knocking on Sinister’s door, he will not only be ready but Scott Summers is gonna be more messed up in the head than ever before. Well maybe not when he merged with Apocalypse but similar to that. -Nick Furious
And that wraps up another week! Let us know what you think about these books. Do you agree with our Bullets? Disagree? Now’s your chance to speak up! We have that comment section below just for that reason, you know.
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