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: Avengers Assemble #6, Axe Cop, The Creep #0, Deadpool Kills The Marvel Universe #2, Fairest #6, The First X-Men #1, Gambit #1, Godzilla, The Half-Century War #1, Justice League Dark #11, Hypernaturals #2, Mass Effect: Homeworlds, The Mighty Thor #18, New Avengers #29, and Space: Punisher #2
AVENGERS ASSEMBLE #6 (Marvel Comics)
Marvel is letting writer Brian Michael Bendis have his big Avengers send-off – not in doing something major with Avengers vs. X-Men, but instead by letting him play with their movie universe a little. Avengers Assemble lets him do just that – by giving a plausible reason for the movie team to assemble but still fitting in with Marvel continuity (albeit BEFORE AvX). And pairing him with his long-time collaborator, Mark Bagley, we get a creative team that knows and loves working together, bringing to us a great title.
This issue continues the story arc with the movie Avengers hunting down Thanos (also from the movie, albeit for all of 1 minute) who is in possession of a cosmic cube (since the Illuminati have the Infinity Gems). While on the way, though, they encounter the modern-day Guardians of the Galaxy and do a super-team team-up to take on the cosmic menace. The banter of the Guardians is dead-on, especially with Rocket Raccoon taking the straight man role. (I’m trying to figure out if he remembers meeting the Hulk way back when, as that was his first appearance…) But the whole gang – StarLord, Gamora, Drax, Bug and Groot – are dead on perfect. There are the rumors that Bendis is going to be doing a new Guardians book with the Marvel NOW initiative, but it’s not yet announced… but this could be a way to get him familiar with the characters to set the tone.
If you’re a fan of the Avengers movies, this series is one you don’t want to miss but the first 8 issues are one continuous storyline so you may need to get the back issues. Maybe wait for the trade if you’re coming in late, but the story is definitely a fun ride! – Kelly Cassidy
AXE COP: PRESIDENT OF THE WORLD #1 (Dark Horse Comics)
Axe Cop is one of those series that you can’t help but love. I mean, the series is written by an eight year old kid (Malachai Nicolle) and drawn by his older brother Ethan Nicolle and they truly are the perfect team. For this three-part series we are introduced to Axe Cop’s biggest fear, Talking Gorillas, which will of course play a big part in the series (thats called foreshadowing kids!). Anyways, Axe Cop is now the president of the world. The capital of the world is Axeville where the Gold House is built. Axe Cop meets a lot of new friends and makes new enemies (Aliens) and he finds out from God that bad guys won’t return to Earth for a million years. So Axe Cop decides to help out talking Gorillas (yup he faced his fear) and destroys robotic penguins. If you think this whole concept sounds completely ridiculous, you are very, very right. But it is also completely awesome as I can’t help but laugh hysterically every time I turn the page. As if defeating the Penguins wasn’t enough, they recycled them! Hahaha, oh Axe Cop, you never cease to amaze me. But then a million years passed and the villains returned. Not just a few. Not just a million. Not even a trillion. A jillion. A jillion bad guys are heading straight for Earth. I want Malachai to write a movie. -Nick Furious
THE CREEP #0 (Dark Horse Comics)
The deformed protagonist, Oxel receives a letter from an old classmate, Stephanie. She had broken his heart and they hadn’t exactly split on the best of terms, but he still agrees to help her. Her son has committed suicide and she wants Oxel to investigate. This republication of Dark Horse Presents material is to prepare for a 4 issue mini-series that will continue this story. Oxel’s investigation in issue 0 turns up more questions than answers so what you get is a solid start to a well crafted mystery. If you’re a fan of film noir or comic book crime noir you’ll want to pick up this issue. I know I finished reading it and I was left wanting more to the story.
This issue is a collection of three previously released story fragments from a few Dark Horse Presents issues that came out earlier this year. John Arcudi crafts an intriguing tale of a physically deformed detective investigating a double suicide involving two young boys. The art by Jonathan Case is emotionally poignant in striking in this very human tale of relationships, loss, and mystery. Case displays a wide range of talent in just this one issue. His style changes whether the story is in the present, flashback, or a character’s imagination. The work of the pacing and seamless partnership between the word and the art alone is worth the $2.99 price tag. -Zach Story
DEADPOOL KILLS THE MARVEL UNIVERSE #2 (Marvel Comics)
The What If…? style story continues and the body count does nothing but go higher! The world is shocked at the heroes and villains that have been killed by Deadpool. This issue continues the list adding Ghost Rider, Doctor Doom, Howard The Duck, The Avengers, Spider-Man and many more!
The thing is, Deadpool seems to think he’s doing everyone a favor. He keeps talking about ‘puppets’ and ‘strings being pulled’ even responding that Spider-Man couldn’t kill him if he wanted to saying “Do you think they would let you break character even if you wanted to?” This makes me wonder about the direction of this series and if maybe Deadpool in this reality fully understands that he exists in a comic book and the tampering of Psycho Man has some how loosened him from the restrictions of the writers. Maybe, in his mind, he’s freeing the others he’s killing because, though they don’t realize it, they have no actual free will and he doesn’t think that’s right. Looking at it that way makes Deadpool look like the ultimate hero.
That’s a very scary thought.
This issue’s cliffhanger literally made me shout in excitement. The people who lost loved ones, Mary Jane, Aunt May, Rick Jones, and others, have pooled their resources and hired someone to take out Deadpool. The name was floating in the back of my mind but to actually see it was awesome.
In one corner we’re going to have Deadpool, cut free of his restraints and killing everyone in his path. In the other corner we have perhaps the only man on Earth that can go toe to toe with him: Taskmaster! Issue #3 is out this week and I’m looking forward to it! -Skott Jimenez
FAIREST #6 (Vertigo Comics)
The inaugural storyline by Bill Willingham and Phil Jimenez (no relation) comes to an end and there are more curves here than there are on the Swedish Bikini Team! The Snow Queen faces off against the evil fairy godmother, Hadeon, who cursed Sleeping Beauty and control of this fight switches hands more than in a WWE fight.
Okay, enough analogies, this issue has the most action we’ve seen in the Fables line in a very long time! For me, personally, I was excited at the thought of seeing the Snow Queen cut loose but, as often happens in these books, things don’t go the way you expect. Her allies can’t get involved because of ancient laws and that isn’t good for the Snow Queen.
But rules of magic also work against Hadeon because once Sleeping Beauty realizes who she is and what she did, well, things get very entertaining. I never knew the Beauty had it in her to do something like that.
So, as doesn’t happen very often in Fables, we have a nice, happy ending where beings are freed, love is found and Sleeping Beauty finally gets some sweet revenge on the person responsible for her sleeping curse.
We also learn a nice bit on how loosely curses are defined in these stories.
I don’t remember what the next issue is going be about but it’s a stand alone and we have to say good-bye to Phil Jimenez who did some absolutely amazing work on this book. I hope he returns to the Fables Universe very soon and very often.
I can’t wait to see what comes next! -Skott Jimenez
THE FIRST X-MEN #1 (Marvel Comics)
If you say X-Men and Neal Adams in the same sentence I am gonna read it regardless how dumb the concept is. Especially when you have Logan and Creed working together as X-Men. This series is sure to have a lot of plot holes, things that don’t fit in the natural scheme of things. So Logan and Creed go around and save mutants after they realize the government has been hunting them. So they go in and get some files that the government is keeping on mutants, mutants that you may or may not recognize. I can’t help but wonder if this series started due to the movie X-Men: First Class…I just hope the comic actually cares about making Havok the right age. Anyways we meet Holo. the next member of this “team”, and she turns out to be just a kid. The next person on the list is Charles Xavier, who doesn’t exactly join the team. As the issue ends we see Magneto killing Germans who accepted blood money. I was remarkably unimpressed with this series from start to finish and will probably skip the rest of it. As should you. Neal Adams is awesome , as is Gage, but you can’t fix stupid concepts. This concept is stupid. Avoid this series like the plague. -Nick Furious
(Check out Andrew Taylor’s full review of this issue!)
GAMBIT #1 (Marvel Comics)
After following the X-Men for almost 20 years it is pretty easy to see why I have a very special place in my heart for the Ragin’ Cajun known as Remy Lebeau. I had already read the other solo Gambit titles so why not!? While I had expected to read just the first issue and be done with it (I mean I read so many damn titles a month as is) I think I have found another series I will have to make sure to grab. While this Gambit is definitely different from past versions it has a very simple element that is impossible to love. This is the Daniel Ocean version of Remy Lebeau, which is, well, Gambit in a nutshell but imagine him being in the right environment to truly show that Danny Ocean persona really shine. While the story wasn’t exactly that entertaining it was very fun seeing Gambit shaking things up and show his more wild side. I was so sick of seeing the drama between him and Rogue and Magneto that this was such a breath of fresh air to not see Gambit being such a little puss. Nice to see Remy is back to his old antics getting into trouble and charming the ladies. -Nick Furious
(Check out Andrew Taylor’s full review of this issue!)
GODZILLA: THE HALF-CENTURY WAR #1 (IDW Publishing)
This is a welcome remedy to IDW’s other Godzilla projects: Kingdom of Monsters was nihilistic, mean-spirited, and shallow in its bumper-sticker politics, and the current Godzilla just kind of exists (the Gangsters and Goliaths mini from John Layman and Alberto Ponticelli was a fine genre mash-up, at least), but Half-Century War nails that sweet spot where the political themes are subtext to sheer, visceral thrill. Orc Stain creator James Stokoe’s usual hyper-detailed art (channeling a bit of Katsuhiro Otomo) is downright eye-popping, especially that reveal shot of Godzilla (that roar brought to life by Stokoe tracing over an oscilloscope reading of the actual sound effect with letters vaguely sketched in, giving the effect of an earthquake). It also has some of the elements of Stokoe’s fascination with the Vietnam War (seen in Orc Stain and the fan-comic “Spider-’Nam” found on his blog, both of which you should check out) with the depiction of tank commander Ota and his friend Yoshihara as “buddies-in-action,” the final pages hinting at an Apocalypse Now-style descent into obsession as they go to war against Godzilla. When their comrades almost inadvertently shell the two as they escape the monster’s wrath, I couldn’t help but think of a similar scene in Werner Herzog’s Rescue Dawn, where Christian Bale and Steve Zahn get shot at by airborne allies after escaping a POW camp (both Bale and Ota yell their angry, annoyed disbelief). Herzog was interested in obsessed, oddball protagonists that seemed to operate in their own worlds and were often doomed to folly, and Ota fits the mold with his fascination for “action” and his monster nemesis, an aloof god of destruction upon which any and all of mankind’s fears (including wars cold and hot) could be represented. -Andrew Taylor
JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK #11 (DC Comics)
Jeff Lemire must be having a blast writing Justice League Dark, because each issue since his takeover of the title on issue #9 has been a blast to read, and this month’s issue is no exception.
Justice League Dark #11 continues Lemire’s twist-filled “The Black Room” arc. Faust has been broken out of his A.R.G.U.S. holding cell and is bent on storming the Black Room with the Demons Three – his mean little minions. Colonel Steve Trevor is fighting a losing battle keeping Faust and his demons from the room, but luckily John Constantine and his band of sassy occultists shows up in the nick of time to at least hold Faust at bay long enough for Constantine to get to the Black Room before the evil sorcerer can.
There are some genuinely great moments in Justice League Dark #11. One of the concerns Steve Trevor’s “Protocol Anti-Kadabra,” which consists of two gigantic “Sentry” golems storming into Faust’s cell to contain him and his demons. Another has Deadman possessing Trevor and using his acrobat skills to literally backflip the Colonel to safety. And still another moment has John Constantine bursting into the Black Room and donning some of the Demon Etrigan’s armor, taking Merlin’s staff to battle Faust.
As always, Lemire’s writing is bright and crispy, with dialogue to die for. His characters continue to truly live and breathe and jump off the page with life, and we readers find ourselves sucked blissfully into their world. The series is simply just fun to read, and the superb twist here in issue #11 is something very unexpected and extremely well-executed. Mikel Janin continues to deliver phenomenal art that aptly – and beautifully – complements Lemire’s storytelling. They are truly a dynamite team, and Justice League Dark continues to be a dynamite series. -Austin Shirey
HYPERNATURALS #2 (BOOM! Studios)
On the verge of becoming interesting, but this series has some frustrating problems, not the least of which is the character of Halfshell. Both the concept, company sticks their chosen representative in a bikini version of an Iron Man suit to fight crime with the big-deal superteam, and the obnoxious ethnic stereotype that serves as this version of the in-universe legacy character (a hot-tempered black Latina that was originally rejected the role, prompting her to yell that she’s “too hot” for it) are downright embarrassing to read. On paper, it sounds like writers Abnett and Lanning are going for a satire of superheroes and mainstream media in the manner of Watchmen via space opera (there’s even Watchmen-style backup articles), but everything is written so po-faced–the only moment of humor comes from retired speedster Bewilder flashing back to eating part of a space slug to keep her strength up–and the art from Brad Walker and Tom Derenick so workmanlike that instead of being clever and humorous, the whole thing just doubles down on being dull, straightforward capes narrative, complete with the tendency of current Marvel and DC creators to spin their wheels instead of tell a story: things explode and people talk in this issue, but actual advancement in plot and theme is insubstantial. Doesn’t help that the Hypernaturals universe is actually becoming less, not more, fleshed out as each page descends further into second-rate Legion of Super-Heroes and away from any dramatization of what life in such a media-saturated, sterile, corporatized world would be like. As is, the only point I’m seeing to this series is keeping the variant cover sub-industry alive and kicking, which at least keeps guys like Bill Sienkiewicz employed, right? -Andrew Taylor
MASS EFFECT HOMEWORLDS #3 (Dark Horse Comics)
Since right around the time Mass Effect 2 came out, Dark Horse has been publishing comics based on the popular Bioware franchise. The recent run of Mass Effect comics, titled Homeworlds, is a collection of one shot issues involving background into characters you’ve played the games with but maybe didn’t know everything about. This particular stand-alone issue written by Mac Walters and John Dombrow and illustrated by Garry Brown focuses on Garrus, a character that fans of the Mass Effect trilogy will have spent three games and countless hours with at this point.
The nice part of these being one-shots is that you don’t have to have read the other issues. That being said, you probably won’t care too much about this comic if you haven’t played the game. There are several scenes in this comic that are directly lifted from the games, specifically Mass Effect 2. After Shepard’s supposed death the crew all parts ways. When you meet Garrus in Mass Effect 2 again, he’s going by the name “Archangel” and has made it his personal crusade to rid the Omega space station of its criminal element. As a vigilante we see Garrus interacting with people from the game, but reading this issue you get the story from his perspective. There are even quite a few flashbacks that develop Garrus’s relationship with his father for the reader to see.
Bottom line, if you’re a fan of the Mass Effect video games and you really like Garrus, you’ll want to grab this issue. Don’t worry about the previous issues, unless you really want to check out those characters’ back stories. The art left a little to be desired, but it’s written by one of the lead writers from the games so you know you’re getting a solid, canon story for this franchise. -Zach Story
THE MIGHTY THOR #18 (Marvel Comics)
Everything Burns Prologue
I picked this up for a few reasons: Loki is in it and he’s by far my favorite Asgardian right now, it’s the supposed lead in to the upcoming Everything Burns story which will wrap up this series and the cover. It’s Alan Davis. How could you not want to pick up a book with an Alan Davis cover?
As far as tying into the crossover with Journey Into Mystery, this issue is very interesting. I’m sure I’m missing the impact on the series itself, since I didn’t stick with Thor after not really liking what Matt Fraction was doing on the previous Thor series, but none of that is important. The beauty of this book is that someone like me can see some of what’s coming and it’s great to see Thor and Loki together again.
Everything Burns is the big return of Surtur. He was freed by Loki during Fear Itself and, through Loki’s loose interpretation of Asgard, attacked the Serpent’s Asgard and helped to defeat him. Since then, however, he hasn’t been seen and now we catch up to him.
As any good prologue will do, this issue makes a lot of jumps as it sets the stage for the crossover and does a very good job of showing you what you need to know in order to enjoy the impact of what’s coming. Readers of Journey Into Mystery (currently one of only two ongoing Marvel books I’m reading) will be familiar with the jumping around in order to full set the stage, it’s fantastic!
Surtur is coming and he may be more than Thor and Loki can handle. Plus, what’s going to happen then it comes out that Surtur didn’t escape…he was freed by Loki. Will Thor and the others understand that he did it to save the world? Probably not, despite trying to show he’s not the same as he once was, it’s impossible to get anyone to see that Loki has turned over a new leaf (or has he?) -Skott Jimenez
NEW AVENGERS #29 (Marvel Comics)
For every crappy issue of anything I read there is always a light at the end of the tunnel. New Avengers continues to be one of my favorite Marvel titles because of issues exactly like this. With artwork by Mike Deodato and the excellent table talk writing of Bendis this issue is stellar. With a very awesome World War II flashback to start the issue we are reminded about the bond between Captain America and Namor, also known as the Sub-Mariner. Cut to present day as the secret meetings between Xavier/Dr. Strange/Captain America/Iron Man/Reed Richards are assembled. There are awesome discussion pieces along with incredible art work that glide gracefully across the pages. Just the way comics should be. It is a shame every issue can’t be this good. I mean this is a filler issue yet it trumps the artwork of the actual Avengers vs. X-Men? Ouch. The discussion is about using The Infinity Gems to take out the Phoenix. That gets shot down obviously. But Reed Richards tells exactly where he stands with the whole thing. The best part about this issue is that we learn one thing; The world likes what is happening still. Even though the Avengers and X-Men are fighting, the world is with the X-Men who are solving world problems. Reed sides with the world. This issue is exactly why I am so thrilled with Bendis going to X-Men. Whedon went miles with X-Men and it’s time for Bendis to show us how beautiful it can truly get. -Nick Furious
SPACE: PUNISHER #2 (Marvel Comics)
Like the Deadpool book above, this one is also a What If…? style story. We know the characters but we don’t know them like this! Frank Castle, the Punisher, is hunting down the gang responsible for killing his family. That part is familiar. Now, take him and others like The Hulk, Deadpool, Doctor Octopus, and more, and put them in a sci-fi setting and you have a perfectly paced, and beautifully drawn, series that would have fit perfectly in the late 80s/early 90s Marvel Epic imprint.
This issue has The Punisher facing off against Sabertooth and Deadpool while plans are being made to stop him and The Hulk. So what happens when these two targets meet face to face? Probably not what you’d expect to happen.
Also revealed here are the members behind the Six Fingered Hand, the brains behind the thugs who killed Frank’s family. It’s a somewhat shocking reveal considering in all the different realities these characters have appeared in they have always had a non-involvement rule. That apparently doesn’t apply here.
Space: Punisher was mocked by a lot of people when it was announced but with the creative team of Frank Tieri and Mark Texeira it’s proven to be a very entertaining series and certainly one that should be read by fans of The Punisher and the What If…? series of books. I think, if anything, this book will be on the ‘guilty pleasure’ lists of a lot of comics fans for years to come. It’s on mine. -Skott Jimenez
(Check out Kelly Cassidy’s full review of this issue!)
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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