Hey, everyone! How do you like our new look? I’ve been calling it Comic Booked NOW! But, unlike some other people, a new look doesn’t mean a relaunch for Bullet Reviews! This week we look at: Avengers #31, AvX: Consequences #1, Dark Shadows #8, Space: Punisher #4, Marvel Zombies Halloween, another look at Uncanny Avengers #1, and Uncanny X-Men #20
AVENGERS #31 (Marvel)
Coming from someone who reads all Avengers and all X-men titles, I can honestly tell you no title has showcased how truly awful the Marvel Universe turned out quite like The Avengers. This single issue is ten times more in depth than the last as ten pages in we see Steve Rogers listening to all the dreadful things that have happened in the MU due the Phoenix Force. Of course, it is times like this when dialog boxes are key for inspiring/pushing our thoughts and emotions a trait that Brian Michael Bendis is extraordinary at. I would love to argue that most writers at Marvel are excellent and legends in the making but Bendis is in a league of his own. Everything he touches is gold. I will buy a comic with his name on it alone regardless if I have ever read the title before. That is raw unjustified talent, because I won’t do that to any other writer except Mr.Bendis. So you have to understand this issue was great. Wonderman returning to talk to Cap about his actions. Even after all the crap the Avengers have been through with Simon, Captain America offers to get Simon help. Once an Avenger always an Avenger. One thing you have to commend Marvel on is how they rarely have a loose thread. They cover their bases pretty smoothly. I won’t spoil the issue for anyone but Avengers:End Times sets up another big twist coming for Marvel Now! which I’m glad to say is shaping up rather nicely. Another great read I highly recommend. Wait. Just read anything Bendis. I mean anything. If you find a Care Bears book written by Bendis. Buy it. I promise nothing but brilliance. -Nick Furious
AvX: CONSEQUENCES #1 (Marvel)
We go from a very disappointing final issue of Avengers vs. X-Men #12 to the very disappointing Avengers vs. X-Men: Consequences. I am one of those people that will drop any series at the drop of a dime. But for some reason I am plagued with the horrible curse of not being able to stop buying X-Men. No matter how awful the art is or how terribly boring the story is. This is a prime example of an issue I absolutely hated but I can’t not keep buying it. While I usually enjoy Kieron Gillen I have to say this has to be one of my least favorite issues Gillen has under his belt. The artwork is awful. I feel like Tom Raney has never drawn a woman before. He made every girl he drew hideous. Its a comic, they are all supposed to be beautiful, it is one of the greatest things about comics! But on the other hand the colors are great! Jim Charalampios did a great job and deserves a big pat on the back for doing the one good thing about this comic. The story itself you could buy pretty much any (most recent) Avengers or X-Men comic and know exactly what happened. Because it does happen again. And each time it doesn’t feel replayed. It feels like it was done with MUCH better art, lettering, and much much much better dialog. I hope Consequences #2 is better than this garbage, but we all know I will continue to buy anything X-Men so all I can really do is hope. -Nick Furious
DARK SHADOWS #8 (Dynamite Entertainment)
For a series that’s been plagued with delays, it certainly hasn’t lost any of it’s momentum! This issue things change a bit with new artist Nacho Tenorio. His style isn’t as moody as the previous couple of artists on this series but it fits the story being told. Since it doesn’t really take place in Collinsport it doesn’t need to have that gothic look.
The story of the missing children continues as people from the neighboring community of Spafford seem to have pegged Barnabas as the monster responsible for their loved ones disappearances. The deputy has convinced them of this. In order to get Barnabas where they want him they kidnap David Collins and use him as bait. Meanwhile, Quentin learns of David’s abduction and Barnabas’s connection to it and assumes the vampire has been attacking innocent people again. Barnabas explains that he hasn’t been in Spafford in centuries because of something bad that happened. As we speed towards the end of this mystery we learn that a vampire is indeed at fault here but it isn’t Barnabas. It’s a vampire called Lockwood and he’s targeted Barnabas because, apparently that’s who turned him into a vampire!
Dark Shadows is still one of the best ongoing horror comics today. While the horror is understated, sometimes less is more and the world of Dark Shadows has never been a flamboyant one. It continues the stories and traditions begun in the classic TV series and continues to come highly recommend by me. It you’re sick of whiney, emo vampires that glitter or live in swamps then check this book out! -Skott Jimenez
MARVEL ZOMBIES HALLOWEEN (Marvel)
This took way to long to happen: A Marvel Zombies Halloween story. I’ve long said that Marvel Zombies should be put out in October either in a one-shot or a weekly mini-series because the concept works perfectly with Halloween. This issue was a lot of fun, it is written by Fred Van Lente so it couldn’t be anything less than fun, and tells the story of two survivors in a world ravaged by zombies. We follow a mother and her young son who just now discovers there was a holiday where kids dressed up and got candy. The mystery here is who is this woman and her child? Clues are dropped through the story. While some bits are revealed we get a new mystery of a strange old man who the young boy meets while trying out this Halloween thing as well as trying to find his kitten who has run off. The boy soon runs afoul of a group of Marvel Zombies including Darkhawk, Squirrel Girl, and Alex Powers. There are a few others but Marvel being what it is these days, I’m not really familiar with them. Anyway, what turns into a mother’s quest to save her boy from being eaten turns into something a little different than the regular Marvel Zombies story. The identities of the mother and the old man are something to enjoy. I particularly enjoyed the confrontation between the old man and the Young Marvel Zombies and the lesson he teaches them. This is a different but a very entertaining Marvel Zombies story. The only thing about it is, with all the stories out there from different teams, it’s hard to figure out when and where in the Marvel Zombies storyline this takes place. I figure it’s between Marvel Zombies and Marvel Zombies 2.
The real treat for this book is the ghoulishly fun cover by award winning artist Francesco Francavilla, his Dark Shadows covers (above) are true works of art but his Marvel Zombies cover is amazing! But I’m certainly not taking anything away from the interior artist, Alessandro Vitti. Vitti makes his mark very well and creates the proper mood for the story. I’d love to see this team on a future Marvel Zombies book! -Skott Jimenez
SPACE: PUNISHER #4 (Marvel)
Watchers play dirty. The end of issue 3 had The Punisher using the Ultimate Nullifier. Nothing good can ever come of that. But this issue begins with Frank Castle watching a television program with The Watchers as characters. His family alive and happy, his life perfect. To bad The Punisher is still alive inside him and begins to unravel the lies. The Watchers have shown Frank that in other worlds, other realities, the Castle family is still very much alive and our Punisher can have that as well. As for the Nullifier, well, it does exactly nothing. The Watchers created it as a tool to confuse and control the people of the universe. They have done this with many things on many levels in order to keep chaos from destroying everything.
This is where our story becomes something more than a gimmick. using an Incredible weapon, Punisher manages to kill The Watchers who, before finally fading, tells him without The Watchers the universe will tear itself apart. After one more kill, Frank leaves the planet only to have his ship attacked with the dying power of Uatu. As the ship floats helplessly in space reports start coming in proving The Watchers right: the universe is falling into chaos and The Punisher’s response? Guess.
This was a fantastic series. While the concept and name seem campy in concept, in execution it turned into a story with many layers and a lot of fun. Congrats to Frank Tieri and Mark Texeira for putting together one of the more entertaining Punisher stories I’ve read in a long time. And with the ending of this series I do want to know: What’s next? Will the story continue? I certainly hope so! -Skott Jimenez
UNCANNY AVENGERS #1 (Marvel NOW!)
Even though everyone has already reviewed this and I’m pretty late coming to the party I can’t help it, this issue is awesome! I love it almost as much as Daredevil: End of Days (Best comic I have bought from Marvel in years, big thanks to Robb Orr for the recommendation). There really is no need to create another Avengers team. New Avengers/ Secret Avengers/Dark Avengers/Avengers Academy/New Avengers/and you can even include the very fun Avengers Assemble. Avengers has plenty of comics, along with half the members having other team comics or solo comics, I can’t stress this enough, there is absolutely no need for another Avengers team up comic. But the issue sold me! Having Havok be the leader is brilliant! I am having a very hard time with people just hating Cyclops like they haven’t known him for years and years, but I loved the conversation between Havok and Cyclops. Good stuff. The fact that Captain America really is honoring Cyclops comment about how the Avengers were no where to be found during their darkest hour. In a way Captain America is ensuring he doesn’t have another Cyclops in the making. That is smart character depth coming from the writers room. Rick Remender is awesome. John Cassaday is a God as far as artwork goes, especially Avengers and X-Men artwork. But the best part? I didn’t even see the ending coming. Great start to a very promising new series. If this is what Marvel Now! has in store for us, then lets do this! Uncanny Avengers is a blast you would be silly to skip out on. Read it! Now! -Nick Furious
UNCANNY X-MEN #20 (Marvel)
Continuing the long running streak of being the best X-Men comic you can buy (that isn’t saying much) Gillen has a much better script this time around although not his best but most certainly not his worst (see: AvX: Consequences #1 above) while Carlos Pacheco and Roger Bonet do a fantastic job of adding element to this very captivating story where a lot of things happen. Welcome to Marvel Now! where everything is turned upside down. I adore when Marvel does things I don’t see coming. But I hate when Marvel undoes things at the drop of a hat. Apparently the Phoenix Force mixed with the power of the Juggernaut and Cytorak made Colossus a killing monster who would kill his sister?? What has the X-Men come to? But I like the shake up! I like things getting twisted. I love Cyclops team being called “The Extinction Team”. Danger/Cyclops/Sinister/Katy Kiladore all change in a really big way with some big story progression. Even though nothing really happened, everything was put in motion. That is what counts these days. You have to know the story is gonna be worth your time, with Uncanny X-Men it almost always is. -Nick Furious