Even though it’s a brand new year we still have a few books from last year to take a look at. So let’s check out a few more 2012 books and see what our contributors think about them in the first bullet Reviews column of the year before you head to your LCS for the first New Comic Book Day of 2013.
Tune in next week for the first batch of 2013 Bullet Reviews! More New 52! More Marvel NOW! More comic books!
AVENGERS ARENA #2 (Marvel NOW!)
I still think this would work better as an out-of-continuity miniseries instead of in-continuity and an ongoing. Mainly, I grabbed this issue because I loved the cover (and the $2.99 price didn’t hurt) but I seriously doubt I’ll stick with this book, the concept is interesting but I don’t see how it will have longevity, especially once the only two characters I really know are dead (if they die): Darkhawk and Cammie.
This issue slows things down a bit and begins to establish our cast and their place in the scheme of Murder World. Dennis Hopeless does a fairly good job of this and it’s these moments here that might give this titles the legs it needs. Will it be enough and will readers actually be interested in a book where teen heroes are supposed to kill each other? And what point will there be in sticking with this title once your favorite character(s) die? I guess the curiosity factor plays a huge part in this. For me? Well, I’ll be getting the third issue because it’s going to focus on Darkhawk and why he’s been pulled into this whole thing when he’s really not a ‘teen hero’. So I guess I’ll be checking out one more issue and will see how things go with the next issue. Seriously, I’m very much on the fence with this book. In my opinion, it’s better than the regular Avengers title but it really isn’t something that I think I can stick with but I’m willing to give it a shot. -Skott Jimenez
CAPTAIN MARVEL #8 (Marvel)
I have been hesitant on this book for several reasons. It seems that writer Kelly Sue DeConnick now has a co-writer on board, and this is only the second arc. That doesn’t sound like a good thing to me… What I did like about this book, though, and the previous issues is showcasing Carol Danver’s military career and her past. It has been sorely lacking in previous incarnations but this brings back her military career full hilt (and we even see DeConnick using it in Avengers Assemble). The highlight, though, was the return of Monica Rambeau (aka Captain Marvel aka Photon) to the cast. She has been sorely missing from the Avengers lineup, and seeing her with her namesake was a nice touch. The next issue hints at a past character arising, so maybe something from her original run as Ms Marvel… I’m hoping the series picks up because Captain Marvel is one of, if not the, strongest female characters out there and she needs to have some justice done to her. -Kelly Cassidy
This issue wraps up the A Revolution In OZ story that had been running as a back up in recent issues of this series. It all but wraps up the story of Bufkin, the former Flying Monkey of OZ who had, through a series of events, become the leader of a revolution in his homeland. The story was quaint but with everything else going on in this series it just didn’t seem that important in the grand scheme of things. This may or may not have been an oversight on my part, I don’t know yet.
Bufkin was always a character who was always around but wouldn’t really be missed if he was gone for a while. This story pretty much sums up everything that will happen to him and his friends as they defeat Emperors, and dragons, they become freedom fighters and heroes in general.
Besides a nice change of pace from the rather heavy story that preceded it and the one that comes next, this issue also features some fantastic art by Shawn McManus. So, if you like great art, a light-hearted Fables story, and monkey action… this is the issue for you! -Skott Jimenez
MARS ATTACKS #6 (IDW)
New Story! So far we know the drive of at least one of the Martians: revenge, but we don’t know too much about the human side of this story. This issue begins the story of the people who know and have known about the Martians and their pending attack and have done everything in their power to protect mankind.
The story, however, begins with a boy. A very smart boy. So smart, in fact, that he has created a device that translates the martian language into English and he knows what they are planning. However, it’s very difficult to get adults to listen to you when you’re a child talking about a martian invasion.
While he tries to get people to listen, a group of military soldiers and scientists work to create weaponry that can protect Earth from the comic attack. They act to late as the attack begins but their weapon proves a success and they finally have a way to kill Martians on a wide scale. Sadly, before the tech can be put to greater use, the Martians take steps to keep the tech away from Earth’s military and they…freeze the town? I’m not really sure what they did but it’s big and it seems as if we are going to have to rely on the wits of a young boy and his dog to help defend the Earth.
This storyline will also have every issue polybagged with a special Mars Attacks Trading Card that depicts the moments following the original cards from the 50’s. The trading cards are also the variant covers for this story’s issues. I’m not fond of gimmicks but they aren’t increasing the price and I’m getting new Mars Attacks cards, plus this new story seems like it’s going to go a long way in expanding the overall story. I’m looking forward to seeing where it goes! -Skott Jimenez
SCARLET SPIDER #12.1 (Marvel)
In the aftermath of Minimum Carnage, Kaine returns to his current home town of Houston, TX. It’s rare that we have super heroes in Texas within the Marvel Universe – heck, we’ve only ever had The Rangers there before, and they’ve shown up in this title earlier on in its run! But after the battle with Carnage in the Microverse (you’ll see a full-blown review of the Minimum Carnage epic sometime in the next couple of weeks explaining all this away) Kaine is unsure of himself. And with the murder of a young teenage girl in the manner that Kaine, himself, used to do in a “previous life”… Well, you can imagine he doesn’t take that too well and begins to hunt down what happened. This leads to an investigation into gang and underworld criminal activities in Houston for the Scarlet Spider until he finally discovers the group responsible. And that group can be summed up in 2 words that many Marvelites will know: The Hand. So we have the Scarlet Spider vs. a bunch of ninjas currently under control of the Kingpin, Wilson Fisk, running around Houston, TX. Yeah. Ninjas vs. your stereotypical Texan – who is gonna win? Actually that could be kind of a cool standoff, but I digress… This issue was great in setting the tone for the book and what’s happening next, in terms of solidifying Kaine’s intention to stay in Houston. He had been on the fence but now has decided to stick around. And when Kaine repeats the Uncle Ben mantra, as well as a modified version for himself – “With great power also comes the ability to rain down HELL on those who prey on the WEAK, people who couldn’t fight the MONSTERS.” And that sums up the character of the Scarlet Spider going into its second year. -Kelly Cassidy
VENOM #27.1 (Marvel)
Another Marvel .1 issue, and another aftermath of Minimum Carnage but this one starring our Spider-Man favorites, Flash Thompson aka Venom. I’ll be honest, I haven’t followed Venom in a while but when he showed up within the pages of Secret Avengers, and the crossover with Scarlet Spider was happening, I gave it a quick look. I was not expecting Flash Thompson to be Venom – that was kind of interesting. But this issue of Venom was… reflective. It was a Flash Thompson trying to find a place in his world and account for his past actions… at least until an old subplot rears its head where something evil is showing up in Venom. Enough that it can take control of Flash and the symbiote appears in control, reverting to its old ways. Perhaps Flash has been connected to it for so long and his own pity allows it to move forward and take control – it doesn’t matter. The Venom we all remember is back and seems more dangerous than ever after Minimum Carnage. Now, that being said, I see 1 major flaw with this book and that’s knowing when it falls into continuity. First, Daimon Hellstrom is in it and in a prison. Well, Daimon was just killed in New Avengers. So, does this take place BEFORE New Avengers (so Hellstrom escapes/is released and then fights that mystical fight) or AFTER (where Daimon hinted he would be resurrected in New Avengers and this Hellstrom is the resurrection)? Marvel needs to get their editing ducks in a row, and figure out as well when this new, darker Venom is gonna tackle the Superior Spider-Man (which, since Dan Slott is helming it, I am seriously looking forward to). -Kelly Cassidy
THE WALKING DEAD #105 (Image/Skybound)
There seems to be something of a love/hate/respect/fear thing growing between Carl and Negan. Carl stowed away in the truck of some of Negan’s men previously and killed quite a few before being captured. Negan claims to have a fear of this kid because of his willingness to kill to protect his own. There’s no way of telling if he’s being honest or if he’s setting Carl up.
This issue Carl begins to learn a little more about Negan and his Saviors, at least he begins to learn more about them from Negan so I’m taking it with a grain of salt. But the conversation between them where Negan tells Carl to take the bandages off his head and we see what remains of Carl’s face, well, Negan’s reaction to Carl crying is either really good acting or the guy may not be as twisted as he seems (Lucille and Glenn notwithstanding). Is this the beginning of Carl taking a stand and a more proactive role as co-leader, or maybe leader, of Rick’s group? Who can say, but when Rick finds out that Carl is gone he’s going to go ballistic. He’s already lost his wife and baby, losing his son, the last connection he has to his former life, might be too much for him to handle.
Regardless, Negan is a threat. the question now is how much danger is Carl in. And what happens if Carl begins to see things from Negan’s perspective and thinks his way is better? The Walking Dead is certainly NOT getting boring! -Skott Jimenez