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AVENGERS ARENA #5 (Marvel NOW!)
Five issues in and so far this has been an honestly entertaining series. Dennis Hopeless has done a great job moving the story forward and, at the same time, continuing to set up the premise. It’s been established that this isn’t an original concept, the movies Battle Royale and the friendlier Hunger Games are proof of that, but taking younger super powered heroes and placing them in a high stakes,high stress situation where death can happen in an instant makes it a bit more interesting.
This issue moves the focus to Kid Briton, a character I never heard of before, and continues to flash between the past and present in order to fully explain who the character is. I’m not going to go into his specifics here because it really isn’t that big of a deal. Needless to say his powers apparently stem from his confidence. Yeah, sounded pretty corny to me as well. But the big thing in this issue is Arcade. He’s gotten bored with the lack of chaos and carnage so far and he’s decided to up the ante. More danger, more reasons to kill for the read I hope it translates to more fun.
But my question is: Where is Darkhawk? What happened to Chris Powell? Is he dead? Hurt? I need answers because while I was hoping some of these other kids would stand out to me so far none of them have. Darkhawk is really the only thing keeping on this book. But I may drop this as a monthly book after the next issue and continue with it in trade. That doesn’t mean I think it’s a bad series, quite the opposite, it’s a highly entertaining series that deserves some attention, but right now I can’t justify the cost when only one character has my attention. -Skott Jimenez
DEADPOOL KILLUSTRATED #2 (Marvel)
Deadpool continues his quest to end all things by taking out the sources of all the characters we know and love. As The Mad Thinker calls on Sherlock Holmes for help in ending Deadpool’s madness, his theory is the other universes may have a better chance at ending Deadpool because he doesn’t fully understand the residents of the ‘Ideaverse’ and that gives them the edge. Meanwhile Deadpool tries to take out Captain Ahab which also take out Thunderbolt Ross, and by extension the Red Hulk, but Nemo from 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea seems to save him. Tm Sawyer isn’t so luck, and doesn’t put up much of a fight, but Dracula does last a bit longer, even flashing to the classic Marvel version of Dracula as he exchanges words with Deadpool. After taking out the vampire Deadpool figures that also takes out all the Marvel vampires including Morbius and Blade but the voice in his head says even Doctor Strange and some others may have fallen as well. Deadpool then leaps to a word where he comes face to skull with Ghost Rider (surprised me as well) only to realize he was actually in Sleepy Hollow. The Headless Horseman also flashes to the Green Goblin but ends up falling before Deadpool’s blades.
The thing is as Deadpool leaps from story to story the walls that separate them from their Marvel counterparts seems to grow increasingly thinner as the literary characters flash to their Marvel versions faster and faster. But what’s even more interesting is the team that Sherlock Holmes has put together to stop the Merc with a Mouth! This could be the biggest battle in Deadpool’s life! -Skott Jimenez
FABLES #126 (Vertigo)
Snow is in trouble. Brandish Holt, the man who claims to be her husband, is making her life a living and it hasn’t even been a day! But it’s going to get worse: Brandish is all but demanding that HE be Snow’s husband and not Bigby. Of course, he’s already got a solution for Bigby: kill him. But what about their Cubs? Same solution: kill them. Then, in his mind, cleanse her womb by giving her ‘human children’ The guy it total scum and the biggest thing that makes him a threat is he has a lot of power to back up his threats. Don’t think Snow is going to go ‘damsel in distress’ on us, no, she’s already told him that he lay one hand on her and Bigby won’t be a concern because SHE will kill him. This story puts Snow in a situation where her life, her whole world, is threatened. We haven’t really seen this since she was shot in the head by Goldilocks near the start of this series!
Speaking of Bigby, he’s still hot on Dare’s trail as he continues his search for his missing Cubs. The question still remains what will happen when he finds out the fate of his two children and how will that impact the situation in New Fabletown when he returns? This story is well on its way to a very impactful ending and one that will, in my opinion, claim the life of either Snow White or Bigby. And for once I really hope I’m wrong!
Man… That Brandish is a Class-A Jerk! I hope Bigby gets a chance to beat the snot out of him! -Skott Jimenez
GODZILLA #10 (IDW)
The Space Monsters are destroying everything! The only hope for the planet are the monsters Boxer and Co. hunted down and captured over the last year, including the recent captive: Godzilla! Now, after all the work put into capturing them all, he has to free them and hope they defend Earth!
We have Space Godzilla destroying London. Mothra trying, and failing, to save Manhattan from the vicious Monster X. Gigan making his way though Hong Kong with only Rodan there to stop him. Hedora in the Pacific Ocean with nothing, for the moment, in his way. It takes the smarts of Boxers mute son to try to slow the muck monster down as he is able to turn on and control MechaGodzilla but he soon learns that it isn’t enough though he’s saved at the last-minute by the King Of The Monsters himself!
While all this is happening, Boxer and ‘the new girl’ are on Monster Island in an attempt to free the captive Earth Monsters in hopes of mounting some kind of defense.
It’s a great build-up to what is sure to be the comic book equivalent to the classic Destroy All Monsters movie and I don’t mind admitting that it’s making this Godzilla fan very happy! The only draw back is there is so much going on here that I finish the book way to fast! At least this issue’s cover features my favorite monster Godzilla facing off against my favorite Space Monster Gigan. It’s a gorgeous cover!-Skott Jimenez
GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY #0.1 (Marvel NOW!)
Last week I talked about Nova and how much of a confusing mess that first issue was (but some people liked it as you will see later in this column) and that made me lower my already low expectations for this new Guardians of the Galaxy series. Officially, this isn’t the first issue. That isn’t out until next month (although if you believe the promo at the end of this issue it’s already out. Great way to show attention to detail, guys) so I can’t really say if I like the series yet or not. This issue focuses on Peter Quill and gives a rather different origin than what we’ve known before. I think we’re seeing the movie version of the origin because Marvel is always willing to change established history in favor of a pointless movie. Seriously, if Marvel would stop screwing up the 616 because a movie is coming out I might be less apt to trash the movies. I like the 616 as it is and have NO interest in seeing the movie versions of ANYTHING in my Marvel comics. That also includes the cheap and watered down version of Nick Fury prancing around now. But be that as it may, the mystery of Quill’s birth is removed and replaced with a man from space who crash lands in the yard of his mother. He’s around for a few days and ends up getting her pregnant. That’s way cooler than a strange phenomenon, with planets aligning just right, causing a young woman to become pregnant. From there we don’t really get too much to go on. The book, extra length and priced at $3.99, probably could have been broken up and run as a back-up feature in the Guardians book. I won’t judge the book based on this single issue, though I will say the art is annoying.. I’ve never been a fan of Steve McNiven though, but I will say this was leaps and bounds better than Nova #1. Even with the short spot with the unwanted Iron Man involved. I’m certainly going to grab the official first issue and hope it gets better. -Skott Jimenez
HAWKEYE #8 (Marvel NOW!)
Though it plays around with a standard femme fatale plot (pretty woman enters a man’s life, proceeds to screw it up), there’s a lot more tension and ambiguity here. While we’re never quite certain of Penny’s motivation for asking Clint Barton for help (Annie Wu’s romance comic cover pastiches, used as chapter breaks, give us an idea of her backstory), and she wouldn’t be a good femme if it were obvious, the crux of Matt Fraction and David Aja’s extrapolation comes from Barton himself. After starting a brawl in a mob-owned strip club as distraction for Penny, he tells the reader “the thought of a serious relationship makes me nervous,” reinforcing a Greek Chorus appearance by previous love interests Black Widow, Mockingbird, and Spider-Woman (numbered by playing cards), who question Barton’s actions. Later, Clint’s protege (who may/may not have a crush on him) expresses her disgust at his behavior.
When Aja frames a fistfight in a heart-shaped window, we’re asked “What the hell is wrong with me?”, showing Barton has enough self-awareness to acknowledge his poor impulse control and social anxiety (Barton lets loose a hilarious Freudian slip), but not enough to change his behavior. This upends noir tradition by casting doubt on whether it’s Penny’s fault Barton is acting this way, or if it’s just his own neurosis (“The ever-unchanging Clint Barton.”), almost a functional metaphor for the stupid “Fake Nerd Girls” outrage. Either way, Clint and Penny feed a cycle of sex and violence intertwining: the first page (which opens with a gun over a heart and uses warmer colors) has the same layout as the last page (which closes on a bullseye and a teardrop, with more black-and-white). No matter the cause, the effect is always someone getting hurt. -Andrew Taylor
IT GIRL AND THE ATOMICS #7 (Image)
This book sells for $2.99 an issue. I mention that because every issue is packed with pure comic book fun and excitement, so much so that if this book was published by Marvel or DC it would be a $3.99 title. Add to that fact that each issue of It Girl gives you more excitement and comic book fun than most of the titles from ‘those other publishers’ makes this book a true gem on the shelves.
This issue brings the focus back to It Girl. This time around she’s on a mission for Dr. Flem and tries to find a colleague who has come up missing. She locates him fairly easily, if you consider the events that lead up to finding him, including being knocked out and tied up, then discovers what is so important about the man. It’s a great story with an ending that leaves us wondering if It Girl can hold her own against robots!
On top of another great issue is the cover. Mike Allred’s covers for this series have been nothing short of amazing. Each have captured the tone of this series perfectly. They say the covers are the most important art of a comic book and this series showcases their importance each and every month. Most of these covers would make great posters. You listening, Image? I’m being serious here! -Skott Jimenez
JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY #649 (Marvel NOW!)
Sif and her Warriors Three have made their way to Midgard as they try to make their way back to Asgard. Problem is they weren’t the only ones to escape the island and dimension they were trapped in as some of the island’s monster inhabitants have also made their way to Midgard and are attacking worldwide. Sif and Co. land in New York and right a way end up facing off against The Spider King, which actually appears to be a group of monsters working for the previously named ‘King’ and to make matters more interesting the Superior Spider-Man shows up and tries to maintain control of his city (Sif, who probably didn’t know Peter Parker also obviously doesn’t know the current major changes in Spider-Man’s life and mind recently) and all Sif can do it tell her warriors not to kill him because she knows the Spider-Man to be a friend.
As for some specific stuff, this book had still more moments of Sif dealing with guys who are oblivious to the fact that she can kill them without breaking a sweat. When she decides she’s had enough of guys hitting on her, or when she realizes that it’s happening, it’s going to be messy. The Superior Spider-Man is a brave guy for hitting on her. Otto seems to be having a bit of a hard time dealing with the hormones of a decidedly younger body.
The one part that I have to question, though, is the ending. Heimdall greets Sif on the Bifrost Bridge and isn’t acting like Heimdall at all. It’s either not him or Immonen slipped in presenting him. Regardless, it doesn’t matter if it’s him or not after what Sif does to him. I love this woman!
Also: Hottest cover yet for this series! -Skott Jimenez
JUSTICE LEAGUE #17 (DC)
I don’t know how everyone feels as far as DC goes but in my opinion they are killing it as far as “events” go. And this is coming from a long time Marvel fan. Marvel just hasn’t had the type of momentum that DC has been able to muster. I read on message boards all about what an awful job Geoff Johns has done with the new 52 but I’m gonna be honest…other than the continuity errors and time frame problems I think the New 52 has been awesome. It’s as if a chord struck that nobody from DC had heard and they just started pouring out new ideas that although maybe touched upon never truly used to the point of perfection as they are now. Enter Throne of Atlantis which I personally felt was a better event than anything Marvel put out in the last 3 years. Not to mention the Court of the Owls event which was even better! And the artwork! WORLDS better than Marvel. It pains me to say that but it is so true! Great job to everyone on the DC staff I am impressed. -Nick Furious
KATANA #1 (DC)
Even though the cover indicated that she is from the pages of Justice League of America, it should be known that we’ve already seen Katana in the New 52 in the pages of Birds of Prey. This issue doesn’t really cover Katana’s origin story, nor does it really explain why she is joining the ranks of the JLA (we’ll leave that to the title itself), but instead gives some insight into the character herself. Readers of BoP know that she believes that the soul of her dead husband resides within her sword and occasionally guides her arm. (This is definitely not what I remember of the Katana who was a member of the Outsiders in the previous DCU…) In fact, this Katana is much more of a mercenary character – which is outlined very well in a sword battle in the pages of this issue. Writer Ann Nocenti has done here what I wished she could have done in Green Arrow – brought some depth to the character. Now, she inherited some stuff that was being done from the previous GA writer and she was not on the book long enough to really make her mark, but she has done more in this one issue of Katana than she did on her longer run on GA to bring some interest. She has managed to make us understand a little more of what makes this character tick – and it can sometimes take quite a bit to make you feel sympathy for an assassin. Nocenti has taken care to bring some of Katana’s heritage from Japan into the character and the story – the only problem is that I think she tried to do too much with it and it comes across that way. Although the story did intrigue me, much of the art did not. I am not as familiar with Alex Sanchez as an artist, but right from the get go I was not overly impressed. The first appearance of Katana on page 1 just had her face look… off. The red circle from the Japanese flag on her mask seems to change size in every scene drawn. Basically, the appearance of the character does not seem the same from page to page throughout. I can understand this when a book has multiple artists, but for a title that has only a single artist… Not so much. Sanchez’s backgrounds and scenes from a distance are much better – the detail in the surroundings show that Sanchez has done some research into Japanese culture and has done the story some justice in that respect. -Kelly Cassidy
NOVA #1 (Marvel NOW!)
I know one of my colleagues here did not like the book… but I did. It gave me what I was missing from Nova – some new stories. Now, I’ll admit this up front: apart from the Realm of Kings hardcover, I have not seen much of Nova in some time. I loved his rebirth in New Warriors and when he gained the powers of the full Nova Corps when going up against Supernova… but very few writers could give some energy to a character from the 1970s and who loved to shout “Blue Blazes”. This new Nova title brought a new dimension to the Nova history: another group of Nova Corps members. Gold helmets and dark helmets. Rider was a gold helmet; this new one is a dark helmet. What that means… I don’t know, and I actually like the mystery. (Maybe this was explained in the past few years but I don’t care – I like this little mystery.) What this book brought was another human was a Nova, maybe before Rider? I don’t recall that… A new twist. And now his son is being greeted by Gamora and Rocket Raccoon? What better way to tie this new Nova into the cosmic universe than with some of the Guardians of the Galaxy, the group that was with Rider til his bitter end with Peter “Star Lord” Quill (who is somehow back in GotG… hmmm…). Jeph Loeb did a good job here and I appreciated the story. His last big Marvel book was launching Hulk with a red giant… and I could not get into that one. Even when he added the original Defenders, it just didn’t fly for me. A young kid getting access to all these powers? It’s working for me. Add in Ed McGuinness’ artwork which can be hit or miss. On this title, it works – especially his Rocket Raccoon. I want him drawing a Rocket Raccoon miniseries. Like tomorrow. Abnett and Lanning writing, and McGuinness drawing. HIT. SERIES. Although I am not sold on this book as a regular ongoing, I’ll pick up the first arc. I am intrigued enough and have some old Nova history and missing some recent, so maybe that’s what’s doing it for me, but it is still doing it. -Kelly Cassidy
SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN #4 (Marvel NOW!)
Dammit I spoke too soon. And Aunt May has made her triumphant return to Spider-Man comics. I was hoping I just missed the issue where she kicked the bucket or was leaving the series so more likable characters could get more screen time…I mean page time. As I have said from the start this series is much better than I could have ever possibly imagined. Seeing Doc Ock as Spider-Man has been incredible. I will admit I was upset when I saw Doc Ock would be the new Spider-Man. My favorite villain of all time was gonna be the new Spider-Man? He is way too arrogant and evil to do something like that. But this has been believable. Doc Ock is ruthless. He has no problem with killing, he should struggle with that. And Peter Parker will finally be a doctor! My God it is about time the guy is a genius. And how Doc Ock dropped everything to do it. Ah just awesome. They haven’t forgotten that Doc is a piece of shit which is exactly the way it should be. He shouldn’t struggle with being a hero. He should struggle with not getting to be a villain. Oh and I love the picture when he steps into Peter’s ghost! Gorgeous. Don’t listen to the naysayers Slott. You got this on lock down. -Nick Furious
UNCANNY X-MEN #2 (Marvel NOW!)
This issue was a hundred times better than the previous issue, which was a huge relief! I didn’t want to drop another X title! Especially right when it started. Bendis has continued his craft of character building in our opening pages we get a very deep conversation with Emma Frost talking to none other than…herself. We get an official Scott and Emma’s relationship is no mas. We are blessed with a new word that will change comic book lore once again “Ploink” which is according to Marvel, the new bamf. Overall the issue a great character builder and we get to know our cast a little bit more. Scott continues to showcase his leadership no matter what side he is on. Emma continues to follow. Bendis continues to write Emma out of character but I don’t really mind (I’m just telling myself that the Phoenix affected her mentally, which it kind of did). On the very last page Emma Frost turns to see something that terrifies her and after the reveal I was ready to read issue #3 BRING on the Avengers! -Nick Furious
YOUNG AVENGERS #2 (Marvel NOW!)
I wasn’t at all impressed with the first issue of this series. Granted, it wasn’t anywhere near as bad as the first issue of New Avengers or as flat out lame as Morbius The Living Vampire but it wasn’t as good as I’d hoped it would be. But for $2.99 I figured I would at least check out another issue and see if these characters actually flesh out more and I have to admit, while the first issue was very rocky, with this issue it does begin to flesh out a little more and its showing its potential. We’re also seeing what the first ‘mission’ is going to be for this group of young heroes as they seem to be facing off against dead parents. Last issue Wiccan tried bringing the dead mother of his boyfriend Hulkling back to life. Actually, he pulled an alternate reality version of Hulkling’s mother into the 616. All I’ll say is whoever or whatever this woman is, she isn’t right. What else isn’t right is her apparent control over the adults in this book including the Avengers. I have no idea what that’s about but we know whatever it is, it’s what Loki was trying to prevent from happening.
What I liked was Loki rescuing Wiccan from Evil Mom’s prison. He was basically trapped in a panel and the whole page where Loki frees him is one of the best pages I’ve seen in a Marvel Comic in a long time. But ever though Loki saved them and tried to explain he worked to prevent this from happening there is still a trust issue here. Why can’t people trust Loki? He’s a good guy…. basically. Why take him to Asdardia? And what happens when Loki’s father, his real father who has been dead forever, shows up?
Story-wise this was a much better issue than the first one. Art-wise… well, I’m not sold on it. It borders on photo-tracing in that some of the panels look like they are pictures and not original drawings. I hope this changes and it starts to look more comic book because that will factor in to whether or not I continue to follow this book. -Skott Jimenez
And there you are! Feel free to comment and give us some feedback on these books and what you think about them. Don’t forget to share us on Twitter, Facebook, and any other social platform you enjoy! See you next week!