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Apr 182014



Apologies for the shortness (and lateness) of this round up, I have been noisily dying in the corner for the last 10 days and this has been my first opportunity to get anything done that required me to be either up right or vaguely conscious.

All New Doop #1
Written by Peter Milligan with Art By David Lafuente and Laura Allred
This feels like a Battle of the Atom ‘What if’ comic and it is neither funny nor entertaining. It moves far too fast and leaves you feeling like the real story was told in another book.

Iron Fist – The Living Weapon #1
Written and Drawn by Kaare Andrews 
I think the art tries too hard to be clever, but the story is compelling and over all everything works together really well. Definitely worthy of reading a second issue to see if it ties everything together better.

Nightcrawler #1
Written by Chris Claremont and Art by Todd Nauck
For a character that I am decidedly uninterested in, this comic is one that has got my attention. I am however utterly unimpressed with Kirt’s girl friend who seemed to treat the fact that he had come back from the dead with the same surprise as if he had come back frm the toilet.

Avengers Undercover #2
Written by Dennis Hopeless with Art by Kev Walker and Jean-Francois Beaulieu
This is a comic with hilarious moments, interesting character developments and the best WTF ending since Xorn took of his mask and revealed that he was *SPOILER*. Definitely the best revived series currently in print.

All-New Ghost Rider #2
Written by Felipe Smith with Art by Tradd Moore and Val Staples
This does not answer any of the questions posed by the first issue, but proceeds to drag us deeper into the mystery. The art is still holding up against my expectations and I am fascinated to see where this is taking us.

Captain Marvel #2
Written by Kelly Sure DeConnick with Art by David Lopez and Lee Loughridge
I am completely confused as to how this fits with the previous issue, not to mention the fact that the Guardians appear to have lost a member since their last appearance. However this is so much better than the first issue and actually makes me want to read the series again.

Secret Avengers #2
Written by Ales Kot with Art by Michael Walsh and Matthew Wilson
This is so much better than the previous series of Secret Avengers, it much puncher, funnier and does not need to be complicated in order to be clever. Also it has MODOK which is hysterical.

All-New X-Factor #6
Written by Peter David with Art by Carmine Di Giandomenico and Lee Loughridge
Well at least by the end of the issue we know who all 6 team members are, but I am still a bit lost as to the long term aim of this comic. For a first 6 issue arc this is a decent ending, even if it does feel like a lot of build up with no big bang to end it.

Mighty Avengers #9
Written by Al Ewing with Art by Greg Land, Jay Leisten, Frank D’Armata and Edgar Delgado
Well that reveal was about as predictable as they come. It really was not worth waiting for 6 months to give us that. On that subject this entire comic seemed to simply be filler in order to drag out that reveal and I am not even remotely interested in the Blue Marvel’s life story.

Avengers A.I. #11
Written by Sam Humphries with Art by Andre Lima Araujo and Frank D’Armata
It is rather hard to care what happens 12,000 years into the future, but this comic gives it a darn good try. The end of the series is upon us, so we might as well destroy the entire universe in the process.

Thunderbolts #24
Written by Charles Soule with Art by Paco Diaz and Israel Silva
This comic gets better every month and this one is about as good as they come. Pulling us this way and that and making a comic entirely about exposition into one which is entertaining to read, but also a hell of a ride.

Iron Man #24
Written by Kieron Gillen with Art by Luke Ross and Guru e-FX
The Rings cut scenes make this feel like an extension of Avengers AI, but if you are reading Iron Man to see all the gadgets and new suits, well this one will definitely not leave you disappointed.

All-New X-Men #25
Written by Brian Michael Bendis with Art by David Marquez and 30+ other people
I want to hate this, this comic has no one from the team actually in the book and the art is literally all over the place. However this is done so well and some of that art is so fantastic, that I can forgive it just this once.

Apr 162014

by Etienne Paul, CMRO Contributing Writer

Guardians of the Galaxy

Issue #13

Written by Brian Michael Bendis, Art by Sara Pichelli & David Marquez

Published: May 2014

Guardians of the Galaxy #13

This is Issue 13; unlucky for some, but in this instance, definitely not the reader. I am at a bit of loss as to where to start with this comic. On the surface this is a big punch up between the Imperial Guard lead by Gladiator and the X-Men with the Guardians and Starjammers in support. However this comic changes so much below the surface that it almost gets lost with all the punching. My biggest fear before this issue was that there would simply not be enough time to finish this storyline in this comic, but it not only rounds everything up nicely, it builds so much more in for later.

If I was going to have a complaint about this comic, and trust me I am really having to try hard to find one, it is that this really is not about the Guardians at all. In fact throughout the entire comic they might as well not be there, after having served their purpose of transporting the team to the Shi’ar homeworld, they are relegated to the odd moment of comic relief. As I said, it is a really mean spirited comment to make about this book, but none the less this issue and the previous ones should have been the other way around given how much the X-Men appear in this issue.

My teeny tiny gripe aside, I cannot put into words how much I love this book. The art is absolutely outstanding to the point that rather than writing this review, I have spent the last 10 minutes with a half written sentence just staring at some of the panels. The close up of Laura on the second to last page has joined my list of the most beautiful panels, but singling that one out is almost unfair because there are so many more in this book to enthuse over. Gladiator being knocked out by Jean is a pretty impressive splash page, let down only by the slightly lifeless combatants in the background, but again that is looking for fault where there really is none.

Jean escaped from the Shi-ar in the last issue and has made her way to this site where the X-Men are confronting the Imperial Guard. Gladiator has been effectively relegated to a super-creature punching bag as Cyclops took him down last issue and Jean does so again not once, but twice before he has the good sense to stay down. It is very obvious from this that Jean is not the Phoenix that we all expected her to become, it looks like that mantle may have passed to Quentin Quire over in Wolverine and the X-Men, here she is a pure purple form of telekinetic energy. She is nowhere near as powerful as the Phoenix, but she is far more controlled. Unable to take down entire planets anymore, she is still more than a match for a starship, or Imperial telepath or the might of Gladiator for that matter.

This comic opens up a ridiculous amount of plot lines and story points. I will not go in to many of them because they are most certainly the reason to buy this book in the first place, but I do not think I have ever read a comic that opened so many doors without feeling in some way contrived. There is a definite love triangle forming, although a later revelation makes that an unrequited love triangle on all sides. Another character gets a date, Drax shows interest in having foot spikes installed and Rocket learns why everyone thinks he is a racoon. The final page is the biggest shock in comics that I have ever seen and it is made all the more so because it is something that makes sense. So often you read a comic* and you wonder why a character does not do the obvious, but know it will never happen because it would split up the team or would not be the heroic thing to do. Well this comic does it, and it is so much better for it.

We know now that Marvel is not doing a 616 version of the Ultimate universe. When I first saw the All-New X-Men coming out all I expected was for these characters to appear in this world, repeat all the story points they did originally but in slightly different ways and then either kill their older selves, or die in the process leaving everything as they found it. Well now I am so happy to say at least part of that is not happening. These characters are now so different from their older selves that they are making their own choices. Seeing as how one of them is dead, one is now blue and one is back from the dead and changed, it is understandable how they can co-exist in the same universe without feeling superfluous.

This review, like this comic, focuses almost entirely on the X-men which is unfortunate as the Guardians have been really fun and entertaining in their own right. If they can keep this art team together with Bendis’ writing, then this book has a fantastic future, even if they did get overshadowed in this issue.

* The latest series of Iron Man springs to mind where he goes out of his way to explain why he is not going to get Thor to help him fight Malekith when of course it is the most logical thing to do.

Apr 162014

by Charlie Brooks, CMRO Contributing Writer

Red She-Hulk

Issue #66

Written by Jeff Parker, Art by Carlo Pagulayan & Wellington Alves

Published: August 2013

Red She-Hulk #66

Like last issue, Red She-Hulk #66 is crazy. The difference is that this time it’s my kind of crazy.

Betty and the Machine Man visit a nexus of realities in the Florida bayous, where Betty gets pulled into an alternate timeline. In this alternate timeline, she saves Bruce Banner from becoming the Hulk but transforms into the brutish version of the Red She-Hulk we saw a few issues ago.

The result is an alternate continuity that I wish could be explored some more, in which Banner serves as Betty’s confidant, using his scientific genius to protect her. Some of the scenes we witness include Betty fighting the Leader and an Abomination that was apparently Igor Dreknov instead of Emil Blonksy, Banner stabilizing Betty’s transformation so she stays in her calmer “median” state, and Betty joining the Avengers. Unfortunately, things go bad when Betty starts dating Thor and a jealous Banner starts creating hero-killing robots. Again, this is all interesting alternate timeline stuff that I wish we could see more of.

Back in “our” reality, the original She-Hulk finally does something other than sit atop General Fortean’s plane. Apparently, she’s in league with Bruce Banner to find Betty, and she uses the technology provided by the Mad Thinker to turn herself into the equivalent of a gamma/cosmic ray bloodhound. She’s the only one who is capable of pulling Betty out of this alternate timeline, but things get complicated by the fact that the Machine Man’s programming goes out of whack due to the time shifts, thus leading to him attacking both She-Hulks even as he tries to talk sense to Betty.

The last issue was extremely confusing, and this issue is also a bit mind-boggling if you’re not into keeping track of alternate timelines. However, I think the interesting look at what could have been had Betty been the Hulk instead of Bruce makes this well worth looking into. It’s a pretty big departure from the Project Echelon stuff that we’ve been dealing with, but after eight issues of that it’s nice to take a break and head into some new craziness.

My only real lament about Red She-Hulk #66 is that it’s not a true “What If” issue. I’d love to see a “What if Betty had become the Hulk instead of Bruce?” story that delved more into this timeline, but it is unfortunately probably never to be.

Bottom line: Red She-Hulk #66 is interesting. It’s also a really nice recovery after a pretty lackluster issue #65.  With only one issue left before this title wraps up, things are back to building toward a satisfying conclusion.

Apr 162014
Apr 162014
  • Avengers West Coast #102 to add Scarlet Witch, Hawkeye, Spider-Woman (Julia Carpenter), John Walker, James Rhodes, Black Knight (Dane Whitman), Black Widow, Captain America, Crystal, Henry Pym, Hercules, Sersi, Vision, Iron Man, Jarvis and Wonder Man and add West Coast Avengers and Avengers.
  • Alpha Flight #130 (v1) to add Dreamqueen, Sinew, Tech-Noir, Strongarm, Miss Mass, Brain Drain, Bile, Wyre, Goblyn, Manikin, Pathway, Purple Woman, Talisman, Witchfire, Madison Jeffries, Diamond Lil, Feedback, Guardian, Jeremy Clarke, Master of the World, Aurora, Vindicator, Northstar, Puck, Sasquatch, Shaman, Windshear, Wild Child and Nemesis (Jane Thorne) and add Omega Flight (Master), Beta Flight and Alpha Flight.
  • Avengers #370 (v1) to add Dragona, Enigmo, Karkas, Ransak, Dark Angel, Toro Rojo, Kro, Vision, Sersi, Black Knight (Dane Whitman), Black Widow, Captain America, Crystal, Henry Pym and Hercules and add Avengers, Deviants and Delta Force.
  • Dakota North #5 to add Cleo Vanderlip, Mad Dog (Robert Morales), Amos Culhane, Stephen James North and Ricky North.
  • Avengers #276 (v1) to add Baron Zemo (Helmut Zemo) and update Wasp, Hercules, Captain America, Black Knight (Dane Whitman), Pulsar, Blackout, Thunderball, Moonstone, Atlas (Erik Josten), Piledriver, Bulldozer, Mr. Hyde, Fixer, Wrecker, Yellowjacket and and remove Baron Zemo (Heinrich Zemo).
  • Doctor Strange #81 (v2) to add Urthona, Wong, Sara Wolfe, Topaz, Rintrah and Mr. Fantastic.
  • Alpha Flight #128 (v1) to add Aurora, Sinew, Vindicator, Northstar, Sasquatch, Wild Child, Wyre, Feedback, Tork, Brain Drain and Strongarm and add Hardliners, Alpha Flight and Omega Flight (Master).
  • Death Metal #2 to add Argon, Spirit, Brendan Rathcoole, Vindicator, Madison Jeffries, Death Metal, Aurora, Sasquatch, Puck, Wild Child and Northstar and add Alpha Flight.
  • Classic X-Men #6 to add Cyclops.
  • Alpha Flight #129 (v1) to add Aurora, Vindicator, Northstar, Puck, Sasquatch, Shaman, Wild Child, Wyre, Feedback, Bile, Dreamqueen, Tech-Noir, Guardian, Master of the World, Brain Drain, Miss Mass, Sinew and Strongarm and add Alpha Flight, Hardliners and Omega Flight (Master).
  • Alpha Flight #43 (v1) to update Box, Madison Jeffries, Northstar, Aurora, Puck, Vindicator and Purple Woman and add Beta Flight.
  • Amazing Spider-Man #285 (v1) to update Mister Johnston, Mister Varley and Rose (Richard Fisk) and remove Kris Keating.
  • Daredevil #224 (v1) to update Sunturion (Mike Stone).
Apr 162014
Apr 152014

by Joshua Starnes, CMRO Editor

It shouldn’t come as any surprise, not since the post-credit scenes of AVENGERS and THOR: THE DARK WORLD, but just in case it does, GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY writer-director James Gunn confirms in this week’s issue of Entertainment Weekly that Thanos, the behind the scenes villain of both AVENGERS and GUARDIANS, will become the in front of the scenes villain in AVENGERS 3 (due sometime around 2018).

“He is the head of the snake,” Gunn said of Thanos presence in the science-fiction adventure film opening on August 1. He revealed that the character, seen previously in heavy makeup at the end of AVENGERS, will be motion captured and computer generated for his appearance in GUARDIANS, as was previously hinted at about by Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige in a recent profile in the New York Times. It will be through Thanos that Guardians is “definitely connected to Avengers 3” Gunn added, as the plot of Guardians continues following Thanos quest to collect the six Infinity Gems as detailed in AVENGERS and the conclusion of THOR: THE DARK WORLD. Fans of the comics all know where that goes.

Meanwhile, AVENGERS 2 filming continues to roll right along with production moving to merry old England where it will soon inhabit the sound stages at Pinewood. For the moment, however, the film is on location filming World War II era scenes in what appeared to be another set of flashback scenes featuring Steve Rogers and Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell) according to sharp eyed passersby who took photos (see them here: http://www.comicbookmovie.com/fansites/MarvelFreshman/news/?a=97951). Said citizen photogs added that JARVIS voice and Vision actor Paul Bettany was on set for the scenes as well, suggesting some sort of link between Howard Stark and JARVIS and potentially Vision as well (perhaps the real Jarvis was Iron Man’s father’s faithful butler?). Time will tell.

GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY is due August 1, 2014. AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON will bow May 1, 2015.

Apr 132014
Apr 132014
Apr 132014
  • X-Men and Alpha Flight #1 to add Master Builder (Berzerkers), Pathfinder (Berzerkers), Brawler (Berzerkers), Cornucopia (Berzerkers), Earth-Mover (Berzerkers), Lord of the Plants (Berzerkers), Lore Lord (Berzerkers) and Beastmaster (Berzerkers) and add Berzerkers and Those Who Sit Above in Shadow .
  • Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man #122 (v1) to add Joy Mercado and Kris Keating.
  • X-Men and Alpha Flight #2 to add Pathfinder (Berzerkers), Master Builder (Berzerkers), Lore Lord (Berzerkers), Lord of the Plants (Berzerkers), Earth-Mover (Berzerkers), Cornucopia (Berzerkers), Brawler (Berzerkers) and Beastmaster (Berzerkers) and add Berzerkers and Those Who Sit Above in Shadow .
  • Captain America #313 (v1) to add Holly Riddley and Hiram Riddley and to update general comic information (story title, page count, etc).
  • Power Pack #20 (v1) to add Roy Craig.
  • Avengers #264 (v1) to add Frank Rambeau and Maria Rambeau and add Fantastic Four.
  • Ghost Rider #31 (v2) to update Bounty Hunter (Lemuel Haskill).
  • Ghost Rider #32 (v2) to update Bounty Hunter (Lemuel Haskill).
  • Micronauts #39 (v1) to update Arcturus Rann, Marionette, Acroyear, Bug, Devil and Microtron and update Micronauts.
  • Captain America #312 (v1) to update general comic information (story title, page count, etc).