Home The Order Forums Stats/Leader Comic News Login FAQs Podcasts Register
CMRO Menu Header
Marvel reading order menue bottom
Aug 232015
 

Lily and Jon are coming at you this time with three more episodes of Agents of SHIELD and two comic book adventures. First, Iron Man meets an iron patriot, but not of America. No, this is the Crimson Dynamo on visit from the halls of Khrushchev, set to take down Iron Man for the good of the Soviet Union. And then, Dr. Strange must face his first repeat villain, Baron Mordo. Wait, it’s only his third adventure, and he’s already repeating villains? Not even the X-Men stooped that low!

Aug 232015
 

Weekly Roundup 08/05 - 08/12

Welcome to this edition of the CMRO Marvel Dueling Round-Up. Eric is returning this week, and it’s just in time, with Etienne finally taking a little break from the Round-Up. So we are still working our way through the summer with some great guest reviewers as we continue our coverage of Secret Wars. Up this week, is Matt, again not to be confused with Matthew, our other guest reviewer.

Star-Lord and Kitty Pryde #2
Written by Sam Humphries
Art by Alti Firmansyah, Jessica Kholinne

Synopsis – 616 Peter goes even further down the rabbit hole as he learns, first hand, that this is definitely not his Kitty, which doesn’t stop him from getting involved in things that he shouldn’t be.

Eric:
So far, I really like this series. I know I’m a big advocate for AU storylines, but with so much AU in Secret Wars, it’s nice to have a title that is focused on one of the surviving 616 characters. Like many other Secret Wars series, this deals with Doom’s little secret about the world getting out, but it is much more tied to the main title, since it’s Doom’s own science division that is starting to ask the questions. Coupled in with the Quill factor, this title is one of the more stand-outs from the herd. Also, AoA Kitty is pretty bad-ass.
Story – 9/10
Art – 8/10

Matt:
I agree with everything you say, Eric. This title is great because it is not only purely relevant to Peter Quill’s character towards the end of the 616 Universe, it also incorporates the growing tensions of this stage of Secret Wars. AoA Kitty states the situation more clearly here than it is said in any other title – that of Valeria’s Foundation being the ones to study the anomalies, and to presumably gain independence away from Doom’s law. Thus, this Kitty is growing to be a very important character – and it doesn’t hurt that she’s cool and badass. I can see where this title will head, and I am looking forward to it – but there’s certainly room for some twists and turns along the way. Fantastic art, also, one of my favourites of Secret Wars so far.
Story – 7/10
Art – 9/10

A-Force #3
Written by Marguerite Bennett, C. Willow Wilson
Art by Jorge Molina, Craig Yeung, Laura Martin

Synopsis – Having been sucked through a portal to the Domain of “Years of Future Past,” Baroness She-Hulk is now being hunted by three female Thors (Sif, Valkyrie, & Gamora) for the crime of Boarder Crossing. She has obviously been set up, but will anyone listen to her or A-Force?

i
Having just finished Dan Slott’s, and then Peter David’s run on She-Hulk from 2008/09, I have really started to appreciate the character more, and this series has really been great for her, giving her this chance at a leadership role. This issue had a lot going on in it, with some twists and more tragedy. It seems like the heroes of Arcadia just can’t seem to catch a break. The mystery deepens, and with that ending, I can’t wait to see where this is going.
Story – 9/10
Art – 8/10

Matt:
I’ll be honest, I have no clue what is happening in this book. There are too many mysteries and no apparent constants that are holding this book together. Sure, I’m interested in who the cosmic girl is – if she is not cosmic Kitty – but who is making these portals again, why is there a traitor and what the hell happened in the last few pages? I can respect the fundamental ideas for a series like this, and it is trying to be an important title to the entirety of Secret Wars, but I feel like the writers have overstepped the balance between mystery and revelation and have taken it to the point where you can’t really enjoy the story that much. I agree with you, Eric, that She-Hulk deserves the position of leader in this title, instead of giving it to the usual leaders such as Captain Marvel. But unless the team actually does anything important I don’t think the position of leader means that much.
Story – 4/10
Art – 8/10

Ghost Racers #3
Written by Felipe Smith
Art by Juan Gedeon, Tamra Bonvillain

Synopsis – Arcade and Zadkiel close in on Reyes, and a new Racer joins the group.

Matt:
To be frank, this isn’t a good title for me. I don’t like any of the heroes or the villains, the entire story is based around people trying to kill one man whom I don’t care about, and the plot is predictable at every turn. The title isn’t worthy of being the only one that is based in Battleworld’s supposed most important zone – Doomstadt – and the Killiseum could really have been located anywhere. This book tries to surprise us with a silly Ghost Racer bonding session, but like most of the things in this book it’s trite and lacklustre. The only redeeming factor I can glean from this title is many of the previous Ghost Riders now being in the same title, but I can only see that being special for someone who is a fan of multiple Ghost Riders, but let’s be honest – who is?
Story – 3/10
Art – 6/10

Eric:
I have to agree with you Matt on a lot of your points. I was not a big fan of the previous volume of All-New Ghost Rider, and this title plays heavily to those fans. In fact if you came here looking for any other Ghost Rider to get some spotlight, I think you would be sorely disappointed. Yeah there was the bonding session, but otherwise the other Riders have been used as nothing more than cannon fodder at this point. And since this is a Battleworld title, I’m still waiting to see how this is supposed to tie-in more closely to the bigger picture.
Story – 4/10
Art – 5/10

Korvac Saga #3
Written by Dan Abnett
Art by Otto Schmidt, Cris Peter

Synopsis – While Baron Williams and Baron Korvac continue to argue over the proper course of action to take against the Madness, Captain Mar-vell becomes infected, and all hell breaks loose.

Eric:
This series started out a little slow, and continued that way thru the second issue, turning this title into one of the herd in my opinion. But this issue shows me that it might have some signs of life in it, and maybe it was just a slow starter, now if we could clean the art up a bit. Now, although the majority of the issue focused on the Mar-vell fight, we still got a decent amount of momentum with the plot, and I’m wondering, again, if this title might have a bigger role to play in the overall landscape of Secret Wars.
Story – 8/10
Art – 6/10

Matt:
I agree with you that it started out slow. So slow in fact that I was sure this title would never redeem itself. The Madness disease was a nice idea, and it is obvious to see the disastrous collateral damage it could cause against Doom – but simply turning them into giant monsters? It’s a waste. It would have been better if the Madness disease simply restored the memories of the previous Multiverse and left the affected personas to try and convince the others. It would have been a more dramatic, likely more exciting book. I’m not a fan of the original Guardians, and I’ve never read much into Michael Korvac so I truly did have no hope – but the reveal at the end of this issue is promising, and I would not be surprised if Doom himself becomes involved in later issues (a feat that has not occurred outside of the main Secret Wars title). I can see how the title is important, yet I wish it was not this title. I do not like the art, and I don’t care for most of the characters – but the plot does it’s best, so I will award it justly.
Story – 5/10
Art – 4/10

Mrs. Deadpool and the Howling Commandos #3
Written by Gerry Duggan
Art by Salvador Espin, Val Staples

Synopsis – Shiklah and the Howling Commandos must journey to Weirdworld in their quest against Dracula.

Matt:
I feel that Duggan had two options when writing this: the drama route and the comedy route. However, as he later opted for Mrs. Deadpool instead of simply Shiklah – the decision is obvious right there. Yes, this is a comedy book, and it is funny. Deadpool’s surviving ghost from the 616 Universe follows his memory-altered wife as she and a mismatched group of Marvel monsters traipse through Battleworld and crack jokes. They don’t seem to be inhibited by the rules against zone travel, yet it doesn’t seem that anyone is. If Doom created it as a law, you would think with his power he would be able to stop it. Otherwise, it remains an entertaining title, and it does well with the largely irrelevant cast it has. There’s not a great deal of character development, but the action is good and the comedy is very Deadpool-esque, and the art is very good.
Story – 6/10
Art – 7/10

Eric:
Yeah, I’ve been noticing that there definitely seems to be holes in the network of Thors guarding the boarders. Plot demanding, some title the Thors are all over it, in others a lone Thor deals with it, and in still others they don’t even notice, or care, that it’s happening. Also, wasn’t Arkon making a huge deal about a map of Wierdworld??? Apparently more people have maps of that place then he realizes. I am a little surprised at your scoring of this issue, though. I felt it was a great issue, and what I expect from a Duggan written Deadpool title.
Story – 8/10
Art – 8/10

Inhumans: Attilan Rising #4
Written by Charles Soule
Art by John Timms, Roberto Poggi, Frank D’Armata

Synopsis – Triton’s group is transported to a dangerous region, and Black Bolt appeals to Medusa.

Matt:
Marvel’s ceaseless emphasis on the Inhumans continues with this title. The X-Men aren’t theirs, so they need a replacement – thus, every move that has been made with the Inhumans as a protagonist. This book actually reveals a lot about not only events in New Attilan, but plots that could affect the entirety of Battleworld. I would go so far as to say that this title, along with Ultimate End, is seemingly the most pivotal now and in the future in regards to Doom and what will happen with Battleworld. This is good for me as Karnak is one of my four favourite characters, and he is getting much more attention than he did a few years ago, and Daredevil – another of my four – also appears in this title. The rest of the Inhumans are always a welcome sight, though I haven’t quite come to like the new Inhumans – Auran, Kamala Khan, etc – yet. Still, this title continues to be important, and the art is worth picking this book up alone.
Story – 8/10
Art – 9/10

Eric:
Whoa, talk about some major plot dumping. I would say 90% of this issue is just one giant expose. I agree with Matt that all this new information is much more than just about what is going on in this title, and is holding up to the marketing that since this is a Battleworld title, it finally is showing off that connection to the bigger picture that these titles are supposed to have. Since most of the Secret Wars titles seem to be settling on 5 issue runs, I’m really interested in how this title plans on wrapping up it’s part of the story.
Story – 8/10
Art – 9/10

Master of Kung Fu #4 (Final Issue)
Written by Haden Blackman
Art by Dalibor Talajic, Goran Sudzuka, Miroslav Mrva

Synopsis – Shang-Chi is the only one who can beat his father, but Iron Fist stands in his way.

Matt:
I have enjoyed this title from the beginning; it has been a well-crafted story of a failure’s rise back to power and journey to defeat the evil antagonist. The title does indeed feel like a martial arts movie, and not one of the bad ones. The book has taken all the relevant characters to K’un Lun and Shang-Chi, and has added in refreshing cameos from outside characters under variations that respect the setting – Black Panther, Namor and Karnak from the third issue, the Morlocks throughout the series, etc. I won’t spoil the climax of this book, but it is entertaining and it does not let the action and excitement from the previous issues down. The art has been constantly brilliant, and I cannot think of a better artist than Talajic to illustrate this.
Story – 7/10
Art – 8/10

Eric:
You know, I liked this title when it started, mostly for all the unexpected cameo appearances, but to be honest, I’ve gotten kind of bored with it at the end here. I’m not really the biggest martial arts comic fan, and although this seemed like a nice twist on the whole concept, this last issue, for me, has basically turned it back into an average martial arts book again. And what I don’t get, is how this was supposed to be connected to the bigger picture of Battleworld. This was marketed as a Battleworld title and not a WarZone, and the Battleworld are supposed to be the ones with the bigger connection to the overall story of Secret Wars, yet I felt this whole series was actually one of the least connected.
Story – 4/10
Art – 8/10

Planet Hulk #4
Written by Sam Humphries
Art by Marc Laming, Jordan Boyd

Synopsis – The Captain wakes up, a prisoner in the Mud Kingdom, but never fear, Doc Green is here!!! And once Devil Dinosaur shows up, it’s back to the plan, with an ending you should have seen coming a mile away.

Eric:
This is easily my favorite title in Secret Wars, even more than Thors. The art work is amazing, the locations are bizarre, along with the creatures and inhabitance, and the three main cast members are perfectly chosen for this setting. While some titles are bogged down with too many characters, this keeps its cast small and focused. Each character gewts their far share of the story, and they just work so well together. Although the ending of this issue was obvious, it did raise a much bigger question. Who is Doc Green??? Because I’m pretty sure he’s not Banner at this point.
Story – 9/10
Art – 10/10

Matt:
There’s a lot of good art in the titles of Secret Wars, but this art is magnificent. I’ve never heard of Mark Laming before, but I hope he continues illustrating for Marvel. As for the story, they could have easily opted for a sparse, battle-filled journey to find and free Bucky – and it would have been fine, but instead there is thought and mystery in this story. I haven’t the faintest idea as to who Doc Green or the Red King is beneath the Hulk, and the ending provides us with only a handful of possible scenarios for the final issue – and each one will be exciting. I could guess to where this is all heading, but I’m sure there will be ample twists and turns leading up to the end.
Story – 8/10
Art – 10/10

Secret Wars 2099 #4
Written by Peter David
Art by William Sliney, Antonio Fabela

Synopsis – Things have quickly gone south for Mr. O’Hare and his Avengers since he ordered the Defenders put into custody, especially when half your team starts playing for the other side.

Eric:
Can I just say, I love Hercules. He is easily one of my favorite “strong guys” in the Marvel Universe. This was a great issue of this title, and Hercules had some great stand-out moments, only outshined by Captain America. This series has been great from the start, and this was the best issue so far.
Story – 9/10
Art – 7/10

Matt:
I love the original Defenders line-up, and Namor is my favourite Marvel character – so naturally I am inclined to support this variation of the Defenders from the second they were introduced. I am so glad that they are becoming the staple heroes of the title and the Avengers are being incriminated by their own actions and this Miguel Stone. I haven’t read much of the 2099 Universe, but I thought Miguel Stone was supposed to be Miguel O’Hara – Spider-Man? A good guy? I don’t know, but the rest of the characters are entertaining and interesting, especially Hercules and this new Sub-Mariner. I was apprehensive of the female Captain America at first, but I must say there are some curious plot elements surrounding her and I am interested to see where they are heading with her split personality. The art is still one of my favourite of Secret Wars so far also. Impressive feats for a title I didn’t think I would enjoy at first.
Story – 9/10
Art – 9/10

Secret Wars: Battleworld #4 (Final Issue)
Written by James Stokoe and Peter David
Art by James Stokoe, Daniel Valadez, David Curiel

Synopsis – Battleworld tells its own version of Galactus’ iconic deal with Norrin Radd, and a different Surfer pays a visit to Maestro.

Matt:
The difficult thing about this title is the lack of content you are provided with, and with that the short stories have to entertain you in very little time. This book takes a focus on Norrin Radd – the Silver Surfer, specifically through two different versions of him. The first story is undoubtedly the best, though the second has better art. Firstly, I’ve been curious about the position of Galactus in Battleworld – and from this it appears he consumes regular forms of sustenance instead of energy from planets. Also, there is a Galactus at Doom’s castle, and wasn’t there something about only one Galactus should exist? Nevertheless, it’s a fun one-shot. The second story instead seems like a set-up for a different Surfer’s appearance in another book – perhaps some Defenders title as he mentions the team a couple of times, but it’s really not worth anything besides the great art. Overall, it’s a decent book – but for these one-shot titles I would recommend the superior Secret Wars Journal to pick up instead.
Story – 1st: 7/10 2nd: 2/10
Art – 1st: 5/10 2nd: 8/10

Eric:
Interesting, I was completely the opposite then you when it came to these two stories. The first story wasn’t bad, and the artwork was good, but for me that was the throw away story. Whereas, I really liked the second story, because as you mentioned, it had great art, and I really liked the connectivity it had. Since the second story was written by Peter David, I’m pretty sure that was the Silver Surfer that has been appearing in Secret Wars 2099, and the 2099 Defenders are the team he is talking about in this short. So this is, indeed, a set-up story for another title, although I do find Marvel’s choice to release it after the series it’s setting up has started, a bit odd, but that’s Marvel for you.
Story – 1st: 5/10 2nd: 7/10
Art – 1st: 7/10 2nd: 8/10

Years of Future Past #4
Written by Marguerite Bennett
Art by Mike Norton, FCO Plascencia

Synopsis – Magneto’s team is saved as the Pryde’s fight for their life against the government and its mutant traitors. Although, everything goes to hell when Magneto’s true plans are revealed.

Eric:
Wow, ok from a story point of view this just got really messy. This title is already on issue four, and we just got thrown so many twist and turns, I feel like they really didn’t give themselves enough time to explore any of them, since most titles in Secret Wars are only going five issues. The reveals in this series have taken to long to get to and the story now seems rushed.
Story – 5/10
Art – 7/10

Matt:
God, is this title wordy as all hell. Worse, most of it comes from two unlikeable children who go on about stuff that they know nothing about and treat everything like what they do is the only factor that affects anything. With that aside, I’ve always been partial to the dystopian ‘future past’ world, and this title has given us some good outlooks upon it. I completely agree that there are too many twists and turns. They simply don’t have enough time to delve into this Magneto conspiracy, and frankly the story would be better if it was of a singular focus: the mutant rebellion against Robert Kelly and the Sentinels. I’ve tried very hard to like this title, but between the Pryde kids and the ridiculous plot elements, I can’t get into it. At least the art is good.
Story – 5/10
Art – 8/10

Howard the Duck #5 (Final Issue)
Written by Chip Zdarsky
Art by Joe Quinones, Joe Rivera, Paolo Rivera, Rico Renzi

Synopsis – The battle for the Abundant Glove rages on, and since this is the last issue, the guest stars are definitely abundant. But good news, All-New Howard #1 in November!

Eric:
Wow so this was just a big huge chaotic “big boss” fight. And I swear they threw a bunch of names in a hat to pick the guest stars. We got everything from the Fantastic Four to Silk and the new Ms. Marvel running around in this one. Oh and the Skrull cow story once again makes its way into the plot, with a very Howard-eske twist. Oh, and Spider-Man gets his foot stuck in rubble. Overall, pretty much what you would come to expect from this series.
Story – 7/10
Art – 7/10

Matt:
Oh boy, is this title the absolute saviour of Marvel comedy. I absolutely adore the sardonic writing style of this series, and what better character to use than the gloomy yet hilarious Howard the Duck. I actually think he’s funnier than Deadpool, and better looking too. As soon as I saw the tagline ‘trapped in a world he’s grown accustomed to’, I knew I would love this book. The first issue was revolutionary, and the comedy has not been devalued since. This issue, especially, was incredible. The Skrull Kill Krew and those Skrull cows excite me every time they are brought up, and the one-liners are simply genius, from Sue Storm’s ‘always keen to save guys with grey temples’ to the best reference I have ever seen with Spidey’s ‘Wreckage! My greatest enemy!’ (Check out my arc review on ‘If This Be My Destiny’ on the forums (sorry about the plug)). Honestly, I hope to see Howard the Duck and Zdarsky paired in glorious matrimony for a good length of time to come.
Story – 10/10
Art – 7/10

Secret Wars #5
Written by Jonathan Hickman
Art by Esad Ribic, Ive Svorcina

Synopsis – Doom tasks Valeria with locating the survivors of the final Incursion, and more is revealed about the origin of Battleworld.

Matt:
It has been many issues since Avengers and New Avengers, Volume 5, and Hickman still has not lost pace. We are still seeing a huge overreaching storyline with every main issue connected to Hickman’s work, and we have much more to find out and much more to see. I was hoping to see more of the life raft survivors in this issue, but we only get to see small amounts – this issue in fact is solely devoted to Doom and a revealed person who might hold some pivotal power in the issues to come. A very specific mystery is cleared up, one that I was confused about until now, and it makes sense with everything else that happened under the imminence of the final Incursion. Character development abounds, especially the apparent ‘family’ of Doom, Valeria – with her Foundation – and to a lesser degree, Franklin. We don’t know yet the extent of their abilities, but I’m sure they’re going to play an important role in the climax of Battleworld. And, as always, Ribic provides stunning art to guide us through the main storyline of Secret Wars.
Story – 9/10
Art – 8/10

Eric:
See, I really liked the this issue, but I can’t let it slide that after only one issue of things actually happening, we are back in plot dump mode. And from the point when the Beyonders come up, it rehashes what we already knew from the last issue of New Avengers for three pages until we finally get to the whole point of that retelling. I mean they could have cut that down to like 1 and a half pages. We could have gotten at least a page more devoted to the lifeboat survivors, which I agree with you was a little lacking. What I did like about this issue, though, was the focus on Valeria and her team. It’s an interesting twist on the concept of the Future Foundation, and it’s pretty obvious they are going to play a key role in how this plays out.
Story – 8/10
Art – 8/10

The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #8 (Final Issue)
Written by Ryan North
Art by Erica Henderson, Rico Renzi

Synopsis – Squirrel Girl gets help from Thor, Odinson and Loki in her battle with Ratatoskr.

Matt:
Is it just me, or is there slowly becoming a market for wise-cracking self-aware titles featuring obscure and strange characters? Well, I can confirm that Howard the Duck is funnier, and this is only mildly amusing – verging on cringe-worthy. Plus, Spider-Man is used far better in Howard the Duck. I’ve only read a couple of other issues of Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, and I understand it’s aims and its target demographic but I’m surprised people aren’t sick of it by now. I am, and I only read three issues (though I admit the one with Galactus was really good). Anyway, I just hope I never have to talk about this again because it makes me lose intelligence as I have to read issues of Squirrel Girl. And Cat Thor needs to go away. Now.
Story – 2/10
Art – 5/10

Eric:
I think the only really big problem I had with this issue was that it’s got WAY too much dialogue going on in it. Are we in a 60s comic?? In fact, I think this ranks up there with 60s X-Men for the amount of dialogue they had going in some panels. The story itself wasn’t bad, but I’m really over the “evil squirrel from Asgard” antagonist, at this point. The humor is hit or miss for me, but the same can be said for Howard, so I think that’s more about the fact that I’m just not into these books that much outside of reading them for the weeklies. Although I did like Cat Thor.
Story – 4/10
Art – 5/10

Amazing Spider-Man #20.1 (Final Issue)
Written by Gerry Conway
Art by Carlo Barberi, Juan Viasco, Israel Silva

Synopsis – Mister Negative and the Wraith confront each other as the Third Precinct descends into chaos.

Matt:
I don’t know why this story arc has been classed in the ‘point-one’ section of the volume, but I can guess it is because the story isn’t worthy of being in the normal classification. Yuri Watanabe’s hero to presumed villain origin is OK, but I don’t see the reason for initiating it so close to Secret Wars. Maybe if she was part of the Spider-Gwen and Silk revolution, she would have got somewhere as a villain, but now she will just be forgotten – and I don’t think she’ll reappear any time soon after Secret Wars. The good thing about this issue is the amount of fun cameos from the Spider-Man rogue’s gallery, and the art is good – but nothing else shines out as acceptable to me. The ending fight is lacklustre and it’s over in a couple of pages, I don’t know what Mister Negative wanted to achieve in the end, and with so much focus on the Wraith – I simply don’t care what this story has to give.
Story – 3/10
Art – 7/10

Eric:
Well, the point one designation is because Dan Slott is the current writer of the main title, and they cramed this storyline in because it is written by famed (ok I know this is up for debate) Spider-Man writer Gerry Conway, who was returning to the character for the first time since he left decades ago. Instead of taking away the main title from Slott for this monumental occasion, and since Secret Wars was right around the corner, they pumped out this story concurrent with the main run that Slott was finishing off, this one just dragged on longer then Slott’s story did. As to why they couldn’t wait, who knows…. maybe Conway wasn’t available after Secret Wars, or a ton of other reasons. As to the quality of the story, it’s funny, from my perspective, this is one of the better storylines they have done with Spider-Man since they switched him back to Parker from Doc Ock. And as to your assessment about not seeing Wraith any time soon… since she has been heavily featured as a reaccuring side character through Slott’s runs on both Amazing and Superior Spider-Man, I’m pretty sure this is not the last we will see of her.
Story – 8/10
Art – 8/10

And from a Galaxy far far away…

Star Wars: Lando #2
Written by Charles Soule
Art by Alex Maleev, Paul Mounts

Synopsis – Lando, Lobot and their crew of malcontents continue along with their ship-jacking escaped, still pretty much in the dark as to who actually owns this vessel. But I’m sure they will be finding out soon enough.

Eric:
So, I think my only problem with this title is that it feels like it just as easily could have been Han Solo and Chewbacca replacing Lando and Lobot and we wouldn’t even know the difference. Ok, yeah Lobot can talk, but nothing he is saying couldn’t be convened in a visual manor with the other pair. So far, instead of this series making Lando a distinct character separate from Han, it has only re-enforced how much of a carbon copy Lando can be when not handled correctly. I really like Soule as a writer, but this series need to step up its characterizations of the main character if it wants me to get on board.
Story – 6/10
Art – 7/10

Matt:
I’m more involved in a different time period of the Star Wars expanded Universe, so Lando is only familiar to me from the original trilogy – and even that I haven’t watched in some time. Thus, looking in from an unfamiliar perspective, Lando does indeed just seem like a Solo clone. I was interested in the first issue when he was talking about using his brain instead of a blaster – as I always feel most Star Wars characters are obligated to initiate a standoff when anything goes awry – so I had some hope for Lando then, but I’ve seen in several cases that pacifists in Star Wars just happen to be expert space pilots. The two are interchangeable, except for a select few who can do both – Solo, Luke Skywalker, etc, and what do you know – they are the main characters usually. I’ve preferred the art in the other Star Wars titles over this one, also.
Story – 5/10
Art – 7/10

Aug 192015
 

Highway 616

 

Welcome to Episode #12 of Highway 616 and the third Weekend edition (Ed. Note: Sadly I am late posting this, so this weekend edition shows up mid-week). This time I give a detailed history of the widly confusing and intricate publication history of Lady Death and her associated characters. From her creation in Evil Ernie as a vacuous temptress through the re-imagining of her in her Chaos years and on through Avatar and Boundless into the modern day of Coffin Comics. For more information please check out the Complete reading order for the character on the forums – Lady Death Reading Order.

 

Aug 112015
 

by Joshua Starnes, CMRO Editor

2015_fantastic_four-wide

There are probably as many people who believe effects heavy adventure films are the unfortunate necessity of the modern film business as believe they are its pinnacle (or at least most entertaining option, which may be the same thing) but if the last decade has proven anything it is that a determined filmmaker with the right material and the right inspiration can appease both groups (or come as close as possible). Josh Trank’s FANTASTIC FOUR is not that film, but that fact should not be used as the object lesson it may be doomed to become in how not to make one of these movies or why there should be fewer of them. Quite the opposite, in fact. For all the studio hands visibly apparent in the frequently incomprehensible FANTASTIC FOUR it is still an auteur’s film right down to the symmetry in experiences between co-writer/director Trank and young Reed Richards (Teller), both of whom are destined to achieve unexpected early success – Trank with is first film, Reed with a prototype interdimensional teleporter – which open the door to both immensely larger opportunities and immensely larger (and unseen) dangers.

Quickly snapped up by the mysterious Baxter Foundation, Reed and a host of talented young geniuses put their minds together to solve the greatest problem of all time – reaching and exploring new worlds – and garner all the awards and accolades which go with such a feat. Staying true to his oft-repeated mantra of a grounded, realistic depiction of the well-known origin of Marvel’s first super-team, Trank starts local with the difficult upbringing of Reed and best friend Ben Grimm (Bell) while laying down the nuts and bolts aesthetic designed by Chris Seagers (and eventually re-designed by Molly Hughes in the films much discussed re-shoots). Nuts and bolts in the most literal sense of the world because while Trank (with co-writers Simon Kinberg and Jeremy Slater) creates often subtle but solid relationship strands between core characters – from Victor Von Doom’s (Kebbell) simmering jealousy of both Reed’s intellect and rapport with equally brainy Susan Storm (Mara) to often lone adult Professor Storm (Cathey) and his attempt to reach his estranged son Johnny (Jordan) – it spends more time on actual nuts and bolts, showcasing endless scenes of characters welding things or staring at computer monitors rather than conversing with one another. The result is a pretty and occasionally interesting relationship drama with an interminable pace made all the more noticeably turgid as the first act building up to the activation of Reed’s device takes up fully half of the films brief 100 minute run time with little to show for all the time spent beyond squashing the rest of the film into shape which cannot possibly make sense. Still it is within these sequences more so than any other portion of the film where Trank’s hand shows through most firmly, suggesting inherent problems completely separate from any studio mandated reshoots and which gives something of the lie to the notion that an auteur given free rein to bring what they see in their heads to life without interference or compromise (surely the dirtiest word in the arts) must produce better work than lowest common denominator focused studio creations.

And there is some material in FANTASTIC FOUR which backs up that idea when Reed and his team decide to use Reed’s device themselves, and get transformed into various painfully monstrous creations for their trouble and youthful exuberance. Despite some of the clumsy storytelling needed to reach that point – from bringing a largely absent Ben Grimm back into the proceedings for no discernible reason than he has to become The Thing, to the classic alien planet exploration technique of poking glowy-things and being surprised when they explode – the Four’s discovery of how they’ve changed is played up with a mixture of horror and occasional pathos which works amazingly well, briefly suggesting the hints of interest in the first half are about to bloom into a fully developed epic of type which truly has not been attempted before. Alas, it’s not to be. Like anything having to do with art auteur theory is wrong as often as it’s right; unfiltered, ill-considered works devoid of feedback or editing can fall apart just as surely as the most work shopped piece of lowest common denominator ‘entertainment’ and FANTASTIC FOUR does that with surprising speed. Yes the next twenty minutes or so run through with amazing speed and little consequence as character and relationships and frequently logic takes a back seat to getting individuals where they need to be for the quickly approaching third act. But as problematic as that is, it’s neither better nor worse than the slow and empty work of Trank’s first half (they both spend quite a lot of time watching young people stand around inside of a warehouse, which is not usually the first thing that comes to mind when imagining a FANTASTIC FOUR film). The reality is, good art and bad come from the same place (and usually from the same positive intentions) and there is no real way to determine which you are going to get from one moment to the next; it’s a roll of the dice and the odds are against us but that’s okay because like a gambling addict we love the action as much as the winning.

Though he won’t admit it, it’s a feeling which Reed likely understands as he abandons his friends and goes on the run, trying to figure out how to undo what his machine did while the military gleefully snaps up the remaining super people it has access to with plans to use them to solve all of their thorniest problems … beginning with the capture of Reed himself. It’s slow and turbulent (a side effect in part of the film’s determined fight against humor – after the half point there are no intentional jokes, and few before then) but ripe with promise for infighting among the Four and their handlers making the formation of the team less of a foregone conclusion. And it is tossed out the window almost as soon as it is brought up as the film, perhaps realizing how slowly it has been moving, picks up speed faster and faster, racing towards it literally knows not where. The rapidly … let’s be generous and say evolving … plot expands so quickly arbitrariness becomes the name of the game, embodied primarily by Cathey’s Professor Storm who exists primarily to tell any character what they need to hear in order to get where they need to be for the big finish even if it means contradicting what he said. In a film full of rock men and invisible women the greatest super power of all must be Professor Storm’s ability to convince people he is the voice of moral authority even though by the start of the third act it must be clear to even the most lax of observers that everything he says is wrong.

[Take for instance his assertion that the twenty-year-old geniuses who built the teleporter and are presumably the only people who know how to fix it if it breaks are just the people to test it out the first time. One imagines Werner Von Braun’s reaction if told while working on the Saturn V that, once he got it to stop exploding, he would be the one piloting it.]

But like a boulder careening downhill, there’s no time to think too much of such things; the extended first act means there’s a lot to do in the second half causing the film to essentially jump straight to the finale as Doctor Doom suddenly reappears and begins busting heads with his brain in the film’s last gasp of effecting and original superhero storytelling before it devolves into a panoply of computer effects and stunt sequences as Doom prepares to wipe out the planet for … some reason. Actually, that’s not fair – he has a completely understandable reason, it’s just stupid [having in his view put the planet Earth on an unalterable course to become uninhabited, having access to teleporter technology makes it inevitable the human race will do the same to the featureless mud ball he has claimed as home, so he will do to them first]. Not that there is much time to sit around and ponder such things as the speed of action continues to pick up in the quickly arrived finale, sweeping the newly minted Fantastic Four into a glowing vortex in order to face Doom on his home turf in a replacement climax which is so tonally discordant from what has come before it is possible to pinpoint to the second the point where the reshoots were spliced into the original story. With what little in the way of character work thrown out the window FANTASTIC FOUR quickly falls back into the old action film standby of hurling a chunk of visual effects at the screen in an effort to create some sort of reaction. Normally complaints about CG heavy action sequences looking like a video game are the work of a lazy mind reaching for a phrase which is familiar and roughly describes the sensation the writer is going for while in no one describing what is actually on screen and mostly has to do with a persistent prejudice against CGI. That said, not since probably ESCAPE FROM LA has a cast of actors been so obviously standing on a sound stage in front of a giant green screen than the FF when they arrive on Planet Zero. It’s not hideous, just extremely mediocre like so much else in the film.

Which probably sounds like a damning condemnation of FANTASTIC FOUR and a warning to stop assailing us with bad versions of the characters of which we have now suffered through four terrible iterations. Certainly many are taking it that way, but that’s the worst way out in a medium where, failed reboots notwithstanding, there is always room for another look. While the odd bad result can sometimes lead to questioning the entire enterprise – particularly in a genre where (for various reasons) the odds of success are even lower than the mean – if the occasional terrible film is the price we pay for the occasional great one then not only was the attempt worth it, but it’s worth trying again.

Rating: 4 out of 10
Cast:
Miles Teller as Reed Richards
Kate Mara as Susan Storm
Michael B. Jordan as Johnny Storm
Jamie Bell as Ben Grimm
Toby Kebbell as Victor Von Doom
Reg E. Cathey as Professor Franklin Storm
Tim Blake Nelson as Dr. Allen

Aug 112015
 

A few days late, but here is the latest outing of Lily and Jon Wilson, as they catch up with the God of Thunder and their favorite Insect-Sized Duo. It’s the end of an era of sorts for both books. Robert Bernstein has his last dance with Thor, putting him up against Mad Merlin, who has just woken up cranky after a millennium or so. And the final Ant-Man story in this run sees Pym and his lady love tackle the querulous quills of the Porcupine. Also in the MCU Rewatch, Thor: The Dark World! Come give a listen!

 

Aug 052015
 

by Etienne Paul, CMRO Editor and Matt Miles, CMRO Guest Contributing Writer

weekley_roundup_base copy

Welcome to this edition of the CMRO Marvel Round-up. With Eric STILL away we had our guest reviewer Alex filling in a few weeks ago and our usual Star Wars reviewer, Matthew and now we confusingly have Matt to give us his opinions on all the books this week.

1602 – Witch Hunter Angela #2
Written by Marguerite Bennett and Kieron Gillen
Art by Stephanie Hans, Irene Koh and Jordie Bellaire

Synopsis – Angela and Sera go in search of 3 ‘Faustians’ who will lead to the death of Sera, which begs the question, why go looking?

Etienne:
This series follows the same pattern as the pre-Secret Wars Angela title did in that the comic is half painted, half drawn, half real, half story/history and frankly I am bored stiff now. I know this is in the 5th week of the month which always draws a pretty poor set of titles, but with this up first, I am not expecting anything good from here on out. It is fine, its the standard Secret Wars story of characters with certain memories and histories that don’t quite sit straight with the line they have been fed by Doom, but it’s getting really repetitive now. If I had a list of titles I was ‘dropping’ this would be on it, in fact I wouldn’t have even bothered with this issue.
Story – 6/10
Art – 5/10

Matt:
It quickly became clear to me what one of the fundamental inspirations for this title was – The Witcher. Both follow a largely emotion-less protagonist killing monsters in an Elizabethan era setting. Sadly, I would much rather read a book following Geralt of Rivia than Angela, whom in this story twists Thor’s origin into, practically, a love story. The majority of this book follows the unclear relationship between Angela and Serah, accompanied by an underdeveloped featuring of 1602’s Guardians of the Galaxy, or in this case a troupe of entertainers who do no entertaining. The only semblance of an ongoing storyline is Serah’s prophesised death after three ‘Faustians’ (men who have made deals with demons) are killed by the Witch Hunters, yet I’m sure it will resolve with a lacklustre fight and a nice little romantic end. Call me heartless, but this is simply not what I was expecting from this title.
On the other hand, the lettering is pleasant and the art is quite good – but only some of the time.
Story – 2/10
Art – 5/10

Age of Ultron vs. Marvel Zombies #2
Written by James Robinson
Art by Steve Pugh and Jim Charalampidis

Synopsis – 1872’s Hank Pym discovers ‘Salvation’, while Ultron and the zombies negotiate.

Matt:
It is good that, with there being a ‘Marvel Zombies’ title also, this title will likely put more emphasis on the ‘Age of Ultron’ side of things. There is only so many undead escapades a man can take, and Doom knows we have enough already. I would go so far as to say this book is ill-titled – it should really just be ‘Age of Ultron’. One of the reasons for this is because the main characters of this book are all tied in with Ultron: Hank Pym, the creator. The Vision, Ultron’s creation. And Simon Williams and Jim Hammond by association to the Vision (brain patterns). The denizens of the ionically-defended ‘Salvation’ are mounting a formidable defence against Ultron’s growing force, but have they really found what they need in possibly the least intelligent Hank Pym on Battleworld? Suffice to say, I like the way this is heading – we get good character development, and insight on The Shield and Ultron’s plan – and the art to illustrate it is great.
Story – 8/10
Art – 8/10

Etienne:
Did anyone else feel like half this issue was plot dump? The book reads in the following way – throw away opening where a silly character dies horribly, plot dump, more plot dump and finally cliffhanger ending. This book epitomises my problems with Secret Wars in that they have so little time to set up these completely alien worlds that by the time you start to feel comfortable the book will be finished, and in the meantime all you got was scene building. Its not terrible, but frankly its not a classic comic either and I still really hate zombies…
Story – 6/10
Art – 7/10

Thors #2
Written by Jason Aaron
Art by Chris Sprouse, Goran Sudzuka, Karl Story, Dexter Vines and Marte Gracia

Synopsis – The Thors investigate further into the Jane Foster killings – but is it just her being targeted?

Matt:
The most significant part of this is definitely the encounter between Ultimate Thor and the hammer-less Thor ‘the Unworthy’. He is, by all accounts so far, 616 Thor before Secret Wars began – without Mjolnir, with Jarnbjorn, and with his Black Uru arm. We can safely assume that the same storyline could not possibly have occurred – as there would have been no ‘Original Sin’ event on Battleworld, so how did this Thor become unworthy? This is still just one of the mysteries of the book, the others being the murders and the position of Loki in regards to these matters. Yet, I am certain they all link together somehow. Despite no questions being answered so far, the book does not lose pace and it is an interesting storyline. There is not much else I can say without spoiling the book, but it is definitely worth reading. The art, too, is brilliant and it works well with the dark, mysterious tone of the title.
Story – 7/10
Art – 8/10

Etienne:
To answer your question Matt, as far as I understand there are certain 616 characters who have come through relatively unscathed and have memories of their life prior to Battle World. However considering this version of Thor actually died before Secret Wars started (along with Hyperion in Avengers World) one does have to question how he made it here with those memories. I am still finding this to be one of the best books in Secret Wars, shame on you Matt for those unkind scores. I love the art, the writing is still clever and for once I feel like I am reading a different book to all the other tie-ins.
Story – 9/10
Art – 9/10

Deadpool’s Secret Secret Wars #3
Written by Cullen Bunn
Art by Matteo Lolli and Ruth Redmond

Synopsis – Deadpool is dead and thus not in Secret Wars, but wait, he managed to crowbar himself into the last one and make himself the most important character in it.

Etienne:
While the premise is ridiculous and I simply cannot stand this sort of book, this series is actually growing on me. There are more jokes in this issue, its actually quite funny and he isn’t as annoying as in the previous two issues. I still think if I had read the last Secret Wars this would make a whole lot more sense, but for now I can still enjoy the moments I do get.
Story – 7/10
Art – 8/10

Matt:
I agree with you on the outright stupidity of this book, though not on the increase in quality. I actually think with each issue this is getting worse, as it’s clawing for a story separate yet still enjoyable from the previous Secret Wars – which I too have not read, though it is easy to discern the overall feel of it. The story in the first issue was funny and written well yet it seems three issues in that we just fluctuate from joke to gag and this new offshoot of a story, with Deadpool as the featured character, is not able to hold up the book on its own. We do see some atypical character development for Deadpool, though it is not something we haven’t seen before in other books. Frankly, the only thing keeping me reading this is the brilliant artwork and Wade’s dashing moustache.
Story – 4/10
Art – 9/10

M.O.D.O.K. Assassin #3
Written by Christopher Yost
Art by Amilcar Pinna, Terry Pallot and Rachelle Rosenberg

Synopsis – M.O.D.O.K and Angela against the Assassin’s Guild. Killing ensues.

Matt:
I’ve had a somewhat strained relationship with M.O.D.O.K over my Marvel reading history – I find him irritable on his own and amusing when appearing in a group. I have never liked him more than in this title. It reminds us of what M.O.D.O.K should be about – not formulating plans or inventing with A.I.M – but killing. He was designed only for killing, writers, so please use that as an instruction. The M.O.D.O.K of this book is hilarious with his change to a more >>>SIMPLE story and character development. The art conveys the action with explosive and vibrant enthusiasm, and the book is nothing but action and cameos. It combines the mental machinations of M.O.D.O.K with the destructive force of Thor, and to top it off we are reminded that the baron of Killville is Baron Mordo – so a certain group appears at the end heralding potentially sorcerous endeavours. Killville is quickly becoming one of my favourite domains.
Story Murder – 9/10
Art – 8/10

Etienne:
For a book that could have been as bizarre as Red Skull, as bland as Angela’s own title or as repetitive as this has actually been a stand out series for me. Its wacky enough to be fun, serious enough to have a plot and it makes a mockery of the Angela Witch Hunter book because the character is used so much better in this series. What has also helped it is the absolutely fantastic art by Pinna which marries insane explosions with well crafted line work to produce something which I wish was emulated in half the other books out this week.
Story – 8/10
Art – 9/10

Guardians Team-Up #8
Written by Ray Fawkes
Art by Bengal and Marte Gracia

Synopsis – ……..

Etienne:
If you give me a pointless silent comic, then I give you a pointless review. Roses are Red, violets are blue, give me so dialogue or I’ll kill you! Oh and for the record, it didn’t even look like Groot, so that made it even worse!
Story – 1/10
Art – 3/10

Matt:
I don’t know why they bother with these silent comics, the dialogue is needed for fleshing out a book so it doesn’t take seconds for you to read it. You can barely follow the story, and for the most miniscule amount of character development, it’s not worth reading for free – never mind actually paying money for it. The Silver Surfer is hardly in this comic, so it doesn’t count as a ‘team-up’, and though the art isn’t bad it definitely does not save, to quote Etienne, a ‘pointless silent comic’.
Story – 1/10
Art – 5/10

S.H.I.E.L.D. #8
Written by Mark Waid
Art by Paco Medina, Juan Vlasco and David Curiel

Synopsis – People have been performing experiments on kids, giving them powers, but at the same time some nasty infections that wind them up on a mortuary slab.

Etienne:
This is what the Agents of SHIELD TV show should have been like from the start. I have to preface this by saying that my crappy country hasn’t gotten around to actually showing series 2 yet, so if it gets better, don’t spoil it for me. We get some decent funny moments, so drama, some action, frankly nothing I wouldn’t expect from Mark Waid. I really have to question how they got him on this book, it seems to low key for him, but he has done a fantastic job none the less. Mockingbird is definitely someone who should be a permanent member of the cast, ever since leaving Secret Avengers she hasn’t had a place to be, and this fits perfectly.
Story – 8/10
Art – 9/10

Matt:
This title has worked things brilliantly from the start, firstly by frequently using big Marvel characters to feature from issue to issue to reinforce that this title is part of the 616 Universe and it’s not just an interpretation of the Cinematic Universe TV show. The characters used on their obviously needed somewhere to go in the main comic books, and Waid has altered them perfectly from screen to book, as well as managing to introduce existing, complicated characters such as Mockingbird into the mix. I only hope for this title that they do not devolve into ‘monster of the week’ situations – no book can run forever without an ongoing storyline, nevertheless I am hopeful for the continued success of S.H.I.E.L.D in both TV and comic books. And Etienne, the show does get better, in my opinion.
Story – 7/10
Art – 8/10

Deathlok #10
Written by Nathan Edmondson
Art by Mike Perkins and Andy Troy

Synopsis – For Deathlok to face Biotek, he’ll have to make a sacrifice.

Matt:
I wasn’t sure what to expect from this book. Deathlok is largely an obscure mantle, and the holder of it in this title is a brand new character, and he’s assisted by an obscure S.H.I.E.L.D agent, and the antagonist is an obscure new organisation. Despite all the risks taken in this title, I enjoyed this book. It undertakes the ‘rogue agent’ Bourne basis, and it does it well. The art is graphic, appropriate and detailed. Some things that occurred in this book really caught my interest, and it had all the twists and turns of a Bond movie. The bonus of using a main cast of new characters is the space you get to experiment without having to worry about continuity, and writer Edmondson uses this opportunity to its full extent. This is the first I have read of Hayes’ Deathlok, but I think after experiencing it I would opt to see more of these characters and this book.
Story – 7/10
Art – 9/10

Etienne:
I have really struggled with this series for its entire run, so when it reaches the end I do find it hilarious that I really appreciated this issue. I think for the most part I hated the controlled nature of the character, they really needed to do away with his being taken over and programmed after the first couple of issues because for me that just became hard to empathise with the lead character because he was simultaneously the protagonist and the antagonist all at the same time. The end of the issue was great, the art has been consistently good throughout the run and I finally started to care about the character, bit late really…
Story – 7/10
Art – 9/10

Daredevil #17
Written by Mark Waid
Art by Chris Samnee and Matthew Wilson

Synopsis – Daredevil begins his final battle, but Fisk is three steps ahead.

Matt:
I admit that, while I am a huge Daredevil fan, I have not read any of his solo titles after half way through Volume 2 – in 2003. Thus, many things have hit me at once while jumping into Issue 17 of Volume 4. Matt Murdock has revealed his secret identity? He’s working with villains? Foggy’s bald? Nevertheless, after a brief catch-up I really enjoyed this issue. Kingpin is at one of his peaks of efficiency, he has Murdock cornered and with no options, and it all comes down to a final confrontation. Daredevil has had a lot of changes in recent history, yet I am happy to see that a lot of themes, friends and enemies from even so far back as 1964 remain. There are a lot of claims to ‘the final –x-‘ in comic books, yet I can see after reading this that Mark Waid will bring about the end of Matt Murdock as we know him with masterful art from Samnee and Wilson – and I have my money ready to witness it.
Story – 9/10
Art – 8/10

Etienne:
Here we have one of the things I most hate about ‘character development’ in comics. Whenever you produce a big change to a character (new costume, new attitude, new partner, new power etc) you immediately question ‘is this going to stick?’ As soon as they change multiple aspects of the character, especially for a popular solo character, the question stops being ‘is this going to stick’ and becomes ‘how long will this last.’ So Matt has gone public, changed city, revealed his identity and completely changed his costume so it was only a matter of time before they hit the big reset button. Well wait no longer, from the red suit we have an instantaneous revision to the classic Daredevil costume, complete with horns. Wow, that lasted a long time, how long before he is back in Hells Kitchen I wonder? I give it two issues…
Story – 7/10
Art – 7/10

Black Widow #20 (Last Days of…)
Written by Nathan Edmondson
Art by Phil Noto

Synopsis – Widow reaches the end of time in style, saving those who no one else would bother with, all to rub some red from her ledger.

Etienne:
This book would have been perfect if it had explained one thing. At the end I got who the guy in the blue and white striped shirt was, but who was the couple with him? Did she kill them, or are they the people in the book she was sent to kill? Are they adoptive parents, or completely irrelevant to the plot. This may seem like a minor detail, but trust me, the rest of the book is so perfectly constructed that this little detail annoys like a tiny splinter under your nail. Absolutely finishing this series in style this book takes us right up the moment she flies into frame back in Secret Wars #1 and it is probably the best and most tied in Last Days Of series we have seen so far.
Story – 9/10
Art – 9/10

Matt:
Wow, this book was great. Nothing else could highlight the lifetime change between Natalia of the Red Room and Natasha of the Heroes – the former’s life is highlighted with excruciating visuals, and I’m surprised once again at the brutality of that character. I think it all contributes towards the quality of present Natasha and the reformation she has been through. Edmondson has absolutely mastered dramatic storytelling, and it is all but improved thanks to the art from Noto. It’s awesome when a book tackles what seems to be a completely minor situation and makes it fascinating – it definitely does not always have to be about cosmic-scale superfights. And, Etienne, I think the two people were just more that she decided to save, rather than relations of the boy.
Story – 10/10
Art – 8/10

 

And from a Galaxy far far away…

 

Star Wars #7
Written by Jason Aaron
Art by Simone Bianchi and Justin Ponsor

Synopsis – New arc, new artist and new focus, Ben Kenobi to stage centre.

Etienne:
It is always difficult when a lead artist leaves, but Bianchi is no slouch and picks up with this new story arc in style. Admittedly a completely different style from the clean lines of Cassaday, but for the Ben Kenobi story it probably makes sense. We get to see what he was doing all that time when Luke was growing up, why he wasn’t being a Jedi and saving everyone and just how the most wanted boy in the entire galaxy grew up unmolested. My last hope is that they manage to show how McGregor turned into Guinness in the space of 18 years…
Story – 9/10
Art – 8/10

Matt:
While I prefer Cassaday’s art, especially for this series, Bianchi uses his style well with the one-shot visceral flashback tone of this issue. We get to experience a great deal of insight into Obi-Wan’s hidden life, and another perspective on Tatooine. The Star Wars universe is so vast that they could really have taken this story in any direction, but I am glad they chose this. The new Star Wars book is perfect in its application and the characters are virtually identical to their conveyance in the original trilogy, and this issue is no exception. A necessity for a Star Wars fan. Just as essential for anyone looking for a good story accompanied by good art.
Story – 8/10
Art – 7/10

Aug 042015
 

Highway 616

 

Welcome to Episode #11 of Highway 616 and the end of a beautiful friendship. Tony and Steve had just started to get on again and they had to bring back their biggest fight ever in Civil War #1. Considering how bad I thought some of the series have been in Secret Wars this was a fantastic week as it not only started the Civil War comic, but continued the successor to the Deadpool ongoing series in the form of Mrs. Deadpool and the Howling Commandoes #2.

 

Jul 302015
 

by Matthew Langlois, CMRO Contributing Writer

Star Wars

Issue #5

Written by Jason Aaron with Art by John Cassaday and Laura Martin

Published: April 2015

Star wars 5My dad introduced me to Star Wars when I was around 6 or 7 years old. He sat me on the couch and put the Star Wars tape in the VHS. It was glorious. Since I obviously loved my first foray into George Lucas’ world, he then rented back to back Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi from the local video store. I was completely hooked and I started requesting Star Wars figurines of my favorite characters (Luke, R2D2, Chewbacca, Darth Vader). I was 9 when Phantom Menace came out. I was ecstatic. I was getting to watch a Star Wars movie in a movie theater! I am well aware that the movie suffers a lot in retrospect, but to a 9-year-old, it was just another incredible Star Wars movie with better than ever special effects.Where am I going with that? Not since I was 13 (with the release of Revenge of the Sith) have I managed to be that excited about the Star Wars universe. I was never interested in the books (to me Star Wars is and always will be a visual media) and the animated series didn’t have the right feel. Sure I had many chances to re-watch the movies, but it was never the same as experiencing them for the first time. The Star Wars comics changed all that.

I have shown nothing short of reverence for the new Star Wars comics since they started hitting the stands. Not because they are sensational, which they are, but because they make me rediscover every week the magic which use to marvel me as a child. Aaron and Cassaday’s opus is probably the biggest reason for that rekindling of my passion as they offer us a book that feels like the original trilogy and looks simply stunning.

Star Wars #5 is again split into two storylines as Luke returns to Tattooine in search of answers about his past and his future while Han and Leia begin to look out for a new planet to move the rebel base. Unfortunately, each party also has one of Vader’s bounty hunters on its trail. The issue has something for every fan. Light sabers fight? Yes. Space pursuits? Yes. Bobba Fett being his usual awesomeness? Yes. Chewbacca? Y… well not this time, but he’s sure to pop up again sooner than later. Aaron again presents us with great characterizations and enthralling dialogues. He manages to recapture the essence of the original trilogy: from Han and Leia bickering interactions to Luke’s quest to discover who he truly his. Cassaday’s art is again stellar as it perfectly sets the mood for Aaron’s writing and presents us with a book one can only want to re-read ad nauseam (I’ve already devoured it three times).

There are still seven months left until Episode VII is released in the theaters, but as long as Aaron and Cassaday are putting forth such an incredible series, the wait won’t seem so interminable.