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Mar 062015
 

by Charlie Brooks, CMRO Contributing Writer

Thanos vs Hulk

Issue #1

Written by Jim Starlin, Art by Jim Starlin

Published: February 2015

Thanos vs Hulk #1

Hulk versus Thanos was originally intended to be part of the Savage Hulk series, but somewhere along the way Marvel decided to cancel the latter series and give Jim Starlin a chance to have a miniseries all to himself. That seems like a good idea, because Hulk versus Thanos #1 definitely feels more like a Thanos story to me than a Hulk story.

Why does it feel like a Thanos story to me, especially when the second-billed character doesn’t show up until near the end of this issue? Because the story works best if the reader knows something about the mythos surrounding Thanos. When it comes to what you need to know about these characters, you need to know that the Hulk is working for SHIELD and that’s pretty much it. By comparison, the story relies on the audience having some familiarity with a lot of Thanos’ allies and enemies, including Pip the troll, Annihilus, and Blastaar.

The fact that Thanos is the guy in this story isn’t really much of a surprise, since he’s long been Jim Starlin’s pet character. It’s not a knock against this story, either. The bigger knock would be that, from the looks of it, we might not actually get the epic throwdown that the title promises. The Hulk has been captured by Annihilus, and it seems that Thanos is here as a rescuer rather than an antagonist.

This issue focuses more on Pip the troll than anybody else, as he’s the guy who kidnaps Bruce Banner, turns him over to Annihilus, and then recruits Thanos to save the day. This works for the purpose of the story, as Pip’s a lovable con artist who is in too deep and is thus an easy protagonist to follow. He manages to manipulate Thanos, which is no mean feat. His con, while elaborate, is also an easy one to follow for the reader, which is much better than the average circuitous comic book plan.

Starlin also provides the art here, and it is good but not what I would call great. The characters look fine but not as dynamic as they probably should be. The layouts are a little bit troublesome from a storytelling perspective, as I’m not convinced that all the space is used the way it should be. However, it is definitely good art and not anything that detracts from the issue.

Overall, Hulk versus Thanos #1 is a strong start to this miniseries. It does require that the reader be familiar with Starlin’s past work, but Starlin has a pretty big fan base and I’m betting that most people who pick this issue up are already familiar with at least some of his work. Hulk fans might be disappointed that the jade giant seems like he’ll play second fiddle here, but as certain film franchises have shown us recently, the Hulk can work very well as a supporting character when he’s written well.

Mar 062015
 
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Mar 062015
 
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  • Stars and Stripes #6j (v2) to add Ritter (Amazing Man Foe) (Golden Age), Sam (Ritter Minion) (Golden Age), Reilly (Haverly Employee) (Golden Age), Haverly (Miner) (Golden Age) and Ruscov (Golden Age).
  • Micronauts #56 (v1) to update Arcturus Rann, Marionette, Acroyear, Bug and Huntarr and update Micronauts and to update general comic information (story title, page count, etc).
  • Defenders #125 (v1) to update Professor Power.
  • Updated Armless Tiger Man
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Mar 022015
 

Weekly Marvel Roundup for 02/23 - 03/01

 

Spider-Gwen #1 
Written by Jason Latour
Art by Robbi Rodriguez and Rico Renzi

Etienne:
This was probably a mistake of my own making, but I really thought that Spider-Gwen was going to end up in the 616 universe, not back in her own world. This is not an issue, it merely threw me off for a moment, I know they will all come crashing back together in Secret Wars later this year. Part of me really loves this book, but part of me is really bothered that this is just Peter Parker, as a woman, restarting the story from the ground up again. This is great as a comic in its own right, but feels just like a remake of a 40 year old film, no matter how good the new one is, it’s still not the original.
Story – 8/10
Art – 9/10

Raistlin:
Interesting, I kind of like the whole alternate reality version of everyone, so I don’t seem to have any of the small complaints you are mentioning. In fact I prefer this over what is going on in Silk where we have her in 616, but just retreading the same story with the exact same characters Parker uses. At least here we get different versions of everyone, and a completely different look at things. 
Story – 8/10
Art – 7/10




Thor Annual #1 
Written by Jason Aaron, Noelle Stevenson and CM Punk
Art by Timothy Truman, Mrguerite Sauvage, Rob Guillory and Frank Martin

Etienne:
Wow, Thor’s grandchildren really don’t like wearing much in the way of clothes… Even Red Sonya makes some of their outfits look over dressed. Actually, for a filler/annual every story in this book is really great as it picks up the three story threads of King Thor, Thor and Young Thor from the previous volume Thor god of Thunder (sorry, few too many Thors in that sentence). Heck even the ex-wrestler CM Punk managed to produce a really fun story.
Story – 9/10
Art – 8/10

Raistlin:
Well, now, this really reminded me of how good Thor God of Thunder was, and that I miss King Thor and his granddaughters. I thought this was a nice bit of closure for the overall King Thor storyline that was going on in it, and fans of that series should not miss this issue. The “new” Thor story was entertaining, although not as interesting by comparison. But then you get to Young Thor, and I just couldn’t stop laughing. So, overall I would definitely call this a win for any current Thor fans. 
Story – 9/10
Art – 8/10


Uncanny Avengers #2 
Written by Rick Remender
Art by Daniel Acuna

Raistlin:
Talk about totally losing my interest. I have been a huge advocate of Remender’s work on both Uncanny X-Force and Uncanny Avengers vol 1, but I’m just not into this storyline. I really don’t know enough about anything involved in it, and frankly I just don’t care. For those that are really into the High Evolutionary and the twins, I guess this is great, but with Secret Wars on the horizon, I feel like this story is limited in what it gets to do, before it just won’t really matter anymore.
Story – 5/10
Art – 5/10

Etienne:
Erm, I don’t mean to be hypocritical, but surely this is a gigantically important comic even if it does all end with Secret Wars this summer? Two issues in and we get the big reveal, or at least part of it, surrounding Pietro and Wanda and while I utterly hate Remender for what he has done to those characters, it is at least interesting. I quite like this book, not for any reason other than its drama and the pace at which the story is told, there are other books who could do with a bit of this books impetus.
Story – 7/10
Art – 8/10



S.H.I.E.L.D. #3 
Written by Mark Waid
Art by Alan Davis, Mark Farmer and Matthew Wilson

Raistlin:
So this is what a Coulson and Spider-Man team up would be like. Kind of a really weird situation for both of them to be in. Probably because they are stuck in a mystic storyline and yet Doctor Strange isn’t even in the book. I guess they were really trying to play on the whole “fish out of water” type angle for the laughs. It wasn’t a horrible issue, but it wasn’t as good as I think they thought it would be, either. 
Story – 6/10
Art – 8/10

Etienne:
I’m with you on this one, they clearly thought this was going to be really funny, and it just wasn’t anywhere near that good. The upside down righting was funny, for one panel and then when I put my neck out trying to turn my head upside down to read it, it stopped being funny. This is definitely one of those books that falls in the crack between genres. It’s not funny enough to be comedy, not scary enough to be supernatural and not dramatic enough to be ordinarily entertaining.
Story – 6/10
Art – 7/10


Spider-Man and the X-Men #3 
Written by Elliot Kalan
Art by Marco Failla and Ian Herring

Raistlin:
This still doesn’t feel 100% right, but this was at least a little better than the previous issues. I actually caught myself giggling at some of the stuff going on in this, and I even got a little emotional when Spidey had to break the news about Wolverine to X-Baby Wolverine. Although, as much of a plus a visit to Mojoverse was, the inclusion of the Chameleon was pretty bad at times.
Story – 6/10
Art – 7/10

Etienne:
You are too kind, this was just awful. What is it recently with these sort of books simply being done-in-one comics with absolutely no meaning or purpose other than to fill pages. To be honest, this entire title feels like that and I have no idea why Spider-Man is in it in the first place. However can I just say how stupid one scene was – if a person is duplicated in front of your eyes, then the real one is standing exactly where he was before they started duplicating him!
Story – 3/10
Art – 7/10


Superior Iron Man #5 
Written by Tom Taylor
Art by Laura Braga and Guru-eFX

Raistlin:
Well, this was a big giant flashback/plot dump of an issue. You pretty much find out everything you need to know about Kid Abomination in this one. Including his connection to Tony, this seems to have led to more interesting questions. This series is still going very strong, and I hope it will have a lot of connection to the Armor Wars title that seems to be Tony’s main title going into Secret Wars.
Story – 8/10
Art – 9/10

Etienne:
Lots of flash back, lots of plot dump and lots of Tony being a jerk, frankly, what’s not to love about this book? They do the back story in such a way that it does not entirely engulf the storyline and for the most part (at least in comic terms) it’s solid and believable. This is still a really good series, however I would prefer more focus on Tony and less on the kid, but I can excuse them one issue which isn’t outstanding.
Story – 8/10
Art – 9/10



Wolverines #8 
Written by Ray Fawkles
Art by Juan Doe

Etienne:
Stop it already. Seriously. Weekly comic, monthly comic, or yearly trade, if you have a story, tell it, if not, stop torturing us with infantile stupidities. We have a massive overarching story where Wolverine has been killed, some want to bring him back, some make sure he is dead. So what do we do, we stop the entire story for a visit from Logans Shi-ar buddy who decides to take them off one at a time for a fun hunting trip.
Story – 2/10
Art – 7/10

Raistlin:
Do you seriously still think this storyline is about bringing or not bringing Logan back to life? I really think that was just a MacGuffin, and the real story is all about Mystique’s plans, which don’t seem to have anything at all to do with Wolverine. Personally I thought this issue was great, and I’m loving the detour that Fang is presenting. 
Story – 8/10
Art – 7/10



Spider-Man 2099 #9 
Written by Peter David
Art by Will Sliney and Antonio Fabela

Raistlin:
So Spider-Verse is ended, and Miguel has finally made it back to his own year of 2099, only things are not exactly how he left them. This definitely seems to be bringing in the leftover loose ends that Peter David threw out at the end of his All-New X-Factor series, and is basically setting the stage for his 2099 Secret Wars title that will be replacing this one during the big Event. I am really looking forward to everything he has in store for us, and this issue has really gotten off to a great start. I also love that the series seems to be getting back to its roots and pulling in characters that 2099 fans will recognize.
Story – 9/10
Art – 8/10

Etienne:
Well that must suck, lost in time only to finally find your way back to a destroyed wasteland. Never mind, at least he has some friends, look there’s the Hulk. Oh, sorry, I got that wrong he is called Maestro and frankly, he’s one evil SOB. I’m definitely feeling a bit left out having not read much from 2099 before, but I am very much on board for the ride this time.
Story – 8/10
Art – 9/10


Inhuman #12 
Written by Charles Soule
Art by Ryan Stegman, Richard Isanove and Rachelle Rosenberg

Etienne:
Why did they screw this book up by delaying it and re-writing it! They had such a fantastic build up and then lost all momentum because of their indecision. I am so annoyed by it because this book is simply amazing and utterly gripping. So much happens in this book that you feel they could have stretched it out into at least 3 comics, but then again if this is to be wrapped up before Secret Wars, they need to get a move on.
Story – 10/10
Art – 9/10

Raistlin:
Actually, from what I’m understanding, this isn’t going to be wrapped up before Secret Wars, and the “marital” issues we are witnessing are actually going to be setting the stage for the rift that seems to be forming in the Inhuman Royal House that will carry on into Secret Wars, and eventually leads to the Uncanny Inhuman title and it’s plot premise. And that’s all fine by me. I thought this issue was great and finally back on track after the small detour they had to take for AXIS. I don’t want Inhuman’s to replace Mutants, but I am much more interested in what is happening in the Inhuman world right now then most of the current X-titles combined. 
Story – 9/10
Art – 8/10



Daredevil #13 
Written by Mark Waid
Art by Chris Samnee and Matthew Wilson

Raistlin:
Yet another solid issue of Daredevil. Foggy was great in this one, and they way they played the story about Matt being kind of self centered during everything that was going on was really well done. And the reveal at the end was great, and I can’t wait to see how this all plays out. Great setup issue to the next arc. 
Story – 8/10
Art – 8/10

Etienne:
Every time I think I am going to be bored and disappointed with a Daredevil issue, it pulls out one like this, but I am sure that means the next issue will be less good. Never mind, I’ll enjoy it while I can and this one was awesome. Swerves at every turn and a really nice moment between Matt and his girlfriend only spoiled somewhat by the last page reveal.
Story – 9/10
Art – 7/10



Secret Avengers #13 
Written by Ales Kot
Art by Michael Walsh and Matthew Wilson

Etienne:
Ok, this became too weird even for me. I have been a semi-fan of this book since its relaunch, but what with the four-wall breaking writer interludes and generally trippy nature of the story, it is starting to go past my tolerance for this sort of weirdness. It is still fun, just too silly now.
Story – 5/10
Art – 5/10

Raistlin:
When Deadpool breaks the fourth wall, it is actually done really well and he can pull it off. What this comic did was way beyond breaking the fourth wall, and it wasn’t even funny. I mean they actually just started point blank explaining their own jokes in text boxes… trying to make that the joke… it was not funny. I think this title has gotten to the point where it’s just trying to be as ridiculous as possible, and it’s just too much. I really miss the last volume of this title right about now. 
Story – 1/10
Art – 5/10



All-New Invaders #15 (Final Issue)
Written by James Robinson
Art by Steve Pugh and Guru-eFX

Raistlin:
So that was a pretty boring final issue. I mean it basically did nothing. It summarized all the loose thread storylines it has going on in it and basically said, yeah, we couldn’t get around to finishing any of these, sorry we let everyone down, but now the heroes are going to fly off into the pages of other books where these storylines will probably never get answered. And that’s a wrap! I feel like I wasted my time with this series…..
Story – 1/10
Art – 7/10

Etienne:
Yes, what he said, x10. What a waste. This series could have been great, but frankly it was screwed over by AXIS and Time Runs Out completely ruining half the characters in the book.
Story – 1/10
Art – 8/10



Amazing Spider-Man #15 (Spider-Verse)
Written by Dan Slott
Art by Giuseppe Camuncoli, Cam Smith, Roberto Poggi and Justin Ponsor

Etienne:
This was a very necessary book because there were so many strands of this story left to wrap up. It was not so much anti-climatic as formulaic. I do not think they could have done it any other way and frankly Slott did a good job of making multiple ‘endings’ into one cohesive story (Peter Jackson, take note, this is how you do it…) There are two things for me of huge importance revolving around characters I didn’t want to die or become lost. Suffice to say it looks like I got my wish in one way, but not the other, but I suppose I cant have everything. 
Story – 8/10
Art – 9/10

Raistlin:
I loved this issue, I really did. I always love when a writer can pull off connecting all the final loose ends of a story like this and make it actually believable. Yes we knew Otto had to go back, since anyone reading the Superior series already saw it happen, but I really liked how we got pretty much a whole issue dedicated to showing us exactly how. And, Etienne is right, in that he manages to tie a lot of other loose threads into this so that we get everything tied up with a nice little bow on it. Well, done, Mr. Slott, well done. Easily one of the best Events I’ve ever read.
Story – 9/10
Art – 9/10


Amazing X-Men #17 
Written by Christopher Yost
Art by Jorge Fornes and Rachelle Rosenberg

Raistlin:
I know I’m in the minority, but when I read all the other crappy X-titles, I find myself liking this one, just because it’s not AS crappy by comparison. In fact I thought this issue is probably the best issue of the current arc so far. Maybe it’s my nostalgia of a lot of the characters, but I actually enjoyed this one, and even liked the villain reveal at the end. 
Story – 7/10
Art – 7/10

Etienne:
I hate to agree with you on this, but as X-books go, this is probably in the top three. It’s scary because when it started there were 7 or 8 books that I thought were much better. But due to cancellations and decreasing quality this book has risen in my estimations simply because it didn’t get any worse. The story is fine, the events are entertaining, but still there feels like there is nothing more than the monster of the week, even if it does take a couple of issues to resolve.
Story – 7/10
Art – 6/10



New Avengers #30 (Secret Wars)
Written by Jonathan Hickman
Art by Dalibor Talajic, Rick Magyar and Frank Martin

Raistlin:
This was definitely all exposé this time around. But, I was still as giddy as a schoolgirl reading it! There were so many answers to so many questions!!! I love that Hickman is actually taking the time to answer all the loose threads that people have been arguing about for over a year with this one. The Ivory Kings have been busy little bees it turns out, and this issue shows just how big of a threat this guys really are. I can’t wait till we get to Rabum Alal’s reveal. 
Story – 10/10
Art – 8/10

Etienne:
Now I have seen a future cover for this series and while I hate myself for peaking, I think I know who Rabum is as well, and my idea is definitely not the same as Raistlin’s. I am not going to say who I think for fear of embarrassing myself, but if it is true then it spells doom for everyone. My only problem with this book is that it has brought back one of my most hated artists in the form of Talajic with his distorted faces and bizarrely chunky torsos. However what has always been his strong point is backgrounds and effects and I give him huge credit for the Living Tribunal, that was awesome.
Story – 10/10
Art – 7/10


All-New X-Men #38 (Black Vortex)
Written by Brian Michael Bendis
Art by Andrea Sorrentino and Marcelo Maiolo

Etienne:
I know I am alone with this series, but I still really quite like it. The Black Vortex is not a random ‘lets power everyone up’ device, it is still a huge maguffiin, but at least it has started up what I think is a fun story. Old Beast, Young Angel and Gamora have ‘seen the light’ and are focusing on bringing it to their friends. The problem is, everyone and his dog want to get their hands on the Vortex, so a huge fight is ensuing leaving our underpowered heroes floating in space in search of a helping hand from an old friend.
Story – 7/10
Art – 8/10

Raistlin:
Well, I can at least admit that Bendis’s part of this are slightly better then the non-Bendis parts. I still don’t like the series, but there is that. Although my bigger problem with this issue wasn’t the story, so much as the artwork. What was the deal with the one color smaller panels within larger panels? It was a little hard to follow at times. Overall, though I would probably say this was the best issue of the Event so far. 
Story – 6/10
Art – 6/10



Deadpool #42 
Written by Brian Posehn and Gerry Duggan
Art by Salva Espin and Val Staples

Etienne:
I am back to utterly loving this book, the humour is spot on, the story is insane and fun and we have ‘our’ Deadpool back. It is just a shame that he is apparently going to be topped off in a few books time. This book brings back old enemies from about 2 years ago in this series and starts the cycle of in-jokes all over again.
Story – 8/10
Art – 8/10

Raistlin:
Ahh… I’m feeling much better about this series again, for the same reasons as Etienne mentioned, we seem to be back to status quo once again. I loved them bringing back the old Deadpool vs Omega Red rivalry, which we last saw way back in Remender’s Uncanny X-Force for those of you that have read that series. Here, Omega is looking to settle old scores with Wade, and the two seem very evenly matched. Could the Trapster give Wade the extra edge he needs to win? Turn in next time to find out!
Story – 8/10
Art – 8/10



Fantastic Four #643 (The End is Four)
Written by James Robinson
Art by Leonard Kirk, Karl Kesel and Jesus Aburtov

Raistlin:
This series has been so up and down lately. Now that we have had the BIG retcon and are done with the villain monologuing for like two issues, we can finally progress this story and get on with ending the Four series. And when this story moves forward, it actually gets much better. I liked this issue, It had a lot of good parts to it, and it had a lot going for it. The artwork helped a lot too, and now I am invested again. Let’s see if they can keep my interest to the end. 
Story – 8/10
Art – 8/10

Etienne:
This series has left me more than a little cold. There are so many threads hanging around from the various incarnations of the Fantastic Four that their own title seems utterly irrelevant. The last arc left them torn apart, this is slowly rebuilding them again, but we know that they are going to be torn apart again to take us into Time Runs Out. Definitely a casualty of the crossover series and I just don’t care about this one anymore. 
Story – 6/10
Art – 7/10



And from a Galaxy Far Far Away:



Darth Vader #2 
Written by Kieron Gillen
Art by Salvador Larroca and Edgar Delgado

Etienne:
I always remember watching Star Wars and thinking ‘Why is Vader taking orders from that little twit?’ and it always made me want him to force choke everyone. Obviously by the last film he got control of the fleet and when you watched from the prequels forwards you understand that it is the Emperor trying to exert his control over him that keeps him as a subordinate to these Admirals and Moffs. However this book gives us an incite as to why and how Vader accepted his position, working his angle behind the scenes and the end of the book was a fantastic resolution to what was otherwise a horribly demeaning encounter.
Story – 9/10
Art – 9/10

Raistlin:
Wow, you pretty much summed up my feeling of this exactly. I mean they could have very easily made this a book about Vader just being a daunting evil badass, but instead, they focus on the characters faults, in the eyes of the Emperor, and what an interesting character focused story we are getting because of it. Vader is one of the most feared creatures in the galaxy, but in reality, after the Death Star was destroyed, the Emperor is so pissed at him that Vader is actually being treated as a second class citizen by his master. And, the focus on Vader having his own agenda brings so many more layers to the character, I am easily hooked. It will be a very interesting ride watching him rise somewhat back into his master’s good graces, in time to be at the forefront again when the rebels are cornered on Hoth at the beginning of Empire Strikes Back.
Story – 10/10
Art – 9/10

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