Winter Soldier #15 Review

by Dylan Duarte, CMRO Contributing Writer

Winter Soldier

Issue #15

Written by Jason LaTour, Art by Nic Klein

Published: April 2013

It’s a sad day for this Ed Brubaker fan, as Winter Soldier #14 was his last issue. I first discovered Brubaker’s work when he started on Captain America a few years back and I’ve been a big fan ever since. Fortunately, Jason Latour, whom I want to snarkily refer to as “the new guy,” does a more than commendable job picking up where Brubaker left off. To be honest, I actually enjoyed this issue more than I enjoyed the last few of Brubaker’s last arc, but to be fair, Brubaker deserves just as much credit as Latour for leaving Bucky in the situation he’s in now.

The Winter Soldier is a mess and the only way Nick Fury can get him to come back to the team is to give him someone just as messed up as he is. Nick enlists Bucky’s help pulling out a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent who, after thirty years undercover as a Hydra operative, went berserk and murdered a handful of Hydra leaders. The man is tied into Bucky’s past, which is what spurs Bucky into action.

It’s only been one issue since the incident with Black Widow, but this seems to be a much more interesting Winter Soldier than before. This is a man ruined in the worst way possible and he seems to only be able to interact with people just as damaged as himself. The Winter Soldier has never been the squeaky clean type, and it feels like he can cross the line into full-blown anti-hero. I don’t think that’s necessarily going to happen, but just feeling that it’s a possibility is exciting. I’m very interested to see where Kids with Guns goes and I’m hoping that Latour can do Brubaker’s title justice. This is a very promising start.

Venom #31 Review

by Dylan Duarte, CMRO Contributing Writer

Venom

Issue #31

Written by Cullen Bunn, Art by Thony Silas

Published: April 2013

Thank gosh for Flash Thompson. While Dan Slott is busy destroying my childhood with Superior Spider-Man, Cullen Bunn is crafting Flash into a more Peter Parker-esque character everyday. There was a time where I absolutely hate the premise of this new Venom title, but it’s become one of my favorite Marvel books. The Marvel heroes continue to branch out into different U.S. cities and now Venom/Flash Thompson finds himself in Philadelphia, where Venom is currently lying low so that Flash’s friends don’t connect the dots between Flash moving to Philly and Venom popping up there, too.

When he made the move, the first question that popped into my head is what sort of villains is he going to run into in the City of Brotherly Love? Old foes or new ones? The first enemy who runs across his past is…drumroll please…himself! That’s right, Venom seems to be taking over as Flash sleeps and pulling a Jekyll/Hyde thing. While I’m pretty sick of Flash having trouble controlling the symbiote, simply because we’ve been down that road so many times now, the idea that Venom is pulling double duty in secret is still pretty fresh.

Though the pencilers on the book may change more than I’d like, Cullen Bunn remains a strong constant and issue #31 is another good addition to his Venom run. There are a few memorable moments, such as the appearance of Hail Mary and Eddie Brock popping up at the end, the latter of which makes me excited for what’s to come. I hope that Bunn writes the comic in such a way that Philadelphia really feels different. It’s a big move, both for the comic and the character, so I hope it doesn’t just end feeling like New York all over again.

CMRO Update (02/26/2013)

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Superior Spider-Man #3 Review

by Dylan Duarte, CMRO Contributing Writer

Superior Spider-Man

Issue #3

Written by Dan Slott, Art by Ryan Stegman

Published: April 2013

I was hoping to get through this entire review without once complaining about the whole Doc Ock/Peter Parker mess, but that seems to be taking center stage, so it has to be discussed. I originally thought that it was going to be placed on the back burner and that Otto Octavius would slowly morph into Peter Parker, but they’re taking a different direction. Peter is still trapped somewhere in there, unknown to Otto, and is largely unable to interfere as he sees Otto slowly taking over his past life. Ugh, just get this over with, Slott. Please!

I’ve said it a million times in the past, but I really do like Dan Slott. If this current Doc Ock madness were a “What If” storyline, I’d be singing its praises. While I strongly dislike the larger picture, I am enjoying the issue-to-issue stuff. Otto’s altercation with the Vulture was incredibly exciting and surprisingly moving, and his nosedive into the Spider-Man signal was satisfying in a dirty way.

Speaking of the Spider-Man signal: really? I get that it’s a joke and it seems to be contained to a single issue, but it’s way to on-the-nose to be funny.

The only part of the larger arc that I’m digging is Carlie Cooper’s involvement. I don’t want some silly mind battle between Otto and Peter, I want Cooper to crack this thing open herself and save the day. Most importantly, though, I just want to see it end. You won me over a long time ago, Slott, but now I just feel like you’re taking advantage of me. For the love of all that is right, wrap this thing up quickly. In the mean time, the least you could do is continue delivering emotionally satisfying moments like the one between Otto and Adrian Toomes. That was good stuff.

CMRO Update (02/25/2013)

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Fearless Defenders #1 Review

by Dylan Duarte, CMRO Contributing Writer

Fearless Defenders

Issue #1

Written by Cullen Bunn, Art by Will Sliney

Published: April 2013

I’m always excited to check out a new series, especially when there’s a talented name attached. Such was the case with the Fearless Defenders, which Cullen Bunn, and boy am I glad. With Fearless Defenders, he can get all of the bad writing out of his system and reserve all of his good stuff for things I care about, like Venom.

Fearless Defenders doesn’t just do one or two things wrong, which would make this review a lot easier to write. It would probably be easier to list the things that it did well, which is nothing.

That’s harsh.

I like Cullen Bunn a lot and I’m not entirely prepared to pin all of Fearless Defenders’s shortcomings solely on him. I didn’t like the premise from the get-go. Now, some of that is personal preference. I’ve never been a huge fan of female protagonists. I hope that doesn’t come off as sexist. A big part of my reading experience is living vicariously through the characters and it’s hard to do that if said characters are of a different gender. That’s just me. However, my gripes with Fearless Defenders go far beyond that.

At the root of the problem, I just found it boring. The two leads seem generic, as is the Indiana Jones-esque plot. To Bunn’s credit, he’s not trying to pull a fast one as he references Indiana Jones in the book itself. There’s just nothing compelling about anything that’s happening. You could argue that debut issues tend to be slow because of the required exposition, but Bunn actually does a good job of not letting the action get bogged down. Unfortunately, the action isn’t all that great either.

I’m not too broken up over my dislike of Fearless Defenders, because the last thing I need is another series to lose more of my time to, but I’m sad to see Bunn produce such a stinker.

Iron Man #6 Review

by Nick Walden, CMRO Contributing Writer

Iron Man

Issue #6

Written by Kieron Gillen, Art by Greg Land

Published: April 2013

I just don’t get this series at all. Having followed Iron Man for quite some time I am irked at almost every aspect of this new re-launch. From a marketing standpoint I get the idea of a re-launch. But, why do it in the way it is being done? Iron Man III is coming out where he faces off against the Mandarin which was covered before the NOW issues. Avengers II and the Defenders are a bit down the road…yet here we have Tony off bumbling around in space with no particular point or focus.

Focus. I think that is what gets me the most. After an epic battle with the Mandarin that took Tony through all sorts of emotional places that series ended with him walking away from it all. That made sense. He needed to get away from it all and try and find himself and his place in the world. If that is the case then why in the hell is he just being plain ole Tony cruising in space and hitting on anything female whether it is alien or not? Where is the focus? Where is the growth of character we should expect? That is my problem with this series. It is just so random and it feels like Keiron Gillen is just playing off the character or expected character of Tony Stark rather than delving into it. It is just a waste.

The art is…well it is still being drawn by Greg Land. This issue is marginally better than the last mainly because of the change of scenery. Overall I think it matches the story well in that they both aren’t right for Iron Man.

This is another putrid 4 or 5 out of 10 review. On another note, I am less enthused about the suit then when this series started. I think that says a lot as the title is Iron Man. You don’t need to tweak everything to make it better or cooler. Small, thoughtful adjustments were always the best ones.

CMRO Update (02/23/2013)

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