Daredevil #1 Review

by etragedy, CMRO User

Daredevil

Issue #1

Written by Stan Lee, Art by Jack Kirby

Published: April 1964

Why Daredevil Was a Step Forward for Marvel

The second largest words to appear on the cover of Daredevil #1 is ‘Spider-Man’, and it even features a facsimile of the cover of The Amazing Spider-Man #1 on the splash page.

There’s a reason Daredevil is often compared to Spider-Man – of all the original Marvel heroes, these two probably have the most in common. Both were teenagers who studied while other kids played sports, both got their powers from radiation accidents, both felt a sense of duty to a slain father figure, both were acrobatic heroes who like to wise crack while fighting villains… etc. etc.

And while, in many ways Daredevil is the more interesting of the two characters, his origin, as originally presented here in Daredevil #1, is in some ways weaker than that of Spider-Man. While Spider-Man was actively picked on, Daredevil just had kids calling him a sissy for not playing with them, or ‘Indian wrasslin’ with them. But unlike Peter Parker, Matt Murdock was in top shape prior to becoming Daredevil, all it would have taken was ten minutes of his time to prove them wrong, but no, somehow he has time to study and get straight A’s and time to workout on every conceivable piece of gym equipment every day – but can’t spare those 10 minutes.

The real clincher though is the way Daredevil gets his powers – by saving a blind man from being hit by a truck he himself becomes blind (what is that supposed to mean?), when a radioactive cylinder flies from the truck and hits him in the face. Are we supposed to believe that even in the 1960s they were just driving radioactive canisters around unsecured in pickup trucks, and that radiation would make you blind but give you super senses and make you a better student (seriously that’s in here)? Spider-Man’s radioactive spider bite is more believable than that.

As one more, admittedly smaller quibble, Murdock makes his cane that night, and while it’s a more believable accoutrement for a hero to self manufacture in one night than oh, say, web-shooters, it’s not without it’s problems – the biggest one being the cane’s handle which is sometimes straight, sometimes hooked. Calling it flexible just doesn’t gibe, since he wouldn’t then be able to do things like catch people’s limbs and hook onto flagpoles with it.

But, if this is an origin story, and it’s not as compelling an origin as the one for Spider-Man, why do I rate it higher as a comic?

The answer is, because this issue of Daredevil is a better story. All the supporting characters from Foggy Nelson to Battling Murdock are more believable than the initial supporting cast of Spider-Man. And, there is just something more exciting about the seedy world of boxing and underworld crime in Daredevil.

Recently Marvel has gone back and re-colored this comic using modern digital techniques, and it looks outstanding. Best of all (at least for the now) they’ve made it available for free on their website!

X-Men Legacy #7 Review

by Dylan Duarte, CMRO Contributing Writer

X-Men Legacy

Issue #7

Written by Simon Spurrier, Art by Tan Eng Haut

Published: May 2013

It’s a testament to Simon Spurrier’s writing ability that I’ve been enjoying X-Men Legacy so much when I really couldn’t care less about the subject matter. Charles Xavier might have been one of the most interesting mutants in the world of Marvel, but his bratty son David doesn’t really do anything for me. And yet, I’m slowly coming around as David proves to be not only a force to be reckoned with, but a decent guy. He’s got a long way to go to reach hero status, and who knows if he ever will, but a likable quality is beginning to surface in him.

X-Men Legacy’s biggest strength is that it doesn’t take itself too seriously. I didn’t exactly bust a gut laughing, but there’s no end to the silliness, and I don’t mean that in a negative way. I love the tiny little orb that’s been following David around, trying to track him down so that S.W.O.R.D. can take him into custody. The Sentient World and Observation Response Department is a nice little play off of S.H.I.E.L.D. and the fact that David is tracked down via his “psychic guilt” is pretty funny stuff.

Then there’s the Church of the Happy Host, which not only ties into a previous story, but allows Spurrier to lampoon religion and homophobic culture. After all that, throw in some budding romance between David and Blindfold, and X-Men Legacy is turning into a sweet, comedic tale of powerful mutant powers gone awry. It’s easy to forget that David is possibly the most powerful mutant in the world when he’s sulking around in his own head and using pigeons to fetch his food. X-Men Legacy still isn’t my cup of tea, but there’s something undeniably fun about it.

CMRO Update (03/30/2012)

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Wolverine #1 Review

by Dylan Duarte, CMRO Contributing Writer

Wolverine

Issue #1

Written by Paul Cornell, Art by Alan Davis

Published: May 2013

A friend and I have joked before that Wolverine is the Batman of the Marvel Universe. You can make a strong argument that Iron Man is Marvel’s Batman, and while they might have more in common, the way Marvel treats Wolverine is similar to how DC treats Batman. He’s a loner, constantly being forced into teams, and he has a multiple comics centering around him. Off the top of my head, Marvel’s currently publishing Wolverine MAX, Savage Wolverine, Wolverine and the X-Men, and now Paul Cornell is writing plain ol’ Wolverine. There might be a title or two that I’m missing, and Logan is certainly part of other titles, but yeah – he’s Marvel’s Batman.

In Wolverine, Cornell immediately shows us he knows how to display Logan’s sensitive side – throw a kid into the mix. The comic issues with an older man shooting up a mall with a laser that seems to disintegrate people, leaving behind nothing but a pile of ash and bones. To make matters worse, he’s got his son with him, who’s trying to hold it together while his father goes on a murdering spree. And then there’s Wolverine, who’s too stubborn to die, despite the fact that a considerable amount of his skeleton is peaking out. The easiest way to remind everyone that Wolverine is a total badass is to throw a disgusting amount of punishment at him, which Cornell does in the first few pages alone. Cool stuff.

When the kid turns out to be part of whatever plan his dad was following, which clearly has something to do with Wolverine, the comic takes not only a dark turn but a unique one. Kid villains aren’t brand new, but they’re rare, and it’s interesting to see the amount of damage that Wolverine will take in an effort to protect a kid that’s currently doing him harm. I like the way Cornell is handling the character and I’m curious to see where he’s going.

CMRO Update (03/29/2013)

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The Incredible Hulks: Enigma Force #2 Review

by Charlie Brooks, CMRO Contributing Writer

The Incredible Hulks: Enigma Force

Issue #2

Written by Scott Reed, Art by Miguel Munera

Published: December 2010

Things look bad for our heroes at the start of The Incredible Hulks: Enigma Force: Dark Son #2, and they don’t get much better at first. Hiro-Kala has trapped the ship without power, the crew has been mind-screwed by the alien Psyklop, and Arcturus Rann is going through Enigma Force withdrawal. The way out of this mess arguably makes things even worse when Mari violently disagrees with the plan.

One strong point of this series is the interplay between the characters. Dropping in on the crew, you get the feeling that you’ve landed in the middle of a Star Trek series or similar space opera. The characters have a long backstory that is rarely explained in text, but you get hints here and there of how they have worked together through the ages, from Micronauts to Microns to the Enigma Force.

On the flip side, the story’s weakness continues to be its disconnected nature between the story that it’s supposed to be crossing over with. Based on the title, I would guess that the story is intended to appeal to Hulk readers, but without a major role by the Hulk himself in the story there isn’t really a lot of appeal for those fans. Similarly, old fans of the Micronauts who are happy to see their characters brought out of comic book Limbo for a bit are probably not all that interested in what’s going on over in the Hulk’s book. All told, it would have been better on Marvel’s part to give the Enigma Force a chance to carry their own story rather than being ineffectual piggybackers on somebody else’s tale.

Between the main story and the backup feature in this one, we get a pretty good history of the Microverse, which is a fun part of the Marvel Universe that rarely gets touched upon. There are even some new revelations, such as the fact that Psyklop is not just one bad guy but rather a whole species of bizarre bug-like telepaths. Again, this is all good information but has a very narrow appeal.

Overall, this issue is similar to the last one in that you can tell the creative team is really trying to put together an interesting story. They are unfortunately hamstrung by the fact that Marvel seemed to regard this miniseries as nothing more than a way to fulfill the requirement that they publish a book every so often to maintain their copyright on the characters. With Marvel’s lack of marketing and editorial interest, this issue is likely to be seen as a hidden gem for a few but an easy story to skip for most comic readers.

Uncanny X-Men #3 Review

by Dylan Duarte, CMRO Contributing Writer

Uncanny X-Men

Issue #3

Written by Brian Michael Bendis, Art by Chris Bachalo

Published: April 2013

Brian Michael Bendis fanboy checking in. I’ve never made any attempt to hide my love for Bendis. I’m not trying to fool anyone. I am unapologetically biased when it comes to his work and I will check out (and probably love) anything he puts out and that’s because of issues like Uncanny X-Men #3.

There are so many things that I adore about this issue that I don’t know where to start. How about the fact that Bendis gives Captain America the credit he so rightfully deserves not just as part of the cast of the Marvel universe, but as a veteran superhero inside the Marvel universe. The issue kicks of with a flashback; one of Cyclop’s newest recruits looks up to Captain America as her personal hero and wants to be the Australian equivalent when she grows up. So when she comes face-to-face with him in her driveway (which is where this issue picks up), she’s understandably a little overwhelmed. It’s easy to forgot that amongst all the heroes that popular the Marvel universe, Captain America is something of a celebrity. It’s nice to see that addressed.

Then there’s the issue of Magneto and his turncoat status that was revealed at the end of the first issue. Bendis touches on that story again with another surprise reveal that’s very true to the character. I admit that I might be a tad gullible, because if you know Magneto and how steadfast he holds to his principles, you might’ve seen this coming. Still, Bendis does a good job of taking the focus off of Magneto for long enough to catch us off guard.

Then there’s that last panel that almost gave me goosebumps. I love the slow, destructive arc that Cyclops has been on, and when he said those famous words in that very last panel, it was chilling.

CMRO Update (03/28/2013)

Its been a while I know, but I finally got around to updating the news & reviews portion of the site.  Updated the Cover to Cover column to include posts by Dylan Duarte and John Moorehouse, added to the Nick Walden posts that were already there.  This column now shows all those reviews from new or fairly new releases.

Also updated the contributors listing to remove some people who are no longer writing for the site, and add a couple of new ones in.  Also added a Contributors page (linked off the contributors box) that gives a breakdown of all current and past contributors.

And did some more updating to the title, arc, and creators pages to add in some stuff that was missing.

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Serenity / Free Comic Book Day: Star Wars #1 Review

by Linsay Young, CMRO User

Serenity / Free Comic Book Day: Star Wars

Issue #1

Written by Zach Whedon, Art by Fabio Moon

Published: May 2012

My fragile geek brain exploded a little bit when I saw this cover, because of course I assumed it was a crossover, which makes absolutely no sense, but damn it, I always want the things I can’t have the most! Still, it’s probably for the best that this remains two separate stories in two very separate and incompatible universes, especially since they’re both pretty good.

The first is our Star Wars story, which consists basically of Han and Chewie’s smuggling shenanigans pre-A New Hope. It’s a decent little story—a tad short, but it replicates the feel of the original flicks pretty well. Han Solo’s dialogue reads in Harrison Ford’s voice, and his back-and-forth (if one can call it that) with Chewie is spot-on, character-wise. When I imagined Han Solo’s adventures pre-Luke Skywalker and the Rebellion, the result was usually something like this: shady characters, dangerous negotiations, growling protectiveness over the Falcon, bickering with Chewbacca, daring last-minute escapes, lots of fighting, etc.

The second story is set in the Firefly universe. This one has a fantastic art style that makes me immediately want to hunt down the artist’s previous work. It also does a pretty spot-on job of nailing the unique linguistics of the original series. By far, it’s my favourite of the two—not because the first was bad in any way, but the second has a bit more personality.

Both stories feel a bit short, which is too bad, because I enjoyed both of them. I suppose that’s the point of handing it out for free—to get you interested in buying more. Well, mission accomplished.

Fantastic Four #5 Review

by Dylan Duarte, CMRO Contributing Writer

Fantastic Four

Issue #5

Written by Matt Fraction, Art by Andre Araujo

Published: May 2013

When Matt Fraction and Mark Bagley took over Fantastic Four, it’s issues like issue #5 that I was expecting. This issue is just superb. It’s obviously far too early in this current run to know just how its going to regarded in the long run, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Fraction and Bagley’s work on the title ends up surpassing that of Mark Waid and Mike Wieringo.

At one time, all of the original Marvel titles were very much pulp science fiction. Over the years that changed as stories got deeper and characters became more fleshed out, but Fantastic Four – with its “cosmic” origins – has always retained a bit of that pulp goodness. Fraction knows this and sprinkles traces of it throughout, making for an insanely fun title.

Reed decides to take the rest of the team, including Franklin and Valeria, on an educational field trip through space and time. Sue soon learns that Reed has an ulterior motive, which is to find a cure for the unknown disease currently ravaging his body. The group stops in Rome, circa 44 B.C., and while Sue and Reed stay on the ship to discuss things, Ben, Johnny, and the kids head off to have an adventure with Julius Caesar.

What starts off with some potential goes way beyond what I was expecting and Fraction must have had a blast playing with Caesar the way he did. I knew it wasn’t going to be as simple as the gang witnessing the Roman general’s historic death, but in no way did expect that Fraction had in mind. And the way he manages to weave it into some sort of historic fiction that’s going to come into play down the road just shows how great of a writer he truly is.