They’re Going to try Moon Knight Again

by Joshua Starnes, CMRO Editor

Dear god, they are going to try it again.  Actually it’s not as bad as all that but it does make you wonder sometimes.

Hot off the presses the LA Times announced in a long interview today that fan favorite writer Warren Ellis is set to relaunch Moon Knight (yet again) as part of the All New Marvel Now initiative rolling through the Spring to combat whatever the hell comes out of Forever Evil at DC.

Describing the series, to be drawn by Declan Shalvey, as ‘weird mystery’ Ellis dived into explaining what drew him to such an offbeat character – a mercenary brought back from the dead by the Egyptian moon good to fight evil – in the way that only he can.

“The man is demented in more interesting ways than I think Batman ever was … [His] cape is actually a crescent moon and he goes out only at night and dresses in reflective white so you can see him coming. Now that’s nuts…. I like that,” Ellis told the Times, highlighting his intent to use him to face weird crime.

“The best Moon Knight stories for me were always ground-level but weird crime. ‘Weird crime’ has kind of been the touchstone for me for this revival,” he said, a reality burnished by the first pages of art attached to the book which show a Moon Knight wearing a three piece suit and his Moon Mask (I just assume that’s what he calls it) as he casually strolls down an alley at night.

The fact that Moon Knight has never been a particularly popular hero (selling best when attacked by a big name artist such as David Finch in one of his 00’s revivals and in the 90s when the introduced the buying public to short lived wunderkind Stephen Platt) also drew Ellis to the book as he felt it gave him some creative freedom.

“You can have a play with something knowing that there’s not an audience of hundreds of thousands waiting with their knives out to cut things off just for getting it wrong,” he said.

Superior Spider-Man #21 Review

by Dylan Duarte, CMRO Contributing Writer

Superior Spider-Man

Issue #21

Written by Dan Slott, Art by Giuseppe Camuncoli

Published: January 2014

Superior Spider-Man #21

A Back to the Future deep cut? Dan Slott, you sure know the way to a nerd’s heart.

We’re definitely in the end game for Superior Spider-Man, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to end soon. How long this all plays out
is up to Slott, but with Green Goblin (and I would assume the entire Goblin network with him) learning the truth behind Otto Octavius and Peter
Parker, Otto won’t be able to keep up this ruse much longer. We actually got to see Otto in this issue, which was not only a nice treat but it played out very organically.

It was a really good issue overall, but there are a few highlights worth mentioning. Peter’s plan to escape Lamaze’s plagiarism accusation worked brilliantly, both in the story and as a story. Stunner using a bus full of people as a missile and Spidey barely leaping out of harm’s way was just a jaw-droppingly cool moment.

Carlie’s tearful mourning at Doc Ock’s grave was a powerful, beautiful moment. Honestly, as much as I love Spider-Man, his stories (and I’m referring to all writers) often favor fun over everything else, so it’s always nice to get such a deeply emotional moment. It honestly never occurred to me until now that nobody ever mourned Peter Parker and that’s a tragedy beyond words. As I grow older and my tastes mature, I actively seek out stories that take an emotional toll on me and I really didn’t expect to get one here.

I want Superior Spider-Man to wrap up soon. Not because I dislike it, but specifically because I like it and I want to see it have a good, timely ending without dragging itself out too long. It hasn’t been a perfect run, but it’s been a damn good one, and I want to see it end properly. Still, I’m not going to complain too much as long as Slott is giving us solid issues.

Iron Man #18 Review

by Dylan Duarte, CMRO Contributing Writer

Iron Man

Issue #18

Written by Kieron Gillen, Art by Joe Bennett

Published: January 2014

Iron Man #18

The fact that after that entire last arc, after everything that’s happened, Tony is not only keeping Recording 451’s body around but using its technology – it’s classic Tony Stark. It’s classic Stark ego. Recorder 451 was one of the most dangerous foes that Iron Man has ever gone up against and he’s rooted in Tony’s childhood and yet instead of incinerating what’s left of 451, Tony tempts fate by salvaging his technology. Tony does this because he thinks he’s invincible and it takes persistent convincing by Arno to convince him of what he probably knows deep down. Despite the ups and downs that this book has experienced, you can’t argue that Gillen knows his leading man.

I can’t help but wonder if Gillen is something of a futurist. If so, he must be having a field day with this situation he’s cooked up, where the Stark brothers just hang out around and talk about where the world is going. It’s not exactly riveting to read, and the issue doesn’t suffer from a serious lack of action, but it’s also a nice change of pace after the whole Godkiller saga. Tony gets to do what he loves and with the brother he didn’t know that he had.

I’m glad that Arno is part of the story. This wasn’t the greatest start to his saga, but I’m sure we’ll get there. This wasn’t a very compelling issue, but Gillen more or less promises some serious action with his final-panel reveal and he’s earned the benefit of the doubt at this point. I just hope his new arc is more consistently entertaining that his last.

Sex Criminals #1 Review

by Lindsay Young, CMRO Contributing Writer

Sex Criminals

Issue #1

Written by Matt Fraction, Art by Chip Zdarsky

Published: November  2013

Sex Criminals #1

If you can buy the premise and aren’t too squeamish about sex, then Sex Criminals is a creative, fun title that has a refreshingly non-judgemental, easygoing attitude towards sex. Sure, there are some ugly names thrown around, but the narrative is pretty strongly on Suzie’s side, and it takes great pains to illustrate just how difficult it is for a young girl to learn about sex in a safe, productive, positive environment. It’s sort of refreshing to see a story like this, a frank and funny rendering of a young girl’s sexual awakening, and the superpower element could easily double for the sense of alienation and “other”-ness that a young girl can feel while she’s going through puberty. It’s throwing out jokes, sure, but it also (deliberately or no) speaks to a real problem.

Still, Sex Criminals is a comedy first and foremost, and it succeeds on that level too. It had me laughing out loud a fair number of times, and the fourth-wall breaking narration works surprisingly well, especially since the narrator is speaking from a time-freeze. Suzie is funny and speaks with candor, and the dialogue just flows, especially once she meets John. The writing is full of personality in this way, and the basic premise might be a dealbreaker for some people, I think it really works in an absurdist, magic-realism sort of way.

The art is nice too, especially when our leads enter The Quiet. The lines are dark and confident, and the body language is expressive. It manages to depict sex scenes without feeling exploitative too, a huge plus.

Overall, I sort of loved Sex Criminals, and can’t wait for the next one. Just a warning, though: while it’s very tasteful, this one’s probably not for the kids!

Forever Evil: Arkham War #1 Review

by Dylan Duarte, CMRO Contributing Writer

Forever Evil: Arkham War

Issue #24

Written by Peter J. Tomasi, Art by Scot Eaton

Published: December 2013

Forever Evil: Arkham War #1

I really appreciate what DC is doing with Forever Evil. We all know that mortality is an illusion in the world of comic books. If a character dies, barring very few exceptions, they’re going to come back. With that being common knowledge, creators have to think outside the box or go above and beyond to bring the shock value back into killing off a character. By wiping out the entire Justice League, DC has done just that. Forever Evil presents a dynamic that genuinely seems fresh.

It also presents a good question. If the heroes are truly gone, who’s going to rise to the top? In Arkham War, most of Batman’s heavy hitters have divided Gotham, with the Penguin appointed as the so-called Mayor. It makes sense that certain villains would get reluctantly work together for the sake of self-preservation. Mr. Freeze, Clayface, Scarecrow, and other villains each control their portions of the city, but there are a lot of egos and clashing ideals in Batman’s rogues gallery, so when Bane comes rolling up to take the entire city for himself, it only makes sense.

The inherent problem is not knowing who to root for, but I only call that a problem for lack of a better word. It’s really a non-issue. If nothing else, Gordon is still alive, watching his city torn apart beneath him, so it’s not as if there’s an absolute lack of good guys. In a way he functions as our vehicle, at least for part of the issue, just so we can experience the terror and helplessness of being a non-superhero in Gotham City. I’m really excited for Forever Evil’s short run and I can’t wait to see who else pops up.

Weekly Marvel Roundup for 11/24 – 11/30 (Part 2)

Weekly Marvel Roundup for 11/24 - 11/30

Finally the second part of the weekly release. If Marvel decide that 25 comics a week is the new standard release to compete with DCs numbers, then I am going to have to hire an unpaid intern to help me write this each week!

If anything this was even better than the first half, there were a lot of really fun comics this week, and only a few subpar ones.

Deadpool Annual #1
Written by Ben Acker and Ben Blacker with Art by Evan Shaner
When you shoot a sane person with a gun that makes them go mental, does that mean when you shoot Deadpool with it he turns sane? I know Deadpool is weird normally, but this one was frankly off the scale. Do not for one moment think that is a bad thing because this comic is utterly hilarious. Watching Thor and Luke Cage ballet dancing together is a moment that will always stay with me.

Deadpool decides to kill a random lawyer who happens to be Daredevil, but before he can pull the trigger he is stopped by a random yellow guy who looks decidedly like him and has powers to match. After a well placed Thor lightning strike they are both turned to ash, but as the ash regrows it forms into just the one body. Hilarity ensues, but this comic may just have answered the question of how to solve the problem in the current run with agent Preston sharing his body, but it is not a pleasant end result.

Infinity Heist #3
Written by Frank Tieri and Art by Al Barrionuevo and Pat Ollieffe
Rather underwhelming this week. I really enjoyed issue 2 because it had a lot of the character development and a lot less of the silly heist movie. I know that sounds rather ridiculous given the name of the comic, but issue 2 took a wild deviation from the first issue and it was much better for it, however this returns to the mad heist with wild abandon.

I have to say the big reveal was really a bit flat, but I think there is either a colouring error in the comic, or the surprise is that all is not as it seems. Without giving away too much the guy shown on the last page has non-human coloured skin, but on the previous page as he reveals himself you can see half his face and it is a normal skin tone. I wonder if this is going to give us a really decent surprise in the last issue.

Nova #10 (100)
Written by Zeb Wells and art by Carlo Barberi and David Lopez
This is the big celebratory comic for 100 Nova issues and it has more than just your regular story in that there is a back up strip and a single page funny as well. Considering how light the first story is on any actual action, it is surprisingly good reading and made me question if my dislike for ‘young’ superheroes is actually a dislike for badly written comics about young people as opposed to the genre as a whole.

The second story has a whole lot more action in a much shorter space and it suffers from a lack of build up, but is overall very sound. The ending is a little dramatic and was not in any way foreshadowed so feels a bit out of the blue, but it could produce a really interesting comic going forwards.

Savage Wolverine #12
Written and drawn by Phil Jimenez
It is odd they way they are using this series not so much as an ongoing one, but as a set of mini stories that are not connected at all. The last issue left Wolverine on an alien planet, now he is back in time a bit before the Battle of the Atom chasing poachers with links to Madrapoor. I have no problems with this arc, it is really well done and the art is great, especially for a writer/artist like this. The problem is I want to know how the heck the previous issues fitted into the universe and how this fits with them? It is a really strange way of working a series to have the stories so uninterconnected, but I cannot blame this comic for what has, or has not gone before, and this alone looks like a really good story.

New Avengers #12
Written by Jonathan Hickman and Art by Mike Deodato
The epilogue to Infinity, the book that ends the series and yet explains nothing. I have no problems with this, at least this was not what I feared it was going to be, the prelude to Inhumanity. For once this series got to end in its own right and that was definitely welcomed. To be honest this does a really good job of tying up all the loose ends and then untying it in new and scary ways. Black swans monologue utterly steals the comic and makes everything that happened in Infinity seem utterly irrelevant. If they never reference this again it will be a shame because they throw out a whole load of new ideas and show us concepts for them. But in another way leaving her descriptions and prophecies untouched, just hanging over the universe like the sword of Damocles, would give this moment so much more power.

Really amazing art with wonderful moments means this is probably the best book that Infinity has produced and a worthy issue to end with.

Indestructible Hulk #16
Written by Mark Waid and art by Mahmud Asrar
I hate Hulk comics. If you read back through the previous round ups you will notice that his comics are mysterious missing, because I could not ‘find a copy’ or ‘my comic store was out.’ I just could not bring myself to read them was the real reason. Well I sucked up and did my job for once and what a reward for it. This was a hulk story where the Hulk was not some useless idiot who just jumped around and ruined the book, there was humour in this story and Hulks appearances had some meaning and use.

Responding to a distress call to an Aztec city in Mexico where a pyramid is making strange energy fluctuations and rearranging itself at will. Banner is told specifically not to go, so of course off the Hulk goes and it is a god job too.

All New X-Men #19
Written by Brian Michael Bendis and Art by Brandon Perterson
Ok, I am officially an idiot because I did not see that coming. They tell you for the entire issue who it is and I completely let it pass me by. Well at least the last page got a good laugh from me when I finally got it and the teaser for the next issue looks hilarious; that is not going to end well is all I am going to say.

The team pick up where they had been before, out saving mutants from gangs, in this case of heavily armed mutant hating religious zealots. When I say screwed up, I mean these guys are seriously messed up, preaching about god and Jesus until they get blasted or dropped from the sky. This was a wonderfully drawn issue and a really great way of reintroducing a new character to the series; I am definitely looking forward to next time.

Avengers Assemble #21
Written by Kelly Sue DeConnick and art by Matteo Buffagni
I am not sure what this comic series is about anymore. Similar to Savage Wolverine reviewed above, this series just jumps from arc to arc picking teams at random. Again this does not prevent this story from being interesting and well drawn, it just means that the comic as a whole has no connection to itself, it is almost like a book about Avengers that you pick up if you are already getting all the other Avengers books.

This one details Spider-Girl, Spider-Woman and the Black Widow off breaking into A.I.M. headquarters in search of an Inhuman pod that might contain Anya’s social studies teacher. Strange concept I realise, but how it gets to that point is classic DeConnick writing and it is a pleasure to read.

Superior Spider-Man #21
Written by Dan Slott and Christos Gage with Art by Humberto Ramos
This series for me gets better and better as Superior Spider-Man rewrites all of Parkers history in one ongoing series. 50 years of Spider-Man is being undone in every way possible by the new inhabitant of Parkers body, and now it appears he is cleaning up a very old mess in the shape of Venom.

Anyone picking up this book cold having read only older issues, even from only a few years ago, would have no idea what is going on, so much has changed, but it makes it so interesting. This issue ends with a dramatic cliff hanger that makes next issue an absolutely must read.

Scarlet Spider #24
Written by Chris Yost and Eric Burnham with Art by David Baldeon
This book takes the biscuit for being an absolutely mind screwer. I thought this book seemed a little uninspiring at first because things were a bit mundane, but that al became clear later on and it took a turn for the weird and creepy.

Ex-Girl friends with bazookas, demons and scarlet spiders do not mix well, but then again neither do S.H.I.E.L.D. agents with self confessed murderers. I have no idea where this is going to end up, but it will end next issue. Why do these books always get good when they are cancelled?

Weekly Marvel Roundup for 11/24 – 11/30 (Part 1)

Weekly Marvel Roundup for 11/24 - 11/30 (Part 1)

In a first for this review segment I am having to break it into two parts purely because Marvel had decided to release twenty comics this month, twenty five if you include the non 616 comics as well. This is more than I can realistically get through in an evening, so pop back again tomorrow for the second half. Therefore in no particular order:

Wolverine and the X-Men Annual #1
Written by Jason Aaron and Art by Nick Bradshaw
I missed Kid Gladiator, he was one of the highlights of the early Wolverine and the X-Men series and it lost something when he left. Well it is time to make up for all that with a comic dedicated entirely to him! This picks up from the moment that he left Earth and was reassigned to the Imperial Guard School where unfortunately he is having a test on Humanity, by a very biased professor.

There is decidedly very little Wolverine in this book and it should be said that reading this is a minor spoiler for Infinity 6 (damn) but then again if I had not already worked out what it does spoil, then I would be rather thick. The art is wonderful, the story is fine, but there is a lot of ‘montage’ sections which I do not feel work terribly well, but overall it is a really good read.

Avengers Arena #18
Written by Dennis Hopeless and Art by Kev Walker
Thank you. Not much more I can say about this comic other than that. Thank you Mr Hopeless for not going down some half-baked cop out route that I had feared this comic was going to try. I can see where he has left ‘outs’ for half the characters that were killed in this series, and I am sure that in the future some of them will make a reappearance, but for now what we see did happen, it was not a dream and it made this series mean something.

I am so happy that this arc is over, but also I am ecstatic that these characters are going to continue in a new series, however unfortunately I have to wait until March next year for it. Either way it will be worth the wait. Another thing that was worth the wait was the cold opening of the series, it took 18 issues for a resolution, but it got there in the end.

Infinity the Hunt #4
Written by Matt Kindt and Art by Steven Sanders, Paco Diaz and Derec Donovan
I am sorry, can we have this entire series again, but drawn like the last few pages of this comic? Seriously the art changes not once by twice in the second half of the book, going from dreary, scratchy mess to beautifully rendered for 5 pages and on to decent, but not as good as the previous for the final 4. I really mean it when I say that those 5 pages are some of the best art I have seen this month and make the entire reading experience so much better.

I am not a fan of this book at all, given the art changes it was definitely a ‘filler’ book simply thrown in to add a bit more to the Infinity story line and to bump up the profile of these characters, most of whom have been dormant or did not previously exist before this series started. I would give it a miss unless you enjoy watching flying whales being suplexed into the ground.

Hawkeye #14
Written by Matt Fraction and art by Annie Wu
So it is Hawkeye again; that series that I just do not understand? Right? Wrong, this comic I got and this issue I thought was fantastic. I am sure I am going to be told now that this is the worst issue of the series and that I am mental, but I do not care. Kate has run off, needing some time alone, but unfortunately she is utterly broke. Needing to earn some money while she is away ‘finding herself’ she decides to create ads for ‘Hero for hire’. Frankly considering the mess she gets into it is a good job it was not a proper super villain that needed beating, because she would be dead.

Loved every minute of this issue, the art was perfect and expressive and the story was so mundane that it let everything feel natural, rather than forcing the psychopathic villain into it. And then the ending throws us a couple of curve balls that make me question what came before.

Uncanny X-Force #14
Written by Sam Humphries and Art by Phil Briones
What is the sign of a really good comic? You reach the end and get upset because the comic finished. It is a lot easier to do this with a digital comic rather than a physical one because you do not have a tactile reference as to when the comic is ending, but this one really caught me out. I actually thought the arc was ending here, but it might well go on for another two issues or more now.

There is nothing I do not like about this comic. Puck is back with avengeance in full quipping style, Bishop is crazy, Storm is electrocuting everything in sight and Psylocke is getting herself into all manner of trouble. The only downside I can find is that I think I know how this is going to play out. They keep bashing the point of a ‘psychic needs to die’ to stop the revenants taking over, and somehow I think Cassandra just gave us one.

Superior Carnage #5
Written by Kevin Shinick and Art by Stephen Segovia and Dan Mexia
The art in this series has been fantastic, especially considering all the tangles and appendages that Carnage produces. It must be nightmare drawing a comic where the lead character turns into a bundle of tentacles at will and the protagonist is a man covered in a fine spider-web pattern all over his costume. This issue does not paint Spider-Man in the best light, but it is in keeping with his recent character flaws in his own comic. It makes you question who the real villain in the story was.

Carnage changes bodies so often in this comic that I struggle to work out who he was at times and it lessens a lot of the impact of what carnage is having him be stopped so readily. It reminds me of what they have to do to Superman each time they want to stop him. Sound pulse for carnage is his kryptonite and it feels like we have been here before.

FF #14
Written by Matt Fraction and Lee Allred with Art by Michael Allred
I am going to say this only once, I am clearly stupid. I have no idea what is going on in this comic. I have read the previous 13 issues and I am still none the wiser. This is why I hate time shifting dimension hopping comics because just end up so confusing.

This comic is wordy as anything I have read in a long time and is so reminiscent of 60’s comics, both in the art and the panel layout. There are no large panels with each page divided into at least 4 panes and it feels archaic because of that. This is not for me, I am sure some people love this and they are welcome to it.

Uncanny Avengers #14
Written by Rick Remender and Art by Steve McNiven
Previously I have complained that this series was a bit all over the place with no real focus around Infinity and all the other series this team appears in. Well now I am complaining that they just took continuity and blew it apart. I assume that something is going to change at the last minute in the next issue, but otherwise, this comic is goodbye and goodnight for a whole bunch of very old characters.

The art is amazing in this comic, the scripting is solid and the story has finally found its feet. My only question is if there are going to be any Avengers left to finish off the story, or is this going to become another Wolverine solo comic?

Wolverine and the X-Men #38
Written by Jason Aaron and art by Pepe Larraz
They cancelled this series just when it seems to be getting good! Never mind there are plenty of X-men books to carry this on in, not to mention this is not going for a few months yet. There is nothing better for me that a good X-team in a school and this book nails that. The interactions between the staff and the pupils is fantastic, especially when the adults are more immature than the children.

There is a massive fallout from Battle of the Atom that needed to be dealt with in the form of S.H.I.E.L.D. keeping and manufacturing new sentinels, which was bound to wind up Wolverine. The funny thing is, he is not the only one to discover their location. It looks like Logan and Summers might be teaming up again, even if they do not want to.

Infinity #6
Written by Jonathan Hickman and Art by Jim Cheung and Dustin Weaver
I really enjoyed this series despite the rather weak middle, but it does lose something when this finishes only to advertise the next crossover starting immediately afterwards. In fact, the next crossover has already started this week in Avengers Assemble. Could we not have given us some breathing space to understand what has happened here in this comic? It makes it feel like nothing that happened here was important enough to need sorting out if we can move straight into the next big thing.

This resolves everything that has been happening in the Infinity storyline except the incursions from another dimension; that is likely to be resolved in the other book out this week, the one that closes off the series, New Avengers #12. The art in this book is superb as always, the method of victory was unexpected and what Tony decides to do with his new wall art is up to him.