Written by Mark Waid with Art by Mark Bagley, Andrew Hennessy and Jason Keith
I had a great idea about where this comic was going, it was going to be the alternate Bruce Banner from the Avengers series; this could still be the case, but I do not think they are going that way. Instead they are basically white washing the problem away by creating a bigger one. Did I mention recently that I never like Hulk series? I have to say that this book is effectively feeling like another Avengers team title with Tony Stark taking more of this comic than anyone else; it feels like a lot of the other solo titles right now in that they do not seem to have enough story to tell with just the titular character.
An abomination (please note that it is not The Abomination with a capital A) is thoroughly beating down the Hulk, that is until the Avengers just happen to turn up with two characters who can absorb radiation. I hate contrivance and that is just one step too far for me. I will give them Captain Marvel; she is a premier avenger at the moment, but Sunspot? Seriously when was the last time he turned up? Anyway the world is saved, someone ends up near Jupiter and Banner gets fixed. Wow, that rounded itself up quickly, looks like a cross over with Original Sin is up next which might explain the speedy resolution.
Captain Marvel #4
Written by Kelly Sue DeConnick with Art by David Lopez and Lee Loughridge
This book has a really strange colour pallet and after a detailed flick through Marvel has no blue in her costume in any panel. I realise that they are going for the look of a world with a different colour sun, but this had me questioning if I had missed a costume change! Minor gripe aside, the art is wonderful in this book and while I am utterly lost as to where they are taking this series, I am starting to enjoy it a lot more than when it started out.
Captain Marvel is trying to save an entire race who used to live on Ring World from their new home which is slowly killing them. Ja-Son has other ideas and wants them to pick 1000 survivors and leave the rest to die. Danvers has her work cut out as despite having a workable plan, they do not have the ships to carry it out. The book seems to lose a bit of focus as they introduce a few new characters and some pirates turn up to apparently steal the ships that the Torfans do not have, which was a little bit weird.
This series still has a long way to go to live up to the previous volume, but that did have a huge advantage in that it was effectively introducing a new Captain Marvel which gave it an awful lot of impact. However this still seems to suffer from the problem I highlighted before; the people she is trying to save are annoying, stupid and near suicidal so it really is hard to care one way or the other.
Secret Avengers #4
Written by Ales Kot with Art by Michael Walsh and Matthew Wilson
Certain comics interest me on an intellectual level, others for shear random violence; some because the art is beautiful, others because it is different. Some comics confuse me, wrap me in levels of story, others are blunt and to the point. This comic seems to manage all of that and more and then opposite at the same time. I do not like the art, but for some reason it is appropriate; I am unsure that I like the story, yet it is intriguing and packed on multiple levels. Basically this is Marmite and peanut butter all in one – one thing I love to hate and one that I just hate.
There is a Nick Fury and a Fury in place in China that does not exist. MODOK is there, but no one is allowed to know he is and conducting experiments on people that others would consider inhuman, while at the same time working for Maria Hill. I love the fact that I learnt something ‘real’ by reading this book, there was a Kowloon Walled city in Hong Kong and the artists drawing is actually rather accurate. I really wish that the SHIELD uniform was red rather than blue because any time I see an unnamed agent in these comics all I can think of is the ‘Red Shirt’ idea in Star Trek – we know that none of them will see the end of the book.
Ordinarily I would not like a book like this; the art is rushed, the colouring very monochromatic with little to no shading, but somehow everything fits together perfectly. It makes reading other books with SHIELD involved feel so much more ‘unclean’ a bit like watching a slaughterhouse before eating your steak. You know that goes on behind the scenes, but it makes things a whole lot messier when you have to see it.
Avengers Undercover #5
Written by Dennis Hopeless with Art by Kev Walker, Jason Gorder and Jean-Francois Beaulieu
I am utterly gutted that this series has relatively low readership because as a follow up to Avengers Arena this has been fantastic. Not only that but it has given us new reasons to care about these characters and a completely different focus whereas this could have felt like the same story rehashed. There is a quote from Lord of the Rings that springs to mind about this book – ‘I think a servant of the enemy would look fairer and feel fouler.’ That fairly sums up my thoughts about this story where our heroes are being courted by the minions of Baron Zemo, being shown how they are not evil, merely misunderstood. There is a distinct feeling of foulness hidden under all the nicety.
In fact this book seems to make a lot of references to films, the young kids that are used as human wrecking balls are very reminiscent of the children who turn into donkeys in Pinocchio and there are numerous moments that feel familiar even if I cannot place them. All of this makes the book deeper and more involved than a simple Avengers punch up, but it might explain why not as many people appreciate it.
If I had one complaint, it would be the art; Kev appears to have forgotten how do draw younger characters. The men are all strong, powerful figures, the only woman is a traditional busty curve, but the kids, well they appear to be misshaped and rather than looking young they seem to look ugly instead. It is a minor complaint, but I did prefer it when they were all drawn to look like adults, rather than dumpy large faced cartoons.
All-New Invaders #6
Written by James Robinson with Art by Mark Laming and Guru-eFX
I hate it when an entire issue is about one specific point and it lets the comic build and build until you get dumped with ‘to be continued next time.’ From a marketing perspective it makes complete sense and there is no way I will not be buying the next issue, but it catches me out every time. It would not have as much effect with a printed comic because you would know you are coming to the end of the issue by the feel of how few pages were left, but with a digital comic unless you are looking at the page count, there is no way of telling.
It seems like they are trying to introduce a new character to the Invaders, or at least replace an elderly one who would clearly be too old to fit into the team now. Supreme Radiant Friend, better known in the USA as Radiance, is a Japanese superstar hero who is effectively the Magneto of light based powers. The problem is when the Watchers eye ‘exploded’ she learnt things that should have been kept hidden and now the ‘hero’ is trashing a SHIELD base looking for answers with only Jim Hammond to stop her.
As with the previous issues the art in this book is getting progressively better even if Hammond looks like his jaw is dislocated when he is talking occasionally. I wonder if they are trying to move away from Captain America being the heart of this team and giving more time to the lesser known members, or even some new ones.
Avengers World #8
Written by Nick Spencer with Art by Marco Checchetto and Andres Mossa
What is it recently with female costumes that are split from neck to navel? Do not misunderstand, Morganna looks quite stunning like it, but I wonder if she would be more successful if she used less magic to hold her costume together and more on fighting her enemies! It is merely the tip of the iceberg because the art in this book is exceptional, in fact it has been for the entire series, so I will forgive a bit of ‘fan service’ in exchange for the overall quality.
This series still confuses me as it leaps from team to team across the globe, but I can only assume that the end goal is to get everyone into the same place for a big finale. This book introduces yet another team, this time a European response team. I do like that Marvel is acknowledging the idea of American teams being the totality of the worlds response is a bit of a farce. Last time we had a Chinese team and now Euroforce, even if the team lead is an American. Down in the depths under an Italian city, beset by the undead the rescue team appears to need rescuing by the people they were sent to rescue.
As I said, I have no idea what the end goal of this comic is, I wonder if they are trying to make this into a more inclusive book to cover a wider international audience. No matter what they are trying, I am definitely appreciating the ride.
Mighty Avengers #11
Written by Al Ewing with Art by Greg Land, Jay Leisten and Frank D’Amata
Original Sin really seems to be about digging up the past, putting in a load of retroactive backstory for characters and then ploughing forwards into the present where said backstory is suddenly coming to light. It all does seem a bit co-incidental that a group that appears in the 70s to Luke Cage’s father are re-appearing at just the time that the Watcher is killed to and in the process gives everyone some insight into the past. It is not a bad concept, it just feels like with all the tie-ins that it is being over played a bit too much.
It turns out that Luke Cage’s Dad might well have been the start of the Mighty Avengers back when he was a Detective along with Blade and a bunch of other mystically strange people. I have to be honest, I am not a huge fan of this book simply because nothing seems to happen, the entire comic is glorified plot dump. Not only this but Lands art makes following the story really hard; Luke Cage looks decidedly Asian face on, there is a woman back in the 70s who looks exactly like Monica and The Blue Marvel, Blade and Luke’s father look identical apart from the facial hair. It is definitely not easy reading.
There is nothing intrinsically here that is bad, but then again there is nothing good about a prolonged plot dump. Hopefully they can put this one behind them fast and get everything back on track in the next issue.
New Avengers #19
Written by Jonathan Hickman with Art by Valerio Schiti and Frank Martin
This is possibly the most frustrating book ever written. I had nothing by praise for this title until the end of Infinity, but since then saying that it has ground to a halt would be an understatement. The end of this book should have happened 3 months ago, absolutely nothing has happened since then other than playing for time. I realise that Hickman is writing more than one Avengers title and it must be hard making everything fit in sequence with everything else, but this has been genuinely painful.
The Illuminati have arrived on an alternate Earth which has its own heroes and both sides have realised that there is only one resolution to their conundrum, beating the crap out of the other side. WRONG. This is completely superfluous and utterly ridiculous; the solution is to fire the missile that stops the worlds colliding and destroys the alternate Earth thus ending the incursion. Something which categorically cannot happen if they all die fighting six other super beings for no salient reason.
I realise that they went there with the best intentions, to talk and to learn from them, but when Namor is the one making the valid and sensible points you know that everything has gone to hell. This is stupid, pointless and it treats a comic filled with the most intelligent people in the Marvel universe as if they are morons controlled by their most base animal instincts.
Thor – God of Thunder #23
Written by Jason Aaron with Art by Esad Ribic and Ive Svorcina
There is something really scary about how they depict Galactus in this comic, in fact far more so than his usual appearance. The smoke the wreathes him and the face that his merely an empty hole with eyes is such a strong image for him, so much so that I would hope they look at it for future depictions of him. This book is again split between the now and the far future, Thor and King Thor and the moment in time that leaves the world as a barren wasteland. However something the comic does not tell us is if the Thor in the present did something different to the Thor in the future and thus prevented that destruction.
There are genuinely funny moments in this book which have been lacking in this comic recently; they help to emphasis the bad moments by allowing us a bit of joy in between. This is bad however you look at it; lawyers, trolls, minotaurs, Galactus, I am not certain which is worse and in the end there is still the factories desiccating the earth around them.
This is right back up there with the best that the God Butcher arc put out, but unfortunately it feels a bit more rushed. What they allowed to bloom for 11 issues then, they have crammed into 5 issues now and it is a shame because they could have made Agger so much more of a threat.
Iron Man #28
Written by Kieron Gillen with Art by Joe Bennett, Cliff Richards, Derlis Santacruz, Scott Hanna, Rick Magyar and Guru-eFX
This comic manages to make me hate it and admire it all at the same time. The way that they deal with Tony shooting Peppa is pretty fantastic, but they could have dedicated another page to it to really ram it home. However the bizarre way that the aliens show up at the end just feels like both a massive anticlimax as well as a huge Deus Exmachina and it really spoils what should have been Tony’s big moment.
This is one of those comics designed to tidy up all the loose ends, to give some characters a bit more purpose and set a few events in motion that can be picked up on later. There are some bits that made me laugh, such as how do you get a woman to put a ring on who has no hands and the absolutely appalling excuse that Malekith gives for his failure, but still I have to wonder what is in that bundle?
This comic makes me question if this series is not due for a relaunch soon. It says that the story continues in Original Sin 3.2 and I wonder if that might not be used as the excuse. But as people may know, I never read solicitations because I worry they spoil the story, so this might well have already been announced.
Written by Jonathan Hickman with Art by Leinil Francis Yu, Gerry Alanguilan and Sunny Gho
Please give me strength. I am sick and tired of time travel stories and there is nothing worse than time travel into alternate futures which does nothing other than infuriate me. Future time travel by its very nature is irrelevant because the simple fact of knowing the future means it is unlikely to happen.
This is a great ‘What If’ book, but frankly they already did it. I will not expand on that more because it would spoil the surprise, but basically the Avengers team is jumping into the future and each time they jump they lose more of the team to the past. Do not get me wrong the book looks fairly impressive, the way it is done is a great surprise and it really made me sit up and pay attention, but when it comes down to it does anyone care what the world could be like in 5045 years?
This will have to have the ending to trump all other endings or this book will feel flatter for me than Uncanny Avengers. The time travel aspect of it is annoying, but not a deal breaker, but the way it is being handled is making me question what they are trying to achieve with it.