Captain America #22 Review

by Etienne Paul, CMRO Contributing Writer

Captain America

Issue #22

Written by Rick Remender, Art by Carlos Pacheco

Published: September 2014

Captain America #22

I have lost faith in humanity, I really have. I delayed writing this review for a reason completely contrary to my normal methods, because I wanted to read what other people had written. Normally I stay away from all other reviews both before and after writing my own, because I neither want to be influenced by what someone else has written nor do I want to be embarrassed if I wrote something stupid*. However this issue has created quite the furore on the interwebs with liberal rights activists calling for Remender’s head.

Now I have absolutely no problems with people requesting Rick’s head on a silver platter, but I like it to be for the right reasons. He deserves to be hung drawn and quartered for the butchery he has performed on the Marvel universe with this series and with Uncanny Avengers and his complete obsession with ignoring anything else that other writers do in their shared sandbox. That said he does not deserve any of the grief he has received for this issue and certainly not for the reasons people have claimed.

Now before anyone questions this, I have done my research; I have read every 616 book put out since 2013 and gone back and read any of the ongoing series that started before then (such as this one which debuted in 2012). Before writing this I have fired up all my copies of this series to check my information and I am confident in what I am talking about, but as always anyone feel free to point out the logical flaws in my arguments.

So, what am I going on about? During the course of this issue, which to be honest has a far bigger plot point than this, Jet Black and Sam Wilson have drunken, but very consensual sex. Many people have argued on the net that he in fact raped her**. For the record I would confirm my assertion that it was consensual from the fact that the next morning had an entire building not appeared outside their bedroom window, it looks very likely that it would have started all over
again. So, we can cross of the idea that Sam took advantage of a drunk woman.

Onto the next part of this farce of an argument; Sam is guilty of statutory rape of a minor. Well this part leaves me speechless, it says in the very issue that Jet is in fact at least 23 as she explains that she last drunk that type of wine on that birthday, it does not even say it was her last birthday, she could in fact be 24, 25 or older! However in the articles it is claimed that she is at most 15. At this point I need to remove my brain in order to understand where this argument can even start, let alone finish. Rogers was in dimension Z for 12 years. When she is first seen in the comic in issue 2 she is clearly a child of indeterminate age, somewhere between 7 and 11 able to run around and communicate. The art is quite ‘cutsey’ in that issue so she does look more babish than she would otherwise do, but she is most certainly not 3 years old. That is the only way she could be 15 at the time of her ‘encounter’ with Sam 12 years later on.

I do not wish to get overly bogged down with the semantics of the argument, but there are repeated claims from these interweb type people that Jet’s statement that she is 23 is ‘in contradiction of everything Remender has told us.’ I have to say this is both ridiculous and bizarre. Jet is shown as a child for 3 issues. In issue 4 there is the 11 year later jump and she is most certainly a woman. Fifteen year olds do not look like that; anyone who says otherwise is deluding themselves or so old that they have forgotten what it was like to be a teenager. However the absolute nail in the coffin is how Ian is depicted as an 11 year old. Strangely enough it is almost exactly the same way that Jet is depicted in issue 3, remember the time when she was supposedly 3 years old. Similar height, build and mature speech patterns. How old should Jet have been in issue 3 to make her 23 in issue #22. Oh yes, that would be 11 or 12.

You know, the arguments do get worse from here, people blabbering on about her traumatic childhood meaning that she clearly was not a mature woman able to give informed consent. I think said people on the interwebs need to offer a profuse apology to people with traumatic upbringings who happen to mature into sensible adults, or perhaps they are not able to give consent despite being between 6 and 8 years above the legal age (depending upon country or state.) I have spent enough time on this utter waste of time legitimizing something that really does not need any form of defence. I cannot believe I am defending Rememder, a person who I go to lengths to abuse for his abject lack of attention to continuity, but this may well be the only time he has actually gotten that continuity right!

So obviously this entire comic is just one long sex scene? Well no, clearly not and in fact nothing is shown which is obvious because this is a Marvel Superhero comic. People even wake up wearing underwear that their costume clearly does not have underneath; such is the requirement to keep things PG. What this comic is actually about is a depowered Steve Rogers, his body sucked of all life in the previous issue; the return of Zola and his henchman who is clearly going to turn out to be an older Ian, or perhaps even Sharon Carter; and the return of the Red Skull. Basically this is a gigantically momentous comic full of important and necessary moments to move the universe forwards, but what have I done? I spend the entire review defending a non-issue from a writer who I would prefer gone because on that particular note he did absolutely nothing wrong. Can I get back to bashing Remender now for breaking the Marvel universe?

* For that I rely on the people on the forums to point out my stupidity…
** Gloria Miller article – http://www.examiner.com/article/why-marvel-needs-to-fire-rick-remender

The Inventor: The Story of Tesla #1 Review

by Lindsay Young, CMRO Contributing Writer

The Inventor: The Story of Tesla

Issue #1

Written by Rave Mehta, Art by Erik Williams

Published: December 2012

The Inventor: The Story of Tesla #1

This one describes itself: a loose comic adaptation of the life and work of Nicola Tesla, one of the most eccentric and brilliant inventors of the late 19th/early 20th century. Certainly Tesla is an interesting subject, one who still captures the public’s imagination years after his untimely death, and issue one covers his birth up to his voyage to America to meet Thomas Edison.

If you’re not interested in Tesla going in, you probably won’t gain a very sophisticated understanding of the man or his work, and the story as-presented isn’t very compelling on its own. The writing in places can be repetitive: the word ‘mother’ shows up a lot, and we hear similar observations made more than once. It also tends towards telling rather than showing. Perhaps that’s inevitable with a comic that essentially acts as a biography, no matter how stylized the narration and framing are, but it reads like a sparknotes summary of Tesla’s early life. This is further complicated by the narrative’s complete lack of interest in putting anything about Tesla into historical context. The first issue is so insular, so focused on hitting the biographical beats that it never really takes a look outside its subject to understand the world he lives in, and it only briefly flirts with the relationships he forms, so it ends up feeling rather empty and under-researched as a result.

Art-wise, there’s a similar problem. There’s this weird ahistorical approach to the art, where clothes are very obviously not period-appropriate. Sometimes they look decades out of fashion, and sometimes they look straight out of the modern age. The lack of consistency is confusing and often distracting. There’s also something about the eyes that looks odd; irises and pupils are so large that often, gazes look unfixed, and nobody really seems to be looking at one another.

In my opinion, the issue is stuck somewhere between biography and stylized historical fiction, but it never quite pushes enough to fit comfortably or satisfyingly into either category. As a result, I’m afraid I didn’t enjoy it much.

Weekly Marvel Roundup for 07/20 – 07/26

Weekly Marvel Roundup 7/20 - 7/26

 

Storm #1
Written by Greg Pak with Art by Victor Ibanez and Ruth Redmond
So Ororo finally gets her own title in Marvel Now, it was about time, practically every other X-Man has had one, including the most boring ones. So, what do they have her doing? Is she saving the world? making mutant rights a priority? or perhaps doing something practical like running for congress? No, she is back in Africa, saving her village. Again. I am sorry; if you do not have another story to tell with this character, why bother giving her this book? We only just did this in one of the X-titles, I think it was X-Men, so it is not like it has been a long time coming.

There are other problems with this book, including her ability to magically transform street clothes into her costume while flying above a town, I bet someone got a damn good look even from that height. This is a ‘nice’ story and that is not really a compliment. If you do not know anything about Storm’s backstory then this is worth reading, otherwise it is just repetition of repetition. This is a completely stand alone story, which feels odd when you are trying to launch a new title, there is nothing to get them to come back next time. No, wait, they throw in the cover to the next issue at the end of the book and that appears to be Callisto; so welcome to Storm’s new series, it is just a shame we have seen it all before.
2/5



Deadpool vs. X-Force #2
Written by Duane Swiercznski with Art by Pepe Larraz and Nolan Woodard
I just realised that this series is not written by any of the usual suspects and it really does show. Gone is almost all of the Deadpool wit and charm and in its place is a really unpleasant malevolence. However the more I think about it, the more I realise that this was intentional. This is not our current lovable rogue; this is the Deadpool of the 90s who was a much less fun proposition. This does not mean that this comic is completely devoid of humour, because that would be nearly sacrilegious for a Deadpool comic, but rather than slapstick humour at his expense it all has a much darker edge.

I do not know, nor do I care, enough about the American Civil wars for this to have any impact on me from that perspective, but I know enough to understand that there should not be Spider-tanks walking around in 1863. I have to say Wade looks really good as a villain and he has that one advantage that most bad guys do not; he is also a good guy and we want him to win. He is actually extremely scary when you think about it; it is fine when he is being goofy and unkillable when you know that all that power is being wasted healing from a random act of carnage that he just happened to fall into. What makes it scary is when he is focused and you realise he is a good deal cleverer than we thought.
4/5



Original Sin – Thor and Loki #2
Written by Jason Aaron and Al Ewing with Art by Lee Garbett, Nolan Woodard, Simone Bianchi and Adriano Dall’Alpi
I hate artist changes in the middle of the comic, but what I hate even more is an artistic change where it becomes ambiguous who the characters are. When Angella showed up in the second half of the book, at first I did not realise it was her. Yes she is in a similar costume, but then again her costume shares so many elements with all the other female characters in the book (and there are a lot) that frankly it could have been any of them. Her headdress, right shoulder pad, right arm, brassiere, weapon, necklace and facial markings all change and it means that a dramatic moment was completely lost on me; by the time I realised what was going on it was like having a joke explained to me.

It does not help that the second set of art looks people trying to ape a certain art style, but not quite hitting the mark. Some panels are quite stunning, with fabulous close ups on Thor and a bloodied angel, but then there are horribly muddy looking pages that look like they need to be put into Photoshop and sharpened a few notches.

Overall, I really like the story and I want to know where they are taking this. The art in the first issue was great and parts of this were fine, but I am concerned that we have another 3 books to come and I will not enjoy it as much with this art team.
3/5



Original Sins #4
Written by James Robinson, Ryan North, David Abadia and Pablo Dura with Art by Alex Maleev, Cris Peter, Ramon Villaobos, Jordan Gibson and Erica Henderson
There is so much wrong with this book, I do not even know where to start. The first thing I desperately need to ask is, why the hell does a two page joke strip require two writers? There are only four panels with any dialogue, what did they do, two each? The best part about the comic is still the cover art by Mark Brooks; even if the concept one seems a bit lacklustre by his normally high standards the rendering of Dr Doom is truly exquisite. 

The first half of the book is a Dr. Doom introduction, in which the entire premise of the story is to set up one line. It is so boring, the art is bland and nearly monochrome with so little colour I thought I had a misprinting. The Young Avengers book is awful, as always, with the scratchy art that makes me want to take a rubber to it to clean it up. The story is as stupid as always with our ‘heroes’ being the biggest bunch of morons to ever step foot in a comic book. Finally the joke strip is all about an Eskimo having a pee on Captain America when he was frozen in the ice. Fantastic stuff. Where did I put that sarcasm font?
1/5




All-New Doop #4
Written by Peter Milligan with Art by David Lafuente Garcia
My mother always said to me ‘If you don’t have anything nice to say, then don’t say anything at all. In which case; this book came out this week. That is all.
0/5




Amazing Spider-Man #4
Written by Dan Slott with Art by Humberto Ramos, Victor Olazaba and Edgar Delgado

Conversation between Studio editors:
A: Quick, Thor has a sister, let’s get one for Peter Parker.

B: No no, we can’t do that, there is too much history with the character and his Aunt or Uncle would have mentioned it at least once. 

A: Well we need a sister for him; we need to keep up with what is hip in the other books. What about a brother?

B: He already has a clone of himself, that’s almost a brother? I suppose we could get a ‘metaphorical’ sister for him, you know, one that shares his powers. 

A: But we already have Spider Woman and Spider Girl and Madam Web, it needs to be edgier and less old…

B: Well, we could have her bitten by the same spider that bit Peter? And then locked in a box for the last 15/50 years and then Peter can go rescue her.

A: Wouldn’t she be a bit dead by now? I mean even if there was something to feed her in there, she would be this shapeless blob thing from a lack of exercise being cooped up in a small cell all that time.

B: Nah, these are comic book readers, they will swallow whatever we give them so long as it’s sexy. What we do is we make her this smoking hot girl who is naked other than this costume made entirely from her own webbing. 

A: Thats great, we can get some fantastic ‘down her top’ shots showing her great cleavage. And you know what; she should make spiderwebs from her fingertips, just like spiders do.

B: Erm, that’s not where spider webs come from and that won’t make sense because Peter can’t do that.

A: No its fine! Remember, she’s smoking hot, they will believe anything we say. Tell you what; let’s have a sex scene on a roof top between them that will make them forget all the little inconsistencies…
1/5



Daredevil #6
Written by Mark Waid with Art by Javier Rodriguez and Alvaro Lopez
This is probably the loosest tie in to Original Sin what with Iron Man, Spider-Man and Thor practically having their entire histories re-written for it. Having your dad being a wife beater is really tiny by comparison. For all the set up, the Original Sin tie in is practically non-existent with the memory only being a jumpstart to go and have a talk with his mum, the nun.

I will be honest, this all feels a bit weak and like a lot of Original Sin, very contrived. It just so happens that he has a vision that makes him go see his mother at just the time when she is in trouble? Rather than having a vision that makes the character go off and find something, which then causes the story to happen, again we have a story happening at the same time as the character having a vision which makes him go and find out what was already happening? I hate contrivance, but this is starting to just become sloppy storytelling. They could have done this entirely the other way around, he could have had the vision, gone to see his mum, advised her not to do the thing that she was going to do that got her into trouble and then there would be cause and effect for the outcome, rather than two simultaneous causes and a gigantic coincidence. 

The ending is interesting, but this is the sort of book that cries out not to be involved in the cross over. They even had to contrive it to make sure he was back in New York when the Watchers eye exploded. This is the sort of thing that probably really annoys a writer; they get a good story going and then have to completely derail it so that their character can be involved in the summer’s big storyline.
2/5



Wolverine and the X-Men #6
Written by Jason Latour with Art by Mahmud Asrar, Pepe Larraz, David Messina, Massimiliano Veltri, Marc Deering and Israel Silva
The list of bad books goes on this week; I have no idea what is happening. Almost half the titles of a normal week and none of them have pressed all my buttons. Well, this one has pressed a lot of buttons, but unfortunately they are all marked ‘fail’. For an issue with so many artists, I have to say it is the least inconsistent I have ever seen, however it is only consistently ‘meh’. There are some panels in this book which are just plain awful; Logan with a head the size of a cow, Quentin looking like he was just sick in his own mouth and Ide looking like a 40 year old with a tree instead of hair (I kid you not, if you ignore it is black it is just the same shape as the tree line behind).

This is stupidly confusing and I am certain they did it on purpose. Why else would you start a comic involving time travel with a flash forward to the following day before coming back and explaining how they got there? Seriously that is just plain crazy because you end up questioning if that was part of the time travelling, or merely the writer wanting to screw with your head.

Not enough time is spent setting up the future and then when they are in the future they get shown flash backs to that futures past, which is still the future of the present. It is just painful to try to read a book like this where they can with a page turn, change the time, characters and artist all in one go. This would have been done so much better if they had divided the work between the artists based on which time they were in. Today, tomorrow, future or Fantomex’ pocket universe. It still would not have been good; it just would have been less bad.
2/5



All-New Invaders #9
Written by James Robinson with Art by Steve Pugh and Guru-eFX
I wonder if I am suffering from Marvel burn out? Too much Marvel, all the time? The reason why I ask is that nothing this week is really pushing my buttons, Deadpool vs X-Force is far and away the best comic out this week and if I am honest, it is only good by comparison, in any other week and it would be a middle runner. This is looking like the second best comic and really it is only because I do not dislike it, rather than because I am raving about it.

Throw away all my previous ideas about this series; I thought it was going to be about Hammond building a new team of Invaders around him, but here come all the old faces back again after a couple of issue hiatus. For me the biggest problem is ‘plot power’. At the beginning of this series we had the invaders going hand to hand with a god, or at least a demi-god depending upon how you rate the Eternals. Now admittedly there are only 3 Invaders in this book, they are obviously deeply missing Steve Rogers ‘leadership’ but even still the power of the plot has weakened them to such an extent that they are taking down by a bunch of cyborgs.

The first half of this book is really rather good, it is only the ending that bugs me, but seeing as that ending is the set up for the rest of this arc, it is not leaving me with much confidence.
3/5



Mighty Avengers #12
Written by al Ewing with Art by Greg Land, Jay Leisten and Matt Milla
Oh dear the contrivances start all over again and this one is an utter brain killer. So, Luke Cage’s father was involved in a group that called themselves the Mighty Avenger back in the 70s. This would be the 70’s of the Marvel universe, not the real 70s because of course that was when Luke Cage was strutting his stuff for the first time. The problem is that while they in no way make a connection between the past Mighty Avengers and the ‘Avengers’, why would that name have made any sense in the 70s. It only makes sense if the ‘Avengers’ had been around then, which of course they were in the real world, but in the comics they formed somewhere around 1999, 27 years too late to explain why ‘Mighty Avengers’ makes any sense in the 1970s.

This story works absolutely fine without that, that was just the writer trying to be clever, but it is just complete nonsense. I feel like doing another one of my Editor A and B walk thoughts to demonstrate how they came to that conclusion, but once is enough.

This again falls foul of the simultaneous coincidences as Luke Cages vision does not cause the events that are going on, they merely happen at the same time. It would make sense if they were happening at the same time and being about the events going on, but they are not, they are about a lie that his father told, that leads to the events that are happening. 
2/5



Deadpool #32
Written by Brian Posehn and Gerry Duggan with Art by John Lucas and Val Staples
So it has been all over a rather poor week, but of course when we round off with a Deadpool comic it will make up for it all? Not really this time. Sure this is the same old writing team, but it is still the new artist and it is putting quite a crimp in my appreciation. Previously Deadpool was funny because he warped he world around him, now it is his body that warps to fit in with the world. It is a bit of a strange explanation, but it the best I can do. His face moves far too much under the mask to be believable. I know, it is a Deadpool comic, it does not have to be ‘believable’ but previously the art was done in such a way that the mask emphasised his moods, without being its own character. Now, it is impossible to tell where the mask finishes and the person underneath starts.

This is pretty graphic for a non-MAX title; there is a lot of decapitation and a lot of blood. It does not actually bother me, but it does change the tone of the comic, this is far more gruesome and a lot less ‘fun.’

Overall, this is a good book in a bad week, but it is not a good book compared to the previous 31 issues of this series. I might in time get used to this artist, but I think they need tone down the comedic graphic violence and replace it with the slapstick that came before, it made the darkness of the character much more palatable.
3/5

Hulk #4 Review

by Charlie Brooks, CMRO Contributing Writer

Hulk

Issue #4

Written by Mark Waid, Art by Mark Bagley

Published: August 2014

Hulk #4

Hulk #4 brings the first story arc of this relaunched title to a satisfying conclusion, although it does contain a certain piece of comic book tradition that makes me grind my teeth.

With the help of the Avengers, the Hulk succeeds in killing the Abomination (again), although the organization behind his semi-resurrection remains completely unknown. This happens about halfway through the issue. The second half of the story focuses on the brain-damaged Bruce Banner and whether he can be helped or not.

Before discussing the second half of this issue, it’s important to note that the story up until this point shows quite a bit of character development on Bruce’s part. At the beginning of Mark Waid’s run, he was an arrogant jerk who cared more about his place in history than any sort of real heroism. In this story, he willingly sacrifices his intellect in order to save his friends from the Abomination. That would justify Banner’s behavior in the last series if he was a relatively new character. Unfortunately, reverting him to a self-centered jackass for the sole purpose of redeeming him later on is a bit weak, considering that the character had been around for 50 years prior to Waid’s arrival.

My big problem with this issue isn’t really a problem with the writing or plot, but rather with superhero genre conventions. With Banner now brain damaged, Tony Stark takes him to his labs. He flies in the greatest brain surgeon in the world and uses magical virtual reality technology with self-adjusting parameters to help repair the damage done to Banner’s brain. He then uses a modified version of the Extremis technology to restore Bruce’s intelligence.

So…yeah. Tony Stark totally has the technology to repair severe traumatic brain injuries and has the money to make the procedure a reality. But if you aren’t a buddy of Tony’s, he’s not going to make the technology available to you.

This isn’t even the first time that this sort of thing has been pulled in a Hulk comic. Reed Richards has the cure for Lou Gehrig’s Disease, but he only used it to cure Bruce Banner a few years back. Bruce gets all the breaks.

Theoretically, one could assume that Tony Stark or Reed Richards are putting this technology on the open market once it’s developed, but when the next situation of this type comes up, it’s invariably ignored. So we’re left with the unfortunate implication that superheroes have the ability to dramatically change the health and wellness of the world but choose not to unless the person affected is one of his buddies. It’s something I could really do without in the superhero genre as a whole.

Of course, getting irritated by this aspect of superheroism is like getting irritated at the stupid logic that leads to superheroes fighting superheroes during the company crossovers – if this stuff keeps you from enjoying the comic, you might as well not bother reading the books that come out of Marvel and DC. If you accept that part of the genre and view this story arc on its own merits, it bears out remarkably well. In fact, it’s the first arc under Mark Waid that seems complete and satisfying from beginning to end. Naturally, this came about right around the time that Waid announced his departure from the book. Oh well – if he’s got to leave just after he finally starts getting it, here’s hoping that the next few issues continues this level of quality.

Hulk #3 Review

by Charlie Brooks, CMRO Contributing Writer

Hulk

Issue #3

Written by Mark Waid, Art by Mark Bagley

Published: July 2014

Hulk #3

Hulk #3 is a bit of a lull in what has largely been a good relaunch so far, but that is mostly out of necessity. There’s only so much drama you can ratchet up before you need a break in the tension. In this case, that break comes in the form of a big town-destroying throwdown between the Hulk and the Abomination.

The Avengers show up in this issue, and it’s nice to see them looking out for the Hulk’s best interests for a change. As a long-time Hulk fan, I’m used to seeing these guys kick around one of their chartered members like he’s a villain, and it’s easy to forget that the Hulk is a member of the team again. Heck, Iron Man even manages to come off as arrogant but not a total jerk, which is a first for his in Mark Waid’s run.

We get some insight as to who the organization behind all this is, but we don’t really get any sort of solid answers. They had the drop on Maria Hill at the end of last issue, but thanks to the rules of Marvel cliffhangers things are never as bad as they seem to be when the action starts up again. This time, she manages to dispatch her would-be assassins and even helps to protect Bruce Banner when the Abomination temporarily knocks the Hulk out.

Banner himself is in bad shape, with the Hulk’s healing abilities repairing some of his brain damage but doing so in a way that leaves much to be desired. Hill’s analogy for it is that it’s like a broken bone healing – if it’s not set right, the bone won’t heal back in place properly. Heedless of the danger, Banner turns back into the Hulk to help protect the Avengers. One of my ongoing complaints about Waid’s Banner is that he’s been far too self-serving and not heroic enough, so this act does a lot to repair the guy’s character in my eyes.

Overall, this issue is pretty much a gigantic fight scene with a couple of interesting segues in between. It’s not as great as the first two issues, but there’s no reason to believe that this represents any sort of step back for the relaunch. It’s just a necessary lull in the story arc that has been reserved for some cathartic smashing. For next issue, we’re teased with an image of the Hulk holding Captain America’s shield, promising some interesting things to come.

Marvel Announces First Batch of Star Wars Titles

by Joshua Starnes, CMRO Editor

It was naturally assumed by one and all that once Disney bought Lucasfilm in 2013 it would quickly move the Star Wars comic license under the umbrella of the Disney-owned Marvel comic publishing company as well.  An assumption which proved all too true as the company announced earlier this year that it would begin publishing its own Star Wars comics for the first time in 20 years, after the license had remained with Dark Horse for so long (and, to many fans disappointment, invalidating the decades of Dark Horse comics in the process).

Marvel announced at the San Diego Comic Con what their first batch of comics would be when the license reverts to the company next year and they will be putting some of their biggest names on the three launch titles, in order to mask the fact that they will be telling basically the same story everyone who has ever gotten the Star Wars comic license has told, including the recent Brian Wood series at Dark Horse: i.e., the events taking place between A NEW HOPE and THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK.

Still, they’ll be doing so in style with Jason Aaron originating the primary title – STAR WARS – in January 2015 with art from superstar John Cassady (for at least the first 3-6 issues, before we get the real regular penciler). Besides the primary series, Marvel will also be publishing a pair of character oriented series; DARTH VADER from Kieron Gillen and Salvador Larroca, and PRINCESS LEIA by Mark Waid and Terry Dodson.

And if history is in guide, expect a BOBA FETT series in there somewhere in the near future.

The full press release follows:

New York, NY – July 28th, 2014 – Lucasfilm Ltd. and Marvel Entertainment are extremely proud to announce the iconic Star Wars franchise will return to Marvel in 2015 with a line-up of three comic book titles chronicling the adventures of a galaxy far, far away.  Beginning in January 2015, prepare forSTAR WARS by writer Jason Aaron (ThorOriginal Sin), artist John Cassaday (Astonishing X-Men) and colorist Laura Martin, DARTH VADER by writer Kieron Gillen and artist Salvador Larroca and PRINCESS LEIA by writer Mark Waid and artist Terry Dodson.

Taking place immediately after the events of Star Wars: A New Hope, the Force returns to Marvel in January with three new series spotlighting beloved characters from the iconic trilogy! Created in close partnership with Lucasfilm, the three new Star Wars series will exist as part of the canon for the Star Wars universe!

It all starts this January when Jason Aaron, John Cassaday and Laura Martin take fans back to the days following the destruction of the first Death Star in STAR WARSDiscussing the flagship series, writer Jason Aaron tells Marvel.com, “Every story is about the characters, and we’ll focus on all the old favorites. There will be big moments for everyone, from Han to R2-D2. But a major part of the narrative will be driven by Luke Skywalker and his journey of discovery, a journey that will decide the fate of the entire galaxy.”

However, the return of the Rebel Alliance to Marvel Comics also invites the return of its opposition, the Imperial Forces of the Galactic Empire and in February 2015, Kieron Gillen plans to delve into the psyche of one of the vilest villains of all time with the new ongoing series DARTH VADER. Witness the struggle for the freedom of an entire galaxy – from the Dark Side! 

“Vader’s the sole survivor of the greatest military disaster in history – and a disaster that he definitely had a hand in by letting the rebels escape with the plans for the Death Star. This is not a thing which leaves you in anybody’s good books, let alone the Emperor’s,” says writer Kieron Gillen. “The great thing about this period [between Star Wars: A New Hope and Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back] is what we don’t see on the screen. Vader learns who Luke Skywalker is at some point between the two movies, to choose but one example.”

Then, in March 2015, Mark Waid & Terry Dodson bring you the harrowing tale of loss and hope in the 5-issue limited series PRINCESS LEIAFresh from the Rebel Alliance’s victory at the Battle of Yavin, Leia must confront the reality that her homeworld has been destroyed. But in the light of such tragedy, there is always hope. Skilled equally with diplomacy as she is a blaster, witness the rise of one of the greatest heroines in history as she takes her rightful place as one of the Alliance’s peerless leaders!

“Does she choose to be a Princess of nothing – or does she set out to rebuild her heritage and civilization?” says writer Mark Waid.

All-New X-Factor #10 Review

by Etienne Paul, CMRO Contributing Writer

All-New X-Factor

Issue #10

Written by Peter David, Art by Carmine Di Giandomenico

Published: September 2014

All-New X-Factor #10

I have recently experienced quite a surprising change of heart when it comes to comic book art. I am a gigantic snob when it involves art that I ‘think’ I do not like; I immediately dismiss the comic and move on to something I find more palatable. However for the last 44 weeks I have been reviewing every new Marvel comic that comes into the 616 universe and that means that I am regularly reading some books that I hate. Interestingly that has had two very divergent effects. On the one hand there are books that I hate which I fight through the terrible art and find there is a story beneath which is worth reading. I find if I hang on long enough I get lucky and at the end of an arc they change the artist to someone I like.* However the other side of that is over time I start to appreciate art which initially I wanted to run away from. Fair enough, there is some which I will never appreciate** but books such as Silver Surfer have given me an appreciation for the Allreds which previously I thought would require mind altering drugs to achieve.

So, what possible relevance to this series does that entire paragraph have? Well nine issues ago I absolutely hated the art on this book; with a passion almost as much as I hate Francavilla’s art***. Therefore when I was starting out writing this review I loaded up the first few issues of this series, so convinced that the artist must have changed, or must have moulded his style as time as gone on. No, not a thing, no change whatsoever, it looks identical. Sometimes it just shows that persevering with something really does change your opinion of it. Then again I do not think a thousand years is long enough to make me like the art in She-Hulk.

Having defended my u-turn on the art style in this comic series, perhaps I should spend a bit of time talking about this specific issue. And what an issue it is; Georgia had just met her mother for the first time and she was then kidnapped by her father, the super villain Mori, owner of the nefarious shopping mall. Yes, that didn’t sound right to me either, but it is actually a very villainous cover because he knows that anywhere that is open 24/7 for civilians gives him a permanent human shield. This issue covers a lot of ground, helped by the panel layout which allows a lot of action to take place on each page, without adding to the reading length with lots of text. It is a great example for anyone to follow as it squeezes perhaps 4 wide panels into the space of one normal one, each containing more action and spreading the dialogue amongst them.

This comic is not perfect, there are a few things in it which annoy me. Matter transporters are for me problematic in any world as they create problems which need to be explained in advance. If you have them then no situation is problematic as you can immediately pull people out, but then they have to invent reasons why they cannot do it; watch any episode of Star Trek for the near infinite reasons why the plot will not allow something to happen. This being said it does create the final page, which is fantastic, and as long as the next issue picks up on the reason I think it happened then I definitely appreciate it. But I bet it will be followed by a long explanation of why they could not simply use the device again to rectify the problem.

There is so much about this comic which deserves talking about and that is partly because of the rapid panel style that allows a lot to take place in a limited space. I cannot praise it enough for the speed and motion it provides to the comic as it dives in and out of close ups and wide shots like a seasoned cinematographer in a block buster film. Even characters I traditionally dislike, Gambit and Quicksliver, stand up well along side characters I appreciate, Polaris and Danger, but this might be because the bad and funny things seem to happen to the people I do not like and the badass moments are given to the people I do like; it is almost like they are writing this comic specifically for me.

This series needs to go in the pile containing Thunderbolts and Nova as comics which at first I either hated or was not convinced about, but that have subsequently improved every issue, even if that improvement was entirely in the eye of the beholder. I expect this will have a dramatic conclusion in the next couple of issues and I really hope they carry this on to a point where we find out just what Serval Industries is really all about.

* Steve Dillions run on Thunderbolts is a prime example; it is now in my top 3 books currently with an artist that I love.

** Looking squarely at you She-Hulk. Three artists in 5 issues and I still want to go blind to save my sanity!

*** I’m sorry the guy is probably the nicest comic artist around at the moment with the best twitter feed, but I simply detest his colouring with a burning hatred.