Star Wars #5 – Review

by Matthew Langlois, CMRO Contributing Writer

Star Wars

Issue #5

Written by Jason Aaron with Art by John Cassaday and Laura Martin

Published: April 2015

Star wars 5My dad introduced me to Star Wars when I was around 6 or 7 years old. He sat me on the couch and put the Star Wars tape in the VHS. It was glorious. Since I obviously loved my first foray into George Lucas’ world, he then rented back to back Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi from the local video store. I was completely hooked and I started requesting Star Wars figurines of my favorite characters (Luke, R2D2, Chewbacca, Darth Vader). I was 9 when Phantom Menace came out. I was ecstatic. I was getting to watch a Star Wars movie in a movie theater! I am well aware that the movie suffers a lot in retrospect, but to a 9-year-old, it was just another incredible Star Wars movie with better than ever special effects.Where am I going with that? Not since I was 13 (with the release of Revenge of the Sith) have I managed to be that excited about the Star Wars universe. I was never interested in the books (to me Star Wars is and always will be a visual media) and the animated series didn’t have the right feel. Sure I had many chances to re-watch the movies, but it was never the same as experiencing them for the first time. The Star Wars comics changed all that.

I have shown nothing short of reverence for the new Star Wars comics since they started hitting the stands. Not because they are sensational, which they are, but because they make me rediscover every week the magic which use to marvel me as a child. Aaron and Cassaday’s opus is probably the biggest reason for that rekindling of my passion as they offer us a book that feels like the original trilogy and looks simply stunning.

Star Wars #5 is again split into two storylines as Luke returns to Tattooine in search of answers about his past and his future while Han and Leia begin to look out for a new planet to move the rebel base. Unfortunately, each party also has one of Vader’s bounty hunters on its trail. The issue has something for every fan. Light sabers fight? Yes. Space pursuits? Yes. Bobba Fett being his usual awesomeness? Yes. Chewbacca? Y… well not this time, but he’s sure to pop up again sooner than later. Aaron again presents us with great characterizations and enthralling dialogues. He manages to recapture the essence of the original trilogy: from Han and Leia bickering interactions to Luke’s quest to discover who he truly his. Cassaday’s art is again stellar as it perfectly sets the mood for Aaron’s writing and presents us with a book one can only want to re-read ad nauseam (I’ve already devoured it three times).

There are still seven months left until Episode VII is released in the theaters, but as long as Aaron and Cassaday are putting forth such an incredible series, the wait won’t seem so interminable.

Runaways #1 – Review

by Etienne Paul, CMRO Editor

Runaways

Issue #1

Written by Noelle Stevenson with Art by Sanford Greene and John Ranch

Published June 2015

Runaways 001cI was a fan of the original Runways series, for one main reason; that was Adrian Alphona who did the art. Now I can tell it was a series that I liked for the art for one easy reason; I barely remember the story at all. It is easy to remember series I liked for the writing as the plot and dialogue stick in my mind, but for books like this where it was the art keeping me reading, it all seems to melt away.

However I do remember enough to know that this is NOT the Runaways. With the exception of Molly no one else in this book follows on from that series and frankly her inclusion merely feels like paying lip service to the name. I was at least expecting Nico to make an appearance somewhere.

This is the teen book of Secret Wars, something which Marvel will not be seen without recently, but the problem is they chose really weird characters to do it with. If you call it the Runaways you expect something similar to the original series in much the same way that Civil War or Inferno have been continuations of those series. However if you take the concept and simply shove in new characters, sticking two fingers up at the previous series, then why on earth not use the big name teens in this series? Why no Ms. Marvel, why no Nova, or what about the All New X-Men? It just doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense to me to chose neither the original team, nor the big names. It is not like the big names are in any of the current titles at all!

Instead we get a young Jubilation Lee, Molly, Pixie, Amadeus, Skaar, Delpine, Sanna, Cloak and Dagger; the Bucky Barnes from the cover turns out to be the antagonist in the series in the form of ‘the hall monitor.’ The book starts in usual teen style with the team all in detention and we find out that really they are not a team at all, in fact half of them don’t even like the other half. In order to make their final exams Amadeus has to reprogram the Doombot in charge so they can make their escape.

I have read this very closely now and like a lot of other books in Secret Wars I am starting to see some weird inconsistencies. This is either a really ingenious invention on the part of Marvel, or it is starting to show that the editors are not looking close enough. In a other titles there have been maps that simply do not make any sense, provinces that seem to move around, characters that discolour and recolour from page to page, but here the ‘mistakes’ are even more weird.

In detention with the characters is both a zombie and a vampire, their presence makes no sense, especially the zombie. There is also another unnamed character who sits up suddenly at Jubilee’s outburst who also looks out of place in his mask and costume. The thing is when they all break out of detention as Molly rips the doors from their hinges, none of these three make a move, or even seem to exist any more.

So my question is this; are they rushing these books out, mistakes going unnoticed and artists are slipping things past the editors or is there a massive ‘Easter egg hunt’ in these titles showing us that Doom is not all powerful and his creation is falling apart at the seams? If it is the latter then I have to give credit where it is due, because it would be a masterful design, but I fear I am hoping for too much.  A combination of mistakes and jokes by the artists is more likely, but I can dream can’t I?

Overall this book isn’t bad, but it isn’t good either. The choice of characters for me is extremely weak and the focus around Jubilee makes it worse than if it had been a true ensemble cast. However there is hope because I am interested in what the final exam is, I am desperately hoping that we will get ‘Doombot’ from Avengers AI in this series at some point (read it, he was the best thing in it) and there is always the chance that someone will kill some of the annoying brats and that might cheer me up a bit. Then again, shouldn’t I be rooting for the heroes, not against them?

A-Force #2 – Review

by Etienne Paul, CMRO Editor

A-Force

Issue #2 (Secret Wars)

Written by Marguerite Bennett and G. Willow Wilson with Art by Jorge Molina, Craig Yeung, Walden Wong and Laura Martin

Published: July 2015

A-Force  002 - a3So before Secret Wars even began it was decided that this team up was going to be one that survived the event. I can understand that Marvel have to plan ahead and that they cannot wait out the end (or even the beginning) of an event before deciding what characters and teams will come out the other side, but why this one? This team works (well, sort of) in the confines of Secret Wars because they can have as many versions of each character as they want, but afterwards, I just cannot see it.

Firstly one of the main characters in the team is Medusa, who is at constant odds with She Hulk. This works in the comic because Medusa is not a Queen here, merely a minion. But we know that after Secret Wars the Inhumans play a huge part with at least 2 ongoing series already announced. If Medusa and Jennifer fall out like this later on, she will simply walk off; one does not dismiss a Queen like that.

The second problem is what a bizarre and diverse team the rest of them are and how the heck you justify them coming together. Now this part requires some mental gymnastics, so bear with me. The way I see it Secret Wars has three possible outcomes, and by that I mean the way it treats all the different versions of the characters.

Option 1: Highlander – there can be only one, by the end of the event all the multiples will be dead and which ever version is still standing, will be the ‘real’ one.

Option 2: Schizophrenia – all the different surviving personalities will merge together giving the individual characters a mixture of all the different realities memories.

Option 3: The Multiverse is alive and kicking – after Secret Wars the universe will fracture back into different realities and we can have as many different versions of the characters as we like spread across many universes.

For me this book can only work with option 3, the others simply will not fit. If there is only one version of all the characters, sole surviving or with mixed memories, then I see absolutely no reason for half the team remaining together. Medusa will go of in a queenly sulk, Dazzler will remember the ‘mutant problem’ and will go off in search of killing Mystique for stealing her life for months, Captain Marvel will be far too busy with the Ultimates and being in her own title to be the flying muscle behind She Hulk and the same will go for many of the other background characters from this title.

This leads me onto the biggest problem with this series; why? In the confines of Secret Wars it works because simply anything goes. If you want to team up Peter Porker, the Scarlet Witch, Bulls-eye and Kang, then carry on, the very nature of the event means that this is possible, even if it is utterly silly. But afterwards you need to produce some incredibly circuitous reasoning in order to keep that team together and explain why Kang doesn’t roast Porker for lunch. While the characters here may not despise each other in the same way, there still needs to be a lot of questions asked as to why such disparate entities would stay together.

She-Hulk is still feeling guilty about having to banish Miss America over the wall, but she needed to protect Arcadia from Doom. Or more to the point, she needed to protect her own position because by defying the will of Doom she herself would have been banished or killed and her replacement would have been forced to remove Miss America anyway. So when an new creature appears, Singularity, seemingly with strange portal creating powers, Medusa challenges Jenifer to banish her as well.

Credit where credit is due, the characters are all very well written and the art is pretty stunning as well, but it is the art that leads me to other questions. This is an all female title (with the exception of Namor who manages to squeeze himself in) and it has two female writers; why then are all the characters effectively naked? If you leave Nico to one side, the other 4 characters have 4 items of clothing between them. I realise I am being slightly facetious about this, but the more I look at it, the more noticeable it is.

Medusa and Carol have a belt, other than that all of their clothing is painted on, it has no form in its own right and follows their contours exactly. She-Hulk is the same, except her belt has no form and is also painted on. Dazzler is worse and better at the same time, her costume has a dramatically plunging neckline, so plunging if it went any lower it would be indecent around the crotch, her only item of clothing that isn’t painted onto her skin are the two flares on the bottom of her trouser legs.

So then we move onto Nico, and here is the greatest irony, the most clothed member of the team is wearing a shoulderless bra, miniskirt and fishnet stockings. I am not certain what message they are trying to give us, but at best it is mixed and at worst down right sexist.

I bleat on about this all the time and I realise my position on this may sound strange, but here me out. Some of my favourite comic characters are female and their costumes are at best described as ‘sparse’. When I stand behind Emma Frost and Lady Death and decry other female comic characters costumes I realise that I sound hypocritical, but really I am not at all. I have absolutely no problem with admitting that I like well drawn, beautiful comic characters in clothing that would look under-dressed in an issue of playboy. Equally I have absolutely no problem with Odinson walking around in shorts and a red cape, Hercules in a skirt and some leather strapping or Namor in a posing pouch. Comics are about that ideal unattainable from, both in body and powers, equally for male and female.

For me the hypocrisy lies with the creators and editors at Marvel who put two of their top female writers on a title, create an entire female only team to be the idol of feminists the world over, but still let them be drawn by men to be drooled over by adolescents.

Weekly Marvel Roundup for 07/22 – 07/28

by Etienne Paul, CMRO Editor and Matthew Langlois, CMRO Contributing Writer

weekley_roundup_base copy

Star-Lord and Kitty Pryde #1
Written by Sam Humphries
Art by Alti Firmansyah and Jessica Kholinne

Synopsis – Peter is a night club singer in the Quiet Room with memories of a better time and place, a more ‘real’ world than the one he sings about.

Etienne:
This actually explores one of my personal nightmares, which will obviously take some explanation. My wife and I had an extremely 1 in a million chance of meeting each other with a lot of coincidences along the way, any of which would have completely changed our lives if we had done even the slightest thing differently. Well unlike most of of the characters in Secret Wars Peter has memories of a time before Battle World and when he sees the love of his life enter the bar he throws caution to the wind and takes the plunge to win her back, even if she works for the ‘man’ and has no memory of him at all.
Story – 10/10
Art – 9/10

Matthew:
First of all, as this is Secret Wars, I’d say the probability of seeing the love of his life enter the bar where he works is at least 20 times higher than in real life since there literally dozens of Kitty Prydes all around. As for the rest of the book, to me it felt like most of the #1 issues coming out lately. It gave us an ok premise but nothing completely spectacular or that would force me to pick up a second issue. I have no idea why they decided to split Quill from the main Secret Wars series and judging by this issue, it would have been better if he had stayed with the group.
Story – 7/10
Art – 7/10

E Is for Extinction #2
Written by Chris Burnham and Dennis Culver
Art by Ramon Villalobos and Ian Herring

Synopsis – The new and old X-Men square off to get control of the Phoenix egg. Meanwhile, a dead human Beast has shown up on normal Beast doorstep.

Matthew:
I’ll try not to ramble to long about the art. I know it’s trying to emulate the one on Morrison’s beloved run, but it is simply terrible. It certainly doesn’t help that they are trying to ape art that was already not so well regarded. As for the story, this might be the most interesting X-title story. Whether it says more about this book or the overall lack of quality of X-titles is for anyone to judge. The showdown between Magneto and Xorn was enjoyable and the ending is intriguing, even if it preludes to another free-for-all between different versions of the same character. But, for all the positive I have to say about the story, I just can’t get past the fact Magneto was sleeping with a teenager!
Story – 8/10
Art – 4/10

Etienne:
Hang on, I’m confused, I thought Magneto WAS Xorn? Nevermind, continuity was a mess at the point in time this comic is aping and for that mater so was the art. While I cannot be as harsh as Matthew is, the art is still pretty hard on the eyes, however I have a lot of nostalgia for this period of X-history so this is both eye-watertingly bad and at the same time comfortingly familiar. One thing I have to ask is what is going on with the cover? Scott appears to be balancing on his own eye beams with Beast about to dropkick him in the back all the while Emma is go-go dancing in the background and Wolverine has lost his head. Its a complete mess really.
Story – 7/10
Art – 6/10

Marvel Zombies #2
Written by Simon Spurrier
Art by Kev Walker and Guru-eFX

Synopsis – Elsa and her ward continue their way from the Shield. But beware; nothing in the Deadlands is what they appear.

Matthew:
Let’s get it out there, Marvel needs to give more exposition to their lesser known characters like Elsa Bloodstone, Abigail Brand et al. These characters are original, interesting and frankly are pulling some of the best Secret Wars tie-ins all by their lone self. This title is just another example of Marvel using one of their silly properties (in this case the Marvel Zombies) and turning it into a compelling story. And if Deadpool gets to be featured prominently the next issue, it will another hit out of the ballpark.
Story – 9/10
Art – 9/10

Etienne:
All I can say, is I picked the wrong Zombies book to review. I hate zombies with a near inhuman passion, so I decided to review Age of Ultron vs. Marvel Zombies and I didn’t like it. However if I had picked this series instead it would have been a completely different situation. As Matthew says this has been a fantastic book and if they can manage to squeeze Deadpool in and have him not completely overrun the story, then this will be a fantastic second half of the series.
Story – 9/10
Art – 7/10 (sorry, those zombies still creep me the hell out)

Weirdworld #2
Written by Jason Aaron
Art by Mike Del Mundo and Marco D’Alfonso

Synopsis – After escaping Apelantis with the help of the crystal warrior Warbow, Arkon agrees to help him save his prince from the clutches of Morgan Le Fay.

Matthew:
If you’ve read the synopsis above, then you know this title is the closest thing to complete non-sense you can get. From underwater apes to the unforeseen return of Crystal Warriors and Molten Men (which haven’t been seen in 30 years), this title is successfully putting together every silly idea Marvel had. The art, which resemble water painting, adds to the bizarre environment in ways I can quite explain. The resulting book is an awesome mosaic of barbarian fights ogres’ chunks. I’m wondering if Marvel would have used Conan or Red Sonja instead of Arkon if it still had the rights to the Robert E. Howard’s characters
Story – 8/10
Art – 8/10

Etienne:
What you see as an ‘awesome mosaic’ I see as an untidy mess. And I don’t just mean the art. The story for me is utterly pointless, the characters utterly appealing and the art is at best ‘interesting’ and at worst ‘blotchy.’ A full painted style comic needs far more precision than this is pulling off, if someone came in with a big sharpie and did some inking then it might actually improve it dramatically. Perhaps if it had been Conan I might have given a damn, but as it stands I am more interested in watching the paint dry in my bathroom than reading this comic.
Story – 4/10
Art – 6/10

Future Imperfect #3
Written by Peter David
Art by Greg Land, Jay Leisten and Nolan Woodard

Synopsis – The Anti-Maestro revolt has lost its leader, The Thing, and the only way to get him back is a full on front assault.

Etienne:
This book managed to make what would normally be a joke ending to the issue into a fantastic way of screwing with your head. I saw it happening and I was thinking ‘Mind control’ or ‘it’s gotta be Mystique’ but it managed to pull it off in such a way that my head is still spinning. I can’t help myself, but no matter how many times people tell me that Greg Land’s art is bad, I still love it, even if half the women do have exactly the same face…
Story – 8/10
Art – 9/10

Matthew:
So, what was the point of this issue? It seems to me that we end up exactly at the same place where issue #2 left us, except that Ross’ proteges are now in the conspiracy. The art was still fantastic and the fight scenes were the best part of this issue, but I can’t help but feel a bit robbed. When you only have four or fives issues to tell a story, as pretty much all Secret Wars tie-in do, you absolutely have to carry the story further with every issue.
Story – 6/10
Art – 8/10

Old Man Logan #3
Written by Brian Michael Bendis
Art by Andrea Sorrentino and Marcelo Maiolo

Synopsis – There appears to be a rogue Thor with her own agenda ceaselessly following Logan from Domain to Domain until he finally gets his punishment.

Etienne:
This book is opening up question after question about the nature of Secret Wars as Logan goes Domain hoping. It is like a bad joke as he gets punched, thrown or dropped into each different domain from the saucepan and into the fire, never getting better, only worse. This book is both stylistically brilliant as well as engaging to read, I cannot ask for more from this series.
Story – 9/10
Art – 10/10

Matthew:
This book has utterly lost me with all the realm jumping. Not that I don’t understand what’s going on, but I just don’t get what the point is. Logan is just turned into some kind of plot point for Bendis to showcase as many domains as he wants to. And the Thors are just so dumb in this book! When you’re job is to prevent border crossing, you don’t pummel the dissidents into a neighboring domain every time he comes back at you.
Story – 6/10
Art – 9/10

All-New Hawkeye #4
Written by Jeff Lemire
Art by Ramon Perez and Ian Herring

Synopsis – As Hawkeye continue protecting his new wards from Hydra, he reminisces about his past in the circus

Matthew:
There’s something quite contradictory about having a comic called “All-New” being two-thirds flashbacks. This definitely feels like a filler before the big payoff and the problem is that it isn’t a very good. Lemire is obviously trying to mirror the current events with Clint’s past, but it just doesn’t feel connected and you’re left wondering why they show the flashbacks in the first place. The art is also all over the place, especially for the flashback sequences where it is all muddy. I guess the present day art is better, but we’re only treated to a thin panel at the end of every page, there’s no way to really enjoy it.
Story – 5/10
Art – 6/10

Etienne:
I simply cannot win with Hawkeye. When everyone else tells me it is a ground breaking comic with fantastic art and a witty sense of humour, I end up with a comic that I find incredibly dull and as visually interesting as barf. Conversely when I get a comic with a really clever past and present mirror going on throughout the book on each page I find out that everyone else finds it unfollowable and dull. I think I will just sit over there in the corner with my All-New Hawkeye and enjoy it on my own…
Story – 8/10
Art – 7/10

Spider-Woman #9
Written by Denis Hopeless
Art by Javier Rodriguez and Alvaro Lopez

Synopsis – It is road trip time as Ben and Jessica, aided by the Porcupine, seek out the lost families of supervillains.

Etienne:
These guys cannot catch a break, it is almost like someone is intentionally writing the story to make it worse and worse for them. Oh, wait, that’s exactly what Hopeless is doing! The first half of the comic is a montage of clearly failed story ideas, each given a page to get the point across before the main event, caused by a little detour from the Porcupine. It really shows that some characters cannot win even when they try to go straight.
Story – 8/10
Art – 8/10

Matthew:
You know, I really don’t think the montage is about failed story ideas, but more joke ideas they just stack together for the effect. And it worked. Those first few pages were hilarious and if possible, I would have love for them to do a full book of silly premises and how the Porcupine screw those up even more. Sadly, that’s not the way Hopeless went and I was turned off a bit when it turned into a B Series/Silver Age plot about a mad man trying to control a ghost town.
Story – 7/10
Art – 9/10

Loki: Agent of Asgard #16 (last Days of)
Written by Al Ewing
Art by Lee Garbett and Antonio Fabela

Synopsis – Loki kills his friend to save her essence and then manages to do the same to an entire race, not a bad way to end the apocalypse.

Etienne:
I am horribly confused, what gender is Loki, he/she manages to slip between them in the space of a panel change and it is slightly freaking me out. The rest of the book is a decent way of allowing Loki to survive the end of time, it is surprising how many different Marvel characters have managed to do exactly the same thing. In the end this is a fun penultimate issue in this story, sure to be picked up later in Secret Wars or its aftermath, but I cannot omit the grievous tragedy of this book. I forgave them for Odin with a Minigun, but the returning hoards of Asgard in shades is a travesty I cannot forgive.
Story – 8/10
Art – 8/10

Matthew:
I actually loved that scene with the shades; it reminded me of Simonson’s run in the 1980’s when the Asgardians stormed Hell with machine guns they had brought back from Earth. And you are right, it’s starting to feel like it’s way too easy to just get out of the multiverse and wait patiently for the reboot/renumbering. Loki is a great character to follow around even if you’re not always sure if he’s a he or a she. Apparently, there is still one last issue of this title which is puzzling since the end seemed pretty much definitive.
Story – 8/10
Art – 8/10

Magneto #20 (Last Days of)
Written by Cullen Bunn
Art by Paul Davidson and Paul Mounts

Synopsis – With the Earths about to crash into each other and Magneto trying to keep it from happening, everyone’s secret agendas become clearer.

Matthew:
Maybe this is a really good issue when read as part of an on-going series or in a trade, but as a standalone, it doesn’t offer much. And it sure didn’t convince me to back a few issues to find out more about what is happening. The best moments of this book are the interactions between Magneto and his only daughter (as of July 2015 anyway) Polaris. It is quite nice to see them together as the world is ending and Magneto’s gesture at the very end, even though it appears to be self-serving as always, does suggest that he may still have some good inside of him.
Story – 7/10
Art – 7/10

Etienne:
This has to be the greatest extension of comic time decompression ever. Back when the Ultimate universe was created there was an outrcry that Bendis had managed to take 11 pages of Ditkos Amazing Fantasy and turn it into a 6 issue arc. However at least those issues covered multiple days in time and lots of events, the last Days of Magneto have managed to string out the last few seconds of reality into a 3 issue arc, its utterly astonishing.
Story – 8/10
Art – 7/10

Punisher #20 (Last Days of/ Final Issue)
Written by Nathan Edmondson
Art by Mitch Gerads

Synopsis – As the world around him is ending, the Punisher infiltrates a terrorist group and does what he does best.

Matthew:
In a comic world where change is the word, Frank Castle has stayed pretty much the same since he rose to popularity in the mid 80s. There was absolutely no problem in believing that the Punisher would chose to continue his mission even as the last incursion render his actions moot. Castle does get a lot more punishment than I’m used to, but as everything is ending anyway, it’s understandable that he wouldn’t have used his usual precautions to take his final mission. Also really like Gerads’ art in there, it really put the story through its pace and gives us a great rendition of the Punisher’s last stand.
Story – 8/10
Art – 9/10

Etienne:
Normally I would complain about how many times he was shot during this issue, but that normal complaint goes away when you realise this is a suicide mission and there isn’t an issue next month that he has to be alive in. It does strain the possible, but heck, it is a comic, if we want to get technical perhaps they all only grazed him rather than went straight through him. As Matthew said, this was completely in character, despite being utterly stupid, but what was THE PUNISHER going to do at the end of the world, go home and cuddle up with his family? Because in his case, that would require a shovel…
Story – 9/10
Art – 9/10

Uncanny X-Men #35
Written by Brian Michael Bendis
Art by Valerio Schiti and Richard Isanove

Synopsis – Being a superhero team used to be so simple, save a few people from gibbering menaces and be loved. That is, unless you are a mutant and trust your parents to drop you in that one.

Etienne:
The cover of this comic is really dramatic, its just a shame that is the only sign of Emma or Scott in the entire book. It is really nice to have this comic still ongoing because I was missing some ‘real’ X-Men as everyone else is in alternate realities. Despite not having the title characters in the book, it is for me an absolute triumph. This is one of the best issues of the series in months and deals with the end of this book so fantastically that it makes up for some of the loss of direction in the last arc.
Story – 10/10
Art – 9/10

Matthew:
This issue is the perfect example of the rabbit hole in which I fell. I mean I have no idea at all about who these characters are. None! Actually, that’s not fair as I’ve been introduced to the Cuckoos in E Is for Extinction, Triage is a plot point in X-Tinction Agenda and Goldballs is some kind of Internet sensation. That gap of knowledge apart, this issue was fantastic! It’s really nice once in a while to see heroes being heroes and being acclaim for their heroic deeds (until people find out they are disguting mutants). The cast really interacts wells and it made me want to go back and find out more about these unknown (to me) characters.
Story – 9/10
Art – 9/10

 

And from a galaxy far far away

 

Kanan the Last Padawan #4
Written by Greg Weisman
Art by Pepe Larraz and David Curiel

Synopsis – Still on the run from the Empire, Kanan has to learn the ropes of being a smuggler while also learning who he can and can’t trust.

Matthew:
While the Star Wars line has definitely lost some steam since its launch at the beginning of the year, the books they are releasing are still amongst the best Marvel has to offer. Kanan is no exception and it really benefits from not being set at the same time as every other title. The only thing I’m wondering is why the Empire is deploying so much effort just to snuff out a little padawan. It’s not like a single, barely trained jedi could take them apart, right? I’m also curious to see if Kanan will develop some friendship with Jondo as he definitely seem like an interesting character I’d like to learn more of.
Story – 8/10
Art – 8/10

Etienne:
I think that was probably the first time I have really liked this series, I don’t mean I didn’t ‘like’ it before, but this issue really made me want to read it. Humour, friendship, betrayal, trap upon trap, it really never lets up from the first page to the last. The way the book is paced really lulls you into a false sense of security, just as it slows down you know that something bad is about to happen, but you fall for it every time.
Story – 9/10
Art – 9/10

Age of Ultron vs. Marvel Zombies #1 – Review

by Etienne Paul, CMRO Editor

Age of Ultron vs. Marvel Zombies

Issue #1 (BattleWorld)

Written by James Robinson with Art by Steve Pugh and Jim Charalampidis

Published: June 2015

Age of Ultron vs. Marvel Zombies 001-1 aHave I ever mentioned that I hate zombies? I’m sure I have, but in case I haven’t here is my explanation. Firstly I really do not like the visual quality of zombies, or more to the point, their lack of quality. In fact zombies in comics is my utter anathema because whenever they exist I want to art to be ‘bad’ while at the same time utterly hating it. When I say ‘bad’ what I mean is ‘imprecise’ which to me is pretty much the same thing. I know that art is subjective, but for me the word ‘impressionist’ basically means ‘cannot be bothered to finish it.’

I say that mostly tongue in cheek because some of the really astonishing impressionists work has an effect on me, but given a choice between owning a Monet or comic page drawn by Cassaday, I’d take the latter in a heart beat.* So that is the balancing act, I hate the look of zombies so I prefer them to be blurred and imprecise, but that in turn ruins the rest of the comic for me. So Mr. Pugh manages to turn in quite a triumph in that the art in the book is pretty astonishing, but equally nondescript when it comes to the zombies themselves, quite a feat to pull that off I have to admit.

So then comes my second problem with zombies (you didn’t think it was going to be that easy did you?) and that is hope. For me an important part of a story is knowing and seeing that the characters have hope. One of my other pet hates in stories is time travel, and not just any old time travel, but the ones where they are trapped in the past or future and have no clear way back. That feeling of claustrophobia, trapped in the story, is exactly how I feel as a reader in a zombie book with no hope and hoards of the undead closing in all around.

So while this book manages to survive my first ‘test’ of a zombie book, it more than fails the second one and not just because of the zombies. The Ultron robots are just as much ‘zombies’ as the shambling rotting mounds are, you cannot reason with them, they are around in unstoppable masses and are even more relentless. When the 1872 Hank Pym is quietly and without fuss deposited over the wall for crimes against Doom, I felt that hideous loss of hope that come from a simple innocent man being lost in the teeming masses of zombies.

To be honest, the fact that the book ‘terrifies’ me in the way it does pretty much proves it is working exactly as intended. I chose to put this on the review list because I wanted to forced myself to look at this sort of title properly, rather than skim read it as fast as possible and get onto something I liked better. In one way it had the desired effect, I looked at this issue more rationally than I would do normally, and to one extent I really appreciated the book for what it brought. However on the other hand I simply hated it as much as I can hate pixels on a screen.

I you are predisposed to like zombie films/books then the chances are pretty good that you will really like this series. If however you are like me and cannot stand them, then this will do little to change your mind and if it is ok with everyone I will go back to my comfortable chair and continue to skim read the rest of the series.

* Except for the financial value, obviously I’d take the former, sell it and buy myself a nice mansion to live in, but it would be decorated with Cassadays art!

Comic-Con Preview: Lucifer

by Joshua Starnes, CMRO Editor

There is a lot of potential drama in the idea of Lucifer’s reaction to his role in Christian mythos, what he thinks about what he’s done and what it is he actually wants (within the bounds of proscribed actions). Milton knew it way back when; Neil Gaiman did too when he took the notion to post-modern levels wondering whether the devil might not even want the role he had been given and would one day grow tired of it.  It was the later idea that prompted Mike Carey’s examination of the character adrift in the City of Angels, trying to find a reason to exist after shrugging off the reason that was created for him.

It’s an interesting if ethereal basis for a complex character study and one that would seem to be right at home in today’s so-called golden age of television where long form character work less tied down by classic notions of good guys/bad guys is becoming the norm.  On basic/premium cable at any rate.

On network television where the requirements for status quo plot arrangements, identifiable good guys and bad guys, clear moral victories and frequently lock-step procedural elements are part and parcel of the deal (at least if maintaining viewers is any sort of goal), it’s much more difficult fit.  And by difficult I mean so ill-conceived its difficult to believe a pilot was actually made much less a series was green lit from it.

The network television version (set to debut as a mid-season series in 2016 on the CW) takes the notion of Lucifer (Miranda’s Tom Ellis) quitting his job to open a bar and decides that’s a bit too quiet and unmotivated for a modern audience and so introduces the completely logical decision to give the Devil a hobby … fighting crime.  And as ridiculous as that sentence is to write, it’s even worse to observe.

A lot of it stem’s from Lucifer’s egregious misconception and mis-casting. Attempting to ease the transition of the Devil into the role of the good guy, the series re-imagines him as less the Prince of Darkness and more an immortal jerk who brings people’s innermost desires to the surface where they have great difficulty not acting on them – often to his amusement but usually to little other effect (as Lucifer ruining people’s lives for fun would make it much more difficult for him to play the hero). It removes the character’s innate sinisterness, but it also removes his gravitas as well, leaving him with only one emotional outlet for the entire pilot: smug dickishness.

Or that could just be the only way Ellis (best none prior for a few seasons of a sitcom on the BBC) can deliver his lines.  While he does delivers his frequent witticisms well (Lucifer not only has to carry off the crime fighting, he’s also the comic relief) and genuinely relishes introducing himself as Lucifer Morningstar as well as bluntly and truthfully explaining what and how he is doing what he is doing whenever asked under the (correct) assumption that no one will either believe him or be able to stop him, Ellis will never make anyone believe he is an immortal angel who spent eons coming up with new, original ways to torture people.  It’s either not in his skill set or not being asked of him or (more likely) both.

That alone should be enough to sink any show but Lucifer is filled with a stack of additional elements that feel like a creator groping for ways to define his characters (or because they sounded good during a pitch) and failing miserably. While investigating the shooting death of a singer who he once did a favor for, Lucifer soon finds himself working with an impossibly young detective (Lauren German) who in a former life was a teenage actress most well known for a teenage sex comedy in which she walked around naked (though at least it addresses the series’ female lead being many times more attractive than others in her field).  She also happens to be immune to Lucifer’s charms, particularly his method of compelling people to speak their desires, revealing in him the deep-seated psychological issues which caused him to leave Hell in the first place and for which he decides to start seeing a shrink.  It’s as if the series’ ambitions amounted to little more than being a dark version of Castle, just without any wit, charm or intelligence.

Lucifer’s failure on almost every level is largely a repeat of the same issues which doomed the last attempt to translate a classic Vertigo series to television, last years ill-fated Constantine.  Both took morally ambiguous characters who bathed in worlds of grey and tried to squeeze them into a milieu which is only comfortable with good guys who wear white hats and bad guys who wear black.  It’s an ill-fit on almost every level and it shows.

But at least there’s Preacher to look forward to.

Highway 616 Episode 10: The Secret Milestone

Highway 616

 

Welcome to Episode #10 of Highway 616 and the first milestone the podcast has reached; ok its not a particularly large milestone, but its 10 episodes none the less. This time we catch up with Secret Wars as it reaches its mid point with issue #4 and look at the potential death of major characters finally sticking for once. Then we look at the other side of Secret Wars, the ‘bad’ ideas and the absolutely ridiculous team up that is Red Skull #1.

 

Weekly Marvel Roundup for 07/14 – 07/21

by Etienne Paul, CMRO Editor and Matthew Langlois, CMRO Contributing Writer

weekley_roundup_base

Ant-Man Annual #1
Written by Nick Spencer
Art by Brent Schoonover, Ramon Rosanas and Jordan Boyd

Synopsis – When the news hit that Henry Pym is dead, the current Ant-Man reminisces about his last team-up with the guy that gave him the costume

Matthew:
Apparently, in this day and age, every reason is good to get an annual out, even when it’s for an already cancelled five-issue title. And would you look at that, it’s coming out right on time to tie-in with the movie! The story in itself isn’t so bad, but it does feel a lot silver-agey. And how could it not with appearances by Egghead and the Porcupine. I did appreciate the friendly banter between Pym and Lang and the ending with Jan was kinda touching. The art was nothing extraordinary and I have to admit it’s really hard to reconcile flashback to stories I’ve read from the early 80’s with today’s technology. The damn sliding time scale hits again. It also seems like Marvel is paving the way for a new Giant-Man. Hopefully, he’ll get a better supername than that!
Story – 7/10
Art – 7/10

Etienne:
I’m sorry, I utterly give up. Come on Marvel, is there another character you wanted to get rid of and replace with a new ethnic minority character for no story reason at all? At what point are they going to realise that people don’t read the books for the the costume, but for the real person under all of that. If they keep doing this they will just end up with a bunch of soulless masks with no history, caught in a never ending cycle of replacing their characters just to bump sales. And finally they will realise that people are interested in the original incarnation and have to re-start their universe all over again for another sales bump. I just realised I am describing DC.. Marvel wake up and smell the coffee, you have beaten your rival year after year after year, don’t start copying them now!
Story – I’m too annoyed to even rate it
Art – yes, there was some art in this book.

Captain Britain and the Mighty Defenders #1
Written by Al Ewing
Art by Alan Davis, Mark Farmer and Wil Quintana

Synopsis – There is a Thor She-Hulk with a little gavel and the guy who Tony left to die in a cave when he made his Iron Man armour and.. erm.. where’s Captain Britain?

Etienne:
Seriously, what the heck was this? For starters this is EXACTLY the same story as in every other book as people start to have questions about Doom. Other than that, this is just a mess. Seriously why call it Captain Britain and then make it about a woman called Hussain who looks like she walked out of Lawrence of Arabia. I mean seriously, at least give her the costume?
Story – 4/10
Art – 6/10

Matthew:
Obviously, with so many tie-ins, it’s bound to become repetitive at some point, but I would be just as p*ssed if every book depicted people just being happy with their god Doom and the policing Thors. This book was a bit all over the place, with Ho Yinsen taking center stage and from the title I was definitely expecting Brian Braddock instead of the lesser known Excalibur from the 2008’s Captain Britain and the MI:13. And with only one other issue solicited, it’s hard to imagine how this not going to end up a bit flat.
Story – 6/10
Art – 7/10

Hail Hydra #1
Written by Rick Remender
Art by Roland Boschi and Chris Chuckry

Synopsis – Ian Rogers finds himself transported in a New York entirely controlled by Arnim Zola and Hydra. Without any time to make sense of his situation, he must raid an Hydra factory to save a teenager he inadvertently help get captured.

Matthew:
I don’t know how Etienne will react when he realized Remender was given another title, but I’m sure he’ll keep his complaints to a minimum since this title plays right into the revile creator’s ballpark. Ian Rogers has somehow found his way into Marvel’s version of 1984 and his shock is quite understandable. So far I’ve enjoyed most of the grim-premised titles (Marvel Zombies, Age of Ultron vs. Marvel Zombies and Infinity Gauntlet) and this title is no exception. It had an interesting setting and for the first time since the beginning of Secret Wars, I’m interested in the battle between two different versions of the same character.
Story – 8/10
Art – 8/10

Etienne:
I have no issues per-say with Remender, it just so happens that everything I have read that he has written in recent years as been at best ‘continuity breaking’ and at worst utter drivel. So if they give him a series which has started in completely broken continuity all I have to worry about is the drivel part. Fortunately that is not what this is, although he does have plenty of time still to screw it up… My biggest problem really comes from the art, which is absolutely perfect 90% of the time and then on every other page there is a really weird angle where a character looks like they have gone through a Salvador Dali painting and melted.
Story – 8/10
Art -6/10

Guardians of Knowhere #1
Written by Brian Michael Bendis
Art by Mike Deodato and Frank Martin

Synopsis – Stationed into Knowhere, Rocket, Gamora and Drax must unite forces to battle an unpleased Angela and a new threat by the name of Yotat.

Matthew:
Those of you familiar with my forum avatar will call me biased, but I enjoy the heck out this issue, especially the brawl between Drax and Angela. Abnett’s Guardians is what brought me back to comics and this is doing that run honor by featuring shear bada**rie from Drax and Gamora and hilarious dialogues from the mouth of the Raccoon. I have no idea who Yotat is though (whether it’s a voluntary move from Bendis or not), but I sure will be there next issue to find out!
Story – 10/10
Art – 8/10

Etienne:
I was completely behind this book, right up to that last page reveal where I was confronted with a character who I can only describe as ‘wtf?’ I was completely expecting it to be Thanos or Ronan, or at least someone who I recognised, but that rather spoilt it. The rest of the comic is great and I can say that without being remotely biased.
Story – 9/10
Art – 8/10

Siege #1
Written by Kieron Gillen
Art by Filipe Andrade, James Stokoe, Jorge Coelho and Rachelle Rosenberg

Synopsis – Abigail Brand is back and now she is punching Kang in the nuts, all the while defending Battleworld against the hordes of madness that lies beyond.

Etienne:
I really like this book, but I really hate the art. If might be one of those that grows on me, but for now, I just want to claw my eyes out and not see it any more. It is really frustrating because I really like the concept of this story, the combination of characters is hilarious, but I just find it so hard to follow.
Story – 9/10
Art – 4/10

Matthew:
Do I need to say more? Great characters, great story, shaky art. At least, it is in my mind way easier to sort the art than to try to correct a sketchy premise. Gillen once again shows he is one of Marvel top writers.
Story – 8/10
Art – 5/10

Captain Marvel and the Carol Corps #2
Written by Kelly Sue DeConnick and Kelly Thompson
Art by David Lopez

Synopsis – Getting more and more suspicious of Doom’s law, Captain Marvel concocts a plan to find out what is on the other side of the Void.

Matthew:
I must admit that I prefer books about people questioning the existence of Battleworld to those where characters are just accepting their situation. Captain Marvel is on the verge of discovering what this is all about and I’m happy that she is willing to take risks to get to the bottom of the situation. This is definitely the Carol Danvers I know (except that it is not) and Kelly Sue DeConnick shows that she has a great grasp on her character. The other women in the Carol Corps are less interesting and they seem like cannon fodder to help CM find the answers. Maybe I’m wrong. But the last panel sure is pulling in that direction.
Story – 8/10
Art – 8/10

Etienne:
The problem for me is that all the people around her seem to be thoroughly unlikeable. They are drawn in such stereotypical ways that they cease to be characters and become scenery. We have the short dumpy one with big round glasses and of course, she is the nerd. We have the shaved hair with mini-mohawk and of course she is the rebellious argumentative one. We have the tall dark and standoffish token black-woman, the ‘pretty one’ with the beauty spot above her lip, the huge chunky one is the mechanic and the Indian one is the doctor. The only one who is actually a character rather than a meme is Carol and that means she is the only one who I remotely care about.
Story – 7/10
Art – 8/10

Korvac Saga #2
Written by Dan Abnett
Art by Otto Schmidt and Cris Peter

Synopsis – The strange infection is spreading through Forest Hills and Baron Korvac seems unable to contain it. Can a pact be made with Wonder Man to end the virus?

Etienne:
Dan Abnett is one of my favourite Sci-Fi writers, but he is rapidly becoming one of my least favourite comic book writers. I simply do not care for any of these characters and I am just not getting into this series at all.
Story – 3/10
Art -5/10

Matthew:
Abnett is the guy that got me into comics with the 2008’s Guardians of the Galaxy and Korvac Saga is one of my favorite arcs, so why doesn’t this title work for me? I guess it just bear down to the silliness of the infection. It’s not hard to conceive that Doom’s grasp of Battleworld is lessening and that more and more people are starting to question everything they know. They have done in other titles and it works well there. But here, with the people spontaneously turning into monsters because of heresy, it just doesn’t make any sense. And it doesn’t help that the art is at best passable.
Story – 6/10
Art – 6/0

Armor Wars #3
Written by James Robinson
Art by Marcio Takara and Esther Sanz

Synopsis – Tony has had enough of Arno’s interference and goes off intent on stopping him once and for all.

Etienne:
I have a really important question, if you are permanently locked inside an armoured suit, how can you have a ‘lover.’ That is a rhetorical question, please no one answer it, but I just found it bizarre. The rest of the book is actually quite good, definitely better than the previous issues in the series. I still do not appreciate the art, which makes the book quite hard to get through, but the story definitely goes a long way to making up for it.
Story – 8/10
Art -5/10

Matthew:
I still have trouble wrapping my head around this book. The characters’ plight is ridiculous, I don’t care much for Tony, Arno, Spyder-Man or his girlfriend and the art is frankly hard on the eyes. The only thing that keeps me reading is Rhodey’s investigation as the mystery of why everyone is stuck in armor is still left unanswered. And am I the only one who noticed that the tombstones have wi-fi?
Story – 7/10
Art – 6/10

Inhumans: Atlantis Rising #3
Written by Charles Soule
Art by John Timms, Roberto Poggi and Frank D’Armata

Synopsis – Black Bolt’s little rebellion is starting to fall apart at the seams, but he has one last thing he can bargain with; himself.

Etienne:
It is not looking good for Black Bolt, his rebellion is coming under severe attack and Medusa appears to be winning. The nice thing about this series is that it doesn’t feel like all the others, there is no focus solely on DOOM and rebelling against him, everyone is far too busy trying to get killed fighting each other to care about some existential issues.
Story – 9/10
Art – 9/10

Matthew:
The rebellion is definitely having a hard time, but I do feel Black Bolt, Murdock and the gang will find a way to come out on top of things. Like Planet Hulk, this is one of the most consistent Secret Wars tie-in and it definitely makes me sad that the event is ending in 2 months. For all the yap about these being AU characters and them having no importance in the great scheme of things, I’ve grown attach to these particular iterations and I really want them to succeed. But, Medusa might have other plans for them.
Story – 9/10
Art – 8/10

Planet Hulk #3
Written by Sam Humphries
Art by Marc Laming and Jordan Boyd

Synopsis – After defeating a Sea Hulk, Captain America, Doc Green and Devil Dinosaur must travel through the dangerous Tribal Hulks territory in order to reach the Red King faster.

Matthew:
This book has been constantly good since the beginning of Secret Wars and I’m really amazed by how they manage to produce such quality issues again and again. Sure, it can feel a bit off at times to have a gladiator who is travelling with a dinosaur reminisces about his past glory as a soldier, but it is the kind of things you have to expect in Battleworld and, frankly, given Humphries remarkable dialogue and plotting, you just as easily brush it aside. Doc Green also makes for a great sidekick as he keeps getting into Cap’s head and pushing to rethink his motivations. And finally, kudos to Laming for that poignant penultimate page. Definitely one of the best panels I’ve seen.
Story – 9/10
Art – 10/10

Etienne:
Sorry, for me that second to last page was a bit too excessive to be poignant, it needed a bit of restraint. One or two spears would have been better, much like Boromir’s death in Fellowship of the Ring, but had he been struck in every direction (including some that seem to have come out of the rockface itself) then it would have been less meaningful. Other than that, the rest of the book is exactly how Matthew describes it and it has taken one of the most ridiculous concepts on paper and turned it into a fantastic book. I mean, who would have thought that a clever Hulk sidekick, with Captain America the Gladiator and a Dinosaur would have ever worked?
Story – 9/10
Art – 9/10

Secret Wars: Battleworld #3
Written by Ivan Brandon and Ryan Ferrier
Art by Aaron Conley, Ryan Brown, Logan Faerber, Paul Pope and Jordie Bellaire

Synopsis – This week’s anthology features a Wolverines free-for-all, a Deadpool trying to tame a Devil Dinosaur and Ant-Men fisticuffing.

Matthew:
Oh boy… This book here is the reason I never start my weekly reading with an anthology book. We are treated to three(ish) stories wish frankly shouldn’t have seen print if you ask me. The first features every possible version of Wolverine you can imagine slugging it out and between the confusing box narration and terrible art, I have absolutely no idea why any of this is supposed to make sense. The second is a bit better (art-wise at least), but, in the end, it’s as pointless as can be. The last page (which is also the last story) doesn’t offer much either, if only for an obvious cash-grab with the Ant-Man movie coming out this week.
Story – 1/10
Art – 3/10 (mainly for the Deadpool story)

Etienne:
Ok actually the last page was a lot better than I expected, for two reasons. Firstly it was vaguely amusing and secondly, it was the last page of this comic. Frankly, I want my money back and I borrowed this issue off a friend, that is how bad I thought this was. Marvel owes me money for wasting my time.
Story – What story?
Art – 4/10

Where Monsters Dwell #3
Written by Garth Ennis
Art by Russ Braun and Dono Sanchez Almara

Synopsis – Karl and Clementine have been captured by a tribe of Amazons. Clementine seems to adjust just fine, but the misogynistic Karl is in for a rude awakening.

Matthew:
That title sure took a turn I didn’t expect. From Clementine’s big reveal to Karl being treated like a slave, Ennis is really putting his protagonist in unfamiliar territory. It’s really hard feeling bad for Karl though since he is, as the recap page says, a general jerk, but I really have to wonder how far his karma is gonna push him back. The sexual innuendos (which are not that subtle) galore and I’m really wondering how Ennis convinced Marvel to let him write this opus as part of the grander Secret Wars. Braun’s art is quite nice to look at, especially if you enjoy ogling tall half-naked muscular women.
Story – 7/10
Art – 8/10

Etienne:
Hang on. Did you say ‘not that subtle’? That implies they at least acknowledge some form of subtly, whereas they are completely in your face, much in the same way as all the female characters in this book are. But wait, I have seen this exact comic before – anyone who has watched Futurama will get this – death by Snu Snu; that is this entire comic. And Matthew, how did you have the cheek to only give this 8 for the art…
Story – 8/10
Art – 10/10

Years of Future Past #3
Written by Marguerite Bennett
Art by Mike Norton and FCO Plascencia

Synopsis – Incest alert! It turns out that Cameron and Christina are siblings, in one of the least hidden reveals of all time. Oh and Lockheed dies and no one seems to care.

Etienne:
Anyone who didn’t see that coming is seriously blind. I am notorious for not getting unsubtle hints in comic books and for me that was as obvious as a klaxon. This book jumps around ridiculously and characters simply seem to forget their own plot. Lockheed goes down in flames and gets a speech bubble saying ‘Lockheed, NO!’ and is then simply forgotten. It wouldn’t be so bad if he was still a cat sized dragon, but in this book he is the size of a 747, how can something that big crash to earth and then not be seen again in any panel or be mentioned?
Story – 5/10
Art – 7/10

Matthew:
I have absolutely no problem with dystopian futures. When done right, they give us incredible stories. But, when done wrong, you get this issue. The worst part about it was all the pop culture references by the kids. I guess it is possible Wolverine could have subjected Cameron to such classics as Star Wars while on the run and Christina, having lived in an internment camp all her life would not get the references. But, at one point, she is the one dropping pop culture references and that just doesn’t make any sense. Score one for poorly thought dialogues.
Story – 5/10
Art – 6/10

Silver Surfer #13 (Last Days of…)
Written by Dan Slott
Art by Michael Allred and Laura Allred

Synopsis – Silver Surfer and Dawn decide to visit all their friends on their way back to Earth. But, with the final incursion beginning, can even the Surfer outrun the end of everything?

Matthew:
This comic was made of two parts, one meh farewell to the series in the form of a clip show recapturing the previous adventures of Norrin and Dawn and an awesome prologue to a story that might well play in the resolution of Secret Wars. I will not elaborate too much on the first, since having not read the rest of the series; it didn’t hold any meaning to me. The second act though played right to my alley. I have been wondering for a couple of weeks how they would resolve the end of Secret Wars without an obvious deus ex machine. I’m not saying they won’t use such a stratagem, but with Glorian and the Shaper involved, it at least won’t come out of nowhere (figuratively, because it does appear it will literally come out of nowhere).
Story – 7/10 (9 for the second part)
Art – 6/10

Etienne:
Having read all the previous issues in the series I can say it also held absolutely no meaning for me either. But once you get through the pointless ‘clip show’ that is he first half, the second half was very much worth waiting for. They should have scrapped those first 7 pages and just had more of the universe falling apart, the art on those pages was fantastic and hurts your eyes if you stare at it too hard. Did anyone else see the tie in to Guardians of Knowhere in this book?
Story – 9/10
Art – 7/10

Moon Knight #17 (Final issue)
Written by Cullen Bunn
Art by Ron Ackins, Tom Palmer, Walden Wong and Dan Brown

Synopsis – Moon Knight confronts the worshippers of Khonshu, the question is who side is his god on and will he live to survive the series?

Etienne:
This has been an utterly fantastic series and while this issue did not go out with the absolute style and precision of previous issues, it did at least get a worthy send off in God-battling fashion. Not to mention that the ending was suitably ingenious and subtle giving us plenty of scope for a return series after Secret Wars.
Story – 9/10
Art – 8/10

Matthew:
Maybe it’s the fact that I haven’t read any other issue of this series, but I am utterly lost. I felt like I was thrown in the last chapter of a long-winded story. Having read previous duelling reviews, I remember Eric complaining about one and one issue on this title, so if this was one such one-shot, it utterly fail. What I did get from that issue is some really beautiful art, so even if I had no idea what was going on, I could enjoy the scenery.
Story – 7?/10
Art – 8/10

Hawkeye #22 (Final issue)
Written by Matt Fraction
Art by David Aja and Matt Hollingsworth

Synopsis – Clint is set for a show down and this must have been the longest waited concluding issue in history, the question is, was it worth it?

Etienne:
I think for me the problem is that anything that is raved about, or called amazing by everyone else will always fall flat for me. For a start, I am a fiercely independent person; when one sheep baa’s and goes left, I immediately go right. So when I get given a comic which was touted as the greatest book ever and just amazing on all levels, I come into it with such high expectations that it was never going to live up to them. I don’t hate this book, it fine, it’s a decent conclusion to the story, but can I see what everyone was raving about? No, sorry, I think the sheep all got carried away 21 issues ago and went so far down the path that they couldn’t remember why they came this way.
Story – 6/10
Art – 6/10

Matthew:
I don’t know about the sheep, but this was my first experience of Fraction and Aja’s Hawkeye and I absolutely loved it. From the dialogue to the art, without forgetting the sign language, this book seemed like a perfect conclusion to what I understand was a (generally) beloved run. I especially liked the end with Barney. My only nitpick would be the recap page. I mean, when you are delayed so much, you could do the effort of at least recapping the events which were printed 4 or 5 months before instead of a “You already know what happened” line. Nevertheless, that only force me to track back one issue and enjoy more pages of this great run.
Story – 8/10
Art – 9/10