Weekly Marvel Roundup for 09/09 – 9/16

Weekly Marvel Roundup 09/09 - 09/16

Reviews by MattzLadd, CMRO Contributor

Quake – S.H.I.E.L.D. 50th Anniversary #1 (One-Shot)
Written By Matthew Rosenberg and Patrick Kindlon
Art By Daniel Warren Johnson and Jason Keith
 
Synopsis – Quake is inducted into a core Avengers mission, but what is her role?
 
It figures that due to the character’s recent popularity on the show Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., there would be a book featuring her for the 50th Anniversary. I understand that she was Director once, also, but unlike the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. issue and the Mockingbird one – this actually serves no purpose, apart from explaining why Quake was brought into the Avengers (along with dozens of other mostly unimportant characters). There are no references or throwbacks to the early days of the organisation, nor is there much character development. The story itself is OK, but it would be more fitting as a single issue – not tied into the special 50th Anniversary event. I didn’t particularly like the art, and in some instances the characters looked like something drawn from a Beano comic.
Story – 5/10
Art – 5/10
 
1602: Witch Hunter Angela #3
Written By Marguerite Bennett and Kieran Gillen
Art By Stephanie Hans and Frazer Irving
 
Synopsis – Angela and Serah locate the third Faustian, but will the Enchantress’ curse prove true?
 
I admit, I went into this comic with a very negative perception, based on the shambles that was the last issue. However, this issue did have some positive aspects – namely the story that comprises the middle section, and the art significantly improved. I assume this is due to the deposition of Irene Koh, as the first issue had much better art – and as does this issue, so with Marguerite Bennett’s alternation of assistants per issue, we are likely to see the quality of art fluctuate. The story actually followed through on its promises, which I doubted it would, which leaves the final book open to explore more interesting storylines. The supporting cast has also improved since the second issue. I would predict how the last issue is going to come out, but it honestly could go either way – so I suppose we’ll see when it’s released.
Story – 7/10
Art – 8/10
 
Red Skull #3 (Final Issue)
Written By Joshua Williamson
Art By Luca Pizzari and Rainier Beredo
 
Synopsis – Magneto, Red Skull and Annihilus launch their attack on the Shield.
 
I award this title the no-prize for the most original out of all the Battleworld titles. It’s incredibly interesting, and drawn from two AU characters which could have easily been completely irrelevant – yet they are compelling. This develops Magneto and Red Skull’s relationship to a new precedent that we have never seen before, especially in the case of two villains. I don’t think we see enough villain on villain relationships outside of the teams such as the Sinister Six or the Frightful Four, so I enjoyed this title and this issue especially very much. The art is great, and the contained story is also excellent. My only gripe with this would be the ending – it’s very anticlimactic, and takes on a tone I didn’t expect to see, but operating within the limitations of an unimportant Battleworld book I can see why they went into that route.
Story – 8/10
Art – 7/10
 
Siege #3
Written By Kieron Gillen
Art By Filipe Andrade and Rachelle Rosenberg
 
Synopsis – A twisted Nick Fury and the Ultron hordes launch a devastating attack upon the Shield.
 
This title boasts an extremely diverse cast, and even though I dislike some of the members (*cough*Kang*cough*), they work well together and there’s room for some interesting development. The art is very strange, as if often jumps from incredible art to a mediocre calibre in the space of panels. The double-page spreads illustrated by a small team, including Julian Totino Tedesco, are fantastic – though I’m not too fond of Andrade’s work on the single pages. This issue is entertaining and there are several questions answered. Three issues in and I forgot the lynchpin that the first issue concluded with, yet it arises here with a surprising tension to herald the next issue – which I am looking forward to, and could have lasting consequences on Battleworld in its entirety.
Story – 8/10
Art – 7/10
 
A-Force #4
Written By Marguerite Bennett and G. Willow Wilson
Art By Jorge Molina, Craig Yeung, Walden Wong and Laura Martin
 
Synopsis – The traitor within A-Force is revealed.
 
This is a strong title full of strong personalities that mirror well their mainstream counterparts. I can easily see a team such as this existing in the main comics after Battleworld, and I would even go so far as to say that this is a more efficient Avengers line-up than one led by the usual personas such as Cap or Iron Man. I didn’t like the last issue, and I expressed so in my review of #3, but it was because of the lack of answers to any of the mysteries in that issue and the addition of more. This issue does what the third issue should have done and more – providing us with an enticing story full of twists and turns, but still providing answers and the necessary information required to understand and fully enjoy the situation. The cliffhanger of this is potentially the fulcrum of the next weeklies regarding the southernmost area of Battleworld, and I think there will need to be some acknowledgement if not interaction of the other titles based on the impact of what happens at the end of this. The art is great, also.
Story – 8/10
Art – 8/10
 
Civil War #4
Written By Charles Soule
Art By Leinil Francis Yu, Gerry Alanguilan and Sunny Gho
 
Synopsis – The true antagonist is revealed, but it’s already too late as a great battle approaches.
 
This quickly became one of my favourite titles ever since I read the first issue – it’s incredibly interesting and absolutely worthy of the name Civil War – possibly more so than the initial event. This is a title that relies heavily upon characterisation – the Marvel Universe along with us readers would not have been split by the superhuman registration act if it did not. The same effect is applied here – yet instead of it being two sides and two concepts, a third is introduced – a player manipulating the puppets of Stark and Rogers to the point of near annihilation. I won’t reveal who this player is, though I’ll say it integrates another important event of the 2000s into this story, only increasing the stakes. Cap’s plan of attack that is carried out through this book is promising, yet I can’t say Stark won’t pull a similar trick out of his sleeve. The conclusion will be awesome, I can say this now with confidence.
Story – 9/10
Art – 8/10
 
Giant-Size Little Marvel – AvX #4 (Final Issue)
Written By Skottie Young
Art By Skottie Young and Jean-Francois Beaulieu
 
Synopsis – Zachary and Zoe struggle with choosing between the various teams that want them.
 
This is a cute book, funny too, and if there’s anything that younger kids should read throughout Secret Wars then it should be this (and please not Where Monsters Dwell). The lack of a proper story means the book has to rely on the art a lot, yet it pays off as it is brilliant. The rest of the context involves cameos from the wide array of teams, including the GotG, the Inhumans (featuring a severe lack of Karnak) and a random assortment of villains in addition to the Avengers and X-Men. The jokes in relation to the characters are amusing but after the first usage they lose their quality, meaning this sort of title can only be short-lived, but it is certainly good while it lasts.
Jokes – 7/10
Art – 9/10
 
Korvac Saga #4 (Final Issue)
Written By Dan Abnett
Art By Otto Schmidt and Cris Peter
 
Synopsis – Michael Korvac and his team runs out of time as Doom becomes aware of the situation.
 
I mentioned that this title was getting better and better as it went along, from the travesty of the first couple of issues to this epic and imperative story. Korvac and the original Guardians of the Galaxy were an odd choice from the start, yet I can see their actions in this having lasting impacts on the core Secret Wars story, and possibly even beyond this event. The result of this issue is likely not a short-term infliction, which makes it a little anti-climactic and thus less exciting, but we could be revisiting the events of this a little further along the road. I still don’t like the art, and I’m happy to see it go – but this title managed to go from one of the worst Battleworld titles to verging on an entertaining arc.
Story – 8/10
Art – 5/10
 
Mrs. Deadpool and the Howling Commandos #4 (Final Issue)
Written By Gerry Duggan
Art By Salva Espin and Val Staples
 
Synopsis – Shiklah and the Commandos, armed with the Sceptre of the Manticore, confront Dracula.
 
It appears that the most rebels can achieve in titles outside of the main Secret Wars book is to dispose of their Barons. Nevertheless, this book is action-packed and it’s certainly a worthwhile end to the journey we have followed leading up to this. I think Deadpool features a little too prominently in this issue – performing feats that they have established as impossible – and I would have liked to see more of the Commandos. I sincerely hope the team do return in the future, they’re a great compilation of the monsters and creatures from Marvel’s history, and also I would recommend that Shiklah never appear without Deadpool as I don’t think she would be able to carry a book on her own. Also, the two Thors that feature in the form of the Lizard and who I assume to be Blade, are absolutely genius – probably my favourite Thors from the whole of Battleworld. And don’t think we will have to live without Deadpool for a while – as he is back for yet another new title in November.
Story – 7/10
Art – 8/10
 
Amazing Spider-Man – Renew Your Vows #5 (Final Issue)
Written By Dan Slott
Art By Adam Kubert, Scott Hanna and Justin Ponsor
 
Synopsis – The Parkers have to fight harder than they’ve ever fought before if they want to beat Regent.
 
Dan Slott’s role in Secret Wars could not have been any more appropriate. With this we get a title with great morals, an interesting and high-stake storyline, awesome action and great art. The AU created for this situation is fleshed out and it has been full of cool cameos since the first issue, and I didn’t even know who Augustus Roman was before reading this. The book stays true to Spider-Man’s core concepts – family, loss, and etcetera. The art is really great and this issue especially had a decent wrap-up with an epic fight and the fundamental reason for this title being displayed at the end.
Story – 9/10
Art – 8/10
 
Planet Hulk #5 (Final Issue)
Written By Sam Humphries
Art By Marc Laming and Jordan Boyd
 
Synopsis – Cap faces the Red King, and Doc Green’s identity is revealed.
 
Wow, this was an incredible read. I assumed, at first glance, that this was going to be a title dedicated to a gladiator Steve Rogers with a dinosaur fighting a load of Hulks. And it is, but it has some deep messages underneath, and an extremely dark undertone that relates directly to Steve’s origin and fundamental concepts. I won’t reveal who Doc Green is, but he is imperative to the story and is where the true value of this book comes in. The Red King is simply a target, whereas it is this version of Cap and his past that are the really great things about this book. I’m glad it didn’t devolve into the ‘powerful Baron wants protagonist’s help to plan a rebellion against Doom’ situation, which it could have. The art is absolutely amazing, probably my favourite of all the Battleworld titles (though Weirdworld and SW 2099 might change my mind the next time I read them) and I cannot recommend reading this series enough.
Story – 10/10
Art – 10/10
 
Secret Wars 2099 #5 (Final Issue)
Written By Peter David
Art By Will Sliney and Antonio Fabela
 
Synopsis – The Avengers and Defenders must join forces to stop a deadly enemy.
 
This book is good in the way that it alters popular characters for the Universe of 2099, and opens up possibilities for them to appear in the future. The Black Widow, Hawkeye and Cap from this world are especially varied, and all of their interactions with an epic team of Defenders is interesting to see. This issue specifically is a deviation from the ongoing storyline of the first four issues – the climax regarding Cap’s secret identity to herself is barely touched upon, and the only real drastic change to the characters is what happens with Miguel Stone. There is obviously an intention to continue the storylines of these characters, and I will be glad when that happens but for this issue being the end of the series it leaves way too many things open. The villain for this one issue is drawn out of nowhere and so this ‘final fight’ atmosphere seems to be on a much lesser degree. Overall, this series has been a good introduction to these characters but this issue on its own was fairly random and had a lot of unresolved plotlines.Story – 6/10
Art – 8/10
 
Ms. Marvel #18 (Last Days Of…)
Written By G. Willow Wilson
Art By Adrian Alphona and Ian Herring
 
Synopsis – Kamala attempts to rescue her brother from a strange revelation.
 
OK, so I don’t know much about this character to say how important this issue is, but I can say that it was enjoyable. I’ve not quite caught on to the Kamala Khan hype train, but I can see how she is sort of like a modern day Peter Parker in terms of relevance – though being a white British agnostic normal human, there aren’t too many comparisons between myself and Kamala. Still, from the little I have read of her, I know that her family is integral to her personality and her life as both a student and a superhero, and this issue plays upon their relationships and how they will be strengthened (or possibly weakened) in the final issue to come. The art is incredible, and I especially like the perspective on scale such as when Ms. Marvel is using her polymorph abilities.
Story – 7/10
Art – 9/10
 
And from a Galaxy far far away…
 
Journey to Star Wars – The Force Awakens – Shattered Empire #1
Written By Greg Rucka
Art By Marco Checchetto and Andres Mossa
 
Synopsis – Shara Bey participates in aftermath clean-up on Endor.
 
I like the different take on point of view explored in this comic book – Shara Bey, the assumable protagonist, is just one of the many fighter pilots – she is not one of the big shot ringleaders that these sort of titles usually revolve around. Thus, we look at people such as Luke Skywalker and Han Solo through the general soldier’s eyes, and Shara herself as a character has some potential depending on how much attention she receives. Otherwise, there isn’t much to say about the plot. I can guess that it will mostly be a four issue arc detailing a group against one of the last few holdouts of the Sith forces. In any case, the art is beautiful and I can’t get enough of it. A good story or not, the next issue will be enjoyable.
Story – 6/10
Art – 10/10
 
Darth Vader #9
Written By Kieron Gillen
Art By Salvador Larroca and Edgar Delgado
 
Synopsis – Vader looks into a new lead on a mysterious figure named the ‘Dragon’.
 
This title has unfortunately degraded from the awesomeness that was the first arc. This second one is seemingly made up of random plots that don’t seem important enough to get a Darth to be invested in. Moreover, I most often see Vader as a man who is one step ahead, or at least engaging in epic battles, but all we see here is a man who keeps his lightsaber sheathed and has to work with others to figure things out. It’s not what I have come to expect from the character, and though I don’t know a lot a great deal as I invest in a different period in the Star Wars Universe, the fundamental concepts that everyone is at least a little aware of should still be applied. I also don’t care for the supporting characters. On the other hand, the art is really good. I still wouldn’t recommend this, alas, unless this particular arc makes a drastic improvement as soon as possible.
Story – 4/10
Art – 9/10

Weekly Marvel Roundup for 09/03 – 9/09

Weekly Marvel Roundup 09/03 - 09/09

 

Reviews by MattzLad, CMRO Contributor

Deadpool vs. Thanos #1
Written By Tim Seeley
Art By Elmo Bondoc and Ruth Redmond

Synopsis – Deadpool and Thanos’ paths intertwine when their mutual love interest is kidnapped.

Deadpool is a character who does not pursue a great amount of continued storylines. He has his short, hopefully amusing arcs, and then it’s all over. One of the precious exceptions to this is Wilson’s hopeless love story with Mistress Death – an entity who, unfortunately, is sought after by the Mad Titan Thanos. An event that happened a time ago is Thanos’ cursing of Deadpool – making sure he could never die and thus be united with Death. Thus forms the love triangle featuring Wilson and Death, whom genuinely seem to have feelings for one another, and the supreme purple ‘home-wrecker’, if you will, in the middle of them. This title holds a lot of promise for this storyline and both Pool’s and Thanos’ development. It is not so simple as a fight over Death, there are other mysterious aspects to this, and the humour comes fast and crazily via random supporting characters as permits a Deadpool story. The art is comical and appropriate, also.
Story – 8/10
Art – 7/10

Mockingbird – S.H.I.E.L.D. 50th Anniversary #1 (One-Shot)
Written By Chelsea Cain
Art By Joelle Jones and Rachelle Rosenberg

Synopsis – Bobbi Morse investigates the death of her old S.H.I.E.L.D. mentor.

I’m not a big fan of S.H.I.E.L.D., and I don’t know much about Bobbi Morse – apart from the unlikeable version that appears on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. This book doesn’t have the large-scale nostalgia that Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. #9 had, and it focuses largely upon Morse and her initiation into the organisation. Most of the content is a built-up tale from events that have happened to her over the past few years, so I was at a loss for prerequisite knowledge. This did hold back my ability to enjoy this book partially, but I did find the one-shot entertaining enough, and Morse’s thoughts throughout the book were interesting. The art was good, but there’s only so much you can draw from a story on such a small scale.
Story – 6/10
Art – 8/10

Hail Hydra #2
Written By Rick Remender
Art By Roland Boschi, Chris Chuckry and Rachelle Rosenberg

Synopsis – Nomad stumbles upon hope against HYDRA, and sees some familiar faces.

I’ve loved Remender’s work since first reading Uncanny X-Force (#18 of which being a contested favourite comic of all time) and I also read all of his stint on Venom among other books. I’ve noticed that he really shines with character on character relationships, so basing this book off Captain America and Ian Zola’s father/son life in Dimension Z was anything but a bad decision. I also enjoy the scenario of ‘small rebel group against mass evil empire’, which this book employs very well. The events at the end of this issue show just how little Zola and HYDRA need to win, which will make the climax of this series all the more exciting. There’s some great cameos and interesting variations on characters in this, and I’m looking forward to the way it is heading.
Story – 8/10
Art – 7/10

House of M #2
Written By Dennis Hopeless and Cullen Bunn
Art By Marco Failla and Matt Wilson

Synopsis – The human resistance as well as Namor and Quicksilver both launch their attacks against Magneto.

This book is just… crazy. It incorporates so many different ideas and characters that I don’t quite know what to focus on. Needless to say, it’s very fun, and it’s nice to see a continuation of the characters from House of M. Magneto, Namor and Scarlet Witch are among the foremost of my favourite characters, and each of them along with many others engage in exciting and mad activities. The art is great, and the colouring is very visceral. There are some interesting developments to a lot of the characters, and there are still various mysteries to be resolved in future issues. By the end of this, everything descends into pure chaos with plenty of powerful characters running amok. I can guarantee the next issue will be absolutely mental.
Story – 9/10
Art – 8/10

Age of Apocalypse #3
Written By Fabian Nicieza
Art By Gerardo Sandoval and David Curiel

Synopsis – Apocalypse reveals his true intentions, and it’s too late to stop him.

I can only describe this book as the epitamy of the 90s. I haven’t actually read that much from the era, but the ridiculously proportioned arms and the mad colouring usages cannot express that decade more. Not to say that I don’t like it, the art is actually awesome, and the story itself is fun. This plays fundamentally off Apocalypse (though he doesn’t actually appear that much in the issues) and his ‘survival of the fittest’ ideology. We get to see some twisted variations on the characters who are loyal to Apocalypse, and the work put into creating a fleshed-out world in Nur’s domain is impressive. I still don’t know why there’s so much emphasis put on Douglas Ramsay – Cypher – but it seems most of the answers will be revealed very soon.
Story – 8/10
Art – 8/10

Spider-Island #3
Written By Christos Gage
Art By Paco Diaz and Frank D’Armata

Synopsis – Agent Venom and his strange team continue to fight against the Spider-Queen.

I don’t think I have ever seen a weirder collection of characters featured together in one book. The pure concept that to change characters out of spider hybrids they have to be subjected to further genetic manipulation is mad, so we get a goblin virus Iron Man, and Cap-Wolf gets a sort of sequel, and now they’re going to turn people into lizards to fight the spiders? This book is very fun, and I think it is better than the original Spider-Island. That tried to pull off too many different genres within one arc, whereas this focuses on this one singular group and their crazy escapades in their quest against the Spider-Queen. The art is great too, and thankfully it doesn’t show the spiders as too spidery… if you know what I mean.
Story – 8/10
Art – 8/10

Squadron Sinister #3
Written By Marc Guggenheim
Art By Carlos Pacheco, Mariano Taibo and Frank Martin

Synopsis – Nighthawk eliminates the final obstructions between him and Hyperion.

When reading this, I thought on the old villain team-ups from the 60s – Mr Hyde and the Cobra, the first Frightful Four, etc… and I can honestly say they were more of a team than this Squadron Sinister. I’d hate to think what the DC bullpen say when they read this, but it kind of makes of mockery even of the evil version of the Justice League (of which I forget their names) with Owlman and the rest. Not to say that makes this title bad, not at all, there’s enough backstabbing and secrets between this group to fill a Game of Thrones season, and it’s very entertaining. These people are all extremely powerful, and they all push their boundaries – so much so that I’m surprised Doom Himself hasn’t gotten involved. I’m looking forward to the next issue which will basically just be Batman vs. Superman – the Movie, the Comic Book, the Marvel DC pseudo-crossover story.
Story – 8/10
Art – 9/10

Star-Lord and Kitty Pryde #3 (Final Issue)
Written By Sam Humphries
Art By Alti Firmansyah and Jessica Kholinne

Synopsis – Peter and Kitty fight against Gambit for the curious anomaly.

This didn’t end in the way I thought it would. In fact, it was on a much smaller scale than I would have liked it to be, but I can see the merit in keeping this strictly bound to the Guardians (if you wanted a clue to what the anomaly is). There’s a lot of relationship development between Peter and Kitty, and the adventure they go through is entertaining also. We’ve not had nearly enough Gambit in Secret Wars yet, though he shines with this title – as does the revised version of Drax the Destroyer. The ending leaves things very open, and optimistic, meaning the relationship between Star-Lord and Pryde will likely survive through Secret Wars and beyond. The art remains one of my favourites of all the Battleworld titles I have read, also, it’s truly fantastic work.
Story – 7/10
Art – 9/10

Thors #3
Written By Jason Aaron
Art By Chris Sprouse, Goran Sudzuka, Karl Story, Dexter Vines and Marte Gracia

Synopsis – Loki is interrogated as the bodies pile up.

Hm. I hesitate to say it, but I’m still not completely invested in this story. It’s interesting, and the characters are cool, and there are enough twists to keep the investigation fresh, but I can’t totally get into it. Perhaps it’s because I didn’t expect a murder mystery, heavy dialogue based story from a title full of Thors. There’s certainly not enough action. Loki is definitely the high point of this issue, and we get some vital development for some of the other Thors – including the curious Thor the Unworthy. I would still recommend this, and I’m hopeful for the final issues that they will bring a better balance of action and drama, but this issue did not quite work for me.
Story – 7/10
Art – 8/10

Age of Ultron vs. Marvel Zombies #4 (Final Issue)
Written By James Robinson
Art By Steve Pugh, Paul Rivoche, John Rauch and Jim Charalampidis

Synopsis – Hank Pym reveals a plan that will defeat the Ultron and Zombie forces, but will it work?

Maybe I missed an important point somewhere along the explanation, but I have no idea how Pym’s plan would work, and it frankly doesn’t make any sense. It’s like they tried not to make a contrived ending, and ended up with a contrived ending which is way too complicated. Apart from that, the content – namely the relationships between Pym, Wonder Man, Jim Hammond and the Vision, and their respective female partners – is well-written and entertaining. The Vision being paired up with Agatha Harkness is genius, and I sincerely hope it continues after Battleworld. The villains, however, did not make much sense, but they didn’t really have many personality traits to draw from – Ultron wants to assimilate organic beings and the Zombies want to eat. Their whole power play of combining the two to make a stronger being is ridiculous – so the ionic shield should never have gone down in the first place. Apart from that, the art is good – in both cases. I really liked this title up until now, if only they’d put more thought into making a more possible ending it could have been a great arc.
Story – 5/10
Art – 8/10

Groot #4
Written By Jeff Loveness
Art By Brian Kesinger and Jeff Eckleberry

Synopsis – Groot assembles his own team while on his way to rescue Rocket.

For what seems to be a random jumble of ideas and characters thrown together into one comic, this is a lot of fun. The art is awesome, and it’s very cartoon-like, which I think befits a Groot title. Obviously, most of the merit has to come from the supporting characters as Groot can only say three words (that we can understand). Thus comes the ridiculous yet hilarious squad from this issue. If you ever wanted to see cosmic fuel refillers that have to load floppy disks to engage in combat, then look no further than here. The villain is alright, as well, but after an issue of tomfoolery I think Rocket needs to bust out some weaponry and get himself and Groot onto a new adventure.
Story – 7/10
Art – 9/10

Future Imperfect #5 (Final Issue)
Written By Peter David
Art By Greg Land, Jay Leisten and Nolan Woodard

Synopsis – Maestro reaches the Destroyer with his team, but Doom is also on the way…

This ending was quite anticlimactic, but I enjoyed it more than some contrived endings – such as Age of Ultron vs. Marvel Zombies. They at least explored an interesting idea that led up to nothing much in particular, and as this title was probably one of the most relevant to the core Secret Wars story, at least in relation to Doom and his authority. Maestro is an interesting character, and I’m sure if the events of this issue didn’t occur, then he could have caused some pivotal damage in the main Battleworld event. I suppose I would have been more content if something of this calibre happened in a title that didn’t have so much build up towards it. Otherwise, this book was really good – the art is excellent and the colouring is extremely visceral. It’s a good issue to look at without paying too much attention to the story, so I would recommend reading it at that – or at least wrapping it up if you’ve followed the title so far.
Story – 7/10
Art – 9/10

Silk #7 (Last Days Of…) (Final Issue)
Written By Robbie Thompson
Art By Tana Ford and Ian Herring

Synopsis – Silk gets a lead on her family as the Final Incursion approaches.

I’m not particularly familiar with Cindy Moon apart from her inclusion in Spider-Verse, and I’m certainly not aware of any of her friends or family besides Spider-Man. However, this issue had a degree of heart to it amongst the madness of everything else around the time of the Final Incursion, and Cindy received some relationship development in terms of her family – and namely, one she hadn’t seen for some time. Her situation is actually quite sad when you look over it at the end of the issue, but then again most of the ‘Last Days Of…’ titles have had emotional moments. This is a great synoptic issue for Silk and her personality, so anyone interested in her and her supporting cast should check this out. The art is decent too, though I can’t say I’m overly fond of Ford’s style.
Story – 7/10
Art – 7/10

Silver Surfer #14 (Last Days Of…)
Written By Dan Slott
Art By Michael Allred and Laura Allred

Synopsis – The Silver Surfer and Dawn Greenwood are appointed a task – to rebuild the Universe.

This instance of the ‘Last Days Of’ runs is extremely curious, as of course the Surfer is not an Earth-ridden character, and he isn’t in this book. I wondered during the times of the Incursions and ‘Time Runs Out’ about the destruction of the entire Universe outside of the two Earths colliding. I know they are just the focal points, but the end for them was just a building up of white light – so was it the same for the rest of the Universe? Moreover, even more interesting developments occur in this book – two mysterious figures named Glorian and Zee encounter the Surfer and Dawn and they task them with rebuilding the Universe. This issue is entertaining, and it’s very interesting. I’m pondering on whether this could be the return to the main Universe after Battleworld wraps up, though it could be something else. It’s just that this is the only title that has pursued events outside of Battleworld after the Final Incursion. Alas, sinister undertones develop close to the end of this issue – so we may not see their work completed.
Story – 10/10
Art – 8/10

Daredevil #18 (Final Issue)
Written By Mark Waid
Art By Chris Samnee and Matthew Wilson

Synopsis – The final fight between Daredevil and Kingpin. Hostages. Villains. Violence.

I was going to tread lightly to avoid spoilers, as this issue could have gone any number of ways. However, I would only be able to write very little if I did, so a blatant spoiler alert is thrown out into the cold, biting air. I very much liked this issue, Matt’s plan is well thought out and anything but contrived. His situation was next to hopeless with guns trained on hostages all the time, and even with the ploy he played he didn’t have much time to pull it off. It did take some outside help to oust the Kingpin, but the content of the fight was special indeed. I adored the Born Again reference, and if anything this will make the next encounter between Daredevil and Kingpin even more intense (if the next Universe permits it). There’s a great summing up of Matt’s character throughout the issue, and most of the open plot points are wrapped up nicely – with some mysteries left open for the future. I think I would have liked to see a drastic change occur for Matt this issue, perhaps one of the hostages dying, but the dark undertones would have ruined the rest of the issue, and that drama isn’t always required. The happier ending is masterfully crafted, with some stellar artwork. Here’s hoping this team is let loose on Daredevil again in the future.
Story – 9/10
Art – 8/10

Weekly Marvel Roundup for 8/26 – 9/02

Weekly Marvel Roundup 08/26 - 09/02

 

 

 

Reviews by MattzLad, CMRO Contributor

Ant Man – Last Days #1 (Last Days Of…)
Written by Nick Spencer
Art by Ramon Rosanas and Jordan Boyd

Synopsis – Scott Lang pursues his last desires as the Final Incursion begins.

I don’t like how inconsistent Marvel are being with the Last Days events, from the ongoing titles simple taglines at the end to the entirely new titles like this one, but I can understand how they shouldn’t revive a completed volume just for the ‘last days of’. So, we get this one-shot story featuring the second Ant-Man – Scott Lang – a character recently ascended to a famed MCU superhero, and I think this book would not exist if the film didn’t. The book tries to wrap up many different things relating to Scott from his recent history, and it succeeds on the most part – but it sacrifices some elements that could have worked well (Scott’s family, Hank Pym) for the set-up to a potential new storyline for the title’s return after Secret Wars. I believe that this set-up would have worked better in said new title under a slightly different premise, and the book should have taken more time to focus on Scott’s family and the classic superheroes arc. The book still works well enough overall, and the art is fantastic, but I feel the creative team missed some promising opportunities.
Story – 7/10
Art – 8/10

Hank Johnson – Agent of Hydra #1
Written by David Mandel
Art by Michael Walsh and Matthew Wilson

Synopsis – Hank Johnson is the average HYDRA agent – helping to destroy the world. Unless Nick Fury is beating him up.

Here comes yet another title riding on the burgeoning tidal wave of sardonic humour. I’m sure one will fail eventually, but until then we can enjoy the brilliance provided to us. The writer of this is a special guest in the ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’ executive producer, and he easily keeps up with the comedy of the show in this book. From the awesome Steranko references to the endless cameos from the Captain America rogues gallery, the writing is witty and does not waste a page. It doesn’t have much relevance to the Secret Wars event – and it could have worked in the 616 setting, but it likely won’t impede upon the gravity of the main Battleworld situation. I am thankful that it wasn’t Bob the HYDRA agent, as then Deadpool would have to feature in yet another Secret Wars title. The art is good, but it isn’t anything special to me. Overall, I would recommend the book as a good laugh, but don’t think it’s important to reading Secret Wars as a story-progressive event whatsoever.
Story – 7/10
Art – 5/10

Captain Marvel and the Carol Corps #3
Written by Kelly Sue DeConnick and Kelly Thompson
Art by David Lopez and Lee Loughridge

Synopsis – Captain Marvel and the Banshee Squadron take drastic actions as the situation escalates.

To be honest, I am simply not interested in the majority of the plotlines and characters in this book. I am only entertained by Captain Marvel when she isn’t surrounded by planes and her retro flight groups, so it’s a shame this book has nothing but that. I am only aware of Helen Cobb from Dexter Soy’s stint on Captain Marvel (which is some of the best art ever) and the rest are simply embodiments of singular emotions – ‘Busy Bee’ with her enthusiasm, for example. The only notable thing I can mention is the imminent reveal of another heretic-based event, but it will surely not be any different from the reveals in the other fifteen or so titles that are based around the same anti-Doom storylines. I would class this as the same quality as the Battleworld ‘Korvac Saga’, another series I am not invested in, the only differences being Captain Marvel and the Carol Corps has better art, and Korvac Saga has a better story.
Story – 3/10
Art – 7/10

Civil War #3
Written by Charles Soule
Art by Leinil Francis Yu, Gerry Alanguilan and Sunny Gho

Synopsis – She-Hulk discovers Sharpe’s killer’s identity, and Peter Parker ventures into the Iron.

I really like most things about this book. The creative team has succeeded in formulating an exciting world which makes sense as a follow-up to the Civil War event. I could very well have seen this happening following Civil War than what actually did – I didn’t quite like how the conflict between the two sides simply fizzled out after Cap’s assassination. The respective sides each have their supporters, and once again I find myself not quite knowing which side to root for. During the original event I was completely on Cap’s side, but now I am not sure – perhaps it is because I have grown to thoroughly dislike both Rogers and Stark as stubborn narcissists. I think at this moment I would choose Iron Man’s side. Also, instead of taking the clear two options route, the team introduces multiple complex layers to enrich the story – and the art to illustrate it is detailed and attractive.
Story – 9/10
Art – 8/10

E is for Extinction #3
Written by Chris Burnham and Dennis Culvur
Art by Ramon Villalobos and Ian Herring

Synopsis – All the players show their hands as the conflict for the Phoenix egg climaxes.

Let’s get this out of the way first – I hate the art. Everyone looks like shrivelled flannels, and Beak is conveyed in one of the most disgusting ways. Otherwise, I am enjoying this title a lot. I’m an X-Men enthusiast over any other Marvel group, so this book holds a lot of strong points for me. I can see how for an untrained reader, all of this could be very off-putting – from Xorn to Sublime to Cassandra Nova – so I wouldn’t recommend this for everyone, but there are certainly some interesting ideas explored including characters that haven’t often been featured together. The younger generation of X-Men mutants are used well in conjunction with the older X-Men, all to combat a familiar enemy to both teams. This kind of team-up was inevitable, and it is written very well, there are enough twists and turns to keep it fresh and the characters are not convoluted in regard to their personalities. If only the art wasn’t so repulsive.
Story – 9/10
Art – 2/10

Marvel Zombies #3
Written by Simon Spurrier
Art by Kev Walker, Jason Gorder and Guru-eFX

Synopsis – Elsa Bloodstone encounters Deadpool and a group of intelligent zombies in her journey to reclaim ‘Shuttup’.

If this title does nothing else, it will definitely reinvigorate Elsa Bloodstone and her father as viable and compelling characters. I would not be surprised if one or the other gets more attention in the form of titles in the near future. The coupling of the pair’s gruelling history with Elsa’s schooling of the aptly named ‘Shuttup’ is appropriate and it deepens Elsa’s personality. It’s apparent to see her torn position between her upbringing and what she believes is right, and while it can only ever be a temporary position it’s still entertaining to observe. The inclusion of zombified cameos tops it all off – and while I feel they could have explored the Deadpool and ‘intelligent’ zombies further and still have a decent storyline, the imminent showdown of Bloodstone and her mysterious stalker – that is, if you haven’t figured out who it is yet – holds a lot of promise for her development. The art, too, is among the best of all the Battleworld titles.
Story – 8/10
Art – 8/10

Deadpool’s Secret Secret Wars #4 (Final Issue)
Written by Cullen Bunn
Art by Matteo Lolli, Matteo Buffagni and Ruth Redmond

Synopsis – Deadpool experiences the foundation of eternity as the Secret War draws to a close.

My esteemed prediction in my review of DSSW #3 that this title has been getting worse progressively was correct, in my opinion. The events of this issue have almost no connection to each other, and it all seems to be a jumbled series of scenes. Deadpool is in bed with Janet Van Dyne one second, then fighting Klaw with Captain America a second later, while random plot points are thrown around until they can reach the required amount of pages. Frankly, none of it makes much sense, and the jokes are few and far between to entertain us. At the end, a deus ex machina restores everything to normal – yet it is not explained at all where Deadpool ends up and its relation to the current Secret Wars. The brilliant art continues, however, so there is at least one redeemable factor for this book. If only the artists for this title could have illustrated E is for Extinction – then all would be right with the world.
Story – 2/10
Art – 9/10

M.O.D.O.K Assassin #4
Written by Christopher Yost
Art by Amilcar Pinna, Terry Pallot and Rachelle Rosenberg

Synopsis – The Mindless Ones begin to overwhelm Killville, and Thor strives to reclaim her hammer.

As I look back on this now, I don’t see Baron Mordo as a very appropriate leader for a place such as Killville – apart from someone wanting to make a joke about Baron Mordo being appointed Baron. There are plenty of other candidates – Punisher, Carnage, even Deadpool – who could have been better antagonists to M.O.D.O.K throughout this title. This is, unfortunately, decreasing in quality from the first three brilliant issues. I can see where most of the plot is going to go, apart from the potential endings, and I can’t see it as being exceptional with Mordo and Clea as the villains to M.O.D.O.K’s villainy. The art is still good and the battles are zany and fun, but it will be a difficult task to restore this title to the magnificence of its first issues.
Story – 6/10
Art – 8/10

Old Man Logan #4
Written by Brian Michael Bendis
Art by Andrea Sorrentino and Marcelo Maiolo

Synopsis – Logan fights for his life in the Deadlands, and a familiar face intercedes to help him out.

Even for someone who has not read the first series revolving around Old Man Logan, the character is immediately captivating. I love how this book takes him all around Battleworld, giving us small insights into the various domains without having to read its own title. I don’t quite know what Logan is trying to achieve by traipsing through the zones, but I can see how it could tie into the entirety of Secret Wars – and as it has been confirmed that this character, or at least some close variation of him, will be appearing after the event is resolved – Logan could very well have a pivotal role to play in the issues to come. This particular book sees him stuck within the Deadlands, homeland of the Marvel Zombies. What follows is the inevitable massacre of the corpses, which I can see would be a difficult task for Logan to pursue – he revoked his abilities after a brutal attack on the rest of the X-Men, so seeing him placed in a similar position brings some serious development to the character. And the art to accompany the actions is just magnificent. There are some truly stellar panels within this issue, and many where words are not needed – the illustration speaks the words instead. There is a gruesome beauty to this book, and I can only hope it continues.
Story – 8/10
Art – 9/10

Where Monsters Dwell #4
Written by Garth Ennis
Art by Russ Braun and Dono Sanchez Almara

Synopsis – Karl Kauffman experiences further troubles as the warrior women continue to inconvenience him.

Well, here comes the parental advisory tag – only it’s a couple of weeks too late, and I don’t really see the need for it in this issue. I grumbled briefly on the forums about the previous issue, and while some believed otherwise, I still think there is no need for this title. We could have had a fun Ka-Zar or Shanna the She-Devil romp based in this new Savage Land, but no, they instead revive a sparsely seen and out-of-date character to feature in a completely random story about feminism. At least I hope it has some underlying message, if not then the story has practically no meaning whatsoever. Nothing much really happens in this issue, apart from some failed attempts at humour and a slight development in the storyline that I can’t see going anywhere. The art is decent, but otherwise I cannot discourage you from reading this waste of time more. Sure, it’s possible I might have missed some important factor, so feel free to berate me at your satisfaction – but I honestly doubt I have.
Story – 2/10
Art – 8/10

S.H.I.E.L.D. #9
Written by Mark Waid (and Stan Lee)
Art by Lee Ferguson, Paul Mounts, (Jack Kirby, Jim Steranko and John Severin)

Synopsis – A vital and mysterious case reopens that dates back to Nick Fury Snr’s days, and possibly even beyond.

Wow, they really did some work for the 50th Anniversary of S.H.I.E.L.D. Featuring work by Silver Age legends such as Kirby, Lee and Steranko, this book is truly something. I am not familiar with John Severin, only one Marie Severin, but perhaps I will see him in my reading of the order at 1970 sometime soon. With the connections between the modern period featuring Phil Coulson, Fury Jnr and Maria Hill as the figureheads of S.H.I.E.L.D., and the classic 60s team including Fury Snr, Dum Dum Dugan, Jasper Sitwell and Gabe Jones, this issue is something of an emotional experience. Maybe I’m just soppy at heart, but seeing Coulson enter the abandoned barber shop where the entrance to the base used to be, and then immediately seeing a nostalgic panel of the same place – I almost teared up. I’ve read all of the Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. issues recently while progressing through the order – and Steranko made some pivotal moves that changed that type of title from then on. Having the 50th Anniversary focus on an idea that Steranko himself formulated, while tying it in with the overall history of S.H.I.E.L.D., is pretty incredible. The art detailing the modern scenes is just extravagant, and there are enough references to the early days of the organisation to make it something very special. If you’re interested in S.H.I.E.L.D. now or enjoyed the Nick Fury adventures from the 60s, then definitely pick this book up.
Story – 9/10
Art – 10/10

Spider-Woman #10 (Last Days Of…) (Final Issue)
Written by Dennis Hopeless
Art by Natacha Bustos and Vero Gandini

Synopsis – Spider-Woman and Porcupine battle against a meat-crazed town, but can she really stay away from being an Avenger?

These ‘Last Days’ books hold a lot of merit. They have the rare opportunity to explore a character’s core personality, without worrying about most of the continuity or having a different weekly villain to keep the story interesting. Most of these are rather poignant as well, because at the end of them – well, everyone dies. Jessica Drew has been avoiding the mainstream superhero life, instead running about with a fun trio including an old Ant-Man villain, Porcupine, and Ben Urich. I never thought the former could be such an entertaining supporting character, but this issue especially proves me wrong. The localized event in this book, alas, is just filler to resolve the previous storyline. It comes down to Drew’s responsibilities, and the need for her to step up and do her part when few others can. It’s a difficult situation to be placed in, what with her ideal lifestyle with her new group – but I’m happy she showed her worth by the end.
Story – 7/10
Art – 7/10

Magneto #21 (Last Days Of…) (Final Issue)
Written by Cullen Bunn
Art by Gabriel Hernandez Walta and Jordie Bellaire

Synopsis – Magneto takes a mental journey through his entire life while trying to stop the Final Incursion

Magneto’s morality and beliefs have been the focal point of discussions and comics for fifty years. Here we hear it summarised from Eisenhardt’s own point of view. This is a very important book. Yes, Magneto has gone over his justifications and motivations before, and has even doubted his own fundamental positions – temporarily forgetting his belief of mutant superiority to oppose a greater evil. I feel he knows that his plight against humanity isn’t everything, and his anger should not be taken to its full potential for his cause. And in the face of this Final Incursion, when everyone is going to die, he knows that and he can understand it. I can’t really go too far into this without spoiling it, as it is an entire book of theorising. Some of the art is very striking and there are some interesting flashbacks to familiar scenes. This issue does a very good job of going over most of the important events in Eisenhardt’s life, and I would recommend it to anyone who is a fan or is curious about the character.
Story – 8/10
Art – 8/10

And from a Galaxy far far away…

Lando #3
Written by Charles Soule
Art by Alex Maleev and Paul Mounts

Synopsis – Lando and his crew discover a dormant artefact, and Chanath Cha closes in.

It is somewhat difficult to fully appreciate this book as I know next to nothing about these characters. The affliction regarding Lobot is very curious, and I have seen similar things in other sci-fi mediums – a synthetic being losing their personality. There are immediately several storylines to explore regarding that and Lando which could be interesting. It does seem the creative team will continue with the Imperialis and Chanath Cha story, which now will include an old Sith power. Needless to say, I am sure it will be exciting. The supporting cast continues to entertain, and there are enough mysteries to keep readers on edge. The art is very good, and it’s especially appropriate for the gloomy outbacks of space. I don’t know why the colouring shone out to me as especially great in this book, but it was. Paul Mounts was part of the talented team that produced S.H.I.E.L.D. #9 also, so there’s a name to look out for in future.
Story – 8/10
Art – 9/10

Weekly Marvel Roundup for 08/13 – 08/19

Weekly Roundup 8/13 - 8/19

Welcome to the CMRO Dueling Reviews. This week, our guest reviewer is Alex Daily, and this will be Alex’s last week helping out with the reviews for the summer, and we really appreciate all the amazing help. On that note, it’s sad to say, but this is actually going to be the last week of the Dueling Reviews for the time being. Both Etienne and Eric have enjoyed their time with the Dueling Reviews, but as usual when your enjoying comics, sometimes life gets in the way. They have appreciated all the feedback the users of CMRO have given them during there time on the reviews, and thank them for letting them “yap their ears off” about comics. Now, on with the reviews.

House of M #1
Written by Dennis Hopeless
Art by Marco Failla, Matthew Wilson

Synopsis – So, a bunch of AU characters are introduced, in the framework of the House of M Event from the 2000s. Magneto and his family are in charge, Mutants rule, go team mutant! Oh wait, that’s not who we’re routing for in this one…figures.

Eric:
Although it’s a little late in the game, with some titles on the verge of finishing there short runs, House of M is the last multi issue title finally getting it’s debuted. And it does a basic “paint by the numbers” opening for yet another Secret Wars title. Characters are set up, ones you expect, and the few oddballs. It sets up all its pieces throughout the first issue just like all the other series. Like many of the X-titles, this book does not bring up the “something is not right with what Doom’s feeding us” storyline and sticks more to the basic unrest they are already having enough problems with. I wonder if that’s a plot point, actually. Maybe Doom knows that if the mutants start to figure things out, they could be an unstoppable force, so he has them even more preoccupied then most.
Story – 7/10
Art – 7/10

Alex:
Yet another “Unrest in the Mutant Kingdom” story. There’s so many of them that I’m honestly a little tired of the concept, now. It might still come up, but you’re right, there doesn’t seem to be much space in this story for a real, direct connection to the main story of Secret Wars. I enjoyed this take on the Sentinels, and am always glad to see Namor show up.
Story – 6/10
Art – 7/10

Howard the Human #1 (One-Shot)
Written by Skottie Young
Art by Jim Mahfood, Justin Stewart

Synopsis – Just another Monday for HOWARD THE HUMAN, detective, moustache-wearer, and the only human in a city full of talking animal people.

Alex:
Howard’s humanised design, someone from a season of True Detective set in the 70, perfectly matches, while also being completely and utterly unlike, his duck design, which, of course, is because his duck design is that same sort of undefined generic Donald Duck’s is. There’s no way to extract a human face from it, but somehow, this works great, and the art conveys Howard and the world around him, which is like a Marvel AU based on a Disney version of a cross between Hell’s Kitchen and Tattooine, perfectly, but the story just isn’t very interesting to me, and, outside of Mouse Murdock, nothing here really connects to characters I like.
Story – 6/10
Art – 9/10

Eric:
Alex, you pretty much said exactly what I was feeling with this one. Everything was done to make this a perfect “reverse” version of Howard the Duck, and the comic very much gets this part of things right. It’s when we look at the actually story, that the comic gets dull.
Story – 4/10
Art – 6/10

Secret Wars Secret Love #1 (One-Shot)
Written by Michel Fiffe
Art by Michel Fiffe

Synopsis – Anthology issue of short romance-themed stories by various creators.

Alex:
I love a good anthology book, but this one’s sort of middle of the road. I didn’t care for the Daredevil story, probably partly because I don’t know anything about Typhoid Mary, the Ms Marvel/Ghost Racers story gains very little from being a Secret Wars story and the Misty Knight story made me want a full book like that. The Squirrel Girl story made me wonder how this would’ve played out if Spider-Man or the Rhino had won God-Doom’s Annual Super-Thriathlon for Animal Welfare, and the bug story is cute fluff, but insubstantial. (More of Kris Anka drawing Thor’s chest, please.)
Story – 7/10
Art – 9/10

Eric:
See, and I’m not the biggest fan of anthologies so this was a waste of time for me. The artwork on the Daredevil/Typhoid Mary one was horrible. I’m starting to realize I can’t stand Robbie Reyes. Iron Fist and Misty Knight I just don’t care about. The bug story at the end was just weird. About the only one I enjoyed was the Squirrel Girl/Odinson story, which actually had me giggling a little.
Story – 3/10
Art – 5/10

1872 #2
Written by Gerry Duggan
Art by Nik Virella

Synopsis – The Kingpin really wants Red Wolf to pay for this business with the Dam, and Sheriff Rogers is dead set against that happening. Too bad this version of Rogers doesn’t have a shield.

Eric:
So this series is 100% exactly what you would expect if you round up all the usual characters from 616 and stuck them in the movie Tombstone. There are a lot of nods from these AU characters to their 616 counterparts that show how much they really are imbodying the core of the character. I like that it has a big cast of characters, and that it’s not pulling any punches in the storytelling department.
Story – 8/10
Art – 7/10

Alex:
More than any other Secret Wars tie-in I’ve read so far, this book really is very comfortable doing what it wants, and I won’t be surprised if nobody of note lives to see the final page of the final issue. Of course, I won’t be surprised if Sheriff Rogers gets back up and brings the whole thing to a bloody conclusion, either. Everyone is translated to familiar western tropes very well.
Story – 8/10
Art – 7/10

Captain Britain and the Mighty Defenders #2 (Last Issue)
Written by Al Ewing
Art by Alan Davis, Mark Farmer, Wil Quintana

Synopsis – Big Boss Hill is rounding everybody up in her newly annex domain and sticking them in giant squares of land encircled by four walls of energy fields. But then Captain Britain breaks free and starts kicking everybody’s ass with the blunt Excalibur, and the Mighty Defenders do the same to the outside forces. They had to wrap it up, it’s a two issue “series.”

Eric:
Well that was a quick wrap up, but what where they really expecting to accomplish with this series. This is, I fear, how I’m starting to feel about a few of the Secret Wars side series. Even the ones that are longer than this. I mean what was the point of this. Just to showcase yet another of the domains of Battleworld, but nothing else. It’s hard enough to get involved in the characters and storyline in a 4 or 5 issue series in some cases, much less a two issue series. By the end of this I felt no attachment to these characters, and even the appearance of Doom was not as rewarding as it should have been.
Story – 1/10
Art – 8/10

Alex:
Wow! First of all, I’ve always liked Faiza Hussain as Captain Britain, so I think it’s a great shame she’s only ever had the role in alternate universes — but as far as they go, I enjoyed this one a lot. Enjoyed Jen as a Thor, enjoyed Yinsen as Rescue, enjoyed Doom’s… experiment. Though I’ll grant you they may not add much to the overall Secret Wars story, I would strongly recommend these two issues.
Story – 9/10
Art – 9/10

Age of Ultron vs. Marvel Zombies #3
Written by James Robinson
Art by Steve Pugh, Jim Charalampidis

Synopsis – Pym from Timely works on a way to defeat Ultron, while Ultron works on a way to defeat Salvation, and Janet from Timely reminisces about how her and Hank met while fighting her way through the Deadlands.

Eric:
Whoa, talk about a lot going on this issue. We find out about who’s shacking up with whom, a lot about Hank and Janet’s past, and how Ultron is making Zombie-Bots. But what is it with Pym, is there any iteration of him that doesn’t eventually make an Ultron robot. Even the Timely one was on his way to doing it, and it’s always that same face. Well, at least he wasn’t slapping anyone when he lived in the old west. As to the Ultrons and the Zombies, obviously no body in Salvation or the SHIELD is gonna see that one coming.
Story – 8/10
Art – 8/10

Alex:
When I don’t like something, I don’t tend to have a lot to say. I just don’t like zombies.
Story – 2/10
Art – 7/10

Guardians of Knowhere #3
Written by Brian Michael Bendis
Art by Mike Deodato Jr., Frank Martin

Synopsis – The Nova Corps come to put a stop to things, and Gamora has a confession to make…

Alex:
It’s not that I think Mike Deodato is a bad artist, it’s that I think the need to be a fast artist means he takes certain shortcuts that make his figures look very stiff, and his backgrounds even worse. Adding to this that I’m not particularly interested in Knowhere, in this version of the Guardians, and that it’s impossible to get invested in five-issue AU character, this is the first Bendis comic I’ve ever read that I’ve been bored by.
Story – 4/10
Art – 4/10

Eric:
First off, how many Angela Thors are their?? Because this seems like it’s a different one then the the Angela over in the MODOK title. Secondly, I agree with you, Alex, on the artwork. It’s not bad but it does have a roughness to it, that detracts at times, especially from the backgrounds. And while I agree that this version of Knowhere is uninspiring, I am interested in seeing how Gamora’s revelations to Angela are going to play out.
Story – 7/10
Art – 5/10

Runaways #3
Written by Noelle Stevenson
Art by Sanford Greene, John Rauch

Synopsis – The Runaways act natural.

Alex:
The superpowered Breakfast Club from the first issue turned into a superpowered Battle Royale in the second issue, and now we’re heading into, what, superpowered post-apocalyptic thriller stuff? My only real complaint is that I would’ve happily read more of the superpowered Breakfast Club stuff.
Story – 8/10
Art – 9/10

Eric:
What is this, like the fourth book this week that has interacted with the Timely Domain in one way or another? Apparently Marvel really like the old west idea. Do I smell an old west title coming out of Secret Wars? Or I could be wrong. I agree with you, Alex, that this title can’t seem to settle on telling us one type of story, and it seems intent on giving us a different setting and direction each issue, which, once again makes things hard for me to get invested in because of the shortness of the series run looming over the whole thing.
Story – 5/10
Art – 7/10

Weirdworld #3
Written by Jason Aaron
Art by Mike Del Mundo

Synopsis – Arkon is unhappy with the business relationship he entered into.

Alex:
I don’t care for sword and sorcery stories. It’s not the stories, it’s me — I guess I need something to connect to, a hook of relatability, which is why I always connected more with Marvel than I did DC; I’ll take New York over Metropolis any day. This is so far removed, that it doesn’t work for me. That said, Del Mundo delivers absolutely stunning art, and the only thing about Aaron’s script that doesn’t work for me is that it’s a fantasy story — it’s otherwise fine.
Story – 7/10
Art – 10/10

Eric:
This is definitely one of my favorites in Secret Wars, but I can say that I could follow this one way better then I could the first issue. At this point, just being able to follow any kind of story with this series is a plus. The artwork has become a little easier to decipher as well. I completely agree that this series is one of the farthest removed, only surpassed by Where Monsters Dwell, and that’s primarily because I still recognize more of the cast in the Weirdworld.
Story – 6/10
Art – 7/10

X-tinction Agenda #3
Written by Marc Guggenheim
Art by Carmine Di Giandomenico, Nolan Woodard

Synopsis – Baron Grey has assembled a strike team to go and get Rogue and Triage back from the Genoshans, although things are not what they seem in the heart of Genosha, but are they ever.

Eric:
I really wanted to like this title in the beginning, but once again, I think Secret Wars fatigue is setting in, and I have all but lost interest in this one. With a small amount of set up, this issue launches into a big X on X battle of characters that can only be expected from most of the people involved at this point. And what is a Genosha story without some crazy version of Cameron Hodge getting in the mix. Granted he seems as confused about it as anyone, but who is Hodge to pass up a great opportunity to kill mutants.
Story – 2/10
Art – 3/10

Alex:
Being another comic based on things I haven’t read, about characters I barely know, in a story that, really, offers nothing new, it’s really hard for me to connect to this. If this is your thing, you’re probably already reading it.
Story – 1/10
Art – 7/10

Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows #4
Written by Dan Slott
Art by Adam Kubert, Scott Hanna, Justin Ponsor

Synopsis – Spider-Man takes the fight to Regent — but his wife and daughter get abducted by mysterious agents.

Alex:
Easily the weakest chapter of this miniseries so far. The stuff about Regent and how he works and what he’s doing, I thought it all sort of dragged. Everything I liked was about Annie, who I hope we get to see again in some shape or form after Secret Wars.
Story – 6/10
Art – 8/10

Eric:
You might have thought this was the weakest issue of the series, but all I keep thinking was how totally cute and awesome Annie was in this issue. Can we keep her, please??? But other then that, I do think the issue kind of felt like a big pause in the momentum, so we could listen to Hawkeye be a complete ass, and watch the Regent twist his evil mustache, figuratively speaking. Not a horrible issue, but definitely not without its flaws.
Story – 7/10
Art – 8/10

Armor Wars #4
Written by James Robinson
Art by Marcio Takara, Esther Sanz

Synopsis – The Kingpin and his soldiers try to stand against War Machine Thor and his, but all of this is just a diversion from the real story and the man behind it all.

Eric:
Yet another title in Secret Wars that I just don’t care about. We find out some answers to the big mystery and they were lackluster to say the least, and way to predictable. About the only enjoyable parts of this issue was War Machine giving Kingpin a beat down, and Fisk’s reaction and dialogue afterwards. Only one more agonizing issue to go, and then we can put this series behind us.
Story – 2/10
Art – 3/10

Alex:
Tony being the villain of the piece is an interesting concept, and this book has had some good fight scenes, but the execution has consistently left much to be desired. I hope we see Kiri and her friend again in some way after Secret Wars is over.
Story – 4/10
Art – 6/10

Inferno #4
Written by Dennis Hopless
Art by Javier Garron, Chris Sotomayor

Synopsis – Illyana finally takes control of the situation.

Alex:
Another miniseries about an event I’ve never read, about characters I’m mostly not familiar with. I can acknowledge that this is a competent comic, but at no point does it manage to make me care. Don’t really have much else to say.
Story – 6/10
Art – 7/10

Eric:
I’m not sure how much knowing the original crossover would actually be helping you at this point. With the introduction of Sinister, I’m wondering how much of the actually event took place in this reality before the X-Men lost. I will say, for once, since I’ve been reading Marvel NOW and Secret Wars, I actually completely, 1005 agree with Cyclops. Colossus has just been a complete idiot this whole series, and has pretty much caused the state of things, and Cyclops might have even been a little soft on him, in my opinion.
Story – 6/10
Art – 7/10

Secret Wars Journal #4
Written by Mike Benson and Sina Grace
Art by Laura Braga, Ken Lashley, Wil Quintana, Rachelle Rosenberg

Synopsis – Punisher from Egyptia teaches Iron Fist from Apocalypse the ropes about manning the SHIELD, and they run into Mole Man from Technopolis in the process. Meanwhile, in the Sentinel Territories, Kyle Jinadu coaxes Psylocke out of hiding to save his lover, Northstar, from the camps.

Eric:
The first story is an interesting mix up with Punisher, Iron Fist and Mole Man. It’s lite, it gets to the point, and it dosen’t get bogged down. Basically everything a short needs to be. The art work is pretty good as well. The second storyline is not bad either, although until Northstar was mentioned, I had no Idea who the Kyle character was. My only problem with the second story, is the art work has too much commotion going on most of the time for me to really appreciate what is going on.
Story – 1st: 8/10, 2nd: 7/10
Art – 1st: 8/10, 2nd: 6/10

Alex:
I thought the first story was solid — I haven’t really read anything with the Shield in yet, outside of 1872, but it sells me on the concept right away. I thought Mole Man restoring Ultron robots was a little… I dunno, I guess it feels like both a step above and below his usual schemes — I’ve always felt Ultron should be a BIG THREAT, and making them disposable roboids seems like a waste. The second story lost me where it lost you, Eric — I know Northstar is married, but I don’t think I’ve ever read anything else with Kyle in it, and I don’t much care for the settings this story occurs in.
Story – 7/10
Art – 7/10

Spider-Verse #4
Written by Mike Costa
Art by Andre Lima Araujo, Rachelle Rosenberg

Synopsis – Gwen and Peter deal with Venom while the others try to figure out exactly what Norman Osborn’s deal is.

Alex:
Another transitionary penultimate chapter — watching the pieces be moved into place is rarely as interesting as watching the pieces be in place, especially on the flawed monthly schedule of the modern American comic book, but the character interactions, especially between Añya and Spider-Ham and between Peter and Gwen, more than make up for it.
Story – 7/10
Art – 9/10

Eric:
While I agree with you, these setup issues have to take place or we’d feel like we were missing something, noit to mention that some setup issue are done much better then others. I, too, thought that this had enough going on with the four characters you already mentioned to make this more of a stand out setup issue. And I am so glad Ham is carrying over into Web Warriors. Out of all of the unorthodox characters they have been bringing into the spotlight these days, he is by far my favorite. He really shined in this issue.
Story – 8/10
Art – 8/10

Silk #6
Written by Robbie Thompson
Art by Stacey Lee, Ian Herring

Synopsis – Cindy escapes, while the Black Cat… helps? Sort of?

Alex:
I honestly didn’t like Silk in Amazing Spider-Man. I thought the “spider-pheromone” thing was awful, and couldn’t really picture a version of the character who I didn’t wish was on a page I wasn’t reading. I see now that I was wrong. Well, not wrong so much, just that she clearly can actually work. Liked the Secret Wars cliffhanger a lot, too.
Story – 7/10
Art – 9/10

Eric:
I have not loved this series as much as say Spider-Gwen, but I don’t dislike it either. That being said, this was not a bad issue. We continue on with the Silk/Black Cat rivalry that has been spanning this series, and we get teased with some tidbits about Cindy’s past. There was a lot of action in this one, and although Spider-Man is present, he sticks heavily to the sidelines. And, yes, the Secret Wars lead in was nice.
Story – 7/10
Art – 7/10

Guardians Team-Up #10 (Last Issue)
Written by Tim Seeley
Art by Mike Norton, Jessica Kholinne

Synopsis – Deadpool has but out a call to all mercineries with a beef with some guy I don’t know, hopeing to bring a world of hurt down on this guy. It happens that Rocket is one such mercenary, but the whole things a trap, of course. And the mercenary reinforcement idea kinda backfires in Deadpool’s face.

Eric:
This is basically the ONLY issue of this series that I have enjoyed, and it’s basically thanks to Deadpool, and its last issue status. This issue basically leans heavily on the Deadpool style humor, and Rocket just seems along for the ride. In fact, I could have easily seen this being taken up a notch by adding Groot to the mix, but I guess I should be glad the series ended on a better note and leave it at that.
Story – 7/10
Art – 7/10

Alex:
I wish this was a little more substantial — it’s not so much a story as it is a 20-page fight — and the only real laugh it got out of me was on the opening page.
Story – 5/10
Art – 7/10

Loki: Agent of Asgard #17 (Last Days Of…) (Last Issue)
Written by Al Ewing
Art by Lee Garbett, Antonio Fabela

Synopsis – Loki and Verity confront “We Who Sit Above in Shadow” after the end of everything. Loki also confronts himself, and in the end decides to skip ahead to the next batch of story. P.S. He’ll be waiting.

Eric:
This was probably one of the better ending for a Last Days Of title. I liked how much of an understand and handle Loki had on the current situation that the Marvel Universe is in, what with Secret Wars and all that. I liked that we got some closure to his individual character growth that has been going on in this title, and it really feels like things have come around full circle for our favorite trickster. I particularly like the ending, and the nods Loki was giving to the other things that are taking place in the void space.
Story – 8/10
Art – 7/10

Alex:
I didn’t expect to like the idea of anyone surviving the incursions — when the point is that Everything Dies, to have an asterisk with a list of exceptions at the end of that kinda feels like a cheat. I didn’t expect to, and I don’t. But setting that aside, I quite enjoyed this understated ending to such an overstated character. Well, to his current story, anyway.
Story – 7/10
Art – 7/10

And from a Galaxy far far away…

Kanan: The Last Padawan #5
Written by Greg Weisman
Art by Pepe Larraz, David Curiel

Synopsis – Caleb has been betrayed and captured, or has he??? It seems that Caleb has misjudged his new friends, and they still have a trick up their sleeve to play. But in the end, Caleb has to make some hard decisions, that show he has grown up after all.

Eric:
So this is the end of the first story arc for this series, and it seems that they will be moving away from Caleb’s past and moving forward in to Kanan’s current life and struggles. It was a good ending, and really added some detail to Kanan/Caleb’s past that was sorely needed. Although I thought the ending a little sad and harsh, I guess it was the right decision for Caleb to make. Overall, this has been one of the stronger titles in the new Star Wars line up, and I hope that the quality of this series continues as it continues to tell us more about this padawan turned smuggler turned Rebel soldier.
Story – 8/10
Art – 8/10

Alex:
As much as I am, as I’ve said in this space at an earlier date, not a Star Wars person, I have enjoyed all three of Marvel’s Star Wars books that I read before today. This, as I sort of expected, is the exception. I don’t watch Star Wars Rebels, so I don’t know who any of these people are, and the presence of lightsabers, Stormtroopers, and green people with two tails sticking out of their head really isn’t enough to hook me. This feels no different to me than when I last tried to read Star Wars comics and found them far too dense and inaccessible, back when Dark Horse had the license. But, like I said, I’m sure that’s almost entirely because I don’t watch the cartoon.
Story – 4/10
Art – 8/10

Star Wars #8
Written by Jason Aaron
Art by Stuart Immonen, Wade von Grawbadger, Justin Ponsor

Synopsis – Luke wants to go to Coruscant, while Han and Leia just want to not get shot.

Alex:
You’d think a Star Wars comic forcing itself into a knockoff Cantina scene like this would be insufferable, but like the Han and Leia story in this issue, it strikes the right balance between looking back and looking ahead. Excited to see where it goes.
Story – 8/10
Art – 8/10

Eric:
So, with John Cassaday gone from the series, we have the next steady artist finally joining the series, Stuart Immonen. His style is obviously different then Cassaday, but I think that this issue shows that Immonen was a great choice to succeed Cassaday. Aaron, as usual, is doing a great job with the story and pacing. I’m totally love the Han and Leia side of things, and it brings some great layers to their relationship.
Story – 8/10
Art – 8/10