Weekly Marvel Roundup for 11/04 – 11/11

Weekly Marvel Roundup for 11/04 – 11/11

Weekly Marvel Roundup for 11/04 – 11/11

Reviews by MattzLadd, CMRO Contributor

 

Avengers vs. Infinity #1 (One-Shot)
Written By Joe Caramagna

Anger Mismanagement
Art By Wellington Alves, Scott Hanna and Carlos Lopez

Synopsis – Don Deboer is fed up with his life, and two powerful weapons from Asgard help to unleash his frustration.

This is a good use of characterisation in such a short story. It’s fairly effective in its morals and the inclusion of Hawkeye as the mediator and Wrecker as the villain supports the purpose of this as a Marvel book. The ending is a bit convoluted and the resolution comes far too quickly following the conflict, but it works well enough and this character probably won’t ever be revisited to contradict it. I would say I liked Alves’ art more than Ron Lim’s, I don’t know why Alves couldn’t have done half of the book or even more, but it would certainly be better with more of this.
Story – 8/10
Art – 8/10

Doom Everlasting
Art By Ron Lim, Scott Hanna and Carlos Lopez

Synopsis – Dracula’s alliance with a plotting villain causes a vampire invasion in Latveria.

This plot had some decent elements drawn from a very minimalistic setup. It relies mostly on Doom’s formidability and enthralling setting, and its mostly successful in that regard. I think, however, I would have enjoyed this more without the Avengers getting involved. Sure, they have a reason for it – but since it is their book, they need to be victorious and Doom’s genius is largely dumbed down as a result. There are some references to certain character’s relationships, and the book concludes its story (irritating as it is), but the entire setup is unresolved and I don’t get the purpose behind the focus of this story unless they revisit it.
Story – 5/10
Art – 7/10

Bossman Smash!
Art By Ron Lim, Scott Hanna and Carlos Lopez

Synopsis – The Blood Brothers and a greenskin who claims not to be the Hulk battle against Iron Man, Black Widow and Hawkeye.

Like ‘Doom Everlasting’, this book has a couple of good moments – specifically the action and a moral discussion at the end – which comes literally out of nowhere, but again there isn’t any purpose behind the story; it’s a short self-contained romp that really has too much exposition behind it and seemingly exists just so Hulk – I mean – Bossman can punch Tony Stark.
Story – 5/10
Art – 7/10

Might of the Living Dead!
Art By Ron Lim, Scott Hanna and Carlos Lopez

Synopsis – Thor and Black Widow combat the forces of their own nightmares while Dracula pulls the strings.

Ah, and here is the thing I was waiting for. This story was actually pretty good, and it continued the backstory established by the Doom section of this book – which would have been pointless if it only existed in that story. The minds and fears of both Thor and Natasha are explored well, and their relationship is strengthened simultaneously. There are some really cool moments, and not a page of the Dream Dimension is wasted on something irrelevant to these characters. Alas, I still don’t get why this book is called Avengers vs. Infinity, and why do we have two random self-contained stories accompanied by a two-part arc beginning with serious character development?
Story – 8/10
Art – 7/10

Deadpool #1
Written By Gerry Duggan
Art By Mike Hawthorne, Terry Pallot and Val Staples

Synopsis – Deadpool is now working with a team of impersonators as a new Heroes for Hire, but his chosen associates are curious to say the least.

This was a very strange issue, as well as a little difficult to follow towards the end. It is quite a coincidence that Deadpool starts an impersonation squad only a short while after Spider-Man has done the same, but recognisable members of the latter’s team such as Hobie Brown and Miguel O’Hara are on a whole different level from Deadpool’s. We see Solo, Foolkiller, Terror, Slapstick, Madcap and Stingray, and I won’t be surprised if you only know of one of those characters, or even none. It seems this was intentional, whether to allow Duggan the chance to develop insignificant characters or to simply allow Deadpool to make jokes about their previous appearances, but I suppose it has potential and it appears to be the core element of the series so something will come of it. We get some much-needed information regarding the Uncanny Avengers that I expected in its own debut, yet I’m not sure how heavily the team will feature in this book. There are also some other character appearances, including the mysterious White Fox currently featuring in Contest of Champions. There’s not much clear in the way of plot, but there are enough points running for the next few issues to feed on. The art is mediocre compared to other books, but it fits for a Deadpool story and though half the main characters wear almost identical costumes you can still tell them apart.
Story – 7/10
Art – 7/10

Drax #1
Written By Phil Brooks and Cullen Bunn
Art By Scott Hepburn and Matt Milla

Synopsis – Drax temporarily departs from the Guardians of the Galaxy on another mission to kill Thanos.

When I found out that wrestler CM Punk was writing comic books now, I was a little bemused. I didn’t read the Thor Annual that he contributed to, but after reading this I believe he isn’t half bad. He appears to know enough about the current Marvel Universe and Drax himself to formulate an interesting plotline, and I was entertained by this book. I’m never going to refer to him as CM Punk, though, so Phil Brooks is him from now on. Yes, this book is amusing, and Drax works well on his own. I’m actually happier that this is an outright solo title instead of him getting more focus while still being part of a team. The antagonist that we’ll see action from next issue arrives just when he needs to for the story not to lose pace, and already we have a target for Drax that I suspect will reoccur for the entire run. It would be nice to see an intriguing supporting character introduced in the next couple of issues, but for this issue I enjoyed Drax’s comical adventure through space. The art is really cool, and it’s pleasantly different from the common styles we see in modern comic books. I was apprehensive about this title before, but I am no longer.
Story – 8/10
Art – 9/10

Extraordinary X-Men #1
Written By Jeff Lemire
Art By Humberto Ramos, Victor Olazaba and Edgar Delgado

Synopsis – The Terrigen Mists and mutant oppression are just two of the many factors leading Storm to recall every mutant she can find to X-Haven.

The X-Men have been through a lot of changes and development in recent years, and this is ostensibly the next natural step in the team’s plot direction. Each character continues years of precedents and relationships via their dialogue and interaction, especially Storm who is taking the spotlight for this book. The X-Men are now on the back foot after a concerning revelation regarding the Terrigen Mists and Inhumanity (which is incredibly ironic considering the situation with Marvel Studios and their demotion of the X-Men to be replaced by Inhumans) and as such we’re seeing a new kind of tone for the X-Books that resembles the early years of the team. This issue is comprised mostly of orientation and reintroductions of the main characters, yet a certain appearance at the end – which you can probably work out from the front cover – raises a lot of questions that can only be answered by Secret Wars and *ahem* Logan himself. Nevertheless, I love all these characters and I’m excited about the new direction they are heading in. It isn’t apparent that there will be any iconic foe for the characters to fight, but the team have proven that drama and racial themes can sustain the book brilliantly so I don’t have many fears.
Story – 9/10
Art – 8/10

Hercules #1
Written By Dan Abnett
Art By Luke Ross and Guru-eFX

Synopsis – Hercules aims to reform himself as a formidable hero, armed with new assets and against new foes.

Hercules has had this redesign coming for a long time, and it’s very appropriate and pleasing to see a character I like very much stepping from the sidelines into the spotlight. This book achieves much of what a first issue of this calibre should, it has the necessary changes to be classed as All-New and All-Different – including a firearm for Hercules and the ‘ancient evil hidden amongst us’ approach that Doctor Strange is also employing. Herc’s new situation brings its own new or revisited supporting characters, that of which in this title hold a lot of promise and have the potential to be part of interesting plots in issues to come. The themes are fitting for Marvel’s current readers and there’s a good balance between humour and disconcerting foreshadowing, and the art is really good – the villain in this issue is brilliant for its colouring alone. I am certainly on board for this title.
Story – 8/10
Art – 9/10

Howard the Duck #1
Written By Chip Zdarsky
Art By Joe Quinones and Joe Rivera

Synopsis – Howard targets the Nexus of All Realities after Doctor Strange helps him find a way home.

The superior comical Marvel book to Squirrel Girl returns with a great and thoughtful plot that I am already interested in. The first volume was majorly comprised of blatant sardonic humour and absurd situations, and I loved it, but this appears from the outset to lean towards a balance between what I’ve come to expect from Howard the Duck, but also emotion and Howard’s misplaced state in Earth-616. The supporting characters have room to play to their strengths after their introductory roles in the last volume, and I think if Zdarsky wants to stick with a slightly pathetic Frightful Four (or whatever they are now) as antagonists to our Duck hero then it would be a good decision. The cliffhanger is certainly strange and I hope something wacky yet intriguing comes out of it, and though the art team is pretty much the same everything has somehow become much more visually appealing than the previous volume. This is a good direction to go with Howard and there are enough beneficent alterations to allow the book to stand on its own, and I think there’s a lot of potential to come from this title.
Story – 8/10
Art – 9/10

Nova #1
Written By Sean Ryan
Art By Cory Smith and David Curiel

Synopsis – Sam is enjoying life working with his father as Nova, but everything is not as it seems…

I was hoping very much that the other Nova on the cover was Rich Rider, but it seems Sam wins again in the battle over the Nova protagonist. He is a decent character, and his family-orientated situation is interesting to see as there are not often close-knit families that contain multiple superheroes (apart from of course the Summers family). Sam’s friends are also likeable and the transitions from the Alexander’s normal lives to the space-faring Nova action work well. Obviously as we progress there needs to be some complication or an enemy for Nova to face, and it appears with the first hints we get that they couldn’t really have chosen are more impactful threat to Sam. Crazy, powerful aliens are great, but sometimes it’s better to have a problem closer to home with some emotional implications. This book seems to be heading in that direction. Aside from the unexplained mysteries, there isn’t much else substantial enough to talk about, but the art is good and I like the cast so the book is entertaining to say the least.
Story – 8/10
Art – 9/10

Vision #1
Written By Tom King
Art By Gabriel Hernandez Walta and Jordie Bellaire

Synopsis – The Vision and his recently created family adjust to normal life in Virginia.

Wow, this is an incredibly strange yet compelling book. The Vision is one of my favourite characters, but his emotion purge detailed in Avengers #0 has effectively reset his character. It’s a huge change, to just simply remove fifty years of development, and honestly I feel as if this is a completely different – and somehow more unsettling – character. I don’t know what would prompt him to create a family, or to get a job working for the President of the United States, and his family display their own eerie personalities. I know we’re probably supposed to be rooting for them, but at the moment I am very unsettled by them, which gives credit to the creative team for causing those emotions. The writing style is also different and strange, it reminds me of a Ray Bradbury story (Sci-Fi/Horror) and the emphasis on themes about humanity and normality contribute to that resemblance also. This was still a brilliant issue, but not in the traditional entertainment sense. It’s clever, and this is a drastic change for the Vision, and I will follow him closely now to make sense of this. The plot development is also very prominent, especially at the end where I am in a sense horrified at the events. There’s so much difference in this title that I’m having trouble classifying it with the other new titles, so I’ll say whether to enjoy it or not everyone should definitely read this book.
Story – 10/10
Art – 9/10

Contest of Champions #2
Written By Al Ewing
Art By Paco Medina, Juan Vlasco and David Curiel

Synopsis – Ares is summoned from Elysium to battle and the Yellow Team’s members and summoner are revealed.

I’d very much like to know whether the characters not established as being from an alternate Universe actually are from Earth-616, because this is presumably a fatal event and having a Tony Stark that appears to be from the main Marvel Universe would raise the stakes dramatically. Otherwise, the characters are very entertaining, and some interactions we wouldn’t normally see are exciting to observe. The Maestro is always a good villain, and his involvement along with the Yellow Team’s summoner creates more plotlines besides the Collector running the Red Team and the Grandmaster running the Yellow Team. This is an action-focused book and while we don’t see much of it in this issue – it is largely comprised of character tension and plotting – that which we do see is good. The Maestro reveals just how strong the propitiators of the Contest can become, and I’m excited for one to see the Teams fight or the possible revolts against the organisers. The art is also extremely well-done.
Story – 8/10
Art – 10/10

Doctor Strange #2
Written By Jason Aaron
Art By Chris Bachalo, Tim Townsend, Al Vey and Mark Irwin

Synopsis – The mystery deepens as Strange’s magic begins to fail and Mind Maggots run rampant in the Sanctum Sanctorum.

I’m very annoyed about the first two covers showing Strange wielding a battleaxe or a mace, and yet he hasn’t used either of them yet. Apart from that I am enjoying this series a lot. This issue in particular makes great use of the setting, and explores the Sanctum Sanctorum in a mad and humorous way that beats the exploration of the TARDIS in that one bad Doctor Who episode in every way. I like Zelma Stanton as a supporting character, although I don’t believe anyone exists with that first name, and Wong is always nice to see. It’s slowly becoming clear as to what is happening with the realms of magic and the imminent Doctor Strange antagonists, and there’s a lot of promise for some epic mystical fights and disastrous implications to excite us. One action in particular in this book summarised a lot about Strange and the sacrifices he has to make for humanity, and it was a great moment from Aaron to take advantage of the book he is writing. There’s a lot of merit to the zany plots that sustain the book’s intrigue as the art isn’t as attractive as a lot of the other running books. Overall, this was a very good issue.
Story – 9/10
Art – 7/10

Amazing Spider-Man #3
Written By Dan Slott
Art By Guiseppe Camuncoli, Cam Smith and Marte Gracia

Synopsis – Scorpio and Zodiac launch an all-out attack on S.H.I.E.L.D. while Peter tries to explain his buying of the Baxter Building to Johnny Storm… before being burnt to a crisp.

Here is an issue that finally gives us some insight on the Fantastic Four and their situation. We’ve seen the Thing as a spacefaring clobberer now, and Johnny appears here, but he and Peter seem to share the sentiment that Reed, Sue and their kids are still missing somewhere. This actually surprised me greatly with Peter’s purchasing of the building, but the explanation was good and I love it as a new base with a heartfelt connection to other groups of Marvel. Johnny works really well as a supporting hero here – one who will appear in the next issue at least also – and it’s amusing when he questions why Peter hires so many of his previous villains and Peter’s secret identity situation. The villains are very good too, as Zodiac can easily provide a lot of diversity in terms of combat and their war with S.H.I.E.L.D. is far-reaching and still has connections back to Jake Fury and many books dating back to the late 60s. At the end, the story expands once more to include yet another iconic villain, and I’m interested to see how Slott will manage such an expansive list of plotlines without making it too broad to entertain people (though I’m extremely excited about this specific villain).
Story – 9/10
Art – 9/10

Invincible Iron Man #3
Written By Brian Michael Bendis
Art By David Marquez and Justin Ponsor

Synopsis – Tony seeks help from a magical ally to try and discover Madame Masque’s reasons for seeking extra-dimensional artifacts.

Though this book doesn’t exactly provide any answers or further the plot per se, I still enjoyed it quite a bit. The dialogue might be a bit heavy, but I like seeing the rare moments when Tony opens himself up to someone and we are reminded of his personality behind his billionaire persona. The themes are very good, and the action is probably better looking than any other title at the moment. There’s some relieving comedy mixed in with the drama, and I’m very fond of the cast of characters we have in this book and how they interact with each other. Finally, the book rounds off with the enemies for the next issue creeping in and a great action romp promised after this very ‘talky’ issue.
Story – 8/10
Art – 10/10

Uncanny X-Men #600
Written By Brian Michael Bendis
Art By Sara Pichelli, Mahmud Asrar, Stuart Immonen, Kris Anka, Chris Bachalo, David Marquez, Frazer Irving, Wade von Grawbadger, Tim Townsend, Mark Irwin, Marte Gracia and Jason Keith

Synopsis – Beast faces a trial decreed by all of the X-Men, Bobby Drake is questioned by his younger self, young Jean Grey makes a decision and Scott Summers returns with a startling vision.

This was a very complex book based on years of development, and I don’t think I am able to summarise even a single word of dialogue as right or wrong. Bendis, though some disagree with his decisions, knows what he is doing and he knows the X-Men extremely well. Then again, he does have too much on his plate and his technique of conveniently leaving things out and not explaining other things is unacceptable. While everything that happened in this issue has some precedent to make it make sense, I think some encounters were exaggerated. Bendis does cut right into the minds and souls of these characters and from that we see appropriate outcomes in relationships and conversations, but I wasn’t pleased with some of the things that occurred. Sure, these books aren’t always meant to please everyone and they absolutely shouldn’t, but these characters have decades of content behind them, and Marvel have achieved an unrivalled feat of keeping them (mostly) without contradictions in their personality – Bendis needed to take advantage of that and right his own writing mistakes of the past few years here, but he didn’t. Instead, he has picked up specific and largely irrelevant things and created some scenes from it, but not a great deal comes out of it and he sweeps some expected reactions and character traits under the rug. We don’t get a lot of the explanations we should have got, and a lot of the scenes are wasted on Jean Grey’s manipulations and the trial of Beast which resolves as a basic argument. This issue should have been much longer, and they should have addressed the Phoenix Egg and the void of actions leading up to Time Runs Out regarding many of the X-Men. There are honestly too many artists and styles contributing to this book – but it is very good for the most part. The X-Men, though diminished in focus and number, are certainly not gone from the spotlight. I still love them, and it’s good now that the reins have been passed from Bendis, but there are issues that need to be addressed and this issue – though it had some good stuff in it – didn’t achieve its task.
Story – 6/10
Art – 9/10

And, from a galaxy far far away…

Star Wars #11
Written By Jason Aaron
Art By Stuart Immonen, Wade von Grawbadger and Justin Ponsor

Synopsis – Action converges on Nar Shaddaa, as Luke battles for his life, Dengar catches up with Chewbacca and Han reveals why he married Sana.

It’s not often that every plotline a book is running reaches fruition simultaneously, but nevertheless this issue achieves just that. The action of the Arena is exciting, and a curious development regarding the Gamemaster could prove beneficent to Luke. I am not completely aware of the reasons behind Dengar’s hatred of Chewie, but their fight is awesome and C-3PO even contributes in a great way. Han’s reasons behind his regretted marriage culminate in a perfect summarisation of his character that show the karma of his lifestyle. His relationship with Leia is interesting and I like the changes that this book is forcing upon them. As good as this issue is, it serves largely as a precursor to the upcoming issue that I assume will be the finale of this arc, and I’m getting a pretty good idea of what will happen. This book drew good moments from many facets – it had good action, good emotion and good plot development.
Story – 9/10
Art – 9/10

Weekly Marvel Roundup for 10/28 – 11/04

Weekly Marvel Roundup for 10/28 – 11/04

Weekly Marvel Roundup for 10/28 – 11/04

Reviews by MattzLadd, CMRO Contributor

 

Angela: Queen of Hel #1
Written By Marguerite Bennett
Art By Kim Jacinto, Stephanie Hans and Israel Silva

Synopsis – Angela’s tale is retold, and a woman scorned returns.

I thank this book for basically summarising everything I missed by not reading ‘Asgard’s Assassin’ – much of what Angela did throughout her position in life and her relationship with Sera (whom I did think was some woman introduced in the 1602 series). I think the gay relationship was a good decision, as Marvel have been branching out over the last decade to sate all kinds of cultural and social opinions, and you can see plainly the entertaining chemistry between the comedic Sera and Angela. I’m still getting a Witcher-esque vibe from this book, but instead of a rip-off as I assumed in the 1602 book, this take very much stands on its own, and is a respectful homage if any connection is drawn. I don’t particularly like the art being split between Hans and Jacinto with Silva, as both have their pros and cons, and I don’t think they flow well into each other. This issue escapes from the whole flashback scenario just in time to develop the plot and set the tone for the next issue at least – and it is a decent cliffhanger to leave us on. Out of the three Angela series’ that have been released this year and the two that I have read, I can say this is already better than ‘Witch Hunter’.
Story – 8/10
Art – 8/10

Howling Commandos of S.H.I.E.L.D. #1
Written By Frank J. Barbiere
Art By Brent Schoonover and Nick Filardi

Synopsis – Agent Martin Reyna leads a new team consisting of LMDs of Dum Dum Dugan, a zombified Jasper Sitwell, Hit-Monkey, Manphibian – you get the idea.

It appears the name Howling Commandos has now become synonymous with strange supernatural creatures and Man-Thing for the second time. And you won’t hear me voicing any complaints – Mrs. Deadpool and the Howling Commandos was great, and though I would have liked to have seen more from that team return in this title, the line-up of the Howling Commandos of S.H.I.E.L.D. is just as absurd and fun. It’s great to get some insight on Dugan’s LMD situation, and I’m overjoyed that Sitwell is back after his heartbreaking demise in the Winter Soldier book (I really like the guy). While it appears the stories will be largely self-contained and lacking in terms of clarification, this book should be great for action and humour, with a great cartoon style – though there is certainly some room for some serious character development and emotion if the creative team feel like heading in that direction. This will definitely be on my watch list for the future.
Story – 9/10
Art – 8/10

The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #1
Written By Ryan North
Art By Erica Henderson and Rico Renzi

Synopsis – Doreen continues her wacky adventures with her Squirrel-related cohorts and a few new faces.

In fear of being castrated by the entire populace of Tumblr, I’ve avoided saying anything about Squirrel Girl. Unfortunately I have to talk about her now, so… I really don’t like her. I don’t think this book is funny in the slightest, the humour is targeted at an audience pretty far away from my comfort zone, and this issue was such a slog with excessive dialogue and those completely unnecessary hard to read text boxes under the panels that I started to look forward to reading the latest Where Monsters Dwell (and that book is just as awful). Alright, I can see why Squirrel Girl is popular and how she is effective right now in the present, but we already have actually funny books that are sardonic and cartoonish such as Howard the Duck and to a lesser extent Deadpool. The pointless plot of this issue didn’t capture my attention, and I couldn’t care less for the supporting characters. I’m sure some people love this title and its characters, and I can kind of appreciate them, but I am certainly not one of them.
Story – 3/10
Art – 6/10

What If? Infinity – Dark Reign #1 (One-Shot)
Written By Joshua Williamson
Art By Goran Sudzuka and Miroslav Mrva

Synopsis – What if the Green Goblin stole the Infinity Gauntlet?

I didn’t read Dark Reign, but if it at all resembled what happened in this issue then I definitely want to now. Norman Osborn is a great character, and unlike those that say Venom is Spidey’s arch-nemesis, I think it is the Green Goblin who is instead. I knew of his madness and a lot of his personality, but I didn’t know much about his relationship with his father before this – and I think what is shown is this book is perfect to summarise the character. The Infinity Gauntlet is effectively a device to showcase different periods of Norman’s life, and it’s not a tie-in to Infinity as such, but this is still a great book. Thanos states towards the end that the relationship between the Norman and his father reflects that of Thanos and Death – that the latter will never provide the love the former needs, and I think both characters are great through their actions relating to this. The ending is a little convoluted and it wasn’t necessary to end the story like that – I can think of a few ways in which this could have ended perfectly, but I thoroughly enjoyed this book – and it’s now my favourite of the Infinity What Ifs so far.
Story – 9/10
Art – 8/10

Captain America – Sam Wilson #2
Written By Nick Spencer
Art By Daniel Acuña

Synopsis – More light is shone upon the void between Wilson and S.H.I.E.L.D., and one of Cap’s past failures hints that it may not just be the Sons of the Serpent opposing him.

This is a great second issue for this series, especially in terms of structure. The direct continuation of the cliffhanger from the first issue flows into the set-up for the largely flashback events of the second without losing any momentum. Here, we get some much needed clarification on what happened to S.H.I.E.L.D. that caused Sam’s declaration of opposition to the organisation – and with that Maria Hill among others suggests that they actually still know about the Incursions – and possibly Secret Wars – and the new world has been developing on its own for a while before we get to see it. There are some good scenes between Wilson and Steve Rogers, and some better character development in their relationship. Wilson draws upon the parallels of this situation to Civil War, and you can discern a similar thing occurring here – I am certainly on Wilson’s side against S.H.I.E.L.D. The plot development doesn’t waste a panel, and there are many simultaneous points at work behind the action and dialogue scenes, of which are balanced very well throughout the book. The art is good, and there are a lot of utilisations of the setting throughout this great issue.
Story – 9/10
Art – 8/10

New Avengers #2
Written By Al Ewing
Art By Gerardo Sandoval and Dono Sanchez Almara

Synopsis – The team has to work together in order to beat the Maker and Life Minus.

The team’s faults and mishaps explored in the first issue are very conveniently resolved here – I expressed concerns about weak teams coming into this new world, and it seems someone heard my prayer as they act well together throughout this book. Aside from Squirrel Girl, I think everyone is formidable enough to hold their own – and in time I’m sure a good team will be formed, but it also seems that the Maker’s plan is slowly being revealed and it may be far too broad for the New Avengers alone. Richards’ dialogue in this book also makes me confused again about people’s knowledge of the Incursions and the previous Universes – after Maria Hill in Sam Wilson’s book made me think they did know about them. Nevertheless, it’s clear some curious remnants from previous Universes and even beyond may prove a threat to the New Avengers. Looking at the first two issues as a two-part orientation, they work much better – overlooking the first’s downsides, and perhaps I was too quick to discard this series.
Story – 8/10
Art – 7/10

Spider-Man 2099 #2
Written By Peter David
Art By Will Sliney, Frank D’Armata and Andres Mossa

Synopsis – A tragic loss leads O’Hara on a chase aimed at a man who was proficient with robotics before even Doctor Doom was.

This book made a very audacious decision that I didn’t think it would make. Every precedent of Miguel’s life that was introduced in the first issue are now apparently irrelevant as the antagonist(s) of this series are beginning to show themselves and their ambitions. Miguel receives some great character development in this issue that I think will enhance the drama of the upcoming issues by a lot – there isn’t as much of the humour that I presumed would run throughout this book and the other Spider-Man titles. We don’t see much from the other supporting characters, specifically Roberta – and I presume her predicament will be featured prominently in future issues. The art is excellent, and Sandoval deals with the various different characters with a lot of skill.
Story – 9/10
Art – 9/10

Deadpool vs. Thanos #4 (Final Issue)
Written By Tim Seeley
Art By Elmo Bondoc and Ruth Redmond

Synopsis – Thanos and Deadpool find Mistress Death – but Eternity itself stands in their way.

Wow, I’ll discount everything bad about the third issue as a blip in quality and an overuse of paltry Deadpool humour – because this book was awesome. Everything explored about Thanos and his personality is perfect in this issue, and I would say some important things about him are revealed that we haven’t seen before (strange that some vital development occurs in a Deadpool miniseries). Deadpool himself is sufferable in his comical moments and he even shows the brilliant wise and aware side of himself that he showed at points during Uncanny X-Force. He and Thanos are actually polar opposites and yet two sides of the same coin, and their interaction throughout this book, and indeed this entire series, has been special. Even Black Talon, whom I thought was ridiculous, conveys some thought-provoking themes towards the end. The action is nothing short of mesmerising, and the art really reaches its peak in some of the larger battle panels. I’m very glad I withstood all the awful Deadpool comments throughout the last three issues, as it was all worth it for this book.
Story – 9.5/10
Art – 8/10

House of M #4 (Final Issue)
Written By Dennis Hopeless and Cullen Bunn
Art By Ario Anindito and Matthew Wilson

Synopsis – Magneto and the Human Resistance Movement battle against Quicksilver, Namor and S.H.I.E.L.D. for the Throne of Genosha.

This was everything I hoped it would be – epic, gripping, intense, and full of some of my favourite art that I have ever seen. Each character was distinct and entertaining in their own way and nobody’s actions seemed convoluted. Erik’s personality and especially his relationship with his family shone through here to provide a strong case anyone will root for against the powerful tyrant (and my favourite character) Namor, who got the attention he deserved in this book, and the ambiguous yet brilliantly developed variation on Quicksilver. The cameos from around the Marvel Universe come thick and fast and the action is varied into physical, mental and sweet magnetic combat because of that. I love this take on Genosha, and I can say I have definitely preferred this volume of House of M to its predecessor. The featured characters here are among my absolute favourites, and Hopeless with Bunn did each of them justice. I would love to see these characters in the same or a similar series return – there’s always hope. The art is absolutely magnificent, and I really can’t stress my admiration for it enough. At present, as I ponder over the many titles I’ve read of Battleworld, I can’t think of anything better in the Warzone category than House of M.
Story – 10/10
Art – 10/10

Where Monsters Dwell #5 (Final Issue)
Written By Garth Ennis
Art By Russ Braun and Dono Sanchez Almara

Synopsis – Clementine reveals all to Karl as he attempts to make his getaway from the Valley of Flame.

OK, maybe I was a little harsh on this book with my statement in the Squirrel Girl (ugh) review, as this issue does largely escape from all the outlandish scandals and focuses on the morality of Kaufmann’s situation and the traditional prejudice many women faced decades ago. I still don’t care for either of this book’s protagonists aside from the themes they represent, but the role of Clementine in the story works to oppose Kaufmann and I now see why he was chosen for this book. Kaufmann experiences a large dose of karma and there is a moral to end the series, though I still don’t see this as fitting in at all with the rest of Battleworld or even as a Marvel book. This would have been much better as an independent book without the ridiculous cannibal tribe and a lot of the warrior women’s dealings, instead focusing on the morals and the themes that could still apply in today’s society. Ennis at Marvel should stick to the Punisher.
Story – 7/10
Art – 8/10

And, from a galaxy far far away…

Chewbacca #2
Written By Gerry Duggan
Art By Phil Noto

Synopsis – Chewie takes steps towards freeing Zarro and Arrax.

This issue largely just plays off Chewbacca’s mission through Jaum’s mines and Zarro’s childish reactions to it, and as such there isn’t much furthering of the plot or development to any of the introduced characters from the first issue. As such it acts as a connecting issue between the orientation of the series debut and whatever will come of Chewie’s interaction with the antagonists. The only thing to properly appreciate is the art because a great deal of the dialogue is made up of grunts, roars and exclamatory yelps from the likeable but purposeless supporting / featured character in Zarro. Between the formidable force of the enemies and the weak opposition they face, the combat seems sluggish and it is tailed to allow Chewbacca to win. If I recall correctly, this series is five issues long, and if they don’t grip me with some twist or the introduction of a developed and complex character then I’m sorry to say that I don’t really care.
Story – 6/10
Art – 8/10

Kanan – The Last Padawan #7
Written By Greg Weisman
Art By Pepe Larraz and David Curiel

Synopsis – Kanan flashbacks to his initiate training and recounts important Masters in his life.

I love the process of a Jedi’s training and the entire atmosphere that comes with it. Kanan is a great protagonist to follow, and though I haven’t seen Star Wars: Rebels I can follow him as a character and identify his core traits and relationships. The flashback allows for plenty of pleasant cameos from Yoda, Windu and more, and the characters that are dwelled upon are interesting and are not paired with Kanan for the sake of the story, instead it feels smooth and appropriate that the plot progresses with all of them. There are some still unexplained mysteries that I am curious to discover the reason behind, but the characters hold the story up well on their own with the personality and actions of Master Billaba and Kanan with his accomplices. The ending leads us in to what may be an action-orientated, dramatic book, and it may also provide us with some answers from Kanan’s past. The art is excellent, and the splash pages are structured very well.
Story – 8/10
Art – 9/10

Weekly Marvel Roundup for 10/21 – 10/28

Weekly Marvel Roundup for 10/21 – 10/28

Weekly Marvel Roundup for 10/21 – 10/28

Reviews by MattzLadd, CMRO Contributor

 

The Astonishing Ant-Man #1
Written By Nick Spencer
Art By Ramon Rosanas and Jordan Boyd

Synopsis – Scott Lang’s business encounters a promising opportunity, but a sinister new operation threatens Lang’s success… and his life.

Picking up right where the ‘Last Days’ one-shot for Ant-Man left off, we find Scott Lang back in an enigmatic area – where he isn’t exactly acting as a clear hero and is often associating with ex-convicts. However, his love for his family and well-meant morals suggest Lang is simply maybe not making the right decisions. It’s a great time for this character’s development thanks to the increased interest in him due to the film, and to further capitalise on that it appears that Darren Cross and his corporation will feature heavily in this book also. It’s a different antagonist and the apparent leader of a new operation named ‘Hench’ which interests me, however, the events in this book suggest that they could be an extremely dangerous force and they also provide a lot of variety and intrigue in terms of the villains Lang will have to inevitably face. The situation of this series is complex and interesting enough to head in several directions, meaning I think it will be relatively easy for this book to have quality and be successful. The art is also very good.
Story – 8/10
Art – 8/10

Karnak #1
Written By Warren Ellis
Art By Gerardo Zaffino and Dan Brown

Synopsis – Karnak’s new position, both in a mental and geographic perspective, allows him to aid new subjects undergoing Terrigenesis – but only under his own decrees.

Karnak is among the foremost of my favourite characters – I think he is fascinating and a perfectly developed character since his introduction. Thus, when I heard about a solo title featuring him, I was both surprised and incredibly excited. The attention was unprecedented, but I suppose with the demotion of the X-Men to be replaced by the Inhumans, a title such as this was inevitable. So, was it good? Absolutely. Karnak was always a little condescending and self-important, but his recent ‘death’ has only exacerbated his mental outlook on humanity, and I think it is appropriate for his character for him to think so. The displays in this book of his most recognisable feature – his combat style – are brilliant. I always thought a Karnak book should feature action and combat heavily, and it appears this series will do so. I think I would have liked to see either Triton or Gorgon established as supporting characters for this book, but Karnak works well enough alone, and the inclusion of the ever-present Coulson and S.H.I.E.L.D. – though slightly exasperating – works in the situation and the furthering of the plot. The art style is very different and interesting, and I think it is perfect for this book. Overall, this has been a long time coming, and it certainly does not let me down.
Story – 9/10
Art – 8/10

Secret Wars: Agents of Atlas #1 (One-Shot)
Written By Tom Taylor
Art By Steve Pugh and Tamra Bonvillain

Synopsis – The Agents of Atlas battle a domain ruled by the oppressive Baron Zemo and policed by S.H.I.E.L.D.

This book surprised me – from its sudden appearance in the middle of the Warzone titles ending, and the content of the book itself. Why the hell is this even a thing? The only reason I can think of is to rush out a book detailing the introduction of a team who will feature in Secret Wars very soon, but the next core issue isn’t even for a while. This book was decent on its own, and it could have been very good with three to five issues – so why release a one-shot that extremely rushes a good story? The cast is intriguing and very original – it’s like the irrelevant character featuring of Weirdworld with the drastic creature variation of Spider-Island – and the setting is rich and detailed enough to base a brilliant series in it. If this book came out with the other Warzone titles and had a multi-issue run then I think I would have enjoyed it very much, and though I did still enjoy this it shouldn’t have been a one-shot and I can’t think of a reason for its existence.
Story – 8/10
Art – 8/10

Uncanny Inhumans #1
Written By Charles Soule
Art By Steve McNiven, Jay Leisten and Sunny Gho

Synopsis – Black Bolt, Triton and Reader begin a battle throughout time with Kang the Conqueror, and the Inhumans adjust to life in peace with humanity.

Though the context behind what appears to be the primary storyline this book will follow is lacking, Kang can always be fun (even though he’s a convoluted, insufferable paradox) and the action scenes Inhumans find themselves in can be incredibly varied and entertaining. Black Bolt, Triton and Reader are an interesting team, sort of a spin on ‘speak no evil, see no evil and… breathe no evil’ but the larger cast of Inhumans also have potential and I think I would prefer to see some dedicated development of more of the NuHumans to establish them as viable characters alongside the Royal Family. Some steps have been taken, especially with Iso the pressure manipulator via the welcome inclusion of X-Man Beast. Johnny Storm is also good to see, and I think the two will fit in well as supporting characters in this book (although I still don’t understand the relationship between Storm and Medusa). This is largely an issue devoted to orientation, but it’s still entertaining to read and the art is really great besides.
Story – 8/10
Art – 9/10

What If? Infinity – Guardians of the Galaxy #1 (One-Shot)
Written By Joshua Williamson
Art By Jason Copland, Dono Sanchez Almara and Protobunker

Synopsis – What if the Guardians of the Galaxy tried to free Thanos?

Firstly, that cover art just made me write Dave Rapoza’s name down. Like, on paper. Aside from that, the art is decent but not anything special. The plot is very random and often absurd, but it’s clear that Williamson wrote it like that, as it’s the perspective of Rocket Raccoon. The events of this book are interesting and certainly amusing, but unlike the other ‘What Ifs?’ I cannot see this as a viable possibility to occur during Infinity. It strays off to a completely different ending in the final pages – after three or four completely separate plot points have been followed – and so the structure does not exactly work. This works fine as a collection of Rocket Raccoon’s collection of made-up or exaggerated stories, and it is a funny book, but looking at the title and the other books coming out if this ilk, it seems a little out of place.
Story – 7/10
Art – 7/10

Amazing Spider-Man #2
Written By Dan Slott
Art By Giuseppe Camuncoli, Cam Smith and Marte Gracia

Synopsis – Spidey and the Prowler are sent on a dangerous mission to Zodiac’s underwater base to retrieve Parker’s personal Webware device.

This is a fun little story and a good continuation from the first issue, focusing on the enhancements made towards Parker Industries’ various devices and gadgets. To name a couple, there are now holographic camouflage flying submersible cars (yes, you heard me right) and the new armour suits found on Spider-Man and the Prowler are dwelled upon. It’s all very flashy and cool, but it brings up a couple of issues that I have with Stark’s new all-inclusive suit also – that they are becoming too powerful. Zodiac’s forces in this issue barely faze Spidey, he shrugs off bullets without even dodging and it appears that from now on only super powered figures instead of armed goons will be able to harm the heroes. It is natural development to go along with Parker’s company, but it does decrease the dramatic tension somewhat and they are effectively closing the doors to the classic bank robbery Spider-Man stories. This was a good issue, nevertheless. I really like that they are featuring Hobie Brown, and the ending hints towards the real enemies besides Zodiac – one who is not revealed, and a second who is a familiar and promising face. The art continues to be magnificent, utilizing many different artistic techniques for this stealth-esque issue.
Story – 8/10
Art – 9/10

Invincible Iron Man #2
Written By Brian Michael Bendis
Art By David Marquez and Justin Ponsor

Synopsis – Victor von Doom discusses unnatural occurrences with Stark, and sets him on a path directed at Madame Masque.

I did enjoy this book, though the unresolved issues regarding Doom’s appearance and existence still apply. There’s some development though in that department – about items from different dimensions. It seems to me at the moment that it was the Multiverse – not just Earth-616 and its Universe – that was restored, by the Silver Surfer or whatever happens at the end of Secret Wars. Ms. America’s exploits during Avengers #0 also supports this theory. For the continuation of the plot however, this is simply a device in Madame Masque’s plan – which may turn out as the focal point for the first arc of this series. She works well as a character, as does Friday and Doom, though the latter lacks all clarification. This book takes on the tone of tech vs. magic, and if that continued then I would be pleased. The problem of Tony’s overpowered armour is largely irrelevant at present in the face of the supremely powerful Doctor Doom – and maybe also Madame Masque according to some events in this book…
Story – 8/10
Art – 10/10

1872 #4 (Final Issue)
Written By Gerry Duggan
Art By Nik Virella and Lee Loughridge

Synopsis – Stark and Red Wolf face off against Fisk as Bruce Banner does what he must to blow up Roxxon’s dam.

This has turned out to be a very good period series – one that I am surprised was introduced a great deal after 1602 began. Some of the altered characters are very intriguing, and I hoped more would come of a couple in this series (*cough*Banner*cough) but according to the end of this issue, characters from this will return in some form in the future. This book does not take any surprising turns and travels down the standard, predictable route, but it’s not a bad way to end a good series. Many various possibilities are set up by the epilogue, and though there’s no complex use of morals or overreaching themes, the book has held its own in terms of action and the period setting. The art has been very much in the mediocre range of the Warzone books, but that’s not to say that it is bad in many ways.
Story – 7/10
Art – 7/10

Age of Apocalypse #5 (Final Issue)
Written By Fabian Nicieza
Art By Iban Coello and David Curiel

Synopsis – Nemesis reaches the height of his powers, and nobody is able to stop him.

After the past four issues of introducing plotlines and Nicieza trying to avoid choosing between them, we get an issue that is satisfying and great in terms of action and the art, but it really has nothing to do with the exposition set up in the first issue – Cypher was to be the protagonist and Apocalypse himself the antagonist. Instead, a random deviation gives us the Summers brothers and Burner as featured characters, and supposedly a long running plot from Nemesis (which was not hinted towards at all until the fourth issue) makes him the true villain. Moreover, his ambitions don’t particularly make sense and we’ve seen all his fighting styles used by Spider-Man’s Regent already. The plot to defeat Nemesis is less contrived but more predictable, and there really are no twists or intuitive decisions from the creative team to make this book more interesting. It’s a great book to look at, but if you’re interested in a clear, complex story then you might find better work elsewhere.
Story – 6/10
Art – 10/10

Weirdworld #5 (Final Issue)
Written By Jason Aaron
Art By Mike Del Mundo and Marco D’Alfonso

Synopsis – A battle between the denizens of Weirdworld erupts over Polemachus.

A brilliant end to a brilliant series. Arkon is a very entertaining character, and his interactions with Weirdworld are fascinating to see, and despite his barbarianism you do root for him and his accomplices. If I heard a title was going to come out with a selection of random and little known characters such as Warbow and Arkon and Jennifer Kale, then I would have spat at the idea – but between the beautiful artwork and the great story in itself, I encourage the idea now. This book even gives us new information as to the end of Secret Wars and Battleworld that I haven’t seen before, and hints to a ‘weird’ future for Arkon if he ever gets a series of this sort again. The book may be lacking in clear and driving morals, but its absurdity is prominent enough to negate the need for one. I have thoroughly enjoyed this book, and I would call it one of the forerunners for the best title of Battleworld.
Story – 9/10
Art – 10/10

S.H.I.E.L.D. #11
Written By Mark Waid
Art By Howard Chaykin and Edgar Delgado

Synopsis – Dominic Fortune, now an elderly man, enlists Coulson’s help for a plot involving half a trillion dollars and Hydra.

I can see what Waid was going for here, a short revival of an golden-age hero to tell a James Bond-esque spy story, whether to coincide with the new Spectre film or not. However, he could have picked a better guest star. I’ve never seen nor heard of Fortune before, but in this issue he strikes me as only a hero in regard to him fighting Nazis, otherwise I would say he is quite immoral. Some of the things he did in this issue really surprised me, and what surprised me even more is Coulson’s content reaction to certain actions (Fortune literally blows up a helicopter pilot who could very well have been innocent). Perhaps there was some subtext regarding Coulson’s admiration for the man, or more likely it was lazy writing, but the mark is missed for Coulson and S.H.I.E.L.D. in this book for me. The whole story itself comes off as it bit lazy also, and though it isn’t a half bad plot it didn’t exactly engage my interest, and the art didn’t compensate for the story.
Story – 5/10
Art – 6/10

And, from a galaxy far far away…

Journey to Star Wars – The Force Awakens – Shattered Empire #4 (Final Issue)
Written By Greg Rucka
Art By Marco Checchetto and Andres Mossa

Synopsis – Shara Bey accompanies Luke Skywalker on what could turn out to be her final mission…

I suppose, after reading this taster series, it was a good idea for Marvel / Disney to begin releasing canon content prior to The Force Awakens, and they could have definitely put out worse books. The structure of the one-shot, self-contained books allows for a number of enticing team-ups, but it prevents from establishing a clear antagonist aside from the Empire itself. This issue’s story is an infiltration mission featuring Bey, Luke Skywalker and R2-D2 heading after some special stolen items within an Imperial base, and I enjoyed it a lot. It has more significance than the other issues of this book in relation to The Force Awakens itself – including some plot points that could reoccur in the movie or the sequels to follow it, and rounding up the development of Shara Bey and Kes in preparation for whatever role they or their offspring will play in the movie. The art has been fantastic, and if they continue doing the ‘Journey to’ books then I hope Checchetto and Mossa team up once more.
Story – 8/10
Art – 10/10

Darth Vader #11
Written By Kieron Gillen
Art By Salvador Larroca and Edgar Delgado

Synopsis – Vader’s assets converge dangerously as he draws closer to the location of Luke Skywalker.

This is an OK book. I still think Vader’s chosen alliances don’t fit with his personality and, while the Stormtroopers and Thanoth do act as subservients – their discovery of Aphra’s deal with Vader could even infringe on his authority. I’m not enjoying this arc, to summarise, but this series has proven it can be great with the first arc, and when Vader finally catches Luke I think the book will return to its deserved quality. The decent art is enough to sustain the entertainment provided, and there are some interesting supporting characters still hanging around – but as a man who appreciates a developed and appropriate plot, this doesn’t hit the right notes.
Story – 6/10
Art – 8/10

Weekly Marvel Roundup for 10/14 – 10/21

Weekly Marvel Roundup for 10/14 - 10/21

Weekly Marvel Roundup for 10/14 - 10/21

Reviews by MattzLadd, CMRO Contributor

 

Captain America – Sam Wilson #1
Written By Nick Spencer
Art By Daniel Acuña

Synopsis – Sam Wilson stands in a political position that Steve Rogers never touched – and his superhero identity is threatened.

With this new political outlook, we get to see and explore areas that we never got to see with Captain America – it was literally majorly comprised of HYDRA and punching things. Thus, this book is a lot more complex with themes ranging from the hostile racism of the Sons of the Serpent to the boundaries in which Wilson often fails to operate. The situation puts pressure on Cap and he is developed well alongside it, forming relationships with new supporting characters such as Misty Knight and D-Man, and now opposing S.H.I.E.L.D. and even Steve Rogers in a way. While I am sure there is going to be ample amounts of action in this book, I am also looking forward to the political conflict and enriched characters that makes this issue intelligent. The art is very good, and Daniel Acuña does a brilliant job of pencilling, inking and colouring all by himself. This book overall has a lot of promise, and I’m liking Sam Wilson as a complex protagonist.
Story – 9/10
Art – 8/10

Guardians of the Galaxy #1
Written By Brian Michael Bendis
Art By Valerio Schiti and Richard Isanove

Synopsis – The new Guardians adjust to a team without Peter Quill – as he is now the Emporer of the Spartoi.

We saw numerous different potential members for the GotG over the last volume of the series, and I’m glad to see a couple of them returning – Agent Venom is decent in the team and I think the Thing is especially suited to the cosmic setting, he explains so very well in this issue. Also, with Quill’s developing love life with a certain X-Man, I’m not at all surprised to see Kitty Pryde as the protagonist and apparent leader of the team. Of course, humour still runs thick through the book as it should, and there are many different unnatural races and planets to let the artists play around with. The art is excellent, and some panels specifically use colouring extremely well to display some awe-inspiring scenes at the end of the issue. I’m happy this book has returned, and I think all of us can place our trust in Bendis to come up with an interesting and original plot for this volume.
Story – 9/10
Art – 9/10
New Avengers #1
Written By Al Ewing
Art By Gerardo Sandoval and Dono Sanchez Almara

Synopsis – A.I.M – Avengers Idea Mechanics – employs its New Avengers in Paris where the Maker has caused trouble.

I think of all the new teams, this one has to be the strangest. Its formed mainly out of the basis of Sunspot’s Avengers from the latter part of Hickman’s Avengers run, where da Costa bought the villainous A.I.M and merged a tendency for science with the standard team. It is basically the same situation here, apart from different members including mostly younger faces such as Wiccan, Hulkling and, ugh, Squirrel Girl. Then again, they hold a lot of promise and are definitely a powerful line-up. S.H.I.E.L.D. provides a supervisor in the form of Hawkeye – who I am now sure has to be on an Avengers team at every point to exist in the Marvel Universe. The plot in which the team finds themselves against is very unusual, and not what I was expecting to start this arc, but the antagonist of 1610’s Reed Richards – the nefarious Maker – is an exciting enemy. I would say more suspension of disbelief is required for this book over many of the others, but there’s possibility for some great things to occur.
Story – 8/10
Art – 8/10
Spider-Gwen #1
Written By Jason Latour
Art By Robbi Rodriguez and Rico Renzi

Synopsis – Gwen’s life becomes complex once more as an old foe forces her to return to her powers.

I’ll be honest, the Spider-Gwen craze that swept over many comic book readers didn’t affect me. Sure, it’s quite compelling to see the traditional Spider-Man tale twisted to feature a then supporting character, and how each character is developed differently when it’s Stacy and not Parker who gets the proportional abilities of a spider, but I don’t think it’s good enough to ever be more than one part of a Spider team or as a fleeting visit. We’ve had decades of comics to enrich Parker’s life and each character and setting that he would visit, but with this book and the previous volume we get some long-deserved attention on George Stacy and Gwen herself, but also stupid aspects such as ridiculous villains like this Bodega Bandit and in my opinion the wrong kind of jokes. I didn’t read the first volume, so perhaps I missed the things that made Gwen’s supporting cast interesting, but picking it up here I am not invested at all and it was only the cliffhanger of the issue that surprised me. The art is good but it often deviates to strange and unattractive panels and I don’t like the look of a lot of the characters.
Story – 6/10
Art – 7/10
Spider-Man 2099 #1
Written By Peter David
Art By Will Sliney and Frank D’Armata

Synopsis – Miguel O’Hara is operating in the present after discovering that the future has been ravaged.

Everything I have seen from Spider-Man 2099 has been in 2099, so I was rather surprised when I opened this to see Parker Industries logos and Miguel with a direct tie to what Peter Parker is doing right now with his company and in his solo title. The presence of O’Hara in the present day rather than the future does close some doors they could have explored with sci-fi approaches and futuristic variations on characters – I would have loved to see more of the Defenders and the Avengers from Secret Wars 2099 – but it appears that Peter David is incorporating at least one of the future variations featured in that title in this, somehow (it’s also the worst one, but nevermind). In regard to the plot, I like the time travel aspect, and O’Hara trying to fix the future from his past. The supporting characters are interesting enough, and Miguel plays around with current situations in an entertaining way. The end of the issue completely and suddenly changes the tone, however, and it seems like a very forced cliffhanger to prompt the ‘want to know what happens next?’ tagline. Nevertheless, it has very ominous implications. The art is fantastic, and very smooth and detailed.
Story – 8/10
Art – 9/10
The Uncanny Avengers #1
Written By Gerry Duggan
Art By Ryan Stegman, Richard Isanove

Synopsis – The Avengers Unity Division is in a weak position, and Inhumanity is only making the situation worse.

I said in my review of the Uncanny Avengers section in Avengers #0 that Deadpool does not usually work in a team – and especially not an Avengers one. I’ll say it again. Deadpool does not work in a team, especially an Avengers one. With the exception of Uncanny X-Force, I’ve only ever liked him in solo books. Mixing real drama and serious concepts with his ubiquitous quips and sarcasm rarely pays off, and that shows in this issue where Spider-Man quits and the team doesn’t really work well together at all. There are some formidable members, but even without Deadpool they seem to get in each other’s way. And with mutant themes, Steve Roger’s traditions and now Inhumanity, I think Duggan won’t be able to choose a path to go in and the overload of themes will only detract from the story. I’m all for inefficient teams bettering themselves and bonding over time, but I don’t think it’s appropriate for one of the introductory and foremost Marvel teams going into this new world, and the failings of the team are not entertaining to observe.
Story – 5/10
Art – 7/10
What If? Infinity – X-Men #1 (One-Shot)
Written By Joshua Williamson
Art By Mike Norton and Rachelle Rosenberg

Synopsis – What if the X-Men were the sole survivors of Infinity?

This book provides an insight into the disastrous possibilities of Infinity – if the war with the Builders had wiped out insurmountable amounts of people. We only get to see a small group of surviving X-Characters, yet their situation of scavenging among derelict and abandoned spaceships suggests a lot about the rest of the Galaxy. While I doubt they are the sole survivors, and this issue proves that, I can see the tagline as being necessary for a one-shot. I would have preferred this to be a longer series, as the plot in this is mostly rushed and a little contrived, but the themes are decent and some interesting stuff could have come out of it. I don’t know if that is an option for Williamson, but if so he should definitely consider extending this book. The art is really good, and Norton and Rosenberg do a great job of capturing the colours and perspective of space.
Story – 7/10
Art – 9/10
Captain America – White #3
Written By Jeph Loeb
Art By Tim Sale and Dave Stewart

Synopsis – Other aspects of WWII are explored as the real reason behind Cap and Bucky’s mission is revealed.

This issue does something really well, as I think when telling the tale of a World War Two period book they forget about the other factions of Axis or the Allies, instead focusing solely on the US and Germany. The introduction of a strange yet enticing French group brings both problems and opportunities to Cap, Bucky and the Howling Commandos, and it seems it is all based on a build-up towards a fight with a certain villain that I am glad has been brought in. The majority of the plot however is just fleeting insults and banter going across between the Commandos with Cap telling us the story of Bucky for the millionth time. Issue #3’s are often the weakest in the storytelling aspect, and if it weren’t for the final page I would have certainly supported that statement. I still don’t like the art much at all, but the snowy setting utilised in the former part of this issue actually looks really good.
Story – 7/10
Art – 6/10
Deadpool vs. Thanos #3
Written By Tim Seeley
Art By Elmo Bondoc and Ruth Redmond

Synopsis – The plot develops as Deadpool and Thanos take a dangerous visit down to Hell.

Looking at the entirety of the provided plot so far, I would say it is time for Deadpool to either get serious or get out. He’s proven he’s capable with Uncanny X-Men to not detract from the dramatics of a more serious book, and as this story is utilising some interesting concepts and Thanos is coming into a more prominent role, I’m finding Deadpool’s incessant jokes out of place. I was anything but entertained by everything Deadpool said this issue – it was just annoying and not clever at all. At this point, though the plot is ambitious, the art is really the best part, and there are plenty of other books I could read with better. Though this issue sustains its interest on Hell and its hierarchy of characters, it is not as good as the previous two and I am expecting a serious change of pace for the conclusion.
Story – 6/10
Art – 8/10
Marvel Zombies #4 (Final Issue)
Written By Simon Spurrier
Art By Kev Walker and Guru-eFX

Synopsis – As the undead Ulysses speaks with his daughter, the zombies try one last attack.

I have enjoyed this title very much. It has invigorated the relevance and intrigue of the Bloodstone characters and placed Elsa (thank Doom we now have a good figurehead for this name instead of a certain Disney character) in a foremost position among the female heroes of Marvel. The Deadlands are a great setting, and this book used a division of the zombies that were different from the rest – giving us more intelligent and capable zombified characters to act as a threat. Alas, it was always about the father/daughter relationship between Elsa and Ulysses, and more of a family orientation as revealed in this issue, and with that the themes displayed gave off some good morals. I was surprised at first as to the climax of this book but after some thinking I realised it’s a brilliant ending that summarises Elsa’s personality. The art is great, and though I have no idea what creature Guru-eFX is, they certainly did a good job on the colouring.
Story – 9/10
Art – 8/10
A-Force #5 (Final Issue)
Written By Marguerite Bennett and G. Willow Wilson
Art By Jorge Molina and Laura Martin

Synopsis – Arcadia assembles into A-Force to combat the oncoming throngs of undead.

Well, I don’t know when the zombies of the Deadlands were exacerbated into an unstoppable force, as they’ve been displayed as perfectly beatable in titles such as Marvel Zombies and Siege, but I suppose the exaggeration of the threat was required for this book to have an ending where they can discuss the morals without it being convoluted. Friendship and teamwork are important, especially in this book, and despite the cheesy one-liners and needless sacrifices, they’re not a detriment to this team as a working unit. Though we haven’t learnt much about Singularity – when I thought we would have – the character has developed a personality to carry through to the next volume of A-Force, and we will see whether Singularity is the same one from Battleworld surviving into the new world.
Story – 8/10
Art – 9/10
Civil War #5 (Final Issue)
Written By Charles Soule
Art By Leinil Francis Yu, Gerry Alanguilan, Sunny Gho and Matt Milla

Synopsis – Veranke’s forces enter the fight, and it will take the combined efforts of the Iron and the Blue to beat them.

This is an ingenious ending to a brilliant book – one that is very worthy of sharing its name with the original Civil War. The situation was adapted perfectly for Battleworld, with each variation of a character having their own instanced interests (there’s a Hulk Wolverine for some reason?) but everything blends together to form a compelling battle between the two forces. The subtext is extremely important – both Civil Wars have been important because of the optional support each reader can give, but instead of just repeating the majority of the events of the original this introduces a third party that – while negating the divided supports of the readers – gives a real target for everyone’s combined efforts and provides a drastic yet intriguing ending. The series has been extremely enjoyable and stands on its own feet besides the first Civil War, with excellent detailed art that makes the most out of the huge and visceral setting.
Story – 9/10
Art – 8/10
Ms. Marvel #19 (Final Issue)
Written By G. Willow Wilson
Art By Adrian Alphona and Ian Herring

Synopsis – Kamala deals with each of her friends and family in turn in the midst of the final Incursion.

Wow, is this an incredible issue. It almost makes me want to go back and read all of this Ms. Marvel series, but I am really lazy and busy otherwise so maybe not at the moment. Anyway, the fact that this book is entirely comprised of displaying supporting character’s personalities – and generating so much emotion and enjoyment out of that – is something great. I can’t think of many books that could spend an entire issue on a handful of introduced supporting characters, never mind a book that has only had 19 issues. I haven’t even read much of this, but I could fully appreciate the almost revolutionary steps this book has taken in regard to other cultures and incorporating many current ideas and trends existing in the world today. There are some great messages about friendship and family scattered throughout each conversation Kamala holds, and they are all important in their own right. This book has made all the right decisions for what was needed at the time, and I can say now that what we need sticking around is Ms. Marvel – Kamala Khan.
Story – 10/10
Art – 9/10
And, from a galaxy far far away…
Chewbacca #1
Written By Gerry Duggan
Art By Phil Noto

Synopsis – A young girl begs help from Chewie to attack a formidable slavemaster.

I assumed primarily after seeing this book’s title that it was going to be difficult to pull off. Chewbacca is an intelligible character, meaning his roars and grunts have to be translated through an established supporting character or more preferably have him share a book with another character such as C-3PO or Han Solo. Placing him on his own means there’s very little room for character development and he’s only really effective in combat situations. The character we do focus on is a similarly underdeveloped girl who is waging a hopeless war against a slavemaster – and she isn’t particularly likeable. With the final page antagonist reveal, I can’t see anything of a fair fight between Chewie and the forces of the Empire, and I’m not particularly invested in the Wookiee on his own or this girl. Perhaps something good could come out of this, but at present I don’t see the point in the book – though the art is very good.
Story – 6/10
Art – 8/10
Journey to Star Wars – The Force Awakens – Shattered Empire #3
Written By Greg Rucka
Art By Marco Checchetto, Angel Unzueta and Andres Mossa

Synopsis – The Empire finally converges on Shara, Leia and Princess Soruna’s position.

This issue culminates the build-up from the past two issues regarding Shara’s endeavour on Naboo and the Pathfinder’s adventure. Both settings are interesting, with the former offering an exciting close-knit battle and some scintillating inside references and the latter showing us the status of many known characters and some other details about the shattered Empire. The plot for this issue is largely self-contained, but it flows well and doesn’t seem rushed and the art to accompany it is probably the best of all the Star Wars books right now. I can’t identify many plot points still available for the conclusion, however, so I suppose they’ll just do an orientation and summarisation to bring relevant characters together for the next ‘Journey to the Force Awakens’ book. This issue was great, though it may have expended a lot of the possibilities for the conclusion’s quality.
Story – 8/10
Art – 10/10