jump to navigation

Casual Saturdays: Where Things Stand… September 27, 2008

Posted by lotrking in Casual Days, Comic Book Stuff.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
5 comments

Wow, three months goes by fast! Let’s once again take a look at where things stand in the Marvel Universe.

Secret Invasion – It’s rapidly approaching its end, and six issues, three big Skrull reveals, and countless tie-ins later, it is a great story, while at the same time being a little unsatisfying. For the most part, I have enjoyed the goings-on in the main series, but many of the tie-ins have been disappointing. While this has almost as many tie-ins as Civil War did, Civil War was much better at being able to carry the story of each particular character or group of characters coping with the SHRA. In this case, most tie-ins simply feature a character or group of characters participating in an issues-long brawl with the Skrulls. As epic as this story has been, I will be happy when it is over.

Fantastic Four – I’ve loved Millar’s take on the FF, even if it is a little slow at times, but it seems that many do not share my enthusiasm. Sure, his take on the individual members may not be completely orthodox, but this departure from the norm has been what has made most of it fun. So while I’ll enjoy his sixteen issue run, I wouldn’t want him to take the helm for the next several years. (And I do hope they find someone great to do so, FF really does need a shot in the arm that will carry it forward.) In the meantime, regardless whether or not you are a fan of Millar’s handling of the team, you should definitely check out the Fantastic Four: True Story mini-series that is going on. The story might be slightly absurd, but I’m loving every minute of it. I’ve reviewed the first two issues of it at WCBR here and here, and I’ll soon post the link here to my review of the third.

Silver Surfer – We haven’t seen hide nor hair (that is, if he had hair) of him since Nova 15, and as far as I know, it looks to stay that way. I really wish Marvel would do another mini. 😦 (Or, heck, even an ongoing!) But, with the “War of Kings” that’s supposed to tear through Marvel’s cosmic line next year, maybe they’ll find a place to tell a story about good old Norrin. Until then, I plan to write a review of one of my favorite Surfer tales, Silver Surfer: Requiem for WCBR sometime this week, and I’ll post a link here when it is available.

Amazing Spider-Man – It sure has come a long way from the atrocious One More Day fiasco. New Ways to Die has been every bit the fantastic story we were promised it would be and while I’m still upset with the dissolution of the marriage, I won’t lie that I’m looking forward to what the “Braintrust” will bring us next. Especially the courtroom story hinted at in the “Extra!” one shot a while back. Also, the first issue of ASM Family was decent, and I was disappointed at first when it sounded as though they wouldn’t be including further “Mr. and Mrs. Spider-Man” stories, but the solicits for future issues makes it appear they will. Expect reactions to issue two in two weeks.

New Avengers – This title is severely lacking from its title characters, namely the Avengers. I’ve not hidden my dislike for the fact that Bendis is using these two books he’s in charge of to write Secret Invasion back-up tales (some of which haven’t even been that important) despite the fact that they rarely involve the Avengers. I really wish he’d done a Secret Invasion: Origins mini-series for these stories, or something of the like, and just given us more Avengers adventures. Though I won’t lie, rumors running around of the possible upcoming fourth Avengers ongoing (Dark Avengers) has me excited.

Mighty Avengers – See above.

Avengers: The Initiative – Where its two “Avengers brethren” have suffered from “Secret Invasion overdose,” Avengers: The Initiative has flourished. Dan Slott and Christos Gage continue to put out spectacular, character driven stories proving that you can pull characters from the “nobody’s ever heard of these random Marvel superheroes” list, and still have one of the best comic books on the market. Yes, I still miss Cloud 9, my favorite character to come out of this series, but team Slott and Gage haven’t steered us wrong yet, and I’m sure we’ll see her before too long.

Captain America – With Ed Brubaker’s long awaited conclusion to the “Death of the Dream” “mega-arc” that came out this week, Brubaker proves that he can leave you satisfied and begging for more at the same time. With almost complete resolution on the good guy side of the equation, and almost none on the bad guy side, Brubaker has made me a permanent fan of Captain America. Don’t expect to see this series leaving my must-read list anytime soon.

Thor – This, in my opinion, is still probably the best comic book series on the market. J. Michael Straczynski and Olivier Coipel continue to give us this slow-churning epic infused with humor and suspense. What is Loki’s true plan? What does it have to do with Dr. Doom? How does she intend to gain the allegiance of Balder, one of Thor’s longest friends? How will her actions affect Midgard? When JMS’ run on Thor is finally over (which I hope never happens), this will likely be one of my favorite graphic format stories told. (This honor currently belongs to Bone by Jeff Smith, and yes, I have read Watchmen, I still think Bone is better.)

Invincible Iron Man – One year ago, I never would have guessed that I’d be reading an Iron Man series. I loathed him for his actions during Civil War and, along with many fans and much of the actual Marvel Universe, blamed him for Captain America’s death. My appreciation for him, unknowingly, actually began when I started reading Avengers: The Initiative. As I began to see more and more the benefits of the SHRA, I began to understand Tony’s actions. I didn’t necessarily like him, but I no longer hated him. Then, of course, the Iron Man movie came out. I was completely blown away. I needed more Tony Stark, and I needed it IMMEDIATELY. Luckily, Marvel was wise enough to start a new Invincible Iron Man ongoing series just days after the release of the movie. And, luckier still, the series has maintained much of the flavor of the movie. IIM has become one of my favorite monthly reads, and one that I recommend to everyone I talk to who loved the movie (especially non-comic book readers, what better way to introduce them to the medium?)

Uncanny X-Men – With the authors of the already legendary Captain America series and the breakaway Invincible Iron Man ongoing at the helm of the world’s best selling super-team, this should have been an easy success. Unfortunately, something has gone wrong. Ever since Messiah Complex, Uncanny has taken a turn for the mediocre. Luckily, it had the beautiful artwork of Mike Choi to make us survive through the awful hippie story. Now we’re just getting an ever-increasing focus on the ever-increasingly annoying character Pixie, as rendered by the horrible artist Greg Land. I don’t know what needs to happen to fix this title, but Brubaker and Fraction but figure it out fast. (And firing Greg Land from the comic book medium would be a good start, especially when he pulls off crap like this.)

Astonishing X-Men – Who’d’ve guessed that this series would still be plagued with delays after the departure of Whedon and Cassaday? I dunno, but with the upcoming Ender’s Game comic book adaptation (discussed below), I’ve decided to drop this in favor of that. Don’t get me wrong, the story seems interesting enough, and the artwork is wonderful, but I feel this isn’t really an essential part of my reading list. I will, however, still review issues of this from time to time on WCBR.

Ender’s Game – Finally. One of my all-time-favorite novels is getting the comic book treatment. I’ve never looked forward to the release of a comic book as much as I am Ender’s Game #1 on October 8th. If you’ve never read the book, first off, shame on you! But secondly, you definitely better read the comic, because it’s gonna be epic! In fact, next week, Casual Saturdays will be all about why you should read it, so if you aren’t planning to, you better check back then!

So what do you guys think of the Marvel Universe as it is now? Share your thoughts if you feel like it.

-LOTRKing

Advertisements

Review of Avengers: The Initiative 17 (4 stars) September 26, 2008

Posted by lotrking in Comic Book Reviews.
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,
add a comment

Overall rating: 4 out of 5 stars

First off, sorry for not having a review yesterday. First I had computer troubles, then I had troubles here at home, then I had distractions (accursed Facebook!), and then I had to go to work. Anyway, I STILL haven’t gotten any comics in the mail, so there wouldn’t have been a review today anyway. With that out of the way, let’s get on to the review.

Starting off at Camp Hammond, the Shadow Initiative (of which Trauma is now a member) is finally summoned to take down the on-base threat. They discover that Ant-Man is also remaining on base, and begin to plan how to take care of the Skrull threat. Like every team, they go through some paranoia about Skrull infiltrators, but they eventually figure out that everyone is (probably) who they say they are. However, along the way, we get some hints about Mutant Zero’s identity, and it’s looking more and more likely that she is Jean Grey. I won’t say I’m surprised, but it will be interesting to see what affect this has on the “X-books,” if any.

Meanwhile, the Kill Krew saves Hardball, and he and Komodo are reunited (if I actually cared about those two characters, I might have been happy; when are we gonna see Cloud 9 again?) as they then move on to Utah. After taking out the Skrull on that team, they are given a great asset to their mission: Devil Slayer has joined them. I’ve seen him in a grand total of one issue before this, but I’m eager to see him in action again. And hopefully, with the help of his teleporting cloak, the Krew will make it to Montana (the home of Cloud 9, for the forgetful ones out there) much sooner.

Lastly, the big battle between the Shadow Initiative and the Skrulls has its fair share of surprises (and some great art by Tolibao, I’m very happy that he has taken over art chores when Caselli can’t do it, instead of Uy), but, of course, ends with the Skrulls pwning and capturing our heroes (at least they aren’t dead)! This issue took a slight change in direction in that it was more about the story than the characters, but still managed to be thoroughly enjoyable, and I’m sure we’ll get more focus on the characters once Secret Invasion is over.

-LOTRKing

Review of Avengers: The Initiative 16 (4.5 stars) August 29, 2008

Posted by lotrking in Comic Book Reviews.
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,
add a comment

Overall rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

I don’t know how Slott and Gage do it, but they’ve once again not only packed in a massive amount of story into a single issue, they’ve also continued to maintain their excellent story-telling standards. Somehow, they manage to touch base with everyone remaining at Camp Hammond (including providing a very interesting set up for the upcoming issue of Iron Man: Director of S.H.I.E.L.D., I may have to look into that one) and also with Crusader at the battle in NYC, and still provide what feels like a full length story with 3D-Man joining the Skrull Kill Krew. We even meet back up with Komodo by the end.

At Camp Hammond Trauma and Physique find War Machine and the Baron, who in turn all go look for Pym. Luckily, remnants of Stanetech have kept War Machine’s suit from complete failure, and eventually let him reboot. As this happens, he receives an embedded programmed message from Tony instructing him to stop whatever he is doing, and go to a certain location for instructions, and most importantly, to keep it secret. As Trauma, Physique, and the Baron go to the infirmary to help the injured, Pym has a meeting with other Skrulls on base, Ant-Man, who has remained hidden, sees this, and wishes he was elsewhere.

As 3D-Man meets the Kill Krew, they decide to take out the infiltrated Skrull from each Initiative team, with the first stop being Arizona. There, after defeating an undercover Skrull, Komodo plans to join with the next stop being Vegas to save Hardball! (And they better stop by Montana pretty soon, or there’s gonna be an angry fan if Cloud 9 turns up dead!)

So Slott and Gage prove once again that A:TI is one of the best books on the market. Add in the fact that Caselli has returned for art, and you have just another typical(ly great) issue from this series. If you aren’t reading this yet, take a moment now to ask yourself why.

-LOTRKing

Review of Avengers: The Initiative 15 (4 stars) July 31, 2008

Posted by lotrking in Comic Book Reviews.
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,
add a comment

Overall rating: 4 out of 5 stars

My review can be found here.

Quick spoilers: The Initiative is called into action to help fight the Skrulls in NYC. Crusader relates the story of how he came to Earth and chose humans over his own people. While in battle, Crusader instinctively kills one of his oldest Skrull friends. While he regrets his rash action, he now fully considers himself human.

-LOTRKing

Casual Saturdays: Where Things Stand June 28, 2008

Posted by lotrking in Casual Days, Comic Book Stuff.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
add a comment

Well, the year’s (almost) half over, and seeing as how it’s been a few months since I did one of these posts, I thought I’d take the time to assess my current views on the Marvel Universe. Sometime this week (assuming I have time) I’m going to send an email to Marvel letting them know what I think, it will essentially say the same, or similar things in this post. (I will also ask for subscriptions to be available for Avengers: The Initiative!)

Secret Invasion: Three issues in, and we’ve had three big reveals: Spider-Woman, Yellowjacket, and Jarvis are all Skrulls! Bendis has been handling the story extremely well, and I can’t wait to see where he goes with it. Surprising to myself, I’ve also actually enjoyed Yu’s art in SI (though it still needs improvement). Who else might be a Skrull? Luke Cage, but I’m guessing he doesn’t know it, and will be heart broken when he finds out.

Fantastic Four: Millar/Hitch’s first arc was more than satisfying, and judging by the first issue of their second arc, it looks to be ten times more awesome! I love that Millar makes this series about the characters, not their adventures. And I love the way the Hitch draws Sue! What is there not to be happy about? 😉 Fantastic Four is one of favorite monthlies, and one of my three “must reads.” (In other words, if you’re not reading it, pick it up immediately!)

Silver Surfer/Nova: I’m reading the current arc of Nova, simply because is features ol’ Norrin Radd, and boy is it spectacular. (Reviews can be found here and here, the second review isn’t mine though.) I’m hoping what with the success of SS: Requiem and SS: In Thy Name, that if these three issues of Nova see a spike in readers, Marvel may consider giving Norrin his own ongoing again (finally!), or at least another mini-series (which could then lead to an ongoing). What with both Annihilation events, Nova, and Guardians of the Galaxy reinvigorating Marvel’s cosmic line, what better way to add to this corner of the MU by launching an ongoing for Marvel’s most famous Sentinel of the Spaceways?

Amazing Spider-Man: This is the most disappointing series that I am currently reading. Occasionally we get a glimpse of an issue that is wonderful, but it seems that the next is always a let down. Also, any regular readers know that I am very opposed to the dissolution of the marriage, and I still think that it can be reinstated, and we could still have spectacular Spidey stories. If Marvel has a greatest flaw right now, this is it. (Though I won’t lie, the upcoming “New Ways to Die” arc looks awesome.)

Mighty Avengers and New Avengers: This should be two groups, but seeing as how these two are simply telling back stories of Secret Invasion right now, these series serve the same purpose. While I enjoy the stories that have been presented thus far, I really wish Bendis would have made them a separate mini-series, like Secret Invasion: Origins, or something. One, that would let casual readers know that these stories are essential to Secret Invasion, and not “just another tie-in.” I mean, the Skrull queen posing as Spider-Woman was revealed in an issue of New Avengers, for goodness sake! These things are really too important to leave out of Secret Invasion. Likewise, I really want a good Avengers story fix. Mighty Avengers only gave us two quick arcs to meet the team, before diving straight into SI, and as enjoyable as SI is, I really want these series to get back to more adventures of their perspective teams ASAP.

Avengers: The Initiative: I think yesterday’s review of issue 14 sums up my feelings on this series. This is another one of my three must reads. Pick it up as soon as you get the chance (and ask Marvel to offer subscriptions to it!)

Captain America: Brubaker continues to weave a web of genius plot lines. With last month’s reveal of who the “Bad Cap” is and next month looking to have the “New Cap” vs. “Bad Cap” fight, along with the promise of a conclusion in September, this series continues to be an extremely entertaining read, and I can’t wait to see what Brubaker does with James after the conclusion of this monumental story line.

Thor: First, I have to admit to slight disappointment, as this series seems to have slipped onto a bimonthly schedule. Still, it is worth the wait. Thor is mythic stories infused with humor, and packed with a surprising amount of characterizations as only J. Michael Straczynski can do. Thor might just be Marvel’s best ongoing, and therefore is the final one of my three must reads. If you aren’t reading this, you are missing out, big time.

Invincible Iron Man: Two issues in, and I’m loving it! Matt Fraction is doing a brilliant job introducing new Iron Man fans to his current status quo, and keeping it plenty entertaining for regular comic book readers. My hope is that Fraction can reinvigorate this character like Brubaker with Cap or JMS with Thor, and if the first two issues are any indication, he just may succeed. If you loved the movie, you should probably be reading this.

Uncanny X-Men: Messiah Complex: Awesome. Divided We Stand: Mehh. Manifest Destiny: ??? While this last storyarc has been a bit underwhelming (note to future comic book writers: don’t use hippies), the dream team of Brubaker, Fraction, and Cary, along with the monumental issue 500 leaves me with high hopes for what is coming next.

Well, those are my current opinions, we’ll check back with another “Where Things Stand” in a few months! See you on Monday with a Flashback!

-LOTRKing

Review of Avengers: The Initiative 14 (4.5 stars) June 27, 2008

Posted by lotrking in Comic Book Reviews.
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,
2 comments

Overall rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

With issue 13 being mediocre at best, and the original cast graduating in issue 12 (c’mon, you know you miss Cloud 9 already), I was really worried about where this series was going to go. Such worries look to be in vain. This issue takes the awesomeness from the earlier WWH tie-ins, and then steps it up a notch. Much like recent issues of Mighty and New Avengers, the story opens by giving us full light on many of “Hank Pym’s” actions. We learn that he used Super-Skrull abilities to survive his two recent near death experiences, not his lame “I shrunk real small” excuse. It also seems that he was indeed opposed to the creation of the “MVPeople.”

From here, the story shifts to Camp Hammond’s other resident Skrull (at least, the only other one we know of), as Crusader makes a rather odd lunch choice. For those who haven’t been following this series, Crusader is a Skrull who has defected from his people and wants to live on Earth as a superhero. He does not know anything about the current Skrull invasion, he has not told anyone about his true nature, and uses his ultra-powerful “Freedom Ring” to keep from being detected. When he sees that “Hank” has made the same peculiar cuisine choice (pickles mixed with strawberries, apparently it is reminiscent of a favorite Skrull dish), he knows that Hank must also be a Skrull. But before we can see how he acts on this newfound knowledge, the story moves onward once again.

The new 3-D Man, introduced as a graduate in issue 12, arrives in Hawaii to lead that state’s chapter of the Initiative: the Point Men. But before he left, he was bequeathed a gift from the original 3-D Man: the original 3-D Man suit, which includes goggles that can see Skrulls in their true form. Swapping these goggles for his own, he meets the rest of the Point Men, only to discover that member “Magnitude” is nothing but a Skrull spy. Upon revealing this, a battle results which injures two members of the Point Men, before Devil-Slayer enters and together, he and 3-D Man are able to “slay” the Skrull. (Okay, bad pun, sorry.) (By the way, anyone else become an instant fan of Devil-Slayer in this scene?) Devil-Slayer elects to remain behind and look after the injured teammates, but 3-D Man insists on travelling to Camp Hammond to sound the alarm on the invasion. Devil-Slayer uses his cloak to open an interdimensional portal to send him there.

Meanwhile, back in Stamford, Crusader continues to struggle with what to do about Hank. He is unaware of how to expose Hank’s true nature without revealing his own. As 3-D Man appears, his first warning is “We’ve been invaded!” With the knowledge that the original 3-D Man had Skrull detecting goggles, Crusader is terrified of being discovered, and in a hasty decision, decides he must use the Freedom Ring to interfere with the goggles. In a flash of light, 3-D Man is knocked down, and as he looks up, he sees that he is surrounded by Initiative cadets and staff … all Skrulls. This moment made me jump back in my seat. It’s like when you’re watching a movie, and the hero makes a really stupid choice, and you wanna yell at the screen even though he can’t hear you. I realize that Crusader wanted to protect himself, but if he’s just interfered with the only way of detecting the invading Skrulls, he may have just unintentionally doomed Earth.

This issue has been my favorite Secret Invasion tie-in so far, and has once again proved that A:TI is one of the three best books that Marvel puts out monthly (the other two being Fantastic Four and Thor, of course!) It could be real easy for a book so full of obscure and new characters to be confusing, but Slott and Gage juggle them around and make them likable as easily as if they were tying their shoes. Not mention that Caselli gives each one of them a very distinct look. I could go on for an entire post about how awesome this series is. If there is anyone not reading this, this is the perfect jumping on point, take it! And I’d highly advise getting 1-12 in TPB, ‘cause those stories were also purely awesome. Seriously, get in on this series (and write a letter to Marvel, asking them to allow subscriptions to this already!)

-LOTRKing

Review of Avengers: The Initiative 13 (3 stars) June 6, 2008

Posted by lotrking in Comic Book Reviews.
Tags: , , , , , , ,
1 comment so far

Overall rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Unfortunately, this issue sees a rather noticeable drop in quality (perhaps due to Dan Slott taking some time off of with issue). Seeing as how our main group of recruits (except Trauma, who we don’t even see this time) left Camp Hammond last time, we are introduced to a new set of characters. Unfortunately, none of these characters are anywhere near as interesting as the last group. In fact, there wasn’t even a significant event to launch the new storyline, like MVP’s death last time. The “main character” of this issue does end up getting “washed out” of the Initiative, but it certainly seems nothing significant and the character was rather annoying anyway, so while I feel sorry for him, I sure won’t miss him.

This character’s name is Emery Schaub (sounds like a mix between an emery board and a cotton swab if you ask me) aka Boulder, though Taskmaster quickly gives him the name Butterball due to his rather pudgy appearance. We come to learn that he is completely invulnerable, but the downside of this is that he is permanently locked in his current state, which is weak, slow, clumsy, and chubby. I realize they are trying to represent the stereotypical comic book nerd, which has been done before, but at the same time is understandable. If Emery had a fun supporting cast, this would probably be an enjoyable issue, but he doesn’t. But as mentioned earlier, none of them really seem to have a good “team dynamic.” That isn’t to say they need to get along, they just need have personalities that make for an entertaining match up, and with the exception of Gorilla Girl (who has lame powers), they all seem to be loners, and a group of loners is never fun.

Still, this issue has some redeeming qualities. We get to see development in Taskmaster’s character as it seems he is actually starting to care about his job. There is an interesting scene between Yellowjacket and new recruit Prodigy in which is sounds like Yellowjacket is trying to convince Prodigy to leave the Initiative (in a subtle and sly way mind you), or if not, he says several things that opponents of the SHRA will be able to quote and use to prove their point (I even winced a bit, being a fan of the SHRA, and thought “boy I wish he wouldn’t have said that.”) Though you have to remember, he is a Skrull. What is his motivation, if any, for trying to get Prodigy to leave? Does he pose some kind of unknown threat? (At least we get the comfort of knowing that if someone tries to quote him, we can say they were quoting a Skrull, and it is therefore a moot point.)

There is also the obligatory (yet still entertaining) fight scene this issue as the new recruits help to stop some villains from taking out their hit on Taskmaster. Perhaps the surprising compliment from this issue has to go to Steve Uy who has really improved his artwork. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll be celebrating the day that Caselli returns to art, but until them Uy has finally learned to draw (somewhat) realistic faces and how to make action scenes dynamic. So as I said, this issue is far from the best that Avengers: The Initiative has to offer, but since Slott and Caselli are returning for the Secret Invasion issues, I’m sure there is still a lot to look forward in the coming months. Pick this one up if you’ve been reading since the beginning, but if you’re looking to jump on one of Marvel’s best ongoing series, wait until the Secret Invasion issues start up.

-LOTRKing

Review of Avengers: The Initiative 12 (4.5 stars) May 3, 2008

Posted by lotrking in Comic Book Reviews.
Tags: , , , , ,
1 comment so far

ATI12

Overall rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

This issue brings a fulfilling end to the first act of Avengers: The Initiative and ties up most of the loose ends. The story opens with the cadets preparing for Trauma’s funeral and the staff preparing for the court hearing to explain the recent tragedies. Gyrich does most of the talking during the hearing, and deflects or denies most of Iron Man’s accusations. Meanwhile, some of the Initiative members present Dragon Lord’s ashes to his family, while Ant-Man and Taskmaster make some funny, albeit insensitive, remarks on the side.

Back at Trauma’s funeral, we learn that Thor Girl has healed from her wounds before we get the major surprise of the issue as Trauma “wakes up.” This isn’t just a case of mistaken death either, as Komodo points out, as he has even been through autopsy and embalming. While some miraculous “rebirths” can be annoying, this one was pleasing in two ways. One, I just really liked the character, so I’m glad we’ll get to see more development. Two, this presents yet another mystery that will (hopefully) be solved in the coming issues.

Later, as Nightwing presents Purple Hearts to those severely injured during the KIA incident, we meet a new doctor with transparent skin. As far as I know, this is a new character, and I am certainly interested in learning his story. (I suppose he could always be a mutant, but after M-Day this is unlikely.) Returning to the hearing, we learn that Ultragirl has abandoned the New Warriors to return to the Initiative, and that the New Warriors will remain as a team to keep tabs on the Initiative, though they will do this legally, as they are all licensed.

Finally, everyone’s fate is revealed as Gyrich is forced to retire from the Initiative, and the cadets all graduate from the Initiative, except for Trauma who decides to remain and figure out exactly what has happened with his “resurrection.” We learn see that Cloud 9 gets stationed in Montana, and the final shot is that of her doing her “job” and saving civilians, along with the rest of Montana’s Initiative team, from a burning building. All in all, this issue was a great conclusion and if the series were cancelled right now, while I’d be saddened, I’d at least be happy with the degree of closure. That said, this series will continue, and I’m looking forward to what the new batch of recruits will bring and learning the secrets of Trauma, Mutant Zero, and the new doctor. Really, the only thing I will miss is Cloud 9, as she was my favorite character, but I’m sure she, along with Hardball, Komodo, Ultragirl, and the other graduating recruits will appear again.

Please leave comments!

-LOTRKing

Review of Avengers: The Initiative 11 (4.5 stars) April 17, 2008

Posted by lotrking in Comic Book Reviews.
Tags: , , , , ,
add a comment

Overall rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Just when I think this series can’t get any better, I’m proven wrong. This, along with Thor, has become my favorite ongoing. The issue starts with a brief flashback to shortly before last issue ended, with Cloud 9, Hardball, and Komodo using the 42 jump point. Here they run into War Machine, who elects to stay behind and hold off KIA. (But not before showing us the insanely awesome gadgets that give the suit its name.) Unfortunately, even his best is no match for the Tactigon, as KIA disables him quickly.

Back in Tennessee, KIA makes a dramatic entrance before we cut back to Camp Hammond. Here, we get some more cryptic information about Mutant Zero involving a “Zero Room,” and the two remaining Scarlet Spiders leave to enter the fray. Whilst en route, they run into a tattered War Machine, who has to take off his mask to breathe. Here, we see that he is actually some sort of cyborg. I’ll admit, I’m fairly new to the finer points of Marvel continuity, and if this is a new revelation, I’m just as eager to find out more as the rest of you. What could have happened to require this major change? Does Tony know about this? Just another mystery that’ll keep bringing me back…..

The story cuts back to the massive fight, and we get to see an act of bravery from almost all of the major characters. Perhaps even better, each “act” really fits each character, further proving that despite the large cast, Slott and Gage know how to create characters that aren’t 2D. At this point, the cavalry arrives in the form of the Avengers (half of them anyway). While this really added to the coolness level of the issue, I do have two gripes about this part. Apparently none of the creators of A:TI read Mighty Avengers, as Simon is still in his old costume (which seems to happen everywhere but MA; this is getting as annoying as the Black Widow long hair/short hair conundrum), and Iron Man is giving the orders instead of Ms. Marvel. But this isn’t the first the time Marvel has thrown continuity out the window, and it unfortunately won’t be last, so that doesn’t affect my feelings toward this issue too much.

Of course, sealing the utter awesomeness of this issue, is that Cloud 9 is the one to save the day (okay, with some help from MVP clone 1.0), further proving that she is the coolest character in this series, and I hope that she stays around for a long time. (Seriously, causing someone to choke on a cloud while kissing them? How cool is that? Cloud 9 mini-series please!)

At the end of the issue, Cloud 9 and MVP clone 1.0 resolve the romance between them that never happened, and they pretty much decide to go their separate ways (at least that’s how I took it). But that is pretty much the only resolution that this arc gets, as I am left with three burning questions. First, most obviously, when and where will the “KIA memory helmet” resurface again? Will Slapstick really use it? (I’m not sure whether to be amused by his character, or creeped-out by him.) Second, what will happen to the Tactigon now? Surely Gyrich will remove it from KIA, but is it going back into storage? Are they going to be stupid and try to use it again? Or (preferably) will Armory return? (Seriously, she could probably help to turn the tide in Secret Invasion if they just let her fight.) Lastly, the one question that is bugging me is, what happened to Hank Pym? Surely one of Marvel’s oldest characters hasn’t been killed off without Marvel making a big deal about it. So was the Pym that was “killed” the Skrull? If so, how did he survive? Or was Hank quickly replaced after his “death”? If so, did he really survive somehow (like shrinking extra small like he did in that one explosion?) This is the question that is bugging me the most, and I’m hoping that we’ll find out soon.

Please leave comments!

-LOTRKing

Where things stand….. March 22, 2008

Posted by lotrking in Comic Book Stuff.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
add a comment

Well, last week when I said I’d have comments for two weeks straight, I figured in the review for New Avengers 39, which I still haven’t gotten. (Durn Marvel subs!) So, I figured that this would be a good time to have a “wrap up” post for the past two weeks by just taking a quick look at where I think things stand in the Marvel Universe.

Fantastic Four: The Millar/Hitch team isn’t quite as insanely awesome as I thought it would be, but it is still good so far, and early in the run, so I still have very high hopes for this team. I also think that despite their legit appearance, the Earth Trust is a sinister group.

Silver Surfer: The last we saw of him was in the Silver Surfer: In Thy Name mini, and he is apparently going to play a big role in an upcoming arc of Nova, so I will likely pick that up (just for that arc). However, I still really think he deserves his own ongoing! So, next time you write another One More Day protest letter to Marvel, be sure to include as a side note that you want an ongoing Silver Surfer! (I know I will! 😉 )

Amazing Spider-Man: …..still hasn’t gone back. 😦 (It is going to take awhile of course for them to undo their mistake, and I realize this, I’ve just never been patient. 😉 ) I won’t lie though, I’ve read through a few of the recent issues, and some of them aren’t bad, but even if they were insanely awesome, the marriage was one of my favorite parts of the series, and it will never feel the same without it. They can keep this retconned “Brand New World” if they want, just bring back the marriage. They don’t even have to restore the previous marriage, just have them get married again! (Okay, getting off my soapbox now.)

Mighty Avengers: Looking at some other people’s reactions, it seemed that most people enjoyed the last issue more than I (though I still thought it was a good issue, just not the best), and more people it seems are going to give this series a second chance and/or jump on the boat. Good! I’m loving this series right now, and I think it has enormous potential. So until the Sentry goes crazy and causes Mighty Avengers Disassembled, Make Mine Mighty! 😉

Captain America: Brubaker is a genius. ‘Nuff said.

New Avengers: As mentioned earlier, I still don’t have the new issue. The last few issues have been good as single issues, but overall the story is a little slow, obviously once we hit Secret Invasion the story will pick up, but if I didn’t know that, this title might have been in danger of being dropped. I’ll wait and see. (Besides, as mentioned above, Mighty is better.) Edit: I just found out that right before NA39 was supposed to be released, its publication date was pushed back two weeks, so it will now come out this Wednesday. I should have a review for it sometime this week.

Avengers: The Initiative: I’m still catching up, and am currently on issue 9, and so far this series is awesome! It could easily be the best ongoing that Marvel is putting out! (That’s right: Thor and Captain America have a rival!) As soon as I finished 9, I was sad that I didn’t pick up 10 while at my LCS last time, now I have to wait another week and a half! Garg! I’m glad that I didn’t pick up this series sooner, because I couldn’t imagine having to wait a month for issue 10! (And now I feel like an old school Marvel mag for ending every sentence with an exclamation point! Next thing you know, I’ll be advertising for the M.M.M.S.!)

Uncanny X-Men: Brubaker’s genius isn’t quite apparent here, but the storyline is still interesting, and I’m going to continue it. Besides, issue 500 is surely going to do something insanely awesome, so I can’t wait to see what happens!

Daredevil: See description for Captain America.

Thor: I still haven’t got issue 7, but so far this series has been great, and is definitely one of Marvel’s top titles. J. Michael Straczynski is a godsend for Thor (pun totally intended), and I hope he continues to write this for a very long time, as Thor has become one of my favorite characters.

The Twelve: While not as good as Thor, this series is certainly intriguing; JMS really knows how to spin a good yarn. I still think Electro is going to play a huge part in the future, and he may in fact be the Blue Blade’s killer. As always we’ll wait and see…..

Well, as soon as I get and read New Avengers 39 and Thor 7, I’ll be sure to post a review, so check back here often! And please leave comments!

-LOTRKing