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Casual Saturdays: Where Things Stand… September 27, 2008

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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

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Review of Mighty Avengers 17 (2 stars) August 27, 2008

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Overall rating: 2 out of 5 stars

As my long time readers may know, I’ve been complaining about the lack of story in many of the Avengers Secret Invasion tie-ins. However, those lacking in story at least have the saving grace of being somewhat relevant. This issue, not so much. Unless I missed something extremely significant, this issue has not importance whatsoever. The summary is as follows: Skrull-Pym tries to convince Skrull-Dugan that the invasion will not work; Dugan doesn’t listen and has a bunch of undercover Skrulls attack Pym. That’s it. If this had beautiful art, I might say that it was not a complete waste, but as it is, the art is fairly mediocre. Save yourself three bucks, and don’t pick this up.

Believe it or not, I feel bad when I write an extremely short review. I usually try to keep these things between 300 to 500 words, so that you’re not reading an essay, but at the same time, not reading two or three sentences. But when I’m given an absolutely empty issue, I can only give an absolutely empty review. Sorry again for the shortness, check back tomorrow for some regularly scheduled reviewing.

-LOTRKing

Review of Mighty Avengers 16 (2.5 stars) July 23, 2008

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Overall rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars

We only learn two things this issue. Skrullektra was the darkened person in New Avengers #1 who hired Electro, and Skrullektra’s death in New Avengers #31 was likely part of the plan, and not accidental. Aside from these, the almost-entire story features Elektra versus various Super-Skrulls. She kills most of them, but one is finally able to kill her by sneaking up on her after she is fatigued from the multiple battles. That’s it. She fights, she kills, she gets killed. The end. All those who were hoping that Elektra was safe somewhere in a Skrullian prison will be saddened. To the rest of us that don’t care, this issue won’t mean much. Luckily, Khoi Pham is an expert at visual storytelling (even if his faces look a little weird), otherwise this would be a burden to read. If you haven’t already bought this, you might as well not waste $3 and leave it on the shelf.

It really annoys me that Bendis is using Mighty and New Avengers to tell back stories from his Secret Invasion, simply because he is in charge of these two titles. Usually, the stories within have little or nothing to do with the Mighty or New Avengers, so why put them in their books? He could have easily condensed everything so far into shorter back stories and thrown them in special edition Secret Invasion tie-ins. Many of Marvel’s other current books are featuring stories that take place before SI (Fantastic Four, Spider-Man, Captain America, X-Men, etc), why couldn’t we have had some more Avengers stories until SI was over? *sigh* As cool as the event is in its main title, I’ll be glad when it is over so MA and NA can go back to the teams they are about.

-LOTRKing

Review of Mighty Avengers 15 (3 stars) July 3, 2008

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Overall rating: 3 out of 5 stars

This issue probably has the shortest summary ever: Hank Pym, in Britain shortly after Avengers: Disassembled, is left by Jan after she has a drunken episode, and hooks up with a young and beautiful student. The student seduces him, finds out all about him, reveals herself to be a Skrull, and replaces him. Much later, we learn that the Ultron attack from MA 1-5 revealed to the Skrull’s Tony Stark’s weakness (Iron Man is now biological) and that Hank’s “growth formula present” to Jan in issue 8 is something ominous.

Well, maybe not quite as short as I thought, it sounded shorter in my head, but still pretty short for a full-length comic. The majority of the issue was Hank getting questioned by the Skrull with large amounts of almost-nudity that should never be in an “A-rated” comic. Seriously Marvel, if Fantastic Four had to be bumped up to T+ for less sexuality than is often found in either Avengers title, why are they both still rated A? Anyway, really short review today, partially because of yesterday’s announcement, and partially because there wasn’t much to review. In summary: if you don’t normally follow Avengers or Secret Invasion, there is no reason to pick this up, otherwise you may or may not want to depending on how much of a “completist” you are.

-LOTRKing

Casual Saturdays: Where Things Stand June 28, 2008

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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 Mighty Avengers 14 (4 stars) May 21, 2008

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Overall rating: 4 out of 5 stars

It’s no secret that I’m a fan of the Sentry, but only when he is done right (which is why I loved World War Hulk). Lately, Bendis has just been using him as a big Deus Ex Machina, so I’ve been rather annoyed, but finally my faith has been (somewhat) restored. The story opens with a Sentry flashback to before the “forgetting” showing Bob’s first run in with the Skrulls who at this time were launching an attack on the Baxter Building. Bob stops them and is injured in the explosion, later to be saved by Reed. We then jump ahead to before the Civil War where Skrull-Jarvis collects information about the Sentry and presents it to the other Skrulls who debate what they should do about him. After a while, they come to the conclusion that there really is nothing to do, and they just have to hope that his insanity will keep him out of their plans.

Finally, the story jumps to the battle being fought in Secret Invasion 2 where the Skrull-Vision morphs into the Void to essentially scare Bob away. Bob is so frightened at the thought that he is causing the Skrull invasion that he flies to the rings of Saturn just to be alone. A lot of people may take this as a sign of weakness and “wussiness” and be annoyed, but I see this as another great example of his character. To me, the Sentry is an extreme example of what a Marvel character could be. Back in the days of Stan Lee, he tried to make Marvel characters more interesting by giving them flaws, how much more flawed and interesting can you get that by making potentially the most powerful person on the planet extremely mentally unbalanced? We didn’t know the Scarlet Witch was crazy, her actions seemingly came out of no where, but in the case of Bob, we know he’s insane and that he’s a ticking time bomb. As the Skrulls note, Tony does not know what to do with Bob, so he’s doing his best to make sure that he never reaches a “Disassembled” level threat. Call me crazy (pun intended), but I find this extremely compelling.

The very last thing we see is the Skrull attack in New York as a Super-Skrull invades the Watchtower and is about to attack Lindy when a shadowed caped figure flies in and beats the crap out of the Skrull. It is then revealed that the Void has returned, he claims he is here to do that which Bob cannot, and he intends to protect Lindy. It looks as though the Void may actually do something good for a change, and with any luck we may see him help to turn the tides in Secret Invasion.

-LOTRKing

Review of Mighty Avengers 13 (4 stars) May 10, 2008

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Overall rating: 4 out of 5 stars

This time around, it’s “Nick Fury Chronicles: Part Two,” and while both issues have been very interesting, I do hope they get back to Avengers soon, after all, that is the name of this book. In this issue we see Nick Fury set up a team to combat the Skrulls from a bunch of unknowns. His first recruit is Daisy Johnson, aka Quake, aka the girl that made Wolverine’s heart explode, who he convinces to help him in another secret mission. From there, he uses Daisy to do the recruiting.

Her first stop is Alexander, aka Phobos, son of Ares. This was probably my favorite part of the issue, as he seems to be the most interesting recruit. Ares is likely my favorite character from Mighty Avengers, and his son, so far unseen in Mighty Avengers, looks to be just as awesome, given his fear inducing powers. The only thing I’m wondering is what Ares will think of his own son joining a super-group, hopefully we won’t have to see Nick Fury face a god’s wrath.

The rest of the recruits are also children (or grandchildren) of superpowers, and though they are not mutants, they’ve inherited a portion of the forbearers powers. The other team members are: Yo Yo Rodriguez, daughter of the Griffin with super-speed powers, J.T., grandson of the Phantom Rider with fire manipulation (likely among other) powers, an unnamed person, the son of Dr. Druid with magic abilities, and lastly, another unnamed person who is bailed out of jail with neither his lineage nor powers revealed. Daisy also tried to recruit Layla Miller, but Layla told her that the mission would fail with her presence. The story ends with Nick Fury telling them that for the rest of their lives, they will follow his orders so that they can “save the world.” So while this is mostly a set up issue, the characters introduced are all insanely awesome, and the team looks extremely promising. Hopefully, they’ll appear in Secret Invasion as humanity’s last hope (we all know the Mighty and Secret Avengers are no match for the Skrulls. 😉 )

-LOTRKing

Review of Mighty Avengers 12 (4.5 stars) April 29, 2008

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Overall rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

While this issue may not have any huge Skrull reveals, it still is a hugely enjoyable read. People who read my blog regularly know that I am somewhat of a noob when it comes to comics, so while I know who Nick Fury is, and a bit of his history, I’m not too familiar with his character. If this issue was any indication of a “normal” story involving his character is, then I definitely want to see more.

The story starts out at the end of Secret War (which I haven’t read, but I ‘spose I should) before progressing to a month later where he is meeting a lover at a hotel. He quickly finds out (after using an awesome personal cloaking device) that she is actually a Skrull. He, like the Secret Avengers after discovering Skrullectra, goes into full panic mode (in a very calm Nick Fury fashion 😉 ), and later breaks into Maria Hill’s helicarrier to give her some security advice. While he does not reveal the Skrull Invasion, he lets her know that something big is going on, and pretty much gives her pointers on how to stay alive, before escaping the helicarrier in a stunt that would have fit perfectly in a summer action movie (hint: it involves the aforementioned awesome cloaking device).

He lastly meets with Spider-Woman, telling her of the impending Skrull Invasion, before disappearing underground to figure this out for himself. This poses one small problem, Spider-Woman knew about the invasion BEFORE Skrullectra. That’s two issues of Mighty in a row to bring up doubts about Spider-Woman, I smell a Skrull…..

The last page shows Fury facing a wall full of photographs and a few of the pictures have circles around them, some red, some blue. I’m going to guess that the red circles are definitely Skrulls, and the blue circles are definitely not, while everyone else is still in the air. If I’m right, this means that Dr. Strange, Wolverine, and the Sentry are all Skrulls. (Well, and Hulkling, but we already knew that.) As always, time will tell…..

Please leave comments!

-LOTRKing

Reivew of Mighty Avengers 11 (4.5 stars) March 28, 2008

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Overall rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Yet another great issue for Mighty! The issue starts with another brief “past” scene between Doom and La Fey (anyone else think that Djurdjevic does the best Doom ever?) in which Doom learns to summon a demon army (great, now Doom is even more powerful!); he then time jumps to the present in which he uses said army. I have no idea what these demons are, but they seem to be made of a very viscous liquid, and are impervious to the Avengers attacks; anyway, they completely cover the Avengers (literally), and the Avengers wake up to find themselves held in magical constraints in one of Doom’s secret bunkers. Spider-Woman makes a rather funny reference to a past Avengers adventure (I won’t spoil it), but it did cause me to chuckle. So, after assessing their situation, the Avengers decide (from their rather awkward position) to question Doom. Here Doom showed his evil awesomeness in three ways: he threw some pretty harsh insults toward Carol (dude, when did he learn the art of insults?), he actually kept his entire plan to himself (revealed to us in thought bubble, ‘bout time Bendis finally learned how to use them!) instead of revealing it in a long, arrogant, stereotypical monologue, and we see that he did actually have time to form a master plan, despite the Avengers initial attack came as such a surprise (just shows he’s a quick thinker). All this said, I want Bendis to write Doom more often, he does it perfectly.

After this, things really take off, as Jessica uses some before unseen powers to break the magical bonds (I thought this was a Deus Ex Machina at first, but the ending of this issue suggests otherwise, I’ll touch on that in a sec). The Avengers finally take on Doom himself, while Carol goes to find Tony (this is where we finally connect to the end of last issue), Tony is indeed caught in the huge explosion, but Carol and Bob use their powers in unison to repair Tony’s armor before too much damage is done. Usually the whole “we’ll just use our powers to solve the problem” approach bugs me, but this one seemed to work for two reasons: one, this actually seemed to make sense, not like most times when it is used as a crutch, and two, it required both Bob’s and Carol’s abilities, so it thankfully wasn’t another moment of “we’ll just use Bob’s limitless power to solve everything and not come up with a good solution to our problem.” Finally, Carol leads Tony and Bob to Doom, where Sentry pulls a totally awesome move: he simply grabs Doom by the neck, and rips his face mask and chest armor off. Pwned! As awesome as Doom is, it was great to see his butt kicked like that. (That, and the Sentry just gained some cool points in my book, which, after his really whiny bout last issue, he really needed.)

We end with three rather interesting one page scenes. The first has Tony and Maria Hill discussing the victory and Doom’s arrest, this quickly leads to the note that it was lucky that Jessica was there to use her powers and free everyone. This ends with a suspicious look on Tony’s face before (speak of the devil!) we cut to Jessica and Natasha relaxing in a hot tub. Natasha questions Jessica about these seemingly new powers, and Jessica replies that her powers can adapt to the situation. When Natasha tells Jessica that this isn’t her file, Jessica gives the very Skrullish reply of “I’ll look into that.” This really does seem to hint that Jessica might be a Skrull (at least, that’s the vibe I got from it). If so, when was she replaced? I really don’t think a Skrull agent would have outed the invasion to Tony, so I’m thinking that she must have been replaced very recently, perhaps right after the symbiote attack, and right before the Avengers left for Latveria? The last page ends in the past with La Fey wondering where Doom is. I it seemed that this scene was trying to hint something, but I sure didn’t pick it up. I am sure, however, that we haven’t seen the last of Doom or La Fey, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they both become major players in Secret Invasion.

So overall, this is exactly what an Avengers issue should be. There was great team dynamics, awesome fight scenes, and plenty of drama and mystery. I know Mighty Avengers is heading into Secret Invasion next, and while I’m sure it will be insanely awesome, I also can’t wait to see where else Bendis takes this after SI, because I’m sure it will be great.

Please leave comments!

-LOTRKing

Where things stand….. March 22, 2008

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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