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Review of New Avengers 45 (3 stars) September 30, 2008

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Overall rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Well, even if this issue didn’t turn out to be all that important, at least it was pretty entertaining. The story was hyped to seem as though there would be some big reveal involving House of M and the Skrull invasion. While the Skrulls were trying to get things back to normal just as much as “we” were, this finally gave us the perspective of seeing Skrulls at their weakest. Even the mighty Empress Veranke had a breakdown as she woke up to find an already alien world transformed around her. Of course, this scene also showed beyond a shadow of a doubt that Veranke truly did take the place of Spider-Woman. In the back of my head, I suspected that perhaps Jessica Drew was somehow able to stop the switch and act as a “double agent” only pretending to be Veranke. (C’mon, we all know Jessica would be the only person able to pull this off.)

Really the only thing I was left wondering was how the Skrulls were able to sense the change, and didn’t believe everything was continuing as normal. Perhaps their altered “Super-Skrull” DNA somehow protected them? I don’t know.

Aside from seeing Skrulls at their weakest, the best part of this issue was definitely Jim Cheung’s art (well, most of it). His scenery, facial expression, and action were all brilliant. His only real flaw is the actual faces. He can convey emotion rather well, but many characters had similar looking faces, even amongst men and women.

As reality returns to normal, the Skrulls on Earth finally learn of the Annihilation wave, and the destruction it has caused. Having only read parts of Annihilation myself, I don’t know how much of it may have directly affected the invasion, but I do know that countless worlds were destroyed, many of which were controlled by the Skrulls. If anything, I’d like to see Bendis give us an issue showing more of the ramifications of the Wave on the Invasion. Until then, we have next issue to look forward to, which presumably will show how the Hood uses his distinct methods to fight the Invasion.

-LOTRKing

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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

Review of New Avengers 44 (4.5 stars) August 28, 2008

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Overall rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Now that’s much better than this week’s other Bendis-Avengers title. (Given, I still prefer Mighty to New Avengers as a whole, but seeing as how all of the Secret Invasion tie-ins of both series have had little to nothing to do with the respective teams, I’ve actually enjoyed the NA tie-ins a bit more.) Not only does this issue bring to light what actually allowed the invasion to happen, it also gives the closing scene of Secret Invasion 1 a bit more meaning.

The issue opens with what appears to be a standard Illuminati meeting (if there is such a thing) as the Illuminati discuss what the Skrulls could possibly do to remain undetected among superpowered humans. As this discussion leads to more distrust, Dr. Strange attempts to use the Eye of Agamotto to calm everyone, only to realize he can’t do it. The plot takes its first big twist as the heroes discover that they can’t use their powers, and that none of them fully remember how they ever escaped the Skrulls in the first place, until it dons on them: they didn’t escape the Skrulls.

With my mind still trying to fathom what the crap was going on, Xavier becomes a Super-Skrull and summarily kills the rest of the Illuminati. We then get our second plot twist as it is revealed that they were all clones, and this was a Skrull experiment being conducted in a lab. And this was only the first half of the issue.

Despite this trial being a failure, the Skrulls did take away one important piece of information: Reed Richards had figured out a way in which the Skrulls could remain undetected, he simply did not have time to explain before the situation fell apart. So the scientists formulate a plan B: clone only Reed Richards, and use any means necessary to discover this method. At first they try something torturous and harrowing, but Reed still does not give in (even when he’s a clone, he’s awesome!) After killing this clone also, they finally attempt a more subtle and sinister approach, and to humanity’s eventual dismay (dismay may be an understatement), it works. You wanna know what Reed means when he says “they used my brain to start this” in Secret Invasion 5? Pick this up.

Oh, and the scene at the end of Secret Invasion 1 where Reed figures out how they did it? Now we know how he was able to do it so quickly, because it was a clone of him that created the process in the first place. This also explains the lack of surprise from Skrull-Pym when Reed does figure it out.

Anyway, an essential Secret Invasion chapter, you’d be foolish to miss it.

-LOTRKing

Review of New Avengers 43 (3 stars) August 6, 2008

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Overall rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Sorry for being so late in getting this up for review (I only got it in the mail last Friday, when I also got Iron Man 4 which comes out this week. So I got a week late issue and a week early issue on the same day. Go figure. 😐 )

Anyway, this wasn’t exactly a spectacular issue, so I didn’t mind waiting. We get a rather quick resolution to Captain America randomly showing up at the end of NA41 as some Savage Land mutates take him out with tranquilizer darts. These reveal this Captain America to be a Skrull (big surprise) and follows up with the back story of how he ended up here.

This story would have seemed more relevant had it explained all the heroes’ doppelgangers on the Skrull ship, but it only tells the story of “Captain America.” Seeing as how it is not really a “replacement story” (Steve Rogers was never switched out for a Skrull), it really isn’t that interesting. We get a lot more of the same scenes with “Skrull-Cap” giving his monologue (“the blood of a human, the blood of a male…” etc) as he gets a bloody towel placed over his head (where did the Skrulls get the blood of Rogers anyway?)

The only thing of merit we learn in this issue is that the Skrulls can indeed implant memories into the imposter’s heads. “Skrull-Cap” believed himself to be the real Steve Rogers. This still doesn’t explain who, if any, of the other “Skrull-ship heroes” are real. I think at least some of them are truly abducted heroes. I’m guessing probably Mockingbird (how else would she have known the information she shared with Clint?) and either Luke Cage or Jessica Jones.

Personally, I think it would make for a good story if the very anti-Skrull Luke Cage turns out to be a Skrull and doesn’t even know it. Anyway, a fairly run-of-the-mill Secret Invasion tie-in, this really isn’t a necessary purchase unless you want your collection to be complete. Here’s hoping that next week’s Secret Invasion 5 will be much better!

-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 New Avengers 42 (3.5 stars) June 25, 2008

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Overall rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

This issue, while extremely vital to the Secret Invasion storyline, and very informative, could have been better. I can’t really think how though, it just feels as if something was missing. Perhaps it was the lack of any major reveals. Sure, we learned exactly when Jessica Drew was replaced (during her “operation” to regain her powers, which was a Skrull ruse all along) which is something that I’ve been wondering for quite some time. This is followed by some very cool art as Veranke “becomes” Spider-Woman for the first time. We also learn that the Skrulls staged the Raft breakout, in order to ensure the escape of Sauron and the Silver Samurai, though this latter detail could have been very easily guessed once we learned that Secret Invasion tied in with the first New Avengers arc. Indeed, once I learned of the tie-in, I assumed it was a given that the Skrulls hired Electro, and I was right (big surprise).

The unintentional part, of course, was the formation of the New Avengers, which the Skrull’s hadn’t planned on. Still, this seems to help their cause more than hinder it, as it allows the Empress of the Skrull Empire to not only spy on, but be a part of, Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. (I’m also assuming that Jarvis was replaced either during or shortly after Civil War so the Avengers Tower could still have a spy. This also accounts for Jarvis and Aunt May developing romantic feelings for each other, though with the OMD/BND retcon, this may no longer have happened.)

The most interesting aspect comes toward the end, as we see the one thing the Skrulls could have never planned for: House of M. The issue ends with the “big white flash” that started it all focused on Veranke/Jessica. I’m intrigued to see how they handle this next issue. After all, in Wanda’s Mutant Utopia, how does a Skrull Invasion fit in? And, if my memory serves me correctly, which it likely may not, wasn’t “Jessica” the one who was skeptical about changing the world back because this might be “how mutants become the dominant species.” (Or was she the one who made the analogy and said “we shouldn’t try to stop the bomb after it has gone off”?) Either way, assuming that Jessica was also a Skrull, why would she want the House of M to stay intact? Surely, Earth would be much harder to conquer if it was full of mutants? Didn’t she say earlier in this issue that the current number of mutants was threatening enough?

While this may not have been the most entertaining Secret Invasion tie-in, the story was still essential, and the storytelling was fairly well done, after all, it was written by Bendis. Besides, next issue looks to be much better, so you have two factors making this a must read. One small complaint on the art: while montage at the beginning looked really cool, did anyone else notice that everyone had the same face? Heck, Jessica and Madame Hydra standing side by side looked like twins. Likewise, Tony Stark and Wolverine looked exactly the same except for their facial hair. Mehh, at least Jim Cheung’s New Avengers art is more pleasing to look at than Leinil Yu’s was.

-LOTRKing

Review of New Avengers 41 (3.5 stars) May 29, 2008

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Overall rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

After a Skrullish interlude, we get back to an issue actually about the Secret Avengers (well, sort of). It begins in the middle of the battle featured in Secret Invasion 2 just as the T-Rex pops in to mess everything up and Spider-Man gets separated from the rest of the group. Here, he runs into Ka-zar, Shanna, and a whole bunch of Savage Landers. After a rather humorous scene in which Spidey believes they are all Skrulls, we finally get a flashback explaining the events in the Savage Land arc in the early New Avengers issues (3 – 6, I believe).

In the past, we see that Ka-zar and Shanna discover the rogue division of S.H.I.E.L.D. mining vibranium. When these two see the cruel way that mutates are being forced to work as slaves, they infiltrate it, and attempt to take it down. While they don’t succeed, they do discover that this division is a bunch of Skrulls and that Skrulls have infiltrated every major world organization. They leave to gather an army and they return weeks later just in time to see the New Avengers attacking the S.H.I.E.L.D. base. The story then leaves off where earlier New Avengers picked up. (In other words, go back into your long-boxes to fill in the gap.)

Back in the present, Spider-Man says parts are missing from their story, and therefore he finds them very suspicious (I must say, I didn’t see anything missing, so perhaps I better dig into my long-box as well.) But before this confrontation goes anywhere, who should come bounding through the jungle but … Captain America! *bwah bwah bwaaaaaaaah* Okay, cheesy sound effects over. Of course this Cap has to be a Skrull (real Cap has to be dead, no way Brubaker would cheat and say the dead Cap was Skrull), but this makes what, four Captain Americas running around? New Cap (James), Old Cap from the past (In Avengers/Invaders), 50’s Cap (aka Grand Director, currently brainwashed by Dr. Faustus and working for the Red Skull), and Skrull Cap, man what’s next, Captain America 2099 visiting from the future? Already superfluous Caps aside, I’m looking forward to both confrontations, because I want to know exactly what parts are missing from Ka-Zar’s story (though I trust him and do not think he is a Skrull), and I want to see whether this Cap truly thinks he is the real thing, or if he is just pretending.

Overall, this was a pretty fun story, though it was mostly action as Ka-Zar and Shanna took down Skrulls. Likewise, there weren’t any major reveals, sure we did learn that Skrulls were behind the strange Savage Land activity, but as soon as we were told that that early NA arc tied-in to Secret Invasion, that could have been easily guessed. Still, it was an entertaining Ka-Zar and Shanna story, these are hard to come by (we’re talking about a Tarzan rip-off living in the “Land Before Time” after all!)

-LOTRKing

Review of New Avengers 40 (4 stars) April 30, 2008

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Overall rating: 4 out of 5 stars

To anyone waiting for the Skrull’s side of the story: this is it. In this issue, we find out why the Skrull’s are invading, and how they are doing it. There is also a massive Skrull reveal on the last page, which I will discuss at the end. If you do not want to know who it is, DO NOT READ THE LAST PARAGRAPH.

The story starts with an argument between King Dorrek, arrogant ruler of the Skrull empire, and the religious Princess Veranke, who is trying to convince the king to listen to the words of the “prophet.” He ignores her and banishes her for her “dangerous ways.” The king then orders his “priests of science” to begin processing the data gathered from the Illuminati to design the perfect human infiltration. The first progress shown is a successful clone of Reed Richards, which is soon killed by the king.

The story then jumps to several years later, when Galactus has destroyed the throne world of the empire, and the empire itself lies in ruins. Now, many of the Skrulls turn their allegiance to the long exiled Princess Veranke, claiming the prophecies were true. She reunites the empire with a common goal: to take Earth as their own. The scientists reinvigorate their infiltration efforts, and we finally see that they have developed undetectable technology: as long as the Skrull stays completely human, they can remain hidden; Elektra was the prototype for this test. The queen puts together an infiltration force, and insists on being a part of it. She decides she wants to become the individual who can do the most damage.

MASSIVE SPOILERS: She is Spider-Woman. I won’t lie, Spider-Woman has been acting suspiciously lately (see here and here), but this seems to imply that Veranke has been Spider-Woman since before New Avengers 1, if this is true, then it does surprise me, because so many of her actions in the early issues seemed genuine. Did Hydra ever really return Spider-Woman’s powers? Because they seem to think they did. Wherever the real Jessica is, does she have her powers back? And, perhaps most importantly, why would Veranke reveal the knowledge of the invasion to Tony? I must say, now I am utterly confused, and I can’t wait for the rest of Secret Invasion to flesh out the whole story.

Please leave comments!

-LOTRKing

Review of New Avengers 39 (3.5 stars) April 2, 2008

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na39.jpg

Overall rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

I’ve got mixed feelings about this issue, it started out quite well, but there were a few things at the end that bothered me. I suppose I’ll touch on those when I get there. The issue starts with Maya uncovering her eyes to look in the mirror, and seeing Logan getting food from the fridge (what else is new?) They have a brief conversation about their past and the Skrulls before Maya decides she wants to “go out.” Whilst “out” she runs into Daredevil, who she quickly realizes is just an impostor. “Daredevil” reveals himself to be a Skrull who was tracking Echo in order to replace her. They fight each other and it is revealed that the Skrull is one of the new “Super-Skrulls” this one equipped with Cyclops’ eye blast, Nightcrawler’s teleporting, and Human Torch’s fire manipulation and flight. Wolverine (who was following Maya) soon enters the fray, and we get a really fun brawl between the three of them. This scene (and the whole issue) was very well drawn by Mack, in fact, I think he is the first New Avengers artist that actually made Maya look like the half Hispanic, half American Indian that she is! (Kudos to him!) At least someone studies facial features (unlike someone else, whose female faces all look the same! *cough*Yu*cough*) Also have to note a blooper on the colorist’s part here: in the scene where the Skrull teleports behind Maya and grabs the back of her neck, the colorist colored her legs in a skin tone, instead of black, giving the appearance that Maya lost her pants! (I thought that didn’t happen until the end of this issue! *erh herm*) Eventually the Skrull is able to get away, but we are left with the impression that he/she/it won’t be messing with Maya anytime soon.

This is where we move on to the conversation between Clint and Maya. It starts out quite interesting, with the two of them talking about what defines an Avenger. This is likely to combat the arguments floating around the net that the current “New Avengers” don’t really deserve the title of “Avengers” because their team doesn’t come close to resembling any of their old teams. That is not why I don’t think they deserve the name “Avenger” as the roster never bothered me, it is more the fact that one, these so called “New Avengers” are an illegal group, and while the Avengers may have broken a law here or there, they have never openly defied a law simply for the sake of defying it (you guys lost, admit that you fought the good fight, and register already!) And two, these guys have mostly been fighting organized crime (fighting the Hand in Japan and the Hood in NYC), and the Avengers are not a crime fighting team, they are a world saving team. If this team does insist on calling themselves “Avengers,” why the “New Avengers?” Why not the “Secret Avengers,” or something similar? Anyway, I digress, the conversation quickly turns to something else, they kiss, and next they are in bed. Can’t we get a little believability here? That was waaaaay to fast. “I want to kiss you.” “I want to kiss you too.” And then bed. Cut right to the chase didn’t you? The other big problem that I had with this scene was on the last page, top panel. While Maya is in the shadows, you can still see a rather detailed (and even slightly colored) silhouette, and this stuff is still rated A? Fantastic Four gets bumped to T+ for having a line like “a night o’ wild passionate lovin’”, but nudity maintains an A rating? What the crap? Don’t get me wrong, I’d still buy this if it got bumped to T+, and I’m not a parent, but if I was, I’d be mad that Marvel is still deeming this appropriate for “9 and up.” Marvel should really be rating this stuff based on the age that the content is appropriate for, and not the age that they want to read it. These are the main reasons that this only got 3.5 instead if 4, one for the complete lack of believability, and almost cheesiness of the final scene, and two, for putting content outside of its rating, other than that, it was still a pretty entertaining read.

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