jump to navigation

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

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

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

Advertisements

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

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 Secret Invasion: Thor 2 (3.5 stars) September 23, 2008

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

Overall rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Yup, you guessed it! Marvel Subscriptions is still in the middle of an EPIC FAIL. So until said failure ends, here is yet another link to WCBR review of mine. (Trust me, I’m just as tired of this as you are!)

-LOTRKing

Review of Secret Invasion: Inhumans 2 (4 stars) September 16, 2008

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

Overall rating: 4 out of 5 stars

No comics for me in the mail yesterday, so you guys get more WCBR linkage. Hopefully I’ll get something today (and I hope it’s ASM). If not, expect more linkage tomorrow! So for now, here is my review of SI:Inhumans 2. So far, this has been a great series, and anyone like who doesn’t know much about the Inhumans (like me), nor why they should care about them should pick this series up (or get it as a trade), because this really has me wanting to look into Inhuman history.

-LOTRKing

Review of Secret Invasion 6 (4.5 stars) September 11, 2008

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

Overall rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

I don’t know how Bendis does it. Very little actually happens in this issue. As with every previous issue, there seem to be panels and pages that serve as nothing more than an ad for various tie-ins. And yet, this still manages to be a spectacular read. I’ll start off with the first thing I wondered: the Skrulls seem very happy that the heroes have the Wasp with them; what exactly was in the formula that “Hank” gave her back in Mighty Avengers 8? And why is Veranke so sure that it guarantees their victory, but wishes to use it only as a last resort?

Now concerning the new speech that the Skrulls made on all of our media, that was a brilliant move. I could see how many humans would be swayed to accept the Skrull’s promise of peace and prosperity. No matter how this story ends in two issues, the Skrulls will have still left a huge scar on Earth. Seriously, if we thought the aftermath of Civil War was big, the Skrull’s attack on Earth will definitely have much larger ramifications. And what is this Dark Reign that Marvel is hinting about?

Of course, the best part comes at the end (SPOILER WARNING), as Thor finally meets the new Captain America, and summons as many people as he can to make a last stand against the Skrull army. I won’t lie, seeing an army of heroes and villains united together to take on a legion of Skrulls caused my little nerd heart to almost burst with excitement. Once again, the parallels here between Secret Invasion and Civil War are amazing. Once more, the call of “Avengers Assemble!” is given to rally the troops, but it is no longer a war of ideas, now it is a war of survival. The battle begins on the final page, but this will not be fighting to disable, with a few accidental deaths, as occurred in CW, this is a battle to the death, and I expect the casualties to be high. (Oh, and I still think Dr. Strange will show up to pwn some Skrulls before this is all over.) Secret Invasion just may be Marvel’s most epic crossover yet.

-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 New Avengers 44 (4.5 stars) August 28, 2008

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

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 Mighty Avengers 17 (2 stars) August 27, 2008

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

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 Secret Invasion: Thor 1 (4 stars) August 22, 2008

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

Overall rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Tired of posting “sorry guys and gals, nothing to new review, so no post today” when I run out of my main material, I’ve decided to provide a link to something I reviewed of Weekly Comic Book Review, but did not review here or link earlier. This will only be done when I run out of stuff to review, and because I link to a specific issue does not mean I will link to the next issue. Likewise, regular linkage when I am too busy to write a review will continue (though I’ll continue to do this as little as I possibly can, my goal being once a week or less.) That said, here is the link to this review.

-LOTRKing