Comic Comments: Contest of Champions #1

ContestofChamps

Publisher: Marvel Comics
Writer: Al Ewing
Artist: Paco Medina

Issue (Status): #1 (Ongoing)

Previous Comic Knowledge Required: All you really need to know about Contest of Champions is that, a) it is primarily based on a mobile phone game and, b) that it is set on what appears to be the remnants of Battleworld from Secret Wars.

Basic Synopsis: The Contest of Champions has started and the Collector has his summoner. It’s up to the Maestro, an evil future version of the Hulk, to select the greatest and strongest team of heroes from across the Marvel multiverse to battle against the team of an unknown competitor.

My Thoughts: Considering this comic series is basically a spin-off from a mobile game, I did not go in with massively high expectations for it.

The Collector has once again but called into some form of bet that involves having a ‘Summoner’ putting together a team of heroes, to take on the team created by the other person’s Summoner.  The other party is not explained in this issue, but I’m sure it won’t be long before it is.

The issue starts with the one of the Maestro’s team being collected and what is interesting about this for me is that it starts with a character I know nothing about, The Outlaw, who is apparently a british version of the Punisher last seen in the 90’s. Considering they have the marvel Multiverse it would have been too simple to kick off with one of the well-known names.

Once collected hes is thrown into a fight against someone much more familiar, Venom, however a version of Venom that is still a bad guy and in his universe managed to kill Peter Parker. Overpowered, it is a pretty good job backup soon shows up in the form of Gamora, while she keeps Venom busy Outlaw has to help another member of his team, a version of Iron Man.

He is having his ass handed to him by another character that I have not seen in some time, Joe-Fixit, a personality of the Grey Hulk that worked for the Mob. I always loved that character so it was a shame to see him beaten, and I hope that is not the last we will see of him. However they really have run with the idea of all the multiverse to select from as the combatant is Devil Dinosaur & MoonBoy – but from a Universe where they are part of Hydra.

After a short fight the team is declared the winner, and that is when they are introduced finally to the Collector & Maestro, as well as Stick (the guy who trained DareDevil) and Guillotine (a newly created character).

The rest of the issue is given over to giving some backstory to Guillotine, as well as a side story about the fact that someone has noticed that some people have gone missing and is investigating that fact.

Recommendation: I am going to actually say this could be worth following based on this issue.

Comic Comments: Star Trek/Green Lanterns – The Spectrum Wars #4

StarTrekGreenLantern

Publisher: DC Comics / IDW
Writer: Mike Johnson
Artist: Angel Hernandez

Issue (Status): #4 of 6 (Ongoing)
Collected Trade: Unknown but assumed

Previous Comic Knowledge Required: Hrmm – well on a basic level, Shit got real bad in the DC universe. Nekkron, Head of the Black lantern corps had pretty much destroys all the other Lanterns, Power Batteries and everything else.

As a last gambit, Ganthet pulled a set of rings plus a few remaining lanterns (from the various corps) into a new Universe – The Star Trek universe!

Basic Synopsis: Things heat up for the Hal and the Crew of the USS Enterprise as the heads of the Yellow, Red & Orange Lantern corps find out who got their rings in this universe.

My Thoughts: This issue was a bit exposition heavy but it really needed to be. Carol Ferris, the Star Sapphire, confirmed that Ganthet’s final gambit may not have been as useful as hoped – as it seems Nekkron was not left behind and has followed them into this universe.

While Dr McCoy attempts to use his Indigo ring to heal Saint Walker, the Blue Lantern and Scotty is studying his scans of the Power Rings – the Enterprise receives a distress call from a starbase under attack from what could potentially be other Lanterns.

Hal & the Enterprise rush to the aid of the starbase and arrive to find both the Red Lanterns (Atrocitus/Glocon of Gorn) & the Yellow Lanterns (Sinestro/General Chang of Klingon) going to town on each other. The art of this is very cool indeed.

The issue ends with the usual fight between Sinestro and Hal – but Sinestro manages to take out the crew of the Enterprise at which point Hal takes the Captain’s seat and forms a Gigantic light construct version of the ship.

Recommendation: Im kinda enjoying this one, so its worth a buy if you have read along – if not unless everything goes wrong in the last two issues, it will be worth picking up as a trade

Comic Comments: Bat-Mite #5

BatMite

Publisher: DC Comics
Writer: Dan Jurgens
Artist: Corin Howell

Issue (Status): #5 of 6 (Ongoing)
Collected Trade: Yes (released 3rd March 2016 – Amazon)

Previous Comic Knowledge Required: Basically there is not a lot that you really need to know. The point of Bat-Mite is really just meant to be an amusing little distraction. Bat-Mite himself is an Imp from the fifth dimension who possesses what appears to be near-infinite magical power, but in reality is highly advanced technology, using it to help whoever is his target superhero of choice – though generally causing more problems along the way.

Basic Synopsis: Bat-Mite’s ongoing battle against Gridlock (a supervillain who wants to stop the future from coming because the past was just better – seriously just go with it) continues, this time pulling into the fray a group for D-Rank heroes – The Inferior Five.

My Thoughts: The thing about the Bat-Mite series, and the reason I have been trying to keep up with it so far is the the fact that is just a break from the norm. It’s a reminder that not all comics need to be dark and gritty. Since being exiled from his home dimension for reasons unknown (probably just generally being a pain in the ass) he has so far teamed up with Hawkman, Booster Gold & Robin and picked up his own supervillain Gridlock.

This issue starts with him on his way to help out as the henchmen of Gridlock are attacking a film museum for unknown reasons, but are being taken to task by one of the worst hero groups in history – The Inferior Five! Thier powers are not great, such as Arkwardman whose ability appears to be clumsiness or  The Blimp who can kind of fly (if the winds are going the right way) but together they get the jobs done that are too low level for real heroes.

Turns out that what gridlock was after is the previously unseen pilot episode of Galaxy Trek, so that he can ensure that his is the first – and only – person to ever see it (its kinda his thing), so Bat-Mites only option is another makeover – turning the Inferior Five into the Superior Six – Seriously overhauling their powers.

After the new team takes the fight to Gridlock, and kicking serious ass, Bat-Mite and Tough Bunny realise that they can not stay this way. The whole power corrupts thing shines through and it’s clear that leaving them with this power would only end badly.

This issue wraps up with the reveal that the cloaked figures that initially exiled him to Earth are watching, and have decided its time to step pack in and deal with the mess that Bat-Mite is making.

Recommendation: As this is scheduled to wrap up next month I would say wait for the Trade, unless you can find all the issues at a good price

Comic Comments: Marvel Point One / Avengers #0

Marvel

Publisher: Marvel Comic
Writer: Various
Artist: Various

Issues (Status): 2 Issues (Complete)
Collected Trade: No

Previous Comic Knowledge Required: Not a lot really – Basically all you need to know for this is that Secret Wars has happened and resulted in a soft reboot of the Marvel Comic Universe

Basic Synopsis: Both of these issues are intended to give you an overview of the upcoming titles in the All-New All-Different Marvel, coming out of Secret Wars.

My Thoughts: I basically only read these only out of a strange curiosity about what exactly they were going to be pushing in these comics.

I kinda liked how they at least made an effort to try to wrap a small story around these, even if they were crap it at least was a little better than just giving previews I guess

Marvel Point One was not terrible, focusing around the Maestro (A version of the Hulk from an alternative future, where he was a malevolent dictator) who was basically picking his Roster for the comic version of the iPhone game ‘Conquest of Champions’.

The comics previewed in this one were

  • Conquest of Champions – While this is based on a Mobile game, I do have hopes for this one as it’s concept is simple – The Maestro as ‘The Summoner’ will be able to pull heroes from across time and space to take throw into battle against the heroes of another summoner. This could result in some interesting fights.
  • DareDevil – All I got from this preview was, DareDevil gets a sidekick
  • Carnage – The Preview told us nothing, apart from that Carnage is still kicking about and is a bit of a nutter
  • All-New Inhumans – Seems that this will follow on as Inhumans left off, with New Inhumans being created left and right, and the impact of that.
  • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D – Tied loosely to the TV Series, this series follows the main characters of that show as they do what S.H.I.E.L.D does
  • Rocket Raccoon & Groot – This is the one that I am most looking forward to, as it looks like it will be a direct follow on from the 5 Issue ‘Groot’ series, if it can carry over that tone then it should be pretty damn good

Avengers #0 was the worst of the two, Basically it was a preview for the SIX Avengers series that will be ongoing

  • New Avengers – Basically this group is a rebrand of the super-villian organisation A.I.M as the Avengers Idea Mechanics. Members:
    Sunspot Songbird Hawkeye
    Wiccan Hulkling White Tiger
    Squirrel Girl Power Man  
  • Uncanny Avengers – Pretty standard avengers group lead by the Old Steve Rogers. Members:
    Steve Rogers Rogue DeadPool
    Human Torch Synapse Doctor Voodoo
    QuickSilver Spiderman (Parker)  
  • A-Force – This is an all female Avengers team following on from the widely acclaimed Series that was part of Secret Wars.  Primary Members (its supposed to keep the same roster- which is over 30 Characters):
    Captain Marvel Crystal ShadowCat
    Thor Jessica Jones Medusa
    She-Hulk Spider-Woman  Storm
  • All-New All-Different Avengers – Meant as the main Avengers team it has some of the big draw characters and mixes in a few new names marvel are banking on being big. Members:
    Thor Captain America (Sam Wilson)
    Vision SpiderMan (Miles Morales)
    Iron Man Nova (Sam Alexander)
    Ms. Marvel
  • Ultimates – This is the team that is said to specialise in the Cosmic level threats. Members:
    Captain Marvel Black Panther Ms. America
    Spectrum Blue Marvel  Galactus (Rumor)
  • Squadron Supreme – These will be the dark Avengers, willing to do whatever is needed when the other avengers will not. Members:
    Hyperion Doctor Spectrum NightHawk
    Thundra Blur Power Princess

Recommendation: Dont Bother – it’s basically a sales pitch for the other #1 issues

Comic Comments: Batman & Robin Eternal #1

BatRobinEternal

Publisher: DC Comics
Writer: Scott Snyder, James T Tynion IV
Artist: Tony S. Daniel

Issues (Status): #1 of 26 (Ongoing)
Collected Trade: Unknown – Assume Yes

Previous Comic Knowledge Required: I am going to say that quite a lot of prior knowledge is going to be needed for this one, primarily last years 52 Issue series Batman Eternal. This was one hell of a confusing series, so I will point you in the direction of the Comicstorian if you want to know more about it (Batman Eternal Playlist).

Also a few important facts

  • Dick Grayson is no longer Nightwing – Instead is a Spy with an organisation called Spyral (Grayson Series)
  • Bruce Wayne is no longer Batman – In a recent story, Bruce has lost all of his memories. He knows nothing of being Batman and the decision was made by the Bat-Family to leave it this way and let Bruce have a shot at a normal life.

Basic Synopsis: On a quick mission that brings him back to Gotham, Grayson is attacked by agents of a Villain referred to as ‘Mother’ which leads him to a mystery surrounding all of the Robins.

My Thoughts: When I picked this one up, I will admit it was purely because it is a sequel to Eternal. Now I am not sure they will actually be related in more than name, but I am sure that it will be quite an interesting story.

This issue was all about setting things in place, and does a good job of that. Despite, or perhaps because of, the loss of Bruce as Batman – the Bat-Family is connected a lot more than they appeared to be before. This issue does a good job of selling that fact.

The story started off fairly light hearted with Grayson, Red Hood & Red Robin taking out a minor villain with ease before Grayson goes off to deal with the mission he actually came to Gotham for. It is here that things start to spiral, while Grayson is distracted by the last time he was in this building as Robin he is attacked.

Barely escaping he is shortly attacked by Cassandra Cain, the first time she has been seen in the New 52 properly. After their fight she simply hands him an pen drive, an old format that Batman used to use.

Returning to the BatCave – it is this drive that has the final secret of the issue, a list of all of the Bat-Family and a link to the villain ‘Mother’ – as well as a hologram revelation from Batman.

Recommendation: I might have to say that unless you are following on from Batman Eternal, I would wait a few issues until it starts to show if it’s going to be a good series.

Comic Comments: Injustice: Gods Among Us – Year 4

Injustice

Publisher: DC Comics
Writer: Brian Buccellato
Artist: Bruno Redondo / Mike S Miller / Juan Albarran

Issues (Status): 12 Issues (Complete)
Collected Trade: Yes (released 3rd May 2016 –Amazon)

Previous Comic Knowledge Required: A general knowledge of the DC Comics would probably be useful for an idea of who is who, but you could pretty much get away with just reading Injustice: Gods Among Us – Year’s 1, 2 & 3.

Basic Synopsis: After so long with no interest in the actions of humanity, Superman’s actions in taking control of the world has pissed off Zeus and the rest of the Pantheon. Forcing the Amazonian Army to join with them against Superman, Wonder Woman is left torn as to which side she will take, meanwhile Batman has to find a way to use this to his advantage. But what has caused Zeus to suddenly take an interest in the affairs of earth?

My Thoughts: I am liking the way that Injustice is picking a theme for each of its arcs, it really helps ground the story that could otherwise spiral out of control.

That’s not to say it’s completely grounded, this is a world where Superman and the rest of the Justice League are pretty much in control, the Green Lanterns have been wiped out, Superman was a Yellow Lantern and the Joker nuked Metropolis.

What was good about this year aside from the interactions between the Justice League and the Pantheon, was all the undertone for the greater story of this year.

There are characters within the Justice League that seem to be questioning whether they have gone too far. Lex Luthor has been subtly working in secret on something, as well as assisting the insurgency. Hal Jordan, now a Yellow Lantern, starting to worry about the state of Superman and some of his attitude and decisions. Even the animosity between Flash, Cyborg and Robin could be something that becomes interesting.

The way it wrapped up this year was a bit abrupt, but the hints towards the theme for Year Five were certainly interesting – if I have read them right I can not wait to see what it brings.

Recommendation: This is one of my personal favourite series at the moment, as it puts a new spin on all the characters because it does not have to worry about fitting into the rest of the DC Universe – well worth a buy as a result.