Marvel Week in Review – 14th October 2015

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Each week I try to do as many detailed reviews as I can of the comics that I read, however time is not always in my favour. For that reason I am going to do a short overview of the releases.

I will split the release list into two sections, because there are certain series I will just give up on – they can’t all be gold.

Reviewed

  • A-Force #5

As Secret Wars rolls to an end each of the side stories start to wrap up, A-Force was one of the better side stories and this ending ensures it goes out on a high.

After Loki’s failed attempt to take over Arcadia the massive bitch blows a hole in the Shield, letting the zombies of the Deadlands invade. Jumping into battle She-Hulk and the other Arcadians are helped in defending their island by Gamora and the other female Thor’s. The A-Force do a valiant job of holding back the Zombies for a while but they are soon very badly outnumbered.

There looks like there will be no way out of this, that is when Singularity steps up. While little is still known about her she still wants to save her friends and seeing as she appears to have some form of cosmic level power, she may well be the only one that can. Making the ultimate sacrifice she pulls up all the zombies and self destruct – saving the day.

But being somewhat of a cosmic being I don’t think this is the last we have seen of her, A-Force is getting its own run in the main timeline and I have a feeling she will come back with knowledge of the Secret Wars in tow.

  • Captain America – Sam Wilson #1

I’m not sure where I stand on this one really. I have long been a believer that not all comic books need to be pure action and that they are more than capable of handling bigger issues, but something about this new Captain America didn’t quite gel for me.

Perhaps it was the fact that to get everyone up to speed there was so much back and forth in the order of the story, jumping around the events of the last 8 months or so of Sam’s time as Captain America. Plus there was a lot of stuff in this issue that had to be told and not shown for it to makes sense.

The long and short of it is that where Steve Rogers tried to keep his Captain America above all the politics of the world, Sam makes the decision to get himself actively involved and put his cards on the table. As a result, large sections of the american public now hate him, S.H.E.I.L.D have cut all ties with him and he is now an independent operator working with Misty Knight and D-Man (no, I have no idea who that was either).

However life without government backing Sam learns being a hero is not cheap, and that if you jump into certain issues you may just find yourself on the wrong side of the law – whether that law is just or not may not matter.

This is not to say it was a bad issue, just personally something felt off – lets see if that is just this issues or with the run.

  • Captain America – White #3

This story I am enjoying as some of the best Captain America stories come out of his World War 2 era. This series has the right mix of lightheartedness and action that helps push the story along nicely.

After being captured at the end of the last issue, it doesn’t take them long to turn the tides and overwhelm the Germans. Taking their uniforms and tank, Cap, Fury and the Howling Commandos head deeper into france. When they finally meet up with their contact on the path there is an interesting moment for Cap where he wonders if bringing Bucky along was wise. Where his strong sense of right and wrong had made him stop Dugan and Fury from throwing the Germans over the cliff, instead tying them up to be found and captured later, their contacts in the resistance had already found them – and flung them over the side of the cliff!

But the resistance operative remind him bluntly when he tries to object to their actions that the germans are not the only ones that the french are unhappy to have in their country, that some would rather defeat the germans without their help and that those ‘Prisoners’ got better treatment than many french captives.

It is rolling into the end of this story now and I look forward to seeing where this goes.

  • Civil War #5

Another of the Secret Wars side stories that has come to its end.

The battle of the Divide has begun and the Blue have invaded the Iron. With Rogers pushing forward so that he can take out as many of the Irons heroes with the bellcurve bomb, Stark and She-Hulk are trying desperately to find a way out of the hidden base at the bottom of the Divide. They need to let everyone know that both sides have been played by the Skrull – who want them to wipe each other out to make their invasion easier.

After escaping and eventually convincing Rogers of the truth, they throw the bellcurve bomb into the Divide to lock the Skrull into their alien forms so they can deal with them – but its landing damages the trigger causing them to have to re-enter the Divide. They are soon overrun by Skrull are left with no option but to call in support from their forces.

The story ends with Parker & Jen meeting on the old bridge over the Divide, both sides now working together finally and Jen asks the question – Did Stark and Rogers call them into the Divide to deliberately strip them all of their powers?  They both part ways realizing that they will never know and that it is not important after all.

  • Deadpool vs. Thanos #3

Despite the title of this series, Deadpool and Thanos continue their adventure together to find Mistress Death – the living embodiment of mortality. She has been kidnapped and with her missing the universe is now immortal. As both of them are in competition for her affections, they have run around the universe trying to find out who took her and where.

The issue leads them down a new path, into Hell itself to question Mephisto. However when they arrive they soon learn something Hell has gone t0…well Hell. With Death out of the equation, Mephisto’s armies are weakened – Nobody dieing means there are no more Damned souls coming to hell & as such there are no new troops. As such the Hell Lords are have all gone to war to try to seize power for themselves.

While in hell, Wade has another near Death experience and she sends him another message letting him finally learn her location – outside of Eternity itself!

  • Guardians of the Galaxy #1

Unlike the other #1’s that have been out from Marvel, this one does a lot less hand holding than the others in terms of catching people up. There is little to no explanation about why Peter Quill is now the King of Spartax, why Kitty Pryde is now Starlord or even why the Thing & Venom are now on the team.

That said this is not a bad thing as it’s pretty much business as usual for the guardians. After a bit of setting up of some potential plotlines further down the line with Annihilus & the Brood, it drops into the usual thing of the Guardians kicking ass and making light of things.

Thier opening issue has them taking out a whole Chitauri fleet like it was no trouble at all. While doing so they relieve them of a mystery box, and with no safe way to find out what is inside their only option is to go to Spartax for help from Quill.

While there Gamora shows back up fairly badly beaten to line up for issue #2.

I think this could be a good series as long as they don’t do what they did last time and spent too much time trying to tie them back to all the earth based stuff.

  • New Avengers #1

With as many new Avengers teams as in this ‘All New, All Different’ Marvel they couldn’t all be good – there was nothing about this story that really made it stand out.

There is nobody on this team that could not be swapped out with literally any other marvel character, without in the slightest changing the comic. Most people may not even have a clue who half of this lot are and none of them receive an overly large amount of characterisation to help with that.

I mean I like the concept of someone taking over a supervillain group like A.I.M and trying to turn it around, but even that doesn’t really add much to the story beyond giving them a base of operations.

What makes this slightly more irritating is the villain they have set them against. The Maker is the Ultimate Universe version of Reed Richards who has turned evil. Even he doesn’t fare well out of this issue, with his plan seeming nonsensical at best which considering he is supposed to be a super genius just annoyed me.

This has a lot of work to do to keep itself on the reading list in the next issue.

  • Spider-Gwen #1

I will admit I have not yet read the last run of Spider-Gwen, but I might go back and do so after this issue.

I know the basic premise of Spider-Gwen, in this alternate universe it was Gwen Stacy that was bitten by the spider and became SpiderWoman. Parker eventually died after turning himself into the Lizard to try to be more like SpiderWoman etc.

All of that is nicely recapped, while at the same time setting everything in place for the ongoing story.

Strange things are happening in New York, despite Peter being gone there are fresh sightings of the Lizard. There are shops being attacked and animals going missing – but that can’t be possible, right?

Naturally Gwen sets about investigating – she can’t let this be Parker’s legacy, but what she was not banking on bumping Captain America.

  • Spider-Man 2099 #1

Now Spider-Man 2099 is not a character I have followed all that closely. I know that Miguel O’Hara replicated Spider-Man’s abilities and then at some point came back in time to stop the destruction of his future by Alchemax.

The issue sets the tone a bit by having him enters, and trounces, American Ninja Warrior. This is followed by bit of a dressing from his new boss, Peter Parker, for doing something that could potentially show his secret identity.

At this point Miguel restates that he only agreed to work for Parker Industries as he has no intention of being Spider-Man any more.

The rest of the issue is spent building up the rest of the players, putting in place Empire Unlimited to pick up with the building of the Alchemax Prison, with the Department of Internal Security to deal with superpowered terrorists.

The episode closes out with a gut punch but its worth reading and makes me want to see what issue #2 will bring.

  • The Uncanny Avengers #1

This is one of the other Avengers stories going on at the moment and I am not sure where I sit on this one either.

I mean there are moments that show potential, basically this team is about unity and bringing together superhuman, mutant, inhuman & magical heroes for the greater good.

While I realise that part of the point of this team is that they are not going to get along, but this team is a complete mess. Spider-Man quits the team within 10 pages, Rouge spends a lot of time insulting inhumans and everyone seems to hate Deadpool but Old Man Rogers.

The main villain didn’t make a lot of sense either – an Inhuman that can do….something…that makes plant all weird and then spawn dog like things.

Hopefully this will clear up a bit in the next issue.

(more…)

Marvel Week in Review – 7th October 2015

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Each week I try to do as many detailed reviews as I can of the comics that I read, however time is not always in my favour. For that reason I am going to do a short overview of the releases.

I will split the release list into two sections, because there are certain series I will just give up on – they can’t all be gold.

Reviewed

  • 1602 – Witch Hunter Angela #4

This was one of the titles in the Secret Wars side stories that I was not expecting to enjoy but really did, I seem to have a like for anything that reimagined mainstream characters in different themes – this one is fantasy/historic – I think this was the last book in the run and was a good wrap up

  • All-New, All-Different Point One #1
  • Avengers #0

Skip these they are completely pointless, simply enhanced marketing for other comics.

Comic Comments: Marvel Point One / Avengers #0

  • Contest of Champions #1

Considering this comic series is basically a spin-off from a mobile game, I did not go in with massively high expectations for it. However was actually pleasantly surprised by it and think as a #1 issue it shows potential for the series.

Comic Comments: Contest of Champions #1

  • Doctor Strange #1

Another very good #1 issue that helps fill in new readers on who Doctor Strange is and what to expect out of this series. As always the art is great, very different from what you see in other Avengers solo titles. Looks like the first main arch could be interesting as well so lets see how it goes.

Comic Comments: Doctor Strange #1

  • Groot #5

Wrapping up the mini-arch for his solo title, Groot is finally reunited with Rocket and the rest of his companions and proves in the process that despite being a big softy at heart – when needed his is more than capable of opening a can of whoop-ass on those deserving of it. A solid end that leads in well to the upcoming Rocket Racoon & Groot series.

  • Invincible Iron Man #1

It is a shame that Marvel had to rush out the new run on all the Secret Wars story had wrapped up. As much as they promised there would be no spoilers, there were always bound to be some – but the one in this is potentially a doozy.

That aside this is a solid start to the new run on Iron Man that manages to very quickly throw a few balls into the air that the writers will be able to play with ongoing without seeming overly ham-fisted about it. I am intrigued to see which one it runs with first.

  • Old Man Logan #5

An incredible wrap up of the Old Man Logan series for Secret Wars, his journey through battle world comes to an end with the premonition from Emma Frost, that a battle against doom is coming and that Logan will be on the front lines. What happens after the fight? Well it seems that he will be one of the few to come out of Secret Wars with knowledge of what happened.

  • Secret Wars #6

Kinda annoying that even after all the delays in Secret Wars, this entry in the story felt a bit like filler. All of it was really just filling in some gaps in the story, piecing together all the elements that are going to be needed to finally take on Doom. The Characters from the original universes are building rebel armies, Thanos is off reminding The Thing what he has forgotten & Black Panther and Namor find some powerful tools.

  • Siege #4

The Battle at the Shield comes to head as Thanos shows up and demands to be incarcerated, but why would he do such a thing? Turns out this book is the more detailed and interesting version of events from Secret Wars #6. The battle obviously does not end well, but this book was well written and full of interesting sub-plots, so this was a good ending for it

  • Spider-Island #5

The last battle of the Spider-Island Secret wars series. Flash, Parker & the other Avengers they have freed from the Spider Queen’s control by giving secondary mutations are taking a beating, there is only one option – Venom must make a choice, not Flash but the Symbiote can potentially save the day – but will it. A good end to this story, and a good story overall.

  • The Amazing Spider-Man #1

Things are certainly looking up for Parker in recent years. Sure Doctor Octopus may have taken over his body for a few years, but as a result he now has Parker Industries – and it seems that is now rivalling Stark Enterprises in scale. However Parker is still Parker and as such is more interested in using the ‘Power’ of his company to help others.

Like Invincible Iron-Man this does a good job of throwing a bunch of potential plots into the air, while not really making it obvious as to which they are going to be following first. I think this could be a good one to follow as long as it doesn’t play too heavily on the poor-man’s Tony Stark joke.

  • What If Infinity – Inhumans #1
  • What If Infinity – Thanos #1

I guess if you really liked the Infinity Story Arch, these ‘What If’ stories are interesting – but if like me you aren’t that fussed they’re kinda pointless and worth skipping (more…)

Comic Comments: Contest of Champions #1

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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.