Marvel Week in Review – 14th October 2015

MarvelWeek14102015

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…)

DC Week in Review – 14th October 2015

DCWeek14102015

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

  • Bat-Mite #5

I love this little book. I hope Bat-Mite gets another series after this one ends. This was an interesting issue as it introduced me to a bunch of other characters that really should get more of the limelight, there are more than just the Justice League in the DCU

Comic Comments: Bat-Mite #5

  • Batman & Robin Eternal #2

The story continues with Grayson following up on the list he was given by Cassandra Cain in the first issue, fortunately that takes him to the flat of Harper Row (BlueBird). He is just in time as Harper is attacked by a follower of “Mother”, while Cassandra Cain chases down the attacker he stays to help Harper.

It is here he also is joined by Red Robin & Spoiler (thankfully, Grayson says what we are all thinking about the number of teenagers in costumes these days) – but we’re still no closer to knowing who “Mother” is and what it has to do with Grayson’s first encounter with Scarecrow

  • Batman – Superman #25

With Clark Kent now public as Superman & Jim Gordon as Batman, it’s safe to say they do not see eye to eye. After coming into Batmans turf and nearly causing a war, Superman is persona non grata in Gotham.

So, picking up a few toys from the batcave he has gone underground to investigate who is behind it all. It’s not long before he finds himself having his ass kicked by Vandal Savage.

Fortunately while Batman is not helping, the Bat-Family will. He finds himself helped in his investigations by Batgirl, Grayson & Red Hood. But can they succeed without Batmans help?

  • Batman #45

Things we’re going well for Gordon at the end of the last issue and this issue picks up with him stuck in a blast furnace, with little hope of escape. This is comics though, so you knew he was going to.

His investigation of Bloom has pretty much hit a dead end, he’s out numbered in the fight and still not used to flying solo. Thankfully he is soon given backup, the Bat-Bot has been given an upgrade in the form of an autopilot mode.

But when the fight is over things go from bad to worse as he finds himself meeting with the head of Powers international, she informs him that he his being retired as Batman, but is he ready to step down from the roll?

  • Catwoman #45

I understand they had to do something to help expand on the catwoman story, to build her character to be something more than just anti-hero that sometimes Batman has the hots for. I gave it a serious shot, but personally making her the head of one of Gothams crime families isn’t really working for me.

This issue sees her playing matron a little bit once again, helping a friend who just became head of a rival family by getting revenge on Black Mask for killing her father.

None of this story interests me, apart from perhaps Cobblepot, his characterisation in this is spot on for me. That said this series is off on the not reading list.

  • Earth 2 – Society #5

It has been a year since Planetfall on Earth-2, society is starting come back together steadily. This is in crisis however as the last orbiting generation ship they came in, Overwatch-One, is falling out of the sky on a direct path for Neotropolis.

It falls to Batman, Superman & the Flash to try and get its stabiliser back online. With Superman only partly powered due to the red sun having only just set, Batmans exosuit not capable of the speed needed it eventually falls to The Flash.

This Flash however is still only just getting used to his powers, along with the responsibilities and fame that come with them. However with some fast thinking he manages to at least get the ship stable enough to buy them some time to ask the important question – who caused the problem in the first place?

  • Harley Quinn #21

Unlike Catwoman, the effort being put into building Harley Quinn into being more than just sidekick of the Joker is actually working. While the crazy is still there, it’s a strangely believable kind of crazy. Getting her out of Gotham was a really good start as it opens up a lot of new stories where she is not having to fall back or for no reason ignore the various other characters of that city.

That’s not to say she is alone, being that she is being a Merc/bounty hunter of sorts at the moment it was only natural that she would bump into DC’s best known Merc – Deadshot. What makes this issue for me is there is a moment at the end where Harley is talking to the Mother of the woman she has been sent to retrieve and reminds you that pre-Joker she was a psychiatrist, as she tells her exactly what she needs to do to help get her daughter clean.

Obviously being Harley this is done while she is topless, also followed by a threat to kill both of them if the mother didn’t pay up – but it shows that under the loopy are brains.

  • Justice League Of America #4

JLA is one of the stories taking advantage of the DC ‘Content of Continuity’ where after convergence writers were allowed to tell any story they wanted without having to worry about where they fit in the main timeline. This is why despite in this comic Superman is still fully powered and Batman is still Bruce Wayne.

The Kryptonian god Rao is still hovering over New York, while providing his blessing over the world. However while the UN seems happy to open the borders to Rao and his prophets, others are starting to questions his motives. While Batman and Superman are investigating different angles, Cyborg is helping both of them. While that is happening Green Lantern finds himself stuck a quarter of a million years in the past on Krypton.

He ends up coming face to face with the Great God Rao, but something is not right. This Rao is a 300 year old man, in the midst of a civil war and does not show any of the power that the one on modern earth does. However both sides of the timelines soon start to uncover dark secrets, like the fact that Rao is genetically altering people to worship him and that he may have done the same to Kryptonians long ago. Meanwhile on ancient Krypton, Green Lantern learns that this belief gives Rao certain abilities that may explain why he now needs earth to believe in him.

Unfortunately Rao knows he’s been rumbled, so what happens next?

  • Justice League United #14

What do you do when you’re trapped in a small french town, stuck in a temporal distortion that seems to have pulled in every war that has ever passed through its borders? Simply try to stay alive!

Vandal Savage knows this town, being immortal he was here during World War 2 and finds himself captured by some american soldiers he pissed off on his first time round. Soon saved by Batgirl they escape into the woods to attempt to regroup with the others. StarGirl has been knocked out of the sky and seperated from her power staff – thankfully she is being helped by the german world war 1 pilot that shot her down.

Meanwhile Steel and Robotman find themselves in the middle of the battlefield facing down DC’s Creature Commandos. 2 against 6 is long enough odds, but then that 6 consist of Frankenstein’s monster, a vampire, a werewolf, a gorgon, a zombie and a different android things are not going to go well. Against all reason they manage to survive, only to finish the issue under attack from OMAC.

  • Red Hood & Arsenal #5

Red Hood & Arsenal find themselves in Gotham on the tail of the Villian UnderBelly. Being a personification of all the dark and evil of the underworld, it obviously started here.

Basically this whole episode is one big action scene as the pair, helped by Bat-Bot, take on the Underbelly. It is not a simple fight as he simply is not human, but eventually they are successful and in a way that lets you realise that under his goofy exterior, Roy Harper is a genious. However the wrap up of the episode is a bit of character building for Red Hood as (in this book) it is the first time he learns that Bruce is still alive but without any memories. it turns out Jason spent some time at the community center bruce is helping at.

The Cliffhanger for this issue however does not give me much hope for the next one as it involves ‘Joker’s Daughter’ a terribly contrived character that I would much rather they did away with and forgot they ever created.

  • Superman – Lois & Clark #1

This is an interesting little idea, basically this Superman is from a reality where the timeline is further along and the opener for the issue shows that by having him in the background of the battle against Darkseid ready to step in if the Justice League not been able to handle him. They obviously were and Superman returns home to Lois & their child Jonathan.

However this basically means that they have theoretically been on this Earth for the run of the New 52. For the sake of Jonathan they decided to stay on the down low, setting up in a small town as a simple farming family – the Whites.

I am interested to see where this one goes after this first issue.

Comic Comments: Superman – Lois & Clark #1

(more…)