The Revolution strongly disliked the last issue of Iron Man. The last issue was the perfect example of why I hate tie-in issues. Last issue was a complete and utter waste of space and time. Unfortunately, Iron Man #20 is also another dreaded World War Hulk tie-in issue. I dig Cage as a writer, but he doesn’t have much to work with in these obligatory World War Hulk tie-in issues. I’m sure that Iron Man #20 is going to be another sub-par read. Let’s hit this review.
Writer: Christos Gage
Artist: Butch Guice
Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10.
Story Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10.
Overall Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10.
Synopsis: We begin with the Hulk attacking the SHIELD Helicarrier. Hulk breaks into the bridge of the Helicarrier and asks Dugan what happened to Nick Fury. Dugan responds that Nick has gone underground. Hulk says that Nick was one of the people who tricked him into getting into the spaceship that launched him into space. Hulk says if Dugan tells him where Fury is located then the Helicarrier will be spared.
Dugan says that it wasn’t Fury who tricked the Hulk. That it was a Life Model Decoy. Hulk says he is going to go ask Tony Stark if that is true. Hulk says if it is a lie then he will come back and destroy the Helicarrier.
We cut to Dugan meeting with Lindsay and Clay Quartermain. Both men had served with Ross’ Hulkbusters. Lindsay counsels conceding Manhattan to the Hulk and letting him get his revenge on the few people he wants to and then maybe the Hulk will leave.
Quartermain argues that they shouldn’t sacrifice Manhattan and that the Hulk won’t leave after he gets his revenge. Quartermain says that they need to attack the Hulk now. Dugan agrees with Quartermain and tells him to get an inventory of all the weapons they have that could cause damage to the Hulk.
We cut to Dugan alone in the Director’s office. Tony’s armor is hanging on the wall of the office. Dugan talks out loud about what a mess Tony has left him in. Suddenly, the Iron Man helmet springs to life. We see a weakened Tony lying on a prison floor controlling the Iron Man helmet remotely. Tony says that the Hulk’s supporters placed an Obedience Disk in him that keeps Tony from fighting them. That just talking to Dugan is excruciating. If Tony took direct action, he would pass out.
Tony tells Dugan to not try and rescue him. Tony tells Dugan to access Tony’s computer for a secret plan that is a Doomsday plan. The plan has the schematics for a series of transmitters when placed correctly around a locating like Manhattan they will open a dimension portal sending everything within their perimeter to the distortion area of the Negative Zone. It is where positive matter will collide with the Zone’s antimatter and annihilate everything instantly.
Dugan says that such a plan will destroy all of Manhattan as well as Tony himself. Tony tells Dugan that Dugan is the only man Tony trusts to know about this plan and the only person Tony trusts to decide when to use this plan.
We then see someone walk into Tony’s cell and zap him unconscious. Dugan grabs the Iron Man helmet and calls out for Tony. We cut to Dugan telling his SHIELD officers that they will continue to follow Director Stark’s plans. We then shift back to Dugan sitting in the Director’s office holding the Iron Man helmet. Dugan looks at the helmet and says “Come on, damn it…say something. Please.” End of issue.
The Good: Iron Man #20 was a solid read. Gage really surprised me and got me to actually enjoy a World War Hulk tie-in issue. This issue is probably the best World War Hulk tie-in issue that I have read up to this point. Gage actually manages to take the events of World War Hulk and create a pretty interesting plotline for this title.
Unlike many tie-in issues, Gage actually advances the story with this issue. Gage develops Tony Stark’s current situation on the Hulk’s ship, Dugan’s struggle to run SHIELD in Tony’s absence and the revelation of Tony’s Doomsday plan to deal with the Hulk. Not too shabby for a tie-in issue, huh?
Cage crafts a well paced issue as we get some action in the beginning of this issue and then plenty of dialogue heavy scenes that provide for some quality drama. Gage’s crafts some fine dialogue. Gage simply knows how to write both Tony and Dugan and each men have a nicely developed and unique voice. Plus, Gage generates some fine chemistry between Tony and Dugan.
Gage continues to impress me with his work on Iron Man. Gage has a wonderful feel for Tony Stark’s character. Whenever the Knaufs decide to leave this title, (And I hope that that doesn’t happen for a very long time.) I would like to see Marvel turn this title over to Gage’s capable hands. Gage writes a fantastic Tony Stark. Gage’s Tony is tough, heroic and always prepared no matter what situation he finds himself in.
Tony is trapped on Hulk’s ship with an Obedience Disk inserted into him to ensure that Tony can’t raise a pinky against Hulk’s forces. However, Tony manages to summon the will power to fight through the pain and the control of the Obedience Disk in order to educate Dugan on Tony’s Doomsday plan to deal with the Hulk.
I dig that no matter how dire the situation, Tony always has a plan to deal with the crisis. And Gage shows the reader how heroic Tony by his willingness to implement a plan to stop the Hulk that would mean his death. Gage also shows the reader how pragmatic Tony is with Tony’s belief that sacrificing Manhattan is worth it in order to save the world from the Hulk and his army.
Tony’s Doomsday plan to deal with the Hulk was a cool little plot twist. Even though we know that our heroes won’t have to resort to this Doomsday plan, it still increases the tension in the reader and exemplifies the extremely dire situation our heroes have been placed in with having to deal with a seemingly unstoppable villain in the Hulk.
Gage also uses Dugan as a literary tool to give Tony more cred as the Director of SHIELD. Dugan’s respect and loyalty to Tony shows what an excellent leader Tony is. I also dig how Gage demonstrates that just because Dugan is a career SHIELD soldier and immensely talented doesn’t mean that he has what it takes to be the Director of SHIELD. Dugan is clearly more suited to dutifully carry out orders rather than being the Director and having to make all the critical decisions. This shows how Tony is incredibly talented and manages to make being the Director of SHIELD look easy.
The final scene of this issue was wonderfully done. Gage shows how the crown weighs heavily on Dugan’s head. That Dugan desperately needs Tony’s guidance in this moment of crisis. This ending does a good job emphasizing the importance of Tony Stark and his leadership as well as painting the picture of an ever increasing hopeless situation as there seems to be no other way to stop the Hulk outside of Tony’s Doomsday plan.
Guice provides some solid art. I actually liked Guice’s art on this issue more than I did on the last issue. Guice’s dark and sketchy artwork fit the overall gloomy and grim mood of this issue.
The Bad: I am enjoying Cage’s work and this is pretty good for a tie-in issue. However, I can’t wait for the Knaufs to return and continue the excellent story that they were building on this title before the obligatory tie-in issues started.
Overall: Iron Man #20 was a good tie-in issue. It is about time that I finally enjoy a tie-in issue. I have certainly had to suffer through some rather poor Amazons Attack and World War Hulk tie-in issues lately. It was nice to finally enjoy a tie-in issue.
Tuesday, July 31, 2007
The Revolution strongly disliked the last issue of Iron Man. The last issue was the perfect example of why I hate tie-in issues. Last issue was a complete and utter waste of space and time. Unfortunately, Iron Man #20 is also another dreaded World War Hulk tie-in issue. I dig Cage as a writer, but he doesn’t have much to work with in these obligatory World War Hulk tie-in issues. I’m sure that Iron Man #20 is going to be another sub-par read. Let’s hit this review.
The Revolution found the last issue of Teen Titans and its obligatory Amazons Attack tie-in story was boring. Unfortunately, it appears that Teen Titans #49 is another Amazons Attack tie-in issue. That means that I’ll probably find Teen Titans #49 to be another average read. Lets’ do ahead and hit this review.
Writer: Adam Beechen
Penciler: Al Barrionuevo
Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 2 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 4.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: We begin with Colonel Nancy Wallace appearing on the scene and telling the Army soldiers to stand down and to not arrest the Titans. Colonel Wallace then orders the soldiers to pack up the internment camp and move it to a new location now that they have been compromised. Ravage yammers on how this is like when the Japanese-Americas were locked up during World War II. That the women are only guilty of being women. Colonel Wallace ignores Ravage.
We cut to a high speed train relocating the detained women with the Titans flying overhead keeping an eye out. Ravage blabs about how one of her father’s men that he trained was interned in 1943. That man was Mr. Yamagata and didn’t deserve interment and neither do those women. Robin agrees, but says that going against the government at this point won’t help the situation. Right now they just need to make sure nothing gets out of hand.
Suddenly, Artemis and a couple of other Amazons swoop in and attack the Army train and the Titans. We have a huge brawl on our hands. During the massive fight, the Army train gets de-railed. Miss Martian manages to save the train and all the women inside of it.
Superman, Supergirl and Wonder Girl then appear on the scene. Wonder Girl and Supergirl tell Artemis that they will not join the Amazons. Superman tells Colonel Wallace that continued detainment of the women is a violation of their civil rights. Colonel Wallace agrees and orders that the women be set free. The second in command immediately assumes command and tells the soldiers to not respond to that order and that Colonel Wallace is unfit for duty.
Superman then tells Robin that this is a military matter and that they can’t interfere. Some of the women run away and try to escape. The soldiers think that Wonder Girl’s mom is the ringleader of the escape and the soldiers begin shooting at Wonder Girl’s mom and the other women.
The Titans and Superman spring to action and save the women and then disarm the soldiers. Artemis then tells Wonder Girl that she will assume responsibility for not bringing Wonder Girl with her when she reports back to Hippolyta. The Amazons hug Wonder Girl and Supergirl and then leave.
Wonder Girl then thanks the Titans for saving her mother. Miss Martian responds that all Wonder Girl has to do is say she is a Titan and that she will never leave them again. Wonder Girl then looks at Robin and asks him if that is what he wants. Robin leans in and plants a massive kiss on Wonder Girl. End of issue.
The Good: Teen Titans #49 was a lousy read. However, I have to follow The Revolution’s Rule of Positivity and say something nice about this title. Let’s see, what is up with that kiss between Robin and Wonder Girl at the end of this issue? Is Robin going to end up nailing his dead best friend’s girlfriend? Bros before hos, Robin. That is just not cool. Having said that, I will admit that I’m interested to see where this little bit of drama between Tim and Cassie goes.
Al Barrionuevo gives us some solid artwork. It isn’t his best stuff, but it is pretty good compared to much of the artwork that you get on filler issues.
The Bad: Teen Titans #49 was pure filler and continues to be yet another example of how tie-in issues to large events usually suck. At no point have I even remotely cared about the Amazons Attack event and this tie-in issue did absolutely nothing to increase my interest in this incredibly boring event. Teen Titans #49 was pretty much a total waste of time and money.
Beechen pushes off some dialogue that is truly cheesy at some points and down right terrible at other points. I mean, since when does Superman get to tell the U.S. military how to conduct its business? And the scene where Colonel Wallace agrees with Superman that the women should be freed and orders them to be freed was truly laughable. Let’s see, a military officer is going to take the opinion of a vigilante over their superior officers? Yeah, I don’t think so. Sorry, that just isn’t remotely believable.
The ending of Teen Titans #49 felt rushed and sloppy. It seemed like Beechen had run out of space and was quickly trying to wrap everything up in a neat little conveniently happy ending. The entire final page just came across as rather campy and corny.
And what was with Beechen hammering away about the Japanese internment camps through out this entire issue. It seemed like Beechen had just read about this occurrence in American history and decided to show off his new knowledge by ramming it down the reader’s throat. I mean, seriously, are there people out there who actually support internment camps? I didn’t really see where this was such a hot button topic that it deserved so much repeated attention. Honestly, Beechen just pounded away at that theme like it was a dead horse until there was nothing left but a puddle of glue.
And why didn’t Beechen mention the fact that Italian-Americans were placed in internment camps? During World War II, the U.S. Government branded Italian-Americas as “enemy aliens.” Up to 600,000 Italian-Americas were placed under wartime restrictions which included random arrests and searches of their person and property, forced to carry identification cards, curfews, forced relocation, so-called ``prohibited zones,'' and internment camps. During World War II, Italians were the largest foreign-born group in the United States.
Hell, even German-Americans had their civil liberties stomped on and abused by the U.S. Government during World War II. So, if Beechen is interested in giving the reader a history lesson then why doesn’t he bother to give us a full and total history lesson?
Oh, I know why. Japanese-Americans aren’t white and Italian-Americans are white. And we all know that in the world of comics that all Germans are Nazis. We just can’t be sympathetic to German-Americans. The P.C. police that govern the world of comic books maintain the position that only white people are racist and that nothing racist has ever occurred against white people in America.
It is a strange way to view racism, but it seems fairly prevalent in America. I even have several cousins back in Miami who absolutely believe that the fact that they are Hispanic automatically means that they cannot be guilty of being racist toward white people. That racism is only a white person’s disease. It just makes no sense.
I don’t really have much else to say about Teen Titans #49 since nothing Titans related happened on this issue. Absolutely no Titans related plotlines were dealt with in any fashion other than Cassie and Tom resolving their differences.
Overall: Teen Titans #49 was a boring tie-in issue. Unless you are a Titans complete-ist or a huge fan of the Amazons Attack storyline then I wouldn’t bother wasting my money on this issue. I’d wait for Teen Titans #50 which looks to be a much more fun issue as we get a writing and art by committee issue that at least gives us a sneak peak at new Titans writer Sean McKeever and what he has planned for this title.
The Revolution continues to be thoroughly unimpressed with this current story arc on Amazing Spider-Man. I don’t find anything in this overdramatic story arc to be even remotely interesting. I just hope that JMS mercifully ends this story arc and moves onto something else. I’m sure that Amazing Spider-Man #542 will be more of the same stuff that we have gotten over the past several issues. Let’s do this review.
Writer: J. Michael Straczynski
Penciler: Ron Garney
Inker: Bill Rienhold
Art Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 1 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 3.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: We begin with Kingpin and Spider-Man squaring off in the middle of the prison with all the escaped prisoners surrounding them and rooting for a fight. Kingpin tells Spider-Man that he is a loser. That Spider-Man was dumb to rely on Tony Stark and to reveal his secret identity. Spider-Man starts punching away on Kingpin.
Spider-Man then blabs on about how his costume stands for everything that he said he would do and things he said he would never do. That he would never cross certain lines and destroy everything the costume stands for. Spider-Man says he is not here to kill Kingpin. Spider-Man takes off his mask and the top of his costume. Peter then says that he is here to kill Kingpin.
Peter proceeds to kick the crap out of Kingpin. Peter stands over a bloodied Kingpin and tells Kingpin that he doesn’t have real power. Kingpin has no super powers. That at the end of the day, Kingpin is just a fat man with a bad attitude.
Peter continues to beat the hell out of Kingpin. Peter slaps the spit out of Kingpin a couple of times and totally humiliates Kingpin in front of all the prison inmates. Peter then yammers on how he could use his webbing to fill up Kingpin’s lungs and that he would die from a lack of oxygen.
Kingpin tells Peter to go ahead and get it over with and kill him. Peter retorts that he will kill Kingpin, but it won’t be today. Peter says he has done something worse to Kingpin that is worse than killing him. That Peter has beaten Kingpin in front of every inmate and that they will tell everyone they know who Kingpin was beaten down one-on-one. That Kingpin is prideful who needs everyone to view him as unbeatable. That this humiliating beating is worse than death for Kingpin.
Peter then tells Kingpin that the moment his Aunt May dies then Peter will come back for Kingpin and kill him. That Kingpin knows there is nothing he can do to prevent Peter from killing him. Peter then tells the inmates to tell everyone that they know that Peter’s relatives are off-limits and that Peter will kill anyone slowly and painfully if they touch any of his relatives.
Peter leaves and Kingpin crawls back to his cell. We cut to Peter and Mary Jane at Aunt May’s hospital room. Peter says all they can do now is wait for the inevitable. End of issue.
The Good: Well, I am forced to follow The Revolution’s Rule of Positivity so I have to think of something nice to say about Amazing Spider-Man #542. Let’s see, hmmmm. Well, Garney definitely draws a cool looking black suited Spider-Man.
The Bad: Amazing Spider-Man #542 was just an awful read. It is stunning what a truly terrible job JMS has done with this pathetic story arc. We get more of the same overly dramatic and rather cheesy dialogue that we have been “treated” to during this entire story arc. The dialogue is so heavy handed that the reader alternately groans and chuckles out load rather than being emotionally engaged.
Once again, nothing at all happens in Amazing Spider-Man #542. This is a re-occurring theme during this story arc. Absolutely nothing happens in each and every issue. I feel like we are reading the same issue over and over again. We get more tough talk from Peter, we get some mindless action in a very anti-climactic showdown between Peter and Kingpin, and then we get the exact same ending that we have gotten over the past several issues of Peter and MJ worrying over Aunt May’s hospital bed.
The pacing of this story arc is terminally slow. We have not needed this many issues to get us to where we currently are. This story arc could have easily been shortened by two issues. This story arc is moving so slowly that my already meager interest has been totally killed off completely.
I mean, for the love of god, just kill the old woman all ready!! Quit dragging this out! I don’t care anymore! Of course, I still don’t believe that Aunt May dies. Since JMS made the mistake of using Kingpin as the main villain in this story arc, we already know over in Daredevil that Kingpin eventually gets freed and then is exiled from the U.S. and goes to Europe to visit Vanessa Fisk’s grave.
Now, all of that happens after this current story arc. And since Peter promised to kill Kingpin if Aunt May dies, then either Aunt May doesn’t die and Kingpin lives and the events over in Daredevil take place. Or, Aunt May dies and Peter fails to live up to his promise to kill Kingpin. Once again, the massive error of using Kingpin as the villain in this story arc serves to completely rob this story arc of what little drama and surprise it may have.
The showdown between Kingpin and Spider-Man played out almost exactly like I said it would. This showdown was terribly predictable, pointless and anti-climactic. Wow, Peter beats up Kingpin and then says he won’t kill him, yet. Shocker! That Peter is going to wait for Aunt May to die. Peter resorts to the predictable statement that publicly beating the Kingpin is more painful to the prideful Kingpin than death. That is so unoriginal.
JMS made a huge error by selecting Kingpin as the main villain in this story arc. There has been no drama or tension leading up to this showdown. The showdown itself was unimpressive and the “suspense” of whether Aunt May dies and then Peter goes and kills Kingpin is non-existent given what has already happened on Daredevil.
If Marvel really wants to do something new and different with Spider-Man and shake things up then killing Aunt May isn’t the path to go down. Aunt May has already “died” several times in Spider-Man’s history. This is a tired and old theme. Having Mary Jane die isn’t the path to take either since reading about Peter Parker; the widower is less than appealing. Having Mary Jane leave Peter also isn’t the proper path to take since that has also been done before and would be a recycled move.
If Marvel really wanted to shake things up on Spider-Man then they should have had Peter kill Kingpin. Now, that would a massive occurrence that would have huge ramifications across the entire 616 Universe. Peter would have killed one of the most infamous Marvel criminals forever changing the perception that criminals have of Spider-Man. Plus, the uncharacteristic act of killing the Kingpin would force super heroes to also view Spider-Man differently than before. The act of killing Kingpin would also force Peter into some serious soul searching for doing an act that he never would have dreamt of doing at any point before in his career as Spider-Man.
Now, I’m not saying that Peter being a killer is a great idea. I’m just saying that if Marvel really wants to shake thinks up with Spider-Man’s character then at least having Peter kill Kingpin would have been more fresh and interesting than the tired and boring storyline that we are getting on this story arc.
Marvel has truly bungled the handling of Spider-Man’s character over the past couple of years. JMS retcons a cheesy mystical and magical origin for Spider-Man’s powers, then Marvel has Peter reveal his secret identity and now we get this un-engaging story arc involving Aunt May’s potential death. And on the horizon, we get to look forward to Joey Q possibly junking Peter and MJ’s marriage.
Overall: Amazing Spider-Man #542 continues the trend of poor reads. JMS continues stun me that a writer so talented can produce such garbage. The sooner this miserable story arc is over, the better. And despite my respect for JMS’ obvious talents, it is definitely time for JMS to step aside and allow another writer a chance to try and breathe some life into this struggling title.
The Revolution has been stunned at how truly awful Loeb’s run on Wolverine has been. I think Loeb is a talented writer and I have enjoyed many of his titles in the past. Unfortunately, Loeb has been a massive failure on Wolverine. This entire Lupine story arc is beyond horrible. I hated that Marvel gave us Wolverine’s past and gave him back his memories. I thought that just made Wolverine less cool. This horrid Lupine story arc continues the downward trend for Wolverine’s character and makes him markedly less interesting.
Luckily, this is Loeb’s final issue on this title. Guggenheim will return as the writer with Wolverine #57. He will definitely have his hands full resuscitating this title. Let’s go ahead and get this review for Wolverine #55 out of the way.
Writer: Jeph Loeb
Artist: Simone Bianchi
Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10.
Story Rating: 1 Night Girls out of 10.
Overall Rating: 4.5 Night Girls out of 10.
Synopsis: We begin with Wolverine collecting the Muramasa Blade from Cyclops. Wolverine stalks off and thinks about how Sabertooth killed Feral. Wolverine arrives at the site of his old home in the Canadian wilderness where he and Silver Fox lived together a long time ago. Wolverine thinks about Silver Fox and how Sabertooth brutally killed her. Wolverine thinks about how Sabertooth has killed so many women over the years.
Wolverine thinks how he and the X-Men have tried every possible solution to deal with Sabertooth. Even Professor X gave it his best shot and still failed. Wolverine thinks how much longer he can let Sabertooth continue without taking some of the responsibility himself.
Wolverine sits in the snow and meditates in front of the Muramasa Blade. Suddenly, Sabertooth arrives on the scene and attacks Wolverine. Wolverine uses the Muramasa Blade and chops off Sabertooth’s arm. Sabertooth tries to re-attach his arm but it doesn’t work. Wolverine then tells Sabertooth that the Muramasa Blade blocks the healing factor. Wolverine asks Creed if there is anything left of him inside his mind. Sabertooth cries and tells Sabertooth to do it.
Wolverine then slices Sabertooth’s head off. Wolverine leaves Sabertooth’s body to the wolves to eat. Suddenly, Wildchild appears out of nowhere. Wildchild says that Romulus was and will always be the first among them. Since the beginning there have always been two of them who have emerged from the pack. One blonde and one black. Romulus knows that only one can or will survive. That Romulus has wanted Wolverine to have this knowledge and gave it to Wolverine through his dreams. That Wolverine is very important to Romulus because Wolverine represents the best of all of them so far. The best at survival for what is to come.
Romulus appears out of nowhere from behind of Wolverine and says that everything Wolverine has learned is true. Wolverine turns around and Romulus is already gone. Wolverine turns back around and Wildchild is gone. Wolverine then screams “Romulus! Whenever you want to bring it, do it! I’m ready for you.”
The Good: Simone Bianchi’s artwork is simply fantastic. I love his beautifully painted style of art. Bianchi has been the only positive aspect of this entire train wreck of a story arc.
The Bad: Wolverine #55 was an abysmal ending to one absolutely horrid story arc. This entire Lupine idea is beyond terrible. I have no idea what in the world Loeb was thinking when he came up with this stinker of a story arc. Loeb must have been on some serious drugs to ever think that this Lupine story arc was a great idea for Wolverine’s character.
Marvel continues to make Wolverine lamer and lamer with each year. The idea of giving Wolverine his memories and revealing his mysterious past to the reader was a terrible idea. It immediately took away the mysterious aura that surrounded Wolverine’s character and that made him such a cool and intriguing character. Now, Wolverine loses that mystique and becomes just another violent super hero that can be found all over the 616 Universe.
Then this Lupine story arc comes along and makes Wolverine even more un-cool. The idea that Wolverine is a member of some wolf-man species that has been in existence since the days of the Neanderthal is horrible. It only serves to make Wolverine look really cheesy. I mean, this Lupine story arc is something lame that I would expect to get from some wacky Sci Fi Channel TV show.
It is stunning how much less cool Wolverine has gotten just in the past five years. Marvel is doing a great job wrecking Wolverine’s character with bonehead ideas like this entire Lupine story arc. Wolverine #55 was so bad that I had to go back and read that original Wolverine mini-series from Chris Claremont just so I could remember what a cool character Logan used to be.
We wasted six issues just for the anti-climactic death scene of Sabertooth. Wolverine #55 re-caps the events in Wolverine: Origins concerning the Muramasa Blade. Then Wolverine #55 re-caps the events of the last issue. We then get Sabertooth’s death scene and then the issue is over. Other than the death scene, this issue was just a regurgitation of the same dialogue and story that we have gotten earlier in this story arc. Seriously, this Lupine story arc could have easily been done in three issues max.
Sabertooth’s death did absolutely nothing for me. First, it was painfully predictable. I think that just about every reader knew that this Lupine story arc was going to end with Sabertooth’s death. Plus, the death scene was so anti-climactic. Sabertooth cries and lays down like a bitch. Man, that is just not the Creed that I have known and loved all these years.
Personally, I always enjoyed the concept of Logan and Creed being locked in eternal combat. That we knew nothing about their pasts other than that they seemed to be somehow connected to each other and destined to lock horns no matter what era they lived in.
And Sabertooth’s death even worse is that Loeb replaces Sabertooth’s role in Wolverine’s life with Wildchild. Ugggh. I have never liked Wildchild and have always found him to be an incredibly lame character. And now that Wolverine has the Muramasa Blade, any future confrontation should be short and uneventful.
The ending of Wolverine #55 was an absolute groaner. It was truly awful. But, you know what? It was an extremely fitting ending to a terrible story arc. Personally, I hope the head is cut off this entire Lupine storyline and that we never see or hear from it again.
Overall: Wolverine #55 was a poor read. The only positive aspect about this issue is that this goofy Lupine story arc is finally coming to an end. I have absolutely no idea why Joey Q. would have ever thought that Loeb’s Lupine concept would be a good addition to Wolverine’s mythos. Between this lousy Lupine story arc and the pathetic story arc on Amazing Spider-Man, Marvel has really failed to impress me with the way they have completely bungled the handling of two of their biggest characters in Spider-Man and Wolverine.
Monday, July 30, 2007
Bedard really impressed The Revolution with his work on his debut issue of Supergirl and the Legion of Super Heroes. I expect that Supergirl and the Legion of Super Heroes #32 will be another good read. Bedard appears to have an entertaining story arc on tap for us and it is clear that Bedard has a purpose and direction with where he wants to go with this story arc. Let’s go ahead and do this review.
Writer: Tony Bedard
Artist: Dennis Calero
Art Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 8.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: We begin with Tenzil telling Mekt, Sun Boy and Star Boy that he will immediately arrest Cosmic Boy whenever they find him. Star Boy threatens to take out Tenzil if he tries to arrest Cosmic Boy. Tenzil’s personal lie detector beeps and Tenzil tells Star Boy to refrain from empty threats. Mekt then tells Tenzil if he gets in Mekt’s way that Mekt will poke out Tenzil’s eye and fry Tenzil’s brain. Tenzil’s lie detector doesn’t go off.
The heroes then enter the Ranzz home. Mekt says that something is wrong here. Star Boy then tries to contact Supergirl to tell her that they have a situation, however, Star Boy gets Brainiac 5 instead. Brainiac 5 also gets a message from Violet that “He caught us by surprise! Send back-up!”
Star Boy tells Brainiac 5 that he has commed farms all over this argisector and that no one has answered. Mekt then buts in and asks Brainiac 5 that there was an electromagnetic disturbance in the area and not the usual storm activity and why didn’t Brainy mention the. Brainiac 5 tells Mekt to continue searching for his parents and to not let Tenzil get the better of them.
Our heroes and Tenzil then head underground where people in Winath spend most of their time due to the storms that ravage the planet. They go to the underground tunnels and rooms and they are totally empty. Our heroes then notice some graffiti on one of the walls. The graffiti says “Validus” only with a symbol that looks like the head of the Pre-Crisis Validus.
Mekt totally freaks out. Mekt accuses Tenzil of tagging the machine before they got here. Sun Boy tries to get Mekt to calm down, but Mekt blasts Sun Boy and then tries to blast Tenzil. Star Boy tells Mekt to calm down. Sun Boy and Mekt then begin fighting with each other. Star Boy then makes them both so heavy that they can’t stand up. Star Boy gets them calmed down and they agree to stop fighting.
Mekt explains why he freaked out so much. That Mekt was born solo which is seen as a bad omen on Winath. That everyone is born as twins. Solos were viewed as self-destructive and plagues by a supernatural death wish. The people on Winath blames the storms on Winath on an evil sprit, a storm god named Validus. Some even worshipped Validus.
The Cult of Validus approached Mekt and say he was special and a part of a prophecy that would bring lord Validus to Winath in the flesh. They sent Mekt to Krobal. Garth and Ayla stowed away on the ship. They were zapped by lightning creatures and got their powers. Mekt thought he had fulfilled the prophecy with his new powers.
Unfortunately, the Cult of Validus said that Ayla and Garth also getting powers didn’t fit the prophecy at all. Therefore, the Cult decided that Mekt was cursed. It is implied that Mekt killed all the cult members. That is why Mekt tells Star Boy and Sun Boy that the Cult isn’t around anymore so the graffiti must be a hoax.
We see Tenzil wandering around and suddenly approached by two young boys. They let Tenzil that he needs to see Mayor Simzz. They lead Tenzil into a large room and then quickly close the door and lock it. Tenzil realizes that he has been tricked and is now in a trap. Suddenly, we see a hole in the ceiling open and wheat begins to pout into the room.
We cut to the two boys telling the Mayor that they took care of Tenzil like he asked. The Mayor is in a hood and surrounded by candles. We shift to Star Boy, Sun Boy and Mekt stumbling across a group of people. Mekt recognizes his parents in the group of people. Mekt’s parents say that Mekt has to be punished. That the Lord of Lightning demands it. We see Mekt’s parents and the Mayor blast Mekt with lightning. End of issue.
The Good: Supergirl and the Legion of Super Heroes #32 was a good read. Bedard delivers a well paced issue as he gives us just enough action from this issue being too “talky.” Bedard is unfolding a nicely paced story. At no point has this story completely wandered aimlessly. It is clear that Bedard has a gameplan in mind and is moving the story along with a purpose.
Bedard is displaying a nice feel for the various characters on this title. Each Legionnaire has a well developed personality and they each have their own distinctive voice. I dig the dialogue. Bedard has created a nice natural flow with the banter between the characters. There is plenty of enjoyable chemistry between the various characters. I love the bristling between Star Boy, Mekt and Sun Boy. Part of what has always made the Legion of Super Heroes so much fun is that many of the characters just don’t get along that well.
Bedard writes a fantastic Tenzil Kem. I love Tenzil’s personality. Tenzil is so smarmy, smug and brimming full of confidence. Bedard did an excellent job figuring out an entertaining way to re-introduce Tenzil into this newest incarnation of the Legion. Tenzil gets the most of the best lines in this issue and generally, if Tenzil is in a scene, I’m going to find it entertaining.
Bedard continues Mark Waid’s trend of giving us a Brainiac 5 who is a total dick and then takes it just one step further. The Brainiac 5 of this version of the Legion has always been an egotistical and snobby dick. But, Bedard makes Brainiac 5 slightly sinister in this issue. Maybe it is Calero’s artwork, but the scene where Brainiac 5 tells Star Boy and Mekt that they are on their own, Brainiac 5 looked rather menacing.
Bedard is certainly making the reader begin to question what Brainiac 5 is up to on this story arc. Clearly, Brainiac 5 has his own agenda. The issue remains is if Brainiac 5’s agenda is an ominous one or not.
I also love the way Bedard writes Mekt’s character. Bedard does an impressive job capturing what a tortured, lonely and angry soul that Mekt truly is. I enjoy the additional background information that Bedard gives the reader in this issue. The addition of the Cult of Validus to Mekt’s origin is a rather interesting twist on the Pre-Crisis origin of Mekt.
I totally dig the concept of the Cult of Validus. This is certainly rather different from the Pre-Crisis Validus that we have seen recently over in The Brave and The Bold. Personally, I prefer the Pre-Crisis Validus of the Fatal Five; however, I appreciate Bedard trying to do something a little different with Validus’ character. I’m extremely curious to learn more about Validus, the Lord of Lightning. I’m also interested in finding out out exactly what the Cult of Validus is up to in this story arc.
Bedard serves up a great hook ending to this issue. We have Tenzil in a death trap and the revelation that Mekt’s parents are a part of this new Cult of Validus and are ready to attack Star Boy, Mekt and Sun Boy. Bedard gives us an enjoyably creepy ending as an entire town seems to have been possessed by an evil spirit. This ending gives this storyline a dark supernatural feel that you don’t normally get on this title. Science Fiction themes obviously dominate the Legion of Super Heroes. This horror story is a neat change of pace.
Dennis Calero delivers some phenomenal artwork. Calero makes Supergirl and the Legion of Super Heroes #32 a wonderful and rather unique looking issue. Calero creates a deep, dark and moody feel to this issue. Now, even though I love Calero’s artwork, I don’t think that his style fits the hi-tech, futuristic, Sci-Fi and bright feel of the Legion of Super Heroes. However, Calero’s style of art definitely works with this dark and creepy Cult of Validus storyline. This is the perfect story arc for Calero to be the fill-in artist for.
The Bad: I have no complaints with this issue.
Overall: Supergirl and the Legion of Super Heroes #32 was good read. Initially, I was reserved in how good of a read Bedard’s story arc was going to be. I have been pleasantly surprised at what a fun story arc Bedard has given us so far. I have actually enjoyed consecutive issues on this title. And it has been quite a long time since I enjoyed that many issues in a row on the Legion of Super Heroes.
Friday, July 27, 2007
The Revolution continues to be totally and completely unimpressed with Carey’s work on X-Men. It reminds me of some of the terribly written Image titles that flooded the market back in the 1990’s. Tons of hyper kinetic action, tough talk, generic dialogue, one dimensional characters and a flimsy storyline. Maybe Carey can get me to change my opinion with X-Men #201. Let’s hit this review.
Writers: Mike Carey & Chris Yost
Pencilers: Humberto Ramos & Scott Eaton
Inkers: Tim Townsend & Andrew Hennessy
Art Rating: 3 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 2 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 2.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: We begin with Emma Frost assessing the situation. We see the massive brawl between the Marauders and the X-Men. Iceman’s powers are failing on him due to a neural inhibitor in Mystique’s lipstick from when she kissed him. Emma enters Cannonball’s mind and downloads everything she found about the Marauders’ plans to attack other remaining targets.
Emma then controls Cannonball’s body and forces him to grab Iceman and blast off to the Blackbird. Cannonball screams “NO!” and that they can still win this fight. The Blackbird blasts off as the Marauders finish off the remaining X-Men. The Marauders take Rogue, leave the house and then blow up the house in order to make sure that the remaining X-Men are dead. Lady Mastermind points out that two X-Men got away. Mystique replies that “They didn’t get away, Wyngarde. They just chose to die somewhere else.” (*Groan* Cue ominous and evil music. *Bah bah bah buuummmm* Too bad Mystique doesn’t have a handlebar moustache that she can evilly twist while delivering lines like this. Maybe a “Mwah-ha-ha-ha is in order next time. Man, this dialogue is just brutal.)
We cut to the Blackbird where Iceman wakes up and suddenly someone blasts on the Blackbird’s wings. We then hop over to the Xavier Institute. Kitty tells Colossus that they lost contract with Cyclops and the others. Kitty says they need to reset the alarms and watch the kids. Kitty babbles on like an airhead and then we see Blindfold enter the room where Elixir, Pixie, Andle, Dust, Mercury, Hellion and Rockslide are hanging out. Blindfold babbles on nonsensically. Blindfold grabs Elixir and we see flames leap up around them.
We hop back to the Blackbird where Cannonball is fighting with Sunfire. Sunfire tells Cannonball that “I wish I could have met you in battle, X-Men. There would have been more honor to be had.” (Wait, you attacked the Blackbird and are now engaged in a physical confrontation with Cannonball. Last time I checked, that constitutes a battle.)
Iceman jumps from the Blackbird and uses the freezing high altitude air to jumpstart his powers. Iceman feels like the middle of a fight is the appropriate time to ask Cannonball the names on the list of people the Marauders were after. Cannonball says Rogue was at the top of the list and the next person was…And with that we cut to a passed out Blindfold. Elixir tells Pixie to go tell Kitty and Colossus what just happened.
We cut to Kitty talking with Colossus. Colossus is evidently channeling his inner Spock based on the dialogue that Carey gives him. Suddenly, the wall explodes and in walks the Acolytes. Exodus tells the others to deal with the X-Men and retrieve the books, while he does the killing. (Huh? Wait, the other Acolytes deal with the X-Men and retrieve the books, while Exodus kills who? Aren’t the students also considered X-Men? Who else is there to kill?) End of story.
The Endangered Species back-up story has the Beast investigating Neverland. Beast notices that someone else has already searched all of the files and compute databases. Beast imagines that it must have been the colleague that High Evolutionary spoke about. This person seems one step ahead of Beast.
The Beast is overwhelmed with the horrid images of the mutant slaughtering that went on when Neverland was closed down. Beast runs out to the courtyard and begins digging at the ground where the mass graves were located. Suddenly, a voice tells Beast that he was hurt Beast didn’t invite him to join in his fun. The voice says that Beast knows how personal genocide is for them. Beast turns around and sees Dark Beast standing in front of him. End of issue.
The Good: All right, let’s take a quick inventory here. Right now we have the Marauders, Sunfire and Gambit and the Acolytes all on their own mysterious missions. We at least know that the Marauders are looking for some books. Is there a possibility that an interesting storyline is actually going to make an appearance on this title? I’m actually intrigued by what these three groups are up to. Carey actually has an opportunity to hook my interest for the very first time since he took over writing the X-Men.
Carey certainly floods the reader with plenty of fight scenes. If you dig mindless action without the need for a well crafted story then you will definitely enjoy Carey’s X-Men.
Christ Yost gives us a solid Endangered Species back up story. Yost has a good feel for Beast’s character. Eaton also constructs some nice dialogue. Maybe it is just because Carey’s dialogue is so cheesy and poorly written that it just makes Yost look that much better. This back-up story isn’t anything spectacular, but it does give us a cool hook ending. The mysterious colleague is none other than Dark Beast! I love it. I’m definitely interested to see where this storyline goes.
Scott Eaton’s artwork on the Endangered Species back-up story was much appreciated after having to suffer through Ramos’ cartoonish X-Men. It is nice to see how great the X-Men can look when artwork that fits the character of the title is used.
The Bad: X-Men #201 was another loud and chaotic brawl fest with stretches of boring and dull scenes full of poorly delivered dialogue. I like action as much as the next person, but I like my action scenes to be framed within a well developed, complex and intriguing plotline and story arc. Carey has failed to do that with this title.
Instead, we get hyper-kinetic, muddled and hectic fight scenes that completely fail to engage my interest. Part of it may be Carey’s fault in setting up the scenes and part of it may be Ramos’ style of artwork that tends to get rather messy at times.
I try to be objective and really look for the positive in the comic books that I review. And, outside of Daniel Way, I rarely totally dismiss a writer’s efforts across the board on a given title. But, I simply cannot see anyway that Carey’s dialogue can be considered anything even remotely approaching what would be considered well done. Nor can I see anyway at all that Carey’s writing could be seen as performing any type of character development at all.
Carey certainly knows how to deliver plenty of tough talk and that is about it. Carey’s dialogue is stiff, unoriginal and cheesy. None of the characters have their own unique voice. Some of the dialogue is so bad it actually made me groan out loud. It is about on the same level as the dialogue from a Schwarzenegger movie.
All the characters are still painfully flat and one-dimensional. It is quite clear that Carey is not going to perform anything resembling character work or development. I mean there isn’t even a token effort to try and develop any of the characters on this title. Carey’s X-Men is truly the antithesis of David’s X-Factor.
I find Carey’s Kitty way too ditzy for me. Kitty hasn’t been a bubble head like that since she joined the X-Men. I mean it is a stark difference the shallow and ditzy Kitty that Carey gives us and the strong, deep and complex Kitty that Whedon gives us on Astonishing X-Men.
And what is up with Carey’s Colossus? Colossus acts like he is from outer space rather than from Russia. Colossus isn’t a Vulcan. And Colossus didn’t just get off the boat. He has been in America for quite some time. It is striking the difference of Whedon’s well developed Colossus and Carey’s one-dimensional dumb Colossus who acts like he just arrived on planet Earth from planet Vulcan.
And I honestly hope that Carey wasn’t expecting the reader to find Mystique and Lady Mastermind’s heel turns to be huge surprises that would get us all excited. It was painfully predictable and I’ve been waiting for this very moment ever since Mystique and Lady Mastermind first appeared on this title.
I’m still not crazy about Ramos’ art on this title. Don’t get me wrong. Ramos is a talented artist. It is just that X-Men is the wrong title for Ramos. Ramos’ style of art is a bad match for a comic book like the X-Men. Ramos would be much better served performing the art duties for a more youthful and light hearted comic book or for a manga styled action comic book.
Overall: There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that Carey’s X-Men is the weakest of all the X-titles that Marvel publishes. David’s X-Factor is the best with some of the best character work, dialogue and subtle plotlines currently on the market. Whedon’s Astonishing X-Men is next with excellent character work, good chemistry and quality action. Then comes Brubaker’s Uncanny X-Men that may be slow and a bit boring at times, but still has solid dialogue and nicely developed characters. I don’t read Exiles or New X-Men, but I can’t imagine that they are worse than Carey’s X-Men.
I would only recommend X-Men if you simply love Carey’s style of writing, are a huge fan of Ramos or are just a massive X-Men fan. If you don’t fall into one of those three categories then save your money on much better done titles like X-Factor.
Iron Fist continues to totally blow away The Revolution. Brubaker, Fraction and Aja have been nothing short of spectacular on this young title. Iron Fist has quickly risen all the way to the top as one of my favorite Marvel titles that I’m currently reading. Unfortunately, it appears that Iron Fist #7 is a filler issue sporting tons of guest artists. That doesn’t bode well for the chances of me enjoying this issue. Let’s hit this review for Iron Fist #7.
Writers: Ed Brubaker & Matt Fraction
Pencilers: Travel Foreman, Leandro Fernandez & Khari Evans
Inkers: Derek Fridolfs, Francisco Paronzini, Leandro Fernandez & Victor Olazaba
Art Rating: 5 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 5 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: We begin with Wu Ao-Shi being tied up and punished by a shopkeeper for stealing some of his food. Wu Ao-Shi then takes out the shopkeeper with one kick. Lei Kung the Thunderer notices something special in Wu and decides to train her to be the next Immortal Iron Fist.
We see Wu undergoing brutal training. One day, while she is eating a bowl of rise, a young fisherman offers her some of his fish since she seems hungry. The two end up falling in love with each other. One day the fisherman finds two silver rings inside of a fish he caught. The fisherman and Wu exchange the rings and vow to be married.
We cut to Wu undergoing the ritual of battling Shou-Lao the Undying. Wu wins the power and becomes the next Iron Fist. We shift to Wu and her fisherman husband in bed. Wu charges their rings with her chi so that as long as it glows, he knows that she is alive.
The fisherman realizes that he is a simple man and that Wu is going to be the Immortal Iron Fist. That their lives are too different and that he wouldn’t ask her not to be the Iron Fist, but that he can’t live with watching her risk her life time and time again. So the fisherman leaves late in the night while Wu sleeps.
The fisherman leaves K’un-Lun. Wu then tells Yu-Ti that she is also going to leave K’un-Lun and go to man’s world. Yu-Ti is highly annoyed at Wu and exclaims that women are infuriating. Wu enters the world of man and searches for her fisherman lover, but can’t find him. In the mean time, Wu uses her abilities to beat people up for money.
We then see the fisherman living Pinghai Bay where bloodthirsty pirates attack and terrorize the locals. Word reaches Wu that pirates had taken over Pinghai. Wu decides she must protect the innocent and pays a visit to the Pirate King in Pinghai. Wu fights the Pirate King’s harem and then gets overwhelmed by the Pirate King’s pirate soldiers.
We cut to Iron Fist tied to a cross and left to die. The fisherman arrives and frees her. Wu then leads another attack on the Pirate King. Wu unleashes chi energy arrows from her energy bow and succeeds in defeating the pirates and liberating Pinghai Bay.
Wu is then reunited with the fisherman who decides they cannot prevent themselves from being how they are and should at least live each day happily. Wu and the fisherman end up having four children. Unfortunately, Wu did not live for a long time. And when Wu died she became the last woman to hold the title of the Iron Fist. The reason for that is a story for another time. End of issue.
The Good: Brubaker and Fraction certainly served up plenty of action in Immortal Iron Fist #7. I loved Wu’s chi powered energy bow and arrows. That was just sick. I am really digging how Brubaker and Fraction have seriously expanded the power of the Iron Fist. Back when Iron Fist’s only ability was to turn his fist to iron, I was pretty unimpressed with his character. But, now, the incredibly creative ways that Brubaker and Fraction have devised for an Iron Fist to use their power has made Iron Fist a much more intriguing character.
I’m rather curious as to why exactly Wu is the first and the last female Iron Fist. I hope that Brubaker and Fraction take the time at some point down the road to address this dangling plotline.
The Bad: Despite the nice action, the fact is that Iron Fist #7 was nothing but pure filler. This was a pointless and wasted issue. This issue was nothing more than an opportunity for Aja to take a rest and get his art done for the upcoming story arc.
I disliked the cheesy and annoying narrator that tells the reader the story in this issue. I kept expecting to see Jiminy Cricket appear at any moment. I understand what Brubaker and Fraction were trying to achieve by using this style of deliver, but it just didn’t work for me.
I found Wu to be a rather one-dimensional and shallow character. There was nothing about her character that was intriguing. At no point did I care if she lived or died. I also thought that the love story was generic and dull. At no point did I even remotely care about Wu and the fisherman and if they would stay together or not.
The entire story in Iron Fist #7 was fairly predictable and unoriginal. I felt that I was watching one of those cheesy Kung-Fu movies from the 1970’s and that I had seen this story a million times before.
The artwork was average. I don’t like art by committee (with the obvious exception of Epting and Perkins on Captain America) and none of the artists that worked on this issue have a style of art that appeals to me. The one good thing is that at least the different artists didn’t have styles that were jarringly different.
Overall: Immortal Iron Fist #7 was exactly what I expected it to be: a dull one-shot issue that was nothing but filler. The good thing is that the next issue kicks off the new story arc about the big tournament that Danny has to fight in. It should be a fantastic story arc and next issue is the perfect time for new readers to jump aboard this title. You won’t be disappointed. Immortal Iron Fist is definitely one of Marvel’s strongest titles.
The last issue of The Hulk was a solid read. This is certainly the only title that I actually look forward to reading the World War Hulk tie-in issues. Pak is doing a nice job augmenting the World War Hulk mini-series with the story on The Hulk. I’m sure that The Incredible Hulk #108 will be another good read. Let’s do this review.
Writer: Greg Pak
Penciler: John Romita, Jr.
Inker: Klaus Jansen
Art Rating: 5 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 3 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 4 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: We begin with Rick Jones thinking back about his relationship and friendship with the Hulk. Miek the Unhived also thinks back to his relationship and friendship with the Hulk. Rick goes through how he first met Bruce Banner when Bruce saved his life from the gamma bomb. Rick grew up alone in an orphanage for troubled boys. When he met the Hulk everything changed. For the first time he was free.
Miek thinks how he was always weak and treated poorly as a child. Then when he met the Hulk he realized for the first time what he could be and that for the first time Miek was strong.
Rick thinks how many times Hulk went on rampages. And sometimes he didn’t always fight for the side of right. Rick thinks how many times Hulk has hit him or injured him during their history. Rick then realizes that no matter what he is Hulk’s friends and is always there for him no matter what. Miek thinks the exact same thought that Hulk is his friend and that he will always be there for him.
Miek thinks how he has been there for the Hulk every time the Hulk was about to give up. That Miek encouraged the Hulk to keep on his path of vengeance.
SHIELD soldiers then grab Rick and tell him that he is their ace in the hole and that they will escort him to the Hulk in hopes that Rick can calm down the Hulk. Miek says he will not let that happen and Miek takes out the SHIELD soldiers. The second command of Miek’s insect army, Mung, threatens to kill one of the SHIELD agents if Rick Jones doesn’t surrender. An insect hiveling reminds Mung of the orders not to kill any humans other than the four who wronged the Hulk.
Mung brutally attacks the hiveling. Miek then attacks Mung for attacking a hiveling. Mung reminds Miek that their females are all done and their species is dead. That their rage gives them strength to take down all of Earth. Miek then attack Mung and kicks the crap out of him.
Miek is about to kill Mung when Rick Jones tells Miek that killing Mung will only prove Mung right. That Mung is wrong about the Hulk and wrong about Miek. Miek says that Rick doesn’t know Miek’s Hulk. Rick responds that Miek doesn’t know Rick’s Hulk. And that they are both Hulk’s friends and that Hulk needs their help.
The two agree to go their own ways and help the Hulk in their own manner. End of issue.
The Good: Hulk #108 was certainly a neat retrospective of Rick Jones’ relationship with the Hulk. If you are a new reader or an older reader who is simply new to the Hulk, then this was educational. Pak also gave us a nice comparison and contrast of the Hulk’s two very different friends in Rick Jones and Miek.
The Bad: Unfortunately, I am not a new reader so I am already quite familiar with Rick Jones’ relationship with the Hulk. And I can’t say that I have ever wondered or cared to know a single thing about Miek’s relationship with the Hulk.
The fact is that Hulk #108 was absolute pure filler. This issue was a complete and utter waste of time and, more importantly, money. Hulk #108 was a boring and uneventful read that failed to address a single plotline from the World War Hulk storyline. There was absolutely no need for this issue at all other than Marvel simply cashing in on yet another pointless and irrelevant tie-in issue.
Hulk #108 is another in a long line of examples of why I almost always abhor tie-in issues to large comic book events.
I honestly don’t have much else to say. I mean, an issue has to have some actual substance to it in order for me to post much of a critique. I think that this may be The Revolution’s shortest review ever.
Overall: I cannot imagine why in the world anyone would want to purchase this issue unless they are huge Hulk fans who want to keep their perfect run on this title going. Other than that, don’t waste your money on this pointless tie-in. If you are simply following World War Hulk, but don’t get the Hulk, then don’t waste your money on this pointless tie-in. Nothing important happens in Hulk #108 that you need to know about in order to enjoy World War Hulk.
I only started getting Hulk because, silly me, actually thought that some important parts of the World War Hulk storyline would be addressed in this title. And I didn’t want to miss anything important that would hinder my enjoyment of World War Hulk. Obviously, I was wrong in that belief and these Hulk tie-in issues are going to be the normal garbage that most tie-in issues are. Therefore, The Revolution is giving the Hulk the dreaded axe and will be sticking solely with the World War Hulk mini-series.
After a strong debut issue, The Revolution was been rather disappointed by the last two issues of Mighty Avengers. Bendis gave us a well paced debut issue and then has simply gone nowhere over the past two issues. This story arc seems bogged down lacks any direction or purpose. I hope that Bendis is able to rectify this problem and get this story arc back on track and moving forward with a purpose. Let’s do this review for Mighty Avengers #4.
Writer: Brain Michael Bendis
Artist: Frank Cho
Art Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 8.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: We begin with Ultron assuming control of every media outlet on the globe. Ultron informs mankind that she is going to wipe out all humans. That Ultron was created to replace mankind. That until now, Ultron never had the power sources or intelligence units to see her prime directive program to its completion.
We cut to the original Iron Man armor informing the Mighty Avengers that it is the Starktech 9 and is an artificial intelligence created to assist either the Avengers or SHIELD in the event of Tony Stark’s death. That Starktech 9’s intelligence systems are running separate from the world’s infrastructure and cannot be corrupted by outside programs or viruses.
Starktech 9 is about to make a suggestion as to the next course of action when Ares suddenly sliced the Starktech 9 in half. Ares then kicks off the faceplate of the Starktech 9. Sentry grabs Ares’ wrist and tells him to stop. Ares responds that the Starktech 9 is a Trojan horse. That it is a trick.
Henry Pym steps forward and says that it is not a trick. That he helped Tony create the Starktech 9. Pym says that he doesn’t know how to stop Ultron. That she has evolved past her programming. Pym then reactivates the Starktech 9. The Starktech 9 tells the Avengers that Ultron is controlling the weather via Tony Stark’s Sular satellites designs to control global weather patterns with the goal in mind to stop global starvation.
We cut to Sentry and Wonder Man in space destroying the Sular satellites. We cut back to the Helicarrier where Natasha is demanding to get Reed Richards on the line to help with the Ultron situation. Pym responds that when it comes to this particular field that he is actually the world expert. Jan then reminds Pym that when he has created a world menace like Ultron that bragging how smart he is simply is not cool.
Since the Sular satellites have been destroyed, Ultron then tells the Avengers that she is switching to Plan B. The Avengers wonder what Plan B is. Suddenly, all the power on the entire planet goes out. Ms. Marvel, Wonder Man and Sentry fly out of the Hellicarrier and catch some planes and helicopters near the Hellicarrier to keep them from crashing.
We cut to inside the Hellicarrier where the Starktech 9 tells the Avengers that Ultron was able to take over Tony’s biology because Tony recently integrated his armor into his biological systems. That Tony Stark is dead. Starktech 9 then tells that the weather patterns Ultron inflicted on the Earth have all occurred in each location at different times through history. This means that Ultron just repeated what had already been done. That Ultron has no originality or no imagination.
Starktech 9 then gives the Avengers the location of an unidentifiable energy pulse just before the world power systems went out. We cut to Avengers Tower and see Ultron crouched like an incubus over Lindy while she sleeps in her bed. Lindy wakes up and screams. Ultron says that this is Plan B.
The Avengers streak toward Avengers Tower. Suddenly, an army of old Iron Man armors stand between the Avengers and Avengers Tower. The Avengers start brawling with the Iron Man armors. Sentry streaks through the wall of Avengers tower and finds Lindy’s mutilated corpse. Sentry gently holds his wife’s body. We see one of Ultron’s tentacles behind the Sentry.
We cut back to Ares kicking a ton of ass taking out Iron Man armors left and right. Suddenly, Ares looks up and says “I know how to stop her.”
We then shift to a nuclear missile base in Lithuania where suddenly someone has hacked into the computer system and is looking for the launch codes. End of issue.
The Good: Might Avengers #4 was an enjoyable read. Bendis finally gives us a nicely paced issue. The story actually progresses forward with a purpose and the mix of action heavy scenes and dialogue heavy scenes gives the issue a good flow. Bendis also delivers a nicely plotted issue as the storyline finally actually progresses forward with a purpose as we learn more about Ultron, her goal of world domination and the introduction of her Plan B. It is nice to see that Bendis does actually have a purpose behind this story arc and we are finally getting somewhere.
Bendis crafts his usual quality dialogue. Bendis sometimes gets a bit too infatuated with the sound of his own talky dialogue, but manages to control himself in this issue and not go overboard. The dialogue has an enjoyable natural flow to it as the characters engage in well done give and take repartee. Bendis manages to create some nice chemistry between the various characters. That is something that Bendis has failed to do over on New Avengers.
Bendis definitely gives us plenty of kick-ass action. Ares may be an impulsive brute, but he definitely knows how to brawl. It is always entertaining to watch Ares plow through his enemies.
I am digging the evolution of Ultron’s character. Bendis has done a nice job taking a long-time Avengers villain that was getting a bit stale and breathing new life into this character. I like the revelation that Ultron’s weather attacks mimic what has happened through out time. That despite Ultron’s new advanced state of being she still lacks originality and creative thinking that humans possess.
Bendis continues the use of the old school thought balloons. This antiquated style of story telling is both good and bad. I do enjoy how the thought balloons offer the reader immediate insight into what a character thinks about another character’s dialogue. Henry Pym thinking to himself how Ares is “Thor-Lite” was classic!
I like the concept of the Starktech 9 as a failsafe program that springs to life in the event of Tony Stark’s death. And it was a nice touch for Bendis to choose Tony’s original armor as the vessel for the Starktech 9. Plus, the fact that the Avengers need Starktech 9’s help just goes to show how valuable Tony Stark is to the team. There is no doubt that Tony is the most important member on the roster of this team.
I continue to enjoy Ares. Yeah, he is a total bonehead, but I love his kick-ass attitude. And his penchant for brutal fight scenes always perks up a comic book. And Bendis surprises the reader with the Mighty Avengers’ pit-bull suddenly realizing during the fight with the Iron Man armors that he knows how to stop Ultron. I certainly was not expecting Ares to be the source of any plan to stop Ultron. It is smart of Bendis to keep the reader on our toes and not let us dismiss Ares as a total Neanderthal.
Bendis serves up one absolutely insane ending that definitely hooks the reader into coming back for the next issue. First, we get an army of Iron Man armors. Then we realize that Plan B evidently includes killing Sentry’s wife, Lindy. And on top of all that Bendis then ends the issue with someone getting access to nuclear missiles in a base in Lithuania. Wow, that is how you end an issue!
I cannot believe that poor Lindy got sliced and diced. That was shocking and totally unexpected. I’m definitely interested to learn more about Ultron’s Plan B and how Lindy’s death plays a role in that plan. This is going to take an unstable character like the Sentry and make him worse.
Sentry has always had a very tenuous grip on reality and Lindy was an important stabilizing presence in the Sentry’s life than kept him somewhat anchored to sanity. Without Lindy, who knows what the Sentry is going to do. All I know is that Ultron better watch out; because a rage fueled Sentry is probably even more dangerous than the rage fueled Hulk we are seeing in World War Hulk.
Frank Cho’s art is fantastic. I absolutely love his wonderfully detailed style of artwork. Cho breathes life into Bendis’ story and makes this a fantastic comic book to look at. It isn’t even close how much better looking Cho’s Mighty Avengers is compared to Yu’s New Avengers.
The Bad: Like I said earlier, the use of thought balloons is a positive and a negative. The thought balloons to unnecessarily break up the flow of the story and can distract the reader at times. Also, the constant little smarmy remarks that the various characters are thinking can get a little old by the end of the issue.
Bendis isn’t really doing Ms. Marvel any favors as the leader of the Avengers. It is becoming more obvious with each issue that Tony is the brains of the Avengers. And Black Widow is showing that she is a more capable field leader with her sharp running of SHIELD in Tony’s absence. It all makes Ms. Marvel look like a rather clueless and weak team leader. Of course, maybe Bendis is doing this all on purpose in order to show the reader Ms. Marvel slowly growing into her role as the leader of the Avengers.
Overall: Mighty Avengers #4 was an excellent rebound issue from the past two issues that were rather pedestrian. It is nice that Bendis finally got this story back on track with a rather exciting issue. I just hope that Might Avengers #4 is evidence that Bendis is beginning to hit his stride on this title and that we have plenty more entertaining reads ahead of us.
Thursday, July 26, 2007
Wow, look at this, another issue of All Star Batman. And only two months after the last issue came out. Glad to see DC tightening the shipping schedule on this title. The Revolution loved the last issue of All Star Batman. I’m digging Miller’s over the top version of the goddamn Batman. And Jim Lee is cranking out some excellent artwork. I’m sure that All Star Batman and Robin: The Boy Wonder #6 will be another entertaining read. Let’s do this review.
Writer: Frank Miller
Penciler: Jim Lee
Inker: Scott Williams
Art Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 8.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: We begin with the goddamn Batman kicking some ass down at the docks and noticing the arrival of a new “amateur” in the Black Canary. We then cut to Barbara Gordon all full of youth, hope and optimism arriving at her apartment. Her dad, Jim Gordon is on the phone with his lover and talking to her about the Batman and the copycat heroes like Batgirl. Meanwhile, Barbara’s mother is busy getting drunk and texting her lover.
We see Barbara go to her room and change into her Batgirl outfit. Her reading collection in her room shows that she likes 300, Sin City, Gen 13 and the Watchmen. Batgirl then hops out the window and goes to seek adventure.
We shift to Jimmy Olsen rushing to Vicki Vale’s hospital room. Vicki asked Jimmy to come to her in the hospital with all the files from the Daily Planet about the Flying Graysons, Dick Grayson and the Bat-Man. Jimmy Olsen is in love with the hottie Vicki Vale. Vicki changes out of her hospital gown and Jimmy has trouble not sneaking a peak.
We cut back over to the docks where Black Canary is squaring off against two thugs. Black Canary proceeds to kick the crap out of the two thugs. Black Canary searches the thugs for any cash they might have so she can pay her rent. Suddenly, a bunch of thugs appear out of nowhere with their guns drawn on Black Canary.
We slide over to the goddamn Batman on another part of the docks watching a crooked Gotham police officer driving Jocko-boy Vanzetti to the docks. The cop tells Vanzetti that he must have some powerful connections in order to get set free like this. Jocko is still hallucinating from the snake poison that Batman fed him last time they met.
Batman launches into action and kicks through the windshield of the cop car and talks out the dirty cop. Batman grabs Jocko-boy, but it interrupted by the sounds of automatic gunfire. Batman realizes that the amateur he saw earlier must be in trouble. Batman punches out Jocko-boy and says that they will catch up later.
We cut to Black Canary outnumbered by a bunch of thugs. Batman admires that Black Canary is skilled, fast and ruthless. Black Canary gets pinned down behind some crates. Batman comes up behind her and tells Black Canary to keep her head down and leave the thugs to him. Black Canary is shocked at the appearance of the goddamn Batman. Batman then attacks the thugs. End of issue.
The Good: All Star Batman #6 was a great read. I am having an absolute blast reading this title. I know that a lot of people have been put off by Miller’s goddamn Batman especially when Batman locked Dick Grayson in the Batcave and left him to feed off rats. Personally, I don’t mind this version of Batman at all. It is Frank Miller, people. Miller has never been shy about his writing style. Miller is not hard to gauge. You know exactly what you are going to get when you read a Frank Miller comic book. You will get a film noir themed story full of testosterone, whiskey and cigarette smoke. The women are women and the men are men and they can all kick ass.
All Star Batman #6 moves along at a nice pace. Miller gives a story that has a nice balance of action scenes with Batman and Black Canary kicking butt as well as dialogue heavy scenes that move various plots forward with Batgirl and Vicki Vale.
I definitely like Miller’s hard boiled dialogue. It goes with Miller’s distinctive style and works with a two fisted street based hero like the early Batman. The reader has to remember that this isn’t the Batman that we now have with years of experience. This is a younger, angrier and brasher Batman. And Miller gives this younger Batman the proper voice.
I am digging the team of Vicki Vale and a young Jimmy Olsen. Poor Jimmy with all that lust, I mean love in his eyes. What sixteen-year old wouldn’t want to work with a sexy vixen like Vicki Vale? And just what is Vale up to? Has she already figures out Batman’s secret identity? She is definitely determined to find out what is going on with Batman and young Dick Grayson.
Now, what surprises me is that I actually like Miller’s Batgirl. Normally, teenage sidekicks that a pure derivative characters annoy the hell out of me. Especially teenage female sidekicks. However, Miller manages to capture the hope, unbridled optimism and enthusiasm that teenage heroes possess. It is a refreshing contrast to Batman’s jaded view of the world and helps to balance this story a bit. I’m actually looking forward to when Batgirl and Batman cross paths with each other.
I love how Miller handles Mr. and Mrs. Gordon and their miserable marriage and life together. It is such a painfully bleak and pathetic marriage. Gordon on the phone with his lover while his wife text messages her lover. Miller does a nice job capturing that failing marriage that dominates American culture. What is pretty amazing is how Barbara Gordon is able to keep such a positive outlook on life despite the fact that her family life is a broken mess.
I am a huge fan of Miller’s Batman. Miller gives us a purely visceral Batman. Batman is brutal, violent, twisted and sadistic. On the surface, it would appear that a character like Punisher or Wolverine who kill criminals is more twisted than Batman. However, Miller shows us that that belief is simply untrue.
Batman is actually worse than a killer. Batman is a sadistic twisted freak who enjoys inflicting horrid pain. Batman relishes in inflicting such terrible damage that causes permanent injuries that the criminal will live with for the rest of their life. Batman’s desire to cause permanent pain and anguish shows a much more demented nature than a character who simply kills criminals. For Miller’s Batman, death is too simply, quick and nice. Permanent pain and anguish is the just punishment that Batman gives criminals.
I love the gruff and primal personality of Miller’s Batman. This is exactly the kind of person that I would expect Batman to turn out to be. He saw his parents’ murder before his eyes when he was just a boy. There is absolutely no way that he would ever turn out to be a mentally stable and healthy man. Miller’s sick version of Batman makes perfect sense given his origin.
Jim Lee provides the reader with plenty of fantastic artwork. Lee gives us one seriously smoking hot Black Canary. Lee also draws one viciously bad-assed Batman. Lee does an excellent job brining Miller’s story to life and making this one beautiful comic book to look at.
The Bad: This title has had such massive shipping delays that it has compounded the fact that Miller’s story isn’t moving at a particularly fast pace. Miller definitely is taking his time developing this story, and if this issue came out with regularity maybe it wouldn’t seem so slow.
Overall: All Star Batman #6 was a fun read. Miller and Lee are an excellent team and really compliment each other’s talents. I really hope that DC has rectified the shipping problems with this title and that it sticks to a regular schedule. If you are a fan of Miller’s style of storytelling then you will definitely enjoy his take on a young Batman.
The Revolution is excited to read Batman #666. This issue centers on the Batman of the future: Damian Wayne. This has all the makings of a rocking good story. I’m curious to see what kind of adult the bratty Damian has turned out to be. Let’s go ahead and hit this review.
Writer: Grant Morrison
Penciler: Andy Kubert
Inker: Jesse Delperdang
Art Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 10 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 9.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: It is fifteen years in the future and Damian Wayne is now the Batman. Damian is driven by the guilt of his father, Bruce Wayne, and walks the fine line between good and evil as the Batman. We see Batman brutally take down on of Professor Pyg’s dollotrons.
Commissioner Barbara Gordon and the Gotham police arrive on the scene. Barbara Gordon accuses Batman of killing Candyman and various other Gotham criminal bosses. Barbara comments that she always knew Damian would snap. Batman says that he didn’t kill any of the criminal bosses. Damian quotes Yeats and tells Barbara that Gotham is Bethlehem where the force of darkness and the forces of light meet.
Batman then eludes the Gotham police in his Batmobile. Barbara Gordon and the police then find Professor Pyg’s dead body. Barbara wonders what is going on in the world. That everything is getting out of control.
We cut to Damian arriving at his penthouse. He has a cat named Alfred. Damian goes to his version of the old Batcave. Damian talks how the killer of all the crime bosses is the last of the three men, the insane replacement Batmen, who haunted Bruce Wayne years ago. That this final lunatic Batman claimed to be the Anti-Christ and promised to return to Gotham one day on the eve of the Battle of Armageddon.
Damian sits at the Batcomputer and sees all the various news feeds from around the globe showing that the entire world is descending into Armageddon. There are calamites all around Earth like disease, famine, record breaking heat and dirty bombs from anti-Islamic groups. (Wow, really P.C. there Morrison. Non-Islamic terrorists.)
Damian says that he knows the Devil. Damian wonders if the Anti-Christ knows anything about the bargain that Damian made at the crossroads on the night Bruce Wayne died. Damian punches in the locations of the murders of the five big Gotham crime bosses into the Batcomputer and it forms the shape of an upside down pentagram on the map of Gotham. In the middle of the pentagram is the Hotel Bethlehem where the Anti-Christ will strike next.
We shift to the Hotel Bethlehem where the Anti-Christ Batman arrives on the scene with his group of super powered thugs. Batman arrives on the scene and a huge fight breaks out. Batman viciously takes down all of the thugs. Blood flies everywhere.
Batman then squares off with the Anti-Christ Batman. Batman blasts the Anti-Christ into a pool. The Anti-Christ Batman then rises out of the pool and walks across the surface of the water. The Anti-Christ Batman tells Batman to join him as his soldier. Batman proceeds to beat the hell out of the Anti-Christ.
Batman says that the Devil must have not told the Anti-Christ that the Devil made a bargain with Damian when Damian was fourteen. That Damian would give the Devil his soul in exchange for Gotham’s survival. Batman tells the Anti-Christ to tell the Devil that if he wants what Damian owes him then the Batman is waiting. Batman then snaps the neck of the Anti-Christ Batman. Damian mentions how he promised his father to not kill. That it looks like Damian let his father down again.
Barbara Gordon and the police arrive on the scene. The Gotham police open fire on Batman and the bullets riddle his body. Batman falls down and stands back up. Evidently, the bullets did nothing to harm him. Barbara is stunned and asks “What are you?” Batman responds that he is the best friend she has. Batman announces that the Apocalypse is cancelled, until he says so.
The Good: Batman #666 was an awesome read. Morrison delivers a kick-ass issue that is a wonderful blend of intense action and brooding drama. This is a fantastic one-shot issue. Normally, I dislike one-shot issues, but not this one. Batman #666 is an excellent example of how to pull off a one-shot issue that doesn’t feel like filler. Plus, I’m a sucker for a story that deals with the Book of Revelations.
Morrison crafts a well paced issue. The story starts quickly with great action, and then slows down as it builds up momentum for a second wave of intense action. Batman #666 is also well plotted as the story is tightly written and moves forward with direction and purpose and doesn’t waste a single panel.
The action scenes are insane. Damian doesn’t just take down villains; he rips, tears and cleaves his way through them. These are the kind of action scenes that get me excited. Flashy, over the top and hyper-kinetic fight scenes don’t do to much for me. But, street based, brutal, swift and bloody fight scenes like in this issue definitely work for me. I love this bloody version of Batman who shows no remorse for the damage that he causes.
I enjoyed the overall Gothic flavor and feel to this future version of Gotham. Batman’s costume, the architecture and even the quoting of Yeats all contributed to the Gothic theme of this issue. Plus, I love Yeats and always enjoying reading his work. This nice heavy Gothic feel is what makes Gotham the coolest city in the DCU and really separates it from the other major metropolises in the DCU.
Morrison also supplies the reader with plenty of well crafted dialogue. Morrison shows off his versatility in that he can pull of great action as well as delivering a nicely written story with a poetic feel to it. Morrison’s dialogue has a pleasant flow and each character has their own unique voice.
The excellent dialogue helps bring these characters to life. Morrison delivers well developed characters that interact well with each other. I dig Morrison’s Barbara Gordon in her role as Commissioner of the Gotham Police. Barbara does a good job channeling her inner Jim Gordon in steadfastly upholding the law.
Morrison puts a nice twist on the relationship between the Batman of the future and the Commissioner Gordon of the future by showing that there is no love lost between Damian and Barbara. While Bruce and Jim had a strong friendship build on mutual respect, Barbara clearly thinks that Damian is an unstable psychotic who is liable to snap at a moment’s notice.
While Jim realizes Batman is a useful tool to fight crime, Barbara views Damian a rogue dangerous force in Gotham. Morrison even makes a point at the end of having Damian tell Barbara that he is the best friend she has. The tension between these two characters is actually more fun than the close bond between Commissioner Gordon and Batman.
I love Damian as Batman. Morrison does an excellent job with Damian in this issue. I found the young Damian to be an annoying spoiled brat. However, this future Damian is much deeper and more complex. Plus, I always love a hero who is bitter and blackened inside his soul. And Damian is certainly one dark, twisted, tormented man full of nothing but self-loathing and hatred.
I dig that Morrison has Damian sell his soul to the Devil in return for Gotham’s continuing safety. It is interesting that Damian is spurred by his father’s death to take up the mantle of the Batman and turn his back on his mother’s aspirations for him. Damian is clearly wracked with guilt as he must have played some role in his father’s death. And Damian also acts just like a child who is starved for his father’s affection and approval. The fact that Damian is willing to sell his own soul just to carry on his father’s mission of protecting Gotham shows how much he feels he owes his father.
However, even in victory, Damian has a sense of loss. Gotham is safe, but Damian has still lost his soul. Damian has defeated evil and saved Gotham under his father’s mantle of Batman, but only won the battle by killing his enemy which makes him fail his father in the very moment of his victory.
And what is up with Damian’s powers? He is able to shrug off a whole bunch of bullets at the end of this issue. Damian is definitely not your father’s Batman. Clearly, the Devil gave Damian a serious power upgrade. I have to say that I hope we get to see more stories about Damian Wayne as Batman. This is exactly how I like my Batman. Guilt ridden, angry and violent.
Andy Kubert’s artwork is absolutely phenomenal. Kubert creates a beautifully rich Gothic look to this issue. The attention to the architecture and the smallest details makes this an issue that is pleasing to the eye. Kubert’s work on this issue really pulls the reader deep into this story. And Kubert definitely delivers some sweet action scenes.
The Bad: I have no complaints with this issue.
Overall: Batman #666 was an excellent one-shot issue. This issue has it all: good dialogue, an interesting story, nasty action and good looking artwork. Normally, I feel like I get cheated with most one-shot issues. That is definitely not the case with Batman #666. Morrison and Kubert have done a nice job making Batman one of DC’s better reads.