Monday, November 18, 2019

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Immortal Hulk #23 Review

Writer: Al Ewing 

Pencils: Joe Bennett 

Inks: Ruy Jose with Belardino Brabo 

Colors: Paul Mounts with Matt Milla 

Letters: VC’S Cory Petit 

First things first this isn’t The Incredible Hulk this is The IMMORTAL HULK! The Incredible Hulk is dead, Bruce Banner killed him! Only the Devil Hulk remains supreme. Bruce and the Hulk can die every day, but what is dead may never die. As soon as the sun goes down the Immoral Hulk awakens. The night is his time. The Hulk rules the night. Any monster, pestilence or army generals are no match for the Devil Hulk. 

Immortal #22 left us off with Gamma Flight looking for some much needed revenge against General Fortean and the Shadow Base. Of course it was a trap that they ran right into, in true superhero fashion Hulk and company come to the rescue, or do they? 

Hulk is just a monster but is he calculated? Or is he both? Funny how Hulk is just a monster but has never killed an innocent bystander. The truth is the Hulk always has a plan – all the rage, all the pain, and all the mayhem is directed towards one goal. 

Immortal Hulk is one of my favorite ongoing horror books and continues to be a great super hero comic. Easily the most consistent comic books on shelves, each and every issue is firing on all cylinders.

Star Wars: Doctor Aphra #35

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Simon Spurrier, writer

Andrea Broccardo, pencils

Marc Deering and Scott Hanna, inks

Chris O’Hallaran, colors

VC’s Joe Caramagna, letterer

Recap

Previously, Doctor Aphra refused to let the rebels use a piece of Jedi technology called the FarKiller, to build their own Death Star. However, after returning to her home planet, she learned that the new emperor, Patini, put a bounty on her head. In this issue, Doctor Aphra and the Wookie bounty hunter Krsantan steal the Farkiller and attempt to meet members of the Empire to strike a deal and obtain protection from the bounty placed on her head. 

Simon Spurrier hits the perfect tone and pace in this issue. The initial confrontation between Captain Tolvan, the Wookie Black Krrsantan, and Aphra was filled with twists that made it feel like part of a classic Star Wars story. The weapons smuggling and secret deal with the Empire brought back thoughts of Han and Chewie and some of their adventures. The dialogue is snappy and sharp. The characters feel nuanced and real. Spurrier has the voice of Aphra down and keeps the dialogue out of the tropes that sometimes plague a Star Wars story. 

Doctor Aphra is an interesting character. A female scientist who’s made amazing scientific discoveries. As much as the Wookie brings back a familiar dynamic in the Star Wars universe, what feels like an update is the presence of Aphra’s craftiness and willingness to walk into dangerous places. And, her nemesis, Captain Tolvan, is vicious and cutthroat every bit Aphra’s equal. As is Minister Pitina Voor, the Empire’s chair of the coalition for progress, who sniffs out Aphra’s scheme at the end of the issue. 

The art supports the story at every turn. A highlight is the close-ups of character faces and the kinetic way the combat scenes are drawn. The energy flows in ways that feels natural and real. The characters all fit together in well-constructed panels.

Aesthetically, this story emulates the things we have grown to love in this universe, warships, deep space, Wookies, and lived in feeling makes this a must read. I highly recommend this book for fans of Star Wars and Doctor Aphra!

Martian Manhunter #8 Review

Written by: Steve Orlando

Art by: Riley Rossmo

Colors by: Ivan Plascencia 

Letters by: Andworld Design

Steve Orlando’s tale of the Martian Manhunter continues in issue 8, with a quieter issue of backstory for Diane Meade. Weirdly enough, I’ve tended to enjoy these character analysis issues that give us depth and context to characters and their actions more so than the heavy energy action filled issues. I think that has more to do with the fact that I like to analyze characters and Orlando gives depth to characters really well than anything else. It’s also nice to take a break from the main story every few issues or so, just because the reader can breathe for a minute and learn about some stuff that enhances the main story.

Diane Meade’s backstory is a heartbreaking one that many can relate to. The feelings of betrayal, being rejected, and not feeling like you can really be who you want to be are some of the worst ever felt, and seeing the way that she had to deal with that helps the reader endear themselves to her. Seeing how she and the original John Jones came to be so close, contrasted with the way that her and the Martian Manhunter came to know each other is really fascinating and I liked the parallels that were drawn between the two relationships and the role that Meade played in both.

With the next issue of this maxi series being issue 9 we’re officially entering the third act of the story. We got some teases of where things are headed with the big bad of the run and I’m excited to see Martian Manhunter get to be a badass and get revenge for his people. Im also excited to see what happens with Meade’s character and see how she ends up coming out of everything. This title is paced very well, almost like an HBO show, and I’m excited for the conclusion.

The Amazing Spider-Man #28 Review

Written by: Nick Spencer

Pencils by: Kev Parker

Inks by: John Dell

Colors by: Laura Martin & Andrew Crossly 

Letters by: VC’s Joe Caramagna

After all of the recent drama regarding Spider-Man and Disney and Sony, it was kind of nice to get to interact with the character without having to think about all of that. Full disclosure: I haven’t read a new Spider-Man comic book in a long time. I’m largely unfamiliar with Nick Spencer as a writer and I know nothing about what he’s doing with the character. The Amazing Spider-Man 28 is the newest issue in the run and it’s the third part of the story “Who Run the World?” As someone who had no idea what was going on, Spencer does a great job of catching you up to what’s happening and telling the story in an easy enough way where you can pick up what’s going on. 

I really enjoyed the emphasis on Beetle and Boomerang and I’m glad that we got to spend some time with their interactions. I love the idea of a super villain that’s also a lawyer, so they can know the law super well and do wrong still without having to worry about doing something illegal because they know all of the loopholes. Beetle comes across as a really capable and intelligent villain and I’m interested in the Sinister Syndicate group. I will say that there’s a lot of having the rug pulled out from under characters and you can never really get a read on what’s happening with certain characters. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but for a new reader it could be kind of confusing. 

Overall I think Nick Spencer knows how to write a really good Spider-Man and his version of Peter reminds me a lot of Disney’s Ultimate Spider-Man cartoon. My favorite part of this issue is hands down Kev Parker’s art. Reminds me a lot of the Ultimate Spider-Man game for the PlayStation 2 that I spent days of my life playing, and that’s my favorite version of the character. I love the art style and it feels the most like a Spider-Man comic should aesthetically. I’ll definitely keep up with the title going forward and since were only 28 issues deep I’ll have to catch up. 

Venom #17 Review

Writer: Donny Cates 

Artist: Iban Coello 

Colorist: Rain Beredo 

Letterer: Clayton Cowles 

Out of the frying pan and into the fire, Venom and Spider-Man are letting the fist fly, trying to contain the fury that is Absolute Carnage. Hopefully that is also on everyone’s reading docket. This issue picks up right where AC #1 left off. The horde is growing, who will stop this primordial cosmic pestilence? 

This issue briefly covers the end of Absolute Carnage #1 then quickly shifts over to The Maker, Dylan and Normie (Spider-Man’s God son). The Maker aka Reed Richards of the Ultimate Universe is trying to work his magic to remove the Symbiote codex from Normies spine, without killing him. Because death is horrible. A minor little fourth wall break from The Maker, pay attention or you will miss it. Very exciting stuff. 

Not only does Venom #17 touch on Absolute Carnage but also the tie in: Separation Anxiety, almost a must read for this issue of Venom. This book continues to be one of the best books Marvel has to offer. 

Absolute Carnage vs. Deadpool #1 Review

Writer: Frank Tieri

Pencils: Marcelo Ferreira

Inker: Roberto Poggi 

The Hunt for the Symbiote Codexes brings Carnage face to face with his biggest headache, The Merc With The Mouth, Deadpool. 

Another spin-off of the Excellent Absolute Carnage event, Absolute Carnage vs. Deadpool returns to the world of a somewhat forgotten miniseries from 2014 and pits the Merc with the Mouth against the new Darker Carnage and it’s quite the journey. I’ve never been a huge fan of the Deadpool character in comics and despite my love for Spider-man and my excitement for the overall Absolute Carnage event, I’ve also never been a huge fan of the symbiotes so this tie-in series had pretty much everything working against it for me. All that said however, I actually really enjoyed this issue. 

The issue starts as if it were the end of a Deadpool/Spider-man issue and in true bro-mance fashion Spider-man is 1000% done with Deadpool’s antics. This time he decides to actually be done with Deadpool until he “gets help” and refers him to John Jameson to get that help. However, when Wade arrives he finds a certain symbiote is in control. But Deadpool is a unicorn and could be the key to Carnage winning this war. 

Despite having the typical “LOLMEME” ways of the Deadpool character this was easily the most interesting and overall best of the Absolute Carnage tie-ins. I am excited to see what happens next and I think this one has the potential to have the most actual impact on the Absolute Carnage event of any of the tie ins. 

Captain Marvel #9

4

Kelly Thompson, writer

Carmen Carnero, art

Tamara Bonvillain, colorist

VC’s Clayton Cowles, letterer

Recap

Captain Marvel has been dismissed from the Air Force and she has stepped down from Alpha Flight due to negative press she received for helping a Kree. And, she’s sick. Her powers are failing and she doesn’t know why. Another super-hero, “Star”,has taken the spotlight. The issues transitions asCaptain Marvel and James Rhodes discover a “Kraken”; an octopus-looking monster underneath Manhattan.  The monster attacks and Captain Marvel is unable to stop it. Star steps in to save Captain Marvel and the people of Manhattan. Tony Stark, along with Spider-Woman, convince Carol to go back to Stark’s lab for tests. However, she leaves abruptly to find the origin of her problem. It’s a Kree weapon and she remembers when it entered her system. However, can she do anything to change her health condition? 

Thompson’s strength as a writer is her ability to make each character feel distinct. She continues that trend in this book. Captain Marvel, although being the most powerful character in the Marvel Universe, has a grounded earthiness to her. For example, she acknowledges her weakness and inability to find the origin of the problem. Along with this she demonstrates a desire to solve the problem on her own and that she is not in need of saving. This approach to the character is a progression in the female superhero narrative. Thompson does not mimic the actions of male heroes of the 70’s; she’s forging a new path with a powerful character who happens to be female. 

The art in this issue is strong highlighted by the bold coloring work of Tamara Bonvillain. Captain Marvel’s suit is complete with deep blues and reds, which contrast beautifully with her golden blond hair. In addition, the smart and bold facial depictions make her feel like the powerful character she is.The Kraken monster was perhaps not as original as it could have been; however,it  was large and ominous. Finally, the panels flowed with the story and progressed the story forward. 

Final Impressions

This is a well-paced story and feels like it’s moving forward toward a larger narrative. Captain Marvel must face the person who infected her with a foreign object of Kree make-up. I can hardly wait to see how she works her way to the truth. I highly recommend this book to fans of Captain Marvel.

History of the Marvel Universe #2 Review

Written by: Mark Waid

Pencils & Colors by: Javier Rodríguez

Inks by: Alvaro López

Letters by: Joe Caramagna

“History Of the Marvel Universe” is one of  my favorite things in comics. It’s a line that literally runs through the origins of everything in the Marvel Universe in order, and it explains how it all connects to each other. Mark Waid has done a phenomenal job of stringing together 80 years of history and making it all work for modern readers, familiar and unfamiliar. With the Marvel Cinematic Universe becoming the most successful franchise of all time, it’s a reasonable thought to think that there might be some new readers wandering into comic book stores and picking up Marvel books. 80 years of history though can be really intimidating for a new reader, so to put out a book like this that can catch everyone up to speed about literally everything is a great idea, and putting someone like Mark Waid at the helm is a phenomenal idea as well.

In issue 2 of the “History Of the Marvel Universe,” we get to explore one of my favorite periods in Marvel Comics’ history. We get to analyze the 40’s through the 60’s and take a look at the original incarnation of Marvel’s heroes and how they changed the world. We get to take a deep look at the original Human Torch, Namor, Captain America and Bucky, the origins of Hydra and Nick Fury, and many more things. With artwork by Javier Rodríguez that’s highly reminiscent of the late Darwyn Cooke, we get to look at this era of Marvel through a retro lens that makes you feel like you’re reading the original stories from the beginning of Marvel. This issue specifically is awesome for me because I love this time period and these characters, but this book in general is a must read for fans of Marvel Comics, old and new.

War of the REALMS: Jouney into Mystery-The Adventures in Babysitting (Abridged)

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Written by The McElroys

Art by Andre Lima Arauja

Colors by Chris O’Halloran

Letters by VC’s Clayton Cowles

In an attempt to create wacky fun story attached to a legacy title like “Journey into Mystery” The McElroys were a hop, skip, jump, and miles away from it. The introduction to Laussa Odinsdottir was a bit random in the midst of this “War of the REALMS” and unfortunately follows a very basic and stereotypical trope in a story like this. Protect the child, save the world. We’ve seen it in television and movies, it was only a matter of time before it was put in comics (it may have already been done). And let’s not get into how cringe the sex joke was in the beginning of this issue.

War of the REALMS Journey into Mystery, the introduction to Laussa Odinsdottir

Journey into Mystery follows the character Balder, a Marvel character that like it’s been said in this issue several times, has been in Hell for some time. Balder vows to protect Laussa with his life, and thus becomes his mission. He can’t do it alone though. He is joined by Miles Morales, Power Man, Kate Bishop, Sebastian Druid, and Deathlok 2.0? A band of characters that have little to do with each other, and in all honesty, characters I was introduced to in this very issue.

I understand the significance of the “Journey into Mystery” title, it being the original title that Thor was introduced in at Marvel, but nothing drew me into the “mystery”. These characters, as new as I am to them, the format of writing and the lack of character in each of them left me not caring about any of them. As excited as I am for what’s coming up next in the main title of “War of the REALMS” this only shows that I may want to skip a good majority of the tie ins for this event.

3/10

You can get your copy of War of the REALMS Journey into Mystery at your local comic shop today.

War of the Realms#1: The Invasion of the Lord of the Rings

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War of the Realms #1

Written by Jason Aaron

Art by Russell Dauterman

Colors by Matthew Wilson

Letters by VC’s Joe Sabino

Since the dawn of Thor’s first breath Jason Aaron has written him and his Asgardian brothers and sister, well, at least it feels like that long, but it all comes to a close with War of the Realms. One war, ten realms, and of course it just so conveniently had to take place in the Realm of the Mortals. Now I’m sure Jason Aaron has some really cool parts of this story outside of Earth, and has our heroes of New York traveling through these dimensions, it’s just always funny how in your face these events get when the heroes are “forced” into the story.

Introduction to Spider-Man in Marvel’s War of the Realms #1, art by Russel Dauterman & Matthew Wilson

War of the Realms starts as any other war story should, blood, lots of it. And surprisingly a good introduction to the Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man. I’ve only been following Aaron’s Avengers run since Marvel’s Fresh Start in 2018, so I don’t know how many opportunities he has had to write Spider-Man, but could tell there was definitely a good voice for the character in the story.

We get a lot of exposession and set up for what this “War of the Realms” really means for New York. The “cast of the story” is shown, it’s the progression took a while but Aaron got the deed done, and introduced the major fight in this issue with a major “death” of a loved character. I say “death” because usually in these events deaths like these unfortunately get undone because the character has a large enough fanbase that would upset readers.

I will give credit to Marvel for giving Jason this series while he is writing both Thor and Avengers, he understand where these characters are with each other and how they should interact with each other, and organically set up each interaction to where it’s not forced. Thus we get awesome pages like the one below.

“Avengers Assemble” in Marvel’s War of the Realms #1, art by Russell Dauterman & Matthew Wilson

Overall this story was a great start to what may be the most exciting Thor driven event Jason has ever had. The art by Russell and Matthew was great, bringing all the colors they could to a war of mystical madness.

Score: 8/10

You can grab your copy of War of the Realms at your local comic shop today.
https://www.comicshoplocator.com/

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