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The Shadow #1 – Review

By: Garth Ennis (writer), Aaron Campbell (artist), Carlos Lopez (colorist)

The Story: It seems The Shadow isn’t the only one who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men, as he is joined by none other than Garth Ennis in a new ongoing series.

The Review: It’s hard not to admire the pulp heroes of old. In the absence of optic blasts that could reduce mountains to powder, or Kryptonian DNA capable of absorbing solar radiation and turning a child into a demigod, the Pulps put themselves in harm’s way and did what they could to fight the Good Fight using the means available to them. They were, at best, Optimized Men, talented individuals that represented the pinnacle of human achievement, but still men and quite capable of being killed in their self-appointed line of duty. And on some level I’ve always identified with that. I think it’s largely why I’ve always preferred reading titles like Batman, Daredevil, and Punisher over more epically-scaled books like Superman, Justice League, and X-Men; the latter don’t deal with the likelihood of death nearly as often as the former, and I’d argue it takes a real Hero to willingly put himself in mortal danger like that and still fight on. This quality is what made the pulp heroes so appealing to me as a kid, so when I first read that Garth Ennis would be redefining one of the great pulp heroes of all time, I was excited to see what the creator of Crossed, Hitman, and Preacher would do with such an icon of the industry. The result, I’m pleased to report, is more than I expected and hugely promising.
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Wolverine #4 – Second Review

By Jason Aaron (writer), Renato Guedes (artist), Jose Wilson Magalhaes & Oclair Albert (inkers), Matthew Wilson (colorist)

The Story: Wolverine’s still in Hell. Still fighting the Devil. Still crying about all the pain and suffering he’s inflicted over the years. Meanwhile, his body is still on Earth. Still possessed by a demon. Still running around killing all of Logan’s friends and loved ones. But hey, at least Puck’s to fuck shit up.

The Good: After last month’s issue, I knew this month would ultimately define my appreciation of Aaron’s inaugural storyline. There were some good moments this month, such as Logan’s homage to “300“ during his climatic fight with the Devil, Puck leading his army of the damned in revolt, or the revelation of Puck’s mysterious accomplice. I’m glad that, after four months, all Hell is, literally, breaking loose, even if it seems to have come a tad bit late since next month’s issue will (mercifully) end this story. I continue to enjoy Guedes’s art and the surreal style he brings to Logan’s jaunt through Hell, but I question how well his style will carry over to more traditional superhero stories.

The Not So Good: What started out as an incredibly promising story has since devolved into an exercise in mediocrity by an incredibly talented writer. Seriously, we’ve been at this story for four months now, and beyond this endless, uninteresting battle between Logan and the Devil, what’s actually happened!? Practically nothing, in my opinion. Every issue has followed this formula of Wolverine melodramatically crying about how he deserves damnation for the atrocities he committed in Life, the Devil torturing Logan and trying to break his spirit, and his demon-possessed body walking the Earth killing Logan’s friends.

I have no doubt Aaron’s original pitch for this story was probably an entertaining read, but the final product is leaving much to be desired. Here we have a story that takes place in Hell, a setting that should have given Aaron and Guedes that rare, creative opportunity to build and define their vision of the Underworld from the ground up, but for some inexplicable reason they instead chose to keep Logan and the Devil locked in this non-descript, poorly colored cave. To me, that’s about as interesting as reading a copy of Dante’s Inferno that never got out of the first circle of Hell. I’ve been disappointed with this story’s lack of ambition and vision; every time I wanted Aaron to push the envelope and truly disturb me with visions of Marvel’s most fearsome killer being tortured in the heart of Hell, he simply gave me more of the same melodrama and blandness that turned me off the character and the book years ago.

With this issue, I realized that Guedes’s art is only as good as the quality of his inkers. Personally, I believe his art looks best when the inks are light, allowing the linework and colors to take center stage. To appreciate this stark contrast, take a look at that beautiful, double-page of Wolverine’s “I believe in Hell” fight with the Devil and then compare that to the final pages of Sabretooth defying the Devil and Puck leading his revolt before conferring with Logan’s acquaintance and you’ll see the difference. Which style of inks you prefer is, of course, at your discretion, but to see both within the same comic was a disappointing and distracting experience for me

Conclusion: This storyline hasn’t quite entertained me and it hasn’t quite given me new insight into Wolverine’s character and measure as a man. So far, it’s been a very routine and unspectacular story, and that’s incredibly disappointing to say about an otherwise solid creative team. Frankly, I’m not sure I’ll be buying this comic for much longer. Something needs to change, and soon.

Grade: D

-Tony Rakittke

For our  first review, click here.

 

Thunderbolts #150 – Review

By Jeff Parker (writer), Kev Walker (artist), Frank Martin & Fabio D’Auria (colorists)

The Story: The Thunderbolts celebrate 150 issues this month with a tale that finds the team’s heavy-hitters taking on none other than Thor, Commander Rogers, and Iron Man in a brutal grudge match in another dimension.

The Good: After an incredibly disappointing crossover into the equally disappointing Shadowlands storyline, I am thrilled to welcome Kev Walker back and see that Thunderbolts is once again revved up and firing on all cylinders. I’m even willing to forgive him for leaving us high and dry for two months if it meant he was working on this beautiful slab of entertainment all the while. Walker continues to set the standard of quality at Marvel with art that is crisp and expressive as it is unique and wonderful to look at. When I saw his opening panel of Thor, Iron Man, and Commander Rogers, I’d wished to God that Marvel would let him illustrate all of Marvel’s Avengers comics, his illustrations were so dynamic and powerful. Putting it bluntly, the man can draw the shit out of a comic page and the longer he stays on this comic the better we will all be for it.

Parker continues to prove that he is the right man for this job, and he has truly crafted this disparate team into a unique fighting force that I can’t help but like. Reading this issue, I couldn’t help but be reminded of movies like The Dirty Dozen and the strange joy I felt watching a group of utter bastards come to respect each other and learn to work together if not for the Greater Good, then certainly to spite Authority. The rogue in me respects that more about this team than previous iterations, and Parker draws that quality out of the them with great skill and gusto.
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Hulk #27 – Review

By Jeff Parker (writer), Gabriel Hardman (artist), Bettie Breitweiser (colorist)

The Story: Under the guidance and supervision of Commander Rogers and Bruce Banner, General Ross continues his quest for redemption by helping Namor put an end to a Scorched Earth initiative that threatens to destroy the monarch’s empire.

The Good: Ever since Parker took control of this book, Hulk has been one of my Must Read titles every month. True, Loeb’s run had a certain childlike, Saturday morning cartoon charm to it that was appealing, if simple-minded at times, and what he did with the book he did well enough…at times. But in a mere three issues Parker has stopped this comic on a dime and steered it in a completely opposite direction, infusing it with a hard-edged, gritty sensibility that is utterly compelling to read. I credit this largely to the wise decision that was made to let Banner take the back seat and focus the narrative on General Ross and his mission to find a role for himself as Marvel’s latest gamma-powered monstrosity. Certain themes have always resounded throughout time and stories, and the hero’s quest for redemption remains one of the most popular.

Hell, I’d argue it’s one of the reasons why we are so drawn to characters like Wolverine, because his quest to make himself a Better Person is something we each see in ourselves. Where was I going with this? Oh right: in General Ross we have a similar character facing a similar struggle, and for me a large part of my enjoyment of this book right now is in appreciating his growth as a character and personal journey as a superhero. Every bit as powerful as Hulk, yet tactically brilliant in a way Banner could never be, Ross is a soldier with no war to fight, struggling to find an objective to achieve and a worthy endeavor to apply himself to. Notice the way he defers to Commander Rogers’s command or speaks about Namor politically as a head of state and it’s hard not to appreciate the tone and direction Parker is taking this book in. The “Scorched Earth” storyline is an effective, if rather routine, storyline with which to hit the reset button and chart a new course. Minimal on plot yet high on action, it’s an accessible jump on point for new readers and seems poised to tell its tale well without necessarily innovating anything.
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S.H.I.E.L.D. #4 – Review

By Jonathan Hickman (writer), Dustin Weaver (artist), Christina Strain (colors)

Dear Jonathan Hickman,

I think I’m in love with you.

Being a recently divorced, heterosexual, thirty-something I don’t admit this easily to the Internet, but shit man, your stories excite me like a twenty-dollar hooker on a Friday night!!! You’ve had my attention ever since The Nightly News, but with S.H.I.E.L.D. you have earned my adoration and accolades, both of which I will gladly bestow upon you until the end of time provided you can continue to give me storytelling as glorious as what you’re offering on this comic. S.H.I.E.L.D. is a miraculous, confounding book: saturated with ideas and intelligence, it demands my respect even as I wonder what the hell it is trying to achieve. You know what, though? For the abundance of imagination you’re giving me, I will gladly wait every two months to find out where you’re taking this story, because it demands respect, and I will gladly give it.

The moment that best defines this issue, in my humble opinion, was that double splash page of Leonardo Da Vinci flying within hundreds of feet of the Sun, looking like an antiquated Icarus in his steampunk spacesuit. When I saw that and beheld its beauty, it occurred to me that this was a story about defying expectations and refusing to accept limitations. I rather like that. And then you had to go and have Leonardo and Isaac Newton have a cryptic conversation in Egyptian hieroglyphics, and later have Da Vinci witness the birth of a Celestial and have it speak to him in mathematics. Come on, man! Are you completely trying to blow my mind here!? Cuz if you are…. well done, sir. Every page of your bi-monthly epic forces me to pay attention, read closely, despise the end of every issue, and savor the arrival of the next issue after it, and while some readers may resent being strung along from issue to issue without fully understanding the scope of what you’re achieving here, I for one happen to love coming along for the ride and feel this continues to be some of the best comic entertainment I can buy.

This month’s issue was quite illuminating, and yet still as baffling as the three before it. There was such an epic quality to that first encounter between Newton and Da Vinci as they sized each other up it reminded me of two generals competing for control of the same army. A shot was fired somewhere in those first few pages, perhaps when Da Vinci exposed the mysterious Human Machine to the assembled brother of S.H.I.E.L.D., or perhaps even earlier than that when Newton so selfishly tortured Nostradamus in pursuit of his own self, yet still painfully elusive agenda. But then a thought occurred to me: Although Newton’s methods are a tad…extreme, we don’t know that he’s anymore of a bad guy than Da Vinci is a good guy. And if each man, theoretically, has his own vision of how S.H.I.E.L.D. should be ran, then why is the Night Machine going out of his way to fuck things up for everyone? These are the things I lay awake some nights thinking about, and it’s genuinely rare for me to care about twenty-two silly pieces of paper as much as I do when they’re the products of your imagination.
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Wolverine #2 – Review

By Jason Aaron (writer), Renato Guedes (artist), Matthew Wilson (colorist)

The Story: His soul now trapped in Hell while his possessed body walks the Earth killing those closest to him, Logan is forced to answer for a lifetime of murder by battling his victims before they can break him completely.

The Good: After what I felt was a decent, but rather mediocre first issue, I’m pleased that Aaron has jacked up the intensity and made this issue a much more entertaining read. It never ceases to amaze me that writers continue to find new things to do with Wolverine, especially considering how often he is used and abused in comics, and Aaron stands poised to pull off one of the most audacious Wolverine tales to date. Which is good! I like creators who are willing to sound off like they’ve got a pair and take these well-worn characters and do ridiculous shit with them because, when done right, that makes for the kind of entertainment that will keep me coming back month after month.

The thing that struck me about this issue was how creepy it was. Aaron imbues every page with details that underscore just how out of his league Logan really is. When Logan observes how there’s no passing of time, how he’s not actually breathing, or how his claws are once again bone and his healing factor has been compromised, you realize that he has, for all intent and purpose, been rendered powerless in a very mortal way, and part of the strength of this issue comes in watching Logan fight past his limitations and overcome what can only be described as the most insurmountable odds he has ever faced. This is the foundation of good storytelling. Aaron is fully aware of this, I’m certain of it, and I’m ready to trust him to take this story to the next level. Why, you ask? Well, just go back and look at that splash page of Sabretooth’s fate and tell me that didn’t get under your skin just a little bit. And just when you think you’ve got this story figured out and know what to expect next, Aaron pulls off one of the most ridiculously outrageous (and I really do mean that in a good way) cliffhangers I’ve seen in awhile and reminds you why you need and want to see what he comes up with next.
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Redball 6 – Review

By Ian and Jason Miller (writers), Jok (art), Estudio Haus (colors)

You ever have one of those days?

Detective Wayne Hambler sure has, especially since he died and woke up in Near Dis, a town without pity on the very cusp of Hell and populated by liars, thieves, and sinners all looking for a shot at redemption. Now employed by the city’s police department, Hambler has no choice but to investigate a new breed of crime for his demonic bosses while doling out ethereal justice and waiting for a chance to escape the threat of eternal damnation. Hambler is aided in his duties (heh heh…. “duties”…ahem, sorry) by a team of disparate law officers from throughout time, who are all in turn managed by a gruff demon named N’Gash. Over the course of five chapters, we are drawn into their lives, jobs, and a grisly conspiracy to undermine Near Dis’s power structure. And much to my delight, there is a lot to like about this original graphic novel!

To be fair, Jason and Ian Miller aren’t exactly breaking new ground here with this story. The guys are working in the firmly entrenched, clearly defined Cop Genre and they know it, but knowing that they know it, I’m able to adjust my expectations accordingly and enjoy the ride. If I have one complaint, it was that Hambler never really came through to me as a fully defined character. Seeing as we literally arrived in Near Dis with him, I assumed that he would have been our Virgil, guiding us through this city and introducing us to its inhabitants. I was hoping he would have been our emotional anchor through the story, but instead he came off as being very taciturn and hard to relate to. If the Millers had spent less time on the supporting cast and more time with Hambler I think I could have been more engaged with the story, but this was by no means a deal-breaker for me. I also felt the story was a little disjointed, coming off at times as more of a series of independent stories than one cohesive narrative Luckily for the guys though, this book is easily entertaining enough to sustain an ongoing series should Arcana and the Millers with to pursue it further, and I’m hoping they do because Hambler’s new beat is one ripe with the potential to tell some damn fine stories!
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Nemesis #3 – Review

By Mark Millar (writer), Steve McNiven (artist), Dave McCaig (colorist)

Reading Mark Millar’s Nemesis, I can’t help but fondly remember my own youth and those halcyon days of holding kittens underwater and giggling as they tried to claw their way to freedom, pushing cripples down stairs and savoring the fear in their eyes as they fell to their doom, and lighting homeless people on fire, drinking the glass of water that could have put them out, and pissing in the corner of the alley as they writhed and screamed in agony.

OH COME ON I’M KIDDING!!! What kind of sick fuck do you take me for!? Wait, don’t answer that. Where was I going with this? Oh, right: Nemsis is a comic that takes great pleasure in its own awful, Evil nature, and I love it dearly for that very simple reason. With this issue though… Uh, wow, this comic has gone Col. Kurtz on readers and truly fired with both barrels. And you know what? I still love it!!!

Nemsis is based on a basic, yet deeply disturbing premise: What if Batman was a Bad Guy? What if that Bruce Wayne archetype, that same young, wealthy, aristocratic kind of man about town saw his parents gunned down by lawmen and vowed to dedicate his life to destroying the forces of law and order? It’s not necessarily a new idea, I understand that, but Millar gives it a level of polish and gloss unlike anything we’ve seen in recent memory and yet that is easily worth the price of admission.

In Nemesis, readers are rewarded with a character who is thoroughly evil, yet strangely alluring in his civility and demeanor. That is, until he’s putting a fucking baton through your eye! Utterly detestable, yet grotesquely irresistible, you can’t help but be immediately engaged in this villain’s murderous crusade against The Man, and it’s not often we find ourselves so enthusiastically rooting for the bad guy like this! Nemesis is that rare breed of villain who is so utterly convinced that his way of thinking is the Right Way that you are often inclined to believe him despite what your paltry sense of morality tells you to believe contrary to the fact. His every action is expertly calculated to achieve some elusive, yet clearly vindictive endgame against supercop Blake Morrow, a man who, while clearly being the prototypical Good Guy of this twisted tale, has yet to actually earn our respect or admiration.

Funny how Millar fucks with our expectations like that, isn’t it? Continue reading

Black Widow #6 – Review

By Duane Swierczynski (writer), Manuel Garcia (artist), Lorenzo Ruggiero (inker), Jim Charalmpidis (colorist)

You Know What I Like?: Digital comics. I do. I’m getting into them in a serious way and I’d like to put some thoughts together to share with you on the matter. You know why I like them though? About a month or two ago, Marvel offered the digital version of Black Widow #1 for free through their comic portal app. Having always been fond of the character, and still bitter over her lame appearance in Secret Avengers, I downloaded the comic and ended up loving it. I loved it so much, in fact, that I went to my local comic shop the next day and picked up the rest of the issues I was missing so that I could catch up with the story. The point I’m making here is that Marvel offered me a free issue of a comic and ended up not only earning a new customer on another of their comics, but they drove traffic into the direct market. This is smart. But I digress.

The Story: This issue marks the beginning of a new storyline and a new creative team. When journalist Nick Crane learns that the presence of a mysterious woman in black may have had something to do with his father’s suicide, he is determined to discover who she is and exact vengeance. The thing about that though is the Black Widow would also like to know more about this woman bearing her likeness because she’s been assassinating key political targets around the world and drawing some very unwarranted attention and retribution onto Natalia.

The Good: Simply put, this is one hell of a great book! Nevermind that, we need more comics like this featuring strong female characters. Black Widow is simply a great espionage story with enough action, intrigue, and occasional weirdness to keep me coming back for more. With the arrival of Swierczynski and Garcia this month, we have in place now a creative team that is well-suited to the gritty tone of this book (but if you’re reading this, Marjorie Liu, please know that I loved the shit out of your storyline and it’s the reason I’m still reading this comic!). I didn’t quite care for Swierczynski’s run on Immortal Iron Fist, but I appreciated his ambition enough to keep an eye on him as he moved around various Marvel comics. With his arrival on this comic, I feel pretty good that he’s more than capable of delivering to Widow the recognition she deserves. More than ever (and that’s saying something because, again, Liu did a damn fine job with the comic), Black Widow is portrayed as being a consummate professional and world-class operative. She’s a woman who has lived her whole life in the shadows and learned to move about easily in the darkness. Through narration captions she briefly lets us into her world to see slivers of her thoughts, plots, and machinations, but even then you can’t shake the feeling that there’s something she’s not telling you, even more secrets she feels compelled to keep. Normally, this kind of characterization would drive me insane but here it pulls me into the story and makes me want to know more about this woman whose made it her mission to not be known.
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Thunderbolts #148 – Review

By Jeff Parker (writer), Declan Shalvey (artist), Frank Martin & Fabio D’Auria (colorists)

The Story: Luke Cage’s involvement in Shadowland is explained this month, even though the mini-series is almost over. But whatever. Oh, and the Thunderbolts fight some ninjas…bet you didn’t see that one coming, did ya?

Bitter Random Thoughts: What. The Hell. Was this!? As long as I’ve been reviewing Parker’s run on Thunderbolts I have absolutely adored this book and been a huge admirer of what he and the art team have been achieving. And then I read this issue, and now I feel like I’ve been sucker-punched and slightly betrayed. Was this month’s issue a victim of poor editorial oversight? Of being shoehorned into a storyline it had no logical right participating in? Of being just plain ugly?

Well, yeah.

I have found that the times I’m hardest on this book are when it’s being dragged into stupid fucking crossovers. It happened with Avengers Academy and it’s happened again here with Shadowland. In both instances, this comic was far better than the storylines it was being forced to participate in, but the inclusion of the Thunderbolts in Daredevil’s fall from grace seems especially unnecessary. Cage’s crew haven’t been mentioned in Shadowland once before now, and now all of a sudden they’re lurking in the sewers fighting and being spanked by cannon fodder ninjas!? Sorry, but I’m not buying it. This team is more powerful than that, and the fact that they got their asses handed to them by the fucking Hand is sad and illogical and deeply Wrong. It also reeks of editorial mismanagement, of Parker being told how this story had to go down to fit with Marvel’s larger vision. Which they’re entitled to do, I suppose, seeing as how these are their toys, but God help me why does their vision suck so bad?
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The Thanos Imperative #4 – Review

By Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning (writers), Miguel Sepulveda (artist), Jay David Ramos and Wil Quintana (color artists)

I have cancer.

Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, to be exact.

It’ll probably kill me at some point, assuming I don’t drink myself into oblivion before then, but I felt compelled to share with you because that is the frame of mind I’ve been in as I read Abnett and Lanning’s latest, and possibly most disturbing, space epic for Marvel. I’ve long been a fan of DnA’s work for this corner of the Marvel Universe, and applaud how they have carved out and defined a territory that has been vastly under-utilized by creators for decades now. These guys have succeeded in forging Marvel’s universe a chaotic, exciting, and utterly terrifying place to tell stories in. With every epic they’ve crafted, they’ve gradually raised the stakes in ways that seem logical yet infinitely more perilous. Now, with The Thanos Imperative these guys are building one of their finest stories to date, one that forces me to consider my own mortality in a way that is deeply disturbing.

At the heart of this tale is the simple, eternal conflict between Life and Death. Specifically, it is the tale of a universe where Death died and Life prevailed. A universe that is now trying to infiltrate our reality in a desperate attempt to find more space to continue growing and living. Where this story excels though is in the way it fucks with our expectations by portraying Life as a vile, cancerous entity and Death as, if not The Good Guy, then certainly a necessary deterrent to the threat of Life unbound. Thematically, it’s a strange concept and not something we’re accustomed to endorsing; our education as readers of fiction has trained us to view Life as being Good and Death as being Evil, but here Abnett and Lanning do what good writers do and play with our expectations, twisting them in ways that make us reconsider what we thought to be true. I don’t know about you, but I like that.

The action in this issue is unparalleled and furious, even if the plot was rather sparse. Sepulveda has a wonderful understanding of these characters and his gritty style is perfectly suited to the large canvas Abnett and Lanning like to work on. I loved the contrast of Nova and his strikeforce leading an incursion into the Cancerverse while Lord Mar-Vell and his Revengers stalked our universe in pursuit of the Avatar of Death. With every issue, this cat and mouse game is becoming more intense and bloodthirsty, the stakes are being continuously raised as each side fights relentlessly to gain the winning advantage, and after this issue I’m at a loss to see where the creative team could possibly go from here with the story.
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Thor: The Mighty Avenger #4 – Review

By Roger Langridge (writer), Chris Samnee (artist), Matthew Wilson (colorist)

The Story: It’s Boys’ Night Out for the God of Thunder as The Warriors Three drop by to take Thor out for an evening of mass mead consumption.

The Good: Every month, this comic just keeps getting better and continues to be one of the few comics I eagerly anticipate reading! This month’s issue sets a new benchmark in quality for “The Mighty Avenger”, firing on all cylinders to tell a story that was pure entertainment from start to finish. Free from the constraints of continuity that burden its sister titles, this comic is free to flirt and play with Thor’s history as it sees fit without ever being dragged down by it. The Warriors Three are, of course, long-term mainstays in Thor’s world, but here in this comic their appearance feels fresh, yet strangely familiar, like meeting three good friends again for the first time. Here, Langridge writes Thor’s buddies like three older brothers who adore and idolize their younger brother and wouldn’t think twice to throw down with Captain Britain for the sake of their young friend. It’s that well-crafted sense of camaraderie that Langridge executes here that made me view Fandral, Hogun, and Volstagg as more than obedient sidekicks, and I like when a comic can get me to look at old characters in new ways.

I mentioned this issue was entertaining, right? More to the point, it was absolutely hilarious, but I suppose that was inevitable in a story about a bunch of guys going out to drink for the night. You know guys like this. You’re probably friends them and have had a few of these nights over the course of your infamous friendships with them. Yeah, they might be gods, but Langridge writes them as a motley crew of loyal friends first, and that’s a quality that we can all get behind and endorse. They’re a rowdy bunch though, and I couldn’t help but laugh out loud at Samnee’s glorious splash page of the Warriors Three spurring Thor on to beat the crap out of Captain Britain. Samnee’s work continues to captivate me, and I love how easily he can transition from an intense brawl between Thor and Captain Britain to a tender moment between Thor and Jane. His work bursts with energy and emotion in a style that is deceptively simple but always worth a view.
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Scarlet #2 – Review

By Brian Michael Bendis (writer), Alex Maleev (artist)

I hate Bendis Comics.

Longtime readers of my reviews are by now well-versed in my contempt for Bendis and the slew of crappy superhero comics he’s inflicted on the Marvel Universe. I hate his high concepts and mediocre executions, I hate having to sit through page after page of characters talking like morose soap opera stars when they should be beating each other into bloody pulps, and I hate the way the industry idolizes him for making Superheroes a painfully uninteresting genre to indulge in.

But it wasn’t always this way.

Truth be told, I started out as a huge admirer of Bendis’s crime fiction. Jinx, Goldfish, Torso…hell, even Fortune & Glory made me smile. In those stories Bendis had a clear passion for what he was doing. Coupled with innovative panel designs and his trademark dialogue, Bendis churned out original works that had shit to do with superheroes but were every bit as exciting and worthwhile to read. With Scarlet, I’m pleased to say that Bendis is making a return to his roots, or at least vacationing there for the summer, and finally telling a story that matters. Make no mistake about it: Scarlet is damn good.

You ever have one of those days where you’re on your way to work in the morning, fighting your way through shitty traffic, and some asshole in a Mercedes cuts you off without even thinking about it and you’re suddenly overwhelmed with the urge to speed up and cut him off for payback? You ever have one of those days where your local McDonald’s tells you to pull forward and wait so they can make you one goddamn cheeseburger and you tell them hell no, it’s called fast food for a reason, asshole? You ever have one of those days where you realize the deck is stacked against you and the world is not a nice place, but you still want to put your foot down, give the world The Finger, and tell everyone and everything that you will not be bullied and not be a victim any longer? If so, then this is your comic.

Last issue, we saw what triggered Scarlet’s rage and revolution against the machine: the unwarranted and unprovoked harassment of herself and her friends at the hands of cops and murder of her boyfriend by one Officer Gary Dunes. This month, we find out why Gabriel was murdered, and the revelation is enough to make you want to join Scarlet in her crusade without question because the indignation she endures at the hands of a system that was put in place to protect is something we all instinctively empathize with and understand on some level, because we’ve all been screwed by higher powers at some point in our lives and have wanted to seek the kind of revenge that Scarlet is hell-bent on finding, and in watching her pursue her mission, we get live vicariously through her while maintaining our lives of quiet mediocrity.

Bendis’s dialogue is at home in a long form story like this, where little actually happens from issue to issue, but the dialogue sustains the narrative and keeps the reader engaged. I’ve read critics lambast the way that Scarlet breaks the fourth wall and talks directly to the readers, but I for one applaud Bendis’s decision to take the story in this direction, as I feel it creates a stronger emotional connection to Scarlet and her dilemma when she is actually talking to you about it and you’re not simply reviewing it in a series of captions in each panel. Painfully, we can’t help but watch and be captivated by this young woman as she come to terms with the injustice and cruelty that exists in our world, and as she struggles to understand and conquer the circumstances that have ruined her life, part of each of us wants her to succeed where we secretly know we have failed in similar moments in our own lives. There are real ideas in this story and themes that we can’t help but identify with. This is the kind of writing I want to see more of from Bendis.
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Wolverine #1 – Review

By Jason Aaron (writer), Renato Guedes (artist), Jose Wilson Magalhaes (inker), Matt Wilson (colorist)

The Story: You know it was bound to happen sooner or later: Wolverine awakens to inexplicably find himself Hell. Yep, Hell. But if he’s been cast into the Pit, who now walks the Earth bearing his likeness and signature claws, and why is he brutally eliminating Logan’s friends and loved ones?

The Good: Sigh, oh Wolverine. What the hell kind of world do we live in where a diminutive, psychopathic Canadian brandishing not one but six really sharp knives and a talent for using them has become as beloved and iconic a character as such pillars of heroism as Captain America, Superman, and Spiderman? Beats me, but it is a better world and we are better human beings for having him in our lives. Listen, I’ll level with you: in my opinion, Wolverine has always been a rather shallow character. Beyond the claws, healing factor, and never-ending struggle to control his lust for violence, what else is there about this character that any of us identify with? Little to nothing, I’d argue, but in a way that’s kind of the point. That’s kind of what we like about the little rascal. This is a comic book of clearly-defined clichés and a narrative formula that has changed little in the thirty-six years the Canucklehead has been kicking ass and taking names, and we keep coming back for more because that simple combination of the claws, healing factor, and violent tendencies, in the hands of a competent creative team, is usually a wicked and entertaining experience, and sometimes that alone is worth the price of admission.

So, with that in mind, I can safely say that all the elements are in place to make this a great addition to Wolverine’s stable of comics. Aaron does an outstanding job here of walking that fine line between delivering all the classic elements of a typical Wolverine comic while at the same time finding new aspects of Logan’s character to bring to the light. As a returning reader who hasn’t picked up a Wolverine comic in about fifteen years, I was intrigued with Logan’s confession to Wraith that, while he’s now able to deal with the darkness that lurks in him, he feels ill-equipped to handle the idea of living a life with hope, which is ironic as he’s spent his whole life fighting to attain that very thing. In Wraith, Logan has found a kind of moral and spiritual counterpoint that is poignant and especially relevant to the kind of story Aaron is attempting to pull off here. My only hope right now is that, pending the conclusion to this story, Wraith will be a mainstay on this book.
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X-Men: Curse Of The Mutants Blade #1 – Review

By Duane Swierczynski (writer), Tim Green (artist), Nathan Fairbairn (colorist)

The Story: Someone or something is killing vampire hunters all over the world, and Blade’s investigation into the matter uncovers a terrifying revelation that will change his life’s work forever.

Randomly Assorted Thoughts: Seeing as how Victor Gischler did such an amazing job asserting the role and dominance of the vampire nation in his “Death of Dracula” one shot, I was immediately curious to see how this storyline would impact Marvel’s premiere vampire hunter. What I took from this issue, oddly, was a caption from Blade towards the end of the story where, being the last man standing against Xarus and his footsoldiers, he realizes “Killing us Slayers–His prime opposition–wasn’t his endgame. Merely an item on a To-Do List.” And therein lies the crux of why this issue didn’t work for me: to a degree, it exposes how irrelevant Blade and his vampire slaying ilk have become in this brave new world where vampires can now walk and hunt in daylight. Not that Blade’s any less good at what he does, but he didn’t win his battle against Xarus in this issue as much as he barely escaped with his tail between his legs.

“Curse of the Mutants” is, obviously, a storyline tailor-made for the X-Men. There’s nothing wrong with that, and if anything I credit this storyline with bringing me back into the X-Universe, but even as I applaud what I feel it’s doing for the X-Men, I’m a bit taken back by what it’s not doing for Blade; this should have been Blade’s moment to shine, it should have been the perfect opportunity to try launching a new series for him, but he instead comes off seeming strangely fragile and inconsequential, slightly out of his league as the vampires barely pay attention to the vampire hunters and instead set their sights on the mutant populace.
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Namor: The First Mutant #1 – Review

By Stuart Moore (writer), Ariel Olivetti (artist)

The Story: As the assembled tribes of a now unified vampire nation descend upon the island haven of Utopia, Namor volunteers to embark on a suicide mission to retrieve the severed head of the one vampire capable of saving the mutant species: Dracula.

The Good: In the spirit of total disclosure, I’ll get this out of the way right now: I’m an avowed Namor fan. Not so much when he’s pining over Sue Storm, but definitely when he’s the cocky, assured, audacious bastard that I found him to be in this issue. From the moment he derides Oudvrou for being weak for losing an eye in her escape from the Aqueos to his dispatching of a vampire squid (oh yeah, you read that correctly), Namor is at all times portrayed by Moore as a man so convinced of his own moral and physical superiority over his worlds on land and in the sea that his dominion over them would be all but assured if not for inconveniences like this vampire insurgency. Characters like Namor, Dr. Doom, Mr. Fantastic, and Magneto aren’t heroes as villains as much as they are men who are utterly certain that their way of looking at the world is the Right Way, and it’s the rest of us who ought to fall into line. I know that’s an incredibly atypical morality for a hero like Namor to possess, but damn it all if it doesn’t make for some entertaining reading. My feeling on this character has always been that the more of an arrogant, yet noble prick Namor can be, the more fun he is to read, and from what I’ve seen in this issue Moore seems ready to take him down that path, and this pleases me. I also liked how Moore began to develop Namor’s undersea world as a fully realized culture, unique unto itself. In the same way that the recent, and incredibly cool, “Death of Dracula” one shot firmly established the vampire nation in the Marvel Universe, I think Moore has the creative chops to achieve the same outcome for Marvel’s ocean denizens. I didn’t see as much of that world-building in this issue as I would have liked, but I’m willing to let that play out over successive issues provided Moore can pull me deeper into Namor’s world. I’ve always thought it strange how an environment that covers seventy-five percent of the world Marvel comics take place in has never been nearly as fascinating or dynamic a place as, say, New York seems to be, and I hope Moore and Olivetti can change that perception and making the Marvel’s a haunting, adventurous new setting in this world.
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Thunderbolts #147 – Review

Jeff Parker (writer), Kev Walker (artist), Frank Martin (colorist)

The Story: Remember that song from the Kaiser Chiefs, “I Predict A Riot”? Yeah, that totally happens in this issue and it’s up to the Thunderbolts to crush the insurrection before it can begin or die trying. The wards from Avengers Academy show up, but I don’t know why or especially care because they’re fairly lame. Just saying.

The Good: Parker and Walker turn this comic up to eleven with an issue that lavishes readers with a ridiculous amount of action. There is seriously nothing I don’t like about this comic, and half the fun of buying this issue came in realizing that there are once again comics out there that I can actually get excited about waiting for and reading. Whereas a comic like “Secret Avengers” has bored me with its mediocre quality and a built in hype that promised much but has yet to deliver anything of substance, “Thunderbolts” is doing the exact opposite by quietly marching on and consistently impressing readers with unique, well-defined art and a colorful assembly of characters that you can’t help but love and despise in equal measure. And if that wasn’t incentive enough to starting reading Thunderbolts, here’s something that’s bound to catch your attention: Inexplicably, this book keeps getting better. Consider this issue, for example, which sees the conclusion of the Tbolts’ mission into the heart of a vein of mutagenic Terrigen crystals, a mission that sees Man-Thing unleash a brutality and primal rage that is every bit as frightening as it is unexpected. Never would I have considered Man-Thing to be a character I’d ever come to care about, much less actively want to know more about, but Parker makes me empathize with the muck man, and in my opinion that is a glowing testament to his skills as a writer. That, and the dialogue he is cranking out in this issue!
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Yi Soon Shin: Warrior and Defender #1 – Review

By Onrie Kompan (writer), Giovanni Timpano (artist), Adriana De Los Santos (colorist)

The Story: In his maniacal quest for power and dominion over Asia, the Supreme Warlord of Japan dispatches General Todo to Korea to subjugate the country, which is already on the verge of ruin from a lack of military leadership. In the midst of such ruin, Admiral Yi Soon Shin of the Korean Navy rises up to inspire his country and defy a nation.

The Good: Hey, I’m as much a fan of superhero comics as the next Geek, but sometimes I like to vary my reading experience with…well, SOMETHING ELSE. It’s why I read 300, Criminal, and Scarlet, and you know what? It’s why I dug the hell out of this comic. I fully endorse any comic that’s willing to explore new genres, and to find a historical fiction comic that can deliver the kind of widescreen, epic action that you would expect from a quality foreign film is a rare, but very good thing. This story delivers the shit in a way that would make Kurosawa happy, and in all the ways that count, this is a quality that is sincerely cooler than the latest issue of Avengers Bendis is willing to excrete, due in no small part to the fact that you immediately understand that Kompan and crew care about the story they’re crafting. I sense that this is a story that Kompan has meticulously researched, and the passion he clearly feels to share this historical tale is apparent in every well-crafted page, and he frames that story around a plot that is palatable and easy to follow. The story of Yi Soon Shin is the story of a man who has had the burden of Greatness thrust upon him, whether he likes it or not. It is the story of a man who, by sheer necessity, has taken it upon himself to rise to the challenge of leading his nation through adversity and chaos. I like this. I admire this. I identify with this. And frankly, as a reader of the form, these are themes that I enjoy experiencing. Timpano brings this tale of war and honor to life with a style that is gritty enough to make war look like the atrocity is, and intricate enough to lend an air of authenticity to the time period. Fun to read, beautiful to look at, this is a good comic that doesn’t need to rely on men in tights to sell issues, and I rather like that.
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Secret Avengers #4 – Review

By Ed Brubaker (writer), Mike Deodato (artist), Rain Beredo (colorist)

The Story: In the conclusion to “Secret Histories”, Commander Rogers hijacks the Nova Force in order to take out Richard Ryder, while Sharon Carter and Ant-Man make a disturbing discovery about one of the Shadow Council’s agents.

The Good: To its credit, this issue of “Secret Avengers” was a huge improvement over the previous three. It was a delight to see Deodato’s art firing on all cylinders here, and the intensity of the fight between Rogers and Ryder was so furious that I practically feel the heat from the impact of their collisions. That kind of raw energy is what I like to see in my Avengers comics and this issue certainly delivers the goods! The mystery of the Shadow Council, while not necessarily clarified, is at least hinted at enough that I’m seriously tempted to pick up next month’s issue if only to learn more about what the hell Fury has been up to lately. I was also pleasantly surprised with Ant-Man’s run in the spotlight this month; I really admired his intrepid efforts against the Shadow Council’s suicide bombers, and I suspect that watching his journey as he learns to become a hero under the tutelage of living legends will have the potential to to be a hugely satisfying storyline in the months to come.

The Not So Good: Despite being a lot more entertaining than previous issues, I don’t know, this comic isn’t quite doing it for me. More to the point, I didn’t find this inaugural storyline to be quite entertaining enough for me to continue wanting to spend four bucks a month on it. This issue, for example, amounted to little more than an extended fight scene between Rogers and Ryder which, while expertly rendered, still amounted to precious little story. I was hoping to see much more espionage out of this team of hand picked heroes, but instead got more superhero slugfests–and yes, I realize that sounds slightly hypocritical when I just got done praising Deodato’s ability to render the smackdown with epic efficiency, but that’s okay because from the get go this was a book that was marketed as walking the fine line between espionage and classic Avengers action; thus far though it’s been all action and not enough covert asskicking, and I’m disappointed that this balance wasn’t reached more effectively. In a world where the Heroic Age is in full swing and heroes are more abundant, prominent, and….heroish than ever, Rogers’s team of commandos aren’t Secret as much as they are obscure and inconsequential…especially when you consider how other, arguably far more superior heroes are out there *also* saving the universe in the excellent “Thanos Imperative” storyline currently running. As a paying reader, I wanted to see these heroes stalking the shadows of some nameless metropolis, pursuing Rogers’s agenda with ruthless efficiency, not running around Mars beating down faceless, nameless stormtroopers while Rogers fights for a Macguffin that inevitably is far less threatening or interesting than it’s made out to be. For my tastes, this storyline was a weird, anticlimatic way to begin the series and seemed to go against Brubaker’s descriptions which had far more potential, although it’s entirely possible this potential has yet to be tapped. Additionally, I continued to be slightly disappointed with Deodato’s art, which seems more dynamic, yet less refined than what he achieved on “Dark Avengers”, which remains a benchmark of his abilities in my opinion. Seeing what Deodato was capable of, I feel his work on this comic seems either rushed or not always as inspired as it could be, and that’s a hard pill to swallow coming from such a talented creator as he is.

Conclusion:There are qualities I liked about this issue, and about this storyline in general, but not enough of any one of them to create that drive and need and incentive for me to want to continue buying “Secret Avengers” month after month. This can be a good comic, but I don’t think I’ll stick around to find out. Until things improve, I’m going to wait for this to be released in graphic novels.

Grade: C+

-Tony Rakittke

S.H.I.E.L.D. #3 – Review

By Jonathan Hickman (writer), Dustin Weaver (artist), Christina Strain (colorist)

The Story: The secret history of High Council member Isaac Newton is revealed along with tantalizing clues regarding the development and significance of the Five-Fold Understanding.

The Good: This comic is really being published, right? I mean, this isn’t some strange spectre of an old hashish dream come back to haunt me is it? I sincerely hope not, because this comic is a tour de force of staggering imagination, and I need to believe that there is a place in the mainstream industry for comics this unique. Taking a slight breather from last month’s cliffhanger, this issue takes a step back in time to reveal the secret history of Isaac Newton and his rise through, and possible corruption of, the ranks of Shield. Newton, who I assumed would be a hero without fault in this complex web of intrigue, is here revealed to be an intellectual of such astounding innovation and vision that he is all too willing to travel down dark and seemingly unholy roads in his quest to quench his thirst for new knowledge. Newton’s journey to the Deviant City of Ashomia was especially unsettling and reminded me of something I should have read in a good Lovecraft story. His time in Ashomia, coupled with whatever dark insecurities may have already existed within him, seem to have corrupted Newton and his leadership of Shield, but to what end? What is Newton doing with this ancient order that Da Vinci and the Night Machine feel they must destroy? Hickman plays his hand obscenely close to his sleeve, choosing to play the long con with this story and slowly reveal the plot to the reader.

It’s funny: I actually complained that Secret Avengers was trying to do the same thing with its plot, but here on SHIELD I find that same storytelling technique to be an asset and a virtue; Hickman succeeds in being able to slow down the pace of the story while still keeping it engaging and damn intriguing. How is it Newton, Galileo, Nostradamus, and Da Vinci are still alive (Besides the fact that they all seemingly reside in the Immortal City, which I still think doesn’t quite explain it…)? What is the significance of the Five-Fold Understanding to Shield’s machinations? And what, oh what the hell is Da Vinci doing challenging the cabal he was once a member of? Hickman is careful to reveal just enough of these storylines to make us want to come back every two months to get the next few, precious kernels of story, and it’s a testament to his skills as a writer that I love letting him string me along like this. Hickman makes me want to unravel this mystery one issue at a time, and it’s stories like this where that journey is worth the price of admission.
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Casanova #2 – Review

By Matt Fraction (writer), Gabriel Ba (artist), Cris Peter (colorist)

The Story: Casanova Quinn, a womanizing scoundrel and world-class thief, recently supplanted into an alternate universe where he is a superspy and all around Good Guy, is called upon by his father’s spy agency to infiltrate a hedonistic island retreat to recover or retire one of their star agents who’s gone native on sex energy and Mai Tais. Yup.

The Good: I’d say EVERYGODDAMNTHING and be content to leave it at that, but I suspect you probably want to know just a little more than that, so I guess I’ll be an obliging critic and fill you in (sorry; third Jim Beam as I write this and I’m gettin’ a little ornery. Shut up.) You’ll find me saying this often when it comes to this book, and I will no doubt sound like I’m either stuttering or evangelizing, but Casanova is easily one of the finest American comics to have been produced, well, ever. Yes, it’s deliciously complex, but my god, once you break on through to the other side and see what Fraction’s achieving here, blending a lifetime love obsession with pop culture into a story that lovingly pays homage to his influences while bending them into something Unique, you will relish tearing into these pages and digesting everything he and Ba put into every panel of every page.

That said, while last month’s issue might have been a necessarily mind-blowing experience, this issue is a much more straightforward, but no less entertaining story. You’ve seen this plot before in ‘Heart of Darkness’ and ‘Apocalypse Now’, and Fraction knows you have, but he also knows you haven’t seen it quite like this, and that is where he succeeds. Fraction has the mad skills of a thoroughly intoxicated alchemist, drawing from his many influences and combining them into new configurations that you kind of recognize, but are still thrilled to see. In many ways, this issue is about how sons deal with the guilt they feel from disappointing their fathers. Sent to the island of Agua Pesada by Cornelius Quinn and Newman Xeno to achieve conflicting objectives, Casanova doesn’t quite succeed in accomplishing either, and is punished by both men for his failures. Understandably despondent, Casanova does what any child who has lost the favor of his father would do and goes to seek the solace of his mother, even if she is from a foreign timeline.
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Thor: The Mighty Avenger #2 – Review

By Roger Langridge (writer), Chris Samnee (artist), Matthew Wilson (colorist)

The Story: Jane Foster extends a hand of friendship to her mythic savior while Hyde stalks the city, hell-bent on finishing what he started.

The Good: I’m perplexed and delighted by the sheer existence of this comic! Charming, thoughtful, light-hearted, and strangely tragic, it’s fast becoming the definitive origin of Asgard’s favorite son for a new generation of readers, and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. Dealing with characters that, in many cases, are over forty years old like Thor is, I think it’s natural to want to dust these characters off and reintroduce them to legions of new readers, and this comic is doing a quality job of that. With the impending movie fast approaching, movie fans and new comic readers alike are going to want to know more about Thor’s origins, and what better way to do that than with a comic like this that invites new readers and rewards them with friendly, approachable artwork and likable, well-defined characters? Told largely through the perspective of Jane Foster, Langridge’s story is effective in casting Thor as a truly alien being, lost in the tides of humanity’s filth, yet struggling to once again know the beauty of a life he can barely remember. I read Langridge’s story and fully believe that this god has been cast down against his will or understanding and forced to endure an existence amongst a form of life that he barely comprehends, much less appreciates. I’ve always believed that the more alien and otherworldly a writer can portray Thor, the more enjoyable the god of thunder is to read, and in this department Langridge excels. He is aided in his vision by the stellar artwork of Chris Samnee, whose bold, simple style is fast becoming one of my favorite comic experiences this year. Samnee’s art has the rare quality of toning down the inherently epic qualities of a Thor comic and emphasizing the quest for humanity that Thor has struggled to understand ever since Kirby and the Liebers brought him to life in ’62. This theme was most poignantly expressed for me on the last page when a disgruntled Thor wonders what wonders Earth possibly has to offer him, and a knowing Jane is fully ready to share them with him. I see what this book is trying to achieve, and I sincerely like it.
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Secret Avengers #3 – Review

By Ed Brubaker (writer), Mike Deodato (artist), Rain Beredo (colorist)

The Story: The Secret Avengers and Archon fight valiantly to oppose a possessed Nova, while Ant-Man spies the machinations of the Shadow Council.

The Good: Uhhhhhh, God, I don’t even know. I mean, there wasn’t anything glaringly wrong with this issue, but I didn’t think there was anything overwhelmingly good about it to justify the $3.99 price tag, either. It was so slightly above average that when I finished it I was almost too apathetic about the experience to summon the strength to shrug my indifference. Is it just me, or is it slightly unreasonable to charge so much money for a comic that delivers so little?! In terms of actual plot, we are treated to an extended fight scene in which a throw character gets killed, Nick Fury and the Big Bad Guy talk ominously of the three Serpent Crowns, and Nova encourages subtly encourages Valkyrie to go back into the kitchen and bake him a pie. But what the hell is happening?! We’re three issues in and the Secret Avengers are still on Mars, seemingly no closer to understanding why the hell they are there or what their objective is. They haven’t actually thrown down with any serious villains or than some minor cannon fodder types, and aren’t even really functioning as a team. This story is plodding along to a destination that I’m not sure I care to reach at this point, and that is a huge shame to speak of a comic created by such esteemed talents as Brubaker, Deodato, and Beredo, none of whom have quite seemed to be firing on all cylinders on this book.
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Thunderbolts #146 – Review

By Jeff Parker (writer), Kev Walker (artist), Frank Martin (colorist)

The Story: Luke Cage and the team are scrambled to New Guinea to investigate the disappearance of U.N. and S.H.I.E.L.D. agents near a hidden vein of Terrigen Crystals.

The Good: This new assembly of Thunderbolts continues to be one of the titles I look forward to most every month. On all levels, from writing, to art, to colors, this is a book that thoroughly delivers entertainment value, and I haven’t been finding many comics lately that can do that for me. I think part of the appeal with this book, despite having been a fan of the title since Warren Ellis began his infamous run on it, is that the cast this time around is just so fucking bizarre, so absurdly surreal, that it makes you wonder how the hell Parker was able to get editorial approval for his vision. But he did, and holy crap has he pulled off one hell of a hat trick with this book!
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Thor: The Mighty Avenger #1 – Review

By Roger Langridge (writer), Chris Samnee (artist), Matthew Wilson (colorist)

The Story: Jane Foster, curator of the Norse department of the Bergen War Memorial Museum, finds her life taking a turn for the weird when she runs into a homeless man with a powerful, mythic secret.

The Good: What an interesting, charming comic! What Christopher Nolan did for DC in the movie Batman Begins, I feel like Roger Langridge has done for Thor with this comic. It’s a relaunch of the franchise and a reimagining of the character that stays true to the classic origins of Thor while placing his story in a more contemporary setting. And the best part by far is that it doesn’t require you to have any working knowledge of Thor continuity to appreciate it. You can come to this comic cold turkey and get the jist well enough to want to come back for the next issue. I applaud Langridge’s decision to write this comic from Jane Foster’s perspective; I hate to say it but I’d never appreciated her as a serious character until I’d read this issue, and now I’d genuinely love to know more about her provided Langridge was writing her. Also, it’s interesting to read about Thor from the perspective of one of his supporting cast. Thor’s very presence in our world seems more… I dunno, alien when viewed through her eyes. And yet, his humanity seems more poignant from Foster’s perspective. I think the most amusing and touching moment came early on when Thor was being restrained by the security guards and grinned amicably when Jane asked him to drop his walking stick. In a way, this comic seems to be less about Thor than about how he is viewed by Humanity, and I rather like that. Samnee’s art is a delight to look at; light-hearted and animated, it reminds me of Bruce Timm’s work on the Batman animated series, and I mean that in an incredibly good way. If and when the action picks up on this book, this is definitely the kind of comic that I would be happy to share with younger readers, and one that I think they would enjoy.
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