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Indestructible Hulk #6 – Review

INDESTRUCTIBLE HULK #6

By: Mark Waid (Writer), Walter Simonson (Penciler), Andres Mossa (Colorist), Chris Eliopoulos (Letterer)

The Review: You might have seen an article doing the rounds a while back about how Jerry Ordway, one of the great comic artists of the 80’s and 90’s, has found it hard to come by work at DC recently; if not, Bleeding Cool have a quick rundown and Ordway’s own blog is the straight dope on the matter. While I suppose it could be said that the art styles of the past sometimes have trouble gelling with the comics of the present, there’s no doubt that talents like Ordway’s still deserve a place on comic book shelves. Great art shines no matter what. Proof positive of this is found in this month’s Indestructible Hulk which features the perennial artwork of Walt Simonson – a Marvel Alumni with pedigree to spare – whose appearance here on interiors is as likely to excite old fans as much as is it to earn him some new ones.
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All New X-Men #9 – Review

ALL-NEW X-MEN #9

By: Brian Michael Bendis (Writer), Stuart Immonen (Penciler), Wade Von Grawbadger (Inker), Marte Gracia & Rain Beredo (Color Artists), VC’s Cory Petit (Letterer)

Review: My review of last month’s All New X-Men #8 was pretty awful; too many overly-long sentences and contrived compliments. Still, I blame it all on Bendis. After all, it gets difficult finding new ways to lavish praise on a book that’s still failed to put a foot wrong 8 issues in. Therefore it’s a little bit of a Godsend that #9 offers something of a hiccup. It’s not much of one, granted, but it’ll do.

So let’s get that criticism out of the way first: this issue does feel like something of a placeholder. The only characters whose story sees any concrete progression this month is the villains’, and even then they only appear on 4 of the book’s 20 pages (that’s 20%, stat fans). Irksome, yes, but a minor sin in the grand scheme of comics. I mean, I seem to remember 2009’s Cable series achieve the impressive feat of running for 25 issues without anything of note happening at all.
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Uncanny X-Force #2 – Review

UNCANNY X-FORCE #2

By: Sam Humphries (Writer), Ron Garney (Penciler), Danny Miki with Scott Hanna (Inkers), Marte Gracia with Israel Gonzalez and Wil Quintana (Colorists), VC’s Cory Petit (Letterer)

The Review: One of my big comic book regrets of late is that I didn’t pick up Remender’s run on Uncanny X-Force. I borrowed the odd issue from friends but didn’t get the big picture, and from what I hear the whole run is an epic Must Read; I’m basically waiting for Marvel to package the whole thing up in an Omnibus edition so I can try and read it all in one massive sitting. Anyway, the point is that as well as missing out on some great storytelling, I also feel that I’ve missed out on some key moments which inform Sam Humphries’ turn on the title.

This feeling was a bit more pronounced with the first issue (lots of vague plot points discussed between Storm and Psylocke and glimpsed in flashback panels) but the sense still lingers here. This, along with the general bluster that dogs the books composition, makes things a little hard to follow. I can’t quite work out whether I like it or not. There’s good and bad, and I’m not sure if any one side really wins out.
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Guardians of the Galaxy #0.1 – Review

GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY #0.1

By: Brian Michael Bendis (Writer), Steve McNiven (Penciler), John Dell (Inker), Justin Ponsor (Colors), Cory Petit (Letterer)

The Review: The following things will occur during the course of this review. First, I’ll obviously be giving my heartfelt opinion on Guardians of the Galaxy #0.1 – my treatise on the best flavour of Ramen Noodles will have to wait for now (in brief though: Chicken). Second, I will muse somewhat on how awesome it is to have Bendis back on such winning form – when he’s writing like this, the Marvel Universe is a much better place. Thirdly, I will use the term “cosmic restructuring” again and again and again – because this series is undoubtedly the keystone of that process, the linchpin of Marvel’s interstellar ambitions.

This cosmic restructuring has its beginnings elsewhere. Iron Man #6 technically kicked things off by relocating the Armored Avenger to Space (not that this changed much other than the landscape and the suit, but hey, it was a start). Nova #1, released last week, was far more integral to the
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Avengers #6 – Review

AVENGERS #6

By: Jonathan Hickman (writer), Adam Kubert (art), Frank Martin (colors), and Cory Petit (letters)

The Story:  Just who is the new Captain Universe and what forboding message does she have for the Marvel Universe?

The Review:  First, the good news:  the art is very much improved from Kubert’s first issue.  Last issue, I wasn’t sure how much of the improvement was REALLY owing to Kubert’s efforts and how much of it was only thanks to the switch in colorists, given how wonderful Frank Martin’s work always is.  This month, there can be no doubt: Kubert has tightened up his pencils.  Things no longer looked at all rushed, giving us the “high-budget,” polished, top-shelf work we usually expect from Kubert.  This makes him a good fit for a book like this: I’m so used to seeing Kubert draw big event comics that at this point, my brain is basically conditioned into thinking “this is important!” when seeing his work.  Basically, I think we can put his rushed performance on Avengers #4 in the rear-view mirror now; this is the Kubert you were probably expecting.

Sadly, while the artwork is improved, I’m not really sure that I can say the same for the script.  Hickman gives us another issue largely focused on one of his new Avengers, which remains a good plan of action for the series.  The problem is that, unlike Smasher last month, this new Captain Universe just….isn’t very interesting.  Much like last month, her origin is pretty by the books but unlike last month, we don’t have a strong, sympathetic character with which to prop that up.  Stricken with a happy dose of amnesia, Tamara Devoux is simply too much of a blank slate to carry the issue on her own.  As for her the Captain Universe sentience inhabiting her body, it’s really more of a walking, talking portent more than a real, sympathetic character.
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Morbius The Living Vampire #2 – Review

MORBIUS: THE LIVING VAMPIRE #2

By: Joe Keatinge (Writer), Richard Elson (Artist), Antonio Fabela (Colorist), Clayton Cowles (Letterer)

The Review: If it seems like a long time since the first issue of Morbius: The Living Vampire came out that’s because…well, it was. The most conspicuously late shipping book on Marvel’s slate at the moment is (of course) Uncanny Avengers, but Morbius has probably just nabbed second place – #2 has arrived just under two months since the title’s launch. And right now, that’s probably the most interesting thing about it…

Which is a shame.  Morbius, much like X-Men: Legacy, has positioned its minor league hero in a interesting place; a largely self-contained corner of the Marvel Universe where the character can develop at his own pace, carve a successful niche and, hopefully, garner a loyal critical and commercial following in the process. Instead it’s floundering, and floundering hard. With a fairly glum and uninteresting story, a cut-out cast of characters and a bland, detached art style it is, quite possibly, the worst book to yet come out of Marvel NOW.
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Nova #1 – Review

NOVA #1

By: Jeph Loeb (Writer), Ed McGuinness (Artist), Dexter Vines (Inker), Marte Gracia (Colorist), Albert Deschesne (Letterer)

The Review: I was bracing myself to maul this book. Even the physical act of purchasing it elicited a heavy sigh; there is simply no fun in handing over hard-earned money for something you feel in your gut you’re going to hate. Sadly, this is the main response my nervous system has developed to anything with the name ‘Jeph Loeb’ attached to it over the last few years. I’ve read things of his I’ve enjoyed, sure – you can’t really deny the quality of most of his Batman work or his Marvel ‘Colour’ titles – but most of his recent output has been, in my eyes, unabashedly poor.  In some cases, like Hulk or X-Sanction, I actually felt like he was trying to see how far he could push his audience, using them as a test group in a heinous experiment to seek out that magic ‘so bad it’s good’ sweet spot. Problem is, when you fall short of that target, you just get ‘bad’. Yet Marvel continues to put their faith in him, and perhaps no more so than with Nova, being as it is an integral part of the company’s Cosmic restructuring.
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Uncanny X-Men #1 – Review

UNCANNY X-MEN #1

By: Brian Michael Bendis (writer), Chris Bachalo (pencils & colors), Tim Townsend, Jaime Mendoza & Al Vey (inks), and Joe Caramagna (letters)

The Story:  An inside man approaches Maria Hill with an offer to help take down Scott Summers.

The Review:  One of the concerns I had about this book going in was the way it would differentiate itself from All-New X-Men.  Yes, I realize it wouldn’t feature the time traveling teens, but Cyclops and his gang have appeared quite a bit in that book such that having them star in this one seemed to be some serious overlap.  Thankfully, Bendis quickly dispels this concern.  It’s not so much that Cyclops team are front and center, which they are, but rather that the tone of the book has been subtly altered.  While part of it may be due to Bachalo’s artwork, with its muddy colors and its lack of distinct, clean lines (as opposed to Immonen and Marquez on All-New), the big reason for this is the subtle change in tone.  The book feels more shadowy, more “underground,” and a touch more edgy.  The humour isn’t there and the soap opera of All-New is shifted into something that’s a little closer to twisty, spy-thriller dramatics.  All-New is the above-ground, flagship story.  Uncanny is what happens beneath and on the revolutionary fringes that Cyclops and his team currently occupy.
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Secret Avengers #1 – Review

Nick Spencer (Writer), Luke Ross (Artist), Matthew Wilson (Colorist)

The Story: Hawkeye and Black Widow gets recruited to a new covert team for S.H.I.E.L.D. Their first mission: Budapest.

The Review: Marvel Now! keeps on rolling… This week saw the beginning of two new number ones, one of those being the relaunched Secret Avengers by Nick Spencer and Luke Ross. Does Nick Spencer have the same energy as the previous authors of the previous volume and can he succeed with this title?

First of all, this issue shows clearly it is a different beast than Rick Remender’s take on the team, as it is more S.H.I.E.L.D based, getting the whole espionage theme up to eleven during the whole issue. Bureaucracy, double-crossing, advanced technology, brainwashing, the book has it all and seems to have fun with it, which makes for a pleasant experience.

What’s also pleasant is how the characters are handled by Nick Spencer, who seems to get how to write them. I liked how Nick Fury Jr. was all about business in one scene, yet has no qualm talking about James Bond with Hawkeye right in the middle of a mission. Talking about Hawkeye, I do believe that Spencer is using Matt Fraction version here as the basis for the character, something I commend him for. The fun-loving, wise-cracking archer that is shown here is still as entertaining here, yet not exactly on the same level as in his own title. Another thing that deserves some praise would be his use of some of the cast from Secret Warriors by Jonathan Hickman. Seeing Sebastian Druid here was a joy.

The dialogue here is also a joy, as spy-talk is easily mixed with every day conversations with ease. The scene with Agent Coulson is a good example of that, as the much more polite and official agent has a talk with the much more easy-going Hawkeye and the stoic Black Widow, whereas he is talking in much more bureaucratic terms, using some wooden language to ease the both of them toward the subject he has in mind. There are several other moments such as these, yet this one is a shining example of what Nick Spencer can do with dialogue.
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Avengers #5 – Review

AVENGERS #5

By: Jonathan Hickman (writer), Adam Kubert (art), Frank Martin (colors), and Cory Petit (letters)

The Story:  Get to know the new Smasher.

The Review:  I noted last week that Hickman’s Avengers was moving in a stronger, more character-focused direction, delivering a stronger script as a result; I’m happy to report that he continues in that direction, delving even more deeply into the background of one of the new recruits, this time a young farm-girl turned cosmic super-hero.

This is really the first issue of Hickman’s run that I can honestly say has something that’s been utterly lacking thus far: heart.  Our new Smasher is relatable and likable, with Hickman managing to trace her ascendancy from a girl who’d seemingly given up on her potential for more pressing concerns right up to her adventures in space and promotion by Gladiator, he of the mohawk and purple skin.  The result is a character arc that, while compressed, also feels uplifting and optimistic, emphasizing the power of the individual and his/her potential for greatness, much like any good superhero comic does.  This was really the first issue of Hickman’s that actually felt human, which is vital, as Hickman’s first arc, while it had its strengths, often felt cold, losing its emotional core in favor of all that epic scale.  As such, this closer focus on a more grounded character was well needed.  The relationship between Daring/Smasher and her grandfather was also a nice touch which led to a line repeated throughout the comic that harkened back to the running theme of Hickman’s Fantastic Four: the importance of never self-limiting and always pushing the boundaries.
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Iron Man #6 – Review

IRON MAN #6

By: Kieron Gillen (Writer), Greg Land (Penciler), Jay Leisten (Inker), Guru eFX (Colorist), Joe Caramagna (Letterer)

The Review: When it comes to an ongoing series the comic industry loves a ‘jumping on point’. Yet, as frequently as those come around, it’s difficult to recollect a more perfect example than the first issue in Iron Man’s latest story arc, ‘The Godkiller’.

First, its banner clearly marks it as an Avengers vs X-Men ‘Aftermath’ event, and I guess if you’ve been reading Marvel comics at all over the last few months you’ll have had at least some passing contact with that mega-selling crossover. Second: it’s Tony Stark IN SPAAAAAAACCCCCCEEEEE!!! It’s a bold new setting for the character, and one where you don’t necessarily need to know anything about Iron Man’s recent history in order to feel immediately at home. Add to that the hype that’s surrounding this storyline’s future role in Marvel’s cosmic ambitions (as a lead-in to Guardians of the Galaxy, Nova et al) and you seem to have a potent recipe for new readership success.  However, as great an opportunity as this mid-series overhaul offers to make Iron Man a key commercial player in the Marvel NOW relaunch, I can’t shake the feeling that Kieron Gillen hasn’t quite made the most of it.
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X-Men Legacy #5 – Review

X-MEN LEGACY #5

By: Simon Spurrier (Writer), Jorge Molina (Artist), Norman Lee & Craig Yeung (Inkers), Rachelle Rosenburg (Colorist), Cory Petit (Letterer)

The Review:  I’ve only just caught up with X-Men Legacy. I picked up each issue as they arrived but they’ve always wound up near the bottom of my ‘To Read’ pile, the terrific Mike Del Mundo covers narrowly persuading me each month to keep it on the Pull List. Having finally sat down with the series, I’m pleased I stuck with it; it’s a mercurial experience, never resting too long in one place or idea but gathering momentum as it travels.

In large part this is down to the broad canvas the story plays out upon, one half-inherited and half-invented by Simon Spurrier. The star of the book – Legion aka David Haller – continues to be the same Omega-level mutant with the splintered personality you’ve always loved/loathed but who now has a cast of over two hundred characters who’ve  taken up residence in his head. Each one represents a different persona and power-set that David can draw on – as long as that persona doesn’t overtake him first. Comic Book Logic dictates that each one will be called upon in Legion’s quest to realise the Xavier family dream. With the action split between the physical and psychic realms it’s kind of like Ben 10 filtered through Grant Morrison; a charming, trippy drama.
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Avengers #4 – Review

AVENGERS #4

By: Jonathan Hickman (writer), Adam Kubert (art), Frank D’Armata (colors), and Cory Petit (letters)

The Story:  The Avengers race to a newly discovered sixth impact zone from the Garden’s recent mayhem.  The problem is that this one’s in the Savage Land and everyone’s favourite bee-keeper scientists may have gotten there first.

The Review:  Hickman’s Avengers so far has been solid and refreshing, but I’m still waiting for it to fully live up to its potential.  With the start of its second arc, this feels like one step forward but also perhaps one step back (so yeah, thankfully, not two steps back).  The heartening thing is that the back-tread has nothing to do with Hickman.

Instead, it’s Kubert that’s at fault here.  Don’t get me wrong, the artwork here isn’t bad.  I mean, it’s Adam Kubert, how bad could it be?  The problem is that, particularly compared to Jerome Opena’s hyper-detailed, hyper-polished artwork, Kubert’s work feels forgettable and bland.  Part of this may be due to Kubert’s simply being a more conventional artist than Opena, but the real problem is also that this simply isn’t Kubert’s best work.  It feels rougher than usual, perhaps even a little rushed.  Hell, the first few pages, the prologue of the issue, are particularly messy.  Frank D’Armata’s colors don’t particularly help as well, lacking the vibrance and energy needed to carry the day, opting instead to, much like Kubert’s work, not go any farther than merely getting the job done.  Regardless, there’s a pretty big gap between Kubert’s work here and Kubert’s recent work on Avengers vs. X-Men.  The result is a book that while visually functional, is also surprisingly uninspiring for its bulk, with the exception of Hyperion’s origin, which is admittedly nicely rendered.
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Uncanny Avengers #3 – Review

UNCANNY AVENGERS #3

By: Rick Remender (story), John Cassaday (art), Laura Martin (colors), and Chris Eliopoulos (letters)

The Story:  The Red Skull whips NYC into a mutant hunting frenzy with the Uncanny Avengers caught in the middle.

The Review:  I imagine that this is going to be an incredibly divisive issue.  Remender takes some big stylistic risks that leave this one firmly entrenched in “love it or hate it” grounds.  The difficulty for me reviewing this is that, while I myself fell into the positive side of the equation, I can very much understand the argument from the other side.

The reason for all of this is that Remender has chosen to write this issue in a thoroughly retro, nostalgia-driven manner, filled with expository narration and a LOT of words on the page.  While I’m often put off by that sort of thing, I actually found myself enjoying it this time around.  I had a lot of fun visiting the past, if you will, with Remender seemingly bringing a writing style from decades past, polishing it off, and putting it in a thoroughly modern setting with slick, polished art to match.  Sure, that style is verbose, melodramatic, and maybe even a little bit cheesy, but that’s all part of the fun!  That melodramatic narration lends the book an escapist, soap opera feel, making the book’s universe feel especially comic booky and its characters iconic and larger than life.  It also elevates the stakes and the story into something grander and more timeless.
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FF #3 – Review

FF #3

By: Matt Fraction (story), Michael Allred (art), Laura Allred (colors), and Clayton Cowles (letters)

The Story: The mysterious visitor from beyond the veil turns out to be more familiar than thought, telling tales of a horrifying (and pretty ludicrous) villain.  Also, the Yancy Street Gang strikes!

The Review:  I had high expectations for this book and as such, I ‘d be lying if I didn’t say that the first issue disappointed me a bit insofar as nothing much seemed to happen.  Then, last month, it started to click.  Now, with the third issue, I think this might stand along Hawkeye as among the very best books Marvel is currently publishing.

The reason for this is one word: fun.  That is really the best and perhaps only word I can use to describe this issue.  It’s off-kilter, it’s genuinely funny, it has a team with great chemistry, it’s thoroughly mad-cap, it’s human, and it’s clear that the creative team is having a great time putting it all together, which really shines through in their work.
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Avengers #3 – Review

AVENGERS #3

By: Jonathan Hickman (writing), Jerome Opena (art), Dean White, Frank Martin, and Richard Isanove (colors), and Cory Petit (letters)

The Story:  Cap brings his new recruits to bear on the Garden, fighting the good fight on Mars to save both his friends and his planet.

The Review:  Usually when you think of a book like Avengers or Justice League, or what have you, there’s a bit of an expectation for good old fashioned superhero comics in a very specific mold.  Hickman’s Avengers is anything but.  It’s chock full of ambition and there really isn’t anything else like it on the stands.

A key reason for this is Hickman’s emphasis on scale.  Hickman makes it clear that the sheer scale of the stories and conflicts in his Avengers book are greater than they are in perhaps any other Marvel title.   As such, you could say that with ridiculous powerhouses like Hyperion and Captain Universe on the team to go along with Hulk and Thor, all of them battling entities which are, in essence, gods of a sort, Hickman’s book has taken the old line about the Avengers’ being focused on “foes no single superhero can withstand” to heart.  Here, they are battling gods and as the scale of the threat goes up, so must the size and power-level of the team.  That’s the core concept of Hickman’s run and it shines here, so while Hickman’s run feels very different, you could say that it also is perhaps truer to the core concept of the Avengers.
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All New X-Men #6 – Review

By: Brian Michael Bendis (Writer), David Marquez (Artist), Marte Gracia (Colorist), Cory Petit (Letterer)

The Review: There’s something about this issue that feels just right. I think it’s a sense of everything starting to feel a bit more comfortable, of everything and everyone slotting into place. If we use a ‘Moving House’ analogy, the first 5 issues were the difficult bit; hefting the sofa, fridge and countless long boxes onto the delivery van and unloading them into your new digs. Now everything’s unpacked, the beds are made and (despite your girl’s best efforts) the Hot Toys have set up shop on the mantelpiece once again. Now it’s time to start living here. Of course, it’s also the time you start finding out that the heating is on the fritz and your next door neighbour has just started learning to play the drums…

Now the initial confrontation with Scott’s brotherhood is out of the way and the decision’s been made to stay and sort out the future, the original X-Men are settling into the 21st century, taking their first tentative steps towards building relationships with their modern counterparts. So far Hank’s situation has been fairly well documented and Iceman’s has been relegated to the (admittedly funny) joke of perpetually annoying his older self. As such, this issue largely focuses on Jean and Scott, with Angel getting a bit of time in the spotlight near the end.

For Jean this represents an internal struggle. As in, right inside her head. With her telepathic powers still blooming and causing nothing but torment, Kitty Pryde steps in to help mentor her in how to assert some control. They’re affecting scenes as they’re played out with a good deal of empathy between the former/future team mates; Kitty’s become a kind of elder statesman for the X-Men at this point and Bendis imbues her position with a pitch-perfect sense of humility. Rounding things off is a diplomatic (though slightly stiff) Storm who gently announces Jean as the de facto leader of her displaced team. It’s a winning display of Girl Power from some of Marvel’s most powerful ladies and it’s nice to see this side of things play out so maturely…

….because really, the guys were never going to play that nice. Still, Cyclops, what did you expect? Stealing Wolverine’s bike, cash and jacket was never going to end well. Bendis has given little tastes of the continued friction between the two leading X-Men but the relationship plays out on a bigger stage here. Having taken his leave of the school and its hostile, alien environs, Scott decides to take a trip into town with the aforementioned appropriated goods. It’s not long before Wolverine tracks him down and, following some terse words and faltering attempts at talking about feelings, the optic blasts and Adamantium claws soon get to popping. The hostility between Cyclops and Wolverine is one of the most enduring and entertainingly antagonistic relationships in comics and it is no less so under Bendis’ control. It’s also heartening to see that even when Summers is a snot-nosed, gangly, pre-pubescent kiddy-wink, Wolverine still wants to open him up like a tin of beans. Awwwwww.
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All-New X-Men #5 – Review

ALL-NEW X-MEN #5

By: Brian Michael Bendis (story), Stuart  Immonen (pencils), Wade von Grawbadger & Craig Yeung (inks), Marte Gracia & Jason Keith (colors), and Cory Petit (letters)

The Story: Jean Grey enters Beast’s mind to help young Hank McCoy save old Hank McCoy.

The Review:  All-New X-Men has been by far the biggest surprise for me thus far of Marvel NOW.  Despite generally being a fan of Bendis, I didn’t have high hopes.  The last couple of years of Avengers comics have been rough and I wasn’t sold on the concept.  I found the first issue “meh,” but then as the issues went by, I found myself continually wanting more as, gradually, the book crept to the top of my stack.  There’s something inexplicably addictive about this book that has led to me devouring each issue and it’s something I’ve been trying to puzzle out for these last couple of weeks.

With this issue, I think I know what it is, finally: Bendis has nailed the “soap opera” vibe and the result is a terribly addictive comic book.  He’s managed this through a combination of excellent dialogue (which is remarkably light on his usual tics), solid character-work, and FUN character dynamics, particularly with respect to the excellent use Bendis has made of the original five X-Men.  This month, the dynamics they share with their present-day selves positively crackle.  Iceman/Iceman continues to be absolutely hilarious and watching Beast argue and debate himself is a real pleasure.  Meanwhile, Bendis does a solid job of building up the dread for the inevitable day where Warren meets…”Angel.”
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New Avengers #1 – Review

NEW AVENGERS #1

By: Jonathan Hickman (Writer), Steve Epting (Artist), Frank D’Armata (colorist)

The Story: Black Panther travels to a different dimension and encounters a threat that is so big he has to call the Illuminati for help.

The Review: Jonathan Hickman is a man with a plan. In close to every long-term series that he has written, he has shown us that he does things meticulously, with an attention to detail that is sometime uncanny. It has leaded us to incredible stories during his tenure on Fantastic Four and FF. This kind of plotting can be very interesting to follow, with every hints and tease dropped with each subsequent chapter that manage to create a larger direction and narrative throughout the story. It can also, unfortunately, create cryptic chapter or things that make close to no sense until later in the book, creating a sense of incompleteness in a particular issue.

It is unfortunately the latter with the opening issue of this very promising series, with much that is teased, yet never truly explained or absolutely shown to us readers. There are a lot of interesting elements presented to us in this issue, mind you, but none of them are explained in context. Putting readers in the shadow and in doubt can produce various degrees of interest in a storyline, but here it is just confusing. What is the place where Black Panther has landed? Who are these people he is fighting? What does the machine that strange woman is holding? We need some proper context if we are to truly enjoy the issue and understand the action and significance of them.
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Morbius The Living Vampire #1 – Review

MORBIUS THE LIVING VAMPIRE #1

By: Joe Keatinge (Writer), Richard Elson (Artist), Antonio Fabela (Colorist)

The Story: Morbius gets to Brownsville and try to explain his choice to himself while he gets in big trouble with the locals there.

The Review: Suspension of disbelief is a wonderful thing in comics. It is something that makes us forget the fact that most things we see in superheroes adventures are impossible, making us enjoy the sheer concepts and thoughts behind them. It can also make us forgive some small plot holes in favor of how some situations or characters could develop. Truly, it is a marvelous thing. However, there are some times when the suspension of disbelief of readers can be stretched too much, leading to severe plot holes or inconsistency in character or continuity which can hinder the work done by a creative team on some book.

This is unfortunately the case in the first issue of Morbius’ adventures, as there are several actions done by the main character and his entourage that makes absolutely no sense at all considering the background of Morbius the living vampire.
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Indestructible Hulk #2 – Review

INDESTRUCTIBLE HULK #2

By: Mark Waid (Writer), Leinil Francis Yu (Artist), Gerry Alanguilan (Inker), Sunny Gho (Colorist), Chris Eliopoulos (Letterer)

The Review: At one point in this issue Bruce Banner wryly remarks that “You wouldn’t like me when I’m happy.” Ah Brucey, nothing could be further from the truth – you seemed pretty content in #1 and I haven’t enjoyed a Hulk comic that much in years. Still, maybe he has a point, as Banner later goes on to show that even when he’s happy there’s a still a few scores that he feels can only be settled with his fists. To recap, happy or angry, the end result is still lots and lots of smashing. It’s the one inescapable element of the character that even the mighty Mark Waid seems unable to reconcile within Indestructible Hulk’s new direction; the beast has to come out, even if it makes zero sense to the story he’s trying to tell.
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Avengers #2 – Review

AVENGERS #2

By: Jonathan Hickman (Writer), Jerome Opeña (Artist), Dean White with Justin Ponsor & Morry Hollowell (Colorist), Cory Petit (Letterer)

The Review: I feel like I’m going to be taking a deep breath before opening each issue of Avengers for the next few months – I’m hoping that it succeeds that much. I love the fact that we have Jonathan Hickman writing a head-of-franchise Avengers title, one where he’s holding nothing back, going for grand sci-fi concepts and a brave reworking of the team’s roster and purpose. The first issue promised all of this and more. It’s a shame then that the second gets a little bit bogged down in doing some early stage housekeeping; the great experiment continues, but for the moment we’re still setting up the Bunsen Burner and test tubes.
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Captain America #2 – Review

Rick Remender (writer), John Romita Jr, Klaus Janson (artists), Dean White (colorist)

The Story: Steve Rogers tries to survive in a chaotic wasteland full of science experiments and monsters accompanied with a child.

The Review: In a recent interview about this title, Rick Remender has said that one of his inspirations for this arc had been Cormac McCarthy and his novel The Road. Reading this issue, one can see how indeed, as Captain America is traveling in a completely chaotic and dangerous wasteland with a small child in his care. However, the comparisons do not stop there.

Another similar aspect which can be seen in this book is some of the inner dialogue of Steve Rogers during the action scenes, which are mostly minimalistic, never going on for too long. In these short burst of thoughts, one can see the bravery and faith in himself that Steve Rogers has. Remender truly does get Steve as a character, one that never gives up and always fights no matter what happens.

One thing to especially note in this book is the landscape itself, as Remender goes full sci-fi here to great result. Monsters, flying machines, ray guns and all sort of stuff are in this issue and used to great effect. There is a sense of danger in this issue and during the action scenes, they are detailed and you know that even though Steve is confident, he is by no mean safe in this strange place full of experiments gone wrong.
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Fantastic Four #2 – Review

FANTASTIC FOUR #2

By: Matt Fraction (Writer), Mark Bagley (Artist), Mark Farmer & Mark Morales (Inker), Paul Mounts with Wil Quintana (Colorist), Clayton Cowles (Letterer)

The Review: I made a point in my FF #1 review that, though I felt the comic itself was excellent, I was concerned that its potential audience may be put off by the fact that it seemed like you had to be reading Fantastic Four as well to really get the most of it. I certainly didn’t expect for things to be the other way round, but somehow that’s what we’ve got; if you’ve not read FF #1 or been keeping up with all things Marvel NOW on the Interwebs, Fantastic Four #2 may leave you feeling like you’ve missed something.

First, a recap. Fantastic Four #1 established the premise for the series: Reed, Sue, Ben, Johnny, Franklin and Valeria are set to take a year-long vacation through time and space, ostensibly to spend some quality time together as a family but secretly so that Reed can find a cure for the cancer he’s found to be working its way through his body. However, not wanting to leave the Earth undefended for the four minutes (Earth-time) that they’ll be away, a temporary team had to be put together to take their place, with each member of the group choosing their respective replacements. Take a skip over to FF #1 and you’ll see that team get put together.
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All New X-Men #3 Review

ALL-NEW X-MEN #3By: Brian Michael Bendis (Writer), Stuart Immonen (Artist), Wade Von Grawbadger (Inker), Marte Gracia (Colorist), Cory Petit (Letterer)

The Review: All New X-Men is enjoying a well-deserved reputation as one of the best Marvel NOW titles at the moment. This success is largely down to the fact that it’s not really traded on the gimmicks which first made the title a talking point – Jean Grey coming back, the original X-Men coming face-to-face with their future selves – so much as it has strong character work from Bendis (and some top flight artwork from Stuart Immonen). This issue’s focus is restricted solely to Cyclops’ new Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, revealing a little of the workings of the team and more of the turmoil present within it. I haven’t found it quite as compelling as the previous instalments, but it’s still some better than average comic booking and an important step forward for the overall story.
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