Here we go, quite a bit to catch up on so I’m getting right down to it. Also, different style of reviews this week, I will only be spending as much time on them as I was interested in them. Some will be short. Very short.
The Mighty Avengers #25 & #26: Two issue arc. Mighty Avengers fight Fantastic Four for a spacial thingamajig. Two issues to tell a one issue story. Story telling and art were no different for me this issue than the last, I’m totally losing interest in this title the more Iron Man isn’t in it. Maybe one more issue.
War Machine #6 & #7: I’m not a huge fan of the cartoonish art that is happening now from Allan Jefferson & Mahmud Asrar. Rhodes versus the US government. More back story. The armor is back, so the cliff hanger at the end with him armorless in #5 came to nothing and somewhere along the line they picked up another War Machine armor for one of Rhody’s associates. Also issue #7 shows how Rhodes got bionic. Oh and Ultimo is back and in a weird continuity twist Tony Stark shows up at the end(?!?!?!?!?!) That managed to keep me around for another issue.
Avengers the Initiative #24: Christos Gage writing, Humberto Ramos on art. This story actually keeps the entertainment coming in spite of cliche. The Initiative is getting shut down, the Shadow Initiative is stuck in Madripoor and Hardball is a traitor?!?!!?!? Of course he isn’t, but neither is Lady Hydra. Besides that little bit of cliche it is nice to see all of these story elements finally sewing themselves up and FINALLY getting this book caught up with current continuity. I really liked seeing Roughhouse and Bloodscream again. I always liked these villains since they first appeared in the Wolverine solo series way back in the early 90’s. I still don’t know what kind of vampire Bloodscream is, and I’m sure he’s been “killed” a few times, but here we see how undead he really is. And I remember John Byrne turning Roughhouse into a gentle giant about a decade ago, but I guess he’s back to being bad. Good fight scenes kept the pages turning. Ant-Man commits a great kill and the Shadow Initiative becomes the Dark Initiative. I’m excited about the new status quo.
Dark Reign: Young Avengers #2 of 5: Cornell. Brooks. Morales. Great! Great! Great! This creative team is awesome! This book is a LOT of fun! Twists, turns, and action galore! Just read it and get as much Paul Cornell as you can since Captain Britain & MI13 is canceled.
Dark Avengers #5: Now we’re getting to the good stuff. Brian Michael Bendis continues his exploration into the mind of Norman Osborn as he continues his Reign over the Marvel Universe. After their first big fight to help Doom they come home to find that things are not well at home. The Sentry floats above Avengers Tower seemingly brought back to life, Clint Barton (Hawkeye/Ronin/Goliath) has called out Norman Osborn as the Green Goblin and half of his team is ready to kill each other. This issue spends most of it’s time with Osborn going on television to answer the Barton accusations (with hints that he might be cracking under the pressure) with surprisingly good points – scary – and seeing the team “debrief” after returning from Latveria. Highlights include Ares addressing all of the Avengers and telling them it is their duty to be heroes, Moonstone and Noh-Var getting close and Bullseye adding people to his hit list. Also, who is leading all of those sea creatures in an attack on the city??!?!
The New Avengers #53: Another Bendis bit and we finally see who the new Sorcerer Supreme is – but not before there’s a huge fight in New Orleans!! Hasn’t that city suffered enough? Madame Masque shows how lethal she can be and fights hand to hand with Spider Woman – under the veil of smoke grenades – and the Hood fights the Son of Satan. I miss the Son of Satan. I always thought he was a cool character that never really got a fair shake and Bendis does him very well. BMB writes him as a flippant, cavalier almost Doctor Who-like in his casualness to extreme situations. When Dormamuu actually makes his appearance SoS attacks him as if he were a common street thug, it’s funny and clever and I love characters like that. I hope we get to see more of him. Maybe he can replace Ms. Marvel – SINCE SHE’S SUPPOSED TO BE DEAD! But apparently she isn’t – or this book just needs to catch -up? Who can tell anymore, especially when a book like The Initiative is almost a year behind, any of these books could be anytime in between. I think Spider-Man may be leaving this team soon, he’s having lots of moral/ethical dilemmas that seem to be very hard for him to live with (stealing the quinjet, Bucky Cap shooting Madame Masque even though she doesn’t die) but I like seeing him struggle. And it’s totally worth the reveal of the new Sorcerer Supreme at the end! Also, I really like Billy Tan art.
Agents of Atlas #5 & #6: If you do nothing else you need to pick up these books just to read the re-cap page at the front. Each issue is clever and does a great job of getting you caught up on story. Issue #5 written by Jeff Parker and penciled by Carlo Pagulayan shows the confrontation between Atlas and The New Avengers. It’s nice to have this this kind of cross-over because sometimes when I read this book it feels like it’s happening in a different universe than the main Marvel one. There was a nice twist on what could have been just a simple, boring “we don’t know you, let’s fight!” situation when Spider-Man steps in a points out that maybe the Agents of Atlas aren’t bad guys at all. Would have made for a very awkward confession – which Jimmy Woo was starting – until M-11 recognized Logan’s voice from an old operation and blasted Wolverine’s arm off! Then there’s a fight that makes sense! Two-page spread! M-11 vs Cage! Namora vs Ms. Marvel (still should be dead)! Gorilla Man vs Spider-Man! And Wolverine missing an arm! And the BEST part is that Venus finishes the fight by using her powers to over stimulate everybody! Hysterical and awesome all at the same time! Issue #6, also by Parker but this time with art by Gabriel Hardman, is not as action packed instead, using info gained from Osborn’s mind, the Agents go to visit with Namor to see if he will get them access into Osborn’s inner circle, or at least behind the scenes of H.A.M.M.E.R.’s operations. We are welcomed into the new utopia city that Namor is building for the Atlantians and learn that Namor and Namora are more than just cousins. I’ll let you learn the extent of that on your own. It ends on a cliffhanger: will Namora stay with Namor and the Atlantians? Are they going to turn on the surface world completely? I guess we’ll see in issue #7.
Captain Britain and MI13 Annual & #14: It’s so sad to see a good book fall. When this is collected into a massive trade paperback I hope you all buy a dozen copies and maybe, just maybe, they’ll let Paul Cornell come back and tell the rest of his story. As it is these two book are tied in together. The Annual shows us how Meggan gets back (thanks Doctor Doom) and issue #14 gets us set-up for next issue – the last issue – #15. I actually don’t want to give any of this book away. Paul Cornell and Leonard Kirk do such a GREAT job on this title that you should go out and buy every issue that you can! Safe to say that Pete Wisdom and MI13 have the situation well in hand, even after last month’s cliffhanger, and the final issue looks like it’s going to be a doozy!
BUY THIS BOOK!
Invincible Iron Man #14: Classic armor! Classic Crimson Dynamo! Rockets! Missiles! Pepper Potts going underground! Maria Hill on the run looking for Captain America! Armor swaps! The Black Widow! Matt Fraction and Salvador Larroca are telling great Iron Man stories just like they were told in the 70’s & 80’s when ol’ Shellhead’s book was in it’s prime. International intrigue, foreign locals, and a strong resurgence of old Russian allies/enemies. Fraction is doing a great thing where he is not only deconstructing the Tony Stark character, but also revisiting the character’s past in a really contemporary way, reminding us of how many characters have actualy crossed Stark’s past. I knew that this story was going in the right direction issues ago, but there was a moment in this issue, when the Russians turn down Norman Osborn, that make you feel like the stakes are both high and realistic. Maria Hill seems a bit broken and when she tracks down the Black Widow you aren’t sure if she’s there to talk or there to kill and the Pepper Potts story just keeps being interesting as she does her best to find Tony so she can help him. Madame Masque makes an appearance here too – and the cliffhanger makes me want issue #15 so bad!
That’s the massive catch-up! See you tomorrow!