Soaring as Captain America

18 Jul

 

Written by Lee Gordon

 

It isn’t breaking news, it’s everywhere and it started on the Colbert Report. The Falcon has been announced as the next Captain America. He isn’t the first to take the mantle over and I’m sure Steve Rogers will be back. After all, the Winter Soldier more recently accepted the shield after the “death” of Rogers, and in the eighties when Steve was “fired”, the US Agent had the title and the shield and yet Steve still returned, but what makes Sam Wilson worthy this time around?

The Falcon was first introduced in Captain America #117 (Sept. of ’69), which makes him slightly older than me, becoming the first (Marvel) black “American Super Hero” (remember the Black Panther is African). It wasn’t until the following issue that we found out The Falcon was Sam Wilson. Throughout the years Sam was a trusted partner of Steve Rogers, and his portrayal by Anthony Mackie was nothing short of phenomenal in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. The Falcon wasn’t some sidekick. He was a partner and a friend, which makes me wonder, was this the reasoning behind Marvel’s recent decision to update their Golden Age creation?

In the eighties, Marvel tested the waters with a mini-series by Jim Owsley starring Captain America’s most trusted sidekick. This was originally their way to get feedback on whether a regular series should start. If the four-issue limited sold out then the Falcon would fly solo. This never happened and the Falcon continued to be a B-list hero. Sam has proven over and over again that he is true and loyal. Not since Bucky in World War II did someone have Steve Rogers back as well as Sam did.

In the Ultimate Universe his credentials rival the smartest of Marvel’s characters, but back in the 616 universe, Marvel Now started Captain America all over again with new creative teams; beginning with issue one. I tried collecting the title after this new beginning and I quit reading after issue #2. I felt uninspired to continue reading. And now, a few years later, we have Captain America, a 70+ year iconic creation that needs new life.

I can not think of any character other than Sam Wilson more worthy of the mantle, but I question how able he is. No one can throw a shield better than Steve and catch it after knocking out his enemy. Their is a certain Je’ ne sais quoi about reverberating an adamantium shield off of someone’s skull and having it return to sender.

Of course, some questions remain. Why is Marvel changing the guard? Are they so desperate for new readers that they hope changing Thor into being a woman will garnish more new readers than alienate old ones? Do they think throngs of little girls will decide to pick up a comic book? With Sam Wilson becoming Captain America, will a larger black audience walk into comic shops asking to read the latest adventures? And now I’m waiting for Jean Paul from Alpha Flight to join the pages of Iron Man so we can find out Tony is bisexual for a larger gay audience.

My biggest beef with Marvel is not the changing of iconic characters. I’m ok with that. I’m even looking forward to seeing them move in this direction, provided each title is story driven. What I don’t like is that even though Sam Wilson is taking over as Captain America, he’s not taking over the title. We will have to wait until November 2014 before the “All New Captain America” #1 is released, which is way different than when Tales of Suspense was changed to Captain America with issue #100 instead of issue #1 way back in 1968.

I don’t plan on asking how Sam Wilson is worthy of being Captain America because I can’t think of any other character who is. But I will ask this….

Who is worthy of being The Falcon?

Why Change is the Bane of Comic Geeks and the Ugliness it creates

17 Jul

 

It has been a crazy few months for Marvel Comics properties and just comic geekdom in general.

Fans lost it when Fox confirmed that Michael B Jordan would be Johnny Storm and those same fans demanded an explanation as to how that works. Which is funny considering this is coming from a community that needs no explanation on how a humanoid can fly, crawl up walls or ‘be prepared for everything’, yet simple proven science eludes them. If that wasn’t enough, Marvel decided to kill Wolverine and then this week Thor will be taken on in a female form and Captain America’s boots will be filled in by a Black man.

If there was a collective shit that could literally be lost by the internet, many regional DPWs would be calling in for international disaster relief.

Predictably, many of the forums and groups that have discussed these changes usually follows a pattern of 1. A thread which can stretch as long as 100 to 500 comments including 2. Someone saying ‘why does this have to change? just leave the character alone and stop being lazy!” followed by 3. “OMG!! Stop the pandering which then is followed by a question of 4. What is wrong with the change and how can you judge something before you read it along with 5. Who cares it’s all about sales and eventually it will change back and if your attention stays with these discussions long enough someone eventually will troll the thread and then the racists and sexists will be called out and then pandemonium ensues.

Now…let’s ask ourselves. What are we getting wrong with having a lot of these discussions?

  1. Fear of change – the most common element I have seen in many of these arguments is that someone will ALWAYS say that ‘this isn’t the XYZ character I grew up on!”. And you know what? You are right. But, guess what. If you are over the age of 15, 20, or 30, 10 times out of 10, that character ‘you grew up on’ isn’t the same character you grew up on. HA! But it’s amazing how many people argue on that point when a sweeping physical change to their character is made. Let’s note that these characters ‘don’t belong’ to any of us so unless you are willing to create your character and a universe, it belongs to all of us. Something a friend of mine brought up this week and this is part of the reason why a lot of us are resistant to change not only in comics but in comic book movies as well. Iconic relativity. When we get so used to a set of characters and their surroundings that any changes not in line with what we are used to occurs in a jarring manner we immediately rail against it. People who vehemently rail against Man of Steel is a good example especially those who argue that the ‘old’ Superman movies were better regardless of how flawed those older movies are compared to now.
  2. Antipathy of the Change because it will revert back – Actually I put blame on comic book companies for this. Because we are so used to a certain status quo, when changes are made one of the first things that many of us (including myself) will say is, ‘It doesn’t matter because it won’t last. And usually that is the case. No matter how well written something is, because fans aren’t big on change, the Big Two don’t have balls big enough to make then stick and always caving in to keep fans. A great example was Superior Spider-Man. Dan Slott’s work was a master stroke but as predicted, that change which had so many people bent out of shape because ‘it wasn’t their Peter Parker’ was returned right on time with the movie. And yes, I said it. The Big Two does not have enough balls to see a progression through.   Look at when Dick Grayson became Batman or any other monumental changes happened in comics. In most cases rather than seeing stories through they were changed because the Big Two let sales dictate their direction. It’s understandable, but seriously, some of these characters have stayed stagnant for 70+ years and as much as I hear people while and complain about instead of making Johnny Storm black or Thor a woman, create a new character, I don’t see these same people supporting new characters when they come about. How many of these people supported Static? Obviously not enough since the book was cancelled in less than a year.
  3. No understanding of history – This is my one pet peeve about people who rail against change. if you have been around long enough, you saw who created a lot of these characters and the fact that these characters emulated the times that we lived in. So being that 50 to 60 years ago, white males dominated the comic scene, why is it so hard for comic geeks (in a community that claims to be accepting of all who are different) to let comic characters of today become a mirror of the times that we live in? It may seem like pandering but let’s be real. It’s hard to sell someone on a series of comics or movies or anything when they see nothing of themselves in those stories. So yeah, count me as one of those that are ok with Sam Wilson becoming Cap if even for a short while. But the problem is still much deeper as people of color and other sexes still have yet to make a serious dent into the employ of Marvel or DC which is why we don’t get to see those new characters come about that some of you think will end this problem of your favorite characters getting some color or changing sex.
  4. Judging before you read – My friend Brandy said something that was very much on point today:

 

“I really wish people would just shut up and read a few issues of something before they decide they’re not going to like it. Because it’s not that either Thor or Cap are being changed. Other characters are picking up the mantle because for whatever reason, they can no longer continue at present. It’s not female Thor, it’s him being unworthy to wield Mjolnir and someone picking up his slack. It’s not Cap magically changing ethnicities, it’s someone close to him taking over because the idea of a Captain America means something and holds importance. It’s not a black Steve Rogers. It’s still Sam Wilson”

 

This goes back into everything that I said. Comic geeks are so afraid of change that they condemn stories before they give them a chance and then when they come about and are gone, some wish they still had them. I know a few people that still wish that Bruce Wayne stayed dead just a little longer or that Bucky still wielded that shield but sometimes, we have to realize, we and our dollars along with our fear are to blame. We have to understand that everything cannot always stay the same in comics yet they do.   We have become a vocal many that fear progression so much to the point that we have scared comic companies to do our will and get mad when they try to think outside of the box. We are the same ones complaining that they are just pandering to get an audience and while we may quit Marvel today and go to DC tomorrow, some of you will be right back next week.   Some of you guys out here really confuse me. Why? because some of the same ones who complain about comics keeps re-treading the same stories and need to change are the same ones that bitch and moan when a change is being made to shake things up.   Please, either shit or get off the toilet and wash your hands please!

I think the biggest problem is as I have said, we are afraid to let go of not only our characters but of our imaginations. Honestly look at what comic companies have done. Marvel created an Ultimates universe where if you didn’t want ‘your’ original 616 characters messed with, you had a new sandbox with different rules over change and most of you stopped supporting it which is why pretty soon there won’t BE an Ultimates universe as it collapses into the 616. DC gave you Earth 2 for that same reason.   There have been ‘What If’ books, Elseworlds and Max books that have tried to show a lot of you that progression and different rules can be applied but the support for these efforts have stuttered.

 

Stop being afraid of progression.

 

Imagine this:

A current comic where the son of Superman IS Superman

Batman WAS Terry McGinnis or Damien Wayne

Spider-man stayed married and had a girl who…whoops YEAH WE DID THAT DIDN’T WE!!!!

Thor does eventually become the All-Father

Wonder Woman passes the lasso on to Donna Troy and DONNA takes the mantle

Wolverine and Bucky STAYED DEAD

Storm and Black Panther had children and they ALL got their own comics (heck you want to create some new characters and also slow down minority characters taking over your ‘so called’ traditional roles, hook those two up and let them have some kids. It worked for the Fantastic Four!)

CHARACTER DEATHS WERE PERMANENT. CHARACTER AGING WAS PERMANENT

 

Now just imagine all of these things happening because  comic creators made a a de facto rule that progression had to happen and reboots would stop being used to get out of crummy story situations.

Let me pause a sec while some of you lose it again trying to imagine such a thing happening…

 

 

Meanwhile digest what Tom Brevoort had to say about this change and why some of US need to change as well:

“While Sam shares many of Steve’s beliefs in a general sense, he’s also a very different person with a very different background. He didn’t grow up in the 1930s, he’s a modern day man in touch with the problems of the 21st Century. For most of his professional life, Sam has worked as a social worker, so he’s seen the worst of urban society up close, and how crime, poverty, lack of social structure and opportunity can affect the community. So he’s got perhaps a greater focus on the plight of the common man, and perhaps a greater empathy for the underprivileged than maybe even Steve himself. He’s also not a military man, so he’s more apt to be instinctively skeptical of any situation that calls for just following orders. Sam, like Steve, will be led by his personal morality and beliefs as to what is right and what is wrong—and where his beliefs may differ in their shading from those of the previous Cap are where the interesting stories will be found.”

Most of us have forgotten that most importantly, comic characters are SYMBOLS.  Regardless as to who is under the mask, carries a hammer or has a life dissimilar to our own, there is something to that character that we all find relatable and occasionally those characters need to change as WE change.   Someone commented that there is only ‘One Cap’ to me today.   Captain America has been a symbol that has changed through out time and has also been the mantle worn by more than one.  There has been a time even that Steve Rogers himself went without being Captain America which indeed shown that change happens because our changes happen as well so the characters becomes what is most needed by people of this day and age.  Let’s be real, captain America punchin’ ‘those dirty gooks’ doesn’t play well today, right?

Progression in comics will only happen when comic geeks give up the notion that these characters ‘belong to them’ and should never change. We are still stuck in a cycle where some of the same stories have been told and retold and in a larger frame nothing is different but these are different times we live in and it’s way past time that our comics reflect the times we live in…unless what some of you are saying that the times we live in should still be dominated by the same ones who created the characters 50, 60 and 70 years ago.

So those of you still flipping out over these changes, let it go. You don’t need an explanation every time as to why a character is being changed. Either support the book, buy another or if you got the guts, create your own just the way you like it.   And if you like the change, SUPPORT IT. Because if it was good, when it goes back to the same status quo, it may be a long time before you see something like this ever again.

 

- Aitch

The Next Issue Review Crew: 7/16/14

17 Jul

 

 

tni new

 

**AS ALWAYS BE MINDFUL THAT THERE WILL BE SLIGHT SPOILERS, READ AT YOUR OWN PERIL!!**

 

Robin Rises: Omega #1

Writer: Peter Tomasi

Artist: Andy Kubert

Reviewer: Aitch Cee

 

With all the furor over the changes that Marvel Comics has announced this week, many have overlooked yet another change in the works and it may possibly be the return of Damien Wayne. In this book Tomasi does a good job with really starting readers off on a journey that few only knows how it will end. The first portion of the book does a fine job of getting readers familiar with Damien and his relationship with Bruce Wayne going all the way back pre- “New 52’ reboot. Once that is done, it’s a flash forward to the present as Batman, Ra’s al-Ghul as well as a few other allies fight against Darkseid’s forces for his son’s body. We also find out that there is more going on with a crystal (aren’t we doing this with the Infinity Gauntlet also hmmmm?) that is embedded within Damien’s casket.

 

I am a bit on the fence with the Justice League showing up at the end, I mean it works even in its clumsiness, but it’s good to see that someone is paying attention to SOME continuity as a few members are not present and one is.   As far as Kubert’s art, it was a mixed bag for me.   I enjoyed his work on the characters but when it came to the fight scenes, it was entirely too frenetic for my tastes so I was thankful that some of the scenes were short. Overall, with everything happening in the Batman universe this was a good kick-off on Batman’s quest to get his son back.

 

3 out of 5 stars

 

Judge Dredd #21

Writer: Duane Swierczynski

Artist: Shane Pierce

Reviewer: Ray Willis

 

After making an assault on the Hall of Justice, Judge Dredd, Chief Justice, and the other Judges were sucked into the unknown Dark Judge that has appeared out of nowhere. In this issue we finally found out what happened to Judge Anderson, after her death at the hands of former Judge Tarjay and transformation into a Dark Judge. Duane Swierczynski really crafted an excellent issue where we are shown how Judge Anderson went through the whole ordeal and also get to find out how the Dark Judges are being possessed. The story thats being crafted around Anderson is really amazing and how Anderson is trying to figure out what is happening is astounding. Anderson used her psychic abilities to literally hide in the back of her mind to literally survive but without medical attention didn’t make it. I can say Judge Anderson is one tough woman, that even in death she clinged on to life even in her own mind. The bodies of the deceased are not given life through the black goo but a creature takes the body over.The story is literally like a horror film where Anderson is seeing this creature trying to breach the inner sanctity of her mind to destroyer her.

The art by Shane Pierce is excellent and really adds so much to the issue. The design on the characters and creatures are are really excellent, especially the almost Karl Urban look on Dredd. The atmosphere that is taking place is unreal, even though it is taking place in her mind. Its like watching an episode of the Twilight Zone or a very surreal dream you would have. This issue is really crafted so well with the art and really good story, I can’t wait to see what happens next in this arc of Judge Dredd.

5 out of 5 stars

 

Original Sin #6

Writer: Jason Aaron

Artist: Mike Deodato

Reviewer: Oz Longworth or (as the Collection Agency calls him) The Defendant

 

Okay, so Original Sin has been a sort of shapeshifting mutant of a crossover event in its own right. It regularly interchanges hats, going from “murder mystery” to “typical superhero adventure” to “flashback saga” without warning like an iPod stuck on shuffle. First, it was “Who Killed the Watcher” and now it’s “The Secret History of the Secret History of Nick Fury.” I’m saying all this to say….I have no goddamned idea what this book is about anymore.

 

Furthermore, this issue didn’t help things along at all. The lion’s share of the book was dedicated to Nick Fury’s “detective” squad standing around trying to get some straight answers out of him about what’s going on. We get some insight into Fury’s “complicated relationship” with the late Watcher via brief flashbacks. Meanwhile, Captain America’s team is STILL light years behind the ball, figuring out the things that everyone else seems to already know. Oh, yeah and there’s some bad guys sneaking around while everyone’s still pissed at each other. This story has most of the entertaining exchanges you would expect from all these unlikely people being in the same room together (with that in mind, Marvel really needs to get the Punisher in more awkward team ups like his alliance with Doctor Strange), but honestly, these things only truly benefit the reader when you know the narrative is still going somewhere. And it’s just not. We’ve been stuck in a room wondering what the hell Fury wants for three issues now and considering that his character has always been pretty “to the point” when it’s time to come clean with whatever he’s been lying about that week, this makes things sort of discouraging. On the upside, Mike Deodato’s artwork is…..well, Mike Deodato’s artwork. Pretty much everything is beautifully rendered and use of shading and silhouettes works perfectly with Jason Aaron’s ominous narrative tone.

 

Bottom Line: It’s a great looking, atmospheric book. I just wish I knew what was happening.

 

3.5 out of 5 stars

The Next Issue Review Crew: 7/9/14

10 Jul

 

tni new

 

**AS ALWAYS BE MINDFUL THAT THERE WILL BE SLIGHT SPOILERS, READ AT YOUR OWN PERIL!!**

Star Wars #19
Writer: Brian Wood
Artist: Carlos D’Anda

It’s a real bummer to see this series winding down as Brian Wood has done an excellent job handling this series. This was a fresh take on a franchise that has gone so many directions since its initial comic run in the 70’s and Wood managed to bring that back in the nearly 2 years he has written this series. Reading this arc, you just know that there was more planned but with Marvel regaining the rights and no idea if or when they will relaunch this title, it’s sad to see something open up only to know that it’s over next issue.

In this issue, an old childhood friend is being stalked by IG-88 and her distress call  threatens the Rebel Fleet after their narrow escape from Darth Vader last issue. Mon Motha dispatches (or does she?) the gang because apparently the info this old friend has is ‘Death Star” priority important.  It’s a bittersweet issue in that the old gang is all together for once on the Millennium Falcon going off on an adventure in trying to find this friend who may or may not be a friend of the Rebels. The dialogue hints at a lot of what Wood could build in the relationship that Leia has with Han that doesn’t sprout until ESB comes around. As always, Brian does a good job setting things up and again, D’Anda doesn’t disappoint with his art although sometimes his characters looks to be a bit bug eyed.

It’s a great next to last issue and I am hoping for some fireworks before this ends and I hope that Marvel uses common sense in retaining Wood’s and D’Anda’s services for whenever they releaunch the title under their banner.

3 out of 5 stars

Grayson #1


Writer: Tim Seely
Artist: Mikel Janin
Reviewer: Oz Longworth or The Droid Nobody Was Looking For

This is usually the part of my reviews where I do an introductory song and dance with you guys that segues into the book I’m reviewing while offering some attempt at a semi unique perspective going into reading this review. That’s not going to happen here because the book I’m reviewing just doesn’t deserve it. This week in Dumb Decisions DC Makes….the new series, Grayson, happened. And, folks, it really shouldn’t have.

The supposed reinvention of Dick Grayson had plenty of promise going in. With his secret identity outed to the world by the Crime Syndicate, the general assumption was that there was really nowhere else to go but to the grave. But instead, DC decided to give the former Boy Wonder a fresh start. The Grayson series sees Dick hang up his tights to work as a secret agent for a clandestine organization known as Spyral. If the “reinvention via spy agency” thing sounds like something you’ve read before, it’s because you did…when they did the same shit with Wonder Woman (seriously, NOBODY could figure that Wonder Woman, a 6 foot tall Amazon built like an MMA fighter, had disguised her as a 6 foot tall secret agent built like an MMA fighter). Tim Seely doesn’t hesitate to throw us some action right off the bat as the book starts out with Grayson carrying out a fun train caper. Here’s the problem.

A good first issue justifies its existence right off the bat. By the time you close the last page, you should be saying to yourself, “Oh, well, that’s an interesting premise.” Sure, we get to see some cool acrobatic feats of daring-do and Mikel Janin’s art is always an enormous plus for any book (as is evident from his work in Batman Eternal), but there’s no future plots laid out that I couldn’t already guess myself. I closed the last page and said to myself, “Oh, that’s where this is going.” Not a great way to start the promising retooling of a character that’s been around as long as Batman himself.

Bottom Line: A pretty looking inaugural issue with good intentions. Good and predictable intentions.

2 out of 5 stars

American Vampire: Second Cycle #4

Writer: Scott Snyder

Artist: Rafael Albuquerque

Colorist: Dave McCaig

Reviewer: Ray Willis

 

With the attack of transformed vampiric neighbors attack commencing on Pearl Jones’s house, how will Pearl and the kids escape this? The creatures themselves are like a giant twister of disaster destroying Pearls house with the little vampire inside that Pearl was taking care of. With the timely arrive of Skinner Sweet, they manage to lead them away from the house and even light them up with a trail of gasoline. Even with that there were still far too many creatures but with a lift from Calvin they made it out safely and to find a new place to stay. The issue ends with Skinner who has a secret but what is it. Read the issue to find out.

 

The story was nice with a little glimpse of the Grey trader having fun with a Native American at the beginning was interesting. Scott Snyder is really a master of his art with this title. We know tidbits about the guy that he’s an ancient vampire and probably the first but what’s more important is what he is looking for or keeping hidden away. Skinner and Pearls interaction is always fun to read. Seeing Trapp kill alligator was interesting since he only used two fingers to do it. Rafael Albuquerque’s art is on point as usual especially with the new creatures that were shown that was some really nice designs. The colors were also amazing and work in tandem with the art to make a nice masterpiece. I noticed that in one of the panels that Pearls hand still had a line through it like the color couldn’t cover it up or something. Also the Grey Trader appearing at the end of the issue was straight out of a an action movie. The issue was really good with a few mistakes but it was still good.

 

4.5 out of 5

The Next Issue Review Crew: 6/25/14 – It’s an Image kind of week

27 Jun

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**AS ALWAYS BE MINDFUL THAT THERE WILL BE SLIGHT SPOILERS, READ AT YOUR OWN PERIL!!**

And if you haven’t done so, like us on FACEBOOK!!

 

 

 

 

Chew #42

 

Writer: John Layman

Artist: Rob Guillory

Reviewer: Aitch Cee

 

As always Chew is a consistent comic; story and art wise and this issue is no different.

It makes no sense for me to go into depth about the synergy that Layman and Guillory have because I have run out of superlatives. The main plot of the story is that Tony Chiu is sent to investigate a murder of the Navy’s top seal which is…really a seal. And in a story which could have gone two issues, Tony just says ‘fuck it’ (almost quite literally) because he knows his boss sent him there out of spite and solves the case. Meantime, John Colby finds himself in a new family. Yeah he got married but to who? Savoy makes an appearance and we also find out a little bit more about the gallsberry plant and what it does to sea life.  At the end of all things, the book starts to set up what looks to be the end game of all that has been happening with chicken since issue #1. This is a book that I have enjoyed for the years that is has been coming out and as I stated earlier, it’s been consistently good in story, character development and in humor and comes highly recommended. Pick it up if you haven’t done so.

 

5 out of 5 stars

 

 

Outcast #1

Writer: Robert Kirkman

Artist: Paul Azaceta

Colorist: Elizabeth Breitweiser

Reviewer: Ray Willis

 

The first issue of Outcast by Robert Kirkman sets out to show the phenomenon on possession. You know like “The Exorcist” which has a girl being possessed by a demon. The story is about Kyle Barnes and the life about his first time of being possessed and his struggle to learn more of what happened to him. Robert Kirkman crafts a really good story that gives you a pieces of what’s to come in this horror story. I love horror stories and the acts that the possessed people in this issue do is pretty creepy. The only thing that didn’t happen was they didn’t speak in different tongues but there’s nothing wrong with that. You get to know more about some of the characters pasts like the Reverend and Kyle Barnes. Possession has been a thorn in Kyle’s life.

 

The art is really good with a dark and creepy feel to it. The face of a child smiling in a dark room or Kyle eating his finger right to the bone is a bit unsettling but I wasn’t expecting that to happen. The art is really nice with thick lines that show the characters and creature that appear. Elizabeth Breitweiser colors are really fascinating and dark, showing the dark tones of what’s going to happen in the dark. The various colors she delivers is really astonishing. I didn’t really find anything wrong with this first issue. I just want to see more possessed people do more contorting but that’s just me as a horror fan.

 

5 out of 5 stars

 

 

Saga #20


Writer: Brian K. Vaughn
Artist: Fiona Staples
Reviewer: Oz Longworth Jr. or Oh Captain My Captain

It’s always been my feeling that one basic requirement of a good comic (really ANY medium of fiction) is that it should evoke a degree of personal investment in the principal characters. With that in mind, Alana and Marko, the lovers against all odds in Saga, have become that couple that is none of my business yet I can’t help being invested in. I care more about these two than any relationship I know of in real life. Brian K. Vaughn and Fiona Staples have a very special masterpiece of a comic on their hands with this interstellar space opera.

This month features more of a look at Comics’ Favorite Couple and their attempts to adjust to “stable” home life while raising little Hazel. Meanwhile, we discover the whereabouts of a few characters we haven’t seen since Volume Three. It’s hard to review a book that’s so near perfection. Vaughn, coming back from each hiatus between volumes with more hype to live up to than before, doesn’t swing for the fence or try to reinvent the wheel (any more than he naturally does, I mean). He tells the same well-paced, smartly scripted story he’s been telling all along without ever getting stale. Anytime he lulls you into getting comfortable, it’s usually because he’s about to gut punch you. This week, the book stays true to the tagline Image used to promote it on the website: “Something terrible happens.” Without giving anything away, Vaughn leaves you caring for characters unexpectedly at the most unconventional moments. Meanwhile, Fiona Staples’ art definitely falls into the “immaculate” column as always. She has this penchant for the bizarre, but she always managed to make her characters feel so human that you almost forget that you reading a scene with what looks like a walking fern.

Bottom Line: I’m not repeating myself in telling you about the how great this book is. Just rejoice with me. Saga has returned. All is right with the world.

 

4.5 out of 5 stars

 

The Next Issue Review Crew: 6/18/14

20 Jun

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**AS ALWAYS BE MINDFUL THAT THERE WILL BE SLIGHT SPOILERS, READ AT YOUR OWN PERIL!!**

And if you haven’t done so, like us on FACEBOOK!!

 

 

 

Uncanny X-men 22


Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist Chris Bachalo
Reviewer: Aitch Cee

My first instinct was to review Sex Criminals #6 this week because the twists and turns just got weirder and weirder (I still say pick that one up if you still haven’t yet!) but I read Uncanny X-men 22 and finally just when I was on the verge of dropping this title, stuff HAPPENS!! We find out who manages to hijack the helicarriers, Dazzler finally wakes up, a nice fight with Sentinels ensues and Hijack hijacks the hijacker!!!!!!!! BMB produces a good issue with great dialogue and action evenly spread out through the issue and still leaves us with a question of what SHIELD is going to do now that they can actually take Scott Summers into custody or look into the mirror and see that their sins are just as bad. I am still however not sold on Chris Bachalo’s work as he is one of the reasons why I have had difficulty staying into this title but his work here as always is serviceable, but with what happens in this issue, this title get a reprieve for yet another month.

3.5 out of 5

Thomas Alsop #1 of 8


Writer: Chris Miskiewicz
Artist: Palle Schmidt
Reviewer: Ray Willis

Who is Thomas Alsop, a magician, rocker, drunk, blogger or supernatural detective that is “The Hand of the Island.” Chris Miskiewicz crafters a story of Thomas Alsop, a supernatural detective that appears on television and poses as a magician even though some of the acts are tricks instead of real magic. Before giving the lime light he was just a regular caretaker of the island or “Hand of the Island” which entails he must protect the island from the spooky who-ha, who was just getting drunk with a friend before for getting famous on YouTube.

I enjoyed the story and found it really interesting. The story just take place in the present but also in the past to show how the power was given to Thomas’ family and why it was given to them. The power itself is interesting because we only get to know what some it does but we’ll probably know much more through out this eight issue run on this series. Also the power makes Thomas’ great great-grandfather appear inside the dream or realm, where the mysterious power calls them to warn him of a terrible threat that’s going to happen or re-emerge. I also love Palle Schmidt art because of the dark tone of the book it fits really well with it. I like how the flashbacks of the past are greys and blacks to the presents colorful design with red shown in the past scene on certain events that happen. Overall, I really enjoyed this first issue of Thomas Apsol but it will get better over time since this is only the first issue.
5 out of 5

Thor: God of Thunder #23


Writer: Jason Aaron
Artist: Esad Ribic
Reviewer: Oz Longworth Jr. or Oh Captain My Captain

Okay, so Thor: God of Thunder has had some really interesting successes on Jason Aaron’s watch. The God Butcher/Godbomb story arc was a really dope take on Thor questioning his purpose as a “god.” Now, this Last Days of Midgard plot is highlighting his role as Earth’s protector and the complexities of human legalities that he must sometimes face…until, of course, they turn into bull monsters and hire trolls to kill you.

This issue brings the arc to its action packed conclusion with Dario “The Minotaur” Agger, Ulik the Troll and the collective might of Roxxon Industries all breathing down the Thunder God’s neck in the present day. Meanwhile, in the far future, Galactus continues to battle with Thor and the rest of the Odinson family (his feisty granddaughters) for the fate of a depleted, ailing Earth. The slugfests in this book are relentlessly satisfying and it doesn’t hurt that we get more of SHIELD agent Roz Solomon kicking ass, taking names and proving herself worthy of standing alongside our hero all while sharing great banter with Phil Coulson. Given that much of this story was dedicated to present day Thor learning a more nuanced approach to defending Midgard, his resolution (I don’t think it’s really spoiling anything to tell you that he handled the situation exactly how you would think a guy with a giant magic hammer would) felt like a bit of a copout on Aaron’s part. At the same time, I think that might be part of what we like about Thor and what sets him apart from the other Avengers. Black Widow might con her way out of a situation, Iron Man will literally invent himself a victory, but when subtlety has gone out the window like it’s escaping a bad date, Thor will be the one to overcome odds through sheer power and force of will. The ending itself feels slightly unfinished, but since all evidence points to the next arc answering lingering question, we can probably forgive this one. Meanwhile, the book visually kicks you in the face on every page. Esad Ribic is doing the Lord’s Work on this book’s pencils, creating a world that looks as vast in scale as Aaron’s script. Every page of the Thor vs. Galactus throwdown hits so hard, you feel like you should taking cover and ducking debris.

Bottom Line: Not quite the sense of finality we should feel, but still a good ending to a very strong book
4 out of 5

The Next Issue Review Crew: 6/11/14

20 Jun

tni new

 

**AS ALWAYS BE MINDFUL THAT THERE WILL BE SLIGHT SPOILERS, READ AT YOUR OWN PERIL!!**

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Starlight #4
Writer: Mark Millar
Artist: Goran Parlov
Reviewer: Oz Longworth Jr aka (as the collection agency calls him) The Defendant

Look, I know a lot of you people out there are tired to Mark Millar, but do NOT let that be the reason you miss out on one of the best reads of the year. Starlight has won me over. Millar’s smart, bare bones love letter to old school space operas is a win on pretty much every level.

Issue 4 picks up with retired space hero, Duke McQueen and his traveling buddy, Space Boy, captured by the evil empire that has conquered planet Tantalus. We get a brief look into the motivation for McQueen to lace up his boots via a touching flashback. We’re also introduced to the kick ass warrior of the Resistance, Tilda Starr. I don’t know exactly what the rules are on alien characters, but I’m going to go ahead and be excited that she’s a woman of color. As was the case with last month’s issue, the really great thing about this book is that it’s not as bleak as Millar’s usual work. While there are split second flashes of Millar’s uber-sexual, hyperviolent tendencies, the tone of this book is rarely a downer even in the hero’s introspective moments. Duke McQueen isn’t a man with a hard heart. He’s not jaded or angry from the Earth’s cynicism (nobody believes that he really went to another galaxy and saved civilizations). He’s a widow whose been giving a chance to not only mean something again, but to do these great, unbelievable things that start to seem like a way to stay connected to the memory of his wife, the only one who ever believed in him. Visually, Goran Parlov’s work has almost transcended the realm of “fucking awesome” and ventured into “above reproach” territory. The action beats are so clear cut and easy to follow, he’s practically begging for this book to be a movie (which Fox is reportedly trying to make happen). The only gripe I have is sort of fanboy-ish of me. The landscapes are simply gorgeous, but when we’re introduced to a new environment, you sort of wish it was a splash page as opposed to a mere panel that only takes up a third of the page. Still, you have to commend the team for wanting to devote as much advancement of the plot as possible even in moments that could be considered a slow burn.

Bottom Line: Leave it to Mark Millar to find a way to cover new territory….within territory he’s already (kinda) covered. This is some of his best work to date. 4.5 out of 5.

 

X #14
Writer: Duane Swierczynski
Artist: Robert Atkins
Reviewer: Ray Willis

X returns for vengeance after escaping and dismantling Deathwish but with a new enemy on the rise, the feds, and Tango still around how will X fair in this situation. This issue is part 2 of the Better off Dead storyline which X has to get back to what he does best after being beaten by Deathwish, for weeks and dealing with the fallout of Tango soon to have control of the entire city. X recovers an old cash of weapons and ammo that was missed by the feds when they were searching through his waterfront hiding place. X finds his old buddy Gambit on lookout duty for on of Carmine Tango’s drug houses and is surprised to see the new group of start attacking. Each member looks vaguely the same with the same outfits but are efficient. Gamble drops a bomb on a few of them and makes his escape leaving the rest to fend for themselves. Leigh is shown what happens and tries to get out of the situation to go into witness protection but that doesn’t happen. Night Watcher gives Tango a message to go to war with the new enemies which he is pleased. Ruidoso is told by Freel that a few guys were sprung from the prison their in and gives the “woof” sound. X is able to capture and interrogate one thanks to a well placed tranquilizer to the back of the neck and finds out about the Archon.You’ll enjoy what come next after a surprise shootout.
The story was really good establishing that X is ready to get back at the man and enemies that put him out of commission for weeks. Duane Swierczynski has been on point since the first issue of the series and he really had made this character his own. The action is really amazing with shoot outs and good old X interrogation. The shoot out were fierce, brutal, and short. Also did I mention there are guys heads exploding in one of the shoot outs which was amazing. The art is really amazing and the colors are really go well with it. Some of the Archons henchmen do look the same but that’s not a big complaint to me. I can’t wait to see what X does in the part of this arc.
5 out a 5

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