Which Comics Are The Best Books To Buy?: New Superhero Comic Book & Graphic Novel Ratings & Reviews [ Marvel / DC Comics / Image / Indie ] 08-21-19 Superman: Year One 02

Which Comics Are The Best Books To Buy?: New Superhero Comic Book & Graphic Novel Ratings & Reviews 

[ Marvel / DC Comics / Image / Indie ] 08-21-19  

Superman: Year One 02

Reviews were at best mixed for the first issue. Some people REALLY hated it. I kind of liked it. It wasn’t great but I found it interesting. There was an attempted gang rape of “Lana Lang” that was completely unnecessary though. This issue straight-up sucks. The last issue ended with “Clark” deciding to join the Navy. It was definitely a questionable idea. It raises implications especially since the writer is “Frank Miller” and he definitely has some controversial views. Controversy would at least be interesting, and unfortunately, interesting is one thing this comic doesn’t want to be. 

We begin with “Clark” in the Navy and he’s good at everything obviously because he’s “Superman”. Not needing to sleep, he one day he goes outside on his base at night and he sees mermaids in the water nearby. A commanding officer who already knows about the mermaids catches him and tells him to keep the mermaids a secret. Later “Clark” is at a bar talking to some Black chick named “Shari”. Some guy approaches them and tries to pick up “Shari” but she isn’t interested. “Clark,” tells the guy to leave, and the guy tries to punch him but “Clark” blocks the punch hurting his hand. “Kill you. Kill you bad” is some of this guy’s dialog… This is what we’re dealing with here… When he gets back to his base “Clark” gets blamed for the bar fight that ensues. He’s forced to do a bunch of chores but what does it matter to him? He’s “Superman”. He doesn’t get tired and can do it all in a second if he wanted to.

One night “Clark” goes out into the water to find the mermaids. To be clear these are not traditional looking mermaids. They are much more “fishy”-looking. He finds a mermaid and follows her underwater until he finds their underwater kingdom, Atlantis.  There he finds that an experimental sub has crashed into one of their castles. “Clark” helps the mermaids by moving the rubble and fixing things. The mermaid “Clark” followed is the princess of Atlantis, “Lori”. She wants to bone, but “Clark” is like “Nah, I gotta go”.

As “Clark” returns to land we get shown an excerpt from the journal of the commanding officer that “Clark” talked with about the mermaid. We learn the officer’s name is “Jacob Kurtzberg”. “Jacob” saw “Clark” as he returned and he’s envious that “Clark” got to be with “the Angels” and suspects he might have powers. Hours later “Clark” does three different fight-based training exercises. Two fighting with one Black guy and another with a second Black guy. He’s “Superman” and he wants to get promoted so he wins. Early morning the next day, “Clark” gets sent on a mission. Some terrorists have hijacked a ship and he’s part of a team to stop them. “Clark” refuses to kill anyone and one terrorist tries to use a grenade but “Clark” absorbs the explosion with his hands. “Clark” ends up getting an honorable discharge because he refused to kill. At least Miller didn’t “Zack Snyder” it up and get the killing part wrong.

As he’s leaving the base “Jacob” basically tells “Clark” he knows he has powers and to hone them and use them responsibly. “Clark” then goes directly back into the water to visit Atlantis again. He then finds and bones “Lori” underwater. “Clark” falls asleep and when he wakes up “Lori” is gone but she telepathically tells him she’s waiting for him and for him to “wear his best suit”. “Clark” puts on his “Superman” outfit, and he approaches the castle from before. We then learn that “Lori’s” father is Poseidon. Here things go completely off the rails. As he approaches a giant guard attacks “Superman” but “Superman” uses his heat vision on it and then he can telepathically control it or something. Wtf?!

“Clark” then enters Poseidon’s chamber. Poseidon doesn’t like “Clark” because he wants to have some incestuous relationship with his daughter. I’ll fast track the rest because it’s all so Goddamn stupid and tedious. Poseidon sends three of his men at “Superman”, then a “Kraken”-like monster, then a bigger “Kraken”-like monster and none of them do shit because it’s fucking “Superman”.  Poseidon then leaves making “Superman” the new king of Atlantis. Wtf?!

This was terrible. Most of the story is pointless and where it isn’t pointless, it’s bizarre and not in a good way. I didn’t even get into how almost everything is repeated over and over again. It makes the dumb story so much more annoying to read. Even “John Romita Jr’s” art (who is normally a great artist) seems extremely half-assed in this issue. C-. Even if you’re planning to read this series, you can safely skip this issue.

Recommendation : One Of The Worst Books To Buy

 

 

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Which Comics Are The Best Books To Buy?: New Superhero Comic Book & Graphic Novel Ratings & Reviews [ Marvel / DC Comics / Image / Indie ] 08-21-19 Powers Of X 03 & Batman 77

  

Which Comics Are The Best Books To Buy?: New Superhero Comic Book & Graphic Novel Ratings & Reviews 

[ Marvel / DC Comics / Image / Indie ] 08-21-19  

Powers Of X 03 & Batman 77

 

Powers Of X #3

We spend this entire issue the timeline that is one hundred years in the future. The story begins in a church that turns humans into cyborgs or something. The head priest or whatever turns a baby into a cyborg or whatever as he spouts a bunch of stuff about humans being “flawed” and how they need to become machines. Then there’s a big explosion and we see our future “X-men”: green “Magneto” guy, blue “Xorn” guy, “Magik/ Colossus” chick, and red “Nightcrawler” guy. They stand there ready to fight. They’re pissed. Shit about to get real… Then there’s three informational pages instead of the fight we’ve been waiting for.

The information pages tell us that “Apocalypse” (the leader of these future “X-men”) still has his Four Horsemen who are:

  • War – “Wolverine” (who is actually just “Wolverine”)
  • Death – “Xorn” (who actually just seems to be “Xorn”)
  • Pestilence – Green “Magneto” guy AKA “North” (who actually a mix of “Polaris” and “Emma Frost”)
  • Famine – The “Groot”-looking guy who’s actually a mix of “Krakoa” and “Cypher” (a guy who can read any language)

Then there’s another page that tells us stuff about “Rasputin” and red “Nightcrawler” guy that we already knew. None of this is relevant because the Horsemen don’t act or get treated any differently than the others. Anyways, let’s get back to that fight!

No wait, we have a “Nimrod” scene. “Nimrod’s” cyborg (or whatever) minion chick is concerned about what’s going on at the church. “Nimrod” doesn’t care. Minion chick goes to investigate it. With that out of the way, let’s get back to that fight! Remember, red “Nightcrawler” guy and how he’s a pacifist and a coward, and how that was one of the few character traits any character in this whole story has? (The other being that “Xorn” is a nihilist. Pretty much every interaction works like this. Someone: “Xorn”, you’re a nihilist. “Xorn”: Yes I am. I want to die.) Well, he took a “terminal apocalypse seed” to make him not that, and he stabs the priest guy with a sword. Someone gets blasted by something and gets killed. Because he doesn’t say or do anything in this comic, I’ll guess it’s “North” but it is not at all clear. Then cyborg minion chick comes with a bunch of sentinels.

Instead of continuing that fight we jump to “Apocalypse”, “Wolverine”, and “Famine” as they get the information they are looking for. For some reason, this information is in the form of a crystal. “Nimrod” discovers them and attacks them. We then cut back to the others and see that red “Nightcrawler” guy is dead, and “Xorn” seems to be wounded. “Rasputin” is the last one standing… Are you telling me we missed everything that would’ve been cool about this fight?! Goddammit! Anyways, then “Rasputin” threaten to remove “Xorn’s” mask because he has “a singularity” in his head. This has never made any sense in any version of “Xorn”. This would have destroyed the Earth the second he first got his powers. Just say his face emits a crazy amount of energy or something. “Rasputin” end up removing “Xorn’s” mask and I guess that kills all of them.

Back with “Apocalypse”, he sends “Wolverine” off with the crystal of information and “Famine” teleports “Wolverine” away. “Nimrod” makes copies of himself and “Apocalypse” fights them. We then follow “Wolverine” and he awakens “Moira MacTaggart” from some kind of tomb. He puts the information crystal in “Moira” somehow and we learn that this information is about the creation of “Nimrod”. “Wolverine” then kills her and we learn that this was “Moira’s” last life before her current one. One bright side to all this is that hopefully we’re now done with this stupid timeline.

I think I made it clear that this was supposed to be the “big fight” issue. Unfortunately, this comic skips all the parts that would have been interesting. The art is great and there are moments that are clever but this whole storyline (and to reiterate once again “Powers Of X” and “House Of X” is one story, not two) is well crafted but hollow. There’s no “heart” and there’s little to no personality to the characters. Does “Rasputin” look cool? Yes, but what’s her personality?… Um… She likes to fight. Is it interesting that red “Nightcrawler” guy is a pacifist? Not really, but he takes a pill to fight anyway so what does it matter? “Xorn” says nihilist things. That’s something. Finally, “North” maybe had a few lines of dialog in this entire story. He doesn’t do or say anything of any significance. He’s just “palette swap” “Magneto” until he’s dead.  Can we get this art in a comic with full-fledged characters that have full-fledged fights where we don’t skip the good parts? That can’t be too much to ask… Again C+ for the art.

Recommendation : One You Should Put In The Maybe Pile

Batman #77

NOTE: HUGE SPOILER! This is a book I haven’t been reading but I’ve been following through other people’s reviews. I’m reviewing this issue only because of the “big event” in this that the spoiler warning is about. Somewhat ironically, this event was spoiled for me by some guy on “IG” posting a picture of it. *Grumble*!

Note that there’s no recap page for this issue. Okay, everyone in comics listen up. Recap pages are MANDATORY. They also need to be concise, give ALL the information you need, and if possible be entertaining in any of themselves. With that short rant done, here’s the basic setup:

  • “Bane” controls “Gotham City” now.
    • All the “Gotham” villains work for him now.
    • The “Batman” from the “Flashpoint” reality (who in that world is “Thomas Wayne”, “Batman’s” father) works for him. I honestly don’t know why and this issue doesn’t reveal that either.
    • “Gotham Girl” works for him. (She has “Superman”-esque powers that come from a drug and she blames “Batman” for the death of her brother, “Gotham”)
  • The “Bat-family” is now kicked out of “Gotham City” with the threat that “Alfred” will be killed if any of them re-enter the city.
  • “Robin” has entered the city

The issue begins with “Gotham Girl” catching “Robin” and attacking him. “Gotham Girl’s” dialog is bad and annoying. Many people try to ape the dialog of “Buffy The Vampire Slayer” creator Joss Whedon and fail miserably. This is yet another example of that. Eventually “Robin” evades her and tricks her into getting close enough to use “the wand of “Klarion” to cast a spell that binds “Gotham Girl” to that spot.

We’re then taken to a scene where “Bruce Wayne” is resting in “Catwoman’s” apartment. “Batman” has a bandage on his throat. This seems to the result from him losing a fight with “Bane” in the previous issue. “Catwoman” is cooking food and singing some French song. We return to “Batman” and “Catwoman” several times and these sections are drawn really well but are very different from the art for the rest of the issue. Unfortunately, these sections are the parts with no action and “Batman” is pathetic in them.

We return to “Robin” as he takes down “Zsasz” and “Scarecrow” (who are “detectives” in ““Bane’s” Gotham”) as they are about to kill some guy and his dog. There’s then another page with “Bruce” and “Catwoman” where all that happens is “Bruce” saying “I lost”. Weak. 

Back with “Robin”, we see him confront “Flashpoint Batman”. “Robin” calls him “old” and “pathetic” and punches him then threatens to “beat him into the damn ground”. We return to “Bruce” and “Catwoman” for a page and they are at a French cafe. It’s reminiscent of the end of “The Dark Knight Rises”. Nice touch. “Bruce” then tell her he has to go back to “Gotham”. “Catwoman,” tells him he’ll die. “Bruce” agrees but says it’ll be “a good death”.   Nice “The Dark Knight Returns” reference. “Bruce” is still being pathetic, but those were cool references. We then go back to “Robin” and “Flashpoint Batman” kicks his ass.

We move on to another page with “Bruce” and “Catwoman” as they walk down a street. “Catwoman” tell him she “won’t watch him die” and says “there’s a way”. “Bruce” responds that “he can see every scenario and plan” and that “this is the way”. She then tells him “he doesn’t see everything” and that he “still can’t see her”. The scene seems to be misleading you into thinking “Batman” plans to die when he has some other plan and or that “Catwoman” has some plan that will save the day… Could be wrong though…

Next, we see a beaten “Robin” tied to a chair. He’s unconscious but as he comes to there are two voices. One begs “not to do it in front of the boy”. The other talks to “Robin” and tells him he wishes he didn’t have to do this but “Bane” is in charge. Last chance SPOILER ALERT!

The first voice is “Alfred” and the second is “Flashpoint Batman”. There is then a full page of “Bane” snapping “Alfred’s” neck just as he promised. Some people feel this was done poorly and some feel the opposite. I’m somewhere in the middle. It could have been done better, but I wouldn’t go as far as saying this was done badly. There is a “we’re not playing around” aspect of “Alfred’s” death that I think was effective. It’s comics so you know “Alfred” will be back, eventually. “Flashpoint Batman” then tells “Robin” that he hopes that now that he is their hostage the “Bat-family” will know they are serious and stay out of “Gotham”. We then end with a full page of “Batman” and “Catwoman” in costume. “Catwoman” then tell “Batman” that if “Batman” wants to take back “our city” that she’ll show him the way.

Depending on the agenda of who’s reviewing the comic, the writer, Tom King’s run on “Batman” is great or terrible. I can’t speak on most of it, but even with my complaints, this issue was okay. I’d give it a B-.

Recommendation : One You Should Put In The Maybe Pile

 

 

The Best Books To Buy (Tl;DR Version – Short Notes On Comics I Didn’t Do Full Reviews For) New Superhero Comic Book & Graphic Novel Ratings & Reviews [ Marvel / DC Comics / Image / Indie ] 08-07-19 & 08-14-19

The Best Books To Buy (Tl;DR Version – Short Notes On Comics I Didn’t Do Full Reviews For)

New Superhero Comic Book & Graphic Novel Ratings & Reviews 

[ Marvel / DC Comics / Image / Indie ] 08-07-19 & 08-14-19

These are just basic things I noted as I read each of these comics with a score and rating. These didn’t get full reviews because I by the time I did full reviews for these the comic would be very old and other more popular comic books took precedent. 

Books Of 08/07/19

Agents Of Atlas 01 – Barely interesting. C. Recommendation: One You Should Put In The Maybe Pile

Champions 09 –  Poor art. C. Recommendation: One Of The Worst Books To Buy

Buffy The Vampire Slayer 07 – Throws away development for “Dark Willow”. Overall decent though. B. Recommendation: One You Should Put In The Maybe Pile

Daredevil 09 – Interesting opening with a chess game with “Reed Richards” where the existence of God is brought up. Bangs thick girl at the end. Overall pretty good. B+. Recommendation: One Of The Best Books To Buy

Future Foundation 01 – Premise is kinda boring. Art is kinda funky. The coloring is great though. Won’t be back for more. C. Recommendation: One You Should Put In The Maybe Pile

Major X 0 – A framing device around a reprint story. Confusing, dumb, Liefeld art. C. Recommendation: One Of The Worst Books To Buy

Savage Avengers 04 – Great art. B+. Recommendation: One You Should Put In The Maybe Pile

Sinestro: Year Of The Villain 01 – There are parts that don’t make sense, but there’s an interesting take on religion, and how people are manipulated. B+. Recommendation: One Of The Best Books To Buy

Green Lantern 10 – A group of “Green Lanterns” from the multiverse is a cool idea, but most of there is “weird for weird’s sake” nonsense. The art is kind of all over the place and not my cup of tea. B -. Recommendation: One You Should Put In The Maybe Pile 

Books Of 08/14/19

Captain Marvel 09 – Pretty good. B. Recommendation: One You Should Put In The Maybe Pile

Gwenpool Strikes back – Not sure what to make of this. B-. Recommendation: One You Should Put In The Maybe Pile

Iron heart 09 – I like that “Iron Heart” and “Shuri” don’t get along. B. Recommendation: One You Should Put In The Maybe Pile

The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl 47 – Bad art, too wordy, uninteresting characters. C-. Recommendation: One Of The Worst Books To Buy

Batman Universe 02 – Too much Whedon like dialog with “Green Arrow”. Sudden gas arrow. Fat “Vandal Savage”? Forced explanation of “Gorilla City”. Rest of the story picks up though. B. Recommendation: One You Should Put In The Maybe Pile

Chosen 02 – Not all the jokes work but the character of Jesus remains interesting. Recommendation: One Of The Best Books To Buy

Which Comics Are The Best Books To Buy?: New Superhero Comic Book & Graphic Novel Ratings & Reviews [ Marvel / DC Comics / Image / Indie ] 08-07-19 & 08-14-19

Which Comics Are The Best Books To Buy?:  New Superhero Comic Book & Graphic Novel Ratings & Reviews 

[ Marvel / DC Comics / Image / Indie ]

08-07-19 & 08-14-19

I changed the title and rating system for these comic book reviews after learning there was already a podcast called “The Stack”. I’m still trying to figure out how I’m going to do this. I think I’ll start doing individual reviews instead of a bunch grouped like this. Anyways, here we go…

Powers Of X #2

My hot take: this comic is clever bullshit. It is clever but it is also bullshit. In this comic these two things are completely linked and inseparable. What follows is my attempt to represent the competing thoughts and feelings as I read this. I’ll be using the classic “devil and angel” on your shoulder scenario for this. If you have even a passing interest in comics you probably know the big reveal in this issue but just in case SPOILER ALERT!

Devil: Fuck this comic! “Moira MacTaggert” isn’t a goddamn mutant! Her whole point as a character is that she’s a human ally to the “X-men”!

Angel: C’mon, admit it! Discovering that she has the power to reincarnate is a brilliant revelation!

Devil: It’s bullshit and it points out some other bullshit!

Angel: What are you talking about?

Devil: Even though they swore this wasn’t a time travel story it absolutely is!

Angel: No it-

Devil: It is! The method of time travel is inefficient but when she “New Game +’s” her life that IS time travel!

Angel: … Okay, but still….

Devil: And what the hell was with the two pages of pure text! This wasn’t even informational stuff like before! That was lazy enough as it is!

Angel: … I have no defense for that… It looks cool aesthetically though.   

Devil: So after they set up this bullshit we get to “Moira’s” third life where they throw shade at “Xavier” and REALLY lather on the bullshit!

Angel: When she creates the “mutant cure” and gets attacked by “Mystique”, “Destiny”, and their group?

Devil: Yeah, where they just throw out the line about her being “invisible to other mutants” and somehow “Destiny’s” powers just magically work differently with her so she can threaten Moira. It’s bullshit!

Angel: In a world that literally has magic you want to call that bullshit?

Devil: Don’t give me that shit! You know what I mean! It’s unbelievably convenient to the story. “Oh gee, literally every telepathic mutant she’s encountered should know about her being a mutant if she was. Well, conveniently they can’t because reasons”. Foh! The best part is it still doesn’t work! We literally see her thoughts in older comics. She should have been constantly thinking “I know how this turns out” or “I wonder if this will turn out how it did last time”. Then there’s that bullshit where they just omit whatever her sixth life was!

Angel: No, that’s intriguing! What could have happened? I can’t wait to see!

Devil: You’re telling me a story and showing me a chart and you just leave out part! What kind of crap is that?!

Angel: The chart was used properly though you have to admit that.

Devil: Yes, fine. The chart actually helped explain what was shown in the story rather than being used to tell the story. That is proper use for informational pages. Do they get a cookie for that?! After that though, we see her eighth life where she joins “Apocalypse” and she’s one of his horsemen or something. Seriously, what the fuck?! Her powers are basically useless in a battle! Why the fuck would he pick her?! She’s even wearing a stupid “A” belt!

Angel: …The belt was a bit much I must admit… It then ends so nicely tying right back to the moment she first met “Xavier” in “Powers Of X” #1. If you are honest you have to admit this comic was well written, well drawn, and clever.

Devil: There’s no argument about the comic artists making a well drawn book and I’ll concede that it’s clever… Clever like someone going through and elaborate plan so they can punch in the face. It’s clever, but it’s bullshit and if you are honest you have to admit it’s bullshit.

Angel: …I can’t honestly deny the points you made. Can it be both?

Devil: Clever bullshit? I can agree to that.

So yeah, it’s a clever twist that doesn’t really work. This isn’t bad, but I’m seeing this issue in particular getting way too much credit. If “House Of X” and “Power Of X” were advertised more honestly (as ONE time travel story that will affect the future of the “X-books”) I would give it more leeway. I give this a B despite how annoying I found some of it.

Verdict: One You Should Put In The Maybe Pile

Absolute Carnage #1

I don’t regularly follow any “Spider-Man”, “Venom”, or “Carnage” comics so I’m only a little above “Joe Normy” when it comes to this comic/event. I have a decent idea of the general current status quo of these characters but not all the details. This needs to be said because there’s A LOT of backstory that is dumped on you immediately in this issue. Of said back story, a good portion seems irrelevant to the story. It basically boils down to this:

  • The symbiotes had some type of God called “Knull” but they turned against him and imprisoned him. How they do it is kind of dumb so I’m skipping it.
  • The symbiotes leave something behind in every person they attach themselves to called “Codexes”.
  • For some reason “Venom” and that symbiotes offspring ( “Carnage” etc.) are cut off from the other symbiotes
  • If a symbiote collects all the codexes for some reason this will reconnect them to the other symbiotes and they might be able to talk to “Knull” and bring him back.
  • “Carnage” was dead but some “Knull” worshipping cult somehow brought him back to life.
  • “Carnage” want collects all the codexes and  talk to “Knull” and bring him back so he’s going after everyone who’s had a symbiote.  

This info dump is framed around “Eddie Brock” (now rocking a beard) explaining this to his son “Dylan” as they are on the run from “Carnage:. “Dylan” thinks “Eddie” is just his older brother though. It’s an okay attempt at doing a lot of exposition, but it’s a bit forced. There’s even a part where “Eddie” says “but you know that already” when he describes that he’s “Venom”. For what’s relevant for “Dylan” to know the conversation could be like this:

“Eddie”: You know “Carnage”?

“Dylan”: The most famous super-powered serial killer ever? Yeah, bro!

“Eddie”: He’s after us. We run now.

Unfortunately, “Carnage” has framed “Eddie” for murdering a bunch of people. “Eddie” is soon spotted by a cop and he takes “Dylan” as he runs away. They head into the subway but “Carnage” is there and pushes them into the tracks of an oncoming train. The “Venom” symbiote stops the train and soon more cops come. The train then explodes and “Venom” fights “Carnage”. Something is mentioned about “Carnage” wearing a “dragon” and “The Grendel” and someone named “Rex” is mentioned. None of this is explained. “Carnage” kicks his ass but “Venom” grabs the third rail electrocuting them both. This completely unravels “Carnage” and he slowly reforms while “Venom” and “Dylan” escape. They end up going to “Spider-Man’s” apartment.

We then cut to “Eddie”, “Dylan”, and “Spider-Man” in a diner. “Spider-Man” is as annoyed with the backstory as we are. “Spider-Man” offers to buy “Dylan” some food and he tells “Spider-Man” not to talk to him and calls him a “menace”. Him naturally not liking “Spider-Man” is a nice touch. “Eddie” then sends “Dylan” to the counter so he and “Spider-Man” talk alone. “Dylan” leaves and “Spider-Man” asks “Eddie” what’s the deal with him and “Dylan”. After some cajoling (5-dollar word of the day!) “Venom”  confesses that “Dylan” is his son to “Spider-Man”. “Spider-Man” tells “Eddie” he needs to tell “Dylan” the truth then we see on the TV in the diner there’s a news report about a mass grave with many “codex holders”. One of these people happens to be “Hulk” nemesis “General “Thunderbolt” Ross””. Never knew he had a symbiote…

A couple of burglars then happen to try and rob the diner because it’s been too long since there was any action. “Spider-Man” makes quick work of them while he and “Eddie” describes how it’s now a race to find the remaining “codex holders” as with each one “Carnage” gets makes him more powerful. It feels like this should have been mentioned sooner, especially since so much info was dumped before. “Spider-Man” then figures that they need to find someone with intimate knowledge of the symbiotes and the skills to create something that can extract the “codex” from people without killing them… They should probably destroy the “codex” if they’re doing all that though…”Spider-Man” then rules out the most likely candidate, “Reed Richards”, because he would have needed to have started months ago. “Eddie” then says he might know someone who could do it.

We then cut to a safe house of the person named “Rex” mentioned before where “Eddie”, and “Dylan” meet the evil “Ultimate universe” version of “Reed Richards”, “The Maker”. “The Maker” tells them that he built the machine they need “thirty-five days” ago because “he and the people he works for are very interested in making a fractured symbiote whole”… Convenient *side eye*… Also “The Maker” from anything I’ve seen doesn’t seem like the type to work for anyone else, but whatever. He then tells them he’ll need a few more hours to complete the machine. Then there’s a moment that’s basically like this:

“Eddie”: You’re not planning to do something evil are you.

“The Maker”: Yes, I’m evil.

“Eddie”: I’m suspicious you’re going to do something evil.

“The Maker”: You should be because I am in fact an evil person who does evil things.

Then “Spider-Man” finally shows up because he went to get “Normie” (the “Green Goblin’s grandson who is “Spider-Man’s” Godson and was exposed to the “Carnage” symbiote) and brought him there. “Spider-Man” then learns “The Maker” is an alternate version of “Reed”. “The Maker” then says he needs blood for the machine to work, but “Spider-Man” is reluctant to put “Normie” in the machine. They then decide to use “Norman Osborn” since he used the “Carnage” symbiote as well. 

“Spider-Man” and “Venom” then go to the asylum where “Norman” is being held. “Venom’s” narration tells us that for some reason “Norman” now thinks he is “Cletus Kassidy”, the original and current host of the “Carnage” symbiote.  “John Jameson”, son of “J. Jonah Jameson” and “Werewolf By Night”, happens to be a guard in this asylum. “John” uses his position to sneak them into the asylum. Somehow “Carnage” mentally controls “John” and he shoots something that makes the alarm go off. Somehow the alarm is so loud it freaks the “Venom” symbiote out.  “Venom” eventually uses “John’s” gun to shoot the three horns that creating the sound for the alarm while “Spider-Man” webs “John” to a wall and knocks him out with a punch. “Carnage” then approaches them with several symbiote minions created from the other inmates in the asylum who all have several arms extra arms. They fight the minions and “Carnage”, and “Spider-Man” is knocked through the door and into “Norman’s” cell. “Venom” holds the opening where the door was closed as “Spider-Man” tries to punch through the wall of the cell on the other side. “Spider-Man” makes a big dent in the wall but “Venom” is knocked out of the way and “Carnage” absorbs “Norman” ending the issue.

What’s weird is that, as this review points out several times, somehow both too much and too little information is given. Even with the giant info dump in the beginning they’re still important things that aren’t explained. All gripes aside, I give this B. The art is really great but something about this story just doesn’t grab me though. It’s good but if I weren’t doing comic book reviews I would probably bail on this event. I’ll stick with this though because it’s popular.

Verdict: One You Should Put In The Maybe Pile

Justice League #29

This issue opens explaining the origin of “Starro The Conqueror” the first and a recurring villain of the “Justice League”. “Starro” is a giant starfish-looking being that attaches smaller versions of itself to people and controls them. Think the “brain slug” from “Futurama” except it attaches to a person’s face not the top of their head… 

Basically, he comes from a world where evolution sort of worked in the opposite of how it normally works. Rather than creating variability, on this world evolution lead to a singular creature, “Starro”. We then see “Jarro”, a small piece of “Starro” left over after “Starro” was killed in a previous event. “Jarro” who idolizes “Batman”, and he (it?) even dresses like “Robin” and calls “Batman” “dad”.  

We’re then given an update on various forces that the “Justice League” putting together to prepare for their war coming war against “Legion Of Doom” and “Perpetua”. In particular, we see that “Hawkgirl” is taking the fact she couldn’t stop “Lex Luthor” from absorbing “The Martian Manhunter” in the previous issue hard and personally. What’s going on is the after another previous event the barrier to the “DC” universe known as “The Source Wall” was broken and the core called “The Totality” fell to Earth.  From “The Totality” “The Legion Of Doom” discovered and unlocked several hidden forces to the universe. Each of these “hidden forces” opposes a force a member of the “Justice League” uses, represents, or is part of. They include:

  1. “The Ultraviolet Spectrum” – A force like the “Green Lanterns” composed of “the unseen light of hidden emotions” wielded by “Sinestro”.
  2. “The Still Force” – The opposing force to “The Speed Force” which “The Flash” uses for his super speed wielded by “Gorilla Grodd”
  3. “The Tear Of Extinction” – Described as “a drive towards isolation and solipsism” wielded by “Black Manta”.
  4. “The Void Wind” – Referred to as a “twin” to “The Tear Of Extinction” which is an energy that “snuffs out Gods and magic” wielded by “Cheetah”.
  5. “The Black Apple” – Energy unlocked by “discovering the universe’s most hidden secrets” wielded by “Brainiac”.
  6. “The Sixth Note” – Called “a force beyond imagination itself unleashed upon the world when the impossible is glimpsed”.

They are now trying to unlock an undiscovered seventh force which will free “Perpetua”. “Perpetua” is a female being that created “DC’s” multi-verse and she is the mother of “The Monitor”, “The Anti-Monitor”, and “The World Forger”. She intended for the Multiverse to be “a perpetual motion machine” where humans would live forever “safe and hidden from other beings like her”. Wait… That doesn’t sound bad…

The “Justice League” has not been able to locate the “Legion Of Doom” since “Lex Luthor” made an offer of help from his vast resources to all the other villains on Earth. After discovering that many of these villains have taken the offer we see that “Jarro”, on his own, has found them. “Jarro” attacks them and more than holds his own until “Luthor” uses his new “Martian Manhunter” powers to subdue him. “The Justice League” then come to rescue “Jarro” and they fight with “The Legion Of Doom”. “Jarro” laments that he has had a vision of the future and he saw that no matter what the “Justice League” loses. “Jarro” then somehow becomes his old self “Starro” and uses “smaller” versions to control everyone. “Jarro” does this because he wanted to take the “Justice League” back to his world to hide them so that they would be spared… Isn’t this a “universe/ Multiverse” level thing? How can they hide no matter where they go? “Batman” somehow breaks free of “Starro’s” control and talks “Jarro” down. “Jarro” then returns to his normal self and he lets go of his control over the rest of the “Justice League”.

For some reason “The Legion Of Doom” is let go as well and we see “Luthor” and “Brainiac”. They reveal that they are regrowing the original “Starro”. It is then revealed that because “Starro” is connected to all of its pieces “Jarro” controlling the “Justice League” means the “Legion Of Doom” will have all of their battle plans.

This was pretty good, but there’s a good amount that doesn’t make sense. The overarching storyline about “The Legion Of Doom” and “Perpetua” has been going on since this volume of this series began. I don’t think any storyline needs to be longer than twelve issues. A whole lot of information is recapped in a way that keeps it interesting by using “Jarro’s” narration. This one gets a B.

Recommendation : One You Should Put In The Maybe Pile

Books Of 08/14/19

Powers Of X #2

We begin this story ten years ago with something that didn’t happen. The fact that this thing didn’t happen needs to be noted because it is key to how we can interpret this story. Said thing that didn’t happen is a meeting between “Xavier”, “Magneto”, and “Moira MacTaggart”. Once again showing how this and “House Of X” are one story, not two, the events of “House Of X” #2 are the center of this meeting. To briefly recap, in “House Of X #2” it was revealed that “Moira” was actually a mutant with the power of reincarnation. Each time she died she was reborn at the same point in time retaining all the knowledge she gained in her previous lives. In these lives, she always saw humanity eventually exterminating mutants. The mutant “Destiny” in one of these lives also told her that her current life may be her last. Because of this, she decided to “break all the rules” and try something different. So she reveals all this to “Xavier”. In this issue, “Xavier” puts all this same information in the mind of “Magneto”. Due to this, the two old friends decide to put aside their differences and work together.

Again this didn’t happen. This is not the history of the “X-men”. There’s only two conclusions I can come to from this and both are pretty lame.

  • This a HUGE retcon that doesn’t work at all and how this affects “X-men” continuity won’t be addressed and or will be a complete mess.
  • “House Of X” and “Powers Of X” is an alternate timeline that is just a lot like the normal “Marvel” timeline and will be reset when “Moira” dies and begins her eleventh and final life (which according to “Destiny” she will only have “if she makes the right choice”).

We then return to current day where “Xavier”, “Magneto”, and “Cyclops” talk about the information that “Mystique” and the other stole in “House Of X” #1. This information reveals the plans for the “super “Master Mold”” in space that was also part of “House Of X” #1. This “super “Master Mold”” creates other “Master Molds” which of course create “Sentinels” which hunt mutants. Also from this information, we learn that “Nimrod” has been created. The plan is then made to send “Cyclops” with a team to stop this. There’s a nice “Cyclops” moment here where he asks “does it need doing?”. To which “Xavier” responds “yes”, and “Cyclops” responds “then it will be done”. Very “Cyclops”.

Next, we travel to one hundred years in the future where we see that the “X-men” are being led by “Apocalypse”… Seriously?! Moving on, we see that the information “Rasputin” and the others got is on something that looks like a current day flash drive… I’m sure it’s a REALLY big flash drive though… Then there’s a dumb pointless scene with “Nimrod the lesser” being goofy and killing two guys. We return to the future “X-men” and we learn the information they stole just shows them where the information they actually need is stored. “Apocalypse” then says he’ll lead them to get the information they need.

The story then goes off the rails with an informational page about something called “Nimbus”. It’s a bunch of gobbly-gook about entire planets becoming a single intelligence or something. This leads right into seeing “The Librarian” again one thousand years in the future. He (it?) contacts the “Phalanx” and I think it eats the world or something. Then there’s three informational pages explaining that becoming a “Phalanx” is the highest type of “galactic society”. If this is where we’re going with this story, let’s just stop now.

At this point, I just gotta ask, “Is this the best we can do”? (Admittedly well-drawn) Nonsense that probably doesn’t even matter? Meh! C+ for the art. At least it looks like we might see “X-men” actually doing “X-men” stuff next time. Keep your fingers crossed…

Recommendation : One You Should Put In The Maybe Pile

Absolute Carnage: Scream #1

You know what is probably the worst part of crossovers and events in comics? Terrible forced tie-ins made for the sole purpose of milking a few more dollars out of us. This is one of those. Besides “Venom” and “Carnage” there are other symbiotes. No one likes or cares about any of them. At best they’re okay trivia questions to prove how nerdy you are if you can name them. The story is about the chick one, “Scream”. “Scream’s” original host was a woman named “Donna Diego” who at some point was killed by “Eddie Brock”. Note that this is only explained in the recap page and not in the actual story. The “Scream” symbiote has been missing since then.

Somehow the “Scream” symbiote resurrects the corpse of “Donna”. There’s also all these “Carnage” minion symbiote people all around and I guess this was explained in some comic outside of “Absolute Carnage” #1 because it wasn’t explained there. For some reason “Scream” is able to order them around when she stops it from eating(?) a woman and her two kids. She screams “mine” indicating that she ended up eating them but it isn’t clear.

We then go to a woman named “Patricia Robertson” who at one point was a host for “Venom”. I think the book is saying “Venom” was cloned. She has a huge gun and a shit ton of bullets. “Scream” attacks her and she now has several “Carnage” minion guys with her somehow. “Patricia” tries to fight by shooting her big gun but eventually the “Scream” symbiote attaches itself to her. As “Scream” her thoughts tell us that “God” (“Carnage”? “Knull”?) is telling her to hunt a woman named “Andi Benton”. Then there something about the “host flesh” knowing “Andi” (“Donna”? “Patricia”?). Some “Carnage” minion guys attack but “Andi” seems to have magic powers and summons fire that seems to kill them. We then end with “Scream” ready to attack “Andi”.

Honestly, don’t waste your time or money on this. Even if your deep enough into “symbiote lore” to know everything that’s going on here this it’s still a pointless story. Also the art is okay at best.

Recommendation : One Of The Worst Books To Buy

Absolute Carnage: Separation Anxiety #1

You know what’s worse than cash grab tie-ins to crossovers and events? Wasting a talented artist’s talent on it.  The artist here, Brian Level, does all kinds of interesting things with the panel layouts and shapes. The art also has a very “indie-style” but in a good way. This guy’s TRYING and he deserves better.

Oh, right there’s a story… So there’s this symbiote that’s four symbiotes combined called “Hybrid”. “Hybrid” is attached to a dog. The dog walks up to a girl named “Sadie” that’s sitting at the front door of her house crying. She’s crying because her parents are constantly fighting. She takes the dog in the house and goes to find her brother “Billy” to show it to him. When they come back to where she left the dog “Hybrid” has attached itself to their parents. The rest of the comic is just them running away until “Hybrid” gets them too. At one point some neighbors are also taken by “Hybrid”.

If this were just a backup story in another comic, I’d give it some credit. But as whole ass comic?! Nah! It’s not so much that the comic is badly written, but it’s just pointless and cliche. I can’t recommend this even just for the art. If you buy this, then consider it a donation to the artist. There are probably better ways to do that though…

Recommendation : One Of The Worst Books To Buy

Batman And The Outsiders #4

I try to approach these reviews as if I’m someone who’s a “casual” fan of comics. Meaning I write these as if I’m a person who wouldn’t necessarily look for back issues; look things up online, or even read a recap page. The comic has to tell me what I need to know and entertain me solely within the actual story. I say this because this is a comic I kinda like, but I have to knock it a bit. Things are not well explained. If I came in cold, I’d be fairly lost. I actually read the previous issues, but I don’t remember them very well. Even if you are the type that would read a recap page you aren’t given that option here.

On to the story. “Ra’s al Ghul” has kidnapped/brainwashed someone named “Sofia Ramos” and “Batman” wants “The Outsiders” to get her back. There’s a few character moments between a few of “The Outsiders”. The first is between “Duke” (a Black “Batman” ally with light-based powers) and “Orphan”. They are on a basketball court and “Orphan” offers to help “Duke” with his fear. His fear has something to do with a “bad tackle” in a previous issue. That’s all this comic tell you about it. “Orphan” seems like she is barely able to speak. Now if you know “Orphan” and or her alter-ego “Cassandra Cain” you would know why she can barely speak. Here you are given no indication as to why.

The next scene is between “Black Lightning” (the leader of “The Outsiders”) and “Kaliber” (basically “DC’s” version of “Cable”). “Black Lightning,” tells “Kaliber” he doesn’t like him because he used to be an arms dealer. “Kaliber” then admits he “has blood on his hands” and laments that he is “black market tech stitched to a body that can’t handle it”. He then basically tells “Black Lightning” to “go fuck himself”.

We then have a scene with “Katana” alone where she is meditating. In her meditation she sees her husband (whose soul is trapped in her sword) being tormented. After that “Black Lightning” meets with “Bruce Wayne” aboard his yacht. After they clear up some stuff about “Black Lightning” not working FOR him but with him “Bruce” gives excuses why he can’t help them get “Sofia” back from “Ra’s”. “Bruce” says he’s “struggling with personal things” which “Ra’s” could use against him. I guess they mean him being heartbroken over “Catwoman” leaving him at the altar and stuff going with “Bane” in the “Batman” comic. This comic doesn’t make it clear.

There’s a brief scene between “Black Lightning” and “Duke” where are on a rooftop and they talk about his fear and “Black Lightning” mentions having a fear of heights. Then “Black Lightning”, “Katana”, and “Kaliber” meet with “Batman” in his cave and go over the plan to rescue “Sofia”. This is inter-cut with some kind of ritual “Ra’s” has “Sofia” go through where she has to fight and kill a bunch of guys. The plan is “Black Lightning” and “Katana” will go to “Ra’s Al Ghul” country, “Khadym” as arms dealers. The need to be undercover because a “hunter” that works for “Ra’s” named “Ishmel” knows who they are. The issue then ends with “Sofia” standing over the men she has killed with her sword.

We a little more clarity and a recap page this comic could easily be better. As is I gotta give it a B-. The art is pretty good and the storytelling is effective.

Recommendation : One You Should Put In The Maybe Pile

Event Leviathan #3

“Leviathan” is the new SUPER super-secret group that taking out all the other super-secret groups in “DC Comics”. “Lois Lane”, “Batman”, “Robin”, “Green Arrow”, “Plastic Man”, “Manhunter”, and “The Question” are investigating “Leviathan”. We begin with all of them in “Superman’s” “Fortress Of Solitude” (which is stated as now being in the middle of the Bermuda Triangle rather than in the Arctic). “Robin” believes “Jason Todd” is the leader who is also confusingly called “Leviathan”. We then flashback to earlier when all these characters confronted “Jason Todd” AKA “The Red Hood”. Before getting into that they do something interesting with the recap page. They break it up into all kinds of browser windows and on a computer screen. This is a nice touch that makes the information more interesting to read and relates to the nature of the story. Points for that. 

Unbelievably, “The Red Hood” beats all of them. Seriously… No… In the middle of this confrontation “Lois” talks to him and though he denies being “Leviathan” he admits that it would make sense for “Leviathan” to be him. He also seems to agree with their goals in theory and suggests that if he was “Leviathan” he would go after “Amanda Waller”. 

We then return to the present in the “Fortress Of Solitude” and after “Lois” reveals that the last time she saw “Amanda” was there. “Robin” then almost immediately finds some hidden listening device that “Amanda” hid there. Somehow this got passed “Superman’s” super senses and the robots and A.I. there… Okay…

Next, there’s a jump to “Waller” as she destroys the listening device on her end after learning they discovered it. She then leaves building she is in and we see a sign in a foreign language showing she is in another country. As she’s about to drive away in a car “Leviathan” and a bunch of his henchmen teleport in front of her. The two talk and at one point “Leviathan” says “and just, you know, the guilt” referring to why he thought “Amanda” would have killed herself by now. That’s bad “Buffy speak”. Don’t have your villain do that. “Leviathan” then says something about believing that “Amanda” would offer him(?) a “mother box” to spare her. Then the issue ends with “Superman” appearing from the sky asking “are these men bothering you?”.

Gripes aside, this wasn’t bad. Depending on how much certain things bother you this is somewhere between a B and a B-.

Recommendation: One You Should Put In The Maybe Pile

 

Which Comics Are The Best Books Of The Stack? : New Superhero Comic Book & Graphic Novel Reviews [ Marvel / DC Comics / Image / Indie ] 07-31-19

Which Comics Are The Best Books Of The Stack? : New Superhero Comic Book & Graphic Novel Reviews [ Marvel / DC Comics / Image / Indie ] 07-31-19

 

I’m going to try my hand at comic book reviews. Here goes…

Books Of 07/31/19

House Of X #1

I know I’m late on this but I had to gather my thoughts on this one. To say the least, I’m against the grain when it comes to this comic. Most people are saying this was great, but for me, it was okay at best. When I heard Jonathan Hickman was going to write “X-men” I was apprehensive. I wasn’t big on his “Avengers” run. Hickman is very good at creating “big ideas” with universe (or multi-verse) level stakes and in the process creating some cool moments. I find that his stories lack “heart” and characters start to become little more than talking heads.

On to the comic. The X-men and mutants as a whole have made the living island of “Krokoa” the new mutant homeland. So immediately I have to say “X-men did it”. Professor X has recently sent a telepathic message to the world about this and offers three drugs that can help humans to nations that recognize this new mutant nation. Everything about what he’s doing here and the way he delivers it is out of character for Xavier. These drugs (made from plants on Krokoa) that he offers include:

  • One that can extend life for five years – …I know this is a comic book but this makes no sense. There are millions of variables that contribute to how long you live and that’s if only include natural means of death. Something like “senzu beans” from “Dragonball” are ridiculous (and retconned completely from their original purpose) but they are at least understandable. They heal literally any amount of any type of damage done to someone as long as they are still alive. The properties of this drug are way too nebulous and abstract. This needs either a lot more explanation or should have been changed.
  • Another that is a universal antibiotic – Okay this is fine.
  • And finally, one that cures “diseases of the mind specifically in humans” – Again this is way too vague. What exactly is meant by “disease of the mind”? Hickman should have went with something like “it cures Alzheimer’s and dementia”.

Krokoa also has plants that allow teleportation to any place one of those plants is placed. There are other plants as well but they don’t seem all that relevant yet so I’ll skip them for now. We briefly see Xavier, Jean Grey (who looks younger and in one of her earlier costumes) and some young mutants on Krakoa. Meanwhile, ambassadors come to meet with Magneto. In space, we see some people on some kind of space station. It seems all of Mavel’s “secret organizations” (“S.H.I.E.LD”, “S.W.O.R.D”, “A.I.M.”, etc.) have formed some supergroup to monitor what is going on with mutants. There are quite a few pure text pages that explain most of this. I found this pretty lazy. The story itself should explain all of this without needed purely informational pages. 

Elsewhere “Mystique”, “Toad”, and “Sabretooth” steal data from a “Damage Control” facility. The “Fantastic Four” show up and capture “Sabretooth” while the other two escape through some kind of portal. “Cyclops” comes and tries to take “Sabretooth” in his custody, but the “Fantastic Four” are against that. “Cyclops” is kind of a dick about it for a bit but he eventually lets them keep him. 

We’re then given another text-only page the goes into “Omega Level” mutants. One specific thing that is pointed out is that “Jean Grey” is an omega level telepath. This seems strange (wrong) to me because it seemed clear “Jean’s” main ability was always telekinesis and that people like “Xavier” were much better telepaths than her. We then end with the discovery that all the ambassadors were planted there for some reason and with “Magneto” announcing that humans have “new Gods now” in mutants.

This all seems grossly out-of-character for the “X-men” so there seems to be three possibilities (all of which are kind of lame):

  • These aren’t really the “X-men” and they’re “pod people” or something. So this big relaunch of “X-men” didn’t even feature the actual “X-men” in it.
  • These are really the “X-men” and they just suck now. They’ve become exactly like “Magneto” and can barely be considered heroes if they can be at all.
  • These are really the “X-men” but they’re under some kind of mind control which has been done about a million times.

The art is pretty good and despite the comic’s flaws, it’s interesting. That’s more than can be said for a lot of recent “X-men” related comics. In the end though, I don’t think it lives up to the hype. It’s okay. I’d give it maybe a B- if I were feeling generous.

Verdict: Middle Of The Stack

Powers Of X #1

In this comic, we see pre-”X-men” “Xavier”; current “Xavier”; mutants one hundred years in the future; and mutants one thousand years in the future. The comic begins with showing Xavier meeting Moira MacTaggart for what at first seems to be the first time. They chat about Xavier being happy about having his dream for peaceful coexistence between humans and mutants. They are at some kind of fair and for some reason, there are images that directly relate to stuff we will see one hundred years in the future. Jonathan Hickman has sworn up and down that “House Of X” and “Powers Of X” are not time travel stories so I don’t see how that makes any sense. It should also be noted that the only indication that the woman “Xavier” is talking to is “Moira” is a caption quoting something she says at the very beginning of the comic. “Moira” indicates that they already know each other and “Xavier” then reads her mind. He then seems somewhat surprised.

We then go to current day where we learn that is was “Xavier” that had “Mystique” and the others steal information from the “Damage Control” facility in “House Of X”. If you didn’t read “House Of X” this would make little to no sense to you. If these two stories are connected this directly they should probably simply be made into one story. “Xavier” then somehow uses telekinesis… That was strange…

We jump to one hundred years in the future. A mutant is being captured by “Sentinels” and other cyborg people. A woman who looks like a fusion of “Colossus” and “Magik” along with a red “Nightcrawler”-looking guy see this. The three are communicating telepathically and the “Colossus”/”Magik” chick wants to rescue her and the other two are against it. The woman being captured is a “Hound” (a mutant bred by humans specifically to hunt down other mutants) who defected and joined “The X-men(?)” or whoever these guys are. The “Colossus”/”Magik” chick is called “Rasputin” and she attacks anyway in a really well-drawn fight sequence. She is unsuccessful and forced to retreat.

We’re then “treated” to three whole purely informational pages that explain how at some point the mutant population becomes so low that “Mr. Sinister” is allowed to breed mutants. Keep in mind that for a fairly long time the mutant population was less than two hundred. Also if you have to “create” mutants are they really mutants? Are they preserving a race of people or just the idea of an “X-gene”? Anyways this text goes on to say that “Sinister” then started making mutants that were the combination of two different mutants and eventually reached a point where he could combine the powers of five. Stop! Let’s think about this… If you were even mildly creative and given the chance to make a being with five different powers you could easily make someone that is nigh-invincible. After this Sinister tried to make some kind of super Omega level mutants and for some reason, it failed spectacularly and basically screwed up everything for mutants. It is then revealed that “Sinister” had his own purposes for doing all this and he ends up betraying the mutants. What a dick?!

After these informational pages, we return and meet “Nimrod the lesser”. He’s a robot that’s emotional and kind of goofy but seems to be in charge. There’s some back and forth between him, his henchmen, and the captured mutant. They end up turning the captured mutant into pure information. There’s another information page about the hounds that doesn’t seem super important so I’m skipping it. We then see “Rasputin” and the red “Nightcrawler” guy walking through a portal to meet “Wolverine” (or some version of him); Green “Magneto”; some version of “Xorn”; and a guy who looks like “Groot”. They’ve brought back something and the “Wolverine” guy says “the old man’s waiting”. Xavier?

Guess what? We get two more pages of pure information. This time we’re told (not shown of course) that there are less than ten thousand mutants and most of them live outside of our solar system in parts of the “Shi’ar” empire. There’s literally only eight mutants left in the solar system (the “X-men?”). So why do humans (or man-machines as it seems everyone is a cyborg in the future) even care?! 

We end with a glimpse into one thousand years into the future. A blue guy called the “the librarian” talks to this small floating robot called “Nimrod the greater”. “Nimrod the great” is some kind of database of all mutant kind or something. Then it is suggested that humans don’t exist anymore… Man… This one was rough. I gave “House Of X #1” a little bit of a break because it was the beginning of all this. This though just seems to be nothing but pointlessness and fluff. It’s lore with no substance and a cool fight scene. If this isn’t a time travel story then what is the point of any of this?! The information pages take the laziness to a new level. Seriously, get to the actual “X-men” doing actual “X-men” stuff already! I give this a C+ and that’s almost entirely on the back of the art (which I’d give an A to).

Verdict: Middle Of The Stack (Only Because Of The Art)

Avengers #22

This is one is pretty basic. Robbie Reyes’ (the current Ghost Rider) car is out of control and he wants the Avengers to help him get rid of it along with his connection to the Ghost Rider. So the members of the team at “Avengers” Mountain (“Captain America”, “Captain Marvel”, “Blade” and “Black Panther”) try to do that. Things go wrong and the “Son Of Satan” is called in to help them.

Meanwhile, the rest of team (“Thor”, “Iron Man”, and “She-Hulk”) are investigating a cave in “Wakanda” after the “War Of The Realms” event. An ancient “Iron Man” mask is discovered and that is left as a mystery for later. The “Son Of Satan” gives “Blade” some kind of special gun and then does a ritual on Robbie. This seems to send him to hell where is in his car in a traffic jam. Then another “Ghost Rider” (“Johnny Blaze”?) pulls up next to him.

This comic was fine. Not bad. Not great. Perfectly down the middle. I’d throw it somewhere in the C level.

Verdict: Middle Of The Stack

  

Death’s Head #1

Death’s Head” is a character I barely heard of. All I knew about him before this comic was that he was a robot or a cyborg or something. This is one of those books where I said: “what the hell I’ll give it a shot”. So to start off, the art was not my taste, to say the least. It’s very “indie” looking and would probably work better in that type of book. 

We begin with “Death’s Head” being established as being used as an amp by some band and it’s confusing. It seems like we then access his memories of how he eventually gets in this situation. Apparently, “Death’s Head” is a bounty hunter and “Yondu” (the blue “he’s ain’t your daddy” guy from “Guardians Of The Galaxy”) has put a bounty on his head because “Death’s Head” owes him money. “Death’s Head” is being outdone by several female robots or cyborg bounty hunters. A fight ensues on the spaceship they are on and “Death’s Head” ends up being sent through a portal or something that sends him to “New York”. He lands in a trash bin.

The art again makes things super confusing but it seems like he was found unconscious by the band in the beginning and his parts were used by them. Death’s Head then wakes up and reassembles himself. After this, he runs into “Wiccan” and “Hulkling” from the “Young Avengers”. They then get into a fight. I never read “Young Avengers” so all I know about them is that they were on the team and I heard they were gay. “Wiccan” eventually teleports “Death’s Head” way.

This leads to a bunch of boring talk about “Wiccan” wanting to be on an “Avengers” team or something. He then searches through realities trying to find where “Death’s Head” came from. “Death’s Head” returns from wherever he was teleported to and tracks “Wiccan” and “Hulking” back to their home. He attacks them and in the process, it is revealed that another “Death’s Head” was under their bed and “Wiccan” knows something about it.

The story-telling in this comic was particularly poor so it was really hard to understand what was going on. There was also little or no attempt to explain any of the characters. I gave this a shot, but I won’t be giving this series another. C- at best.

Verdict: Bottom Of The Stack

Marvel Team-Up #4

Before we even start this needs to be said. “Marvel” needs to stop trying to force people to like certain characters. It never works and it turns people off. This comic features two characters that “Marvel” is guilty of doing this with: “Ms. Marvel” and “Captain Marvel”. To be clear, I’m not one of these people scowling every second of Brie Larson because she wanted a diverse press junket or whatever people are mad at her for. The “Captain Marvel” movie was actually pretty good. Not great, but good. I also think “Ms. Marvel” is okay in “Champions”. Otherwise, she’s mostly boring. Point blank though, neither character is very popular. This is why their series don’t sell well and need to be relaunched over and over.

I say all this because usually, every version of “Marvel Team-Up” has “Spider-Man” paired with some other “Marvel” hero. It now seems to “star” is “Ms. Marvel” instead. This is doing the opposite of what this title used to do which is pair two popular characters together or have “Spider-Man” as the popular character lend his popularity to a less popular character.  

Let’s get to the actual comic. To start off, most of the art is okayish but some panels look pretty bad. Specifically, the look and color of “Ms. Marvel” costume look pretty bad throughout the whole book. The story begins with a guy in a weird robot suit knocking out a guard and looking for “Kree stuff” in a “Damage Control” warehouse…With something similar happening in “House Of X” maybe they need to up the security at these places. The next morning we see “Ms. Marvel” and “Captain Marvel” at the warehouse. The warehouse is in Jersey City, New Jersey where “Ms. Marvel” lives. It’s revealed that there’s been a number of these “Damage Control” places where “Kree stuff” has been stolen. For some reason, “Captain Marvel” told “Ms. Marvel” to watch this place. “Ms. Marvel” couldn’t watch during the night because she got grounded for sneaking out to be “Ms. Marvel”. In a world full of superheroes why would you ask a kid to do this? “Captain Marvel” then comes up with a plan to fool “Ms. Marvel’s” parents so she can get around being grounded. Why bother though? The place she can watch has already been robbed. Call in one of the numerous other adult heroes if you need help. Seeing as “Captain Marvel” is pretty powerful she shouldn’t need it anyway. “Ms. Marvel” is no powerhouse so if “Captain Marvel” can’t handle it she’d be of little help to her.  

Despite all this, “Captain Marvel” gets all dressed up and goes to “Ms. Marvel’s” house to talk to her parents. She makes up some story about an “internship where she’ll learn about a female Pakistani scientist”. “Cap” then adds she was picked for this because of her “Avengers” fan-fic””… Cue the lady from the commercial that says “that’s not how anything works”. “Ms. Marvel’s” mom then says something about mothers that triggers a flashback for ‘Captain Marvel” to the death of her own mother during “The Life Of Captain Marvel” series. “Ms. Marvel,” says something about an “honorarium” and for some reason that convinces her parents. I have no idea what an “honorarium” is or why this convinces them but… *Shrug*.

“Captain Marvel” then gets a report that someone stole the spear that killed her mom from another warehouse. Something happened where the stuff stolen from the Jersey City warehouse has been “decloaked” so “Cap” flies “Ms. Marvel” to the abandoned building it has been tracked to. They enter it and get attacked by the robot guy from the beginning and some green dude with tentacles. It is revealed these two are working for someone named “Wastrel” who is revealed to actually be… *Drumroll*… “Mar-Vell” the original (at least in “Marvel Comics”) “Captain Marvel”.

Honestly, I really didn’t like this comic at first but looking at it again to write this softened me on it some. There’s some interesting talk about heritage. This heritage being the shared “Kree” heritage of “Captain Marvel” and “Ms. Marvel”. Originally, I was gonna put this one the bottom of the stack and quit “Marvel Team-Up” but I’ll at least give it one more issue to see where this goes…

 

Verdict: Middle Of The Stack (But Barely)

Batman: The Last Knight On Earth Book Two

I’ll say upfront that I wasn’t a big fan of the “Old Man Logan” story in “Wolverine”. This is basically “Old Man Logan” but “Batman”. To me, both mostly come down to being well-drawn nonsense. The basic setup is a version of “Batman” (supposedly a clone) is wandering in a dystopian future while carrying “The Joker’s” head in some type of lantern. Everything got messed up in this future when humanity turned against all the heroes. This is all framed around the idea that “Alfred” made the “Batman” clone think he’s delusional and just imagined his entire career as “Batman” in the previous issue. He tried to trap him in a fake “Arkham Asylum” to stop him from being “Batman” in a world that no longer seems to need or want him.

There’s a lot of random “DC Comics” lore thrown at you throughout as “Batman” travels and I guess you’re supposed to be impressed by it. So if just naming something “Fort Waller” or mentioning things like “nuclear men”, “haunted tanks”, or “animal men” does something for you then this is the comic for you! About a quarter of the way in, we see “Alfred” as he encounters versions of “Bane” and “Scarecrow”. They seem to be working for a man named “Omega”. “Alfred” shoots at “Bane” with a shotgun but it seems to do nothing. “Alfred” is then hit with needles by “Scarecrow” (some fear chemical?). “Omega” then appears and “Alfred” knows who he is. “Omega” then says something about “Alfred” “saving the Waynes” by somehow preventing them from going to the showing of “Zorro” where they end up shot after leaving. “Alfred” then falls asleep (due to the “Scarecrow” needles?).

Back with “Batman”, he while carrying “The Joker” he reaches the “Plains Of Solitude” where he hopes to find “Superman”. He finds a bearded “Superman” who leads him to the “Kent” farm where he finds “Lex Luthor” along with many clones of “Superman”. It is noted that these clones are much weaker than the original and the bearded one was a clone as well. “Lex” then reveals he has some overly complicated time manipulation plan to bring back the real “Superman”. He then describes how “Superman” was killed in an overly complicated plan that came down to everyone on Earth choosing between “Justice” or “Doom”. If people voted for “Justice” Lex would be killed. If people voted for “Doom” “Superman” would die. “Luthor” expected people to choose “Justice” but “Superman” would die saving “Luthor”. People instead chose “Doom”. If you’re reading the current “Justice League” story this should all seem familiar. After choosing “Doom” people not only turned on all the heroes but eventually all the villains as well. He then mentions trying to create a “Batman”. This is “Omega”.

The bearded “Superman” then attacks both of them and somehow “Bane” and “The Scarecrow” are suddenly at the “Kent” farm. The bearded “Superman” is now somehow under their control. Luckily, “Wonder Woman” (the only other hero left in this world) is also suddenly somehow there and she kills the bearded “Superman” clone. “The Scarecrow” somehow drugged all the “Superman” clones gaining control of them all and sends them to attack “Lex”, “Batman”, and “Wonder Woman”. “Lex” opens some kind of portal so the other two can escape and he is seemingly killed by his clones. Note how many times I’ve used the word “somehow”.“Batman” and “Wonder Woman” then appear on top of what looks like the giant cape of “The Spectre”. They go under it and seem to enter the underworld as we see all the dead heroes along with “Alfred”. 😥.

They continue traveling and reach “Gotham City” but they are soon surrounded by members of “The Court Of Owls”. “Batman” recognizes the voice of the one who seems to be leading them and it’s revealed to be… “Dick Grayson”.  

I won’t go as far as saying this is bad, but it feels like a bunch of stuff crammed together. Things don’t seem set up well or developed enough. Something significant happens; it’s not explained or not explained enough; then we move on to something else. Maybe I’m missing a lot because I haven’t read most of Scott Snyder’s run on “Batman” and I hear this refers to all of it. For me, this one teeters between a B- and a C+ because the art is mostly great.

Verdict: Middle Of The Stack

Iron Hammer Annual 1 Secret Warps Part 5

The “Infinity Warps” from “Marvel’s” “Infinity Wars” crossover ranks among the laziest of ideas I’ve ever seen in comics. Ya know how “DC” and “Marvel” combined characters from each other’s universe to create “Amalgam” characters during the “DC Versus MC” crossover. This is that but only “Marvel”. So two completely random “Marvel” characters are combined making a new one. The most amount of thought put into this is creating “Soldier Supreme” by combining “Captain America” and “Dr. Strange” because both of their real names are Steve. For everyone else, they just threw darts at a dartboard or something. 

I’m not going to get two deep into the story because it’s mostly nonsense, but this is the fifth part of connected “annual” issues for these characters. Annuals for characters that don’t have a series that tell one big story. Would’ve made a lot more sense to simply make this a mini-series called “Infinity Warps: Secret Warps” or something but why not make this whole thing even more needless confusing. 

Speaking of “needlessly confusing”, this series is about the “Infinity Warps” characters fighting “Squadron Supreme” and “New Universe” characters. The “New Universe” being something that “Marvel” has been trying to get people to care about since they created that line of comics in the ’80s. Anyways, characters from these two universes have merged (a “Squadron Supreme” character with a “New Universe” character). At the same time, the “Infinity Warps” characters have been double merged. To be clear, this means now each “Infinity Warp” is comprised of four different “Marvel” characters. This gets even nuttier when as the story processes eight “Marvel” characters are merged. 

Does it even need to be explained how dumb and pointless all this is? Probably my favorite part of this is that some of the characters used in this are so obscure you wouldn’t know them unless you happened to just read the original “Squadron Supreme” maxi-series or the old “New Universe” books. So this literally appeals to basically no one. The sad part is there’s a small bit of potential for this idea if some thought was put into it. If the two characters shared something interesting in common and the two characters individually gained something from it. In fact, I’m just going to give you this idea “Marvel”. Combine “Daredevil” and “Cyclops”. These are two characters who obviously have eye-related issues and see only in red. “Daredevil” could have literally “walked in the shoes of a mutant” and gained some understanding of their struggle. Maybe “Cyclops” could learn something from how “Daredevil” fights and uses his senses. 

For now, just stop doing this. It’s a waste of time and effort. The art is pretty decent and there are books you’re selling with bad art. Put this guy on one of those. C- for art that doesn’t suck.

Verdict: Bottom Of The Stack

Angel #1-3

    

Why three issues in one for this? Because after reading the #0 issue I had honestly forgot about this series for a while. We have some background to cover before we get into the comics. “Angel” as you may know is a spinoff of the “Buffy The Vampire Slayer” TV show. “Angel” is a vampire who regained his soul and is forever trying to atone for all the evil he did when he didn’t have one. Both characters’ stories continued on in comics, but after the comics moved from being published by “Dark Horse” to “Boom! Studios” they were rebooted. Both have started over as far as continuity goes. Overall I have not liked the “Buffy” reboot so far. Generally, the characters have been stripped of everything that made them interesting and given changes that are in no way improvements. I’ll probably get into that more the next time I review a “Buffy” comic.

So the prognosis for “Angel” doesn’t look good, right? Well despite some changes I don’t like these were actually great comics. The story starts in the past with a female axe-wielding warrior wearing a dragon helmet named “Mara”. She fights some vampires attacking a village and kills several of them, but she gets hit by an arrow shot by a redheaded female vampire. Another vampire hits her with a hammer and knocks the helmet off her head. “Mara” is subdued by the vampires and is now dying. We then learn that these vampires are being led by “Angel”. “Angel” then tells “Mara” that he wants to turn her into a vampire and bites her neck (the first part of the process). “Angel” then cuts his own wrist offering his blood for her to drink (the second part of the process). “Mara” refuses at first, but then admits she doesn’t want to die and accepts “Angels” blood becoming a vampire.

Cut to present day where “Angel” is sitting on a bench as his thoughts narrate about how due to phones and social media kids “document everything and experience nothing”. As he’s narrating we are shown pictures and responses from the “Instagram-like” accounts of three teenage kids. The last being a somewhat heavy-set redheaded girl. A Black kid then walks up to him wanting to take a picture to capture his “all black everything look for the ‘gram”. “Angel” lets him try, but because he’s a vampire he doesn’t show up on the kid’s camera. 

“Angel” then goes to the house of an old friend named Francis. It is revealed that “Angel” saved this man’s life when he was ten years old. Francis wants “Angel” to meet his daughter but “Angel” is adamantly against it. Francis then mentions that his daughter is having trouble in school. “Angel” leaves after Francis tries again to convince him that he should meet his daughter. “Angel” then returns to his home where a Black woman is already there waiting for him. This woman is “Lilith”. They talk and she makes a nice crack about “Hollywood always making her a White woman”. She then tells “Angel” about something that is going after kids and how he needs to avenge them. As she’s saying this we are shown the heavy-set red-headed girl before. Someone with the username “FriendOfTheLonely” sends her a message on her phone that she is beautiful with a link. The girl clicks the link and her eyes turn black. We then learn this girl was “Francis’” daughter and she burns the house down killing herself, “Francis”, and her mother. This ends issue one.

We begin issue two back in the past with “Angel” and “Mara”. “Angel” gives “Mara” a young girl to feed on. “Angel” tells her that the war he and his group are waging isn’t against humans because they don’t matter. The war they are waging is against “all things of the darkness”. Wraiths, dragons, demons, and ghouls are listed specifically. This is all a pretty big departure from the original version of “Angel”. That “Angel” seemed to go around killing and causing people misery for fun. 

“Angel” is at the scene of “Francis’” burned down the house. “Lilith” is also there and she tells him how the being that caused this feeds on envy. “Lilith” is kind of annoying here and talks in riddles so “Angel” tell her to “get to the point”. Being commanded by him makes her lose her temper and she takes on a more demonic form for a second as she yells back at him that he doesn’t command her. 

We move on to the next morning outside of “Sunnydale High School” (“Buffy’s” school btw) and three girls are talking. One of them is a brunette named “Brewster”. These girls are talking about the funeral for the Francis’ daughter. “Brewster” isn’t going to go because she didn’t know her and she has to volunteer at an asylum. Something is then mentioned about “Brewster’s” mother and how funerals are hard for her. It should be noted that one of the girls is blonde and looks a lot like “Buffy”. She even sports a hairstyle that “Buffy” had during the show. Not sure if this is a coincidence or this is significant.

“Brewster” leaves the other girls and goes to the asylum. She is then messaged by the same being that messaged “Francis’” daughter. We actually see that the being is a man with an extremely wrinkled face wearing a trench coat. He is always in shadows so we don’t ever get a full view of him though. The man is somehow reading her messages back to him and speaks his messages to “Brewster” without a phone. The man says she’s beautiful and that “he has something to show her but she has to ask for it”. She asks for it and he sends her a photo. She taps to download the photo and her eyes turn black like “Francis’” daughter did. She’s in the bathroom at this point and she bashes her face into the mirror scarring it.

We then cut to a woman in the asylum named “Winifred”. She is counting to herself when “Lilith” appears in her cell. Lilith tells her “it’s time to see me again” and “when it comes scream so he can find you”. “Brewster” then comes to attack “Winifred” with a shard of the broken mirror but “Angel” jumps through a window into the asylum and kicks “Brewster” away. Issue two ends with “Angel” knowing “Brewster” right behind him ready to attack.

“Winifred” or just “Fred” as she’s usually called is a character originally appeared much later in “Angel” the show. She was a character I didn’t like much at first but grew on me over time. Then something I won’t spoil happens to her and she becomes awesome. I’m not big on bringing her in so early though…

Issue three begins with “Angel” and “Brewster” fighting a bit until “Angel” throws a water balloon filled with holy water at her. This turns “Brewster” back to normal. “Angel” then takes “Winifred” back to his place to protect her. Back at his place “Winifred” tells “Angel” “the nice ones call her “Fred”” and repeatedly says stuff about “ones and zeroes”. “Lilith” appears again and give him three clues about the future. One seems to reference “Willow” from “Buffy” turning evil; a Black guy named “Gunn who is another of “Angels” allies; and his eventual relationship with “Buffy” (who he hasn’t even met yet). The fact he hasn’t met Buffy also kind of annoys me. “Lilith” then says something about how “Fred” is leading the way for him and “Fred,” asks for chalk. She then draws a symbol on the floor that has many “zeros” and “ones” in it. “Angel” stands on the symbol and rings of energy surrounds him as he decays into a corpse. “Lilith,” tell “Fred” that “if “Angel” survives she’ll be sane again” and we end with seeing “Angel” in some kind of giant maze saying “where the hell am I?”

These issues were by far the best comics this week. The writing, art, and overall storytelling were excellent. This is an interesting well-told story that has great pacing. Despite the changes to continuity that I don’t prefer this an A series so far. By far these three comic books are…  

Verdict: Top Of The Stack