Rating System:
**** : Excellent
*** : Good
** : Fair
* : Poor
Zero : Horse Shit

BRAVE AND THE BOLD #34
By J. Michael Straczynski and Jesus Saiz

This month’s offering by J. Michael Straczynski and Jesus Saiz is a pretty ambitious two issue story staring members of the Doom Patrol and the Legion of Super-Heroes. JMS hits the ground running, putting Cosmic Boy, Lightning Lad and Saturn Girl on the run from a Black Hole that destroys the Earth before our heroes can formulate a plan to stop it. With no time to escape from the Black Hole our trio is forced to use their Time Bubble to travel back in time to the Earth’s past to find help preventing the destruction of the planet in their future. So, who do you go to for help preventing the Earth from being sucked into a giant Black Hole? The Doom Patrol of course! Sure it might seem like a rather odd choice in this case, but after a short meeting between the two teams the plan is worked out and our heroes are off to save the day. If you guessed that something terribly wrong happens with the plan, leaving our heroes in a cliffhanger ending to be resolved in the second part…well… you would be wrong about that. The plan works and the Black Hole is dissipated with our heroes return back to Earth triumphant!

So what’s the deal with this being a two issue story?

It looks like JMS is doing something a little different here with his story structure. Even though the story is two issues long, there is no cliff hanger in this first issue, the book has a totally self contained story complete with an ending. However, there are things that happen in the course of the story leading the reader to suspect that there is more going on here than meets the eye. Objects disappear and then reappear in different locations, our heroes also find a mysterious object hidden in the Time Bubble and the Doom Patrol find that Dr. Niles Caulder has had ‘The worse day of his life’ while they were off saving the Earth in the future. It appears that some unknown force was trying to either help or hinder our heroes in their mission. Did they succeed or fail in what they were trying to do? I guess we will find out in the next issue.

JMS is taking what would be a pretty straight forward story in the hands of another author and having a little fun with the readers here. Obviously there is more going on in the story and since we are talking about a time travel story, anything could be happening here. Time travel stories love a good paradox or two, and a parallel storyline running along side this story is not out of the question. You can tell that JMS was having a good time writing this comic, there is a lot of humor contained in this book, and while the subject of the Earth being ripped apart by a Black Hole might not seem like a backdrop to find laughs, Straczynski writes more a few humorous one-liners and creates some nice awkward situations (Robot Man and Saturn Girl in the Time bubble being my favorite one) here to bring a smile to my face.

Jesus Saiz does his usual excellent work here on pencils, I have been impressed with how consistent he is with his artwork, the man has been very solid for this entire run on the Brave and the Bold up to this point. But for the life of me, I can’t seem to find any bio information on the guy, I would like to learn more about him, but he seems to be the rare comic artist online with little information out there.

Once again J. Michael Straczynski shows why he is one of the best in the business, just when I think I have him figure out, he goes and does something that surprises me again. I certainly hope that he will stick around on the Brave and the Bold for some time to come.

Raing: ***½

DOOMWAR #4
By Jonathan Maberry and Scot Eaton

I was surprised to see this book was getting less than stellar reviews this month. I find that to be a bit baffling, since this issue was just as strong as the first three issues. If you liked the first three books in this mini, there is really no reason not to like this one. The story continues with the forces of Wakanda, lead by Shuri, Storm and members of the Fantastic Four heading to Easter Island to retrieve the stolen Vibranium. Of course Doctor Doom isn’t going to let that happen without a fight, and he has his new and improved Doombots (augmented with the stolen Vibranium) there to fight for him.

While this issue seems like one long fight, there is a little more going on here in terms of the story. For the first time you can really see Doom’s overall plan coming together, everything he has done up to this point finally starts to make sense and you can see for the first time that his careful planning and detailed knowledge of Wakanda, T’Challa and Shuri will lead him to victory. Even T’Challa seems to realize that Doom has his number and in a moment of desperation calls in a wild card to try and throw a money wrench into Doom’s plan. Of course the money wrench is Deadpool, the one guy in the Marvel universe who’s actions no one can predict. I was a bit nervous about Deadpool showing up in this book, so far Doomwar has been a dead serious book with no room for humor in it. Deadpool has become the clown prince of Marvel over the years and I wasn’t sure how he would fit into the story. But not to worry, Jonathan Maberry reminds us all that good old Deadpool can be a very effective hero if written correctly.

My only complaints would be with the art, the JRJR cover once again is uninspired and dull, it wouldn’t surprise me if people where passing on getting this book based of the artwork alone. Scot Eaton artwork still looks terribly dark, I don’t know who to blame for that, the inkers I guess. And there is a couple of double sized splash pages that are pretty poorly done and just seem like filler.

This is still the best mini Marvel is putting out this year so far, and with two issue left I am not sure why people would be bailing on it at this point.

Rating: ***½

THUNDERBOLTS #144
By Jeff Parker and Kev Walker

Jeff Parker is off to a good start with this latest issue of Thunderbolts, he gets the chance to put his new team together under the leadership of Luke Cage. I wasn’t too sure about the lineup for the new team when it was announced, but after reading this book I was a lot happier about the new team.

Jeff Parker took a page from one of my favorite movies, The Dirty Dozen, when writing the introduction for his new team. Much like that movie the pool of new members are all convicts, former criminals captured and being held in the Raft. Cage comes to each potential new member of the T-Bolts and has a little chat with them, trying to see what they are about and what it will take to get them to work along side him.

Some of the convicts are easier to recruit than others, former T-Bolts members Ghost and Moonstone seems more than happy to rejoin their old team with little convincing needed. Juggernaut just wants to get out of his cell and may or may not be a team player. Crossbones is just fucking nuts and I am still not sure why Cage would invite him on the team. Crossbones reminds me of ‘Maggot’ from the Dirty Dozen, you know he’s crazy, Cage knows he’s crazy, everyone knows he is going to have a meltdown at some point, but yet there he is on the team.

The most interesting new member is Man-Thing, Not really a criminal, but no one is really sure what to do with it. The government wants to destroy it, Hank Pym wants to save it, and Luke Cage is kind of stuck with it. Seeing how Parker writes Man-Thing’s interactions with it’s new teammates is something I am looking forward to.

To top everything off, Jeff Parker throws in a surprise ending that was a real shock to me, I didn’t see it coming, but I am not sure if I really liked it. After everything that Parker did setting up Cage and his new team, to have it end the way it did, kind of sucked to me. I don’t want the T-Bolts back under the leadership of Baron Zemo dammit. For now, I am going to call shenanigans on his return. I am hoping that this is just some sort of test .

Thunderbolt has the potential to become my favorite Marvel book this year, but we will see where Parker takes this story after this month’s cliffhanger.

Rating: ***½

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Comments
  1. Edward2962 says:

    I almost want to read T-Bolts just to see how they justify putting Man-thing on a super team.

  2. phil says:

    ‘bolts: I might pick up on the strentgh of seeing how they play Cage in this series. On its face it seems like a regression.
    DoomWar: Thats gonna be a challenge, seeing that I don’t particularly like Deadpool (understatement) DW is such a fantastic series that I’ll push past my dislike for this chacter and pick up DW anyway.
    B & B JMS = nuff said

    trimming the fat a bit, I.M.?
    Good stuff, musked one.

    • Deemar says:

      I don’t see Luke in T-bolts as much of a regession. More than any other hero it makes sense for him to be leading the T-bolts.

      • That’s how I feel D.

        J.

        • Deemar says:

          Hell his origin is born out of imprisonment and turning a new leaf

          • Ya, they bring that up in this issue. Bendis made me hate Luke Cage so much. In one issue Jeff Parker has already made Luke a very interesting character and someone I want to read more about. If you get a chance to pick this up D you should. I think you would like it. The Kev Walker art is some great stuff too.

            J.

            • Edward2962 says:

              Ouch,don’t get mad at me…I’m as disappointed with Bendis in the last few years as anyone,but I do think he helped raise the profile of some of the 70’s/80’s characters.There’s been what? 3 other Spiderwoman characters since J Drew? No one cared,but now she’s a player.He put Paladin in an issue of Daredevil.A guy who was in 1 issue of Marvel Premiere and 1 issue of Web of Spiderman 20 yrs ago?And White Tiger.

              Don’t get me wrong, I’m not happy about work BMB has done recently,although I will defend work he did in the early 2000’s.But I AM glad he helped bring Luke back to the the forefront of comics fandom.Fans were discussing who DC has been treating ethnic characters recently.Luke was the first black hero to have a comic named after him.

              Now,if only that Luke Cage film would emerge from development…

              • I do agree that Bendis HELPED raise the profile of Luke Cage but he didn’t do that character any favors other than that while he was writing him. I think a writer like Parker can raise Cage up to the level he deserves. Parker also made Paladin a much better anti-hero in Thunderbolts.

                Also, just to correct you, Paladin was in a few issues of the Todd McFarlane Amazing Spider-Man run and those were great. Paladin has also popped up here and there since then so giving Bendis credit for “reviving” that character is kinda BS. Just sayin’.
                J.

                • Edward2962 says:

                  I will concede the Paladin point.I haven’t seen the McFarland issues,so I literally hadn’t seen the character outside DD and then the Heroes for Hire thing couple yrs ago.My main point was that I’m glad Luke is a star again and I acknowledge that BMB was involved.Course, we could also give shout outs to Archie Goodwin,George Tuska, and Jo Duffy too,right? It’s all good.We all love Lucas…

                  Now,John Singleton! Where’s our movie?!

            • Deemar says:

              done and done

      • phil says:

        All I’m saying is having Cage’s beginnings being that of imprisonment (albeit a frame up) it’s a little much to have him as the leader of some “anti” heroes, where some of their motives for being on the team are suspect at best.

        And maybe I gave up on New avengers to quickly to see it (his progression, that is) but although he led an Avengers team, I didn’t see him take lead in any significant way. I’m not saying that he didn’t, but if he did…I must have missed those issues.

        To clarify; I did say “on the face of it”…I didd not state anything as an end all, be all. 🙂

        • Phil, Cage is great in T-Bolts. I think it will make him the leader he should have been in New Avengers. And hile I think Bendis just “liked” Luke you can tell Parker has respect for the character. I really think that T-bolts will make Cage a break out character this year. I know you are very down on a lot of things we like but you should give the book a chance. It may surprise you.

          J.

          • phil says:

            On being “very down”1 I believe having a differing opinion from time to time with those who like something I don’t like or someone disliking what I do like is not me being “down” on anyone. I just like whai like and vice versa.

            On being “very down”2 Invincible, DoomWar and Brave and the Bold are 3 comics that largely because of you and E that I actively buy, which I also believe somewhat diffuses your; I’m very down on Y’all stance.

            On giving T-bolts a chance: I pretty much stated at the beginning that I’d consider picking it up. While I know that that is not a guarentee, I do believe that fits the category of giving it a chance.

            • Believe me Phil, I do not in any way dislike you having a different opinion than mine. That’s the sort of thing I like about you guys. It was not meant in a negative connotation at all.

              J.

    • IronMuskrat says:

      Trying to practice on ‘getting to the point’=)

  3. phillip says:

    Lol I like the JRJR cover but . There has alays been something about his art style that I like

    • IronMuskrat says:

      His artwork is very hit or miss for me. Sometimes I like his stuff, other times he just doesn’t seem to trying.

      IM

  4. Deemar says:

    Spot on reviews Musky, Doomwar was definately my top read. Maberry is quickly becoming a favorite just a few months ago I’d have shunned his work, but now Maberry is good in my book.

    • IronMuskrat says:

      I will wait to see how he ends Doomwars first, if he pulls off a cool ending to this mini without stumbling I will definitely be buying more of his stuff in the future.

      IM

      • phil says:

        Dang! I went to my LCS last week….in part to pick up some back issues of Maberry’s BP but they didn’t have any. I was told that since DoomWar was running a bit behind, that Marvel wasn’t putting out recent back issues until DoomWar got back on track. Have you heard of such a phenomenon before?

        • What do you mean by “Marvel wasn’t putting out recent back issues”? I don’t understand.

          J.

          • phil says:

            I was gonna purchase some BP comics a while back because I liked what Maberry was doing on DoomWar and I was told since DoomWar was running a bit behind… that Marvel was holding up on releasinng anymore of the recent ongoing BP comics until DoomWar’s latest issue comes out.

  5. tomstewdevine says:

    Great reviews IM, 3 ***1/2 comics is a rarity. I haven’t read Brave and the Bold yet, but I liked Doomwar, and the T-Bolts ending I didn’t see coming at all, but I don’t think Zemo will be sticking around too long. If he has a small arc I think this will still be a good book.

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