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

Doomwar #6 (of 6)
By Jonathan Maberry and Scot Eaton

The conclusion of Jonathan Maberry’s excellent mini-series arrived this week and my LCS actually had a copy of it sitting on the shelf when I showed up this time, way to wait until the last issue to get your shit straight guys! Doomwar up to this point had been the best thing Marvel has put out this year, not that most people seemed to have noticed. Even Marvel seemed to have lost interest in this series after a few issues, their loss I guess. My biggest worry for this series is that the conclusion to the story would not live up to the setup. I mean, Doom is a major bad guy for any hero to handle and this time around old Doc Doom seemed to finally have the Black Panther and Wakanda’s number, it wasn’t looking good for T’Challa and the small band of heroes committed to stopping Doom.

Maberry does something interesting here to bring this series to an end. Early in this issue Doom’s final plan for taking over the world has finally come to fruition and he becomes more powerful than he has ever been before. Now, I was expecting either some sort of ‘Deus Ex Machina’ to arrive that would stop Doom this time around, all of Earth’s heroes show up to kick his ass or Mr. ‘Deus Ex Machina’ himself, Reed Richards, to invent some sort of secret weapon that would take him out. To my surprise Maberry has T’Challa make a very tough decision that will stop Doom’s plans for world conquest, but at the same time forever change the economic and political future of Wakanda.

At first I was like… “WTF is Mayberry doing here? He’s screwing Wakanda big time.” But after I thought about it I can see where Maberry is coming from here. Vibranium has always been a double edged sword for Wakanda and T’Challa, it did bring the country a measure of world power and prosperity, but it also attracted guys like Doctor Doom and other threats. I look forward to seeing how Wakanda finds it way in the world as a country without most of it’s Vibranium.

All in all, Jonathan Maberry brings this series to a surprising and satisfying end here, and I look forward to his future stories.

IronMuskrat’s Rating: ****

J.’s Two Cents Worth:

Just like last month and the month before I can not for the life of me figure out why other review sites are so down on this book. Since I can’t figure out where they are coming from I guess I should just take solace in the fact that we here at the CCW are not as ignorant as most.

What was it that turned other reviewers off about this book? Was it that it centers around the Black Panther and his sister Shuri? That Maberry uses boring ol’ politics and diplomacy to help end a villain’s tyranny? That it has superheroes acting like god damn HEROES for a change? That it has a large cast of strong, assertive, intelligent, ass kicking female characters?

This book has all of that and more. One other thing that this book has in spades is very well written and very strong dialog. The final speech that T’Challa gives to Doom right before metaphorically calling “checkmate” is something that a lot of comics as of late have been missing. It’s filled with what T’Challa has learned about himself, his friends and his own country over the course of this series and he is not ashamed to tell Doom that is was Doom himself who taught him these things.

Two more reasons reviewers may not have liked Doomwar’s conclusion was because
1. There is a perceived “Deus Ex Machina” used and 2. Nobody fucking died.

As for #1: well, it could been seen that way except that Maberry went into detail about what Shadow Physics is during the series. The plot device used to defeat Doom is not something that just appeared out of nowhere. It is something the theoretically had been discussed and is it really that hard to believe that T’Challa was ALWAYS one step ahead of Doom? That may be something that most fanboys just can not accept.

And #2: I guess now a days EVERY event has to have some sort of major, tragic death for the sake of tragedy, huh? Never mind that T’Challa DOES make a huge sacrifice but since it is one that is sort of intangible I guess it doesn’t count to most people.

I would normally ask “What more can I say about this book?” but I am sure I will think of more to say next week when we review this on CCW TV.

J.‘s Rating: ***½

Marvel Universe vs. The Punisher #1 (of 4)
By Jonathan Maberry and Goran Parlov

As the Doomwar mini-series ends, Jonathan Maberry brings us the first issue of his new Marvel limited series dealing with an end of the world scenario, staring everyone favorite vigilante, Frank Castle. As much as I enjoyed Mayberry’s Doomwar, I found myself a bit disinterested in this new series, it sounded a little too much like a cross between Marvel Zombies and 28 Days Later and I just didn’t see myself getting into another ‘Zombie’ story. Well, I was right and wrong.. I was right about this book being another story in the same vein of ’28 Days Later’ or ‘I am Legend’, Mayberry even try’s to preempt people from pointing out these obvious similarities by having Reed Richards explain in the comic why the events in that are occurring are not at all like ’28 Days Later’ Nice try Jonathan! =)

This really a case of style over substance, there is nothing really new story wise. It’s a pretty standard last man standing against hordes of zombies/infected people plot. The thing here is, Mayberry does a hell of a job writing this story, I still found myself getting drawn into this comic. The Punisher is the ultimate survivalist and it makes complete sense that he is still alive and kicking despite all of the super-powered crazies running around, and the plot twist about the origin of the plague is a nice touch that should lead to some awkward moments later on for the Punisher.

Goran Parlov’s art fits nicely with the story. I like his take on Frank Castle and his version of Marvel heroes gone crazy.

I really enjoyed this first issue despite my initially misgivings, this should be a fun little mini-series and it’s only four issues. Jonathan Mayberry is quickly moving up as one of my favorite writers at Marvel right now.

IM’s Rating: ***

J.’s Two Cents Worth:

Just Like Doomwar #1, MU vs. The Punisher #1 succeeds in doing what every first issue of a mini should do and that is give the reader all the important information they need to enjoy the rest of the series from here on out. That’s not to say that this first issue was not enjoyable but I think it’s main purpose is to let the reader in on what this “alternate Marvel U” is all about. The issue gives you a lot of expository dialog in the form of the Punisher’s “War Journal” but it never seems boring like most other book’s uses of “info dumps”.

Yes, this book is violent and yes, it does involve cannibalism but all of it was handled in a very mature and somewhat restrained way. It never felt gratuitous. Example: remember in Ultimatum when the Blob ate the Wasp? It was a full splash page and was one of the most unnecessary and vile things I had seen in a comic last year. In the first issue of MU vs. the Punisher, the Blob eats all of the patrons in a restaurant. That took up all of one panel and was drawn wonderfully subtle (as subtle a panel like that can be) by Goran Parlov. Showing the end result and leaving the actual carnage to the reader’s imagination is almost always the best way to go.

The twist toward the end of the issue as to who was actually responsible for the release of the plague was interesting and adds an intriguing dimension to this story overall. This sort of personal character tragedy is done very well while not being, again, gratuitous or exploitative at all.

Elliott and I will also be taking a closer look at this book next week.

J’s Rating: ***½

SHIELD #3
By Jonathan Hickman and Dustin Weaver

This is supposed to be a capsule review, so I won’t even attempt to explain the overall plot of Jonathan Hickman’s incredibly imaginative new series here. Just take my word for it that if your not reading this book right now, get off your ass and check it out, you won’t be disappointed.

One of things I love the most about Hickman’s writing here is the way he weaves real historical figures into his story of the origins of SHIELD. Issue number three switches from following Leonid and Leonardo da Vinci to focusing on the past and current leadership of SHIELD, especially Sir Isaac Newton’s rise to become leader of SHIELD. Newton is a pretty determined guy in his quest for power in this book and Hickman does a great job of showing Newton doing anything he can gather knowledge, and I do mean anything, even banging a hideous troglodyte woman, to get what he wants. Needless to say, after spending a couple hundred years acquiring all type of knowledge, both scientific and magical, Newton is more than a little bit unbalanced and it’s obvious that he is the reason that Night Machine and da Vinci have returned to destroy SHIELD.

I was worried that Hickman’s story would suffer when he got more specific with plot details and got away from the grand visions of wonder he was presenting in the first two books, but Issac Newton is a fascinating and formidable bad guy here and I look forward to seeing a throw-down between Sir Isaac Newton and Leonardo di Vinci! Now how many times can to say you saw that in a comic book.. good stuff!

IM’s Rating: ***

J.’s Two Cents:

I loved how on the variant cover for this issue Isaac Newton’s name was spelled “Issac.” Marvel editorial seriously needs to pulling their fucking heads out of their damn asses. It is just inexcusable and quite sad at this point.

J.’s Rating: ***

REBELS #19
By Tony Bedard and Claude St. Aubin

I know a lot of folks on the CCW site are starting to give up on this book and I can’t say I blame them. After the Starro invasion concluded the book seemed to drift around a bit trying to find a purpose. There was a lot of soap opera filler with people shacking up and generally a lot of bitching and complaining and not a lot of action. The book has righted itself in the last two issues and I think is heading back to what attracted people to this book in the first place, Brainiac! The last two issue have focused on this dysfunctional (murderous) family. Vril Dox is always at his best when he is running for his life and he gets that chance big time in this issue trying to keep both his father, Brainiac and his son, Lyrl, from killing him and enslaving Colu. The book ends with Vril making a deal with someone to save his ass that I think he will regret, but hey that never stopped Brainiac 2 before, has it.

I am still enjoying this book despite some rough patches in the past few months, but I do see the low sales figure for this title and I have to wonder how long this book will be around for.

IM’s Rating: ***

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Comments
  1. TheMSpot says:

    Yeah, I think what it is is not only Marvel zombies sexist they are racist. If the hero isn’t the prototypical white guy saving the day than how can it be any good. Anyway, great reviews and I can’t wait for the video reviews.

  2. Heck says:

    This is me giving a shit 😀

    That said, I agree with everything here. I think Marvel found a homeless man and cleaned him up and just use him to make people think that they actually have editors. Besides the glaring mistakes, Shield is a solid book. I can’t wait to grab the trade.

  3. MyComicLife says:

    Awesome review as always ironmuskrat, and its good to see u back doing this kind of reviews jose.
    otherwise i totally agree with everything you guys said. its really weird what other reviewers think about these books, especially over at IGN. They said that they were expecting total gore action from marvel u vs punisher, just becoz it has the premise of having zombies in it. They just want meaning less action in their stories. I think they were expecting it to be something like old man logan, come to think of it, this 1st issue of MU vs P, has more story than the entire run of old man logan.
    On the case of marvel editors, what more can i say. another good example of shitty editorial blunders is in avengers prime. The 1st issue had its share of continuity problems with the characters and costumes, then this one pulls off another one. Steve rogers suddenly changes his costume, and im definetly sure that bendis’s story about the whole asgard thing is totally contradicting what is happening at the current thor issues.
    will be looking forward to the CCW tv reveiws on the mayberry books.

  4. phil says:

    Rebels: Rarely have I been tempted to try something out because of the writer, but Bedard pretty much gets thumbs up no matter where I go. So color me interested.

    Shield 3: Well this is either make it or break it for me. On the surface I’ve had no real complaints about this series except one; “It doesn’t feel like a Shield book” It comes across to me like an experiment that if itS all it were it would be a definite get. As it stands if it conyinues with this Elseworldish vibe, then I think I’ll get off the train

    DoomWar: On this series… all I can say is, in for a penny, in for a pound. I’m definitely seeing this mini through. Jonathon Maberry is def one of my top 10 fave writers now, but I’m concerned with what I’ve “heard” you mention, I.M.
    If I read what you were saying correctly, Wakanda has been crippled. Wakanda and vibranium have been in some cases 2 words that were seldom spoken where 1 word wasn’t followed by the other. And if that’s the case… I really hope that Jonathon continues on with the BP comic to right the ship

    Punisher?Marvel U: I have the utmost respect foe J. Maberry’s talents but they’re zombies. Not since Shaun of the Dead have I been truly entertained by zombie product. Plus I’ve never liked the Punisher. Still I might give the 1st issue a shot to see if Jon has any more rabbits in his hat

  5. Pobra says:

    Holy shit, Jose’s writing reviews again!?
    I pretty much agree with everything you guys said, can’t wait to read Doomwar in trade.
    SHIELD is one of the most interesting and inventive mainstream books out right now. Anyone not reading it is missing out on something very, very special.
    M U Vs. Punisher may not be breaking any new ground but it promises to be a fun ride and is one of the better written zombie books marvel has ever put out. And it looks great.
    I may go out and pick up that issue of REBELS after all, based on this review.
    Nice work as always guys.

  6. Stamps says:

    Hey guys Great reviews. Nice to see you writing again Jose. Capsule reviews are one of my favorite features of the blog.

    So my shop was out of Doomwar. The other shop near me doesn’t have it either because they ran out as well. I’m thinking about not buying a copy online from TFAW and just waiting for the trade. I’m usually not a trade person at all but Doomwar is so good I’d actually buy the hardcover.

    I’d totally forgot that Mayberry was the one writing Marvel Universe vs. The Punisher. Mayberry has won me over with Doomwar so I’m going to pick the issue up this coming Wednesday. I fucking love zombies still so the Zombie thing is cool with me.

  7. The only book there that I read was Shield#3. I know all the other books are great, but I’m planning on waiting for them to show up cheaper.

    That variant cover was hilarious! That was my ‘lol’ moment of the day! Shield#3 was great. I’ll keep buying the book because I am loving the ideas Hickman is throwing at as and the art is amazing.

  8. Deemar says:

    Excellent reviews you two!

    Any haters of Doomwar shall feel CCW’s wrath.

    As for Doomwar #6, I liked the ending quite a bit, but man is Wakanda in a finacial pickle.

    I wonder if Maberry intent is to put Wakanda in dire straights like so many other African countries?

  9. Locusmortis says:

    Maberry’s comics are like rays of quality and excitement escaping from the black hole that is Quesadaland at marvel comics.

  10. Deemar says:

    Indeed locus

  11. TheMSpot says:

    How many novelist besides Maberry and Meltzer are there in comic books? And why does it seem like they can’t catch a brake?

  12. Venom829 says:

    The one thing that SHIELD #3 had that disturbed me was the scene with Isaac Newton having sex with a mystical creature. WTF was that?!

  13. I also loved Doomwar! I actually thought the damn thing was Epic! 🙂
    I reviewed the whole series along with scans you guys should check it out some time

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