Posts Tagged ‘Jonathan Maberry’

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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: ***

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

Ok, this is really only one email and not multiple emails like the title of the post suggests so sue me. Every week I email IronMuskrat to see what books he bought and whether or not he’d like to do a review for us. Before I even got the chance to email him this week though I found this waiting for me in my inbox. I thought it was entertaining and informative enough that I would make a post out of it (with some minor editorial edits and changes) and share it with all of you. -J.

Subject: Preemptive Strike
From: IM
To: J.

Jose!

Just picked up a few books today and thought I would do a preemptive strike and tell you what I thought about them before you sent me a email.

Doomwar #1 – yeah I know this one is old news, but I really felt the need to go back and get it to fill in all the details that left me scratching my head reading issue two. First of all, since when is a variant cover just the original cover in black and white? JRJR original cover was bad enough in color, but in black and white it is undecipherable. Cover aside, it was a very strong issue that did fill in a lot of details that made reading issue two a lot more enjoyable. Mayberry writes a very strong story, one that you really do need to read from the beginning, I have a feeling the whole series will be like this, this event isn’t one where a casual reader will be able to jump into at any point. The art by Scot Eaton was good, but the inks are very dark throughout the book, almost to the point where I felt I had to put some light on it to see all the details. But overall I agree with you and Elliott, this is the best new series of the year so far.

Detective Comics #863- A very interesting issue, although I feel that in the end , not a very successful one. Both Batman and Batwoman are hunting different killers that appear to be almost identical in behavior and the type of crimes they are committing. Their investigations run parallel to one another and are (again) almost identical in method and how they turn out, although they never meet or appear to connect with each other in any way. I guess that my biggest issue was with the story. Both stories are so similar that it seems a bit redundant to me and since neither Batman and Batwoman ever interact in this book, I don’t really see the point of the two stories being included together. I think Rucka has done a very strong job filling out Batwoman as a strong character and a hero, it seems silly to do a side by side comparison to show just how similar she is in methodology and ability to Batman. This story was pretty good, but in the end I felt a little insulted at the idea that Rucka felt the need to show me just how similar Batwoman is to Batman in such a heavy handed way.

Now the second feature was much better experience for me, I really have been enjoying the Question /Huntress stuff and this issue is no exception. I will avoid any hysterical ‘The Question needs her own book!’ talk. But as a backup feature in Detective Comics it is a joy to read and when Vandal Savage shows up at the end I did get a little surprise and a chill up my spine that I did not get from the main feature.

And there was a Flash preview that I didn’t give a shit about, sorry, never been a big Flash fan.

Fantastic Four #577- I have to give Hickman credit, he is taking his time with this story and doesn’t seem to be giving a shit about losing any attention deficient fanboys who might be incapable of following along for the long haul without a baby being thrown out a window or a woman being abused or killed. I did have a hard time following along with this issue, the learning curve this time around is steep and I will probably be spending a little time on Wikipedia tonight researching some of the stuff that was going on here. My biggest complaint with this story arc so far is I am starting to wonder if this is really a Fantastic Four story? For the most part the FF have been spectators in everything that has happened up to this point. Something happens, the Fantastic Four show to investigate what is happening and they spend the rest of the issue watching events unfold or having things explained to them. The FF just seem to be very passive so far up to this point, not really acting on the events that are unfolding around them. The cliffhanger at this end of this issue was very cool and should spell the end of the Fantastic Four being tourists in this whole story arc and taking a more proactive role in dealing with what is happening on the Earth and on the Moon. Eaglesham’s art is very solid as usual, but I did notice he is drawing the same ‘Reed Richard’ type face on a couple of different characters. No biggie though…

I really like what Hickman is doing here, but I just want to see more from the Fantastic Four other than them standing around looking like tourists.

Blackest Night #8- Shit what can I say about this book? It was a disappointment for sure, but I am still trying to pin down the biggest source of my disappointment. I mean the book is filled with a lot of cool individual moments, John’s is the master of writing WTF moments that make comic fans squeal with glee and Reis’ art is top notch as usual. So why did I feel so disappointed at the end of this event?

1. That’s enough Geoff Johns!

Johns spends way too much time here jerking off the fanboys and not enough time explaining what the fuck is going on, that’s cool up to a point. But John’s is like that person who is trying to give you the best blowjob ever, but they spend way too much time doing a bunch of silly shit that feels good but does nothing to finish the job, in the end you just want to tell them to stop fucking around and just put it in their mouth. Ok, that was a little graphic, but John’s basically spent two issue putting Sinestro out there as a White Lantern to rile up the fanboys, only to unceremoniously dump him when he wanted to move on to other cool moments. You have to ask yourself, why even make Sinestro a White Lantern if it did nothing to move the story along or do anything to resolve the event?

2. Black Hand did what?

Ok, so Black Hand is the anchor for Nekron and when his link is severed Nekron cannot exist on Earth. So why exactly does all of those White Lantern rings start coming out of his mouth when he is brought back to life? Is he now the anchor for the White Entity? I mean even though William Hand is brought back to life, he is still a crazy fucker with a huge hard on for death. This might be something of nitpick, but it goes to my third point.

3. Nothing is resolved or explained.

Nekron is sent back to the corn field but otherwise unharmed or dealt with. Black Hand is still alive, but held by the Indigo tribe. The Anti-Monitor is back, along with a whole bunch of heroes and villains. Barry Allen and Hal Jordan even have a conversation at the end of the book basically saying nothing has been resolved or explained.

You know after almost a year of the Blackest Night event, I would expect a little resolution to everything that has happen. Instead we just get what amounts to a huge reset button, I really thought Johns was going to do something really deep here, exploring the nature of death in the DC universe or the lack of anything resembling a permanent end for characters who die and come back, sometimes multiple times. Instead we get what looks like a cheep stunt for a wholesale resurrection of DC characters who have died over the years, free and clear, with no attempt to explain what happened. Instead of Blackest Night giving some clarity to the DC Universe it has just made things even more confusing and I am pretty sure that was not the original intention.

IronMuskrat

Just a few quick notes here:

CCW Chew Contest:

If you have not entered our contest for a chance to win a copy of the breakout sensation comic known simply as Chew today is the last day to do so. What the hell are you waiting for!? Check out the details two posts down from here. These comics are signed and personalized to the CCW Nation by John Layman himself. We did you a favor by having him sign these comics so you wouldn’t have to go through the displeasure of actually meeting him in person. You’re welcome.

Our Doomwar #1 Review:

This review of ours made the rounds on the CBR Black Panther boards and for the most part the reception was quite positive. Thanks to those individuals who posted those links. The best part? Johnathan Maberry himself left us a great comment on the video’s board. You can check out that video review here.

Variant Girl:

VG’s comic blog is up and running again. Please do yourselves a favor and check out her new reviews. Wondering what a fangirl’s thoughts are on Marvel’s new Girl Comics #1? Click here to find out.

Gail Simone to Leave Wonder Woman:

And now for the worst comic news I have heard all week: It looks like Simone will be stepping down as writer of Wonder Woman after issue #600. Not very happy about this. I was quite looking forward to her and Nicola Scott having a lengthy Wonder Woman run together but I guess that’s just not going to happen. If DC made this choice in order to make room for Grant Morrison on the book I really don’t know if that will sit well with me. We shall have to wait and see. You can read Gail Simone breaking the news here.

No New CCW*TV Next Week:

Unfortunately we won’t be able to tape any new segments tomorrow. Elliott has a prior engagement to attend so he is the person to blame (doesn’t feel nice to thrown under the bus does it E.?). Because of this I (like I mentioned a couple of days ago) will try to post some more reviews for this week’s books on here. I hope that me posting more reviews will make up for the fact that Elliott clearly just doesn’t care about you guys.

J.

I thought I would post this review up here for those of you who don’t normally get over to our you tube channel. This is one of the best Marvel books I have read this year and it deserves a lot more attention than it is currently receiving regardless what other review sites are saying about it. Over at CBR a book like Ultimate X gets a 4 1/2 star rating while Doomwar only deserves 2 1/2 stars? Ya, it is all a matter of opinion but still, I personally get the feeling that something is just not right over there. The quality and craft of these two books are clearly night and day and I just can’t understand how some people (whose JOB it is to review books mind you) can not see that unless they are making a conscious choice not to.

I know it may not be professional to talk shit about other review sites but how unbiased can those other sites really be? They count on high profile creators to give them interviews and “exclusive” news to garner their site more attention and to keep those site hit counts rising. When it comes time to be critical of those same high profiles creator’s work how does it not effect one’s review of that material?

One of the things that I believe has struck a chord with our audience is that our reviews and opinions can been seen as being completely honest. We do not owe anybody anything except to be completely truthful. That frame of mind and what I would like to think we stand for obviously has a polarizing effect but I really think it does mean more for those of you who get where we are coming from.

I know that every time I film a segment with Elliott or write a review for this blog you will always get my honest opinion. The day that I feel the need to censor my opinions for the benefit of others is the day I will stop being a part of the CCW.

J.