Posts Tagged ‘REBELS’

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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Ironmuskrat does most of the heavy lifting in this Capsule Reviews post while I just pretty much throw in a quick two cents worth in an attempt to get back on the review wagon.

Rating System:
**** : Excellent
*** : Good
** : Fair
* : Poor
Zero : Horseshit

Avengers vs. Atlas #4 (of 4)

I have been really enjoying this mini from Jeff Parker and Gabriel Hardman. Nonstop action and lots of clever dialog from Parker, It was just a good old fashion, fun comic. However, I hate to say it, but the last issue was by far the weakest for me, not to say it wasn’t good, it just wasn’t as fun as the previous books. The big problem was Parker reached the end of the mini series and found himself having to explain just what the hell was going on in last four books. That lead to a lot of talking and not much action, with the brains of the Avengers and Atlas (Giant-Man, Marvel Boy) talking about the nature of the Temporal Virus and how to stop it, with everyone else just standing around looking on. It doesn’t help that our heroes are dealing with alternate time-lines and time travel, all things that don’t lend themselves to quick or easy explanations. I almost wish Parker had not made such an effort to tie the plot lines up and just left things to our imagination. Still, I enjoyed the series overall and I am looking forward the Atlas relaunch next month.

Rating: ** for this issue, **** for the series overall – IM

REBELS #15

This issue deals with the aftermath of the Staro invasion and finds Despero being hailed as a hero who stopped Staro. On the other, hand Vril Dox is vilified as the cause of the invasion in the first place. A pretty good issue that is mostly set up for future story lines. Dox has to find a new place to call home due to the fact everyone in that part of the galaxy wants to kill him, Staro finds that he still has allies loyal to him without being mind controlled and Starfire shows up to visit the Vega system and ends up making an amazing discovery. Tony Bedard writes some good moments here. One being where Dox is almost speechless that he isn’t being recognized as the hero he feels he is. And another where we see Starfire’s sadness at what happened to her home world and how much things have changed in Vega system. I guess the only part of the book I didn’t like was Staro’s fate, I sort of had to roll my eyes at that one, but I guess you can’t let a good villain go to waste. Oh! and I know how much you like redheads Jose and there is a very nice cheesecake shot of Starfire in this one from St. Aubin.

Rating: ** – IM

Brave and the Bold #33

I know I criticized JMS on the last issue of B & B for moving away from examining the inner thinking and personal conflicts of the heroes and sticking to a more impersonal storyline. I wanted to see into the minds of our heroes as they struggled to make tough choices about fighting crime and even about their own mortality. Well, all I can say is J. Michael Straczynski hits this one out of the park, he creates a powerful story about fate, love and trying to do the best thing you can to help someone even though you are helpless to really help them in the ways you wish you could. The story seems like a simple one, Zatanna convinces Wonder Woman and Batgirl (Barbara Gordon) to head out on the town for a girls night out. Zatanna has a secret motive for this night on the town however that will affect the life of one of our heroes forever. I won’t spoil the story if you haven’t read it yet, but JMS writes a story that is funny, sexy and terribly sad at the same time. This is by far my favorite Brave and the Bold story by JMS so far. Straczynski does in this issue what he has been excelling so far on his run on the Brave and the Bold, taking heroes and putting them in tough spots and letting the readers follow along as our heroes agonize over life changing decisions. No Jesus Saiz this week, but Cliff Chiang has a somewhat similar style and does a good job bringing this story to life. I don’t know what else to say about this book, it really knocked my socks off.

Rating: **** -IM

Joe the Barbarian #4

Well, we are at the halfway point here on Grant Morrison mini and I can honestly say I am still not sure what is going on… well, that is not entirely true. This issue actually explains pretty much everything that is going on with Joe and the two worlds he finds himself bouncing between. I guess I should say I don’t care about the overall plot right now because I am so fascinated by the world that Morrison has created here and the very cool characters that inhabit it. Sean Murphy does such an amazing job on the art I find myself getting lost in the beauty of his artwork. I think this a case where the fantasy world Joe finds himself swallows the storyline whole and makes it take a backseat to the visuals. I don’t want to sell Morrison short on his storytelling, but right now I find myself appreciating the artwork more than what is going on with Joe’s personal life or the whole forces of good battling a rising evil that threatens the land storyline. I know I will go back and reread the whole series after all eight issues come out and pay more attention to the story. For now I will be content with visions of aerial battles with flying stingrays and a Leonardo Di Vinici flying machine.

Rating: *** – IM

American Vampire #2

I told myself ‘No more vampires!’ I am so tired of them and all the Emo crap that seems to be attached to them these days. Pop culture in the past 20 years have cut the nuts off of the once proud creatures of darkness and turned them into fodder for silly teenager dramas. But I can admit that American Vampire comes out of the gate firing on all cylinders. I like the way Scott Snyder and Stephen King are taking a genre that I thought was played out and breathing new life into it. Vampires are back to being brutal killing machines that not only want to drink your blood, but they want to take your money too while they’re at it. Most of the vampires so far appear to be of European origin and want to forge a business empire in the United States. The star of this book so far is Skinner Sweet, he appears to be the first American born vampire created by accident and is very different from his European counterparts. For one thing they hate each other with a passion and Skinner appears to working against their interests in America. That is not to say he is a hero, Sweet is a murdering, amoral outlaw at heart and his motives for his actions are not clear at this time, but I doubt he is acting out of any kindness in his heart.

Once again the book is split into two parts, that take place about 40 years apart. The first story is written by Scott Snyder. Snyder’s story once again deals with a young actress named Pearl, who finds herself surviving (or not surviving) a feeding frenzy from our European Vamps. She is helped by Skinner Sweet, for reasons that are unknown at this time. The second story is by Stephen King and deals with the early days of Skinner Sweet life as a new created vampire. Scott Snyder again has the better of the two stories this time around, but in King’s defense he is left with mostly the background story of Skinner to write and I get the feeling King’s half of the story will start to get better as he fills in more details of Sweet’s life. Rafael Albuquerque does a very job as the artist on this book, bring the story to life and making the vampires (especially Skinner) savage creatures that jump out at you from the page. I will be certainly be picking this book in the future to see just what that evil little shit Skinner is up to.

Rating: *** -IM

Brightest Day #0

Not a very good start. The Hawkman and Hawkgirl dialogue alone almost killed this issue for me. Maxwell Lord making (almost) everyone on the planet forget about him and what he did? Really? Didn’t DC already do a mind wipe story this decade? And Hawk is now DC’s version of Wolverine?

I did like the Martian Manhunter scene as well as the Jade/Kyle Rayner bit. I am really interested in knowing who wrote what in this issue between Geoff Johns and Peter Tomasi. The art was decent enough.

Rating: ** -J.

Doc Savage #1

How this comic got the “OK” to be published mystifies me. This is the first issue to a new series for a character that most new readers aren’t familiar with so it should be solid right from the get go. At times it felt that the dialog presented on certain pages didn’t really correspond with anything that was going on and it really was just a jumbled, unreadable mess. And what the hell happened to Howard Porter’s art? He is much better than this. I think I’ll just stick with the main First Wave book for now.

Rating: ½* – J.

Flash #1

Now this was a surprise. After not being very impressed with the cliché ridden Flash: Rebirth and not being a very big fan of Francis Manpul’s art I was expecting to completely dislike this book. That did not happen. This issue was a fun read and Manapul’s art suited it very well. Johns does a good job of (re)introducing the supporting characters for this title as well as keeping a good pace to the story. And the 25th century’s version of the Rogues? Did not see that coming and I thought it was pretty cool.

How can this be? I enjoyed a Geoff Johns book? I thought I was supposed to hate him (according to some CCW viewers)?

Rating: *** – J.

Ultimate Comics Avengers #6

For fuck’s sake. After five and half issues of nonstop killing, implied sexual assault and a baby getting thrown out a window Mark Millar expects readers to sympathize with the Red Skull? Yes, apparently the Red Skull just wanted the Cosmic Cube so he could use it to go back into time and make sure Steve Rogers (his daddy) came back home from World War II so he could have a family and a happy childhood.

This has got to be the most ridiculous, lazy ass storytelling I have seen in quite some time. At no point in the entire series did the Skull come off as being conflicted about what he was doing. At no point did the reader want to feel sympathy for this character. But on his death bed he lays out what his true intention was all along and the reader is supposed to just fucking buy it? And then if the reader does sympathize with the Skull and believes “Gee, I guess me wasn’t a bad guy after all” Millar has the Red Wasp shoot him in the head, killing him. “But he just misunderstood this whole time! You didn’t have to kill him, you bitch!“ might think said reader. WTF.

Again, tragedy is being forced into a story to get the reader to empathize (right before smacking them in the face mind you) without any substance or context. The decent (if not at times just painfully boring) art of Carlos Pacheco helps this comic gain a half star.

Rating: 1/2* – J.