Saturday, September 20, 2014

All-New X-Men #32

   I like a comic with a sense of humor, and this issue of the All-New X-Men splashes its all over the cover, which is a fun take on the classic issue that introduced Kitty Pryde (note Kitty looking annoyed next to the center circle).

   The interior of the comic is a bit more serious as the members of the original X-Men (except for Cyclops, who's off having fun in his own comic) and X-23 find themselves teleported somehow into unfamiliar - and sometimes deadly - settings around the globe.

   But there's more to it than that. As the guest star on the cover indicates, they're actually on an alternate Earth. The question is, how can they get back to their world?

   As always, the dialogue by writer Brian Michael Bendis is sharp, and I really like the artwork by Mahmud Asrar - his characters are expressive, the layouts are clever and the environments well crafted.

   This is shaping up to be a fun cross-over - though where it goes from here, I have no idea!

Grade: A-

-----------------------

Friday, September 19, 2014

Multiversity: Society of Super-Heroes #1

   I absolutely loved this issue.

   Titled Multiversity: Society of Super-Heroes, it seems to be a pulp hero version of the Justice Society, and you get the sense that (like me), writer Grant Morrison has great fondness for that team.

   It drops us into an alternate Earth as it faces an invasion from an alternate universe, and it's a battle of equals as the heroes try to stem the inexorable tide of evil.

   It's difficult to talk about, because each character intro (including the team's opponents) is a delight, and I don't want to ruin that.

   Of course, you can see Dr. Fate on the cover (in the issue he goes by "Doc" Fate), and there's a Blackhawk symbol there, too - but I'll say no more.

   The art by Chris Sprouse is wonderful - vibrant, powerful, with amazing layouts and great character designs.

   This is a series driven by imagination and a love of the vast mythology that the DC Universe rests on. It's wonderful to see it being mined to full effect!

Grade: A

---------------------------

Thursday, September 18, 2014

The Avengers #35

   What's up with the future?

   DC has turned its whole line over to Future's End (about which I know naught and could care less), and now the Avengers have leaped forward eight months into the future.

   I'm not sure why this has happened, but the story has enough mystery and mayhem to keep it interesting as the reader tries to catch up on events.

   It's interesting that a baby has entered the picture (doesn't that take more than eight months to assemble?), and we get our first look at the new, hammer-less Thor.

   The art is nice, but it's provided by a small army of pencilers and inkers, so it's a bit of a mixed bag.

   But the story continues to sizzle as the sides are drawn between groups of Avengers - and SHIELD takes an active role in solving the problem.

  The final-page reveal certainly sparks interest. Writer Jonathan Hickman is molding a big, worlds-shattering tale here, loaded with surprises and unexpected turns.

   Great stuff!

Grade: A-

------------------------                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The Classics - Tales of Suspense #78

   It's hard to believe that there was a time when neither Captain America or Iron Man had a comic book of his own.

   From their introduction (or re-introduction) in the early '60s through to the late '60s, they shared a single comic - the former monster comic re-purposed for the newly-popular genre of superheroes - Tales of Suspense.

   And I have to admit, I loved loved loved these "split comics." Part of the reason was that you got two different heroes for the price of one (even if each month's adventure was only 10 pages long).

   You were also getting some amazing talent. This issue from 1966, for example, includes the climax of Iron Man's first fight with the towering Ultimo (the pawn of the Mandarin). The climax of a tense (and seemingly hopeless) battle, it was written by Stan Lee and drawn by Gene Colan.

   The backup story has Captain America teaming up with Nick Fury in an incredible, ingenious battle to the finish with a powerful android. The creative team is Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, and it's the usual brilliant battle royal, loaded with more imagination than anything in recent memory.

   Eventually both Cap and Iron Man would get their own titles, they would become best friends - and worst enemies - but this was the breeding ground, where they first thrilled fans in these bite-sized adventures.

   Wonderful stuff. And each comic only cost a mere 12 cents!

   Them was the days!

Grade: A

--------------------------

New Comic Book Day

   Here's what I picked up today:

- Avengers #35 - A peek eight months into the future.

- Avengers World #13 - Battle around the world!

- Daredevil #8 - The Children of the Darned!

- Hulk #6 - Solving the gamma problem.

- Savage Hulk #4 - Facing the original X-Men.

- Multiversity: Society of Super-Heroes #1 - The heroes of the '50s who never were.

- Original Sin: Thor & Loki: The Tenth Realm #5 (of 5) - Meet your new sister!

- George Perez's Sirens #1 (of 6) - Time-spanning team of warrior women!

- Thor #25 - The last issue of Thor as a guy?

- All-New X-Men #32 - Welcome to the Ultimate Alternate universe!

- Uncanny X-Men #26 - Facing the most powerful mutant of all?

   And that's it!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Powers Bureau #11

   One thing you have to admit about the Powers Bureau series - you never know what to expect next.

   Even this new start to the series takes us quickly into unexpected directions.

   Creators Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Avon Oeming have taken the lead characters - Christian Walker and Deena Pilgrim - and have placed them in the FBI, investigating crimes that involve "Powers" (super-powered humans).

   A trip out to the west coast has landed them in a surprising conspiracy - and finds Walker in the fight for his life against the most unexpected foe of all.

   And then there's that finale, which promises to change everything yet again.

   This is not a series for everyone - it's dark, adult and brutal, but it's also smart and expertly crafted, mashing together the detective and police genre with the world of superheroes.

   It's strong on the grit, but powerful stuff.

Grade: A-

--------------------------

   

 

Monday, September 15, 2014

Death of Wolverine #2 (of 40

   For a series that wears its crassly commercial concept on its sleeve (or at least its title), Death of Wolverine is actually an entertaining comic.

   It doesn't hurt to have excellent artwork by Steve McNiven, who crafts an amazing world (and an impressive disguise for Logan).

   Wolverine is forced to travel to the other side of the world to confront his old enemy Viper, and the trick he uses to gain an audience with her is a clever one.

   There he'll meet more than one old foe and/or friend as the noose is drawn tighter around his now-vulnerable existence (thanks to the loss of his healing factor).

   It's a violent, brutal but clever story. Wonder how it'll all wrap up?

Grade: A-

-------------------    

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Hawkeye #20

   Not only has the Hawkeye comic been exceptional - you're actually been getting two stories for your investment.

   Half of the issues have focused on Clint Barton, the original Avenger known as Hawkeye, while the other have followed the adventures of Kate Bishop, who also goes by Hawkeye (having appropriated the name while Clint was apparently dead).

    This issue follows her attempts to deal with a twisted scheme by her bitter enemy, Madame Masque, which involves Kate being framed for murder, going undercover (while naked), uncovering some surprising facts and learning that the life of a private investigator isn't as easy as she expected.

   It's fast, funny and clever - in other words, business as usual for writer Matt Fraction and artist Annie Wu.

   The series manages an excellent balance between humor and action, with great characters and wonderful. expressive art.

   I'm running out of superlatives. Highly recommended!

Grade: A-

----------------------