Archive for the ‘Marvel’ Category

Omega: The Unknown

July 18th, 2008 by Stephanie

OmegaUnknown2.jpgI went into the local comic book shop in Norwood, Massachusetts and said “teenaged superheroes.” After shoving copies of Runaways and a few other interesting series in my hands, one of the customers there suggested Omega: the Unknown by Jonathan Lethem, with art by Farel Dalrymple. I’m coming in at the second issue (2 of 10), so I feel a little bit like I’ve missed some Very Important Stuff (involving robots, trauma, and a hospital bed), but I caught the gist of it about halfway through.

This poor geeky kid Alex, with the burns on his hands and the trauma in his face is having his whole life tossed upside down. Robots fight in the street outside his new home, and there’s this weird dressed-in-cape “blue guy” who keeps hovering nearby (and getting the snot kicked out of him, I might add).

Meanwhile, the local superhero legend The Mink is so full of his own celebrity, it’s impossible not to detest him a little. As soon as he starts pounding on mute guy, of course, we really hate him.

Our mute hero (who may or may not be Omega– it’s unknown!) reminds me of a borderline autistic adult. In addition to the muteness, he seems overall not to connect with other people, and he behaves in those strange ways that I recognize in folks in the spectrum. And yet, he does not seem to be a robot– after all, there are robots in this episode, and he’s not like them. He’s drawn intelligently– there’s no doubt he can put up a fight, but he is helpless in the realm of interacting with people. I like my comics to teach me something about being human, and this hero does that by the nature of his outsidedness.

In summary: robots. Autistic superheroes. Jerks we can’t stand. A very confused and traumatized teen. I realize the series is over (ha! I don’t have to wait!) and will be collected and published this October. I think I’ll go along for that ride.

Angel: Revelations “Senior Year” Book one of Five The Annunciation

June 10th, 2008 by Martin

I picked this up solely for the art. The characters have a very stylized and elongated look. Almost cartoonish, but too realistic to be lumped into that category. The issue starts (and almost ends) with a scene where a minister visiting a house where a daughter is experiencing the stigmata, and she has visions, visions of a boy who is getting wings. The main story is about the boy, whose name is “Warren Worthington the Third”, and he’s clearly going to sprout wings any day now. That’s about all I can say, because that’s about all that happens. There is a disturbing end to this otherwise fairly innocuous comic. There are also lots of religious overtones. The story is clearly incorporating elements from the christian mythos.

So far: Interesting. I’m reserving judgment until I’ve had a chance to read more, but I do really like the art. I’m not terribly familiar with the x-men character, but this is a re-telling of his origin.

Star Wars: A Long Time Ago… Vol. 1

June 6th, 2008 by jason

Years ago, before I got back into Doctor Who fandom, I was pretty hardcore about Star Wars. My brother and I collected the toys, the books, the comics, but my interest petered about halfway through the Jedi Acadmey trilogy and the Dark Empire II comics. I also started back with Doctor Who collecting. Meanwhile, my brother has taken the Star Wars fandom to a higher level, continuing to by the books and getting some Star Wars tattoos.

Fast forward to now, and I’m looking through the trade paperback section at the library, and I decide to not just pass over the Star Wars collections, but actually look at them this time. The one that really caught my eye is a collection of the Marvel Comics Star Wars books. The Central Library had Volumes 6 and 7, but I was able to request Vol. 1, which I started reading yesterday.

Reading the initial six comics which were the adaptation of the 1977 movie brought me back to being a new comic fan in the ’70s. The adaptation is very faithful, but adds in the missing scenes that weren’t seen until decades later, the ones with Biggs and Jabba on Tatooine. I’m really grooving on Howard Chaykin’s art, thinking about how it’s changed over the years from this to the square jaws and huge racks in his recent run on Hawkgirl. It’s more subtle here, but again faithful to how the film looked.

As far as Roy Thomas’s writing, I’m still in the original adaptation, and haven’t yet gotten to the new stories. I remember loving them as a kid, but we’ll have to see how they hold up. I look forward to revisiting this part of my youth, and then maybe checking out some of the newer Star Wars comics.

Captain America: The Death of Captain America

June 5th, 2008 by jason

I’d already read Captain America #25, the one that was in the news last year covering the death of Captain America. Maybe I should’ve put a spoiler warning there, but really, it was on all the news channels, and even in the New York Times. This hardcover opens up with issue 25, and has the subsequent five issues as well. Basically, this is Captain America without Captain America. It deals with all the aftermath of his death, the wake, how his friends, and fellow super-heroes are dealing with the tragedy. I’m currently on issue 27, with Bucky trying to reclaim a certain item being held in custody. I’ve heard that many people feel the Captain America series got a lot better after Steve Rogers died. While these stories are entertaining, and I’m intrigued with where things are going with it, I’m not interested enough to read it outside of the trades, and those when they are available by the library.

Fantastic Four/Iron Man: Big in Japan (2005)

June 1st, 2008 by Martin

This was absolutely brilliant. I loved how much humor there was in this, both in the artwork (giant monkey peeling a subway car like a banana!?) and in the fabulous writing. The overall plot was totally captivating and hysterical; the premise being that Japan’s giant monster problem has pretty much been eliminated by the proliferation of super heroes in the 20th century, so they’ve created a “Tokyo Giant Monster Museum and Expo Center” to commemorate. The Fantastic Four and Iron Man have been invited to the opening ceremonies, but wouldn’t you know it, their tour is interrupted by… you guessed it! …an attack by more giant monsters!

I have one other comic collection drawn by Seth Fisher (Green Lantern: Will World), and Big In Japan has now solidified my love for his cartoony surrealist style. I was extremely saddened to learn in the beginning pages of this comic that he died near the beginning of 2006. Apparently this was the last comic that he worked on. Look for my review of another of Seth Fisher’s creations, Batman: Snow in the near future.

I strongly recommend Big In Japan, as it more than transcends its silly superhero origins, and becomes a story of cosmic comic importance. The back of this trade paperback has like fifteen pages of artist notes, and a bunch of sketches and other cool stuff. (Including an entire issue of another Seth Fisher drawn comic called Fanboyz, which is sort of like Jackass meets spider man.) Good stuff.

Secret Invasion #2

May 21st, 2008 by Martin

Mike bought the new Secret Invasion #2 this week, and I read his copy while we recorded the podcast tonight. Neither of us thought very much of it.

First of all, whoever drew the sentry’s butt in that first standoff page should be shot. There are other “bad butts” in the issue also, including Emma Frost’s and a very shadowy Wolverine. On the other hand, Sentry was drawn with quite a large “package”.

This is a big ‘ole review full of spoilers. Go get your copy of Secret Invasion #2, then come back here and finish reading this post.

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Ultimate Iron Man, by Orson Scott Card (Vol. 1)

May 18th, 2008 by Martin

At first, this seemed like a win-win read for me. It’s Orson Scott Card, who I genuinely think is a good writer (although I have less and less respect for him as a person), and it’s in one of those parallel universes so I don’t really have to know anything about Iron Man cannon to enjoy it. I also (mistakenly) assumed that a relatively thick, hardcover collection would contain a whole story… but no, this ends with a cliffhanger.

I did really enjoy about the first half of the book, as I dug the blue armor stuff, and got into seeing the young Tony Stark interact with a young James Rhodes at prep school, but I couldn’t believe how dark the story got when Obadiah was introduced. Right off the bat he’s killing other children and plotting against Tony. It was relatively disturbing. So by the time I got to the end of the book, I was ready to be done with it. But then the story doesn’t end. I haven’t decided if I’ll read the rest of the series. I’ve seen Ultimate Iron Man II on the shelves, and I’ll admit if this had been better, I’d be tempted, but based my level of enjoyment here, I’ll probably hold out for library copies of the whole series.

Iron Man #47 – “The Birth of the Power!” (1968)

May 12th, 2008 by Martin

I’ll admit that the movie made me do it. I decided I wanted to read some Iron Man. I never have before, and I didn’t know if it made sense to start at the beginning, so I just decided to see what was at the library, and read some of that. There I found the collection The Many Armors of Iron Man, which starts with this comic, Iron Man #47.

Much to my surprise, when I cracked open the TPB, I discovered that this is the comic that tells the first part of the story from the movie! I looked for some sign that the trade was simply a movie tie in, but I didn’t see any. I’m sure I could probably dig online here and find some indication of whether this book was published before or after the script for the movie, but it probably doesn’t matter. It tells Iron Man’s “origin story”, so it’s a natural choice to base a movie after.

I quickly finished the comic, and now I’ll give you my impressions. (Note: SPOILERS AHEAD!)

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My favorite not actually a comic book, comic book stuff

May 9th, 2008 by Susie

I love comic books, that is pretty obvious, but I think I may like these things even more.

 

1) Marvel/DC  

No I am not talking about the rival comic publishers, or their occasional cross company crossovers.  I am talking about the youtube webseries starring action figures of both companies most popular characters.  It started as a parody of, the hi I am a mac and I am a PC comercials.  And it was funny.  Superman played the uptight PC role and Spiderman was the laid back Mac. It worked as a parody of the comercial as well as poking fun at the characters and their respective companies. Observe

Marvel/DC#1

It is clear that the creator Some Random Guy, has a deep affection for the characters he has borrowed. As the series progressed more characters were worked in and the format shifted from the mac ads formula to a narrative.  The Universe threatening crisis that concluded the first season was far more exciting and engaging to me than anything being published by either company right now.  The second season Marvel/DC: Happy Hour has just started.  I must admit I was more giddy about this than about the upcoming release of the Dark Knight.

 

2) Year One 

This webcomic strip is currently on a long term hiatus, presumably so Matt Parkinson the creator can find work that will pay.  The archive is definitely worth taking a look at.  The first month or two of strips can be skipped unless you want to see how far his skill as a stripist(?) stripper(?) progressed.  The premise is simple, all the marvel characters are children that go to school together. The charecthers are pretty adorable my favorite being the hyper and a bit dimwitted Speedball

Sometimes the strips are simple gags like Beast from X-Men morphing into Cookie Monster at the sight of a plate cookies.  Other times they are dissections of the often ridiculously complicated Marvel continuity.  Here is a strip featuring  the kids from the school across the road.

 

 

3) Cat Tales.  This a long runing series of fanfiction.  There are currently 5 books and at least 2 spinoff projects.  So far I have only read the first seven chapters of book one.  It centers around a relationship between Batman and Catwoman, but whole batcast is featured.  It is very well written and a pretty funny and compelling look into their heads.  IUt also is conveniently available to download in PDF, making it easy to transfer to portable devices.

So that is it, my favorite comic related stuff.  Ooooh!  One more.  Larry Niven’s essay Man Of Steel, Women of Kleenex.  It was written in the seventies and deals with the problematic realities of procreation for Superman and Lois Lane. It’s funny y’all.  It was collected in his short story collection All the Myriad Ways.

Podcast #003 – We Saw Iron Man!

April 30th, 2008 by Martin

Join us for our third podcast in which we record from an AMC theater while waiting in line for a sneak preview of the new Iron Man film. At the end of the podcast, we also record our impressions after the film, but there are loud spoiler warnings ahead of that in case you don’t want to hear about it before you’ve seen it. (They are relatively minor spoilers, but we do end up discussing and giving our impressions of the final scene in the movie.)

We had a larger cast than usual as we discuss our limited knowledge of Iron Man, the sneak preview, various other movies, LifeLock (identity insurance), The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, our final impressions of the movie, and try to answer the burning question: How many costumes has Iron Man worn?

Notes: The podcast also features some musical clips from “Iron Man” by Black Sabath, and what I believe to be a band called Giant Sand covering said classic track. (The latter via Cover Freak.) This is our first real editing job here at Read Comics, so we hope you enjoy it. The speaking portions of this comic were recorded on Marty’s iPhone, which was a gift from his lovely wife and fellow podcaster, Florence. Also, big thanks to everyone we interviewed (badly) in line for the movie. If you’re reading this, leave a comment, cause you were awesome!

Listen to ReadComics Podcast #3 – We Saw Iron Man! (35 min, 16 MB)

Also, go see Iron Man, it was absolutely brilliant!!! (SERIOUSLY!!!!)

Secret Invasion #1 (minor spoilers discussed)

April 6th, 2008 by Michael

It ain’t a secret anymore.

Apparently it’s been four years in the making.  We were hit with the opening salvo a year ago in the form of an Skrully Electra.  And now it’s here.  What has been a really satisfying slow build up has now exploded into an intense, in-your-face declaration of war.  I enjoyed the first issue, but at the same time, I kinda wish we could go back to the prelude.

Part of the reason for this is that the title Secret Invasion is a bit of a misnomer.  It really isn’t a secret anymore…it’s a full out invasion.  While Tony Stark, Hank Pym, and Reed Richards are investigating why the Skrulls are invisible to any detection powers, SHEILD tracks a Skrull transport that crash-lands in the Savage Land, and Iron Man’s Avengers go to investigate.  Except Luke Cage’s team of renegade Avengers decide to steal their Quinjet so they can get there first.  This delays Iron Man’s team all of three minutes and they have a stand off in front of the transport.  Then all hell breaks loose as the Skrulls attack at several strategic locations across the globe, each with a cultish “He loves you” mantra.

I had to read this twice to decide if it was a good issue or not.  What I liked about the months leading up the event (dubbed Secret Invasion: The Infiltration) the suspense of not knowing who was a Skrull and who wasn’t, how long they’ve been masquerading as our heroes, how long they’ve been here, how many there are, and what happened to the heroes they’ve replaced.  Those questions are quickly tossed out the window, and while we are not given the answers, they’re replaced with a flurry of battles, double crosses, and surprise reveals (and some not all that surprising).  I felt it was too much for the introductory issue of the event.  Despite all this, it was fun if a bit rushed.  I still really don’t like Leinil Yu’s artwork…the lines are too heavy, the proportions off, the action sequences are sloppy, and his females all look like Aunt May on Halloween.  Look at the attack on the Black Widow…probably one of the most sloppy representations of Spidey’s webs that I’ve ever seen.

Final word: it’s a good, if not great, opening that makes me intrigued for the rest of the series.

Graphic Adaptations of Fantasy Novels

April 4th, 2008 by jason

The Hedge Knight, TPBMy friend and fellow author on here, Mike, has been after me to read George R. R. Martin’s “Song of Ice and Fire” novels for some time now, and I haven’t shown much interest. I’ve found that I’m not really a fan of high fantasy that much, preferring the humourous fantasy novels of Pratchett. I’ll even admit that I didn’t really enjoy the Lord of the Rings movies. Much like Matt Fraction’s opinion, if you put an elf on a horse, I’m falling asleep. Oddly enough, I remember enjoying reading the Dragonlance novels as a teenager; I wonder what I would think if I picked one up now.

While doing my regular perusal of the graphic novels section at the library, I came across The Hedge Knight, co-produced by the Dabel Brothers and Marvel, along with Raymond Feist’s Magician: Apprentice Vol. 1. I figured that I’d give them a shot, and if I wasn’t into it after the first issue of the collections, I’d just return them unfinished. Colour me surprised. Both The Hedge Knight and Magician: Apprentice were very enjoyable, with the former not really having any true fantasy elements, and instead being more a tale of knights, heraldry, and tournaments. The latter was closer to what I think of as high fantasy, with wizards, firedrakes, and trolls, adding in the regency of the medieval era. Having not read the originals, I can’t speak to how well they were adapted, but the stories were compelling in their own right. There was adventure, humour (though not the broad humour of Pratchett), both were about young heroes in the making.

Mike Miller’s art in The Hedge Knight conveys broad-shouldered knights quite well, although everyone seems to have a very youthful appearance, even the older men. Brett Booth’s art for the first three issues of Magician: Apprentice also worked for me, better than his similar work for Anita Blake: Guilty Pleasures, also from Marvel and the Dabel Brothers. Booth draws pretty men. Extremely pretty men. Painfully pretty men, but likewise his representation of Anita makes her look less like an executioner and more like an ingenue. That same innocence works very well on Pug, the young student magician. The last three issues were drawn by Ryan Stegman, who is billed in the back as an “emerging artist”. I didn’t dilike his art, but the transition between the two styles was jarring, particularly since the transition took place during a cliffhanger. His character designs are so different that it’s hard to think of them as the same people. The linework is also much thicker than Booth’s making the transition that much harder.

Anita Blake Vampire Hunter: Guilty PleasuresNot exactly fantasy, but still by Marvel and the Dabels, Laurell K Hamilton’s Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter: Guilty Pleasures didn’t keep me as entertained as the other two collections, but I had read the original work years ago. It seemed pretty faithful, in that I’m still not sure if Hamilton is writing a romance, a horror, or a detective novel. Art is by Booth, as I said above, and he draws incredibly sexy male vampires. Long and lanky with cascades of hair, I’d say he’d be an ideal candidate for the Queeries category of “Best Non-Queer Artist Who Draws Awesome Male Asses”, but he generally draws more front views than rear.

After reading these collections, I’d like to think that I’m more inclined to read the original works, but I have a feeling that I’m more likely to read more graphic adaptations than check out the text only versions. Maybe if I get that Kindle, I’d load one up on it, but I can’t see myself carrying one of Martin’s tomes with me. As far as sequels to these collections, I know that the Anita Blake series is being continued, but with the Dabel Brothers being split from Marvel, I’d imagine the future of the other series is more unsure. I believe Marvel retained the rights to the licenses so I guess it’s all up to how sales figures worked for Marvel.

Upcoming Comic Book movies

March 21st, 2008 by Rurik

There are quite a few movies coming out in the next year that have been produced from our beloved comics. Some will rock; some will suck. But here’s a list of the upcoming releases that I’m looking forward to:

Battlestar Galactica: April 4
Iron Man: May 2
Indiana Jones: May 22
Incredible Hulk: June 13
Wanted: June 27
Hellboy 2: July 11
Batman: The Dark Knight: July 18
The Punisher: September 12
Star Trek: December 25 (this may have been pushed back to 2009)
The Spirit: January 16, 2009
Watchmen: March 5, 2009
Wolverine: May 1, 2009

Unknown dates 2009:
Green Hornet
Superman

The World’s Greatest Comic Magazine

March 20th, 2008 by Rurik

Fantastic Four #554With issue #554, the ‘World’s Greatest Comic Magazine,’ aka, Marvel’s Fantastic Four, has had yet another creative team relaunch. Normally, 66.6% of these relaunches are Ho-Hum at best (as in “the return of J. Scott Campbell”who ended up only doing covers) or idiotic (let’s erase thirty years of Spider-Man continuity) at worst. But the remaining third are often a worthy change. The new creative team on The FF is one such worthy change, as it consists of megalomaniac, Mark Millar (writing), detail-freak, Bryan Hitch (drawing) and tracer extraordinaire, Paul Neary (inking). This is the same team who brought us The Ultimates, which was, in my opinion, a very interesting and well crafted comic.

Now, having been through my share of FF reboots over the years, I wasn’t overly hyped for this version. And to be honest, I’m not in awe of this team of artists and writer. But I’ve always had a fondness for the FF when they’re done well, which, for me, constitutes that family feeling of familiarity, communication, bickering and, of course, solving galactic problems that threaten the Earth, if not the Universe. The Civil War arc that Marvel ran last year had it’s Good, Bad and Ugly moments, but I was thoroughly disappointed with the way that they wrote Reed Richards, the (allegedly) ‘smartest man on earth’ as a blind-sided fool. (Personal aside: I honestly believe that Dr. Doom is smarter, but he’s never grown past his high school emotional jealousy that he keeps getting his ass whupped. C’mon, Doom could use his magic to send the FF to hell any old time and probably get away with it. Doom works at it; Reed kinda takes it for granted.)

I gave the ‘new’ FF creative team two issues (#554-555) to see what they can do and I can say that I’m impressed. In #554, Ben cannily guilts Reed into going with him to visit his old school by saying, “Any chance of doin’ a solid for the guy ya disfigured in that cosmic ray accident?” This gets followed up later with Reed giving a lecture to the school kids on his ‘anti-Galactus suit,’ and boring them to the point of near-fatal nose-picking, which is broken only by Ben interrupting, “Anybody wanna play in the Fantasti-Car?” sending the kids into a frenzy. No, these scenes aren’t terribly pertinent to the main story, but they’re the type of characterization that I’ve always felt was successful for the FF. Reed is too smart to see that everybody isn’t as excited by nano-particles as he is and Ben is the ice breaker.

I like the addition, or rather, return, of Alyssa Moy, the character Sue describes as “Mrs. Fantastic.” Alyssa is an ex of Reed’s from college. She’s cute, sassy and equally as smart as he is, even though she’s now married as well. Although the chemistry between the two is still pretty tame at this point, I can see the seeds of angst being planted by Millar. Flashbacks of flirting from their college days, as well as observations from Alyssa’s husband regarding her feelings towards Reed are tell-tale signs that the pot’s going to be boiling over soon. No, I don’t think that Sue & Reed will split (again….), but I’m going to enjoy the miscommunication, the innuendo, the assumptions, and the ensuing chaos presented by “Mrs. Fantastic.” (Yes, I just enjoy the name…).

Fantastic Four #555As for Johnny Storm…. let’s see… it’s been about 45 years since FF #1 came out and he’s still called Johnny, aka, the boy who never grew up. Well, I can’t say much complementary about him in this reboot. He decides that he wants to put together a band through a reality show and ends up making out with some hot babe/diamond robber in a sexy leather suit while trying to bust her for the crime. Hasn’t this guy learned ANYTHING in 45 years!?! Ok, ok, comic continuity being maybe one year for every ten that we, mere mortal comic readers live, maybe it’s only been four or five years for Johnny. But, Geez! The guy’s been involved with Skrulls, Heralds of Galactus, Inhumans, models, bimbos, witches, and anything in a skirt. If he doesn’t have a majority of the social diseases out there, he should at least have enough dating knowledge to not act like a drunken frat boy 24/7. (Hmmm, maybe that’s why the FF are rich: Reed invented cures for all the STD’s Johnny brought home over the years…?)

And Sue… stalwart Sue. She’s easily proven herself to be the most powerful member of the team on numerous occasions. She’s taken Doom down single-handed. She looks good in leather, even after giving birth. She’s smart, funny, and makes sure the bills get paid. She’s the one constant in a group. Here, she’s trying to create a charity group, working with She-Hulk and the Wasp. The scene where they’re discussing issues, while being served tea and pumpkin pie by modified Doom-bots is a treasure. Sue explains it by saying, “Oh, you know what Reed’s like… Always building stuff while we’re watching TV. I don’t even ask.” Again, this is the characterization that I’ve come to know and love with a well done FF.

Oh, did I mention the plot? Here comes the spoiler info, for those of you who care… The plot revolves around Alyssa’s husband, in conjunction with several other bazillionaires who’ve learned that Earth will only be habitable for another 10 years and have decided to pour their riches into creating ‘Nu-World,’ an exact replica of Earth, minus the guns, war and troubles (though keeping the graffitti, for ‘arts sake’), for all six billion humans. Things begin to go awry in issue #555, but I eagerly await the next installment to see how far the pot boils over. The art is solid the writing is spot-on and the plotting is the usual slow burn I’ve come to expect from Millar before he pours the molten liquid over my brain. The only thing that I can say that I really don’t like is the drawing of the Thing. Hitch seems to be taking a leaf from Kurt Busiek’s “Astro City” character from the First Family (who was, of course, drawn from Marvel’s FF). Ben is drawn somewhere between a human, a lizard and the orange rock we’ve come to know. It just doesn’t work for me… but considering that I’m enjoying the rest, I guess I can make allowances.

My rating: Go buy it.

Why the Skrulls are going to save the Marvel Universe

March 10th, 2008 by Michael

skrullsThere’s an invasion going on in the Marvel Universe. Alien shape changers have infiltrated our super teams and taken over the persona of some of the most mighty heroes. Their intent: to take over our planet, which they see as rightfully theirs.

Go Skrulls!

I’m really looking forward to this spring and summer’s Mega Event. It just feels exciting. According to interviews from Marvel Mastermind Brian Michael Bendis, this storyline has been brewing for years. According to him, after this story is done we’ll be able to look at recent events such as Avengers Disassembled, House of M, Secret War, Civil War, and Captain America’s Death, and be able to see a Skrully hand manipulating all of it. This doesn’t feel like a simple retcon to me…this apparently has been sneaky ol’ Bendis’ plan from the very start. And I think that’s why I’m enjoying it so much. It’s creative, it’s well planned, and it feels like there are real consequences. Who knows who could be a Skrull? We’ve already seen Elektra and Blackbolt revealed as Skrulls…could we see Spider Man as one? Thor? Devil Dinosaur and Moon Boy? Since they did the unthinkable and killed Captain America – and kept him dead for a year now – you have to wonder if Marvel is willing to take chances on some of their other major characters.

When Marvel announced Civil War a couple of years ago, they said the intent was to bring a level of distrust back to our heroes. It used to be that when Spider-man crossed paths with the FF, there would be some doubt about the other hero’s motives. The FF saw all the negative reporting in the newspaper about Spidey and wondered if he could be a criminal, and Spidey distrusted anyone that might be inclined to try to have him arrested. The Skrull storyline succeeds where Civil War fails. Civil War seemed like a good idea with a lot of potential that ended up rushed, written by committee, and edited to pieces. On the other hand, Secret Invasion seems well crafted, paced correctly, and genuine. The threat seems real, the implications seem dire, and the distrust between the heroes seems at an all time high. Not only does each character have to wonder if their teammates are aliens, but they also have to wonder who has known what, and for how long. It’s a fun story line and I fully hope that Marvel is finally able to fulfill the potential of the story. Most importantly, this is a story that deserves to be an event.

So who is a Skrull? Of course, I have some ideas. Here, I present my top 5 Skrull Choices:

1. Cyclops. The leader of the X-Men has gone all hard assed of late. Apparently the mutant decimation and loss of Professor X has gotten to him. Or maybe a Skrull has.

2a. Ms. Marvel. You can bet that the Skrulls have landed in SHIELD. Who better than a SHIELD agent who also leads the Avengers, and can keep close tabs on Tony Stark? If not her, look for….

2b. Maria Hill. Stark’s #2 at SHIELD led the organization from Secret War to Civil War, and her arrival coincided with with Nick Fury’s disappearance. Speaking of which…he’s due for a return. What role will he have in Secret Invasion?

3. Wolverine, but only the New Avengers Wolvie. The X-Men’s is the real one. It would go a long way to explaining how he can be in every comic at the same time!

4. The Scarlet Witch. A Skrull with Wanda’s powers could have intentionally caused House of M (a perfect opportunity for Skrulls to move in?). Plus doing so allows Marvel to bring her back, all heroic-like and not at all crazy.

5. Hawkeye. Hey, weren’t you dead? Oh yeah, that’s because you’re a Skrull.

What do you think? Who’s a Skrull? Who do YOU trust?

Thunderbolts Faith in Monsters (110-115)

March 5th, 2008 by Martin

Thunderbolts 110 CoverLet me just re-iterate that I am a huge Warren Ellis fan. I have liked and/or loved almost everything I’ve read of his. That having been said, this is way down on the liked/loved scale for me (maybe actually below “liked” and into “could care less about” territory).

Part of the problem is that I’m just not sure I can ever be a fan of these “bad guy perspective” comic books. I don’t feel like there’s anyone for me to empathize with, no protagonist, at least not in the traditional sense. And therefore they’re usually just lost on me.

I do think Ellis is doing a good job of trying to get us to empathize with some of the recurring characters in spite of their evil-ness. But then of course they just go and kill an innocent bystander or in some other way show their lack of moral fiber, and it’s like all of that care he’s carefully built up is gone in one quick fell stroke.

Oh yeah, and conclusion? I thought this was a complete arc! The next issue has a different subtitle entirely, yet this arc has about as much conclusion as a single issue of some other comics out there.

The art is good, and the characters are fun, so I think it’s really only the story that I disliked. I’d say read it if you’re into it, but don’t go out of your way.

Kick-Ass #1

March 3rd, 2008 by jason

Kick-AssWritten by Mark Millar, drawn by John Romita, Jr.

Awesome comic. Creator-owned, so not beholden to Marvel, although they do a lot of name-dropping of Marvel stuff in there, which makes sense since it’s an Icon book (Marvel’s creator-owned imprint–they publish Powers).

It’s about a teenager who decides to become a super-hero. He doesn’t have any powers, he doesn’t have any special training, he just has a costume and the balls to do it (although maybe not for much longer after the third page). The rest of the issue is a flashback of his “origin”, what there is of it.

I’m kind of surprised by how much I liked the comic. I’m not a huge fan of either Millar, or Romita Jr, but don’t really have anything against either of them. Romita Jr’s art really works here, although I keep picturing the main character as a cross between Sprite from the Eternals and Ken Connell from Starbrand. The first issue goes by really fast, but that seems to be the state of comics these days–everything seems to be written for the trade, or maybe that’s just the expectation that we give comics now. I finished it wanting to read more right away.

The story itself seemed very realistic to me in terms of what a teenager, what I as a teenager, might think of doing. That you might actually think it’s a good idea to put on a costume and go beat up bad guys, and how that might end up not working out so well for you. It’s pretty brutal, both in violence and in how teenagers get treated by each other.

The Pulse, Vol. 2

February 25th, 2008 by Martin

I just finished The Pulse, Vol 2 today, and it was superb. I only vaguely remember the whole Secret War thing, but you don’t really need to know more than the gist of it to “get” how this book ties in with the story. Although I will say that this TPB more than any others in the Alias series does seem to rely on your knowledge of the outlying Marvel universe.

When I first read Alias, I didn’t like Jessica Jones. Of course, by the end of the series, I was totally in love with her. Or anyway, with the idea of her. And she just keeps getting better. She’s such a no-nonsense character. A breath of fresh air when you start to imagine it in the context of the whole convoluted era of Secret War, for sure.

So if you haven’t heard of it, or maybe you’ve just never gotten around to it, I highly recommend you read Alias. (No, it’s not anything like the TV series, and neither is based on the other.) The Pulse seems to just continue the series under a different name (I have no idea why they changed it… although this does seem plausible.) and is also quite excellent.

I have the next TPB upstairs, and I think I’m going to have to read it tonight or tomorrow.