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Posts Tagged ‘Avengers’

Marvel Universe Avengers Earth’s Mightiest Heroes #1

July 16, 2012 Leave a comment

June 15, 2012

Title: Enter the Mandarin

Writer: Christopher Yost
Pencils:
Chris Jones
Inks:
Victor Olazaba
Letters:
Clayton Cowles
Colors:
Sotocolor
Editor:
Stephen Wacker
Publisher:
Marvel Comics

It’s the first issue of the new comic with a remarkably unwieldy title, based on the hit cartoon show recently cancelled by Disney XD! Which kind of makes the whole thing seem futile, actually, which is a shame as it’s a really good series and a pretty solid comic book. In this first story, the Mandarin attacks, sending a dragon in to attack Stark Tower. As the Dragon causes chaos, Iron Man leads the Avengers to take the fight straight to the source.

This is a good story – quick, but classic in the style and format. Jones – who similarly is doing really good work over on DC’s Young Justice comic book – does a very good job of imitating the style of the show while still giving us the sort of dynamic comic book storytelling that you want in a book of this nature.

Title: The Fury Files: Iron Fist

Adapted By: Chris Eliopoulos

The second feature in this issue shows Nick Fury’s file on a new hero, not (yet, at least) a member of the Avengers: Iron Fist. Eliopoulos uses stills from the cartoon itself to show off who Iron Fist is, both as a character, and his capabilities as a superhero. For a young fan who may not be reading the other comics, it’s a good introduction to the character.

Title: Assembly Line

Writer: Christopher Yost
Pencils:
Adam DeKraker
Inks:
Terry Pallot
Letters:
Joe Caramagna
Colors:
Sotocolor
Editor:
Stephen Wacker

The second full story focuses on Maria Hill and Agent Coulson, reviewing some of the Avengers’ recent cases to determine their worth as a fighting unit. This one is definitely for fans of the show, showing the episodes where the battled Graviton, Wonder Man, the Leader and Kang, showing the introduction of Captain America, Hawkeye and Black Panther to the team… basically giving a rundown of all of Season 1 from Hill’s perspective. It doesn’t necessarily give us any new information, but it’s a good way to give a different angle on the events we’re already familiar with.

Shame the TV show is already on the chopping block. It’s a good half-hour of action and this comic is a worthy adaptation of it.

Rating: 7/10

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American Dream #1

July 4, 2012 Leave a comment

May 9, 2008

American Dream #1 (Marvel Comics)
By Tom DeFalco, Todd Nauck, Ron Frenz

The latest Spider-Girl spin-off focuses on the heir to the shield of Captain America. Shannon Carter, a.k.a. American Dream, is starting to feel a litte disconnect from the world. Her teammates in the Avengers all have normal lives in their secret identities — other friends, other interests — and she’s stuck wondering if she has any identity behind her mask. Complicating matters, however, are Red Queen and Ion Man, the remnants of the Revengers, who plan to destroy the Avengers starting with their “weakest link”: the non-powered American Dream. This is a nice start. Shannon’s dilemma is very evocative of problems Steve Rogers has had over the years, as is the idea of villains underestimating our hero just because she doesn’t have any super-powers. Todd Nauck, of WildGuard fame, is a perfect choice for this miniseries — he does teen superheroes and sci-fi tech extremely well, and the characters fall just perfectly into his style. Good first issue, enough to make me look forward to issue #2.
Rating: 7.10

 

Avengers Vs. X-Men #2

June 18, 2012 Leave a comment

June 5, 2012

Title: Round 2

Story: Jason Aaron, Brian Michael Bendis, Ed Brubaker, Jonathan Hickman, Matt Fraction
Script:
Jason Aaron
Pencils:
John Romita Jr.
Inks:
Scott Hanna
Letters:
Chris Eliopoulos
Colors:
Laura Martin
Cover Art:
Jim Cheung & Laura Martin
Editor:
Tom Brevoort
Publisher:
Marvel Comics

With the Phoenix Force returning to Earth, Hope Summers seems to be the logical candidate for its chosen host. The Avengers have come to Utopia so that Captain America can ask Cyclops to turn the girl over into their custody. Cyclops isn’t having any of that, though, and this issue, war breaks out.

This issue is almost entirely action – it’s the Avengers vs. the X-Men, just as the title of the book promises. On that front, at least, it delivers. There’s a lot of fighting and a lot of property damage and a lot of hero-on-hero violence as the characters draw their sides and decide quickly who’s going to fight who. Some of this is fairly logical – Doctor Strange battling Magik, for instance, or Quicksilver heading straight in to trade blows with his father, Magneto.

The problem is still that the whole book is lacking in logical sense. Cyclops seemed ready for a fight long before Captain America arrived, and the rest of the X-Men with him. Captain America came in with an entire helicarrier full of Avengers. The thing that just doesn’t make sense, though, is why. Given the number of times these characters have worked together in the past, the notion that these two heroes would go in expecting a battle, having basically decided that negotiation is not an option, is absurd. There’s never any chance that this issue could be talked out, because Captain America comes in with his big guns and Cyclops is already waiting to throw a punch from the moment he arrives. This issue, which basically just follows the violence, is notable only for a pretty effective scene where it becomes clear exactly what Wolverine’s priorities are. Although he’s not the only character to have a foot in both the Avenger and X-Men camps, he’s probably the most interesting one, and it’s not hard to see this entire miniseries shaking out to be the ultimate Wolverine showcase.

John Romita Jr., as I’ve said before, is a strong artist, but not particularly suited for large-scale cosmic events like this one. He’s more of a street level artist, and the way the moments of big power fall flat here makes that clear.

After two issues, I already feel like this miniseries – one I hoped would escape the problems of Civil War, is simply doomed to repeat them.

Rating: 6/10

New Avengers (2010 Series) #24

April 23, 2012 Leave a comment

April 14, 2012

Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Art:
Mike Deodato, Will Conrad
Letters:
Joe Caramagna
Colors:
Rain Beredo
Cover Art:
Mike Deodato
Editor:
Tom Brevoort
Publisher:
Marvel Comics

This issue takes place between panels of Avengers Vs. X-Men #1. In that moment between Captain America calling the Avengers down to face Cyclops and their leap from the SHIELD Helicarrier, Luke Cage flashes to the day before. As his wife, Jessica Jones, returns to the mansion, the two of them get into a pretty intense discussion about the wisdom of raising a child in Avengers Mansion.

A valid argument, to be certain. The Avengers lead dangerous lives, after all. But am I the only one who thinks they should have had this conversation a long time ago? When the baby was born, perhaps, or before they moved into Avengers Mansion and Luke agreed to lead his own squad? Not only does it feel like a case of too little, too late, but even worse it removes us from the focus of the issue for a huge portion of it. I got this book because it’s an AVX crossover. Instead, I got pages of angst that don’t really have anything to do with the main story.

It gets better when Captain America calls the team together. There’s a bit of a surprise when we’re all reminded that Storm has joined the Avengers just in time for her to walk out on the team, then Cap gives one of his trademark rousing speeches. It’s okay stuff, but in the end it feels like a largely inconsequential issue.

Mike Deodato does some good work here, and that helps, but there’s only so far even the best artist can take you. If you’ve been with this series for a while it’s probably not bad. If you’re getting it just for the crossover, you can pass.

Rating: 6/10

Avengers Vs. X-Men #1

April 16, 2012 Leave a comment

April 14, 2012

Story: Jason Aaron, Brian Michael Bendis, Ed Brubaker, Jonathan Hickman, Matt Fraction
Script:
Brian Michael Bendis
Pencils:
John Romita Jr.
Inks:
Scott Hanna
Letters:
Chris Eliopoulos
Colors:
Laura Martin
Cover Art:
Jim Cheung & Justin Ponsor
Editor:
Tom Brevoort
Publisher:
Marvel Comics

The Phoenix Force is coming to Earth, and the most powerful heroes in the Marvel Universe are about to go to war over it. I’ve said before that I like the basic idea behind this event. There’s a natural conflict here. Captain America sees a force of globally-devastating power headed to Earth and wants to stop it. Cyclops sees a force that may well be able to reverse the devastation of the mutant race the Scarlet Witch caused on M Day. And in fact, they’re both right.

The execution, however, is very flawed. The scene with Cap and Cyclops, where all this is spelled out, is clunky and overwritten. Scott is spoiling for a fight at the outset, which I suppose isn’t totally out of character for him these days, but still feels off in the presentation.

Wolverine actually comes off best here. As a member of both teams, he’s got his own conflict to deal with… not to mention the personal relationship he had with Jean Grey and the fact that he’s seen firsthand just how destructive the Phoenix Force can be. If there’s anyone here who can legitimately seem divided, it’s him.

I’m not terribly pleased with John Romita Jr.‘s work on this issue either. I’ve always liked his work on street-level heroes like Spider-Man and Daredevil, but when he goes for the big-scale cosmic stuff, it doesn’t really. Work there are two large panels here – Hope blasting Cyclops, Cyclops blasting Cap – that feel very similar, but that both look like they could have been accomplished better. Different lines, different colors, I don’t know exactly, but they failed to excite me the way they should have.

It’s not a terrible book, but it’s a weak opening to an event that should have kicked off with a bang.

Rating: 6/10

Avengers Vs. X-Men #0

April 9, 2012 Leave a comment

April 7, 2012

Title: Prologue

Writers: Brian Michael Bendis & Jason Aaron
Art:
Frank Cho
Letters:
Chris Eliopoulos
Colors:
Jason Keith
Cover Art:
Frank Cho
Editor:
Tom Brevoort
Publisher:
Marvel Comics

With Marvel’s big event for the summer about to kick into high gear, we’re served up this prologue issue that spotlights the two women at the center of it all: Wanda Maximoff, alias the Scarlet Witch, and Hope Summers, daughter of Cable.

In Wanda’s story, she’s recently regained her senses after years (of real-time, anyway, I’m not sure how long it’s been in comic book time) of mental issues which has had her attack and destroy her teammates, her friends, and even her husband, the Vision. The Vision is restored now, though, and the confrontation between the two former lovers is anything but rosy.

Although the last panel is a bit on-the-nose (a callback to the most famous Vision story of all time), Brian Michael Bendis does a decent job here of tapping into the raw emotion of the situation. Considering everything that happened between Wanda and the Vision, this isn’t the sort of thing that can be swept under the rug or ignored. It’ll be interesting to see, as the conflict between the Avengers and X-Men heats up, what side the Vision will fall on.

In Hope’s story, written by Jason Aaron, we see the first mutant born since Wanda wiped out the mutant population in House of M forced to train. While she and Cyclops forces her to push herself, concerned about the portion of the Phoenix force she knows resides within her, Hope decides to take off and prove herself on her own.

This is a nice introduction to Hope if you, like me, don’t really know anything about the character. I haven’t read any of the X-Men stories in which she’s played a significant role, so this gives me the lowdown on her history, her powers, and why she’s important. It works on that level.

Both stories are elevated by the artwork of Frank Cho. As I’ve always said, he draws a few things very well – monkeys, dinosaurs, and women. (Not to say he’s bad at the rest of it, but those are the three categories in which he excels). This issue is very strongly focused on the ladies – besides the two cover girls, Cho gives us good interpretations of Spider-Woman, Ms. Marvel, Emma Frost and a couple of snake-themed villainesses (and villains). There’s a nice balance between the action and the talking heads stuff, and Cho pulls it all off. It’s an impressive effort.

This zero issue is a good way to kick off the event.

Rating: 7/10

Avengers (1963 Series) #221

March 5, 2012 Leave a comment

February 4, 2012

Title: New Blood

Plot: Jim Shooter
Writer:
David Michelinie
Pencils:
Bob Hall
Inks:
Brett Breeding
Letters:
Janice Chiang
Colors:
Christie Scheele
Editor:
Jim Salicrup
Publisher:
Marvel Comics

If there’s one thing I’m a sucker for, it’s an old-fashioned “Who’s going to join the Avengers?” issues, and this is a really fun one. Following some dastardly doings by Moondragon, the Avengers are down to four members. Captain America, Iron Man, Thor and the Wasp each set out to look for recruits to join the ranks of Earth’s mightiest heroes.

Shooter and Michelinie really used the personalities of the Avengers they had well here, picking the new members based largely on how the others would go about finding them. Cap and Iron Man attempting to bring back Hawkeye makes sense, as does the Wasp throwing a garden party of sorts to invite some super-powered femmes who may be ripe for membership. The only thing that feels a little off is Thor’s attempt to recruit Spider-Man, but even that is easily justified with a quick conversation with Jarvis, who inadvertently points Thor in that direction.

Bob Hall and Brett Breeding do distinctive 80s art – the textures on the floors of Avengers mansion, the decorations at the Wasp’s house, the clothing and hairstyles of the characters involved… it’s all the sort of thing that you only saw in comic books of this particular time period. The book is quite a nostalgia trip for me as a reader.

The resulting team isn’t necessarily one of the legendary line-ups, but all six of the Avengers we’ve got at the end of the issue are characters who really define the team. Each of them feels like a classic Avenger, and four of them are actually going to be in the upcoming movie. What’s really amusing to me, though, is the list of “potential” Avengers we see on the cover (many of whom don’t appear in the issue at all). Of these 15 characters, only two of whom had previously been members of the team, eleven of them have been Avengers at some point in the 30 years since this issue was published. Funny how the Marvel Universe works, isn’t it?

Rating: 8/10