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Posts Tagged ‘Captain America’

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

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

Somebody’s First Comic Book-Steve Rogers: Super-Soldier #1

June 17, 2012 Leave a comment

Wondering what Somebody’s First Comic Book is all about? The explanation is on this page!

CREDITS:

Writer: Ed Brubaker
Art:
Dale Eaglesham
Colors:
Andy Troy
Letters:
Joe Caramagna
Editor:
Tom Brevoort
Cover Art:
Carlos Pacheco, Tim Townsend & Frank D’Armata
Publisher:
Marvel Comics

PRIOR KNOWLEDGE: Dude definitely has a “Captain America” vibe to him… hey, wasn’t his name “Steve” in the movie?

IMPRESSIONS: Ah, he is Captain America. Or… he was. But he’s not now… looks like he’s a super-spy, and the grandson of the guy who turned him into Captain America in the first place is in some sort of trouble, so he has to save him.

Okay, I can work with this.

The book actually gives us just about everything we need to know. It recaps Captain – um… Steve’s origin pretty succinctly, and it shows us why that’s relevant today, as there are evidently enemy spies trying to recreate the experiment that made Steve a super-soldier in the first place. The fighting is cool – whether he’s wearing the mask or not, Rogers kicks a lot of butt in this issue. It’s a trifle confusing why he’s not Captain America anymore, or why he’s just going around with no mask on and everyone knows who he is, but there’s enough to go on to make the story comprehensible and enjoyable.

But man… “Steve Rogers” has got to be the worst superhero name ever.

Really? There was somebody called “Maggot” in the X-Men?

Never mind.

GRADE: B

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 (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

Somebody’s First Comic Book: What If? (1989 Series) #108

December 12, 2011 Leave a comment

Wondering what Somebody’s First Comic Book is all about? The explanation is on this page!

TITLE: The Greatest Sacrifice

CREDITS:

Writer: Tom DeFalco
Pencils:
Sergio Cariello
Inks:
Keith Champagne
Colors:
Kevin Tinsley
Letters:
Chris Eliopoulos
Editor:
Frank Pittarese
Cover Art:
Sergio Cariello
Publisher:
Marvel Comics

PRIOR KNOWLEDGE: The Avengers… they’ve got that movie coming out, right? And… I guess Spider-Man is one of them, too?

IMPRESSIONS: Maybe not… the story kind of starts in the middle, with the Avengers (Captain America, Thor, Iron Man and three people I don’t know) throwing down against Spider-Man’s enemy Carnage, who somehow has taken possession of the Silver Surfer. (Wait – Silver Surfer… wasn’t he in the Fantastic Four movie?) Evidently, we learn later, Carnage is some sort of alien slime that has been bonded to a serial killer, but left the killer and possessed the Silver Surfer.

We also find out, somehow, that these guys aren’t technically Avengers, but that they’re about to pick a new team. I’m not sure exactly how this works, but I like to imagine it’s like gym class, with Captain America and Iron Man taking turns picking from a line and the last one (I’m guessing the dude called “Justice”) being stuck with whoever picked second. Anyway, “Cosmic Carnage” nearly destroys the Avenger called the Vision and whips up on the rest of them until Spider-Man decides to clue them in that the monster is usually vulnerable to loud noises and fire, and maybe this girl called Firestar could do something? In the end, though, all she does is weaken the alien enough for the Surfer to exert control, fly into space, and kill himself and, presumably, the alien too.

I’m… lost here. The story itself is kind of straightforward, but what on Earth are they talking about – they’re not “really” the Avengers, they went and killed the surfer, and… and the title of this book. “What If?” Is that supposed to tell us that this is a “fake” story? It didn’t really happen? And if that’s the case, why the hell am I reading it?

GRADE: C-

[Meta-Note: I’m going to drop the usual pretense of this feature for a moment here to explain my commentary. The old Marvel What If? series, for a long time, was hosted by the Watcher, who explained that what we were seeing was a story set in a world very similar to the “real” Marvel Universe, but where something happened differently and the whole world changed as a result. Kind of a superhero version of Ray Bradbury’s Butterfly Effect theory. At some point, they dropped the Watcher as the narrator and, not being a regular reader of that book at that time, I didn’t really think much of it. Looking back for the sake of “Somebody’s First Comic Book,” I realize the lack of explanation makes this confusing as hell.

On a more amusing note, the letters page for this issue features letters for issue #105, the first appearance of Spider-Girl. The letters absolutely gushed over the comic, although the editor answering the letters initially says “Every story is only meant to be a glimpse into that particular reality. So don’t count on any more trips to see Spider-Girl!” Ah, hindsight.]