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Posts Tagged ‘Iron Man’

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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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

The Iron Age: Alpha #1

February 20, 2012 Leave a comment

February 4, 2012

Title: The Iron Age: Alpha

Writer: Rob Williams
Art:
Rebekah Isaacs
Letters:
Jared K. Fletcher
Colors:
Andres Mossa
Cover Art:
Ariel Olivetti
Editor:
Thomas Brennan
Publisher:
Marvel Comics

While attending a reception for a library he helped fund, Tony Stark is abducted by a squad of robots, and not even Luke Cage and Iron Fist can save him. Spirited away, he finds himself in the clutches of an old villain he fought once, years ago, who has a new agenda. The Phantom wants to end the world, and all he’ll need to do it is Dr. Doom’s time machine and one of the most powerful threats the Marvel Universe has ever faced.

Rob Williams kicks things off with an interesting concept – a villain who uses time travel to destroy the world, and Iron Man tossed back in time with a chance to prevent it. The format is rather odd – why this was structured as a three-issue miniseries with two “Alpha” and “Omega” bookends rather than just a five-issue miniseries is beyond me. But it’s easy enough to forget about that and just get into the story. Considering what Marvel was working on when this was released last summer, one has to wonder if the reintroduction of Dark Phoenix in this time-travel story wasn’t a warm-up of sorts for Avengers Vs. X-Men. It doesn’t necessarily feel that way, at least not in this first issue, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t weighing on the minds of the creators when they put this book together.

Rebekah Isaacs and Andres Mossa are a good art team, telling the story easily enough and finding ways to visually distinguish between “present” Tony and “past” Tony. All in all, it’s a good set-up. I look forward to reading the rest.

Rating: 7/10

Punisher War Journal (2007 Series) #11

December 20, 2011 Leave a comment

September 11, 2007

Quick Rating: Very Good
Title: Heroes and Villains
Rating: Parental Advisory

Frank vs. Bucky, Bridge vs. Stark, Ian vs… himself?

Writer: Matt Fraction
Pencils: Leonardo Fernandez
Inks: Francisco Paronzini
Colors: Val Staples
Letters: Joe Caramagna
Editor: Aubrey Sitterson
Cover Art: Ariel Olivetti
Publisher: Marvel Comics

Matt Fraction’s typically entertaining Punisher War Journal branches off to three different stories this issue. The Winter Soldier tracks down Frank Castle to make him answer for daring to wear Captain America’s uniform. Iron Man tracks down G.W. Bridge to talk to him about his obsession with tracking down Frank. And Ian, the young man who wanted to be a cop (remember issue six?) finds himself on a psychiatrist couch.

All three stories in this issue work wonderfully. Bucky’s frustration with Frank can only be equaled by Frank’s frustration with himself, while Bridge still doesn’t really understand why he’s been behaving the way he has. Stark, meanwhile, has a surprisingly different take on Bridge’s obsession. And Ian – who from all appearances was a one-off character in a one-off story – turns out to be a more important character in Frank’s future than anyone would have guessed.

Fraction’s impeccable storytelling, as usual, takes all of these characters to somewhat unfamiliar places without compromising or betraying their established personalities in the slightest.

Fernandez and Parozini’s artwork is a rather striking contrast for fans used to Ariel Olivetti’s sharper, almost digital artwork, but it’s not bad in the slightest. It’s more traditional, more of a classic superhero look, and there’s nothing wrong with it at all. It’s just very different from what we’ve gotten in this title so far.

A very strong issue that isn’t so much a “done in one” story as it is an epilogue to what’s come before, while at the same time, being a prologue to what’s next.

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.]

Captain America (2005 Series) #28

December 7, 2011 Leave a comment

July 16, 2007

Quick Rating: Good
Title: The Death of the Dream Part Four
Rating: T+

Sister Sin decides to delve into SHIELD, while Bucky tries to hunt down the Red Skull.

Writer: Ed Brubaker
Art: Steve Epting & Mike Perkins
Colors: Frank D’Armata
Letters: Joe Caramagna
Editor: Tom Brevoort
Cover Art: Steve Epting
Publisher: Marvel Comics

The post-Steve Rogers Captain America rolls on this issue. Bucky continues on his quest to avenge Steve’s death, while Falcon tries to keep him from going over the edge. Sister Sin, meanwhile, is planning to break into SHIELD to bust out her captured boyfriend, Crossbones.

It’s no real secret that I’m not as in love with this title right now as a lot of people. The Bucky storyline, the whole quest for vengeance, isn’t a bad story, but it feels like it’s been done before. I haven’t gotten the twist or the kicker that really makes me invest in this story emotionally. The same goes for Sister Sin – a good story, but not a particularly innovative one.

The most interesting scene here, really, is one involving the Marvel Universe’s new favorite whipping boy, Tony Stark. Tony gets a vague message that, frankly, does have me intrigued, and I’m much more interested in seeing where that story goes than where Bucky or the rest of the cast are going.

Epting and Perkins continue to turn out beautiful artwork. D’Armata’s color work helps too, giving the artwork sort of a painted feel without going so far as to try for the photorealistic look that most painters want.

This is a good title, but I can’t help but feel like it’s riding the crest of controversy instead of groundbreaking storytelling at the moment.

Rating: 7/10

Fear Itself #7

November 7, 2011 Leave a comment

November 6, 2011

Title: Thor’s Day

Writer: Matt Fraction
Pencils:
Stuart Immonen
Inks:
Wade Von Grawbadger
Colorist:
Laura Martin
Letterer:
Chris Eliopoulos
Cover Artist:
Steve McNiven
Editor:
Tom Brevoort
Publisher:
Marvel Comics

The Asgardian siege of Earth is reaching its Climax. Captain America has led a contingent of ordinary Americans to take up arms against Sin, while Iron Man has managed to outfit the Avengers with the most incredible weapons any of them have ever had, and Thor stands ready to face his destiny. And in the end… eh, it’s okay. The problem isn’t so much that the issue is bad – there’s a lot of good stuff to it, really – but it feels somewhat anticlimactic. The ending of this issue was telegraphed at the beginning of the miniseries. A good writer can make that work, mind you, but it all comes down to the execution – if you’re going to tell me what happens, at least find an unexpected way to make it happen. But it doesn’t, really, it doesn’t surprise at all. There is the requisite major character death at the conclusion, but it’s hard to take it seriously here. The character in question died not very long ago, came back not very long ago, and has a pretty big media presence for Marvel Comics at this point. It’s hard to imagine he’s not going to be back before the Avengers movie comes out next summer, and that sucks some of the drama from it. The best stuff here, truly is Matt Fraction’s treatment of Captain America. He really does nail Steve Rogers, having him step up and act the hero he’s supposed to be, every inch a warrior, every inch an Avenger. I’d gladly read a Captain America series written by Fraction, even if the rest of the book is kind of so-so. Immonen and Von Grawbadger continue to deliver on the artwork – gorgeous pages, a couple of full-page and double-page spreads that I’d love to have as a poster. It just looks great. If it read as well as it looks, it’d be one of Marvel’s finest crossovers. As it is, it’s just better than the last few.

Rating: 7/10