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Posts Tagged ‘Joe Caramagna’

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

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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

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

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

Iron Man: Director of SHIELD Annual #1

November 3, 2011 Leave a comment

November 19, 2007

Quick Rating: Good
Title: Regime Change
Rating: A

Tony Stark goes on assignment – to overthrow Hydra!

Writer: Christos N. Gage
Art: Harvey Tolibad
Colors: Edgar Tadeo
Letters: Joe Caramagna
Editor: Tom Brevoort
Cover Art: Jim Cheung
Publisher: Marvel Comics

Madame Hydra has set herself up as ruler of Madripoor, placing herself in the situation of being one of the world’s most notorious terrorists, yet absolutely untouchable by any conventional means. So Tony Stark decides to send in his top agent to depose her – himself.

There’s one major problem I have with this comic, and it’s the same one I’ve had with a lot of Marvel books lately – namely, it’s really hard for me to believe that the Director of SHIELD, even if he happens to be a superhero himself, would be as hands-on as Tony Stark has been. With all the resources SHIELD has, there’s got to be someone more qualified in a lot of these cases… and in this case, there’s no doubt they could find an agent less conspicuous.

Once you get past that problem, this is a pretty good issue. In essence, this is Tony Stark as James Bond – infiltrating a foreign country, using his debonair charms to wile the enemy (who in this case also happens to be a smokin’ babe), and essentially winning the day by virtue of sheer cool. It’s a clever angle to take with the character, and a fun angle as well.

Harvey Tolibad does a good job with the artwork – nice action scenes, ugly monsters, cool superweapons and hot girls. It’s practically a checklist of essential elements for this sort of story, and he does them all well.

We get a good little standalone issue here, if you can accept that one little bump in the basic premise.

Rating: 7/10

Iron Man: Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. #23

October 17, 2011 Leave a comment

October 30, 2007

Quick Rating: Fair
Title: Haunted
Rating: A

Stark continues his investigation into Gadget’s death.

Writers: Daniel and Charles Knauf
Art: Butch Guice
Colors: Dean White
Letters: Joe Caramagna
Editor: Tom Brevoort
Cover Art: Gerald Parel
Publisher: Marvel Comics

Although the death of the Nebraska Initiative member called Gadget originally appeared to be the work of the villain Graviton, Graviton has maintained his innocence, and Tony Stark has his own reasons to believe the culprit was someone else. He delves deeper into the murder, only to point the finger at her teammate, Paragon. But Paragon isn’t acting on his own either. Tony continues his investigation this issue, pushing himself further and further, until Doc Samson feels the need to issue an order to the director of SHIELD.

There really isn’t too much to say about this issue. It’s not terrible, but it’s not particularly engaging either. As much as I hate to see heroes killed off just for shock value, the truth is that Gadget’s completely unknown status really prevents us from feeling anything here. I’m not saying they should have picked some random B-lister and killed him off (I think we’ve proven quite conclusively that the fans hate that), I’m saying that the mystery isn’t compelling enough to stand up with an unknown victim. Tony, at least, is painted as more human and relatable here than in most Marvel books, but I still don’t find I’m really involved.

Butch Guice and Dean White do a nice job, taking on a nice, fleshed-out tone that’s always been evident in Guice’s work when paired with the right inkers or colorists. His stuff always looks good.

In the end, my only real complaint here is that I just don’t care.

Rating: 6/10

Annihilators #4

October 14, 2011 Leave a comment

October 8, 2011

Writers: Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning
Pencils:
Tan Eng Huat & Timothy Green II
Inks:
Victor Olazaba
Colorist:
June Chung & Nathan Fairbairn
Letterer:
Joe Caramagna & Clayton Cowles
Cover Artist:
Alex Garner
Editor:
Bill Rosemann
Publisher:
Marvel Comics

So as it turns out, the rising of the Dire Wraiths has all been a ploy by their interstellar cousins, the Skrulls, to regain their lost dominance in the stars. Also, Immortus is attacking with an army of cross-time badasses. Fortunately, on the good guys’ side are the Annihilators, perhaps the most powerful superhero team in the Marvel Universe.

Abnett and Lanning wrap up this miniseries with a pretty impressive fight scene, and get surprisingly final about the whole thing. Even though we know there’s another Annihilators miniseries coming (there’s even an ad for it at the end) the book feels like it has a definite ending, not just a cliffhanger for the next miniseries, which I for one greatly appreciate. I’m glad they’re doing more, don’t get me wrong, but I do get tired of one miniseries after another that just feels like it exists to set up yet another miniseries. I also like how they manage to work in small character beats – Ikon’s obvious infatuation with Quasar, for example.

The artwork is only so-so. While the aliens look pretty good, the humans aren’t that great. Immortus’s giant head that appears on the splash page has truly weird proportions that make him look like a poorly-designed carnival float.

In the back-up story, the conclusion to the Rocket Raccoon/Groot tale, we finally learn the ultimate truth of Rocket Raccoon’s origins, and he and Groot have to work to free the strangest medical care facility in the universe. This story is really funny, which works for the characters, but does make it seem a little incongruous with the main story. Annihilators isn’t exactly a laugh riot, after all, and people who got this title only for the first story may find the back-up a little off-putting.

I got the book for both stories, though. And I enjoyed both stories. And I look forward to more.

Rating: 8/10