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Posts Tagged ‘Wolverine’

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

Wolverine and the X-Men #5

March 12, 2012 Leave a comment

February 18, 2012

Title: Mutatis Mutandis Part One: Congratulations! It’s a Brood!

Writer: Jason Aaron
Pencils:
Nick Bradshaw
Inks:
Nick Bradshaw & Walden Wong
Letters:
Rob Steen
Colors:
Justin Ponsor
Cover Art:
Nick Bradshaw & Frank Martin
Editor:
Nick Lowe
Publisher:
Marvel Comics

You think your biology class is cool? This issue, the Beast takes some of the students in the Jean Grey school on the ultimate field trip, inside the body of a fellow mutant. While they’re taking a tour of the inner workings of the mutant body, headmistress Kitty Pryde is suffering from a sudden, unexpected case of pregnancy… only the bun in her oven isn’t at all what anybody would have expected. Well, unless you look at the cover.

My fascination with how good this title is continues. I’m constantly amazed at the fact that not only do I really enjoy an X-Men book in which Wolverine is the literal headliner, but I’m enjoying it because it evokes some of the greatest bits of X-Men lore. I love having the school back, I love seeing the classic characters having grown into mentor roles, and I love seeing different takes on old concepts like the Brood and Gladiator, thrown into the mix. I especially like the fact that, despite the title of the series, this book isn’t really about “Wolverine and the X-Men.” Instead, it’s about the faction of the X-Men that happened to side with Wolverine after the Schism. He doesn’t dominate the title, and in fact, he’s hardly in this issue at all.

The focus on Kitty and the Beast, two of my favorite X-Men, is of course a plus. But that wouldn’t be enough if the rest of the writing wasn’t entertaining. This Brood storyline feels like classic X-Men stuff, with lots of wonderfully weird 80s horror movie tropes thrown in for good measure. The kids, meanwhile, are nicely growing and developing as characters. While not all of them would ever particularly find a home among the senior X-Men teams, there are definitely members of this young cast that you can imagine having longevity in the Marvel Universe.

Nick Bradshaw is killing on the artwork. In the past I’ve thought his work was okay, but combining him with Justin Ponsor on inks has made this a wonderfully-illustrated comic book. We get nicely expressive characters, weird landscapes and ugly monsters, and they all fit together neatly. It’s an awesome package that’s plenty of fun to read.

This book is easily my favorite in the entire X-Men line, and while I’m looking forward to Avengers Vs. X-Men, I hope that doesn’t disturb the natural flow.

Rating: 8/10

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

Wolverine and the X-Men #1

January 30, 2012 Leave a comment

November 6, 2011

Title: Welcome to the X-Men! Now Die!

Writer: Jason Aaron
Pencils:
Chris Bachalo
Inks:
Tim Townsend, Jaime Mendoza, Al Vey
Colorist:
Chris Bachalo
Letterer:
Rob Steen
Cover Artist:
Chris Bachalo
Editor:
Nick Lowe
Publisher:
Marvel Comics

With the Schism over, it’s time for the different X-Men factions to begin moving forward, and that’s just what we get here with Wolverine and the X-Men #1. Back in Westchester, Wolverine is overseeing the re-opening of the old school, now named for the late Jean Grey. But even though it’s a private institution, they’re going to have to prove themselves to the board of education, or they’ll be shut down. Not easy to do when both your faculty and student body have the power to shatter mountains. I liked this book a lot more than I expected to, to be frank. The title seems a bit pandering, but the idea of Wolverine trying to run the school to uphold Xavier’s legacy is a clever one. In tone, the book reminds me a bit of Avengers Academy, in that it seems to be about both the faculty and the students. That may not remain the case, but one would certainly hope that, having such a large cast, Jason Aaron will be able to play with everybody and not just the “senior” members. This doesn’t really feel like “the” X-Men book, but more like a spiritual successor to the original New Mutants and the New X-Men: Academy X class. The other books we’ve had in the last few years haven’t really given us this feel, so if we can get that in this title, I’ll be okay with it.

Rating: 8/10

Marvel Holiday Special 2007

December 14, 2011 Leave a comment

December 21, 2007

Marvel Holiday Special 2007 (Marvel Comics)
By Andrew Farago, Shaenon K. Garrity, Lou Kang, Fred Hembeck, C.b. Cebulski, Alina Urusov, Mike Carey, Nelson & Ron Lim

This year’s grab bag of Christmas tales from Marvel, with one exception, somewhat fals short. “Piece of Cake”, the lead story, basically deals with Spider-Man ditching the cake he bought for Aunt May’s Christmas party to help Wolverine fight a rogue Sentinel being piloted by a disgruntled Department Store Santa. Cute, but nothing special. Next up there’s an old Fred Hembeck strip reprinted from a 1984 issue of Marvel Age, and then the gem of the issue: “Secret Santa.” This is a Loners story, written by C.B. Cebulski, that basically shows the team trying to re-bond at Christmastime. Cebulski picks up neatly on some plot threads he left dangling in the Loners miniseries, and this story works both to give the characters a bit of closure and to establish them neatly for future use. Finally, there’s the train wreck “The Meaning of Christmas” — a Daily Bugle feature reporter goes on a tour of the universe to allegedly discover the meaning of Christmas, but… I gotta be honest here, I don’t know what he comes home with. It’s totally nonsensical. This book is worth reading for the Loners story and the Ron Lim cover, but other than that, it’s utterly forgettable.
Rating: 5/10