Monthly Archives: December 2012

All New X-men #1 Review

All New X-men #1 Review

All New X-men #1 Review

It’s a blast from the past as the original five students of Professor X – Cyclops, Marvel Girl, Iceman, Angel and Beast – are plucked from the past and brought to the present. But what they find, the state that their future selves are in and the state of Xavier’s dream, is far from the future they dreamed of. And how will the X-Men of the present deal with their past coming crashing forward?


The Good

Art- Stuart Immonen is on art duty and he delivers big time! There is a subtle difference in how he illustrates modern day Scott and the teenage “Slim” version which I really dig as well as the strangely similar jaw line of furry Beast and his furless teenage self.

Motivation- By starting the story off with Beast undergoing yet another mutation and him fearing that he may be at death’s door, he’s trying to do something meaningful before he dies and clearly is not thinking very clearly which leads him to tamper with the time stream. Of all people he should remember what caused the Age of Apocalypse and so many other quantum based conundrums with far reaching consequences for the time stream.

Storm- The voice of reason in the midst of chaos, while everyone wants to go off half cocked she’s already warning them not to cause the mutant equivalent of a mutant civil war all over again like schism. Also loved the old school nod to her emotions affecting the weather patterns around her whether she wants to or not. This reminds us just how hard she works everyday just to keep her own emotions in check, thus why she seems so stiff most of the time.

Past meets present- It’s a rather simple premise really that has so many ramifications for the modern day post Avengers Vs X-men status quo of mutant town you can’t help but wait to see what happens next with bated breath.

Black Heroes- We have Storm all but taking over the Jean Grey School and a new black mutant with the power to apparently heal. Good times!

Change- I found it a very effective plot device of showing how much Beast has been made into the man he is by the man Scott was. In the past he was all but ready to walk out on the X-men and Scott reins him in perhaps even stopping him from becoming a human hater himself. In the Present Scott would be right at home with past Hank, while present Hank would rather have past Scott. It’s an interesting dichotomy of just how experiences change an individual. While reading this I was reminded of how I was before fatherhood back in high school. What my ideals were and how they have changed radically from then until now.

Cover- I really enjoyed the fold out cover and how it illustrates the change that has occurred in the ranks of the X-men, what motivates and drives them and what they stand for now. The original five as teens had seen nothing of the word and never experienced anything; they are idealists wishing to change the world for the better. On the other hand we have Magneto, Cyclops and Emma Frost. Characters hardened by the fear and hate they have experienced, characters that see themselves as fighting for survival as opposed to striving to make the world better. They are realists who realize that despite best wishes or intentions the world is cold and harsh and we can do nothing to change it so we accept the world and adapt ourselves to survive it.

New Mutants- Interesting that the two new mutants’ Cyclops grabs first are just what his team needs, a healer and someone with Space time distortion abilities…….the latter may well eventually tie into the original five and time travel in some way while Cyclops little army will certainly need a healer to go along with this militant, combative clearly gonna be in quite a few fights motif.

The Bad

Time Travel-Beast must be off his ticker and out his damn mind if he thought that instead of traveling back and saving Professor X was less important than visiting the original five and persuading Teen Cyclops to talk to modern Cyclops was a good idea. There are so many places to travel to that could have prevented all this! Go back and kill magneto, Quicksilver or Scarlet Witch and your prevent HOM thus preventing Decimation, Schism and Avengers Vs X-men.  I mean c’mon if you have a working time machine at your finger tips I can think of a million ways to fix or at least change how the world turned out.

Emma Frost and Scott Summers- Why is she even standing with Cyclops after his betrayal of her during AVX? Why is Scott with her after she shagged Namor during AVX? Talk about in need of therapy.

Escape- How did Emma even escape from incarceration? Did this happen off panel because it sure did not happen in AVX Consequences!

The Ugly

Bendis opening X-men salvo is a breath of fresh air with continuity strands from the fallout of Avengers vs X-men and more moral dilemmas than you can shake a stick at. I was worried when I heard he would tackle the big X but this I can definitely live with for the next decade!  5/5

stars- 5 excellent


Icon #7 Review

Icon #7

Icon #7

When a superhero sidekick finds out she’s pregnant, will she keep it or……..

Courtesy of Dwayne Mcduffie comes this touching tale of a teenage

superhero faced with a life altering decision!!

Summary

Icon explains his origins to rocket but she doesn’t believe him. She goes to a clinic for a check up to confirm her pregnancy. She is pregnant and she considers an abortion and adoption, the doctor all but tries to convince her on the first.

Icon meanwhile goes around town doing good. Rocket meets up with him to ask for a loan though she does not specify for what. When she brings up abortion he recounts his dead wife’s abortion and she finally decides she wants to keep the baby despite common sense and logic telling her otherwise. She continues to write her book confident that somehow someway things will work out. icon7 1

The Good

Bold-What can be said about a comic book from the 90’s dealing with a teenage mother considering abortion or adoption with a superhero and a doctor except…BLOODY WELL DONE! The topic of abortions even in the new millennium is taboo. This tale reaches me on a very personal level since I got my girlfriend pregnant while we where both seniors in high school. I still don’t know how Mcduffie got DC to agree to publishing this comic because it deals with a reality that society and the entertainment industry as a whole would rather pretend didn’t exist. Teenagers do shag, they probably shag more than people in a stable relationship (laugh) pregnancy of course is a side effect of enjoying the fun aspect of a shag without thinking about it. I dig the melding of reality here.

A real Icon-The courage of Rocket makes her a role model for owning up to mistakes beyond the paper she’s drawn on. She’s definitely an Icon!

Action-Action fans should also be happy as Icon flew around town helping little old ladies whose purses were snatched adding another

icon7 2Humor- Another huge aspect of Mcduffie’s personality that shone through in this issue was his sense of humor, similar if you can believe it to Joss Whedon in many ways. When Icon pours his heart out to Rocket and she thinks he’s lying was just golden, sure the situation was serious but c’mon it’s always funny when you tell the truth and the person your telling said truth thinks your a liar!

Art- The art continues to grow in stride with nice proportioned characters that actually look like real people as opposed to the clearly fictional proportions of other comics an added bonus was how well it conveyed the emotions of the characters in the various situations connected to the pregnancy and the possible abortion.

Emotional-The reality of abortion that this book brings to the forefront of the mind is daunting considering this came out November 1993. Rocket walks through the women’s clinic and has this moving talk with a female doctor who had an abortion many years ago. The doctor warns her of the complications that can occur with an abortion if she waits any longer she also alludes that her own pregnancy that she got rid off may have prevented her from becoming a doctor but you also get that she still feels the loss ever so often. Icon later tells Rocket about his own wife’s abortion to save her life that neither of them got over. This also brought up allot of my emotional baggage from my teen years as my then girlfriend had an abortion after her father found out she was pregnant and neither of us have ever gotten over that, despite her being married and me now being a jolly dad to a beautiful young lady. Thus is not a decision that one makes lightly!

The Bad

The art will turn some off as well as what some will perceive as the slow paced story.

The Ugly

Deeply moving and way ahead of it’s time! 4/5


Christopher Muse

 

Christopher

Christopher

Publisher: Marvel Comics

Created by: Brian Michael Bendis

1st appearance: All New X-men #1, 2012

Nationality: American

Team Affiliations: X-men

Legal Status: Wanted by the authorities

Height:  5’7           Weight: unknown

Eyes: Brown           Hair: Black

Relatives: Unknown

Skills and abilities: Unknown

Powers: Unspecified healing/resurrection based powers.

Biography

One of the new mutants who were activated after the events of Avengers Vs X-men. In this new world he finds himself the target of anti mutant hysteria after he apparently brought a man back to life during Avengers Vs X-men. Taken to a local police station where he was rescued by Cyclops, Magneto, Magik and Emma Frost. He was later taken to their new base of operations, the now defunct Weapon X facility.


Jeferson Davis

Jeferson Davis Morales

Jeferson Davis Morales

Created by: Brian Michael Bendis

1st appearance: Ultimate Comics Spider-Man #1, 2011

Nationality: American

Relatives: Rio Morales (Wife), Miles Morales/Spider-Man (Son), Aaron/Prowler (Brother)

Biography:
The Father of Spider-Man Miles Morales who is blissfully unaware of his son’s secret identity. In his youth he was involved in unspecified criminal activity with his brother. He loves his son very much and tries his best to provide for his family. During the “United we Stand” storyline he is wrongfully incarcerated by Shield and is rescued by Hydra. When the agents killed a man in front of him he was traumatized and shot them and ran off. This ordeal still haunts him.


Caleb/Ghost Rider

Caleb/Ghost Rider

Caleb/Ghost Rider

 

Publisher: Marvel Comics

Created by: Barbra Kesel and Anthony Williams

1st appearance: Ghost Rider: Trail of Souls #1, 2007

Nationality: American

Team Affiliations: None

Legal Status: Unknown

Height:  6’3           Weight: 235 lbs

Eyes: Brown           Hair: Black

Relatives: Parents (Deceased), Esther (Wife/deceased), Joseph and Jacob (Sons/deceased)

Skills and abilities: Has basic knowledge of African based magic passed down in his bloodline, most notably he was taught how to become a Ghost Rider.

Powers: Superhuman

Biography

Born during slavery Caleb managed to save enough money to buy himself and his wife’s freedom. They settled in the south and had two sons Joseph and Caleb.

He rescued Travis Parnam on a battlefield even though he fought against those who wanted to free slaves. Over time they became friends and gained a mutual respect for each other. When Parnam left his ranch his family was killed by the local KKK. During the ordeal he was forced to watch as the men hung his children and repeatedly raped his wife. Left for dead the only thing that kept him alive was the need for revenge and justice. With this in mind he reached out to the spirit of vengeance his family had kept with them thus becoming a Ghost Rider.

He then hunted down his executioners and killed them and all those they held dear, before becoming a local legend and myth of the west. Hundreds of years later he joined the current Ghost Rider Johnny Blaze in defending heaven.


Firestorm #5 Review

Firestorm5 cover

Part 2 of “Everybody Wants You,” guest-starring Superman and The Flash!

Tortured with guilt following the discovery of a horrifying new facet of his power, Jason Rusch

must accept that even Firestorm the Nuclear Man can’t always survive on his own.

Summary

Jason is fiddling with the “beeper’ he got form the JLA last issue. He starts seeing the very fiber of the device when his father hustles him off to work. At work he overhears talk of a metahuman woman made of rock prompting him to think of the woman from last issue.

At night he returns to the park to fuse with the homeless man but instead runs into a cop out for a night jog. He tries to find the young woman but attacks and tries to kill him. His powers have altered her on a cellular level making her even more unstable. He manages to subdue her but in the process she’s injured. With no way of a hospital being equipped for this he presses the beeper and superman comes in and calls flash to take the woman to star labs. On the way to the facility Superman warns Firestorm of the improper use of powers and the weight of the firestorm mantle he now carries.

Jason’s dad works out in the gym with his prosthetic arm, a friend of his laments that the gym won’t be the same without him.

At the lab Jason is offered tests to help him with his powers, he accepts but he will have to come back another day. He also pretends he has no idea what could have altered the woman he sent there. The cop warns him he may become addicted to being firestorm.

Firestorm5

The Good

Addiction comes into play this issue with the suggestion that the power Jason now wields may be intoxicating. He tries to play it off as nothing but it’s a real possibility. He’s been weak and helpless his whole life and now he’s been elevated to the status of god. I can see how that would be intoxicating. The power of flight alone would be near impossible to give up if the average person got it.

The dependence of merging to activate his powers is also NOT something I think ill ever get used to. It’s a very different power activation method than normal and sure it grants him a slew of abilities but how fair is it for the unwilling participants? Is he randomly abducting people as the cop suggests? After all this is a lot like date rate, his “victims” will have no recollection of anything he has done with them. The moral dilemma of what one “ought to do” is also up in the air.

What’s up with Jason’s dad is a nice touch as well, since I really want to peel back more of his layers to understand why he is the way he is now. There’s hopefully nothing as black and white as good or evil at play here.

The art continues to shine, conveying everything perfectly.

The action this issue is some of the best since the series started which should keep action junkies very happy.

The Bad

The undefined powers and lack of clear direction for this book may leave some wanting. The story wraps up just as things get good.

The Ugly

3/5


Avengers (2013) #1 Review

Marvel Now Avengers #1 (1)

The greatest heroes in comics together on one unbeatable team! Now shipping twice a month, the Avengers “go large,” expanding their roster and their sphere of influence to a global and even interplanetary level. When Captain America puts out his call – who will answer? Big threats, big ideas, big idealism – these are the Avengers NOW!

Summary

Iron man and Captain America put a new Avengers program into effect in anticipation of a worst case scenario. In the present Mars has been converted/recreated by the Avatars of creation. The Avengers comprised of Cap, Stark, Widow, Hawkeye, Thor and Hulk take the fight to mars where they are soundly defeated and Cap is sent back to earth battered and defeated.marvelnowavengers covers (2)

Once he recovers he activates the protocol implemented by himself and stark and he assembles a new team of Avengers for the task of rescuing those captured and defeating this new threat.

The Good

Accessibility- Hickman you sly dog! By using Hulk, Captain America, Hawkeye, Black Widow, Iron Man and Thor (Joss Whedon’s movie team) it gives this first issue a level of accessibility to new converts from the movie not common in modern day ongoing comics. You come in well aware of the skills abilities and personality of these veterans and the entire thing sets the stage for the premise of the book. A global functioning larger more diverse cast of Avengers! Very nicely done!

Cover- The standard cover with Captain America front and center that connects t other covers is very dynamic with its use of light and darkness. There is an alternate cover to this one with ½ the colors stripped to reveal the inks only, I like it! marvelnowaveng (8)

Variant Covers- By far my favorite cover was the one with Captain America in the foreground flanked by Hawkeye, Black Widow, Iron Man and Hulk. The sketch of said cover is also well worth the price with its stunning ink work. Another cover worth owning was the one with Captain America and Thor only in the heat of battle

Mystery- Who are the members of this new team outside of those already announced? In particular who the hell is the new Omni/Uni power wielder?

Threat- These Avatars of Creation seem like a major threat to life on earth itself easily warranting a different kind of Avengers team for the task, thus justifying the existence of the team.

Art-Honestly I never expected to like the interior art but it’s so beautifully executed I can’t help but anticipate the turning of a page and the next stunning art piece. Kudos to Jerome Opena for a stunning opening issue!

Black Heroes- Sunspot (Afro-Latino from Brazil), Falcon (First African American superhero), Eden Fesi (Aborigine descent) and a new black chick wielding the Omni/Oni power! Yes please and thank you very much!

Action- While the fight itself didn’t last very long I found it very exciting and well choreographed, action junkies should be pleased.

The Bad

Alternate Covers- The plain white cover is too overly simplified for marvel to honestly charge the same price for it. Sorry that is lazy design work and then charging premium price for a white piece of paper with a footer and a logo? Really marvel?!

The A-babies cover is also quite useless from any standpoint you look at it honestly.

The worst cover ever though has to be attention whore deadpool cut and pasted onto the standard cover doing the equally ridiculous fad gang-nam-style dance (Rolls eyes). The inks only version as you can guess is worth as much.  The midtown comics’ exclusive cover for some reason just seemed like a waste of time as did the others. NB marvel- Do you honestly need so many different covers for a single issue? Why not spend that money on launching a book centered around a few women or black characters?!

 

The Ugly

Hickman turns in a very well crafted book that pulls you from reality and into the adventure. Here’s to a bold new era for the Avengers! 5/5

stars- 5


Batwing #14 Review

batwing14 (1)

Batwing will need all the help he can get to take down a death cult led by Father Lost!

Summary

Batwing and Dawn manage to subdue the cult before the police arrive to subdue the cult. David learns Dawn’s identity while Father Lost prepares to deal with Dawn decisively. Batwing arrives on the scene of the ambush on Dawn right as Father Lost seriously wounds her.

batwing14 (4)

The Good

Cover-Cool looking cover with Batwing literally diving into a maddened crowd of Keepers as the reach out to rip him to shreds! The blue of Batwing’s suit contrasts with the otherwise yellow and orange hues giving it a very distinctive look on the shelves.

Villain- Father Lost is a mystery and a pretty interesting one at that. I like his design and otherwise down and dirty demeanor.

Art- Ryan Winn draws a decent book though it’s not as visually stunning as Shadowman #1 from Valiant and many other books both from DC and Marvel.

New Hero- I like the introduction of Dawn and the revelation of how she ties into David’s past and the unfolding story. Kudos to this book for continuing to add cool black characters to the Caucasian DC universe.

Rating- Also liked how this book was neatly tagged with a teen rating considering the heart rip from chest which occurred in its pages. Can’t tell how many books have been saddled with the wrong rating.

Action- Gotta love a book with so much going on while the story unfolds seamlessly.

The Bad

The end- This is the last issue Judd Winick will be writer on this title……..what will happen to Batwing now? Only time will tell.

The Ugly

Enjoyable from start to finish! 3.5/5

stars- 3.5


Father Lost

Father Lost

Father Lost

Publisher: DC Comics

Created by: Judd Winick

1st appearance: Batwing #13, 2012

Nationality: African

Team Affiliations: The Bringers

Legal Status: Unknown

Height:  5’11           Weight: 190 lbs

Eyes: Brown           Hair: Black

Relatives: Unknown

Skills and abilities: Skilled in necromancy and voodoo

Powers: His primary power appears to be mind control though it is in fact a form of blood magic which he uses to control the hearts and minds of those around him.

Biography

Like David Zavimbe/Batwing his parents died of AIDS when he was young and he wandered alone from village to village living off scraps. One day he met an old woman who told him he was special like her and taught him how to harness his fear and anger, to own it. Through this method he gained magic abilities which he strengthened by finding the people too afraid to unleash their anger and too guilty when they don’t and how to make their anger his own. Through this he can control the hearts and minds of others [Batwing #15].

With a new lease on life he traveled across Africa creating a cult to keep himself safe and powerful. Along the ay he killed and tortured members of Dawn’s military team this caused her to [Batwing #13]. His cult grew as did his powers while he spread death and violence everywhere. Pursued by Dawn he ran amok of David Zavimbe/Batwing though he managed to seriously wound Dawn in battle [Batwing #14].

David Zavimbe later defeated him after he found a way to sever Lost’s connection to his followers thus severing his power source. Lost was then turned over to the police force [Batwing #15].


Shadowman (2012) #1 Review

Shadowman#1 cover

Shadowman #1 by Patrick Zircher and Justin Jordan

There’s a million dreams in the Big Easy. But now its worst nightmare is about to come true. As the forces of darkness prepare to claim New Orleans as their own, Jack Boniface must embrace the legacy he was born to uphold. As Shadowman, Jack is about to become the only thing that stands between his city and an army of unspeakable monstrosities from beyond the night. But is the mantle of Shadowman a blessing or a curse? And what is the true cost of his otherworldly power? The rebirth of a Valiant icon starts right here, when Shadowman strikes this November!

Summary

Shadowman#1 2Twenty years ago Shadowman/Josiah Boniface seemingly dies while saving the world from master Darque. In the present Josiah’s son Jack Boniface works at a local museum in New Orleans. Here he learns about his parents criminal past and discards a medallion passed down from them to him. Without the medallion he is sensed by both good and evil magic users in the area.

Elsewhere a demon called Mr. Twist stages a massacre and takes control of two police officers who then seek out Jack. The demons try to kill him but he manifests the Shadowman powers both saving and changing his life irrevocably!

The Good

Shadowman#1 5Cover- That is one very gorgeous cover! Strong line work mixed in with bod inc and bright colors.

Grotesque- Oh my god that massacre was gruesome and the monster created from the flesh and parts? Damn! that thing “Mr. Twist” is a vile revolting thing that would be right at home in Resident evil. I like it! Kudos on the design!

Art-Patrick Zircher is on art duty and everything is very visually pleasing, well proportioned  people and grotesque monsters make this a very good looking package.

Costume design- As I mentioned previously when I talked about the old costumes in the lead up to the series premier I love the more practical approach that this new costume injects into the shadowman lore. Pouches and a belt akin to Batman’s utility, all black helps him to blend into the shadows etc. I really dig the redesign! Honestly it’s already my favorite Shadowman costume in the history of the character.

Continuity- The old is new again is all I can say as I turn each page in this book. Jack Boniface (Original) has become Jack Boniface (New), his once dead father Josiah has become his predecessor in the shadowman line and he also got a well needed makeover!  Oh and did old readers see that Deadside is back in circulation and the original Shadowman mask was hanging on the museum wall? Frickin sweet!  My Shadowman fanboy is very well fed indeed!

Shadowman- Ok so a big part of the new mythology is that Shadowman is the host for this ethereal shadow being with whom it shares a symbiotic bond. Also a huge fan of the listing of Jack Boniface’s ancestry, Maxim St. James is now one of his ancestors! God I’m in love with Shadowman all over again.

The Bad

Jack Boniface- I may just be me but I didn’t feel a connection with this new Jack the way I connected with the original Jack in the very first issue.  It could be the fact that I’m now older than I was with the original and what I demand from my protagonist but there was a clear disconnect between me and Jack.

Ongoing- I know this is the new standard set by Bendis back when he launched Ultimate Spider-man but that last page made me cringe that it was all over….but wait a minute is that good or bad that I was enjoying it so much I hated that it wasn’t a self contained issue instead of ongoing? Hmmmm

The Ugly

This is an instant classic! For fans of the original series this is a welcome relaunch. For new valiant fans or new readers in general this is an solid enough investment with great art and a cool introduction to both the setting, titular character, villain and mythology! A must read for Black Superhero fans! 3/5

stars- 3


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