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Comic Book Reviews for the Week of 5/7/08: Invincible Iron Man, Mighty Avengers, Secret Invasion!

Written by: The CinCitizens

ImageWeek after week, every Wednesday, there is a sudden influx of content in the comic book world. It's CC2K's job to sift through the garbage to find the gold. Every week we'll be bringing you reviews on the widest range of books possible. This week: The long awaited conclusion to Geoff Johns' and Richard Donner's "Last Son" arc in Action Comics, Secret Invasion, Invincible Iron Man, House of Mystery, and more! Our book of the week: Invincible Iron Man #1.

Invincible Iron Man #1 Review by Joey Davidson
Writer – Matt Fraction
Pencils – Salvador Larroca
Colors – Frank D'Armata & Stephane Peru
Letters – Chris Eliopoulos

This is going to be the book that brings movie fans into the world of comics.  This book, the first issue hitting shelves the Wednesday after the Iron Man flick, will be the book that defines the impressions of those fans leaving the theaters and running to the comic shop.  The Invincible Iron Man is off and running, and it rocks!

Larroca's art is nothing short of incredible.  Polished and well toned, with the aid of D'Armata and Peru's colors, Larroca has breathed new life into the recently turned bad-guy (see Civil War), Tony Stark.  Fraction's writing is also spot on.  The dialogue is quick and witty, like the Tony we know and love.  There are hints at all that makes Iron Man in these opening pages: the alcohol, the friends, the lovers and the paranoia.

The story this first issue opens up is thrilling.  Bombings and terror are the natural enemies of Tony Stark and his Iron Man, and they're both here.  This is the new Marvel series you should be picking up.  The Invincible Iron Man looks like one of the greatest non-event rides of the year for Marvel.  Pick it up at number one.  This is going to be great!

5.0 out of 5. CC2K'S BOOK OF THE WEEK!




ImageAbe Sapien: The Drowning #4 Review by Joey Davidson
Writer – Mike Mignola
Pencils – Jason Shawn Alexander
Colors – Dave Stewart
Letters – Clem Robins
Cover – Mike Mignola and Dave Stewart

Ah, this issue shall be known as 'The One Where Abe Gets Its Plot.'  As I mentioned in my last review of one of the fastest books I have ever read, Abe Sapien's direction hasn't been clear from the start.  Well, that all changes here in number four.  "The plot thickens–" as they say.  It sure does.

Here, Mignola is kind enough to give us the reason behind his rhyme, and with every page the reader is buried deeper beneath the mythos that surrounds the weird village Abe finds himself trapped in.  This book is for the patient, as those that simply think they do not have time to be tossed around will probably be better served to pass over this one.  The speed and quick pacing from the previous issue have been abandoned for storytelling.  So, on the other hand, those that enjoy a bit more substance in their reads will probably be glad when flipping through the newest in Abe Sapien.

So far so good.  The story, as I have mentioned, is finally picking up here.  I can safely say that I finally know what's happening, which is a plus.  This installment is a bit on the thick side, but Mignola's writing is good enough to pass the time.  The recommendation stays the same until the conclusion; I'll reserve this one for fans of Abe and his personality.

3.5 out of 5.




ImageAction Comics Annual #11 Review by Erik Norris
Writer(s) – Geoff Johns & Richard Donner
Pencils/ Inks – Adam Kubert
Colors – Edgar Delgado
Letters – Rob Leigh
Cover – Adam Kubert

It is like the second coming of Christ today. All will remember the 7th of May, 2008 as the day “Last Son” ended in the pages of Action Comics. The first story arc since Geoff Johns took over writing duties on the title, teamed with Richard Donner, has seen such massive delays that editorial at DC decided to press on with future stories before this one even wrapped, thus making the conclusion to “Last Son” basically void. However, it’s finally on store shelves in a double sized blow out issue and to some degree, it delivers.

We can start with the good. The whole arc has been written by DC God Geoff Johns. That right there should be reason enough to read this Action Comics Annual. However, for this particular arc, he brought in Richard Donner, famous among Superman fans for directing Superman: The Movie, the quintessential superhero flick. See Geoff Johns used to be Donner’s assistant, working on such films as Lethal Weapon. Now Johns is the hotshot writer, bringing back his old mentor to the character he loves to tell a sweeping epic, fitting both thematically and in scope to Donner’s work on the Superman films. In a nutshell, the story works and is told brilliantly.

The art is also something to be pointed out. In previous installments of “Last Son” I took notice to Kubert’s odd style. He draws really sketchy figures, but his background sets are masterful. It’s very strange to look at. In one respect, it makes the individuals “pop” off the page and be the center of the imagery, which makes sense, as the people carry the action. But if you take a second to pour over panels, you will notice the excess, the backgrounds, are the things actually worth looking at, putting the sketchy figures to shame, making them look downright ugly at times. The whole arc has been rather strong in the art department, save for some rushed pencils this issue (yet it took how many months to come out?).

However, when taken as a full package, Action Comics Annual #11 and the rest of “Last Son” have been a disappointment. This issue doesn’t deliver any new developments, as we have already been dealing with the fallout for about half a year as Action Comics continued to truck on without “Last Son” wrapping up. It’s a real shame, because this storyline was hyped up as being the second discovery of the circular wheel. Horrendous shipping delays pretty much made this otherwise satisfying comic a mute point.

3.5 out of 5.



ImageAmazing Spider-Man #558 Review by Tom Lynch

Writer – Bob Gale
Pencils – Barry Kitson
Inks – Mark Farmer
Colors – Hannin & Milla
Letters – Cory Petit

It sure feels like I’m reading Spider-Man as a kid again.  Each story flows so effortlessly into the next that it’s like reading one long arc instead on multiple 3 and 6 parters that are so prevalent in today’s comics.  Amazing Spider-Man has become a breath of fresh air. 

The best part of this issue is the scenes outside of costume and action.  The dialogue and the quieter moments really stand out as great writing.  As it has been in recent issues, a glimpse of just about everyone that’s important to the story, and some that aren’t, add some great value to the book.  The plot moves along at a pretty good pace and nothing really stands out as an odd moment.  The only thing that can really detract from the reading of this issue is the thought balloons.  While it’s nice to see them back in Marvel comics, they begin to get intrusive when Peter decides he needs to think out every possibility about his current plan in reaction to events around him. 

The art meanwhile is stunning.  Now we know where Barry Kitson has been since the cancellation of The Order was announced.  His style fits well with Spider-Man – his framing is excellent, especially in the actions scenes when he really gets to shine.  I’m not sure if he will be staying on the book, but I sure hope he does.  The rest of the art team does a fine job with inks and colors, but nothing spectacular.  Another fun issue of a rejuvenated Spider-Man line and the last page has some hints for John Romita Jr’s return to the book in August, which is a wonderful plus to an already enjoyable issue.

4.0 out of 5.



ImageCable #3 Review by Tom Sanford
Writer – Duane Swierczynski
Artist – Ariel Olivetti
Letters – Joe Caramanga
Variant Cover – John Romita Jr. & Dean White

I can’t get over the fact that a hulking, massive Cable is so well drawn with a little baby always tucked somewhere in one of his many crevices. The images look like something that belongs in the Louvre, from the cover to the kangaroo pouches he’s been sporting in the issues. It’s hilarious.

Anyway, the book is surprisingly well written. It keeps getting more enjoyable and the parallels between Cable and Bishop are a lot of fun. One doesn’t seem more likely to gain the future he wants than the other, and neither are able to work together to make a melded future, as always, but neither seems right or wrong in their ways. Cable survives the gigantic truck being hurled at him, of course, and ends up taking a rest in the care of a nurse who he came across. The nurse tries and fails to hold the baby for him, as he barks at her like a Labrador Retriever who has befriended a kitten and taken it as his own.

The depth is another unexpected trait in the book. All the pain and angst of the people in their lives is simply told by a few panels. An exchange of the militia men as told by the nurse takes an image of murder than in this day and age would otherwise be darkly funny and makes it frightening and saddening instead. All the while, Bishop is recharging just as quickly, barking insults at the same men who are being explained in another place to get them to beat the shit out of him. These are interesting exchanges, with humor and adventure wholly absent to give a far more realistic feel.

It’s unclear where the books’ future lies. It’s more than just an average hero book, but just what that is isn’t apparent yet. Development continues along slowly but surely, and the inclusion of another character other than Bishop or Cable is a perfectly planned next step. Let’s just hope the new character doesn’t suck.

3.5 out of 5.



ImageStephen Kings’ The Dark Tower: The Long Road Home #3 Review by Erik Norris
Writer – Peter David
Art – Jae Lee & Richard Isanove
Letters – Chris Eliopoulos
Cover – Jae Lee

Thus concludes the third chapter (of five) in the Long Road Home and we end basically where we started. The entire issue is spent with Roland and Alain wrestling the sorcerer, Marten, in the realm of the mystical grapefruit. While all of these sequences are amazingly drawn and scripted, it doesn’t really give answers to the problems that have arisen. This poses a considerable problem with only two issues remaining in the series.

The first fault is this issue gives no new information on the magical powers that have overtaken the poor mentally handicapped boy that seemed to be the major focus of the previous two installments, and what drove the actual plot of this miniseries. Instead the issue focuses on a bumbling Roland, something that has been going on since issue #1, as his ka-tet tries to snap him out of his dream/nightmare. The one giant nugget of background information issue #3 provides is what eventually happens to Roland’s friends. Even for new readers to the Dark Tower series, it was obvious something like this was going to happen eventually, but it was good to see it blatantly stated so early in the comics.

Jae Lee continues to turn in some great looking, yet static, art for the Dark Tower series. Earlier I commented on Adi Granov’s often stiff figures, proclaiming it as a crutch to his overall pieces. With Jae Lee, his static figures naturally fit his work. Lee’s style is much more experimental and “artsy,” making his static imagery fit tonally.

I’m still pleasantly onboard for this series’ conclusion, though I am weary about how it plans to get there. The supremely strong writing, and magnificent art, can only carry the story so far before it breaks down on itself due to lack of depth. Let’s hope Peter David has a strong ace up his sleeve to rejuvenate The Long Road Home heading into its conclusion.

3.5 out of 5.


ImageDead Space #3 Review by Tom Sanford
Writer – Antony Johnston
Artist – Ben Templesmith
Letters – Rus Wooton

Dead Space
continues to grow more and more bizarre, but in an interesting way. Not only is this because the focus still hasn’t stuck to one specific character, but because for something that is supposed to be a bit of background for an upcoming video game, I can’t at all see what about it is video game playable. So far, it is much too character driven to be any sort of action or adventure game and nothing has come up that could make it any kind of shooter. No real alien or antagonist of violence has shown its’ face, and the conflicts have lied mostly in influence and mind control. That’s not, however, to say that aliens won’t show, nor is it to say that this aspect of the series is bad. It still has three issues left and it is still an entertaining read as a whole.

This issue specifically, however, is the weakest yet. Disorienting and uneventful, it is mostly boring save for an amazingly strange and out of nowhere mass suicide. The doctor who proclaims that he is an atheist in the beginning of the book seems as though he will be interesting, but he turns weasel like and goofy for all the wrong reasons. When speaking about the psychotic man who graces the cover as he is met later in the book, he says he has seen many cases of his “madness,” and that they all vary, yet we have seen such an extreme case of this and none others at this point. Thus, the loony seems out of place and contrived. Bram steps up to the plate at the end of the issue, only to find that he won’t be able to have an effect on anything, so he remains the main character, but he is out of focus.

It’s an interesting series, and after three issues the art no longer takes a toll but seems nicely natural. However, the writing has taken a dive and reads more like a jumbled mess than the tight, focused movement it had already been for two issues. It would be unnecessary to jump ship, but hopefully a turn for the better is in the near future.

2.5 out of 5.



ImageDetective Comics #844 Review by Tom Lynch

Writer – Paul Dini
Pencils – Dustin Nguyen
Inks – Derek Fridolfs
Colors – John Kalisz
Letters – Sal Cipriano

This issue of Detective Comics finally reveals the origin of the new Ventriloquist.  So essentially it’s a very talkative issue with a significant portion of the book being used for flashback.  Finally seeing her origin is nice, but it doesn’t really make any sense.  You mean to tell me that they kidnap Bruce Wayne for the purpose of tying him up and telling him your origin?  Did I get that right?  It’s just an odd device to get it out there.  And even though Zatanna is on the cover, she has almost nothing to do until the final pages. 

Since it’s mostly a talking heads issue, not much really happens.  The plot, of which there is little, is constricted to the first and last few pages.  By the end of the flashback, I had a hard time putting together what characters were new and what ones had been there.  The interactions between Bruce and Zatanna are great and I wish the whole issue could have been filled with it.  And since it really is a talking heads issue, Dustin was really limited in what to do with the scenes.  A couple nice camera angle changes freshen things up a bit, but not enough to really take notice.  He does some neat things with breaking the panel and some layouts, but again, not enough to be worth mentioning. 

But to his credit, his style and the coloring has been changed more to fit the story.  It’s mostly a dark tale about some messed up stuff and with the art part of the book reflecting that, this is a more complete package and the first part from issue #843. 

3.0 out of 5.




ImageHalloween: Nightdance #4 Review by Tom Sanford
Writer – Stefan Hutchinson
Artist – Tim Seeley
Colors – Elizabeth John w/ Courtney Via
Letters – Crank!

Halloween is over and the fiasco comes to a close. Michael has quenched his thirst for murder again, and artist Tim Seeley has consistently shown that he can portray the character far better than many directors have done on screen in his work. Lisa’s life has come crashing down and she is forced to face her biggest fear in coming face to face with Michael. All along, Lisa hasn’t really known exactly what she is afraid of, and that in a nutshell is what’s so terrifying about Michael Myers. He is a shadow, a mindless drone, without any acceptable motive and with an unexplained drive that, even if it could be explained, would be something one would never want to indulge in knowing.

Ryan is desperately trying to retrieve his wife, and the two parallel paths of the story have finally crossed as he comes along Lisa at the house of his family. It’s from here on that they fall completely into Michael’s sadistic trap. Lisa’s inner monologue is out of place at times, unnecessary with all the incredible imagery. Some of the best things about the original Halloween’s scenes towards the end are the fact that they could work on mute. While the text can be considered a needed replacement for the score, it might have worked better without it, giving the chance for just imagining that piano tune playing in ones’ head.

Everything about this series screams of excellence when looked at as a whole next to some of the terrible sequels that have been released in the past. Skeptically, I began the series thinking it would run on the heels of the remake, but it wasn’t like that at all. It makes the point that perhaps there are no motives or links to Michael’s murders, and he simply obsesses over that fateful night as a child. The few unfortunate souls that got caught up in the situation are well cared for, different from most in the filmic universe who are just fodder, and have their thoughts and feelings tossed away in true Myers fashion, rendering their pleas and long, artistic hopes and fears fantastically moot. Don’t judge this series based on the recent reboot, think of it as what the sequels should have been all along. Hopefully, keep an eye out for Tim Seeley on other Halloween projects. While the writing here may have been a lucky catch, his art will most likely be just as good in the future. If you missed out on this series and you’re a Halloween fan, pick up the trade when it comes out and enjoy.

4.0 out of 5.

Series: 4.5 out of 5.




ImageHouse of Mystery #1 Review by Erik Norris
Writer – Matthew Sturges & Bill Willingham
Pencils/ Inks – Luca Rossi & Ross Campbell
Colors – Lee Loughridge
Letters – Todd Klein
Cover – Sam Weber

What a damn good comic. It’s hard to explain what makes this title so enthralling because as of issue #1, I’m still curious of this series’ true motive. But both narratives contribute to making issue #1 a great foundation to build upon.

First let’s discuss the writing. As I mentioned previously, House of Mystery #1 boasts two narratives. Thus, each is handled by a different writer, the main narrative being scripted by Matthew Sturges, and the diagetic story handled by Bill Willingham. Even with two different writers tackling the same issue, I couldn’t tell a difference between their prose to render me taken out of the story. Each story flowed in and out of each other seamlessly to make one complete package that worked both in the context of the narrative’s structure and in the context of the comic’s world.

Two artists also handled art duties much like the writers traded off. Luca Rossi drawing the main narrative with stylishly rendered figured that work wonders for the tone and mood of the book. While Ross Campbell’s naïve and innocent pencils handled the gruesome diagetic fairy tale perfectly, making me want to gag for all the right reasons.

With not a lot of knowledge as to what this series is set out to accomplish, I am still salivating for the new installment. I want more information on this house, more information on these ghouls chasing this poor girl, more of these fairy tales, and more great writing and art. Bring on House of Mystery #2.

4.5 out of 5.


ImageIron Man: Viva Las Vegas #1 Review by Erik Norris
Writer – Jon Favreau
Artist – Adi Granov
Letters – Chris Eliopoulos
Cover – Adi Granov

I have a problem with sleeping, I do it too much. As a human being, I am making a conscious effort to cut back by keeping busy, making the most of my days. Iron Man: Viva Las Vegas #1 is not helping my case. By the time I reached the final page, I wanted to slip into a deep coma and maybe die (the eternal sleep). God this comic was boring.

It seemed like a sure-fire hit. You have Jon Favreau, director of the recently released Iron Man film, teaming up with artist extraordinaire Adi Granov to tell a tale about Iron Man battling Fing Fang Foom the Dragon. However, what you get is a stereotypical Tony Stark that says about three lines. An appearance by Iron Man that is completely detached from the main narrative. And a cliffhanger that is the same image as a panel eight pages before it.

The only plus to this comic is the fantastic art by Adi Granov. The man responsible for designing the armor Iron Man currently sports, Granov is a hell of an artist. While the jet segment with Iron Man doesn’t fit the rest of the book, it does benefit by looking super pretty. Granov just needs a little work on his human figures as all look entirely too static and plastic like. If he can nail that someday, he will probably be top dog in the comic artist field. Until then, we will have to suffice with his exceptional Iron Man pieces.

Don’t waste your money. The point and a half goes to Granov’s art which can be seen for free on the interwebs.

1.5 out of 5.




ImageLogan #3 Review by Joey Davidson
Writer – Brian K Vaughan
Pencils – Eduardo Risso
Colors – Dean White
Letters – VC's Joe Caramagna

So I'm the one that gets to review the third and final installment in Vaughan's mini, Logan.  I get to sit here and decide whether or not these three issues have been worth the trip.  I decide if I like the story and, therefore, if you like the story.  If only it was that easy.

Logan's going to do different things for different people.  If you're a Wolverine fan, you're going to love it.  Vaughan does a great job bringing the beast as close to human as possible.  Logan's flaws are exposed and, literally, ripped out for him to see.  You'll love the storytelling, the pacing and the art.  In fact, the art is one of the uniform characteristics of the series.  Wolverine lovers and those that know little to nothing about the character will both be able to look at the art and form an unbiased opinion.  I, personally, love it.  Risso's work is brilliant, and the simplicity of the images fits the story perfectly.

For those that don't really care about Wolverine, this book is going to be hit or miss.  You'll find yourselves questioning the direction of the story and wondering whether or not the trip is even worth it.  Are three issues enough?  Yes and no.  You probably won't care much about the story until the final few pages of the second issue, but the third issue is great from start to finish.  It opens well, the action fills the transition, and the end leaves enough wanting that makes the entire story enjoyable in its nice little package.

When I first heard that Vaughan was writing Logan, I was psyched.  Vaughan's a great storyteller, and that can truly be felt even in this brief mini.  Logan will be worth your time if you buy all three issues at once.  Each previous issue in itself was never incredibly strong, but the story over the course of the book was heartfelt and enjoyable.  The final issue is the strongest and the one that's really going to seal the deal.

4.0 out of 5.



ImageThe Mighty Avengers #13 Review by Tom Lynch
Writer – Brian Michael Bendis
Artist – Alex Maleev
Colors – Matt Hollingsworth
Letters – Dave Lanhpear
Cover – Marko Djudjevic

As it usually is with Alex Maleev, I have a hard time putting into words how beautiful this book is.  Each panel is masterfully rendered with great looking character and backgrounds.  He’s so good at creating splash page images and keeping them in panels.  There are a number of such panels that just take my breath away.  Of course the coloring has a huge part to do with that and Matt does just as good a job of bringing the art off the page.  There’s a lot of love given to this book and it really shows.

His style almost seems to be modified depending on the mood of the scene to get across the message of what’s happening.  From a bright outside scene at a park to a darkened alleyway, which he does best, it all fits the book so well.

In terms of the story though, there isn’t much of one.  This issue feels way to much like a preview to what’s going to come.  The dialogue is sharp and witty and the interactions are genuine, but the sum of these parts does not create a whole.  Essentially a team is being gathered by a still in hiding Nick Fury, and while each section is written well, none of it is really stand out and in the end you’re left wondering if anything really happened.  It pains me to give a Maleev book less than 4, the lack of plot advancement forces my hand.

3.0 out of 5.




ImageMoon Knight #18 Review by Tom Lynch
Writer – Mike Benson
Plot – Mike Benson & Charlie Huston
Artist – Mark Texeira
Layouts – Javier Saltares
Colors – Dan Brown

Letters – Joe Caramagna

It does my heart good to see Moon Knight beginning to hit its stride.  As one of my favorite B-listers, this book has toiled in mediocrity since Charlie Huston’s first arc.  Now I can proudly say that Moon Knight kicks some major ass.  And Moon Knight is barely even in this issue.

Marc Spector is going through some rough times, least of his worries being Tony Stark suspending his Hero license.  As Moon Knight’s past begins to catch up with him, the true story begins to become realized.  The characterization of Marc is really powerful as we seem him pushed to his emotional limit.  The interactions between he and all of those around him resound as true and drives home what kind of person he really is, or at least thinks he is.  There are really two conflicts here and each takes a pretty big step towards conclusion in this issue.  I haven’t been this excited about the happenings in Moon Knight in over a year.  And Mark Texeira is thankfully still on the book and making some great pages out of it. 

The art has a very dark and grainy look that reflects the path that Marc is taking with his recent choices.  The panel layout reflects the action perfectly and aids with the storytelling.  Dan Brown does an exceptional job on colors to keep the same kind of feel with muted colors and darkened tones.  This is pushing to be a better book than some of the A-list books on the market today.  A real hidden gem that most people would normally look over, but you really should pick this one up.

5.0 out of 5!




ImageNightwing #144 Review by Tom Sanford
Writer – Peter J. Tomasi
Pencils – Rags Morales & Don Kramer
Inks – Michael Bair, Christian Alamy, & Sandu Florea
Colora – Nathan Eyring
Letters – Sal Cipriano
Cover – Doug Mahnke

Smooth, suave Dick Grayson is back and doing exactly what he’s been doing for a while. His inner monologue has returned, there’s no Tim Drake in sight for him to talk with, and Bruce Wayne’s been missing for what seems like forever. It should be exciting for him to be out on his own, but it isn’t. The highlights of the new Tomasi Nightwing in turn are his interactions with those other figurehead characters in the world of Batman. So it is only natural then that a scene about a woman who gives birth to 25 super soldiers at a time being shot with tranquilizers just when you get sick of her talking is more interesting and exciting than Dick Grayson making a Spider-Man-esque drug bust and moving on to the next crime on the police scanner. Maybe that’s just the difference between Dick and Bruce, as Dick seems to be more interested in looking out for the little guy on a small scale as opposed to Bruce who has always gone straight for the throat in his heroic endeavors. Maybe, on that same note, Dick simply isn’t ready. All valid questions to ponder as the do no wrong Dick Grayson stays that way.

The ‘James Bond’ act is getting old, especially when the book itself realizes it enough to make a direct reference, but it’s still fun to see and read about. Whenever the playing with the toys stops and the real danger begins, though, the excitement will heighten, because let’s face it, as cool as he is, Dick hasn’t seen any real danger since the new writer came on board. That looks about to change with the arrival of Talia Al Ghūl bearing a picture of Dick’s captured girlfriend. Now, it seems there is something that he really is going to have to put his heart and soul into as a hero. The problem is, he should be forgetting about his girlfriend and trying to bang Talia instead, because she’s way better looking and her hoochie earrings are awesome. Who cares if Bruce has already hit that? That problem is a tough one because he only has three issues until "Batman R.I.P." to do it!

3.0 out of 5.



ImageNova #13 Review by Joey Davidson
Writers – Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning
Pencils – Wellington Alves
Inks – Scott Hanna
Colors – GURU eFX
Letters – VC’s Cory Petit
Cover – Alex Maleev

Did I miss something?  This series had been firing on all cylinders since its onset.  Epic pacing, brilliant storytelling, great character development and awesome dialogue.  Well, two of the four have dropped.  I’m going to slash the character development and the storytelling right off of the list.  The great dialogue and pacing are still there.  But with this new issue, we’ve abandoned the characters I grew to love and the story to which I had been glued.

This issue, screw you Marvel (I’ll get to that in a second), picks up fresh…  Nova has to go and save a new planet from Galactacus’ destruction.  Well, that’s fine.  But this isn’t where they left off in #12.  I hate when comic book companies do this: you get to the second to last in an arc and at the final page you are told to conclude it with a separate book.  I don’t WANT to.  So my arc and my characters have left.  Now it’s just Nova; which would normally have been fine.  But the Nova in these pages isn't the same one from the start of the series.  It’s like all the growth and adjustment Richard Rider had gone through was all for naught.

The on saving grace in this issue was the promise of Silver Surfer.  The Silver Surfer is on the cover in the throes of passion with Nova.  See for yourself above.

But don’t worry kids (spoiler alert); he only comes in on the last page.  Buy this issue, but don’t read it until you have the next in your hands.  It’s good enough back story, but nothing spectacular happens.  You’ll find yourself angry and ready for the next when it’s over.

3.0 out of 5.



ImageSecret Invasion #2 Review by Tom Sanford
Writer – Brian Michael Bendis
Pencils – Leinil Yu
Inks – Mark Morales
Colors – Laura Martin
Letters – Chris Eliopoulos

Finally, after the hype-machine of Comic Con’s Secret Invasion promotion made even the most critical sticks in the mud (me) even more excited for the next issue, it arrives. Not surprisingly, it’s underwhelming, even though that’s to be said about a series that remains in a positive light.

This issue focuses almost completely on the pod that crash landed from last issue. The silly ‘70’s versions of everyone’s favorite Marvel heroes came trotting out and  spewed a few funny lines, only to completely piss off their far more tired looking, no-nonsense counterparts. Without trying to find out who they are or what they might be, the assumption is made unanimously that they’re Skrulls, and it proves to be right for the most part. The pages seamlessly move through the fight and it’s over before it began, as is the book itself. The “big reveal” for the month comes in the fact that it seems there were in fact actual captured heroes present aboard that pod, and one of them could possibly be *gasp* Captain America.

It goes without saying that a reference to the “late” hero still being alive shouldn’t happen, but it also goes without saying that it would. It will forever remain a question, then, as to why Marvel can’t simply work with the drastic moves they make for impact instead of turning back the clock, seemingly sooner and sooner each time. At this point it’s safe to assume, however, that nothing is safe, as even the long dead Harry Osborn seems to be alive and well. Then again, all this could be moot depending on who is or isn’t a Skrull, which is a unique trait for the series, but still difficult to have to deal with the silly retcon decisions.

Is Secret Invasion #2 worthwhile? Yes, and no. It was obvious that the pod full of copies would have to be explained, but it wasn’t as obvious that it would take an entire issue to do so. And why someone as important as Tony Stark is sitting on the ground, doing nothing because of something like an armor virus is questionable. He seems to whimper and purr, instead of doing something as simple as barking orders like a dick. It reads like a filler issue, where as say, in Civil War, every issue, even “uneventful” ones seemed to matter. With the jump to an all out Skrull invasion at the conclusion, however, things will most likely change drastically next issue. Don’t go anywhere.

3.5 out of 5.




ImageThunderbolts: Reason In Madness #1 Review by Tom Sanford
Writer – Christos N. Gage
Artist – Ben Oliver
Colora – Jose Villarrubia
Letters – Albert Deschesne
Cover – Marko Djurdjevic

After the abysmal International Incident in February, this Thunderbolts one shot surprisingly shows off the series’ depth in character, thanks in part to Christos Gage’s writing chops. Starting off and quickly moving away from a boring fight with a giant snot rocket, the focus shifts to a small collection of misfit villains who wish they were as powerful as the members of the group they have decided to try and exploit. Trapping Mac Gargan’s Venom and trying to get him to blackmail Norman Osborn, Mr. Hyde and the like have bitten off more than they can chew, even with the help of Hyde’s massive head of mutton chop sideburns.

Venom is far more interesting than any version that ever existed with Eddie Brock at the helm of the symbiote. Instead of being a meathead with lame dialogue, he’s more of a fairly smart criminal and an idiot stuck together, those personalities having lived together for thirty years of unhappy marriage. One minute he seems to sleepwalk into a trap and do whatever he’s told, and the next he shows real villainous thought process, knowing who better to trust, and more importantly, who is more powerful than him.

Norman Osborn is and will always be one of the best, most entertainingly insane comic book villains of all time. Just as this issue’s cover suggests, and the last monthly issue alluded to, the inner-Goblin is waiting to explode after a long, growingly frustrated turn as the head of the group. Discussing the situation at hand with Gargan and standing in the middle of the group of foolish extortionists, Osborn looks like he can burst at any minute. When he does, it’s not only glorious, its’ terrifying, and shows just who the true star of the Thunderbolts series is, and who it has been all along. After all, most of the other characters make their quick fighting appearance in the beginning of the book then disappear, so the stage has simply been set for the Norman Osborn show. It seems only a matter of time before readers are treated to the long absent maniacal bomb thrower in green. In the meantime, Reason in Madness gives just that to tide you over.

4.0 out of 5.

Author: The CinCitizens

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