w. Jonathan Hickman
a. Mike Deodato
5 out of 5 Space Monkeys
Why?: Because its been a few Threat Level Wednesdays since I mentioned a Hickman Avengers book, and I was starting to go through withdrawal. And this was just the right fix of damn smart writing and superhero intrigue, with a bonus kick from the spectacular Deodato art.
8 months in the future, the Illuminati are on the run. Beast, Mr. Fantastic, Black Bolt, Captain Britain (missing an eye!), Black Panther and The Hulk ( or Doc Green as their calling him lately ) are barely avoiding capture by SHIELD after Wakanda fell and Amadeus Cho was captured. Oh did I forget to mention SHIELD is run by an aged Steve Rogers, and his inner circle of agents consist of Hawkeye, Captain America (Sam Wilson), Captain Marvel (Carol Danvers), a fleet of War Machines…and a very angry Invisibile Woman. What possible reason could Sue Richards have for siding against her Husband? Find out this issue!!!
Rogers and company invade Italian airspace in an attempt to capture the rogue Geniuses, but a holographic message found by Hawkeye while searching their abandoned base proves one thing…it’s going to be very hard to capture the 6 smartest men in the world…speaking of…where the hell is Stark in all this? Why are Black Widow and Spider Woman missing?
So many questions, so little time. With the fact of world destroying Incursions of other Earths now made public, the Illuminati are vilified by the public, while the Cabal (Terrax, Thanos, Black Swan, Maximus, and Thanos’ generals, Proxima Midnight and Corvus Glave) continue destroying Earth after Earth saving our world…but at what price???
Hickman’s epic run on Avengers continues to build steam as it races towards it’s inevitably fantastic end. Teamed with one great artist after the next, across three titles, and three crossover events and picking up on his previous work on Fantastic Four and SHIELD, Hickman’s epic reshaping of the Avengers universe is sure to be hailed as one the greatest Avengers stories of all time, and it’s repercussions will be felt across the entirety of the Marvel Universe.
The gist: Pop Quiz Hot Shot! What do you do when Red Onslaught is manipulating two giant Adamantium Hero-Killer Sentinels to lay waste to the combined forces of. The X-men and Avengers???? Well if your Magneto you run away like a wounded dog ( like he did in AXIS #2 ) gather a tem of vicious villains the Sentinels aren’t programmed to battle ( like he did in Magneto #10 ) and then come back and kick some giant Sentinel @$$!
Doctor Doom, Enchantress, Loki, Absorbing Man,Carnage, Mystique, Sabretooth, Absorbing Man, Hobgoblin, Jack O’Lantern and….Deadpool! Avengers and X-Men these are not!!! Can the combined might of the world’s deadliest villains stop Red Onslaught’s…..onslaught! Will they be able to hold him and his Sentinels off long enough for Doctor Strange and the Scarlet Witch to cast their Inversion spell, giving Charles Xavier psychic dominance over the Red Skull’s? Doesn’t Look to good for the few surviving heroes when Strange falls…but I it good news that Doctor Doom steps up to take his place? Doom, you know, the guy Loki doesn’t even trust! When the spell is finally cast,things go awry… whose mind is in control of Red Skull’s body? Where are all the bad guys?? What the frak happened to Genesis??? And more importantly…where the hell is DOOM???
Mutiversity: The Just #1
w. Grant Morrison
a. Ben Oliver
5 out of 5 Space Monkeys
Because Grant Morrison continues to evolve superhero comics into a literary art form using the greatest “MacGuffin” of all time: a comic book. More specifically a comic book laced with post hypnotic suggestions and contagious mind viruses that spread throughout the multiverse leading to planetary destruction. It will take the combined minds and might of several universes worth of heroes to prevent multiversal collapse.
On the Earth that we visit this issue, the world is at peace. The last generation of heroes died making it so, with Superman leaving behind a sophisticated planetary defense system comprised of countless Superman robots to maintain order across the globe. In a world with out villains, heroes like Kyle Rayner, Connor Hawke and Ray Palmer have become the disillusioned elder statesmen while the next generation of superheroes ( mostly children and legacies of the current heroes we all know and love ) have become something worse. Way worse….Celebrities!
Meet the World’s Finest, Chris Kent and Damien Wayne the Superman and Batman of this world. Batman’s girlfriend Alexis Luthor ( daughter of Lex ), Sister Miracle, Megamorpho, Arrowette ( Connor’s daughter ), as well as some familiar faces…Natasha Irons as Steel, Artemis as Wonder Woman and some nuts from the nineties like Bloodwynd and Gypsy, Tempest, Argus and Alpha Centurion. There’s even second generation JSA’rs like Dr. Midnite and Jakeem Thunder.
With no crime to fight and an excess of fame, most have become celebratards; going to party’s, getting wasted, showing off and recreating classic battles with solid holograms.for fun. When the mind virus hits the heroes at home, can they pull it together to stop the first real threat in ages on this Earth, or is it to late?
Morrison somehow takes this cross between Kingdom Come and TMZ and makes it work as a damn good sci-fi yarn. His industry evaluation is seen through the dialogue of Alexis and Damien Wayne, with Damien having a good little speech about the state of comics in general, that alone was worth the price!
Can Chris Kent get past his best friend dating the daughter of the man who killed his father long enough to solve the first super mystery in decades? Will Sister Miracle face repercussions for inviting her Jakeem Thunder to her all out birthday bash? What about snubbing Alexis Luthor? Why did Megamorpho kill herself?? Who’s been reading D.C. comics????
The Gist: Arkham Askyum is gone, crumbled to timbers and ash. But its inmates aren’t. Where can the City of Gotham stick it’s worse psychotic criminals and madmen? Why the recently repossessed Wayne Manor of course! From Anarky to Zsasz, all and sundry are packed into stately Wayne Manor, with Dr. Arkham at the helm and lots of government oversight to keep the crazies inline.
With the Batcave sealed off and his new headquarters in a former Court of Owls corporate office, Bruce Wayne had thought he’d seen the last of his childhood home. Until a murder within sends Batman on the hunt, and the only way to catch the inmate responsible, is to become one himself. Who is Jack Shaw? ( and why does he have Batman’s shadow? This new series by Deadpool writer Gerry Duggan has lots promise, and gives us an up close and personal look at Arkham’s inhabitants, with Shawn Crystal providing a Sean Murphy-esque shadowy style to the storyline. D.C. keeps pumping out Bat-titles, but when they are this good, they are hard to resist!
w. James Tynion IV
a. Eryk Donovan
4 out of 5 Space Monkeys
Why?: Because I’ve followed James Tynion IV’s work ever since he started out as Snyder’s writing student and doing some Back Ups in Batman, then spreading out to Talon and Red Hood and The Outlaws. When he branched out to creator owned stuff like The Woods, I grabbed it. His dialogue is always smart, his pacing and concepts fast and cool. When I read about this, I knew it was going to be interesting.
I am not the most social media-minded person (much to the chagrin of my Editor), so I see myself as an independent observer in public places, especially the subway, where suddenly, the train will exit a tunnel and boom…everyone’s on their phones, checking emails, posts, statuses and taking selfies. I’m just reading my novel. (on a Kindle…I’m not that old ). I learned about memes from comics, (Morrison used, and still continues as seen above, this trope a lot in Invisible and Final Crisis) the sci-fi mind control kind, not a pic of cat in a suit kind, and I always felt… “well I’ll be all right when they send the Anti-Life equation around, but how do I get out of train car filled with mind controlled psychopaths??”.
Plan ahead. It works for Batman
Anyway Tynion explores that very concept in this new three issue miniseries from Boom Studios. When Aaron Sumner is shown a meme of a Sloth with a black and white spiral background that supposedly brings out positive feelings and good vibes in the people who view it, he’s never been so lucky to have a certain type of color blindness that renders him immune to the effects.
While happy-feely meme goes viral, reaching around the world, up to the White House itself, Aaron suspects something odd about it. The meme breaks all sorts of internet records, and is the most viewed thing ever, with most people experiencing a sense of peace and tranquility when they view it.
Then the $^!+ hits the fan. Hard.
Anyone and everyone who viewed it starts to go violently mad, bleed from the eyes, and murder anyone near them.
I like this.
This is gonna be good!
Feel Anything???? If you do……… it’s too late!!!!
Millar and Patrick’s rollicking pulp sci-fi adventure comes to its rip.roaring conclusion, and ends just the way you want it to. Our hero Duke McQueen saves the planet. Tantalus from.the evil overlord Kingfisher, his young sidekick gets revenge for his parents death, and McQueen is vindicated when he returns to Earth. But you know what they say, it’s the journey not the destination.
And what a cool journey it was!
Millar does what he does best,taking an old comic idea and putting his spin on it. And he does it here with a Millar-ing of pulp era science fiction adventures like Buck Rogers and Flash Gordon, with a hearty dose of John Carter, Warlord of Mars mixed in for the hell of it. Yeah its familiar territory, but Millar makes it fresh and fun, with Parlov’s art following suit, providing a Sunday comics feel, but with top-notch sequential storytelling.
If you haven’t read this.monthly, grab the trade. It’s a perfect quick read filled with action,humor and some surprisingly touching moments. You won’t regret it.
Last Week’s Surprise Pick:
w. Matt Kindt
a. Cary Nord
4 out of 5 Space Monkeys
Meet Unit Y (got to love that play on a word), an advance military unit pit together in a joint venture by Woodrow Wilson and Lloyd George in the U.S. and Britain’s fight against the German oppression.of WWI. Breaker, the strongman tech-savant, Alpha, the vengeful Zulu warrior, and Dell the Armored girl genius with a mini depletion and.flamethrowers. Led by Gilad Anni-Padda, the Eternal Warrior, the predecessor of the modern Unity has a mission to accomplish that cam change the tide of the war…in Germany’s favor if they fail.
Kindt and Nord give us a glimpse into the first Great War, as well as the mind of the Eternal Warrior in this flashback story. Nord’s art is at the top of his game, and sorely missed from his X-O Manowar days, and compliment liners war story perfectly. A good jumping on point for new fans, as well as a nice read for those already following the book.