w. Jonathan Hickman & Nick Spencer
a. Stefano Caselli
4 out of 5 Space Monkeys
Why?: Because Jonathan Hickman’s imagination is just to damn big for 2 Avengers titles, they needed a third to catch the spillover… with a little assist from Nick Spencer. With a core team of 16 members, plus the Illuminati, there is plenty of capes and cowls to go around. So after saving the Galaxy, and hundreds of populated planets from the Builder Armada, and then sweeping in to free Earth from Thanos’ invasion and subjugation, you’d think going back to regular old defend-the-earth-from-villains mode would be a cake walk, right? Wrong.
Working hand in hand with SHIELD, Cap tests out the Avengers new paradigm of dealing with multiple threats with smaller cell-like teams comprised of both rookies and veterans, with a little input from bigbrain Bruce Banner and head spy Maria Hill. First up, Thor Hyperion and Captain Marvel head to Canada to deal with the fall out from the origin bomb explosion, the same explosion that genetically mutated the current ALPHA Flight team a few months back. Hawkeye, Spiderwoman and New Universe rookies, Night Mask and Starbrand arrive in Velletai, Italy to find a city empty of its inhabitants, and something far more mysterious beneath it. Meanwhile Falcon, Wolverine, Black Widow and Shang Chi are in Madripoor, where rioting mobs run amok, as the Gorgon rises from the dead to proclaim his leadership over the Hand. And Finally Cannonball, Sunspot and Smasher make their way to AIM Island, which, under the leadership of their Supreme Scientist, has evolved the island into a sinister new threat. Seems like the Avengers will be longing for the days of Thanos and Space Armadas!
Hickman and Spencer pick up on concepts introduced earlier in Hickman’s Avengers run, allowing resolution to develop for these ideas, while continuing to move the main Avengers title forward post Infinity without losing momentum. Caselli’s art is dynamic and cool as it always is, being one of those comic artists who never draws anybody wrong or any panel boring. A top-notch start to a new series.
3 1/2 out of 5 Space Monkeys
Why?: Because I like sample books like this,that give you little lead-ups to titles being released in the near future. It let’s you make informed decisions on what to get…. and what not too. There are some cool things in this one.
Loki: Agent of Asgard seems like a fun book. I was a fan of the character’s run in both Thor and his own book, Journey into Mystery and enjoy his reincarnation as a youth. Now working for the AllMother as a secret agent, Loki has multiple adventures retrieving five lost keys for the Goddesses, keys that will unlock the Sword of Heroes from its hiding place. I’m definitely getting this book, as Ewing’s writing is witty enough to deal with the God of Mischief,and his misbegotten attempts at doing good, when nobody trusts him to do so. Lee Garbett did some great work at Valiant and is an artist who I feel hasn’t hit his creative peak yet, and just might get his chance on this title.
Silver Surfer by Dan Slott and Mike Allred, was a title I thought I’d get into. I’m not a big Allred fan, I mean I get it, I appreciate his skill, I just feel he’s just to Pop Artsy for mainstream titles in a shared universe. It just doesn’t fit. If you hold an issue of his FF next to an issue of Avengers for X-Men, its hard to believe there in the same city, let alone universe. That being said, I thought he’d be a perfect fit for a Surfer book, capable of pulling off Kirby-Like cosmic concepts, and add in the coolness of Dan Slott’s writing skills, it seemed a no-brainer to me. Plus I would get it just to prove to a certain bearded Floridian, that I am open-minded enough to try an Allred book. I have to say the preview here made me a little nervous. I had hoped to see more galactic monstrous threats and deep cosmic dialogue, rather than a planet of earth like animals, and “cosmic ray” jokes and bald jokes about guys named Harry. It seems to be going back to well once again of the Surfer falling for an earth girl, and pining away among the stars. The writing seemed more Peter David than Dan Slott and I don’t mean that in a good way. I hope the ongoing series has more umph in the concept and adventure part, because if this turns into a silly space-romance book, I’m out….an I think a lot of other people will be as well.
Invaders by James Robinson and Steve Pugh on the other hand, looks like it’s going to rock. An ancient Kree Weapon known as God’s Whisper was stolen from the aliens millenia ago ( by what seems to be a Norse warrior ), and eventually ended up on earth during WWII, in the hands of the Norse Goddess of Death, Hel. She was promptly defeated by Namor, Bucky and the original Human Torch, who split the device into 3 pieces. Now the Supreme Intelligence of the Kree Empire wants it back, and he is sending Tanalth the Pursuer to earth to wring the locations of the pieces out of the three heroes, and she has the power to do it. A good set up to the upcoming series, Robinson shows he still has his writing chops no matter what company he writes for, and shows his ability to work with a company’s fictional history within the guidelines of continuity, but still present fresh concepts.
Black Widow gets her own solo series, that shows her non-avengers super-spy side moreso than ever. A quick tale by Nathan Edmondson of Natasha taking down a target with a very complex plan, was fast pace and fun, with Noto’s art helping to give it that quick actiony James Bond movie feel. This looks like its gonna be a good book, maybe a bit to heavy on the spy stuff,and lean on the super hero stuff for my taste, but it sure has a niche out there with fans who dig high-octane spy adventures.
Avengers by Nick Spencer and Rags Morales, goes deeper into the relationship between SHIELD and the Avengers as Maria Hill and Captain America iron out the details in their new working relationship, while Sunspot and Cannonball go hunting for a weaponized Hulk serum stolen by AIM scientists. And what are our two young heroes going to do when they find themselves powerless behind enemy lines surround by killers, why take the serum, of course! This was a nice setup for all the upcoming new arcs in the various Avengers titles out there.
Ms. Marvel interests me the least. I’m all for diversity in comics, but this just seems to cram too much teenage-girl-whose-muslim-with-typical-family-problems-adjusting-to-life-with-super-powers-drama in it, that we fail to learn anything about her powers (it looks like she grows and shrinks and stretches), how she got them or what her plan is. On the other hand I now know that Shalwar Kameez is the Pakistani term for female formal dress. Definitely not my cup of tea.
Why?: Because a world, on the cusp of thriving after near obliteration, with it’s heroes in there infancy as a team, has once again been wracked by death an destruction thanks to Darkseid. This time however, an agent is use by the Apokoliptan God, a warped and evil version of their recently deceased Superman has returned as Darkseid’s right hand and is readying this world as a new Apokolips. To make his intentions clear, Dark Kal destroys the White House,… with the Washington Monument! All seems lost as herds of Parademons eclipse the sun, and the fire pits of earth have been reactivated spewing death and damnation into skies. Batman (who is definitely not Bruce Wayne!), Marella the Queen of Atlantis, Lois Lane (whose consciousness is now in the Red Tornado android) and Jimmy Olsen make up the resistance, and they just found a new member in the bowels of The World Army’s secret headquarters. But what’s in Batman’s pocket that makes the new comer sick??? Hey is that Kryptonite? Or are you just happy to see me. The chaos of Earth2 carries on , as we find Tom Taylor a more than adequate replacement for James Robinson on this titles writing duties.
5 out of 5 Space Monkeys
Why?: Well, I’m sorry if your tired of hearing about this book from me, but every month it creeps up higher and higher on my read order, and with good reason. One of the few books from the New 52 that had a considerably weak start, at least for me, has done a complete 180 since Lemire and Sorrentino took over. This creative team is one of the tops in the biz right now, and their run on Green Arrow will go down as one of the most
significant runs in the character’s history.
And this issue, may just be the issue, around which it all beautifully balances. Ollie and Shado have returned to the island of the hero’s rebirth, in search of the mythical Green Arrow, a mark of leadership among the varied clans of the Outsiders. They find it’s resting place empty, the arrow missing, and the collective might of the Shield clan bearing down on them. As Green Arrow convinces Shado about the benefits of trick arrows, she tries to convince Ollie his arrival and subsequent life on the Island was not an accident, but intentional, a fact Green Arrow denies vehemently. The reveal on the final page proves him wrong, so very, very wrong. Hands down one of the best endings to a comic I’ve read in a long time!
If you’ve been reading this book, I’m preaching to the choir, if your a fan of the show Arrow, you’ll love this! As it takes elements of the show and weaves them deftly into existing comic mythology without Smallvilling it up. If you hate the very idea of Green Arrow, and all he stands for, try Lemire and Sorrentino’s run and be amazed as the Emerald Archer quickly becomes your first read of the week, every month.
4 out of 5 Space Monkeys
Why?: Because even without the adolescent urge to buy any book with sex in the title, (yes that one too!, and that old Dark Horse mini Sex Warrior), the high-end sci-fi concepts Fraction and Zdarsky are playing with, and the snappy dialogue keep me coming back month after month. When two self confessed nerds find out they can both stop time when they orgasm started dating, they do what any nerd couple would do with time stopping powers would do: rob banks to save their Library from foreclosure and eventual closing. Apparently their crimes have gained the notice of a higher authority, the Sex Police, or at least that’s what they seem to be. Three beings enter the time stopped world our heroes inhabit in their post orgasmic state,and attempt to arrest them, so of course they resist. Hi-jinks ensue!
All the hype you heard, all the buzz you read, it’s all true. This book is a hit. It’s intriguing and smart, and full of all sorts of naughty ideas you know you want to read about!
4 out of 5 Space Monkeys
Why?: Because, combining these two concepts into one action packed sci-fi adventure title is a such a brilliant idea, and one that organically grew out of last years Harbinger Wars and continues to show why Valiant is quickly having titles added to pull lists like crazy. Current Project Rising Spirit CEO, Morris Kozol has been kidnapped by Simon Oreck, former PRS CEO and the man behind Bloodshot’s years of torture, manipulation and brainwashing. As Bloodshot and the newly reorganized H.A.R.D. Corps (their members now include a religious zealot, a homeless drug addict and a girl dying from cystic fibrosis) scramble to the rescue, they stumble into a trap. Oreck has his own version of the H.A.R.D. Corps, a group of psychotic psiots at his command, who quickly make mince meat out of Bloodshot and his pals. After their field leader Charlie Palmer is taken captive, a flashback sequence shows us that Bloodshot is not the only one with a bone to pick with Oreck, looks like Palmer and him have some bad blood between them as well, harkening back to the early days of H.A.R.D. Corps inception. Watching the title’s main character evolve from the beginning of this book’s run to his current role in the H.A.R.D. Corps team has been a fun ride, and a cool way to keep the character interesting.
See ya next week folks…. off to read the rest of this giant pile!