Monday, June 27, 2011

Update on reviews for books that came out on 6/22

Hey everyone.  I completely lost track of time with reviews and don't have the time to post long form reviews.  I'll make sure to do it next week though.  If you want my thoughts on the book, just check the timeline on my Twitter for my reviews.  Again, my apologies

Friday, June 17, 2011

Reviews for Alpha Flight #1, Morning Glories #10, Uncanny X-Men #538 and more!

Another week, another round of reviews.  The grand total of books was seven this week, rather small compared to last weeks 14.  It was a good week overall, so let's get started.

Marvel Comics

Green Lantern Review

Here is the link to my Green Lantern review.  Sadly disappointing, but Ryan Reynolds own as Hal Jordan.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Whedon Alum + Avengers = Awesomeness

With the recent rumor that Felicia Day (The Guild, Dollhouse, Buffy) will be playing Agent Brand from S.W.O.R.D. in The Avengers, I thought of what other former Joss Whedon Alum actors would be good in the Avengers.

Nathan Fillion (Mal Reynolds from Firefly, and Caleb from Buffy) as Hank Pym, Giant Man
We know this has been highly rumored and it is sadly not going to happen, but I wish it was.  Fillion is a great actor, and one of the few I could believe hitting his wife and still being relatable.  An eventual appearance by Ultron would put Fillion's acting chops to the test.  Plus, Fillion is one of the best actors when it comes to interpreting what Joss writes.  The guys work on a different level.  Listen to a commentary from Firefly to see what I'm talking about.  Maybe he can make a quick cameo in a sequel?

Alan Tudyk (Wash from Firefly) as Hank Pym, Giant Man
Another fantastic actor who doesn't seem to get enough work in Hollywood.  Again, the Ultron saga would show fans how much he can act.  Look at Tudyk playing Alpha in Dollhouse for a prime example of a man being insane and being believable.  The guy has a quick wit as well..

Morena Baccarin (Inara from Firefly) as Janet Van Dyne, the Wasp
This would have worked perfect if Nathan Fillion was going to be Hank Pym.  The two showed great chemistry on Firefly.  Even if Fillion wasn't in the movie, Baccarin isn't foreign to being in big sci-fi epics.  Her quick cameo on How I Met Your Mother also showed she can be funny, which is something all Whedon actors need.  Need to be able to throw in a random funny sentence in a dark scene (with one word ending in Y).

James Marsters (Spike from Buffy and Angel) as Brian Braddock, Captain Britain
This would have to just be a cameo for now.  Marsters has a great British accent (even though he is from Texas).  While Spike is known as a villain and an all around ass, Spike redeemed himself in season 7.  I see this angle as good for Captain Britain.  But hopefully he could bring back some of that wit for a line or two.

Adam Baldwin (Jane from Firefly) as Frank Castle, The Punisher
Yeah, you heard me.  Baldwin hasn't had many acting jobs that give him room to stretch, but this could.  The franchise needs someone who is relatable, and Baldwin proved that as Jane.  A dumb ass who betrayed his team, but fans love him none the less.  Just put "loves to kill bad guys" in for "dumb ass who betrayed his team" and we have a winner.  You may be wondering why I am including the Punisher, but Marvel has said a few times they have the rights back to the Punisher.

Gina Torres (Zoe from Firefly) as Carol Danvers, Ms. Marvel
If you can look past the fact that Ms. Marvel is always white, this is a great fit.  Gina Torres plays the strong woman very well, something that Ms. Marvel has been known for.

David Boreanaz (Angel from Buffy and Angel) as Simon Williams, Wonder Man
Again, this could never happen with Boreanaz on Bones, but still fun to have ideas.  This would work better with recent versions of Wonder Man, who is very idealistic and doesn't fault from his beliefs.  This is a cornerstone of his character Booth on Bones.  And as Angel proves, he can brood as all hell, something that Wonder Man has been doing recently, given his stint in prison.  Look to the recent season finale (season 6) for anyone who is questioning his acting abilities.  That final scene is amazing.

Sean Maher (Simon from Firefly) as the Vision
It's hard to recommend an actor to play a robot, but Maher has the demeanor to play a robot who can be very human.  If his relationship with the Scarlet Witch ever became part of the movies, Maher can play the man who doesn't know how to act around women well.

Nicholas Brendon (Xander from Buffy) as Rick Jones
This is the real winner.  It's the only one that makes complete sense.  Rick Jones is the guy who doesn't have any powers (same as Xander) who is around people with powers.  He still finds way to be useful and provide moral support (again...same as Xander).  He could be the comic relief as well.  Marvel and Disney, MAKE THIS HAPPEN NOW.

And that's it.  Sorry Dollhouse fans, couldn't think of great roles for anyone on the show.  And while I favored Firefly heavily, that is because everyone on the cast can act the pants off most actors today.  Also couldn't resist putting up this picture.  Compliments of Fuck Yeah Hipster Joss on tumblr.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Reviews of Ghost Rider #0.1, Journey Into Mystery #624 and more!

Holy hell is it a big week.  Only bought a couple of books at the comic shop but got a ton in the mail. No DC books this week.  I wanted to get Morning Glories #10, but the comic shop had to order it specially since Image books don't sell.  The review will come next week.  With that said, lets get to it!

Marvel Comics
Amazing Spider-Man #661:  Dan Slott is taking a couple of issues off and ASM is having a semi-crossover with Avengers Academy.  Sadly the book isn't as good as it could have been.

While helping out the FF, Spidey and the team come across Giant Man, who asks Spider-man to be a substitute teacher.  Spidey is quickly proven to be an old school person, as the students think up scenarios to destroy whatever he says.  What does Spider-Man do then?  Go on patrol.  The kids prove to be confident until they come upon Psycho Man. 

On paper this issue should work.  One of the best things that came out of the JMS run was turning Peter into a high school science teacher.  Sadly the issue is bogged down in heavy exposition.  Christos Gage (the regular writer for Avengers Academy) writes this issue, and treats the viewer like they have never heard of the Avengers Academy before.  If this was last year and Academy was a young series, I wouldn't fault Gage for doing this.  But the series is going strong and just had #14 released recently.  The average reader knows about the Academy enough that this exposition could have been avoided.  The set up is really good though.  I'm interested enough in the kids that I have checked out a few issues of the series.  Psycho Man is an odd choice for a villain though.

Reilly Brown handles the pencils on this issue, and does a decent job overall.  Some of the faces look a little off.  The teen girls seem a tad beefcake to me.  I'm in the boat that teenage superheroes shouldn't be hyper sexualized.  The recent Spider-Girl series has done a good job of this.

Amazing Spider-Man #661 gets 3/5.

Marvel Comics
Amazing Spider-Man #662:  After the sub par #661, I was hoping this issue would find it's footing.  Sadly it's of the same quality.

Psycho Man is toying with everyones feelings, making the Avengers Academy turn on each other.  Spider-Man finds a way to break it and has to talk them out of the trance.  Reptil is the only one who listens to Spider-Man and helps him stop the rest.  After stopping Psycho Man, the group realize they learned a lot from Spider-Man. Although Spidey doesn't think he should be teaching anymore, and neither do the students.

Much like #661, the book never finds a consistent stride.  All the dialogue feels hokey and forced.  The concept is really good and I would like to see the two books interact again some time.  I'm guessing this was a filler issue(s) to give Slott some time off from the fast shipping rate.  If that is the case, it's a decent story for what it is.  

Reilly Brown does a better job this issue than #661.  While there is still a problem with faces, his work is better.  The action scenes flow better and the transition from Reptil to raptor look really good.  The beefacake issue from #661 is gone, as the girl are a little more proportioned.

Amazing Spider-man #662 gets 3/5

Marvel Comics
Amazing Spider-Man #663:  Now this is more like it.  With Dan Slott back to writing ASM, the book is back to the brilliance we know and love.

Wraith is taking down a lot of Mr. Negative's men.  Eventually Anti-Venom bumps into the new Wraith and her (that's right, her) secret identity.  Peter is finding that being Spider-Man is taking up a lot of his time, but it's making his job at Horizon's profitable.  Aunt May has a run in with Mr. Li (Mr. Negative's alter ego) and remembers what happened to her during the Mysterio arc of The Gauntlet.  Peter comes to the rescue, but is interrupted by Anti-Vemon attacking Mr. Negative.  Spider-Man doesn't know that Anti-Venom, actually Eddie Brock, is a good guy, so the two start fighting.  Spider-Man loses his abilities, as being in the vicinity of Brock weakens his powers.

The story is top notch.  It makes a lot of call backs without feeling bogged down or explaining everything to the reader.  While the power angle was used back in the New Ways to Die arc, it has a punch here that makes me excited for the next issue.  The back up tale leading up to Spider-Island makes me even more excited for the upcoming Spider event.

Giuseppe Camuncoli does a great job on pencils.  His faces are hyper expressive and realistic.  His Anti-Venom is amazing.  Look at Brock changing into the white monster and it just pops off of the page.  I wouldn't mind Camuncoli staying around.

Amazing Spider-Man #663 gets 5/5

Marvel Comics
Avengers #13:  Brian Michael Bendis has had a slightly sub par run of late with the Avengers.  The second arc of the series was all smash no content.  The Fear Itself tie in though seems to be putting the book on track.  

This book takes place after Fear Itself, with most of the Avengers talking about what happened during the event.  It starts with a party at Asgard and Ms. Marvel and Spider-Woman realize they haven't been on a date in a while.  Spider-Woman seems to be the object of interest for Hawkeye, which Ms. Marvel doesn't support at all.  Most of the Avengers talk about how they don't trust the Red Hulk, and how he played a big role in the event.

I have hated the oral history of the Avengers that has been in the back of the Avengers book for the past year.  They aren't interesting and just upped the price.  This way though seems natural and fluid.  There is a good amount of exposition in this issue, but it doesn't feel like it.  And while the Spider-Woman and Hawkeye love angle is completely out of left field, I'll allow it to play out and see what happens.

Chris Bachalo takes over for pencils for this issue, give John Romita Jr. a rest.  Bachalo does a great job, although I wish he had more room during the conversations.  Sometimes it was a little hard to figure out who people were.

Avengers #13 gets 5/5

Marvel Comics
Deadpool #37:  With the Deadpool hating done, it's time for the book to shine.  While #37 is good, it's not as good as past reflective Deadpool issues.

Deadpool realizes he wants to die.  As he is the Regeneratin' Degenerate, he doesn't die very easily.  Or at all.  He provokes Bruce Banner into turning into the Hulk to kill him.  This is seen as a game to Wade, who keeps nuking the Hulk to provoke him.  The Hulk continually takes the high road and walks away. Until Deadpool finally provokes him to far and he attacks.

There have been a few reflective issues during Daniel Way's run on Deadpool.  They have usually been the better issues.  This issue doesn't take advantage of the somber mood and goes more for laughs.  While this is a book based on humor, some reflective moments should be more serious.  Wade has been shown to grow a lot in Uncanny X-Force, so why not bring that tone over to his main book?  Deadpool isn't going to break down and cry, but some type of issue where he realizes something about himself would be nice.  Maybe we will get that with #38.  Way does make the issue enjoyable though, don't think it's all bad.

Common Deadpool artist Bong Dazo takes the pencil reigns in this issue.  His art is very cartoony, but maybe to cartoony for this issue.  Like I said, it seems like the story is suppose to be a little more serious, and Dazo's art is anything but.  I loved his art on Deadpool: Merc with a Mouth.  But here it seems out of place.

Deadpool #37 gets 3.5/5

Marvel Comics
FF #4:  FF has been a big hit for Marvel.  While #4 keeps up that trend, it's slightly sub par compared to the first three issues.

Reed Richards is talking to his greatest enemies to figure out how to stop all the Reed Richards from other universes.  None can seem to think of a way to stop them, as they don't care for their families like the Reed of 616.  Mole Man has also started some fighting up on Old Atlantis, which Sue, Spidey, and Alex Power go to take care of.  Sue is surprised to see another Reed.

The story is typical Jonathan Hickman.  And by that I mean great.  But for some reason the story didn't seem to be as great as the past three issues.  I'm having a hard time putting my finger on the issue.  I found the ending a little odd as how could Sue not know about the other Reeds.  I'm excited to see what the group of villains come up with as a way to destroy the Reed's, as it will no doubt make Reed rethink himself.  The slow burning of the four cities fighting is starting to make it's way to the front burner, which will pay off well for long time readers.

Barry Kitson fills in on art.  His characters look great, with each being very expressive and realistic.  There is one complaint on art though, as the inking wildly changes in some scenes.  And I'm not talking scene to scene.  I'm talking page to page.  We are still in the same room and the inking style wildly changes.  It's not necessarily bad, but it pulled me out of the story a little bit.

FF #4 gets 4/5

Marvel Comics
Ghost Rider #0.1:  I'm not a real fan of Ghost Rider.  I haven't read a lot of his back issues, but I have read enough to get a feel for the character.  With Ghost Rider #0.1, I am fully hooked and can't wait to see what happens next.

Johnny Blaze is talking to a bartender about why he hates his life.  He saves a beautiful girl and she turns out to be a vampire.  A strange man, named Adam, offers him a way out.  Blaze rejects his offer and tries to help out a woman being bother by her angry ex husband.  He is beaten to a pulp, as he doesn't understand the power of the Ghost Rider.  The woman heals him, and Blaze expects her to want something from him.  He doesn't believe her when she says no and storms off.  Johnny Blaze takes Adam's deal, and the Ghost Rider isn't attached to Johnny Blaze anymore....

Rob Williams deserves some type of award for the writing.  He paints Johnny Blaze as a witty smart ass who is somehow relatable.  That is an achievement in it's own right.  Not only that, Blaze is sympathetic.  It's kind of sad to see him go, although the teaser at the end seems to hint he will be be playing some sort of role in the series.  Williams opens up enough threads to keep the new series afloat for a while if written well.

Matthew Clark gives the issue a grind house feel.  This is an angle that will only help the series as it moves forward.  The Ghost Rider looks menacing and awesome at the same time.  The scene with Blaze driving through hell looks amazing and I can only imagine the fun Clark had penciling those pages.

Ghost Rider #0.1 gets 5/5

Marvel Comics
Invincible Iron Man #504:  The previous issue put some doubts in my mind that a Fear Itself tie in was going to spell the doom of awesomeness Matt Fraction has been planning.  #504 gets rid of all those fears.

Tony heads to Paris to deal with the Grey Gargoyle, one of the Serpent's Worthy.  He has turned the entire city to stone.  Tony has a very hard time taking this in stride, and Grey Gargoyle almost kills Tony.  While this is going on Pepper is off in the Rescue gear to hire a new chief of security for Stark Resilient.  Tony wakes back up form his savage beating to see a ghastly sight.  

Fractions writes his usual smart ass Tony, but it comes across as being funny because he is scared.  It's very subtle, but works very well.  It's not often we see Tony scared shitless and not being able to handle the situation.  The last page reveal will no doubt haunt Tony for issues to come.  The Tony-Pepper plot line is starting to heat up, and by heating up I mean they aren't happy with each other.  It's classic soap opera storyline, but Fractions adds Tony flair to it.  

Salvador Larroca does his usual work.  The fights look really good but the talking head panels are something to be desired.

Invincible Iron Man 3504 gets 4/5.

Marvel Comics
Journey Into Mystery #624:  It's simply stunning what Kieron Gillen is doing with this book.  The Thor part of the Marvel universe is no doubt the strongest.

Volstagg helps Loki get out of trouble (see Fear Itself #3 to see how Loki got in trouble with Odin).  Loki heads to Hell and Hel to trick Mephisto and Hela to fight so that they won't side with the Serpent.  Loki find help in the recently fallen Tyr.  Using his silver tongue, the young Loki gets his way.

Journey Into Mystery is the real companion piece to Fear Itself.  It's very tied into the overall plot without being dragged down by the big event.  This is mostly due to Gillen's writing abilities.  Most of the story is based of hiss time on Thor, and it's a great pay off from long time readers.  Young Loki is a very interesting character.  It's obvious he wants to help, but he is going through bad ways to get it.  No doubt this is a long term plan by Dead Loki, but damn if I'm not excited to see this all play out.

Douglas Braithwaite's pencils look great for this type of book.  I wasn't a fan when he was on Wolverine: Origins, but his pencils have found a home here.  The monsters have the grandiose they should in this type of book.  

Journey Into Mystery #624 gets 5/5

Marvel Comics
The Mighty Thor #2:  Fraction seems to be the guy to go to when starting a new volume of a book after a movie is released.  

Thor and Sif are training the Brigade of the Realms.  A giant rock creature is their target.  While Loki is one of the few brave enough to fight, they need to be saved by Sif.  The Silver Surfer is slowly making his way towards Asgard.  Odin puts the World Seed into a new Destroyer, and Odin starts what seems to be some sort of conspiracy.  The Surfer threatens Asgard and Thor teaches him not to do that again.  Fight time.

Fraction's trademark dialogue is on display here, and it's a blast to read.  Thor doesn't say to much in the opening scene, but it's hilarious.  Fractions has said he will work in JMS' Odinsleep thing soon, so the conspiracy no doubt has something to do with that.  Sif is a character that hasn't been used much recently, and I like what Fraction is doing with her.  She is coming to the front of the story, although this might be due to her role in movie.  

Olivier Coipel is a force to behold.  The first few pages are just beautiful and every comic book artist should look at them.  The page layouts looks chaotic, but once reading, it flows like a dream.  The giant rock monster thing is amazingly detailed.

The Mighty Thor #2 gets 5/5

Marvel Comics
Venom #3:  I have always been a Venom fan, and my fandom has only increased because of this book.

Flash Thompson is still working his way through the Savage Land after his run in with Kraven the Hunter.  The symbiote is taking over and making the mission that much harder to control.  Betty is kidnapped by Jack O' Lantern.  Flash takes a helicopter back to NYC, loaded with the vibranum that he was suppose to take for the military.  Spider-Man bumps into Venom and starts to lay into him, when the symbiote takes full control of Flash.

I'm surprised that Spider-Man is making an appearance so soon in this book.  But hey, it doesn't feel forced so who am I to complain.  Rick Remender writes Flash as a hero in a villain suit, and it's great to read Flash try to rationalize everything.  It's something that was never done enough with Spider-Man and the symbiote. It's almost as if Flash wants to redeem the symbiote.  It's sad to see the symbiote take completely over, and this is all due to Remender.  He gives the reader hope that Flash will finally be the person to control the symbiote, then pulls the rug out from under us.  Kudos to him.

It stinks that Tony Moore couldn't pencil this issue.  While Tom Fowler does a good job, his art does bring down the review by a point.  His talking head panels and action panels look great, but the second the symbiote starts to take over Flash, everything is out the window.  The jawline on Venom is wacky as all hell and doesn't even look attached to Venom at some points.

Venom #3 gets 4/5.

Marvel Comics
Wolverine #10:  Here we go, it's another Wolverine revenge arc. Oh wait, Jason Aaron is writing it, so it will be awesome.  For the most part

Wolverine is making his way to the Red Right Hand.  He is stopped by a villain named Cannonfoot.  Most of the issue focuses on the leader of the Red Right Hand and how he came to hate Wolverine so much.  It had to do with the Leader's (the reader isn't told a name) father being killed by Wolverine.  After this, he continually tried to kill the Canuckle head.  He soon realizes he isn't the only person that has a grudge against our favorite Canadian.  Wolverine makes quick work of Cannonfoot, and then another villain appears.

Jason Aaron gives us some much needed backstory for the Right Red Hand.  Sadly the story doesn't seem any different than anyone else that Wolverine has wronged in his long history.  The only real difference is that the guy is being proactive and bringing everyone together into one place.  This doesn't completely bog down the story, but it doesn't help.  While Cannonfoot is a one note villain, it's funny to watch Wolverine get the crap kicked out of him them kill the guy.

Renato Guedes is back on pencils.  He seems more at home here than he did Wolverine Goes to Hell.  The fight between Wolverine and Cannonfoot looks great.  I wish more of the issue had been devoted to that.  

Wolverine #10 gets 3.5/5

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Reviews for Fear Itself #3, Flashpoint #2, and more!

Hello all.  I'm back, and hopefully going to be regular with my reviews.  I loved this week, as it perfectly showed what comic books can do.  You have the big events, and the slow burn books that you learn to love over multiple readings.  With that said, lets start!

Marvel Comics
Fear Itself #3:  While the tagline "The Hammer that Fell on Yancy St." wasn't such the coded message Marvel wanted, #3 still holds up to the previous two.

Washington DC is under attack, and Bucky, Black Widow, and the Falcon are taking charge against Sin in her worthy form.  Loki uses his trickery to get Thor out of prison.  Odin is not pleased by this and sends Thor back to Earth.  The Avengers are on the scene to held Red She Hulk fight the Hulk.  The Thing is chosen as one of the worthy and leaves wreckage around Yancy St.  Commander Rogers decides he can't sit out and anymore and joins the fray.  But all is not well in the battle between Bucky and Sin......

While some might complain that this issue feels more like set up than actual plot development, there is some truth to that.  Matt Fraction has been setting up a lot of threads to pay off later.  But remember, there are still four issues left.  That's a lot of event to go through.  I do wish the destruction around Earth could have been shown more, but I'll just read those issues if I want that story.  Event comics can't cover 100% of what is going on.  

Stuart Immonen pencils his usual beautiful issue.  The fight scene between Sin and Bucky looks stunning.  I couldn't stop looking at those pages.  The same goes for the double page spread with the Thing brining destruction down on Yancy St.  Just stunning work.

Overall, Fear Itself gets 5/5.

DC Comics
Flashpoint #2:  This is much better.  While the first issue solidified the world, it focused to much on Batman.  Thankfully Barry is back, and this helps the issue.

Barry has finally convinced Batman to listen to him, and he goes on to describe how the world isn't the way it is suppose to be and he needs to fix it.  But who has done it.  A quick touch of his Flash ring reveals the culprit to be Professor Zoom.  The Amazonians, led by Wonder Woman, discover they have been infiltrated.  Barry looks to recreate the accident that turned him into the Flash.

Most of the issue is exposition, which can be a little much.  A good chunk of Geoff John's dialogue is cemented around making us believe that this is permanent and that this is the real DCU.  It's not necessarily bad, but the dialogue feels so shoveled in and not part of the story.  Other than that, John's writes a good issue and adds some bad assness to Wonder Woman in the process.

Andy Kubert steals the show though.  Everything is so detailed, it's a sight to be hold.  Then I looked at the sketchbook and realized he had been working on this for over a year.  Well I HOPE everything would be very detailed if an artist had a year to work on it.  None the less, his work is the real start of this mini series.

Flashpoint #2 gets 4/5.

Marvel Comics
Herc #4:  This issue perfectly shows how a book can benefit from an event tie in.  Herc #4 is the strongest issue to date.

Hell is breaking lose in Brooklyn thanks to Kyknos and Hecate.  The people of Brooklyn aren't really happy that Herc did the heroic thing and saved the villains from being killed.  Herc gets a sidekick in the form of Friffin, who is acting like a trained dog.  Herc is learning the hard way that he isn't as powerful as he use to be, getting shot up and stabbed.  He passes out, and wakes up to Brooklyn in dire need of a hero.

#4 is a great issue for many reasons.  Namely it's due to Pak and Van Lente finding a great balance of action and comedy.  There are a couple of plot points that seem a little odd.  But these can be left up to interpretation.  Having Griffin act like a dog and be Hercules' sidekick is fun, and it adds to the humor.  

Neil Edwards does a good job as usual.  Nothing really to say that I haven't said in past months.  His action is good with the occasional body looking odd.

Herc #4 gets 4/5

Marvel Comics
Moon Knight #2:  Brian Michael Bendis originally didn't want to write Moon Knight.  After the first two issues of this series, I'm so happy Joe Quesada pushed him to write this book.

After talking to some contacts, Moon Knight found a lead on the mysterious kingpin of LA.  It leads him to a strip club.  After discussing with his personalities about who should take point, Spider-Man wins out.  The Spidey personality does a good job, but Wolverine takes over.  Things don't end well, and Moon Knight is saved by Echo, who was undercover as a stripper.

The writing is pitch perfect.  Bendis writes Moon Knight as Spider-Man in a humorous, but logical way. Spidey is portrayed as over the top, Wolverine is overly masculine, and Cap is noble till the end.  The personalities arguing could get gimmicky fast, but for now it's a blast to read.  Bendis seems to be going for a Daredevil feel, and it's really working.  

I'm liking Alex Maleev's new penciling style.  There are a few times in this issue though that looked rushed and a little to scratchy for their own good.  Tame the pencils a little bit and everything will be great.

Bottom line, Moon Knight looks to be staying around for a while and this is for the best.

Moon Knight #2 gets 4/5.

Marvel Comics
The New Avengers #12:  The complaint about a lack of focus can be sent out the window with this issue.  Bendis finds a real reason for this book to be around, and it's great.

Mockingbird is in the hospital as Hawkeye takes her side.  Wolverine and Luke do some interrogating to a H.A.M.M.E.R. agent.  Most of the issue revolves around the 1950's Avengers who are fighting the third Red Skull and his copy of Steve Rogers.  A massive battle ensues, and it ends with the Red Skull being killed.  There might also be some connection to Fear Itself as well.....

The conclusion leaves a lot of open threads.  I'm very interested to see where Bendis could take this new angle.  The 1950's Avengers ends a little anticlimatic, but like I said, it might be tying into Fear Itself, but that is just me speculating.  I'd like to see more of this team of Avengers though.

Mike Deodato doesn't have much to pencil this month, but it looks good as usual.  Howard Chaykin's pencils look good, but there are a couple of panels that could have used a little more detail.  Some of the facial expressions look a tad odd to me as well.

The New Avengers #12 gets 4/5.

Marvel Comics
S.H.I.E.L.D. Vol. 2 #1:  One of the best books Marvel put out last year is back, and finally some answers have been brought up.

As with past reviews about S.H.I.E.L.D. books, I won't give a synopsis.  Much like LOST, if you haven't been keeping up or rereading, the plot can get a little convoluted.  Thankfully #1 gives a couple of answers.  Not to many questions are brought up in this issue thankfully, as the series was starting to suffer from a lack of understanding.  Yeah, some things can be left up to the reader to interpret on their own, there needs to be some solidified things for the reader to find their footing.  The revelations are very interesting and makes me that much more excited for the next issue.  Jonathan Hickman is writing one hell of a book here.

Dustin Weaver continues to draw the hell out of this book.  Everything has the wonder and grandeur that a book like this needs.  

S.H.I.E.L.D. Vol. 2 #1 gets 5/5

Saturday, June 4, 2011

X-Men: First Class review

20th Century Fox

It's been a while since we had a good X-Men movie.  Third of the main series was eh, and the only good thing about X-Men Origins: Wolverine was Hugh Jackman.  Thankfully, First Class brings the series back to it's former glory and makes our favorite mutants one of Marvel's best movies.  If you are reading this before seeing the movie, just a heads up.  Mild spoilers, and there isn't an after credits scene.

The world doesn't know that mutants exist.  They hide their powers.  Then Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon) decides to start World War III by means of the Cuban Missile Crisis.  Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) and Raven (Jennifer Lawrence) decide to help the government, after being reading the mind of Moira McTaggert (Rose Bryne).  This leads Charles to meet Eric Lehnsherr (Michael Fassbender), and host of other mutants.  The informal X-Men find out more about Shaw's plan from the kidnapped Emma Frost (January Jones).

The script is top notch, feeling more like an spy movie that just happens to have the X-Men in it.  The threat around the Cuban Missile Crisis is established early on, and the plot doesn't waste any time by bringing us back to the time period.  The sets and dialogue keep us in the era without every seeming hokey or gimmicky.  Boiled down, the movie is about a pair of friends and their friendship that is tragically ended.  Eric's and Charles's arc is well known by now, but the script keeps the audience hoping that Eric will take a different turn, which makes the finale all that more tragic.  The plethora of mutants is handled much better than the last couple of X-Men movies.  If a mutant is shown, he/she has a purpose in the plot.  There are many mutants hinted or they have cameos, and it's a blast to see them.  The continuity of the original films is all but thrown out the window, and this is probably for the best.  Hopefully sequels will continue to write their own continuity.  And those complaining about the failed X-Men Origins: Magneto film, don't worry, this film will make up for it.

The acting equals the level of the script.  McAvoy and Fassbender hold the film on their own, having amazing chemistry.  While I loved Ian McKellen in the original movies as Magneto, Fassbender looks to be the new level for how to play the villain.  He keeps Magneto relatable and never seeming as a psycho, which sometimes happened in the originals.  Jennifer Lawrence makes Mystique a great character, something Rebecca Romijn wasn't really allowed to do in the originals.  The rest of the mutants do great with the time that they are given, even though they are mostly there for comic relief.

There are a couple of things that could have been fixed though.  January Jones isn't given much to do as Emma Frost, except stand there and not wear a lot of clothes.  She is a talented actress and hopefully she gets more time in the sequel.  The same could be said about the other mutants that make up the team, but we will probably see more of them in sequels.  There is also a death early on, which seems weird.  His absence is quickly swept away, so why bring him into the film at all?

X-Men: First Class is easily the best X movie, and hopefully Fox will look to it as a template for future X movies.  And Fox?  MAKE THE DEADPOOL MOVIE ALREADY

X-Men: First Class gets 4.5/5