All posts by Mike DeVivo

Hello Comic Vaulter’s! Lets start with my Origin story shall we. I Was born and raised with a Love of comics by my father and carried that into a future of pop culture obsession. I will cover every thing from video games and movies to comic book reviews and any other nerdy ramblings I see fit . My hope is to build constant discussion on all of these topics and to create loyal fans and new nerds in the process.

James Spader Cast as Ultron In Avengers 2: Age of Ultron

 

ultronJust minutes ago the news broke on Marvel’s own site that gave us official casting news on who would play the main Antagonists Ultron i n the forth coming sequel to the Avengers.

James Spader will face off against Earth’s Mightiest Heroes as the villain in Marvel’s “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” the sequel to 2012’s record-breaking “Marvel’s The Avengers.” The Emmy Award-winning actor will play Ultron in the Avengers’ much anticipated return to the big screen from writer/director Joss Whedon. The film comes to theaters on May 1, 2015.

Spader earned three Emmy Awards for his role as Alan Shore on “Boston Legal” and “The Practice,” and will return to television this fall in NBC’s highly anticipated series “The Blacklist.” Most recently Spader was seen in the critically-acclaimed film “Lincoln” directed by Steven Spielberg and has previously worked with a long list of accomplished film directors including David Cronenberg, Curtis Hansen, Sidney Lumet, Mike Nichols, Tim Robbins, Robert Rodriguez, Steven Soderbergh, and Oliver Stone.  David Mamet also directed Spader in the Broadway play Race.

“Avengers: Age of Ultron” will bring the Marvel Universe’s biggest heroes together again to face one of their biggest villains, with “Marvel’s The Avengers” director Joss Whedon returning to write and direct the sequel. “Marvel’s The Avengers” was released in 2012 and went on to earn $1.5 billion worldwide, making it the third-largest grossing movie of all time.

Spader is represented by ICM Partners and his lawyer Melanie Cook at Ziffren Brittenham.

More on Marvel.com: http://marvel.com/news/story/21099/exclusive_avengers_age_of_ultron_casts_james_spader_as_the_films_legendary_villain#ixzz2dN6jEVPk

 

Mike DeVivo

Follow me on Twitter at pandasandrobots

Fanboys Remain Calm: Affleck as Batman is a good idea

Hello Readers ,

benbatman

This is a bit of a first for me I typically do reviews and interviews but I wanted to take a moment to touch on the overtly negative reaction to the news that Batman/Bruce Wayne will be played by Ben Affleck in the sequel to Man of Steel. While I have been enjoying all of the Batman quotes in a Bostonian accent and general Batffllec Twitter rants I have to admit that I’m actually ok with the news of Affleck as Batman. My issue isn’t  with anyone having a negative opinion, but more so the blind hate and negativity for an actor that’s had a more successful than not movie career. I think this is also a very smart move on WB’s part. Why not have Affleck be Batman? I’m sure there were more than a few conversations happening about him being the one to direct Justice League and or the next Batman movie anyways. This now establishes him and allows him hypothetically to start creating his new take on the world and character himself. I know its Zach Snyder directing the film but it would be crazy not to think that he wouldn’t go to an Oscar winning director for advice and opinions on the movie. This gives him someone  in Affleck whose opinion I’m sure he respects an opportunity to help build momentum into the next Batman or Justice League film and is a great idea.

There are going to be people out there that point to him being Daredevil and how awful that movie was. Daredevil wasn’t a bad movie because of Ben Affleck as Daredevil , it was a bad movie because it wasn’t a well written or directed movie to begin with. It was largely changed by Fox and the love story shoved into the movie slowed the pace down and created an unrealistic soap opera aspect to the film. It’s not a mistake that I’m sure Ben Affleck would be willing to make as an actor again. Id rather point people in the direction of Hollywood land or the Town to see that Affleck has more than enough talent to handle a character with dual personalities.

Finally both Michael Keaton and Heath Ledger had just as strong a backlash when it was announced that they were going to be cast as Batman and Joker respectively in their respective movies and I think its safe to say that turned out pretty well. At the very least I think everyone should reserve judgement until they see footage or watch the film. Creating nerd rage and petitions for the sake of effecting the franchise in a negative way doesn’t mean you care more for the characters or subject matter. Besides in the long run we all know who’s the best Batman / Bruce Wayne to have ever played the character.

 

kevin-conroy

 

 

 

 

 

and I’m out!

Follow me on Twitter @pandasandrobots

Mike DeVivo

X-Men#1 – Brian Wood’s All Female X-Team is here. Is it any good?

X-Men-1X-Men #1

Writer: Brian Wood

Artist: Oliver Coipel

After a lot of backlash and judgement before the issue even came out X-Men #1 by Brian Wood and Oliver Coipel finally made it to shelves this week. While it isn’t Brian Wood’s first crack at writing the X men its received the largest amount of attention because this is the first X- team comprised entirely of a female cast. The results are very good. Brian Wood instantly creates a threat that is unique but rooted in X-Men mythology. It’s a bold move to have a book start out with a mysterious villain but Wood does an excellent job of following those first few scenes with a very familiar character in Jubilee.

He writes Jubilee here as a caring and lost young woman with a new responsibility in the form of an adopted baby. Her plan is to return home to the X-Men her family and give this baby the same sense of security she had. It seems that if anyone is going to be our eyes as the reader in this series its going to be Jubilee. On the way back from a flight from Bulgaria to New York Jubilee is being followed and contacts the Jean Grey School. The other members that make up the team are Rachel Grey, Storm, Kitty Pride , Rogue , and Psylocke. Half of the group goes to Jubilees aid and the other half wait back at the school.

While the rest of the issue has some action sequences here and there its primary focus is on character development which I liked. These characters all feel very fleshed out already in issue one. Wood nails Rogues confident demeanor, Psylocke’s calm and hardened attitude, and Storms matriarch personality very well. Each character has their moment in a book that reads very fast but does a great job of building towards an imminent threat.

The other part of the team is Oliver Coipel and as most of you would expect the book is absolutely gorgeous. His pencils are extremely detailed. Each female character looks unique and he finds away to take very classic elements of the character and make them feel fresh again. Jubilees new baby is about the cutest thing ever and characters facial expressions are varied and solidify Brian woods dialogue firmly on each page. His use of panels also is very open-ended which looks great but at times can detract from the story. That is my only criticism for what is in all a very beautiful book.

Wood ends this book on a pretty interesting cliffhanger which adds incentive to pick up the next issue. I’m sure some people will roll their eyes at the thought of yet another X book. However Brian Wood’s and Oliver Coipel’s X-Men is worth your money. This book has gotten unnecessary flak and should be one of the books you add to your pull list. Some people are probably still going to be caught up in the politics and gender issues but not Wood. His focus is to write a very entertaining and engaging story. After reading this issue the only thing I was thinking is why hasn’t someone did this sooner. He takes what could have been a cliche or negative concept to some and delivered a very high quality start to a new series.

Review Score- 9/10

Mike DeVivo

Follow me on Twitter @pandasandrobots

Regular Show #1 A comic so good it will make you have a punchies competition

Regular-Show-1-cover-ERegular Show #1

Written By: KC Green

Art By:Alison Strejlau

Back Up Story and Art By; Brian Butler

The Regular Show #1 comic is a good example of what Television properties should be. Extensions of their characters done faithfully in the medium of comics. For those of you not aware Regular Show is Cartoon Networks second most popular show aside from Adventure Time. Fun for all ages and its characters are always endearing. It even won an Emmy in 2012 for best Animated short for the episode “Eggsicellent”.

Writer KC Green doesn’t play try to change anything that makes the show so fun to watch and its the right call. Rigby and Mordecai are still the main focus. KC nails their dialogue perfectly. Mordecai is still the chill easy-going of the two and Rigby is a spaz that is always seeking attention and approval from Mordecai.. Benson instructs Mordecai and Rigby to clean the local grounds during an out door concert. As if that wasn’t bad enough the band doesn’t rock at all. Out of sheer boredom Rigby and Mordecai decide that it would be way cooler if they could start a Mosh-pit in the crowd. They consider it impossible to do given the crowd, but within earshot of Muscle Man and Hi Five Ghost. Always up for a challenge Muscle Man accepts and it just gets funnier from there.

The rest of the story is too good to ruin but I will say it involves a Demon , Benson , and a giant rescue plan by the end. Artist Alison Stejlau manages to handle the art in this issue very well. The characters look how they should and yet she does a tone of great work during some more of the Mosh-pit sequence that really pops off the page. Specifically her layouts during these sequences are extremely creative and create a kinetic feel while you read that gives this book that sense of anything can happen craziness that works so well for the show.Not to mention the short by Brian Butler is just as funny seeing Rigby and Mordecai in line waiting to ride the Face Melter coaster…which is a coaster that melts faces. Again its simple but you appreciate just how good simple is when it involves these characters.

Kaboom! has another hit on their hands (given the fact that Diamond has already reported Regular Show selling out) and as long as the creators continue to free up their stories and aim for absurdity this book will stay in my pull list. There are far too few books that you and your kid can read and laugh at together. This is one of those books. Oh and for the record I don’t have a kid, I only assume your kid will like this book as much as I did END DISCLAIMER.

REVIEW SCORE: 8.5/10

MIKE DEVIVO

Follow me on Twitter @pandasandrobots

 

C2E2: Lobo Revealed for Injustice Gods Among us

lobo-injustice-gods-among-us

 

Today during the Injustice Panel Ed Boon and the Rest of Neather Realm Studios Released the first game play of Lobo in Injustice and I have to say without even playing him he may be my new favorite character. He seems to have the moves of a brawler along with his character power of his duel guns, oh and don’t worry he uses his chains as well. Also of note in this Trailer is the reveal of Flashpoint Batman himself Thomas Wayne which tells me that Neather Realm is also going to continue creating new costumes for the game. Check out the Trailer Below and be sure to come back for my interview With Ed Boon and game designer Steve Barron.

Mike DeVivo

Follow me on Twitter @pandasanrobots

C2E2: Spiderman 2099 Returns!!

For those of you who were interested in seeing yet another Spiderman added to the mix you can now rejoice. In September issue *17 of Superior Spiderman will feature Miguel O’hara aka Spiderman 2099. The character has had a resurgence of late due to his appearance in Spiderman Shattered Dimensions and Marvel has decided now is the time to bring him back. Dan Slott and Ryan Stegman are behind the character being reintroduced. Oliver Coipel is doing the Variant cover for the issue which shows us our first look of Miguel O’hara back in his Spider duds.

SuperiorSpiderMan_17_Variant

 

A new threat is gunning for Spidey, and it’s going to take two wall-crawlers to bring it down — one just happens to be from the future.

Marvel promises that this is a big piece of the story that Slott has been building since “Big Time” in 2010, and that we’d be seeing much more from Miguel O’Hara in the months to follow issue #17.

It will will be interesting to see if fans are still wanting another Spiderman added back into the Marvel Universe

Mike DeVivo

Follow me on Twitter @pandasandrobots

Follow me on Twitter @pandasandrobots

Not Going to C2E2? You can watch it live here!!

ct-prj-c2e2-poster

Today C2E2 begins again in Chicago and you can now watch the entire Event streaming on our site below! Every day Fri-Sun come back to this page and follow the show every step of the way! Int the later days we will have several interviews as well as panel reports.. For now enjoy the show!!

Mike DeVivo

Follow me on Twitter @pandasandrobots

Watch live video from c2e2 on www.twitch.tv

Batman and Robin- Remembering Damian Wayne

Earlier last week in Batman Inc. #8 Grant Morrison decided to end the life of Damian Wayne aka Robin in a heroic and violent fashion. Ive seen a lot of reviews stating that Damian going out like this makes sense and is the only way that Damian’s story could end.  Aside from Morrison having an established pattern of killing characters he himself creates it just left me feeling sad. I thought maybe it was just the brutal way Damian was murdered in the issue, or like all comics when a character dies its suppose to have meaning and in this way yes Morrison succeeds. However I finally realized its Peter Tomasi and Patrick Gleason’s run on Batman and Robin that is responsible for the sadness.

Batman visiting familiar territory
Batman visiting familiar territory
Since the new 52 relaunched  I have been extremely impressed with the amount of depth Peter Tomasi has given Damian. Starting off with Damian taking another life and  crossing that line because he wanted to protect his father was a nice beginning. Tomasi has continued from there on showing just why Damian was such a special member of the Bat Family. in later issues PEter Tomasi has Damian disobey his father to jump into an angry and crazed mob. As the reader you think oh Damian is just being rebellious but at the end of the issue you see that Damian put himself in danger to bring back Bruce’s mothers Pearl Necklace. I’ve wrote before that Tomasi is able to show the Father and Son relationship in his book so well that you believe in the progression of their story and the acceptance and love they have for one another.
Gleason’s art has been just as important to this series. Every facial expression every interaction displayed in perfect detail. Gleason’s pencils have just continued to get stronger and stronger with each issue. When this series ends I have to put it up there with one of the best written and drawn series Ive ever written. From creating new villains each issue to doing an amazing job at making me absolutely terrified with his take on the newly redesigned Joker Gleason’s amazes me with his art each issue. I look forward to picking up whatever project he starts next.
Which brings me back to the last issue they just released with Batman and Robin #18. Which I believe is the best comic I’ve read this year. There is no dialogue , only Tomasi scripting a heart breaking story of Bruce and Alfred coping with the loss of Damian. Gleason’s art again pairing perfectly in each panel as Batman tries to get his mind off of the loss of Damian only to have his memory remind him of his son every step of the way.  Which finally ends with a heart-felt letter Damian leaves for his father explaining why he disobeyed his orders in the first place and tried to save him which leads to his death. It’s a perfectly scripted moment showing how much Damian is in fact like his father. Which brings me back to the fact that yes Damian was Grant Morrison’s creation but in my opinion he felt more like Tomasi’s character in the end. I think the saddest thing about Damian’s death is that Tomasi and Gleason aren’t able to continue creating stories that involve Damian anymore. The first image of Damian I showed was not the way I want to remember the character, thanks to Tomasi and Gleason this is the way Ill always remember Damian Wayne.
Like Father like Son R.I.P Damian Wayne
Like Father like Son R.I.P Damian Wayne

Looking forward to seeing where the Bat Family goes from here..

Mike DeVivo

Follow me on Twitter @pandasandrobots

 

 

 

Thor God of Thunder #4 A Thunder God Wishes for Death

thorgodofthunder4coverThor God Of Thunder #4

Story By: Jason Aaron

Art By; Esad Ribic

Jason Aarons work on Thor thus far has been great. Focusing on Thor in three different points in his life has provided a very unique and fresh take on the character. The God Butcher arc this far has been pretty bleak for The God of Thunder. This new villain is creepy and down right cruel towards the gods. Treating them as mere sport for him to slaughter. Thor has made it his responsibility to stop The God Butcher from killing any other gods and that seems to be the basic premise thus far.

As I said earlier whats nice about this story is seeing young Thor and Old Thor also dealing with the God Butcher. It gives this story an epic scope that fits nicely into Marvel Now’s relaunch strategy. I especially like seeing an Old Thor as King of Asgard. He’s not the confident and defiant  god were familiar with. Instead he is actively hoping to seek a Vikings death and welcomes the God Butcher and his shadow pets to take his life. I appreciate the lengths at which Jason Aaron has went to make Thor his own without losing all the myth of the character.

Just as important is the art of Esad Ribic. Ive been a fan of his work ever since I saw him on art duties for Silver Surfer Requiem . His work here again reminds me that he is one of the most talented artists working in the industry. Each page is constructed beautifully behind whatever backdrop suits the action. He invokes feelings of Frank Frazzetta’s art but still stays true to his style. Every facial expression reads perfectly and the action never feels stale. Each version of Thor reads and feels different and this is as much a testament to Ribic’s rendering of the character as it is Aaron’s writing.  This is a very pretty book. Also wanted to give a special mention to I’ve Svorcina the colorists. He juggles a lot this issue introducing us to three different worlds making sure each one has its own unique color palette.

At the end of this issue it seems that the three separate stories being told are staring to come together. It will be interesting to see what Thor thinks of his older self and what he’s become next issue. I’m thoroughly enjoying this book and appreciate what Jason Aaron and Esad Ribic are trying to with each issue. If you haven’t yet check out this series it does a great job of capturing all the elements that make Thor such a great character while injecting some new life into Asgard as well.

Review Score: 8/10

Mike DeVivo

Follow me on Twitter @pandasandrobots

Batman and Robin #15 Bird on a Wire

Batman and Robin #15

Writer: Peter Tomasi

Art: Patrick Gleason

Batman and Robin has its inevitable tie-in to Snyder’s own  ” Death of the Family” arc taking place in Batman begin with issue 15. I have to admit I’m weary of tie ins but I was more than shocked at not only how good this issue is right off the bat (no pun intended) but how effortlessly this becomes one of the best single issues of any Batman book I’ve read this year.

Damian is left at the Bat Cave with Titus to keep him safe as the rest of the Bat Family is out hunting down the Joker. Damian being his usual rebellious self decides he shouldn’t waste his time just sitting around and decides to examine Alfred’s crime scene. A lead left for Robin leads him straight to Gotham Zoo and into a well designed trap by Joker. What follows next is page after page of amazing dialogue between Damian and Joker.

Tomasi’s Joker fits right in along the way Snyder has written with a good mix of Batman the Animated series to boot. He also shows that he pays attention to detail tying the events of Batman #13 nicely into this issue. I could talk about all the awful and twisted things the Joker say’s to Damian as he is at his mercy  but the only thing I will say the Joker gives the phrase “Turn that frown upside down” a very literal meaning.

I also appreciate seeing Damian fight and scrape and claw to get out of the situation he’s in. I’ve grew to like the idea of Damian as Batman during Morrison’s run but I’ve absolutely fell in love with Damian as Robin under Tomasi’s guidance of the character. Damian acts like a child first and the son of a genius Superhero second. It grounds him as a character and has you worried that something terrible could happen to him at any moment.

Patrick Gleason knocks this issue out of the park. His Joker is ugly and Morbid in all the right ways and there isn’t a single panel that he doesn’t make use of Joker’s new / old face. From doing a point of view shot outside of the flesh mask he wears to having him constantly pull and stretch his face around I couldnt take my eyes off of how amazing his art was. The same effort and precision went into the layout of each page as well. Starting the issue off with harsh reds and heavy shadow one moment and harshly lit backgrounds the next the wash each character in shadow this book is nothing short of beautiful.

I’ve really liked Batman and Robin as apart of the relaunch in the New DC. If you would have told me this week that a tie in issue of Batman and Robin would have pleased me more than Batman itself I would have thought that a crazy idea but Gleason and Tomasi knock this out of the park. Even though everything is not alright in the Bat-family with the return of the Joker we have the honor to enjoy the hell out of two books this week with the title Batman in them. Go out and buy this issue and thank me later.

Overall Score: 9.5/10

Mike DeVivo

Follow me on Twitter @pandasandrobots

Punk Rock Jesus #5 : WWPRJD?

Punk Rock Jesus #5

Story and Art By: Scott Murphy

This issue picks up right where last issue left off. No jumping into the future this time just further escalation of a Chris’s Anarchist belief. After our Punk Rock Jesus declared that “God Hates You” publicly Thomas is in pursuit of Chris trying to  find him before J2 and The New American Christians do. If that sounds like a lot of plots it is but Scott Murphy manages to pull everything together very well.

His use of the media and how it relates to Chris aka Jesus Christ is smart and  it progresses the plot by having Chris answer questions about where his loyalties lie. Using the media now as his protection he is building an army of Secularists. At the core of this issue is ultimately Thomas coming to grips with Chris’s further lack of belief in god and himself as the second coming of Christ. Since issue one I’ve seen these two characters come full circle and there’s some truly heart breaking dialogue shared between the two. You get a sense that things aren’t going to get any easier in the last issue for either of them.

Throw in a few well choreographed action sequences and back story about Thomas’s history that helps drive his convictions and decisions this issue and you have a very solid issue of an amazing book. All of this drawn with amazing detail and love by Sean Murphy. This issue ends on a quiet note hinting at an all out war and amazing finish to Punk Rock Jesus. Punk Rock Jesus continues to be one of the most refreshing and creative comics I’ve read in years. Seek this book out you will not be disappointed.

Review Score: 9.5/10

Mike DeVivo

Follow me on Twitter @pandasandrobots

Batman#13 A Clown walks into a Police Station….

Batman #13

Story By: Scott Snyder Backup Story By: Scott Snyder & James Tynion IV

Art By: Greg Capullo & Jock

Its been a year since The Joker has been in any of the Bat Books and Scott Snyder has decided to bring him back in issue 13 of Batman. Following His past Court Of Owls story Arc is no easy task. Death of the Family’s opening issue manages to set the tone and expectation for this book through the roof. This version of The Joker is menacing , frightening and out right horrific.  Snyder manages to go very deep into Joker as a character thanks to his amazing dialogue and writing skills.

The story moves very fast. The feeling I got while reading issue 13 can only be compared to how I feel when I watch Breaking Bad. The tension is constant and builds until the end of the issue. You will feel emotionally invested by the end as Batman, Commissioner Gordan and the rest of the Bat Families fears become yours.

Greg Capullos art continues to amaze me. He’s still playing with  his style and I love his version of Batman now. Everything from his jaw line down to the subtle high lights on his cowl are fluid and perfectly rendered. Capullo has mastered building tension through his panels as well. Often times focusing on some thing iconic without giving everything away. His redesign of the Joker is disturbing and I hope it sticks.

The back up story this issue focuses on Joker and Harley Quinn’s relationship. It does a good job of making Harley a sympathetic character now and its interesting to see what her role will be as the story plays out. I don’t want to give parts of the story away because I want you to enjoy the book the same way I did. There is a specific moment with Gordon and Joker that made me sick to read.

Batman #13 is an amazing start to The Death in the Family arc. The pacing is perfect and Snyder does a great job throwing you right into the madness without showing his cards yet. Comics are supposed to be engaging and fun and I can’t think of  a better DC book to buy this week. If you haven’t been reading Batman now is the time to start.

Review Score 9.5/10

On a side note the cover is one of coolest things I’ve come across in a while. See Below

Batman #13’s cover doubles as a very creepy Mask

Mike DeVivo

Follow me on Twitter @pandasandrobots

 

 

 

Green Lantern #0 Green Lantern Sector 2814 Gets a bit more crowded

Green Lantern #0

Written By: Geoff Johns

Art By: Doug Mahnke

While most of the #0 issues have focused on the past to flesh out their stories and characters this issue focuses on the future of the Green Lantern franchise. We’re introduced to new Green Lantern recruit Simon Baz this issue. Simon is an Arab American living in Dearborn Michigan. The opening pages set Simon’s story into motion by utilizing the events of September 11th to show that Simon and his family haven’t had it easy due to the terrorist attacks he witnessed. We see how Simon and his families lives were effected 1 day , 5 years , and 10 years after the fact. John’s touches heavily on the topic of racial profiling in America and while it’s not easy to read its not hard to believe this could have happened to Simon based on his race.

We are then brought to the present as Simon is fleeing police after he had stolen a van to try to make ends meet and to help his family. The van itself houses something very lethal however that Simon wasn’t aware of and it is here that we first see Simon’s courage (which is actually tattooed on his arm in Arabic) and strong moral code come into play.

Simon is then moved to an undisclosed location where agents begin to interrogate him. Even though he is telling the truth the agents don’t trust that the Arab American in front of them was just in the wrong place at the wrong time and look at him as a potential threat to the US. Things move quickly and the agents decide to try to water board Simon to get the “Truth” from him. It is in this moment that the ring chooses Simon as he struggles to fight from being tortured and escapes.

The art this issue is a step up from the annual both in execution and tone. Doug seems to enjoy filling the earlier pages with detail and his style continues to suit John’s writing perfectly. Especially in the quieter moments when Manhke does most of the storytelling. His facial work is great and goes a long way in conveying the sincerity in Simon as well as the anger and disbelief in the situation he’s left in.

John’s even manages to throw in a one page Epilogue showing us the fate of both Hal Jordan and Sinestro and the direction he’s heading in with their story. After reading last weeks Green Lantern Annual I was left doubting the new direction that Green Lantern was taking. However after this issue I’m behind Johns and Mahnke once again. The solicits and cover image would have you believe Simon Baz is a gun toting criminal so its refreshing to see a very complex and interesting character inside. While there still is some uncertainty about The motivations of the Gaurdians and the Third Army story in general I am completely sold on this new Green Lantern and I’m happy to say Simon Baz is a wholly realized and worthy character in the Green Lantern Mythos.

Review Score: 9.5/ 10

Mike DeVivo

Follow me on Twitter @pandasandrobots

 

Punk Rock Jesus #2: Comic Book Heaven

Punk Rock Jesus #2

Vertigo Comics

Story and Art By: Sean Murphy

Only two issues in and I can already say that this has the makings to be one of the best titles of the year. Last issue set all the characters into play and left a pretty crazy cliffhanger to boot. This issue starts six months after and immediately sets the tone by showing the New American Christians or N.A.C leading a protest and possible siege of the island and boat that the show takes place on. For as many fans the reality show has gained there are just as many people who are ready to end the life of the child and mother.It’s a heavy concept that Sean Murphy tells fearlessly.

While the main character may be the little boy from last issue who’s grown up as a hired mercenary, each other supporting character feels fleshed out as well. These are complex characters that feel real and are well-defined in this world. Murphy is slowly easing every character into the foreground and it makes for an exciting read.Put simply you care for these people.

I can’t say enough about Sean Murphy’s art. His work has always been amazing but he takes advantage of the black and white format to really show off his skills. He has a gritty style but can easily show a range of emotions. He draws everything from a smirking producer to a crying mother who feels helpless in this issue and manages to drive whatever emotion he wants you to experience through his art. Each page is full of detail and his work here never feel stale due to the fact that he seems to constantly experiment with layouts and perspectives from page to page.

Amazing single page from issue 2 of Punk Rock Jesus

A single event sets the action and story in motion half way through the book. That feels like a significant moment in a book that’s only two issues in. Iit will be interesting to see where Murphy takes his huge supporting cast of characters from here for the four remaining issues.  Punk Rock Jesus is a high concept book told incredibly well. This is a story that resonates with me as soon as I finish each issue and makes you think about what the world would be like if this were to happen. It’s a great story that’s made better by the great character work and art. It’s a great example that comics don’t always have to be about superheroes and horror to be great and a book everyone should pay attention to.

Review Score: 9.5/10

Mike DeVivo

Follow me on Twitter @pandasandrobots

Spider-Men #3 An “Event Book” Done Right

Spider-Men #3

Story By: Brian Michael Bendis

Art By: Sara Pichelli

After an introductory issue that created the set up for 616 Peter Parker arriving in the Ultimate Universe  we finally learn that 616 Mysterio is behind everything. Issue 3 starts with Mysterio on the attack as his Avatar convince bot Peter and Miles that every Spider Villain has come t destroy them. Its a fun and intense battle that continues to show case both Spidermen extremely well. Brian Michael Bendis also continues to do a great job separating Miles and Peter from one another giving them their own voice as the fight everyone from Carnage to Miles Uncle this issue.

Peter has seen Mysterio do this type of thing before and distracts Mysterio long enough for Miles to put the hurt on Mysterio’s Avatar which backfires and knocks our 2 heroes out long enough for Mysterio to make his escape.

Sara Pichelli’s art continues to be one of the biggest selling points. She is just as important to the story. Giving both Miles and Peter their own signature moves. The action never feels choppy or out-of-place and it never once feels odd seeing Villains from Marvel’s 616 world next to their Ultimate counterparts. Their were several moments where I just stared at her pages in awe at the level of detail she packs into each panel. Sara’s always been able to draw a great action scene but its the closing pages that really surprised me. Pichelli captures emotion is such a great way that you cant help but match the same look she gives to Peter at the end of this issue.

Miles and Peter battle Mysterio in the earlier pages of Spidermen #3

Miles is woken up by The Ultimates after the fight but Peter is no where to be found. All of this leads up to the final pages I spoke of earlier. I must say that any Spidey fan is going to be shocked at the ending of this issue. I know I was legitimately saddened. I also cant wait to read the next issue to see how this all plays out for Peter.

Event books are a necessary evil in the comic world. I have to say I’m extremely impressed at the high level of quality being brought to this series. It does exactly what an event book is supposed to do. After reading this series I’m genuinely interested more now in both characters then i was prior to reading Spidermen. Also this Event Book seems to have implications that will last for both Peter and Miles in futures issues of their respective books. If you haven’t picked up this book yet give it a try its only five issues long and has done a great job so far convincing me that the Marvel world is big enough for two Spidermen.

Review Score 8.5/10

Mike DeVivo

Follow Me on Twitter @pandasandrobots

Punk Rock Jesus #1 Sean Murphy creates a book worthy of Vertigo’s Namesake

Punk Rock Jesus #1

Story and Art By Sean Murphy

Punk Rock Jesus is a book that’s extremely ambitious but never falters under the weight of any of its huge concepts. It blows away any expectations you may have and in place creates a fully realized world along with characters that are well-rounded and are fully realized already by the end of issue one.

Sean Murphy starts the issue off in the past explaining the story of one of the main characters and quickly then drops you into the center of a future that seems all too likely today. In our current society where Reality Television is still getting watched by millions of people and Snooki and The Kardashians are seen as celebrities Sean Murphy’s take on the future hits very close to home.

In this world scientist’s have managed to recreate Jesus Christ through the miracle of cloning. They try out tons of Virgin women to carry the child through the same process as American Idol and with their choice made start filming the pregnancy and eventual second coming of Jesus. I know that sounds like a crazy and ridiculous concept but in the hand of Sean Murphy it becomes a very complex and intelligent opportunity to tell a greater story. Murphy approaches his story from every possible angle. You will see the political and religious aspects played out as well as what happens when a corporation and TV Studio fund a project such as this.

Sean Murphy’s artwork had always been amazing. However his art here feel so fresh and unique. The pages are all in black and white and are printed on non glossy pulp paper. His layouts are extremely detailed and the city and world he’s created are believable because of his work. Characters all look unique and varied, and he experiments with several different styles and shading techniques throughout the book. Simply put its beautiful stuff.

Sean Murphy’s amazing artwork in Punk Rock Jesus #1

 

I went into Punk Rock Jesus with no expectations. I knew nothing about the story or script. After reading issue #1 I have to say I’m blown away with what I’ve read so far. The books full of nice twists and turns and already has a strong stable of characters that you care for and identify with. Vertigo was always considered a company that produced unique and amazing books. I think that’s something they put to the wayside over the last few years but with the arrival of this book I can safely say that’s the case again.  I strongly believe this has the makings to be a cult hit if not the next “Big Thing” for movie studios to bid over getting the rights to. Run out buy this book and happily read it and wait for the next issue. I know I sound completely in love with this book and it’s because I am but don’t blame me, blame Sean Murphy for setting the bar so damn high with this first issue that I had no choice but to fall in love with it.

Review Score: 10/10

Mike DeVivo

Follow me on Twitter @pandasandrobots

Marvel’s Phase One Boxset will let you own your very own Tesseract!!

Mike DeVivo here,

For those of you wondering to yourselves “Where the hell is the Super Awesome Special Edition of Avengers?” Here’s your answer. This could be the coolest Box Set I’ve ever seen. Though its going to set you back well over $150 now it looks to have everything you could ever want from the Marvel Cinematic world. You can pre-order the set on Amazon Here . You get IRON MAN 1 & 2 , INCREDIBLE HULK, THOR, CAPTAIN AMERICA, THE AVENGERS and an Extra Disc called SHIELD AVENGERS INITIATIVE. You also get Level Seven files, and SHIELD profiles on each AVENGER. The best part however is that it’s all packaged inside of Nick Fury’s Briefcase that contained the Tesseract! Also each disc will have original Cover artwork done by Matthew Ferguson. Check out the images below and geek out over the amazing Artwork!!

This is seriously the coolest thing I’ve seen in a while. Bravo to Marvel and Disney for creating something else for fanatics to blow their money on. Now someone get this for me my birthday is September 18th …thanks.

Mike DeVivo

Follow me on Twitter @pandasandrobots

Revival #1 Seeley and Norton’s Surburban Noir Comic Shows Promise

Revival #1

Story By: Tim Seeley

Art By: Mike Norton

Tim Seeley and Mike Norton’s Revival is an interesting take on small Suburban life. The issue starts with a creative writing exercise by one of the main characters of the story. Thats followed by a Zorse (yes you read that right Zebra + Horse equals Zorse) that gallops out of a forest spewing blood from its mouth as it finally falls over and the ground work has been laid that something bad is on its way towards Wisconsin. The main focus this issue is on Dana. She works along her father as a police officer and has an estranged relationship with her younger sister. Seeley injects a lot of humor and character into Dana immediately as she gets ready for work and calls out to her son. That sequence is the first bit of weird that’s injected into the issue.

We follow Dana to Police Headquarters and learn that there was an Event called Revival Day that happened a while back. The Revival Day has given random people the ability to live on after Death. This has caused a religious and cultural uproar in Wisconsin and all across America. Dana’s father puts her in charge of the new task force overseeing Revival Cases and sends Dana on her first case. Which you may have guessed involves that Zorse I spoke of earlier.

Mike Norton’s art gets progressively better as the issue unfolds and overall is a very good fit for the book. He gives his characters a large array of emotions and when the script calls for something gruesome or picks up in action he manages to handle anything thrown his way. There is a particular sequence at the end of the issue that will have you cringing. All the while excited to read on to see how the rest of the scene plays out. His layouts are fun and never get messy or confusing as the story unfolds.

Two thirds through this issue I liked what I was reading and then Seeley throws a curve ball my way that instantly got me to love it. He manages to grab you until the end of the issue and never let’s go. As I said earlier there are some truly frightening scenes as well as a shocking ending that justifies wanting to pick up the next issue nicely. This Wednesday go and check out Revival its a book with small beginnings that I believe may lead to one hell of a fun ride for issues to come.

Review Score: 8/10

Mike DeVivo

Follow me on Twitter @pandasandrobots

 

Snyder and Capullo bring a Faceless Joker to “Death of the Family”

Today Scott Snyder announced that starting with issue 13, Batman’s arch-villain would return. Yes indeed, the Joker will finally show his face – or lack thereof. If any of you have read the Bat-books, you will remember that The Joker was last seen getting a visit by the Dollmaker, with a shocking final image of his face being nailed to the wall of his cell in Gotham Asylum.

“Joker is my favorite villain of all time,” Snyder told The Source. “Not just in comics. In everything – film, books, TV. He’s the greatest, hands down. So this story is something extremely important and personal to me – something I’ve built in my head ever since I started working in Gotham. Basically, this is my big exploration of the Joker, my ‘Arkham Asylum’ or ‘The Killing Joke,’ only bigger in scope. Bottom line: it’s the biggest, baddest, most shocking Joker story I could tell. This is Joker completely unleashed. He has been away for a full year planning this revenge, watching, plotting, setting things up. And now he’s back. He has his traps set, his knives sharpened… And wait ’til you see him. Greg’s sketches literally gave me chills. Point blank: This is Joker like you’ve never seen him before. He has a mission. He has a secret. And he has a serious axe to grind with Batman. It isn’t going to be pretty, but it’s going to be a wild ride. Thanks for taking it with us.”

“When Scott told me that he’d written a Joker story for our next arc, I couldn’t contain my excitement,” said Capullo. “Talk about a dream come true! For me, the Joker is the ultimate rogue and the villain I most wanted to draw. I gotta tell you, after hearing what the story is about, this isn’t a dream come true. It’s a nightmare! A macabre and bloody, flesh crawling nightmare. We hope you’ll have the nerve to face what’s coming. Warning: It ain’t for the faint of heart!”

Will we also see the Dollmaker make a return? Does the title “Death of the Family” tie in somehow to the arc “Death in the Family”? Hopefully we will find out more come Comic Con.

Mike DeVivo

Follow me on Twitter @pandasandrobots

 

Secret Avengers #28 The Fate of the Kree lies in the hands of the Secret Avengers

Secret Avengers #28

Written By: Rick Remender

Art By: Renato Guedes

Rick Remender sets things into motion this issue with Ms. Marvel acting as the narrator to the events that unfold. The Kree and Captain Marvel have finally had their minds restored after Minister Marvel and his son had manipulated everyone to stay put as sacrifices to the oncoming Phoenix Force. The Secret Avengers fins out where Minister Marvel is hiding and are dead set on stopping him.

I like that Remender created a memorable villain in such a short amount of time. The Minister is unpredictable as he descends deeper into his own insane mind. While most people would assume this would turn into one giant brawl Remender has other plans in mind and creates something larger and worth while.

This leaves the team with the ungodly task of stopping the Phoenix Force from devouring Hala. Remender has fun using some of the heavies this issue. Both Thor and Captain Britain have great moments together. In the end though Remender goes back into Carol Danvers history and creates one the most fun and off the wall moments for the character.

Renato Guedes artwork continues to impress me. His pencils are hyper detailed and manage to convey many layers of emotion . The action is clean and easy to follow and aside from a few character design choices ( Beast and Thor I’m looking at you) his characters work is amazing. Id like to see him stay on this book for the foreseeable future with Remender.

At the end of the day this is a story about Captain Marvel and Remender does a good job reinforcing that he was a fearless hero who managed to make the tough decisions when the time came. In fact this is a nice companion piece to the Death of Captain Marvel and manages to set itself apart from the other A vs X tie ins due to the fact that it not only tells its own story in Captain Marvel but give good explanation why Carol would want to become the next Captain Marvel. This series continues to be an engaging and fun book full of great character moments and gorgeous art. Add it to your pull list.

Review Score: 8.5/10

Mike DeVivo

Follow me on Twitter @pandasandrobots