Tag Archives: captain america

Tales From the Water Cooler: New Years Special

Welcome to Tales From the Water Cooler!

Well it’s the New Year and the guys are taking another week off. This week prepare your ears for 3 thrilling tales of adventure starring Batman, Spider-Man and Captain America.

And don’t forget to LIKE us on Facebook!

Tales from the Water Cooler: New Years Special

You can click the link to listen to the podcast or right click “save link as” to download it.

 

Review: Amazing Spider-Man #699 – Maybe it’s not so bad after all…

Amazing Spider-Man #699
Writer: Dan Slott
Art: Humberto Ramos [Penciler], Victor Olazaba [Inker], Edgar Delgado [Color Art]

[HEY!  LOOK!  THIS REVIEW HAS SPOILERS, AND YOU MIGHT FEEL CHEATED IF YOU READ IT BEFORE YOU SEE THE ACTUAL BOOK!]

While I’ve calmed down about the big reveal last issue, it’s still a touchy subject.  If you missed it, a dying Doc Ock swapped brains with Peter Parker, hinting that the “new” Spider-Man in the upcoming relaunch of the book as Superior Spider-Man is actually Doc Ock in Peter’s body.

It’s not that I didn’t like the way it was written–Dan Slott’s writing makes me really want to like the story.  It’s just that there are two types of stories I hate–stories centered around mind swaps and time travel (we’ll get to that another time, maybe, because Slott has actually written a time travel story that I like).  I already know the response to this assertion, too.  It’s a comic bookScience fiction.  Real world logic and plausibility don’t apply.

Fair enough, but the limits of everyone’s suspension of disbelief are different, and this is why we probably won’t ever see Fin Fang Foom in an Iron Man film.

That said, let’s completely suspend disbelief for the rest of this review even if the concept is a bit much to wrap our heads around.  This issue, and the story as a whole, are very well-written.  Amazing Spider-Man #699 opens with Doc Ock’s body being revived following its flat-lining at the end of the last issue. Upon being revived (and spat on by a prison nurse), Peter Parker–keep in mind, again, that his mind is in Doc Ock’s body now with all of Ock’s memories and vice versa–examines the situation he’s in and begins trying to figure out how, with only hours left to live, he’s going to get out of this predicament and back into his own body.

After searching Ock’s memories, and giving us the totally unnecessary reveal that Aunt May had sex with Otto back in the day, Peter realizes that every time he used Otto’s own Octobot control helmet tech to stop him, he made his mind vulnerable.  Ock was then able to somehow put his brainwaves in the golden Octobot (seen occasionally since the end of “Ends of the Earth”), which then made its way to New York City and “hacked” Spider-Man’s mind when he was otherwise distracted by the spider signal jammers from the recent Hobgoblin story arc.

Pete then figures out that the golden Octobot had a mental link with Otto and takes control of it to put into action a plan that his life now depends on–forming his own Sinister Six–which includes Hydro-Man, Scorpion, and Paste-Pot Pete–to break him out of prison and capture Otto-Spidey.

As I said before, Slott’s writing on this story is still great despite my lack of enthusiasm over the premise.  You can tell he put a lot of time into planning this out at least as far back as the beginning of his run on the book with “Big Time,” and maybe even as far back as 2009’s Amazing Spider-Man #600. Humberto Ramos’ art in this issue is some of his best so far, and I’m looking forward to seeing what I’ve read is the best art of his career later this month in #700.

Overall, not a bad issue.  I really could have done without being presented the idea of Aunt May and Dr. Octopus having sex, though.

RATING:  7/10 (Because Aunt May having sex with anyone is just kind of gross.)

Review: Amazing Spider-Man #698 – WHY, DAN?! WHYYYYYYYYYY?!

Amazing Spider-Man #698
Writer: Dan Slott
Art: Richard Elson and Antonio Fabela [Color Art]

 

WARNING:  THIS REVIEW HAS MAJOR PLOT SPOILERS FOR AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #698 AND BEYOND.  DO NOT READ IT IF YOU PLAN ON READING THE ISSUE.

Dan Slott, you broke my heart.

Ever since your run on Amazing Spider-Man began last year, I’ve been one of its biggest supporters, going so far as to compare it to the Michelinie and Stern runs.  And then you did it.  You drove that spike in my heart that was like a thousand One More Days.

Actually, that’s a terrible analogy.  I actually liked One More Day.  Comparing that spike to 1,000 Clone Sagas or Ben-Reilly-replacing-Peter-Parker scenarios or JMS runs is far more accurate.

But the point is, you shook my faith in my favorite series.  You weren’t the first, though.

When I was nine years old, I quit reading new issues for five years because of the ridiculousness of the aforementioned Clone Saga and (temporary/retconned) replacement of Peter by his clone, Ben Reilly.  What you have done here, though, may be impossible for me to recover from.

Amazing Spider-Man #698 begins with a reminder that Doc Ock is on his death bed, with only hours left to live.  He’s struggling to say something, and it turns out what he’s trying to say is, “Peter Parker.”  For the rest of the issue, longtime readers will notice that the way Slott has written Peter’s dialogue and inner monologue is strange, and we eventually find out why when Spider-Man is summoned by the Avengers to the Raft (the ultra high security prison for supervillains) because Ock’s about to die and he keeps saying the name of Spidey’s secret identity.

And then, once the two are in the room, we get the big reveal.  We now know why Peter’s words sound so strange in this issue.

It’s because one of the most ridiculous and asinine predictions for what would happen in the “Dying Wish”/Amazing Spider-Man #700 arc ended up being true–Doc Ock somehow switched his consciousness into Peter Parker’s body and vice versa, and Ock’s body dies with Peter’s mind trapped inside.

I’ll probably still buy #699 and #700 just to have a complete run up through the “final” issues of Amazing Spider-Man–and I’ll probably still buy Superior Spider-Man #1, because, well, eBay–but for the first time in about five years, I’m not all that excited about the next issue of Spider-Man.

On the bright side, I can’t imagine this being something that sticks in the long term.  For the foreseeable future, however, it might be time to move on to something else.

RATING:  It’s gonna harsh your mellow, man…but at least the art is good.

 

Review: Amazing Spider-Man #694 – The 50th Anniversary story arc concludes!

Amazing Spider-Man #694
Writer:  Dan Slott
Art:  Humberto Ramos [Pencils], Victor Olazaba [Inks], and Edgar Delgado [Colors]

If Amazing Spider-Man #692 and 693 were about introducing Alpha, then this week’s #694 is all about setting the character up for his next chapter–whenever that may be.

Deciding to take a break from his research at Horizon Labs, Peter Parker heads out to the airport to say goodbye to his Aunt May and her husband, J. Jonah Jameson Sr., before they head back to Boston.  As is the case when he has something to do or somewhere to be, he’s interrupted.  The Avengers request his help fighting off Terminus, who’s once again intent on taking over the Earth.

The Avengers unfortunately have the bright idea of having Spider-Man summon Alpha, and the egotistical teen hero with more power than everyone else present darts across the world from Japan to lay the smackdown on Terminus.  This causes problems, as the fight takes place above the airport and Alpha’s irresponsible use of his powers short circuits all of the planes currently in the air–including the jet carrying May and Jonah Sr.  Naturally, the day is saved, but as soon as Alpha leaves, Spider-Man and the Avengers all agree his powers, created in a lab accident by Peter’s “Parker Particles,” must go.

But, irreparable damage may have already been done.

Dan Slott packs a lot of great moments into this issue, continuing to showcase Alpha as an extraordinarily unlikeable character.  At least two recurring members of Spidey’s supporting casts get apparent status quo changes here, as well.  Seeing Peter act in a more stern, almost parental-like manner was different for a change, and I especially enjoyed Dan’s nod to all of the people who are unclear as to whether or not Spider-Man is still a Future Foundation member.  Combine this with Ramos’ art and a nice lead-in to the “Danger Zone” arc and you’ve got a solid conclusion to Slott’s 50th Anniversary story arc.

RATING:  A Tantalizing Tale in the Mighty Marvel Manner!

*ALSO:  If you didn’t notice, this issue’s cover was an homage to a classic cover from when the “big two” comic publishers could play nice every now and then.

Tales From the Water Cooler #80

Welcome to Tales From the Water Cooler!

Join Infinite Speech, Decapitated Dan, and the Southern Sensation each week as they gather around the water cooler of stories to talk about comics.

This week is the guys take a look at Deadworld War of the Dead #4, Voodoo #12 and Captain America and Namor #635.1.

All that and more can be found here, each week on Tales From the Water Cooler!

And don’t forget to LIKE us on Facebook!

Tales from the Water Cooler: Episode #80

You can click the link to listen to the podcast or right click “save link as” to download it.

 

5-page preview: Shadowman #1 – bring on the nightmare

sha_001_cvr
[nggallery id=143]

Thursday afternoon Valiant Entertainment released a five-page preview of Shadowman #1 written by Justin Jordan and Patrick Zircher with art by Patrick Zircher. This continues the relaunch of the popular 90s comic property. Shadowman #1 will be in your local comic book store sometime in November.

VALIANT’s SHADOWMAN Envelops PATRICK ZIRCHER & JUSTIN JORDAN

The next epic expansion of the Valiant Universe starts this November in Shadowman #1 – the FIRST ISSUE of an all-new ongoing series from comics superstar Patrick Zircher (Captain America, Thor: Ages of Thunder) and Harvey Award-nominee Justin Jordan (The Strange Talent of Luther Strode, Team 7)!

There’s a million dreams in the Big Easy. But now its worst nightmare is about to come true. As the forces of darkness prepare to claim New Orleans as their own, Jack Boniface must embrace the legacy he was born to uphold. As Shadowman, Jack is about to become the only thing that stands between his city and an army of unspeakable monstrosities from beyond the night. But is the mantle of Shadowman a blessing or a curse? And what is the true cost of his otherworldly power?

“Shadowman is one of the most popular characters in the Valiant Universe and the fans have been asking me since day one when he’s going to return,” said Valiant Executive Editor Warren Simons. “Justin and Patrick have put together an action-packed debut that also adds an incredibly important new dimension to the Valiant Universe. And as Patrick’s pages clearly demonstrate, he’s one of the finest artists working in the medium today. We’ve got an amazing team at the helm of our fifth ongoing launch and I can’t wait for the first issue to hit the stands.”

On sale this November, Shadowman #1 features a standard cover by Patrick Zircher with incentive variants by Eisner Award-winning industry icons Dave Johnson and Bill Sienkiewicz. Additionally, Valiant is continuing its wildly successful Pullbox Exclusive Variant program with a “blackout” cover by Patrick Zircher – available only to those comic shop patrons who pre-order Shadowman #1 with their local retailer.

X-O Manowar, Harbinger, Bloodshot, and Archer & Armstrong have captivated a new generation of fans and critics. Now prepare for the rebirth of the next Valiant icon. Fear no evil when Shadowman #1 strikes this November!

SHADOWMAN #1 – ON SALE THIS NOVEMBER!
Written by JUSTIN JORDAN & PATRICK ZIRCHER
Art by PATRICK ZIRCHER
Cover by PATRICK ZIRCHER
“Blackout” Pullbox Exclusive Variant by PATRICK ZIRCHER
Variant Covers by DAVE JOHNSON & BILL SIENKIEWICZ

5-page preview: X-O Manowar #5 – Enter Ninjak

xo_005_cvr_zircher_b
[nggallery id=126]

Valiant Monday afternoon released a five-page preview of X-O Manowar #5 written by Robert Venditti with art by Lee Garbett. Ninjak returns to your local comic book store on September 12th, 2012.

VALIANT PREVIEW: “Enter Ninjak” Begins In X-O MANOWAR #5

Valiant is proud to present an advance preview of X-O Manowar #5 – the FIRST ISSUE of an all-new arc pitting X-O Manowar against Ninjak and a perfect jumping-on point for new readers! Join New York Times best-selling author Robert Venditti (The Surrogates) and acclaimed artist Lee Garbett (Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne) as the sudden arrival of the X-O Manowar armor on Earth ignites an extraterrestrial arms race – one that Ninjak will aim to win by any means necessary.

After a failed brute force attempt on the life of Aric of Dacia, Vine agents deep within MI6 have only one option left in their gambit to retrieve the X-O Manowar armor – call in the deadly mercenary known as Ninjak! But what happens when the world’s foremost weapons specialist engages the Earth’s most powerful weapon head on? And even if Ninjak can defeat the armor’s defenses, does he stand a chance against the savage warrior that controls it?

Start reading here as Ninjak makes his shocking first appearance in X-O Manowar #5! And ask your local retailer today about how to get your hands on the X-O Manowar #5 Pullbox Exclusive Variant by chart-topping artist Philip Tan (Batman & Robin) and the X-O Manowar #5 Interlocking Variants by comics superstar Patrick Zircher (Captain America)!

X-O MANOWAR #5 – ON SALE SEPTEMBER 12th!

Written by ROBERT VENDITTI
Art by LEE GARBETT
Cover by MICO SUAYAN (JUL121254)
Pullbox Exclusive Variant by PHILIP TAN (JUL121255)
Interlocking Variants by PATRICK ZIRCHER (JUL121256/JUL121257)
$3.99/Rated T+/32 pgs.

Marvel reboots NOW, but now means October


Marvel Comics Thursday morning announced a reboot of the current universe after the events of Avengers vs. X-Men. This reboot wasn’t much of a secret and now leads to speculation of how AvsX ends and the return of Jean Grey. What strikes me as odd, is why Marvel is announcing it now and not waiting a week to make a grand spectacle at Comic-Con. Also, a teaser image was released as well with character redesigns yet again. Instead of redesigning existing characters why doesn’t Marvel create new characters?

The Future of Comics is Marvel NOW!
Top Comic Book Series ReEvolve With All New #1 Issues Beginning October 2012

New York. NY—July 6, 2012— The most popular characters. The most acclaimed creators. The most ambitious stories. This is Marvel NOW!.

This Fall, the Marvel Universe heads in an exciting all-new direction, as the industry’s top creators join the top Super Heroes– Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, Hulk, Spider-Man, Wolverine and more– to deliver all-new ongoing series, each beginning with issue #1! Marvel NOW! is the culmination of Marvel ReEvolution, the groundbreaking new initiative to evolve the comic book experience through innovation.

It kicks off in October’s Uncanny Avengers #1, from the superstar dream team of Rick Remender (Uncanny X-Force, Venom) and John Cassaday (Astonishing X-Men, Captain America) and continues with jaw-dropping new Marvel NOW! series nearly every week through February.

“There’s never been a better time to check out comics than Marvel NOW!” said Axel Alonso, Editor in Chief, Marvel Entertainment. “This isn’t a reboot or a reimagining—Marvel NOW! is all about looking forward, building on our rich history of great stories and delivering new ideas.”

In Uncanny Avengers #1, the Avengers and X-Men must join forces to overcome the greatest challenge either team has ever faced, one so devastating that neither can afford to do it alone! Can Captain America’s newly assembled team find a way to peacefully co-exist while also dealing with the game-changing repercussions of Avengers VS X-Men?

Then in November, Marvel NOW! expands to all corners of the universe with launches including All-New X-Men #1 by Brian Michael Bendis (Avengers VS. X-Men, Ultimate Comics Spider-Man) and Stuart Immonen (Avengers VS. X-Men #1 Infinite, Fear Itself); Avengers #1 by Jonathan Hickman (Avengers VS X-Men, Fantastic Four) and Jerome Opena (Uncanny X-Force), on-sale in December; and New Avengers #1, by Hickman and Steve Epting (FF, Captain America), on-sale in January 2013.

“We brought fans the biggest comic book event imaginable in Avengers VS. X-Men and now we’re taking the Marvel Universe to an exciting new place, beginning with Uncanny Avengers #1,” said Tom Brevoort, SVP, Executive Editor, Marvel Entertainment. “If you’re a long-time fan, all the stories you’ve read will give you even more enjoyment of what’s happening now—we’re not abandoning our past. But if you’re a new reader, this is where you’re going to learn just why Marvel comics are unlike anything else you’ve ever read. And no character is left unaffected by Marvel NOW!.”

Every comic book bearing the Marvel NOW! branding includes a code for a free digital copy of that same comic on the Marvel Comics app for iOS and Android devices. Additionally, each issue #1 of Marvel NOW! series features special augmented reality content available exclusive through the Marvel AR app – including cover recaps, behind the scenes features and more that add value to your reading experience at no additional cost.

“This is the natural next step of the Marvel ReEvolution, as we evolve every facet of Marvel publishing,” explained Joe Quesada, Chief Creative Officer, Marvel Entertainment. “You’ve seen us craft new digital storytelling formats like Marvel Infinite Comics and bring added value to our comics with Marvel AR. Now our print comics leap into the future with a cinematic new look for our covers, exciting new designs for our biggest characters and stories that will send you on the kind of journey you can only get at Marvel.”

This October, “Join The ReEvolution” as Marvel NOW! kicks off with Uncanny Avengers #1, ushering in a new era for comics and the perfect jumping on point for new readers. The biggest creators bring you the biggest characters in the biggest stories…and it’s happening NOW!

To commemorate the historic release of Uncanny Avengers #1 on Wednesday, October 10th, participating retailers can host special advance release parties the night before! That’s right, you can experience the biggest new series launch of the year on Tuesday, October 9th at select retailers, who’ll also have limited edition giveaways exclusive to these events.

Happy 4th of July America!

The Comic Vault wishes you a great 4th of July. Enjoy your BBQ, comics and America!

Captain America is a fictional character, a superhero who appears in comic books published by Marvel Comics. The character first appeared in Captain America Comics #1 (cover-dated March 1941), from Marvel Comics’ 1940s predecessor, Timely Comics,[1] and was created by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby. As of 2007, an estimated 210 million copies of “Captain America” comic books had been sold in 75 countries.[2] For nearly all of the character’s publication history, Captain America was the alter ego of Steve Rogers, a frail young man who was enhanced to the peak of human perfection by an experimental serum in order to aid the United States war effort. Captain America wears a costume that bears an American flag motif, and is armed with an indestructible shield that can be thrown as a weapon.[3]
An intentionally patriotic creation who was often depicted fighting the Axis powers of World War II, Captain America was Timely Comics’ most popular character during the wartime period. After the war ended, the character’s popularity waned and he disappeared by the 1950s aside from an ill-fated revival in 1953. Captain America was reintroduced during the Silver Age of comics when he was revived from suspended animation by the superhero team the Avengers in The Avengers #4 (March 1964). Since then, Captain America has often led the team, as well as starring in his own series.
Steve Rogers was purportedly assassinated in Captain America vol. 5, #25 (March 2007), although he was later revealed to be alive. The comic-book series Captain America continued to be published,[4] with Rogers’ former sidekick, James “Bucky” Barnes, having taken up the mantle, and keeping it at the insistence of Rogers, who upon his return began operating as an intelligence agent in the Secret Avengers title, and in the limited series Steve Rogers: Super Soldier, before resuming the identity after Bucky was killed in the line of duty.
Captain America was the first Marvel Comics character adapted into another medium with the release of the 1944 movie serial Captain America. Since then, the character has been featured in several other films and television series, including Chris Evans’ portrayal in Captain America: The First Avenger, released on July 22, 2011, and The Avengers, released on May 4, 2012. Captain America was ranked sixth on IGN’s Top 100 Comic Book Heroes in 2011.

Review: Amazing Spider-Man #687 – As the World Burns

Amazing Spider-Man #687
Writer:  Dan Slott
Art:  Stefano Caselli, Frank Martin Jr. [Color Art] 

HEY!  WAIT A MINUTE!
If you haven’t read the rest of this story arc, this review will spoil a few plot developments, and we wouldn’t want that, would we?  The end of this issue isn’t spoiled, though, so you’re safe there.

Victory is once again within Doctor Octopus’ grasp and the only people who can stop him are Spider-Man, Black Widow, Silver Sable, and Mysterio–who switched sides last issue, natch!  Unfortunately, they’ll have to go through the (mind-controlled) Avengers first.

The ensuing battle is among the best-written team battles to take place in Spider-Man (or a lot of other books) in recent memory.  Dan Slott takes advantage of the various characters involved, as well as plot points from previous issues in the last few years, to showcase everyone (with the exception of Black Widow and Hawkeye, but they were knocked out early on).  The Spider-Man/Spider-Woman fight and the bit with Thor’s Mjolnir were nice touches, but the turncoat Mysterio was the true standout in these pages as he showcased his mastery of illusion and quipped about leaving the super villain business for television.

This being the final part of the story arc, Spider-Man does finally confront the still-dying Doc Ock in his underwater base (where do these guys get the funds for this stuff?).  Octavius’ intentions are, indeed, to purge the Earth using his Octavian Lens, and with the doctor so close to death and the Rhino still on Ock’s side, Spider-Man’s pact of “no one dies” may finally be forced to end.  The people who (seemingly) die here just aren’t the ones you’d expect.

Overall, Slott gives what is thus far his best Spider-Man “event” story a fitting end.  The action stays on point, the dialogue stays fresh while referencing previous issues, the (seeming) deaths don’t feel meaningless, and several threads are left open for later.  In particular, it will be interesting to see whether or not Horizon Labs was ever able to figure out that a lot of Ock’s tech was developed by them–and Peter Parker, in particular–and what repercussions that may have.  Stefano Caselli and Frank Martin, Jr. continue to deliver the goods as well, especially with what might be the most menacing-looking incarnation of Doc Ock.

As with every other issue of this arc, if you haven’t read it, GO BUY IT NOW!

RATING:  EXCELSIOR!

Iron Patriot photos from Iron Man 3

The craziness of Iron Man 3 has started and it looks like it will be a wild ride. Set photos of the Iron Patriot have surfaced and Ben Kinsley will play the Mandrin. More photos and news will come fast and furious during the not so private filming. ComicBookMovie.com was the source for the article.

The Iron Patriot was introduced after Marvel Comics Secret Invasion. Norm Osborn for Amazing Spider-Man managed to convince the government to put him in charge and he stole Iron Man’s armor and put an American flag on it.

From Wikipedia:
During the events of the “Dark Reign”, Osborn created a new identity, the Iron Patriot (an amalgam of Captain America and Iron Man), to cement his standing as a hero. As the Iron Patriot, he utilized a version of Iron Man’s armor. The armor featured superhuman strength, enhanced durability via a pliable crystalline material with a molecular structure that can collimate into super-hard planes upon the application of an electrical field, flight, magnetic impact blasts, heat seeking missiles, miniaturized lasers, flamethrowers, and a communications system housed in his helmet which allowed him to interface with any U.S.-controlled satellite or computer network. While the original Iron Man armor utilized repulsor technology, Osborn’s design does not; Stark destroyed all but one repulsor, and stated that “Oz is too stupid” to make his own repulsor-based weapons system. The star shaped Uni Beam projector on his chest, because of its shape, also has a less powerful output than that of the original Iron Man model.

Review: Amazing Spider-Man #686 – Something You Expected, and Something You Didn’t

Amazing Spider-Man #686
Writer:  Dan Slott
Art:  Stefano Caselli, Frank Martin Jr. [Color Art]

[SIMPERIN’ SPOILER ALERT:  Reading this rollicking review might spoil certain exciting elements of this book’s pulse-pounding plot for you, oh consummate Comic Vault reader!  You’ve been warned!] 

An entire hemisphere of Earth, including Silver Sable’s native Symkaria, has been destroyed at the hands of Doctor Octopus!

Or has it?

Given the ending to Amazing Spider-Man #685, one might think that Spider-Man, Silver Sable, and the Black Widow had failed in their bid to prevent Octavius from destroying the world once and for all in his final dastardly deed before death.  However, one might think wrong–especially given that two of the other members of the Sinister Six still remaining at that point were well-versed in illusion.  Longtime Spidey fans could probably see where this was going, but it would be a crime not to use such a scenario with Mysterio and Chameleon both on the same team.

That said, as Spidey and Co. continue to disrupt Otto’s dying wish, both sides begin finding that they are victims of wavering allegiances.

Again, Dan Slott provides an issue that stands up not just to the rest of the arc, but to the classics, as well.  While one of the big allegiance shifts here was a no-brainer following the orbital octobot crisis from Amazing Spider-Man #680-681 (plus the cover to #687), the other was a total surprise.

It’s also been nice to see Spider-Man written in a team role as a leader as opposed to comic relief, and the way Pete asserts himself in this arc has been phenomenal.  That’s not to say the old Peter Parker neuroses aren’t there, though.  It will be interesting to see the aftermath of Spider-Man having realized that Doc Ock’s tech has been supplemented by technology he developed as Peter Parker for Horizon Labs–especially if that connection is made by Horizon, as well.

The rotating art on this story has also surprisingly not been as jarring as one would expect.  Stefano Caselli returns for the last two issues of the arc after getting a two-issue break from Humberto Ramos, but the switch barely registered to me either time.  Sure, Caselli’s art veers more toward the realistic than Ramos’ more animated style, but both artists have grown on me to the point that I’m glad to see either on a story.

If you’re a spider-fan and you haven’t been keeping up, you’re missing out.

RATING:  EXCELSIOR! 

Review: Wolverine and the X-Men #10 – Cyclops Comes Calling

Wolverine and the X-Men #10
Writer: Jason Aaron
Art: Chris Bachalo [Penciler/Colorist]; Tim Townsend, Jaime Mendoza, Al Vey, and Victor Olazaba [Inkers]

The events of Avengers Vs. X-Men had to hit home at the Jean Grey School for Higher Learning sooner or later, and when Cyclops comes calling, boy do they ever.

Taking place between Avengers Vs. X-Men #2 and 3, Wolverine and the X-Men #10 provides some additional insight into what happened between the storming of Utopia and Captain America organizing teams of Avengers to search the planet for Hope Summers (and ultimately betraying Wolverine by throwing him out of a Quinjet).

To sum it up, Cyclops, Emma Frost, and Magik show up at the Jean Grey School and insult everyone there so they can recruit additional X-Men to their side.

Perhaps more interesting than the main plot, Genesis finally figures out who Apocalypse is (but remains unaware that he is a clone/reincarnation of the villain) and Angel finally realizes that he isn’t an angel, but a mutant who used to be known as Warren Worthington.  Genesis and Angel are also quickly forming a bond, which will be interesting to see play out in the months to come considering Angel was once Apocalypse’s Horseman of Death and replacement prior to losing his memory and gaining his new abilities.

With this issue, Jason Aaron has crafted a tie-in issue that doesn’t exist solely as an extension of the event it’s a part of and continues to develop stand-alone plot threads.  Additionally, some of these plot threads are likely to have an impact on the event as a whole–namely the entry of Gladiator and the Shi’ar Death Commandoes, who have dealt with the Phoenix and the X-Men before, into the fray.

Chris Bachalo’s art in this issue also transitions much more smoothly between panels, feeling much more in line with his earlier work on the book and his stellar art on the 2010 Amazing Spider-Man “Shed” arc.

This isn’t a perfect issue, but it’s still a damn fun ride.

STORY: 8/10
ART: 8/10 

The Avengers film: Whedon strikes out when it counts

This will go down as one of the most hated movie reviews in comic book geek-land, but Joss Whedon’s Avengers was a beautiful film in the same way that James Cameron’s Avatar was an amazing film. Both films had great visuals but no substance.

The biggest criticism of the Marvel films so far is that they’re too campy. Not every comic book movie needs to be Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight, but they do need to have a balance of serious and light moments. Maybe I want too much but I was not inspired to join the Avengers after the film. There is no moment in the film where I feel like the Avengers will ever lose. No suspense in a $250 million budget film means that they forgot to pay the writers when they were planning to blow-up Ohio. Which is a waste because the film is well casted and the actors bring their A-game.

The Avengers will make a billion dollars and kids will love it, but is wrong to ask for just a little more. The set-up of the film was good and the movie paced well for two plus hours but when the going gets tough and the Avengers need to rise up to save the day, the moment was hollow. This happens because Nick Fury cons them into the moment instead of Captain America kicking some ass. How hard is to write a Captain America inspirational speech?

The Avengers film does nothing to progress Steve Rogers as a character. When the film ends you learn nothing new about the character that you didn’t know already from the “Captain America” film. Rogers is the heart of the Avengers and whether is was the writers fault or the actors fault, there was no inspiration. There is a scene in the film when Captain America gets shot with a laser and Thor is getting tired, this could have been the instant when the Avengers pulled themselves up by their boot straps and make an inspirational moment but Whedon doesn’t swing the bat. Whedon directed the film very light and never attempted a suspenseful moment. The problem is there are at least five moments in the film when Whedon could stepped in and said, ”Hey guys, this is our Oscar moment so let make it happen.” The most inspiring moments are in the trailer and those moments are inspiring because the way the trailer is editing not the way the lines are delivered in the film.

The Avengers is a very solid B+ film, but they had many chances to hit the grand slam and struck out looking at the plate.

The best part is this film is that it will make and insane amount of money and a sequel will come out in a few years.

The Avengers: Whedon and Company Deliver One Hell of a Fun Ride

Mondo's Limited Edition Movie Poster

Review By Mike DeVivo

After more than 5 years of world Building Marvel’s The Avengers comes out today. Before watching the film I spent the last few days re watching Iron Man , Incredible Hulk, Iron Man 2 , Thor , and Captain America . Iron Man aside I felt at some point each of the other films had some glaring issues. My excitement for the film out weighed my concern however and I was looking forward to seeing what Joss Whedon had in store. After all the early screenings and overwhelming positive feedback I was sent into frenzy mode waiting to see this film. So is it any good?The answer is a resounding yes! More on that later , for now let me take you through the film without getting into major Spoilers.

Loki has returned by way of the Tesseract that was found while looking for Captain America. He obliterates S.H.I.E.L.D Headquarters and with the help of some unexpected allies gets away with the Tesseract in hand. His plan is to open up a portal using the Tesseract so that he can unleash an Army upon Earth leaving him to Rule.

Fury out of Desperation decides to move forward with The Avengers Initiative. That is the basic core of the Movie. Joss Whedon focuses more so on character moments over Story which works well for most of The Avengers. He does pay close attention to detail even using all the past films as building blocks to progress the story. Standouts include Black Widow played by Scarlet Johannsen and Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner/Hulk. In fact movie goers have seen a group of Heroes who band together to save the world from certain disaster tons of times before . The plot isn’t what makes this movie so enjoyable its the characterization, writing , and acting that make this movie shine and turn it into Marvel’s crowning jewel along with their first film Iron Man. No one phones this movie in. You can tell of the actors enjoyed working on the project together and it shows in how much fun the movie is.

The action set pieces and Special effects are damn near perfect in execution. There were more than a few moments where the crowd in unison were clapping and cheering together which brought a smile to my face. The Chitauri in the film look great and I love the look of the Hulk in this Film. The last 30 min of this film had me grinning from ear to ear. Each Avenger has more than their share of awesome moments in the film.

There are a few minor complaints I’m going to point out. First I feel like Steve Rogers’ story never really progresses at all. It would have been nice to see possibly Sharon Carter inserted as Steve’s love interest to try to show another side of Steve Rogers. There are some small moments with Tony that could have been fleshed out and I know that Joss had mentioned that he cut at least 30-40 min off the film. Also a minor complaint but they never explain how Thor makes it back to Earth. After watching the films that’s a glaring issue that should be addressed considering how great Joss was with all the other plot lines from the past films and his attention to detail. Again these are minor nit picks about a movie that was nothing short of amazing

I’m honestly quite amazed at how well marvel was able to pull this off. There’s an intent and confidence in the writing that really shows off Whedon’s strengths as a director. Some people may feel like he hijack’s the movie a bit but I couldn’t imagine anyone else capable of delivering such a high quality product. Whedon and company remember that movies like this should have strong characterization first and most importantly showed that a Superhero Movie doesn’t have to just be “Dark” or “Hard Edged” to be good. I honestly cant wait to see this again myself. Oh and the mid credits scene sent me into sensory overload! This is a blue print for how to pull off a Summer Blockbuster in an intelligent and successful way. Run out and see this it will put a smile on your face regardless of what mood you’re in.

Review Score: 9.5/10

Mike DeVivo

Follow me on Twitter @pandasandrobots

Wolverine and the X-Men #9 – Cap Comes Calling

Wolverine and the X-Men #9
Writer:  Jason Aaron
Art:  Chris Bachalo [Penciler/Colorist]; Tim Townsend, Jaime Mendoza, and Al Vey [Inkers]

As you’re probably aware (based on the banner on this issue’s cover), Wolverine and the X-Men #9 is an Avengers Vs. X-Men tie-in issue.  As such, it provides a micro-level look at the macro-level events taking place in the event’s main book.

This issue in particular takes place during the events of Avengers Vs. X-Men #1, detailing Captain America’s visit to the Jean Grey School for intel from Wolverine.

Having dealt with the Phoenix before–namely when it possessed Jean Grey and turned her into a force of destruction before she killed herself to stop it–it’s only natural that Beast would be monitoring deep space in the event that it returned.  Thus, we find out here that Beast and Wolverine were well aware of its impending return far before Steve Rogers came to tell them.

Jason Aaron also delves into the internal conflict going on with Logan, as well as that potentially brewing within the school, regarding the potential of going to war with Cyclops’ group of X-Men on Utopia.  Those X-Men, after all, are people that Wolverine and others in his school called family for years.  Unfortunately, they pretty much all–Cyclops especially–believe that Hope Summers is the “Mutant Messiah” and that the Phoenix possessing her will bring about a reawakening of the mutant species, which was mostly de-powered by the Scarlet Witch during “House of M.”

As Logan says to Captain America, “Think of Utopia as a compound full of heavily armed religious fanatics.  And you’re the feds butting in, telling them what to believe and how to live.  It won’t go well.”  Wolverine knows it’s going to come to blows and is wary about siding against the X-Men, and Captain America only convinces him to side with the Avengers by putting it in terms of saving the world.

Logan’s decision is shaky, at best.

Meanwhile, the Phoenix Force’s approach lays out two telepaths with previous connections to it–Rachel Grey and Quentin Quire–and alarms the Shi’ar Emperor Gladiator, whose son, Kid Gladiator, is a student at Logan’s school.  Gladiator and the Shi’ar are also familiar with the destructive nature of the Phoenix, and while it remains to be seen if they’ll come into play in the main series, it’s only natural that they should show up in one of the X-book tie-ins.

Chris Bachalo’s art remains hit or miss for me.  While I enjoy it here for the most part, there are a few panels, such as the psychic disturbance with Grey and Quire on page 15, that were a little confusing at first, but made sense on second viewing.  My main art gripe here is that Rachel Grey is seen standing behind Wolverine in the faculty meeting near the end of the issue after being laid up in the school’s medical facility on the previous page.

Minor art gripes aside, Aaron does with this issue what any good tie-in should do–add depth to the main story.  By adding more detail to the events of the first round of AVX and throwing in additional plot threads that allow for a stand-alone story arc.

STORY:  9/10
ART:  7/10 

Avengers Vs. X-Men #2 – Cyclops has lost his mind

Avengers Vs. X-Men #2
Writer:  Jason Aaron
Art:  John Romita Jr. [Pencils], Scott Hanna [Inks], Laura Martin [Colors]

[We’ve tried our best to be as spoiler-free as possible here, but nobody’s perfect.  Read at your own risk.]

Defying Captain America’s request to take Hope Summers into custody last issue, Cyclops fired the first shot in the X-Men’s war on the Avengers against the Star-Spangled Hero himself.

As the Avengers take Utopia’s beach, Emma Frost moves Hope inside–assuming the girl, with more questions than answers regarding the Phoenix and what its return means regarding her, will stay put.  In short order, the most epic battle in comics since the end of 2008’s Secret Invasion or 2006’s Civil War commences.

Jason Aaron sets up several of the fights to take place in the accompanying Avengers Vs. X-Men: Versus mini-series beginning next week, with several moments in this issue hinting at the outcomes of those fights.  He brings Quicksilver into the fray, revealing where the son of Magneto stands in the fight (HINT:  There isn’t going to be a reunion of the original Brotherhood of Evil Mutants anytime soon), and teases the entrance of Magneto’s daughter, the Scarlet Witch, with no hint of who she’ll side with.

The highlight of this issue is arguably Aaron’s insights into the match-ups, like calling Emma Frost’s organic diamond form punching Tony Stark’s multi-billion dollar armor the “most expensive punch in history,” playing up the marital dramatics in a fight between Storm and the Black Panther, or pointing out that Wolverine is fighting against an island of characters he once called family.

This initial battle is all for naught, but it does skirt on the idea that Cyclops might potentially become a villain.  Much of what he says in this issue sounds like things reformed X-Men über-villain Magneto would say, and he does have his own Juggernaut now in Colossus.  With 10 issues to go, the only things that are certain are that several characters are bound to switch sides, Civil War-style, (Hell, it’s even teased in the Cap vs. Wolverine cover for AVX #3) and that things will spiral further out of control.

At this point, my biggest hope (aside from wanting a Cyclops villain turn) is that we at least get a Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3 video game out of this in a year or two.

– Roger Riddell

Follow me on Twitter @RRiddell3 

Mike DeVivo’s take forthcoming

Alright Roger Ive Assembled here!

So, two issues into Avengers Vs. X-Men and I can say I’m underwhelmed. What I thought was largely going to be a collaborative effort in bringing two different teams and their vantage points to light has thus far turned into “Cyclops is crazy and the Avengers aren’t.” I don’t buy the angle that Cyclops is losing his mind, or that he’s taking things too far. It paints every X-Man and woman as blind sheep fighting for the cause of a crazy man. Maybe I’m rooting for the little guys, in which case i feel the X-Men are warranted to protect one of their own. The characterization feels off, especially with Cyclops and Wolverine. Again, maybe it’s because I’m in Cyclops’ camp here, but I can’t help but feel like this story feels off.

I do love John Romita Jr.’s work in this series so far. His facial work with females has improved very much. His pencils give all of the energy and intensity you’d expect between a battle of the two most recognizable factions in Marvel.  Aaron’s script does provide great narration as Avengers and X-Men beat the hell out of each other. Also, kudos for him creating the Magnetic Fastball Special. Those moments are what I’ve enjoyed about this series so far. He also gave Emma the best line in this issue reflecting the tone I think most X-Men have towards their Avenger counterparts. After Iron Man refers to Hope as “the girl,” Emma responds by telling him that the girl’s name is Hope and that they never requested help in the first place.

We get quick glimpses of Quicksilver and Wanda ,with Quicksilver rushing to join his Avengers team and Wanda walking away from her journal not joining the fight just yet. The journal by the way is called “Wanda’s Dream Journal” (slap forehead with hand) there are more than a few of these moments in this issue that make you cringe. As I said in my opinion this book hasn’t delivered the goods just yet with the story. It’s a pain to see characters like Quicksilver, who was actually  insane (anyone remember House of M?), fighting along side Avenger’s while Cyclops is characterized as a mad man losing touch with his reality.

I’m hoping next issue improves a bit and makes the reason for this fight a bit less one-sided. With the cover to issue #3 showing Cap fighting Wolverine, it will be interesting to see why he defends the X-Men after dropping down and beating up the same students he defended during Schism.  As I said, as a fight book this is fun. As an event that is supposed to change Marvel’s landscape for the next year…not so much.

– Mike DeVivo

Follow me on Twitter @pandasandrobots


 

Review: Amazing Spider-Man #684 – Saharan Sandman!

Amazing Spider-Man #684
Writer:  Dan Slott
Art:  Humberto Ramos, Victor Olazaba [Inks], Edgar Delgado [Colors]

Certain that he had thought of everything possible while preparing to fight the latest incarnation of the Sinister Six (Doctor Octopus, Sandman, Electro, Mysterio, Rhino, and Chameleon), there was one thing Spider-Man didn’t account for–Doc Ock doing the same thing and making short work of the Avengers.

Despite taking out one of the Sinister Six when Thor shot Electro into orbit, the Avengers–Captain America, Iron Man, Red Hulk, Hawkeye, Spider-Woman, and the aforementioned God of Thunder–are taken down quite easily and their Quinjet, with Black Widow inside, is crashed.  Spider-Man, with his new spider armor crippled, is left at Octavius’ mercy.

Fortunately for him, Symkarian mercenary Silver Sable has been following him and the Avengers since the G8 Summit and is able to rescue Spidey and the Black Widow.

The Sinister Six escape with the rest of the downed Avengers in tow and Ock begins negotiating with the world’s leaders.  In exchange for clean records and $2 billion for each of the other five members of the Sinister Six, Octavius will stop global warming with the “Octavian Lense” his octobots can create in Earth’s atmosphere.  Spider-Man, Silver Sable, and Black Widow are able to patch into these transmissions via help from Horizon Labs and the Symkarian prime minister, and head off to an abandoned AIM facility in the Sahara Desert that they figure out is in use by Doc Ock.

The AIM facility ends up being a trap, however, and the three are left to face Sandman, who has the entire Sahara Desert at his disposal.

Dan Slott continues to weave his epic event, keeping Ock’s true intentions in the dark, as well as what he has promised various members of the Sinister Six in exchange for their help.  Additionally, the Sandman battle in this issue is by far the most interesting in years.  Typically, Spider-Man stops Sandman by using a nearby water source to wash him away or turn him into mud, or bakes him into glass.  It’s one thing for Spider-Man to fight the Sandman on a beach or in a quarry or construction site, but another beast entirely in the middle of the world’s largest desert.  The means by which Slott has Spider-Man, Silver Sable, and the Black Widow defeat the Sandman (with help from Horizon Labs) here is fairly brilliant.

Aside from being a great premise for a fight in this story, the Sahara Desert fight also offers a huge opportunity for impressive visuals and Humberto Ramos doesn’t disappoint.  I know I’ve said this before in other reviews, but Ramos’ work grows on me every time I see it.  It’s honestly gotten even better in the last year and a half, becoming a combination of his older style (which, to me, has more of an anime feel) and traditional comic art.  Some of his faces even bring Todd McFarlane to mind.  Like Stefano Caselli on the first two issues of this arc, Ramos brings his A-game here.

In a year that has Amazing Spider-Man #700 on the way, as well as at least two more big story arcs, I’m wondering how Dan Slott and Co. can top what they’re doing right now.

STORY AND ART:  Excelsior!

Review: Carnage U.S.A. #5 – Double-Amputees Battle to the Death!

Carnage U.S.A. #5 (of 5)
Writer:  Zeb Wells
Art:  Clayton Crain

So here’s the recap:  Carnage takes over a small town in Colorado.  Spider-Man and a group of Avengers (Captain America, Hawkeye, Wolverine, and Thing) go there to stop him.  Unbeknownst to them, the Carnage symbiote ate a ton of cows at a meat-packing plant and expanded exponentially, allowing its host, serial killer Cletus Kasady, to control the town’s occupants like puppets.  This also allows the Carnage symbiote to possess Cap, Hawkeye, Wolverine, and Thing in the same manner.

Spider-Man narrowly escapes, finding the town’s survivors in a compound/private zoo owned by the now-dead owner of the meat packing plant.  The government sends in the cybernetic symbiote Scorn (see last year’s Zeb Wells and Clayton Crain mini-series Carnage] and a spec ops team augmented by the four symbiotes that once composed the symbiote Hybrid, and Cap breaks free of Carnage’s control long enough to call in the newest Secret Avenger, Venom.  Scorn manages to trap Carnage (and Venom) in some sort of sonic machine that scares away their symbiotes.

That brings us to this week’s final issue of Carnage U.S.A., which opens with Cletus Kasady (complete with cybernetic legs) preparing to kill double-amputee Venom host Flash Thompson.  Fortunately for Thompson, Kasady’s legs were partially powered by the Carnage symbiote and the machine fries their circuits in short order.  The result is (and I’m making an assumption here) the first fight to the death between double amputees in a comic not published by Avatar Press.  This fight gets nasty pretty quick–I’m talking blades impaling arms, biting, and meathooks to the rib cage.  It’s exactly what you’d expect to see in a book starring Carnage.

Meanwhile, the Venom and Carnage symbiotes have gone rogue.  Remember that private zoo I mentioned earlier?  Yeah, you can see where this is going:  Avengers vs. Animal Kingdom.

For what it’s worth, Carnage U.S.A. (and last year’s Carnage) have been the best story involving Cletus Kasady I’ve ever read.  Wells has successfully revamped a character that, for many people, was run into the ground during the ’90s in a lot of cheesy, over-the-top stories.  In all fairness, though, comics were still fairly PC at the time, with the darkest the Spider-Man books had gone probably being Gwen Stacy’s death, Harry Osborn’s drug addiction, and “Kraven’s Last Hunt.”

This story is as fun as it is dark, and Crain’s art, though it doesn’t always have the most detailed backgrounds, compliments it perfectly.  I think I’ll pretend “Maximum Carnage” never happened in favor of this.

STORY:  9/10
ART:  9/10 

#AvX-Who is gonna die?

All right, Marvel’s big event is here. Finally, we get the comic event of the summer. Yes, it’s Avengers vs. X-Men! Marvel does love these things, as do many fans. But, when there is an “event” of this magnitude in the Marvel Universe, we all know somebody is going to bite the dust. But who is it going to be and how big?

The obvious choice is Cyclops. He has been quite the jackass lately, and after all, he’s the leader of the X crew and his death would certainly change the future of at least the X-Men on Utopia. Is he too big a character to fall? Perhaps. Iron Fist is a name that keeps popping up in some conversations. This is a possibility because Iron Fist gets involved in the Phoenix Force in some of the tie-in issues. I don’t see it. He just isn’t a big enough name. Captain America? Oh yea, been there, done that. Could it be that finally the Scarlet Witch gets snuffed out after all the shit she’s pulled? Nah, too obvious. Folks, whoever gets knocked-off has to be big, just not too big. So who is it going to be?

Here are a few ideas. Ben Grimm, The ever lovin’ blue eyed Thing, has been in the background for many years, and this may be the send-off he deserves. Look at his fight card for AvX! He fights Colossus and Namor? The problem is, Johnny Storm died not too long ago and another FF death may just kill the comic. Nope, not gonna happen. Hmm, let’s see. Storm? Nah. Dr. Strange? No way. Red Hulk? Possible, but no.

The characters in the Marvel Universe that are big enough to have an impact but are not big enough to affect the movie franchises could be these three folks. Protector, Emma Frost, or Hope. Yes, Protector is a minor hero, but it’s just a gut feeling (are they willing to kill off two heroes?) Hope is obvious. She is gonna be the host and it’s already killed off Jean. But it just doesn’t make sense to rub out the “Mutant Messiah”. Emma Frost is the most logical character to die. Why? This could be how Marvel sets Cyclops in a new direction. Also, she has a loyal convention follow that would make the X-Men panels insane. What a shame, she is such a babe.

As a fan you just hope that the crew over at Marvel does it right and actually lets whoever it is die in peace, not for a year, but for good. It will have more of an impact if it’s permanent. So, if it’s Emma. She’s big, but not too big. Rest in peace, White Queen.