Tag Archives: Doctor Strange

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: Venom #14 – Remember the ’90s?

Venom #14
Writer: Rick Remender [Venom “Circle of Three”: Rick Remender, Jeff Parker, and Rob Williams]
Art: Tony Moore and Val Staples [Color Art]

Remember the slew of multi-issue stories back in the ’90s like “Maximum Carnage” and “Planet of the Symbiotes” that made good plots for video games, but were somewhat tiring as comics?

“Circle of Four” has kind of played out like that.

Don’t get me wrong, it has moments where it’s fun. Unfortunately, it suffers from too much of the ’90s ridiculousness that turned me away from comics for a few years when I was a kid.

Basically, over the course of Venom #13.1 through #13.4 and this week’s #14, Blackheart unleashed Hell upon Earth following a scheme that involved the Toxin symbiote (which was never really mentioned again after part one in Venom #13, but I think it became irrelevant to Blackheart’s plan at some point). Venom, Red Hulk, X-23, and the new Ghost Rider just happened to be in Las Vegas at the same time, and were thus forced into an unlikely team-up. They had to face their antitheses after looking in Blackheart’s magic mirror, and ultimately arrived at a scenario where the Red Hulk ended up becoming host to both the Spirit of Vengeance and the Venom symbiote.

That’s right… There was actually a Ghost Red Hulk Venom Rider involved in this story. On the ridiculousness scale, it’s up there with Carnage devouring millions of Earth-invading symbiotes and turning into the giant Mega-Carnage from “Planet of the Symbiotes.” On a side note, if the Venom symbiote is extremely susceptible to heat, how does it survive in Hell, let alone bond to a host possessed by the Spirit of Vengeance?

Look, I don’t mean to make this storyline sound terrible. It’s fun in certain aspects. It has the same appeal as a B-movie, making it kind of like the Planet Terror of Venom stories. The ’90s left a bad taste in my mouth when I was a kid (Damn you, “Maximum Carnage” and “Clone Saga!”), so maybe I’m just bitter.  I will say that the Tony Moore art in this issue made it a little more palatable.

Maybe it would have been better for me if instead of doing four “Point One” issues for Venom between #13 and #14, they did three of those issues as “Point One” books for Hulk, X-23, and Ghost Rider. It would at least have made the difference between the three writers’ styles easier to compensate for, as I’ve become somewhat accustomed to Rick Remender on this book.

Anyhow, that’s all beside the point. If you like your stories way over-the-top in the B-movie sense, definitely check this out.  Especially if you loved the ’90s and “Maximum Carnage.” This would have been a great plot for an arcade game starring Venom, X-23, Red Hulk, and Ghost Rider.

STORY: 6.5/10
ART: 8/10 

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Doctor Sexy Time! Defenders #1 Review


Defenders issue one opens up with a bunch of people in Bucharest losing their minds, due to a raging black monster who may or may not be shattering reality, based on the dialogue. The rest of the issue sets up the premise of the book. Doctor Strange is having sexual relations with a comely grad student, who he regrets sleeping with, and Fraction shows him grappling with plenty of his other internal demons, until he is visited by the Banner-less Hulk, who has something to do with the black monster in Bucharest.

The rest of the issue has the two of them go on to recruit the rest of team, Namor, Silver Surfer, Red Hulk, and Iron Fist to take on the Rage monster, who is a left over out of Fear Itself.  Fraction does a great job introducing each character and blending the different personalities. I’m particularly enjoying Namor’s scenes with the Silver Surfer, and Doctor Strange’s interplay particularly with Iron Fist. There isn’t a ton of action in the issue, but definitely am intrigued to see where this is headed. It really seems like this book is going to be a lot of fun, and that Fraction is having a blast writing it.

Terry Dodson’s art is dynamic and perfectly suited for a book like this. The characters are all larger than life personalities, and Dodson draws them like that. Also really impressed with Rachel Dodson’s inks, and Sonia Oback’s colors. Can’t wait to see what they are going to do in the coming issues.

Last thing, is on the bottom of nearly every page, there are messages from the editor(?), Fraction(?), Marvel HQ(?), Space(?) about everything from plot teases, to advertisements for other books (such as Avengers Academy), to notations for where the plots continues. Not sure if this is going to be a new trend for all Marvel books, or just this one, but I am not sure how I feel about it. If it is to add to the story, I say great. If it’s not, it has to go.

Story: 9/10

Art: 10/10

Follow Nick on Twitter @nicosandila