Tag Archives: hulk

Tales From the Water Cooler #104

Welcome to Tales From the Water Cooler!

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

Listen in this week as the guys are joined once again by the Clergyman to play some Superhero Jeopardy and go over this weeks books, Sage #10, Superior Spider-Man #4, Indestructible Hulk #4 and Nova #1.

And don’t forget to LIKE us on Facebook!

Tales from the Water Cooler: Episode #104

 

 

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Tales From the Water Cooler #93

Welcome to Tales From the Water Cooler!

Decap and Speech get the show rolling as the Sensation comes in at the end. This week the guys play another round of Super Hero Family Feud and take a look at Indestructible Hulk #1, Red Hood and the Outlaws #14 and Amazing Spider-Man #698.

And don’t forget to LIKE us on Facebook!

Tales from the Water Cooler: Episode #93

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

 

5-page preview: Exile on the Planet of the Apes #4

exilepota_04_preview_page_1
[nggallery id=122]

Boom! Studios released a five-page preview of Exile on the Planet of the Ape #4 written by Corinna Sara Bechko and Gabriel Hardman with art by Marc Laming. Exile on the Planet of Apes #4 will be in your local comic book store on July 25th, 2012.

EXILE ON THE PLANET OF THE APES #4
Written by Corinna Sara Bechko, Gabriel Hardman
Art by Marc Laming
SC, 32pgs, FC, SRP: $3.99
COVER A: Gabriel Hardman
COVER B: Declan Shalvey

In the clutches of feral humans, Timon the chimp must survive the terrors of the Forbidden Zone, while Prisca tries to seek help from the one ape that can uncover the secret behind the recent human attacks on apes! The epic from Gabriel Hardman (HULK, AGENTS OF ATLAS), Corinna Bechko (HEATHENTOWN, FEAR ITSELF: THE HOME FRONT) and red hot artist Marc Laming (AMERICAN CENTURY, THE RINSE) continues in this jaw-dropping issue!

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

Marvel TV invades Comic-Con

Marvel Television Tuesday afternoon announced that they will premiere footage of “Avengers Assemble” and “Marvel Mash-Up” featuring “Hulk and the Agents of Smash” at Comic-Con this year. The Marvel Television Presents panel is on Saturday, July 14 at 10:30am in Room 6BCF.

Marvel Television Unveils Historic “Marvel’s Avengers Assemble” First Look & More At Comic Con International in San Diego!

Next week, Marvel Television returns to Comic Con International in San Diego and they’re coming with the biggest Super Hero television exclusives of the summer! Join Jeph Loeb, Head of Marvel Television, for the Marvel Television Presents panel as he unveils the world premiere first look at Marvel’s Avengers Assemble, the most anticipated new animated super hero series of 2013! Plus, check out an all-new Marvel Mash-Up featuring the Fantastic Four, experience Hulk and The Agents of S.M.A.S.H., and watch a full, all-new episode of Ultimate Spider-Man before it airs on Disney XD! You’ll also learn what’s coming next in the world of Marvel Knights Animation…and it’s astonishing!

Fans attending this panel will also receive one of the limited edition Ultimate Spider-Man button, available only at this panel and while supplies last!

“Marvel Universe on Disney XD has been a huge success thanks to our devoted fans and we want to make sure they get the first look at the future of Marvel Television,” explained Loeb. “And if you’re not a Marvel fan yet, I promise you’ll be one after we’re done showing you all this cool animation!”

The Marvel Television Presents panel is on Saturday, July 14 at 10:30am in Room 6BCF. Please note that no video or audio recording equipment may be used at this panel during any time.

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!

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! 

Animated Storyboards from Marvel’s The Avengers by Jane Wu

Jane Wu published two sets of animated storyboards from Marvel’s “The Avengers.” The first set of storyboards show the Black Widow stealing a speeder-bike, then second set of storyboards show Hulk and Thor taking down the giant metal dragon with the infamous Hulk/Thor punch.

“The Avengers” continued the box office tear when it earned $55 million in its third weekend and now sits in fourth place for highest grossing film ever at $1.18 billion.

Review: Avenging Spider-Man #7 – KITTY CATS!!!

Avenging Spider-Man #7
Writer: Kathryn Immonen
Pencils: Stuart Immonen [Pencils], Wade Von Grawbadger [Ink], Matt Hollingsworth [Colors]

Continuing on in the mighty Marvel Team-Up style, Avenging Spider-Man #7 sees Spider-Man teaming up with She-Hulk (the green one) to fight the ever-menacing threat of kitty cats.

No, really.

The issue opens with Spider-Man and She-Hulk taking down a weird giant fish thing in the sewer that had menaced city workers for weeks before She-Hulk, a lawyer by day, has to head off to a “work thing.”  Awkwardly attempting to accompany She-Hulk as a date, Spider-Man is turned down–but not before finding out that the “work thing” is an Egyptian gallery opening at a museum.

Seeing suspicious-looking girls in cloaks heading into the museum, Spidey tries to investigate and runs into She-Hulk again.  Somewhere along the way, She-Hulk sees a statue of an ancient Egyptian cat goddess, which decides to choose her as its herald and causes her to sprout a green tail.

Overall, Kathryn and Stuart Immonen provide Avenging Spider-Man with another fun, light-hearted Spider-Man team-up–as well as the official Marvel origin story for cats on the book’s recap page (well, the book’s editor might have come up with that, but still…).  Anyways, the banter between Spidey and She-Hulk is fantastic, as is Spider-Man’s solution to the whole cat goddess issue.

If you’re a fan of fun, not-too-serious Spider-Man stories and don’t want to worry about too much continuity–or if you’re a fan of Spider-Man in general–this done-in-one is perfect for you.

STORY: 8.5/10
ART: 9/10 

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

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: Amazing Spider-Man #683 – Spider-Man punches Al Gore!

Amazing Spider-Man #683
Writer: Dan Slott
Art: Stefano Caselli, Frank Martin Jr. [Colors]

[SPOILER ALERT: Reading this review might spoil certain plot points for you, oh noble Chicago Comic Vault reader.]


Close to death, Doctor Octopus has–with the help of the latest incarnation of the Sinister Six–set his final master plan in motion, developing technology that can destroy the ozone layer.  Ock, however, has convinced the world’s leaders and greatest scientific minds that his intentions are altruistic and that he simply wishes to preserve the Earth with an artificial ozone layer.

Spider-Man, who has spent the last several months developing all-new spider armor specifically for taking on the Sinister Six, rallies the Avengers and they travel to an emergency G8 summit in Rome to try to talk some sense into the world at large.  Among those shown debating Octavius’ intentions are Stephen Hawking, Barack Obama, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and Al Gore–who Spider-Man punches squarely in the jaw for voicing his support of Doc Ock.

That’s right.  Spider-Man gets a Cap-punching-Hitler moment.

Take that, Global Warming!

Or does he?

As it turns out, “Al Gore” is really just the Chameleon in disguise.  His hand played, Doc Ock is forced to reveal the full potential of his “Octavian Lens”…to stop global warming.

Convinced even more of Doc Ock’s Grinch-like altruistic turn, the world leaders let the Chameleon go–but the Avengers aren’t fooled so easily.  With the aid of a spider tracer, they follow him to a remote beach where he is met by the Sinister Six.

Spider-Man hasn’t been the only one preparing for this battle, though.  Doc Ock has had Electro, Rhino, Sandman, and Chameleon steal StarkTech, the fang of Jörmungandr, and Hulk-busting technology developed by the Leader.  Making quick work of the Avengers (but not without losing Mysterio and Electro), Doc Ock now has Spider-Man right where he wants him.

Overall, this issue continues what is sure to become (until he outdoes himself again) Dan Slott’s magnum opus on Amazing Spider-Man.  Not only is this fun, but the story feels like it has weight to it.  At the heart of this story is a battle of figurative chess between two of the Marvel Universe’s greatest minds.  That it takes place on the world stage instead of just New York adds that much more to this.

Stefano Caselli produces more of the best work of his career here, as well.  When you see Doc Ock in these pages, it’s believable that he’s really dying.  Characters pop off of the pages.  The facial expressions are spot on.  And the detail!

It’s another perfect issue, and a damn good time to be a Spider-Fan.

STORY:  10/10
ART:  10/10 

Review: Amazing Spider-Man #682 – ‘Ends of the Earth’ Begins!

Amazing Spider-Man #682
Writer: Dan Slott
Art: Stefano Caselli, Frank Martin Jr. [Colors]

On the verge of death, Dr. Otto Octavius has initiated his final diabolical plan. Using a towering structure that rises from his base beneath the sea (Where do these guys get the funding and materials for these things?), he has positioned an array of satellites in Earth’s orbit to create an “Octavian lens” that will…stop global warming?

After threatening to burn the half of the world currently facing the sun (and giving Chicago a sweet cameo), Octavius pulls a 180 and tells everyone via satellite feed that he is merely showing them the Earth they are leaving to their great-grandchildren and actually intends to preserve the planet as his final act. It would seem noble enough, if the other five villains rounding out the latest incarnation of the Sinister Six (Sandman, Mysterio, Electro, Rhino, and the Chameleon) weren’t smirking behind him.

Though many of New York’s citizens (and even a few Avengers) are buying the idea that perhaps Doc Ock might have good intentions for a change, Peter Parker–who has spent the last several months preparing new gadgets for just such an occasion in his lab at Horizon–isn’t convinced.

Meanwhile, New York’s Mayor, J. Jonah Jameson, has vowed to shut down Horizon Labs at any and all cost following the peril his astronaut son was in onboard the company’s space station in Amazing Spider-Man #680 and 681, setting up a subplot that could potentially complicate Peter Parker’s life again and expanding Jameson’s personal crusade against Spider-Man to include Horizon founder Max Modell.

Overall, this is a great first issue to Dan Slott’s much-hyped “Ends of the Earth” saga. Not only do we see yet another cool new suit that Peter has designed to help him as Spider-Man, but Slott establishes a sense that the technology Pete developed has been put to practical, “real-world” use in the Marvel Universe. This, of course, keeps in tradition with the idea that the book is just as much about Peter Parker as it is about his alter ego.

Furthermore, Stefano Caselli’s art feels as briskly paced as the story without sacrificing detail. The opening pages, with Spider-Man stealing a few tricks out of an old enemy’s bag, are especially fun.

If the rest of this arc is this good, “Spider-Island” will have tough competition for “Best Spider-Man Event of the Last Decade.”

STORY: 10/10
ART: 10/10 

5-page preview: Exile on the Planet of the Apes #1

[nggallery id=64]
Boom! Studios released a five-page preview of Exile on the Planet of the Ape #1 written by Corinna Sara Bechko and Gabriel Hardman with art by Damian Couceiro. The exile begins in your local comic book store on March 24th, 2012.

EXILE ON THE PLANET OF THE APES #1 (A)
EXILE ON THE PLANET OF THE APES #1 (B)
Written by Corinna Sara Bechko, Gabriel Hardman
Art by Damian Couceiro
SC, 32pgs, FC, SRP: $3.99
COVER A: Gabriel Hardman
COVER B: Declan Shalvey

From the team that brought you BETRAYAL OF THE PLANET OF THE APES comes an all new Apes saga! Gabriel Hardman (HULK, AGENTS OF ATLAS) and Corinna Bechko (HEATHENTOWN, FEAR ITSELF: THE HOME FRONT) team up with red hot artist Marc Laming (AMERICAN CENTURY, THE RINSE) to take the fan-favorite franchise to all new heights in this can’t-miss mini-series. With ape society gripped in uncertainty, Doctor Zaius must find a way to unite the warring factions before they rip the city apart. It’s up to one lowly chimp to seek out the famed, disgraced General Aleron deep in the heart of the Forbidden Zone, with a secret that might help — or destroy!

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 

[amazon_link id=”B007G8UUKE” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]BUY Venom #14 on Amazon[/amazon_link]

Hulk #50 6-page preview

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Marvel Comics released a six-page preview of Hulk #50 written by Jeff Parker with art by Carlo Pagulayan & Dan Brereton. Hulk #50 will be in your local comic book store on April 4th, 2012.

From Marvel Comics:

Marvel is proud to present your first look at, Hulk #50, from the critically acclaimed team Jeff Parker and Carlo Pagulayan. Red Hulk’s hostile encounter in Las Vegas during Circle of Four is coming back to haunt him! The end of the world may be upon us, but that’s not all that’s headed for Red Hulk;

“The Red Hulk didn’t get out of that Venom story unscathed,” explains Jeff Parker. “Something followed him out of hell and it’s going to make the supernatural territory of Marvel break open and swallow our anti-hero whole!”

The stakes grow even higher, as a mysterious figure lurks in the shadows waiting to destroy Red Hulk and his fellow comrades! Will Red Hulk’s might be enough to match ghoulish malevolent magic? Can the help of Doctor Strange, Iron Man, Daredevil and more aid Thunderbolt Ross? Find out in the bonus-sized issue- Hulk #50, hitting comic shops everywhere and the Marvel Comics app, this April!

“This arc puts Red Hulk in the paranormal hot seat,” adds Marvel Comics Senior Editor Mark Panicca. “Hulk #50 is a gamma-powered, poltergeist-packed issue that’s a joy ride through Marvel’s darkest side.”

No fan can miss this explosive landmark 50th issue providing readers with a perfect jumping on point, as Red Hulk combats a supernatural threat unlike any he’s ever faced before! With variant covers by Walter Simonson, Arthur Adams, & Humberto Ramos AND a 10 page back up by fan favorite artist Dan Brereton – this is a must have!

Second Trailer for Marvel’s “The Avengers” Hits the Web

Marvel unveiled the second trailer for The Avengers Wednesday, derailing all activity in the Comic Vault offices with a single, collective nerdgasm.

The trailer still doesn’t reveal the identity of Loki’s mystery army, but we (and by “we,” I mean “I”) are still holding out hope that it’s the Skrulls.  Regardless, the trailer does tease some sort of fight between Captain America, Thor, and Iron Man, which undoubtedly ends with them being superhero bros.

Needless to say, this movie looks more and more amazing with each new trailer.  The Avengers opens May 4, 2012 and you can check out the second trailer below:





Review: Venom #13 – These four are more fearsome than fantastic

Venom #13
Writer: Rick Remender
Art: Tony Moore and Val Staples [Color]

Still in Vegas after being blackmailed and going A.W.O.L. to steal an item (which turned out to be the Toxin symbiote) for Jack O’Lantern and Crime Master, Flash Thompson has fallen back into his alcoholism to cope and pushing Betty Brant as far away as possible.  After all, the closer she, or anyone else, is to him, the more danger they’re in as a result of the aforementioned villains knowing who he is.

Flash’s bender won’t last long, though.  The Red Hulk, on orders from Captain America, has arrived to collect him.  Unfortunately for both of them, there’s evil–for real–afoot in Vegas thanks to a certain black-hearted entity who wants to bring Hell to Earth.

Blackheart, the son of the devil Mephisto, is masquerading as a casino owner and is intent on tricking the new Ghost Rider, Alejandra, into completing the final step of his plan.  Meanwhile, X-23 has her own issues with Blackheart, who she only believes to be a casino owner who purchased a vial of her blood on the black market.

It’s only natural that all four heroes should converge when the shit hits the fan later in the issue.

Overall, this issue moves at a nice pace.  Rick Remender does a great job of establishing why X-23 and Ghost Rider are in Vegas, as well as giving readers a quick background on who they are.  The student-mentor conflict between Alejandra and former Ghost Rider Johnny Blaze is also very well-executed, as are the Venom/Red Hulk fight panels.

The only thing that kind of made me scratch my head here were the “symbiote warriors”–symbiote-outfitted clones of X-23.  While the idea is very much in line with my inner 8-year-old’s dreams of a Wolverine-bonds-with-the-Venom-symbiote scenario, it all just feels very ’90s now.

Regardless, there’s a certain level of camp there to be appreciated.  Tony Moore and Val Staples capture this with realistic-yet-pulpy art that matches the over-the-top nature of a story like this.

With five more parts coming in the next five weeks, this story has potential to be a fun ride.

STORY: 7.5/10
ART: 8.5/10 

[amazon_link id=”B0072WBA62″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]BUY Venom #13 on Amazon[/amazon_link]

Avengers Teaser – Is this our first look at Skrulls on Rocket Bikes?

Here’s a teaser for the full Avenger’s trailer that will be featured during the Super Bowl this Sunday. Is this our first look at Skrulls on rocket bikes? How will mainstream audiences react to super-powered alien doppelgangers?

Joss Whedon said today during the Avengers twitter chat:

“It’s a combo platter: classic, Ultimate, plus a little “Richie Rich and Mastering the Art of French Cooking.”

And this:

“There is no Spider-Man cameo. But the Avengers do turn off the dark.”

This thing looks awesome, I’m truly excited for the movie after seeing this tease!

Jerry Nelson

Follow me on twitter and tell me what you think @the_hellhounds