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Review: Daredevil #11 – Omega Effect conclusion!

Daredevil #11
Writer:  Mark Waid
Art:  Marco Checchetto, Matt Hollingsworth [Colorist]

Mark Waid wraps up his Avenging Spider-Man/Punisher/Daredevil “Omega Effect” crossover with Greg Rucka in Daredevil #11 with all of the elements that made the first two parts of the story so damn good intact.

Daredevil, having the Omega Drive (a nigh-indestructible drive made from unstable molecules and possessing intel on all of the Marvel Universe’s “Megacrime” cartels), teamed up with Spider-Man and the two formed an uneasy alliance with the Punisher and his ally, Rachel Cole-Alves.  The goal of this alliance was simple–they would all lure out members of A.I.M., Hyrdra, Agence Byzantine, the Secret Empire, and the Exchange so that they could destroy the Omega Drive in front of them.  Also, Punisher and Alves had to promise to use rubber bullets and not kill anyone because killing isn’t really Spider-Man or Daredevil’s thing.

Unfortunately, things didn’t go according to plan.  Alves, a former Marine whose husband was murdered by the Exchange on her wedding day, double-crossed Daredevil as he was about to destroy the drive–giving him a rubber bullet to the back and escaping with the drive herself.  With Punisher covering their exit, Spider-Man and Daredevil split up to find Alves and retrieve the drive.

Waid does a stellar job of presenting the story from Daredevil’s perspective (it is DD’s book, after all), exploring how Matt Murdock feels that he failed the Punisher by never being able to pull him back from the proverbial ledge before he went all the way over.  Feeling he can do the same for Alves, we’ve seen Murdock try to talk sense into her once before in this crossover (during Rucka’s Punisher #10).  Whether or not he gets through in this issue remains to be seen.

Marco Checchetto and Matt Hollingsworth continue to deliver the goods artistically.  There really isn’t much I can say about it that I didn’t already touch on in my reviews for Avenging Spider-Man #6 and Punisher #10, so check those out, too.

What are you still reading this review for?  GO PICK UP THIS CROSSOVER!

STORY:  10/10
ART:  10/10 

The Punisher #10 – Frank Castle Has Jokes

The Punisher #10
Writer:  Greg Rucka
Art:  Marco Checchetto, Matt Hollingsworth [Color Artist]

Continuing the “Omega Effect” crossover story, The Punisher #10 picks up where last weeks Avenging Spider-Man #6 left off.  Having agreed that the destruction of the Omega Drive–which contains intel on every major super-criminal organization under the sun–is the best course of action, Spider-Man, Daredevil, the Punisher, and “Punisherette” Rachel Cole-Alves set out to wreak havoc upon the New York underworld before destroying the drive for all of the organizations to see.

Greg Rucka writes a fast-paced, fun issue here.  Yes, I just used the word “fun” to describe a book starring the Punisher.  Rucka handles the Spider-banter well here, even having Frank Castle himself throw in a veiled quip at one point.  It should be noted that this is the first Punisher comic I’ve ever bought (I’m mostly familiar with him from guest appearances in other books) and I have to say that Rucka makes the breakdown of Castle’s tactics during the raids on AIM, Hydra, Hand, and Exchange operations easy to follow.

He also provides a little more insight into Sgt. Rachel Cole-Alves’ backstory for new readers and develops the character over a few more panels.  To keep it simple, though, she’s basically got a similar backstory as Frank Castle.  To round things out, Rucka parallels what each team–Spidey/Daredevil and Castle/Alves–do en route to the rendezvous, with Spider-Man and Daredevil getting caught up delivering a baby in stalled traffic and the Punishers stocking up on firearms in a hideout where an Iron Man helmet and Hawkeye bow are visible (I wonder how Frank Castle got his hands on those…).

Overall, Rucka keeps the second part of this crossover moving at the same brisk pace while maintaining the fun factor and seamless writing it began with.  Coupled with more stellar art by Marco Checchetto and Matt Hollingsworth, this is another must-read in a thus-far perfect multi-book crossover.

STORY:  10/10
ART:  10/10 

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: Avenging Spider-Man #6 – “Omega Effect” Begins!

Avenging Spider-Man #6
Writers:  Greg Rucka and Mark Waid
Art:  Marco Checchetto, Matt Hollingsworth [Color Art]

Recently, Daredevil acquired an item called the “Omega Drive” that is full of intel on “mega-crime cartels” like AIM, Hydra, Black Spectre, Agence Byzantine, and the Secret Empire.  All of these organizations, and others, want the drive.

The issue opens with panels alternating between Spider-Man fighting Hand ninjas–who are everywhere these days–and flashbacks of Reed Richards explaining the Omega Drive to him.  The ninjas, of course, were staking out the rooftop across from Matt Murdock’s law office because, as mentioned in the book, Daredevil has the worst-kept secret identity in the world.

It turns out the Punisher wants the drive, as well.  He and his new partner, former marine Rachel Cole-Alves (who has a “my family was massacred” back story similar to the Punisher), pay Murdock a visit and attempt to take the drive for their own uses.  It isn’t long before Spider-Man and the ninjas crash the party, leading to–you guessed it–a team-up.

This is a flawless start to the Avenging Spider-Man/Daredevil/Punisher “Omega Effect” crossover.  The writing is tight, and has some of the best Spider-Man one-liners I’ve seen in any book, and I’m really fighting the urge not to spoil any of them because they’re just that good.  If you’re not a regular Daredevil or Punisher reader, there’s enough context here to bring you up to speed and prevent any confusion.  The tone, detail, and overall flow of the art is on par with the writing, as well, making this issue a definite “must buy.”

STORY:  10/10
ART:  10/10 


Review: Daredevil #8, The Marvel Universe’s latest love triangle begins here!

Daredevil #8
Writer: Mark Waid
Art: Kano and Javier Rodriquez [colors]

Mark Waid’s two-part Spider-Man/Daredevil team-up/crossover story wraps up in issue #8 of his acclaimed Daredevil series.

If you missed part one in Amazing Spider-Man #677, here’s what happened:  Spider-Man, looking to rebound from his recent break-up with Carlie Cooper, tried to sleep with former friend-with-benefits and known thief Black Cat again.  Black Cat rejected him and was arrested shortly after returning home, with evidence planted to make it look as though Spider-Man was behind the arrest.  Meanwhile, an advanced hologram projector was stolen from Horizon Labs with security footage altered to make it look as though Black Cat stole the device.  Spider-Man, knowing that the Black Cat was with him at the time stamped on the security vid, sought the help of Daredevil (aka attorney Matt Murdock) to help him get to the bottom of things and clear the Cat’s name.  Black Cat, however, escaped custody and, at the end of the issue, looked to have gone totally bad as she attacked Spider-Man and Daredevil.

See what happens when you miss part of a story?  Shame on you.

Anyways, Waid shifts seemlessly from Spidey’s perspective to Daredevil’s for part two of “Devil and the Details,” which really adds an extra layer of depth.  Stories with multiple main characters are a dime a dozen, but stories told through multiple character’s perspectives are few and far between — and always welcome, as far as I’m concerned.

As Daredevil #8 begins, Spidey and Daredevil work out their differences with the Black Cat which leads to all three teaming up to solve the mystery of who’s behind the frame-up job, as well as the creation of Marvel’s latest love triangle.  This being my first issue of Daredevil, I can see why Waid’s work on the book has been so highly praised.  There’s not one action sequence where something doesn’t happen to remind you that Matt Murdock is, in fact, a blind man.  Waid plays off of that characteristic extremely well in the dialogue between Daredevil and Black Cat, as well as the scene’s involving Spider-Man.  Remember, Daredevil “sees” through his enhanced senses like hearing, and Spidey talks constantly.

The art by Kano (who I was surprised to learn has a career outside of shooting laser beams out of a metal plate over his eye in death matches) is beautiful and strikes a nice balance between traditional comic art and modern fine details.

“Devil in the Details” is a solid story overall, leaving me highly tempted to add Daredevil to my already-overloaded pull list.

STORY: 9/10
ART: 9/10

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Review: Amazing Spider-Man #677, What Was That Saying About Cats and Bad Luck Again?

Amazing Spider-Man #677
Writer:  Mark Waid
Art:  Emma Rios & Javier Rodriguez [Colors]

Though I enjoyed the vast majority of “Brand New Day,” there were always three writers during that era of Amazing Spider-Man that I hoped would get the permanent gig when the book inevitably became a one-writer publication again.  The obvious first choice was Dan Slott.  The other two were current Avenging Spider-Man scribe Zeb Wells and acclaimed Daredevil writer Mark Waid.

That said, it’s a pleasure to see Waid handling this two-part Daredevil crossover story, “The Devil and the Details,” while Slott catches up on the scripting for (I assume) his big Doc Ock event story that kicks off in a few months.

At the beginning of Amazing Spider-Man #677, Spidey (who is still lamenting his break-up with forensic investigator uber-babe Carlie Cooper) runs into Black Cat and — awkwardly — goes about trying to score a rebound with his old friend-with-benefits.  Unfortunately, smelling of desperation and Axe body spray (which are one and the same) doesn’t get you very far, and Pete is left to sulk alone on New York’s rooftops while Black Cat returns home to…Be arrested?

It turns out that Felicia (or someone imitating her) was caught on video burgling a prototype “H-Phone” from Horizon Labs, and there’s only one thing that can clear her name — a terrific team-up in the mighty Marvel manner!

Sensing that something is amiss, Spidey consults his old pal, legal counsel, and New Avengers teammate Daredevil to help him get to the bottom of it.  Unfortunately, for all their investigating, cracking wise and constantly trying to one-up each other, things might not be as they seem with the theft-prone Ms. Hardy.

Overall, Waid delivers a fantastic first part to this story, providing a nice reminder of what made his previous work on the book great and exemplifying why his run on Daredevil appeared on so many “best of” lists for 2011.  The dialogue is clever and well-written, and interactions between characters are sold even more by the body language conveyed in Emma Rios’ art.  Not to mention that this issue had a cliffhanger ending that I didn’t see coming from a mile away for a change.

I can’t wait to see how this ends next week in Daredevil #8, although I’m worried I’ll end up adding yet another book to my pull list before this is over with.

Story: 9/10
Art: 9/10 

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Daredevil #1-3 review

Dardevil #1-3 review
Written by Mark Waid
Art by Marcos Martin, Paolo Rivera

After the chaos of Shawdowland and Daredevil: Reborn, Mark Waid is attempting to reboot the Daredevil franchise and bring the character back to the same level that Bendis and Brubaker had established.

It isn’t easy to distance yourself from the two previous story arcs because they were poorly written and rushed. Yet with the help of artists Paolo Rivera and Marcos Martin, Waid almost takes the reader and Daredevil back in time to the sixties. The two artists do a beautiful job of making you feeling like the characters are just starting out with a fresh new outlook on life, this also has something to do with the writing, I will get to that soon. You can tell that the artists were very influenced by Jack Kirby and they respect the old school Marvel Comics creators. Both artists visually explain what Matt Murdock, a blind super hero can see with a new uniqueness.

As far as the writing of this book, Waid doesn’t try to distance himself from previous Daredevil stories (Being possessed by a demon and Matt Murdock’s identity as Daredevil). Instead he confronts them head on and lets the characters explain their way out. All it takes is a few sentences to end one chapter and start another.

I was a huge fan of a TV show Life, about cop unjustly charged with a crime, serving time and then later being released. The main character developed a unique personality because of his time in prison and learned to appreciate the little things like fresh fruit. The show last two seasons, rent it, it was great.

The new Daredevil has many similar tones to it. Matt Murdock has a new outlook on life. He wants to go back to the old days of defending the innocent. Waid takes this philosophy and turns the book into a solid crime drama with super hero elements.

Like most number one books this is a great jumping on point for a new reader. If you’re a fan of The Practice, Law and Order, Boston Legal and House you will become a fan of this book as well. Mark Waid you have done a fine job so far, try not to lose direction when Marvel forces you into a crossover event.

Follow me on twitter @comicavult

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