Tag Archives: Secret Avengers

Review: Venom #17 – ‘Savage Six’ Begins!

Venom #17
Writers:  Rick Remender and Cullen Bunn
Art:  Kev Walker [Pencils], Terry Pallot [Inks], Chris Sotomayor [Colors]

You’d think that after joining an Avengers team, things would be looking up for Flash Thompson.  Unfortunately, he’s about to get the ride of his life thanks to team of six villains (sound familiar?).

If you’ve been keeping up, Crime-Master and Jack O’Lantern know that Flash is Venom.  Deciding to end his issues with Crime-Master once and for all, Flash borrows the Venom symbiote from the Secret Avengers in order to kill the criminal mastermind.  It’s one last hit and then he’s a hero for good, or so he thinks.

About to snipe the root of his problems during a meeting between Crime-Master, Jack O’Lantern, Human Fly, Death Adder, and Megatak, Venom is interrupted by an intruding Eddie Brock–the former Venom host who has been on a one-man crusade to kill all of the symbiotes.

Needless to say, things don’t go well for Venom or Brock.

Rick Remender and Cullen Bunn do a great job of setting up how much the odds are stacked against Flash–especially in the reveal on the issue’s final page–with the perfect balance of action and exposition.  Remender in particular has made a point of having certain aspects of Flash’s role as Venom parallel aspects of Peter Parker’s role as Spider-Man, so it only makes sense that he should give Venom his own 6-villain team-up to face off against.  After reading his first issue of Wolverine last week, the fact that Bunn is involved in this, as well, is icing on the cake, as it appears they are both prepared to drag Flash (and Eddie Brock, as well) through Hell and back.

Additionally, Kev Walker’s art is a great fit for this book.  It has a gritty ’90s feel to it that works for the character and never feels too exaggerated, striking the right balance between realism and cartoon.  The inks and colors–provided by Terry Pallot and Chris Sotomayor respectively–add to that grittiness, filling out the grim and bleak feel this storyline should have.

This is the perfect jumping-on point and one of the best issues of the series so far.

RATING:  EXCELSIOR!

Venom #16 – Return of the Fly

Venom #16
Writer:  Rick Remender
Art:  Kev Walker, Chris Sotomayor [Colors]

A while back, Venom captured the D-list villain Human Fly.  This issue, he’s in charge of protecting a train transporting Human Fly to the Raft, a maximum security prison designed for super villains.

It all starts out simple enough, with Human Fly giving a sob story about how he stole a few million dollars from the Kingpin and now the Kingpin is going to kill his son.  It adds depth to the Human Fly, especially given the revelation at the end of the issue.

Before Flash can fully process any of this, though, one of the guards informs him that the Kingpin has already placed a $10 million bounty on the Fly’s head and that one of the other guards has already offered to take it.  It turns out the guard with the intel is no guard at all, but actually the Hobgoblin in disguise.  Needless to say, a battle between the three ensues and Venom is dealt another personal defeat.

Rick Remender has promised in recent weeks that people who like seeing Flash Thompson’s life suck would be happy in coming months, and so far, he seems to be keeping that promise.  If it’s all downhill from here, I can only imagine the depths to which he’ll take Venom before things start looking up.  Aside from giving Human Fly some of the best characterization I’ve ever read from that character, he also makes great use of the Phil Urich Hobgoblin here.  Like what he did with Jack O’Lantern early on in the series, I actually think Human Fly is more than a C- or D-lister for a change.

Another solid one-and-done from Remender this week, just in time for new readers to jump onboard for the “Savage Six” story arc.

STORY:  9/10
ART:  9/10 

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: 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 

Review: Venom #15 – Flash Thompson, Secret Avenger

Venom #15
Writer:  Rick Remender
Art:  Lan Medina [Pencils], Nelson Decastro with Terry Pallot [Inks], Andres Mossa [Colors]

After saving Las Vegas from Blackheart, Venom is pardoned and made a member of the Secret Avengers by Captain America.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that Flash Thompson gets to keep the symbiote 24/7.  Hank Pym and Beast have worked out a sedative to keep the creature from permanently bonding to Flash when he’s using it for official Avengers business.  If he needs the symbiote at a moment’s notice (like if Jack O’Lantern or one of the other enemies he’s picked up in the last 14 issues comes calling), he simply has to dial a number and the suit will be shrunken down into Pym particles and broadcast from the Secret Avengers’ space station through his earpiece.

Seems simple enough, right?  It’s comic technology.  Don’t think too hard about it.

Once Flash is finally teleported back to his apartment, he arrives to Peter Parker knocking on his door.  Pete, a longtime friend of Flash’s recently-dumped girlfriend, Betty Brant, wants to know what’s going on with him.  The two go out for coffee and Flash is ready to tell Peter everything when he’s interrupted by a call from his sister and mother–two more people he’s neglected.

With this issue establishing that his home life is in tatters, Flash appears seemingly ready to bury himself in his newfound role as a Secret Avenger.

Meanwhile, Eddie Brock, the Venom symbiote’s former host, is hunting symbiotes.  As the book opens, we see him taking out Hybrid, and we later see him kill Scream.   This plot thread started shortly after Brock gave up the Anti-Venom symbiote to help cure New York City during “Spider-Island” and I’m excited to see how it plays out.

There’s one continuity issue here, however, as the Hybrid symbiote has also appeared recently in Zeb Wells’ Carnage U.S.A. mini-series, no longer bonded to Scott Washington, but separated into four symbiotes for use by a special ops team.  Of course, that story takes place after Venom becomes a Secret Avenger (despite being only one issue away from finishing), so it’s possible that perhaps Eddie Brock’s “killing” of the symbiotes themselves doesn’t really work and the government is still able to somehow get their hands on the Hybrid symbiote.  Maybe this will all be explained eventually.

This book’s last story arc, “Circle of Four,” didn’t really do much for me on the first read through (I really need to read it again in one sitting), but Rick Remender followed it with what might be my favorite issue of this series so far.  Remender sets up Venom’s status quo as a Secret Avenger, explains how Flash will use the suit if he is in an emergency situation, and plants a plot thread regarding what could happen if use of the symbiote is abused.  He sets up some romantic tension between Flash and Valkyrie, teases the question of how Spider-Man will react to Venom being an Avenger if he finds out, hints at Flash potentially telling Peter (who he doesn’t know is Spider-Man) anyways, and sets up a future conflict with Eddie Brock.  Plus, he keeps a certain amount of turmoil in Flash’s home life for the time being.

The art on this issue is also great, with Lan Medina packing in an extraordinary amount of detail in everything from facial expressions to backgrounds.

In short, Venom is still one of Marvel’s best kept secrets.

STORY:  9/10
ART:  9/10 

Review: Carnage U.S.A. #4 – Venom Assembles

Carnage U.S.A. #4 of 5
Writer: Zeb Wells
Art: Clayton Crain

Zeb Wells and Clayton Crain’s Carnage U.S.A. begins to wind down this month as  Spider-Man rallies Doverton’s survivors and Venom joins the fray.

Last issue, Captain America was able to break free of the Carnage symbiote’s control long enough to call for help from Venom (who is now a member of the Secret Avengers if you’re out of the loop).  Of course, Venom shows up this issue right as the government task force powered by the de-amalgamated Hybrid symbiote is failing and Carnage is about to tear Spider-Man’s eyes out through his mask (while promising it will be “like your skull is givin’ birth!”).

Unfortunately, Spider-Man stops Venom from blowing Carnage’s head off, giving Carnage a moment to regain the upper hand (and control of Captain America, Wolverine, Hawkeye, and the Thing) before Tanis Nieves (AKA the most recent addition to Marvel’s long list of symbiote characters, Scorn) uses a bulldozer to push both Carnage and Venom into a…silo of some sort? Whatever it is, it causes the symbiotes to leave both men and run off, and leaves Venom’s host, Flash Thompson, in a compromising situation with mass murderer Cletus Kasady.

If my description of the plot sounds a bit chaotic, that’s because this issue moved along at breakneck speed. That’s not to say the writing suffered–it didn’t. Wells’ Carnage gets more and more maniacal with every issue he writes the character, and his Spider-Man stays well in-line with the “No One Dies” status quo Dan Slott has set for the character.

Most of the backgrounds remain relatively sparse, but that’s to be expected when each frame is painted by hand on a monthly title and features the amount of character detail that Crain includes here. It really works in his favor that this story is set in a small Midwest town because there isn’t really anything to see in a place like that, anyways.

I’m excited to see how this one wraps up (and hopefully get more of an explanation for that big silo thing).

STORY: 9/10
ART: 9/10

[amazon_link id=”B007IVYHVC” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]BUY Carnage U.S.A. #4 on Amazon[/amazon_link]

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]

Review: Carnage U.S.A. #3 – Symbiote dogs and moral dilemmas

Carnage U.S.A. #3 of 5
Writer: Zeb Wells
Art: Clayton Crain

When Cletus Kasady, aka the symbiote-enhanced mass murderer Carnage, takes over a small Colorado town and compromises an Avengers task force, there’s only one thing the government can do–and it doesn’t involve napalm.

They assemble a top secret, symbiote-enhanced task force of their own.

Last issue, we were introduced to said task force, powered by the four de-amalgamated symbiotes that once comprised Hybrid.  The coolest among these is the symbiote-enhanced military dog Lasher, who has a confrontation with Carnage’s pet, the Doppelganger (remember him?), at the beginning of the issue.

Zeb Wells keeps the dark tone in place throughout, with Kasady–dressed as a priest–holding much of the town’s population in a church and demanding they each remove their teeth with pliers as a sacrifice to him.  Meanwhile, he’s demanded that the wife of the town’s sheriff, leader of a small camp of survivors where Spider-Man has found refuge, kill her husband lest he should kill their children.

Of course, he’s also using them as puppets via the Carnage symbiote, and Spider-Man intervenes as soon as things take a turn for the ugly.  This creates a moral dilemma, though, as Spider-Man finds himself having to fight off two Carnage-possessed children.  To Spider-Man’s relief, Kasady becomes angered that Sheriff Morell’s wife still won’t kill him and calls the sheriff’s family back to the church.

If writers had created these types of deranged moral dilemmas back in the ’90s when Carnage was first created, perhaps he wouldn’t have been so one-dimensional.

On that note, Carnage isn’t going to kill the sheriff’s kids himself if he can scar someone else’s psyche in the process.  Attempting to get the symbiote-possessed Captain America to do the dirty work backfires, though, as Cap fights back and is able to free himself from Carnage’s control long enough to radio for help from “Code Name 4563.”

Given recent developments in Secret Avengers (Carnage U.S.A. takes place after the events of Secret Avengers #23), fans probably already know who Cap was calling in…

Overall, this series is still moving along at a great pace with enough nods to (and improvements upon) the past to keep longtime readers engaged while not alienating anyone new to the characters.  Crain’s artwork still fits the story’s dark tone, although a lot of his backgrounds are very plain, if there’s anything in them at all.  Of course, this story is set in the Midwest, where there really isn’t much to see to begin with, and Crain paints everything, making extremely detailed backgrounds in every panel something that would be quite a bit more time-consuming.

This is still required reading for any 90s kids who like to go on and on about how awesome Carnage is, or anyone who hated symbiotes after Marvel stuffed them down everyone’s throats during that same time period.

STORY: 9/10
ART: 9/10

[amazon_link id=”B0075NKUH8″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ][/amazon_link] 

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]

Review: “X-Men Legacy #261” When an Exodus comes a knockin’

X-Men Legacy #261
Writer: Christopher Gage
Artist: David Baldeon and Jordi Tarragona

Rogue, Gambit and Frenzy have arrived at the Jean Grey Institute and they barely have time to unpack their bags before something big and bad comes knockin’ upon their door. In this case, as the cover depicts, the big bad is ex-Acolyte leader Exodus. Last we saw Exodus was  in issue #225: Charles Xavier had persuaded Exodus to drop his scheme to reign supreme over the mutant race and instead band together and fight the good fight.  Here, he returns for an admirable cause–to reunite both Cyclops’ and Wolverine’s teams once again, as everyone agrees in ‘strength in numbers’ and that ideal has more than proven itself warranted during the time spent on Utopia.

So, Exodus puts forth an Ultimatum: come with him back to Utopia, freely or, if necessary, by force. Of course, no one likes to be told what to do, especially our southern bell Rogue. Admirable cause aside, it was a terrible presentation, so battle erupts! But here in the Jean Grey Institute, all children must evacuate to safety as the X-Men control the situation. I do enjoy Cyclops’ mentality that all mutants are active X-Men combatants, as the situation is ever so dire, but THIS is a breath of fresh air! And the teachers at the institute make one hell of an X-Men Team.

Christopher Gage crams this issue with content, which is always highly appreciated. The issue kicks off with Rachel picking Rogue’s brain on the current status of her relationship with Magneto, who is currently residing with (as Rogue perfectly states) his “heir to his legacy,” Cyclops (scary thought). Rogue and Magneto’s relationship, I believe, is bound to fail, between long distance and/or Magneto eventually ripping the world asunder once again. Personally,  I’m rooting for them (and Magneto’s prolonged good streak), as I’m a huge fan of their iterations during the Age of Apocalypse.

Penciler, David Baldeon’s cartoon expressive style accompanies the book’s brother title, Wolverine and the X-Men, perfectly. Both have the cartoon detail that adds a youthful tone that works well for the attempt to make these kids seem vulnerable, though we know most are well seasoned soldiers. As Gage’s script demanded, Baldeon formed his pages to read fluently and not seem crammed. Along with the cartoon style comes over the top effects and colors, which poops off the pages; it’s quite a bit of fun. Beast sports his new uniform, only shown in preview art for the upcoming arc in the Secret Avengers, and it looks great as his old uniform was awkward fitting… almost as if it was crafted by Emma Frost.

This issue was fun and has brought Exodus back into the forefront. I only hope he brings battle to Magneto and then inevitably joins the X-Men, ’cause everyone’s invited! Hell, I predict Mr. Sinister will be an X-Man this time next year. Jumping back, I may add that I’m extremely glad that Rachel Grey has been added to the cast, her history brings a lot of possible story devices and she’s part of the Summers/Grey clan–gotta love em’ all. Kudos to Mark Brooks on a fantastic cover. The next issue’s cover of a battered Rogue tops it!

Story: 7
Art: 8

Also recommended this week:

Justice League #5It gets real! -Reviewed Here!
Angel & Faith #6There’s a horrifying mosquito demon on the loose…and that’s just scratching the surface.
Secret Avengers #21.1The prelude to the formation of Hawkeye’s new secret espionage team!

Follow me on Twitter @ddsuperbatnix

Review: Deadpool #49.1 – Deadpool: The Musical!

Deadpool #49.1
Writer: Daniel Way
Art: John McCrea & Veronica Gandini [Colorist]

Sure, it would be easy for Daniel Way to write a simple recap for the latest Marvel “Point One” issue for Deadpool, but simple and easy wouldn’t be as fun as writing that recap issue AS A FREAKIN’ MUSICAL!

[For those not in the know, “Point One” is Marvel’s initiative to give new readers a good “jumping-on” point to a comic. – Voice #2]

In Deadpool #49.1, Way takes a stroll through his 50-issue run on the current volume of the Merc With A Mouth’s solo book.  From his involvement in the Skrull Invasion and his war against Norman Osborn and epic battle with Bullseye to his attempts to be a hero and interstellar adventures, all are covered here and intended to be recapped to the tune of Naughty By Nature, Tay Zonday, Britney Spears and the Misfits.

Doing the story overview this way was a fitting way to condense 50 or so issues of Deadpool into a 32-page book.  To top it all off, John McCrea’s art diverges from regular artist Salva Espin in that it has a more ’90s Deadpool feel to it.  This adds even more of a “flashback” sort of feel to the issue, even though the stories recapped here only began in 2008.

Overall, this was a fun recap and great for anyone interested in trying Deadpool or just looking for some cheesy humor.  [Cheese…I like cheese.]

On a final note, what ever happened to Hit-Monkey?  As the assistant editor of this website, I’m demanding that Marvel bring back Hit-Monkey in some way, shape or form in the next year.  He doesn’t have to be in his own series.  I know the attempt at giving him one kind of flopped.  Or something.

Just bring him back.  Now!

[Yeah!  What he said!]

STORY: 7/10  (Because, you know…It’s a recap. Nothing new to see here.)
ART: 8/10 

Review: Venom #9

Venom #9
Writer:  Rick Remender
Art:  Stefano Caselli and Frank Martin, Jr.

Venom #9 picks up during the aftermath of “Spider-Island.”  New Yorkers are running through the streets, frightened.  After all, the city just found itself waking up naked after being turned into giant spider creatures.

Flash Thompson, meanwhile, is still trying to absorb his father’s death two issues ago, let alone the citywide catastrophe he just helped solve.  Oh, and that he’s playing host to the Venom symbiote, which has its own ideas of justice and has a habit of turning people into monsters.

It really doesn’t make matters any better that a guy calling himself “the Hijacker” is driving an “impenetrable” tank through the city to rob banks, running over anyone and anything in his way, while the cops literally have their pants down.  Especially not when Flash witnesses him run over an innocent security guard.

But it gets worse.  A lot worse.

This issue has a really dark moment that pushes Flash over the edge, and for a while, he’s totally consumed by the Venom symbiote.  Interestingly enough, he’s drawn closer to the Eddie Brock incarnation of Venom than the Mac Gargan one that has been around for most of the last decade.  The eyes-in-the-middle-of-eyes on the Gargan Venom always kind of bothered me, so this is a welcome change.

Come to think of it, I can’t remember which Venom design they used the last time the symbiote took complete control…

Remender delivers another excellent issue of Venom, making symbiotes more interesting than they’ve been since the early ’90s.  He isn’t afraid to go too dark with the tone of the story, and it really helps that he doesn’t do it just for the sake of seeing how far he can go.  All of this serves a purpose of playing on Flash’s inner turmoil — his sans-symbiote problems as well as the problems he has as a result of the struggle with the alien creature.

Stefano Casseli and Frank Martin, Jr. deliver some of the most beautiful art on this book yet, which is really saying a lot if you’ve seen the previous eight issues.  It pops when it needs to, and the facial expressions and body language deliver exactly what they need to.

It will be interesting to see where this book goes, especially now that Venom has been announced as a member of the Secret Avengers once Remender takes that book over in a few months.

Story:  9/10
Art:  9.5/10 

[amazon_link id=”B0068OPQ9M” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]BUY Venom #9 on Amazon[/amazon_link]