Tag Archives: Wolverine

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

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

 

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

Dan Slott, you broke my heart.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

“The Wolverine” makes local news in Australia

The local 7NEWS in Kurnell of South Wales, Australia put together a nice news package dedicated to “The Wolverine” as the first day of filming kicked-off.

“The Wolverine” is directed by James Mangold (“Walk the Line”) and stars Hugh Jackman, Will Yun Lee (Silver Samurai) and rumored Svetlana Khodchenkova as Viper. “The Wolverine” is due out in theaters July 26, 2013.

“The Wolverine” set photos

wolverine set photos 3
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The set photos from “The Wolverine” are not too impressive but what is impressive is the scoop that comicbookmovie.com has on the opening of the film. According to comicbookmovie.com the film starts off with Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) in a P.O.W. camp in Japan during World War II as a nuclear bomb goes off. That is definitely a way to start of a film.

“The Wolverine” is directed by James Mangold (“Walk the Line”) and stars Hugh Jackman, Will Yun Lee (Silver Samurai) and rumored Svetlana Khodchenkova as Viper. “The Wolverine” is due out in theaters July 26, 2013.

Review: Bloodshot #1 – Must read! Blood and chaos

Issue: BLOODSHOT #1
Writer: DUANE SWIERCZYNSKI
Pencils: MANUEL GARCIA & ARTURO LOZZI
Publisher: Valiant Comics
Release Date: 7/11/2012

It’s the start of a new mission for one of comics’ all-time best-selling superheroes in Bloodshot #1 — the first issue of new ongoing series from acclaimed novelist Duane Swierczynski (Immortal Iron Fist, Birds of Prey) and the lethal artistic tag team of Manuel Garcia (Checkmate) and Arturo Lozzi (Immortal Weapons)! Your name is Angelo Mortalli. Your brother is trapped behind enemy lines and on the verge of — no. That’s not right. Your name is Raymond Garrison. You’ve retired from the dangers of the field, but a desperate plea from your oldest friend plunges you into a vicious firefight that — no. That’s not right, either. You are Bloodshot. You are the shade of gray that freedom requires. The perfect confluence of military necessity and cutting-edge technology. A walking WikiLeaks that is a reservoir of dirty secrets that could set the world on fire. And you’ve just been captured.

Story: 9/10 • Artwork: 9/10 • Overall 9/10
I just want to make one thing clear, I never want to be Raymond Garrison aka Bloodshot! Duane Swierczynski does a brilliant job of making Bloodshot’s life a living hell in the first issue. Also, for a book called Bloodshot, Valiant filled their quote for blood in an issue. For those unfamiliar with the character of Bloodshot he has a healing factor like Wolverine and Swierczynski blows him to bits several times in this issue.

This is a solid read because the issue jumps right into the action without another re-telling of the origin. The overall plot mystery is set up with in the first pages and then Swiercynski tortues Bloodshot for the next 20 pages. It gets to a point where you really feel bad for the main character and you want to say, stop! How many times can you mess with a person’s mind and blow-them-up to boot!

The artist team of Manuel Garcia and Arturo Lozzi work very well together. The action scenes are very fast and intense. Also, if you’re going to blow-up a guy, you want these guys to draw it. The detail and movement in each panel make for a very immersed read.

Most of the plot-lines in Bloodshot are recycled but Swierczynski combines those moments to keep the reader and the main character off-balance. From where the book started on page one, it was very impressive to see the last page. This series could go in multiple directions and that is exciting. Bloodshot #1 has a very excessive cliff-hanger moment that makes me want to break into Valiant Comics to read issue two.

When you don’t know who to trust or who is shooting at you, stories like this make for a fun roller-coaster of a ride of an experience. Buy Bloodshot #1 you will not be disappointed.

Follow Matthew Sardo on twitter @comicavult

Ultimate Spider-Man Behind-The-Scenes Clip

Marvel Comics Thursday afternoon after the Mets game released an Ultimate Spider-Man Behind-The-Scenes Clip. Sunday’s episode of Ultimate Spider-Man features a team-up with Wolverine and the writing talents of Brian Michael Bendis.

From Marvel comics:
This weekend, Marvel Television and Disney XD offer up a very special Father’s Day gift everyone will love …. a brand new episode of Ultimate Spider-Man featuring Wolverine! Acclaimed comic writer Brian Michael Bendis takes his story from page to screen as Spidey and Logan team up and freak out when they mysteriously switch brains! Check out this behind-the-scenes interview with Steve Blum, the voice of Wolverine, as he talks about what it’s like to be Spider-Man for a day.

This brand new episode kicks off the Ultimate Father’s Day Marathon at 11am/10c inside Marvel Universe on Disney XD. Celebrate the day with YOUR hero and six back-to-back episodes of the hit animated series. Plus, check out http://MarvelKids.com/Dads for ways to incorporate your favorite Marvel Universe characters into the day’s events.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

STORY: 8/10
ART: 8/10 

Review: Wolverine #306 – The Doctor Is In

Wolverine #306
Writer: Cullen Bunn
Art: Paul Pelletier [Penciler], David Meikis with Cam Smith [Inkers], Rain Beredo [Colorist]

Wolverine tracks down Dr. Rot as a federal manhunt, believing Logan responsible for a nationwide killing spree, closes in on him.

The Feds search for answers at the Jean Grey School For Higher Learning, where Kitty Pryde and Rachel Grey are still trying to find answers themselves. Later, pressing Logan’s ex-girlfriend Melita Garner for information in New York, she finally mentions Dr. Rot. Meanwhile, Wolverine is tracking the sadistic doctor down using files from Dunwich, uncovering more grisly scenes and disturbing individuals along the way.

Cullen Bunn continues a solid first arc on Wolverine, fleshing out Dr. Rot’s past–something that wasn’t really covered during Jason Aaron’s introduction of the villain in Wolverine: Weapon X #6-9. Rot is a villain who works because he gets inside Logan’s head and takes advantage of the worst parts of him, so it’s interesting to start to see a little bit of what makes him tick. Like last issue, it’s good to see the Jean Grey School continue to have a presence in this book, as well.

Rounded out by the same high-quality art that keeps the ultra-violence popping off the pages, this is another stellar issue of Wolverine for Bunn to add to his list of achievements. After being introduced to his work with these last two issues of Wolverine, his assist to Rick Remender on Venom, and the Free Comic Book Day preview of his Spider-Man: Season One graphic novel, here’s hoping Marvel keeps him around for a while.

STORY: 9/10
ART: 9/10

Review: Uncanny X-Force #25 – Final Execution Begins!

Uncanny X-Force #25
Writer: Rick Remender
Art: Mike McKone, Dean White [Color Art]

The latest Uncanny X-Men story arc, “Final Execution,” kicks off with the team in a state of upheaval.

Psylocke, having processed the toll being on a mutant kill squad is taking on her psyche, is leaving the team after “satisfying her curiosity” with a one-night stand with Fantomex. Fantomex, on the other hand, is leaving because no more Warren [See last year’s epic “Dark Angel Saga”] means no more money–and he’s probably sulking over being spurned by Psylocke.

Meanwhile, there’s a mysterious figure at the Jean Grey School targeting Genesis, the reformed clone of Apocalypse, and Deadpool has gone down while on a mission–which is a big deal following Deadpool #54, where Wade [YOU SHOULD READ Deadpool #54 AND FIND OUT INSTEAD OF LETTING ME SPOIL IT].

Anyways, this all culminates in a sort-of return of a long-dead X-villain.

Overall, this is a great start to Rick Remender’s latest major X-Force story arc. With a title like “Final Execution,” there are a lot of inferences that can be made. The way things have developed with all the characters on the team, as well as the people around them, will surely only help to further speculation about what that title refers to.

Regardless, Rick Remender has crafted an excellent first part to this storyline with an art team that rivals the work on any other issues of the book, and the two back-up stories are a nice look at Remender’s earlier work with artist Jerome Opeña on stories starring Wolverine and Deadpool, respectively.

STORY: 9.5/10
ART: 9.5/10

Review: Deadpool #54 – Deadpool is Dead, Long Live Deadpool

Deadpool #54
Writer: Daniel Way
Art: Ale Garza [Penciler], Sean Parsons [Inker], Dommo Sanchez Amara [Colorist]

Deadpool finally gets what he wanted, but does he still want it and is it too late to go back?

After setting off a massive goose chase for a serum that could allegedly negate mutant powers, Deadpool is finally “cured” of his healing factor–but not before some of the most dangerous people in the world find out that he was always aware that the serum only works on him. The serum, as it turns out, is made from DNA samples taken from a lock of Wade’s childhood hair. It even has some unexpected side-effects that are likely to have a huge impact on the character going forward–but I won’t spoil that here.

By altering the character in several ways, Daniel Way has shown his willingness to take a risk and step outside of the traditional Deadpool formula. Deadpool’s new status quo makes a ton of new stories possible, which will hopefully (I’ve got my fingers crossed) allow Daniel Way to stay on the book for another 50 issues.

Despite what certain people around here have to say about me never having anything bad to say about Deadpool, I stand by my belief that this book has been one of the most consistently fun, leave-your-brain-at-the-door reads on my pull list since I started picking it up four years ago. For anyone willing to put aside their “everything should be super serious and full of meaning” comic book elitism, now is as good a time as any to jump on.

STORY: 9/10
ART: 9/10

Review: Wolverine #305 – Something’s Rotten in Dunwich

Wolverine #305
Writer: Cullen Bunn
Art:  Paul Pelletier [Pencils], David Meikis [Inker], Rain Beredo [Colorist]

The first issue under new writer Cullen Bunn, Wolverine #306 sees the return of an antagonist from previous scribe Jason Aaron’s Wolverine: Weapon X run.

Feds are investigating a cross-country killing spree, when a child who witnessed a New York slaying from a second-story apartment window draws a crayon sketch of the killer he saw–and the killer looks a lot like Wolverine.  Cut to California and we find Logan in a bar, drowning his sorrows and shunning the advances of a server–because, you know, it’s never been that safe for “normal folks” to be around him.

He exits the bar reflecting upon this, as well as the fact that he’s been waking up in strange places, covered in gore and with no clue of what he’d done.  Only one person could be responsible for this (well, maybe a few), but Logan somehow instinctively knows that Dr. Rot is behind it.

See, back in Wolverine: Weapon X, Dr. Rot operated a mental hospital known as Dunwich Sanitorium where he had a machine powered by dozens of disembodied brains that used to control the patients.  Using this machine, he “strip-mined” Logan’s brain, leaving him unable to remember who he was or how he got there.  He wanted to use Wolverine as his own personal killer, so he could, in turn, get even more brains.

Now, Rot is at it again, and as Logan heads to the now-vacated hospital to search for answers, the feds come calling at the Jean Grey School–where Kitty Pryde and Rachel Grey are looking for answers of their own.

Too often, a character’s solo book and any team books they might be part of seem to exist in parallel universes.  Bunn begins his Wolverine run on a strong note by continuing to keep Wolverine tied to Aaron’s Wolverine and the X-Men by doing one of the things that Aaron did best–acknowledging that Logan’s solo adventures don’t exist in a void.  Additionally, his decision to use Dr. Rot allows him to deliver the visceral ultra-violence Wolverine is known for without just relying on that to carry the book.

The detail of Paul Pelletier, David Meikis, and Rain Beredo’s art isn’t to be overlooked, either.  The Dunwich Sanitorium is as creepy as ever, and the blood and gore pops off of the pages.

Seeing one of your favorite writers leave one of your favorite books is never easy, but if this a precursor of things to come from Cullen Bunn, I think I’ll be fine.

STORY:  9/10
ART:  9/10 

 

Uncanny X-Force #24 – Meltdown!

Uncanny X-Force #24
Writer:  Rick Remender
Art:  Phil Noto, Dean White [Colors]

During last year’s “Dark Angel Saga,” the Age of Apocalypse’s evil version of Iceman escaped into Earth-616 (i.e. the mainstream Marvel Universe).  This was the primary reason for that reality’s Nightcrawler joining X-Force.

In Uncanny X-Force #24, he finally gets his revenge on his former friend and teammate.

While Nightcrawler, Wolverine, and Deadpool head to Madripoor to take care of AoA Iceman, Fantomex and Psylocke attend the Otherworld funeral of Psylocke’s brother, Jamie Braddock.  Here, we see Fantomex’s more human side during a brief conversation with Psylocke’s other brother, Brian (AKA Captain Britain), and learn that in order to save Fantomex during the Otherworld saga, Psylocke gave up her ability to feel sorrow or remorse.

Back in Madripoor, the fight comes down to Nightcrawler and Iceman–no powers or weapons, just two former friends fighting to the death.  Rick Remender really drives home the emotional impact of this battle via Nightcrawler’s thoughts and the banter between the two.  Additionally, Remender continues to bring some of the best Deadpool antics outside of Daniel Way’s Deadpool solo series and provides a huge leap in the Fantomex-Psylocke relationship, as well as building upon the father-son dynamic between Fantomex and Apocalypse child clone Genesis.

Phil Noto and Dean White’s art in this issue is vibrant and detailed, perhaps even my favorite art on this series thus far.  The transitions between panels are extremely fluid and easy to follow, keeping the action moving at a steady pace.

This one-and-done issue is a must-buy for fans of the series and new readers interested in the title alike.

STORY:  9.5/10
ART:  9.5/10 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Logan’s decision is shaky, at best.

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

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

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

STORY:  9/10
ART:  7/10 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

– Roger Riddell

Follow me on Twitter @RRiddell3 

Mike DeVivo’s take forthcoming

Alright Roger Ive Assembled here!

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

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

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

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

– Mike DeVivo

Follow me on Twitter @pandasandrobots


 

Review: Wolverine #304 – Jason Aaron’s Final Issue

Wolverine #304
Writer:  Jason Aaron
Art:  Steve Dillon, Ron Garney, Paul Pelletier with Dave Meikis, Mike Perkins, Jefte Palo, Daniel Acuña, Steven Sanders, and Renato Guedes
Color Art:  Matthew Wilson, Matt Milla, Rain Beredo, Andy Troy, and Chris Sotomayor

Jason Aaron goes out with a bang on his final Wolverine solo issue, finding a way to feature just about every character from his run and then some.

As the newly appointed secret assassin lord of the entire eastern hemisphere, Sabretooth takes it upon himself to throw a party featuring a who’s who of Wolverine antagonists.  Among the attendees are Mystique, Daken, Lord and Lady Deathstrike, Silver Samurai, Sauron, Tiger Shark, Blob, Soulstriker, Jade Claw, and the Hellfire Club’s new White Queen.  Dr. Rot is also shown being turned away by security at one point.

Naturally, Wolverine has caught wind of the party.  I guess super villains don’t have these sorts of gatherings without leaking word to whoever it is they want to kill, you know?  Anyhow, Wolverine contacts Maverick, who is in a much lower place than we last saw him, for more information.

This is just the first of several scenes we get that tie up loose ends and plant new plot threads.  While Dr. Rot’s appearance was a tease for an upcoming Wolverine story, several of these cameos could carry over into Wolverine and the X-Men, which Aaron is still writing.  We see Kade Kilgore, the pint-sized Hellfire Club Black King, arriving on a deserted island and shooting Blackwater’s disgraced CEO before hiring two of the three remaining Blackwater “Adamantium Men” as his bodyguards.  The remaining Buzzard Brother is shown eating a freshly-killed wolverine in the Canadian Wilderness, clippings about Wolverine and the Jean Grey School pinned to the walls around him.  Wolverine’s murdered children are shown in Hell with his father, and ex-girlfriend Melita Garner is given a new status quo.  There’s even a joke thrown in about furries for good measure during a scene with Logan’s on-again/off-again ninja girlfriend and his adopted daughter.

Then, there’s the inevitable brawl that happens when Wolverine shows up at Sabretooth’s party.  I hate to feel like I’m spoiling anything (and I may already have done so), but there’s a catch here involving an old Sabretooth tradition.

Aaron ends his acclaimed run the way any long-term gig on a book like this should be wrapped up–tying up loose ends and leaving good openings for future stories, whether they be by incoming writer Cullen Bunn or carried over to Wolverine and the X-Men.

Just about every artist who worked with Aaron during the last few years worked on Wolverine #304, as well.  The result is an issue where every other page has a different style.  It isn’t as jarring as it sounds, but there are moments where the transition pulls you out of the story briefly.

Regardless, this is fun, fast-paced, gritty, and a great jumping-on point for new readers (it even has a checklist for anyone wanting to get caught up on Aaron’s run), as well as a nice cap to the last few years of Wolverine solo stories.

STORY:  9/10
ART:  7/10 (This is due to a couple of jarring transitions.)

 

Review: Deadpool #53 – Marked For Death

Deadpool #53
Writer:  Daniel Way
Art:  Ale Garza [Penciler], Sean Parsons [Inker], Dommo Sanchez Amara [Colorist]

After setting in motion a plan that involved his X-Force teammates, HYDRA Bob, Kingpin, Daken, and Tombstone before quickly spiraling out of control, Deadpool has finally been injected with a serum that can make him killable.

Having been seemingly betrayed by his best friend, HYDRA Bob, Deadpool teleports (with Bob) to an undisclosed location shortly before Tombstone can snipe him.  Bob reveals that, having seen the mayhem Deadpool was creating, he could take no more.  For some reason, he thought giving Wade mortality would make him step back from the ledge.  (Remember, Deadpool wants to die.)

Anyways, the Merc With a Mouth telports out of the conversation with Bob long enough to gloat to X-Force about how he won, and to apologize for Wolverine getting shot with the “mutant-negating” serum, as well.  Wolverine, however, is alive and well, and he and the rest of X-Force–now in on the lie–inform Wade that the serum only works on him.

Now with his X-Force teammates out to kill him, as well, Deadpool teleports back to Bob, who brings him around to the realization that he hasn’t considered how his death will impact others.  Bob, for one, will most likely be killed by Tombstone, since the deal he made to get the serum centered around Bob setting Deadpool up for the kill.

This scene in particular has anti-suicide undertones in it, and they’re done pretty well.  One thing Daniel Way does well when the opportunity arises is inserting subtle morals in these stories, which isn’t something you’d expect when you’re reading a comic about a hideously deformed paranoid schizophrenic mercenary with a Wolverine-like healing factor.

While the web of disaster that Deadpool has tangled himself in here can be hard to summarize in words, it has also been expertly spun by Way.  It’s a lot to digest and could have been extraordinarily confusing, but he’s laid it all out in a way that is extremely easy to follow.  Paired with what might be my favorite art on this entire series so far, and “Dead” continues to be the highlight of Way’s run with the character.

STORY:  9/10
ART:  9/10 

 

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: Wolverine and the X-Men #8 – Sabretooth joins the Hellfire Club

Wolverine and the X-Men #8
Writer:  Jason Aaron
Art:  Chris Bachalo [Pencils & Colors], Tim Townsend [Inker]

Fresh off of his return from the dead in Wolverine’s solo book, Sabretooth joins up with the new Hellfire Club to help them take out the heart of the Jean Grey School–Beast.

During his attempt to con an intergalactic casino out of space money that is somehow good on Earth, Wolverine’s unbreakable adamantium legs were broken.  Beast, the school’s resident scientist and doctor, puts forth the theory that the casino’s guards were able to do this with a matter transmutation ray to weaken the adamantium, which re-hardened shortly after.

Basically, Beast needs to use the same type of ray to surgically repair Wolverine’s legs.  Only problem?  Beast’s matter transmutation ray seems to have gone missing, and they are outlawed around the globe.

Of course, dating the director of S.W.O.R.D. (Sentient World Observation and Response Department) has its advantages, so Beast sets out to the department’s space station in Earth’s orbit to hit up Abigail Brand for the device.  When he gets to the space station, however, he finds that Sabretooth has already arrived and taken out S.W.O.R.D. on his own.

Meanwhile, Angel (who still doesn’t remember who he is and thinks he’s a real angel) sets off with the school’s students to the casino where Wolverine’s legs were broken to recover the matter transmutation ray there.  How he knew about this, I have no clue–but we’ll get to that in a moment.

The story here jumps around a bit, and it’s often fairly confusing–especially with Chris Bachalo’s artwork.  Bachalo’s work tends to be fast-paced and frenetic, and I’ve really enjoyed it on a lot of stories.  Unfortunately, it made it a little difficult to tell what was going on here–especially in some of the more monochromatic panels.  This could possibly all be a problem on the scripting level.  The story does tend to jump around a lot, and we never really get details for how Angel knew about the matter transmutation ray.  On the other hand, I also considered that maybe my book was missing pages (that did happen to me with a recent issue of Secret Avengers and I’ve been paranoid ever since).

On the other hand, this story does a good job of setting up a relationship between Angel and Genesis (the clone of Apocalypse), who agree to help each other figure out who they really are.  It also shows a more vicious side of Beast than we usually get to see and does more to establish the Hellfire Club (what do those kids not have their hands in?).

This isn’t a perfect issue, but it’s still fun if you can avoid the aforementioned confusion.  Now to go find out if my copy is missing pages…

STORY:  6.5/10
ART:  6.5/10

“A Comic Show” – 4.4.2012 Avengers vs X-Men!

We take on the Avengers vs X-Men naysayers explaining the painfully obvious: AvX is Frosted Mini-wheats! Then we thank Jason Aaron for dedicating Wolverine and the X-Men #8 to our fallen brony, Triforce Mike Pandel!
I also call that the now redeemed Ant-man will be/has been replaced by an adaptoid! How Secret are those Avengers if they get infiltrated? (That’s a prediction, not a spoiler.)
And we talk about the AvX #1 parties, our party and the new AvX website Marvelparty.com !
Also, some non-Marvel books came out ;-) -acomicshoptv

A Comic Shop
114 South Semoran Blvd.
Winter Park, FL 32792
p. 407-332-9636

Aaron Haaland owns one of the coolest comic book stores in the world – A Comic Shop! Aaron takes comic book related events to the next level. Check his store out on Facebook!

Review: Avengers Vs. X-Men #1 – ‘Nuff Said

Avengers Vs. X-Men #1
Writer:  Brian Michael Bendis
Art:  John Romita Jr. [Pencils], Scott Hanna [Inks], Laura Martin [Colors]

After what has felt like an eternity of build-up (but was really more like just over six months), the event to end all Marvel events has finally arrived on shelves–but was all of the hype worth it?

So far, it’s a toss-up.

The premise, in case you’ve been living under a rock or reading some other company’s books, is that the Phoenix is coming to Earth and has chosen the would-be-mutant-messiah Hope Summers as its host.  Hey, she looks like Jean Grey, so who else is it gonna pick, right?  Anyhow, the Phoenix is a cosmic firebird that leaves devastation in its wake on a planetary scale wherever it goes in the Universe.  It chose Jean Grey as its host once and she almost destroyed Earth, but that’s “The Dark Phoenix” saga and you can read about that elsewhere.

Avengers Vs. X-Men #1 opens with the Avengers hanging around Avengers Tower doing the sorts of things you’d expect powerful people in tights to do (but not those things, sicko!) when all of a sudden, the intergalactic superhero Nova conveniently crashlands in New York City after falling from space.  He warns the Avengers that “it’s coming,” and Iron Man deduces that he’s referring to the Phoenix.  He and Captain America then brief the President on the danger.

Meanwhile, Cyclops–who has known all along that the Phoenix was on its way back–is training Hope and trying to prepare her in the hope that she’ll be able to control its power when it does return.  This entire conflict centers around the Avengers’ belief that the Phoenix will use Hope Summers as its vessel to try to destroy the world again versus Scott’s belief that if Hope can somehow control the Phoenix’s power, then she can undo the “no more mutants” spell that Scarlet Witch decimated the mutant population with.

Scott believes that Hope is the savior of the mutant race, and he’ll stop at nothing to see her fulfill that destiny–perhaps to the point of taking things too far during his particularly ruthless training sessions.  During the time that has passed since he joined the X-Men, Magneto has pointed out that Scott is growing more and more like him than his mentor, Charles Xavier.  This trend continues here, as Magneto–watching the training from a distance–comments to Emma Frost regarding the difference between “taking it seriously” and “compulsion,” perhaps foreshadowing things to come.

Anyhow, Hope is finally pushed far enough and releases a flare of Phoenix-like energy strong enough that the Avengers notice it.  Traveling to Utopia to see about taking Hope into Avengers custody until the Phoenix situation is figured out, Captain America is greeted by a particularly hostile Cyclops.

Thus, the first shots in the battle are fired, so to speak.

Over all, this is a solid start to the event, but it is by no means perfect.  Despite being packed with action, the dialogue pulled me out of the story on a few occasions, most notably during the conversation Captain America has with Wolverine regarding the Phoenix.  Given Wolverine’s history with Jean Grey and how he felt about her, I have a hard time believing that he wouldn’t just refer to her by her first name.  Using her entire name felt a little unnatural, especially after the previous scene already established her history.

Aside from that, though, anything else I noticed here would just be nitpicking.  Bendis’ first chapter draws you in and gives new readers a primer on what’s going on, and the art here is phenomenal.  The facial expressions of everyone standing in the vicinity when the first blow of this battle is landed were perhaps the highlight of the entire issue.  Desperate times call for desperate measures, especially when your bluff is being called, and that panel alone sells that idea absolutely.

After event fatigue had fully set in following last year’s Fear Itself (which, no offense to Matt Fraction, fell short of expectations), I swore I’d never drop $3.99 an issue on another “event” book again.  Despite being highly skeptical of the idea of Avengers Vs. X-Men, I have to say I’m impressed so far and actually looking forward to where this goes from here.

STORY:  8/10
ART:  9.5/10 

Review: Avenging Spider-Man #5 – Captain America, Art School Student

Avenging Spider-Man #5
Writer: Zeb Wells
Art: Leinil Francis Yu, Gerry Alanguilan [Inker], Sunny Gho [Color Art]

The latest issue of Zeb Wells’ Spider-Man team-up book sees Spider-Man pairing off with Captain America–because, well, they’re both Avengers and that’s kind of the point of this book.  Also, both characters have movies coming out in the next few months.

At the beginning of the issue, Spider-Man, Wolverine, Hawkeye, and Spider-Woman are in Avengers Mansion reading a reprint of an old comic strip in the Daily Bugle.  The comic strip, it turns out, was drawn by a pre-super soldier serum Captain America, who, as it turns out, wasn’t just scrawny and weak–he was an art school kid.  The Avengers are all joking around about the comic having “liberty bonds” in every sentence (Hey, it was World War II, you know?) and Cap himself walks in right as Spider-Man sticks his foot in his mouth.

Captain America tells the Avengers that they’re going to round up the rest of the Serpent Society, who were causing trouble in the last issue of Avenging Spider-Man (and who also caused trouble this week in Avengers vs. X-Men #0, because they are omnipresent or something).

Anyways, realizing that both he and Captain America were nerds, Spider-Man calls dibs on teaming with Captain America and then annoys him with his trademark banter.  Ultimately, the two have a bonding experience later in the issue, which I guess is different from when they were pretty close friends during Spider-Man’s time living in Avengers Tower prior to 2006’s “Civil War” story.  Back then (during Straczynski’s “The Other” storyline in Amazing Spider-Man), they were sparring partners and Captain America taught Spider-Man how to catch a bullet with his bare hands instead of just dodging it, because Captain America can do that, too.  For the record, neither of them ever really spend much time catching bullets with their bare hands, but that’s beside the point.

Wells does a great job here of furthering the idea that Spider-Man can’t help but be a pain in the ass to his fellow heroes, as has been the case since he first became a member of the Avengers.  Unlike other writers who handle Spider-Man in an Avengers setting, though, Spider-Man isn’t just written as a wise-cracking idiot here.  As much as he annoys the others, you an see that they acknowledge what he contributes to the team and that there’s a certain level of respect for him–although in the case of characters like Wolverine and Captain America, their respect has long been established).  That Wells also manages to add something more to the Captain America mythos with the art school comic strip is icing on the cake.

The art in this issue strikes a nice balance between realistic and traditional, and I wouldn’t mind seeing Leinil Francis Yu, Gerry Alanguilan, and Sunny Gho on more books.  My only real complaint here would be that Spider-Man seems to have gotten a bit shorter, only coming up to Captain America’s shoulder in one panel (Spider-Woman, by comparison, appears just a few inches shorter than Cap on the same page).  It just kind of makes Spider-Man look like a little kid by comparison, when he’s actually around his mid-20s–not to mention it makes me wonder just how short Wolverine is supposed to be, since he’s shorter than Spider-Man.

Regardless, Avenging Spider-Man continues to be fun and, so far, offers a lot of easy jumping-on points for new readers who might be uncomfortable just diving right into the character’s flagship book.

STORY: 9/10
ART: 9/10