Author Topic: sam wilson and crew comics and tpb reviews for you, 1/8/09  (Read 3154 times)

Offline Sam Wilson

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sam wilson and crew comics and tpb reviews for you, 1/8/09
« on: January 08, 2009, 03:15:05 pm »
Dawg’s Reviews

Invincible Iron Man #9
Marvel Comics
Written by: Matt Fraction
Drawn by: Salvador Larroca

After the shocking revelations of last issue Tony Stark, Maria Hill, and Pepper Potts are left to pick of the pieces. SHIELD is done and it has given way to Norman Osborn and HAMMER. Norman wants all of the information that Tony has, he doesn’t know where Tony is hiding it and he will stop at nothing to find it. Last issue Tony was proven smarter than anyone has ever given him credit for, and he has been given great credit for his brain throughout the years. Tony has devised a holding place for the most important secrets of the Marvel Universe and that holding place has now been compromised and he aims to destroy it. He is the most wanted fugitive in the Marvel Universe under Osborn’s new regime and it does not look good for Tony. Tony is even further under the gun as the Skrull invasion has completely invaded his Extremis altered mind, body, technology, etc, not to mention that Ezekial Stane all but destroyed Stark Industries.

Tony feels like he is on his last leg and yet somehow he possesses swagger and Fraction and Lorroca deliver that with each panel. Tony has a plan to make sure that Norman never gets his hands on all the identities of the registered super heroes in the Marvel Universe. It is all stored on a secret hard drive and as mentioned prior, he needs Maria and Pepper to help him delete the information. There’s only one problem with his plan. This hard drive that holds all of the precious secret identities as well as countless other secrets is Tony’s brain thanks to Extremis.

It’s going to get very interesting boys and girls. Tony seems at his best when he is under the gun and needing to use his brain to outwit his opponents. I think that has always been Tony’s best quality as a hero. It’s not his overpowered armor thanks to Extremis, it’s his ability to think on his feet and be smarter than his opponents than make him a unique hero. The armor is just the technological vehicle to deliver his strategy. Tony is also a great hero because he’s flawed. He needs to have Pepper and Maria help him because he knows he has to outsmart himself, due to the many mistakes as well as drunken Iron Man rampages he’s had in the past. These women are his trusted allies and his fail-safes and once again it just shows you how well this book is delivered each month. Matt Fraction is Marvel Universe gold these days and it seems he can do no wrong, but honestly this is my favorite title that he writes.  It’s good to see Iron Man being done so well as we all know that the past few years were less than kind in how he has been portrayed. Regardless of the fact that there were only four books sitting in my pull, this would have easily been my pick of the week if there were 20 books in there.

Cable #10
Marvel Comics
Written by: Duane Swierczynski
Drawn by: Ariel Olivetti

So what has Cable been up to these days? Only the most important mission that any mutant has ever been charged with… protecting the future of the entire race. Nathan has been charged with both raising and protecting the first mutant birth since the Scarlet Witch declared “no more mutants”.  This baby is believed to be the key as well as salvation to the mutant race and Cable is using everything in his power to make sure that their race doesn’t burn out into extinction. It might not be such a huge issue if it weren’t for Bishop betraying the X-Men with the belief that the baby is not the salvation but the destruction. It makes for an interesting conundrum no? Bishop is chasing Cable through time and space in order to find and kill the now four year old child in Cable’s charge. Cable is in trouble because he can only slide forward into time and Bishop knows this. Bishop is making the playing field smaller so Cable has limited places he can slide forward into. Bishop has launched six major weapons loose into the future, whether it is plague, nuclear weapons, or whatever else he can to narrow his hunting ground.

Bishop has returned to the present and the X-Men have captured his, hoping to find out if Cable and the baby are still alive. They find out he is, but also what Bishop’s plan is.

At the same point in the future, Cable is piecing together that the bleak future that he is in is actually because of Bishop.

It’s a real game of cat and mouse in this series. It is the first time sadly that Bishop has ever been portrayed as the bad-ass he is supposed to be and unfortunately he had to become a traitor to get there. Cable is being shown as this incredibly well trained and intelligent warrior with a heart of gold and while I feel like the character has always had glimmers of this, it isn’t until now that he has truly lived down his 90’s incarnations and become something more than he was.  I truly enjoy this book every month. The art is very pretty to look at and I am definitely not among the Olivetti detractors out there. All of the X-books have shown more cohesion than ever before with somehow still being able to stand on there own. I applaud this very much and while Cable is often times separate from the X-Men, they are his reason for being, his current purpose for survival, and he will never disappoint his father (Cyclops) by failing. I just can’t help but like where it’s all headed.

Sam Wilson’s Reviews

Haunted Tank #2 (of 5)
Written by: Frank Marraffino
Drawn by: Henry Flint

For those of you who didn’t know, “Haunted Tank” was a regular feature in the 1960ish book G.I. Combat and was about Lt. Jeb Straut, a tank Commander during WW2. Apparently his namesake, Col. Jeb Straut, a confederate general, was sent by Alexander the Great to aid Lt. Straut and his Light M3 Straut Tank that the Lt. Commanded. Specifically I should say the Colonel’s ghost was sent by Alexander the Greats ghost to act as the guardian/advisor to the Lt. and his Tank. Hence the name haunted tank. Yeah, a little weird but it could maybe be born again into a mature readers Vertigo title in 2008. Couldn’t it?

Vertigo’s “Haunted Tank” opens in 2003, Iraq. Collin Powell told the world there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and bang, in goes the army. Enter Sgt. Jamal Straut, tank commander. He commands an Abraham’s tank and finds himself separated from his battalion with the rest of his crew. Soon enough, it being war and Sgt. Straut and his crew being separated from their unit, they find themselves in the sh$t. Its okay though, Col. Jeb Straut shows up and saves them from sudden death. Of course Sgt. Straut and company are certain that they are hallucinating the Iraqi’s have pumped the air full of LSD. Just to clarify this is a Vertigo book, so rather than “The Unit” on CBS think “Generation Kill” on HBO. Yeah. It’s raw. Anyone one of Straut’s crew realizes they have been saved by legendary Confederate Col. Jeb Straut and rejoices. This irritates Sgt. Straut to no end. You see, Sgt Jamal Straut is black and doesn’t take to kindly to ghosts of confederate soldiers, guardian angels or otherwise. It gets worse when Jamal (and Jeb) realize that Jamal is indeed a descendant of the Colonel. Yeah. A string of profanities ensue and thus the Sgt. Straut and their crew begin their strange journey back to the light.  In issue two the Colonel gets a lesson from the Sgt. About “modern language” and the use of the word “nig-grah”, amidst him and his crew shouting every slur imaginable to a bunch of Iraqi’s who make the mistake of taking on a tank with a few RPG’s and a pick up truck.  Poetry, rap lyrics, and racial slurs abound, issue two had me laughing my ass off…

Yeah, this book is pretty freakin’ goood. Nothing like I’d expected (then again, I didn’t really have any expectations going into it). Jamal realizing that the Colonel is indeed his guardian angel, well, the whole way that scene unfolds is priceless. Of course me being a big fan of cursing, well, its nice to here soldiers talk the way they really talk. Realistic dialogue is always a bonus. Not an overly sensitive book, but not really an overtly political one either, I’m down with this series for the next four issues no question. To bad it isn’t an ongoing. Either way, highly recommended.
The Punisher #1
Marvel Comics
Written by: Rick Emender
Drawn by: Jerome Opena

Dark Reign is on, Marvel belongs to the bad guys. Yeah, another crossover crossed over into another crossover, but bear with me. Secret Invasion happened and the Skrulls lost, Tony Stark is out and Norman Osborne is in charge. He pretty much sucks, and the Punisher is still around and kicking and recently, in the recently relaunched Punisher War journal he is back in the regular Marvel U and wants to kill supervillians.  The premise of this new book? The Punisher is going to kill Norman Osborne.  Yes, that happened already in Amazing Spider-Man 121 but whatever.  The Punisher is back to his ‘80’s awesomeness, well, at least for now.  His new movie was pretty awesome, Ennis’s “War Zone” series, awesome, War Journal, mediocre at best (not the Lee/Potts War Journal of old), MAX, not so bad (better with Ennis), so how’s the new book?

Issue one gives us Frank vs. The Sentry. The Sentry pretty much sucks balls, I don’t think many comic fans would argue that.  Why would Marvel feel the need to retcon a Superman knockoff, I don’t know and I don’t care he just pretty much sucks balls and is the Marvel “Superman” and he and the Punisher go at it.  Sort of.  To make a long story short Frank tries to take a shot at Norman Osborne and the Sentry stops him, Frank outsmarts him and has a mysterious benefactor, and the rest of the issue is a Punisher recap from his first appearance on up…

This book is not bad.  Yes, the Sentry is a lame character but the concept is interesting and the book was well written and well drawn.  Sentry was the hook for the first issue, what’s to follow, who knows, but I’m going to give it a chance.

Offline Sam Wilson

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Re: sam wilson and crew comics and tpb reviews for you, 1/8/09
« Reply #1 on: January 08, 2009, 03:15:31 pm »
Wktf’s Reviews

Last week’s haul was pretty large so I wasn’t really expecting to drop any major coin.  The Secret Invasion tpb and the absolutely beautiful DC Universe Illustrated by Neal Adams HC Vol. 1 put me up over $100!  Did anyone else pick up this HC?  It doesn’t repeat any of the other Neal Adams stories in DC’s Deadman, Green Lantern/Green Arrow or Batman HC volumes and, for any Neal Adams fan, looks like a keeper.

Sub-Mariner: Depths #4 of 5
Marvel Comics/Marvel Knights
Written by:  Peter MIlligan
Drawn by: Esad Ribic
Cover by: Esad Ribic

Marvel’s done a pretty phenomenal job of reinventing the Marvel Knights line, making it a showcase to tell new stories about existing characters that either seem to be or, in fact, are otherworldly.  The current offerings of Magneto: Testament and Sub-Mariner: Depths quite possibly are the best of this lot thus far.  Dr. Randolph Stein is an adventurer and myth buster.  He’s a scientist whose mission in life seems to be debunking famous legends. At the beginning of this series he led an expedition to the Mariana Trench, at 36,000 feet below sea level one of the deepest and darkest levels of the ocean, in search of a lost crew.  This crew, led by another adventurer, Captain Marlow, went in search of the fabled City of Atlantis.  Traveling with a superstitious crew he hears of their fears and stories about Namor The Sub-Mariner, a being of indescribably power and fury who brooks no trespassers in his realm.

This series has a real aura of fear about it born primarily out of Ribic’s haunting art.  The dark, crushing and oppressive ocean seems to be a character in its own right and the reader really can feel these characters’ sense of claustrophobia and fear as they move carefully about this black, murky realm.  As the dangers to the crew become more apparent, and as we’ve been observing phantom shadows moving along and around the undersea vessel, this crew visits the Mariana Station where Marlow’s crew were to be.  There they find the entire crew brutally slain.  And at this point, fear and tempers begin to run hot for everyone concerned.  Up until this point any image of Namor has not been directly evidenced, more felt or implied.  I’m grateful to say that this tease ends with this issue which does build to a big and impressive reveal by the story’s end.

I can’t recommend this book strongly enough.  Milligan’s really crafted a wonderfully spooky and tense tale and Ribic’s art is simply drop-dead gorgeous.  His depiction of Namor is true to the character we know:  proud, regal and incredibly powerful looking.  And, yet, we also are presented a creature that is silent, inhuman and nightmarish.  A few of us who’ve followed this story have commented that it should be the basis for the Sub-Mariner movie and I think Hollywood should take note of this series as it did to draw comic book references to the Batman films.  The story is just that good.  We’ve had an excellent build to this point, with plenty of tension and suspense to push us through the anxiety of not having seen Namor for the first three issues, and next month’s final installment now is my most highly anticipated comic book for February.

Detective Comics #842
DC Comics
Written by: Paul Dini
Drawn by: Dustin Nguyen
Cover by: Andrew Robinson

At this point we all know that Batman’s gone MIA.  If you’ve followed Batman RIP then you really have no idea what’s happened to him; however, if you’ve been reading Final Crisis you know he’s trapped in a contraption of Darkseid’s.  What RIP has to do with the Final Crisis event isn’t clear to me at all so I’m not even going to go into it here.  But, if Final Crisis #6 comes out next week like it’s supposed to and this connection isn’t explained I’ll likely take up this issue in my reviews next week.  Something to look forward to, I suppose.  Here in Detective we were treated to The Heart of Hush arc, an RIP tie-in that really didn’t tie into RIP at all.  To strike at Bruce Wayne, Tommy Elliot attacked Selina Kyle and removed her heart from her body while also surgically altering his face to look like Wayne.  Thus, he’d torture Wayne through Catwoman, kill Batman and go on to impersonate Wayne. But, of course, Batman defeated him and saved Selina who, in turn drained Elliot of his family’s $200MM fortune.  Now broken, destitute and alone, Elliot considers suicide.

However, a turn of fortune puts Elliot on the path of using Wayne’s identity to gain access to people, assets and weapons.  Dini does a great job of showing us how Elliot slowly but progressively takes control of his life, at other’s expense, to begin the process of getting back on his feet.  But this title is branded with DC’s new “Faces of Evil” mark, a theme across DC’s books to showcase its villains and their perspective on “events unfolding around them.”  The villains in this title are Hush, yeah, but also Catwoman.  And, properly healed after her ordeal at Hush’s hands, Selina does come calling in a controlled act of rage.  In addition to the “Faces of Evil” logo, this book also is branded with the “Last Rites” tag that’s followed RIP in the various Batman titles.  And while none of them, like RIP, have been all that good this story at least is interestingly conceived and executed.  While I’m not happy about what DC’s doing with Batman and really couldn’t care less about Hush as a character, I’m a fan of Dini and Nguyen’s work on Detective Comics and, despite the material with which they’re working, these two have crafted a fun beginning to this two partner.  If you must pick up a Batman title at this point, I can recommend this one.

Dead of Night: Werewolf by Night #1
Marvel Comics/MAX
Written by: Duane Swierczynski
Drawn by: Mico Suayan
Cover by: Patrick Zircher

Being a Marvel Monsters fan I’m not ashamed to admit that I was looking forward to this one.  Jack Russell still is the Werewolf by Night, whom we saw in Marvel’s Legion of Monsters series two years ago and again a few months ago in Moon Knight.  Now we’re presented a new turn for Jack who’s mainly been a loner all his life (being a werewolf will do that to you, I suppose).  He now has the semblance of a normal life, living with a beautiful wife named Cassie in Philadelphia and even a baby on the way.  Normal except his wife thinks his name is Michael Shephard, a man who manages field offices and has to travel for business once a month.  In reality he’s locking himself in a steel cell and riding out his ghastly transformations.  With this issue horror fans are treated to flashbacks of several werewolf incidents detailing the monster’s bloody attacks, one from 1983 (and, actually, it’s not exactly clear which monster this one is), another from when Jack was in high school and yet another from five years ago.  All, of course, with serious and horrible consequences.

The profanity and level of gore (pay attention to the detail of the final kill in this issue…pretty grisly) earns this title its MAX imprint, for sure.  But this issue is more than just swearing, blood and flesh ripping.  There are mysteries involving people who are following Jack, notes he seems to leave for himself when he’s no longer himself, and exactly what happened with the final killing and who the killer really was.  Swierczynski helps us get inside Jack’s head and experience his horror and revulsion over the years due to his curse.  And Suayan draws a truly wild, powerful and monstrous werewolf, very much in keeping with the look of the old Mike Ploog ‘70s beast but updated for more modern times.  Marvel Monster fans take note.  With the Marvel MAX Man-Thing series over as of a few months back, this is a cool and extremely promising and fun beginning to a great new monster run.

Secret Invasion: War of Kings One-Shot
Marvel Comics
Written by: Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning
Drawn by: Paul Pelletier & Bongo Dazo
Cover by: Brandon Peterson

Secret Invasion is over and Dark Reign has started.  So, do you really feel up for another event-type series?  I didn’t and just out of shear exhaustion I planned NOT to pick up any of the War of Kings issues.  Unfortunately, the Inhumans’ Secret Invasion mini-series was one of the two best (the other’s being the Black Panther tie in) side series to Secret Invasion.  Black Bolt captured and dissected by the Skrulls so as to create their ultimate weapon.  Medusa, going completely bad-ass to get her king and husband back.  Crystal’s involuntarily ending up betrothed to Ronan the Accuser for the Kree’s help in freeing Black Bolt.  Seriously, it was a stronger story than Secret Invasion, itself.  So, I picked this up after first passing it by.  And, oh lordy, am I glad I did.

You think the Punisher takes no prisoners in his personal war on crime?  You should see Black Bolt now, and the extremes to which the entire Inhuman race now go to abandon their isolationist ways and take an active, preemptive stance for their future.  Seriously, Black Bolt has made up his mind and is out for blood.  No less than the entire city of Attilan becomes a weapon when he goes gunning for the remaining Skrulls and then turns his attention to the Kree.  Clearly, the Royal Family and their people have been pushed too far.  This is The Inhumans as they’ve threatened for decades to act but as we’ve really never seen them up until now.

Paul Pelletier was an inspired choice for art on this issue.  He had a short but brilliant run on Fantastic Four with Dwayne McDuffie and if his depiction of The Thing’s battle with Doom didn’t prove how capable he is at drawing explosive action scenes, this issue should leave no doubt.  As Medusa tells Ronan, millions of years ago the Kree created the Inhumans to be perfect living weapons and they prove here, and in spades, it in a major way here.  War of Kings looks to be an incredible run, just based on this one shot alone.  For those steering away from it because they don’t know enough about The Inhumans, The Starjammers, The  Shi’ar, Nova, Vulcan or any of the other related events like House of M, Silent War, you should pick up the FREE War of Kings Saga book at your lcs.  It nicely summarizes and ties together all the disparate storylines that have led to this event.  For this book, itself, I’m giving it my pick of the week.

Wktf’s Trade Review

Wolverine: Origins – Our War
Marvel Comics
Written by: Daniel Way
Drawn by: Steve Dillon (with Kaare Andrews)

Just to set the record straight (this is my way of justifying to myself that I’m doing this review, I suppose), I still think returning Wolverine’s memories to him is one of the worst editorial decisions Marvel’s ever made.  A major part of this character’s allure is the sense of mystery about him, even mysteries that are mysteries to him.  House of M eliminated all of that.  All the years of brainwashing and memory loss caused by the Weapon X program that left Logan searching desperately for clues about his life were corrected by The Scarlet Witch with a single sentence, resulting in a lifetime of memories flooding back into his head.  The premise of the Wolverine: Origins series is to tell stories about Wolverine’s new mission to reassemble his life and exact revenge on those he now knows hurt him in the past.

Changing gears a bit, the Death of Captain America has yielded a few good side stories for Marvel.  Fallen Son was one while the current Captain America Theatre of War series has been hit and miss thus far.  “Wolverine: Origins – Our War” has to rank up there as one of the best in this post Death of Cap category.  Standing in the Captain America tribute room of the Smithsonian Museum, next to the larger-than-life Bowen Designs-like statue of Cap, Logan grieves over Cap’s death in his own way by liquoring himself up and recalling his first meeting with Cap, as first documented in 1990’s Uncanny X-Men #268.  Back then, in WWII, the two of them partnered in the fabled Madripoor to rescue the young Natasha Romanoff from Baron Von Struker and The Hand.  After this adventure the new and inexperienced Cap offered Logan a partnership to which Logan, in a humorous turn, responded that he didn’t need a sidekick.  This now classic X-Men story also happens to be one of Chris Claremont and Jim Lee’s very best collaborative efforts and whose cover also serves as the inspiration for Ed McGuiness’ stunning variant tribute cover to Wolverine: Origins #16, the first part of our story.

Still in the Smithsonian, Logan’s thoughts turn to his second meeting with the star spangled Avenger, only a year after his first, and the thrust of this story.  Sent on a mission by the equally mysterious Seraph, whom we also met way back in Uncanny X-Men #268, Logan is to rejoin Cap, now on a mission to capture Von Strucker, and accept his offer of partnership.  Problem is, Cap’s already got Bucky as his new partner.  Nick Fury also joins our cast as the man who delivers Logan to Cap, and Logan develops an immediate respect for Fury whom he describes as “one o’ those few folks I’ve ever met who, on a damn-near genetic level, knows how to fight a war.”  The same respect is not accorded immediately to Cap, though.  Despite Bucky’s threats to the soldiers following Cap into battle that they give him the attention and respect he deserves, Cap’s comic book persona and overly idealistic, bordering on bombastic, words make it hard for the men, even Logan and Fury, to take him seriously.  “But,” as Logan also remarks, “eventually he’d show us.  Eventually, he’d show us all.”

As a Captain America, Wolverine and Nick Fury fan I can unreservedly recommend this outstanding trade which, at maybe its highest level, is a coming of age moment for Captain America and an important story in his growth as a leader and a fighting legend.  Steve Dillon draws and outstanding Cap who’s all parts naïve, proud, powerful and fierce. We also see how two individuals as cynical and hardened as Logan and Fury can come to respect a man who wears his ideals, like his flag, on his sleeve.  At another level, the interplay between all the main characters is fun and appropriately tense given the setting.  Logan and Bucky in particular, two hardened killers with reason to distrust each other, have a few notable exchanges.   As an added bonus we’re also shown the birth of Hydra and a few hints that will lead to the creation of SHIELD.  And, as Daniel Way’s most excellent story builds to its moment of crisis where a second famous Marvel villain makes his appearance, we see once again that Logan’s will and destiny, much to his and our serious frustration, wasn’t his own to control even back then. 

This trade collects Wolverine: Origins #16-20 and Annual #1, a modern day reunion of sorts between Logan and Seraph in Madripoor with art by Kaare Andrews, and is complete with cover recreations and sketches by Marko Djurdjevic as well as the previously mentioned most awesome McGuinness variant cover.  The one missing element I wish were included in this book, one that really would have rounded this package out, would have been a reprint of the nearly 20 year old Uncanny X-Men #268 that’s the very basis for this story.  Oh, well, regardless, available in HC as well as tpb you can pick your preference for trade packaging.  Even if you’re still shaking your head as I am over the return of Wolverine’s memories, this one is a must own.

Offline masigl4179

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Re: sam wilson and crew comics and tpb reviews for you, 1/8/09
« Reply #2 on: January 29, 2009, 04:15:18 pm »
10 picks for January 7

10. Secret Six#5- I bought this for the Faces of Evil special because I thought it would focus on Deadshot but it didn't. I'm just not feeling Secret Six this time around.
9. House of Mystery#9- I'm intrigued by House of Mystery but my patience is starting to run thin. Exactly what the heck is going on? Also, I didn't find the story that interesting this time around.
8. Black Lightning Year One#1- Interesting take on the Origin of Black Lightning. I'm curious to see how well Jena Van Meter can write this story considering I read somewhere she said it would be a challenge because she was a white woman.
7. Gravel#7-Recently, I realized that I had stopped reading Hellblazer but I've found myself hooked on Gravel. Years ago, someone told me that Gravel is what John Constantine would be if he stopped acting like a pussy. Well, after reading my 7th issue of Gravel I'm inclined to agree because Gravel is a badass.
6. Terror Titans#4- Man, Static really looks like Black Lightning from Year One. Once again Terror Titans really delivers and we get to see Static put an ass whupping on Ravenger.
5. Marvel Zombies#4- Wow, I'm almost 100% satisfied with the ending of this mini series. My only complaint is that one of the zombies just happened to have escaped and now the Midnight Sons have to return.
4. No Human#3-More Warren Ellis insanity. Literally, we get to see all kinds of psychedelic and disturbing visions and we still haven't scratched the surface of what's really going on.
3. Anna Mercury#5-I have to admit that even though I'm a Warren Ellis fan I didn't expect to enjoy this one as much as I did. Man the stuff that Anna Mercury was doing this the chain. Do yourself a favor and check it out.
2. Thor#12- I heard about this issue first, and then I read it and yes it really is that good. Basically Loki goes back in time to create his origin. I know it sounds cliché but it was so much better than that.
1. Detective Comics#852- Now this was a good Faces of Evil special. Hush returns and we get to see how he survived his last encounter with Batman and what happened to him next. This was a prime example of some really good Paul Dini writing.