The Hood #1

June 3, 2009

Boy in the Hood

Boy in the Hood

Dark Reign; The Hood #1

Jeff Parker
Kyle Hotz

Another in the group of Dark Reign minis that answers the question “What is up with THAT guy?”. I think the Hood is a cool character, so I appreciate the opportunity to read about him.
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Secret Warriors #4

May 15, 2009

Secret Warriors 4

Secret Warriors 4

Secret Warriors #4

Jonathan Hickman
Brian Bendis
Stefano Caselli

Ever since Nick Fury vanished at the end of Secret War a few years back, the question would occasionally pop up “where is Fury in all of this?”. Something big would happen with SHIELD or Hydra or whatever and you would wonder what Nick was doing. With the Secret Invasion come and gone, Nick (like everyone else) is adapting to the new status quo. In this New World Order, Fury trusts even fewer people than he did before. That short list now includes his hand selected, unattached, agents and, as we see in this issue, the remnants of SHIELD which would not be absorbed into HAMMER.
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New Avengers: The Reunion #3

May 13, 2009

New Avengers: The Reunion #3

Jim McCann
David Lopez

The newly returned Mockingbird continues her reintroduction to the Marvel Universe and her estranged husband Clint (Hawkeye/Ronin) Barton by leading us all on an international spy-chase to uproot the latest AIM game.
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Avengers Free Comic Book Day

May 6, 2009
Some assembly required

Some assembly required

The Avengers Free Comic Book Day

Brian Bendis
Jim Cheung

This past Saturday , coinciding with the release of X-Men Origins: Wolverine, was Free Comic Book Day 2009. One of Marvel’s offerings was Avengers. This year it is a completely original comic, without any of the usual re-printed or re-purposed materials we have seen in previous years. The comic is simply titled “The Avengers” without specifying which adjective-designated team will actually star in the story.
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The New Avengers #52

April 27, 2009

Eye spy.

Eye spy.

The New Avengers #52

Brian Bendis
Billy Tan
Chris Bachalo

Marvel’s Dark Reign flows into this “Sorcerer Quest”* story line. The characters are all still clearly under the influence of Dark Reign’s new status quo, but the world is moving on. Regardless of what conditions restrain them, there will always be work for Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. In this case, it is an unbalance in Marvel’s often overlooked magical sub-verse. The dimension needs a new Sorcerer Supreme and all the major magic players are out to get their hooks into whomever that will be.

What worked:
This book really feels like part of a larger universe. Doctor Strange is not an Avenger, but he is the Avengers circle. He was a member recently, and he knows these people. So, he is more than a guest star, but less than a cast member. He really feels like a friend who came by because he was in a moment of need. It makes sense with the logic of this book’s universe. These people know eachother and can count on eachother.
The “call to action” in this story comes about unlike you will find in any other super-hero comic. There is no alarm bell, or shouting of orders. Rather, a bunch of friends sit around a (rather large) table and talk about the problem. It less about the immediate peril, and more about pride, humility, and loyalty.
If you just count the number of pages and panels where nothing seems to be happening, you would say this was a fairly boring comic book. But, when you read what is actually going on in those scenes, the story is never slow or dull. Those scenes have meaning because you care about the characters. But they are also, strangely, exactly what makes you care about them in the first place.
Luke Cage and Peter Parker explaining simple morality and team ethics to the high-and-mighty Dr. Strange makes for a really nice scene.
Billy Tan is really stepping up for the art on these issues. And though i love Chris Bachalo’s work, his action can just get confusing. Which brings us to…

What did not work:
All of the action in this issue was in the demonic/mystical sections, which were done by the amazingly talented Mr. Bachalo. And though I really do love his work for its energy and beauty…he forces it. He will push a shot in too close, or exploe an effect too far and a panel or two will simply be lost.
Though I do trust this arc to pick up the pace in the next issue or two, it is off to a rather slow start.

*My name for it.


Hawkeye #1

April 19, 2009

Bullseye!

Bullseye!


Hawkeye #1

Andy Diggle
Tom Raney

The Dark Reign event has created a lot of interesting new situations within the Marvel Universe. Books like this are not so much cross-overs as they are spill-overs, because there is not one central plot thread, but rather just new set of conditions that the characters are experiencing. So, where do all of these interesting new dramas play out? Many of them do so in their home titles. But,when there is not room in a given home title, the story spills out into its own title. For example, Hawkeye.
With this title so deeply enmeshed in curent continuity, it is difficult to judge it completely on its own merits.

What worked:
There was lots of cool action. From a super-hero standard punch-up with a rampaging robot to Hawkeye’s own, more personal, rampaging near the end of the book. Raney’s art seemed a bit stretched trying to include all of the large action, but as soon as it focues in on Hawkeye, we see that this is not the Hawkeye we might have expected and that Raney is the guy to show him.
What will this bok do, and where wil it go? The central concept has enough dramatic weight built right into it that I’ll be there for an issue or two no mater what. Bullseye dressed as Hawkeye….no matter what he does, it’ll be interesting.
So, I guess I have to judge it in the context of the larger event. I have to consider it a known fact, and pary of the telling of the story, that this title is an off-shoot of a main title. I know that whatever happens in these four issues, it will not be the full story of Bullseye. If anything happens to him, it will happen in thepages of Dark Avengers. That works in the title’s favor in one major way. The serious messes that are made in this issue, just have to be cleaned up by the end of the four issue series. And, dang, how the heck could even the new Norman Osborn clean all THAT up? If the book were just about a nutcase on a rampage, I would already be bored with it, but knowing that the rules of shared continuity dictate closure…well, I just gotta see how they pull that off. Which leads to…

What did not work:
Maybe the mess is too big. It seems like the situation that has been created will just be too much to be dealt with in a reasonable way. I know that this is just me being a skeptical jerk…maybe I have been burned too often before….but as much as I am burning with curiosity, I am equally trepidatious of disappointment. Maybe it is a good thing that they have dug a hole so deo that I can’t see a way out of it. No, it is certainly a good thing, that is what good drama is built on. Powerful set-ups in which a character MUST take decisive action.
The character is forced to become proactive, if not actually heroic. But, if by the end of this story, the clevernes of the solution doe snot match the direness of the trap, then the whole thing will, retroactively, become a disappointment.

For now, though, this book is really cool.