(Secret Wars #8, art by Esad Ribic)
Secret Love (one shot)
Michel Fiffe | Felipe Smith | Val Staples | Jeremy Whitley | Gurihiru | Marguerite Bennett | Kris Anka | Katie Cook | Clayton Cowles
This lighthearted one shot compilation of stories tries to find possible love in the depressing world that is Doom. In fact, there's not much mention of anything about him except partially in the short featuring Robbie Reyes (Ghost Rider/Racer) in the Killiseum and the new Kamala Khan (Ms Marvel). My personal favorite is the Misty Knight-Danny Rand part, not the least of which showcases the nice, clean art of Gurihiru.
Noelle Stevenson | Sanford Greene | John Rauch | Clayton Cowles
I loved the old BKV/Adrian Alphona incarnation of the Runaways. In this Doomworld, the lone connection to that era is Molly Hayes. You got the usual detention-level students trying to make it thru a day in the minefield of cliques, bullies and authority figures. This time, its a Hunger Games style of eliminating failed students - thank goodness this bunch has Amadeus Cho lol (and his bodyguard-slash-fan Skaar). They also switched Cloak and Dagger's names/powers. James "Bucky" Barnes plays the school hall monitor (I wonder how they explain one character appearing in multiple Battleworld domains differently?). Not a fan of Sanford Greene's art, and that takes it down a notch for me.
Red Skull #1-3 (Secret Wars Battleworld)
Joshua Williamson | Luca Pizzari | Rainier Beredo | Clayton Cowles
The Red Skull as a bogeyman in the reign of Doom? Well, it certainly suits his looks. This 3-part series from Josh Williamson has a team assembled by Johann's erstwhile enforcer/son-in-law Crossbones to retrieve or bring back evidence of him. Included in the motley crew is dedicated Nazi hater Magneto. Super villain team up? Kinda. But with the twists and turns that happens, expect that the titular character is not the most important one in this book (hint, hint).
Ghost Racers #1-4
Felipe Smith | Juan Gedeon | Tamra Bonvillain | Cory Petit
The tagline of this Secret Wars Battleworld series is "Live Fast. Die Hard. Race Forever." Sounds like a plan. Featuring Ghost Riders present and past - Reyes, Jones, Blaze, Ketchum, Slade - they're the most exciting draw in the Killiseum (heh), an arena for these modern times in the age of Doom. Hosted by Arcade (in his best Mojo impersonation, another genius casting if i may say so), the event is part-Gladiatorial show, part-Death Race 2000 and part-Hunger Games, where the losers are punished in the dungeons thereafter (no dying, because the show must go on eh?). The premise is not too far from the Ghost Rider mythos we have all enjoyed - punishment, justice, sacrifice and redemption. Current Rider Robbie Reyes takes center stage here, but the surprise is a critical role by dat rapist Carter Slade, the original Ghost Rider (hehehe). Decent enough story, not too enamored of the art. I guess I was too spoiled with Javier Saltares and the great Mark Texiera.
It's CSI Asgard! Well, in this case, Doomstadt, but either way, being cops kinda suit them the way the Green Lantern Corps do with their rings. Jason Aaron does a masterful job of blending decades of Marvel Asgardian pop culture (Frog Thor!) into a cohesive whodunit. We know who the real Thor is, but the star of this book is the Ultimate version. For the life of me though, I can't remember the movie where Aaron might have gotten his inspiration - you know, honest cop looks for murderer, turns out to be his own ... aahh, I can see Aaron's beard bristling from here. Better finish this quick before he hurls a Mjolnir my way. Hearty round of applause, and toast of mead to everyone involved. (I did miss Chris Sprouse's art - yaaayyy)
Jason Aaron | Chris Sprouse | Karl Story Marte Gracia | Joe Sabino #marvel
Martial arts mayhem and skulduggery, kung fu tournaments, a myriad of Marvel characters reimagined ... what's not to like? "Master of Kung Fu" pits an eerily-Keanu Reeves-looking Shang Chi ("47 Ronin"?) versus a gauntlet of martial arts masters to win the throne of K'un Lun. If I had any complaints, it would be that 4 issues isn't enough to cover all the colors in this palette, and being an Iron Fist guy, I grudgingly cede the spotlight to Shang. Anyway, I was entertained. Thumbs up.
W. Haden Blackman | Dalibor Talijic | Goran Sudzuka | Miroslav Mrva | Travis Lanham
Got my mind blown with this 5-issue Secret Wars Battleworld series from Charles Soule. A fractured Inhumans family find themselves on both sides of the equation, with Medusa and Gorgon ruling the New Attilan under Doom's auspices, while Black Bolt, Triton and Karnak secretly help foment revolution across the land. But not all things are what they seem. With appearances by Kamala Khan (a favorite in my Marvel Puzzle Quest game haha), Ghost Rider and Daredevil.
Red Dead Revolver + Marvel = 1872. Fun, fun, fun in the wild, wild west.
I think they are going to explore this world further. No safety net, boys. Steve Rogers bit it in issue #2.
Gerry Duggan | Nik Virella | Lee Loughridge
Took my sweet time but here i am.
Extending the run, as they say in sports. Dan Slott (who didn't have time to shave for the past 3 years or something) has to be commended for cooking up this delicious meal of having someone villainous take over Spidey's mind and play him for awhile. Even before it ends, you can't help cheering for Ock though. What a ride.
I don't know how I missed this. Actually I do; I haven't been reading voraciously for awhile now. But rectifying that a bit and going through the latest iteration of Moon Knight, written by the incomparable Warren Ellis and the up-and-coming Declan Shalvey.
5 Reasons This Version of Moon Knight is better than Batman:
Moon Knight has always been viewed as a second-rate Batman. Sure, Tony Stark/Iron Man matches well with Bruce Wayne as the playboy intelligent billionaire with a gazillion gadgets and a heart of gold. But for gritty vigilantism and the iron will to see justice done whatever it takes, Moon Knight is the real equivalent. Marc Spector also has his shiny toys, dammit.
So far there's been 12-issues, and Ellis writes the first six in mostly self-contained chapters that work out quite well. The last Moon Knight series by Brian Michael Bendis had promise, but Ellis takes that and runs away with it. Working with the cops and assuming a role of "protector of the travelers of the night", Moon Knight takes on the regular bad guys and elements of the supernatural and weird a la "Global Frequency". "Sniper" has an opening narrative of interconnected stories which works well in a movie, and ends in a twist. "Box" has "Mr. Knight" taking on punk ghosts. In "Scarlet", he clears a building floor by floor (reminiscent of the Indonesian hit "The Raid") to rescue a young girl. He almost breaks a sweat in "Spectre" where a character from the first issue ends up attempting to replace him. Ellis though, never fails to reference the past, as the supporting cast shows up in cameos, although they never really interact with him. He has been diagnosed as having brain damage, but the new diagnosis is he does not have disassociative identity disorder (or multiple personalities), as we have known him to be. Regardless, it doesn't dull his sense of duty to do justice. Its much more fun this way.
This is how Moon Knight should be written - simple, uncomplicated, direct.
whoa. lookit. once decapitated by Logan, he's now going to be the new Logan. all hail Victor Creed!
- Axis #9
Axis, Book One: Red Supremacy and Book Two: Inversion
i actually prefer Book Two, where the insanity goes sideways and upside down and who knows where, than Book One, where Red Skull + Xavier's mind + Magneto's hate = Red Onslaught (yeah, that thing again). the thing with heroes is that they're also learning on the fly that a solution to a problem could create the next problem. i imagine some readers will take exception to Rick Remender's writing here, as he (gleefully perhaps) writes the second black Captain America as an angry revolutionary who's quick to violence (thug?). the X-Men just fast forwarded the coming of Apocalypse themselves, and the Avengers want to play God. and Kluh is the Hulk within the Hulk. i am Kluh-less what's gonna happen next. i didn't even know there was a Book Three coming.
art-wise, Adam Kubert's best days are in the rear view mirror, and you can see how event books show the rushed artwork. its good to see kababayans Leinil and Gerry back, but its just one issue in Book Two and the Dodsons take over.
just finished Cullen Bunn's 12-issue run of "Magneto". Mags has come a long way since taking on the X-Men and Avengers as a two-dimensional villain in the late 60s/70s. even with his diminished powers, he is a much more interesting character interacting with a changing world. it looks like Xavier (dead? not dead? who knows?) will leave the leadership of mutants in general to him, but where does that leave Cyclops? and how does his "Axis" alliance with the selected supervillains (specifically Mystique) dovetail with the knowledge that Mystique is a damn dirty traitor (not to mention, "Mrs. Xavier")? more questions down the pike, but its an enjoyable trip to have Magneto as the Frank Castle of the mutant cause. punish me, baby!
and just like that, one of the most annoying X-Men characters of the '90s bites the dust hehehe. babooosh, Bennet du Paris. i don't even know how you came to be a S.H.I.E.L.D. contractor (money's too tight to mention, especially for a 12th century man). your former master Magneto didn't even think of you.
Scott Lobdell's characters are being mowed down by Bendis hahaha. where the hell is Sugar Man? lol
and Brian Michael Bendis pulls out the rug from under me again. well, not really. my #1 suspect was the Dark Beast. finally closed the book on that one (hello Scott Lobdell).
the only possible reasons why Magneto didn't detect the nano-sentinels inside Cyclops was (a) it was too high tech for his broken powers or (b) he was too busy with his own agenda.
that was rollicking fun! let's do it again!
Seriously, this is what the art on Ultimates devolved into? Are they serious? I mean, seriously serious?
And I thought Bryan Hitch completely lost it. Its "Giannis Milonogiannis". Holy crap. I can do the same quality of artwork and I haven't drawn anything in years.
I'm sorry, its just ... just ugly.
Ultimates v1 #5, All-New Ultimates #8
I call dibs on Frank Castle or Bucky!
seriously, the real Nick Fury has no relationship with the Jr. (only a prop Marvel is forcing on us because of Sammy Jackson).
So this week was a triple shot espresso courtesy of Marvel. First, they gave us ...
Oh wait, that's not the female Thor they were rolling out soon. So apparently, Thor (the Thor we all know and love, that lout) will become unworthy of Mjolnir, and thus another hammer-bearer is needed. Apparently also, Beta Ray Bill was not answering his phone.
All bets are on the recently-acquired comic character/property Angela as the new Goddess of Thunder (what if it was Sif all along?). And although they say she "... isn't a temporary female substitute", how many issues or months would you bet before Thor Odinson regains the hammer? I'll wager less than 3 years, for one big crossover again.
Not too surprising is the ascension of Sam Wilson as the new (albeit temporary, i dare you challenge me) Captain America. I was thinking they would find a cure for Steve Rogers' dilemma in time, but I guess this was one of those insidious long-term plans concocted during one of those Marvel retreats. And why not? Marvel's batting average has been on the rise in the last 14 years.
Lastly, we are going to have an Iron Man that's "... hard to root for." Yes, the return of Drunk Tony!! Oh, wait, its going to be a Superior Iron Man. Hubris will be the norm, as Tony apparently continues the legacy of Steve Jobs (in more ways than one) and kind of forces his vision on the world (or in this case, San Francisco) because he knows he's right. You know he's always right. He may have gone too far with his Illuminati machinations, but .... you know he's right.
October can't be too far away. Enough time to grab the popcorn eh?
may contain comic-like substance. spoilers guaranteed. getting offended, optional.