Tag Archives: Al Ewing

A Space Odyssey: Royals

“…Remember one day you will die.”

Hey, hey, all. This is D. C. here to start some throwdowns–it’s been a good while, ugh. I have plenty planned, but let’s start here: Marvel’s new run, Royals.

Image result for royals #2

What’s up with this?

For anyone who followed the Inhumans vs. X-Men crossover and the follow-up one-shot Inhumans: Prime, the Inhumans have officially lost the Terrigen mists on Earth, and a small envoy is off in space to find the true meaning (and hopefully reserves?) of Terrigen, aided by the dimension Kree ensign Noh-Varr (of Marvel Boy/Captain Marvel/Protector fame).

My impressions:

In a short phrase: I don’t like this, but I also think I’m coming from a strong bias.

  1. Al Ewing: I had a certain fondness for Al Ewing after he wrote an interesting run of the Ultimates. However, that shine wore off quickly when he scripted a very lackluster and unnecessarily silly run of U.S.Avengers. I gave this book a reluctant shot, hoping my reservations would be unfounded.While the mystery of what Terrigen actually is does carry its own mystique, the voices of the Inhumans bothers me too much. I became familiar with the Inhumans through Paul Jenkins’ work, and saw the Inhumans as having an air of majesty about them befitting a royal family, with voices that were very distinct.

    I feel that majesty and individuality has been lost in the face of the modern, young Nuhumans. Even the royal family became mediocre and neutered to appeal to a modern audience, a sentiment I already stated regarding Charles Soule’s Uncanny Inhumans.

    My biggest problem with Royals #2 was Crystal’s portrayal during the Chitauri attack (another problem I have with MCU elements being incorporated strongly in the comics: why are the Chitauri so prominent without achieving legitimacy?). As she readies to counter the swarm, Crystal immediately starts quoting video game lingo: “Ready, Player Two? Here comes a new challenger.”

    Seriously?

    Do you honestly expect me to believe that Crystal, an Inhuman mother who, for all intents and purposes, has never shown enough interest in fighting video games, let alone any video game, to start quipping that way? It just doesn’t fit Crystal’s personality. It’s comes off as just plain silly and nonsensical, just as I’ve felt Ewing’s writing of U.S.Avengers has been.

    Image result for royals #2 marvel

  2. Jonboy MeyersOh, Jonboy. When I first saw his art in the DC Rebirth version of Teen Titans, I was repulsed. I don’t think he is a bad artist, but I think his art is not appropriate for superhero comics. Meyer’s manga-like style is too sharp, his facial expressions are almost too dynamic and exaggerated, and the art doesn’t give me the feeling that the Inhumans, especially the royal family, are refined, elegant creatures. Meyer’s art was an eyesore in Teen Titans, and I feel it’s an eyesore here. In Meyer’s hands, the Inhumans seem more like action figures made only for action-packed books…and little else.
    Image result for royals #2 marvel

    A clip from Inhumans: Prime

    Aside from Ewing’s poor tackling of the more established characters (including Noh-Varr) and Meyer’s intense art, issue #2 suffers from the growing problem Marvel has had recently: the book falls out of sequence with other books that already alluded to the coming Chitauri swarm such as Captain America: Steve Rogers, Secret Empire, and Civil War II: The Oath. It feels like you’re backtracking, and that isn’t the best thing.

Image result for royals #2 marvel

Gotta love some of the costume designs, though.

Overall?

Al Ewing and Jonboy Meyers’ Royals run is proposed as a space odyssey set to elaborate on Inhumans history, both past and future. However, I can’t get on board with Ewing’s uncharacteristic portrayal of these characters, nor can I accept Meyer’s unfit artistic style. Together, they make the Inhumans an unnecessarily action-heavy team, rather than a refined group of…well, ROYALS.

While I am curious about what Noh-Varr meant as to the true nature of Terrigen, and what the future events depicted mean for the present lives of the Inhumans–not to mention the hopes that Crystal’s Kree husband Ronan will appear–I can’t say that I will stick with this book in its current state.

END THROWDOWN.

The Ultimates

“What lies outside imagination? Only the unimaginable.”

Hey, all, D.C. here for a throwdown. I’ve been playing catch up with the All-New, All-Different Marvel (and DC Rebirth, by the way), but I was particularly drawn to The Ultimates.

 

Who are the Ultimates?

These aren’t your Earth-1610 Ultimates. In Earth-616, the Ultimates consist of: Captain Marvel, dimension-walker Miss America, antimatter genius Blue Marvel, Black Panther, and Spectrum. By the creative team of Al Ewing and Kenneth Rocafort, the Ultimates are more than superheroes: they specialize in proactive solutions in the universe. The ultimate solution to the galaxy’s problems.

I read through issues #1-8, and some thoughts on what this series is about, and what can we look forward to.

The Pluses

Al Ewing

Al Ewing is writing a very dynamic and intricate story. With this much fictional science in the book, you can only imagine how much homework needs to be done with understanding thermodynamics, quantum physics, or any science, and to twist and spin it with fiction to make a series work. I think Ewing does it very well thus far.

The cast?

I think the cast is great. Unless you’re reading a black-majority comic like Black Panther, it is very uncommon to see any primary cast as anything other than Caucasian. Captain Marvel is the only (primary) white character, but I did not think it felt forced at all. We have strong, intelligent powerhouses on the team, and they’re not white. How often can you see that?

A great aspect to The Ultimates so far is the growing cast of supporting and guest characters. Puck? Raz Malhotra, the new Giant-Man? Anti-Man, who I have no experience with? Blue Marvel’s prodigious and powerful children? There was someone different almost every issue, that it was exciting. Who will show up next? Will any of these be mainstays or supporting characters? I look forward to that.

The plot?

I have a degree in biological science, and a master’s degree in forensics. I like to think I am an intelligent person. I love, love LOVE the scientific aspects of this book. The abundance of science, thanks to Black Panther and Blue Marvel, keeps me interested in this series in a different way, and how the Ultimates’ solutions–or their tampering–can affect the universe. This book is clearly of the superhero genre, but thanks to the science and action, it is much more.

It’s challenging the reader to understand.

All dat science-y stuff…

 

The scientific aspects also plays a big part in this story. With the Ultimates playing at proactive solutions, it is only a matter of time when their actions will draw the alarm and ire of other races (like the Shi’ar). They have intelligent members, and interdimensional knowledge through Miss America, but they do not have full understanding of the forces, laws, and roles in the universe. Their actions will put Earth at odds with the other worlds at some point.

Heck…with Galactus’ new, forced role by the Ultimates, what does that spell for in the galaxy? Galactus had a vital role as a world destroyer. Now that he’s no longer the devourer, what does that do to the laws of the universe? Will someone else take on the role of the devourer? Do the Ultimates even understand why Galactus was the devourer?

THE LIFEGIVER

Dan Brown, colorist

You see for yourself. Dan Brown does some great and vivid coloring in this series. I feel they are appropriate with a sci-fi, superhero series.

The Minuses

This is more of a subjective minus:

Kay read through issues #1-5 and admitted that she was lost in the science aspect. So, I warn you: for those who are very bad at understanding scientific concepts (like Kay), even from a fictional perspective, you might have trouble. For those of you, like me, who either have an education in or love of science, you’re good to go.

Now for the real minus:

Kenneth Rocafort

Rocafort is a great artist. His art is crisp, neat, detailed, and proportional. But as I read more and more issues of The Ultimates, I noticed one glaring detail:

Rocafort is not good at facial expressions.

Observe Captain Marvel:

Above is a great drawing of Carol Danvers, but outside of this, her normal expressions are often these:

 

Blue Marvel’s and Spectrum’s facial expressions likewise don’t change much. Blue Marvel usually looks like he’s smirking. When they’re happy, normal, or even in combat, those facials don’t deviate enough. Their emotions aren’t conveyed well as a result. It is a very big bother, and I hope Rocafort can develop further and rectify this. My further enjoyment of this book hinges on that.

Development?

Many of these characters are “fully developed,” depending on your meaning. I liked Ewing’s nod to Spectrum’s developed powers and what that means for her humanity. But I do hope that with this type of series, that the other characters will get further developed. I have such little experience with Blue Marvel and Miss America, and I hope to see more from them. Miss America especially, given her youth compared to the adults she is teamed up with.

…I’m in love…

Recap

The Ultimates is a good series. I think a team focused on solutions over battles presents a better balance to the overall Marvel Universe, and the overall line of books published right now. Al Ewing has a tough role in presenting the universe from a scientific aspect, but he is taking on this role in stellar fashion. Kenneth Rocafort’s art is great, but he really needs to work on expressing emotion better with these characters.

With a series that goes from earth to the end of the universe, there are ripe stories waiting to be told with the Ultimates and the many species in the Marvel Universe. I have enjoyed this series so far, and look forward to how the Ultimates develop as individuals and as a team.

END THROWDOWN.