Tag Archives: Marvel Comics

Unstoppable Wasp #7

“…once you start doing it, it changes your life forever.”

Wooo…it’s been too long. This is D.C. back to throw down once more (hopefully with more time devoted). Today? Marvel Comics’ The Unstoppable Wasp #7.

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Continuing some impressions…

Kay wrote a praiseworthy account of the first few issues of Unstoppable Wasp, and I agree: Jeremy Whitley wrote a pretty interesting take on Nadia, the daughter of Hank Pym and the latest Avenger known as Wasp. It’s a quirky series about a scientific genius trying to start up an organization of young, female scientific geniuses. It really is an endearing and inspirational series for young women.

However, my biggest problem with the first six issues was the art by Elsa Charretier. It’s simply too childish, too amateurish, and too sub-par. Charretier can certainly invoke the quirky and silly theme of this series, but even a book presumably tailored to children can have fantastic art that even adults can laud. It’s too low a quality to bring this series to prominence.

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Enter issue #7, which continues the concludes this arc, focused through the point of view of Janet Van Dyne, the original Wasp (who’s currently starring in Mike Duggan’s Uncanny Avengers). Immediately, the art provided by Veronica Fish struck me. It was a swift breath of fresh air. It was simply better in every way. While simple and still encompassing the light nature of The Unstoppable Wasp, Fish’s art also fit the seriousness of Ying’s predicament. It was as if the adult eyes of Van Dyne needed the more adult pencils of Veronica Fish, and it delivered.

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Veronica Fish provided strong emotive expressions in all of her characters, even through the masked face of the villain Whirlwind.

After basking in the euphoria of Fish’s art, I realized Jeremy Whitley’s writing likewise excelled. The focus on Janet Van Dyne allows even new readers to understand just who the original Wasp is, what her life is like, how she feels about herself, her critics, and–most importantly–of her stepdaughter Nadia. This issue was simply more mature tone, while maintaining the overall lightness, the comedy, and the dynamic moments (seeing Nadia using her Red Room skills was great). It is a tone that paid off.

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Verdict

The Unstoppable Wasp has been a fairly endearing and well-written series, but issue #7 was the freshness that was needed. Veronica Fish’s more mature art style keeps all the lightness and pleasantry of the series with zero downsides. Whitley’s writing takes a greater turn by setting Janet Van Dyne as the point-of-view character, and even Nadia’s character seems stronger than the childish naivete Whitley has penned her with since the start. Here’s hoping that this pleasant turn continues in the later issues.

END THROWDOWN!

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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.

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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.

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  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.
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    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.

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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.

Infamous Iron Man #5

“Because now I am proud of you.”

Hey, hey. This is D.C. here. I’m up to my ears in comics (preorders are good, but costly in time-management), but I had a hankerin’ to throw down on Marvel’s Infamous Iron Man.

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Premise

With all the divisiveness over Riri Williams taking on the role of Ironheart and the erroneous belief that she is Iron Man, we have one Victor Von Doom, a new man from his experiences in Secret Wars, looking to make himself a better man by being Iron Man. With the kind of baggage and history Doom’s had, you can imagine he’s got his work cut out for him.

Impressions

The first few issues of Infamous Iron Man had me intrigued. There’s something interesting about a reformation story, especially one involving a man like Doctor Doom. How will he succeed? How will he fail? Brian Michael Bendis took Von Doom on a very interesting, yet low-key, start to his journey. Alex Maleev’s art adds a dark, gothic feel to the armored sorcerer.

At least in the beginning.

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Throughout the first issues, I was stil unclear as to why exactly Doom is targeting the other scientific villains, many of whom he felt a kinship to, as men who have squandered their talents. I doubt he killed any of them since–as always–a death unseen in comics is a death undone. Is Doom merely capturing them? Who can say? With Bendis’ lack of depth and introspection of Doom, it is hard to tell where he goes.

In Infamous Iron Man #5, Bendis adds a major kink in Doom’s path by reintroducing Cynthia Von Doom, Victor’s not-so dead mother. Why such a big thing is introduced in the middle of a vague redemption story isn’t entirely clear. Kay read this as well, and she felt that Bendis is throwing in too many different elements at once–Doom’s nascent heroism, the circumstances of Cynthia Von Doom’s return, why the events of Doctor Strange don’t seem to affect either Von Doom’s access to magic, the Maker, S.H.I.E.L.D.’s intentions with the conflict in Latveria, Amara Perera’s roles. I fear all this will muddy the overall storyline if too few things are brought in and unresolved.

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While Maleev’s art still excels, one thing threw me off during the reunion fight between Doom and his mother: Why are Cynthia’s spells written with Greek letters and hiragana? Did they think that no one would catch that? Looking below on the top panel, and the hiragana don’t seem to mean anything; nor did the Greek letters. Maleev would’ve been better off making up his own glyphs for magical spells…

(However, if anyone can read Japanese, feel free to prove me wrong. Please.)

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The big reveal of the Maker (the villainous Reed Richards of Earth-1610) at the end of the issue adds even more questions than perhaps was needed in this series, least of all is his relation to Cynthia Von Doom and his plans against the new Iron Man.

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With Infamous Iron Man, I have the same problem I’ve had with Bendis’ other series, Invincible Iron Man. Bendis’ writing is much too sparse when writing Doom. Are we to assume that a man, a thinker, a genius like Victor Von Doom, doesn’t have a million thoughts of his path? That he doesn’t wrestle with his darker impulses, the desires he’s acted upon for some 50 years? Is he supposed to be the relatively quiet type, and we’re supposed to just go along for the ride as if that is sufficient?

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I would appreciate knowing more about what’s going on in Doom’s head, especially how he sees himself and those who damn his attempts at heroism at every turn. And while Alex Maleev’s art is superb, it doesn’t suffice when words are lacking. Action can only carry a book so far. Bendis really needs to work on this in the issues to come, or I can’t see myself staying along for Doom’s rise…or his fall.

END THROWDOWN.

 

Civil War II: The Oath

“Does this world look saved?”

Welcome, this is D.C. back for a throwdown on a book that really left an impression in spite of its preceding event: Marvel’s Civil War II: The Oath.

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The Oath?

The Oath picks up after the events of Civil War II–which, honestly, I didn’t finish because the story, for all its good art, just wasn’t satisfying in terms of story. I gave up on issue #5 because of the lack of logic in events, and how you really needed to read the various tie-ins just to understand why the other characters chose the faction they chose.

This story also picks up after some key events in the Captain America: Steve Rogers series. That, I’ll write a comprehensive review of later.

Impressions?

Writer Nick Spencer appears to get a lot of flack regarding the political undertones of his scripts, and for his recent takes on both Sam Wilson and Steve Rogers. However, in The Oath, Spencer pulls out the stops when he takes the reader on a monological tour of Steve Roger’s feelings and thoughts on recent events. One of the most powerful moments already started at the beginning, when Steve beside a comatose Tony Stark and says, simply: “What a waste.”

Those simple words already lets the reader know just how this Steve thinks of Tony. From there, Steve damns not only Tony  and Captain Marvel, but the superhero community in general. It is a sentiment felt by Ms. Marvel, the Champions, and Clint Barton, but Spencer lets Steve turn what appeared to be a story similar to Civil War: The Confession into a truly damning and, worse, mocking account by Steve.

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I was left disturbed throughout the story as Steve pointed out Tony’s hubris and failure as both a hero and a man. If you know anything about the rocky road between Iron Man and Captain America, reading Cap’s opinions of Tony aren’t necessarily new. But under Nick Spencer, the altered Steve is particularly scathing–almost violent, as if he is telling Tony, “Serves you right.”

The most meaningful part of The Oath is it is hard to disagree with Steve’s sentiments. Spencer seems to take note of social media views of current Marvel and superheroes in general, as well as current social issues, and weaves it in such a way that makes Steve 100% right in his opinion. His solution to the problem, though? That is where cognitive dissonance happens.

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As if Steve’s damning and mocking of everyone he knows and how easily he rises to the director of S.H.I.E.L.D. with even more power than any director before weren’t enough, Steve ends his talk with Tony by sharing what he truly saw from Ulysses’ vision. What we see see if truly  a taste of things to come. I was simply mind-blown by Steve’s “future,” and how he saw this as a return to America’s greatness, America’s utopia. From the outside looking in, it rings too true of all horrors from history…or heroism, depending on where your loyalties lie. That is what Spencer hammers home.

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We are also left with a key comment by Steve: “I am not the man you think I am.” Is this metaphorical, or literal? Is this really a Steve Rogers whose history was altered by Kobik, or is this an alternate Steve Rogers inhabiting the 616-Steve’s body? How will Nick Spencer answer this? Rather, how well will Spencer answer this? Will this be a repeat of Captain America: Reborn, or will this be something with a little more spice?

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The beautiful pencils and vibrant colors rendered by Rod Reis (and many others) help to give this one-shot a very disturbing feel at times, while lending to the shifting flashbacks and feelings of Steve. You can’t have a disturbing voice without a disturbing face, and Spencer and work in perfect synergy to give us what Spencer has pushed since Steve Rogers #1: a subversive and conniving Rogers with the same moral fiber and convictions as the Cap everyone remembers, only twisted.

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Verdict

Civil War: The Oath contains possibly the best writing I’ve read from Nick Spencer thus far. He lays out a morally twisted Steve Rogers’ feelings and opinions bare for the reader to absorb, and what he leaves us with is dread cloaked in optimism. It was an engrossing and terrifying story made all the more disturbing by Rod Reis’ captivating art style. If Civil War II left a bad taste in your mouth, this story really turns that around in time for Marvel’s next event: Secret Empire.

HAIL HYDRA!

Mighty Captain Marvel

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Hello everyone this is Kay G, and today I thought I would discuss Captain Marvel’s new run. For a while Carol Danvers hasn’t been given a good wrap. I even didn’t find her very appealing. Since Civil War II she’s been known as a bitch for lack of better terms, and was starting wars that should have never happened. Danvers had death on her hands and a lot on her conscience. She was becoming to be one of the least liked characters in Marvel, and I blamed her lack of compassion combined with her crappy attitude for that. Captain Marvel has been re-released multiple times by Marvel comics; which I find unnecessary (a different rant for a different time) but I did find this series to start off very interesting and compelling.

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So introducing the new Marvel series “Mighty Captain Marvels”:

“Behold the mightiest, fightiest super hero there is! Captain Marvel returns to her helm as Alpha Flight commander with the world cheering her on. She’s the biggest hero in the world – but has Captain Marvel become someone Carol Danvers no longer recognizes?”

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Mighty Captain Marvel, is written by Margaret Stohl. Starting at issue #0, Danvers is seen in a new light. I was very skeptical about reading it. It was my partner on here who handed it to me and told me to give it a try. So I did, turned out I like it…a lot. In fact I rushed out and bought issue #1 when it came out and liked it just as much. I like the way Danvers is portrayed in this series. In others she was cocky and thought she could do whatever she wanted, consequences be damned.  In this series, she’s seen as vulnerable and learning to deal with the aftermath of what she’s done in the war. Danvers is struggling with her leadership in Alpha Flight and Ultimate’s. Plus she’s realizing how alone she really is and doing so seeks out her best friend Jessica Drew (aka Spider-Woman). Within Jessica forgiving her, she finds some peace and little more order in her life.

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Danvers still has a major attitude problem that needs to be worked on. She still has a hard time excepting things that are not her way. Although despite some of her issues, I find that Carol Danvers is really trying; even if she doesn’t like the way it’s being handled. Especially in the way that she has to seek out endorsements to keep Alpha Flight funded. Despite how Captain Marvel may appear, she really doesn’t like being the center of attention. With all this said, I highly suggest this story. It will give you a new view on who Captain Marvel, it is well written and well executed, diffidently a great read.

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Invincible Iron Man #2

“This is life-or-death stuff you’re training for…and I’m not messing around.”

Well, into this new year, and the fictional world is still erupting in craziness. Real life, too, but that’s neither here nor there. It’s time to throw down!

First off, picking up from Kay’s praise of the first issue, is Marvel’s Invincible Iron Man #2.

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Highlights

This issue continues the saga of Riri Williams, the newest contender (or pretender, depending on who you talk to) to the legacy of Tony Stark. What Brian Michael Bendis excels at here is telling a simple story. Simply put: Riri undergoes rigorous training with her Tony Stark-based A.I. system.

I was charmed to see a hero who is both intelligent, but understandably incompetent. Riri has no idea how to think on her feet in the heat of battle, but she manages a victory by the seat of her pants. She was inelegant, clumsy, and hardly what one would see as a “badass heroine,” but she got the work done the only way she knew how. Riri obviously has much to her learn,but her potential was made very clear in a very good way.

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Building on the highlight of this issue was Bendis’ continued intersection of Riri’s background with her present activities. After the events of last issue, we learn the emotional hardships death has had in both Riri’s and her mother’s lives. I was almost disturbed by Riri’s questioning the doctor regarding both her stepfather and her friend’s deaths, but in a good way. It shows that Riri has depths of her personality we have yet to experience…depths that, at her age, could easily lead her to one side or the other of heroism. Near the flashback’s end, we get a simple television clip that shows Riri’s inspiration. We see what has happened in her past and her present, but Bendis is clearly building the in-between, and just how she comes to her first appearance.

Well done, Bendis.

 

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Artist Stefano Caselli and colorist Marte Garcia continue to work their magic to make a commendable issue on a fledgling hero. The times we see Riri’s face is where Caselli excels at emoting our protagonist. She is both stoic, confused and pained, all at once in the flashback. It works so well.

Lowlights

I have a strong personal opinion that captions can enhance a story in many ways. It may be seen as an archaic and dying practice, but captions can aid in the reader understanding who the character is more than just what we see them do.

I feel that the absence of captions in Bendis’ work was a true detriment this time around. While I enjoyed this issue, I feel that there was a missed opportunity to truly understand Riri when it mattered most: during her training and to intersect her thoughts now with the flashback. We see much of Riri’s actions, but what about her feelings, her thoughts, her rage? For a character no one really knows about, I think she could’ve been cared about even more if Bendis were to dig into his character, to throw out those emotions to the reader.

Like I said, i think it was truly a missed opportunity to elevate an otherwise good story.

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Recap

Invincible Iron Man #2 continues to pump up Riri at a good pace. Bendis wrote a great and sufficient tale of Riri’s struggles as a hero, only made better by the art by Caselli and Garcia. I do believe that Bendis really dropped the ball at the chance to provide greater depth to Riri, but the story still served to set up both the protagonist’s capabilities and the potential rogues gallery to come. I look forward to what comes next, and what improvements Bendis may bring. And I hope you do, too.

END THROWDOWN!

Deathlok the Demolisher

“MAKE. THEM. PAY!”

Welcome again, all. This is D.C. back to throw down on one of the more tongue-in-cheek choices I’ve made during the LA Comic Con this past weekend.

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Who is Deathlok?!

In nearly all incarnations, Deathlok was the amalgam of (dead) flesh and metal, proposed to be the ultimate war machine. Deathlok has always been a hero with its biological and technological personae at war with one another in some form. Two of Marvel’s best known incarnations were Luther Manning and Michael Collins. However, many others from both the mainstream and alternate universes have used the moniker Deathlok, which, in my eyes, have added to the complicated history Deathlok. The most recent incarnations were Deathlok Prime from Rick Remender’s Uncanny X-Force and Henry Hayes.

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Deathlok Prime from Uncanny X-Force

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Henry Hayes, Deathlok

With my limited experience with Deathlok as a whole (minus Uncanny X-Force–fun run!), I figured now was as good a time as any to learn about him.

Plot?

Deathlok the Demolisher is a 7-part story under the Marvel Knights imprint, centered around an alternate future where Roxxon Corporation rules, and the world enjoys bloody warfare as a sport. Only the most brutal soldiers get the highest pay and greatest fame.

Charlie Huston wrote an action-packed and somewhat engrossing tale that gave insight our protagonists, the disciplined Luther Manning and the impulsive Mike Travers. Seeing the two characters interact throughout the story was good, if only to see how they can come to terms with one another in this profane culture.

However, the story was bogged down more than once by the incredibly dense dialogue Huston employed. I enjoy real dialogue in my books, and at times Huston wrote with comedic and wild effect. Still, there certainly was too much weighing down the story, especially with regard to Deathlok’s creator.

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The tone is what you might expect of a  future in which one company rules and dictates entertainment through warfare. It was alarming, cautionary, and rings reminiscent of our own culture now. A page of Mike Traver’s commercials is ridiculous and, in retrospect, a massive jab at advertisement and media as a whole.

I only wish that the profanity were written explicitly, with how often the pound signs were used. But it was a Marvel Knights imprint, and there were rules.

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While the story’s conclusion was more open-ended, it also had a very good finish to who this Deathlok is and what his world was, is, and might be. Perhaps it was because of the dense script, but I found myself lost as to the exact reasons Deathlok was able to cure this malady the disenfranchised anarchists suffered from. Still, it was a decent conclusion for what the story told.

Art?

Lan Medina did a great job capturing the overall tone, detail, and attitude of this story. At times, it’s dynamic, other times brutal…and still other times, just vile. It was a very satisfying mixture that meshed well.

Death scenes were utterly brutal and gratuitous–a perfect reflection of this dystopic and chaotic world. Medina really pulled out the stops in both landscape and character design, where the characters all look distinct and have their own personalities thanks to Huston. So much was put into this miniseries that it was amazing Medina’s art did not suffer throughout. More than once a panel caught me so off-guard that I’d exclaim, “Holy shit!”

This is truly art and script complementing one another.

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Recap?

Deathlok the Demolisher is a good book for anyone looking for an introduction to the core character of Deathlok. It is an action-packed and brutal tale of identity and independence. While parts of the story are incredibly heavy in dialogue, Charlie Huston and Lan Medina work a very satisfying graphic tale together.

END THROWDOWN.

The Vision #11

“He said I was cool! And my mother killed him!”

Hey, all. D.C. here to throw down again, this time on Marvel’s The Vision #11.

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Highlights

First off, that cover by Michael Del Mundo is simple and great. Such a difference from the broken family we see within the book.

Tom King has been masterful in his portrayal of Vision and his makeshift family. He has written an intensely engrossing tale of humanity, prejudice, fear, and family psychology. More importantly, my biggest takeaway from King’s run was this: How does one “man,” after having removed his own emotional attachments to his memories, expect to teach humanity to his family? It was all a recipe for disaster, and King continues to up the scale in this penultimate chapter.

One of the highlights, while not surprising, was to see the Vision casually laying waste to the Avengers (albeit contradicting Agatha Harkness’ assertions that the Vision will kill them). It really hammers home just how powerful the Vision really is when he is determined to meet his goal.

 

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Vision’s wife, Virginia, steals the show once again as she degrades even further in her psychosis. From Virginia’s confession to Viv about her part in CK’s death (what will she do with that confession, I wonder?), to her broken moment’s alone, to Victor Mancha’s promised end, and everywhere in between, Tom King weaves Virginia in so many fluid ways that seems reminiscent of the engrams she is based on. I was left even more disturbed by Virginia’s nonchalant attitude throughout each moment, and especially by her dialogue with her husband. Her casual demeanor just made this story even creepier.

Lowlights

I did feel that Gabriel Hernandez Walta’s art wasn’t as up to par in this issue as I’d remembered it in previous ones. Some pages appeared less polished, less detailed, and more rushed.

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To me, the only oddity in Tom King’s writing was during Scarlet Witch’s interaction with the Vision. I’ve never seen her refer to him with any sort of nickname, so it took me off-course when she called him “V.” I didn’t know she was accustomed to using nicknames, but I could be wrong and that she’s used it in the past.

Recap

Tom King continues to amaze in Vision #11, with a striking degradation of the tenuously-knit family of the Vision. This entire series has been a pleasure to read, and I can’t wait to see how King ends it in the next issue.

END THROWDOWN.

Overview: Starbrand and Nightmask

“…And I’m nothing…Nothing but a pretender.”

Hey, all, it’s D.C. to produce after a short hiatus. Work and life got in the way in too many ways, but we’re back to catch up and throw down on all we’ve read.

I am glad that I have branched out my tastes in recent years. It helps train that mental palette to see what’s really of worth out there in the literature and graphic world. Unfortunately, I made a mistake reading Marvel’s only trade of Starbrand and Nightmask:

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Starbrand? Nightmask?

For those unfamiliar with the characters, Starbrand and Nightmask for characters from one of Marvel Comics’ more popular alternate universe brands, New Universe (and its similar “revival,” newuniversal). They are two of a series of beings that emerge when a planet is on a growth of universal proportions. The White Event producees, among others, a Starbrand–the earth’s planetary defense system, endowed with staggering power–and a Nightmask, which serves as the Starbrand’s guide and conscience.

College student Kevin Conner mistakenly received the Starbrand during Jonathan Hickman’s Avengers run, with the “perfect human” Adam becoming the Nightmask, during a broken White Event. In this cancelled Marvel run, creative team Greg Weisman and Domo Stanton decide to take the cosmically powdered duo to college to connect with humanity.

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Expectations?

I was very much on the fence with reading this series on premise alone. Jonathan Hickman’s modern take on these two characters was fantastic. But for Greg Weisman to take them to college to connect with humanity? How often, and for how long, has a premise like that ever worked for characters of such a high power set.

Well, I can see the reason why, but I would have hoped Starbrand and Nightmask would not have to go to college (and those of us who went, know what it’s like) just to connect with humanity. You don’t see Hyperion running off to community college in his solo series to understand humans.

But with most things, I wanted to see if my instincts were wrong, so I bought Volume 1: Eternity’s Children (Attend University).

Highlights?

Highlights…highlights…

No. I don’t have any. Really.

If there’s any saving grace here, it is that Greg Weisman mostly kept Nightmask true to his character: the stoic adviser to the Starbrand. That is all.

Lowlights?

Writer Greg Weisman. He is another example of a writer who does not research the characters he is chosen to headline. Starbrand and Nightmask were given foundations via Jonathan Hickman. Kevin Conner, from what I read, was a young man barely growing into his role as the broken planetary defense system, an unworthy person granted cosmic power. Still he shows a quiet eagerness to be a team player and grow into his role. He whined a little bit, but when your first power spike causes massive death and destruction of an entire school, how would you carry yourself?

Weisman’s take on Starbrand was both grating and disappointing. Wiesman took this uncertain yet adjusting young man and turned him into a generic character with a distinct millennial streak. Starbrand wasn’t one to use the word “Dude,” especially to address Nightmask, but Wiesman has Kevin using that word so often. It’s like he was trying too hard to be one of the other kids. To that end, he lacked any individuality Hickman brought to Starbrand.

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The plot was abysmal. To a certain extent, I can understand Starbrand needing to reconnect with his humanity in the wake of exploring his cosmic level powers. Even the premise of this arc was ideal: other cosmic aspects desire to kill Starbrand in order to destroy the earth, so–surprise, surprise–the universe would meet its rightful death.

Now, the problems I have with that premise is this: after Secret Wars, in which we saw the reconstruction of the multiverse, why would there be forces trying to prematurely destroy the universe again, even when the in-story explanation was that the universe’s death was not to be for millennia to come? It just didn’t come to fruition at all.

The activation of a White Event in other parts of the universe was touched on, but it made for a shoddy story. By now we should have some understanding of why White Events occur, but how what happens when two White Event analogs meet? Weisman brings in a Kree Starbrand to answer this question, and this results:

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What was that, indeed?

It was another adolescent and ill-defined turn: that the White Event analogs inexplicably desire to mate as a failsafe against one another. Why a failsafe? Why an attraction? What would that serve, and why would the universe risk progeny of galactic proportions as the proper failsafe? What if same-gendered analogs (two male Nightmasks, for example) met up? This “failsafe” was just thrown in there as if it were panacea for the bad storyline already unfolding.

Speaking of ill-defined: the supporting cast was passable (nothing worth noting), but to write off Kevin’s attraction to one girl as having originated from her being the originally-destined Starbrand? How could Nightmask know that just from a conversation with a classmate? How did Nightmask even know the criteria needed to be a Starbrand? Why weren’t we, the readers, given better insight into this before it was just thrown out there as more panacea? More importantly, why is the fact that she was to be Starbrand fitting for her being attracted to the current Starbrand, and vice-versa?

None of this even made half-assed sense.

 

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Starbrand before…

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…and Starbrand NOW.

Now that I’ve exhausted myself on Greg Weisman’s immature writing, let’s discuss artist Domo Stanton.

Just awful. Starbrand may be 20 years old, but why is he drawn as if he’s 13? It was such an eyesore to see such childish, cartoonish art on characters that exude NOTHING resembling childishness. Stanton just made Starbrand foolish by way of his pencils. This sort of art may work for Power Pack, Howard the Duck, or Squirrel Girl, but not for the serious side of the Marvel Universe.

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What could’ve been better?

So much, simply put.

For one, Weisman could’ve just written a better premise. To hell with going to college to connect with humanity. Just going to a place where loss of control is almost guaranteed? It sounded like a recipe of disaster to have two cosmically-powered young men going to a place where bad decisions happen. What if Kevin got trashed or emotionally unstable and blew up this school?–granted, he DID get drunk, and it is surprising that he didn’t lose control of his powers at that time.

But to continue…much better scripts would’ve explored the White Event more, what components of the White Event were needed and missing (ie: Justice, Cipher, Spitfire), and what those missing components mean for the ascension of Earth on the scale it was meant to.

Nightmask’s extent of humanity could’ve been explored, as well as his relationship–or lack thereof–with his creator, Ex Nihilo–who, at this point, has not been shown, even though every other major player during the incursion saga returned alive.

Bringing Captain Universe back would have been a good move, too, for allowing Starbrand and Nightmask to explore the entire universe to gain some much needed maturity and perspective on their roles.

Not to mention the art. There needs to be art that benefits the elements and personalities of the characters. You can’t just dab on a cartoonish artist with cosmic-level protectors and pretend that it would work.

Recap

Starbrand and Nightmask had all the potential of a great, existential series. However, an adolescent premise, poor understanding, and piss-poor execution by Greg Weisman made this series deserving of cancellation. Too many plot elements were thrown in for no good reason, and it just made for a terrible read. Domo Stanton’s likewise adolescent art retards any aesthetics of the characters developed from Jonathan Hickman’s incursion saga. Together, this creative team made this series an arduous chore to get through (seriously, it took me a week or so to read it).

This was a poor, poor series to read, and I don’t recommend it to anyone. I have hopes that a much more mature writer and much better artist could bring these characters back into focus and to new heights.

END THROWDOWN.

Mutant Massacre

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Hello everyone this Kay G talking about a more serious comic, X-Men: Mutant Massacre. This is an older comic introducing me to new characters for the first time and some old favorites.  Its title says it all; the comic is an onslaught of murders and executions in the Mutant world. X-factor and X-men must face the Marauders, who are professional mutant assassins, with the job of whipping out the entire Morlock’s (Mutants who live underground) community.Image result for x men mutant massacre

One of the reasons why I love this comic was because of its essence, and its darkness. The most interesting of all about this story was how real it was related to the world that we are in now. I mean this story is about Mutants hunting down other Mutant because the Marauders think they are the superior of them or of the race. That’s the world we are facing now, in fact it’s always been our world just that it’s become more and more public as decades have gone on. Human beings fight and kill other human beings every single day, so they got this story right. We hunt our own, becomes others out there seem to think they are superior, that they are better. We do it based on class, lately it’s mostly about race.

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This story is all based on perception and seeing what you want to see. In this story there are the X-men, a group of mostly newbies with the head being Magneto, while Xavier is away. Storm and Wolverine also help lead the school. Then there’s X-factor which consists of the five original X-men, graduates now taking on a new name and a new mission. The five consist of Cyclops, Jean Grey, Beast, Angel and Iceman. Their mission; they pose as humans and to the public eye, who attack and bring down Mutants. Which in fact what they are really doing, is finding them and saving them, helping new Mutants with their powers. It’s all about making the public believe what they want them to believe. They use deception to trick the public, who are so against Mutants because they’re different. Even the public believes that the Avengers could be Mutants, because they have powers and are considered different. This is the reason why the Morlocks, other Mutants live underground they’re so afraid of what could happen to them on the surface. The story even shows some discrepancy between them and the X-men.

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This story is a definite must read. Although if you’re anything like me, you may find yourself a little lost on few of the events prior to this and some of the characters. But, also like me if you’re lucky like I am to have a partner to answer all 400 questions you have then you’re good to go (ha). Other than that, this story is very driven, very well written and has amazing character development.  There were even times that I cried; so many people lost their lives in this story. Like I said earlier, its absolute massacre just like the story is called. Mutant Massacre is a real life changing story, even if you aren’t a comic fan it’s a fantastic read and a real life eye opener. Hands down a great story, so pick up the trade and enjoy.