Astonishing X-Men #1 (Marvel Comics)
Not content with just two X-Men series for ResurrXion (three if you count Weapon X), Marvel’s putting out a brand new edition of Astonishing X-Men, the series that achieved instant classic status thanks to Joss Whedon and John Cassaday, only to then be watered down by Marvel trying everything and anything to make that magic work again. This time though, they’ve tasked Charles Soule, the writer of about 15 other comics (give or take) with coming up with new adventures for the team of mutants, and are pairing Soule with a different artist each issue, which is kind of brilliant when you think about how inconsistent Marvel is with keeping artists on a series. With Jim Cheung as the first artist on deck, there’s a lot of hype around this new version of Astonishing, and while it doesn’t live up to it, there’s still great potential for this series.
While walking around London, Psylocke is attacked by the Shadow King. Desperate for help, she sends out a psychic distress call to members of the X-Men that she’s worked with in the past, which conveniently gives us the team you see on the cover. After helping Psylocke subdue the carnage around her and regain her control, she realizes that Shadow King has not only grown in power, but is attempting to create a “web” of psychics that he can use to completely overtake the planet. With this new team assembled, the X-Men prepare to jump into the Astral Plane to take on Shadow King.
While Charles Soule’s script is a lot of set up, the one thing where Astonishing shines is characterization. Often times writers have trouble writing the X-Men simply because it’s such a large team. With so many characters, there’s bound to be some that either don’t sound like they should or are completely written out of the series. But with Astonishing’s opening issue, every character gets a moment to shine in some pretty great introductory pages. Soule is able to give succinct back stories for the characters on this team, and even teases at adventures that are going on just prior to this series that I really want to see (especially Gambit and Fantomex).
If you’re going to open a series with an excellent artist, you could do no better than Jim Cheung. Cheung’s style is expertly utilized here, and he sets the bar extremely high for the next artist. The devastation in London is drawn incredibly, and Cheung’s even able to nail some pretty intricate emotions and facial ticks on the characters. There’s a few odd panels here and there (Fantomex’s arms look a little thin at times), but I pity the artist who has to jump in on issue two. These are quite the shoes to fill.
Astonishing X-Men may not leave the same impression as the Whedon and Cassaday run that came before it, but it’s still a solid set up issue that actually serves as a pretty good jumping on point for new and lapsed X-fans. Soule has crafted a really interesting team filled with dynamic personalities. Really the only thing that has me worried is the different artists for each issue gimmick that Marvel is putting out on this series. If done poorly, it could give the series an identity crisis. But for now, this issue was pretty damn great, and worth a read for X-Men fans.
Nightwing #25 (DC Comics)
While Batman has been fighting Bane and proposing to Catwoman, Dick Grayson has been building a nice life for himself in Bludhaven. He’s got a new girlfriend, some sweet job prospects, and things seem to be settling down for him. Until this issue, where Tim Seeley and Minkyu Jung really put ol’ Dick through the wringer. As the finale for the “Blockbuster” story arc, Nightwing #25 uses its extra pages to really bring in the emotional gut punches and set up some pretty interesting ideas for future issues.
Tim Seeley’s storylines for the past few months have involved Dick Grayson trying to come to terms with if he wants to be Nightwing for the rest of his life. After settling in with his girlfriend, he seems like he’s ready to put it all behind him, but all that changes in this issue, as old foe Blockbuster (who’s actually the brother of the original Blockbuster) pushes Dick to the brink. Surrounded by enemies on a boat with a ticking time bomb, Nightwing seemingly has no choice but to let the bad guys blow up. Or does he?
Seeley’s script wraps up this cliffhanger from last month fairly quickly, but he makes up for it with a surprisingly emotional element that comes later in the issue and a pretty cool spin on what Dick Grayson will be doing for employment in the upcoming months to come. By putting a focus on the personal side of Nightwing, he’s really invigorated this series and made the character a lot more personal. Dick Grayson is struggling with growing up, and as he watches his friends grow and change, he wonders if it’s time for him to do the same.
Minkyu Jung does a great a job of fitting in with the typical “Nightwing style” that fans will come to expect. While he doesn’t do anything that really makes his art stick out, that’s clearly what DC is going for with a lot of their DC Rebirth titles. There are plenty of excellent action and fight scenes, but like Seeley’s emotional beats, the real surprise here is the quieter moments. Jung‘s pages are able to bring the emotions in Seeley’s script out even more with some stunning and stark pages by the issue’s end.
Nightwing has a been a series that’s been flying under the radar since Dick Grayson returned to his costumed ways, but it’s been a very solid and fun superhero book since the first issue. While this issue probably isn’t the best one to jump onto, all signs are pointing towards issue 26 being a pretty interesting place to check in on the first Robin. Honestly there couldn’t be a better time to check this character out.
After much hype and anticipation, Marvel has finally announced their plans for “Marvel Legacy”, the next relaunch that THIS TIME is going to count. Many had suspected that Marvel would copy DC’s Rebirth initiative in hopes that it would be just as successful for them.
Well, they didn’t. In fact, it seems like Marvel didn’t even get the gist of what made DC’s relaunch such a success. Whereas that company took a good hard look at what went wrong with the New 52 and “DCYou” and fixed it, Marvel seems to just be trucking along, business as usual. And it’s going to cause them to fall on their face. Read the rest of this entry
Venom #150 (Marvel Comics)
Now that Eddie Brock is back in the symbiote, it’s time for a super sized special. With Venom reaching 150 issues thanks to Marvel’s method of renumbering series but still counting them so long as they can charge an extra couple bucks when the time is right, the Mike Costa and Gerardo Sandoval series is poised to finally get on track after a few aimless opening issues. Ever since it was revealed that Eddie Brock would be returning as Venom, it seemed like the entire book just kind of came to halt. We all knew that Eddie Brock was coming back, so paying any attention on the new guy seemed like a waste of time. Read the rest of this entry
Star Wars: Doctor Aphra #1 (Marvel Comics)
Of the vast characters in the Star Wars universe, it’s a little odd that Doctor Aphra would be the next one to get an ongoing series. After appearing in the Darth Vader series, Aphra certainly became pretty popular, but even with that, it’s a little surprising to see her name with a new #1 behind it. Luckily Vader writer Kieron Gillen is on hand to write this series along with artist Kev Walker. Since Aphra’s the first original Marvel Star Wars character to get her own series, this is pretty cool. But is this a book that’s worthy of a monthly series? After reading this first issue that’s tough to say. Read the rest of this entry
The latest rumor to overtake the Internet is the possible reveal of Marvel vs. Capcom 4. After a mysterious “4” logo popped up on social media with the logos for Marvel and Capcom at the bottom, the video game community exploded into a frenzy. Some are believers, and others (like myself) are major doubters. But, if Marvel and Capcom were able to get together for another brawl, what would it look like? Read the rest of this entry
Well, we finally have it. The first preview image for Marvel’s next publishing phase: Divided We Stand. IF you guessed that Marvel was going to copy the fallout of the first Civil War with Civil War II, then you win today’s no prize! Yes, the end of Civil War II is going to place the characters in the Marvel Universe in different places and against one another. Again. Read the rest of this entry
Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Morina Baccarin, Ed Skrein, Gina Carano, T.J. Miller
Directed by: Tim Miller
At long last, fans of the Merc With A Mouth have gotten their wish: Deadpool is on the big screen. Wade Wilson’s voyage to the silver screen has been a long one, and after his introduction in 2009’s god-awful X-Men Origins: Wolverine, many believed that a solo movie wouldn’t happen. And yet here we are, with a Deadpool movie that stars Ryan Reynolds, is rated R, and seemingly doing justice to the character. But now that the movie is out, was it worth all the trouble to make it? Read the rest of this entry
Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #1 (of 6) (DC Comics/IDW)
IDW and DC continue their crossover series with two characters that I never expected to ever cross paths: Batman and The Ninja Turtles. While both are ninjas and primarily stick to the shadows, there’s not as much in common as say, Star Trek and Green Lantern. However, Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ first issue is a blast to read, and James Tynion IV and Freddie Williams II have a ton of fun bringing these two franchises together. Read the rest of this entry
Daredevil #1 (Marvel Comics)
The Man Without Fear is back in a monthly book, and it’s definitely got more in common with his recent Netflix series than Mark Waid’s run. Charles Soule and Ron Garney’s Daredevil is darker in both tone and style, and it’s one of the more impressive debuts in the All New All Different Marvel line up. Read the rest of this entry