Venom #1 (Marvel Comics)
The Marvel relaunch train is gearing up, and after last week’s Avengers #1, we’ve now got the Lethal Protector himself, Venom, getting a brand new shiny #1. But like Earth’s Mightiest Heroes before him, the appeal of the creative team helps offset any quibbles one would have over the renumbering. Rising star Donny Cates is at the writing table, and Marvel artist supreme Ryan Stegman is handling the art, which means that we’re in for a very different, and very cool, new take on Venom. Read the rest of this entry
Surprising….no one, really, Marvel has announced a brand new relaunch coming our way in May. Billed as a “fresh start” for the publisher, not much is known about this upcoming initiative, aside from the fact that Jason Aaron and Ed McGuinness will helm a new Avengers series, and Donny Cates and Ryan Stegman will be on a new Venom series. And yes, both of them will start over at #1. Read the rest of this entry
The Mighty Thor #700
Part of Marvel’s “Legacy” rebranding is a chance to go back to the classic numbering for a majority of their titles, and lucky for them The Mighty Thor was at issue 700. With that comes the start of Jason Aaron’s “The Death Of The Mighty Thor”, which is a pretty ominous title for a lot of reasons. Will this storyline kill off the Jane Foster Thor, who’s been the welder of Mjolnir for the past few years now? Or will Thor Odinson go down? OR will all of the Thors featured in this issue, from Jane Foster to Odinson to War Thor, go down in flames? We don’t get any real clues, but we do get a whole lot of story in this special, double sized issue. Read the rest of this entry
The Amazing Spider-Man #789
Spider-Man’s had it very easy lately. Ever since he became the new Tony Stark of the Marvel universe and went global, Spidey’s been a lot less “friendly neighborhood”. Everything was coming up Parker…until now. Dan Slott had his fun making Spidey a globe-trotting super hero who hangs out with Mockingbird, but we all knew that the shoe would drop on ol’ Peter Parker at some point, and with Amazing Spider-Man #789, it finally does. Read the rest of this entry
The Defenders (2017)
Starring: Charlie Cox, Kristen Ritter, Mike Colter, Finn Jones, Sigourney Weaver, Elodie Young
Much like the solo movies of their big screen counterparts, the main appeal of the four Marvel Netflix shows (Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist) was the idea that the four would join forces in their own team up series The Defenders. Now that the four have had their own seasons (or two in Daredevil’s case), it’s finally time for them to join up and crack some Hand ninja skulls as only they can. While Defenders takes a while to get going, once Jessica Jones (Kristen Ritter), Daredevil (Charlie Cox), Luke Cage (Mike Colter), and Iron Fist (Finn Jones) get together, the show becomes one of the most entertaining entries in the Marvel Netflix deal, albeit with a few small setbacks. Read the rest of this entry
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