Avengers Assemble #11

February 7, 2016

Avengers Assemble 11Kelly Sue DeConnick // Stefano Caselli
March 2013
***

KSDC proves her knack for writing super-comics, both solo & team mags. This arc may be formulaic—a megalomaniac aims to conquer the world with mad science—but she injects just enough humor to make it a fun read & her dialogue doesn’t fall prey to Bendis-like vamping as it shows personality.

last issue: Avengers Assemble #10
next issue: Avengers Assemble #12

also indexed for Mar. ’13
Captain Marvel #9
Hawkeye #7
Winter Soldier #14

Captain Marvel #8

February 6, 2016

Captain Marvel 2.08Kelly Sue DeConnick with Christopher Sebela // Dexter Soy
February 2013
***

Soy wastes an opportunity to impress in a giant robot battle, tho’ his manga influence makes the romantic lead (a castmate from Carol’s Claremont era) suitably dreamy. When the plot has Danvers literally absorb Rambeau, it’s awesomely campy, making ‘self-aware’ comments superfluous.

last issue: Captain Marvel #7
next issue: Captain Marvel #9

also indexed for Feb. ’13
Avengers Assemble #10
Hawkeye #5
Hawkeye #6
Winter Soldier #13

Avengers Assemble #10

February 5, 2016

Avengers Assemble 10Kelly Sue DeConnick // Stefano Caselli
February 2013
***

Caselli, whose realism is closer to Kitson than Hitch, executes a fun action sequence: Captains A & M in aerial combat. Their foe’s a monster-man threatening the world (& the Hulk) with 20M-year-old bacteria. He’s Chinese, but w/o the Yellow Peril baggage—a standard megalomaniac supervillain.

last issue: Avengers Assemble #9
next issue: Avengers Assemble #11

also indexed for Feb. ’13
Captain Marvel #8
Hawkeye #5
Hawkeye #6
Winter Soldier #13

Captain Marvel #7

February 4, 2016

Captain Marvel 2.07Kelly Sue DeConnick with Christopher Sebela // Dexter Soy
January 2013
***

Having adopted an Avengers mag, KSDC gets a scripter for the required team-up btw current & former Captain Ms! Danvers helps Rambeau (of the Avengers & Nextwave) solve a deep-sea mystery. It’s astonishing how a conventional superhero comic can be feminist just by having women converse!

last issue: Captain Marvel #6
next issue: Captain Marvel #8

also indexed for Jan. ’13
Avengers Assemble #9
Hawkeye #4
Winter Soldier #12

Avengers Assemble #9

February 3, 2016

Avengers Assemble 09Kelly Sue DeConnick // Stefano Caselli
January 2013
***

With Capt. Marvel in tow, Kelly Sue DeConnick instantly improves one of the dozen Avengers books. Her secret is low stakes for the top-tier. Team Stark races Team Banner to a monster mission in Antarctica. It’s broad fun in the spirit of JLI (e.g. Hulk stirring organic PB for a sammich).

last issue: Avengers Assemble #8
next issue: Avengers Assemble #10

also indexed for Jan. ’13
Captain Marvel #7
Hawkeye #4
Winter Soldier #12

Captain Marvel #6

February 2, 2016

Captain Marvel 2.06Kelly Sue DeConnick // Emma Rios
late December 2012
****

Danvers, time-tossed, finally ends up at her Secret Origin, where she must compete with a rival for her superpowers. The challenger is her idol, the late pilot from #1, but the arc doesn’t actually deal with Carol’s grief. Instead, the theme is female camaraderie, in life & in work.

last issue: Captain Marvel #5
next issue: Captain Marvel #7

also indexed for Dec. ’12
Captain America #18
Captain America #19
Captain Marvel #5
The Fantastic Four #611
FF #23
Hawkeye #3
Winter Soldier #11

Captain Marvel #5

February 1, 2016

Captain Marvel 2.05Kelly Sue DeConnick // Emma Rios
early December 2012
****

Carol’s cross-time caper places her in an all-women NASA program back in the Mad Men era. This 6-issue arc gets its fourth artist, but it’s Emma Rios, who complements DeConnick perfectly. Her languid line balances her urgent pacing & layout, and her style adds indie cred to a straight super-comic.

last issue: Captain Marvel #4
next issue: Captain Marvel #6

also indexed for Dec. ’12
Captain America #18
Captain America #19
Captain Marvel #6
The Fantastic Four #611
FF #23
Hawkeye #3
Winter Soldier #11

Captain Marvel #4

January 31, 2016

Captain Marvel 2.04Kelly Sue DeConnick // Dexter Soy & Al Barrionuevo
November 2012
***

Danvers has come unstuck in time, thanks to a plane she’s inherited. The plot device lets KSDC invent a secret history of women flyers, & position her protag as the heroic heiress to their struggle. Soy, however, makes a fight w/ a battlebot dull, & bails after 3.5 issues of manga in a muddy palate.

last issue: Captain Marvel #3
next issue: Captain Marvel #5

also indexed for Nov. ’12
Captain America #17
The Fantastic Four #610
FF #22
Hawkeye #2
Winter Soldier #10

Captain Marvel #3

January 30, 2016

Captain Marvel 2.03Kelly Sue DeConnick // Dexter Soy & Richard Elson (and Karl Kesel)
late October 2012
***

Cap has found a WW2 Japanese outpost supplied with alien tech. It’s like one of those weird war comics that DC put out in the ’70s, if the inevitable platoon of US commandos were Lady Blackhawks. A 1-page back-up adds an extra dose of feminism: a meta-comic by the GI gals showing war-era Cap.

last issue: Captain Marvel #2
next issue: Captain Marvel #4

also indexed for Oct. ’12
Avenging Spider-Man #10
Captain America #16
Captain Marvel #2
Hawkeye #1
The Fantastic Four #609
FF #21
Winter Soldier #9

Avenging Spider-Man #10

January 29, 2016

Avenging Spider-Man 10Kelly Sue DeConnick // Barry Kitson
October 2012
***

Danvers (Capt née Ms) upstages Parker, in his ‘nice-guy nerd’ role. It’s great how DeConnick gets mileage by making the toughest superhero in the story a woman. She also takes a few shots at the 1%, as a bank tries to reclaim a rebellious Growing Girl cyborg. Plus Kitson’s good-girl art!

last issue: Avenging Spider-Man #9
next issue: Avenging Spider-Man #11

also indexed for Oct. ’12
Captain America #16
Captain Marvel #2
Captain Marvel #3
The Fantastic Four #609
FF #21
Hawkeye #1
Winter Soldier #9

Captain Marvel #2

January 28, 2016

Captain Marvel 2.02Kelly Sue DeConnick // Dexter Soy
early October 2012
***

DeConnick does the best work on Ms. Danvers since Claremont simply by giving her a strong personality. Her soft retcon focuses on her fighter-jock past, & hinges on machismo while retaining a strong female voice. The plot’s more conventional: a time-toss back to a Japan-held isle in WW2.

last issue: Captain Marvel #1
next issue: Captain Marvel #3

also indexed for Oct. ’12
Avenging Spider-Man #10
Captain America #16
Captain Marvel #3
Hawkeye #1
The Fantastic Four #609
FF #21
Winter Soldier #9

Captain Marvel #1

January 27, 2016

Captain Marvel 2.01Kelly Sue DeConnick // Dexter Soy
September 2012
****

Carol Danvers assumes the title of Captain Marvel—fitting since she debuted in his comic back in ’68. DeConnick justifies it by strengthening CD’s connections to the military, adding an idol to her backstory (a female pilot). Bonus points for the new hairdo & uni, which are cosplay-perfect.

next issue: Captain Marvel #2

also indexed for Sept. ’12
Avenging Spider-Man #9
Captain America #14
Captain America #15
The Fantastic Four #608
FF #20
Winter Soldier #8

Avenging Spider-Man #9

January 26, 2016

Avenging Spider-Man 09Kelly Sue DeConnick // Barry Kitson
September 2012
***

To drum up readers for Carol Danvers’ new mag, she partners up with Spidey in the modern Marvel Team-Up. She’s also adopted a new alias, one with a long, litigious history. While Captain Marvel punches a bank goon in mecha gear, Spider-Man’s relegated to sidekick, dealing with an Occupy troublemaker

last issue: Avenging Spider-Man #8
next issue: Avenging Spider-Man #10

also indexed for Sept. ’12
Captain America #14
Captain America #15
Captain Marvel #1
The Fantastic Four
#608

FF #20
Winter Soldier #8

Hawkeye #22

January 25, 2016

Hawkeye 22Matt Fraction // David Aja
September 2015
*****

Together Kate & Clint save the BK brownstone & its families from the ‘Tracksuit Draculas’ & harlequin hit-man. Fraction & Aja close their outstanding run, adding a gesture to set up next ‘season’. Superlative comics on every level, the sort of collection you can lend to a non-fan of superheroes.

last issue: Hawkeye #21
continued in Hawkeye #1

Hawkeye #21

January 24, 2016

Hawkeye 21Matt Fraction // David Aja
April 2015
****

The Battle of Bed-Stuy! Hawkeye and neighbors defend their brownstone from mobbed-up property developers, using ready-made siege defenses. The stakes of locals v. organized crime give a whole new angle on vigilantism v community activism and on gentrification—all lifted this month by TV’s Daredevil.

last issue: Hawkeye #20
next issue: Hawkeye #22

Hawkeye #20

January 23, 2016

Hawkeye 20Matt Fraction // David Aja
November 2014
*****

This arc has been a phenomenal backdoor pilot for Kate Bishop, Hawkeye—or a grand reward for her fans. Frac, as if acknowledging the character’s maturity, writes her finale in classic non-linear Hawkeye style. Try & put together the twists of this LA noir, or just marvel at Wu’s gangly teen heroine.

last issue: Hawkeye #19
next issue: Hawkeye #21

Hawkeye #19

January 22, 2016

Hawkeye 19Matt Fraction // David Aja
September 2014
*****

Even as they head into the climax, the creators keep experimenting. #19 is mostly silent—but not without words, since the Barton Brothers sign to each other. Hearing has factored into Hawkeye’s character before, but this latest loss plays into the run’s theme of listening to & trusting others.

last issue: Hawkeye #18
next issue: Hawkeye #20

Hawkeye #18

January 21, 2016

Matt Fraction // Annie Wu
May 2014
****

Fraction reveals that his LA plot has been a film noir all along (of course). Its California corruption is a plot to keep the rich young & immortal, and it’s run by Kate’s archenemy. The Elliot Gould detective even has a link to vampirism: he’s a minor character from Marvel’s classic Dracula!

last issue: Hawkeye #17
next issue: Hawkeye #19

Hawkeye #17

January 20, 2016

Hawkeye 17Matt Fraction // Chris Eliopoulis with David Aja
May 2014
****

To infuriate the impatient, Eliopoulis subs in for Aja. But why complain with the result is delightful? Frac & Elio kid with Hawkeye‘s basic format, recasting its ensemble as funny animals in a TV Christmas special! But thematically it’s on point for the run’s themes of support & teamwork.

last issue: Hawkeye #16
next issue: Hawkeye #18

Hawkeye #16

January 19, 2016

Hawkeye 16Matt Fraction // Annie Wu
February 2014
****

If any run can shoulder an out-of-sequence issue, it’s Frac’s Hawkeye. Hawkgirl helps a reclusive ’60s musician (a stand-in for Brian Wilson) get his mojo back. Note that this sidekick arc is also a variation on Peter Parker (life lessons of a super-teen) the same month that Ms. Marvel debuts.

last issue: Hawkeye #15
next issue: Hawkeye #17

Hawkeye #15

January 18, 2016

Hawkeye 15Matt Fraction // David Aja
April 2014
****

Aja at his most conventional is still a delight. He falls back on Iron Fist style, hand-to-hand focusing on movement & balance. It makes for a claustrophobic issue, as the gangsters slip past the brownstone’s defenses & do damage to the Barton Brothers! The plot thickens in this Brooklyn noir.

last issue: Hawkeye #14
next issue: Hawkeye #16

Hawkeye #14

January 17, 2016

Hawkeye 14Matt Fraction // Annie Wu
January 2014
****

Back to LA, where Kate has gone to learn the hero-ropes solo. She makes delightful mistakes as she helps a gay couple & finds a mentor in… Elliott Gould from The Long Goodbye?! Comparing Wu to Aja isn’t fair, & misses how her loose, lively style expands on the youthful tone of these Cali adventures.

last issue: Hawkeye #13
next issue: Hawkeye #15

Hawkeye #13

January 16, 2016

Hawkeye 1Matt Fraction // David Aja
December 2013
****

Wow, Hawkeye loops back to cover the last four issues (incl. annual) from yet another POV! The blow-up btw Hawkeyes, the neighbor’s funeral, & the fraternal reunion get replayed in linear progression. The art also gets back to classical comics storytelling, modeling a 3×3 grid like Ike’s in office.

last issue: Hawkeye #12
next issue: Hawkeye #14

Hawkeye #12

January 15, 2016

Hawkeye 12Matt Fraction // Francisco Francavilla
late September 2013
****

Now that Kate’s off in her LA arc, Clint gets a new foil in his older brother, a skid-row loser. Fraction turns their Thomas/Colan backstory into a montage of alcoholic American orphaning that dates at least to Twain. For once I miss Aja, tho Franca brings a morbid tone to the flashbacks.

continued from Hawkeye Annual #1
last issue: Hawkeye #11
next issue: Hawkeye #13

also indexed for Sept. ’13
Hawkeye Annual #1

Hawkeye Annual #1

January 14, 2016

Hawkeye Annual 1Matt Fraction // Javier Pulido
early September 2013
****

Kate Bishop, everyone’s (= my) favorite Young Avenger, stands on her own for a whole annual, effectively set-up for a solo arc. She’s in LA, escaping a trap set by her arch-nemesis, Madame Masque. Pulido returns to provide continuity. He works in the cartoon-like new standard for Marvel vigilantes, adding a touch of D. Cooke’s lush curves in echo of Fraction’s happy millennial patter.

continued from Hawkeye #11
continued in Hawkeye #13

also indexed for Sept. ’13
Hawkeye #12

Hawkeye #11

January 13, 2016

Hawkeye 11Matt Fraction // David Aja
August 2013
*****

Eisner-winner for best single ish, and Aja totally owns it. His schematics render visually the mind of Lucky the Pizza Dog. But Fraction earns the Eisner-nom for ongoing mag by connecting this silent issue to the run on several levels, incl. the dog solving the nieghbor’s murder in #9!

continued in Hawkeye Annual #1
last issue: Hawkeye #10
next issue: Hawkeye #12

Hawkeye #10

January 12, 2016

Hawkeye 10Matt Fraction // Francesco Francavilla
July 2013
****

Backstory for the run’s new foe: a hit man in harlequin make-up. He’s an orphaned carnie like Barton, adopted by the mag’s Russian mafia. In a coincidence, he’s also a romantic interest for Kid Hawkeye! Francavilla’s perfect for this ish, his palate & scratchy line balancing romance & war-horrors.

last issue: Hawkeye #9
next issue: Hawkeye #11

Hawkeye #9

January 11, 2016

Hawkeye 09Matt Fraction // David Aja
June 2013
*****

After the unexpectedly linear #8, Frac & Aja reshuffle its timeframe & POV. It’s Valentine’s Day, a perfect date for Bobbi Morse to divorce Clint; for Jess Drew to dump him; & for Tash Romanov to hunt down the gangster’s redheaded moll. But the key scene is the trio’s lecture of his protégé Kate.

last issue: Hawkeye #8
next issue: Hawkeye #10

Hawkeye #8

January 10, 2016

Hawkeye 08Matt Fraction // David Aja with Annie Wu
April 2013
*****

The redheaded femme drags Barton into another encounter with the tracksuit gangsters of “Little Irkutsk”. Delightfully, she gets the evil eye from the other gals in H’s life: Widow, Hawkgirl, Mockingb, & naïve GF Spider-W. Covers to fake romance comics, by Wu, act as exposition and punctuation.

last issue: Hawkeye #7
next issue: Hawkeye #9

Hawkeye #7

January 9, 2016

Hawkeye 07A-story: Matt Fraction // Steve Lieber
B-story: Matt Fraction // Jesse Hamm
March 2013
A-story: ****
B-story: ****

A rush job to raise funds for hurricane relief after Sandy hit NYC—a comic to judge on its merits, plus it fits perfectly into the run! #7 shows our heroes during the disaster. Barton rescues a neighbor’s cranky dad out in Rockaway, & Bishop has a sappier, soggier adventure out in Atlantic City.

last issue: Hawkeye #6
next issue: Hawkeye #8

also indexed for Mar. ’13
Winter Soldier #14

Hawkeye #6

January 8, 2016

Hawkeye 06Matt Fraction // David Aja
late February 2013
*****

This take on the Avenger (“Hawkguy” as one neighbor has it) is startlingly innovative. A helical time structure has Barton spend the week pre X-mas in turf war w/ the Russian bros. Aja’s grid runs 6×6, even 7×6, with negative space opening & minimalizing the Mazzuchelli style of scratchy cape comics.

last issue: Hawkeye #5
next issue: Hawkeye #7

also indexed for Feb. ’13
Hawkeye #5
Winter Soldier #13

Hawkeye #5

January 7, 2016

Hawkeye 05Matt Fraction // Javier Pulido
early February 2012
*****

Kid Hawkeye impersonates an Iron Man villain—the criminal mastermind w/ a gold mask—& earns an archenemy. She also learns that the video of her mentor sanctioning a terrorist was a fake, to protect the IDs of Navy Seals: a clever comics application of the Bin Laden op a few years ago.

last issue: Hawkeye #4
next issue: Hawkeye #6

also indexed for Feb. ’12
Hawkeye #6
Winter Soldier #13

Hawkeye #4

January 6, 2016

Hawkeye 04Matt Fraction // Javier Pulido
January 2013
*****

SHIELD’s lost a VCR tape of Barton assassinating a global terrorist for them—so it dispatches him to buy it at auction in an ersatz Asian megacity! As an international man of mystery, he’s a flop. Pulido, however, proves Aja’s near-equal, using minimalism & softer curves to strike a lighter comic tone.

last issue: Hawkeye #3
next issue: Hawkeye #5

also indexed for Jan. ’13
Winter Soldier #12

Hawkeye #3

January 5, 2016

Hawkeye 03Matt Fraction // David Aja
December 2012
*****

Barton romances a redhead who’s linked to the mobsters from #1 (“Bro!”). A high-speed chase over the GWB practically smells of asphalt, & puts the ‘street’ back in street-level vigilante! The sweet cars, trick arrows, sexy styles, the fact that Hawkeye’s been conked out in every ish… this is gorgeous.

last issue: Hawkeye #2
next issue: Hawkeye #4

also indexed for Dec. ’12
Captain America #18
Captain America #19
The Fantastic Four #611
FF #22
Winter Soldier #11

Hawkeye #2

January 4, 2016

Hawkeye 02Matt Fraction // David Aja
November 2012
*****

Hawkeye & his namesake from the Young Avengers steal $ that a criminal circus (shown here as Cirque du Soliel types) stole from organized crime. Aja seems inspired by Steranko’s pop-art layouts, but w/ a 21C graphic angle: see the A+ cover, & a page of Barton slowing time as he draws the bow.

last issue: Hawkeye #1
next issue: Hawkeye #3

also indexed for Nov. ’12
Captain America #17
The Fantastic Four #610
FF #22
Winter Soldier #10

Hawkeye #1

January 3, 2016

Hawkeye 01Matt Fraction // David Aja
October 2012
*****

Hot off the Avengers flick, Marvel enlists Frac & Aja (of Iron Fist) for this low-watt hero’s off-duty adventures. The everyhero defends his Bed-Stuy brownstone from a Russian mob’s gentrification scheme. The art mimic diagrams yet remains dynamic, & the script’s alert to living speech. A masterpiece.

next issue: Hawkeye #2

also indexed for Oct. ’12
Captain America #16
The Fantastic Four #609
FF #21
Winter Soldier #9

Hawkeye #4 of 4

January 2, 2016

Hawkeye 4 of 4Mark Gruenwald
December 1983
***

Hawkeye is Gruenwald’s knowing homage to fun superhero adventure, right down to the villain who spills his plan with his tongue in his cheek. And when he fails to draw H’s bow, he drops an exploding arrow on his foot! For closure, Mockingbird takes the romantic initiative & proposes an elopement.

last issue: Hawkeye #3 of 4

also indexed for Dec. ’83
The Fantastic Four #261
The Mighty Thor #338

Hawkeye #3 of 4

January 1, 2016

Hawkeye 3 of 4Mark Gruenwald
November 1983
***

Gruenwald’s mini updates Silver Age tropes with inspiration, not slavish devotion. So Hawkeye & his partner take the subway to a stake-out—which leads to a pip of a fight sequence on the train & in the station! Their foes: a male/female mercenary duo, & the guy’s a juggler w/ trick balls!

last issue: Hawkeye #2 of 4
next issue: Hawkeye #3 of 4

also indexed for Nov. ’83
The Fantastic Four #260
The Mighty Thor #337

Hawkeye #2 of 4

December 31, 2015

Hawkeye 2 of 4Mark Gruenwald
October 1983
**

Hawkeye teams up with Mockingbird, a SHIELD agent-turned-urban vigilante, to take out an evil corp. The duo show good chemistry; she’s as tough as he is, & smarter too. But the title character hasn’t shown much more than some comic-book angst, leaving him looking like a narcissistic mope.

last issue: Hawkeye #1 of 4
next issue: Hawkeye #3 of 4

also indexed for Oct. ’83
The Fantastic Four #259

Hawkeye #1 of 4

December 30, 2015

Hawkeye 1 of 4Mark Gruenwald
September 1983
**

The Avengers’ perennial second-stringer finally gets his own mini. Hawkeye has been earning bread as the security chief at a tech firm—till this opener. A superheroine tips him to an evil plan & gets him dumped by a femme fatale. Gruenwald’s competent art includes some fine hand-to-hand combat.

next issue: Hawkeye #2 of 4

also indexed for Sept. ’83
The Fantastic Four #258

Moon Knight #6

December 29, 2015

Moon Knight 6Warren Ellis // Declan Shalvey
October 2014
*****

Ellis’ brief runs show the power of varying your method each issue. MK #2 & #5 were tight, one-scene actioner; #6 is a hypercompressed story, doubling as an origin recap for Knight & as the creation & defeat of a copycat vigilante. He’s built into a threat superbly, then instantly outclassed by MK.

last issue: Moon Knight #5
next issue: Moon Knight #7

Moon Knight #5

December 28, 2015

Moon Knight 5Warren Ellis // Declan Shalvey
September 2014
****

MK storms an abandoned building to save a kidnapped kid from goons. While others (Waid, Fraction) push vigilante comics in new directions, Ellis returns to the genre’s roots. Like 1930s pulp tales, Ellis is unrepentant about lurid violence. Contrast w/ Shalvey’s staging: smooth, almost balletic.

last issue: Moon Knight #4
next issue: Moon Knight #6

Moon Knight #4

December 27, 2015

Moon Knight 4Warren Ellis // Declan Shalvey
August 2014
*****

Swerving into Dr. Strange’s territory, MK falls into a dreamscape to solve a mystery in a haunted building. For the leap into the unconscious, Shalvey lays a few pages out in a head-comix style with a touch of Windsor McKay. But tonally this tale of fungoid horror most recalls the seminal Swamp Thing.

last issue: Moon Knight #3
next issue: Moon Knight #5

Moon Knight #3

December 26, 2015

Moon Knight 3Warren Ellis // Declan Shalvey
July 2014
****

Talk about a cult run: Marc Spector turns to his skeletal death-deity for help busting a ghost gang of LES punks. The weird, magic element may alienate the fan of street-level comics, but the origin of Moon Knight did have a trace of ’70s horror, & it opens the mag out.

last issue: Moon Knight #2
next issue: Moon Knight #4

Moon Knight #2

December 25, 2015

Moon Knight 2Warren Ellis // Declan Shalvey
June 2014
*****

Moon Knight fights a sniper; from start to finish, the action takes less than 15 minutes. It’s a done-in-one vigilante comic, Batman in photonegative costume w/ a touch of cynicism. Shalvey opens w/ the victims’ last moments, & his use of white in the layout recalls Aja’s contempo Hawkeye.

last issue: Moon Knight #1
next issue: Moon Knight #3

Moon Knight #1

December 24, 2015

Moon Knight 1Warren Ellis // Declan Shalvey
May 2014
****

In white suit & limo, Moon Knight hunts a killer Frankenstein cyborg under NYC. Four years after his last series, this 1970s riff on the Shadow gets resurrected again by a master at overhauls. In Ellis’ hands, MK’s a gentleman detective haunted by a weird entity from outside time; Shalvey adds ghostly atmo.

next issue: Moon Knight #2

also indexed for May ’14

Secret Avengers #21

December 23, 2015

Secret Avengers 21Warren Ellis // Stuart Immonen
March 2012
****

Cap & co fight a horror beast in a skyscraper. Anyone hoping for a resolution to the mag’s Lovecraft conspiracy will be disappointed; so will Nextwave fans looking for a gonzo reunion for Ellis & Immonen. Still, the duo’s expertise makes for first-rate spy-fi & a fine capper to a fun, cynical run.

last issue: Secret Avengers #20
next issue: Secret Avengers #22

also indexed for Mar. ’12
Captain America #7
Captain America & Bucky #626
The Fantastic Four #602
FF #14

Secret Avengers #20

December 22, 2015

Secret Avengers 20Warren Ellis // Alex Maleev
February 2012
*****

The Black Widow saves a mission via cunning application of time travel. The excellent use of the trope reads like a superspy response to the puzzle boxes of modern Doctor Who. Maleev helps make it an instant classic, w/ a ’60s flashback laid out as a daily strip, Modesty Blaise style.

last issue: Secret Avengers #19
next issue: Secret Avengers #21

also indexed for Feb. ’12
Annihilators: Earthfall #4 of 4
Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #8 of 9
Captain America #5
Captain America #6
Captain America & Bucky #625
The Fantastic Four #601
FF #13

Secret Avengers #19

December 21, 2015

Secret Avengers 19Warren Ellis // Michael Lark
January 2012
*****

This brief run on a 2nd-tier Avengers mag may actually be the apex of the ’00s superspy revival. Each done-in-one mission has a different tone, thanks to the guest artists. Here Lark evokes horror & The Third Man; in E. Europe, the team raids a club whose owner gains powers up by smoking an Elder God’s ashes!

last issue: Secret Avengers #18
next issue: Secret Avengers #20

also indexed for Jan. ’12
Annihilators: Earthfall #3 of 4
Captain America #4
Captain America & Bucky #624
The Fantastic Four #600
Fear Itself: Captain America #7.1
FF #12

Secret Avengers #18

December 20, 2015

Secret Avengers 18Warren Ellis // David Aja
December 2011
*****

Backed by a rotating crew of A-list artists, Ellis is distilling the modern superspy trend into a stiff shot of comics. For #18, Cap’s kooky quartet displays Shang-Chi to far better effect than Brubaker did. He gives Aja the chance to draw a kung fu fight in an Escher dimension. Gorgeous.

last issue: Secret Avengers #17
next issue: Secret Avengers #19

also indexed for Dec. ’11
Annihilators: Earthfall #2 of 4
Captain America & Bucky #623
FF #10
FF #11


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