Archive for October, 2013

Avengers: The Children’s Crusade: Young Avengers #1 of 1

October 31, 2013

Young Avengers special 1Allen Heinberg // Alan Davis
May 2011
***

Heinberg’s worst single issue in a fun split run. Storywise, his one-shot means to raise the stakes by showing Kang mis-leading the adult YAs in a timewar. But it slides into a needless “issue #0” flashback. Tho’ Davis isn’t in his element (chatty spandex comics), he does yeoman’s work.

continued from Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #4 of 9
continued in Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #5 of 9

also indexed for May ’11
FF #1

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Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #4 of 9

October 30, 2013

Allen Heinberg // Jim Cheung
Avengers Children's Crusade 4March 2011
***

Scribe Heinberg places his legacy team-up against some heavy foes: Dr. Doom, Magneto, the Avengers… Ironically, the “heroic” team is the most violent & unambiguously motivated. In the melée, many of the Young Avs get shrifted, tho’ Heinberg’s favorite member, Wiccan, shares the focus with Wanda M.

continued in Avengers: The Children’s Crusade: Young Avengers #1 of 1
last issue: Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #3 of 9
next issue: Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #5 of 9

also indexed for Mar. ’11
The Fantastic Four #587

Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #3 of 9

October 29, 2013

Avengers Children's Crusade 3Allen Heinberg // Jim Cheung
January 2011
***

Talky but still stronger than Bendis’ Avengers comics, whose failures this mag seeks to correct. In fact, A:TCC casts those New Avengers as villains, which makes sense considering their smug bullying. Meanwhile, the kids have uncovered the Scarlet Witch, amnesiac and affianced to Dr. Doom!

last issue: Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #2 of 9
next issue: Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #4 of 9

also indexed for Jan. ’11
The Fantastic Four #585

Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #2 of 9

October 28, 2013

Avengers Children's Crusade 2Allen Heinberg // Jim Cheung
November 2010
***

To find his “metaphysical” mother (the Scarlet Witch), Wiccan & the gang team up w/ Magneto & Quicksilver for a trip to C. Europe. As if guided by destiny or plot necessity, they learn that she’s a Doombot! Trad super-team comics in a modern idiom, driven by character dynamics & fannish continuity.

last issue: Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #1 of 9
next issue: Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #3 of 9

also indexed for Nov. ’10
The Fantastic Four #583

Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #1 of 9

October 27, 2013

Avengers Children's Crusade 1Allen Heinberg // Jim Cheung
September 2010
***

The creators of Young Avs reunite to rescue their fine team from cameo limbo & tie up the essential loose end: the relationship btw Speed & Wiccan to the Scarlet Witch’s “lost” twin children. It feels as if the reader has simply missed a few years of issues while the cast shuffled & powered up.

next issue: Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #2 of 9

also indexed for Sept. ’10
The Fantastic Four #581

Young Avengers #12

October 26, 2013

Young Avengers 12Allen Heinberg // Jim Cheung
August 2006
***

YA, like Astonishing X, has hit catastrophic delays, & sadly folds up shop just as it begins to deliver on its potential. That Marvel space-opera, the Kree-Skrull War, reverbs as Avengers kids & adults fight to keep Hulkling from getting drafted by both sides. Clean fun, classic superhero comics.

last issue: Young Avengers #11

also indexed for Aug. ’06
Astonishing X-Men #15
Civil War #2 of 7
Nextwave, Agents of HATE #6

Young Avengers #11

October 25, 2013

Young Avengers 11Allen Heinberg // Jim Cheung
May 2006
****

Hulkling learns he’s the illegit son of Capt. Marvel & a Skrull princess, conceived during the Kree-Skrull War! Wiccan & Speed too have an illustrious parentage, as their souls transmigrated from the Scarlet Witch’s lost twins! The electrifying reveals epitomize the legacy approach of this mag.

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

also indexed for May ’06
Iron Man #6
Nextwave, Agents of HATE #3
The Pulse #14

Young Avengers #10

October 24, 2013

Young Avengers 10Allen Heinberg // Jim Cheung
March 2006
***

H&C expand their mag’s cast. First is a new Vision, his OS downloaded into Kid Kang’s armor a few issues back. Another’s a white-haired speedster (like Quicksilver) &, oddly, Wiccan’s twin. But #10 centers on Hulkling, whose secret backstory is revealed as that hoary trope, the orphan princeling!

continued from Young Avengers Special #1
last issue: Young Avengers #9
next issue: Young Avengers #11

also indexed for Mar. ’06
Iron Man #5
Nextwave, Agents of HATE #1

Young Avengers Special #1

October 23, 2013

Young Avengers special 1Allen Heinberg // Michael Gaydos, Neal Adams, Gene Ha, Jae Lee, Bill Sienkiewicz, & Pasqual Ferry
February 2006
***

As YA hits delays, it offers a special to keep interest high & loop new readers in. It’s secret origins time, as Jess Jones (drawn by Gaydos, as she should be) interviews the teen team. Each episode gets a different artist—serious talent, & some of my faves. On the plus side, gay hero Wiccan shares a curious spark w/ Scarlet Witch; on the minus, the tough, awesome Hawkeye has a rapey backstory.

continued from Young Avengers #9
continued in Young Avengers #10

Young Avengers #9

October 22, 2013

Young Avengers 09Allen Heinberg // Jim Cheung
December 2005
***

Super-Skrull outs Hulkling’s “mother” as a ‘shifter—a clue to his secret origin. YA nails ’00s NYC, an urban environment as safe as 1960s suburbia. The clean-cut liberal teens attend private schools & meet up afterwards for super-extracurriculars. It all gives the mag a delightful Silver Age tone.

continued in Young Avengers Special #1
last issue: Young Avengers #8
next issue: Young Avengers #10

also indexed for Dec. ’05
Secret War #5 of 5

Young Avengers #8

October 21, 2013

Young Avengers 08Allen Heinberg // Andrea DiVito
November 2005
***

The teen comics mag takes on the classic PSA subject of drug use. The Cap analog, a black kid, derives his powers from an illegal serum; Cassie Lang, meanwhile, got her growth powers by filching her late dad’s Pym particles. Yet the issue complicates its mild disapproval by sticking by its heroes.

last issue: Young Avengers #7
next issue: Young Avengers #9

also indexed for Nov. ’05
The Pulse #11

Young Avengers #7

October 20, 2013

Young Avengers 07Allen Heinberg // Andrea DiVito
October 2005
**

The kids face a heavy who’s dealing a mutant street-drug. It’s part of Marvel’s nouveau-gritty style, which can suit teens well or badly (the last panel alludes to GL‘s classic “junkie!” cover). DiVito proves a journeyman, tho’ inks add a teen-manga gloss that’s too similar to Alphona’s Runaways.

last issue: Young Avengers #6
next issue: Young Avengers #8

also indexed for Oct. ’05
Iron Man #4

Young Avengers #6

October 19, 2013

Young Avengers 06Allen Heinberg // Jim Cheung
September 2005
****

The first arc wraps up as it should’ve done in #4—w/ Kid Kang surrendering to repair the timestream—while Jess Jones’ subplot has faded away. Despite these flaws, YA leaves me optimistic for its future: unlike many super-comics right now, these youngsters enjoy being heroes. Just pick up the pace!

last issue: Young Avengers #5
next issue: Young Avengers #7

also indexed for September 2005
The Pulse #10

Young Avengers #5

October 18, 2013

Young Avengers 05Allen Heinberg // Jim Cheung
August 2005
***

A decompressed structure is strangling the momentum of the next great superhero comic. Heinberg nails personalities, w/ just enough character conflict & soap opera to imply this could be a Teen Titans for the new millennium. But what actually happens in the fifth issue? One long skirmish with Kang.

last issue: Young Avengers #4
next issue: Young Avengers #6

also indexed for Aug. ’05
Astonishing X-Men #12

Young Avengers #4

October 17, 2013

Young Avengers 04Allen Heinberg // Jim Cheung
July 2005
***

Wonky time-business threatens Earth? Must be Kang! Cheung draws A-1 superhero art—like Oliver Coipel, he’s got a touch of Bachalo. Heinberg confidently lays out his chars’ personalities & writes great scenes. His talent in serial TV transfers well, just like Joss Whedon’s contempo Astonishing X-Men.

last issue: Young Avengers #3
next issue: Young Avengers #5

also indexed for Jul. ’05
Astonishing X-Men #11
The Pulse #9

Young Avengers #3

October 16, 2013

Young Avengers 03Allen Heinberg // Jim Cheung
June 2005
****

Unlike Bendis’ contempo New Avengers, Heinberg’s scenes have an arc, & his characters have goals & distinct voices; where NA‘s Finch apes movies, YA‘s Cheung draws comics (w/ better technique). With Kang threatening Cap, IM & even the Vision, Young feels better & more true to the franchise than New.

last issue: Young Avengers #2
next issue: Young Avengers #4

Young Avengers #2

October 15, 2013

Young Avengers 02Allen Heinberg // Jim Cheung
May 2005
****

A very fashionable debut for YA, Cheung’s a la mode art matching the script’s long, slow opening arc & quippy dialog. Plotwise, there’s little action & much exposition as Kid Kang fights his fate to mature into Adult Kang. Good to have a couple gals join the boys, incl the late Ant-Man’s daughter.

last issue: Young Avengers #1
next issue: Young Avengers #3

also indexed for May ’05
Astonishing X-Men #10
The Pulse #8
Secret War #4 of 5

Young Avengers #1

October 14, 2013

Young Avengers 01Allen Heinberg // Jim Cheung
April 2005
****

Both the disbanded Avengers & the Daily Bugle wonder who the kids dressed up like Avengers are. The light, superheroic tone reminds me of The Legion of Super-Heroes at its youthful best—not least cuz the team’s been recruited by a 30th-century teen: Iron Lad, AKA Kang! Nice to see Jess Jones too.

next issue: Young Avengers #2

Iron Man #6

October 13, 2013

Iron Man 06Warren Ellis // Adi Granov
May 2006
**

#6 is mostly combat, plus a reveal of the villain: Stark’s foil, a hard-drinking technocrat idealist who’s compromised her ethics. But Ellis succumbs to Bush-era morality himself, as his protag kills a domestic terrorist (a zap to the skull!?). Tho’ Iron Man is now powered up, he’s a doubtful hero.

last issue: Iron Man #5
next issue: Iron Man #7

also indexed for May ’06
Nextwave, Agents of HATE #3
The Pulse #14
Young Avengers #11

Iron Man #5

October 12, 2013

Iron Man 05Warren Ellis // Adi Granov
March 2006
****

Having nanites reprogram his neurons to interface w/ his armor, Stark metamorphosizes in a literal cocoon! The quiet lets Ellis modernize IM’s origin story & draw parallels w/ the upgrade. He’s writing futuristic SF, refashioning the title char as a posthuman supersoldier in the War on Terror.

last issue: Iron Man #4
next issue: Iron Man #6

also indexed for Mar. ’06
Nextwave, Agents of HATE #1
Young Avengers #10

Iron Man #4

October 11, 2013

Iron Man 04Warren Ellis // Adi Granov
October 2005
***

Tho’ it benefits from refs to current events & a post-9/11 morality, the glacial pacing both w/in the mag & in publication begins to hobble Ellis’ revamp. This issue is especially slow, as a wounded Tony injects himself w/ nanites to heal & beat his latest foe, a far-right nut w/ the same power-up.

last issue: Iron Man #3
next issue: Iron Man #5

also indexed for Oct. ’05
Young Avengers #7

Iron Man #3

October 10, 2013

Iron Man 03Warren Ellis // Adi Granov
March 2005
***

Mostly action this ish, as IM fights a domestic terrorist souped up w/ supersoldier nanotech on a freeway. Ellis lends his protag his sheer pleasure of piloting hi-tech super-armor. The arc’s cinematic quality is underscored by the hyper-realism & gridwork, which is less comics than storyboards.

last issue: Iron Man #2
next issue: Iron Man #4

also indexed for Mar. ’05
Astonishing X-Men #9
The Pulse #7

Iron Man #2

October 9, 2013

Iron Man 02Warren Ellis // Adi Granov
February 2005
****

Tony, in his creative/CEO role, basks in an A. Rand halo, but that’s overwhelmed by his guru, who acts as superb mouthpiece for Ellis’s countercultural technophilia. It’s radical stuff, esp. for a mainstream comic—good enough to overwhelm the fumetti-like art, which plummets into the uncanny valley.

last issue: Iron Man #1
next issue: Iron Man #3

also indexed for Feb. ’05
Astonishing X-Men #8

Iron Man #1

October 8, 2013

Iron Man 01Warren Ellis // Adi Granov
January 2005
***

Concurrent w/ a soft Avengers reboot, W. Ellis assumes control of IM. He’s a great pick: obsessed by 21C future-tech & attitude. He also updates the timeline to show how Stark supplied arms in Afghanistan, & now feels guilty. Granov’s “realistic” computer art, however, comes off as phony & stilted.

continued from Iron Man #89
next issue: Iron Man #2

also indexed for Jan. ’05
Astonishing X-Men #7
The Pulse #6

Avengers/JLA #4 of 4

October 7, 2013

Avengers.JLA 4 of 4Kurt Busiek // George Pérez
December 2003
***

The crossover ends as it must: in an enormous brawl of punching & zapping. Still, the mag’s creative duo amazingly avoid even a whiff of the corporate avarice that must underpin this mini. The grand scope & casual confidence prove a good capstone to the super-teamwork dynamic that defines the Avengers run of Busiek & Pérez et al. Think of it as a victory lap AWA an impressive work of fan-service.

last issue: JLA/Avengers #3 of 4

also indexed for Dec. ’03
Alias #27
New X-Men #148

JLA/Avengers #3 of 4

October 6, 2013

Avengers.JLA 3 of 4Kurt Busiek // George Pérez
November 2003
****

JLA/Av retcons annual super-teamups btw Marvel & DC, a late-era Crisis (in DC terminology) complete w/ overlapping Earths. The art of mature Pérez is even better than in his ’80s Crisis. Busiek writes a tighter plot, tho it suffers from self-reference & (surprisingly for KB) a lack of central protag. For superhero lovers rather than casual readers, but those fanboys will be truly satisfied.

last issue: Avengers/JLA #2 of 4
next issue: Avengers/JLA #4 of 4

also indexed for Nov. ’03
Alias #26
New X-Men #146
New X-Men #147

Avengers/JLA #2 of 4

October 5, 2013

Avengers.JLA 2 of 4Kurt Busiek // George Pérez
October 2003
*****

The two superteams race to acquire cosmic artifacts. If the Avengers win, the DC supervillain Krona will destroy their ‘verse in a mad quest for knowledge! The simple, Gardner Fox-type plot lets comics counterparts compete (eg Superman v. Thor), w/ the creative duo staging the super-fights superbly. In an A+ twist, Batman recognizes he & Captain A. are too evenly matched, & strike an alliance.

last issue: JLA/Avengers #1 of 4
next issue: JLA/Avengers #3 of 4

also indexed for Oct. ’03
Alias #25
New X-Men #145

JLA/Avengers #1 of 4

October 4, 2013

Avengers.JLA 1 of 4Kurt Busiek // George Pérez
September 2003
****

As the walls btw DC & Marvel collapse, a pair of cosmic beings make a wager to pit the heroes in a race to collect cosmic artifacts. As hoary as the scenario is, Busiek & Pérez (auteurs of a great Avengers run) lend vivacity to what should be mere fan service. Ex: Busiek makes distinct the thin difference btw the imaginary universes, as Superman reacts viscerally to the MU’s antiheroism & bigotry.

next issue: Avengers/JLA #2 of 4

also indexed for Sept. ’03
Alias #24
New X-Men #144

Avengers #56

October 3, 2013

Avengers 56Kurt Busiek // Yanick Paquette
September 2002
****

The squad gets audited by accountants from Tony Stark’s foundation. It’s exactly what you’d figure a Busiek issue would be: an oblique approach to superheroes. But tho’ it reads like a fill-in issue (esp. that generic cover), #56 ends his run on a high note, with Paquette ably helping him close.

last issue: Avengers #55
next issue: Avengers #57

also indexed for Sept. ’02
Alias #11
Alias #12
New X-Men
#129

Avengers #55

October 2, 2013

Avengers 55Kurt Busiek // Patrick Zircher
August 2002
****

No surprise, one of the strongest of Busiek’s 80+ Avengers issues offers a slant perspec on superheroics. #55 pays respect to the death toll—in the Kang arc, quite a high one—and holds its heroes to a code, even in wartime. In a quiet way, it functions as a monument to 2001’s terrorist victims.

last issue: Avengers #54
next issue: Avengers #56

also indexed for Aug. ’02
Alias #10
New X-Men #127
New X-Men #128

Avengers #54

October 1, 2013

Avengers 54Kurt Busiek // Kieren Dwyer
July 2002
***

Throughout his run, KB has written a great Kang: a conqueror full of bravado, a general w/ a plan. In the end, he misses his goal not cuz he lost Earth but cuz his son fails his warrior code. So Kang kills him! While Dwyer’s art gets a little fussy, he designs covers that are striking & original.

last issue: Avengers #53
next issue: Avengers #55

also indexed for Jul. 02
Alias #9
New X-Men #126