Archive for February, 2014

Nova #7

February 28, 2014

Nova 07Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning // Sean Chen & Brian Denham
December 2007
****

Naturally, Rider shrugs off the sentient techno-virus’ infection; it’s how the turn is executed (an astral psychomachia) that works. His escape from the Phalanx dominion adds a dash of hard SF that, in a twist, shunts him away from the Annihilation: Conquest series.

last issue: Nova #6
next issue: Nova #8

also indexed for Dec. ’07
Annihilation: Conquest: Quasar #4 of 4
Annihilation: Conquest: Star-Lord #4 of 4
Annihilation: Conquest: Wraith #4 of 4
The Immortal Iron Fist #10

Nova #6

February 27, 2014

Nova 06Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning // Sean Chen & Brian Denham
November 2007
***

The centerpiece of this arc is an aerial battle btw Novas (Novae?), as the Kree rookie dogfights Richard Rider over control of the Worldmind AI. A dialog on individuality w/r/t the Phalanx hivemind offers food for thought. And a few overly boob-centric panels don’t detract from the action too much.

last issue: Nova #5
next issue: Nova #7

also indexed for Nov. ’07
Annihilation: Conquest: Quasar #3 of 4
Annihilation: Conquest: Star-Lord #3 of 4
Annihilation: Conquest: Wraith #3 of 4
The Immortal Iron Fist #9
The Immortal Iron Fist Annual #1

Nova #5

February 26, 2014

Nova 05Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning // Sean Chen
October 2007
***

If Chen’s art were more than simply clear & readable, Nova would be fantastic. As it is the art’s serviceable, while the script springs surprises & draws new chars w/ a few deft strokes. A Kree medic is tasked by the Nova AI to protect her crew & Rider from the Phalanx techno-infection—& she fails!

last issue: Nova #4
next issue: Nova #6

also indexed for Oct. ’07
Annihilation: Conquest: Quasar #2 of 4
Annihilation: Conquest: Star-Lord #2 of 4
Annihilation: Conquest: Wraith #2 of 4
Astonishing X-Men #22
The Immortal Iron Fist #8

Nova #4

February 25, 2014

Nova 04Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning // Sean Chen
September 2007
***

Crossing into the Annihilation: Conquest metaseries, Nova finds that the Kree Empire has been infected by a techno-organic viral race. With Rider burnt & the Nova AI empowering a Kree officer, the 2nd arc’s got clear stakes, an urgent tone, & plenty of momentum (unlike the series’ three minis).

last issue: Nova #3
next issue: Nova #5
see also Annihilation: Conquest: Prologue #1 of 1

also indexed for Sept. ’07
Annihilation: Conquest: Quasar #1 of 4
Annihilation: Conquest: Star-Lord #1 of 4
Annihilation: Conquest: Wraith #1 of 4

Annihilation: Conquest: Wraith #4 of 4

February 24, 2014

Annihilation Conquest Wraith 4 of 4Javier Grillo-Marxauch // Kyle Hotz
December 2007
*

I think very poorly of JG-M’s writing, packed w/ bleating clichés about honor. The story’s confusing too: the antihero, manipulated by the Kree’s bio-AI deity, infects the Phalanx w/ his symbiotic aliens? As thru-out this mini, it’s Hotz’s art—horror atmo & ’90s post-Image style—that keeps me reading.

last issue: Annihilation: Conquest: Wraith #3 of 4
continued in Annihilation: Conquest #1 of 6

also indexed for Dec. ’07
Annihilation: Conquest: Quasar #4 of 4
Annihilation: Conquest: Star-Lord #4 of 4
The Immortal Iron Fist #10
Nova #7

Annihilation: Conquest: Wraith #3 of 4

February 23, 2014

Annihilation Conquest Wraith 3 of 4Javier Grillo-Marxauch // Kyle Hotz
November 2007
**

The mini seesaws btw abject convention & the twists that make Marvel’s contempo SF line engaging. Its protag is firmly on the first side: a sulky Hamlet type w/ alien horror trappings. But the Annihilation plot revs up as the Phalanx plans to resurrect that green Kirby godhead, the Kree AI.

last issue: Annihilation: Conquest: Wraith #2 of 4
next issue: Annihilation: Conquest: Wraith #4 of 4

also indexed for Nov. ’07
Annihilation: Conquest: Quasar #3 of 4
Annihilation: Conquest: Star-Lord #3 of 4
The Immortal Iron Fist #9
The Immortal Iron Fist Annual #1
Nova #6

Annihilation: Conquest: Wraith #2 of 4

February 22, 2014

Annihilation Conquest Wraith 2 of 4Javier Grillo-Marxauch // Kyle Hotz
October 2007
**

Somehow, Hotz makes a ’90s junk style (rococo lines & manga eyes) work. JG-M riffs on Serio Leone’s schtick, inserting his antihero into a conflict he wants no part of—the Kree with No Name. But other than an eerie death/resurrection backstory, the protag’s undercooked & the dialogue’s clichéd.

last issue: Annihilation: Conquest: Wraith #1 of 4
next issue: Annihilation: Conquest: Wraith #3 of 4

also indexed for Oct. 07
Annihilation: Conquest: Quasar #2 of 4
Annihilation: Conquest: Star-Lord #2 of 4
Astonishing X-Men #22
The Immortal Iron Fist #8
Nova #5

Annihilation: Conquest: Wraith #1 of 4

February 21, 2014

Annihilation Conquest Wraith 1 of 4Javier Grillo-Marxauch // Kyle Hotz
September 2007
*

Hey, an entirely new character! Wraith would’ve fit into Marvel’s ill-conceived ’90s horror line: a gloomy gothic badass w/ vague powers, an energy gun/knife/whip combo, & a rocket-cycle. Hotz brings a choppy, angular ’80s English vibe to the mini, part of the Annihilation: Conquest metaseries.

continued from Annihilation: Conquest: Prologue
next issue: Annihilation: Conquest: Wraith #2 of 4

also indexed for Sept. ’07
Annihilation: Conquest: Quasar #1 of 4
Annihilation: Conquest: Star-Lord #1 of 4
Nova #4

Annihilation: Conquest: Quasar #4 of 4

February 20, 2014

Annihilation Conquest Quasar 4 of 4Christos Gage // Mike Lilly
December 2007
**

A finale of dull, mechanical plotting. Phyla-Vell crashes & defeats her foe (a robot who copies superpowers) w/ Jim Kirk’s old trick: by having it mimic an illogical trait, imagination. Then P-V rescues the galactic savior, revealed as Adam Warlock (no surprise—he’s Marvel’s go-to cosmic messiah).

last issue: Annihilation: Conquest: Quasar #3 of 4
continued in Annihilation: Conquest #1 of 6

also indexed for Dec. ’07
Annihilation: Conquest: Star-Lord #4 of 4
Annihilation: Conquest: Wraith #4 of 4
The Immortal Iron Fist #10
Nova #7

Annihilation: Conquest: Quasar #3 of 4

February 19, 2014

Annihilation Conquest Quasar 3 of 4Christos Gage // Mike Lilly
November 2007
**

A low panel-to-page ratio & lots of negative space show Lilly’s fatigue. The plot, meanwhile, is a sci-fantasy a la Heavy Metal. Quasar’s g’friend turns into a dragon (not a metaphor for queer love, sadly!) as they defend a peasant village from a marauding army rather than rescue a space messiah.

last issue: Annihilation: Conquest: Quasar #2 of 4
next issue: Annihilation: Conquest: Quasar #4 of 4

also indexed for Nov. ’07
Annihilation: Conquest: Star-Lord #3 of 4
Annihilation: Conquest: Wraith #3 of 4
The Immortal Iron Fist #9
The Immortal Iron Fist Annual #1
Nova #6

Annihilation: Conquest: Quasar #2 of 4

February 18, 2014

Annihilation Conquest Quasar 2 of 4Christos Gage // Mike Lilly
October 2007
**

Ostensibly, the plot involves a race to summon a galactic messiah. But mostly it’s a pretext for the heroine to swing an energy-sword at monsters. The mini’s only distinctive attribute is that its leads are lesbian lovers, but this simply offers the artist a chance to draw twice as many nipples.

last issue: Annihilation: Conquest: Quasar #1 of 4
next issue: Annihilation: Conquest: Quasar #3 of 4

also indexed for Oct. ’07
Annihilation: Conquest: Star-Lord #2 of 4
Annihilation: Conquest: Wraith #2 of 4
Astonishing X-Men #22
The Immortal Iron Fist #8
Nova #5

Annihilation: Conquest: Quasar #1 of 4

February 17, 2014

Annihilation Conquest Quasar 1 of 4Christos Gage // Mike Lilly
September 2007
**

Seeking a messiah to save the galaxy from a techno-infection is that rare bird, a female superhero! Phyla-Vell’s a double-legacy: her dad was Captain Marvel (the ’60s Marvel one), & she wears a ’90s space-knight’s power bracers. But her book’s all plot, no personality (lesbianism doesn’t count).

continued from Annihilation: Conquest: Prologue #1 of 1
next issue: Annihilation: Conquest: Quasar #2 of 4

also indexed for Sept. ’07
Annihilation: Conquest: Star-Lord #1 of 4
Annihilation: Conquest: Wraith #1 of 4
Nova #4

Annihilation: Conquest: Star-Lord #4 of 4

February 16, 2014

Annihilation Conquest Starlord 4 of 4Keith Giffen // Timothy Green II
December 2007
***

As if to make up for the slack pace of A:C:Star-Lord #2, Giffen cuts from scene to scene, showing the essential beats but not the combat. The plot’s a little hairy (why would a techno-organic species create an antidote to itself? Can the Uni-power function independently?) but the space opera works.

last issue: Annihilation: Conquest: Star-Lord #3 of 4
continued in Annihilation: Conquest #1 of 6

also indexed for Dec. ’07
Annihilation: Conquest: Quasar #4 of 4
Annihilation: Conquest: Wraith #4 of 4
The Immortal Iron Fist #11
Nova #7

Annihilation: Conquest: Star-Lord #3 of 4

February 15, 2014

Annihilation Conquest Starlord 3 of 4Keith Giffen // Timothy Green II
November 2007
***

Undercover on the Kree homeworld, Star-Lord learns the techno-aliens’ secret plan: infect the galaxy w/ a nano-virus that will convert organic life into “techno-organic” life. It’s spicy space opera w/ a fashionably hard-boiled edge. Green’s vivid mise en scene adds to the sense of place & tone.

last issue: Annihilation: Conquest: Star-Lord #2 of 4
next issue: Annihilation: Conquest: Star-Lord #4 of 4

also indexed for Nov. ’07
Annihilation: Conquest: Quasar #3 of 4
Annihilation: Conquest: Wraith #3 of 4
The Immortal Iron Fist #9
The Immortal Iron Fist Annual #1
Nova #6

Annihilation: Conquest: Star-Lord #2 of 4

February 14, 2014

Annihilation Conquest Starlord 2 of 4Keith Giffen // Timothy Green II
October 2007
**

Giffen’s script is soggy w/ American snark, but it’s two-fisted SF, w/ a war’s sense of scope & non-humanoid aliens: a Kirby monster, a hyperintelligent raccoon, Annihilation bugs, etc. The plot: our squad of antiheroes skulk thru occupied territory, drawing a death by friendly fire.

last issue: Annihilation: Conquest: Star-Lord #1 of 4
next issue: Annihilation: Conquest: Star-Lord #3 of 4

also indexed for Oct. ’07
Annihilation: Conquest: Quasar #2 of 4
Annihilation: Conquest: Wraith #2 of 4
Astonishing X-Men #22
The Immortal Iron Fist #8
Nova #5

Annihilation: Conquest: Star-Lord #1 of 4

February 13, 2014

Annihilation Conquest Starlord 1 of 4Keith Giffen // Timothy Green II
September 2007
***

Giff, demoted to support-staff in Marvel’s space dept., does a pro’s job of introing his cast. Star-Lord, a Flash Gordon type from Marvel’s cosmic heyday, will lead a Dirty Dozen platoon on a suicide mission. Colorful aliens, surly officers, clear stakes, & cynicism make the mini engaging.

continued from Annihilation: Conquest: Prologue #1 of 1
next issue: Annihilation: Conquest: Starlord #1 of 4

also indexed for Sept. ’07
Annihilation: Conquest: Quasar #1 of 4
Annihilation: Conquest: Wraith #1 of 4
Nova #4

Annihilation: Conquest: Prologue #1 of 1

February 12, 2014

Annihilation Conquest - PrologueDan Abnett & Andy Lanning // Mike Perkins
August 2007
****

Following the pattern of the ’06 sleeper, Abnett & Lanning craft another space opera. If this one-shot’s indicative, it’ll improve on the first. Civilization’s in ruins, heroes buzz about rebuilding, & a species of sentient technovirus (the Phalanx) seizes the Kree Empire to assimilate & thus protect the galaxy. Happily, one protag’s a woman! The art’s a little grimy & claustrophobic but okay.

continued in Annihilation: Conquest: Quasar #1 of 4
continued in Annihilation: Conquest: Star Lord #1 of 4
continued in Annihilation: Conquest: Wraith #1 of 4
continued in Nova #4

also indexed for Aug. ’07
The Immortal Iron Fist #7
Nova #3

Nova #3

February 11, 2014

Nova 03Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning // Sean Chen
August 2007
***

The writers prefer to retread last issue’s ground instead of moving forward (veteran of intergalactic war can’t bear the short horizons of home). It’s good, but when Nova meets ex-mate Speedball, a PTSD masochist since Civil War, he falls back on bromides instead of seeing his dark reflection.

last issue: Nova #2
next issue: Nova #4
see also Annihilation: Conquest: Prologue #1 of 1

also indexed for Aug. ’07
Annihilation: Conquest: Prologue #1 of 1
The Immortal Iron Fist #7

Nova #2

February 10, 2014

Nova 02Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning // Sean Chen
July 2007
****

From a simple plot (Ryder takes shore-leave on Earth), the writers spool a soldier’s perspective on Marvel. So while the vet led an ugly stellar war, local heroes bickered in an inane Civil War. A grizzled old youth w/ an AI brain, he’s alienated from his suburban home. Oh, they’re putting thought into this!

previous issue: Nova #1
next issue: Nova #3

also indexed for Jul. ’07
The Immortal Iron Fist #6

Nova #1

February 9, 2014

Nova 01Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning // Sean Chen
June 2007
**

The Human Rocket’s fourth series has a good hook: the only galactic cop left, Richard Ryder must handle every planetary disaster solo. He’s also got near-cosmic powers & an AI in his brain—so why’s he just punching shit till it explodes? There’s hints of PTSD but is it enough to build a series on?

continued from Annihilation #6 of 6
next issue: Nova #2

also indexed for Jun. ’07
The Immortal Iron Fist #5

Annihilation: Heralds of Galactus #2 of 2

February 8, 2014

A-story: Keith Giffen // Scott Kolins
B-story: Keith Giffen // Andrea DiVito
May 2007
A-story: *** // B-story: **

More scifi to tie loose ends & set a new status quo after a space war. The first story—a fiery angelic being metes vengeance upon quislings—is improved by vigorous art. The second—the Silver Surfer hunts godlike primeval entites—is more conventional but displays wicked surfing moves.

previous issue: Annihilation: Heralds of Galactus #1 of 2

also indexed for May ’07
Astonishing X-Men #21

Annihilation: Heralds of Galactus #1 of 2

February 7, 2014

Annihilation - Heralds of Galactus 1 of 2A-story: Christos Gage // Giuseppe Camuncoli
B-story: Stuart Moore // Mike McKone
April 2007
A-story: ** // B-story: **

A coda to the recent space opera (a sleeper success), these old-fashioned shorts are simple yet effective. A cosmic being, disgusted by the servility of a species he’s liberated, destroys their civilization. Another ancient scifi demigod  extinguishes his own race to feed Galactus.

continued from Annihilation #6 of 6
next issue: Annihilation: Heralds of Galactus #2 of 2

also indexed for Apr. ’07
The Immortal Iron Fist #4

Annihilation #6 of 6

February 6, 2014

Annihilation 6 of 6Keith Giffen // Andrea DiVito
March 2007
**

Galactus vaporizes the insectoid fleet, Nova goes mano a mano with the Big Bug, & Giffen delivers an epilogue. Annihil never quite delivered on its epic promise, mostly cuz it took itself too seriously. But more, the uninspired realism of DiVito’s art muffled the core mini’s sense of scope.

last issue: Annihilation #5 of 6
continued in Annihilation: Heralds of Galactus #1 of 2

also indexed for Mar. ’07
Nextwave, Agents of HATE #12

Annihilation #5 of 6

February 5, 2014

Annihilation 5 of 6Keith Giffen // Andrea DiVito
February 2007
***

Ronan (a Kirby creation, one of several here) overturns a Kree-insect alliance & assumes control of an empire! Last ish’s killing of Thanos may’ve been Ann‘s climax; w/ Galactus now free, the heroes should clean up, no problem. I only wish it felt more fun—the realistic tone & art is kind of a drag.

last issue: Annihilation #4 of 6
next issue: Annihilation #6 of 6

also indexed for Feb. ’07
Astonishing X-Men #20
The Immortal Iron Fist #3
Nextwave, Agents of HATE #11

Annihilation #4 of 6

February 4, 2014

Annihilation 4 of 6Keith Giffen // Andrea DiVito
January 2007
***

While Civil War hits delays, Annihilation keeps to its schedule. Thanos does a heel/face turn upon learning that the bug-invader plans to destroy all life; ironically, before he can save the ‘verse, he’s killed by his nemesis. Giffen engineered this whole series to give Thanos a death he deserves!

last issue: Annihilation #3 of 6
next issue: Annihilation #5 of 6

also indexed for Jan. ’07
Astonishing X-Men #19
Civil War #7 of 7
Nextwave, Agents of HATE #10

Annihilation #3 of 6

February 3, 2014

Annihilation 3 of 6Keith Giffen // Andrea DiVito
December 2006
***

W/ this mini, the creators aim to write a war comic in space, with this ish staging an intergalactic Dunkirk. They ought to focus on the mystical weirdness instead: Super-Skrull reborn, but also Thanos’ mad speech on cosmic energy, its effect on bio-auras, & its practical application as a weapon.

last issue: Annihilation #2 of 6
next issue: Annihilation #4 of 6

also indexed for Dec. ’06
Astonishing X-Men #18
Civil War #6 of 7
The Immortal Iron Fist #2
Nextwave, Agents of HATE #9

Annihilation #2 of 6

February 2, 2014

Annihilation 2 of 6Keith Giffen // Andrea DiVito
November 2006
**

Pursuing his own agenda, antihero Thanos supports Annihilus, fells Galactus, & kidnaps babes. You need Wikipedia for some of these characters’ IDs, but it’s way better than Civil War. Giffen savors his intergalactic war, esp. the political machinations, but he doesn’t always share the pleasure w/ us.

last issue: Annihilation #1 of 6
next issue: Annihilation #3 of 6

also indexed for Nov. ’06
Astonishing X-Men #17
Civil War #5 of 7
The Immortal Iron Fist #1
Nextwave, Agents of HATE #8

Annihilation #1 of 6

February 1, 2014

Annihilation 1 of 6Keith Giffen // Andrea DiVito
October 2006
***

Taxied into place by a one-shot & 5 minis, the flagship of this metaseries sets sail. A swarm of space locusts from beyond the universe has consumed the Skrull Empire. Nova, leading a loose alliance of galactic heroes (esoteric ’70s Starlin creations, mostly), reports on the grim calculus of war. It’s journeyman space opera in a realistic prosy style, heavily influenced by Starship Troopers.

continued from Annihilation: Nova #4 of 4
continued from Annihilation: Ronan #4 of 4
continued from Annihilation: Silver Surfer #4 of 4
continued from Annihilation: Super-Skrull #4 of 4
next issue: Annihilation #2 of 6

also indexed for Oct. ’06
Astonishing X-Men #16
Civil War #4 of 7