Archive for July, 2015

Captain America #8

July 31, 2015

Captain America 08Ed Brubaker // Steve Epting
August 2005
*****

Bucky Barnes, back from the dead! A Soviet sub recovered the sidekick’s comatose body in WW2, & brainwashed him to be a literal sleeper agent, years in cold storage adding to his life! As Brubaker reminded us last ish, Englehart used a similar Rip van Winkle device to revive the 1950s Cap & Buck.

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

also indexed for Aug. ’05
Astonishing X-Men #12
Daredevil #74
Runaways #5
Young Avengers #5

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Captain America #7

July 30, 2015

Captain America 07Ed Brubaker // Steve Epting
July 2005
****

An interlude backtracks to #3’s surprise death of Nomad. Once the 1950s Bucky, retconned into a mess, & abandoned by the mid-’90s, he’s repurposed here into a lost soul, as hard-boiled & insane as any Jim Thompson protag, haunted by the ghost of the man he once replaced—who returns to kill him!

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

also indexed for Jul. ’05
Astonishing X-Men #11
Daredevil #73
The Pulse #9
Runaways #4
Young Avengers #4

Captain America #6

July 29, 2015

Captain America 06Ed Brubaker // Steve Epting
June 2005
*****

Brubaker executes an impossibly risky twist: he resurrects Bucky! The original Kirby/Simon sidekick, now a still-youthful espionage agent, takes orders from an industrialist (ex-Soviet military), who bombs Philly to power his Kirby widget! Question is, can Bru justify this bold storytelling move?

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

also indexed for Jun. ’05
Daredevil #72
Runaways #3
Young Avengers #3

Captain America #5

July 28, 2015

Captain America 05Ed Brubaker // Michael Lark with Steve Epting
May 2005
*****

Lark takes the main art duty for this extended flashback of Cap’s rare visit to WW2’s eastern front. The US has the Invaders, & the Nazis their Axis counterparts, but Russia has only brutality & cunning. That’s echoed in a radical retcon that recasts Bucky as a black-ops commando w/ a Bowie knife!

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

also indexed for May ’05
Astonishing X-Men #10
Daredevil #71
Fantastic Four #524
The Pulse #8
Runaways #2
Secret War
#4 of 5
Young Avengers #2

Captain America #4

July 27, 2015

Captain America 04Ed Brubaker // Steve Epting with Michael Lark
April 2005
****

Someone is getting into Cap’s head by sending a patsy after him, by killing his protégés or defacing their Arlington gravesites, & by sticking a psychic thumb in his WW2 memories. Bru gives the superspy adventure plot a hard-boiled urgency, its style succeeding where Bendis’ Secret War failed.

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

also indexed for Apr. ’05
Daredevil #70
Fantastic Four #523
Runaways #1
Young Avengers #1

Captain America #3

July 26, 2015

Captain America 03Ed Brubaker // Steve Epting with Michael Lark
March 2005
*****

After mopping up an abortive terror attack, Cap & Agent 13 earn some R&R in Paris. The city elicits nostalgia from the WW2 vet, whose collab w/ the Fr. Resistance (Lark’s pencils) lets the reader into the title char’s psyche & lets Ed B snub the idiotic “A for France” line in The Ultimates.

also indexed for Mar. ’05
Astonishing X-Men #9
Daredevil #69
Fantastic Four #522
Iron Man #3
The Pulse #7

Captain America #2

July 25, 2015

Captain America 02Ed Brubaker // Steve Epting with Michael Lark
February 2005
****

Cap & the SHIELD team investigate the death of the Red Skull by first ending his WMD attack on NYC’s sewers. Tight & dramatic stuff, v. contempo as it modernizes superspy for post-9/11 readers. Brubaker seems esp to enjoy PTSD flashbacks to 1940s battles, w/ Gotham C collab Lark on nightmare duty.

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

also indexed for Feb. ’05
Astonishing X-Men #8
Daredevil #68
Fantastic Four #521
Iron Man #2

Captain America #1

July 24, 2015

Captain America 01Ed Brubaker // Steve Epting
January 2005
*****

Cap’s new volume inaugurates Ed Brubaker’s monumental run. He’s all cloak-&-dagger, as an ex-Soviet general “sanctions” the Red Skull (mid-monologue!) for his Kirby widget! Epting does career-high work in a tense, silent-action setpiece btw Cap & AIM agents atop a BK-bound B-train refitted as a WMD!

continued from Captain America #32
next issue: Captain America #2

also indexed for Jan. ’05
Astonishing X-Men #7
Daredevil #67
Fantastic Four #520
Iron Man #1
The Pulse #6

Dr. Strange: The Oath #5 of 5

July 23, 2015

Dr. Strange The Oath 5 of 5Brian K. Vaughan // Marcos Martin
April 2007
****

Only one drop left of panacea, so only Wong gets cured & not the world. Unlike Whedon & Bendis (other major writers of Marvel’s ’00s style) BKV gets comics structure; but here he leans hard on melodrama & sentiment. And no resolution with the anti-magic pharma corp’s board either? Ah well.

last issue: Dr. Strange: The Oath #4 of 5

also indexed for Apr. ’07
Annihilation: Heralds of Galactus #1 of 2
Daredevil #94
The Immortal Iron Fist #4
Thunderbolts #111

Dr. Strange: The Oath #4 of 5

July 22, 2015

Dr. Strange The Oath 4 of 5Brian K. Vaughan // Marcos Martin
March 2007
*****

This mini should earn the creative team an ongoing! #4 alone has Doc S killing an eldritch beast w/ Hitler’s suicide pistol! Cast includes a nurse from a 1970s romance mag & a doc whose sorcery couldn’t cure his patients. The last addresses a good Q: why hadn’t our hero applied mystic arts to medicine?

last issue: Dr. Strange: The Oath #3 of 5
next issue: Dr. Strange: The Oath #5 of 5

also indexed for Mar. ’07
Annihilation #6 of 6
Daredevil #93
Nextwave, Agents of HATE #12
Thunderbolts #110

Dr. Strange: The Oath #3 of 5

July 21, 2015

Dr. Strange The Oath 3 of 5Brian K. Vaughan // Marcos Martin
February 2007
*****

Dr S dives into a merc’s psyche to learn his boss’s ID. The man behind the murders & theft of a cancer cure isn’t just a super-baddie, he’s another mystic medic—backed by a pharma conspiracy! Let’s take a sec to applaud Martin, a tyro who channels Ditko’s nervous lines & angles into a mod idiom.

last issue: Dr. Strange: The Oath #2 of 5
next issue: Dr. Strange: The Oath #4 of 5

also indexed for Feb. ’07
Annihilation #5 of 6
Astonishing X-Men #20
Daredevil #92
The Immortal Iron Fist #3
Nextwave, Agents of HATE #11
Runaways #23

Dr. Strange: The Oath #2 of 5

July 20, 2015

Dr. Strange The Oath 2 of 5Brian K. Vaughan // Marcos Martin
January 2007
*****

Vaughan , a talent in the Whedon/Bendis mold, shows the latter influence in this unexpected comic. It’s a mystic detective mini, with cartoon-cool art (part of the growing School of Mazz), as the Doc, his man Friday, & GP Night Nurse head into the NY night for mysticism, medicine, & murder!

last issue: Dr. Strange: The Oath #1 of 5
next issue: Dr. Strange: The Oath #3 of 5

also indexed for Jan. ’07
Annihilation #4 of 6
Astonishing X-Men #19
Civil War #7 of 7
Daredevil #91
Nextwave, Agents of HATE #10
Runaways #22

Dr. Strange: The Oath #1 of 5

July 19, 2015

Dr. Strange The Oath 1 of 5Brian K. Vaughan // Marcos Martin
December 2006
*****

“Oath” cleverly refers not to a hoary host but to Hippocrates. It’s how Vaughan grounds his mini in the Doc’s medical past. He also builds the conflict around servant Wong’s inoperable cancer, & even casts Night Nurse (romance heroine/vigilante medic). Martin echoes Dragotta’s recent Doc work.

next issue: Dr. Strange: The Oath #2 of 5

also indexed for Dec. ’06
Annihilation #3 of 6
Astonishing X-Men #18
Civil War #6 of 7
Daredevil #90
The Immortal Iron Fist #2
Nextwave, Agents of HATE #9
Runaways #21

Runaways #30

July 18, 2015

Runaways 2-30Joss Whedon // Michael Ryan
August 2008
****

Whedon has astonishing delays—his AX-M is also overdue, but he finally concludes both runs. His Runaways proves to be a belated, time-tossed statement on Civil War‘s inane conflict, & finds a third way by walking away from a superbrawl. Nico gets a power-up & self-insight, Molly gets a new pal & Vic a broken heart.

last issue: Runaways #29
continued in Runaways #1

also indexed for Aug. ’08
Daredevil #108
Guardians of the Galaxy #2
The Immortal Iron Fist #16
Nova #14
Thunderbolts #121

Runaways #29

July 17, 2015

Runaways 2-29Joss Whedon // Michael Ryan
April 2008
***

A Marvel take—’Gangs of New York as super-hooligans’—face off on the LES, 1907. Whedon shows a strong G. Morrison influence here: sketching a bevy of new characters, a rich new setting, even a plot for each protagonist! Ryan, the run’s dead weight, lacks the creativity that all this demands.

last issue: Runaways #28
next issue: Runaways #30

also indexed for Apr. ’08
Annihilation: Conquest #4 of 6
Daredevil #105
Nova Annual #1
The Immortal Iron Fist: Orson Randall & the Green Mist of Death #1 of 1

Runaways #28

July 16, 2015

Runaways 2-28Joss Whedon // Michael Ryan
December 2007
***

In 1907 NYC, the kids face two members of their rival team! Specifically it’s the steampunk chrononauts, parents to the late Gertrude. Our heroes also meet a married pre-teen, help striking workers, and find that the era’s superteams are either punitive Victorian officers or street criminals.

last issue: Runaways #27
next issue: Runaways #29

also indexed for Dec. ’07
Annihilation: Conquest: Quasar #4 of 4
Annihilation: Conquest: Starlord
#4 of 4
Annihilation: Conquest: Wraith #4 of 4
Daredevil #102
Daredevil Annual #1
The Immortal Iron Fist #10
Nova #7
Thunderbolts #117

Runaways #27

July 15, 2015

Runaways 2-27Joss Whedon // Michael Ryan
August 2007
***

Pre-WW1 is a classic era in NYC history, so I’m surprised Marvelites don’t visit much. #27 mostly invents the setting. So the kids save garment workers from a sweatshop fire, then get drafted for a super-gangland war by an Artful Dodger type! Wish Ryan could provide the designs that Whedon asks for.

last issue: Runaways #26
next issue: Runaways #28

also indexed for Aug. ’07
Annihilation: Conquest: Prologue #1 of 1
Daredevil #98
The Immortal Iron Fist #7
Nova #3
Thunderbolts #115

Runaways #26

July 14, 2015

Runaways 2-26Joss Whedon // Michael Ryan
July 2007
**

The kids banter their way over NYC rooftops in a maguffin plot that intersects with street-crime Marvelites Kingpin & Punisher. The latter gets treated as a joke (Molly punches his junk) which I’m okay with, but it suggests that Whedon also thinks poorly of him. So why write him into the ish?

last issue: Runaways #25
next issue: Runaways #27

also indexed for Jul. ’07
Daredevil #97
The Immortal Iron Fist #6
Nova #2
Thunderbolts #114

Runaways #25

July 13, 2015

Runaways 2-25Joss Whedon // Michael Ryan
June 2007
***

Replacing Vaughan with this mag’s highest-profile fan & strongest influence is a no-brainer. But Whedon’s start is inauspicious. Partly it’s the only-okay art, a real comedown after Alphona. A return visit to NYC, as Nico’s self-doubt leads the team into a criminal alliance w/ the Kingpin!

last issue: Runaways #24
next issue: Runaways #26

also indexed by Jun. ’07
Daredevil #96
The Immortal Iron Fist #5
Nova #1
Thunderbolts #113

Runaways #24

July 12, 2015

Runaways 2-24Brian K. Vaughan // Adrian Alphona
March 2007
*****

The final (for now) battle with the mag’s trio of titans ends in victory, distrust, romance—all the emo sentiment this mag is beloved for, topped by a fan-boy nod to classic Claremont. This arc feels like the climax to an abbreviated third ‘season’, esp since it’s the creators’ last issue.

last issue: Runaways #23
next issue: Runaways #25

also indexed for Mar. ’07
Annihilation #6 of 6
Daredevil #93
Nextwave, Agents of HATE #12
Thunderbolts #110

Runaways #23

July 11, 2015

Runaways 2-23Brian K. Vaughan // Adrian Alphona
February 2007
*****

It’s a telling, maybe deliberate irony that this arc’s villain is the team’s token white male in a heel/face turn. He (too?) quickly outwits them all, even crashing the cyborg’s mainframe! But typical of this mag, the emo heart is a bound Nico telling him it’s all a suicidal cry for help.

last issue: Runaways #22
next issue: Runaways #24

also indexed for Feb. ’07
Annihilation #5 of 6
Astonishing X-Men #20
Daredevil #92
The Immortal Iron Fist #3
Nextwave, Agents of HATE #11

Runaways #22

July 10, 2015

Runaways 2-22Brian K. Vaughan // Adrian Alphona
January 2007
*****

The mag’s distrust of adults gets a new wrinkle with this arc, which recasts Chase—now 18 & ethically devastated by his GF’s death—as a villain. But note how several of his teammates are also wrestling with maturity: sexual identity, hopes for the future, burdens of leadership, survivors’ guilt… heavy!

last issue: Runaways #21
next issue: Runaways #23

also indexed for Jan. ’07
Annihilation #4 of 6
Astonishing X-Men #19
Civil War #7 of 7
Daredevil #91
Nextwave, Agents of HATE #10

Runaways #21

July 9, 2015

Runaways 2-21Brian K. Vaughan // Mike Norton
December 2006
***

With a generic Ameri-manga artist drawing in the Bagley mode, Runaways is revealed as a well-written but fundamentally conservative run of supercomics. See how the team cooperate to beat the baddie? And how the mag then turns to emotional bonds? That’s the School of Claremont, shorn of TV influences.

last issue: Runaways #20
next issue: Runaways #22

also indexed for Dec. ’06
Annihilation #3 of 6
Astonishing X-Men #18
Civil War #6 of 7
Daredevil #90
The Immortal Iron Fist #2
Nextwave, Agents of Hate #9

Runaways #20

July 8, 2015

Runaways 2-20Brian K. Vaughan // Mike Norton
November 2006
***

Recognizing the impermanence of super-death these days, Marvel has been sending heroes to hell to bargain for resurrection. BKV’s wrinkle is that his Orpheus (lunkhead Chase) is turning 18 so he’s struggling with aging and mortality. Plus Molly et al vs. a kaiju lizard in LA! Shame AA is MIA.

last issue: Runaways #19
next issue: Runaways #21

also indexed for Nov. ’06
Annihilation #2 of 6
Astonishing X-Men #17
Civil War #5 of 7
Daredevil #89
The Immortal Iron Fist #1

Runaways #19

July 7, 2015

Runaways 2-19Brian K. Vaughan // Mike Norton
October 2006
****

An aftershock issue. Nico sleeps w/ Kid Ultron in a moment of grief—quite a good twist, very hormonal. So’s a scene of Molly chatting with the team’s froggish vehicle. An ethical debate with a transsexual Super-Skrull doesn’t quite make its case tho, & the art sub is only just par.

last issue: Runaways #18
next issue: Runaways #20

also indexed for Oct. ’06
Annihilation #1 of 6
Astonishing X-Men #16
Civil War #4 of 7
Daredevil #88

Runaways #18

July 6, 2015

Runaways 2-18Brian K. Vaughan // Adrian Alphona
September 2006
*****

The kids foil their rivals’ apocalypse, but at a cost. No really, Gert dies! Amid fire & sacrifice, the second ‘season’ of Runaways ends with a well-executed climax & a gorgeous splash page for the death. The solid melodramatic beat is erected on three years of solid emotional investment.

last issue: Runaways #17
next issue: Runaways #19

also indexed for Sept. ’06
Annihilation: Nova #4 of 4
Annihilation: Ronan #4 of 4
Annihilation: Silver Surfer #4 of 4
Annihilation: Super-Skrull #4 of 4
Civil War #3 of 7
Daredevil #87
Nextwave, Agents of HATE #7

Runaways #17

July 5, 2015

Runaways 2-17Brian K. Vaughan // Adrian Alphona
August 2006
****

Setting the climax up for next issue, #17 (part 4 of 5) shows just how good this mag is: a few plot twists, a few large & small emotional beats, a real sense of stakes & of setting. Alphona’s ‘actors’ are wonderfully expressive cartoons. But let’s also stop to admire the great covers by Marcos Martin!

last issue: Runaways #16
next issue: Runaways #18

also indexed for Aug. ’06
Annihilation: Nova #3 of 4
Annihilation: Ronan #3 of 4
Annihilation: Silver Surfer #3 of 4
Annihilation: Super-Skrull #3 of 4
Astonishing X-Men #15
Civil War #2 of 7
Daredevil #86
Nextwave, Agents of HATE #6
Young Avengers #12

Runaways #16

July 4, 2015

Runaways 2-16Brian K. Vaughan // Adrian Alphona
July 2006
****

While the villain kidnaps Molly as a sacrifice to the mag’s elder gods, the heroes go through the teen-soap-operatics-at-their-darkest-hour spiel. This is New Mutants at their most Claremontian—some thick angst here—but Alphona is way ahead of any art in that run (besides Sienkowicz).

last issue: Runaways #15
next issue: Runaways #17

also indexed for Jul. ’06
Annihilation: Nova #2 of 4
Annihilation: Ronan #2 of 4
Annihilation: Silver Surfer #2 of 4
Annihilation: Super-Skrull #2 of 4
Civil War #1 of 7
Daredevil #85
Nextwave, Agents of HATE #5
X-Statix Presents: Dead Girl #5 of 5

Runaways #15

July 3, 2015

Runaways 2-15Brian K. Vaughan // Adrian Alphona
June 2006
****

Season 2 = Revenge of the Pride. Must admit I’m sad the Pride’s alpha male has been resurrected instead of his son Alex Wilder. He’s got a little too much of a ‘Scary Black Guy’ to make me comfortable. That said, he does have presence & strategy, and makes a formidable foe.

last issue: Runaways #14
next issue: Runaways #16

also indexed for Jun. ’06
Annihilation: Nova #1 of 4
Annihilation: Ronan #1 of 4
Annihilation: Silver Surfer #1 of 4
Annihilation: Super-Skrull #1 of 4
Astonishing X-Men #14
Daredevil #84
Nextwave, Agents of HATE #4
X-Statix Presents: Dead Girl #4 of 5

Runaways #14

July 2, 2015

Runaways 2-14Brian K. Vaughan // Adrian Alphona
May 2006
****

#14 checks in with the whole gang (including the space-romance of Karolina & a transsexual Skrull) before flashing to backstory. Even before running away in vol. 1, the late turncoat Alex Wilder had made a backdoor plan for his MMORPG pals to resurrect him in case of death!

last issue: Runaways #13
next issue: Runaways #15

also indexed for May ’06
Annihilation: Prologue #1 of 1
Daredevil #83
Iron Man #6
Nextwave, Agents of HATE #3
The Pulse #14
X-Statix Presents: Dead Girl #3 of 5
Young Avengers #11

Runaways #13

July 1, 2015

Runaways 2-13Brian K. Vaughan // Adrian Alphona
April 2006
*****

Molly Hayes (AKA Princess Powerful) gets pressganged into the kid-crime org of a Fagin-ish wizard. It’s indebted to Dickens, obv, but also to Claremont’s seminal X-run: the break for a lighthearted adventure, the visit to the sewers, and a tease of anonymous villains prepping for an attack.

last issue: Runaways #12
next issue: Runaways #14

also indexed for Apr. ’06
Astonishing X-Men #13
Daredevil #82
Nextwave, Agents of HATE #2
X-Statix Presents: Dead Girl #2 of 5