Archive for January, 2016

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