Archive for the ‘Baron Zemo (modern era)’ Category

Captain America #18

December 12, 2015

Captain America 5.18Ed Brubaker with Cullen Bunn // Scot Eaton
early December 2012
**

A 3-pronged action climax set in a space base, a rioting city, & an airborne villain’s lair. Yet it’s dense w/ clichéd plots, skipped story beats & fudged explanations—it’s barely passable as super-comics. Eaton adds to the generic quality with 4-panel pages & a style 15 years out of date.

last issue: Captain America #17
next issue: Captain America #19

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

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Captain America #17

December 11, 2015

Captain America 5.17Ed Brubaker with Cullen Bunn // Scot Eaton
November 2012
**

To attack Cap’s confidence, terrorists cause riots—the sort of cart-before-horse plotting that makes villains super-ridiculous. But Brubaker’s always cast his hero as a neurotic Atlas struggling w/ his symbolic burden. More interesting is the cover’s bout, which establishes a Zemo/Agent 13 rivalry.

last issue: Captain America #16
next issue: Captain America #18

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

Captain America #15

December 7, 2015

Captain America 5.15Ed Brubaker & Cullen Bunn // Scot Eaton
late September 2012
**

After evil supergoons devastate Times Sq, a Glenn Beck parody attacks Cap’s rep. Behind both plots is a villainous scheme to <yawn> emotionally wreck our hero. Eaton fills his page count, & Brubaker has one foot out the door, so who’s to blame for some terrible work in an opening battle scene?

last issue: Captain America #14
next issue: Captain America #16

also indexed for Sept. ’12
Captain America #14
The Fantastic Four #608
FF #20
Winter Soldier #8

Captain America #8

November 21, 2015

Captain America 5.08Ed Brubaker // Alan Davis
April 2012
***

Cap’s super-physique keeps reverting to 98-lb. weakling. Behind the change is a murderer’s row of enemies: a HYDRA Queen of Dreams & her WW2 supersoldier flame (Bru’s recent creations), archenemy Baron Zemo, a late-Kirby WMD, Gruenwald’s Serpent Squad, even an AI created by Byrne/Stern!

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

also indexed for Apr. ’12
Captain America & Bucky #627
The Fantastic Four #603
FF #15
Winter Soldier #1
Winter Soldier #2

Captain America #6

November 17, 2015

Captain America 5.06Ed Brubaker // Alan Davis
late February 2012
***

Editorial trades up on artists, ditching McNiven for master Davis. His cartoon-like variation on Neal Adams fits the mag’s mission, which is to take a neo-classical (hackneyed?) approach. The continuing plot—a new HYDRA cell wants to depower Cap—develops as background to some costumed superheroics.

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

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

Captain America #3

November 9, 2015

Captain America 5.03Ed Brubaker // Steve McNiven
November 2011
***

One of my favorite facets of Brubaker’s run has been Cap & co Cap & co sparring with giant robots. Here he fights a house-sized double (AKA Ameridroid)! McNiven never quite gives readers the payoff shot (Steve Rogers as Fay Wray) but he’s adopted a cartoony note since CW, paralleling Marvel’s house style.

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

also indexed for Nov. ’11
Annihilators: Earthfall #1 of 4
Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #7 of 9
Captain America & Bucky #622
FF #9

Captain America #1

November 5, 2015

Captain America 5.01Ed Brubaker // Steve McNiven
September 2011
****

Marvel gives Cap a new #1 for his red-carpet rollout, & snaps his status quo back 5 years—pre-Civil War! Brubaker doesn’t break stride, writing an ish that could’ve been v. 5 #22. The funeral of Cap’s WW2 flame produces yet another retconned superspy from the Nazi era: Peggy Carter’s jilted lover.

continued from Captain America #619
next issue: Captain America #2

also indexed for Sept. ’11
Captain America & Bucky #620
FF #6
FF #7

Captain America #610: Bucky Barnes

October 16, 2015

Captain America 610A-story: Ed Brubaker // Jackson Guice
November 2010
A-story: ****

Amid castle ruins on the fatal North Sea isle, Zemo tests Bucky to see if the haunted hero will choose death after all. He doesn’t, natch. But there’s a weird level on which the villain, stage-managing an episode of psychological torture for the protag’s benefit, is Brubaker’s in-story deputy.

B-story: Rikki Barnes
last issue: Captain America #609
next issue: Captain America #611

also indexed for Nov. ’10
Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #2 of 9
The Fantastic Four #583
Secret Avengers #5
Steve Rogers: Super-Soldier #3 of 4
The Thanos Imperative #4 of 6

Captain America #609: Bucky Barnes

October 13, 2015

Captain America 609A-story: Ed Brubaker // Jackson Guice
October 2010
A-story: ***

Bucky gets himself captured by Baron Zemo. I like the character’s impulsive stupidity, which gives this match-up some juice: Barnes’ muscle is outclassed by Zemo’s mind. I also enjoy Guice’s retro art, which reminds me of ’70s Sal Buscema, w/ stronger layouts amid Kirby-isms & anatomic mishaps.

B-story: Rikki Barnes
last issue: Captain America #608: Bucky Barnes
next issue: Captain America #610: Bucky Barnes

also indexed for Oct. ’10
The Fantastic Four #582
Secret Avengers #4
Steve Rogers: Super-Soldier #2 of 4
The Thanos Imperative #3 of 6

Captain America #608: Bucky Barnes

October 10, 2015

Captain America 608A-story: Ed Brubaker // Jackson Guice
September 2010
A-story: ****

Bucky’s caught in a media storm when his secret ID as Cap & his history as the Winter Soldier get leaked. The defamation is by Baron Zemo, a clever supervillain w/ several classic schemes already. He’s a worthy foe for Bucky, and this rivalry could be stretched from an arc into an epic.

B-story: Rikki Barnes
last issue: Captain America #607
next issue: Captain America #609

also indexed for Sept. ’10
Captain America #608: Bucky Barnes
Fantastic Four #581
Steve Rogers: Super Soldier #1 of 4
The Thanos Imperative #2 of 6
Young Avengers #1

Captain America #607: Bucky Barnes

October 8, 2015

Captain America 607A-story: Ed Brubaker // Jackson Guice
August 2010
A-story: ***

A standard plot—supervillain manipulates the hero via sneak attack & defamation—that the creators lift #607 above convention. Bucky has a two-fisted personality: brave but dumb. More interesting is the artwork, which merges Mazzucchelli realism w/ a Kirby homage, a good baseline look for this mag.

B-story: Rikki Barnes
last issue: Captain America #606
next issue: Captain America #608

also indexed for Aug. ’10
Fantastic Four #580
Secret Avengers #2
The Thanos Imperative #1 of 6

Captain America #606: Bucky Barnes

October 6, 2015

Captain America 606A-story: Ed Brubaker // Jackson Guice
July 2010
A-story: ***

I like this hero’s twisted psyche: less a deathwish than a pain-as-penance hang-up. But the arc’s elsewhere: Baron Zemo learns Cap’s secret ID! As the hooded son of the Nazi who’d “killed” Bucky in WW2, he’s a natural enemy to test our hero’s mettle. This has potential to revive the flagging run.

B-story: Rikki Barnes
last issue: Captain America #605
next issue: Captain America #607

also indexed for Jul. ’10
The Fantastic Four #579
The Marvels Project #8 of 8
Secret Avengers #1
The Thanos Imperative: Ignition #1 of 1

Thunderbolts #32

July 21, 2014

Thunderbolts 032Kurt Busiek // Mark Bagley
November 1999
***

An aristo-fascist conspiracy airs the ol’ gladiator trope. Like so much of this mag, both in writing & art, it’s well-crafted convention—but compare this melée of zaps & thunks to Kirby’s original (a killer roller-derby)! Thru it all, I’m still not a Bagley fan: his style is pretty, but he never surprises me.

last issue: Thunderbolts #31
next issue: Thunderbolts #33

also indexed for Nov. ’99
Avengers #22
Avengers Forever #11 of 12

Captain America/Citizen V Annual ’98

July 10, 2014

Captain America & Citizen V annual '98Kurt Busiek, Karl Kesel, & Barbara Kesel // Mark Bagley
January 1999
***

Marvel’s ’98 annuals are team-ups: here it’s Captain A on a mission from the T-bolts mag. Backstory: in his plan for world domination, Baron Zemo had impersonated the grandkid of Citizen V, a WW2-era supersoldier. Now the true grandchild (& her back-up team) works w/ Cap to stop Baron Z from launching a super-rocket. Props to Bagley, who pencils a whole annual w/o stinting on style or setting!

continued from Thunderbolts #22
continued in Thunderbolts #23
see also Thunderbolts #0

also indexed for Jan. ’99
Avengers #12
Avengers Forever #2 of 12
Thunderbolts #22
Thunderbolts #0

Thunderbolts #20

July 7, 2014

Thunderbolts 020Kurt Busiek // Mark Bagley
November 1998
***

A confrontation w/ the new, for-profit Masters of Evil ends in stalemate as Moonstone’s egotism interferes with victory. Mostly the ish is a knockabout melee btw two superteams—Busiek’s in his element, & Bagley does fine too—but the issue’s heart is a post-mortem debate about needing new leadership…

last issue: Thunderbolts #19
next issue: Thunderbolts #21

also indexed for nov. ’98
Avengers #10

Thunderbolts #17

July 4, 2014

Thunderbolts 017Kurt Busiek // Mark Bagley
August 1998
****

A powerful Avengers foe is defeated when Moonstone convinces him to think through his vague plans for world domination. Meanwhile, Baron Z is bested by the “true” Citizen V! Busiek toys w/ & undercuts classic supervillainy, but he obv loves them, both in convention & (as w/ Moonstone) in the breach.

last issue: Thunderbolts #16
next issue: Thunderbolts #18

also indexed for Aug. ’98
Avengers #7
Quicksilver #10

Thunderbolts #16

July 3, 2014

Thunderbolts 016Kurt Busiek // Mark Bagley
July 1998
**

The T-bolts easily defeat a team of D-listers, the Great Lakes Avengers—a lost opportunity to balance the book’s soapy adventure with real comedy. For the first time, the mag actually feels rote, even as it gets usurped by Busiek’s Avengers as the core of the Marvel Rebirth, post-Image & -bankruptcy.

last issue: Thunderbolts #15
next issue: Thunderbolts #17

also indexed for Jul. ’98
Avengers #6
Avengers/Squadron Supreme Annual 1998

Thunderbolts #15

July 2, 2014

Thunderbolts 015Kurt Busiek // Mark Bagley
June 1998
***

After a top-notch pair of arcs, a new status quo for this morally ambiguous superteam. The T-bolts hide out west, on the run from SHIELD while they try to clear their reps. Busiek focuses again on Moonstone (AKA Meteorite), whose ego-driven schemes provide the strongest engine for conflict & fun.

last issue: Thunderbolts #14
next issue: Thunderbolts #16

also indexed for Jun. ’98
Avengers #5

Thunderbolts #14

July 1, 2014

Thunderbolts 014Kurt Busiek // Mark Bagley
May 1998
****

Some time-kinked plotting links an alien planet (of barbarian bug-men!) to a future invasion by Kang the Conqueror & to the proportionate powers of Hank Pym & other growing men. The upshot is, to return her team to Earth, Moonstone commits regicide! Slippery moral qualms point the mag forward.

last issue: Thunderbolts #13
next issue: Thunderbolts #15

also indexed for May ’98
Avengers #4

Thunderbolts #12

June 29, 2014

Thunderbolts 012Kurt Busiek // Mark Bagley
March 1998
****

This mag executes its climax perfectly, albeit predictably. Via mind-ray & modem, Zemo rules the world from his sentient orbital satellite (AKA T-bolt Techno). But his onetime team helps Iron Man stage a coup (the old Marvel heroes v. heroes), then surrenders to face trial! MB’s late-’90s art still isn’t my taste, but it complements KB’s massive cast & retro superheroism perfectly.

last issue: Thunderbolts #11
next issue: Thunderbolts #13

also indexed for Mar. ’98
Avengers #2

Thunderbolts #11

June 28, 2014

Thunderbolts 011Kurt Busiek // Mark Bagley
February 1998
***

The team finally fractures as their leader takes over the world via mind-rays from an orbital satellite—classic comic-book stuff, but none of it hinges on their false IDs. Still, Busiek shows a clear aptitude for the megalomaniac character, & Bagley is fashionable yet bright & energetic in tone.

last issue: Thunderbolts #10
next issue: Thunderbolts #12

also indexed for Feb. ’98
Avengers #1

Thunderbolts #10

June 27, 2014

Thunderbolts 010Kurt Busiek // Mark Bagley
January 1998
****

The team’s true IDs are exposed, earlier than readers or characters expected—’cept for Baron Z, who outs them as an abusive ploy. How evil! The plot devo coincides w/ the true Avs’ return (from a mid-’90s Image-y continuity reboot). It signals a true climax to a long plot, rare in comics.

last issue: Thunderbolts #9
next issue: Thunderbolts #11

Thunderbolts #9

June 26, 2014

Thunderbolts 009Roger Stern with Kurt Busiek // Ron Frenz with Mark Bagley
December 1997
*****

On fill-in duty, Stern & Frenz execute a pitch-perfect pastiche of the Lee/Heck Avengers—down to 2×3 grid—showing how that team’s second wave were heroic despite public mistrust. It’s framed (by Black Widow) as a tale of redemption, & draws a canny comparison btw the T-bolts & the underdog Avs.

last issue: Thunderbolts #8
next issue: Thunderbolts #10

Thunderbolts #8

June 25, 2014

Thunderbolts 008Kurt Busiek & Roger Stern // Mark Bagley
November 1997
****

The first T-bolts story to last more than one ish ends w/ the mag’s best since #1. The team fends off a set of monsters menacing NYC, winning adulation & SHIELD access. But what’s esp great is how it delves into the psyche of Songbird, codependent & unconfident till now, when she must act alone.

last issue: Thunderbolts #7
next issue: Thunderbolts #9

Thunderbolts #7

June 24, 2014

Thunderbolts 007Kurt Busiek & Roger Stern // Jeff Johnson
October 1997
***

Who misses Bagley? His sub does fine w/ a more realistic, equally fashionable style. Also a help on plotting is R. Stern, who wrote maybe the best Masters of Evil tale. Then, Zemo nearly killed the Avengers; now, he lets his team get captured & possibly killed by a periodic table of monster-men.

last issue: Thunderbolts #6
next issue: Thunderbolts #8

Thunderbolts #6

June 23, 2014

Thunderbolts 006Kurt Busiek // Mark Bagley
September 1997
***

Embracing their role as Avengers surrogates, the T-bolts perform the archetypal super-feat of rescuing a crashing plane (Bag’s best sequence so far). Readers wondering how long the mag’s conceit can sustain itself will enjoy Baron Z’s petulant refusal to protect NYC until he gets SHIELD clearance.

last issue: Thunderbolts #5
next issue: Thunderbolts #7

Thunderbolts #5

June 22, 2014

Thunderbolts 005Kurt Busiek // Mark Bagley
August 1997
***

An iteration of the trope—more FF than Avengers—where the team, minding their own business in NYC, gets attacked by supervillains. As conventional as this mag is, its style’s of a piece: a sunny throwback, w/ just enough reminders of the heroes’ latent villainy to point superteam mags forward.

continued from Thunderbolts Annual ’97
last issue: Thunderbolts #4
next issue: Thunderbolts #6

Thunderbolts Annual ’97

June 21, 2014

Thunderbolts Annual 1Kurt Busiek // Mark Bagley, Gene Colan, Tom Grummett, Chris Marrinan, Bob McLeod, George Pérez, Ron Randall, & Darick Robertson
July 1997
**

Cashing in on a hit, Marvel requests an annual after 5 issues! Busiek recounts the Baron’s recruitment drive, a backstage approach (a la Astro City) to the usual teambuilding formula. Not as strong as the similar #-1 issue—the circumstances add little texture. The exception’s Songbird, whose super-Bonnie & Clyde scenario has a small-time scope & genuine emo. DD fans will enjoy Colan’s pages.

continued from Thunderbolts #4
continued in Thunderbolts #5
next issue: Captain America/Citizen V Annual ’98

also indexed for Jul. ’97
Thunderbolts #-1
Thunderbolts #4

Thunderbolts #4

June 20, 2014

Thunderbolts 004Kurt Busiek // Mark Bagley
July 1997
***

Moonstone, a shrink & the most duplicitous of the rogues, schemes by encouraging her captain to adopt a team mascot (an orphan mutated by a Kirby mad scientist). The superteam dynamic recalls Squadron Supreme, channeling a fondness for genre tropes into a playful but earnest deconstruction.

continued in Thunderbolts Annual ’97
last issue: Thunderbolts #-1
next issue: Thunderbolts #5

also indexed for Jul. ’97
Thunderbolts #5
Thunderbolts Annual ’97

Thunderbolts #-1

June 19, 2014

Thunderbolts -001Kurt Busiek // Steve Epting
July 1997
***

I’m not an Epting fan, but inked by Wiacek here, he’s A1. Ish #-1 is one of those ’90s gimmicks, showing the criminal genesis of its protags. It’s formulaic, except for (a) Songbird, fleeing an abusive dad, & (b) Zemo, whose father relates how he strangled the WW2 Cit V w/ bare hands!

last issue: Thunderbolts #3
next issue: Thunderbolts #4

also indexed for Jul. ’97
Thunderbolts #4
Thunderbolts Annual ’97

Thunderbolts #3

June 18, 2014

Thunderbolts 003Kurt Busiek // Mark Bagley
June 1997
***

KB pits the title team—the true Masters of Evil—against a pretender to the name. Fortunately, one of KB’s strengths is his skill w/ team dynamics. MB’s springy dynamism & doll-like bodies synthesizes manga’s mannered physiques w/ Image’s baroque brawn, a mid-’90s style done better by Joes Q & M.

continued from Spider-Man Team-Up #7
last issue: Thunderbolts #2
next issue: Thunderbolts #-1

also indexed for Jun. ’97
Spider-Man Team-Up #7

Spider-Man Team-Up #7

June 17, 2014

Spider-Man Team-Up 1Kurt Busiek // Sal Buscema
June 1997
***

Team-Up ties in tightly to T’bolts, & adds a clever flip to the old Marvel Misunderstanding. Here the “good” guys sock Spidey partly at the city’s behest but also cuz T’bolt Mach-1 is really the Beetle, out for payback! Sal B’s solid as ever, perfect for Busiek’s subversion of superheroism.

last issue: Spider-Man Team-Up #6
continued fromThunderbolts #2
continued in Thunderbolts #3

also indexed for Jun. ’97
Thunderbolts #3

Thunderbolts #2

June 16, 2014

Thunderbolts 002Kurt Busiek // Mark Bagley
May 1997
****

Baron Zemo’s clever plan to insinuate his two-faced team into the Avengers’ vacant slot is already working; his deputy wonders if they’ll prefer honest celebrity to criminal success. Busiek fills out the personalities a bit (& starts adding soap), which’ll help sustain this premise in the medium term.

last issue: Thunderbolts #1
next issue: Thunderbolts #3

Thunderbolts #1

June 15, 2014

Thunderbolts 001Kurt Busiek // Mark Bagley
April 1997
*****

Lives up to its rep as a key issue of ’90s superheroics. W/ the “daylight” heroes dead & NYC in ruins after an inane X-Men/Avengers crossover, a new team of unknown superheroes become media darlings for their earnest, old-school approach to do-goodery. But their secret is, they’re really neferious villains! The brill twist on the superteam trope clarifies yet ironizes the era’s antihero morality.

next issue: Thunderbolts #2