Archive for the ‘Beast’ Category

Secret Avengers #21

December 23, 2015

Secret Avengers 21Warren Ellis // Stuart Immonen
March 2012
****

Cap & co fight a horror beast in a skyscraper. Anyone hoping for a resolution to the mag’s Lovecraft conspiracy will be disappointed; so will Nextwave fans looking for a gonzo reunion for Ellis & Immonen. Still, the duo’s expertise makes for first-rate spy-fi & a fine capper to a fun, cynical run.

last issue: Secret Avengers #20
next issue: Secret Avengers #22

also indexed for Mar. ’12
Captain America #7
Captain America & Bucky #626
The Fantastic Four #602
FF #14

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Secret Avengers #20

December 22, 2015

Secret Avengers 20Warren Ellis // Alex Maleev
February 2012
*****

The Black Widow saves a mission via cunning application of time travel. The excellent use of the trope reads like a superspy response to the puzzle boxes of modern Doctor Who. Maleev helps make it an instant classic, w/ a ’60s flashback laid out as a daily strip, Modesty Blaise style.

last issue: Secret Avengers #19
next issue: Secret Avengers #21

also indexed for Feb. ’12
Annihilators: Earthfall #4 of 4
Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #8 of 9
Captain America #5
Captain America #6
Captain America & Bucky #625
The Fantastic Four #601
FF #13

Secret Avengers #18

December 20, 2015

Secret Avengers 18Warren Ellis // David Aja
December 2011
*****

Backed by a rotating crew of A-list artists, Ellis is distilling the modern superspy trend into a stiff shot of comics. For #18, Cap’s kooky quartet displays Shang-Chi to far better effect than Brubaker did. He gives Aja the chance to draw a kung fu fight in an Escher dimension. Gorgeous.

last issue: Secret Avengers #17
next issue: Secret Avengers #19

also indexed for Dec. ’11
Annihilators: Earthfall #2 of 4
Captain America & Bucky #623
FF #10
FF #11

Secret Avengers #16

December 18, 2015

Secret Avengers 16Warren Ellis // Jamie McKelvie
October 2011
*****

The idea’s still ‘superspy Avengers’, but in one issue, Ellis succeeds where Brubaker failed. A quartet of heroes led by Captain America destroy a time machine that’s been repurposed as a super-WMD. McKelvie’s classical layouts are (like Cassaday’s cover) clear & full of dynamism.

last issue: Secret Avengers #15
next issue: Secret Avengers #17

also indexed for Oct. ’11
Captain America #2
Captain America & Bucky #621
FF #8

Captain America #7

November 18, 2015

Captain America 5.07Ed Brubaker // Alan Davis
March 2012
***

Brubaker has fashioned a new ongoing arc for his A-title, scotching the conspiracy plot of Secret Avs. Fans of Gruenwald’s era will love it; I’m happy to see a classic bit of Kirbytech that causes riots. But it’s all super-plot, less compelling than the political spy-fi of 7 (!) years ago.

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

also indexed for Mar. ’12
Captain America & Bucky #626
The Fantastic Four #602
FF #14

Secret Avengers #12

November 1, 2015

Secret Avengers 12Ed Brubaker // Will Conrad with Mike Deodato
June 2011
**

Bru, foreshadowing his Fatale in 2012, unmasks the mag’s villains as a Lovecraft cult. He also links them to John Steele, a creation in the same pulp mode as his Iron Fist. But #12 will be his Secret Av swansong. No great loss, but it’s notable how he abandons it mid-plot. Editorial conflicts?

last issue: Secret Avengers #11
next issue: Secret Avengers #13

also indexed for Jun. ’11
Annihilators #2 of 4
Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #5 of 9
Captain America #617
FF #2

Secret Avengers #11

October 29, 2015

Secret Avengers 11Ed Brubaker // Will Conrad
May 2011
**

It’s not the first time Steve Rogers has gone spelunking in minds & memories, even in this run. But here the psychic terrain’s too literal—not warped, surprising, or surreal. An influence, perhaps of Inception‘s dull dreamscapes? The target is John Steele, a pulp character with a Lovecraft secret.

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

also indexed for May ’11
Annihilators #1 of 4
Avengers: The Children’s Crusade: Young Avengers #1 of 1
Captain America #615.1
Captain America #616
FF #1

Secret Avengers #9

October 25, 2015

Secret Avengers 09Ed Brubaker // Mike Deodato & Will Conrad
March 2011
**

Hostage exchanges & nighttime meetings lead to a fight scene. Deo isn’t bad per se, but his ’90s testosterone & photoref settings gild the mag’s over-serious tone. Bru’s phoning it in, aside from his ‘original supersoldier.’ With Superman’s 1938 powers, John Steele functions as a father figure for Cap.

last issue: Secret Avengers #8
next issue: Secret Avengers #10

also indexed for Mar. ’11
Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #4 of 9
Captain America #614: Bucky Barnes
The Fantastic Four #587
The Thanos Imperative: Devastation #1 of 1

Secret Avengers #8

October 23, 2015

Secret Avengers 08Ed Brubaker // Mike Deodato
February 2011
**

To resurrect Fu Manchu (who’s never called that, oddly), the cabal in the shadows must capture his son Shang-Chi. So they take Agent 13 hostage. Really, a damsel-in-distress plot? The widescreen art complements the ossified plotting; Brubaker must think poorly of Hollywood-style superheroics.

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

also indexed for Feb. ’11
Captain America #613: Bucky Barnes
The Fantastic Four #586

Steve Rogers: Super Soldier #4 of 4

October 20, 2015

Steve Rogers Super Soldier 4 of 4Ed Brubaker // Dale Eaglesham
December 2010
***

Dale E, inking himself, flubs the mini’s climax—basically an old-school Danger Room—w/ no sense of space & relative positions. The mini’s plot to weaponize & auction off the superserum (= a Western fear of rogue nukes etc.) is revealed as a deception staged by a shadow cabal to experiment on Cap.

last issue: Steve Rogers: Super Soldier #3

also indexed for Dec. ’10
Captain America #611: Bucky Barnes
The Fantastic Four #584
Secret Avengers #6
The Thanos Imperative #5 of 6

Secret Avengers #6

October 18, 2015

Secret Avengers 06Ed Brubaker // Mike Deodato
December 2010
**

Deodato is proving a terrible fit for poor Brubaker—too much machismo! It augers badly that Mike D does such clumsy work on the martial arts, since this arc looks to focus on the kung-fu of Shang-Chi. It gives Cap the chance face the original supervillain: the Yellow Peril, Fu Manchu himself!

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

also indexed for Dec. ’10
Captain America #611: Bucky Barnes
The Fantastic Four #584
Steve Rogers: Super Soldier #4 of 4
The Thanos Imperative #5 of 6

Secret Avengers #4

October 12, 2015

Secret Avengers 04Ed Brubaker // Mike Deodato
October 2010
*

There’s the germ of a cool Brubaker story here, with Cap & co investigating the Martian scheme of a Halliburton-type corp. But that’s lost as Deo draws the super-fisticuffs exceptionally poorly (when he’s not photo-reffing). Btw this & his X-run, should EB steer clear of super-team SF?

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

also indexed for Oct. ’10
Captain America #609: Bucky Barnes
The Fantastic Four #582
Steve Rogers: Super-Soldier #2 of 4
The Thanos Imperative #3 of 6

Secret Avengers #3

October 9, 2015

Secret Avengers 03Ed Brubaker // Mike Deodato
September 2010
***

Those expecting more spy-fi from Brubaker will get wrongfooted by his b-mag. Instead he sends his ‘proactive Avengers’ to a Barsoom-like Mars, a onetime battleground to elder gods and Kirby bashers. The swerve could work except that Deodato, a ’90 veteran, can’t break from his cinematic style.

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

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

Secret Avengers #2

October 7, 2015

Secret Avengers 02Ed Brubaker // Mike Deodato
August 2010
**

Spelunking on Mars, the team uncover a dig excavated by mind-controlled humans & directed by Lovecraft aliens. Sadly, the fashionable creative team plays to their weaknesses: a cast of spandex physiques all speak in the same square-jawed monotone as they hustle around generic hi-tech bases.

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

also indexed for Aug. ’10
Captain America #607: Bucky Barnes
Fantastic Four #580
The Thanos Imperative #1 of 6

Secret Avengers #1

October 5, 2015

Secret Avengers 01Ed Brubaker // Mike Deodato
July 2010
***

Marvel effectively gives Brubaker a Cap team title. Steve Rogers, now head of SHIELD & in a Kirby-inspired uni, foils super-terrorism w/ a ’90s-style strikeforce. There’s just enough plot to bait the hook: the Roxxon Corp, owning the mining rights to Mars, has exhumed a Lovecraftian serpent crown!

continued from Captain America: Who Will Wield the Shield #1 of 1
next issue: Secret Avengers #2

also indexed for Jul. ’10
Captain America #606
The Fantastic Four #579
Secret Avengers #1
The Thanos Imperative: Ignition #1 of 1

The Sentry/X-Men #1 of 1

March 5, 2015

Sentry-X-Men 1 of 1Paul Jenkins // Mark Texiera
February 2001
****

Kirby & Lee’s original mutants help this mini’s Superman surrogate fight a loony ’60s-style foe in a pitch-perfect flashback. The art—here M-Tex, painterly yet dynamic—makes or breaks these Sentry one-shots. This one also shows off the protag’s simple, golden heroism better by showing less of him.

continued from The Sentry #5 of 5
continued in The Sentry/The Void #1 of 1
see also The Sentry/Fantastic Four #1 of 1
see also The Sentry/Hulk #1 of 1
see also The Sentry/Spider-Man #1 of 1

also indexed for Feb. ’01
Avengers #37
The Sentry/Fantastic Four #1 of 1
The Sentry/Hulk #1 of 1
The Sentry/Spider-Man #1 of 1
The Sentry/The Void #1 of 1

X-Men: Omega #1 of 1

February 18, 2015

X-Men Omega 1 of 1Scott Lobdell & Mark Waid // Roger Cruz
June 1995
****

Magneto sends a time-tossed hero into a cosmic crystal to restore the true X-universe. Waid’s tense, dramatic script masks Cruz’s errors (an unoriginal Ameri-manga artist, he’s the weak link here). Lobdell, the crossover’s mastermind, has done commendable work. Tho’ individual minis may’ve faltered, his cumulative plot & vision makes AoA  the pinnacle of mutant mags between Claremont and Morrison.

continued from The Amazing X-Men #4 of 4
continued from The Astonishing X-Men #4 of 4
continued from Factor X #4 of 4
continued from Gambit and the X-Ternals #4 of 4
continued from Generation Next #4 of 4
continued from Weapon X #4 of 4
continued from X-Calibre #4 of 4
continued from X-Man #4 of 4
continued from X-Universe #4 of 4
continued in X-Men Prime #1 of 1

Weapon X #1 of 4

January 29, 2015

Weapon X 1 of 4Larry Hama // Adam Kubert
March 1995
***

In a mutant-run dystopia, Wolvie & Jean Grey provide cover for a human airlift rescue. Hama actually builds an arc into one issue, & also leverages the lame Logan/Cyclops/Jean triangle into a backstory that cost Logan a hand & Cyke an eye. *** despite confusing layouts, due to comically wild hair.

continued from X-Men: Alpha #1 of 1
next issue: Weapon X #2 of 4

also indexed for Mar. ’95
The Amazing X-Men #1 of 4
The Astonishing X-Men #1 of 4
Factor X #1 of 4
Gambit and the X-Ternals #1 of 4
Generation Next #1 of 4
X-Calibre #1 of 4
X-Man #1
X-Men: Chronicles #1 of 2

Factor X #4 of 4

January 28, 2015

Factor X 4 of 4John Francis Moore // Steve Epting & Terry Dodson
June 1995
***

Factor X lucks into significance, due mainly to a focus on Cyclops. His arc of redemption, facilitated by Jean Grey, ends w/ him leading a mutant prison to freedom! But the mini’s also had finer ideas than most of the second-tier AoA, like a Mengele “dark” Beast & the happy-go-lucky Bedlam Brothers.

continued in X-Men: Omega #1 of 1
last issue: Factor X #3 of 4

also indexed for Jun. ’95
The Amazing X-Men #4 of 4
The Astonishing X-Men #4 of 4
Gambit and the X-Ternals #4 of 4
Generation Next #4 of 4
Weapon X #4 of 4
X-Calibre #4 of 4
X-Man #4
X-Men: Chronicles #2 of 2
X-Men: Omega #1 of 1
X-Universe #2 of 2

Factor X #3 of 4

January 27, 2015

Factor X 3 of 4John Francis Moore // Steve Epting & Terry Dodson
May 1995
**

Jean Grey arrives from Weapon X to help Cyclops w/ his redemption. The elaborate interlacing of this Days of Future Past homage is its best part, tho’ even Factor X can feel like a set of plot points. Plus the ’90s focus on Scott S & Jean G means cornball dreck about their romantic destiny.

last issue: Factor X #2 of 4
next issue: Factor X #4 of 4

also indexed for May ’95
The Amazing X-Men #3 of 4
The Astonishing X-Men #3 of 4
Gambit and the X-Ternals #3 of 4
Generation Next #3 of 4
Weapon X #3 of 4
X-Calibre #3 of 4
X-Man #3
X-Universe #1 of 2

Factor X #2 of 4

January 26, 2015

Factor X 2 of 4John Francis Moore // Steve Epting
April 1995
***

While rival Havok scowls, Cyclops plays the antihero, smuggling a mad Polaris from NYC’s mutant dungeons. Epting, who marries Mazzucchelli’s grit to ’90s over-lineated posing, may be a strong Marvel artist of the Image Era, but oy! his dystopic redesign of Cyke: long, ‘badass’ hair & a motorcycle!

last issue: Factor X #1 of 4
next issue: Factor X #3 of 4

also indexed for Apr. ’95
The Amazing X-Men #2 of 4
The Astonishing X-Men #2 of 4
Gambit and the X-Ternals #2 of 4
Generation Next #2 of 4
Weapon X #2 of 4
X-Calibre #2 of 4
X-Man #2

Factor X #1 of 4

January 25, 2015

Factor X 1 of 4John Francis Moore // Steve Epting
March 1995
***

Given the weakness of X-Factor, this revision is one of the happier surprises of the AoA metaseries. The mag reverts to the original X-team, mutant aristos in this dystopic alt-NYC & acolytes of Mr. Sinister, whose eugenic intrigues provide the catalyst for change among mutant siblings & rivals.

continued from X-Men: Alpha #1 of 1
next issue: Factor X #2 of 4

also indexed for Mar. ’95
The Amazing X-Men #1 of 4
The Astonishing X-Men #1 of 4
Gambit and the X-Ternals #1 of 4
Generation Next #1 of 4
Weapon X #1 of 4
X-Calibre #1 of 4
X-Man #1
X-Men: Chronicles #1 of 2

X-Men: Alpha #1 of 1

January 12, 2015

X-Men Alpha 1 of 1Scott Lobdell & Mark Waid // Roger Cruz & Steve Epting
February 1995
****

Think What If… Magneto formed the X-Men? The dystopian alt timeline is fun, & the era’s portentous prose & posturing panels lend themselves well to the sturm und drang (even if the project labors in Claremont’s shadow). Magneto, a glowering man of action, looks unhappy to be stuck into the Rogue/Gambit soap opera; Cyclops is a mutant princeling who awakens to the genocide & misery under Apocalypse.

continued from X-Men #41
continued from Cable #20
continued in The Amazing X-Men #1 of 4
continued in The Astonishing X-Men #1 of 4
continued in Factor X #1 of 4
continued in Gambit and the X-Ternals #1 of 4
continued in Generation Next #1 of 4
continued in Weapon X #1 of 4
continued in X-Calibre #1 of 4
continued in X-Man #1 of 4
continued in X-Men: Chronicles #1 of 2

also indexed for Feb. ’95
Cable #20
The Uncanny X-Men #321
X-Men #41

Cable #20

January 11, 2015

Cable 020Jeph Loeb // Ian Churchill
February 1995
**

The coda to an X-Men crossover adventure that ended in mission failure & resulted in the end of the universe! Cable‘s remit is to provide an elegiac sense of closure, but it’s all ’90s mutant whinging. Churchill, tho’ an Image-style hack, surprises by giving his char’s faces some personality!

see also The Uncanny X-Men #321
last issue: Cable #19
next issue: Cable #20

also indexed for Feb. ’95
The Uncanny X-Men #321
X-Men #41
X-Men: Alpha #1 of 1

X-Men #41

January 10, 2015

X-Men 041Fabian Nicieza // Andy Kubert & Ron Garney
February 1995
***

Finale to an X-over that kills off a young Professor X to create an alternate future. Writer Lobdell & editor Harras deserve a story credit for #41, & so does Chris Claremont, who created (a) the Prof-Magneto friendship, (b) Xavier’s son Legion, & (c) the cosmic crystal that threatens the multiverse.

continued from The Uncanny X-Men #321
continued in X-Men: Alpha #1 of 1
see also Cable #20
last issue: X-Men #40
next issue: X-Men #42

also indexed for Feb. ’95
Cable #20
The Uncanny X-Men #321
X-Men: Alpha #1 of 1

The Uncanny X-Men #321

January 9, 2015

Uncanny X-Men 321Scott Lobdell & Mark Waid // Ron Garney
February 1995
***

The illegit son of Professor X seduces his mother while psychically disguised as his father! It’s a provocative moment in a routine Terminator-type ’90s X-comic. Lobdell contrasts the arc’s Oedipal theme w/ his beloved Cyclops/Jean Grey/Cable triangle—his namby-pamby notion of a proper X-family.

continued from X-Men #40
continued in X-Men #41
last issue: The Uncanny X-Men #320
next issue: The Uncanny X-Men #322

also indexed for Feb. ’95
Cable #20
X-Men #41
X-Men: Alpha #1 of 1

X-Men #40

January 8, 2015

X-Men 040Fabian Nicieza // Andy Kubert
January 1995
**

Time-traveling amnesiac X-Men putz around post-war Israel as their modern comrades learn that mission failure means universal collapse. Nicieza artificially inflates the stakes via a chorus of Watchers, while the better Kubert son does mainline ’90s X-art (his Legion is unrecognizably off-model).

continued from The Uncanny X-Men #320
continued in The Uncanny X-Men #321
last issue: X-Men #39
next issue: X-Men #41

also indexed for Jan. ’95
The Uncanny X-Men #320

The Uncanny X-Men #319

January 6, 2015

Uncanny X-Men 319Scott Lobdell // Steve Epting
December 1993
***

Lobdell’s strongest (relatively speaking) when he avoids super-action to concentrate on soap. In #319, he continues his curious rehab of normcore X-Man Bobby Drake, w/ a visit to his bigoted family. In parallel (!), Xavier converses w/ his comatose son on the astral plane, setting up the next X-over.

last issue: The Uncanny X-men #318
next issue: The Uncanny X-Men #320

also indexed for Dec. ’93
X-Factor #109

FF #11

December 10, 2013

FF 11Jonathan Hickman // Barry Kitson
late December 2011
****

Two alt-Reeds serve as biomass for a rebooted Kree Intelligence, who mounts an invasion of Earth—concurrent w/ an incursion from the Negative Zone! Luckily, the real Mr F calls his pals, incl. the Avengers, to prep for battle. Kitson only pencils breakdowns; the loose art keeps #11 from *****.

continued in The Fantastic Four #600
last issue: FF #10
next issue: FF #12

also indexed for Dec. ’11
FF #10

The Fantastic Four #588

November 29, 2013

Fantastic Four 588A-story: Jonathan Hickman // Nick Dragotta
B-story: Jonathan Hickman // Mark Brooks
April 2011
A-story: ***** // B-story: ****

Hick finally gets a partner who matches his calibre: Dragotta, who apes Kirby’s dynamic grunts but draws a Sturm-like indie line. Silence signifies mourning as Johnny Storm’s family & friends grieve. It sells the moment w/o sentiment—unlike the B-plot, where Spidey helps Franklin mourn his uncle.

last issue: The Fantastic Four #587
continued in FF #1

Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #9 of 9

November 5, 2013

Avengers Children's Crusade 9Allen Heinberg // Jim Cheung
May 2011
****

A:TCC‘s strongest issue, prob’ly cuz it plays to Heinb’s strengths: character & dialog, and his core team of Young Avs. Some closure as Iron Lad, by killing Vision 2.0, accepts his destiny as Kang the Conqueror. The catastrophe gets treated w/ emotional weight, as the team drifts apart over months.

last issue: Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #8 of 9

also indexed for May ’11
The Fantastic Four #604
FF #16

Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #8 of 9

November 4, 2013

Avengers Children's Crusade 8Allen Heinberg // Jim Cheung
March 2012
****

There’s no good way to retcon a bad story, so A:TCC provides multiple ones for Wanda M’s haywire episodes, incl. the possibility that Doom was behind it all. Now he’s got cosmic powers, unluckily for Cassie Lang. The storytellers play fairly, trading her life for her father’s resurrection.

last issue: Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #7 of 9
next issue: Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #9 of 9

also indexed for Mar. ’12
The Fantastic Four #601
FF #13

Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #7 of 9

November 3, 2013

Avengers Children's Crusade 7Allen Heinberg // Jim Cheung
November 2011
***

With 4 superteams in this ish, it’s no surprise that characters get lost in the melée. The mag’s real point is a retcon of Av Disassembled & reversal of House of M. Offpage, the Scarlet Witch had allied with Dr. Doom to tap into a “life-force” that gave her reality-altering powers.

last issue: Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #6 of 9
next issue: Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #8 of 9

also indexed for Nov. ’11
FF #9

Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #6 of 9

November 2, 2013

Allen Heinberg // Jim Cheung
Avengers Children's Crusade 6August 2011
****

The Scarlet Witch confirms that, yes, she is Wiccan’s mother, metaphysically at least. It’s earnest comic sturm und drang that makes A:TCC the best “essential” Marvel U. tale of the terrible Bendis Era. To underscore this mini’s central status, X-teams (incl. David’s X-Fac) make strong cameos.

last issue: Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #5 of 9
next issue: Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #7 of 9

also indexed for Aug. ’11
FF #5

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 #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 #31

August 30, 2013

Avengers 31Kurt Busiek // George Pérez
August 2000
****

The team help bust up the Marvel U’s crime syndicate, but that’s a sideshow to the character-based action of #31’s first half. The Pym double-act returns, as Yellowjacket skulks around the Mansion; the Wasp shows her long-standing aptitude for field leadership; Triathlon pals w/ Ms. M & She-Hulk.

last issue: Avengers #30
next issue: Avengers #32

Avengers Annual 1999

August 10, 2013

Avengers Annual 1999Kurt Busiek & John Francis Moore // Leonardo Manco
July 1999
**

This action-adventure pits the Avengers against a squad of Sentinels repurposed to replace the once-MIA superheroes. The concept has Busiek’s fingerprints: adoration for the title team & its inspiring effect on everyday citizens. For it’s Jarvis who shuts the robots down, & a support technician who’d programmed them. Standard annual fare, tho’ Manco does good cyber-horror a la Barry Windsor-Smith.

last issue: Avengers/Squadron Supreme Annual 1998
next issue: Avengers Annual 2000

also indexed for Jul. ’99
Avengers #18
Avengers #0
Avengers Forever #8 of 12

Avengers #14

August 1, 2013

Avengers 14Kurt Busiek // George Pérez
March 1999
***

Wanda M. seems to be Busiek’s focal Avenger. Powered up back in #1-3, she’s now caught in a soapy triangle btw “brothers” Wonder Man & Vision, & she’s also challenging Cap himself on leadership! But despite that + some violence (& shadowed supervillains), the soul of #14 is a guest app by the Beast.

last issue: Avengers #13
next issue: Avengers #15

also indexed for Mar. ’99
Avengers Forever #4 of 12

Avengers #4

July 17, 2013

Avengers 04Kurt Busiek // George Pérez
May 1998
****

The team’s charter members pick a line-up, a solipsistic scenario replayed often in the ’00s. Busiek, like Thomas & Stern before him, seems slightly awed by the title he’s writing. But his pleasure comes thru in his light touch, like Justice snagging a bank thief where the 40-member team failed.

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

also indexed for May ’98
Thunderbolts #14

Avengers #3

July 16, 2013

Avengers 03Kurt Busiek // George Pérez
April 1998
***

Cap & co play Robin Hood in a medieval alt reality; Scarlet Witch saves the day by resurrecting Wonder Man. It’s a simple story w/ a forthright tone, almost Silver Age except for Jorge’s complex depth-of-field & density of image. So, having relaunched the Avengers, B&G must cull the 39-man roster!

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

also indexed for Apr. ’98
Thunderbolts #13

Avengers #2

July 15, 2013

Avengers 02Kurt Busiek // George Pérez
March 1998
****

A sorceress has used the Scarlet Witch to refashion reality. The Ren Fair trappings may seem a bit much, but they suit Pérez to a T—esp. the chance to redesign costumes as armor. Busiek’s best idea, tho’, is that “true Avengers” can shake off the spell: a roster that incl. Justice but not Iron Man!

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

also indexed for Mar. ’98
Thunderbolts #12

Avengers #1

July 14, 2013

Avengers 01Kurt Busiek // George Pérez
February 1998
****

Pérez returns to Marvel’s supergroup superteam, tapping Busiek (hot off Marvels & Astro City in ’95 & last year’s T-bolts) to help w/ the relaunch. They’re well-matched: neither conservative nor radical, dense w/ info yet clear at storytelling. Echoing the Lee/Kirby original, a mage manipulates Earth’s superheroes into teaming up. This time, it’s an Arthurian, Morgan le Fey, using Asgardian magic.

next issue: Avengers #2

also indexed for Feb. ’98
Thunderbolts #11

Giant-Size Astonishing X-Men #1 of 1

January 4, 2013

Astonishing X-Men Giant SizeJoss Whedon // John Cassaday
July 2008
***
A double-sized ish caps the space adventure, but the extra pages merely add scope, not clarity. While a guest cast of Marvelites gets mind-zapped, Kitty Pryde sacrifices her life by somehow bonding herself to a space bullet fired at the Earth. With that, Joss & Cass wrap their X-run, a solid set of comics. But in this arc as in the previous ones, poor pacing drags on the snazzy art & peppy script.
[continued from Astonishing X-Men #24]
[continued in Astonishing X-Men #25]

Astonishing X-Men #24

January 3, 2013

Astonishing X-Men 24Joss Whedon // John Cassaday
March 2008
***
As one strike team infiltrates the alien planet’s power core, the other attempts to defuse the moon-sized bullet aimed at Earth. #24 is a cinematic work of action SF w/ plenty of old-fashioned world-wrecking. But as well-made as the issue is, it’s a shuffle to put pieces into place for the climax.
[continued in Giant-Size Astonishing X-Men #1 of 1]
[last issue: Astonishing X-Men #23]
[next issue: Astonishing X-Men #25]

Astonishing X-Men #23

January 2, 2013

Astonishing X-Men 23Joss Whedon // John Cassaday
January 2008
****
A great issue for Scott Summers. Last issue left him dead in space; here he’s resurrected & repowered (by the same tech that revived Colossus—nicely plotted, Joss), leading the team from a torture chamber! A flashback to #22 repeats a page to show his orders via Emma’s ESP beneath the spoken dialog.
[last issue: Astonishing X-Men #22]
[next issue: Astonishing X-Men #24]

Astonishing X-Men #22

January 1, 2013

Astonishing X-Men 22Joss Whedon // John Cassaday
October 2007
****
Despite a long delay btw issues, AXM‘s finale arc, a super-SF adventure, continues to thrill. The plot reunites the team to storm an alien gun the size of a moon & aimed at Earth! Cassaday’s locales give the tale a strong context, while Whedon focuses on M/F duos, esp. Scott & Emma, Kitty & Piotr.
[last issue: Astonishing X-Men #21]
[next issue: Astonishing X-Men #23]

Astonishing X-Men #21

December 31, 2012

Astonishing X-Men 21Joss Whedon // John Cassaday
May 2007
****
This space adventure has a cinematic pace & scope that’s much stronger than Whedon’s previous 2 arcs. Half a dozen thrilling subplots simmer on an alien world where Social Darwinists view compassion as a mutation. The weakest link, sadly, is a convo btw Scott & Emma meant to redefine their romance.
[last issue: Astonishing X-Men #20]
[next issue: Astonishing X-Men #22]

Astonishing X-Men #20

December 30, 2012

Astonishing X-Men 20Joss Whedon // John Cassaday
January 2007
****
Exploding starships, plummeting planetfalls, alien temples: this arc delivers old-school scifi pleasures! Cassaday seems inspired by the shift spaceward, imagining alien environments with Mobius-level detail. Whedon, incidentally, has turned X-student Armor into Logan’s latest protegé.
[last issue: Astonishing X-Men#19]
[next issue: Astonishing X-Men #21]