Archive for the ‘Black Knight (D. Whitman)’ Category

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 #55

October 2, 2013

Avengers 55Kurt Busiek // Patrick Zircher
August 2002
****

No surprise, one of the strongest of Busiek’s 80+ Avengers issues offers a slant perspec on superheroics. #55 pays respect to the death toll—in the Kang arc, quite a high one—and holds its heroes to a code, even in wartime. In a quiet way, it functions as a monument to 2001’s terrorist victims.

last issue: Avengers #54
next issue: Avengers #56

also indexed for Aug. ’02
Alias #10
New X-Men #127
New X-Men #128

Avengers #54

October 1, 2013

Avengers 54Kurt Busiek // Kieren Dwyer
July 2002
***

Throughout his run, KB has written a great Kang: a conqueror full of bravado, a general w/ a plan. In the end, he misses his goal not cuz he lost Earth but cuz his son fails his warrior code. So Kang kills him! While Dwyer’s art gets a little fussy, he designs covers that are striking & original.

last issue: Avengers #53
next issue: Avengers #55

also indexed for Jul. 02
Alias #9
New X-Men #126

Avengers #53

September 30, 2013

Avengers 53Kurt Busiek // Kieren Dwyer
June 2002
***

The year-long arc reaches its epic climax: titan-sized holograms of Kang & Cap duke it out in orbit while their starships batter each other! It’s exactly the sort of fun super-SF that suits this mag. Dwyer’s pencilling is clear, dynamic, & accessible; it resembles animated TV superheroics nicely.

last issue: Avengers #52
next issue: Avengers #54

also indexed for Jun’ 02
Alias #8
New X-Men #125

Avengers #52

September 29, 2013

Avengers 52Kurt Busiek // Ivan Reis
May 2002
***

The Avengers rally against the chrono-despot Kang, forcing his armies off the planet. An expected, disappointing return to superhero formula after last issue’s pointillist intimacy & (relative) realism. Reis joins the mag for an issue, his stolid work neither adding nor detracting from the action.

last issue: Avengers #51
next issue: Avengers #53

also indexed for May ’02
Alias #7
New X-Men #124

Avengers #46

September 23, 2013

Avengers 46Kurt Busiek // Manuel Garcia
November 2001
**

Earth becomes a battleground as Kang invades, a weirdo from Byrne’s Alpha Flight stages a global coup, & the kooky cult detects an “evil” entering the solar system. KB keeps adding plates to spin impressively, but he’s let down by Garcia’s weightless pencils. And an awful cover, meant to honor 9/11.

continued from Avengers: The Ultron Imperative
last issue: Avengers #45
next issue: Avengers #47

also indexed for Nov. ’01
Alias #1
Avengers: The Ultron Imperative
New X-Men #118

Avengers: The Ultron Imperative

September 22, 2013

Avengers - The Ultron ImperativeKurt Busiek, Steve Englehart, Roger Stern, & Roy Thomas // Tom Grummett, Klaus Janson, John Paul Leon, John McCrea, Pat Olliffe, Jorge Lucas, Paul Smith, & Jim Starlin
November 2001
***

Picking up on Avengers #19-22, Ultron’s “daughter” invents androids based on the Avengers’ brainwaves, but also fulfills a secret program to rebuild her robot father. A graphic novella conceived by Busiek & scripted by the all-time top Avengers scribes. The artists are a more eclectic collection, w/ vast shifts in style from chapter to chapter. JP Leon does a grim street look; Smith has an angular clarity; the rest are okay. But the lack of cohesion—both in dialogue & art—works against the book.

continued from Avengers #45
continued in Avengers #46

also indexed for Nov. ’01
Alias #1
Avengers #46
New X-Men #118

Avengers #44

September 20, 2013

Avengers 44Kurt Busiek // Manuel Garcia
September 2001
***

Thor, enraged by Cap’s near-death, broods on immortality’s costs—a smart suggestion of the stakes in the Kang arc. Another strong KB character, Ms. Marvel (see his run in IM), wins an army via trial-by-combat, tho Vision questions her rashness. Sadly Alan Davis has been replaced by a shoddy no-name.

continued from Avengers Annual 2001
last issue: Avengers #43
next issue Avengers #45

also indexed for Sept. ’01
Avengers Annual 2001
New X-Men #116
New X-Men Annual 2001

Avengers #43

September 18, 2013

Avengers 43Kurt Busiek // Alan Davis
August 2001
****

Around the globe, Avengers ally w/ local military to stop super-insurgencies sponsored by the Conqueror. Marvel soap opera fills out the spaces of this epic story, making for esp. strong superteam comics. In one poten. risky plot devo, Ms. Marvel recognizes Kang’s son as her infamous star-rapist!

continued in Avengers Annual 2001
last issue: Avengers #42
next issue: Avengers #44

also indexed for Aug. ’01
New X-Men #115

Avengers #42

September 17, 2013

Avengers 42Kurt Busiek // Alan Davis
July 2001
*****

Kang, Julius C. of the 41C, invades Earth to save it from doomsday What If…? scenarios. One of the strongest issues in Busiek’s run! He writes a great Kang (see his Forever maxiseries), & foreshadows grand plans for this arc. Davis also nails the Conqueror, giving his future tech a weird softness.

last issue: Avengers #41
next issue: Avengers#43

also indexed for Jul. ’01
New X-Men #114

Avengers #41

September 16, 2013

Avengers 41Kurt Busiek // Alan Davis
June 2001
***

A solid set-up issue, checking in w/ subplots (e.g. Wanda M & Wonder Man easing out of love) before a new arc kicks in. Kang’s been lurking in a sword-shaped starship for a few issues, teaching his son the family trade. Now he blows up the UN—a discomfiting augery of 9/11—while saving those inside.

last issue: Avengers #40
next issue: Avengers #42

Avengers #40

September 15, 2013

Avengers 40Kurt Busiek // Alan Davis
May 2001
****

To disassemble a giant Hulk gestalt comprised of a Greek village, the Avengers summon Doc Banner. Meanwhile at the manse, minor castmember Silverclaw fends off an intruder solo (a classic Claremont scenario). Like Pérez, Davis complements Busiek’s creative joy perfectly w/ his happy-go-lucky tone.

last issue: Avengers #39
next issue: Avengers #41

Avengers #38

September 13, 2013

Avengers 38Kurt Busiek // Alan Davis
March 2001
****

Alan Davis replaces Pérez; both have a buoyant tone that updates the superspirit of the ’60s. In turn, Busiek gives the team a Clintonian foreign policy, an Avenger response to the global action of The Authority. His heart, however, is on the Vision’s search for himself & on Pym’s double-self.

last issue: Avengers #37
next issue: Avengers #39

Avengers #17

August 7, 2013

Avengers 17Jerry Ordway
June 1999
***

While a half-dozen superheroes putz around an alt dimension, back in NYC Ms. Marvel gets kidnapped by a big blue cyborg—actually a grisly fusion of two foes from the Claremont era of Ms. M. The KO goes to Justice, suffering from a concussion. Despite the melodrama, it’s nice to see an injury matter.

last issue: Avengers #16
next issue: Avengers #18

also indexed for Jun. ’99
Avengers Forever #7 of 12

Avengers #16

August 5, 2013

Avengers 16Jerry Ordway
May 1999
**

Ordway, a stalwart on Superman, fills in for a trio of issues. He’s an inker-turned-headliner, not too creative but a pro. His arc sends the team to New Orleans at Mardi Gras, where the Wrecking Crew (Silver Age-type super-mooks in colorful duds) kidnap the ’80s Cptn. Marvel for some armored dude.

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

also indexed for May ’99
Avengers Forever #6 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

Secret Wars II #9 of 9

February 22, 2012

Jim Shooter // Al Milgrom
March 1986
*
The series takes a truly weird twist as its protag invents a Kirbytech “birthing module” that allows him to be reborn as an omnipotent mortal (the turn echoes Shooter’s similar, infamous “Rape of Ms. Marvel” plotline). Every superhero in Marvel Comics wants to stop the cosmic being, leading some to propose infanticide! Instead, the nebbishy Molecule Man & his homely g’friend save the universe.
[continued from The Fantastic Four #288]
[continued in The Avengers #266]
[last issue: Secret Wars II #8 of 9]

Secret Wars II #8 of 9

February 21, 2012

Jim Shooter // Al Milgrom
February 1986
*
The Beyonder, annoyed w/ the enigma of existence, contemplates destroying it. #8 epitomizes what’s wrong w/ SW2. Shooter, having imagined godlike beings such as Korvac, wants to draw an omnipotent Hamlet—all introspection & inaction—but he’s no Shakespeare. The ersatz philosophy is fun to read.
[continued from The Defenders #152]
[see also The New Mutants #37]
[see also The Amazing Spider-Man #274]
[continued in The Avengers #265]
[last issue: Secret Wars II #7 of 9]
[next issue: Secret Wars II #9 of 9]

Secret Wars II #5 of 9

February 18, 2012

Jim Shooter // Al Milgrom
November 1985
**
The Beyonder picks a fight w/ Kirby space-gods, a good concept wasted by dull fight choreography. The protag does have an emotional arc—unable to return to his home dimension, he’s now sulking w/ a mutant teen runaway—but his moods are impossible to follow if you don’t get every crossover issue.
[continued from The Avengers #261]
[continued in The Thing #30]
[last issue: Secret Wars II #4 of 9]
[next issue: Secret Wars II #6 of 9]

The Mighty Thor #381

May 2, 2011

Walt Simonson // Sal Buscema
July 1987
****
Having faced the World Serpent & a Satan analog, but cursed w/ immortality, Thor’s a pulverized mess. Simonson finds a brilliant solution: syphon Thor’s soul into the enchanted armor that he’s fought so often! It plays to Buscema’s Kirby-esque strengths as Thor battles the armor on the astral plane.
[continued from Mephisto vs. #4 of 4]
[last issue: The Mighty Thor #380]
[next issue: The Mighty Thor #382]

The Fantastic Four Annual #19

February 13, 2011

John Byrne
December 1985
****
A two-chapter annual with an ebullient late Silver Age tone. It may be a little more like Thomas-era Avengers than Kirby-era FF, but that style is underscored by Joe Sinnott providing retro inking to Byrne’s art. Pt. 1 sees our heroes pop into space to foil a faction of Skrulls—after the Galactus Event, they’ve collapsed into civil war. Pt. 2 crosses into The Av‘s annual (rather confusingly).
[continued from The Fantastic Four #284]
[continued in The Avengers Annual #14]
[continued in The Fantastic Four #285]
[last issue:  The Fantastic Four Annual #18]
[next issue: The Fantastic Four Annual #20]

Captain America #401

November 9, 2010

Mark Gruenwald // Rik Levins
June 1992
***
After the grim conclusion to the Avengers x-over, Cap wonders whether his moral rectitude is outmoded in ’90s comics. It’s a fine bit of self-reflection as Cap, Hawkeye & Iron Man go out for a beer. The subplot, in ironic counterpoint, slowly builds tension: Diamondback seems destined for torture.
[continued from The Avengers #347]
[last issue: Captain America #400]

The Avengers #347

November 8, 2010

Bob Harras // Steve Epting
May 1992
***
Part 19 of “Operation: Galactic Storm”
A morally confused denouement to a well-done crossover. Initially, this ish is a sentimental paean to the brutality of war & civilian casualties. But the emotional affect unravels as the plot bends to convention. The heroes survive a galactic bomb blast w/o a scratch, then half the team slaughters the alien AI who plotted the genocide. Harras & DeFalco are simply naive w/r/t violence & war.
[continued from Wonder Man #9]
[continued in Captain America #401]
[last issue: The Avengers #346]
[next issue: The Avengers #348]

Wonder Man #9

November 7, 2010

Gerard Jones // Jeff Johnson
May 1992
***
Part 18 of “Operation: Galactic Storm”
The crossover plot roars into a surprise turn (albeit foreshadowed): the Avengers arrive too late to defuse antimatter bomb! Jones continues to aim for substance, even if he stacks his deck in considering the ethics of genocide. And tho’ JJ gives good pacing, his art is a bit too ’90s for me.
[continued from Quasar #34]
[continued in The Avengers #347]
[last issue: Wonder Man #8]
[next issue: Wonder Man #10]

Captain America #400

November 4, 2010

A-plot: Mark Gruenwald // Rik Levins
May 1992
A-story: ***
Part 15 of “Operation: Galactic Storm”
Momentum is starting to flag on the third time thru the line-up for this crossover. Take this chapter: it’s fun but it feels padded out. For the mag’s 400th issue (!), Cap wrestles half a dozen foes till he realizes it’s a psychodrama—a giant green Kirby AI hive-mind’s attempt to assimilate him.
[continued from The Mighty Thor #446]
[continued in Avengers West Coast #82]
[last issue: Captain America #399]
[next issue: Captain America #401]

Iron Man #279

November 2, 2010

Lee Kaminski // Paul Ryan
April 1992
**
Part 13 of “Operation: Galactic Storm”
Iron Man & Hawkeye skulk thru a space empire’s capital, hoping to free their comrades—which is to say, it’s standard Flash Gordon space-action in superhero drag. But as a chapter in a crossover, it’s ***: designed & executed ably, a showcase of momentum & suspense, w/ twists in several plot strands.
[continued from The Avengers #346]
[continued in The Mighty Thor #446]
[last issue: Iron Man #278]
[next issue: Iron Man #280]

The Avengers #346

November 1, 2010

Bob Harras // Steve Epting
April 1992
***
Part 12 of “Operation: Galactic Storm”
The ugly head of the Supreme Intelligence usurps the Kree Imperium, but has he got a deeper goal than mere power? Mostly tho’, this ish is a thumping match btw. the Avengers & an alien superteam. But Epting’s improving: his sleek style, pacing & settings happily obscure the cliches in Harras’ script.
[continued from Wonder Man #8]
[continued in Iron Man #279]
[last issue: The Avengers #345]
[next issue: The Avengers #347]

Captain America #399

October 25, 2010

A-plot: Mark Gruenwald // Rik Levins
April 1992
A-story: ***
Part 8 of “Operation: Galactic Storm”
Gruenwald pads out the Avengers crossover space opera, sending Cap & co. scrambling around the Kree homeworld. The plot treads water & there’s no arc to speak of. But MG’s capable writing stages a clash of personalities btw. Cap & Iron Man and smart aerial hand-to-hand combat btw. Cap & a superalien.
[continued from The Mighty Thor #445]
[continued in Avengers West Coast #81]
[last issue: Captain America #398]
[next issue: Captain America #400]

Iron Man #278

October 23, 2010

Lee Kaminsky // Paul Ryan
March 1992
**
Part 6 of “Operation: Galactic Storm”
On an Avengers peacekeeping mission to the Kree Empire, Iron Man proves his worth. He hacks an alien computer, wrestles a robot sentinel in zero-g, & usurps Captain America’s rank by favoring discretion over valor. The dialogue is wretched (esp. for the guest Avengers), the art’s serviceable.
[continued from The Avengers #345]
[continued in  The Mighty Thor #445]
[last issue: Iron Man #277]
[next issue: Iron Man #279]

The Avengers #345

October 22, 2010

Bob Harras // Steve Epting
March 1992
**
Part 5 of “Operation: Galactic Storm”
The Kree-Shi’ar War is destabilizing our sun by using our system as a hyperspace bypass. So every Avenger is mobilized for one front or another. Harras delivers the ham that good space opera needs, but as always, he fails to harmonize an ensemble of voices or bring authenticity to the action.
[continued from Wonder Man #7]
[continued in Iron Man #278]
[last issue: The Avengers #344]
[next issue: The Avengers #346]