Archive for the ‘Black Widow’ Category

Avengers Assemble #25

February 28, 2016

Avengers Assemble 25Kelly Sue DeConnick with Warren Ellis // Matteo Buffagni with Neil Edwards & Raffaele Ienco
May 2014
**

Sometimes a character-focused arc doesn’t need a flashy climax, but this one’s too generic. The dialogue suddenly seems phoned in, & the art lacks a cogent sense of space or urgency. But the bigger problem is that Spider-Girl never snaps into focus as an individual, she’s just a girl sidekick with pluck.

last issue: Avengers Assemble #24

also indexed for May ’14
Captain Marvel #1
Hawkeye #17
Hawkeye #18
Moon Knight #1

Avengers Assemble #24

February 27, 2016

Avengers Assemble 24Kelly Sue DeConnick with Warren Ellis // Matteo Buffagni
April 2014
***

Anya Corazon isn’t exactly a moribund character—she’s popped up in Spidey books & a Junior Avengers mag—but she’s esp. well-suited for an Avengers internship. Here she’s teamed w/ Iron Man & then Captain America, but neither writer quite gets the mens’ tones right, a small misstep in a fun arc.

last issue: Avengers Assemble #23
next issue: Avengers Assemble #25

also indexed for Apr. ’14
Hawkeye #15

Avengers Assemble #22

February 25, 2016

Avengers Assemble 22Kelly Sue DeConnick with Warren Ellis // Matteo Buffagni
February 2014
***

An unexpected visit from Uncle Warren! Evidently he’s scripting the villain’s dialogue, based on the genetic technobabble of the female Dr. Moreau. She’s a KSDC creation who had a regular gig in the Evil Avengers spin-off mag. FYI the artist has a good hand for facial expressions & not much else.

last issue: Avengers Assemble #21
next issue: Avengers Assemble #23

also indexed for Feb. ’14
Hawkeye #16

Avengers Assemble #21

February 24, 2016

Avengers Assemble 21Kelly Sue DeConnick // Matteo Buffagni
January 2014
***

Once again strip-mining Kirby for content, Marvel editorial replaces mutants with Inhumans. But DeConnick refreshes new properties, ones w/ double-X chromosomes, by pulling out a few ’00s supervillains. But her focus is Spider-Girl (AKA Araña) on a team-up with Black Widow & Spider-Woman.

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

also indexed for Jan. ’14
Captain Marvel #17
Hawkeye #14

Captain Marvel #16

February 22, 2016

Captain Marvel 2.16Kelly Sue DeConnick with Jan van Meter // Pat Olliffe
November 2013
***

Like last ish, #16 proceeds in parallel with the month’s Avengers Assemble. Captain Marvel, temporarily leveled up by a black hole, leads Avengers POWs on an escape mission from a space armada’s flagship. Squeezed by event plotting, DeCo manages to get character beats in for an amnesiac Carol.

see also Avengers Assemble #19
continued in Infinity #4 of 6
last issue: Captain Marvel #15
next issue: Captain Marvel #17

also indexed for Nov. ’13
Avengers Assemble #19

Avengers Assemble #19

February 21, 2016

Avengers Assemble 19Kelly Sue DeConnick with Jan van Meter // Barry Kitson
November 2013
**

Spider-Woman and Black Widow rescue Captain Marvel from robo-aliens; a few guys are involved too, incl. Spidey’s BF. The gender reversal is good enough to make this issue of space opera serviceable. But it’s also Event Sprawl, scenes too small for the three mags (!) telling the central story.

see also Captain Marvel #16
last issue: Avengers Assemble #18
next issue: Avengers Assemble #20

also indexed for Nov. ’13
Captain Marvel #16

Captain Marvel #15

February 20, 2016

Captain Marvel 2.15Kelly Sue DeConnick with Jan van Meter // Pat Olliffe
October 2013
**

The Avengers fly two starships into a space battle: one for each of KSDC’s mags. It’s a crossover that requires a non-CM issue for context, which is terribly alienating to newer readers. The amnesia of last issue is backburnered too. KSDC does what she can, & it’s passable fun.

continued from Avengers #18
see also Avengers Assemble #18
last issue: Captain Marvel #14
next issue: Captain Marvel #16

also indexed for Oct. ’13
Avengers Assemble #18

Avengers Assemble #18

February 19, 2016

Avengers Assemble 18Kelly Sue DeConnick // Barry Kitson
October 2013
**

AA gets pulled into Marvel’s latest Event; all you need to know is, it’s a space opera. Epic battle among the stars, pew pew pew, our POV heroine is nearly KIA. Happily that character is Jessica Drew, a neurotic who KSDC has been writing really well—better even than Carol Danvers, in my opinion.

continued from Avengers #18
see also Captain Marvel #15
last issue: Avengers Assemble #17
next issue: Avengers Assemble #19

also indexed for Oct. ’13
Captain Marvel #15

Captain Marvel #14

February 18, 2016

Captain Marvel 2.14Kelly Sue DeConnick // Scott Hepburn with Gerardo Sandoval
September 2013
***

Carol’s nemesis isn’t just a resurrected Kree villain, he somehow is the Kirbytech that gave her superpowers; to stop him, Cap gives herself brain damage. It’s comic-book science, not totally clear, but otherwise KSDC executes her finale ably, following the Buffy template of heroic sacrifice.

continued from Avengers Assemble #17
continued in Infinity #1 of 6
last issue: Captain Marvel #13
last issue: Captain Marvel #15

also indexed for Sept. ’13
Avengers Assemble #17
Hawkeye #12
Hawkeye Annual #1

Avengers Assemble #17

February 17, 2016

Avengers Assemble 17Kelly Sue DeConnick // Matteo Buffagni with Pepe Larraz
September 2013
***

The Avs fail to stop a superbaddie from focusing energy on NYC using Kirbybots. The art’s fine (a ‘clean’ style that I think of as late ’00s Superman) & so’s the plot. But see how often the minor characters are women, like a guest turn by Sersi? It’s just that easy to write feminist comics, boys!

continued from Captain Marvel #13
continued in Captain Marvel #14

also indexed for Sept. ’13
Captain Marvel #14
Hawkeye #12
Hawkeye Annual #1

Avengers Assemble #16

February 15, 2016

Avengers Assemble 16Kelly Sue DeConnick // Matteo Buffagni
August 2013
***

Now that the dark days of Bendis are done, quality Avengers comics are everywhere! This crossover with CM sets up a solid threat in a resurrected Kree warrior: the original Cap’s first nemesis, merged with the Kirbytech engine that empowered our heroine. Love how the Kree Empire hangs up on him!

continued from Avengers: The Enemy Within #1 of 1
continued in Captain Marvel #13
last issue: Avengers Assemble #15AU
next issue: Avengers Assemble #17

also indexed for Aug. ’13
Captain Marvel #13
Hawkeye #11

Avengers Assemble #13

February 11, 2016

Avengers Assemble 13Kelly Sue DeConnick // Pete Woods
May 2013
***

The Widow pays some karmic debt by helping a gal kick an addiction to reptile serum. It’s formulaic stuff, but Woods does a passable Alan Davis in drawing a sewer gang of croco-mutants. And DeConnick slips some hilarious asides in, like a villain’s marriage proposal & Jess Drew’s flippancy.

last issue: Avengers Assemble #12
next issue: Avengers Assemble #14

also indexed for May ’13
Captain Marvel #11

Avengers Assemble #12

February 9, 2016

Avengers Assemble 12Kelly Sue DeConnick // Pete Woods
April 2013
***

In this era of the Avengers movie, Assemble has the trad remit of satisfying longtime fans. The art’s nothing to remember, but the writing shows a sense of colorful superheroics, attention to craft, & a deep bench that recalls the Busiek run. This one’s a Black Widow mission, but J. Drew steals the show.

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

also indexed for Apr. ’13
Captain Marvel #10
Hawkeye #8

Avengers Assemble #9

February 3, 2016

Avengers Assemble 09Kelly Sue DeConnick // Stefano Caselli
January 2013
***

With Capt. Marvel in tow, Kelly Sue DeConnick instantly improves one of the dozen Avengers books. Her secret is low stakes for the top-tier. Team Stark races Team Banner to a monster mission in Antarctica. It’s broad fun in the spirit of JLI (e.g. Hulk stirring organic PB for a sammich).

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

also indexed for Jan. ’13
Captain Marvel #7
Hawkeye #4
Winter Soldier #12

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 #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 #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 #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

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

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 #19

December 21, 2015

Secret Avengers 19Warren Ellis // Michael Lark
January 2012
*****

This brief run on a 2nd-tier Avengers mag may actually be the apex of the ’00s superspy revival. Each done-in-one mission has a different tone, thanks to the guest artists. Here Lark evokes horror & The Third Man; in E. Europe, the team raids a club whose owner gains powers up by smoking an Elder God’s ashes!

last issue: Secret Avengers #18
next issue: Secret Avengers #20

also indexed for Jan. ’12
Annihilators: Earthfall #3 of 4
Captain America #4
Captain America & Bucky #624
The Fantastic Four #600
Fear Itself: Captain America #7.1
FF #12

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

Winter Soldier #14

December 17, 2015

Winter Soldier 14Ed Brubaker // Jackson Guice
March 2013
***

A KGB superspy wipes love for Bucky from Black Widow’s memory. Brubaker erases this character’s past way too tidily (see also Agent 13’s pregnancy), and focuses on his hero’s wound. It’s the Widow who’s been attacked! That leaves a bad taste, but it’s not the first long run to end in mediocrity.

last issue: Winter Soldier #13
next issue: Winter Soldier #15

also indexed for Mar. ’13

Winter Soldier #13

December 16, 2015

Winter Soldier 13Ed Brubaker // Jackson Guice
February 2013
***

Ed B nods to his other major Marvel run, pitting brainwashed Bucky against his kidnapped GF’s ex, Daredevil. It’s no character piece, nor is it particularly well-staged; just a rainy nighttime NYC fight with Wolverine, Hawkeye, & Cap jumping in. At least they all chew Bucky out for his stupidity.

last issue: Winter Soldier #12
next issue: Winter Soldier #14

also indexed for Feb. ’13

Winter Soldier #12

December 15, 2015

Winter Soldier 12Ed Brubaker // Jackson Guice
January 2013
***

Bucky agrees to revert to his Soviet self and execute a mission for the superspy who’s kidnapped his GF. Our hero’s taken impulsive actions before, so at least it’s in character—but it’s astonishingly stupid. Brubaker has one foot out the door, and Guice, no longer inking himself, is looking ragged.

last issue: Winter Soldier #11
next issue: Winter Soldier #13

also indexed for Jan. ’13

Winter Soldier #11

December 13, 2015

Winter Soldier 11Ed Brubaker // Jackson Guice
December 2012
***

One drawback to Guice’s robust approach to superspy adventure is that it compunds one of Bru’s flaws. Their men have only a small range of emotion, mostly centered on machismo. It means that character dynamics are undercooked, even tho’ the point of #11 is to team Bucky up with fan fave Hawkeye.

last issue: Winter Soldier #11
next issue: Winter Soldier #13

also indexed for Dec. ’12
Captain America #18
Captain America #19
The Fantastic Four #611
FF #23

Winter Soldier #10

December 10, 2015

Winter Soldier 10Ed Brubaker // Jackson Guice
November 2012
****

Black Widow has been kidnapped & mind-raped; regressed to her Soviet self (well, a 21C version of it); killed a longtime SHIELD agent, & had all memory of her romance with Our Hero erased. It’s all to torture Bucky emotionally, natch. But Guice’s art looks retro & contemporary all at once.

last issue: Winter Soldier #9
next issue: Winter Soldier #11

also indexed for Nov. ’12
Captain America #17
The Fantastic Four #610
FF #22

Winter Soldier #9

December 8, 2015

Winter Soldier 09Ed Brubaker // Michael Lark
October 2012
****

Visually this arc matches the best of the run. Lark stages the SHIELD shutdown of a Lincoln Center ballet with urgency and clarity. Brubaker’s plot twist, however, doubles down on the Black Widow’s psychological violation. Brainwashed, she fakes lucidity till she’s on the helicarrier, then attacks.

last issue: Winter Soldier #8
next issue: Winter Soldier #10

also indexed for Oct. ’12
Captain America #16
The Fantastic Four #609
FF #21

Winter Soldier #8

December 6, 2015

Winter Soldier 08Ed Brubaker // Michael Lark
September 2012
****

Brubaker has made Nat Romanov formidable in her own right, so why’s he casting her as the damsel-in-distress here? She’s made into a pawn in a duel btw Bucky & an ex-KGB sleeper agent. It’s perilously close to fridging: she’s not just another brainwashed character in the run, she’s a violated woman.

last issue: Winter Soldier #7
next issue: Winter Soldier #9

also indexed for Sept. ’12
Captain America #14
Captain America #15
The Fantastic Four #608
FF #20

Winter Soldier #7

December 4, 2015

Winter Soldier 07Ed Brubaker // Michael Lark
late August 2012
*****

Lark stages an exceptional action sequence—a high-octane firefight on motorcycle & camper van—but also some narrative flashbacks that are artfully quiet. Note also how realistically Brubaker directs the action as a mission op, recalling the excellent indie Queen & Country as much as, say, Bourne.

last issue: Winter Soldier #6
next issue: Winter Soldier #8

also indexed for Aug. ’12
Captain America #13
The Fantastic Four #607
FF #19
Winter Soldier #6

Winter Soldier #6

December 2, 2015

Winter Soldier 06Ed Brubaker // Michael Lark
early August 2012
****

My favorite of Brubaker’s artists takes a curtain call with this late-run arc about a KGB cryo-tube agent, an obvious foil for the title hero (he even kills an ex-Bucky!). Bru’s brought back to his hard-boiled, realistic side; take a sec to note how smoothy he shifts from last arc’s Doom & Apes!

last issue: Winter Soldier #5
next issue: Winter Soldier #7

also indexed for Aug. ’12
Captain America #13
The Fantastic Four #607
FF #19
Winter Soldier #7

Winter Soldier #5

November 30, 2015

Winter Soldier 05Ed Brubaker // Jackson Guice
July 2012
*****

A two-fisted showdown in a rocket silo! Dr. Doom vs. Super-Apes! Not only does this arc give great spyfi action, it turns the villainess into the kind of super-terrorist Latveria would spawn, & a foe worthy of Doom. Guice draws great hand-to-hand, w/ surprising angles & distances adding kineticism.

last issue: Winter Soldier #4
next issue: Winter Soldier #6

also indexed for Jul. ’12
Captain America #11
Captain America #12
The Fantastic Four #605.1
The Fantastic Four #606
FF #18

Winter Soldier #4

November 28, 2015

Winter Soldier 04Ed Brubaker // Jackson Guice
June 2012
****

An odd team-up of Kirby creations: Bucky Barnes & Dr. Doom prevent a terrorist bombing at the UN! Effectively Bucky Barnes, Agent of SHIELD, this mag is as good as Brubaker has been since Cap Reborn. It looks great too, as Guice has added Steranko layouts & Adams figures to his arsenal.

last issue: Winter Soldier #3
next issue: Winter Soldier #5

also indexed for Jun. ’12
Captain America #10
The Fantastic Four #605
FF #17

Winter Soldier #3

November 25, 2015

Winter Soldier 03Ed Brubaker // Jackson Guice
May 2012
****

A great match-up: Widow & the Winter Soldier vs. Dr. Doom! Doom wins on his home turf, the Latverian Embassy in NYC. It’s all a sequel to Bendis’ misfire Secret War, a mini that helped pioneer the Marvel vogue for post-9/11 superheroic espionage, a subgenre that this run epitomizes.

last issue: Winter Soldier #2
next issue: Winter Soldier #4

also indexed for May ’12
Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #9 of 9
Captain America #9
Captain America & Bucky #628
The Fantastic Four #604
FF #16

Winter Soldier #2

November 22, 2015

Winter Soldier 02Ed Brubaker // Jackson Guice
late April 2012
****

Not content to continue the run’s Bourne-like action, this first arc pits our hero against a Commie gorilla with a jetpack & AK-47! It’s a ’60s Soviet hench-ape! But #2’s real story is Guice, adding maturity of layout to the Maleev photoref style. It’s gorgeous (except for his rubber-limbed Widow).

last issue: Winter Soldier #1
next issue: Winter Soldier #3

also indexed for Apr. ’12
Captain America #8
Captain America & Bucky #627
The Fantastic Four #603
FF #15
Winter Soldier #1

Winter Soldier #1

November 20, 2015

Winter Soldier 01Ed Brubaker // Jackson Guice
early April 2012
****

Bucky finally gets his solo mag, hunting Soviet cryotube killers w/ GF Black Widow. I wouldn’t want to delete Buck’s tenure as Cap but this is what the character’s meant for: a throwback to Cold War superspy stuff rather than the watered-down War on Terror espionage of the concurrent Cap run.

continued from Fear Itself: Captain America #7.1
next issue: Winter Soldier #2

also indexed for Apr. ’12
Captain America #8
Captain America & Bucky #627
The Fantastic Four #604
FF #15
Winter Soldier #2

Captain America & Bucky #624

November 13, 2015

Captain America & Bucky 624Ed Brubaker with Marc Andreyko // Chris Samnee
January 2012
***

Cold War espionage rounds out The Secret Origin of Bucky Barnes. Plus a bit of sentiment as he visits his elderly sister in a nursing home. So let’s applaud this creative crew! Andr. has nailed the period’s idiom (he’s better than Bru), & Samnee does it all: A+ layout, acting, drama, pacing, & atmo.

last issue: Captain America & Bucky #623
next issue: Captain America & Bucky #625

also indexed for Jan. ’12
Annihilators: Earthfall #3 of 4
Captain America #4
The Fantastic Four #600
Fear Itself: Captain America #7.1
FF #12

Fear Itself: Captain America #7.1

November 12, 2015

Fear Itself 7.1 Captain AmericaEd Brubaker // Jackson Guice
January 2012
****

EB got to conclude Civil War in his mag, & here’s the trade-off: another event mini, Fear Itself, hosts the fatal confrontation btw his creations Bucky & Sin. Fair? Maybe, but it’s bad storytelling. So Bru plays a trump: a dose of SHIELD’s secret serum revives Buck (again).

continued from Fear Itself #7 of 7
continued in Winter Soldier #1

also indexed for Jan. ’12
Annihilators: Earthfall #3 of 4
Captain America #4
Captain America & Bucky #624
Fantastic Four #600
FF #12

Captain America #619

November 4, 2015

Captain America 619Ed Brubaker // Mitch Breitweiser, Jackson Guice, & Chris Samnee
August 2011
***

Proving a worse spymaster than Nick Fury, Cap edges back towards status quo ante. Bucky, however, gets a new mission, going rogue to catch KGB sleeper agents. And Black Widow brazenly rescues him from a gulag—behavior that finally proves (to me) that she’s a romantically plausible partner for Bucky.

continued in Captain America #1
continued in Fear Itself #1 of 7
last issue: Captain America #618
next issue: Captain America & Bucky #620

also indexed for Aug. ’11
Annihilators #4 of 4
Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #6 of 9
FF #5

Captain America #618

November 3, 2015

Captain America 619Ed Brubaker // Jackson Guice & Chris Samnee
July 2011
****

Bucky continues to dominate this run, even as he’s shifted back to sidekick. Guilt-soaked dream montages delve into his Winter Soldier psyche & hint at KGB backstory. Samnee pencil-&-inks a dynamic spies-in-catsuits subplot. He’s in the retro school, w/ simple lines & expressive faces.

last issue: Captain America #617
next issue: Captain America #619

also indexed for Jul. ’11
Annihilators #3 of 4
FF #3
FF #4

Captain America #617

November 2, 2015

Captain America 617Ed Brubaker // Mike Deodato, Jackson Guice, & Chris Samnee
June 2011
***

A triptych of plots to spring Bucky from a gulag, where he’s pitted against ex-Soviet super-agents in death matches. Guice gives his plot a superb sense of place & atmo, while Samnee’s pages look snazzy. In that, Steve Rogers works w/ DC pols in a realistic cloak’n’dagger plot—till robots attack!

also indexed for Jun. ’11
Annihilators #2 of 4
Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #5 of 9
FF #2
Secret Avengers #12

Captain America #615: Bucky Barnes

October 28, 2015

Captain America 615A-story: Ed Brubaker // Jackson Guice
April 2011
A-story: ****

The Red Skull’s heir gives the Statue of Liberty a black eye; Bucky pleads guilty for his Manchurian Candidate crimes but gets a lenient judge. The mag has taken a while to get its rhythm back, but it does sound like the story Brubaker wanted to tell. And a few of Guice’s layouts channel Steranko!

last issue: Captain America #614
next issue: Captain America #615.1

also indexed for Apr. ’11
The Fantastic Four #588
Secret Avengers #9

Secret Avengers #10

October 27, 2015

Secret Avengers 10Ed Brubaker // Mike Deodato & Will Conrad
April 2011
**

In this arc’s climax, Steve & co foil the resurrection of Fu Manchu. Somehow this manages to be a dull outcome. Avengers, Agents of SHIELD reads like it’s a chore for Brubaker to write. He’s fine with Bucky (& this John Steele), but maybe he has no more stories to tell about Steve Rogers.

last issue: Secret Avengers #9
next issue: Secret Avengers #11

also indexed for Apr. ’11
Captain America #615: Bucky Barnes
The Fantastic Four #588

Captain America #614: Bucky Barnes

October 26, 2015

Captain America 614A-story: Ed Brubaker // Jackson Guice
March 2011
A-story: ****

Brubaker revives Buck’s brainwashed backstory, a link to the early heyday of this run. #614 combines ‘street-level’ tropes (violence in the courtroom!) & supervillainy (rants & bombs), & offers a good perf by the manipulative Dr. Faustus. And many inkers on hand, which improves Guice’s pencils!

B-story: Rikki Barnes
last issue: Captain America #613
next issue: Captain America #615

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

Captain America #613: Bucky Barnes

October 24, 2015

Captain America 613A-story: Ed Brubaker // Jackson Guice
February 2011
A-story: ***

Sin (her burn-scarred skull matches Dad’s) sets a bomb on Liberty Island & sabotages the trial of Bucky Barnes w/ media leaks! As legacy characters go, she’s okay: her taste for hunky musclemen is vaguely kinky, while her sociopathy has matured from Natural Born Killers into real supervillainy.

B-story: Rikki Barnes
last issue: Captain America #612
next issue: Captain America #614

also indexed for Feb. ’11
The Fantastic Four #586
Secret Avengers #8

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

Captain America #612: Bucky Barnes

October 22, 2015

Captain America 612A-story: Ed Brubaker // Jackson Guice
January 2011
A-story: ***

Bucky, on trial for his un-American activity under mind control, realizes he likes being Captain America. ‘Cap in jail’ is a conflict w/ potential, as he’s a state-sanctioned masked man & not an urban vigilante. But JG’s art is abnormally sloppy: his Bernie Rosenthal looks like a man in drag!

B-story: Rikki Barnes
last issue: Captain America #611
next issu: Captain America #613

also indexed for Jan. ’11
Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #3 of 9
The Fantastic Four #585
Secret Avengers #7
The Thanos Imperative
#6 of 6

Secret Avengers #7

October 21, 2015

Secret Avengers 07Ed Brubaker // Mike Deodato
January 2011
**

Brubaker weaves dangling threads from his other mags into his Steve Rogers epic. He adds Marvel Project’s ‘original super-soldier’ and an Immortal Weapon from his Iron Fist collab. But all eyes are on Fu Manchu, right? Mostly tho, #7 is more told-not-shown characters & poses-as-panels.

last issue: Secret Avengers #6
next issue: Secret Avengers #8

also indexed for Jan. ’11
Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #3 of 9
Captain America #612: Bucky Barnes
The Fantastic Four #585
The Thanos Imperative #6 of 6