Archive for the ‘Dragon Man’ Category

Nova #20

March 26, 2014

Nova 20Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning // Wellinton Alves & Geraldo Burges
February 2009
***

Another reflective issue of Nova. Richard Rider touches base w/ old friends from the New Warriors, his anxiety stimulated by the Nova Corps’ restoration. Or is he just worried about his younger brother, now a fellow Centurian? If only editorial would get more unique, imaginative artists on this mag!

last issue: Nova #19
next issue: Nova #21

also indexed for Feb. ’09
Guardians of the Galaxy #8

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FF #23

January 4, 2014

FF 23Jonathan Hickman // Nick Dragotta
December 2012
****

In a sense, Hickman’s Four was Mr. F, his dad, & the time-tossed kids. #611 bade goodbye to Reed, Nat, & Val; #23 focuses on Franklin. In this coda, he tutors his child-self in imagination, their superpower. It’s a bit sentimental, but it values creativity over intellect—in comics & in life.

last issue: FF #22
continued in The Fantastic Four #1
continued in FF #1

also indexed for Dec. ’12
The Fantastic Four #611

FF #22

January 2, 2014

FF 22Jonathan Hickman // André Araújo
November 2012
****

#22 varies Hickman’s wonky non-linear plotting by recounting the events of #610 from Bentley 23’s standpoint. Bentley, the Wizard’s clone-kid, confronts his “father” (tapping into the run’s father/son themes). Araújo’s superfine line is a different look for this mag, a prettier Dalrymple type of pencil.

see also The Fantastic Four #610
last issue: FF #21
next issue: FF #23

also indexed for Nov. ’12
The Fantastic Four #610

FF #21

December 31, 2013

FF 21Jonathan Hickman // Nick Dragotta
October 2012
*****

The epitome of a Hickman FF issue, w/ smart nonlinear storytelling & epic SF political melodrama. The Kree & Inhumans broker a peace, built upon undoing a space-opera Romeo/Juliet romance! Check how Dragotta not only nails the Kirby costumes, he makes the title team’s b/w costumes look cool!

last issue: FF #20
next issue: FF #22

also indexed for Oct. ’12
The Fantastic Four #609

FF #20

December 29, 2013

FF 20Jonathan Hickman // Nick Dragotta
September 2012
****

Dragotta shines in the SF opener, where a cityship blasts at a starcruiser. His parallel talent for aliens helps set high expectations for the next phase of Hickman’s FF run: the Inhuman invasion of Earth. In a cute touch, Val & Bentley the Wizard Clone draw a plan up to subjugate the Kree Empire.

last issue: FF #19
next issue: FF #21

also indexed for Sept. ’12
The Fantastic Four #608

FF #19

December 27, 2013

FF 19Jonathan Hickman // Gabriel Hernandez Walta
August 2012
***

FF accompanies the mothership to Wakanda for a safari field trip. The kids make a friend (a Wakandan wünderkind) as they outflank an African tribe of water-thieves w/o resorting to violence. A charming, kid-friendly adventure that’s way too rare in modern Marvel, a bit like classic Power Pack.

last issue: FF #18
next issue: FF #20

also indexed for Aug. ’12
The Fantastic Four #607

The Fantastic Four #607

December 26, 2013

Fantastic Four 607Jonathan Hickman // Guiseppe Camuncoli & Karl Kesel
August 2012
**

Last ish was post-Vernean SF; #607 (& #608) revisits the mag’s Lost Civ. Wakanda, the home of Black Panther, has been weathering raids from Harryhausen skeletons—footsoldiers in a war w/ the Egyptian God Anubis! Camuncoli’s art (cartoonlike, workmanlike) adds nothing to an ish that’s all set-up.

last issue: The Fantastic Four #606
next issue: The Fantastic Four #608

also indexed for Aug. ’12
FF #19

FF #18

December 25, 2013

FF 18Jonathan Hickman // Nick Dragotta
July 2012
*****

Less manic than last ish but equally superb, #18 sees Johnny & the kids learn a lesson in foreign politics. The malevolent bug civ from the Neg Zone requests a free election, then writes votes in for the local Kirby tyrant! You don’t expect Marvel to deliver a sly commentary on American naïvity!

last issue: FF #17
next issue: FF #19

also indexed for Jul. 12
The Fantastic Four #605.1
The Fantastic Four #606

FF #16

December 20, 2013

FF 16Jonathan Hickman // Nick Dragotta & Steve Epting
May 2012
*****

If all of John H’s FF run had Nick D on art, it’d be second only to Kirby/Lee! See a heavenly moment of adult Franklin & Galactus viewing sunrise from orbit. This ish, post-grand finale, centers on Hick’s best char: supersmart toddler Val. Even her adult self mistrusts her! And in a coda, Doom.

continued from The Fantastic Four #604
last issue: FF #15
next issue: FF #17

also indexed for May ’12
Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #9 of 9
The Fantastic Four #604

The Fantastic Four #604

December 19, 2013

Fantastic Four 604Jonathan Hickman // Steve Epting
May 2012
*****

Hickman closes out his theme of fathers & sons, as Nat & Frank Richards save Reed from mad space-gods. Franklin, in the future, will turn cosmic & take Galactus as his sidekick! Sadly, he’s only given ’90s-style hand-zaps. Maybe #604 itself is only ****, but it’s a perfect climax to an ambitious run.

continued in FF #16
last issue: The Fantastic Four #603
next issue: The Fantastic Four #605

also indexed for May ’12
Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #9 of 9
FF #16

FF #15

December 18, 2013

FF 15Jonathan Hickman // Nick Dragotta
April 2013
*****

#15 dovetails w/ #603, even ending on the same panel. The focus is Franklin, whose “imaginary” friend (a white silhouette) guides him thru a cataclysmic attack by science-gods, then reveals his ID as adult Franklin! Welcome back to Dragotta, whose talent for “acting” warms Hickman’s cerebral tone.

see also The Fantastic Four #603
continued in The Fantastic Four #604
last issue: FF #14
next issue: FF #16

also indexed for Apr ’12
The Fantastic Four #603

FF #14

December 16, 2013

FF 14Jonathan Hickman // Juan Bobillo
March 2012
*****

Thru chrono-hero Nat Richards, Hickman explains his mag’s cosmology of time. The Kree v. the Annihilation Wave, Galactus v. Celestials: all are inevitable but they can be hastened or delayed. So Dr. Doom, full of Miltonic grandeur, will hold the bridge btw dimensions alone against Kirby Titans!

see also The Fantastic Four #602
last issue: FF #13
next issue: FF #15

also indexed for Mar. ’12
The Fantastic Four #602

FF #13

December 14, 2013

FF 13Jonathan Hickman // Juan Bobillo
February 2012
*****

A pack of kids, incl. reality-shaper Franklin, face Kirby Gods on an interdimensional space-bridge! But the prime mover is Nat Richards, planning contingencies for potential futures in a Kirbytech harness. Bobillo’s art = elaborate cartooning, yet it has the cosmic grandeur that the tale demands.

see also The Fantastic Four #601
last issue: FF #12
next issue: FF #14

also indexed for Feb. ’12
Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #8 of 9
The Fantastic Four #601

FF #12

December 12, 2013

FF 12Jonathan Hickman // Juan Bobillo
January 2012
****

Hickman’s run goes biweekly; F4 follows the original Four while FF features the Richards children & pals. Val, a delightful schemer, teleports the team’s HQ to Latveria, where she & Grandpa Nat ally w/ Doom & the evil alt-Reed. Bobillo’s art is rough & scratchy but big eyes add a cute feel.

continued from The Fantastic Four #600
last issue: FF #11
next issue: FF #13

also indexed for Jan. ’12
The Fantastic Four #600

The Fantastic Four #600

December 11, 2013

Fantastic Four 600A-story: Jonathan Hickman // Steve Epting
B-story: Jonathan Hickman // Carmine Di Giandomenico
C-story: Jonathan Hickman // Ming Doyle
D-story: Jonathan Hickman // Leinil Yu
E-story: Jonathan Hickman // Farel Dalrymple
January 2012
A-story: **** // B-story: ***** // C-story: *****
D-story: **** // E-story: *****

A king-size #600. The A-story picks up the threads of FF, pitting every NYC superhero against a pair of alien invasions; a surprise twist has the late Johnny Storm break the Annihilation Wave! Then Hickman shows that Torch did die in #587, only to be resurrected in a gladiator scenario. That piece has a Euro look that meshes w/ the bug-‘verse setting; like all the back-up pencilers, it puts Epting to shame. Much of the art is “ugly” yet lovely, accentuating how creative JH’s whole run is.

continued from FF #11
continued in FF #12
next issue: The Fantastic Four #601

also indexed for Jan’ 12
FF #12

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

FF #5

December 4, 2013

FF 05Jonathan Hickman // Barry Kitson
August 2011
****

The prophesied war ignites! First the doppel-Reeds & Mole Man destroy Old Atlantis, then they face the Inhuman space-city at the strange Forever City. And kudos to Kitson: tho’ his Reed is bland, his Thing is expressive &, even rarer, his Sue is a strong presence, matching Hick’s portrayal.

last issue: FF #4
next issue: FF #6

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

FF #4

December 3, 2013

FF 04Jonathan Hickman // Barry Kitson
late July 2011
****

Can Sue stop alt-Reed from building a planet-wrecker?! Kitson relieves Epting, an incremental step up in quality since his bright, flat style (akin to C. Swan) mirrors this mag’s optimism. He’s also better at monsters, which means (a) a better Thing, & (b) a great face-off btw Atlanteans & Moloids.

last issue: FF #3
next issue: FF #5

also indexed for Jul. ’11
FF #3

FF #3

December 2, 2013

Jonathan Hickman // Steve Epting
FF 03July 2011
****

The first symposium of the Future Foundation, hosted by Dr. Doom, asks “How to defeat Mr. Fantastic?” The enemy: the Council of Reeds, trapped on Earth. Various foes pick one side or the other, as the Reeds devise an Earth-shattering gateway home using the fantastical cities of last year’s issues.

last issue: FF #2
next issue: FF #4

also indexed for Jul. ’11
FF #4

FF #2

December 1, 2013

FF 02Jonathan Hickman // Steve Epting
June 2011
****

The gang helps Doom, suffering from brain damage, with a cerebral software patch. In return, he joins the Foundation! JH continues to surprise w/ twists. Epting may be his strongest regular partner so far, but that grungy photorealism fits poorly w/ the title’s weirder elements—esp. his Ben Grimm.

last issue: FF #1
next issue: FF #3

also indexed for Jun. ’11
Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #5 of 9

FF #1

November 30, 2013

FF 01Jonathan Hickman // Steve Epting
May 2011
****

Effectively #589, but the new title marks a shift to the team post-Johnny. His slot is given to Spider-Man, who fits in better here than on the Avengers—after all, he attempted to join back in ASM #1! The bigger surprise is Doc Doom, who’s been invited to the Future Foundation by goddaughter Val.

continued from The Fantastic Four #588
next issue: FF #2

also indexed for May ’11
Avengers: The Children’s Crusade: Young Avengers #1 of 1

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

The Fantastic Four #587

November 28, 2013

Fantastic Four 587Jonathan Hickman // Steve Epting
March 2011
****

A fantastic climax caps Hickman’s first “season”! Sue stares Namor down as she’s crowned regent of Atlantis. Even better, Val leads a junior team into the Neg Zone to commit science heroics. And Johnny sacrifices himself to stop an insectoid invasion. Would be ***** but for Ept’s photorealism.

last issue: The Fantastic Four #586
next issue: The Fantastic Four #588

also indexed for Mar. ’11
Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #4 of 9

The Fantastic Four #586

November 27, 2013

Fantastic Four 586Jonathan Hickman // Steve Epting
February 2011
****

Hickman seems most compelled by Reed’s plot: rescue the Nu-Earth from a vengeful Galactus. Epting seems most into Sue’s arc: stop an Atlantean peace conference from becoming a civil war. But the real actions’ w/ Johnny, who must protect home & family (incl. de-powered Ben) from an alien invasion!

last issue: The Fantastic Four #585
next issue: The Fantastic Four #587

The Fantastic Four #585

November 26, 2013

Fantastic Four 585Jonathan Hickman // Steve Epting
January 2011
****

Hickman has divided the Four while accelerating his story’s pace. He’s got plenty of plots in play, from the Negative Zone death-cult to an Atlantean war of succession to a deep-space excursion w/ Galactus. That last plot brushes w/ Kirby-like grandeur, tho Epting’s prosaic style doesn’t match.

last issue: The Fantastic Four #584
next issue: The Fantastic Four #586

also indexed for Jan. ’11
Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #3 of 9

The Fantastic Four #584

November 25, 2013

Fantastic Four 584Jonathan Hickman // Steve Epting
December 2010
****

For over a year, Hickman has been writing one- & two-issue arcs, which makes this multi-plot storyline all the more portentous. Reed parleys w/ Galactus while Sue escorts Namor to Old Atlantis. But the soul is Ben, who swigs his cure & clobbers the gentrified Yancy Gang, now hedge-fund financiers!

last issue: The Fantastic Four #583
next issue: The Fantastic Four #585

The Fantastic Four #580

November 21, 2013

Fantastic Four 580Jonathan Hickman // Neil Edwards
August 2010
***

While his father teaches the super-kids, Franklin foils a toy store team-up of that Silver Age imp & Arcade, the villain whose deathtraps always fail. Meanwhile, the nerds brew a serum that’ll turn Grimm human for a week. Hickman writes FF like it’s contempo TV, curving char & plot arcs every ish.

last issue: The Fantastic Four #579
next issue: The Fantastic Four #581

The Fantastic Four #579

November 20, 2013

Fantastic Four 579Jonathan Hickman // Neil Edwards
July 2010
****

Speaking at a conference, Reed trumpets a techno-futuristic optimism that’s worth serious consideration. Pinning the blame for neo-luddism on age & fear, he founds a school for super-geniuses, mole-kids, & Atlantean water-babies. The high-minded theme trumps all considerations of Edwards’ choppy art.

last issue: The Fantastic Four #578
next issue: The Fantastic Four #580

The Fantastic Four #574

November 15, 2013

Fantastic Four 574Jonathan Hickman // Neil Edwards
February 2010
***

Hickman, after a few prior glances, now focuses on the Richards kids. On Franklin’s fifth b’day, an adult self zaps in to offer Val prophetic warnings (a War btw Four Cities, trust Doom) & to restore his child-self’s mutant power. Four stars, if the pseudo-cinematic art weren’t so pedestrian!

last issue: The Fantastic Four #573
next issue: The Fantastic Four #575

also indexed for Feb. ’10

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

Captain America #249

September 2, 2012

Roger Stern & John Byrne
September 1980
****
It takes confidence—or chutzpah—to create a villain w/ a great hook & kill him right away, at least when the death has substance. Downloaded into a mainframe, a roboticist lives a bodiless existence. He loathes it, but his programming won’t allow suicide. So he dupes Cap into executing him!
[last issue: Captain America #248]
[next issue: Captain America #250]

Captain America #248

September 1, 2012

Roger Stern & John Byrne
August 1980
***
A sturdy structure (& Byrne’s long, delicate line) propels the action from last ish to next. A megalomaniac designer of robots has targeted Cap, first w/ that Nazi replicant and now w/ a synthetic dragon (a classic Kirby creation). The issue’s charm, however, is seeing Steve hang w/ his neighbors.
[last issue: Captain America #247]
[next issue: Captain America #249]