Archive for the ‘Golden Age Heroes’ Category

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

Captain America & Bucky #628

November 26, 2015

Captain America & Bucky 628Ed Brubaker with James Asmus // Francisco Francavilla
May 2012
***

Androids amuck! #628 reads like a fill-in, a waste of Francavilla’s manifest talents. Moody, rough art & three-tone color lends #625-9 a pulpy atmosphere—imagine if he’d done Marvels Project! He does the glowing-ember physique of the Human Torch better than anyone since its inventor, C. Burgos.

last issue: Captain America & Bucky #627
next issue: Captain America & Hawkeye #629

also indexed for May ’12
Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #9 of 9
Captain America #9
The Fantastic Four #604
FF #16
Winter Soldier #3

Captain America & Bucky #627

November 23, 2015

Captain America & Bucky 627Ed Brubaker with James Asmus // Francisco Francavilla
April 2012
****

An old trope of this Cap run resurfaces: the Manchurian Candidate, here a sleeper cell of unwitting androids in the DoD itself! The puppeteer is an Ultron knockoff who killed a post-war double of Cap. It’s frightfully generic but Francav draws a great face-off btw the robot & its ‘brother’, the WW2 Torch.

last issue: Captain America & Bucky #626
next issue: Captain America & Bucky #628

also indexed for Apr. ’12
Captain America #8
The Fantastic Four #603
FF #15
Winter Soldier #1
Winter Soldier #2

Captain America & Bucky #626

November 19, 2015

Captain America & Bucky 626Ed Brubaker with James Asmus // Francisco Francavilla
March 2012
***

A killer android, ‘brother’ to the 1940s Torch, reactivates to attack Cap. It reiterates this run’s theme of the living past & legacy, but the writing (Asmus gets co-credit) is formulaic. And oh, Francavilla! Shaky, hand-drawn lines & a unique aesthetic make him unlike any other artist on the run.

last issue: Captain America & Bucky #625
next issue: Captain America & Bucky #627

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

Captain America & Bucky #625

November 16, 2015

Captain America & Bucky 625Ed Brubaker with James Asmus // Francisco Francavilla
February 2012
***

Cap visits the ‘second’ Bucky, which reopens an old case from the Truman era. Brubaker seems to be emptying his notebook, here revisiting a (very) minor set of Roy Thomas retcons. It’d be perfectly forgettable except for Francavilla—who may steal ‘best artist of the run’ from last arc’s Samnee.

last issue: Captain America & Bucky #624
next issue: Captain America & Bucky #626

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

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 #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

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

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

Secret Avengers #5

October 15, 2015

Secret Avengers 05Ed Brubaker // David Aja & Michael Lark
November 2010
***

Bru reunites with his art partner on Gotham CentralDD, the underrated Michael Lark—whose realism classes up the joint. Aja also contributes a touch of Steranko to this spy-fi origin story. One of Nicky Fury’s robot duplicates had gained sentience, & now works for a shadowy anti-SHIELD conspiracy.

last issue: Secret Avengers #4
next issue: Secret Avengers #6

also indexed for Nov. ’10
Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #2 of 9
Captain America #610: Bucky Barnes
The Fantastic Four #583
Steve Rogers: Super-Soldier #3 of 4
The Thanos Imperative #4 of 6

The Marvels Project #8 of 8

October 4, 2015

Marvels Project 8 of 8Ed Brubaker // Steve Epting
July 2010
***

Like much of Brubaker’s Cap run, his WW2-era mini is haunted by the ’01 attacks. His cinematic finale has the H. Torch & sidekick dogfight at Pearl Harbor while the other Invaders prevent an Atlantean assassination of Churchill. A subsequent montage of super-GI mobilization is anti-climactic.

last issue: The Marvels Project #7 of 8

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

The Marvels Project #7 of 8

October 1, 2015

Marvels Project 7 of 8Ed Brubaker // Steve Epting
May 2010
****

The Marvel U’s supersoldiers contribute intel for American readiness, helping Cap stop an Atlantean attack on DC—part of the Axis plans for Dec. 7, 1941! Tho’ it arcs over a year of action, TMP might work better collected. It’s paced like a Le Carré novel, all its threads knotted in conspiracy.

last issue: The Marvels Project #6 of 8
next issue: The Marvels Project #8 of 8

also indexed for May ’10
Captain America #604
Fantastic Four #577
Guardians of the Galaxy #24
Nova #35
Realm of Kings: Imperial Guard #5 of 5
Realm of Kings: Inhumans #5 of 5

The Marvels Project #6 of 8

September 29, 2015

Marvels Project 6 of 8Ed Brubaker // Steve Epting
April 2010
***

Namor deluges NYC, in a catastrophe meant to echo 9/11 & organize the heroes. Epting’s in his element on a ready-for-CGI moment: a disaster-porn setpiece. But Brubaker’s heart & eye are on his new character, the WW1 supersoldier, who finds a diabolic Red Skull in league w/ a blue-skinned Atlantean!

last issue: The Marvels Project #5 of 8
next issue: The Marvels Project #7 of 8

also indexed for Apr. ’10
Captain America #603
Fantastic Four #576
Guardians of the Galaxy #23
Nova #34
Realm of Kings: Imperial Guard #4 of 5
Realm of Kings: Inhumans #4 of 5

The Marvels Project #5 of 8

September 26, 2015

Marvels Project 5 of 8Ed Brubaker // Steve Epting
March 2010
**

Capt. America arrives, his action-hero dynamism instantly eclipsing the rest of the book. Part of TMP‘s problem is its unclear stakes: what more are Nazi spies hoping to achieve in 1940 NYC? And part is the POV hero, the Angel, a generic mystery man. Brubaker has carte blanche—this is it?

last issue: The Marvels Project #4 of 8
next issue: The Marvels Project #6 of 8

also indexed for Mar. ’10
Captain America #602
Captain America: Reborn #6 of 6
Fantastic Four #575
Guardians of the Galaxy #22
Nova #33
Realm of Kings: Imperial Guard #3 of 5
Realm of Kings: Inhumans #3 of 5

The Marvels Project #4 of 8

September 23, 2015

Marvels Project 4 of 8Ed Brubaker // Steve Epting
February 2010
***

An interesting subject: an espionage tale about the Nazi who infiltrated the Super-Soldier project back in CA Comics #1. Who was this guy? A 1950s comic would’ve gotten into his head, but in Bru & Ept’s hands he’s a cypher. At least the subplot (a mystery-man tracks the Nazis in NYC) picks up steam.

last issue: The Marvels Project #5 of 8
next issue: The Marvels Project #3 of 8

also indexed for Feb. ’10
Captain America: Reborn #5 of 6
Captain America: Who Will Wield the Shield? #1 of 1
Fantastic Four #574
Guardians of the Galaxy #21
Nova #32
Realm of Kings: Imperial Guard #2 of 5
Realm of Kings: Inhumans #2 of 5

The Marvels Project #3 of 8

September 21, 2015

Marvels Project 3 of 8Ed Brubaker // Steve Epting
December 2009
***

Compared to Brubaker’s other four (!) mags, this mini is kinda rote. The hard-boiled captions lack pulpy urgency, while the setting upstages the action. Epting’s realism just isn’t dynamic here, a shortcoming most obv in his storyboard staging of a Coney Island showdown btw Namor & the Human Torch.

last issue: The Marvels Project #2 of 8
next issue: The Marvels Project #4 of 8

also indexed for Dec. ’09
Fantastic Four #572
Guardians of the Galaxy #19
Nova #30

The Marvels Project #2 of 8

September 19, 2015

Marvels Project 2 of 8Ed Brubaker // Steve Epting
November 2009
***

TMP‘s frame follows a mystery man thru his crimefighting career; his reflective tone echoes Watchmen‘s elder Nite Owl to the point of retreading. The creators seem more enthused by their wartime plot, whose espionage allows for Nazi villainy, GI heroics, & pulp-SF tropes like a superman in a tube.

last issue: The Marvels Project #1 of 8
next issue: The Marvels Project #3 of 8

also indexed for Nov. ’09
Captain America Reborn #3 of 6
Fantastic Four #571
Guardians of the Galaxy #18
Nova #29
War of Kings: Who Will Rule #1 of 1

Daredevil #67

October 3, 2014

Daredevil 067Brian Michael Bendis // Alex Maleev
January 2005
****

Bendis braids 3 timelines: the WW2-era rise of a crime boss, his New Frontier fall, & current vengeance. It doesn’t fit Marvel’s sliding timeline, but it offers a long perspec on the genre’s relationship to law & violence. The dialog & art retain creative individuality while capturing each period.

last issue: Daredevil #66
next issue: Daredevil #68

also indexed for Jan. ’05
Astonishing X-Men #7
Iron Man #1
The Pulse #6

Captain America/Citizen V Annual ’98

July 10, 2014

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

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

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

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

Thunderbolts #-1

June 19, 2014

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

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

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

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