Archive for the ‘Grim Reaper’ 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: 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 #34

September 6, 2013

Avengers 34Kurt Busiek // George Pérez
November 2000
****

Pérez & Busiek put their all into GP’s swansong for an issue of old-school superheroics. An aristo aims to inundate the globe w/ “ionic energy”, killing millions & putting millions more under his control. Avengers & T-bolts can’t stop him, but his cracked daughter can. High stakes; deft dialogue; exuberant artwork; inspiring heroism; a huge cast: this arc exemplifies the duo’s superb Avengers run.

continued from Thunderbolts #44
continued in Maximum Security #1 of 3
last issue: Avengers #33
next issue: Avengers #35

also indexed for Nov. ’00
Thunderbolts #44
Maximum Security #1 of 3

Avengers #33

September 4, 2013

Avengers 33Kurt Busiek // George Pérez & Paul Ryan
October 2000
****

KB has rarely written 1st-person narration in his Av run, so it’s a surprise that he anchors this issue w/ a villainess’ internal monologue. But it effectively shows Mme. Masque’s struggle to overcome paranoia & trust the team. Atop GP’s layouts, Ryan’s touch of realism adds to her inner conflict.

continued from Thunderbolts #43
continued in Thunderbolts #44
last issue: Avengers #32
next issue: Avengers #34

also indexed for Oct. ’00
Maximum Security: Dangerous Planet #1 of 1
Thunderbolts #43

Avengers #32

September 1, 2013

Avengers 32Kurt Busiek // George Pérez & Paul Ryan
September 2000
***

Like the cover says, #32 unkinks the bent history of Madame Masque. On top of her daddy issues, the gold-masked Iron Man foe/ex-GF now has clones, a secret NV base, & a paranoid streak. Note that Pérez only provides breakdowns; Ryan, an inoffensive Marvel headliner in the early ’90s, pencils adequately.

continued from Thunderbolts #42
continued in Thunderbolts #43
last issue: Avengers #31
next issue: Avengers #33

also indexed for Sept. ’00
Thunderbolts #42

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 #22

August 18, 2013

Avengers 22Kurt Busiek // George Pérez
November 1999
****

A satisfyingly retro conclusion to an A-1 Ultron arc. Vision’s offer of redemption adds a dash of sentiment; Pym’s admission of culpability + furious beat-down = instant catharsis. But the real star is Pérez, whose bewilderingly detailed Kirbytech & powerful musculature leaps into the reader’s eyes.

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

also indexed for Nov. ’99
Avengers Forever #11 of 12

Avengers #21

August 16, 2013

Avengers 21Kurt Busiek // George Pérez
October 1999
****

Pérez draws on war comics as he & Busiek show superheroes & GIs in exhausting, European-style combat. The foe is a cyber-zombie army, the murdered pop of a Baltic country (!), reanimated by Marvel’s mad robot, Ultron. He also monologues his plan to scan his “family’s” engrams into his ‘bot species.

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

also indexed for Oct. ’99
Avengers Forever #10 of 12

Avengers #20

August 15, 2013

Avengers 20Kurt Busiek // George Pérez
September 1999
*****

MIA for years, Ultron returns to commit mechanized genocide upon a Baltic country! The ampage of stakes is akin to contemporary Authority, refiguring supervillainy in more grimly realistic terms. The plot moves Pym centerstage, despite his absence, as his ex-wife reviews his pitiable mental history.

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

Avengers #11

July 26, 2013

Avengers 11Kurt Busiek // George Pérez
December 1998
***

Schmaltz. A host of dead heroes turn good cuz they’re Avengers. Meanwhile, Wanda resurrects Wonder Man by adding the power of love to her magic. In turn, WM defeats his brother with filial affection. Pérez offers his trademarks: earthen columns of weirdness, gypsy outfits, & plenty of Kirby krackle.

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

also indexed for Dec. ’98
Avengers Forever #1 of 12

Avengers #10

July 25, 2013

Avengers 10Kurt Busiek // George Pérez
November 1998
***

Wanda gets in touch w/ her magic. More importantly, a parade for the team. It’s for 35 years of issues (& for the Heroes Return concept), yet it’s a throwback to Roy Thomas’ naïve adulation of superhero comics. Still, Busiek lurves them too, & his nuts-n-bolts approach is what The Avengers needs.

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

Secret War #4 of 5

May 21, 2011

Brian Michael Bendis // Gabriele Dell’Otto
May 2005
***

Whoops, that was a long delay! The payoff isn’t quite worth the wait either, esp. since #3 was low on plot. A scarred woman (the deposed PM of Latveria) activates a bomb made of supervillain tech. Bendis aims to comment on 9/11—eg suicide bomber in NYC—but the chaotic, murky art obscures his point.

last issue: Secret War #3 of 5
next issue: Secret War #5 of 5

also indexed for May ’05
Astonishing X-Men #10
Daredevil #71
The Pulse #8
Young Avengers #2

Secret War #3 of 5

May 20, 2011

Brian Michael Bendis // Gabriele Dell’Otto
October 2004
**

If you’re writing a 5-part quarterly, you really need shouldn’t indulge in so much action & so little plot—you kill the momentum. Peter Parker’s unconscious mind begins to recall the cover op that last issue set up. But mostly, it’s Dell’Otto drawing glowy red-eyed tech in an homage to The Matrix.

last issue: Secret War #2 of 5
next issue: Secret War #4 of 5

also indexed for Oct. ’04
Astonishing X-Men #4
Daredevil #63
Fantastic Four #517