Archive for the ‘Hulk’ 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 #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

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

Captain Marvel #13

February 16, 2016

Captain Marvel 2.13Kelly Sue DeConnick // Scott Hepburn with Gerardo Sandoval
August 2013
***

Marvel & her avenging friends fight a squadron of reactivated Kirbybots while deducing her attacker’s ID. The pacing’s a little slow (maybe this crossover didn’t need the opening one-shot) but otherwise the writing is tight—wonder how long DeCon will stay in comics before genre TV tempts her away?

continued from Avengers Assemble #16
continued from Avengers Assemble #18
last issue: Captain Marvel #12
next issue: Captain Marvel #14

also indexed for Aug. ’13
Avengers Assemble #16
Hawkeye #11

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 #11

February 7, 2016

Avengers Assemble 11Kelly Sue DeConnick // Stefano Caselli
March 2013
***

KSDC proves her knack for writing super-comics, both solo & team mags. This arc may be formulaic—a megalomaniac aims to conquer the world with mad science—but she injects just enough humor to make it a fun read & her dialogue doesn’t fall prey to Bendis-like vamping as it shows personality.

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

also indexed for Mar. ’13
Captain Marvel #9
Hawkeye #7
Winter Soldier #14

Avengers Assemble #10

February 5, 2016

Avengers Assemble 10Kelly Sue DeConnick // Stefano Caselli
February 2013
***

Caselli, whose realism is closer to Kitson than Hitch, executes a fun action sequence: Captains A & M in aerial combat. Their foe’s a monster-man threatening the world (& the Hulk) with 20M-year-old bacteria. He’s Chinese, but w/o the Yellow Peril baggage—a standard megalomaniac supervillain.

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

also indexed for Feb. ’13
Captain Marvel #8
Hawkeye #5
Hawkeye #6
Winter Soldier #13

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

The Sentry/The Void #1 of 1

March 6, 2015

Sentry-Void 1 of 1Paul Jenkins // Jae Lee
February 2001
****

No surprise that the Void is the Sentry’s negative aspect, since it’s been a metaphor for depression all along. But his hook—erasure from continuity—is a fruitful & unique experiment for Marvel, albeit one better off left to stand alone (one more fault in Bendis’ awful, epic Avengers run).

continued from The Sentry #5 of 5
continued from The Sentry/Fantastic Four #1 of 1
continued from The Sentry/Hulk #1 of 1
continued from The Sentry/Spider-Man #1 of 1
continued from The Sentry/X-Men #1 of 1

also indexed for Feb. ’01
Avengers #37
The Sentry/Fantastic Four #1 of 1
The Sentry/Hulk #1 of 1
The Sentry/Spider-Man #1 of 1
The Sentry/X-Men #1 of 1

The Sentry/Spider-Man #1 of 1

March 4, 2015

Sentry-Spider-Man 1 of 1Paul Jenkins // Rick Leonardi
February 2001
***

Before his erasure from Marvel, the Sentry had helped Parker grow up—netting him a Pulitzer photo & fame! Bronze Age Spidey is a perfect vehicle for the Void-as-depression theme, & tonally S/S-M reads like a lost issue of Marvel Team-Up. But with yeoman’s work by Leonardi, it’s about as forgettable.

continued from The Sentry #5 of 5
continued in The Sentry/The Void #1 of 1
see also The Sentry/Fantastic Four #1 of 1
see also The Sentry/Hulk #1 of 1
see also The Sentry/X-Men #1 of 1

also indexed for Feb. ’01
Avengers #37
The Sentry/Fantastic Four #1 of 1
The Sentry/Hulk #1 of 1
The Sentry/The Void #1 of 1
The Sentry/X-Men #1 of 1

The Sentry/Hulk #1 of 1

March 3, 2015

Sentry-Hulk 1 of 1Paul Jenkins // Bill Sienkowicz
February 2001
*****

This mini’s idea is that the Sentry had been central to early Marvel, but he’s been erased from memory—diagetically & exegetically! That “accounts” for Hulk‘s cancellation in ’63: before that, S’s support had helped the public accept the H! Sienkowicz proves a perfect Hulk artist, surprising no one.

continued from The Sentry #5 of 5
continued in The Sentry/The Void #1 of 1
see also The Sentry/Fantastic Four #1 of 1
see also The Sentry/Spider-Man #1 of 1
see also The Sentry/X-Men #1 of 1

also indexed for Feb. ’01
Avengers #37
The Sentry/Fantastic Four #1 of 1
The Sentry/Spider-Man #1 of 1
The Sentry/The Void #1 of 1
The Sentry/X-Men #1 of 1

The Sentry/Fantastic Four #1 of 1

March 2, 2015

Sentry-Fantastic Four 1 of 1Paul Jenkins // Phil Winslade
February 2001
***

Though Jenkins cleverly presents this as a “lost” issue of Startling Tales, the device is undercut by a flashback frame & fairly conventional super-comics art (albeit w/ a touch of period Neal Adams). The bigger problem is, it tells us nothing new about the friendship btw the Sentry & Mr. F.

continued from The Sentry #5 of 5
continued in The Sentry/The Void #1 of 1
see also The Sentry/Hulk #1 of 1
see also The Sentry/Spider-Man #1 of 1
see also The Sentry/X-Men #1 of 1

also indexed for Feb. ’01
Avengers #37
The Sentry/Hulk #1 of 1
The Sentry/Spider-Man #1 of 1
The Sentry/The Void #1 of 1
The Sentry/X-Men #1 of 1

The Sentry #5 of 5

March 1, 2015

Sentry 5 of 5Paul Jenkins // Jae Lee
January 2001
*****

The retcon acts as an ingenious device in this mini by casting an (ostensibly) unfilled role in Marvel’s Silver Age. The respect the Sentry’s accorded by other superheroes—incl. Mr. F, his unlikely Judas—and the world sell the story, maybe making it the best Superman arc since A. Moore’s Supreme.

continued in The Sentry/Fantastic Four #1 of 1
continued in The Sentry/Hulk #1 of 1
continued in The Sentry/Spider-Man #1 of 1
continued in The Sentry/X-Men #1 of 1
last issue: The Sentry #4 of 5

also indexed for Jan. ’01
Avengers #36
Maximum Security #3 of 3

The Sentry #3 of 5

February 27, 2015

Sentry 3 of 5Paul Jenkins // Jae Lee
November 2000
*****

None of Marvel’s original heroes recognize this Superman riff except the Hulk (a tender, lovely scene). Yet the Sentry’s okay with this—preternaturally so, which gives his tale a dreamlike tone. Lee’s art furthers that eerie atmosphere with splattery backgrounds & great use of silhouettes & shadows.

last issue: The Sentry #2 of 5
next issue: The Sentry #4 of 5

also indexed for Nov. ’00
Avengers #34
Maximum Security #1 of 3
Thunderbolts #44

X-Universe #2 of 2

February 17, 2015

X-Universe 2 of 2Terry Kavanagh // Carlos Pacheco & Terry Dodson
June 1995
*

In a parallel timeline, Marvel’s heroes hijack a space ark, airlift refugees from London, and head for the stars. Lobdell (architect of the AoA X-over) hands his plot to Kavanagh, who seriously obscures it with ’90s clichés. Kav’s only able to write in high dudgeon, and lacks a basic grasp of storytelling. The two capable artists work hard to draw the tale, but they’re defeated by the confusion.

continued in X-Men: Omega #1 of 1
last issue: X-Universe #1 of 2

also indexed for Jun. ’95
The Amazing X-Men #4 of 4
The Astonishing X-Men #4 of 4
Factor X #4 of 4
Gambit and the X-Ternals #4 of 4
Generation Next #4 of 4
Weapon X #4 of 4
X-Calibre #4 of 4
X-Man #4
X-Men: Chronicles #2 of 2
X-Men: Omega #2 of 2

X-Universe #1 of 2

February 16, 2015

X-Universe 1 of 2Terry Kavanagh // Carlos Pacheco
May 1995
*

An alternate reality co-opts the X-mags for a quarter, creating an impressive implied backstory. Naturally, readers wonder what’s happened to the rest of the company’s heroes; here’s the answer. Surviving Avengers & FF provide humanitarian aid & defense. And replacing Peter Parker, KIA, is Gwen Stacy! Pacheco has a nice eye for detail & drama, but he can’t clarify a confusing script’s vague stakes.

continued from X-Men: Alpha #1 of 1
next issue: X-Universe #2 of 2

also indexed for May ’95
The Amazing X-Men #3 of 4
The Astonishing X-Men #3 of 4
Factor X #3 of 4
Gambit and the X-Ternals #3 of 4
Generation Next #3 of 4
Weapon X #3 of 4
X-Calibre #3 of 4
X-Man #3

The Thanos Imperative #2 of 6

June 1, 2014

Thanos Imperative 2 of 6Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning // Miguel Sepulveda
September 2010
**

The writers wage Marvel’s latest space opera on several fronts & still keep the subplots clear. To imply an epic scope, they even usher Kirby Gods in to defend the universe from an Eldritch incursion! But Sepulveda draws & inks cinema-aping art that some lovely digital coloring can’t save.

last issue: The Thanos Imperative #1 of 6
next issue: The Thanos Imperative #3 of 6

also indexed for Sept. ’10
Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #1 of 9
The Fantastic Four #581

The Thanos Imperative #1 of 6

May 31, 2014

Thanos Imperative 1 of 6Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning // Miguel Sepulveda
August 2010
***

Actually #2 of 8, if you incl. pro- & epilogues. DnA stage another extra-universal invasion—this time, the cancerverse (where Life “won”) metastasizes into the mainstream ‘verse. This means more tentacle monsters as well as evil reflections of the Avengers & Defenders. Solid, guilt-free space opera.

continued from The Thanos Imperative: Ignition #1 of 1
next issue: The Thanos Imperative #2 of 6

also indexed for Aug. ’10
The Fantastic Four #580

Realm of Kings #1 of 1

May 7, 2014

Realm of KingsDan Abnett & Andy Lanning // Mahmud Asrar & Leonardo Manco
January 2010
****

MU’s last cosmic metaseries was old-school space opera; this one kicks off a Lovecraftian weird tale. It’s also a Quasar adventure: the ’90s quantum hero slips into a mirror ‘verse where the Avengers bow to the Old Gods in life undying. Manco’s raw grit mimics Maleev’s, a realism that works here too.

continued from War of Kings: Who Will Rule #1 of 1
continued in Guardians of the Galaxy #20
continued in Nova #31
continued in Realm of Kings: Inhumans #1 of 5
continued in Realm of Kings: Imperial Guard #1 of 5

also indexed for Jan. ’10
The Fantastic Four #573
Guardians of the Galaxy #20
Nova #31
Realm of Kings: Inhumans #1 of 5
Realm of Kings: Imperial Guard #1 of 5

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

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 #1 of 4

October 4, 2013

Avengers.JLA 1 of 4Kurt Busiek // George Pérez
September 2003
****

As the walls btw DC & Marvel collapse, a pair of cosmic beings make a wager to pit the heroes in a race to collect cosmic artifacts. As hoary as the scenario is, Busiek & Pérez (auteurs of a great Avengers run) lend vivacity to what should be mere fan service. Ex: Busiek makes distinct the thin difference btw the imaginary universes, as Superman reacts viscerally to the MU’s antiheroism & bigotry.

next issue: Avengers/JLA #2 of 4

also indexed for Sept. ’03
Alias #24
New X-Men #144

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 #39

September 14, 2013

Avengers 39Kurt Busiek // Alan Davis
April 2001
****

A Balkan town has been Hulk-ified by a Silver-Age mage! To make the sitch worse, Dr. Pym has been replaced by his unstable döppelganger from Av Forever (that is, Roy T’s manic Yellowjacket). Part 2 of a minor 3-issue arc, yet the creative team has gelled so quickly that the mag’s as good as ever.

last issue: Avengers #38
next issue: Avengers #40

Maximum Security #3 of 3

September 10, 2013

Maximum Security 3Kurt Busiek // Jerry Ordway
January 2001
**

Superheroes stop an alien intelligence from turning Earth into an interstellar bio-electrical WMD. A confusing climax to a conventional crossover, whose potential rarely came into focus. Ordway’s flat art lends the feeling that Max Sec is a ’80s DC tale bloated by minor plots & lapsed characters.

continued from Avengers #35
last issue: Maximum Security #2 of 3

also indexed for Jan. ’01
Avengers #36

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

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

The Fantastic Four #349

July 9, 2013

Fantastic Four 349Walt Simonson // Arthur Adams & Gracine Tanaka
February 1991
***
A dozen players chase a Maguffin, an egg that hatches a robot WMD. Mr. F & Mole Man hold the focus; Wolverine & Ghost Rider never seem wholly present. Simonson doesn’t have a handle on the guests’ voices or superpowes. His strongest suit, aside from Mr. F himself, is approaching comic books as fun.
[last issue: The Fantastic Four #348]
[next issue: The Fantastic Four #350]

The Fantastic Four #348

July 8, 2013

Fantastic Four 348Walt Simonson // Arthur Adams
January 1991
***
A team of A-list solo guests sows the mag’s tongue in its cheek. But other than the goof, WS has no use for them; it’s Adams who justifies the cameos. His style has a toon-like element—esp. lovely monsters & Sue’s doe eyes—which looks past the Image era to super-manga like Joes Maduriera & Quesada.
[last issue: The Fantastic Four #347]
[next issue: The Fantastic Four #349]

The Fantastic Four #347

July 7, 2013

Fantastic Four 347Walt Simonson
December 1990
****
A renegade Skrull zaps the Four then recruits a 1990 Marvel marketer’s dream-team to replace them. Meanwhile, Simonson brings in more monsters, in this case Kirby kaiju! Adams’ baroque art has all the density of the era’s unfortunate style but, bonus, a sense of anatomy, backgrounds, & pacing.
[last issue: The Fantastic Four #346]
[next issue: The Fantastic Four #348]

The Avengers #17

June 18, 2012

Stan Lee // Don Heck
June 1965
***
A hunt for charter Avenger the Hulk turns up blank, while a face-off w/ that subterranean tyrant, the Mole Man, & his monsters ends in a draw. The new roster, however, shows more teamwork & demos more character than the square heroes they’ve replaced. Hawkeye is aiming to replace Cap as team leader!
[last issue: The Avengers #16]
[next issue: The Avengers #18]

The Avengers #5

June 6, 2012

Stan Lee // Jack Kirby
May 1964
****
The return of the Lava Men, whom Thor faced last fall. But aside from one of Lee’s typical warmongering advisors, these classic Kirby monsters aren’t villains. Incidentally, this ish acts as a coda to the Hulk’s career with the Avengers, after breaking w/ them finally in The Fantastic Four.
[continued from The Fantastic Four #26]
[last issue: The Avengers #4]
[next issue: The Avengers #6]

The Avengers #3

June 4, 2012

Stan Lee // Jack Kirby
January 1964
*****
In a Marvel irony, the teams’ foe in #3 used to be a teammate. The Hulk’s antisocial demeanor earns him attn from the original antihero, Namor—who defeats the surly monster in an underwater wrestling match! But the duo can’t cooperate when they challenge the Avengers to a battle royale under Gibraltar.
[see also Journey into Mystery #112]
[last issue: The Avengers #2]
[next issue: The Avengers #4]

The Avengers #2

June 3, 2012

Stan Lee // Jack Kirby
November 1963
****
Kirby & Lee apply the shapeshifter trope (a fave of theirs) to JLA‘s alien invasion plot. But it’s their best iteration, as the conflict reflects the book’s engine of distrust among teammates. Hulk just can’t mesh w/ the more idealistic heroes, & so, in an encore of FF 3, he stomps out on them!
[last issue: The Avengers #1]
[next issue: The Avengers #3]

The Avengers #1

June 2, 2012

Stan Lee // Jack Kirby
September 1963
*****
Stan & Jack add a Marvel twist to superteam conventions. Loki, a trickster god, dupes a handful of Earth’s mightiest heroes into fighting that monstrous antihero, the Hulk! Despite the formulas, this premiere issue is incredible, mostly cuz Kirby, inked by Ayers, offers such vigorous dynamism.
[next issue: The Avengers #2]

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]

Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #12 of 12

February 13, 2012

Jim Shooter // Mike Zeck
April 1985
**
An anonymous roster of artists, betrayed by a diversity of styles, help Zeck complete issue #12 on time. The motives of the Beyonder (such a terrible name!) again get teased but remain obscure. Doom’s final battle w/ the entity is a sound-&-light show, while the heroes get resurrected offstage then return home via Kirbytech. And so the Wars wrap up patly, tying up ends left dangling since #1.
[last issue: Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #11 of 12]

Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #11 of 12

February 13, 2012

Jim Shooter // Mike Zeck
March 1985
**
Rule #1: never show Doom’s face! Tho’ the now divine Doc has removed his mask, he hasn’t quite left behind his human desires. Presumably that’s why the heroes, chatting at a conference table <yawn>, get zapped by lightning. Plus, Colossus gets busy w/ an alien chick, to the fury of Pryde fans.
[last issue: Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #10 of 12]
[next issue: Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #12 of 12]

Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #10 of 12

February 12, 2012

Jim Shooter // Mike Zeck
February 1985
***
Shooter’s flaws (bad dialogue, brute combat) haven’t vanished, but he pulls a twist! While the heroes cower, Dr. Doom wins the Secret War! With Miltonic self-regard, he syphons off the cosmic power of Galactus then challenges the godlike “Beyonder”. Finally, the series’ scope equals its remit.
[last issue: Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #9 of 12]
[next issue: Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #11 of 12]

Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #9 of 12

February 11, 2012

Jim Shooter // Mike Zeck
January 1985
**
Mr F asks what a godlike entity could hope to gain from arena sport. Shooter almost breaks thru the banality, but <sigh> having no answer, he falls back on his plot of Galactus Rising. Anyway, Zeck submits his best work of the series: his panels smooth & unfussy, his pacing tight but not hurried.
[last issue: Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #8 of 12]
[next issue: Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #10 of 12]

Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #8 of 12

February 10, 2012

Jim Shooter // Mike Zeck
December 1984
*
Finally, something happens! The good guys storm the citadel of the bad guys. It’s a bash-’em-up battle, which is ironic as Shooter made his youthful rep on DC’s Legion by inventing non-strength & -energy superpowers. The cover tells the real story of this ish: Spidey gets a new black costume.
[last issue: Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #7 of 12]
[next issue: Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #9 of 12]

Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #7 of 12

February 9, 2012

Jim Shooter // Mike Zeck
November 1984
*
A new Spider-Woman in a black leotard walks out of the shadows. “I’m Spider-Woman!” she announces. The next panel: “Hello everyone! I’m Spider-Woman!” Then she wanders off for the rest of the issue. To think, Shooter is Marvel’s Chief Creative Officer! Another low point: She-Hulk gets a beatdown.
[last issue: Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #6 of 12]
[next issue: Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #8 of 12]

Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #6 of 12

February 8, 2012

Jim Shooter // Mike Zeck
October 1984
*
Colossus moons over an alien chick; the Wasp gets killed; Galactus constructs his enigmatic Kirbytech; combat resembles schoolyard tussling. Thankfully, Zeck has returned with his delicate line. His long shots of tiny figures, each carefully rendered & colored, are the only entertainment on view.
[last issue: Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #5 of 12]
[next issue: Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #7 of 12]

Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #5 of 12

February 7, 2012

Jim Shooter // Bob Layton
September 1984
*
In the latest wrinkle to this slow-moving mag, Galactus plans to eat the artificial world out from under the superhumans. But it’s a case of telling, not showing. Layton’s fill-in work shows him to be a fine match for Shooter, w/ dull pencils & conventional layouts contributing a lack of urgency.
[last issue: Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #4 of 12]
[next issue: Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #6 of 12]