Archive for the ‘Imperial Guard’ Category

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

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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

Gambit and the X-Ternals #3 of 4

February 12, 2015

Gambit and the X-Ternals 3 of 4Fabien Nicieza // Salvador Larroca
May 1995
**

Gambit, of all characters, saves the multiverse, repairing its crystalline nexus by “sacrificing” his love for Rogue. Nicieza thus equates him w/ Claremont’s Phoenix—a ludicrous comparison! Larroca improves on Daniel, tho’ his art often foregoes environment, a key to good space-adventure comics.

last issue: Gambit and the X-Ternals #2 of 4
next issue: Gambit and the X-Ternals #4 of 4

also indexed for May ’95
The Amazing X-Men #3 of 4
The Astonishing X-Men #3 of 4
Factor X #3 of 4
Generation Next #3 of 4
Weapon X #3 of 4
X-Calibre #3 of 4
X-Man #3
X-Universe #1 of 2

Gambit and the X-Ternals #2 of 4

February 11, 2015

Gambit and the X-Ternals 2 of 4Fabian Nicieza // Tony Daniel
April 1995
*

The M’Kraan Crystal, unrepaired by Phoenix in this timeline, threatens to obliterate existence! Like the whole series, this concept rests wholly on Claremont’s work; the ish itself is an exposition dump. Daniel’s Liefeld-like pencils, all posturing & grimacing, underscore the lack of incident.

last issue: Gambit and the X-Ternals #1 of 4
next issue: Gambit and the X-Ternals #3 of 4

also indexed for Apr. ’95
The Amazing X-Men #2 of 4
The Astonishing X-Men #2 of 4
Factor X #2 of 4
Generation Next #2 of 4
Weapon X #2 of 4
X-Calibre #2 of 4
X-Man #2

The Uncanny X-Men #320

January 7, 2015

Uncanny X-Men 320Scott Lobdell & Mark Waid // Roger Cruz
January 1995
**

A true 4-part crossover, w/ even #’ed issues in adjectiveless X-Men. Professor X’s love-child aims to rewrite history in a bid for paternal validation. Originally a schizoid psychic in New Mutants, Legion is now just a ranting loon w/ the innate ability to time-travel—a random & convenient addition!

continued in X-Men #40
last issue: The Uncanny X-Men #319
next issue: The Uncanny X-Men #321

also indexed for Jan. ’95
X-Men #40

Annihilators: Earthfall #4 of 4

June 14, 2014

Annihilators - Earthfall 4 of 4A-story: Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning // Tan Eng Huat
B-story: Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning // Timothy Green II
February 2012
A-story: ** // B-story: **

Avengers & Annihilators (terrible name) foil an invasion of Earth by linking alien tech somehow. The vague plot & fumbling art brings to a sad end this v.g. six-year run. At least the ‘coon & the tree, holdovers from the run’s brighter era, get to blast off into the sunset.

last issue: Annihilation: Earthfall #3 of 4

also indexed for Feb. ’12
Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #8 of 9
The Fantastic Four #601
FF #13

Annihilators: Earthfall #3 of 4

June 13, 2014

Annihilators - Earthfall 3 of 4A-story: Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning // Tan Eng Huat
B-story: Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning // Timothy Green II
January 2012
A-story: *** // B-story: ***

A cosmic boy-antichrist has installed himself, Midwich Cuckoo-like, in millions of minds; among the heroes, only the Kirby tyrant has the balls to zap the innocent & save the galaxy! Meanwhile, DnA burlesque the editorial interference of the SF line via a monstrous, meddling TV exec from ’80s X-comics.

last issue: Annihilators: Earthfall #2 of 4
next issue: Annihilators: Earthfall #4 of 4

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

Annihilators: Earthfall #2 of 4

June 12, 2014

Annihilators - Earthfall 2 of 4A-story: Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning // Tan Eng Huat
B-story: Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning // Timothy Green II
December 2011
A-story: * // B-story: **

The dutiful Marvel misunderstanding, wherein our team of galactic heroes mix it w/ the Avengers. Huat detracts from that formula by staging combat as H’wood-style demolitions, w/o context or finesse. In the back-up, however, Green imaginatively & attractively offers Flash Gordon-type fun.

last issue: Annihilators: Earthfall #1 of 4
next issue: Annihilators: Earthfall #3 of 4

also indexed for Dec. ’11
FF #10
FF #11

Annihilators: Earthfall #1 of 4

June 11, 2014

Annihilators - Earthfall 1 of 4A-story: Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning // Tan Eng Huat
B-story: Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning // Timothy Green II
September 2011
A-story: ** // B-story: ***

DnA phone in their swansong on Marvel’s SF renaissance. The galactic super-squad discovers a fundamentalist space-sect’s outpost on Earth. Huat draws an awkward, rubber-faced variation on Marvel house style. Worse, RR & Groot, demoted to true back-up status, get only a few pages for a bar brawl.

continued from Annihilators #4 of 4
next issue: Annihilators: Earthfall #2 of 4

also indexed for Sept. ’11
Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #7 of 9
FF #9

Annihilators #4 of 4

June 10, 2014

Annihilators 4 of 4A-story: Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning // Tan Eng Huat
B-story: Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning // Timothy Green II
August 2011
A-story: *** // B-story: ***

A team of forest animals stop a disembodied telepath from escaping from their biotech lunatic asylum! The idea’s treated just tongue-in-cheek enough, while the art nails the absurdity w/ a smart, contempo style. The title team, meanwhile, brokers a peace btw longtime Marvel antags the Spaceknights & the Dire Wraiths, in a quality demo of cosmic compassion triumphing over violent solutions.

last issue: Annihilators #3 of 4
continued in Annilators: Earthfall #1 of 4

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

Annihilators #3 of 4

June 9, 2014

Annihilators 3 of 4A-story: Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning // Tan Eng Huat
B-story: Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning // Timothy Green II
July 2011
A-story: ***
B-story: ***

The back-up’s stronger than the title tale, due partly to the superb self-inking of Green as against Huat’s generic super-action. Still, the space opera has its quality moment when its heroes learn that a once-fearful race of Marvel aliens desire only oblivion, broken by exile in a dark dimension. Meanwhile, the creators revise the insane origin of 1980s cult char, a Flash Gordon-like raccoon.

last issue: Annihilators #2 of 4
next issue: Annihilators #4 of 4

also indexed for Jul. ’11
FF #3
FF #4

Annihilators #2 of 4

June 8, 2014

Annihilators 2 of 4A-story: Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning // Tan Eng Huat
B-story: Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning // Timothy Green II
June 2011
A-story: ** // B-story: ***

This mag’s main story has a squad of galactic superheroes smash a dark invasion in defense of an alien world. Compared with their previous SF mags, this reads like the writers are following an editorial edict rather than their own super-SF muses. They show more excitement over the B-tale, which has a hyperintelligent raccoon & a Kirby-monster tree-man fight a cadre of killer clown puppets!

last issue: Annihilators #1 of 4
next issue: Annihilators #3 of 4

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

Annihilators #1 of 4

June 7, 2014

Annihilators 1 of 4A-story: Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning // Tan Eng Huat
B-story: Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning // Timothy Green II
May 2011
A-story: ** // B-story: ***

Sadly, a coda to Marvel’s SF ’00s renaissance rather than a renewal. The A-tale has a fembot lampshade the flaw in this mag’s mission: a galactic supersquad is too uniform in style & strength to be truly compelling. The back-up balances the read by focusing on oddballs cut from the main team. Offering two full-length comics, this mag should really be printed back-to-back, like the old Ace Doubles!

continued from The Thanos Imperative: Devastation #1 of 1
next issue: Annihilators #2 of 4

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

The Thanos Imperative: Devastation #1 of 1

June 6, 2014

Thanos Imperative - Devastation 1 of 1Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning // Miguel Sepulveda
March 2011
**

An epilogue to Marvel’s most recent space opera and a prologue for their next mini. It’s a conventional exercise in superhero team-gathering. While Ab & Lan write good dialogue, they fail to tell who these heroes are (personality, superpower, or history). Plus, the line-up’s testosterone-heavy.

continued from The Thanos Imperative #6 of 6
continued in Annihilators #1 of 4

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

The Thanos Imperative #6 of 6

June 5, 2014

Thanos Imperative 6 of 6Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning // Miguel Sepulveda
January 2011
***

Thanos resurrects Death in a universe where Undying Gods have reigned. To stop his return to our ‘verse, Nova & Star-Lord (the leads in this era’s SF revival) halt the Mad Titan like Butch & Sundance. Tho’ this finale satisfies, it replaces the characters & twists of the lead-in mags w/ super-movie bombast.

last issue: The Thanos Imperative #5 of 6
continued in The Thanos Imperative: Devastation #1 of 1

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

The Thanos Imperative #5 of 6

June 4, 2014

Thanos Imperative 5 of 6Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning // Miguel Sepulveda
December 2010
***

A busy issue, as Nova preps for a noble sacrifice. Meanwhile, surprise conversations juice the plot. First, the evil Scarlet Witch is really a mole, motivated by love for the Vision (nice to see someone gets her character this decade!). Then Thanos pulls a heel turn, literally begging for a final death.

last issue: The Thanos Imperative #4 of 6
next issue: The Thanos Imperative #6 of 6

also indexed for Dec. ’10
The Fantastic Four #584

The Thanos Imperative #4 of 6

June 3, 2014

Thanos Imperative 4 of 6Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning // Miguel Sepulveda
November 2010
***

Thanos, Avatar of Death, cannot die, tho’ it’s all he wishes for; ironically, he must reintroduce Death to a mirror universe. Less compelling are the heroic aliens who fly thru a space station ripping monsters apart—standard super-stuff, w/o even the space-opera scope that most of TI offers.

last issue: The Thanos Imperative #3 of 6
next issue: The Thanos Imperative #5 of 6

also indexed for Nov. ’10
Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #2 of 9
The Fantastic Four
 #583

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

The Thanos Imperative: Ignition #1 of 1

May 30, 2014

Thanos Imperative - Ignition 1 of 1Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning // Brad Walker
July 2010
***

Having lost their two series in June, Ab & Lan segue into their space opera’s final act. This prolog is epic stuff, tho’ not newbee-friendly! Worlds explode (!) to shunt a Lovecraft-universe’s Cptn Marvel into the main ‘verse, setting up a confrontation w/ Death’s avatar, Thanos resurrected.

continued from Guardians of the Galaxy #25
continued in The Thanos Imperative #1 of 6

also indexed for Jul. ’10
The Fantastic Four #579

Realm of Kings: Imperial Guard #5 of 5

May 12, 2014

Realm of Kings - Imperial Guard 5 of 5Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning // Kev Walker
May 2010
***

DnA accomplish two clever goals in unshowy fashion. They make Realm of Kings‘ Lovecraft beasts into a fearful threat, & they establish the rich potential of the Imperial Guard as a team. Sadly, as Marvel scales back their Cosmic branch, the small satisfaction of a good mini must be its own reward.

last issue: Realm of Kings: Imperial Guard #4 of 5
continued in The Thanos Imperative: Ignition #1 of 1

also indexed for May ’10
The Fantastic Four #577
Guardians of the Galaxy #24
Nova #35
Realm of Kings: Inhumans #5 of 5

Realm of Kings: Imperial Guard #4 of 5

May 11, 2014

Realm of Kings - Imperial Guard 4 of 5Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning // Kev Walker
April 2010
***

The Realm of Kings maxiseries pays off, pitting the superteam of space voyageurs (clearly analogs for the Legion of Super-Heroes) against the pestiferous anti-universe’s X-Men as the Darkhawk conspiracy resurfaces. Kev Walker’s style, a mod sort of 2000AD look, gets a boost from colorist Fairbairn.

last issue: Realm of Kings: Imperial Guard #3 of 5
next issue: Realm of Kings: Imperial Guard #5 of 5

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

Realm of Kings: Imperial Guard #3 of 5

May 10, 2014

Realm of Kings - Imperial Guard 3 of 5Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning // Kev Walker
March 2010
***

A fun issue of space gothic horror—Alien, ’70s Doctor Who, or (in Marvel terms) Claremont’s Brood Saga. The heroes flee the corpse of a large interstellar organism before it’s eaten by space-maggots. Yeesh! Appealing character beats help propel the team mechanics along & add to derring-do.

last issue: Realm of Kings: Imperial Guard #2 of 5
next issue: Realm of Kings: Imperial Guard #4 of 5

also indexed for Mar. ’10
The Fantastic Four #575
Guardians of the Galaxy #22
Nova #33
Realm of Kings: Inhumans #3 of 5

Realm of Kings: Imperial Guard #2 of 5

May 9, 2014

Realm of Kings - Imperial Guard 2 of 5Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning // Kev Walker
February 2010
***

An uneasy team of interstellar superheroes explore a rift in spacetime that has creeping horrors on its other side. Case in point: they’re outdueled by the corpse of an organic spaceship. Kev Walker, an Englishman, draws great environments, whether cramped starship, deep space, or strange planet.

last issue: Realm of Kings: Imperial Guard #1 of 5
next issue: Realm of Kings: Imperial Guard #3 of 5

also indexed for Feb. ’10
The Fantastic Four #574
Guardians of the Galaxy #21
Nova #32
Realm of Kings: Inhumans #2 of 5

Realm of Kings: Imperial Guard #1 of 5

May 8, 2014

Realm of Kings - Imperial Guard 1 of 5Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning // Kev Walker
January 2010
***

This superhero/space opera hybrid mini kicks off w/ a battle in orbit and on the ground, plenty of collateral damage by the ostensible heroes (a ’70s X-Men analog for DC’s Legion). Their Superman knock-off rules a galactic empire that’s splitting apart. DnA add scope w/ plenty of extra subplots.

continued from Realm of Kings #1 of 1
next issue: Realm of Kings: Imperial Guard #2 of 5

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

Guardians of the Galaxy #15

May 2, 2014

Guardians of the Galaxy 15Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning // Brad Walker
August 2009
***

You know who deserves plenty of credit for this mag & the entire Cosmic Marvel line? Editor Bill Roseman. He’s running a tight crossover! This issue, in which two alien superteams storm the Guardians’ space station while a prisoner escapes, could be confusing, but it’s completely clear & lotsa fun!

last issue: Guardians of the Galaxy #14
next issue: Guardians of the Galaxy #16

also indexed for Aug. ’09
Dark Reign: Fantastic Four #4 of 5
Nova #26
War of Kings #4 of 6
War of Kings: Ascension #3 of 4
War of Kings: Savage World of Skaar #1 of 1

Guardians of the Galaxy #14

May 1, 2014

Guardians of the Galaxy 14Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning // Brad Walker
July 2009
***

Walker lays out his pages clearly enough to overcome his overwrought ’90s line & rectilinear ’00s paneling. Good thing, cuz this is a busy arc. In a nice balance of comedy & action, Star-Lord, Warlock & their motley gang of SF heroes completely fail to broker peace in the second Kree-Shi’ar War.

last issue: Guardians of the Galaxy #13
next issue: Guardians of the Galaxy #15

also indexed for Jul. ’09
Dark Reign: Fantastic Four #3 of 5
Nova #25
War of Kings #3 of 6
War of Kings: Ascension #2 of 4

Nova #26

April 25, 2014

Nova 26Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning // Andrea DiVito
August 2009
***

DnA seem more confident using interstellar war (Marvel’s third in recent years) as a backdrop than they do in the main mini. In their strongest title, their hero jumps from planet to planet along the front lines, investigating victims of Shi’ar warcrimes, including Nova Corpsmen like his bro.

last issue: Nova #25
next issue: Nova #27

also indexed for Aug. ’09
Dark Reign: Fantastic Four #4 of 5
Guardians of the Galaxy #15
War of Kings #4 of 6
War of Kings: Ascension #3 of 4
War of Kings: Savage Son of Skaar #1 of 1

Nova #25

April 24, 2014

Nova 25Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning // Kevin Sharpe
July 2009
***

Back to a more conventional artist (temporarily) & a more conventional tale. Rider lobotomizes that planetary being (also temporary) to save his AI mentor & resume leadership of the Nova Corps. Still, Nova #25 is solid comics, w/ a bubbling subplot, a cliffhanger, & a sense of epic space adventure.

last issue: Nova #24
next issue: Nova #26

also indexed for Jul. ’09
Dark Reign: Fantastic Four #3 of 5
Guardians of the Galaxy #14
War of Kings #3 of 6
War of Kings: Ascension #2 of 4

Nova #24

April 23, 2014

Nova 24Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning // Andrea DiVito
June 2009
****

Always good when an artist inks his own work. Two strands here: Rich Rider, empowered by cosmic energy, storms the Living Planet, co-opter of the Nova Force. But the real storytelling follows a Nova peacekeeper into a brutal battle in War of Kings, from battle’s chaos to the slaughter of POWs.

last issue: Nova #23
next issue: Nova #25

also indexed for Jun. ’09
Dark Reign: Fantastic Four #2 of 5
Guardians of the Galaxy #13
War of Kings #2 of 6
War of Kings: Ascension #1 of 4

War of Kings: Warriors #1 of 2

April 20, 2014

War of Kings - Warriors 1 of 2A-story: Christos Gage // Mahmud Asrar
B-story: Christos Gage // Carlos Magno
September 2009
A-story: ** // B-story: *

This two-fer-one means to add characterization to the SF maxiseries, but it’s undercooked. The A-tale, at least, hinges on the powers & motives of a pivotal Imperial guardian, & undercuts the honor of combat with irony. The B-story is merely the roaring of barbarian warriors in peripheral battle.

next issue: War of Kings: Warriors #2 of 2

also indexed for Sept. ’09
Dark Reign: Fantastic Four #5 of 5
Guardians of the Galaxy #16
Nova #27
War of Kings #5 of 6
War of Kings: Ascension #4 of 4

War of Kings: Savage World of Skaar #1 of 1

April 19, 2014

War of Kings - Savage World of Skaar 1 of 1Christos Gage // Graham Nolan & Reilly Brown
August 2009
*

If you’re curious to learn about Planet Hulk & Skaar, Son of Hulk, read elsewhere. This one-shot, a pro forma SF tale, expands WoK‘s scope & nothing more. Opposing warriors in a space war crash on a remote planet & must cooperate to survive the harsh elements, strange monsters, & hostile population.

also indexed for Aug. ’09
Dark Reign: Fantastic Four #4 of 5
Guardians of the Galaxy #15
Nova #26
War of Kings #4 of 6
War of Kings: Ascension #3 of 4

War of Kings: Ascension #4 of 4

April 18, 2014

War of Kings - Ascension 4 of 4Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning // Wellinton Alves
September 2009
***

DnA revitalize a minor ’90s hero by intertwining his mini with their big WoK maxiseries. The mission is an echo of their fine revival of Nova: a young hero is the last member of an intergalactic force. But Darkhawk’s fellows were a malevolent conspiracy & he must clear his reputation w/ heroics.

last issue: War of Kings: Ascension #3 of 4
see also War of Kings #5 of 6

also indexed for Sept. ’09
Dark Reign: Fantastic Four #5 of 5
Guardians of the Galaxy #16
Nova #27
War of Kings #5 of 6
War of Kings: Warriors #1 of 2

War of Kings: Ascension #3 of 4

April 17, 2014

War of Kings - Ascension 3 of 4Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning // Wellinton Alves
August 2009
***

Solid momentum & adequate art adds to the ’80s style retcon for Darkhawk. Sentient armor has trapped generic protag Chris Powell in a weird limbo while it assassinates the Shi’ar Empress over in WoK #4. Can Chris take control before he’s captured? Or will his armor lead the galaxy into tyranny?

last issue: War of Kings: Ascension #2 of 4
next issue: War of Kings: Ascension #4 of 4
see also War of Kings #4 of 6

also indexed for Aug. ’09
Dark Reign: Fantastic Four #4 of 5
Guardians of the Galaxy #15
Nova #26
War of Kings #4 of 6
War of Kings: Savage World of Skaar #1 of 1

War of Kings: Who Will Rule #1 of 1

April 12, 2014

War of Kings - Who Will Rule 1 of 1Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning // Paul Pelletier
November 2009
****

The Kree-Shi’ar War has left a glowing tear in spacetime & a crisis of leadership in both empires. The former suggests a new plot direction for Marvel’s line of space epics; the latter adds much-needed dramatic thickener. But what leaps out from this epilogue is the chaos of an occupied territory.

continued from War of Kings #6 of 6

also indexed for Nov. ’09
Dark Reign: The List – The Avengers #1 of 1
The Fantastic Four #571
Guardians of the Galaxy #18
Nova #29

War of Kings #6 of 6

April 11, 2014

War of Kings 6 of 6Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning // Paul Pelletier
October 2009
***

The mini, mostly a by-the-numbers space opera, ends in a disappointing bout of super-fisticuffs that tears a rift in spacetime. But Pelletier has done yeoman’s work: he tells a story okay, & the rubbery quality of his late ’90s superhero style undercuts the preposterous hypertrophied bodies.

last issue: War of Kings #5 of 6
continued in War of Kings: Who Will Rule #1 of 1

also indexed for Oct. ’09
The Fantastic Four #570
Guardians of the Galaxy #17
Nova #28
War of Kings: Warriors #2 of 2

War of Kings #5 of 6

April 10, 2014

War of Kings 5 of 6Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning // Paul Pelletier
September 2009
****

The Shi’ar despot confronts the Kree monarch aboard a superweapon that will turn the galaxy Inhuman. This wooly space opera reaches its climax, but its best moments are in the hurly burly: a princess’s horror at the doomsday device, a super-alien’s war-fury, an X-Man’s hollow vengeance.

last issue: War of Kings #4 of 6
next issue: War of Kings #6 of 6

also indexed for Sept. ’09
Dark Reign: Fantastic Four #5 of 5
Guardians of the Galaxy #16
Nova #27
War of Kings: Ascension #4 of 4
War of Kings: Warriors #1 of 2

War of Kings #4 of 6

April 9, 2014

War of Kings 4 of 6Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning // Paul Pelletier
August 2009
**

Civil unrest and factionalism tears apart the Shi’ar Empire, culminating in the assassination of its Empress, an old Claremont creation. As w/ many Marvel “events”, WoK is less coherent w/o its supplemental minis. The lack of time for character beats reinforces the bombast of space opera too.

last issue: War of Kings #3 of 6
next issue: War of Kings #5 of 6
see also War of Kings: Ascension #3 of 4

also indexed for Aug. ’09
Dark Reign: Fantastic Four #4 of 5
Guardians of the Galaxy #15
Nova #26
War of Kings: Ascension #3 of 4
War of Kings: The Savage World of Skaar #1 of 1

War of Kings #3 of 6

April 8, 2014

War of Kings 3 of 6Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning // Paul Pelletier
July 2009
***

Good storytellers like Abnett & Lanning know to plot for the endgame, not the opening. In #3, they start to twist this mini in interesting ways. Romance buds in an arranged marriage; the Inhuman aristocracy hatches sinister plans for their subjects; & that mohawked Shi’ar superman turns renegade.

last issue: War of Kings #2 of 6
next issue: War of Kings #4 of 6

also indexed for Jul. ’09
Dark Reign: Fantastic Four #3 of 5
Guardians of the Galaxy #14
Nova #25
War of Kings: Ascension #2 of 4

War of Kings #2 of 6

April 7, 2014

War of Kings 2 of 6Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning // Paul Pelletier
June 2009
**

As the title indicates, royal houses go to war: two galactic empires who fight with starships, zero-g shock-troops & planet-annihilating bombs. Yet, unlike this crew’s other current SF comics, WoK feels padded out. Only a show of compassion by a princess demos their typical richness of character.

last issue: War of Kings #1 of 6
next issue: War of Kings #3 of 6

also indexed for Jun. ’09
Dark Reign: Fantastic Four #2 of 5
Guardians of the Galaxy #13
Nova #24
War of Kings: Ascension #1 of 4

War of Kings #1 of 6

April 6, 2014

War of Kings 1 of 6Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning // Paul Pelletier
May 2009
***

Context is all. Taken alone, WoK works through the hoary plot of a thousand space operas: a clash of galactic empires. And this issue simply shows an alien army attack a wedding arranged to consolidate two races. But w/ Marvel’s cosmic line behind it, this colorful super-battle feels momentous.

continued from Secret Invasion: War of Kings #1 of 1
next issue: War of Kings #2 of 6

also indexed for May ’09
Dark Reign: Fantastic Four #1 of 5
Guardians of the Galaxy #11
Guardians of the Galaxy #12
Nova #23
War of Kings: Darkhawk #1 of 2

Thanos #12

January 10, 2014

Thanos 12Keith Giffen // Ron Lim
September 2004
***

Thanos tames a Herald of Galactus by collapsing a Jovian-sized planet around it. Epic stuff, exactly what the Mad Titan should be doing. Tho unevenly paced & indifferently drawn (at best), this arc redeems itself by resurrecting the SF corner of Marvel continuity, which Giffen revisits in a year.

last issue: Thanos #11

also indexed for Sept. ’04
Astonishing X-Men #3
The Pulse #4

Thanos #10

January 8, 2014

Thanos 10Keith Giffen // Ron Lim
July 2004
**

Giffen proves he has a handle on Thanos’ character (a rarity) by showing him in control of the sitch even when his adversary is a mad cosmic being in a mortal shell. But Lim’s confusing art really hampers the writing, which is already burdened by heavy use of quirky, character-specific idioms.

last issue: Thanos #9
next issue: Thanos #11

also indexed for Jul. ’04
Astonishing X-Men #1
Daredevil
#60
Fantastic Four #513
Fantastic Four #514
The Pulse #3
Secret War #2 of 5

Thanos #9

January 7, 2014

Thanos 09Keith Giffen // Ron Lim
June 2004
*

The infamous Beyonder (who swapped genders in the ’90s?) has somehow caused a riot in an intergalactic prison. The creative team’s really fumbling: Lim draws generic physiques in a dated style, while Giffen masks essential bits of exposition under SF-boiled dialogue & slow-burn subplots.

last issue: Thanos #8
next issue: Thanos #10

Thanos #8

January 6, 2014

Thanos 08Keith Giffen // Ron Lim
late May 2004
**

In a rioting intergalactic megaprison, Thanos owes allegiance to no one but himself, like a ronin or cowboy. Lim, since his heyday, has adopted a ’90s Ameri-manga style, but his stolid SF imagination doesn’t cover the cosmic. He whiffs the grandeur that Giffen, like Starlin, inherited from Kirby.

last issue: Thanos #7
next issue: Thanos #9

also indexed for May ’04
New X-Men #154
The Pulse #2
Thanos #7

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

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

Maximum Security: Dangerous Planet #1 of 1

September 2, 2013

Maximum Security - Dangerous PlanetKurt Busiek // Jerry Ordway
October 2000
*

W/ this one-shot, Marvel inaugurates its first major crossover since Heroes Reborn. The action has the Surfer & Prof X (w/ his cadre of mutant Skrulls) attack a living planet. The rest of MS: DP is a windy debate in an intergalactic UN on the issue of Earth’s interference in their affairs; a new species manipulates the affair for unknown reasons. Even fans of space opera will find it labored.

continued in Maximum Security #1 of 3

also indexed for Oct. 2000
Thunderbolts #43
Avengers #33

The Fantastic Four #340

June 30, 2013

Fantastic Four 340Walt Simonson
May 1990
****
Mr. F, the heroic focus of this arc, susses a Celestial plan to weaponize Galactus & tosses the Kirby God into G’s black hole! WS writes super-drama underpinned by grandiose beings & fantastic machinery, a la the King; his art, since Thor, has added a fine-lined filigree in the Art Adams manner.
[last issue: The Fantastic Four #339]
[next issue: The Fantastic Four #341]

The Fantastic Four #339

June 29, 2013

Fantastic Four 339Walt Simonson
April 1990
***
Delightful super-SF comics. To destroy the black-hole machinery of mighty Galactus, Reed & the gang refit a space empire’s munitions plants as interstellar depth charges! Also, Simonson pauses the space adventure to indulge in a heavyweight superhero boy: Thor v. an alien Superman analog.
[last issue: The Fantastic Four #338]
[next issue: The Fantastic Four #340]