Archive for the ‘Gladiator (Imperial Guard)’ Category

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

Advertisements

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

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: 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

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]

New X-Men #133

November 18, 2012

Grant Morrison // Ethan van Scriver
December 2002
***
Prof X’s world tour gets interrupted, first by Pakistani terrorists & then by the Shi’ar (who intone a warning re: Phoenix). Meanwhile, Wolvie & Fantomex rescue an Afghani mutant from slavers. A low-watt issue. Points for contempo relevance but the girl is a blank slate. It’s all tease, no plot.
[last issue: New X-Men #132]
[next issue: New X-Men #134]

New X-Men #126

November 11, 2012

Grant Morrison // Frank Quitely
July 2002
****

Jean Grey, Phoenix once more, stashes Prof X’s mind among mutantkind to act as a booby-trap. Defeated by teamwork, his evil twin (& Jungian psi-beast) Cassandra Nova is to be rehabilitated! A superb finale to Morrison’s first year on NXM, a top-notch first act—despite Kordey’s fill-in art.

last issue: New X-Men #125
next issue: New X-Men #127

also indexed for Jul. ’02
Alias #9
Avengers #54

New X-Men #125

November 10, 2012

Grant Morrison // Igor Kordey
June 2002
***

Cyke & Xorn stage an orbital jailbreak; on Earth, the students & teachers make separate contingency plans. The plot threads harmonize rather than locking step. And the dialogue is pitch-perfect, which overcomes the squishy faces. Even Kordey, despite his ugly manner, can relate the story okay.

last issue: New X-Men #124
next issue: New X-Men #126

also indexed for Jun. ’02
Alias #8
Avengers #53

New X-Men #124

November 9, 2012

Grant Morrison // Igor Kordey
May 2002
**

Kordey’s back. His sloppy rush job detracts heavily—bewildering that Marvel would publish a flagship that looks this bad—but it only needs to depict a brawl btw the team & super-aliens. GM’s script carries the momentum, absent its usual depth. But this is the nadir of his superb X-work.

last issue: New X-Men #123
next issue: New X-Men #125

also indexed for May ’02
Alias #7
Avengers #52

New X-Men #123

November 8, 2012

Grant Morrison // Ethan van Scriver & Tom Derenick
April 2002
****

Diverse hands don’t detract from Morrison’s momentum. Jean Grey presents the X-campus as a utopia of human/mutant culture. Cue an alien invasion—the masterplan of archfoe Cassandra Nova, whose nano-Sentinels have also infected the team! Even the student body gets its share of plot beats.

last issue: New X-Men #122
next issue: New X-Men #124

also indexed for Apr. ’02
Alias #6
Avengers #51