Archive for the ‘Inhumans’ Category

X-Statix #26

April 17, 2015

X-Statix 26Peter Milligan // Mike Allred
October 2004
***

A fairly blatant ripoff of Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid, as the team gets KIA with Mr. S & Tike A. gunned down in a suicide charge. It would’ve worked better if they hadn’t held each other at arm’s length since the retitling. Or if the run’s last two years had been compressed into one. Ah well.

last issue: X-Statix #25
continued in X-Statix Presents: Dead Girl #1 of 5

also indexed for Oct. ’04
Astonishing X-Men #4
Daredevil #63
Fantastic Four #517
Secret War #3 of 5

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Fantastic Four #505

December 14, 2014

Fantastic Four 505Mark Waid // Howard Porter
late December 2003
****

The Richards use parental fear-mongering to justify their unilateral adventurism to a dubious Grimm. The latter is H. Porter’s strongest art element, having internalized the lessons of his scratchy school of ’90s superhero comics, w/ bad expressions, static panels, & problematic layouts.

last issue: Fantastic Four #504
next issue: Fantastic Four #506

also indexed for Dec. ’03
Alias #27
Avengers/JLA #4 of 4
Daredevil #53
Fantastic Four #504
New X-Men #148

Fantastic Four #68

December 6, 2014

Fantastic Four 2.68Mark Waid // Mike Wieringo
June 2003
****

Valeria says her first word: “Doom”! The Doc attacks the family thru the baby, having bound her to himself w/ arcane spells at her birth. I’m not sold yet on Waid’s focus on magic for the arch-villain, although the trait is well-established. Or maybe I preferred the earlier issues’ lighter tone.

last issue: Fantastic Four #67
next issue: Fantastic Four #69

also indexed for Jun. ’03
Alias #21
Daredevil #46
New X-Men #139
New X-Men #140

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 #3 of 6

June 2, 2014

Thanos Imperative 3 of 6Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning // Miguel Sepulveda
October 2010
***

The fourth (?) space war in recent years gets a strong dose of metaphysics. In the parallel universe ruled by Cthulu gods, Captain Marvel became Life’s avatar rather than dying. Then, to extinguish Death utterly, he sacrificed his opposite, Thanos, in an arcane ritual that unbalanced his cosmos!

last issue: The Thanos Imperative #2 of 6
next issue: The Thanos Imperative #4 of 6

also indexed for Oct. ’10
The Fantastic Four #582

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

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

Guardians of the Galaxy #24

May 28, 2014

Guardians of the Galaxy 24Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning // Wes Craig
May 2010
***

An electrifying issue of space opera! While the captured Guardians fight thru an army of zealots, across the galaxy their allies restore a galactic senate. But the focus of #24 is Phyla-Vell, who failed to kill Adam Magus; now she either balances or compounds that error by resurrecting Thanos!

last issue: Guardians of the Galaxy #23
next issue: Guardians of the Galaxy #25

also indexed for May ’10
The Fantastic Four #577
Nova #35
Realm of Kings: Imperial Guard #5 of 5
Realm of Kings: Inhumans #5 of 5

Guardians of the Galaxy #23

May 27, 2014

Guardians of the Galaxy 23Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning // Wes Craig
April 2010
****

Adam Magus has tossed half the team in a dungeon & hopes to side w/ the Old Ones from the spacetime rift at the crux of Realm of Kings. Craig returns w/ his angular, colorful style—a bit like Immonen on Nextwave, tho’ he lays out a page w/ more complexity. A happy contrast to most Marvel art!

last issue: Guardians of the Galaxy #22
next issue: Guardians of the Galaxy #24

also indexed for Apr. ’10
The Fantastic Four #576
Nova #34
Realm of Kings: Imperial Guard #4 of 5
Realm of Kings: Inhumans #4 of 5

Nova #35

May 22, 2014

Nova 35Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning // Mahmud Asrar
May 2010
**

Nova & pals stop a sorcerer from remaking the universe w/ a pair of philosopher’s stones. Attention to craft—good dialogue & fun, superpower-derived solutions—helps this final chapter of a by-the-numbers plot be a bit more, tho’ the art gets sketchy in spots. Sadly, it’s the mag’s penultimate issue.

last issue: Nova #34
next issue: Nova #36

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

Nova #34

May 21, 2014

Nova 34Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning // Mahmud Asrar
April 2010
**

Very old-fashioned plotting, like Roy Thomas or even Gardner Fox. A temporal magician, the Sphinx, fights his younger self by pitting champions in a contest for control of reality-altering gems. Asrar upholds the colorful tone that DiVito used in earlier issues, tho a few layouts are confusing.

last issue: Nova #33
next issue: Nova #35

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

Nova #33

May 20, 2014

Nova 33Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning // Andrea DiVito
March 2010
**

A Kang knock-off shunts Nova & other heroes into a spacetime rift to help fight his younger self. Only in comics would that come off as conventional! But it is, and the writers add nothing new (yet) to the superhero action adventure. They find an emotional hook tho’, in Rider’s reunion w/ a dead ex.

last issue: Nova #32
next issue: Nova #34

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

Nova #32

May 19, 2014

Nova 32Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning // Andrea DiVito
February 2010
***

Shunted onto a mystical, prismatic planet that echoes Ancient Egypt, Nova & Darkhawk team up w/ Mr. Fantastic against a time tyrant from their New Warrior days. This new arc adds mysteries to its plot in a whimsical fashion, an old-fashioned pleasure that DiVito’s flat, colorful style reinforces.

last issue: Nova #31
next issue: Nova #33

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

Realm of Kings: Inhumans #5 of 5

May 17, 2014

Realm of Kings - Inhumans 5 of 5Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning // Pablo Raimondi & Tim Seeley
May 2010
**

The Inhuman queen w/ the prehensile hair has been manufacturing threats to consolidate her rule. It’s a cynical point about modern politics, not provocative so much as dismissable: the difference btw the Iraqi intelligence gambit &, say, 9/11-as-govt.-conspiracy. Raimondi = only 3 issues out of 5?

last issue: Realm of Kings: Inhumans #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: Imperial Guard #5 of 5

Realm of Kings: Inhumans #4 of 5

May 16, 2014

Realm of Kings - Inhumans 4 of 5Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning // Pablo Raimondi
April 2010
***

I want to enjoy this Inhumans mini more, since it’s got fine art over a just-right story. But something about DnA’s work here feels mechanical by their standards of craft. There’s no danger when Crystal and co. defend themselves from a robot attack, & the final-page twist feels predictable.

last issue: Realm of Kings: Inhumans #3 of 5
next issue: Realm of Kings: Inhumans #5 of 5

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

Realm of Kings: Inhumans #3 of 5

May 15, 2014

Realm of Kings - Inhumans 3 of 5Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning // Wellinton Alves
March 2010
***

The mano a mano fight to War of Kings forms solid echoes in space, almost (but not quite) a symbol of how the Inhumans can’t escape their past. To wit: the heroine Crystal learns that a revanchist insurgency is backed by her slightly mad in-law, Maximus. Lovely if flat art adds to the space romance.

last issue: Realm of Kings: Inhumans #2 of 5
next issue: Realm of Kings: Inhumans #4 of 5

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

Realm of Kings: Inhumans #2 of 5

May 14, 2014

Realm of Kings - Inhumans 2 of 5Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning // Pablo Raimondi
February 2010
**

The Mighty Avengers (that is, the team not written by BM Bendis) visit the Inhumans for some heroics & soap operatics. Raimondi’s lines produce clean faces & strong settings, matching the clear, engaging dialogue; but there’s a sense of keeping time rather than engaging momentum with this mini.

last issue: Realm of Kings: Inhumans #1 of 5
next issue: Realm of Kings: Inhumans #2 of 5

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

Realm of Kings: Inhumans #1 of 5

May 13, 2014

Realm of Kings - Inhumans 1 of 5Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning // Pablo Raimondi
January 2010
**

DnA open this mini w/ a review of the status quo: the Inhumans, Kirby super-aristos, rule the Kree space empire fairly responsibly, tho’ palace intrigues brew & skirmishes flare up along the interstellar borders. Raimondi (& inker Hennessy) has a lovely clean style, like an update of ’80s X-Men.

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

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 #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

Guardians of the Galaxy #17

May 4, 2014

Guardians of the Galaxy 17Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning // Brad Walker
October 2009
****

A wonderful, imaginative climax to the WoK maxiseries. The Inhumans tore a hole in spacetime that the Guardians must patch. While the giant tree builds a pseudo-tech weapon to annihilate a Lovecraft beastie (!), Warlock stitches the ‘verse to an alternate future—the one where he’s the evil Magus!

last issue: Guardians of the Galaxy #16
next issue: Guardians of the Galaxy #18

also indexed for Oct. ’09
The Fantastic Four #570
Nova #28
War of Kings #6 of 6
War of Kings: Warriors #2 of 2

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

Guardians of the Galaxy #13

April 30, 2014

Guardians of the Galaxy 13Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning // Brad Walker
June 2009
****

The huge cast reunites to play diplomat in the War of Kings maxiseries, sending a delegation to each side (an echo of Galactic Storm). To the writers’ credit, they pack a lot of action into one issue—starting w/ a bar brawl—and they give nearly every character a particular voice and perspective.

last issue: Guardians of the Galaxy #12
next issue: Guardians of the Galaxy #14

also indexed for Jun. ’09
Dark Reign: Fantastic Four #2 of 5
Nova #24
War of Kings #2 of 6
War of Kings: Ascension #1 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

War of Kings: Warriors #2 of 2

April 21, 2014

War of Kings - Warriors 2 of 2A-story: Jay Faerber // Adriana Melo
B-story: Jay Faerber // Ramon Perez
October 2009
A-story: * // B-story: *

Another anthology of tossed-out filler to supplement the latest Marvel space opera. Plot A, starring a former Avenger, offers an insultingly pat solution to topical US quandaries like terrorist attacks by civilians & occupation by “good guys”. Plot B is generic backstory of an already-dead empress.

last issue: War of Kings: Warriors #1 of 2

also indexed for Oct. ’09
Fantastic Four #570
Guardians of the Galaxy #17
Nova #28
War of Kings #6 of 6

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: 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

Secret Invasion: War of Kings #1 of 1

April 5, 2014

Secret Invasion War of Kings 1 of 1Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning // Paul Pelletier & Bong Dazo
March 2009
***

Like DnA’s previous Marvel SF prologues, this one-shot is effectively #1 of an upcoming mini; the expectation is all. It serves as a bridge btw their own space operas, last year’s Skrull Invasion of Earth, & a coup in the alien empire from X-Men. After generations of seclusion, the Inhumans (a once-pacific Kirby clan) launch their futuristic lunar techno-city into space & conquer the Kree Empire.

continued in War of Kings #1 of 6

also indexed for Mar. ’09
Guardians of the Galaxy #9
Nova #21

FF #21

December 31, 2013

FF 21Jonathan Hickman // Nick Dragotta
October 2012
*****

The epitome of a Hickman FF issue, w/ smart nonlinear storytelling & epic SF political melodrama. The Kree & Inhumans broker a peace, built upon undoing a space-opera Romeo/Juliet romance! Check how Dragotta not only nails the Kirby costumes, he makes the title team’s b/w costumes look cool!

last issue: FF #20
next issue: FF #22

also indexed for Oct. ’12
The Fantastic Four #609

FF #20

December 29, 2013

FF 20Jonathan Hickman // Nick Dragotta
September 2012
****

Dragotta shines in the SF opener, where a cityship blasts at a starcruiser. His parallel talent for aliens helps set high expectations for the next phase of Hickman’s FF run: the Inhuman invasion of Earth. In a cute touch, Val & Bentley the Wizard Clone draw a plan up to subjugate the Kree Empire.

last issue: FF #19
next issue: FF #21

also indexed for Sept. ’12
The Fantastic Four #608

FF #18

December 25, 2013

FF 18Jonathan Hickman // Nick Dragotta
July 2012
*****

Less manic than last ish but equally superb, #18 sees Johnny & the kids learn a lesson in foreign politics. The malevolent bug civ from the Neg Zone requests a free election, then writes votes in for the local Kirby tyrant! You don’t expect Marvel to deliver a sly commentary on American naïvity!

last issue: FF #17
next issue: FF #19

also indexed for Jul. 12
The Fantastic Four #605.1
The Fantastic Four #606

FF #17

December 22, 2013

FF 17Jonathan Hickman // Nick Dragotta
June 2012
*****

Spider-Man has been underused as a member of FF, a flaw that’s finally rectified by this A+ issue. The creative team write the nerdiest Parker since Ditko’s. Johnny Storm makes a terrible roommate (no surprise), then drags Pete out to party w/ MJ & his alien pals. The final straw is truly hilarious.

last issue: FF #16
next issue: FF #18

also indexed for Jun. ’12
The Fantastic Four #605

FF #16

December 20, 2013

FF 16Jonathan Hickman // Nick Dragotta & Steve Epting
May 2012
*****

If all of John H’s FF run had Nick D on art, it’d be second only to Kirby/Lee! See a heavenly moment of adult Franklin & Galactus viewing sunrise from orbit. This ish, post-grand finale, centers on Hick’s best char: supersmart toddler Val. Even her adult self mistrusts her! And in a coda, Doom.

continued from The Fantastic Four #604
last issue: FF #15
next issue: FF #17

also indexed for May ’12
Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #9 of 9
The Fantastic Four #604

The Fantastic Four #604

December 19, 2013

Fantastic Four 604Jonathan Hickman // Steve Epting
May 2012
*****

Hickman closes out his theme of fathers & sons, as Nat & Frank Richards save Reed from mad space-gods. Franklin, in the future, will turn cosmic & take Galactus as his sidekick! Sadly, he’s only given ’90s-style hand-zaps. Maybe #604 itself is only ****, but it’s a perfect climax to an ambitious run.

continued in FF #16
last issue: The Fantastic Four #603
next issue: The Fantastic Four #605

also indexed for May ’12
Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #9 of 9
FF #16

The Fantastic Four #603

December 17, 2013

Fantastic Four 603Jonathan Hickman // Barry Kitson
April 2012
*****

Mad science-gods from an alt dimension arrive (via Hickman’s other FF mag) to pitch Galactus out of the heavens! Our heroes return fire via space-cannon powered by the sun & Kirby-energy! Visionary plotting, elaborate & epic in true SF style, tho’ Kitson doesn’t quite capture Hickman’s grandeur.

see also FF #15
last issue: The Fantastic Four #602
next issue: The Fantastic Four #604

also indexed for Apr. ’12
FF #15

The Fantastic Four #602

December 15, 2013

Fantastic Four 602Jonathan Hickman // Barry Kitson
March 2012
*****

Hickman remixes Kirby’s original concepts into a grand work of SF, w/ novelistic complexity & cinematic scope. Alien armadas pause their orbital battle to apprehend the advent of rival cosmic gods. Kitson’s clarity, depth of focus, & attn to detail helps immensely in staging this space operatic ish.

see also FF #14
last issue: The Fantastic Four #601
next issue: The Fantastic Four #603

also indexed for Mar. ’12
FF #14

The Fantastic Four #601

December 13, 2013

Fantastic Four 601Jonathan Hickman // Steve Epting
February 2012
****

To counter an alien armada, Johnny S. leads his space-insect cavalry into the skies, reinforced by the Inhuman cityship! But can Earth survive a battle low in its orbit? Epting’s in his element, penciling okay widescreen action (if you want Hickman’s heftier, smarter work, read the partner mag).

see also FF #13
last issue: The Fantastic Four #600
next issue: The Fantastic Four #602

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

The Fantastic Four #600

December 11, 2013

Fantastic Four 600A-story: Jonathan Hickman // Steve Epting
B-story: Jonathan Hickman // Carmine Di Giandomenico
C-story: Jonathan Hickman // Ming Doyle
D-story: Jonathan Hickman // Leinil Yu
E-story: Jonathan Hickman // Farel Dalrymple
January 2012
A-story: **** // B-story: ***** // C-story: *****
D-story: **** // E-story: *****

A king-size #600. The A-story picks up the threads of FF, pitting every NYC superhero against a pair of alien invasions; a surprise twist has the late Johnny Storm break the Annihilation Wave! Then Hickman shows that Torch did die in #587, only to be resurrected in a gladiator scenario. That piece has a Euro look that meshes w/ the bug-‘verse setting; like all the back-up pencilers, it puts Epting to shame. Much of the art is “ugly” yet lovely, accentuating how creative JH’s whole run is.

continued from FF #11
continued in FF #12
next issue: The Fantastic Four #601

also indexed for Jan’ 12
FF #12