Archive for the ‘Luke Cage’ Category

Fear Itself: Captain America #7.1

November 12, 2015

Fear Itself 7.1 Captain AmericaEd Brubaker // Jackson Guice
January 2012
****

EB got to conclude Civil War in his mag, & here’s the trade-off: another event mini, Fear Itself, hosts the fatal confrontation btw his creations Bucky & Sin. Fair? Maybe, but it’s bad storytelling. So Bru plays a trump: a dose of SHIELD’s secret serum revives Buck (again).

continued from Fear Itself #7 of 7
continued in Winter Soldier #1

also indexed for Jan. ’12
Annihilators: Earthfall #3 of 4
Captain America #4
Captain America & Bucky #624
Fantastic Four #600
FF #12

Secret Avengers #10

October 27, 2015

Secret Avengers 10Ed Brubaker // Mike Deodato & Will Conrad
April 2011
**

In this arc’s climax, Steve & co foil the resurrection of Fu Manchu. Somehow this manages to be a dull outcome. Avengers, Agents of SHIELD reads like it’s a chore for Brubaker to write. He’s fine with Bucky (& this John Steele), but maybe he has no more stories to tell about Steve Rogers.

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

also indexed for Apr. ’11
Captain America #615: Bucky Barnes
The Fantastic Four #588

Captain America #608: Bucky Barnes

October 10, 2015

Captain America 608A-story: Ed Brubaker // Jackson Guice
September 2010
A-story: ****

Bucky’s caught in a media storm when his secret ID as Cap & his history as the Winter Soldier get leaked. The defamation is by Baron Zemo, a clever supervillain w/ several classic schemes already. He’s a worthy foe for Bucky, and this rivalry could be stretched from an arc into an epic.

B-story: Rikki Barnes
last issue: Captain America #607
next issue: Captain America #609

also indexed for Sept. ’10
Captain America #608: Bucky Barnes
Fantastic Four #581
Steve Rogers: Super Soldier #1 of 4
The Thanos Imperative #2 of 6
Young Avengers #1

Captain America: Who Will Wield the Shield #1 of 1

September 25, 2015

Captain America - Who Will Wield the Shield 1 of 1Ed Brubaker // Jackson Guice & Luke Ross
February 2010
***

A cash-grab epilogue to Cap: Reborn, pre-empting its climax in #6. Ironically it’s the strongest of the 3 Cap issues this month. EB gets into his stoic warriors and their manly virtues—respect, honor, patriotism, heterosexuality, etc.—and ends w/ a new status quo as Rogers gets a SHIELD promotion.

continued from Captain America: Reborn #6 of 6
continued in Secret Avengers #1

also indexed for Feb. ’10
Captain America: Reborn #5 of 6
Fantastic Four #574
Guardians of the Galaxy #21
The Marvels Project #4 of 8
Nova #32
Realm of Kings: Imperial Guard #2 of 5
Realm of Kings: Inhumans #2 of 5

Captain America #600

September 14, 2015

Captain America 600a-plot: Ed Brubaker // Jackson Guice with David Aja, Raphael Albaquerque, Mitch Breitweiser, & Howard Chaykin
b-plot:  Roger Stern // Kalman Andrasofszky
c-plot: Mark Waid // Dale Eaglesham
August 2009
a-plot: ***
b-plot: *****
c-plot: ****

Dubious accounting allows Marvel to claim that #600 follows #50. It checks in w/ all the plots, acting as a friendly prologue to next month’s resurrection. Yep, Sharon Carter suspects that she didn’t gun her BF down after all! Ironically, this ish means to memorialize the hero, but only the strong back-ups succeed. On an Astro City periphery, Stern draws on 9/11 by casting Bernie Rosenthal (his Cap run’s romantic foil) as a refugee from NYC after the hero’s assassination.

continued in Captain America: Reborn #1 of 6
last issue: Captain America #50
next issue: Captain America #601

also indexed for Aug. ’09
Daredevil #119
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

Captain America #50

September 13, 2015

Captain America 50a-plot: Ed Brubaker // Luke Ross
b-plot: Ed Brubaker // Marcos Martin
July 2009
a-plot: ***
b-plot: ****

Brubaker mirrors his half-century on CA by celebrating Bucky’s birthday & flashing back to his notable natal revels during the Big One. Bru used this device better in a Winter Soldier one-shot, partly cuz the sentiment felt earned & partly cuz its pencils were stronger than Ross’s generic movietone. A few bonus pages, a mod origin recap from Marcos Martin, do more w/ #50’s higher page count.

last issue: Captain America #49
next issue: Captain America #600

also indexed for Jul. ’09
Dark Reign: Fantastic Four #3 of 5
Guardians of the Galaxy #14
Nova #25
War of Kings #3 of 6
War of Kings: Ascension #2 of 4

Captain America #26

August 20, 2015

Captain America 26Ed Brubaker // Steve Epting & Mike Perkins
May 2007
****

Everyone at Captain America’s wake commends Sam Wilson on his eulogy (much better than hearing it). The Falcon’s cool is a balance to Bucky, who starts a bar brawl. Meanwhile the bad guys gloat & toy w/ their Doom-built time machine. A great scene—it’s a shame Epting couldn’t draw the whole ish.

last issue: Captain America #25
next issue: Captain America #27

also indexed for May ’07
Annihilation: Heralds of Galactus #2 of 2
Astonishing X-Men #21
Daredevil #95
Thunderbolts #112

Captain America #10

August 2, 2015

Captain America 10Ed Brubaker // Lee Weeks
October 2005
***

Week’s fill-in art adds little to the long-perspective reminisce that provides backstory for the alt-timeline that’s swept across Marvel’s comics. In one early fork, Cap & Bucky kill Baron Zemo then capture Hitler! But Cap makes enemies in the ’50s “Mutant Scare”—& walks on the moon in ’55!

last issue: Captain America #9
next issue: Captain America #11

also indexed for Oct. ’05
Daredevil #76
Iron Man #4
Runaways #7
Young Avengers #7

Runaways #12

June 30, 2015

Runaways 2-12Brian K. Vaughan // Adrian Alphona
March 2006
****

Molly pounds the New Avengers, who do little to help rescue damsel Dagger from a fan-boy rapist on superdrugs. This is a fine baseline arc, with guests Cloak, Dagger & Spidey adding an ’80s Marvel tone that’s amplified by the story length (4 issues), a charitable churchman, & NYC snowfall.

last issue: Runaways #11
next issue: Runaways #13

also indexed for Mar. ’06
Daredevil #81
Iron Man #5
Nextwave, Agents of HATE #1
The Pulse #13
X-Statix Presents: Dead Girl #1 of 5
Young Avengers #10

Runaways #9

June 27, 2015

Runaways 2-09Brian K. Vaughan // Adrian Alphona
December 2005
****

Cloak, the ’80s super-runaway, avoids a ‘New’ Avengers manhunt after his GF Dagger ends up hospitalized. It’s up to our plucky LA outsiders to clear his name! On art, Alphona uses computers to draw (not photoref!) his fine lines. His comic timing also adds to the Buffy vibe.

last issue: Runaways #8
next issue: Runaways #10

also indexed for Dec. ’05
Daredevil #78
Drax the Destroyer #2 of 4
Secret War #5 of 5
Young Avengers #9

Daredevil #108

November 15, 2014

Daredevil 108Ed Brubaker & Greg Rucka // Michael Lark
August 2008
*****

W/ Rucka adding a fresh perspec, Brubaker finally adds to this mag (having rolled back Bendis’ innovations). Model-turned-PI Dakota North has a history w/ the Heroes for Hire, & steals the focus this arc from the title char. It’s a hard-boiled procedural edging toward a neo-noir conspiracy.

last issue: Daredevil #107
next issue: Daredevil #109

also indexed for Aug. ’08
Guardians of the Galaxy #2
The Immortal Iron Fist #16
Nova #14
Thunderbolts #121

Daredevil #107

November 14, 2014

Daredevil 107Ed Brubaker & Greg Rucka // Michael Lark
July 2008
****

The third member of Gotham Central rejoins the squad. Rucka has a line in tough gals, so his presence adds heft to this arc. The focus is PI Dakota North, enlisted by Luke Cage to clear an innocent man from death row & potentially bring Murdock out of his emotional tailspin.

continued from Daredevil: Blood of the Tarantula #1 of 1
last issue: Daredevil #106
next issue: Daredevil #108

also indexed for Jul. ’08
Giant Size Astonishing X-Men #1 of 1
Guardians of the Galaxy #1
The Immortal Iron Fist #15
Nova #13
Thunderbolts #120

Daredevil #83

October 19, 2014

Daredevil 083Ed Brubaker // Michael Lark
May 2006
****

After Foggy’s funeral (note: no one saw a corpse), a court puts Murdock into the prison gen-pop—a case of the Watchmen line, “I’m not in here w/ you….” Brubaker’s style instantly contrasts w/ Bendis’, his violent action supplanting the dialogue-driven approach, & propelling the mag’s momentum.

last issue: Daredevil #82
next issue: Daredevil #84

also indexed for May ’06
Annihilation: Prologue #1 of 1
Iron Man #6
Nextwave, Agents of HATE #3
The Pulse #14
Young Avengers #11

Daredevil #81

October 17, 2014

Daredevil 081Brian Michael Bendis // Alex Maleev
March 2006
*****

This brilliant run’s end—Murdock remanded w/o bail to Rikers, pending trial—subverts the genre’s expectation of illusory change, which would demand his acquital. The radical penalty undermines the naïve virtue at the core of pulp vigilantes & leaves the next creative team w/ plenty of material!

last issue: Daredevil #80
next issue: Daredevil #82

also indexed for Mar. ’06
Iron Man #5
Nextwave, Agents of HATE #1
The Pulse #13
Young Avengers #10

Daredevil #80

October 16, 2014

Daredevil 080Brian Michael Bendis // Alex Maleev
February 2006
****

Part 2 of the big action finale, #80 features a streetfight btw ninjas & Feds! Maleev’s work on DD has possessed great physicality & expressive bodies. Mostly that’s added levels to his writer’s dialogue, but it’s also helped him to stage great scenes of hand-to-hand combat. Then… Matt surrenders!

last issue: Daredevil #79
next issue: Daredevil #81

also indexed for Feb. ’06
Drax the Destroyer #4 of 4

Daredevil #78

October 14, 2014

Daredevil 078Brian Michael Bendis // Alex Maleev
December 2005
*****

This mag’s innate contradiction—a lawyer with an extra-legal identity—gets put to the test. W/ the feds about to acquire proof of his double-life, the protag must choose to fight as Murdock or Daredevil. It’s thrilling & dangerous: mishandling the denouement could break the character irrevocably.

last issue: Daredevil #77
next issue: Daredevil #79

also indexed for Dec. ’05
Drax the Destroyer #2 of 4
Secret War #5 of 5
Young Avengers #9

Daredevil #65

October 1, 2014

Daredevil 065Brian Michael Bendis // Michael Golden, Greg Horn, P. Craig Russell, Phil Hester, Chris Bachalo, and Alex Maleev
late November 2004
**

It’s meant to celebrate the titular hero’s 40th anniversary (& the creative team’s 3-year mark), but #65 reads like a fill-in. For one thing, Maleev’s only contribution is the final episode, a **** scene that sets up the K’pin’s predecessor, now free from Rikers. For another, the rest of the ish adds & revises prior scenes in this run w/o adding to them, & tosses in a few context-free pin-ups.

last issue: Daredevil #64
next issue: Daredevil #66

also indexed for Nov. ’04
Astonishing X-Men #5
Daredevil #64
The Pulse #5

Daredevil #60

September 26, 2014

Daredevil 060Brian Michael Bendis // Alex Maleev
July 2004
****

DD & his pals toss a Yakuza club & run it out of town. The pulpy violent core of this arc proves this superb run is less interested in subverting the trope of vigilantism than in pushing its envelope. For that, see the subplot: the hero’s wife leaves him, a personal loss given a noirish pathos.

last issue: Daredevil #59
next issue: Daredevil #61

also indexed for Jul. ’04
Astonishing X-Men #1
The Pulse #3
Secret War #2 of 5
Thanos #10

Daredevil #59

September 25, 2014

Daredevil 059Brian Michael Bendis // Alex Maleev
June 2004
*****

The G-man gets taken out by Yakuza right on Center Street! Meanwhile, Ben Urich joins the growing chorus who say that Karen Page’s death has driven DD to self-destructive behavior. Breaking a character’s psyche = a brilliant take on the difficulty of superhero writers to alter a mag’s status quo.

last issue: Daredevil #58
next issue: Daredevil #60

also indexed for Jun. ’04
Thanos #9

Daredevil #56

September 22, 2014

Daredevil 056Brian Michael Bendis // Alex Maleev
March 2004
*****

Interlude over; a year has passed. DD has cleaned Hell’s Kitchen & NYC of crime—at the expense of other boroughs, notes Luke Cage in a cunning dialectic on the run’s theme of urban vigilantism. It also echoes the city’s real disputes over gentrification & crime rates during Bloomberg’s mayorality.

last issue: Daredevil #55
next issue: Daredevil #57

also indexed for Mar. ’04
New X-Men #151
New X-Men #152

Daredevil #48

September 14, 2014

Daredevil 048Brian Michael Bendis // Alex Maleev
August 2003
****

Jess Jones & Luke Cage rescue Matt & Milla from Typhoid Mary. Great action scene, but note how the weirdo gets battered & insulted by the pretty folks. BMB’s Mary is a letdown: Typhoid as seductive dom is long gone, replaced by nutty nonsense & ultraviolence. His love for superheroes is a blind spot.

last issue: Daredevil #47
next issue: Daredevil #49

also indexed for Aug. ’03
Alias #23
New X-Men #142
New X-Men #143s

Daredevil #43

September 9, 2014

Daredevil 043Brian Michael Bendis // Alex Maleev
early April 2003
*****

At its strongest, this run offers a 21C take on pop-comics’ core concept of the urban vigilante; #43 centers on a debate over its scope & validity. Luke Cage, orig. a ’70s super-riff on blaxploitation, propounds localism. DD can’t accept that limit, since he knows how corrupt the whole system is.

last issue: Daredevil #42
next issue: Daredevil #44

also indexed for Apr. ’03
Alias #19
Daredevil #44
New X-Men #137

Daredevil #40

September 6, 2014

Daredevil 040Brian Michael Bendis // Terry Dodson
February 2003
**

The White Tiger arc feels appendictal to Bendis’ run, but it’s actually a key to his Ditko-esque view of superheroism. A D-list vigilante gets found guilty; his confused death is a scapegoat sacrifice by the press & legal system—those “democratic” structures that hold the gifted individual back!

last issue: Daredevil #39
next issue: Daredevil #41

also indexed for Feb. ’03
Alias #17
New X-Men #135

Daredevil #39

September 5, 2014

Daredevil 039Brian Michael Bendis // Manuel Gutierrez
January 2003
****

TV’s influence on Bendis has never been more obvious. #39 is a courtroom drama—w/ guest stars, witness-stand confessionals, a prosecutor out for blood, & preposterous legalities—but it’s executed superbly. Gutierrez’s style & colorful tone makes this ish a precurser to Waid’s run w/ Samnee et al.

last issue: Daredevil #38
next issue: Daredevil #40

also indexed for Jan. ’03
Alias #16
New X-Men #134

Daredevil #38

September 4, 2014

Daredevil 038Brian Michael Bendis // Manuel Gutierrez
December 2002
***

Pawn shop, dead cop, a Latino superhero arrested in the Bronx. Bendis exploits Marvel’s kung fu catalog for a more diverse, street-savvy cast. Maleev takes five, w/ an unknown on pencils & a much lighter tone. It’s not a great fit, since Bendis is aiming for realism rather than tights & fights.

last issue: Daredevil #38
next issue: Daredevil #40

also indexed for Dec. ’02
Alias #15
New X-Men #133

Daredevil #36

September 2, 2014

Daredevil 036Brian Michael Bendis // Alex Maleev
October 2002
*****

Murdock denies his secret ID as DD; V. Fisk skips town, creating a power vacuum; ex-GF Black Widow visits the law firm incognito, where she’s treated like a superheroics enabler—not exactly inaccurate either! Incidentally, check Alias #15 for a Rosencranz/Guildenstern perspec of Matt’s bodyguards.

last issue: Daredevil #35
next issue: Daredevil #37

also indexed for Oct. ’02
Alias #13
New X-Men #130
New X-Men #131

Thunderbolts #8

June 25, 2014

Thunderbolts 008Kurt Busiek & Roger Stern // Mark Bagley
November 1997
****

The first T-bolts story to last more than one ish ends w/ the mag’s best since #1. The team fends off a set of monsters menacing NYC, winning adulation & SHIELD access. But what’s esp great is how it delves into the psyche of Songbird, codependent & unconfident till now, when she must act alone.

last issue: Thunderbolts #7
next issue: Thunderbolts #9

The Fantastic Four #605.1

December 23, 2013

Fantastic Four 605.1Jonathan Hickman // Mike Choi
July 2012
****

The “bonus” ish is less a jump-in point than another JH done-in-one w/ set-up for a later payoff. It flashes back to sketch a member of the Council of Reeds, who destroyed his alt-‘verse where the FF were Nazis! Choi’s work is better than his covers suggest, w/ lovely colors from C. Peter.

last issue: The Fantastic Four #605
next issue: The Fantastic Four #606

also indexed for Jul. ’12
The Fantastic Four #606
FF #18

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 #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

FF #11

December 10, 2013

FF 11Jonathan Hickman // Barry Kitson
late December 2011
****

Two alt-Reeds serve as biomass for a rebooted Kree Intelligence, who mounts an invasion of Earth—concurrent w/ an incursion from the Negative Zone! Luckily, the real Mr F calls his pals, incl. the Avengers, to prep for battle. Kitson only pencils breakdowns; the loose art keeps #11 from *****.

continued in The Fantastic Four #600
last issue: FF #10
next issue: FF #12

also indexed for Dec. ’11
FF #10

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

The Fantastic Four #584

November 25, 2013

Fantastic Four 584Jonathan Hickman // Steve Epting
December 2010
****

For over a year, Hickman has been writing one- & two-issue arcs, which makes this multi-plot storyline all the more portentous. Reed parleys w/ Galactus while Sue escorts Namor to Old Atlantis. But the soul is Ben, who swigs his cure & clobbers the gentrified Yancy Gang, now hedge-fund financiers!

last issue: The Fantastic Four #583
next issue: The Fantastic Four #585

Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #9 of 9

November 5, 2013

Avengers Children's Crusade 9Allen Heinberg // Jim Cheung
May 2011
****

A:TCC‘s strongest issue, prob’ly cuz it plays to Heinb’s strengths: character & dialog, and his core team of Young Avs. Some closure as Iron Lad, by killing Vision 2.0, accepts his destiny as Kang the Conqueror. The catastrophe gets treated w/ emotional weight, as the team drifts apart over months.

last issue: Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #8 of 9

also indexed for May ’11
The Fantastic Four #604
FF #16

Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #7 of 9

November 3, 2013

Avengers Children's Crusade 7Allen Heinberg // Jim Cheung
November 2011
***

With 4 superteams in this ish, it’s no surprise that characters get lost in the melée. The mag’s real point is a retcon of Av Disassembled & reversal of House of M. Offpage, the Scarlet Witch had allied with Dr. Doom to tap into a “life-force” that gave her reality-altering powers.

last issue: Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #6 of 9
next issue: Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #8 of 9

also indexed for Nov. ’11
FF #9

Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #4 of 9

October 30, 2013

Allen Heinberg // Jim Cheung
Avengers Children's Crusade 4March 2011
***

Scribe Heinberg places his legacy team-up against some heavy foes: Dr. Doom, Magneto, the Avengers… Ironically, the “heroic” team is the most violent & unambiguously motivated. In the melée, many of the Young Avs get shrifted, tho’ Heinberg’s favorite member, Wiccan, shares the focus with Wanda M.

continued in Avengers: The Children’s Crusade: Young Avengers #1 of 1
last issue: Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #3 of 9
next issue: Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #5 of 9

also indexed for Mar. ’11
The Fantastic Four #587

Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #3 of 9

October 29, 2013

Avengers Children's Crusade 3Allen Heinberg // Jim Cheung
January 2011
***

Talky but still stronger than Bendis’ Avengers comics, whose failures this mag seeks to correct. In fact, A:TCC casts those New Avengers as villains, which makes sense considering their smug bullying. Meanwhile, the kids have uncovered the Scarlet Witch, amnesiac and affianced to Dr. Doom!

last issue: Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #2 of 9
next issue: Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #4 of 9

also indexed for Jan. ’11
The Fantastic Four #585

Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #2 of 9

October 28, 2013

Avengers Children's Crusade 2Allen Heinberg // Jim Cheung
November 2010
***

To find his “metaphysical” mother (the Scarlet Witch), Wiccan & the gang team up w/ Magneto & Quicksilver for a trip to C. Europe. As if guided by destiny or plot necessity, they learn that she’s a Doombot! Trad super-team comics in a modern idiom, driven by character dynamics & fannish continuity.

last issue: Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #1 of 9
next issue: Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #3 of 9

also indexed for Nov. ’10
The Fantastic Four #583

Young Avengers #12

October 26, 2013

Young Avengers 12Allen Heinberg // Jim Cheung
August 2006
***

YA, like Astonishing X, has hit catastrophic delays, & sadly folds up shop just as it begins to deliver on its potential. That Marvel space-opera, the Kree-Skrull War, reverbs as Avengers kids & adults fight to keep Hulkling from getting drafted by both sides. Clean fun, classic superhero comics.

last issue: Young Avengers #11

also indexed for Aug. ’06
Astonishing X-Men #15
Civil War #2 of 7
Nextwave, Agents of HATE #6

Young Avengers #11

October 25, 2013

Young Avengers 11Allen Heinberg // Jim Cheung
May 2006
****

Hulkling learns he’s the illegit son of Capt. Marvel & a Skrull princess, conceived during the Kree-Skrull War! Wiccan & Speed too have an illustrious parentage, as their souls transmigrated from the Scarlet Witch’s lost twins! The electrifying reveals epitomize the legacy approach of this mag.

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

also indexed for May ’06
Iron Man #6
Nextwave, Agents of HATE #3
The Pulse #14

Young Avengers Special #1

October 23, 2013

Young Avengers special 1Allen Heinberg // Michael Gaydos, Neal Adams, Gene Ha, Jae Lee, Bill Sienkiewicz, & Pasqual Ferry
February 2006
***

As YA hits delays, it offers a special to keep interest high & loop new readers in. It’s secret origins time, as Jess Jones (drawn by Gaydos, as she should be) interviews the teen team. Each episode gets a different artist—serious talent, & some of my faves. On the plus side, gay hero Wiccan shares a curious spark w/ Scarlet Witch; on the minus, the tough, awesome Hawkeye has a rapey backstory.

continued from Young Avengers #9
continued in Young Avengers #10

Young Avengers #8

October 21, 2013

Young Avengers 08Allen Heinberg // Andrea DiVito
November 2005
***

The teen comics mag takes on the classic PSA subject of drug use. The Cap analog, a black kid, derives his powers from an illegal serum; Cassie Lang, meanwhile, got her growth powers by filching her late dad’s Pym particles. Yet the issue complicates its mild disapproval by sticking by its heroes.

last issue: Young Avengers #7
next issue: Young Avengers #9

also indexed for Nov. ’05
The Pulse #11

Young Avengers #7

October 20, 2013

Young Avengers 07Allen Heinberg // Andrea DiVito
October 2005
**

The kids face a heavy who’s dealing a mutant street-drug. It’s part of Marvel’s nouveau-gritty style, which can suit teens well or badly (the last panel alludes to GL‘s classic “junkie!” cover). DiVito proves a journeyman, tho’ inks add a teen-manga gloss that’s too similar to Alphona’s Runaways.

last issue: Young Avengers #6
next issue: Young Avengers #8

also indexed for Oct. ’05
Iron Man #4

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 #2 of 9

February 15, 2012

Jim Shooter // Al Milgrom
August 1985
*
The Beyonder, a universe incarnate, wanders NYC. In one low point, Peter Parker must toilet-train the omnipotent being! SW2 is a true crossover: you gotta read other titles to follow the plot & vice-versa. An FF arc gets scrambled in with this mag, as an evil super-empath corrupts Sue Richards.
[continued from Captain America #308]
[see also The Uncanny X-Men #196]
[see also Fantastic Four #281]
[continued in Web of Spider-Man #6]
[last issue: Secret Wars II #1 of 9]
[next issue: Secret Wars II #3 of 9]

Civil War #7 of 7

June 12, 2011

Mark Millar // Steve McNiven
January 2007
*
Ugh. An ADD switcheroo moves the fight to midtown. All these superpowers are used to bludgeon (‘cept teleporting). With anticlimactic irony, Cap realizes that there’s no point to the entire conflict! The only sensible outcome is Tony Stark, Director of SHIELD. Thus ends the ’00s Secret Wars.
[last issue: Civil War #6 of 7]

Civil War #6 of 7

June 11, 2011

Mark Millar // Steve McNiven
December 2006
*
Millar & McNiven move their action figures into place for the next issue’s battle royale. It’ll be set at a secret super-prison, which means to comment on Guantanamo but doesn’t. These pre-finale plot twists only highlight how stiff the characterization, dialogue, & art are. Is this what fans want?
[last issue: Civil War #5 of 7]
[next issue: Civil War #7 of 7]

Civil War #5 of 7

June 10, 2011

Mark Millar // Steve McNiven
November 2006
*
Plot holes are starting to gape as Stark supplements SHIELD agents w/ super-convicts. Even worse are the book’s politics. Truth is, Millar comes at the Bush Admin from the Right, composing a libertarian nightmare where criminals are paroled to round up true Americans like Cap & a reformed Spidey.
[last issue: Civil War #4 of 7]
[next issue: Civil War #6 of 7]

Civil War #4 of 7

June 8, 2011

Mark Millar // Steve McNiven
October 2006
**
The commentary on PATRIOT Act America has become paper-thin & confused, esp. since Millar doesn’t care about civil rights & govt. regulations. He just wants to blow shit up & he has his ideas about how to do that—like a rogue cyber-clone of Thor! But would Mr F create such a Frankenstein’s monster?
[last issue: Civil War #3 of 7]
[next issue: Civil War #5 of 7]

Civil War #3 of 7

June 7, 2011

Mark Millar // Steve McNiven
**
September 2006
Finally, CW reaches its reason for being: heroes v. heroes, a classic Marvel trope since Amazing S-M #1. Iron Man turns a sneak-attack into a parlay, which Cptn. America violates w/ his own sucker punch. The problem is, each twist violates its actor’s character. It’s action stripped of motivation.
[last issue: Civil War #2 of 7]
[next issue: Civil War #4 of 7]