Archive for the ‘Machine Man’ Category

Thunderbolts #29

July 18, 2014

Thunderbolts 029Kurt Busiek // Mark Bagley
August 1999
****

One flaw of T-bolts is its chirpy fan-girl sidekick, now joined by a 2nd superteen. W/ their teammates captured, it’s up to them to save the day. But one strength of T-bolts is its team dynamic, such that other scenes showcase more vivid characters—like Moonstone, sniggering at Graviton’s clichéd goals.

last issue: Thunderbolts #28
next issue: Thunderbolts #30

also indexed for Aug. ’99
Avengers #19
Avengers Forever #9 of 12

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 #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

Avengers/JLA #4 of 4

October 7, 2013

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

The crossover ends as it must: in an enormous brawl of punching & zapping. Still, the mag’s creative duo amazingly avoid even a whiff of the corporate avarice that must underpin this mini. The grand scope & casual confidence prove a good capstone to the super-teamwork dynamic that defines the Avengers run of Busiek & Pérez et al. Think of it as a victory lap AWA an impressive work of fan-service.

last issue: JLA/Avengers #3 of 4

also indexed for Dec. ’03
Alias #27
New X-Men #148

Avengers #4

July 17, 2013

Avengers 04Kurt Busiek // George Pérez
May 1998
****

The team’s charter members pick a line-up, a solipsistic scenario replayed often in the ’00s. Busiek, like Thomas & Stern before him, seems slightly awed by the title he’s writing. But his pleasure comes thru in his light touch, like Justice snagging a bank thief where the 40-member team failed.

last issue: Avengers #3
next issue: Avengers #5

also indexed for May ’98
Thunderbolts #14

Avengers #3

July 16, 2013

Avengers 03Kurt Busiek // George Pérez
April 1998
***

Cap & co play Robin Hood in a medieval alt reality; Scarlet Witch saves the day by resurrecting Wonder Man. It’s a simple story w/ a forthright tone, almost Silver Age except for Jorge’s complex depth-of-field & density of image. So, having relaunched the Avengers, B&G must cull the 39-man roster!

last issue: Avengers #2
next issue: Avengers #4

also indexed for Apr. ’98
Thunderbolts #13

Avengers #2

July 15, 2013

Avengers 02Kurt Busiek // George Pérez
March 1998
****

A sorceress has used the Scarlet Witch to refashion reality. The Ren Fair trappings may seem a bit much, but they suit Pérez to a T—esp. the chance to redesign costumes as armor. Busiek’s best idea, tho’, is that “true Avengers” can shake off the spell: a roster that incl. Justice but not Iron Man!

last issue: Avengers #1
next issue: Avengers #3

also indexed for Mar. ’98
Thunderbolts #12

Avengers #1

July 14, 2013

Avengers 01Kurt Busiek // George Pérez
February 1998
****

Pérez returns to Marvel’s supergroup superteam, tapping Busiek (hot off Marvels & Astro City in ’95 & last year’s T-bolts) to help w/ the relaunch. They’re well-matched: neither conservative nor radical, dense w/ info yet clear at storytelling. Echoing the Lee/Kirby original, a mage manipulates Earth’s superheroes into teaming up. This time, it’s an Arthurian, Morgan le Fey, using Asgardian magic.

next issue: Avengers #2

also indexed for Feb. ’98
Thunderbolts #11

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]

Nextwave, Agents of HATE #12

September 30, 2010

Warren Ellis // Stuart Immonen
March 2007
*****
Revealed: behind the Beyond Corp. is Devil Dinosaur, a cherry-red T Rex Kirby kreation. That fits the book’s MO, under the punk ‘tude, has mostly been crazy monsters & deep roots in Marvel arcana. But the climax is unexpectedly trad: a villainous rant & the team wins the day. I’ll miss ’em.
[last issue: Nextwave, Agents of HATE #11]

Nextwave, Agents of HATE #11

September 29, 2010

Warren Ellis // Stuart Immonen
February 2007
****
The penultimate issue blatantly announces it’s a waste of money—& w/ half a dozen double-splash pages that resemble a (crazy) scrolling videogame, you can’t argue. The action is deranged & violent, w/ futuristic airships crashing into even bigger airships. But you sense Ellis is done here.
[last issue: Nextwave, Agents of HATE #10]
[next issue: Nextwave, Agents of HATE #12]

Nextwave, Agents of HATE #10

September 28, 2010

Warren Ellis // Stuart Immonen
January 2007
*****
Ellis swaps the manic comedy for something deeply strange. Nearing their mission’s endgame, the Squad faces Forbush Man (Stan Lee’s answer to Alfred E. Newman), who mind-casts them into alternate, quasi-mystical visions of themselves. Immonen too stretches himself, w/ each scene in a unique style.
[last issue: Nextwave, Agents of HATE #9]
[last issue: Nextwave, Agents of HATE #11]

Nextwave, Agents of HATE #9

September 24, 2010

Warren Ellis // Stuart Immonen
December 2006
****
The CEO of Beyond Corp. has laid for the Nextwave Squad that crosses the line into comic book dada, w/ upside-down castles & preposterously-themed superteams. Ellis mocks widescreen idiocy like The Ultimates while homaging the original Silver Age Marvel self-parody, Not Brand Ecch!
[last issue: Nextwave, Agents of HATE #8]
[next issue: Nextwave, Agents of HATE #10]

Nextwave, Agents of HATE #8

September 22, 2010

Warren Ellis // Stuart Immonen
November 2006
****
As a caption quips, this arc comes perilously close to depicting a few true character moments. Flashbacks to Elsa Bloodstone’s childhood training suggest she’s more unstable than she appears. But that doesn’t stop her from committing mayhem upon rock monsters who’re playing human, Broadway-style.
[last issue: Nextwave, Agents of HATE #7]
[next issue: Nextwave, Agents of HATE #9]

Nextwave, Agents of HATE #7

September 21, 2010

Warren Ellis // Stuart Immonen
September 2006
****
The Squad face an army of Mindless Ones (you know, the golem-like cannonfodder from Dr. Strange) in a small Colorado town. But first, a quality pair of dialogues offer a few reflective moments in a comic book w/ ADD. You suspect Ellis’ heart is in these scenes, which add sad depths to his SOBs.
[last issue: Nextwave, Agents of HATE #6]
[next issue: Nextwave, Agents of HATE #8]

Nextwave, Agents of HATE #6

September 20, 2010

Warren Ellis // Stuart Immonen
August 2006
****

The team escape HATE’s barrage of insane super-weaponry by tickling Dirk Anger’s mother fixation. Even when this comic is simple ultra-violence, Ellis & Immonen add fun touches like a fighting style specific to each hero. And its punk style (2-issue arcs = 2-minute songs) enforces a sense of glee.

last issue: Nextwave, Agents of HATE #5
next issue: Nextwave, Agents of HATE #7

also indexed for Aug. ’06
Astonishing X-Men #15
Civil War #2 of 7
Young Avengers #12

Nextwave, Agents of HATE #5

September 20, 2010

Warren Ellis // Stuart Immonen
July 2006
*****
Ellis sets his mag in a bizarro Marvel, just close enough to confuse continuity whores. He riffs on Kirby & Steranko at their weirdest, w/ allusions gross & subtle to Marvel flotsam. Anger (= Fury) assaults the squad w/ an arsenal of goofball tech: broccoli-men, killer koalas, & ptera-soldiers.
[last issue: Nextwave, Agents of HATE #4]
[next issue: Nextwave, Agents of HATE #6]

Nextwave, Agents of HATE #4

September 18, 2010

Warren Ellis // Stuart Immonen
June 2006
****
The team blows up a mecha-monster real good. I like the two-issue rhythm that Nextwave has set up, but I hope the next arc will find a new plot. Aside from Immonen’s kinetic technicolor, #4’s high point is a comedic epilogue that nails the group’s dynamics & provides sick, Lenny Bruce-like humor.
[last issue: Nextwave, Agents of HATE #3]
[next issue: Nextwave, Agents of HATE #5]

Nextwave, Agents of HATE #3

September 17, 2010

Warren Ellis // Stuart Immonen
May 2006
****

Tho’ the tone’s hip, the plot’s thin & familiar: in the Midwest, a techno-spore mutates a man into a monster. Ellis leans heavily on the mayhem but he gets lazy kicks from making the victim a corrupt cop. Still, Immonen is coming into his own: his hyper-cartoon is perfect for superhero comics.

last issue: Nextwave, Agents of HATE #2
next issue: Nextwave, Agents of HATE #4

also indexed for May ’06
Iron Man #6
The Pulse #14
Young Avengers #11

Nextwave, Agents of HATE #2

September 15, 2010

Warren Ellis // Stuart Immonen
April 2006
****
A special ops team has gone rogue from their SHIELD-parody superiors. They do the “right” thing, as long as that means committing mindless violence while shouting inane catchphrases—not so different from conventional comics, tho’ Ellis’s brio strips away the weak-sauce ethics of mainstream Marvel.
[last issue: Nextwave, Agents of HATE #1]
[next issue: Nextwave, Agents of HATE #3]

Nextwave, Agents of HATE #1

September 13, 2010

Warren Ellis // Stuart Immonen
March 2006
*****

Spastic comix anarchism parodies Bush-era idiocy! Small-town America is a combat zone menaced by a classic Kirby monster, Fing Fang Foom. Open-bid contracts have put a superspy org at the service of a terrorist corporation. Our only defense: low-grade superheroes like ’80s Captain Marvel. Marvelous!

next issue: Nextwave, Agents of HATE #2

also indexed for Mar. ’06
Iron Man #5
Young Avengers #10