Archive for the ‘Magneto’ Category

X-Men: Omega #1 of 1

February 18, 2015

X-Men Omega 1 of 1Scott Lobdell & Mark Waid // Roger Cruz
June 1995
****

Magneto sends a time-tossed hero into a cosmic crystal to restore the true X-universe. Waid’s tense, dramatic script masks Cruz’s errors (an unoriginal Ameri-manga artist, he’s the weak link here). Lobdell, the crossover’s mastermind, has done commendable work. Tho’ individual minis may’ve faltered, his cumulative plot & vision makes AoA  the pinnacle of mutant mags between Claremont and Morrison.

continued from The Amazing X-Men #4 of 4
continued from The Astonishing X-Men #4 of 4
continued from Factor X #4 of 4
continued from Gambit and the X-Ternals #4 of 4
continued from Generation Next #4 of 4
continued from Weapon X #4 of 4
continued from X-Calibre #4 of 4
continued from X-Man #4 of 4
continued from X-Universe #4 of 4
continued in X-Men Prime #1 of 1

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X-Men: Chronicles #2 of 2

February 15, 2015

X-Man Chronicles 2 of 2Howard Mackie // Ian Churchill
June 1995
*

Generally, Age of Apocalypse is best when it implies a backstory as intricate as the actual X-books; X-M:C negates that feature by filling those gaps. #2 plays out the love triangle of Gambit, Rogue, & Magneto while their team fights a brute with ill-defined powers. The hammy script makes it impossible to care about these emotional adolescents; the era-standard art is awful settings and hypertrophied bodies with tribal tattoos & bad hair. This low point for the AoA doesn’t justify its existence.

last issue: X-Men: Chronicles #1 of 2

also indexed for Jun. ’95
The Amazing X-Men #4 of 4
The Astonishing X-Men #4 of 4
Factor X #4 of 4
Gambit and the X-Ternals #4 of 4
Generation Next #4 of 4
Weapon X #4 of 4
X-Calibre #4 of 4
X-Man #4
X-Men: Omega #1 of 1
X-Universe #2 of 2

X-Men: Chronicles #1 of 2

February 14, 2015

X-Men Chronicles 1 of 2Howard Mackie // Terry Dodson
March 1995
**

Chronicles replaces the quarterly X-mag for the Age of Apocalypse, a sort of What If…? riff on Days of Future Past, w/ a remit to provide backstory. The first mission of Magneto’s team: to prevent an evil mutant, Apocalypse, from stealing US nukes. Mackie, a hack, writes flat characterization & generic bombast. He fumbles the death of Scarlet Witch, meant to be a pivotal sacrifice & the end of innocence. Dodson, however, draws in a buoyant style that owes a quite a bit to ‘good girl’ art.

next issue: X-Men: Chronicles #2 of 2

also indexed for Mar. ’95
The Amazing X-Men #1 of 4
The Astonishing X-Men #1 of 4
Factor X #1 of 4
Gambit and the X-Ternals #1 of 4
Generation Next #1 of 4
Weapon X #1 of 4
X-Calibre #1 of 4
X-Man #1

Gambit and the X-Ternals #1 of 4

February 10, 2015

Gambit and the X-Ternals 1 of 4Fabian Nicieza // Tony Daniel
March 1995
**

This mini replaces X-Force during the Age of Apocalypse (a fun ’90s metaseries that takes itself way too seriously). Despite its terrible title, G&XT revamps its parent mag more radically than most. It reconceives Gambit as a mutant Robin Hood & sets up in the space-opera corner of the X-mythos.

continued from X-Men: Alpha #1 of 1
next issue: Gambit and the X-Ternals #2 of 4

also indexed for Mar. ’95
The Amazing X-Men #1 of 4
The Astonishing X-Men #1 of 4
Factor X #1 of 4
Generation Next #1 of 4
Weapon X #1 of 4
X-Calibre #1 of 4
X-Man #1 of 4
X-Men: Chronicles #1 of 4

X-Man #4

February 9, 2015

X-Man 04Jeph Loeb // Steve Skroce
June 1995
**

Exposition time: a rebellious Darwinist splices the DNA of this alt-Earth’s Cyclops & Jean Grey to create a weaponized eugenic superman: the protagonist. The concept has a seed of mad-science brilliance, but it’s followed up by a ham-handed declaration of individuality delivered via punching.

continued in X-Men: Omega #1 of 1
last issue: X-Man #3
next issue: X-Man #5

also indexed for Jun. ’95
The Amazing X-Men #4 of 4
The Astonishing X-Men #4 of 4
Factor X #4 of 4
Gambit and the X-Ternals #4 of 4
Generation Next #4 of 4
Weapon X #4 of 4
X-Calibre #4 of 4
X-Men: Chronicles #2 of 2
X-Men: Omega #1 of 1
X-Universe #2 of 2

X-Man #2

February 7, 2015

X-Man 02Jeph Loeb // Steve Skroce
April 1995
*

As X-Man tests the limits of his psi-power, he’s torn btw two mentors: tough-love Forge & indulgent Mr. Sinister. To fill out Middle America in this dystopia, Loeb exploits Holocaust iconography like trains of human cargo & charnelhouse experiments. Skroce’s 4 inkers undercut that w/ blank locales.

last issue: X-Man #1
next issue: X-Man #3

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

X-Man #1

February 6, 2015

X-Man 01Jeph Loeb // Steve Skroce
March 1995
**

Cable’s iteration in this alt-dystopia is a teen mutant messiah unaware of his birthright. Conceptually, X-Man goes further than any other mag in the Age of Apoc metaseries; in execution, it’s one cliché after another. Skroce seesaws btw ugly, Image-like posturing & Quesada’s doe-eyed influence.

continued from X-Men: Alpha #1 of 1
next issue: X-Man #2

also indexed for Mar. ’95
The Amazing X-Men #1 of 4
The Astonishing X-Men #1 of 4
Factor X #1 of 4
Gambit and the X-Ternals #1 of 4
Generation Next #1 of 4
Weapon X #1 of 4
X-Calibre #1 of 4
X-Men: Chronicles #1 of 2

X-Calibre #1 of 4

February 2, 2015

X-Calibre 1 of 4Warren Ellis // Ken Lashley
March 1995
*

Editorial revamps the mutant line, pitching readers into the grimmest comics they could imagine. For Excaliber, that means Nightcrawler follows a refugee pipeline to the Savage Land. Awful Jim Lee-style art has distended anatomies & weightless bodies; Ellis entertains himself w/ a religious theme.

continued from X-Men: Alpha #1 of 1
next issue: X-Calibre #2 of 4

also indexed for Mar. ’95
The Amazing X-Men #1 of 4
The Astonishing X-Men #1 of 4
Factor X #1 of 4
Gambit and the X-Ternals #1 of 4
Generation Next #1 of 4
Weapon X #1 of 4
X-Man #1
X-Men: Chronicles #1 of 2

Generation Next #1 of 4

January 21, 2015

Generation Next #1 of 4Scott Lobdell // Chris Bachalo
March 1995
***

The Gen X analog feels fresher than most of the Age of Apocalypse‘s pocket reboot. Some cast members return powered up (ex: M, a Supergirl type, is now a supercomputer!), while new mutants imply Gen X tales to come. Bachalo’s action can be hard to parse, but his idiosyncratic style adds character.

continued from X-Men: Alpha #1 of 1
next issue: Generation Next #2 of 4

also indexed for Mar. ’95
The Amazing X-Men #1 of 4
The Astonishing X-Men #1 of 4
Factor X #1 of 4
Gambit and the X-Ternals #1 of 4
Weapon X #1 of 4
X-Calibre #1 of 4
X-Man #1
X-Men: Chronicles #1 of 2

The Amazing X-Men #1 of 4

January 17, 2015

Amazing X-Men 1 of 4Fabian Nicieza // Andy Kubert
March 1995
***

The pinnacle of ’90s X-overs. The X-Men of a dystopian parallel universe must help Sentinels airlift human refugees out of mutant-controlled America. Nicieza’s sub-Claremont prose offers solid exposition under the purple, while Kubert’s post-Image pencils fit snuggly into the mini’s glum atmosphere.

continued from X-Men: Alpha #1 of 1
next issue: The Amazing X-Men #2 of 4

also indexed for Mar. ’95
The Astonishing X-Men #1 of 4
Factor X #1 of 4
Gambit and the X-Ternals #1 of 4
Generation Next #1 of 4
Weapon X #1 of 4
X-Calibre #1 of 4
X-Man #1
X-Men: Chronicles #1 of 2

The Astonishing X-Men #4 of 4

January 16, 2015

Astonishing X-Men 4 of 4Scott Lobdell // Joe Maduriera
June 1995
**

Following its video game plot, AoA mini #1 ends w/ a defeat of its Boss, a generic nihilist baddie w/ undefined powers. A teen teleporter, on the other hand, shows chutzpah in facing him down. But Sabretooth shouldn’t be alive: his survival is a failure of nerve by Lobdell, too fond of his heroes.

continued in X-Men: Omega #1 of 1
last issue: The Astonishing X-Men #3 of 4

also indexed for Jun. ’95
The Amazing X-Men #4 of 4
Factor X #4 of 4
Gambit and the X-Ternals #4 of 4
Generation Next #4 of 4
Weapon X #4 of 4
X-Calibre #4 of 4
X-Man #4
X-Men: Chronicles #2 of 2
X-Men: Omega #1 of 1
X-Universe #2 of 2

The Astonishing X-Men #3 of 4

January 15, 2015

Astonishing X-Men 3 of 4Scott Lobdell & Jeph Loeb // Joe Maduriera
May 1995
***

As Lobdell labors over emo melodrama, Madureira gives this ish its juice. The supervillain, a ranter, is all visual: Kirby krackle in plastic orange armor, he looks like a toy! Then there’s Morph, a Plastic Man type who smuggles the X-Men into a base via its aqueduct—in the form of a talking whale!

last issue: The Astonishing X-Men #2 of 4
next issue: The Astonishing X-Men #4 of 4

also indexed for May ’95
The Amazing X-Men #3 of 4
Factor X #3 of 4
Gambit and the X-Ternals #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

The Astonishing X-Men #2 of 4

January 14, 2015

Astonishing X-Men 2 of 4Scott Lobdell // Joe Maduriera
April 1995
**

In a mirror universe, Sabretooth stands in for the X-Men’s Wolverine; he’s even mentoring a teen gal, Kitty Pryde style. A suggestive beat here, a fine expression or gesture there, hint at creativity squandered by clichéd thinking. W/ carte blanche, why write a strike force punching generic cyborgs?

last issue: The Astonishing X-Men #1 of 4
next issue: The Astonishing X-Men #3 of 4

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

The Astonishing X-Men #1 of 4

January 13, 2015

Astonishing X-Men 1 of 4Scott Lobdell // Joe Maduriera
March 1995
***

In a clever editorial fillip, this mini replaces Uncanny for a few months. A mutant has altered history; now Prof Xavier’s premat death sparked a eugenics war, w/ the X-Men as an underdog guerrilla force led by Magneto. Lobdell adroitly implies a rich backstory for his revised characters.

continued from X-Men: Alpha #1 of 1
next issue: The Astonishing X-Men #2 of 4

also indexed for Mar. ’95
The Amazing X-Men #1 of 4
Factor X #1 of 4
Gambit and the X-Ternals #1 of 4
Generation Next #1 of 4
Weapon X #1 of 4
X-Calibre #1 of 4
X-Man #1
X-Men: Chronicles #1 of 2

X-Men: Alpha #1 of 1

January 12, 2015

X-Men Alpha 1 of 1Scott Lobdell & Mark Waid // Roger Cruz & Steve Epting
February 1995
****

Think What If… Magneto formed the X-Men? The dystopian alt timeline is fun, & the era’s portentous prose & posturing panels lend themselves well to the sturm und drang (even if the project labors in Claremont’s shadow). Magneto, a glowering man of action, looks unhappy to be stuck into the Rogue/Gambit soap opera; Cyclops is a mutant princeling who awakens to the genocide & misery under Apocalypse.

continued from X-Men #41
continued from Cable #20
continued in The Amazing X-Men #1 of 4
continued in The Astonishing X-Men #1 of 4
continued in Factor X #1 of 4
continued in Gambit and the X-Ternals #1 of 4
continued in Generation Next #1 of 4
continued in Weapon X #1 of 4
continued in X-Calibre #1 of 4
continued in X-Man #1 of 4
continued in X-Men: Chronicles #1 of 2

also indexed for Feb. ’95
Cable #20
The Uncanny X-Men #321
X-Men #41

X-Men #41

January 10, 2015

X-Men 041Fabian Nicieza // Andy Kubert & Ron Garney
February 1995
***

Finale to an X-over that kills off a young Professor X to create an alternate future. Writer Lobdell & editor Harras deserve a story credit for #41, & so does Chris Claremont, who created (a) the Prof-Magneto friendship, (b) Xavier’s son Legion, & (c) the cosmic crystal that threatens the multiverse.

continued from The Uncanny X-Men #321
continued in X-Men: Alpha #1 of 1
see also Cable #20
last issue: X-Men #40
next issue: X-Men #42

also indexed for Feb. ’95
Cable #20
The Uncanny X-Men #321
X-Men: Alpha #1 of 1

The Uncanny X-Men #321

January 9, 2015

Uncanny X-Men 321Scott Lobdell & Mark Waid // Ron Garney
February 1995
***

The illegit son of Professor X seduces his mother while psychically disguised as his father! It’s a provocative moment in a routine Terminator-type ’90s X-comic. Lobdell contrasts the arc’s Oedipal theme w/ his beloved Cyclops/Jean Grey/Cable triangle—his namby-pamby notion of a proper X-family.

continued from X-Men #40
continued in X-Men #41
last issue: The Uncanny X-Men #320
next issue: The Uncanny X-Men #322

also indexed for Feb. ’95
Cable #20
X-Men #41
X-Men: Alpha #1 of 1

X-Men #40

January 8, 2015

X-Men 040Fabian Nicieza // Andy Kubert
January 1995
**

Time-traveling amnesiac X-Men putz around post-war Israel as their modern comrades learn that mission failure means universal collapse. Nicieza artificially inflates the stakes via a chorus of Watchers, while the better Kubert son does mainline ’90s X-art (his Legion is unrecognizably off-model).

continued from The Uncanny X-Men #320
continued in The Uncanny X-Men #321
last issue: X-Men #39
next issue: X-Men #41

also indexed for Jan. ’95
The Uncanny X-Men #320

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

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 #8 of 9

November 4, 2013

Avengers Children's Crusade 8Allen Heinberg // Jim Cheung
March 2012
****

There’s no good way to retcon a bad story, so A:TCC provides multiple ones for Wanda M’s haywire episodes, incl. the possibility that Doom was behind it all. Now he’s got cosmic powers, unluckily for Cassie Lang. The storytellers play fairly, trading her life for her father’s resurrection.

last issue: Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #7 of 9
next issue: Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #9 of 9

also indexed for Mar. ’12
The Fantastic Four #601
FF #13

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 #6 of 9

November 2, 2013

Allen Heinberg // Jim Cheung
Avengers Children's Crusade 6August 2011
****

The Scarlet Witch confirms that, yes, she is Wiccan’s mother, metaphysically at least. It’s earnest comic sturm und drang that makes A:TCC the best “essential” Marvel U. tale of the terrible Bendis Era. To underscore this mini’s central status, X-teams (incl. David’s X-Fac) make strong cameos.

last issue: Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #5 of 9
next issue: Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #7 of 9

also indexed for Aug. ’11
FF #5

Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #5 of 9

November 1, 2013

Avengers Children's Crusade 5Allen Heinberg // Jim Cheung
June 2011
****

Kid Kang, AKA Iron Lad, returns from the future; if Young Avs had been Heinberg & Cheung all along, this would be a thrilling development. Anyway, his time travel allows for this maxiseries remit: to “correct” the catastrophic plot of Disassembled, such as a broken Scarlet Witch & dead Scott Lang.

continued from Avengers: The Children’s Crusade: Young Avengers #1 of 1
last issue: Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #4 of 9
next issue: Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #6 of 9

also indexed for Jun. ’11
FF #2

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

Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #1 of 9

October 27, 2013

Avengers Children's Crusade 1Allen Heinberg // Jim Cheung
September 2010
***

The creators of Young Avs reunite to rescue their fine team from cameo limbo & tie up the essential loose end: the relationship btw Speed & Wiccan to the Scarlet Witch’s “lost” twin children. It feels as if the reader has simply missed a few years of issues while the cast shuffled & powered up.

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

also indexed for Sept. ’10
The Fantastic Four #581

New X-Men #150

December 5, 2012

Grant Morrison // Phil Jimenez
February 2004
***
A great cover! Magneto, humiliated, zaps the resurrected Phoenix w/ a touch & rips a hole in spacetime. Is Mags Xorn or visa-versa? It’s ambiguous but neither option feels plausible. Take the former as read—it’s a stronger theme. Zealotry & violence (by Bin Laden or Bush) is a failed philosophy.
[last issue: New X-Men #149]
[next issue: New X-Men #151]

New X-Men #149

December 4, 2012

Grant Morrison // Phil Jimenez
January 2004
****

Tho’ Morrison probed Magneto’s X-role better in the Kid Omega arc; here he argues that the original Silver Age supervillain isn’t a radical, he’s a self-loathing reactionary. On another level, GM brings Beak’s arc to a scruffy head, as the youth stands up to the terrorist & joins the X-revolution.

last issue: New X-Men #148
next issue: New X-Men #150

also indexed for Jan. ’04
Alias #28

New X-Men #148

December 3, 2012

Grant Morrison // Phil Jimenez
December 2003
***

A hurried issue in a compressed climax: this isn’t Morrison at his best. Logan & Jean piece a plot together from sketchy evidence & debatable retcons to the previous 2½ years of comics. But one nice bit of drama has Wolvie stab Jean in a mercy-kill; she then resurrects as they plunge into the sun!

last issue: New X-Men #147
next issue: New X-Men #149

also indexed for Dec. ’03
Alias #27
Avengers/JLA #4 of 4

New X-Men #147

December 2, 2012

Grant Morrison // Phil Jimenez
late November 2003
***

After destroying NYC & the X-Men, a drug-addled Magneto’s theatrical histrionics fail to inspire mutant revolution. A fascinating failure, Morrison’s Mags ignores Claremont’s, reckoning w/ McKellen’s movie perf & Bin Laden’s real-life evil, but most of all with Stan Lee’s original raving nut.

last issue: New X-Men #146
next issue: New X-Men #148

also indexed for Nov. ’03
Alias #26
JLA/Avengers #3 of 4
New X-Men #146

New X-Men #146

December 1, 2012

Grant Morrison // Phil Jimenez
early November 2003
**

Sometimes Morrison’s compressed storytelling works, but not in #146, where he rushes to end his X-epic prematurely. A big reveal undoes two of his strongest issues & best characters by conflating Xorn w/ the “late” Magneto. Still, Jiminez provides solid craft, incl. several silent pages in space.

last issue: New X-Men #145
next issue: New X-Men #147

also indexed for Nov. ’03
Alias #26
JLA/Avengers #3 of 4
New X-Men #147

New X-Men #115

October 30, 2012

Grant Morrison // Frank Quitely
August 2001
*****

A hyper-brilliant megalomaniac (a drag doppelganger of Xavier, note) sends her magpie Sentinels to demolish the mutant utopia of Genosha. Published just after the terrorist attacks of 2001, this issue cuts close to the bone. Yet NXM gains currency from the tension btw its dayglo style & genocide.

last issue: New X-Men #114
next issue: New X-Men #116

also indexed for Aug. ’01
Avengers #43

Captain America Annual #4

August 30, 2012

Jack Kirby
October 1977
***
The King’s swansong on Cap recalls his early X-work, as the hero competes w/ Magneto’s Brotherhood to recruit a mutant. Jack never got Magneto (presenting the villain as a ranting, 1D, would-be despot) but he shows how fertile the concept of mutants could be. Take the maguffin, a mite in a wristwatch who shares a mind w/ a behemoth! It’s as uncanny a mutant as any that Claremont would imagine.
[last issue: Captain America Annual #3]
[next issue: Captain America Annual #5]

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 #8 of 9

February 21, 2012

Jim Shooter // Al Milgrom
February 1986
*
The Beyonder, annoyed w/ the enigma of existence, contemplates destroying it. #8 epitomizes what’s wrong w/ SW2. Shooter, having imagined godlike beings such as Korvac, wants to draw an omnipotent Hamlet—all introspection & inaction—but he’s no Shakespeare. The ersatz philosophy is fun to read.
[continued from The Defenders #152]
[see also The New Mutants #37]
[see also The Amazing Spider-Man #274]
[continued in The Avengers #265]
[last issue: Secret Wars II #7 of 9]
[next issue: Secret Wars II #9 of 9]

Secret Wars II #7 of 9

February 20, 2012

Jim Shooter // Al Milgrom
January 1986
*
The Marvel U’s version of Satan aims to destroy the Beyonder w/ Kirbytech & a battalion of supervillains. Luckily, the Thing has Big B’s back. Since last ish, the godling has gotten lost in meditation. His passivity & fiendish temptation could be holy, but in Shooter’s hands it’s just dull & inert.
[continued from Power Man & Iron Fist #121]
[continued in The New Mutants #36]
[last issue: Secret Wars II #6 of 9]
[next issue: Secret Wars II #8 of 9]

Secret Wars II #1 of 9

February 14, 2012

Jim Shooter // Al Milgrom
July 1985
**
Despite its plodding pace, bad characterization, & awful action, Secret Wars sold comics so it earns a sequel. Luckily, SW2 seems to have a smarter concept than  “good v. bad”. Its blank-slate protagonist, a godlike entity called the Beyonder, seeks experience & wisdom on Earth—& finds superhero violence.
[continued in The New Mutants #30]
[continued in Captain America #308]
[continued in Iron Man #197]
[next issue: Secret Wars II #2 of 9]

Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #12 of 12

February 13, 2012

Jim Shooter // Mike Zeck
April 1985
**
An anonymous roster of artists, betrayed by a diversity of styles, help Zeck complete issue #12 on time. The motives of the Beyonder (such a terrible name!) again get teased but remain obscure. Doom’s final battle w/ the entity is a sound-&-light show, while the heroes get resurrected offstage then return home via Kirbytech. And so the Wars wrap up patly, tying up ends left dangling since #1.
[last issue: Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #11 of 12]

Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #11 of 12

February 13, 2012

Jim Shooter // Mike Zeck
March 1985
**
Rule #1: never show Doom’s face! Tho’ the now divine Doc has removed his mask, he hasn’t quite left behind his human desires. Presumably that’s why the heroes, chatting at a conference table <yawn>, get zapped by lightning. Plus, Colossus gets busy w/ an alien chick, to the fury of Pryde fans.
[last issue: Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #10 of 12]
[next issue: Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #12 of 12]

Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #10 of 12

February 12, 2012

Jim Shooter // Mike Zeck
February 1985
***
Shooter’s flaws (bad dialogue, brute combat) haven’t vanished, but he pulls a twist! While the heroes cower, Dr. Doom wins the Secret War! With Miltonic self-regard, he syphons off the cosmic power of Galactus then challenges the godlike “Beyonder”. Finally, the series’ scope equals its remit.
[last issue: Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #9 of 12]
[next issue: Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #11 of 12]

Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #9 of 12

February 11, 2012

Jim Shooter // Mike Zeck
January 1985
**
Mr F asks what a godlike entity could hope to gain from arena sport. Shooter almost breaks thru the banality, but <sigh> having no answer, he falls back on his plot of Galactus Rising. Anyway, Zeck submits his best work of the series: his panels smooth & unfussy, his pacing tight but not hurried.
[last issue: Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #8 of 12]
[next issue: Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #10 of 12]

Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #8 of 12

February 10, 2012

Jim Shooter // Mike Zeck
December 1984
*
Finally, something happens! The good guys storm the citadel of the bad guys. It’s a bash-’em-up battle, which is ironic as Shooter made his youthful rep on DC’s Legion by inventing non-strength & -energy superpowers. The cover tells the real story of this ish: Spidey gets a new black costume.
[last issue: Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #7 of 12]
[next issue: Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #9 of 12]

Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #7 of 12

February 9, 2012

Jim Shooter // Mike Zeck
November 1984
*
A new Spider-Woman in a black leotard walks out of the shadows. “I’m Spider-Woman!” she announces. The next panel: “Hello everyone! I’m Spider-Woman!” Then she wanders off for the rest of the issue. To think, Shooter is Marvel’s Chief Creative Officer! Another low point: She-Hulk gets a beatdown.
[last issue: Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #6 of 12]
[next issue: Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #8 of 12]

Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #6 of 12

February 8, 2012

Jim Shooter // Mike Zeck
October 1984
*
Colossus moons over an alien chick; the Wasp gets killed; Galactus constructs his enigmatic Kirbytech; combat resembles schoolyard tussling. Thankfully, Zeck has returned with his delicate line. His long shots of tiny figures, each carefully rendered & colored, are the only entertainment on view.
[last issue: Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #5 of 12]
[next issue: Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #7 of 12]

Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #5 of 12

February 7, 2012

Jim Shooter // Bob Layton
September 1984
*
In the latest wrinkle to this slow-moving mag, Galactus plans to eat the artificial world out from under the superhumans. But it’s a case of telling, not showing. Layton’s fill-in work shows him to be a fine match for Shooter, w/ dull pencils & conventional layouts contributing a lack of urgency.
[last issue: Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #4 of 12]
[next issue: Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #6 of 12]

Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #4 of 12

February 4, 2012

Jim Shooter // Bob Layton
August 1984
**
Despite being fill-in work, the cover to #4 is the series’ best: not a pin-up pose but a claustrophobic shot of the Hulk propping up a mountain. Finally, something happens! The rest, however, is down to MSHSW‘s usual level. Check that last page, meant to be a cliffhanger: Galactus raises his arms!
[last issue: Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #3 of 12]
[next issue: Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #5 of 12]

Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #3 of 12

February 3, 2012

Jim Shooter // Mike Zeck
July 1984
*
A hurricane pounds the Kirbytech bases on the patchwork world, establishing—surprise!—a romantic mood! In a twist, the Wasp hooks up with Magneto! But Shooter has a tin ear even for strongly voiced characters like Spidey & Dr. Doom. His own creations, a pair of superwomen, have woefully generic powers.
[last issue: Marvel Super Hero Secret Wars #2 of 12]
[next issue: Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #4 of 12]

Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #2 of 12

February 2, 2012

Jim Shooter // Mike Zeck
June 1984
*
Zeck’s landscapes give this maxiseries a weird sense of place, and his trad three-tier grid keeps the action clear. But Shooter—Marvel’s creative chief!—writes such flat characters & brute superpowers! Only Dr. Doom is on model, as he audaciously aims above the series’ good v. evil battle royale.
[last issue: Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #1 of 12]
[next issue: Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #3 of 12]