Archive for the ‘Mockingbird’ Category

Hawkeye #22

January 25, 2016

Hawkeye 22Matt Fraction // David Aja
September 2015
*****

Together Kate & Clint save the BK brownstone & its families from the ‘Tracksuit Draculas’ & harlequin hit-man. Fraction & Aja close their outstanding run, adding a gesture to set up next ‘season’. Superlative comics on every level, the sort of collection you can lend to a non-fan of superheroes.

last issue: Hawkeye #21
continued in Hawkeye #1

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Hawkeye #15

January 18, 2016

Hawkeye 15Matt Fraction // David Aja
April 2014
****

Aja at his most conventional is still a delight. He falls back on Iron Fist style, hand-to-hand focusing on movement & balance. It makes for a claustrophobic issue, as the gangsters slip past the brownstone’s defenses & do damage to the Barton Brothers! The plot thickens in this Brooklyn noir.

last issue: Hawkeye #14
next issue: Hawkeye #16

Hawkeye #13

January 16, 2016

Hawkeye 1Matt Fraction // David Aja
December 2013
****

Wow, Hawkeye loops back to cover the last four issues (incl. annual) from yet another POV! The blow-up btw Hawkeyes, the neighbor’s funeral, & the fraternal reunion get replayed in linear progression. The art also gets back to classical comics storytelling, modeling a 3×3 grid like Ike’s in office.

last issue: Hawkeye #12
next issue: Hawkeye #14

Hawkeye #9

January 11, 2016

Hawkeye 09Matt Fraction // David Aja
June 2013
*****

After the unexpectedly linear #8, Frac & Aja reshuffle its timeframe & POV. It’s Valentine’s Day, a perfect date for Bobbi Morse to divorce Clint; for Jess Drew to dump him; & for Tash Romanov to hunt down the gangster’s redheaded moll. But the key scene is the trio’s lecture of his protégé Kate.

last issue: Hawkeye #8
next issue: Hawkeye #10

Hawkeye #8

January 10, 2016

Hawkeye 08Matt Fraction // David Aja with Annie Wu
April 2013
*****

The redheaded femme drags Barton into another encounter with the tracksuit gangsters of “Little Irkutsk”. Delightfully, she gets the evil eye from the other gals in H’s life: Widow, Hawkgirl, Mockingb, & naïve GF Spider-W. Covers to fake romance comics, by Wu, act as exposition and punctuation.

last issue: Hawkeye #7
next issue: Hawkeye #9

Hawkeye #4 of 4

January 2, 2016

Hawkeye 4 of 4Mark Gruenwald
December 1983
***

Hawkeye is Gruenwald’s knowing homage to fun superhero adventure, right down to the villain who spills his plan with his tongue in his cheek. And when he fails to draw H’s bow, he drops an exploding arrow on his foot! For closure, Mockingbird takes the romantic initiative & proposes an elopement.

last issue: Hawkeye #3 of 4

also indexed for Dec. ’83
The Fantastic Four #261
The Mighty Thor #338

Hawkeye #3 of 4

January 1, 2016

Hawkeye 3 of 4Mark Gruenwald
November 1983
***

Gruenwald’s mini updates Silver Age tropes with inspiration, not slavish devotion. So Hawkeye & his partner take the subway to a stake-out—which leads to a pip of a fight sequence on the train & in the station! Their foes: a male/female mercenary duo, & the guy’s a juggler w/ trick balls!

last issue: Hawkeye #2 of 4
next issue: Hawkeye #3 of 4

also indexed for Nov. ’83
The Fantastic Four #260
The Mighty Thor #337

Hawkeye #2 of 4

December 31, 2015

Hawkeye 2 of 4Mark Gruenwald
October 1983
**

Hawkeye teams up with Mockingbird, a SHIELD agent-turned-urban vigilante, to take out an evil corp. The duo show good chemistry; she’s as tough as he is, & smarter too. But the title character hasn’t shown much more than some comic-book angst, leaving him looking like a narcissistic mope.

last issue: Hawkeye #1 of 4
next issue: Hawkeye #3 of 4

also indexed for Oct. ’83
The Fantastic Four #259

Hawkeye #1 of 4

December 30, 2015

Hawkeye 1 of 4Mark Gruenwald
September 1983
**

The Avengers’ perennial second-stringer finally gets his own mini. Hawkeye has been earning bread as the security chief at a tech firm—till this opener. A superheroine tips him to an evil plan & gets him dumped by a femme fatale. Gruenwald’s competent art includes some fine hand-to-hand combat.

next issue: Hawkeye #2 of 4

also indexed for Sept. ’83
The Fantastic Four #258

Captain America #611: Bucky Barnes

October 19, 2015

Captain America 611A-story: Ed Brubaker // Daniel Acuña
December 2010
A-story: ***

Bucky’s past makes his role as Cptn. A untenable from a political POV. For this talky issue, Brubaker’s Cap ventures into the corporate/celebrity mode of Bendis’ Avengers (which I think Acuña then did?). He’s got a great style, tho’ he’s more glossy & cool than the run’s standard gritty melodrama.

B-story: Rikki Barnes
last issue: Captain America #610
next issue: Captain America #612

also indexed for Dec. ’10
The Fantastic Four #584
Secret Avengers #6
Steve Rogers: Super Soldier #4 of 4
The Thanos Imperative #5 of 6

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

X-Statix Presents: Dead Girl #5 of 5

April 22, 2015

Dead Girl 5 of 5Peter Milligan // Nick Dragotta & Mike Allred
July 2006
****

A charming conclusion to the X-Statix title, lacking teeth but giving the protags closure (except Doop!). It also reveals a love for Ditko, slipping several of his characters in. Allred pencils the hell out of them, esp. Dr. Strange in a fabulous duel of magic with his late mentor.

last issue: X-Statix Presents: Dead Girl #4 of 5

also indexed for Jul. ’06
Annihilation: Nova #2 of 4
Annihilation: Ronan #2 of 4
Annihilation: Silver Surfer #2 of 4
Annihilation: Super-Skrull #2 of 4
Civil War #1 of 7
Daredevil #85
Nextwave, Agents of HATE #5

X-Statix Presents: Dead Girl #4 of 5

April 21, 2015

Dead Girl 4 of 5Peter Milligan // Nick Dragotta & Mike Allred
June 2006
***

Dr. Strange & Dead Girl carry a nice flirtation on as they lead a team of dead superheroes into hell. It contrasts well with the too-wimpy Mr. Sensitive getting on U-Go Girl’s nerves. Moments like these show Milligan’s fondness for his characters as he gives them a real ending instead of satire.

last issue: X-Statix Presents: Dead Girl #3 of 5
next issue: X-Statix Presents: Dead Girl #5 of 5

also indexed for Jun. ’06
Annihilation: Nova #1 of 4
Annihilation: Ronan #1 of 4
Annihilation: Silver Surfer #1 of 4
Annihilation: Super-Skrull #1 of 4
Astonishing X-Men #14
Daredevil #84
Nextwave, Agents of HATE #4

X-Statix Presents: Dead Girl #3 of 5

April 20, 2015

Dead Girl 3 of 5Peter Milligan // Nick Dragotta & Mike Allred
May 2006
****

Hard to say why Dead Girl’s in the title—it’s more like “The X-Statix reunion tour featuring Dr. Strange”. Romance buds in the nether realms, as 1940s heroine Miss America gets over her racial prejudices with Tike Alicar. Also cleverly, some of Marvel’s late women are happiest in a man-free heaven!

last issue: X-Statix Presents: Dead Girl #2 of 5
next issue: X-Statix Presents: Dead Girl #4 of 5

also indexed for May ’06
Annihilation: Prologue #1 of 1
Daredevil #83
Iron Man #6
Nextwave, Agents of HATE #3
The Pulse #14
Young Avengers #11

X-Statix Presents: Dead Girl #2 of 5

April 19, 2015

Dead Girl 2 of 5Peter Milligan // Nick Dragotta & Mike Allred
April 2006
****

First the late Dead Girl visits the mortal plane by possessing a host made of deli meat; then she takes Dr. Strange to heaven to recruit a team that will, in turn, storm hell. The cosmology is full of unhinged dead characters & surreal deep-focus perspectives on all three planes of existence.

last issue: X-Statix Presents: Dead Girl #1 of 5
next issue: X-Statix Presents: Dead Girl #3 of 5

also indexed for Apr. ’06
Daredevil #82
Nextwave, Agents of HATE #2

X-Statix Presents: Dead Girl #1 of 5

April 18, 2015

Dead Girl 1 of 5Peter Milligan // Nick Dragotta & Mike Allred
March 2006
****

Readers hoping for a real end to X-Statix get wrongfooted by Milligan with #1 of this mini. Dead Girl only cameos, with Dr. Strange getting the focus. Ditko’s mage visits a shrink for depression before attending to an undead invasion. Note: Allred ghosts over rookie Dragotta’s breakdowns?

continued from X-Statix #26
next issue: X-Statix Presents: Dead Girl #2 of 5

also indexed for Mar. ’06
Daredevil #81
Iron Man #5
Nextwave, Agents of HATE #1
The Pulse #13
Young Avengers #10

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

JLA/Avengers #3 of 4

October 6, 2013

Avengers.JLA 3 of 4Kurt Busiek // George Pérez
November 2003
****

JLA/Av retcons annual super-teamups btw Marvel & DC, a late-era Crisis (in DC terminology) complete w/ overlapping Earths. The art of mature Pérez is even better than in his ’80s Crisis. Busiek writes a tighter plot, tho it suffers from self-reference & (surprisingly for KB) a lack of central protag. For superhero lovers rather than casual readers, but those fanboys will be truly satisfied.

last issue: Avengers/JLA #2 of 4
next issue: Avengers/JLA #4 of 4

also indexed for Nov. ’03
Alias #26
New X-Men #146
New X-Men #147

Avengers #11

July 26, 2013

Avengers 11Kurt Busiek // George Pérez
December 1998
***

Schmaltz. A host of dead heroes turn good cuz they’re Avengers. Meanwhile, Wanda resurrects Wonder Man by adding the power of love to her magic. In turn, WM defeats his brother with filial affection. Pérez offers his trademarks: earthen columns of weirdness, gypsy outfits, & plenty of Kirby krackle.

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

also indexed for Dec. ’98
Avengers Forever #1 of 12

Avengers #10

July 25, 2013

Avengers 10Kurt Busiek // George Pérez
November 1998
***

Wanda gets in touch w/ her magic. More importantly, a parade for the team. It’s for 35 years of issues (& for the Heroes Return concept), yet it’s a throwback to Roy Thomas’ naïve adulation of superhero comics. Still, Busiek lurves them too, & his nuts-n-bolts approach is what The Avengers needs.

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

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 #5 of 9

February 18, 2012

Jim Shooter // Al Milgrom
November 1985
**
The Beyonder picks a fight w/ Kirby space-gods, a good concept wasted by dull fight choreography. The protag does have an emotional arc—unable to return to his home dimension, he’s now sulking w/ a mutant teen runaway—but his moods are impossible to follow if you don’t get every crossover issue.
[continued from The Avengers #261]
[continued in The Thing #30]
[last issue: Secret Wars II #4 of 9]
[next issue: Secret Wars II #6 of 9]

Dark Reign: The List – The Avengers #1 of 1

July 2, 2011

Brian Michael Bendis // Marko Djurdjevic
November 2009
****

Bendis has written variations on the nerd question, “Why doesn’t Batman kill the Joker?” but he’s usually fumbled the ball. He finally gets it right in this cash-grab, staging the Avengers’ debate on the ethics of assassination & the death penalty. Then Hawkeye goes rogue to kill Norman Osborn.

also indexed for Nov. ’09
The Fantastic Four #571

The Mighty Thor #381

May 2, 2011

Walt Simonson // Sal Buscema
July 1987
****
Having faced the World Serpent & a Satan analog, but cursed w/ immortality, Thor’s a pulverized mess. Simonson finds a brilliant solution: syphon Thor’s soul into the enchanted armor that he’s fought so often! It plays to Buscema’s Kirby-esque strengths as Thor battles the armor on the astral plane.
[continued from Mephisto vs. #4 of 4]
[last issue: The Mighty Thor #380]
[next issue: The Mighty Thor #382]

The Fantastic Four #265

January 20, 2011

John Byrne
April 1984
A-story: *****
B-story: ****
A deftly executed pair of tales. The bravura A-story takes the POV of Paste-Pot Pete as he breaks into an empty Baxter Building. The stillness & absence of people creates a unique tension. The B-plot skips to the end of Secret Wars, giving nothing away ‘cept She-Hulk now subs for an MIA Thing.
[continued in Secret Wars #1]
[continued from Secret Wars #12]
[last issue: The Fantastic Four #264]
[next issue: The Fantastic Four #266]

Captain America #401

November 9, 2010

Mark Gruenwald // Rik Levins
June 1992
***
After the grim conclusion to the Avengers x-over, Cap wonders whether his moral rectitude is outmoded in ’90s comics. It’s a fine bit of self-reflection as Cap, Hawkeye & Iron Man go out for a beer. The subplot, in ironic counterpoint, slowly builds tension: Diamondback seems destined for torture.
[continued from The Avengers #347]
[last issue: Captain America #400]

Avengers West Coast #81

October 26, 2010

Roy & Dann Thomas // Dave Ross
April 1992
**
Part 9 of “Operation: Galactic Storm”
Avengers epic  “Galactic Storm” visits the home front, where lose their Shi’ar prisoners & Kree power bracers (the keys to a super-weapon). It’s a rare crossover that focuses more on good storytelling than craven profiteering. Even mediocre issues like this one push the story along.
[continued from Captain America #399]
[continued in Quasar #33]
[last issue: Avengers West Coast #80]
[next issue: Avengers West Coast #82]

The Avengers #345

October 22, 2010

Bob Harras // Steve Epting
March 1992
**
Part 5 of “Operation: Galactic Storm”
The Kree-Shi’ar War is destabilizing our sun by using our system as a hyperspace bypass. So every Avenger is mobilized for one front or another. Harras delivers the ham that good space opera needs, but as always, he fails to harmonize an ensemble of voices or bring authenticity to the action.
[continued from Wonder Man #7]
[continued in Iron Man #278]
[last issue: The Avengers #344]
[next issue: The Avengers #346]

Avengers West Coast #80

October 19, 2010

Roy & Dann Thomas // Dave Ross
March 1992
**
Part 2 of “Operation: Galactic Storm”
Thomas helps to launch a sequel to his classic “Kree-Skrull War” epic (& other details of Marvel history—Roy’s happiest when he’s patching old plotlines into new stories). Captain America leads the WCAs into a skirmish w/ a giant robot while alien (Shi’ar) operatives swipe a Kirbytech maguffin.
[continued from Captain America #398]
[continued in Quasar #32]
[last issue: Avengers West Coast #79]
[next issue: Avengers West Coast #81]