Archive for the ‘Shi’ar’ Category

Captain Marvel #15

February 20, 2016

Captain Marvel 2.15Kelly Sue DeConnick with Jan van Meter // Pat Olliffe
October 2013
**

The Avengers fly two starships into a space battle: one for each of KSDC’s mags. It’s a crossover that requires a non-CM issue for context, which is terribly alienating to newer readers. The amnesia of last issue is backburnered too. KSDC does what she can, & it’s passable fun.

continued from Avengers #18
see also Avengers Assemble #18
last issue: Captain Marvel #14
next issue: Captain Marvel #16

also indexed for Oct. ’13
Avengers Assemble #18

Gambit and the X-Ternals #3 of 4

February 12, 2015

Gambit and the X-Ternals 3 of 4Fabien Nicieza // Salvador Larroca
May 1995
**

Gambit, of all characters, saves the multiverse, repairing its crystalline nexus by “sacrificing” his love for Rogue. Nicieza thus equates him w/ Claremont’s Phoenix—a ludicrous comparison! Larroca improves on Daniel, tho’ his art often foregoes environment, a key to good space-adventure comics.

last issue: Gambit and the X-Ternals #2 of 4
next issue: Gambit and the X-Ternals #4 of 4

also indexed for May ’95
The Amazing X-Men #3 of 4
The Astonishing X-Men #3 of 4
Factor X #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

Gambit and the X-Ternals #2 of 4

February 11, 2015

Gambit and the X-Ternals 2 of 4Fabian Nicieza // Tony Daniel
April 1995
*

The M’Kraan Crystal, unrepaired by Phoenix in this timeline, threatens to obliterate existence! Like the whole series, this concept rests wholly on Claremont’s work; the ish itself is an exposition dump. Daniel’s Liefeld-like pencils, all posturing & grimacing, underscore the lack of incident.

last issue: Gambit and the X-Ternals #1 of 4
next issue: Gambit and the X-Ternals #3 of 4

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

Cable #20

January 11, 2015

Cable 020Jeph Loeb // Ian Churchill
February 1995
**

The coda to an X-Men crossover adventure that ended in mission failure & resulted in the end of the universe! Cable‘s remit is to provide an elegiac sense of closure, but it’s all ’90s mutant whinging. Churchill, tho’ an Image-style hack, surprises by giving his char’s faces some personality!

see also The Uncanny X-Men #321
last issue: Cable #19
next issue: Cable #20

also indexed for Feb. ’95
The Uncanny X-Men #321
X-Men #41
X-Men: Alpha #1 of 1

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 Uncanny X-Men #320

January 7, 2015

Uncanny X-Men 320Scott Lobdell & Mark Waid // Roger Cruz
January 1995
**

A true 4-part crossover, w/ even #’ed issues in adjectiveless X-Men. Professor X’s love-child aims to rewrite history in a bid for paternal validation. Originally a schizoid psychic in New Mutants, Legion is now just a ranting loon w/ the innate ability to time-travel—a random & convenient addition!

continued in X-Men #40
last issue: The Uncanny X-Men #319
next issue: The Uncanny X-Men #321

also indexed for Jan. ’95
X-Men #40

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 #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

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

Nova #31

May 18, 2014

Nova 31Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning // Andrea DiVito
January 2010
***

Rider dives into the tear in spacetime left by War of Kings, where a planet’s about to explode. He faces two foes: the Lovecraftian beasties from across the rift & an ancient galactic conspiracy that’s roped in his onetime teammate, Darkhawk. The issue, impulsively non-linear, is juicy fun, no more.

last issue: Nova #30
next issue: Nova #32

also indexed for Jan. ’10
The Fantastic Four #573
Guardians of the Galaxy #20
Realm of Kings #1 of 1
Realm of Kings: Imperial Guard #1 of 5
Realm of Kings: Inhumans #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 #4 of 5

May 11, 2014

Realm of Kings - Imperial Guard 4 of 5Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning // Kev Walker
April 2010
***

The Realm of Kings maxiseries pays off, pitting the superteam of space voyageurs (clearly analogs for the Legion of Super-Heroes) against the pestiferous anti-universe’s X-Men as the Darkhawk conspiracy resurfaces. Kev Walker’s style, a mod sort of 2000AD look, gets a boost from colorist Fairbairn.

last issue: Realm of Kings: Imperial Guard #3 of 5
next issue: Realm of Kings: Imperial Guard #5 of 5

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

Realm of Kings: Imperial Guard #1 of 5

May 8, 2014

Realm of Kings - Imperial Guard 1 of 5Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning // Kev Walker
January 2010
***

This superhero/space opera hybrid mini kicks off w/ a battle in orbit and on the ground, plenty of collateral damage by the ostensible heroes (a ’70s X-Men analog for DC’s Legion). Their Superman knock-off rules a galactic empire that’s splitting apart. DnA add scope w/ plenty of extra subplots.

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

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 #25

April 24, 2014

Nova 25Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning // Kevin Sharpe
July 2009
***

Back to a more conventional artist (temporarily) & a more conventional tale. Rider lobotomizes that planetary being (also temporary) to save his AI mentor & resume leadership of the Nova Corps. Still, Nova #25 is solid comics, w/ a bubbling subplot, a cliffhanger, & a sense of epic space adventure.

last issue: Nova #24
next issue: Nova #26

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

Nova #24

April 23, 2014

Nova 24Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning // Andrea DiVito
June 2009
****

Always good when an artist inks his own work. Two strands here: Rich Rider, empowered by cosmic energy, storms the Living Planet, co-opter of the Nova Force. But the real storytelling follows a Nova peacekeeper into a brutal battle in War of Kings, from battle’s chaos to the slaughter of POWs.

last issue: Nova #23
next issue: Nova #25

also indexed for Jun. ’09
Dark Reign: Fantastic Four #2 of 5
Guardians of the Galaxy #13
War of Kings #2 of 6
War of Kings: Ascension #1 of 4

Nova #23

April 22, 2014

Nova 23Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning // Andrea DiVito
May 2009
****

Prob’ly one of the top ten works in the main Marvel U! DiVito returns to the SF line; his style’s still stiff but better inking retains his use of negative space. Plotwise, DnA twist & turn: the Nova Corps mobilizes for the War of Kings, while protag Rider gets Cptn. Marvel’s old 1970s power bracers!

last issue: Nova #22
next issue: Nova #24

also indexed for May ’09
Dark Reign: Fantastic Four #1 of 5
Guardians of the Galaxy #11
Guardians of the Galaxy #12
War of Kings #1 of 6
War of Kings: Darkhawk #2 of 2

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: Warriors #1 of 2

April 20, 2014

War of Kings - Warriors 1 of 2A-story: Christos Gage // Mahmud Asrar
B-story: Christos Gage // Carlos Magno
September 2009
A-story: ** // B-story: *

This two-fer-one means to add characterization to the SF maxiseries, but it’s undercooked. The A-tale, at least, hinges on the powers & motives of a pivotal Imperial guardian, & undercuts the honor of combat with irony. The B-story is merely the roaring of barbarian warriors in peripheral battle.

next issue: War of Kings: Warriors #2 of 2

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: Ascension #4 of 4

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 #3 of 4

April 17, 2014

War of Kings - Ascension 3 of 4Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning // Wellinton Alves
August 2009
***

Solid momentum & adequate art adds to the ’80s style retcon for Darkhawk. Sentient armor has trapped generic protag Chris Powell in a weird limbo while it assassinates the Shi’ar Empress over in WoK #4. Can Chris take control before he’s captured? Or will his armor lead the galaxy into tyranny?

last issue: War of Kings: Ascension #2 of 4
next issue: War of Kings: Ascension #4 of 4
see also War of Kings #4 of 6

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: Savage World of Skaar #1 of 1

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

Nova #21

March 27, 2014

Nova 21Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning // Wellinton Alves
March 2009
****

Worldmind, the cosmic AI that Rider has shared a skull with, downloads itself into Ego the Living Planet, one of King Kirby’s kraziest koncepts! But the maneuver smells fishy, esp. when Rider gets booted from the Corps! This is a brilliant turn of events, grand super-SF, a twist on A. Moore’s GL Mogo.

last issue: Nova #20
next issue: Nova #22

also indexed for Mar. ’09
Guardians of the Galaxy #9
Secret Invasion: War of Kings #1 of 1

Nova #20

March 26, 2014

Nova 20Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning // Wellinton Alves & Geraldo Burges
February 2009
***

Another reflective issue of Nova. Richard Rider touches base w/ old friends from the New Warriors, his anxiety stimulated by the Nova Corps’ restoration. Or is he just worried about his younger brother, now a fellow Centurian? If only editorial would get more unique, imaginative artists on this mag!

last issue: Nova #19
next issue: Nova #21

also indexed for Feb. ’09
Guardians of the Galaxy #8

Nova #18

March 21, 2014

Nova 18Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning // Wellinton Alves & Geraldo Burges
December 2008
***

Nova, w/ a growing support staff, defends an upstate super-facility from Skrull invaders. Human scientists have rebooted the Nova AI, w/ the side-effect of conjuring the late Quasar out of “solid energy”. Cavalry comes in the form of a root army &, in a surprise twist, a reconstituted Nova Corps!

last issue: Nova #17
next issue: Nova #19

also indexed for Dec. ’08
Guardians of the Galaxy #6

Annihilation: Conquest: Star-Lord #2 of 4

February 14, 2014

Annihilation Conquest Starlord 2 of 4Keith Giffen // Timothy Green II
October 2007
**

Giffen’s script is soggy w/ American snark, but it’s two-fisted SF, w/ a war’s sense of scope & non-humanoid aliens: a Kirby monster, a hyperintelligent raccoon, Annihilation bugs, etc. The plot: our squad of antiheroes skulk thru occupied territory, drawing a death by friendly fire.

last issue: Annihilation: Conquest: Star-Lord #1 of 4
next issue: Annihilation: Conquest: Star-Lord #3 of 4

also indexed for Oct. ’07
Annihilation: Conquest: Quasar #2 of 4
Annihilation: Conquest: Wraith #2 of 4
Astonishing X-Men #22
The Immortal Iron Fist #8
Nova #5

Annihilation: Conquest: Star-Lord #1 of 4

February 13, 2014

Annihilation Conquest Starlord 1 of 4Keith Giffen // Timothy Green II
September 2007
***

Giff, demoted to support-staff in Marvel’s space dept., does a pro’s job of introing his cast. Star-Lord, a Flash Gordon type from Marvel’s cosmic heyday, will lead a Dirty Dozen platoon on a suicide mission. Colorful aliens, surly officers, clear stakes, & cynicism make the mini engaging.

continued from Annihilation: Conquest: Prologue #1 of 1
next issue: Annihilation: Conquest: Starlord #1 of 4

also indexed for Sept. ’07
Annihilation: Conquest: Quasar #1 of 4
Annihilation: Conquest: Wraith #1 of 4
Nova #4

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

JLA/Avengers #1 of 4

October 4, 2013

Avengers.JLA 1 of 4Kurt Busiek // George Pérez
September 2003
****

As the walls btw DC & Marvel collapse, a pair of cosmic beings make a wager to pit the heroes in a race to collect cosmic artifacts. As hoary as the scenario is, Busiek & Pérez (auteurs of a great Avengers run) lend vivacity to what should be mere fan service. Ex: Busiek makes distinct the thin difference btw the imaginary universes, as Superman reacts viscerally to the MU’s antiheroism & bigotry.

next issue: Avengers/JLA #2 of 4

also indexed for Sept. ’03
Alias #24
New X-Men #144

Maximum Security #3 of 3

September 10, 2013

Maximum Security 3Kurt Busiek // Jerry Ordway
January 2001
**

Superheroes stop an alien intelligence from turning Earth into an interstellar bio-electrical WMD. A confusing climax to a conventional crossover, whose potential rarely came into focus. Ordway’s flat art lends the feeling that Max Sec is a ’80s DC tale bloated by minor plots & lapsed characters.

continued from Avengers #35
last issue: Maximum Security #2 of 3

also indexed for Jan. ’01
Avengers #36

Avengers #35

September 9, 2013

Avengers 35Kurt Busiek // John Romita, Jr.
December 2000
****

R. Stern’s offworld Avengers hope to reverse an intergalactic UN’s edict that’s made Earth a penal colony. Via info dump, the ish helpfully clarifies the plot twist that the Ruul are actually mutated Kree. And JR Jr., @ the height of his talent, provides the alien weirdness that space opera needs.

continued from Maximum Security #2 of 3
continued in Maximum Security #3 of 3
last issue: Avengers #34
next issue: Avengers #36

also indexed for Dec. ’00
Maximum Security #2 of 3

Maximum Security #2 of 3

September 8, 2013

Maximum Security 2Kurt Busiek // Jerry Ordway
December 2000
**

The Reagan-era Captain America holds the line against criminal ET immigrants & uncovers a conspiracy by the great Kirby AI, the Kree Supreme Intelligence. A creative slant on alien invasion, tho’ a bit right-wing by design. Ordway echoes this conservativism, a throwback to dull early ’80s art.

continued in Avengers #35
last issue: Maximum Security #1 of 3
next issue: Maximum Security #3 of 3

also indexed for Dec. ’00
Avengers #35