Archive for the ‘Agent Maria Hill’ Category

Avengers Assemble #23

February 26, 2016

Avengers Assemble 23Kelly Sue DeConnick with Warren Ellis // Matteo Buffagni
March 2014
****

The Education of Anya Corazon continues with Wolverine’s classic girl-sidekick seminar. It helps immensely that Ellis & DeConnick have impressive chemistry as well. I also like KSDC’s depiction of the Avengers as a sort of super-NGO. And Buffagni’s showing issue-by-issue improvement!

last issue: Avengers Assemble #22
next issue: Avengers Assemble #24

Captain Marvel #13

February 16, 2016

Captain Marvel 2.13Kelly Sue DeConnick // Scott Hepburn with Gerardo Sandoval
August 2013
***

Marvel & her avenging friends fight a squadron of reactivated Kirbybots while deducing her attacker’s ID. The pacing’s a little slow (maybe this crossover didn’t need the opening one-shot) but otherwise the writing is tight—wonder how long DeCon will stay in comics before genre TV tempts her away?

continued from Avengers Assemble #16
continued from Avengers Assemble #18
last issue: Captain Marvel #12
next issue: Captain Marvel #14

also indexed for Aug. ’13
Avengers Assemble #16
Hawkeye #11

Hawkeye #20

January 23, 2016

Hawkeye 20Matt Fraction // David Aja
November 2014
*****

This arc has been a phenomenal backdoor pilot for Kate Bishop, Hawkeye—or a grand reward for her fans. Frac, as if acknowledging the character’s maturity, writes her finale in classic non-linear Hawkeye style. Try & put together the twists of this LA noir, or just marvel at Wu’s gangly teen heroine.

last issue: Hawkeye #19
next issue: Hawkeye #21

Hawkeye #5

January 7, 2016

Hawkeye 05Matt Fraction // Javier Pulido
early February 2012
*****

Kid Hawkeye impersonates an Iron Man villain—the criminal mastermind w/ a gold mask—& earns an archenemy. She also learns that the video of her mentor sanctioning a terrorist was a fake, to protect the IDs of Navy Seals: a clever comics application of the Bin Laden op a few years ago.

last issue: Hawkeye #4
next issue: Hawkeye #6

also indexed for Feb. ’12
Hawkeye #6
Winter Soldier #13

Hawkeye #4

January 6, 2016

Hawkeye 04Matt Fraction // Javier Pulido
January 2013
*****

SHIELD’s lost a VCR tape of Barton assassinating a global terrorist for them—so it dispatches him to buy it at auction in an ersatz Asian megacity! As an international man of mystery, he’s a flop. Pulido, however, proves Aja’s near-equal, using minimalism & softer curves to strike a lighter comic tone.

last issue: Hawkeye #3
next issue: Hawkeye #5

also indexed for Jan. ’13
Winter Soldier #12

Winter Soldier #14

December 17, 2015

Winter Soldier 14Ed Brubaker // Jackson Guice
March 2013
***

A KGB superspy wipes love for Bucky from Black Widow’s memory. Brubaker erases this character’s past way too tidily (see also Agent 13’s pregnancy), and focuses on his hero’s wound. It’s the Widow who’s been attacked! That leaves a bad taste, but it’s not the first long run to end in mediocrity.

last issue: Winter Soldier #13
next issue: Winter Soldier #15

also indexed for Mar. ’13

Winter Soldier #13

December 16, 2015

Winter Soldier 13Ed Brubaker // Jackson Guice
February 2013
***

Ed B nods to his other major Marvel run, pitting brainwashed Bucky against his kidnapped GF’s ex, Daredevil. It’s no character piece, nor is it particularly well-staged; just a rainy nighttime NYC fight with Wolverine, Hawkeye, & Cap jumping in. At least they all chew Bucky out for his stupidity.

last issue: Winter Soldier #12
next issue: Winter Soldier #14

also indexed for Feb. ’13

Winter Soldier #12

December 15, 2015

Winter Soldier 12Ed Brubaker // Jackson Guice
January 2013
***

Bucky agrees to revert to his Soviet self and execute a mission for the superspy who’s kidnapped his GF. Our hero’s taken impulsive actions before, so at least it’s in character—but it’s astonishingly stupid. Brubaker has one foot out the door, and Guice, no longer inking himself, is looking ragged.

last issue: Winter Soldier #11
next issue: Winter Soldier #13

also indexed for Jan. ’13

Winter Soldier #11

December 13, 2015

Winter Soldier 11Ed Brubaker // Jackson Guice
December 2012
***

One drawback to Guice’s robust approach to superspy adventure is that it compunds one of Bru’s flaws. Their men have only a small range of emotion, mostly centered on machismo. It means that character dynamics are undercooked, even tho’ the point of #11 is to team Bucky up with fan fave Hawkeye.

last issue: Winter Soldier #11
next issue: Winter Soldier #13

also indexed for Dec. ’12
Captain America #18
Captain America #19
The Fantastic Four #611
FF #23

Winter Soldier #10

December 10, 2015

Winter Soldier 10Ed Brubaker // Jackson Guice
November 2012
****

Black Widow has been kidnapped & mind-raped; regressed to her Soviet self (well, a 21C version of it); killed a longtime SHIELD agent, & had all memory of her romance with Our Hero erased. It’s all to torture Bucky emotionally, natch. But Guice’s art looks retro & contemporary all at once.

last issue: Winter Soldier #9
next issue: Winter Soldier #11

also indexed for Nov. ’12
Captain America #17
The Fantastic Four #610
FF #22

Captain America #29

August 23, 2015

Captain America 29Ed Brubaker // Steve Epting & Mike Perkins
October 2007
****

Bru’s Cap has a lurid sense of psychology: the Soviet’s mindscape is a battlefield, & the psycho lovers share a clinch as they escape prison, & Agent 13 has morning sickness! But the art begins to flag. Epting stages phony movie ultraviolence; Perkins renders the astral plane in dull hyper-realism.

last issue: Captain America #28
next issue: Captain America #30

also indexed for Oct. ’07
Annihilation: Conquest: Quasar #2 of 4
Annihilation: Conquest: Starlord #2 of 4
Annihilation: Conquest: Wraith #2 of 4
Astonishing X-Men #22
Daredevil #100
The Immortal Iron Fist #8
Nova #5
Thunderbolts #116

Captain America #24

August 17, 2015

Captain America 24Ed Brubaker // Mike Perkins
January 2006
***

Cap, on the run from SHIELD, busts a terrorist ring on a tip from Col. Fury; meanwhile the Red Skull recruits another ally in his mad vendetta. Some of the best superspy comics that Marvel’s produced since the gadget-happy heyday of Kirby & Steranko, even factoring in the hackwork fill-in art.

continued in Winter Soldier: Winter Kills #1 of 1
last issue: Captain America #23
next issue: Captain America #25

also indexed for Jan. ’06
Annihilation #4 of 6
Astonishing X-Men #19
Civil War #7 of 7
Daredevil #91
Dr. Strange: The Oath #2 of 5
Nextwave, Agents of HATE #10
Runaways #22

Captain America #22

August 15, 2015

Captain America 22Ed Brubaker // Mike Perkins
November 2006
****

As the morass of Civil War spreads, the mag keeps itself clean. For one thing, it turns the bad politics of that mini into a commentary on the Bush Admin, with Cap acting as Brubaker’s mouthpiece. #22 also adds a headcase to the files: Sharon Carter has been co-opted by the Red Skull’s shrink!

last issue: Captain America #21
next issue: Captain America #23

also indexed for Nov. ’06
Annihilation #2 of 6
Astonishing X-Men #17
Civil War #5 of 7
Daredevil #89
The Immortal Iron Fist #1
Nextwave, Agents of HATE #8
Runaways #20

Daredevil #77

October 13, 2014

Daredevil 077Brian Michael Bendis // Alex Maleev
November 2005
****

As Matt reconnects w/ his ex-wife, his ex-Gfs & his protégé learn that his secret ID has been compromised. #77 may not pass the Bechdel Test, but it does have a woman in every scene & more women than men in its cast. Bendis deserves a note for that in a genre devoted to machismo.

last issue: Daredevil #76
next issue: Daredevil #78

also indexed for Nov. ’05
Drax the Destroyer #1 of 4
The Pulse #11
Young Avengers #8

Astonishing X-Men #13

December 22, 2012

Astonishing X-Men 13Joss Whedon // John Cassaday
April 2006
***
After 8 months on hiatus, AXM resumes its run. Emma Frost, it turns out, is in league w/ arch-psychic Cassandra Nova, Prof X’s evil twin. How disappointing: her rehab was one of ’90s X-comics rare good ideas & so’s her love for Cyclops. But ‘shippers can enjoy Kitty & Colossus reigniting their affair.
[last issue: Astonishing X-Men #12]
[next issue: Astonishing X-Men #14]

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 #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]

Civil War #2 of 7

June 6, 2011

Mark Millar // Steve McNiven
August 2006
*

The big story: Spidey unmasks on nat’l TV. It’s both true to the character & a violation (Peter has always been a principled private citizen). The fact is, the irreconcilable contradiction emphasizes Millar’s failure: he can’t dramatize Pete’s moral quandry, which is the very heart of that character!

last issue: Civil War #1 of 7
next issue: Civil War #3 of 7

also indexed for Aug. ’06
Astonishing X-Men #15
Nextwave, Agents of HATE #6
Young Avengers #12

Civil War #1 of 7

June 5, 2011

Mark Millar // Steve McNiven
July 2006
***
Two sides face off in Civil War: 1) a comix riff on Bush’s America, from the PATRIOT Act to grassroots rage to reality TV; 2) an inane plot w/ cliche dialogue, in which every person & group is devoid of common sense. A villain blows a suburb up, see, so superheroes must register w/ the US govt.
[next issue: Civil War #2 of 7]

Secret War #5 of 5

May 22, 2011

Brian Michael Bendis // Gabriele Dell’Otto
December 2005
***

It went semi-annual, but at least this mini got finished. And there’s a compelling tale that doesn’t quite get told: a comment on 9/11 (made clumsily explicit in one ugly, painted splash) & American foreign policy, embodied by Nick Fury. Problem is, Bendis can’t quite handle the ambiguity required to turn Fury from a heroic superspy into a spook whose activites are a form of moral blindness.

last issue: Secret War #4 of 5

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