Archive for the ‘Speedball’ Category

Thunderbolts #121

August 3, 2014

Thunderbolts 121Warren Ellis // Mike Deodato
August 2008
***

The creative team stages a trad grand finale—punching, zapping, & quipping. Ellis, at least, has a touch of wit, but action is not Deodato’s forte. Still, the duo have established a v.g. status quo for this mag, by writing Songbird well &, even better, by casting Osborn as a neocon supervillain.

last issue: Thunderbolts #120
next issue: Thunderbolts #122

also indexed for Aug. ’08
Guardians of the Galaxy #2
The Immortal Iron Fist #16
Nova #14

Thunderbolts #120

August 2, 2014

Thunderbolts 120Warren Ellis // Mike Deodato
July 2008
****

A quartet of telepaths have lain waste to the psyches of this unbalanced team—a turn of events that’s sent Norm Osborne for his Green Goblin mask! His psychotic willingness to commit violence has deliberate echoes of Rumsfeld’s self-justifying rants, & he’s played (via photoref) by Tommy Lee Jones.

last issue: Thunderbolts #119
next issue: Thunderbolts #121

also indexed for Jul. ’08
Giant-Size Astonishing X-Men #1 of 1
Guardians of the Galaxy #1
The Immortal Iron Fist
 #15
Nova #13

Thunderbolts #119

August 1, 2014

Thunderbolts 119Warren Ellis // Mike Deodato
May 2008
***

The base is on lockdown: a super-jail whose prisoners incl a cell of telepaths w/ radical politics. Our title team is ripped by factions, as a Nazi aristo (Swordsman), attempts a coup w/ his suborned guard of redshirt soldiers. At the climax, he faces a monstrous Venom—staged as a St. George moment!

last issue: Thunderbolts #118
next issue: Thunderbolts #120

also indexed for May ’08
Annihilation: Conquest #5 of 6
The Immortal Iron Fist #13
Nova #11

Thunderbolts #118

July 31, 2014

Thunderbolts 118Warren Ellis // Mike Deodato
February 2008
***

A central part of Busiek’s original T-bolts, which Ellis has revived, is the sense that the status quo is unsustainable. The team starts to tear apart—but this is too soon, due to decompressed pacing. Ironically, the best moment has Songbird & Rad-Man cooperate to douse a flaming jet in its hanger.

last issue: Thunderbolts #117
next issue: Thunderbolts #119

also indexed for Feb. ’08
Annihilation: Conquest #2 of 6
The Immortal Iron Fist #12
Nova #9

Thunderbolts #117

July 30, 2014

Thunderbolts 117Warren Ellis // Mike Deodato
December 2007
***

Doc Samson takes the tough-love approach to a shrink session w/ castmember Speedball. The doc is Ellis’ surrogate in rehabilitating this broken character, once a goofball & now a super-masochist in an iron maiden! Deo often puts together dandy layouts, tho’ his photo-reffed actors are wooden.

last issue: Thunderbolts #116
next issue: Thunderbolts #118

also indexed for Dec. ’07
Annihilation: Conquest: Quasar #4 of 4
Annihilation: Conquest: Star-Lord #4 of 4
Annihilation: Conquest: Wraith #4 of 4
The Immortal Iron Fist #10
Nova #7

Thunderbolts #116

July 29, 2014

Thunderbolts 116Warren Ellis // Mike Deodato
October 2007
****

T-bolts effectively goes bimonthly for the rest of this revisionistic run. Ellis takes a ’90s-style strikeforce of black hats & uses it as a vehicle for W. Bush-era commentary. The dark side of the post-Civil War: a crackdown on civil rights, as the team’s base is an overcrowded black site prison.

last issue: Thunderbolts #115
next issue: Thunderbolts #117

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

Thunderbolts #115

July 28, 2014

Thunderbolts 115Warren Ellis // Mike Deodato
August 2007
***

The field op is a failure, although the T-bolts capture their man (a Spidey wannabe). A second exception: during the chaos, Songbird takes the opportunity to strike Bullseye from the team. Ellis works excellently in the moral shadows, but Deodato’s photo-referencing can make the actors seem stiff.

last issue: Thunderbolts #114
next issue: Thunderbolts #116

also indexed for Aug. ’07
Annihilation: Conquest: Prologue #1 of 1
The Immortal Iron Fist #7
Nova #3

Thunderbolts #114

July 27, 2014

Thunderbolts 114Warren Ellis // Mike Deodato
July 2007
***

A super-rumble in downtown Phoenix has a trio of ‘undocumented’ superheroes undaunted by the title team’s surprise attack. A slightly subpar issue, partly cuz it’s so decompressed. Deodato quits the grid layout to imply the dynamism of battle, but he loses a sense of space and slows the pacing.

last issue: Thunderbolts #113
next issue: Thunderbolts #115

also indexed for Jul. ’07
The Immortal Iron Fist #6
Nova #2

Thunderbolts #113

July 26, 2014

Thunderbolts 113Warren Ellis // Mike Deodato
June 2007
****

Several subplots are converging on Phoenix AZ: a querulous strike team of psychopaths & a trio of naïve super-types just trying to avoid the Marvel überplot, a super-draft (AKA the Initiative) & do the right thing. Deodato’s faces are very expressive, due to painterly contouring by his colorist.

last issue: Thunderbolts #112
next issue: Thunderbolts #114

also indexed for Jun. ’07
The Immortal Iron Fist #5
Nova #1

Thunderbolts #112

July 25, 2014

Thunderbolts 112Warren Ellis // Mike Deodato
May 2007
****

The team’s a vivid array of luridly damaged psyches. Norman Osborne finally justifies his Clone-era resurrection, but it’s Moonstone & Songbird who stand out (as they had in Busiek’s T-bolts). The women butt heads over the leadership role in a scene out of a military briefing in the Iraqi Green Zone.

last issue: Thunderbolts #111
next issue: Thunderbolts #113

also indexed for May ’07
Annihilation: Heralds of Galactus #2 of 2
Astonishing X-Men #21

Thunderbolts #111

July 24, 2014

Thunderbolts 111Warren Ellis // Mike Deodato
April 2007
****

Norm Osborne, on antipsychotics, leads a federal team of superconvicts. Here, they arrest one of Captain America’s protégés with extreme force & revolting machismo. This new take on the T-bolts does what Civil War didn’t: use a superhero idiom to take a timely stand against domestic policing.

last issue: Thunderbolts #110
next issue: Thunderbolts #112

also indexed for Apr. ’07
Annihilation: Heralds of Galactus #1 of 2
The Immortal Iron Fist #4

Thunderbolts #110

July 23, 2014

Thunderbolts 110Warren Ellis // Mike Deodato
March 2007
****

A marquee creative team revamps this mag superbly. In Ellis’ hands, the T-bolts are a variation on Suicide Squad, but w/ a strong satiric take on his übermenschen in The Authority as informed by Homeland Security. Deodato, in the cinematic mode-of-the-monent, has the virtue of being a very good DP.

last issue: Thunderbolts #109
next issue: Thunderbolts #111

also indexed for Mar. ’07
Annihilation #6 of 6
Nextwave, Agents of HATE #12

Thunderbolts #8

June 25, 2014

Thunderbolts 008Kurt Busiek & Roger Stern // Mark Bagley
November 1997
****

The first T-bolts story to last more than one ish ends w/ the mag’s best since #1. The team fends off a set of monsters menacing NYC, winning adulation & SHIELD access. But what’s esp great is how it delves into the psyche of Songbird, codependent & unconfident till now, when she must act alone.

last issue: Thunderbolts #7
next issue: Thunderbolts #9

Thunderbolts #1

June 15, 2014

Thunderbolts 001Kurt Busiek // Mark Bagley
April 1997
*****

Lives up to its rep as a key issue of ’90s superheroics. W/ the “daylight” heroes dead & NYC in ruins after an inane X-Men/Avengers crossover, a new team of unknown superheroes become media darlings for their earnest, old-school approach to do-goodery. But their secret is, they’re really neferious villains! The brill twist on the superteam trope clarifies yet ironizes the era’s antihero morality.

next issue: Thunderbolts #2

Nova #3

February 11, 2014

Nova 03Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning // Sean Chen
August 2007
***

The writers prefer to retread last issue’s ground instead of moving forward (veteran of intergalactic war can’t bear the short horizons of home). It’s good, but when Nova meets ex-mate Speedball, a PTSD masochist since Civil War, he falls back on bromides instead of seeing his dark reflection.

last issue: Nova #2
next issue: Nova #4
see also Annihilation: Conquest: Prologue #1 of 1

also indexed for Aug. ’07
Annihilation: Conquest: Prologue #1 of 1
The Immortal Iron Fist #7

Nova #2

February 10, 2014

Nova 02Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning // Sean Chen
July 2007
****

From a simple plot (Ryder takes shore-leave on Earth), the writers spool a soldier’s perspective on Marvel. So while the vet led an ugly stellar war, local heroes bickered in an inane Civil War. A grizzled old youth w/ an AI brain, he’s alienated from his suburban home. Oh, they’re putting thought into this!

previous issue: Nova #1
next issue: Nova #3

also indexed for Jul. ’07
The Immortal Iron Fist #6

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

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 #13

July 30, 2013

Avengers 13Kurt Busiek // George Pérez
February 1999
****

A simple *** except that Pérez is on fire! He’s never been better, smoothly guiding eyes across a dozen panels per page. Busiek focuses on rookies Justice & Firestar, who have swapped roles: one enthusiastic & the other unsure. Here, Justice realizes he’s comfier in the minors w/ his New Warriors.

last issue: Avengers #12
next issue: Avengers #14

also indexed for Feb. ’99
Avengers Forever #3 of 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]

Alias #21

July 30, 2010

Brian Michael Bendis // Michael Gaydos & Mark Bagley
June 2003
****
Bendis’ trafficking arc (kinda partners to his Owl arc in DD) wraps up w/ a burst of action—Speedball bubbles!—& Kid Spider-Woman’s rescue. It also teases at Jones’ traumatic history by alluding to a similar victimization & a dream-fight w/ the Defenders. Gaydos gets trad w/ a 3×3 grid on 1 page!
[last issue: Alias #20]
[next issue: Alias #22]

Alias #20

July 28, 2010

David MackBrian Michael Bendis // Michael Gaydos
May 2003
****
Part 5 of a dark sex- & drug-trafficking arc punctuates the liberal feminist theme. Jess teams up w/ PI namesake Jessica Drew (AKA the original Spider-Woman), who acts like a kick-ass gal out of a Tarantino flick. But then, Alias has always felt like an early ’80s Claremont comic (see also Ms. Marvel).
[last issue: Alias #19]
[next issue: Alias #21]