Archive for the ‘Spider-Man’ Category

Avengers Assemble #21

February 24, 2016

Avengers Assemble 21Kelly Sue DeConnick // Matteo Buffagni
January 2014
***

Once again strip-mining Kirby for content, Marvel editorial replaces mutants with Inhumans. But DeConnick refreshes new properties, ones w/ double-X chromosomes, by pulling out a few ’00s supervillains. But her focus is Spider-Girl (AKA Araña) on a team-up with Black Widow & Spider-Woman.

last issue: Avengers Assemble #20
next issue: Avengers Assemble #22

also indexed for Jan. ’14
Captain Marvel #17
Hawkeye #14

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Avengers Assemble #11

February 7, 2016

Avengers Assemble 11Kelly Sue DeConnick // Stefano Caselli
March 2013
***

KSDC proves her knack for writing super-comics, both solo & team mags. This arc may be formulaic—a megalomaniac aims to conquer the world with mad science—but she injects just enough humor to make it a fun read & her dialogue doesn’t fall prey to Bendis-like vamping as it shows personality.

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

also indexed for Mar. ’13
Captain Marvel #9
Hawkeye #7
Winter Soldier #14

Avengers Assemble #9

February 3, 2016

Avengers Assemble 09Kelly Sue DeConnick // Stefano Caselli
January 2013
***

With Capt. Marvel in tow, Kelly Sue DeConnick instantly improves one of the dozen Avengers books. Her secret is low stakes for the top-tier. Team Stark races Team Banner to a monster mission in Antarctica. It’s broad fun in the spirit of JLI (e.g. Hulk stirring organic PB for a sammich).

last issue: Avengers Assemble #8
next issue: Avengers Assemble #10

also indexed for Jan. ’13
Captain Marvel #7
Hawkeye #4
Winter Soldier #12

Avenging Spider-Man #10

January 29, 2016

Avenging Spider-Man 10Kelly Sue DeConnick // Barry Kitson
October 2012
***

Danvers (Capt née Ms) upstages Parker, in his ‘nice-guy nerd’ role. It’s great how DeConnick gets mileage by making the toughest superhero in the story a woman. She also takes a few shots at the 1%, as a bank tries to reclaim a rebellious Growing Girl cyborg. Plus Kitson’s good-girl art!

last issue: Avenging Spider-Man #9
next issue: Avenging Spider-Man #11

also indexed for Oct. ’12
Captain America #16
Captain Marvel #2
Captain Marvel #3
The Fantastic Four #609
FF #21
Hawkeye #1
Winter Soldier #9

Captain Marvel #1

January 27, 2016

Captain Marvel 2.01Kelly Sue DeConnick // Dexter Soy
September 2012
****

Carol Danvers assumes the title of Captain Marvel—fitting since she debuted in his comic back in ’68. DeConnick justifies it by strengthening CD’s connections to the military, adding an idol to her backstory (a female pilot). Bonus points for the new hairdo & uni, which are cosplay-perfect.

next issue: Captain Marvel #2

also indexed for Sept. ’12
Avenging Spider-Man #9
Captain America #14
Captain America #15
The Fantastic Four #608
FF #20
Winter Soldier #8

Avenging Spider-Man #9

January 26, 2016

Avenging Spider-Man 09Kelly Sue DeConnick // Barry Kitson
September 2012
***

To drum up readers for Carol Danvers’ new mag, she partners up with Spidey in the modern Marvel Team-Up. She’s also adopted a new alias, one with a long, litigious history. While Captain Marvel punches a bank goon in mecha gear, Spider-Man’s relegated to sidekick, dealing with an Occupy troublemaker

last issue: Avenging Spider-Man #8
next issue: Avenging Spider-Man #10

also indexed for Sept. ’12
Captain America #14
Captain America #15
Captain Marvel #1
The Fantastic Four
#608

FF #20
Winter Soldier #8

Hawkeye #6

January 8, 2016

Hawkeye 06Matt Fraction // David Aja
late February 2013
*****

This take on the Avenger (“Hawkguy” as one neighbor has it) is startlingly innovative. A helical time structure has Barton spend the week pre X-mas in turf war w/ the Russian bros. Aja’s grid runs 6×6, even 7×6, with negative space opening & minimalizing the Mazzuchelli style of scratchy cape comics.

last issue: Hawkeye #5
next issue: Hawkeye #7

also indexed for Feb. ’13
Hawkeye #5
Winter Soldier #13

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

Captain America #26

August 20, 2015

Captain America 26Ed Brubaker // Steve Epting & Mike Perkins
May 2007
****

Everyone at Captain America’s wake commends Sam Wilson on his eulogy (much better than hearing it). The Falcon’s cool is a balance to Bucky, who starts a bar brawl. Meanwhile the bad guys gloat & toy w/ their Doom-built time machine. A great scene—it’s a shame Epting couldn’t draw the whole ish.

last issue: Captain America #25
next issue: Captain America #27

also indexed for May ’07
Annihilation: Heralds of Galactus #2 of 2
Astonishing X-Men #21
Daredevil #95
Thunderbolts #112

Captain America #10

August 2, 2015

Captain America 10Ed Brubaker // Lee Weeks
October 2005
***

Week’s fill-in art adds little to the long-perspective reminisce that provides backstory for the alt-timeline that’s swept across Marvel’s comics. In one early fork, Cap & Bucky kill Baron Zemo then capture Hitler! But Cap makes enemies in the ’50s “Mutant Scare”—& walks on the moon in ’55!

last issue: Captain America #9
next issue: Captain America #11

also indexed for Oct. ’05
Daredevil #76
Iron Man #4
Runaways #7
Young Avengers #7

Runaways #11

June 29, 2015

Runaways 2-11Brian K. Vaughan // Adrian Alphona
February 2006
****

#11 reverses convention by having the kids chat with Spider-Man first & then fight him. What’s more notable is how, tho’ he’s the poster boy for Marvel’s teen heroes, Spidey is set up as a contrast to the Runaways: a lonely kid but a solid home life. Plus Chase bluffs info from a drug-dealing pimp!

last issue: Runaways #10
next issue: Runaways #12

also indexed for Feb. ’06
Daredevil #80
Drax the Destroyer #4 of 4

Runaways #10

June 28, 2015

Runaways 2-10Brian K. Vaughan // Adrian Alphona
January 2006
***

BKV leads his charges into the center of the contempo Marvel U.: BMB’s New Avengers in NYC. The guest cast should goose sales but the mag stays focused on its own superheroes, in that chat-heavy/plot-lite style that’s so fashionable. Alph has fun with the change of climate & cityscape tho.

last issue: Runaways #9
next issue: Runaways #11

also indexed for Jan. ’06
Daredevil #79
Drax the Destroyer #3 of 4
The Pulse #12

X-Statix #14

April 5, 2015

X-Statix 14Peter Milligan // Mike Allred
November 2003
***

The heroes rescue the ersatz Princess Diana and see her usurp their trademark superstar egotism with her superceleb status. Frankly I’m curious about her approach to heroism, since this satire has run its course. Plus Spidey’s guest appearance is disappointing, esp. his too Kirby-like rendering by Allred.

last issue: X-Statix #13
next issue: X-Statix #15

also indexed for Nov. ’03
Alias #26
Daredevil #51
Daredevil #52
Fantastic Four #502
Fantastic Four #503
JLA/Avengers #3 of 4
New X-Men #146
New X-Men #147

X-Statix #13

April 4, 2015

X-Statix 13Peter Milligan // Mike Allred
October 2003
****

A celeb rises from the dead to make the world a better place with X-Statix. Word is, this pop idol/philanthropic activist was to be Princess Di (you can still see the resemblance in Allred’s tight work). Pity that this black joke was edited away, since its current form, though cheeky, lacks teeth.

last issue: X-Statix #12
next issue: X-Statix #14

also indexed for Oct. ’03
Alias #25
Avengers/JLA #2 of 4

Daredevil #50
Fantastic Four #501
New X-Men
 #145

The Sentry/The Void #1 of 1

March 6, 2015

Sentry-Void 1 of 1Paul Jenkins // Jae Lee
February 2001
****

No surprise that the Void is the Sentry’s negative aspect, since it’s been a metaphor for depression all along. But his hook—erasure from continuity—is a fruitful & unique experiment for Marvel, albeit one better off left to stand alone (one more fault in Bendis’ awful, epic Avengers run).

continued from The Sentry #5 of 5
continued from The Sentry/Fantastic Four #1 of 1
continued from The Sentry/Hulk #1 of 1
continued from The Sentry/Spider-Man #1 of 1
continued from The Sentry/X-Men #1 of 1

also indexed for Feb. ’01
Avengers #37
The Sentry/Fantastic Four #1 of 1
The Sentry/Hulk #1 of 1
The Sentry/Spider-Man #1 of 1
The Sentry/X-Men #1 of 1

The Sentry/Spider-Man #1 of 1

March 4, 2015

Sentry-Spider-Man 1 of 1Paul Jenkins // Rick Leonardi
February 2001
***

Before his erasure from Marvel, the Sentry had helped Parker grow up—netting him a Pulitzer photo & fame! Bronze Age Spidey is a perfect vehicle for the Void-as-depression theme, & tonally S/S-M reads like a lost issue of Marvel Team-Up. But with yeoman’s work by Leonardi, it’s about as forgettable.

continued from The Sentry #5 of 5
continued in The Sentry/The Void #1 of 1
see also The Sentry/Fantastic Four #1 of 1
see also The Sentry/Hulk #1 of 1
see also The Sentry/X-Men #1 of 1

also indexed for Feb. ’01
Avengers #37
The Sentry/Fantastic Four #1 of 1
The Sentry/Hulk #1 of 1
The Sentry/The Void #1 of 1
The Sentry/X-Men #1 of 1

The Sentry/Hulk #1 of 1

March 3, 2015

Sentry-Hulk 1 of 1Paul Jenkins // Bill Sienkowicz
February 2001
*****

This mini’s idea is that the Sentry had been central to early Marvel, but he’s been erased from memory—diagetically & exegetically! That “accounts” for Hulk‘s cancellation in ’63: before that, S’s support had helped the public accept the H! Sienkowicz proves a perfect Hulk artist, surprising no one.

continued from The Sentry #5 of 5
continued in The Sentry/The Void #1 of 1
see also The Sentry/Fantastic Four #1 of 1
see also The Sentry/Spider-Man #1 of 1
see also The Sentry/X-Men #1 of 1

also indexed for Feb. ’01
Avengers #37
The Sentry/Fantastic Four #1 of 1
The Sentry/Spider-Man #1 of 1
The Sentry/The Void #1 of 1
The Sentry/X-Men #1 of 1

The Sentry #5 of 5

March 1, 2015

Sentry 5 of 5Paul Jenkins // Jae Lee
January 2001
*****

The retcon acts as an ingenious device in this mini by casting an (ostensibly) unfilled role in Marvel’s Silver Age. The respect the Sentry’s accorded by other superheroes—incl. Mr. F, his unlikely Judas—and the world sell the story, maybe making it the best Superman arc since A. Moore’s Supreme.

continued in The Sentry/Fantastic Four #1 of 1
continued in The Sentry/Hulk #1 of 1
continued in The Sentry/Spider-Man #1 of 1
continued in The Sentry/X-Men #1 of 1
last issue: The Sentry #4 of 5

also indexed for Jan. ’01
Avengers #36
Maximum Security #3 of 3

The Sentry #4 of 5

February 28, 2015

Sentry 4 of 5Paul Jenkins // Jae Lee
December 2000
****

Core Marvel heroes recall the Sentry, whose previous face-off w/ his (literal?) nemesis the Void ended in self-exile & a rewrite of reality. This mini maintains its weird sensibility partly thru a pacing akin to Grant Morrison’s: scenes begin in medias res w/ no exposition to orient the reader.

last issue: The Sentry #3 of 5
next issue: The Sentry #5 of 5

also indexed for Dec. ’00
Avengers #35
Maximum Security #2 of 3

The Sentry #3 of 5

February 27, 2015

Sentry 3 of 5Paul Jenkins // Jae Lee
November 2000
*****

None of Marvel’s original heroes recognize this Superman riff except the Hulk (a tender, lovely scene). Yet the Sentry’s okay with this—preternaturally so, which gives his tale a dreamlike tone. Lee’s art furthers that eerie atmosphere with splattery backgrounds & great use of silhouettes & shadows.

last issue: The Sentry #2 of 5
next issue: The Sentry #4 of 5

also indexed for Nov. ’00
Avengers #34
Maximum Security #1 of 3
Thunderbolts #44

Fantastic Four #513

December 22, 2014

Fantastic Four 513A-story: Mark Waid // Mike Wieringo
B-story: Mark Waid // Paul Smith
early July 2004
A-story: ***
B-story: ***

Spidey/Torch hijinks recalls the Silver Age years of rivalry (Waid shows a Lee influence, not a Kirby one). Ringo heightens this by homaging Ditko’s Sandman w/ a D-list aqua-baddie. In the back-up, Paul Smith draws bombshell bods for Sue’s catfight w/ one of Reed’s exes, a tomb raider-type adventurer.

last issue: Fantastic Four #512
next issue: Fantastic Four #514

also indexed for Jul. ’04
Astonishing X-Men #1
Daredevil #60
Fantastic Four #514
The Pulse #3
Secret War #2 of 5
Thanos #10

Fantastic Four #512

December 21, 2014

Fantastic Four 512A-story: Mark Waid // Mike Wieringo
B-story: Mark Waid // Paul Smith
June 2004
A-story: ****
B-story: ***

Hard-luck Johnny seeks advice from Spider-Man at a waterpark, in a superhero version of Friends or a Hollywood bromance. Cool—the run’s high point so far has been Waid’s early focus on Johnny Storm, maybe the trickiest of the four to write well. And hey, a three-page marriage gag for a back-up!

last issue: Fantastic Four #511
next issue: Fantastic Four #513

also indexed for Jun. ’04
Daredevil #59
Thanos #9

Daredevil #83

October 19, 2014

Daredevil 083Ed Brubaker // Michael Lark
May 2006
****

After Foggy’s funeral (note: no one saw a corpse), a court puts Murdock into the prison gen-pop—a case of the Watchmen line, “I’m not in here w/ you….” Brubaker’s style instantly contrasts w/ Bendis’, his violent action supplanting the dialogue-driven approach, & propelling the mag’s momentum.

last issue: Daredevil #82
next issue: Daredevil #84

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

Daredevil #81

October 17, 2014

Daredevil 081Brian Michael Bendis // Alex Maleev
March 2006
*****

This brilliant run’s end—Murdock remanded w/o bail to Rikers, pending trial—subverts the genre’s expectation of illusory change, which would demand his acquital. The radical penalty undermines the naïve virtue at the core of pulp vigilantes & leaves the next creative team w/ plenty of material!

last issue: Daredevil #80
next issue: Daredevil #82

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

Daredevil #69

October 5, 2014

Daredevil 069Brian Michael Bendis // Alex Maleev
March 2005
****

In parallel w/ DD’s early-career takedown of a cape-killing mafioso, this arc tells an origin story: a new White Tiger, niece to the late original. A flashback to the chop-socky era ties into the run’s meta-analysis of the super-vigilante genre, but isn’t a love of legacy more DC than Marvel?

last issue: Daredevil #68
next issue: Daredevil #70

also indexed for Mar. ’05
Astonishing X-Men #9
Iron Man #3
The Pulse #7

Daredevil #65

October 1, 2014

Daredevil 065Brian Michael Bendis // Michael Golden, Greg Horn, P. Craig Russell, Phil Hester, Chris Bachalo, and Alex Maleev
late November 2004
**

It’s meant to celebrate the titular hero’s 40th anniversary (& the creative team’s 3-year mark), but #65 reads like a fill-in. For one thing, Maleev’s only contribution is the final episode, a **** scene that sets up the K’pin’s predecessor, now free from Rikers. For another, the rest of the ish adds & revises prior scenes in this run w/o adding to them, & tosses in a few context-free pin-ups.

last issue: Daredevil #64
next issue: Daredevil #66

also indexed for Nov. ’04
Astonishing X-Men #5
Daredevil #64
The Pulse #5

Daredevil #60

September 26, 2014

Daredevil 060Brian Michael Bendis // Alex Maleev
July 2004
****

DD & his pals toss a Yakuza club & run it out of town. The pulpy violent core of this arc proves this superb run is less interested in subverting the trope of vigilantism than in pushing its envelope. For that, see the subplot: the hero’s wife leaves him, a personal loss given a noirish pathos.

last issue: Daredevil #59
next issue: Daredevil #61

also indexed for Jul. ’04
Astonishing X-Men #1
The Pulse #3
Secret War #2 of 5
Thanos #10

Daredevil #59

September 25, 2014

Daredevil 059Brian Michael Bendis // Alex Maleev
June 2004
*****

The G-man gets taken out by Yakuza right on Center Street! Meanwhile, Ben Urich joins the growing chorus who say that Karen Page’s death has driven DD to self-destructive behavior. Breaking a character’s psyche = a brilliant take on the difficulty of superhero writers to alter a mag’s status quo.

last issue: Daredevil #58
next issue: Daredevil #60

also indexed for Jun. ’04
Thanos #9

Daredevil #56

September 22, 2014

Daredevil 056Brian Michael Bendis // Alex Maleev
March 2004
*****

Interlude over; a year has passed. DD has cleaned Hell’s Kitchen & NYC of crime—at the expense of other boroughs, notes Luke Cage in a cunning dialectic on the run’s theme of urban vigilantism. It also echoes the city’s real disputes over gentrification & crime rates during Bloomberg’s mayorality.

last issue: Daredevil #55
next issue: Daredevil #57

also indexed for Mar. ’04
New X-Men #151
New X-Men #152

Daredevil #35

September 1, 2014

Daredevil 035Brian Michael Bendis // Alex Maleev
September 2002
****

Action fans finally get a dust-up—and a team-up! DD & Spidey v. Mr. Hyde, a Kirby bruiser that Murdock’s faced in the courtroom. The fight’s ratio of panels-to-punches, however, points up just how slow this creative team’s trend-setting style of cinematic comics can be. And the ish ends on a tease…

last issue: Daredevil #34
next issue: Daredevil #36

also indexed for Sept. ’02
Alias #11
Alias #12
Avengers #56
New X-Men #129

Daredevil #34

August 31, 2014

Daredevil 034Brian Michael Bendis // Alex Maleev
August 2002
****

Murdock’s friends muddy the water to defend his career, while Matt himself gets chewed out by Foggy. Maleev knows how to pace Bendis’ zippy dialogue, but at times, his reliance on copy/paste makes the background characters look frozen & robotic. He’s experimenting w/ computers & art, a key to Y2K comics.

last issue: Daredevil #33
next issue: Daredevil #35

also indexed for Aug. ’02
Alias #10
Avengers #55
New X-Men #127
New X-Men #128

Daredevil #16

August 19, 2014

Daredevil 016Brian Michael Bendis // David Mack
May 2001
*****

DD‘s newshound interviews a boy in a fugue of superhero fantasy. Bendis’ run, a high-water mark in the decade’s supercomics, begins auspiciously by retaining Mack to execute dizzying expressionistic art. He designs each page—each panel—as a unique unit & not as an invisible delivery for plot.

last issue: Daredevil #15
next issue: Daredevil #17

also indexed for May ’01
Avengers #40

Daredevil #8

August 11, 2014

Daredevil 008Kevin Smith // Joe Quesada
June 1999
*****

Having revitalized DD by resetting it to the Born Again era, Smith writes a lovely denouement. His arc’s main defect has been its high body count; he counters the ’90s machismo w/ honest emotion. There’s a lovely confession/absolution from Spidey, & Black Widow calls Matt out on his misogyny.

last issue: Daredevil #7
next issue: Daredevil #9

also indexed for Jun. ’99
Avengers #17
Avengers Forever #7 of 12
Thunderbolts #27

Thunderbolts #10

June 27, 2014

Thunderbolts 010Kurt Busiek // Mark Bagley
January 1998
****

The team’s true IDs are exposed, earlier than readers or characters expected—’cept for Baron Z, who outs them as an abusive ploy. How evil! The plot devo coincides w/ the true Avs’ return (from a mid-’90s Image-y continuity reboot). It signals a true climax to a long plot, rare in comics.

last issue: Thunderbolts #9
next issue: Thunderbolts #11

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

Spider-Man Team-Up #7

June 17, 2014

Spider-Man Team-Up 1Kurt Busiek // Sal Buscema
June 1997
***

Team-Up ties in tightly to T’bolts, & adds a clever flip to the old Marvel Misunderstanding. Here the “good” guys sock Spidey partly at the city’s behest but also cuz T’bolt Mach-1 is really the Beetle, out for payback! Sal B’s solid as ever, perfect for Busiek’s subversion of superheroism.

last issue: Spider-Man Team-Up #6
continued fromThunderbolts #2
continued in Thunderbolts #3

also indexed for Jun. ’97
Thunderbolts #3

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

Annihilators: Earthfall #4 of 4

June 14, 2014

Annihilators - Earthfall 4 of 4A-story: Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning // Tan Eng Huat
B-story: Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning // Timothy Green II
February 2012
A-story: ** // B-story: **

Avengers & Annihilators (terrible name) foil an invasion of Earth by linking alien tech somehow. The vague plot & fumbling art brings to a sad end this v.g. six-year run. At least the ‘coon & the tree, holdovers from the run’s brighter era, get to blast off into the sunset.

last issue: Annihilation: Earthfall #3 of 4

also indexed for Feb. ’12
Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #8 of 9
The Fantastic Four #601
FF #13

Annihilators: Earthfall #3 of 4

June 13, 2014

Annihilators - Earthfall 3 of 4A-story: Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning // Tan Eng Huat
B-story: Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning // Timothy Green II
January 2012
A-story: *** // B-story: ***

A cosmic boy-antichrist has installed himself, Midwich Cuckoo-like, in millions of minds; among the heroes, only the Kirby tyrant has the balls to zap the innocent & save the galaxy! Meanwhile, DnA burlesque the editorial interference of the SF line via a monstrous, meddling TV exec from ’80s X-comics.

last issue: Annihilators: Earthfall #2 of 4
next issue: Annihilators: Earthfall #4 of 4

also indexed for Jan. ’12
The Fantastic Four #600
FF #12

Annihilators: Earthfall #2 of 4

June 12, 2014

Annihilators - Earthfall 2 of 4A-story: Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning // Tan Eng Huat
B-story: Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning // Timothy Green II
December 2011
A-story: * // B-story: **

The dutiful Marvel misunderstanding, wherein our team of galactic heroes mix it w/ the Avengers. Huat detracts from that formula by staging combat as H’wood-style demolitions, w/o context or finesse. In the back-up, however, Green imaginatively & attractively offers Flash Gordon-type fun.

last issue: Annihilators: Earthfall #1 of 4
next issue: Annihilators: Earthfall #3 of 4

also indexed for Dec. ’11
FF #10
FF #11

Annihilators: Earthfall #1 of 4

June 11, 2014

Annihilators - Earthfall 1 of 4A-story: Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning // Tan Eng Huat
B-story: Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning // Timothy Green II
September 2011
A-story: ** // B-story: ***

DnA phone in their swansong on Marvel’s SF renaissance. The galactic super-squad discovers a fundamentalist space-sect’s outpost on Earth. Huat draws an awkward, rubber-faced variation on Marvel house style. Worse, RR & Groot, demoted to true back-up status, get only a few pages for a bar brawl.

continued from Annihilators #4 of 4
next issue: Annihilators: Earthfall #2 of 4

also indexed for Sept. ’11
Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #7 of 9
FF #9

FF #22

January 2, 2014

FF 22Jonathan Hickman // André Araújo
November 2012
****

#22 varies Hickman’s wonky non-linear plotting by recounting the events of #610 from Bentley 23’s standpoint. Bentley, the Wizard’s clone-kid, confronts his “father” (tapping into the run’s father/son themes). Araújo’s superfine line is a different look for this mag, a prettier Dalrymple type of pencil.

see also The Fantastic Four #610
last issue: FF #21
next issue: FF #23

also indexed for Nov. ’12
The Fantastic Four #610

The Fantastic Four #610

January 1, 2014

Fantastic Four 610Jonathan Hickman // Ryan Stegman
November 2012
****

Hickman supplies the Marvel Universe with yet another immensely clever concept. This ish, the Kirby science-terrorists at AIM buy a Caribbean isle for a research base. Rather than fight, they extradite the Wizard & negotiate with Mr F, appointed as the US envoy. For another perspec, read FF #22.

see also FF #22
last issue: The Fantastic Four #609
next issue: The Fantastic Four #611

also indexed for Nov. ’12
FF #22

FF #21

December 31, 2013

FF 21Jonathan Hickman // Nick Dragotta
October 2012
*****

The epitome of a Hickman FF issue, w/ smart nonlinear storytelling & epic SF political melodrama. The Kree & Inhumans broker a peace, built upon undoing a space-opera Romeo/Juliet romance! Check how Dragotta not only nails the Kirby costumes, he makes the title team’s b/w costumes look cool!

last issue: FF #20
next issue: FF #22

also indexed for Oct. ’12
The Fantastic Four #609

The Fantastic Four #609

December 30, 2013

Fantastic Four 609Jonathan Hickman // Ryan Stegman
October 2012
****

Millar’s superteam from the future returns to refit Galactus’ corpse as a starship & sets course for the future at light-speed. Over his run, Hickman has improved on Millar’s high concept by adding spacetime wrinkles. Stegman, another penciler from the bullpen, comes in to help JH close the run.

last issue: The Fantastic Four #608
next issue: The Fantastic Four #610

also indexed for Oct. ’12
FF #21

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

FF #17

December 22, 2013

FF 17Jonathan Hickman // Nick Dragotta
June 2012
*****

Spider-Man has been underused as a member of FF, a flaw that’s finally rectified by this A+ issue. The creative team write the nerdiest Parker since Ditko’s. Johnny Storm makes a terrible roommate (no surprise), then drags Pete out to party w/ MJ & his alien pals. The final straw is truly hilarious.

last issue: FF #16
next issue: FF #18

also indexed for Jun. ’12
The Fantastic Four #605

FF #16

December 20, 2013

FF 16Jonathan Hickman // Nick Dragotta & Steve Epting
May 2012
*****

If all of John H’s FF run had Nick D on art, it’d be second only to Kirby/Lee! See a heavenly moment of adult Franklin & Galactus viewing sunrise from orbit. This ish, post-grand finale, centers on Hick’s best char: supersmart toddler Val. Even her adult self mistrusts her! And in a coda, Doom.

continued from The Fantastic Four #604
last issue: FF #15
next issue: FF #17

also indexed for May ’12
Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #9 of 9
The Fantastic Four #604

The Fantastic Four #604

December 19, 2013

Fantastic Four 604Jonathan Hickman // Steve Epting
May 2012
*****

Hickman closes out his theme of fathers & sons, as Nat & Frank Richards save Reed from mad space-gods. Franklin, in the future, will turn cosmic & take Galactus as his sidekick! Sadly, he’s only given ’90s-style hand-zaps. Maybe #604 itself is only ****, but it’s a perfect climax to an ambitious run.

continued in FF #16
last issue: The Fantastic Four #603
next issue: The Fantastic Four #605

also indexed for May ’12
Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #9 of 9
FF #16

FF #15

December 18, 2013

FF 15Jonathan Hickman // Nick Dragotta
April 2013
*****

#15 dovetails w/ #603, even ending on the same panel. The focus is Franklin, whose “imaginary” friend (a white silhouette) guides him thru a cataclysmic attack by science-gods, then reveals his ID as adult Franklin! Welcome back to Dragotta, whose talent for “acting” warms Hickman’s cerebral tone.

see also The Fantastic Four #603
continued in The Fantastic Four #604
last issue: FF #14
next issue: FF #16

also indexed for Apr ’12
The Fantastic Four #603