Archive for the ‘Ultron’ Category

Runaways #6

June 24, 2015

Runaways 2-06Brian K. Vaughan // Adrian Alphona
September 2005
*****

My misgiving that Ultron was too far above our kids’ weight class is finessed by the post-teen cavalry saving their hides. Turns out Vaughan has written a backdoor pilot (to use an LA term) for a team of New New Warriors (AKA Excelsior—nice name!), financed by Marvel’s original c-lister, Rick Jones!

last issue: Runaways #5
next issue: Runaways #7

also indexed for Sept. ’05
Daredevil #75
The Pulse #10
Young Avengers #6

Advertisements

Runaways #5

June 23, 2015

Runaways 2-05Brian K. Vaughan // Adrian Alphona
August 2005
****

The kids face the secret father of a new superfriend: Dr. Doom! or maybe a Doombot! …nope, it’s Ultron! I’d usually call foul on this bait-n-switch reveal, esp. as facing a rogue Doombot would be perilous enough, plus BKV nails Doom’s voice. But AA draws the fight exceptionally well, which earns a few points!

last issue: Runaways #4
next issue: Runaways #6

also indexed for Aug. ’05
Astonishing X-Men #12
Daredevil #74
Young Avengers #5

Runaways #3

June 21, 2015

Runaways 2-03Brian K. Vaughan // Adrian Alphona
June 2005
****

The story of teens & 20-somethings reaches the trad Marvel beat of heroes pounding on each other w/o talking first. But w/ the rebooted numbering, Alphona has upped his game. His art has taken on a supple quality, his physiques & faces moving further from figuration to lovely expressionistic forms.

last issue: Runaways #2
next issue: Runaways #4

also indexed for Jun. ’05
Daredevil #72
Young Avengers #3

Annihilation: Conquest #6 of 6

March 12, 2014

Annihilation Conquest 6 of 6Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning // Tom Raney
June 2008
****

A suitably epic finale. DnA weave their several plot strands into a taut rope, w/ everyone (except the ignominious Ronan) contributing to the defeat of Ultron. No deus ex machina, no forcing of twists or compromises of personality: read A:C to see how solid craft works. I’m sold on both spinoffs.

continued from Nova #12
last issue: Annihilation: Conquest #5 of 6
continued in Guardians of the Galaxy #1
continued in Nova #13

also indexed for Jun. ’08
The Immortal Iron Fist #14
Nova #12

Annihilation: Conquest #5 of 6

March 11, 2014

Annihilation Conquest 5 of 6Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning // Tom Raney
May 2008
***

The Big Bad’s motive is that old standby, megalomania; he aims to download himself into Adam Warlock’s superbody. The tide turns in the other plots (Ronan’s robot army; Mantis & co.). It’s essential set-up & exposition told zestily, giving breath to space operatic conventions; if only the art set it apart.

last issue: Annihilation: Conquest #4 of 6
next issue: Annihilation: Conquest #6 of 6

also indexed for May ’08
The Immortal Iron Fist #13
Nova #11

Annihilation: Conquest #4 of 6

March 10, 2014

Annihilation Conquest 4 of 6Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning // Tom Raney
April 2008
****

Despite the widescreen paneling, A:C has more of a televisual feel. A lot of that’s the cycling from plot to plot, which keeps the momentum boiling & juggles the dozen or so major & minor characters deftly. Ronan finds an army, while in a nicely quiet beat, Adam Warlock counsels a grieving Quasar.

last issue: Annihilation: Conquest #3 of 6
next issue: Annihilation: Conquest #5 of 6

also indexed for Apr. ’08
The Immortal Iron Fist: Orson Randall & the Green Mist of Death #1 of 1
Nova Annual #1

Annihilation: Conquest #3 of 6

March 9, 2014

Annihilation Conquest 3 of 6Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning // Tom Raney
March 2008
****

This galactic adventure is peripheral to the Marvel ‘verse, yet the stakes feel higher than, say, this month’s Avengers. For one thing, DnA can & do kill heroes—here Moondragon—as Phalanx-Ultron takes the upper hand. A nova can’t stop him! Can Kree Emperor Ronan’s secret weapon? What a thrill!

last issue: Annihilation: Conquest #2 of 6
next issue: Annihilation: Conquest #4 of 6

also indexed for Mar. ’08
Astonishing X-Men #24
Nova #10

Annihilation: Conquest #2 of 6

March 8, 2014

Annihilation Conquest 2 of 6Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning // Tom Raney
February 2008
****

A novelistic structure, elegantly stepping btw 3 plots. Two minor ones follow the resistance against the Phalanx (thrilling espionage) & a diplomatic alliance w/ the Annihilation bugs. The major plot has a grand cosmic conceit: a science god & his savior-son v. the robot devil Ultron & his hordes!

last issue: Annihilation: Conquest #1 of 6
next issue: Annihilation: Conquest #3 of 6

also indexed for Feb. ’08
The Immortal Iron Fist #12
Nova #9

Annihilation: Conquest #1 of 6

March 7, 2014

Annihilation Conquest 1 of 6Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning // Tom Raney
January 2008
***

Slick, breathless space melodrama with by-the-numbers hyper-heroic art. Atypically, A&L focus more on plot than personality and more on action than arc. To bring you up to speed: the technoviral Phalanx has annexed the Kree Galaxy under the leadership of… Ultron! Quasar & her dragon fly into the heart of a sun w/ Adam Warlock, cosmic savior!

continued from Annihilation: Conquest: Quasar #4 of 4
continued from Annihilation: Conquest: Star-Lord #4 of 4
continued from Annihilation: Conquest: Wraith #4 of 4
next issue: Annihilation: Conquest #2 of 6

also indexed for Jan. ’08
Astonishing X-Men #23
The Immortal Iron Fist #11
Nova #8

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: The Ultron Imperative

September 22, 2013

Avengers - The Ultron ImperativeKurt Busiek, Steve Englehart, Roger Stern, & Roy Thomas // Tom Grummett, Klaus Janson, John Paul Leon, John McCrea, Pat Olliffe, Jorge Lucas, Paul Smith, & Jim Starlin
November 2001
***

Picking up on Avengers #19-22, Ultron’s “daughter” invents androids based on the Avengers’ brainwaves, but also fulfills a secret program to rebuild her robot father. A graphic novella conceived by Busiek & scripted by the all-time top Avengers scribes. The artists are a more eclectic collection, w/ vast shifts in style from chapter to chapter. JP Leon does a grim street look; Smith has an angular clarity; the rest are okay. But the lack of cohesion—both in dialogue & art—works against the book.

continued from Avengers #45
continued in Avengers #46

also indexed for Nov. ’01
Alias #1
Avengers #46
New X-Men #118

Avengers #22

August 18, 2013

Avengers 22Kurt Busiek // George Pérez
November 1999
****

A satisfyingly retro conclusion to an A-1 Ultron arc. Vision’s offer of redemption adds a dash of sentiment; Pym’s admission of culpability + furious beat-down = instant catharsis. But the real star is Pérez, whose bewilderingly detailed Kirbytech & powerful musculature leaps into the reader’s eyes.

last issue: Avengers #21
next issue: Avengers #23

also indexed for Nov. ’99
Avengers Forever #11 of 12

Avengers #21

August 16, 2013

Avengers 21Kurt Busiek // George Pérez
October 1999
****

Pérez draws on war comics as he & Busiek show superheroes & GIs in exhausting, European-style combat. The foe is a cyber-zombie army, the murdered pop of a Baltic country (!), reanimated by Marvel’s mad robot, Ultron. He also monologues his plan to scan his “family’s” engrams into his ‘bot species.

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

also indexed for Oct. ’99
Avengers Forever #10 of 12

Avengers #20

August 15, 2013

Avengers 20Kurt Busiek // George Pérez
September 1999
*****

MIA for years, Ultron returns to commit mechanized genocide upon a Baltic country! The ampage of stakes is akin to contemporary Authority, refiguring supervillainy in more grimly realistic terms. The plot moves Pym centerstage, despite his absence, as his ex-wife reviews his pitiable mental history.

last issue: Avengers #19
next issue: Avengers #21

Avengers #19

August 13, 2013

Avengers 19Kurt Busiek // George Pérez
August 1999
****

#19 hits the beats we expect from this run: good team dynamics, a Roy Thomas revival (a sassy killer fembot from his WCA run), & Scarlet W. saving the day using her recent power-up; all drawn in high superhero style. Then the climax hits: Ultron slaughters an entire country! Finally—Avengers stakes.

last issue: Avengers #18
next issue: Avengers #20

also indexed for Aug. ’99
Avengers Forever #9 of 12

Avengers #0

August 11, 2013

Avengers 00Kurt Busiek // Stuart Immonen
July 1999
***

A free supplement to Wizard #95, #0 isn’t essential to Busiek’s Avengers run but it shows how good that run is. Framed as a TV infotainment, it recaps the last 16 months of drama AWA staging a routine mission. Immonen, a rising DC star, pencils realistic detail in a forward-looking superhero style.

also indexed for Jul. ’99
Avengers #18
Avengers Annual 1999
Avengers Forever #8 of 12

Avengers #18

August 9, 2013

Avengers 18Jerry Ordway
July 1999
**

The team restores a barbarian king to his throne. Simultaneously loose & rushed, this visit to a planet of sword/sorcery doesn’t come off. Tho’ it feels like Busiek’s tale—a callback to one of Roy T’s less Avenger-y ideas—Ordway’s art has a 2D, Sal Buscema style & his plotting is formulaic.

last issue: Avengers #17
next issue: Avengers #19

also indexed for Jul. ’99
Avengers Annual 1999
Avengers #0
Avengers Forever #8 of 12

Avengers #15

August 3, 2013

Avengers 15Kurt Busiek // George Pérez
April 1999
***

Catspaws from the last two issues (an alien-looking noble & a ’90s parody) bang on each other, making the team look like chumps. The action’s behind the scenes, as (A) a New Age cult has megalomaniac aims, and (B) Ultron preps for genocide. KB finally creates new ideas, but they’re rather wan.

last issue: Avengers #14
next issue: Avengers #16

also indexed for Apr. ’99
Avengers Forever #5 of 12

Avengers #14

August 1, 2013

Avengers 14Kurt Busiek // George Pérez
March 1999
***

Wanda M. seems to be Busiek’s focal Avenger. Powered up back in #1-3, she’s now caught in a soapy triangle btw “brothers” Wonder Man & Vision, & she’s also challenging Cap himself on leadership! But despite that + some violence (& shadowed supervillains), the soul of #14 is a guest app by the Beast.

last issue: Avengers #13
next issue: Avengers #15

also indexed for Mar. ’99
Avengers Forever #4 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 #7 of 9

February 20, 2012

Jim Shooter // Al Milgrom
January 1986
*
The Marvel U’s version of Satan aims to destroy the Beyonder w/ Kirbytech & a battalion of supervillains. Luckily, the Thing has Big B’s back. Since last ish, the godling has gotten lost in meditation. His passivity & fiendish temptation could be holy, but in Shooter’s hands it’s just dull & inert.
[continued from Power Man & Iron Fist #121]
[continued in The New Mutants #36]
[last issue: Secret Wars II #6 of 9]
[next issue: Secret Wars II #8 of 9]

Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #12 of 12

February 13, 2012

Jim Shooter // Mike Zeck
April 1985
**
An anonymous roster of artists, betrayed by a diversity of styles, help Zeck complete issue #12 on time. The motives of the Beyonder (such a terrible name!) again get teased but remain obscure. Doom’s final battle w/ the entity is a sound-&-light show, while the heroes get resurrected offstage then return home via Kirbytech. And so the Wars wrap up patly, tying up ends left dangling since #1.
[last issue: Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #11 of 12]

Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #7 of 12

February 9, 2012

Jim Shooter // Mike Zeck
November 1984
*
A new Spider-Woman in a black leotard walks out of the shadows. “I’m Spider-Woman!” she announces. The next panel: “Hello everyone! I’m Spider-Woman!” Then she wanders off for the rest of the issue. To think, Shooter is Marvel’s Chief Creative Officer! Another low point: She-Hulk gets a beatdown.
[last issue: Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #6 of 12]
[next issue: Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #8 of 12]

Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #6 of 12

February 8, 2012

Jim Shooter // Mike Zeck
October 1984
*
Colossus moons over an alien chick; the Wasp gets killed; Galactus constructs his enigmatic Kirbytech; combat resembles schoolyard tussling. Thankfully, Zeck has returned with his delicate line. His long shots of tiny figures, each carefully rendered & colored, are the only entertainment on view.
[last issue: Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #5 of 12]
[next issue: Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #7 of 12]

Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #5 of 12

February 7, 2012

Jim Shooter // Bob Layton
September 1984
*
In the latest wrinkle to this slow-moving mag, Galactus plans to eat the artificial world out from under the superhumans. But it’s a case of telling, not showing. Layton’s fill-in work shows him to be a fine match for Shooter, w/ dull pencils & conventional layouts contributing a lack of urgency.
[last issue: Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #4 of 12]
[next issue: Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #6 of 12]

Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #4 of 12

February 4, 2012

Jim Shooter // Bob Layton
August 1984
**
Despite being fill-in work, the cover to #4 is the series’ best: not a pin-up pose but a claustrophobic shot of the Hulk propping up a mountain. Finally, something happens! The rest, however, is down to MSHSW‘s usual level. Check that last page, meant to be a cliffhanger: Galactus raises his arms!
[last issue: Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #3 of 12]
[next issue: Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #5 of 12]

Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #3 of 12

February 3, 2012

Jim Shooter // Mike Zeck
July 1984
*
A hurricane pounds the Kirbytech bases on the patchwork world, establishing—surprise!—a romantic mood! In a twist, the Wasp hooks up with Magneto! But Shooter has a tin ear even for strongly voiced characters like Spidey & Dr. Doom. His own creations, a pair of superwomen, have woefully generic powers.
[last issue: Marvel Super Hero Secret Wars #2 of 12]
[next issue: Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #4 of 12]

Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #2 of 12

February 2, 2012

Jim Shooter // Mike Zeck
June 1984
*
Zeck’s landscapes give this maxiseries a weird sense of place, and his trad three-tier grid keeps the action clear. But Shooter—Marvel’s creative chief!—writes such flat characters & brute superpowers! Only Dr. Doom is on model, as he audaciously aims above the series’ good v. evil battle royale.
[last issue: Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #1 of 12]
[next issue: Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #3 of 12]

Marvel Super Hero Secret Wars #1 of 12

February 1, 2012

Jim Shooter // Mike Zeck
May 1984
**
The original event-comic maxiseries! A godlike entity kidnaps superheroes & -villains & demands they battle on an alien world. The hoary plot is as childish as the ’40s JSA formula, & lifted only a little by the moral ambiguities of Doom & Magneto, by the cosmic grandeur, & by Zeck’s rubber faces.
[next issue: Marvel Super Hero Secret Wars #2 of 12]