Archive for the ‘US Agent’ Category

Thunderbolts #32

July 21, 2014

Thunderbolts 032Kurt Busiek // Mark Bagley
November 1999
***

An aristo-fascist conspiracy airs the ol’ gladiator trope. Like so much of this mag, both in writing & art, it’s well-crafted convention—but compare this melée of zaps & thunks to Kirby’s original (a killer roller-derby)! Thru it all, I’m still not a Bagley fan: his style is pretty, but he never surprises me.

last issue: Thunderbolts #31
next issue: Thunderbolts #33

also indexed for Nov. ’99
Avengers #22
Avengers Forever #11 of 12

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Thunderbolts #28

July 17, 2014

Thunderbolts 028Kurt Busiek // Mark Bagley
July 1999
***

Graviton returns, leading a floating island of flying pirates over San F! Busiek has an aptitude for megalomaniac plans! He & Bagley also have a great sense of pacing, staging tight scenes of clear motivation. And when they break the one-off issue rhythm w/ a cliffhanger, it helps show the stakes.

last issue: Thunderbolts #27
next issue: Thunderbolts #29

also indexed for Jul. ’99
Avengers #18
Avengers #0
Avengers Annual 1999
Avengers Forever #8 of 12

Thunderbolts #23

July 12, 2014

Thunderbolts 023Kurt Busiek // Mark Bagley
February 1999
****

As Mach-1 turns himself in, an industrialist funds an armored team (& Bagley co-creation) to capture the T-bolts, led by a wannabe Cap. Since Hawkeye joined, this mag has found its swing! KB & MB juggle a huge cast using trad methods like 2×3 grids, bright 2D chars, & a constant shift in status quo.

last issue: Thunderbolts #22
next issue: Thunderbolts #24
see also Avengers #12

also indexed for Feb. ’99
Avengers #13
Avengers Forever #3 of 12

Realm of Kings: Inhumans #2 of 5

May 14, 2014

Realm of Kings - Inhumans 2 of 5Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning // Pablo Raimondi
February 2010
**

The Mighty Avengers (that is, the team not written by BM Bendis) visit the Inhumans for some heroics & soap operatics. Raimondi’s lines produce clean faces & strong settings, matching the clear, engaging dialogue; but there’s a sense of keeping time rather than engaging momentum with this mini.

last issue: Realm of Kings: Inhumans #1 of 5
next issue: Realm of Kings: Inhumans #2 of 5

also indexed for Feb. ’10
The Fantastic Four #574
Guardians of the Galaxy #21
Nova #32
Realm of Kings: Imperial Guard #2 of 5

Realm of Kings: Inhumans #1 of 5

May 13, 2014

Realm of Kings - Inhumans 1 of 5Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning // Pablo Raimondi
January 2010
**

DnA open this mini w/ a review of the status quo: the Inhumans, Kirby super-aristos, rule the Kree space empire fairly responsibly, tho’ palace intrigues brew & skirmishes flare up along the interstellar borders. Raimondi (& inker Hennessy) has a lovely clean style, like an update of ’80s X-Men.

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

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 #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 #56

October 3, 2013

Avengers 56Kurt Busiek // Yanick Paquette
September 2002
****

The squad gets audited by accountants from Tony Stark’s foundation. It’s exactly what you’d figure a Busiek issue would be: an oblique approach to superheroes. But tho’ it reads like a fill-in issue (esp. that generic cover), #56 ends his run on a high note, with Paquette ably helping him close.

last issue: Avengers #55
next issue: Avengers #57

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

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

Maximum Security #1 of 3

September 7, 2013

Maximum Security 1Kurt Busiek // Jerry Ordway
November 2000
***

Busiek & his editors orchestrate a massive ’80s-style crossover, w/ this miniseries (incl. a prologue) acting as spine & many mags sacrificing an issue in support. The high concept: Earth has been made into a galactic penal colony. US Agent offers narration, a pig-headed man-of-action w/ more flavor than your standard Avenger. Ordway’s artwork is buoyant but may be too light for the mini’s needs.

continued from Maximum Security: Dangerous Planet #1 of 1
continued from Avengers #34
next issue: Maximum Security #2 of 3

also indexed for Nov. ’00
Thunderbolts #44
Avengers #34

Avengers #3

July 16, 2013

Avengers 03Kurt Busiek // George Pérez
April 1998
***

Cap & co play Robin Hood in a medieval alt reality; Scarlet Witch saves the day by resurrecting Wonder Man. It’s a simple story w/ a forthright tone, almost Silver Age except for Jorge’s complex depth-of-field & density of image. So, having relaunched the Avengers, B&G must cull the 39-man roster!

last issue: Avengers #2
next issue: Avengers #4

also indexed for Apr. ’98
Thunderbolts #13

Avengers #2

July 15, 2013

Avengers 02Kurt Busiek // George Pérez
March 1998
****

A sorceress has used the Scarlet Witch to refashion reality. The Ren Fair trappings may seem a bit much, but they suit Pérez to a T—esp. the chance to redesign costumes as armor. Busiek’s best idea, tho’, is that “true Avengers” can shake off the spell: a roster that incl. Justice but not Iron Man!

last issue: Avengers #1
next issue: Avengers #3

also indexed for Mar. ’98
Thunderbolts #12

Avengers #1

July 14, 2013

Avengers 01Kurt Busiek // George Pérez
February 1998
****

Pérez returns to Marvel’s supergroup superteam, tapping Busiek (hot off Marvels & Astro City in ’95 & last year’s T-bolts) to help w/ the relaunch. They’re well-matched: neither conservative nor radical, dense w/ info yet clear at storytelling. Echoing the Lee/Kirby original, a mage manipulates Earth’s superheroes into teaming up. This time, it’s an Arthurian, Morgan le Fey, using Asgardian magic.

next issue: Avengers #2

also indexed for Feb. ’98
Thunderbolts #11

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]

Captain America #401

November 9, 2010

Mark Gruenwald // Rik Levins
June 1992
***
After the grim conclusion to the Avengers x-over, Cap wonders whether his moral rectitude is outmoded in ’90s comics. It’s a fine bit of self-reflection as Cap, Hawkeye & Iron Man go out for a beer. The subplot, in ironic counterpoint, slowly builds tension: Diamondback seems destined for torture.
[continued from The Avengers #347]
[last issue: Captain America #400]

Avengers West Coast #82

November 5, 2010

Roy & Dann Thomas // Dave Ross
May 1992
**
Part 16 of “Operation: Galactic Storm”
The Shi’ar half of this crossover has been weaker than the Kree half. It’s partly the writing but it’s also the lack of strong plot turns. Chapter 16 is just another battle royale btw. superteams till a stray shot unmasks a Skrull imposter among the aliens. It finally alters the epic’s momentum.
[continued from Captain America #400]
[continued in Quasar #34]
[last issue: Avengers West Coast #81]
[next issue: Avengers West Coast #83]

Avengers West Coast #81

October 26, 2010

Roy & Dann Thomas // Dave Ross
April 1992
**
Part 9 of “Operation: Galactic Storm”
Avengers epic  “Galactic Storm” visits the home front, where lose their Shi’ar prisoners & Kree power bracers (the keys to a super-weapon). It’s a rare crossover that focuses more on good storytelling than craven profiteering. Even mediocre issues like this one push the story along.
[continued from Captain America #399]
[continued in Quasar #33]
[last issue: Avengers West Coast #80]
[next issue: Avengers West Coast #82]

The Avengers #345

October 22, 2010

Bob Harras // Steve Epting
March 1992
**
Part 5 of “Operation: Galactic Storm”
The Kree-Shi’ar War is destabilizing our sun by using our system as a hyperspace bypass. So every Avenger is mobilized for one front or another. Harras delivers the ham that good space opera needs, but as always, he fails to harmonize an ensemble of voices or bring authenticity to the action.
[continued from Wonder Man #7]
[continued in Iron Man #278]
[last issue: The Avengers #344]
[next issue: The Avengers #346]

Avengers West Coast #80

October 19, 2010

Roy & Dann Thomas // Dave Ross
March 1992
**
Part 2 of “Operation: Galactic Storm”
Thomas helps to launch a sequel to his classic “Kree-Skrull War” epic (& other details of Marvel history—Roy’s happiest when he’s patching old plotlines into new stories). Captain America leads the WCAs into a skirmish w/ a giant robot while alien (Shi’ar) operatives swipe a Kirbytech maguffin.
[continued from Captain America #398]
[continued in Quasar #32]
[last issue: Avengers West Coast #79]
[next issue: Avengers West Coast #81]