Archive for the ‘Watcher’ Category

X-Men #40

January 8, 2015

X-Men 040Fabian Nicieza // Andy Kubert
January 1995
**

Time-traveling amnesiac X-Men putz around post-war Israel as their modern comrades learn that mission failure means universal collapse. Nicieza artificially inflates the stakes via a chorus of Watchers, while the better Kubert son does mainline ’90s X-art (his Legion is unrecognizably off-model).

continued from The Uncanny X-Men #320
continued in The Uncanny X-Men #321
last issue: X-Men #39
next issue: X-Men #41

also indexed for Jan. ’95
The Uncanny X-Men #320

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FF #4

December 3, 2013

FF 04Jonathan Hickman // Barry Kitson
late July 2011
****

Can Sue stop alt-Reed from building a planet-wrecker?! Kitson relieves Epting, an incremental step up in quality since his bright, flat style (akin to C. Swan) mirrors this mag’s optimism. He’s also better at monsters, which means (a) a better Thing, & (b) a great face-off btw Atlanteans & Moloids.

last issue: FF #3
next issue: FF #5

also indexed for Jul. ’11
FF #3

FF #3

December 2, 2013

Jonathan Hickman // Steve Epting
FF 03July 2011
****

The first symposium of the Future Foundation, hosted by Dr. Doom, asks “How to defeat Mr. Fantastic?” The enemy: the Council of Reeds, trapped on Earth. Various foes pick one side or the other, as the Reeds devise an Earth-shattering gateway home using the fantastical cities of last year’s issues.

last issue: FF #2
next issue: FF #4

also indexed for Jul. ’11
FF #4

Avengers/JLA #2 of 4

October 5, 2013

Avengers.JLA 2 of 4Kurt Busiek // George Pérez
October 2003
*****

The two superteams race to acquire cosmic artifacts. If the Avengers win, the DC supervillain Krona will destroy their ‘verse in a mad quest for knowledge! The simple, Gardner Fox-type plot lets comics counterparts compete (eg Superman v. Thor), w/ the creative duo staging the super-fights superbly. In an A+ twist, Batman recognizes he & Captain A. are too evenly matched, & strike an alliance.

last issue: JLA/Avengers #1 of 4
next issue: JLA/Avengers #3 of 4

also indexed for Oct. ’03
Alias #25
New X-Men #145

JLA/Avengers #1 of 4

October 4, 2013

Avengers.JLA 1 of 4Kurt Busiek // George Pérez
September 2003
****

As the walls btw DC & Marvel collapse, a pair of cosmic beings make a wager to pit the heroes in a race to collect cosmic artifacts. As hoary as the scenario is, Busiek & Pérez (auteurs of a great Avengers run) lend vivacity to what should be mere fan service. Ex: Busiek makes distinct the thin difference btw the imaginary universes, as Superman reacts viscerally to the MU’s antiheroism & bigotry.

next issue: Avengers/JLA #2 of 4

also indexed for Sept. ’03
Alias #24
New X-Men #144

The Avengers #14

June 15, 2012

Stan Lee, Paul Laiken, & Larry Lieber // Jack Kirby & Don Heck
March 1965
***
Lots of hands work on #14, but it’s Kirby’s imagination that directs them. So a twisty plot links a critically wounded Wasp, a hunt for a lung specialist, the secret Arctic citadel of pale blue aliens, & finally, an interstellar war! It’s worth lingering over the King’s strange city & war machines.
[last issue: The Avengers #13]
[next issue: The Avengers #15]

Secret Wars II #6 of 9

February 19, 2012

Jim Shooter // Al Milgrom
December 1985
*
After getting his consciousness raised elsewhere by Dr. Strange, the Beyonder turns superhero. His resolution to eliminate death pits him against Marvel’s 1970s cosmic entities, a pantheon inspired by quaaludes. Shooter aims so high & falls so far short, while Milgrom gets increasingly sketchy.
[continued from The Fantastic Four #285]
[continued in Cloak and Dagger #4]
[last issue: Secret Wars II #5 of 9]
[next issue: Secret Wars II #7 of 9]

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 #4 of 7

June 8, 2011

Mark Millar // Steve McNiven
October 2006
**
The commentary on PATRIOT Act America has become paper-thin & confused, esp. since Millar doesn’t care about civil rights & govt. regulations. He just wants to blow shit up & he has his ideas about how to do that—like a rogue cyber-clone of Thor! But would Mr F create such a Frankenstein’s monster?
[last issue: Civil War #3 of 7]
[next issue: Civil War #5 of 7]

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]

The Fantastic Four #262

January 17, 2011

John Byrne
January 1984
*****
The trial of Mr Fantastic is actually an allegory on entropy. The most powerful beings in the Lee/Kirby/Ditko universe—the Watcher, Galactus, Odin, Eternity—justify Big G’s necessity. It’s science fiction as primitive philosophy, justifying not through reasoning but an act of creative cosmology.
[last issue: The Fantastic Four #261]
[next issue: The Fantastic Four #263]

The Fantastic Four #240

December 17, 2010

John Byrne
March 1982
****
Byrne’s FF deliberates shuns comics’ impulse to depict violence: a war btw. humans & Inhumans begins & ends off-page. Instead, Reed & co. help the super-race resettle on the Moon (the magisterial flight of their celestial city takes up several pages). In a coda, Quicksilver & wife have a child.
[last issue: The Fantastic Four #239]
[last issue: The Fantastic Four #241]

The Fantastic Four #29

April 27, 2010

Stan Lee // Jack Kirby
August 1964
****

A snappy reprise of FF‘s lunar face-off against a Soviet scientist & his superpowered apes. Like a lot of FF issues over the last year, #29 consolidates rather than innovates. But Kirby’s catching fire: here, inspired by the cosmic vistas of the Watcher, he dabbles in photo-collage & op art.

last issue: The Fantastic Four #28
next issue: The Fantastic Four #30

also indexed for Aug. ’64
The Amazing Spider-Man #15
The Avengers #7
Daredevil #3
Journey into Mystery #107
Strange Tales #123: Dr. Strange

The Fantastic Four #20

April 18, 2010

Stan Lee // Jack Kirby
November 1963
****

Breathless pacing lifts a conventional yarn into v.g. territory. Radiation gives a surly scientist control over inorganic matter, turning him into a standard megalomaniac. Tho’ he cages Manhattan Island in glass, he’s no match for Reed & the gang (+ an assist from the Yancy Street punks!)

last issue: The Fantastic Four #19
next issue: The Fantastic Four #21

also indexed for Nov. ’63
The Amazing Spider-Man #6
The Avengers #2
Journey into Mystery #98
Strange Tales #114: Dr. Strange
Tales of Suspense #47: Iron Man
The X-Men #2

The Fantastic Four #13

April 10, 2010

Stan Lee // Jack Kirby
April 1963
*****

The quartet rocket to the moon to face a Red scientist & his super-apes! Lee’s banter is fizzy fun, while Kirby (inked by Ditko!) takes the first steps in the ‘cosmic’ sub-genre with the Watcher, an ageless being beyond human ken. He also dreams up his first fantastic Kirbytech cityscape!

last issue: The Fantastic Four #12
next issue: The Fantastic Four #14

also indexed for Apr. ’63
Journey into Mystery #91: Thor
Tales of Suspense #40: Iron Man