Archive for the ‘Wizard’ Category

Fantastic Four #516

December 25, 2014

Fantastic Four 516Mark Waid with Karl Kesel // Paco Medina
September 2004
**

Editors & fill-in artists have fumbled Waid’s FF as badly as they did Morrison’s recent X-run. Medina’s staging doesn’t just interfere w/ the script (a superhero lark against the Frightful Four). It reveals new flaws, like fight scenes that cycle thru several 1-on-1 duels that pause when off-camera.

last issue: Fantastic Four #515
next issue: Fantastic Four #517

also indexed for Sept. ’04
Astonishing X-Men #3
Daredevil #62
The Pulse #4
Thanos #12

Fantastic Four #515

December 24, 2014

Fantastic Four 515Mark Waid with Karl Kesel // Paco Medina
August 2004
**

A new iteration of the Frightful 4 now mirrors the FF’s family dynamic—a warped image, as the Wizard conscripts an Asian ex-wife & love child. Their powers & personalities get obscured by Medina’s style (’90s American super-manga), which he does w/o much range or subtlety of emotion.

last issue: Fantastic Four #514
next issue: Fantastic Four #516

also indexed for Aug. ’04
Astonishing X-Men #2
Daredevil #61
Thanos #11

Fantastic Four #514

December 23, 2014

Fantastic Four 514Mark Waid with Karl Kesel // Paco Medina
late July 2004
***

The unexpected focus on Johnny continues: his coffee date is an unsure accomplice of the Frightful Four. Yet another penciller, a hack in the dated Maduriera vein. The earnest style & bad backgrounds don’t sell Waid’s somewhat generic supervillain rants & heart-to-heart beats of unbuttoned emo.

last issue: Fantastic Four #513
next issue: Fantastic Four #515

also indexed for Jul. ’04
Astonishing X-Men #1
Daredevil #60
Fantastic Four #513
The Pulse #3
Secret War #2 of 5
Thanos #10

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

Thunderbolts Annual ’97

June 21, 2014

Thunderbolts Annual 1Kurt Busiek // Mark Bagley, Gene Colan, Tom Grummett, Chris Marrinan, Bob McLeod, George Pérez, Ron Randall, & Darick Robertson
July 1997
**

Cashing in on a hit, Marvel requests an annual after 5 issues! Busiek recounts the Baron’s recruitment drive, a backstage approach (a la Astro City) to the usual teambuilding formula. Not as strong as the similar #-1 issue—the circumstances add little texture. The exception’s Songbird, whose super-Bonnie & Clyde scenario has a small-time scope & genuine emo. DD fans will enjoy Colan’s pages.

continued from Thunderbolts #4
continued in Thunderbolts #5
next issue: Captain America/Citizen V Annual ’98

also indexed for Jul. ’97
Thunderbolts #-1
Thunderbolts #4

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 #9

December 8, 2013

FF 09Jonathan Hickman // Steve Epting
November 2011
****

Epting’s in his element as he draws a massive, chaotic battle btw Inhumans & Moloids. On the field of combat, Hickman’s characters act like chesspieces, as Black Bolt captures a pair of Mr F’s duplicates (& Reed himself) while the fourth Richards takes Dr. Doom hostage & flees to Latveria! Awesome.

last issue: FF #8
next issue: FF #10

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

FF #8

December 7, 2013

FF 08Jonathan Hickman // Steve Epting
October 2011
***

Back down to Earth, literally & figuratively, after the cool flashback of #6-7. Epting’s Hollywood realism can’t encompass Hickman’s imagination; it’s just bland, confusing—maybe rushed? Less plot than usual too, as the Future Foundation’s villain-allies fight the Reed-doubles & Inhumans in a melée.

last issue: FF #7
next issue: FF #9

FF #5

December 4, 2013

FF 05Jonathan Hickman // Barry Kitson
August 2011
****

The prophesied war ignites! First the doppel-Reeds & Mole Man destroy Old Atlantis, then they face the Inhuman space-city at the strange Forever City. And kudos to Kitson: tho’ his Reed is bland, his Thing is expressive &, even rarer, his Sue is a strong presence, matching Hick’s portrayal.

last issue: FF #4
next issue: FF #6

also indexed for Aug. ’11
Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #6 of 9

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

FF #1

November 30, 2013

FF 01Jonathan Hickman // Steve Epting
May 2011
****

Effectively #589, but the new title marks a shift to the team post-Johnny. His slot is given to Spider-Man, who fits in better here than on the Avengers—after all, he attempted to join back in ASM #1! The bigger surprise is Doc Doom, who’s been invited to the Future Foundation by goddaughter Val.

continued from The Fantastic Four #588
next issue: FF #2

also indexed for May ’11
Avengers: The Children’s Crusade: Young Avengers #1 of 1

The Fantastic Four #579

November 20, 2013

Fantastic Four 579Jonathan Hickman // Neil Edwards
July 2010
****

Speaking at a conference, Reed trumpets a techno-futuristic optimism that’s worth serious consideration. Pinning the blame for neo-luddism on age & fear, he founds a school for super-geniuses, mole-kids, & Atlantean water-babies. The high-minded theme trumps all considerations of Edwards’ choppy art.

last issue: The Fantastic Four #578
next issue: The Fantastic Four #580

The Fantastic Four #570

November 11, 2013

Fantastic Four 570Jonathan Hickman // Dale Eaglesham
October 2009
****

Richards’ heroic humanism has caused worry lines since he realized (in a spin-off mini) that he must repair the world alone. But in a juicy plot development, he’s invited to join a Council of Mr Fs who use their Infinity Gauntlets to protect the multiverse! Hickman’s debut shows great confidence.

continued from Dark Reign: Fantastic Four #5 of 5
last issue: The Fantastic Four #569
next issue: The Fantastic Four #571

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

Avengers #43

September 18, 2013

Avengers 43Kurt Busiek // Alan Davis
August 2001
****

Around the globe, Avengers ally w/ local military to stop super-insurgencies sponsored by the Conqueror. Marvel soap opera fills out the spaces of this epic story, making for esp. strong superteam comics. In one poten. risky plot devo, Ms. Marvel recognizes Kang’s son as her infamous star-rapist!

continued in Avengers Annual 2001
last issue: Avengers #42
next issue: Avengers #44

also indexed for Aug. ’01
New X-Men #115

Secret War #4 of 5

May 21, 2011

Brian Michael Bendis // Gabriele Dell’Otto
May 2005
***

Whoops, that was a long delay! The payoff isn’t quite worth the wait either, esp. since #3 was low on plot. A scarred woman (the deposed PM of Latveria) activates a bomb made of supervillain tech. Bendis aims to comment on 9/11—eg suicide bomber in NYC—but the chaotic, murky art obscures his point.

last issue: Secret War #3 of 5
next issue: Secret War #5 of 5

also indexed for May ’05
Astonishing X-Men #10
Daredevil #71
The Pulse #8
Young Avengers #2

Secret War #3 of 5

May 20, 2011

Brian Michael Bendis // Gabriele Dell’Otto
October 2004
**

If you’re writing a 5-part quarterly, you really need shouldn’t indulge in so much action & so little plot—you kill the momentum. Peter Parker’s unconscious mind begins to recall the cover op that last issue set up. But mostly, it’s Dell’Otto drawing glowy red-eyed tech in an homage to The Matrix.

last issue: Secret War #2 of 5
next issue: Secret War #4 of 5

also indexed for Oct. ’04
Astonishing X-Men #4
Daredevil #63
Fantastic Four #517