Archive for the ‘Wolverine’ Category

Avengers Assemble #25

February 28, 2016

Avengers Assemble 25Kelly Sue DeConnick with Warren Ellis // Matteo Buffagni with Neil Edwards & Raffaele Ienco
May 2014
**

Sometimes a character-focused arc doesn’t need a flashy climax, but this one’s too generic. The dialogue suddenly seems phoned in, & the art lacks a cogent sense of space or urgency. But the bigger problem is that Spider-Girl never snaps into focus as an individual, she’s just a girl sidekick with pluck.

last issue: Avengers Assemble #24

also indexed for May ’14
Captain Marvel #1
Hawkeye #17
Hawkeye #18
Moon Knight #1

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Avengers Assemble #23

February 26, 2016

Avengers Assemble 23Kelly Sue DeConnick with Warren Ellis // Matteo Buffagni
March 2014
****

The Education of Anya Corazon continues with Wolverine’s classic girl-sidekick seminar. It helps immensely that Ellis & DeConnick have impressive chemistry as well. I also like KSDC’s depiction of the Avengers as a sort of super-NGO. And Buffagni’s showing issue-by-issue improvement!

last issue: Avengers Assemble #22
next issue: Avengers Assemble #24

Avengers Assemble #22

February 25, 2016

Avengers Assemble 22Kelly Sue DeConnick with Warren Ellis // Matteo Buffagni
February 2014
***

An unexpected visit from Uncle Warren! Evidently he’s scripting the villain’s dialogue, based on the genetic technobabble of the female Dr. Moreau. She’s a KSDC creation who had a regular gig in the Evil Avengers spin-off mag. FYI the artist has a good hand for facial expressions & not much else.

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

also indexed for Feb. ’14
Hawkeye #16

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

Avengers Assemble #17

February 17, 2016

Avengers Assemble 17Kelly Sue DeConnick // Matteo Buffagni with Pepe Larraz
September 2013
***

The Avs fail to stop a superbaddie from focusing energy on NYC using Kirbybots. The art’s fine (a ‘clean’ style that I think of as late ’00s Superman) & so’s the plot. But see how often the minor characters are women, like a guest turn by Sersi? It’s just that easy to write feminist comics, boys!

continued from Captain Marvel #13
continued in Captain Marvel #14

also indexed for Sept. ’13
Captain Marvel #14
Hawkeye #12
Hawkeye Annual #1

Avengers Assemble #16

February 15, 2016

Avengers Assemble 16Kelly Sue DeConnick // Matteo Buffagni
August 2013
***

Now that the dark days of Bendis are done, quality Avengers comics are everywhere! This crossover with CM sets up a solid threat in a resurrected Kree warrior: the original Cap’s first nemesis, merged with the Kirbytech engine that empowered our heroine. Love how the Kree Empire hangs up on him!

continued from Avengers: The Enemy Within #1 of 1
continued in Captain Marvel #13
last issue: Avengers Assemble #15AU
next issue: Avengers Assemble #17

also indexed for Aug. ’13
Captain Marvel #13
Hawkeye #11

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

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

Winter Soldier #14

December 17, 2015

Winter Soldier 14Ed Brubaker // Jackson Guice
March 2013
***

A KGB superspy wipes love for Bucky from Black Widow’s memory. Brubaker erases this character’s past way too tidily (see also Agent 13’s pregnancy), and focuses on his hero’s wound. It’s the Widow who’s been attacked! That leaves a bad taste, but it’s not the first long run to end in mediocrity.

last issue: Winter Soldier #13
next issue: Winter Soldier #15

also indexed for Mar. ’13

Winter Soldier #12

December 15, 2015

Winter Soldier 12Ed Brubaker // Jackson Guice
January 2013
***

Bucky agrees to revert to his Soviet self and execute a mission for the superspy who’s kidnapped his GF. Our hero’s taken impulsive actions before, so at least it’s in character—but it’s astonishingly stupid. Brubaker has one foot out the door, and Guice, no longer inking himself, is looking ragged.

last issue: Winter Soldier #11
next issue: Winter Soldier #13

also indexed for Jan. ’13

Winter Soldier #10

December 10, 2015

Winter Soldier 10Ed Brubaker // Jackson Guice
November 2012
****

Black Widow has been kidnapped & mind-raped; regressed to her Soviet self (well, a 21C version of it); killed a longtime SHIELD agent, & had all memory of her romance with Our Hero erased. It’s all to torture Bucky emotionally, natch. But Guice’s art looks retro & contemporary all at once.

last issue: Winter Soldier #9
next issue: Winter Soldier #11

also indexed for Nov. ’12
Captain America #17
The Fantastic Four #610
FF #22

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 #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 #12

June 30, 2015

Runaways 2-12Brian K. Vaughan // Adrian Alphona
March 2006
****

Molly pounds the New Avengers, who do little to help rescue damsel Dagger from a fan-boy rapist on superdrugs. This is a fine baseline arc, with guests Cloak, Dagger & Spidey adding an ’80s Marvel tone that’s amplified by the story length (4 issues), a charitable churchman, & NYC snowfall.

last issue: Runaways #11
next issue: Runaways #13

also indexed for Mar. ’06
Daredevil #81
Iron Man #5
Nextwave, Agents of HATE #1
The Pulse #13
X-Statix Presents: Dead Girl #1 of 5
Young Avengers #10

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 #26

April 17, 2015

X-Statix 26Peter Milligan // Mike Allred
October 2004
***

A fairly blatant ripoff of Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid, as the team gets KIA with Mr. S & Tike A. gunned down in a suicide charge. It would’ve worked better if they hadn’t held each other at arm’s length since the retitling. Or if the run’s last two years had been compressed into one. Ah well.

last issue: X-Statix #25
continued in X-Statix Presents: Dead Girl #1 of 5

also indexed for Oct. ’04
Astonishing X-Men #4
Daredevil #63
Fantastic Four #517
Secret War #3 of 5

Wolverine/Doop #2 of 2

April 1, 2015

Wolverine-Doop 2 of 2Peter Milligan // Darwyn Cooke
late July 2003
*****

Wolvie & Doop fight a big-game hunter of cryptozoology—then do it w/ a sexy femme fatale & her pink stole!? This gonzo comics pastiche of Spillane-style detection is wonderfully surreal, its tongue-in-cheek plot perfectly suited to Cooke’s ’50s lounge-style art; his Wolvie has Dean Martin’s nose & hair!

last issue: Wolverine/Doop #1 of 2
continued in X-Statix #11

also indexed for Jul. ’03
Alias #22
Daredevil #47
Fantastic Four #69
New X-Men #141
Wolverine/Doop #1 of 2

Wolverine/Doop #1 of 2

March 31, 2015

Wolverine-Doop 1 of 2Peter Milligan // Darwyn Cooke
early July 2003
*****

Like last month’s fill-in, July sees an irregular X-Statix. Milligan abandons the pop satire for a gonzo mini focusing on Doop, the team’s alien-fonted potato monster. He & old pal Wolverine drink hard as they search for a pink mink (as in ‘stole’) that has mutant powers of bewitchment!

continued from X-Statix #10
next issue: Wolverine/Doop #2 of 2

also indexed for Jul. ’02
Alias #22
Daredevil #47
Fantastic Four #69
New X-Men #141
Wolverine/Doop #2 of 2

X-Force #120

March 11, 2015

X-Force 120Peter Milligan // Mike Allred
November 2001
****

No surprise the manager (modeled on J. Kirby!?) was manipulating the new X-Force, or that he’d arranged their deaths. But the execution’s superb, w/ guest-star Wolverine playing the cavalry as a favor for Doop, that weird, spud-like cameraman who speaks in alien font & has sinister plans for the team!

last issue: X-Force #119
next issue: X-Force #121

also indexed for Nov. ’01
Alias #1
Avengers #46
Avengers: The Ultron Imperative #1 of 1
New X-Men #118

X-Force #116

March 7, 2015

X-Force 116Peter Milligan // Mike Allred
May 2001
*****

Another excellent premiere issue in Marvel ’00s radical re-envisioning. Since the ’90s, Marvel’s mutants have been ubiquitous & cool; here they’re treated like athletes & celebrities. Allred provides a great ironic-pop style. And the subversive twist: the team gets offed, & viscera everywhere!

last issue: X-Force #115
next issue: X-Force #117

also indexed for May ’01
Avengers #40
Daredevil #16

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

X-Men: Omega #1 of 1

February 18, 2015

X-Men Omega 1 of 1Scott Lobdell & Mark Waid // Roger Cruz
June 1995
****

Magneto sends a time-tossed hero into a cosmic crystal to restore the true X-universe. Waid’s tense, dramatic script masks Cruz’s errors (an unoriginal Ameri-manga artist, he’s the weak link here). Lobdell, the crossover’s mastermind, has done commendable work. Tho’ individual minis may’ve faltered, his cumulative plot & vision makes AoA  the pinnacle of mutant mags between Claremont and Morrison.

continued from The Amazing X-Men #4 of 4
continued from The Astonishing X-Men #4 of 4
continued from Factor X #4 of 4
continued from Gambit and the X-Ternals #4 of 4
continued from Generation Next #4 of 4
continued from Weapon X #4 of 4
continued from X-Calibre #4 of 4
continued from X-Man #4 of 4
continued from X-Universe #4 of 4
continued in X-Men Prime #1 of 1

X-Men: Chronicles #2 of 2

February 15, 2015

X-Man Chronicles 2 of 2Howard Mackie // Ian Churchill
June 1995
*

Generally, Age of Apocalypse is best when it implies a backstory as intricate as the actual X-books; X-M:C negates that feature by filling those gaps. #2 plays out the love triangle of Gambit, Rogue, & Magneto while their team fights a brute with ill-defined powers. The hammy script makes it impossible to care about these emotional adolescents; the era-standard art is awful settings and hypertrophied bodies with tribal tattoos & bad hair. This low point for the AoA doesn’t justify its existence.

last issue: X-Men: Chronicles #1 of 2

also indexed for Jun. ’95
The Amazing X-Men #4 of 4
The Astonishing X-Men #4 of 4
Factor X #4 of 4
Gambit and the X-Ternals #4 of 4
Generation Next #4 of 4
Weapon X #4 of 4
X-Calibre #4 of 4
X-Man #4
X-Men: Omega #1 of 1
X-Universe #2 of 2

X-Men: Chronicles #1 of 2

February 14, 2015

X-Men Chronicles 1 of 2Howard Mackie // Terry Dodson
March 1995
**

Chronicles replaces the quarterly X-mag for the Age of Apocalypse, a sort of What If…? riff on Days of Future Past, w/ a remit to provide backstory. The first mission of Magneto’s team: to prevent an evil mutant, Apocalypse, from stealing US nukes. Mackie, a hack, writes flat characterization & generic bombast. He fumbles the death of Scarlet Witch, meant to be a pivotal sacrifice & the end of innocence. Dodson, however, draws in a buoyant style that owes a quite a bit to ‘good girl’ art.

next issue: X-Men: Chronicles #2 of 2

also indexed for Mar. ’95
The Amazing X-Men #1 of 4
The Astonishing X-Men #1 of 4
Factor X #1 of 4
Gambit and the X-Ternals #1 of 4
Generation Next #1 of 4
Weapon X #1 of 4
X-Calibre #1 of 4
X-Man #1

Weapon X #4 of 4

February 1, 2015

Weapon X 4 of 4Larry Hama // Adam Kubert
June 1995
***

Wolvie leads humanity, Strangelove-like, to nuclear armageddon—& snikts retracted claws thru his stump! Under Hama, Weapon X feels more like its parent mag than the rest of the AoA minis. He’s a stronger craftsman than most of the X-bullpen, tho his testosterone-heavy romanticism isn’t my taste.

continued in X-Men: Omega #1 of 1
last issue: Weapon X #3 of 4

also indexed for Jun. ’95
The Amazing X-Men #4 of 4
The Astonishing X-Men #4 of 4
Factor X #4 of 4
Gambit and the X-Ternals #4 of 4
Generation Next #4 of 4
X-Calibre #4 of 4
X-Man #4
X-Men: Chronicles #2 of 2
X-Men: Omega #1 of 1
X-Universe #2 of 2

Weapon X #3 of 4

January 31, 2015

Weapon X 3 of 4Larry Hama // Adam Kubert
May 1995
***

The X-mag to take best advantage of the Age of ApocalypseWolverine executes paramilitary violence w/ a goal, a solid supporting cast, even a sense of setting! Logan drafts Gateway (now a techie, not a primitive) to pilot an A-bomb run, while his pal Carol Danvers sacrifices herself stoically.

last issue: Weapon X #2 of 4
next issue: Weapon X #4 of 4

also indexed for May ’95
The Amazing X-Men #3 of 4
The Astonishing X-Men #3 of 4
Factor X #3 of 4
Gambit and the X-Ternals #3 of 4
Generation Next #3 of 4
X-Calibre #3 of 4
X-Man #3
X-Universe #1 of 2

Weapon X #2 of 4

January 30, 2015

Weapon X 2 of 4Larry Hama // Adam Kubert
April 1995
**

In the AofApoc, Wolverine fights Reavers above London & loses Jean Grey. Hama offers a basic level of craft that most ’90s X-mags lack: clear characters, well-written action, & focused stakes. One flaw, of course, is the cynical love of violence. If only Kubert’s #2 son weren’t a Lee wannabe!

last issue: Weapon X #1 of 4
next issue: Weapon X #3 of 4

also indexed for Apr. ’95
The Amazing X-Men #2 of 4
The Astonishing X-Men #2 of 4
Factor X #2 of 4
Gambit and the X-Ternals #2 of 4
Generation Next #2 of 4
X-Calibre #2 of 4
X-Man #2

Weapon X #1 of 4

January 29, 2015

Weapon X 1 of 4Larry Hama // Adam Kubert
March 1995
***

In a mutant-run dystopia, Wolvie & Jean Grey provide cover for a human airlift rescue. Hama actually builds an arc into one issue, & also leverages the lame Logan/Cyclops/Jean triangle into a backstory that cost Logan a hand & Cyke an eye. *** despite confusing layouts, due to comically wild hair.

continued from X-Men: Alpha #1 of 1
next issue: Weapon X #2 of 4

also indexed for Mar. ’95
The Amazing X-Men #1 of 4
The Astonishing X-Men #1 of 4
Factor X #1 of 4
Gambit and the X-Ternals #1 of 4
Generation Next #1 of 4
X-Calibre #1 of 4
X-Man #1
X-Men: Chronicles #1 of 2

X-Men: Alpha #1 of 1

January 12, 2015

X-Men Alpha 1 of 1Scott Lobdell & Mark Waid // Roger Cruz & Steve Epting
February 1995
****

Think What If… Magneto formed the X-Men? The dystopian alt timeline is fun, & the era’s portentous prose & posturing panels lend themselves well to the sturm und drang (even if the project labors in Claremont’s shadow). Magneto, a glowering man of action, looks unhappy to be stuck into the Rogue/Gambit soap opera; Cyclops is a mutant princeling who awakens to the genocide & misery under Apocalypse.

continued from X-Men #41
continued from Cable #20
continued in The Amazing X-Men #1 of 4
continued in The Astonishing X-Men #1 of 4
continued in Factor X #1 of 4
continued in Gambit and the X-Ternals #1 of 4
continued in Generation Next #1 of 4
continued in Weapon X #1 of 4
continued in X-Calibre #1 of 4
continued in X-Man #1 of 4
continued in X-Men: Chronicles #1 of 2

also indexed for Feb. ’95
Cable #20
The Uncanny X-Men #321
X-Men #41

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

Daredevil #55

September 21, 2014

Daredevil 055David Mack
February 2004
*****

Echo hears a parable from Wolverine (or a spirit taking his shape), & so accepts her destiny as an artist and shaman. The mini that Mack has tucked into Daredevil is a marvel of rich wisdom and stark beauty, all the greater for being sandwiched within a classic run of hard-boiled vigilante comics.

last issue: Daredevil #54
next issue: Daredevil #56

also indexed for Feb. ’04
New X-Men #150

Daredevil #54

September 20, 2014

Daredevil 054David Mack
January 2004
*****

Four days into her spirit journey, Echo finally means her spirit guide: Wolverine! They stoke a fire and talk over some deep stuff, but only after a splendid fight scene. You could get lost in the details of Mack’s art—the found-object panel borders, the scrawled “snikt” that Echo doesn’t hear.

last issue: Daredevil #53
next issue: Daredevil #55

also indexed for Jan. ’04
Alias #28
New X-Men #149

Daredevil #53

September 19, 2014

Daredevil 053David Mack
December 2003
*****

Once a compelling new castmember, Echo got left behind by this mag’s amazing twists. So she embarks on a vision quest, in the tradition of her Lakota tribe. #53 gets heavy into deep narrative symbolism on its holy journey into the spirit realm; its only peer on the stands may be A. Moore’s Promethea.

last issue: Daredevil #52
next issue: Daredevil #54

also indexed for Dec. ’03
Alias #27
Avengers/JLA #4 of 4
New X-Men #148

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

The Thanos Imperative #4 of 6

June 3, 2014

Thanos Imperative 4 of 6Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning // Miguel Sepulveda
November 2010
***

Thanos, Avatar of Death, cannot die, tho’ it’s all he wishes for; ironically, he must reintroduce Death to a mirror universe. Less compelling are the heroic aliens who fly thru a space station ripping monsters apart—standard super-stuff, w/o even the space-opera scope that most of TI offers.

last issue: The Thanos Imperative #3 of 6
next issue: The Thanos Imperative #5 of 6

also indexed for Nov. ’10
Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #2 of 9
The Fantastic Four
 #583

Realm of Kings: Imperial Guard #5 of 5

May 12, 2014

Realm of Kings - Imperial Guard 5 of 5Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning // Kev Walker
May 2010
***

DnA accomplish two clever goals in unshowy fashion. They make Realm of Kings‘ Lovecraft beasts into a fearful threat, & they establish the rich potential of the Imperial Guard as a team. Sadly, as Marvel scales back their Cosmic branch, the small satisfaction of a good mini must be its own reward.

last issue: Realm of Kings: Imperial Guard #4 of 5
continued in The Thanos Imperative: Ignition #1 of 1

also indexed for May ’10
The Fantastic Four #577
Guardians of the Galaxy #24
Nova #35
Realm of Kings: Inhumans #5 of 5

Realm of Kings: Imperial Guard #4 of 5

May 11, 2014

Realm of Kings - Imperial Guard 4 of 5Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning // Kev Walker
April 2010
***

The Realm of Kings maxiseries pays off, pitting the superteam of space voyageurs (clearly analogs for the Legion of Super-Heroes) against the pestiferous anti-universe’s X-Men as the Darkhawk conspiracy resurfaces. Kev Walker’s style, a mod sort of 2000AD look, gets a boost from colorist Fairbairn.

last issue: Realm of Kings: Imperial Guard #3 of 5
next issue: Realm of Kings: Imperial Guard #5 of 5

also indexed for Apr. ’10
The Fantastic Four #576
Guardians of the Galaxy #23
Nova #34
Realm of Kings: Inhumans #4 of 5

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

The Fantastic Four #600

December 11, 2013

Fantastic Four 600A-story: Jonathan Hickman // Steve Epting
B-story: Jonathan Hickman // Carmine Di Giandomenico
C-story: Jonathan Hickman // Ming Doyle
D-story: Jonathan Hickman // Leinil Yu
E-story: Jonathan Hickman // Farel Dalrymple
January 2012
A-story: **** // B-story: ***** // C-story: *****
D-story: **** // E-story: *****

A king-size #600. The A-story picks up the threads of FF, pitting every NYC superhero against a pair of alien invasions; a surprise twist has the late Johnny Storm break the Annihilation Wave! Then Hickman shows that Torch did die in #587, only to be resurrected in a gladiator scenario. That piece has a Euro look that meshes w/ the bug-‘verse setting; like all the back-up pencilers, it puts Epting to shame. Much of the art is “ugly” yet lovely, accentuating how creative JH’s whole run is.

continued from FF #11
continued in FF #12
next issue: The Fantastic Four #601

also indexed for Jan’ 12
FF #12

FF #11

December 10, 2013

FF 11Jonathan Hickman // Barry Kitson
late December 2011
****

Two alt-Reeds serve as biomass for a rebooted Kree Intelligence, who mounts an invasion of Earth—concurrent w/ an incursion from the Negative Zone! Luckily, the real Mr F calls his pals, incl. the Avengers, to prep for battle. Kitson only pencils breakdowns; the loose art keeps #11 from *****.

continued in The Fantastic Four #600
last issue: FF #10
next issue: FF #12

also indexed for Dec. ’11
FF #10

The Fantastic Four #588

November 29, 2013

Fantastic Four 588A-story: Jonathan Hickman // Nick Dragotta
B-story: Jonathan Hickman // Mark Brooks
April 2011
A-story: ***** // B-story: ****

Hick finally gets a partner who matches his calibre: Dragotta, who apes Kirby’s dynamic grunts but draws a Sturm-like indie line. Silence signifies mourning as Johnny Storm’s family & friends grieve. It sells the moment w/o sentiment—unlike the B-plot, where Spidey helps Franklin mourn his uncle.

last issue: The Fantastic Four #587
continued in FF #1

The Fantastic Four #584

November 25, 2013

Fantastic Four 584Jonathan Hickman // Steve Epting
December 2010
****

For over a year, Hickman has been writing one- & two-issue arcs, which makes this multi-plot storyline all the more portentous. Reed parleys w/ Galactus while Sue escorts Namor to Old Atlantis. But the soul is Ben, who swigs his cure & clobbers the gentrified Yancy Gang, now hedge-fund financiers!

last issue: The Fantastic Four #583
next issue: The Fantastic Four #585

Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #9 of 9

November 5, 2013

Avengers Children's Crusade 9Allen Heinberg // Jim Cheung
May 2011
****

A:TCC‘s strongest issue, prob’ly cuz it plays to Heinb’s strengths: character & dialog, and his core team of Young Avs. Some closure as Iron Lad, by killing Vision 2.0, accepts his destiny as Kang the Conqueror. The catastrophe gets treated w/ emotional weight, as the team drifts apart over months.

last issue: Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #8 of 9

also indexed for May ’11
The Fantastic Four #604
FF #16

Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #8 of 9

November 4, 2013

Avengers Children's Crusade 8Allen Heinberg // Jim Cheung
March 2012
****

There’s no good way to retcon a bad story, so A:TCC provides multiple ones for Wanda M’s haywire episodes, incl. the possibility that Doom was behind it all. Now he’s got cosmic powers, unluckily for Cassie Lang. The storytellers play fairly, trading her life for her father’s resurrection.

last issue: Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #7 of 9
next issue: Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #9 of 9

also indexed for Mar. ’12
The Fantastic Four #601
FF #13

Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #7 of 9

November 3, 2013

Avengers Children's Crusade 7Allen Heinberg // Jim Cheung
November 2011
***

With 4 superteams in this ish, it’s no surprise that characters get lost in the melée. The mag’s real point is a retcon of Av Disassembled & reversal of House of M. Offpage, the Scarlet Witch had allied with Dr. Doom to tap into a “life-force” that gave her reality-altering powers.

last issue: Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #6 of 9
next issue: Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #8 of 9

also indexed for Nov. ’11
FF #9

Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #6 of 9

November 2, 2013

Allen Heinberg // Jim Cheung
Avengers Children's Crusade 6August 2011
****

The Scarlet Witch confirms that, yes, she is Wiccan’s mother, metaphysically at least. It’s earnest comic sturm und drang that makes A:TCC the best “essential” Marvel U. tale of the terrible Bendis Era. To underscore this mini’s central status, X-teams (incl. David’s X-Fac) make strong cameos.

last issue: Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #5 of 9
next issue: Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #7 of 9

also indexed for Aug. ’11
FF #5