Posts Tagged ‘Michael Gaydos’

Young Avengers Special #1

October 23, 2013

Young Avengers special 1Allen Heinberg // Michael Gaydos, Neal Adams, Gene Ha, Jae Lee, Bill Sienkiewicz, & Pasqual Ferry
February 2006
***

As YA hits delays, it offers a special to keep interest high & loop new readers in. It’s secret origins time, as Jess Jones (drawn by Gaydos, as she should be) interviews the teen team. Each episode gets a different artist—serious talent, & some of my faves. On the plus side, gay hero Wiccan shares a curious spark w/ Scarlet Witch; on the minus, the tough, awesome Hawkeye has a rapey backstory.

continued from Young Avengers #9
continued in Young Avengers #10

The Pulse #14

May 17, 2011

Brian Michael Bendis // Michael Gaydos
May 2006
*****

Bendis returns to Alias-style storytelling to conclude this too-brief bi-monthly mag, cancelled just as it found its rhythm. Jess Jones talks to her newborn daughter about her one week as a grim-n-gritty vigilante (“The Knightress”), when she met the Heroes for Hire. A smart, sweet bit of closure.

last issue: The Pulse #13

also indexed for May ’06
Annihilation: Prologue #1 of 1
Iron Man #6
Nextwave, Agents of HATE #3
Young Avengers #11

The Pulse #13

May 16, 2011

Brian Michael Bendis // Michael Gaydos
March 2006
*****
Jess delivers her daughter surrounded by baby-daddy Luke Cage & his colleagues, the Avengers. D-Man, a onetime Avenger & now a vagrant, gets help from his hero, Daredevil. The thematic parallel is elegant, liberal, & hopeful, implying an inclusive community that looks after even its lowest members.

last issue: The Pulse #12
next issue: The Pulse #14

also indexed for Mar. ’06
Iron Man #5
Nextwave, Agents of HATE #1
Young Avengers #10

The Pulse #12

May 15, 2011

Brian Michael Bendis // Michael Gaydos
January 2006
****

Jess deals w/ an early labor (three months in fiction—in real life, the fetus was conceived in Nov. ’01!) & w/ a bigoted reaction to a “mutant” delivery, till the Avengers shuttle her to Dr. Strange. Tight pacing smoothes over the lack of segues btw the plot & a subplot about  a homeless superhero.

last issue: The Pulse #11
next issue: The Pulse #13

also indexed for Jan. ’06
Drax the Destroyer #3 of 4

The Pulse #11

May 14, 2011

Brian Michael Bendis // Michael Gaydos
November 2005
****

Gaydos returns w/ his rough-hewn, indie style that Jess, frankly, is growing out of. She chats w/ Sue Richards about super-motherhood over brunch, a scene of adult normalcy & even realism. To parallel her rise in the world, a subplot shows how onetime Avenger D-Man has fallen into obscurity.

last issue: The Pulse #10
next issue: The Pulse #12

also indexed for Nov. ’05
Drax the Destroyer #1 of 4
Young Avengers #8

Alias #28

August 7, 2010

Brian Michael Bendis // Michael Gaydos
January 2004
*****
Alias, unlike most comics, actually has an ending (tho’ Jess Jones’ story continues in a new mag, The Pulse). Okay, the showdown w/ her nemesis is old-fashioned. But what follows! Jess takes the mature step of having a kid, telling the father (Luke Cage), & living her life. A great superhero comic.
[continued in The Pulse #1]
[last issue: Alias #27]

Alias #27

August 5, 2010

Brian Michael Bendis // Michael Gaydos
December 2003
****

Jones’ Silence of the Lambs interview w/ her archenemy, the Purple Man, has an obtrusive metatextual element. I guess she plays at roles (superheroine, PI) so she won’t have to face reality? Still, the tension ratchets up till it climaxes w/ an icky splash of Scott Lang (dead?) swarmed by ants.

last issue: Alias #26
next issue: Alias #28

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

Alias #26

August 4, 2010

Brian Michael Bendis // Michael Gaydos, Mark Bagley & Rick Mays
November 2003
****

By filling his heroine’s traumatic past in, Bendis writes an emo climax that measures up to the rest of the book. He’s also got a new angle on the standard Marvel hero v. heroes fight that has substance & weight. And the use of secondary artists is smart. Next issue: Jess faces her archenemy.

last issue: Alias #25
next issue: Alias #27

also indexed for Nov. ’03
JLA/Avengers #3 of 4
New X-Men #146
New X-Men #147

Alias #25

August 3, 2010

Brian Michael Bendis // Michael Gaydos & Mark Bagley
October 2003
*****

Covered by the MAX imprint, Alias pushes the comics taboo of heroine humiliation. Jones reveals her secret wound: she was once enslaved by a mind-control sicko. A metaphor for abusive love? Impossible to read it objectively or critically. For an extra jolt, flashbacks are in Bagley’s trad style.

last issue: Alias #24
next issue: Alias #26

also indexed in Oct. ’03
Avengers/JLA #2 of 4
New X-Men #145

Alias #24

August 2, 2010

Brian Michael Bendis // Michael Gaydos
September 2003
****

We’ve seen Jessica Jones lash out before, but not like this—vomiting (morning sickness?) & literally flying off. All cuz of a case involving the Purple Man, an old DD villain w/ the power to control minds. The prior Spider-Woman arc beautifully foreshadowed this theme of Jess as exploited victim.

last issue: Alias #23
next issue: Alias #25

also indexed for Sept. ’03
JLA/Avengers #1 of 4
New X-Men
 #144

Alias #23

August 1, 2010

Brian Michael Bendis // Michael Gaydos
August 2003
*****
Bendis is performs one of the most impressive retcons in superhero history by stitching his heroine into early Marvel. It’s not just plausible, it’s elegant, plus it enriches the book’s plot of a woman who’s fallen off the map. Here (14 years ago), teen orphan Jess discovers she’s got superpowers.
[last issue: Alias #22]
[next issue: Alias #24]

Alias #22

July 31, 2010

Brian Michael Bendis // Michael Gaydos
July 2003
*****
Finally: the Tragic Origin of Jessica Jones! As always, Alias lies on Marvel’s margins, but here Bendis weaves Jess into the Silver Age. The deftest touch is her wallflower crush on Peter Parker in Amazing Fantasy #15! Gaydos does an homage to the era’s style, but he’s closer to Allred than Romita.
[last issue: Alias #21]
[next issue: Alias #23]

Alias #21

July 30, 2010

Brian Michael Bendis // Michael Gaydos & Mark Bagley
June 2003
****
Bendis’ trafficking arc (kinda partners to his Owl arc in DD) wraps up w/ a burst of action—Speedball bubbles!—& Kid Spider-Woman’s rescue. It also teases at Jones’ traumatic history by alluding to a similar victimization & a dream-fight w/ the Defenders. Gaydos gets trad w/ a 3×3 grid on 1 page!
[last issue: Alias #20]
[next issue: Alias #22]

Alias #20

July 28, 2010

David MackBrian Michael Bendis // Michael Gaydos
May 2003
****
Part 5 of a dark sex- & drug-trafficking arc punctuates the liberal feminist theme. Jess teams up w/ PI namesake Jessica Drew (AKA the original Spider-Woman), who acts like a kick-ass gal out of a Tarantino flick. But then, Alias has always felt like an early ’80s Claremont comic (see also Ms. Marvel).
[last issue: Alias #19]
[next issue: Alias #21]

Alias #19

July 26, 2010

Brian Michael Bendis // Michael Gaydos
April 2003
*****
Spider-Woman is a narco-slave to a sleaze who’s freebasing her super-blood. It’s drug- & sex-trafficking as parasitism in a superhero idiom, dark as a Frank Miller noir but w/o the sensationalism. Adding to the tone, Jess fails to rescue the girl & (in a superb, expressionistic set of pages) gets slipped a mickey.
[last issue: Alias #18]
[next issue: Alias #20]

Alias #18

July 24, 2010

Brian Michael Bendis // Michael Gaydos
March 2003
****
Hard-boiled, complex, & disturbing to boot: the theme is sexual exploitation. We see Jess glam herself up (ironically) to get into a club. There she finds Kid Spider-Woman, strung out & maybe hooking for a true scumbag. On some as-yet-unexplained thematic level, it ties into Jess’ own backstory…
[last issue: Alias #17]
[next issue: Alias #19]

Alias #17

July 23, 2010

Brian Michael Bendis // Michael Gaydos
February 2003
****
Tight, ugly noir as Jess slouches thru rainy NYC looking for the 3rd Spider-Woman (another screwed-up teen). It’s the slow part of this arc, so she’s got no leads except for the prophecies of Madame Web (who?). The psychic oracle triggers a freak-out, teasing at the reasons for Jess’ damaged psyche.
[last issue: Alias #16]
[next issue: Alias #18]

Alias #16

July 22, 2010

Brian Michael Bendis // Michael Gaydos
January 2003
****
A case comes in thru Jess Jones’ window, as she comes home from foiling a stick-up to find one-time Spider-Woman (more like a girl—& how nice is it to see a physical diff. btw. women & girls in a comic!) powdering her nose. A couple beats w/ Scott Lang & Jess’ pal at SHIELD add quality to the issue.
[last issue: Alias #15]
[next issue: Alias #17]

Alias #15

July 21, 2010

Brian Michael Bendis // Michael Gaydos
December 2002
*****
Between arcs, this issue cleaves nicely into two convos w/ sexual partners, showcasing BMB’s skill at badinage. First, Jess Jones has teamed up w/ Luke Cage to guard Matt Murdock (see DD #36), & hashes out their hook-up on duty. Then Jess lets her guard down on a date w/ former Ant-Man Scott Lang.
[last issue: Alias #14]
[next issue: Alias #16]

Alias #14

July 20, 2010

Brian Michael Bendis // Michael Gaydos
November 2002
****
A masterful setpiece anchors the issue, 7 pages of a teen runaway’s tirade against conformity, w/ Gaydos’ facial expressions adding actorly nuance to Bendis’ expressive script. Add an intro on moral ambiguity & you get a quality conclusion to Alias‘ trad liberal arc about American intolerance.
[last issue: Alias #13]
[next issue: Alias #15]

Alias #13

July 19, 2010

Brian Michael Bendis // Michael Gaydos
October 2002
****
The creators put so much care into Jess Jones’ interviews w/ small-town bigwigs, they bring classic American bigotry to life thru the individual portraits. Even tho’ the tale is pretty conventional, it reminds you how potent Stan & Jack’s ‘mutants as outcasts’ metaphor remains even 40 years later.
[last issue: Alias #12]
[next issue: Alias #14]

Alias #12

July 18, 2010

Brian Michael Bendis // Michael Gaydos, David Mack & Mark Bagley
September 2002
*****

A wealth of diverse art adds depth, as Bagley pencils a flashback to Jess Jones’ uncynical youth & Mack uses cut-up montage to bring the missing teen to life. Contrast Bendis’ take on Claremont’s mutant racism w/ contempo Morrison: soft bigotry & casual ignorance v. urban/glam progressivism.

last issue: Alias #11
next issue: Alias #13

also indexed for Sept. ’02
Alias #11
Avengers #56
New X-Men #129

Alias #11

July 17, 2010

Brian Michael Bendis // Michael Gaydos
September 2002
****

Bendis runs the changes on a trad PI procedural as he sends his heroine to investigate a teen’s disappearance upstate. The twist is predictable (ignorant local students harassed her for being a mutant) but the sense of place is vivid. Partly that’s the book’s colorist, FYI, Matt Hollingsworth.

last issue: Alias #10
next issue: Alias #12

also indexed for Sept. ’02
Alias #12
Avengers #56
New X-Men #129

Alias #10

July 16, 2010

Brian Michael Bendis // Michael Gaydos
August 2002
***

In this one-off, Jess scams J. Jonah Jameson when she’s hired to unmask Spider-Man thru PI work. More of a script w/ pictures than a comic book (all full-page watercolor stills w/ dialogue in the margins), its dullness shows how much Gaydos’ over-the-shoulder photorealism & singular layouts add.

last issue: Alias #9
next issue: Alias #11

also indexed for Aug. ’02
Avengers #55
New X-Men #127
New X-Men #128

Alias #9

July 15, 2010

Brian Michael Bendis // Michael Gaydos
July 2002
*****

Dramatic dialogue underpins the A-1 character work here. A shrink’s descrip of superhero envy is esp. clever, the way it reflects Jess, Rick, & “Rick” Jones. By the way, an excellent rug-pull when, after she’s confided in him, Jess learns that the kid isn’t actually Rick J. but a pathological liar.

last issue: Alias #8
next issue: Alias #10

also indexed for Jul. 02
Avengers #54
New X-Men #126

Alias #8

July 14, 2010

Brian Michael Bendis // Michael Gaydos & Bill Sienkiewicz
June 2002
****
Bendis sets up perennial sidekick Rick Jones to mirror Jessica: a skittish loner, alienated by a lifetime of superheroics. A visit to the FF HQ also implies a hierarchy of super-haves & have-nots. Plus, dig Sienk’s “photo” excerpts of Rick’s autobio, ironically less realistic than Gaydos’ art.

last issue: Alias #7
next issue: Alias #9

also indexed for Jun. ’02
Avengers #53
New X-Men #125

Alias #7

July 13, 2010

Brian Michael Bendis // Michael Gaydos & Bill Sienkiewicz
May 2002
****

Part of this book’s quality is in its cinematic realism: “long takes” & slow zooms on talking heads. Alias sinks its foundations deep into the Marvel U. w/ Jess Jones’ investigation into namesake Rick Jones (of the Kree-Skrull War), which includes Watchmen-like excerpts of the sidekick’s autobio.

last issue: Alias #6
next issue: Alias #8

also indexed for May ’02
Avengers #52
New X-Men #124

Alias #6

July 12, 2010

Brian Michael Bendis // Michael Gaydos
April 2002
****

Marvel earns cred for setting Alias at the periphery of its mainstream ‘verse. At an interlude btw. arcs, this so-called life of a PI adds a ’00s gloss to the ’80s paradigm of ‘superheroics = twisted kink’. It’s not all S/M & Nietzschean idolatry, it’s celeb worship by lonely gals & horndog teens.

last issue: Alias #5
next issue: Alias #7

also indexed for Apr. ’02
Avengers #51
New X-Men #123

Alias #5

July 11, 2010

Brian Michael Bendis // Michael Gaydos
March 2002
*****

The mag’s first villain is a powerbroker who aims to unseat a president (a salutary reminder of the ’99 impeachment). PI Jones refuses to give up Captain America’s secret ID, an ethical choice (in Marvel’s world anyhow) that defines her heroism & ends her isolation. How ’bout that: a plot w/ an arc!

next issue: Alias #4
next issue: Alias #6

also indexed for Mar. ’02
Avengers #50
New X-Men #122

Alias #4

July 10, 2010

Brian Michael Bendis // Michael Gaydos
February 2002
****

Gaydos’ palate reminds you that he & Bendis have jettisoned even the trappings of caped comics: the book’s first glimpse of superpowers (4 issues in) is brief & unshowy. Plotwise, BMB lifts liberally from Chinatown as his heroine s-l-o-w-l-y finds her way into a conspiracy around a nat’l politician.

last issue: Alias #3
next issue: Alias #5

also indexed for Feb. ’02
Avengers #49
New X-Men #121

Alias #3

July 9, 2010

Brian Michael Bendis // Michael Gaydos
January 2002
*****

Bendis writes dramatic scenes, w/ arcs, subtext & character. It’s a pleasure to read, esp. w/ Gaydos’ funky pace & inky art. A cop grills Jones for half the ish, more curious about her superhero retirement than his murder case. It exposes the compelling hole in Jones’ life where superheroics once fit.

last issue: Alias #2
next issue: Alias #4

also indexed for Jan. ’02
Avengers #48
New X-Men #120

Alias #2

July 8, 2010

Brian Michael Bendis // Michael Gaydos
December 2001
*****

PI Jones has stumbled onto Captain America’s secret ID: she’s the patsy in a superpower crime thriller & she can’t make out the plot. Bendis gets acclaim for his dialogue, but it’s the pauses that land harder. Gaydos’ expressionist layouts reinforce that pacing to put us right up in Jones’ psyche.

last issue: Alias #1
next issue: Alias #3

also indexed for Dec. ’01
Avengers #47
New X-Men #119

Alias #1

July 7, 2010

Brian Michael Bendis // Michael Gaydos
November 2001
*****

More hard-boiled than any Marvel comic since Miller’s Daredevil, Alias launches the MAX imprint w/ raw art, profanity, & drunken, doggy-style sex. Jessica Jones has retired her spandex for a PI’s office, but her milieu is the underbelly of the superhero world—secret IDs, mutant adultery, etc.

next issue: Alias #2

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