Posts Tagged ‘Roger Stern’

Captain America #600

September 14, 2015

Captain America 600a-plot: Ed Brubaker // Jackson Guice with David Aja, Raphael Albaquerque, Mitch Breitweiser, & Howard Chaykin
b-plot:  Roger Stern // Kalman Andrasofszky
c-plot: Mark Waid // Dale Eaglesham
August 2009
a-plot: ***
b-plot: *****
c-plot: ****

Dubious accounting allows Marvel to claim that #600 follows #50. It checks in w/ all the plots, acting as a friendly prologue to next month’s resurrection. Yep, Sharon Carter suspects that she didn’t gun her BF down after all! Ironically, this ish means to memorialize the hero, but only the strong back-ups succeed. On an Astro City periphery, Stern draws on 9/11 by casting Bernie Rosenthal (his Cap run’s romantic foil) as a refugee from NYC after the hero’s assassination.

continued in Captain America: Reborn #1 of 6
last issue: Captain America #50
next issue: Captain America #601

also indexed for Aug. ’09
Daredevil #119
Dark Reign: Fantastic Four #4 of 5
Guardians of the Galaxy #15
Nova #26
War of Kings #4 of 6
War of Kings: Ascension #3 of 4

Thunderbolts #9

June 26, 2014

Thunderbolts 009Roger Stern with Kurt Busiek // Ron Frenz with Mark Bagley
December 1997
*****

On fill-in duty, Stern & Frenz execute a pitch-perfect pastiche of the Lee/Heck Avengers—down to 2×3 grid—showing how that team’s second wave were heroic despite public mistrust. It’s framed (by Black Widow) as a tale of redemption, & draws a canny comparison btw the T-bolts & the underdog Avs.

last issue: Thunderbolts #8
next issue: Thunderbolts #10

Thunderbolts #8

June 25, 2014

Thunderbolts 008Kurt Busiek & Roger Stern // Mark Bagley
November 1997
****

The first T-bolts story to last more than one ish ends w/ the mag’s best since #1. The team fends off a set of monsters menacing NYC, winning adulation & SHIELD access. But what’s esp great is how it delves into the psyche of Songbird, codependent & unconfident till now, when she must act alone.

last issue: Thunderbolts #7
next issue: Thunderbolts #9

Thunderbolts #7

June 24, 2014

Thunderbolts 007Kurt Busiek & Roger Stern // Jeff Johnson
October 1997
***

Who misses Bagley? His sub does fine w/ a more realistic, equally fashionable style. Also a help on plotting is R. Stern, who wrote maybe the best Masters of Evil tale. Then, Zemo nearly killed the Avengers; now, he lets his team get captured & possibly killed by a periodic table of monster-men.

last issue: Thunderbolts #6
next issue: Thunderbolts #8

Avengers: The Ultron Imperative

September 22, 2013

Avengers - The Ultron ImperativeKurt Busiek, Steve Englehart, Roger Stern, & Roy Thomas // Tom Grummett, Klaus Janson, John Paul Leon, John McCrea, Pat Olliffe, Jorge Lucas, Paul Smith, & Jim Starlin
November 2001
***

Picking up on Avengers #19-22, Ultron’s “daughter” invents androids based on the Avengers’ brainwaves, but also fulfills a secret program to rebuild her robot father. A graphic novella conceived by Busiek & scripted by the all-time top Avengers scribes. The artists are a more eclectic collection, w/ vast shifts in style from chapter to chapter. JP Leon does a grim street look; Smith has an angular clarity; the rest are okay. But the lack of cohesion—both in dialogue & art—works against the book.

continued from Avengers #45
continued in Avengers #46

also indexed for Nov. ’01
Alias #1
Avengers #46
New X-Men #118

Avengers Forever #12 of 12

August 23, 2013

Avengers Forever 12Kurt Busiek & Roger Stern // Carlos Pacheco
February 2000
***

While AF provided the epic conflict that Busiek’s Avengers needed, it never fulfilled its early promise. The Destiny War is revealed as a battle btw Avengers from noble & corrupt timelines. It ends w/ Rick Jones fused to Capt. Marvel Jr. & w/ lords of time Kang & Immortus as distinct beings.

last issue: Avengers Forever #11 of 12

also indexed for Feb ’00
Avengers #25

Avengers Forever #11 of 12

August 19, 2013

Avengers Forever 11Kurt Busiek & Roger Stern // Carlos Pacheco
November 1999
***

As in “The Kree-Skrull War”, Rick Jones—now aged & weathered, linked once more to Capt. Marvel—manifests the author’s heroes from a field of cosmic Kirby dots. For R. Thomas, that was ’40s masked men; for Kurt B., it’s the Avengers themselves. Pacheco provides scope, but the solipsism is a letdown.

last issue: Avengers Forever #10 of 12
next issue: Avengers Forever #12 of 12

also indexed for Nov. ’99
Avengers #22

Avengers Forever #10 of 12

August 17, 2013

Avengers Forever 10Kurt Busiek & Roger Stern // Carlos Pacheco
October 1999
***

The team stands trial before a tribunal of aliens from the end of time who guide history to guarantee their own birth. This year-long mini hits its third issue of expository conversation in a row. It hasn’t quite stalled but it’s dangerously close. Fortunately, Pacheco’s gridwork keeps it snazzy.

last issue: Avengers Forever #9 of 12
next issue: Avengers Forever #11 of 12

also indexed for Oct. ’99
Avengers #21

Avengers Forever #9 of 12

August 14, 2013

Avengers Forever 09Kurt Busiek & Roger Stern // Carlos Pacheco
August 1999
****

#9, like #8, is an expository ish, w/o the retcon but w/ a stronger character. Kang aims to subvert destiny itself—a worthy goal for the despot! Busiek (who nails the fustian voice) smooths the pretzelled history of this character, with its divergent time-lines, multiversal councils, and alt IDs.

last issue: Avengers Forever #8 of 12
next issue: Avengers Forever #10 of 12

also indexed for Aug. ’99
Avengers #19

Avengers Forever #8 of 12

August 12, 2013

Avengers Forever 08Kurt Busiek & Roger Stern // Carlos Pacheco
July 1999
***

The writers engineer a retcon that Rascally Roy would envy. It’s effected via exposition dump that “changes all you know” about the Avengers’ history. Plotting errors & paradoxes—from the Vision’s origin to Galactic Storm—get “explained” as a chronal conspiracy to prevent a human galactic empire.

last issue: Avengers Forever #7 of 12
next issue: Avengers Forever #9 of 12

also indexed for Jul. ’99
Avengers #18
Avengers Annual 1999
Avengers #0

Avengers Forever #7 of 12

August 8, 2013

Avengers Forever 07Kurt Busiek & Roger Stern // Carlos Pacheco
June 1999
***

As the team storms an Escher-like citadel in Limbo, its various members work thru internal conflicts. Cap & Hawk gain confidence while Avs from the future share a kiss. But the strongest bit is the double-act of Ant-Men, as the schizoid version (Yellowjacket from Av #59) seems to betray the team!

last issue: Avengers Forever #6 of 12
next issue: Avengers Forever #8 of 12

also indexed for Jun. ’99
Avengers #17

Avengers Forever #6 of 12

August 6, 2013

Avengers Forever 06Kurt Busiek & Roger Stern // Carlos Pacheco
May 1999
***

In one future, T’Challa sacrifices his vibranium to save a pregnant android & a golden insectoid swarm. The choice has been engineered by Immortus, whose power over spacetime is bent on keeping humanity on Earth. But that plot requires some deduction, since Kurt & Roger refuse to spell it out.

last issue: Avengers Forever #5 of 12
next issue: Avengers Forever #7 of 12

also indexed for May ’99
Avengers #16

Avengers Forever #5 of 12

August 4, 2013

Avengers Forever 05Kurt Busiek & Roger Stern // Carlos Pacheco
April 1999
***

Immortus begins erasing various ‘verses to stop humanity from conquering the future. Busiek echoes the classic Crisis, of course, also in that both minis seem to stall at times. To provide a dialogue assist, he’s enlisted Stern, from The Avengers‘ last glory era (& one that Busiek passes by).

last issue: Avengers Forever #4 of 12
next issue: Avengers Forever #6 of 12

also indexed for Apr. ’99
Avengers #15

Avengers Forever #4 of 12

August 2, 2013

Avengers Forever 04Kurt Busiek & Roger Stern // Carlos Pacheco
March 1999
****

Busiek pays homage to Thomas & Englehart, building his mini partly around their runs. His Avengers board a time machine to stop Immortus from erasing their sidekick, Rick Jones. They’re off to the Wild West (backstage in Av #142-3!), Killraven’s future, & ’50s America—where VP Nixon is a Skrull!

last issue: Avengers Forever #3 of 12
next issue: Avengers Forever #5 of 12

also indexed for Mar. ’99
Avengers #14

Avengers Forever #3 of 12

July 31, 2013

Avengers Forever 03Kurt Busiek & Roger Stern // Carlos Pacheco
February 1999
****

Epic, Avengers-defining comics, w/ goofy super-SF to rival Morrison’s JLA. Immortus invades a “chronopolis” (a city that abutts all eras) so he can gain the power to prune the timestream! Pacheco shines: his “actors” have expressive body language & his panels cut & frame subjects in compelling ways.

last issue: Avengers Forever #2 of 12
next issue: Avengers Forever #4 of 12

also indexed for Feb. ’99
Avengers #13

Captain America #255

September 8, 2012

Roger Stern & John Byrne
March 1981
****
Byrne decamps for FF and Stern begins his work on Spidey. But first, they cap their run by recounting the supersoldier’s origin. It’s framed nicely by an Oval Office scene, as FDR gives CA the famous shield. Rubenstein deserves special tone, applying inks thick & rough to suggest the Golden Age era.
[last issue: Captain America #254]
[next issue: Captain America #256]

Captain America #254

September 7, 2012

Roger Stern & John Byrne
February 1981
****
A gothic tale set in England, with a vampire that’s less Marvel’s Dracula than Stoker’s original. This bloodsucker fought Cap & the Invaders back in WW2, & now loses his head w/ a gruesome chop of the supersoldier’s shield! Also notable: a working-class student becomes Cap’s UK analog, Union Jack.
[last issue: Captain America #253]
[next issue: Captain America #255]

Captain America #253

September 6, 2012

Roger Stern & John Byrne
January 1981
****
Stern’n’Byrne pull the mid-’70s Invaderscontinuity into their run—an inevitable inclusion, since they’ve been enriching Cap’s character w/ period details & “man out of his time” theme. The plot’s a horror trope (an odd fit for the supersoldier) as Cap returns to England to hunt a Nazi vampire.
[last issue: Captain America #252]
[next issue: Captain America #254]

Captain America #252

September 5, 2012

Roger Stern & John Byrne
December 1980
****
When one of Thor’s heavies aims a supertanker at NYC, that ol’ French mercenary Batroc teams up w/ Cap to pummel him. You can almost feel the punches land in Byrne’s fight sequences, plus he tosses off one or two A+ layouts. The peppy caper wraps up quickly, so the creators offer some bonus material.
[last issue: Captain America #251]
[next issue: Captain America #253]

Captain America #251

September 4, 2012

Roger Stern & John Byrne
November 1980
****
This throwback to the Lee/Kirby era gets burnished by its creators’ superlative craft. Look at how much time Stern/Byrne devote to Silver Age super-criminals Hyde & Batroc, who hold NYC ransom! Read how revealing the dialogue is, see how smooth & muscular the artwork is. JB draws a perfect Cap.
[last issue: Captain America #250]
[next issue: Captain America #252]

Captain America #250

September 3, 2012

Roger Stern & John Byrne
October 1980
*****
Cap considers a presidential bid on a third-party ticket but declines cuz he’s an idealist, not a pragmatist. A boldly introverted issue for a milestone number, #250 hit the racks for the autumn election, when Watergate still cast a black shadow over the Oval Office & the country seemed rudderless.
[last issue: Captain America #249]
[next issue: Captain America #251]

Captain America #249

September 2, 2012

Roger Stern & John Byrne
September 1980
****
It takes confidence—or chutzpah—to create a villain w/ a great hook & kill him right away, at least when the death has substance. Downloaded into a mainframe, a roboticist lives a bodiless existence. He loathes it, but his programming won’t allow suicide. So he dupes Cap into executing him!
[last issue: Captain America #248]
[next issue: Captain America #250]

Captain America #248

September 1, 2012

Roger Stern & John Byrne
August 1980
***
A sturdy structure (& Byrne’s long, delicate line) propels the action from last ish to next. A megalomaniac designer of robots has targeted Cap, first w/ that Nazi replicant and now w/ a synthetic dragon (a classic Kirby creation). The issue’s charm, however, is seeing Steve hang w/ his neighbors.
[last issue: Captain America #247]
[next issue: Captain America #249]

Captain America #247

August 31, 2012

Roger Stern & John Byrne
July 1980
****
Byrne, at his peak (see UXM), collabs w/ pal Stern on a classic aborted run. So much potential’s already evident in this tight first issue. The duo nix Gerber’s alt-origin for Cap as false memories for undercover work, then threaten an old Nazi w/ extradition to Israel before revealing it’s a robot!
[last issue: Captain America #246]
[next issue: Captain America #248]

The Fantastic Four #295

February 25, 2011

Roger Stern // Jerry Ordway
September 1986
***
Byrne’s off to strip & revise Superman from the foundations on up, leaving close collaborator Stern as the FF‘s temp caretaker. Roger wraps up Byrne’s last sci-fi arc in a conventional way, tho’ w/ a few good touches: the Four rescue a city from a relativistic force-dome & mutated inhabitants.
[last issue: The Fantastic Four #294]
[next issue: The Fantastic Four #296]

The Fantastic Four #294

February 24, 2011

John Byrne & Roger Stern // Jerry Ordway
September 1986
****
Stern steps in. Byrne’s FF run has shone brightest when he indulged his inner nerd. His latest arc—& out of the blue, his last—engages tropes from ’40s & ’50s sci-fi: fear of the A-bomb, relativistic time & post-human evolution, scientific hubris, & even the revision of current events into religion.
[last issue: The Fantastic Four #293]
[next issue: The Fantastic Four #295]

The Avengers #233

January 8, 2011

Roger Stern & John Byrne
July 1983
***
Stern invites his pal Byrne to a crossover. A nihilistic beastie threatens our universe & its mirror. As the FF work over in their mag, on this side, a rookie Cptn. Marvel stops an energy transfer via slingshot around the sun. Great pacing & high stakes but Sinnott’s inks cloud Byrne’s art.
[continued from The Fantastic Four #255]
[continued in The Fantastic Four #256]
[last issue: The Avengers #232]
[next issue: The Avengers #234]

Omega the Unknown #8

September 7, 2010

Roger Stern // Lee Elias
May 1977
**
The fill-in work continues. Elias is an adequate sub for Mooney, while Stern (a rookie) shows basic chops. He ushers in Gerber’s alter ego from Man-Thing, a Nice Guy named Richard Rory, along w/ Rory’s foe, Foolkiller. Otherwise it’s a generic fight btw. the Caped Man & a Captain Marvel foe.
[last issue: Omega the Unknown #7]
[next issue: Omega the Unknown #9]