Archive for the Heroic Age Category

Fear Itself

Posted in Avengers, Avengers Academy, Comics, Fear Itself, Fearsome Four, Heroic Age, Iron Man, Marvel, Secret Avengers, She-Hulk, The Initiative, Thunderbolts, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on June 24, 2011 by pieman70

ok, so this was an event I was going to miss.  Serious event fatigue has been going on in my comic buying for some time.  How I long for a wee contained event restricted to a certain family of titles, preferable the X-men while say the Avengers are allowed to carry on regardless.  Seriously, another world-changing event just over a year after the New Heroic age started?  Can’t these titles be given a chance at more than a couple of arcs before “Everything Changes?” So it’s rather annoying that Fear Itself has turned out quite so well.

Just to clarify, I’ve not been picking up the Fear Itself book, but many of the books I do collect are now Fear Itself tie Ins, see unless you’re willing to just drop a title for a couple of months there’s no escaping the huge event.

The plot, from what I can ascertain, Sin, Daughter of the red Skull has found an old Asgaurdian fear god who was so bad he was banished and removed from all of history.  This god has given her a hammer like Thor’s and sent 7 others to earth where they have been picked up by several Heroes and Villains, turning them into evil gods.  Sin has also led an attack on Washington using Giant Nazi robots.  Odin is in fact so scared he has withdrawn Asgard from earth taking all his norse gods with him.  Confused, well for someone not reading the main book it can be.  This is wat I would classify as a “Bad” crossover.  Namely you do feel you’ve missed something if you just stick to your main titles.  So much so that it took several books for me to realise I hadn’t missed an issue in between.

This criticism aside, the event itself is great.  Obviously, some heavy hitters get their own big bad to fight, such as Iron Man fighting the Grey Gargoyle or the Avengers fighting a hammer possessed Thing.  Others are involved in general fighting, such as the Secret Avengers being on the vanguard defending Washington DC from Sin’s forces, The Thunderbolts trying to secure the raft after a hammer landed and was picked up by Juggernaut or the Avengers Academy pupils involved protecting civilians.  Either way, there is a real apocalyptic feel to this event.  Society is breaking down and the problems are as much rioting, looting and people being scared as they are nazi battlemechs or godlike super-villains.

Fear itself has even got me picking up some extra Limited series.  First, Youth in Revolt.

Youth in Revolt Features Prodigy, plus many of the heroes that appeared in the Initiative, who are re-activated as a volunteer force to try to help.  Sadly a situation in Atlanta develops when Thor Girl accidentally deflects some shots from a policeman with disastrous results.  I liked this on two fronts.  First, its more about stopping looters than fighting big bads, although there is a good moment with Crossbones nearly wiping out Gravity’s team.  It’s also great if you were, like me, keen on teh whole Initiative idea.  As well as featuring Prodigy, Thor Girl, Cloud 9 and Firestar, it is jam packed with guest appearances from Butterball, to some of The Order, and ist a good read.

Second is a bit odd but worth a look, Fearsome Four.  because of the high levels of fear, man thing has been drawn to New York.  Howard the Duck recruits She-Hulk, Nighthawk and Frankensteins monster to try to prevent his friend from killing too many people.  Its quirky, Nighthawk appears to have gone a bit ga-ga since I last saw him, think more along the lines of the “God Damned Batman” but its worth it if nothing else for some serious Quack-Fu from Howard.

So, I’m still not picking up the main book, but the story is worth the disruption its caused to my regular reads.  In fact, at this rate I’ll probably pick up the trade.


The New Heroic Age – So Far – Part 1

Posted in Avengers, Avengers Academy, Comics, Heroic Age, Iron Man, Marvel, New Avengers, Secret Avengers, War Machine with tags , , , , , , , on September 20, 2010 by pieman70

Quite a few of these titles have now completed their initial arc, and others are over 4 issues in, so time for a look at how we’re getting on.

First I’ll look at the four Avengers Titles, so much for saving myself money.


Well, good news is we have a title that is just Avengers, not new, mighty secret, dark or minty.  However, so far at any rate, this is my least favourite of the Avengers titles.  To be fair, it has a few handicaps.  First is the art.  People seem to get excited when John Romita Jnr is drawing a book, and I feel like some sort of nutter because I really fail to see why.  I have joked in the past that Romita Jnr and myself have something in common; neither of us can draw Iron Man.  This is unfair of course; at least if we were both to draw shellhead you’d be able to work out who Romita Jnr was drawing.  In general though I wouldn’t count him as one of my favourite artists.  Add to that Bendis writing, which I don’t mind, but its never worked in an all out superhero book and for my money is better used in titles like Alias, or indeed New Avengers.  The plot has some interest to it, the Avengers must travel into the future at the behest of Kang the Conqueror because, something has to be done about their kids.  It also has its faults, yes it’s nice to see Noh-Varr used again after he was re-vamped in Dark Avengers, but overall so far this really isn’t doing it for me.  Hope the plot picks p pace soon.  Also hope we’ll see why Wonder Man is acting up, he’s really out of character at the moment and I think that jars too.  As for the line-up, well at the end of Dark Reign, Steve Rogers basically said anyone who wanted to be and avenger was, but there was going to be a core team, and it’s a slightly odd hybrid between classic and Bendis, so we have Iron Man, Thor, Captain America (Bucky Barnes) and Hawkeye, with Spider-Man, Spider-Woman and Wolverine coming from the Bendis era.  It actually works quite well although I still don’t think Spider-Man and Wolverine work in Avengers.  A nice addition is Maria Hill, former Director of SHIELD as their liaison; in fact the three teams all have a liaison which is a nice touch.

New Avengers

The plot here is a little different.  Luke cage was a little put off that cap was returning things to business as usual, so cap gave him his own Avengers team.  Aside from the main squad he has his pick of members and he gets Avengers mansion to live in.  Funny thing about New Avengers, most of the members have another super-team.  Cage leads the Thunderbolts, Hawkeye, Spider-Man and Wolverine are all Avengers (actually lets not go into how many teams Wolverine is on, he does at least joke about it being his mutant power) and Thing is still on the Fantastic Four.  In fact only Iron Fist, Ms Marvel, Mockingbird and Jewel have no other affiliation.  They also have a Liaison in the form of Victoria Hand, Osborne’s second in command when HAMMER were running things, and probably one of the most interesting characters invented for Dark Reign.  Despite my mockery, it is actually pretty enjoyable; the plot is leading on from Dr Strange loosing his role as Sorcerer supreme and has mystic foes possessing various team members and in the last issue all appears to be linked to the Ancient One.  While Bendis’ writing seems out of place on Avengers it fits well with the team dynamic in New Avengers, hell half his team are usually in as wisecracking jokers in some form.  Immomen’s art is bright  Overall this is really promising which is a great turnaround as New Avengers titles have previously been the most forgettable for me.

Secret Avengers

This one had me a little excited, but then it had the advantage over every other comic bar Iron Man, War Machine was in it.  While the world is more Heroic, Steve Rogers leads a more covert squad to deal with serious problems hopefully before they become serious.  The Team isn’t exactly A-list, featuring Steve Rogers, War Machine, Black Widow, Valerie, Beast, Moon Knight, Nova and Ant Man (Eric O’Grady), plus Steve’s Girlfriend Sharon Carter as Liaison.  Not A-List but then they are meant to be a more covert squad.  So far it’s had a nice mix of espionage, mystery, in the secret society stalking the team apparently lead by nick Fury, and action, then I shouldn’t have doubted this from Ed Brubraker, who is definitely one of Marvel’s top writers.  Mike Deodato does a star turn on art as well giving us both luxury penthouses and Martian dig sites with ease.  I have a possible theory for this team, with Steve’s “Everyone Is an avenger now” idea I wonder if the roster for Secret Avengers might fluctuate a bit, with Steve doing Mission: Impossible style selections for each specific case.  I’d quite like that although the end of the first arc doesn’t really support this.  It did remove my misgivings regarding Nova being on the team as at the end he flies off and cap notes that he won’t be a reliable team member with his cosmic responsibilities.  Still, I know the story needed Nova but does Cap carry so much weight that Nova would say “Sorry trainee corps, but your most powerful member has to go off and do something for cap, good luck with the evil universe breaking into ours and all.”  Still, interesting stuff, and if it is Nick Fury in this secret society, does that link to the “Zodiac” society we’ve had glimpses of in Secret Warriors?  Or is Nick Fury the Wolverine of secret societies.  The story itself was a good setup involving the Serpent crown, secret societies and a huge throwdown on Mars.  A very solid title indeed.

Avengers Academy

I got over my initial disappointment that this wasn’t a knockabout comedy where mismatched wise-cracking recruits try to defeat the evil machinations of an overbearing guy called Harris.  Instead this replaces The Initiative and so for me has some big shoes to fill.  Fortunately it doesn’t disappoint.  We see a new batch of recruits, all near screw ups, most suffered some sort of abuse under HAMMER rule, all have one thing in common, as they find out they were the kids thought most likely to turn to villainy so the Avengers Academy faculty, as well as teaching them mastery of their powers also have to prevent them from turning.  Christos Gauge has a very nice setup, with the character Veil being the voice for #1 and Finesse for #2, and so far seems to continue through the following isses.  Once the twist is revealed near the end of #1, you can see quite clearly how close our young students are to villains.  Nice to see familiar faces in the faculty as well, although it seems to have its share of screw ups.  Wasp (Hank Pym) leads with Justice, Tigra, Quicksilver and Speedball as trainers.  I’m sure many fans are glad to see the back of Speedball’s Penance phase, me included but it is nice to see Speedball isn’t entirely recovered and back to normal yet, so it doesn’t have the stink of a retcon, just progress.  Mike McKone had not been on my radar before, but I do like his work in this.  More importantly, I liked The Initiative because it seemed like Marvel were trying to introduce some new characters and be a little creative, after all in Marvel and DC New Heroes are pretty rare.  What I like about this is that I could believe we may loose a few recruits to villainy, and that would make things very interesting.  This title is half way through its crossover with Thunderbolts called “Scared Straight” while it involves some of the T-Bolts it can be read in isolation (In fact the prison shutdown is handled in less than an issue over in Thunderbolts) but it is interesting to see the members who were directly harmed by osbourne teaming up to go after him.

The New Heroic Age

Posted in Atlas, Avengers, Captain Britain, Comics, Heroic Age, Iron Man, Marvel, Thunderbolts, War Machine, Young Avengers with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on March 1, 2010 by pieman70

What, no Dark Reign sum up?  No Siege speculation.  Have you seen how out of date my blogging has got these days, my only chance is to blog about things before they happen.

In all seriousness I might comment on Siege post event, but I’m interested at the moment on how the universe is going to unfold post-Siege.  Marvel have been releasing various things regarding the new shape of the MU and it looks brighter, sunnier and happier.  Some have said this could be a response to the Disney takeover but I reckon that with a probable Avengers movie coming out marvel want the universe back on a more approachable tack.

So, what do we know about this new age, lets look at the team books that have been revealed so far.


Marvel has released the line-up of this new team in the wake of Siege.  Line-up Includes Iron Man, Captain America (Bucky Barnes Version), Spider Woman, Wolverine, Spider-Man, Thor and Hawkeye (Clint Barton).  Its kind of a half and half, half Bendis’s new avengers, half traditional Avengers.  I’m in two minds about this, on one hand it will be nice to see a more traditional Avengers Team, I’m very happy that we’re not loosing Bucky cap just yet and that Barton is back to being Hawkeye.  On the other hand I’ve never been thrilled with Bendis writing Avengers, his work on Mighty wasn’t bad but I think there are better avengers writers out there.  It does leave at least one question; Barton is taking back his “Hawkeye” identity, what will happen to the Young Avengers Hawkeye?

Secret Avengers

This has been secretive, unsurprisingly.  We know its written by Ed Brubraker which is exciting enough, we know what the team members look like as silhouettes,  we don’t know what the team is about, what their purpose is or indeed the identity of any members, although speculation includes Steve Rogers, War Machine, Moon Knight and Black panther.  Either way this will be one to watch.


Another go at agents of atlas, I really enjoyed the previous Agents of Atlas series and like the commitment to keep trying to get them ingrained into the Marvel Universe, and I’m also keen to see the New 3D man meet the team.  Again another good sign.


Another interesting looking title, going back to the concept of criminal rehabilitation that existed throughout Thunderbolts but in particular in “The Initiative” period.  Luke Cage leads a team based on the Raft, Currently looks like the team will include Moonstone, Crossbones, Ghost, Juggernaut and Man Thing with the theme of criminals doing heroic acts as part of their rehabilitation.

There is also an interesting looking title called Heroic Age, not sure if it’s just a one shot or a series but it’s more of an anthology book and will see the return of Captain Britain and MI13 in a short story.  Solo title wise Iron Man has new armour and solicits show that it will feature Jim Rhodes, possibly as War Machine.  And Captain America, at least for the next story will continue to show the adventures of Bucky Barnes which is good as I can still see mileage in that concept.

What are we loosing; to my mind so far it looks like we’ll loose two significant titles.  The first is confirmed axed, that is Ms Marvel.  It’s a real shame because this title has been holding on and with a bit more promotion she could have been Marvel’s Wonder Woman.  Marvel are doing a comic featuring female heroes, but I preferred a female solo book (and with She-Hulk gone as well I struggle to think of any Marvel female solo book).

Second is Avengers: The Initiative, and while I wasn’t enamoured by the “Disassembled” story it’s been consistently good.  I like the concept (Hero boot camp) and I liked the often personal approach to stories they took.  It was an interesting book, so far no announcements of what will become of the initiative but I hope it will survive in some shape or form as it’s really been too good an idea to drop.