Archive for Avengers

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  Odin is in fact so scared he has withdrawn Asgard from earth taking all his norse gods with him.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.

Advertisements

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.

Avengers

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.

Avengers

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.

Atlas

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.

Thunderbolts.

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.

Avengers: The Initiative #27

Posted in Avengers, Comics, Dark Reign, Marvel, The Initiative with tags , , , , on September 13, 2009 by pieman70

9_avengers__the_initiative_27The Initiative was almost on my drop list, Until the Disassembled storyline finished and suddenly its proper Dark Reign story kicked in.  However that’s not what I want to talk about.

Issue #27 mainly features the new Shadow Initiative, now not the black ops squad but more of a suicide squad made up of expendables.  The issue is split into two parts, part two concerns the Shadow Initiatives mission to take back the negative zone prison recently conquered byBlastaarr in Guardians of the Galaxy and their slow realisation that they are now cannon fodder.  However the first part is a story that is up there with one of the Initiatives finest stories.  Yes, Christos Gage has written his very own washout.

The story is written from diary entries by Johnny Guitar, chronicling his and his friend Doctor Sax’s progress through the villainous underground to eventually join the Shadow Initiative.  Who, well in their own words, they fought Dazzler once.

Yes, Johnny Guitar and Dr Sax are every bit as Z-List as their names suggest.  Gague however makes us feel for them, two small town losers, wanting to play music for a living but who fall into a life of crime and eventual super-villainy to support their families.   It actually gives you a look about how so many of these small time criminals might decide to make up a themed costume and get a kicking from Daredevil once a month.  In fact, the “Big Time” villain who tells them both to try super villainy and indeed later join Osbourne’s initiative is none other that PetePetruski, aka the trpaster, or as most know him, Paste Pot Pete, arguably the biggest looser on Spider-Man’s list of foes.

Overall its a touching character based story, and you know what, I think this type of thing, a story focused on one character and their time in the initiative, could be this titles real power.  I’m not against its arc plots etc, but more stories like “Washout” and “Even the Losers” would be great.

New Avengers: The Reunion

Posted in Comics, Dark Reign, Marvel with tags , , , on June 9, 2009 by pieman70

This was a title I really swithered on Picking up. See, I’m a big hawkeye fan, but not so much a fan of Clint Barton: Ronin. That and I’m really trying to cut down my buying. Still I eventually cracked and decided to take a look at this mini focusing on Ronin and his previously thought dead wife Bobbi Morse, aka Mockingbird.

The plot focuses mainly on Mockingbird, suffering Post traumatic stress from her long capture by the skrulls and now running a covert group of ex-SHIELD agents hunting down AIM. Clint Barton decides to tag along.

Overall it was a good series, well written and with some nice action/character pieces. Centre was Mockingbirds uneasiness of restarting a relationship with Barton, mainly because just before she was snatched she was going to divorce hawkeye, but her Skrull replacement continued the marriage.

Overall there is some sharp dialogue and the art is nice, if nothing else the artist has a ball drawing Bobbi Morse in a variety of different Mockingbird costumes, from a full bodysuit update to an evening dress version. Similarly Barton tends to use a bow and arrow and wear blue and purple more than use nunchucks and wear black and yellow.

Overall a good wee read, and sets up how Clint and Bobbi are now in New avengers.

I will not buy yoru stinking X Titles

Posted in Comics, Dark Reign, Marvel with tags , , , on March 6, 2009 by pieman70

http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=article&id=20244

Gods be damned. Are the X-Books really doings o badly that they need sellotaped into everyone else’s titles? Or are the cosmic events and Dark Avengers doing so badly that they need wolverine in them?

Yes, I cracked and bought Kingbreaker, and was left none the wiser regarding the influx of X-Men characters to my cosmic events, but now we have the Dark Avengers going up against the X-Men in a crossover of the likes that were so rightly hated in the ’90s. So, to get the full story I have to pick up two issues of Dark Avengers, well that’s not too much of a problem, but I’ll have to pick up 2 issues of Unpronounceable X-Men and a special Alpha and Omega issue. Alpha and Omega issues, gods, haven’t seen them since the Clone Saga. But for those counting, that’s 2 more comics a month for 2 months for a story. And you know what, they’re at the same thing with Thunderbolts, they’re crossing over with Deadpool soon in a similar 1 issue of Thunderbolts, 1 of Deadpool type affair, although that bothers me less since i pick up both titles anyway.

I could see the argument that the whole object of the exercise is to see Osbourne’s cabal pulling strings and the Dark Avengers and Thunderbolts both making Dark Reign felt across the Marvel universe. But these crossovers where i have to hunt down issues of other titles are really annoying. I wouldn’t mind if they, say told em that there was going to be an X-Men story featuring the Dark Avengers, or that the Thunderbolts were appearing in Deadpool, but No, not a cross title crossover. I may man up and vote with my feet and either only buy the Dark Avengers issues or better still, buy neither, save me some money and pick up Dark Avengers after this debacle is over. Yes, I am that down on cheap marketing stunts like this, it could be the best story in the world but it is blighted by stupid cross title crossovers like this.

Grump and Harrumph.

As for Kingbreaker, if we are to assume that there will be another cosmic spinnoff from Kingbreaker My guess it will be one of the following, Darkhawk, Inhumans or Starjammers. Hint, don’t make it Starjammers.

Dark Reign 1 (And a Bit) months on

Posted in Avengers, Comics, Dark Reign, Iron Man with tags , , , , on February 5, 2009 by pieman70

I thought I’d take a look at how the Dark Reign titles are getting on now each has at least 1 issue out (With a few exceptions) This post will deal with mainly the Avengers titles

Avengers: The Initiative

This title is 2 issues into its post Secret Invasion/Dark Reign stint, new writer, new arc and by the look of things a mostly new batch of students as we see the next class graduate and many of the trainers go out to initiative teams rather than face what Osbourne is likely to do at camp Hammond. All this and as a fail safe Clor has been switched back on. It is fitting with its disassembled theme that things are All change at camp Hammond. Story is quite entertaining, Christos Gage is still finding his feet but a clean house should help him with what has been Dan Slott’s baby. Art, well they picked Ramos again, who I really don’t rate at all but so far its not been a deal breaker. It will be interesting how the pieces fall on this one.
New Avengers
We’re two issues into this now, and the search for baby cage has been quickly resolved although they had to go to Osbourne for help. It would be out of character considering how many times Cage should have gone to Stark before secret invasion, but he is searching for his kid. We have what look like a few lineup changes, Captain America has joined and offered his house as a secret base, the real Spider-Woman is on the team and it looks like Ms. Marvel has joined (Which makes sense since she’ll be on a wanted list after events of Dark Avengers). To me, New Avengers was always the weakest title. Still this could be a new start. Nice that there is some great scope (and indeed virtually a promise for next issue) of a throwdown between New and Dark Avengers considering both teams have a Hawkeye, Spider-Man, Ms Marvel and I’m betting Bucky isn’t too happy about Osbourne wearing Cap’s Colours. If this title can find some solid direction it might turn out to be rather good.

Mighty Avengers
I always preferred Mighty to New, and Genuinely Mighty’s only problem was scheduling problems early on. Now being written by Dan Slott it stands out as being the least Dark Reign tied in of all 4 titles. Instead earth is being hit by a Chaos Cascade and in a roundabout way the Scarlet witch gathers a squad of avengers to face a dire threat in Transia. Slott has said that all selected Avengers won’t be the final team, but for the moment we have (if I remember) Hank Pym (now Wasp) Jocasta, Jarvis, USAgent, Iron Man, Stature, Vision, Hulk, Hercules and his sidekick Amadeus Cho and of course the Scarlet Witch. Nice touch is that, aside from lacking a Hawkeye, this team is made up entirely of Ex-Avengers or Relatives (Well Cassie Lang and the Vision carries all the memories of the original) Indeed, it was a nice touch that the Scarlet witch initially looks at Bucky, but comments that “Captain America is dead” and goes for USAgent, who has previously been an Avenger. This is one of the most promising of the titles, and while I suspect that Iron Man, Hulk and perhaps USAgent (Mainly because I want more Omega Flight) will leave, we could have a good team here. The comic was fun, and that is often missing in these dark days.

Dark Avengers

Arguably the most anticipated of the Dark Reign Launches this is the New Official Marvel Universe Avengers lineup. And I was largely right, it is mostly the Thunderbolts. We have from Mighty Avengers Ares and Sentry. Noh-Varr, Marvel boy, now called Captain Marvel, Moonstone, now called Ms. Marvel, Venom, Now Spider-Man, Bullseye, Now Hawkeye and finally The Iron patriot, in fact Osbourne himself using suits that he found in Tony Starks carelessly abandoned armour store in Avengers tower. Now this is was a good read, but I do wonder how long it can carry on, Ideally we’ll have a significantly less moral and more fragmented team (They already don’t get on too well) and this could be interesting, but is there a long term future, and are they going to pull a Thunderbolts, I doubt it from the likes of Moonstone (been there, Done that) Bullseye or Osbourne (Too damn crazy) and Ares just likes to fight, but who knows.

Later I’ll post on some of the non-avengers titles, and ones coming soon.