Archive for War of Kings

Good Crossovers

Posted in Comics, Marvel, War of Kings with tags , , on November 12, 2009 by pieman70

I recently posted about war of kings, and I’d like to take a specific point form this.  That point is how to run an event, specifically crossovers.

Marvel has been picking up some bad habits of late, namely the multi-title crossover, where the crossover runs through alternate issues of different titles.  It can be done well, such as, in my opinion, The Hands of the mandarin crossover between Iron Man, War Machine and Force Works in the 90s.  The titles were pretty closely linked and we had guest appearances quite often (And indeed at one point War Machine finished his story and put in a call to Force Works to take over), second Iron man was part of Force Works anyway and the issues were written so the Iron Man issues were Iron man Centred, War machine focused more on War Machine and so on, they all told the story and all featured the others, but it meant you weren’t picking up an issue of Force Works and wondering why War Machine was so prominent.  Similarly, while I wasn’t keen the Peter David penned X-Factor/She Hulk crossover was annoying but at least the She-Hunk issues were mostly she-hulk.

Anyway, I digress.  I generally hate this sort of crossover, it adds another title that I don’t want to buy, (Utopia X) or it pulls characters from their interesting ongoing plot to a pointless crossover (Magnum opus).

Marvel has managed to occasionally pull some really good crossovers.  This is because to me, good crossovers are more like tie-ins.  Take War of Kings (Although both Annihilation events showed the same restraint) so, on the face of it, you have what should be a tie in nightmare, 5 issue Limited series, with the Darkhawk/Ascension tie ins, the Kingbreaker prelude and tie ins from Guardians of the Galaxy and Nova.  However, restraint was shown.  Nova focused more on the Nova Corps battling the criminal imperial guard we saw assembled in Kingbreaker, however you didn’t need kingbreaker to let you know the status quo, Nova handled that.  Similarly the Guardians of the Galaxy are involved with trying to stop the war, helping Liandra reach Shi-Ar space and stopping the spread of the tear, but this is contained perfectly in their own title.  The best example is Ascension, where several things that tie in elsewhere happen, but none require the reading of ascension to understand.  Why did Darkhawk assassinate Liandra?  Read ascension for the why, but it has no real bearing on the War of Kings plot.  Why is Blastaar suddenly in possession of the cosmic rod, again in Ascension, but it’s not a vital plot point.

This has not been contained to just the cosmic stuff though.  The Initiative recently invaded the 42 prison facility which was taken over by Blastaar in GotG.  All you needed to be told was the prison had fallen and needed to be taken back.

Finally we see this seep through to what is fast becoming one of the more bloated events this year Dark Reign.  In thunderbolts we see Nick Fury gunned down, only at the end for fixer to reveal he was an LMD.  There is an aside saying “For more see Secret Warriors” and sure enough we do, in secret warriors we find out that the escape was partially orchestrated by the secret warriors, and indeed that the LMD was piloted by Phobos, son of Ares.  This leads to some resolution between Ares and Nick Fury which may have bearing on Ares actions in Dark Reign – The List: Secret Warriors, where he secures fury’s escape from avengers tower.  This I like, you can follow extra plot threads if you like, but your reading experience isn’t ruined if you don’t follow up.  Of course, marketing don’t like that because it doesn’t directly force someone to buy another comic, but I wonder, does this method generate more readers in the long run, will curiosity draw in readers where forcing turns them of?

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War Of Kings

Posted in Comics, Darkhawk, Guardians of the Galaxy, Inhumans, Marvel, Nova, Realm of Kings, SF, War of Kings with tags , , , , , , , , , on November 2, 2009 by pieman70

WOK001_covMarvel’s other cosmic event has finally wrapped up (Ok I finally got out to buy comics) anyway it’s been quite a surprise, namely because its two run up titles (X-Men kingbreaker and Darkhawk) were a little lacklustre.

The story is of course about a second Kree/Shi-Ar war, only this time the Kree are lead by the Inhumans and their king Black Bolt, while the Shi-Ar are lead by Cyclops’s other other other brother, Vulcan.  Also involved are the newly formed Nova Corps, the Guardians of the Galaxy and Darkhawk (or should I say Razor)

This was actually quite different to the Annihilation events, in that the tie ins told other aspects of the story leaving the main effectively a self contained story regarding the progress of the war as seen by Crystal from the Kree side and Gladiator from the Shi-Ar.  The tie ins were of the good sort where they added to the story if you read Nova, Guardians of the Galaxy and Ascension, but didn’t detract from it if you didn’t, so Nova was really more about Rich’s battle with the out of control Worldmind/Ego and Guardians was half about their efforts to end the war diplomatically (With fun and disastrous results) and half about trying to avert the ultimate end to the war.

The end was spectacular, Black Bolt and Vulcan fight on a giant bomb, which eventually explodes tearing a huge hole in space, exactly as Adam warlock predicted.  Warlock manages to stop its expansion but the cost is that he becomes his evil future self, The Magus, and at the cost of Phlya and Gamera, although I doubt they will stay dead.

We now have an interesting state of affairs to the cosmic marvel universe, namely there is an empire in chaos and a dirty great rip in space, Darkhawk is on the run as while under control of the Razor personality in his armour and the Nova Corps are back to severely reduced numbers (A nice touch is that all the new Novas are in trainee uniforms similar to rich’s old “Kid Nova” suit)

Overall it was good, well written with good art and really had the impression of a large scale galactic conflict.  Tie ins were, as said before good but unintrusive and overall this was a good event, if lacking the “Galaxy is doomed” feel of the previous two, also a good example of how to run event tie-ins.  Mainstream Marvel take note.

I had my fears about what spinoff we would get from this event; I feared it would be a Starjammers in the universal rule of no area of marvel must be without X-Men of some description, although Ch’od is brilliant.  I’d have been happy with an Imperial Guard title or Inhumans, or a Darkhawk one.  Instead we’re getting Realm of Kings.

Yes, from war of Kings comes Realm of kings, stuff is coming through the big space hole, and it looks like evil avengers.  Fortunately we’re getting a couple of decent looking LS from it, Inhumans and Imperial guard.  Not really happy about blundering into another event, but at least I don’t have another ongoing to pick up.

X-Men – Kingbreaker/Darkhawk

Posted in Comics, Marvel, War of Kings with tags , , on April 1, 2009 by pieman70
Yes, I caved, bought Kingbreaker and I think it was a missed opportunity.

The advantage of DnA’s cosmic stuff so far is that they have found ways (Often just a cheat sheet) to introduce people to characters like Quasar or Drax, who they may not know. This has meant that throughout the cosmic stuff I’ve roughly known who everyone is from my own knowledge and info supplied. However, in a slightly questionable maneuver, the next big event is to be a war between the Kree and the Shi’ar, but focusing on the battle between the new rulers of the Kree, namely the Inhumans, and the Shi’ar, Vulcan, who is apparently brother to the X-Men’s cyclops.
On one hand this is a good way to pull a segment of the cosmic universe into the fold that had been previously absent, the Shi’ar normally appearing in X-Men books. However while War of Kings: Secret invasion gave some sort of introduction to the Inhumans, the 4 part Kingbreaker did not clear much up regarding the Starjammers or the Shi’ar. If I hadn’t looked at wikipedia, I’d not know that both Vulcan and Havok are related to Scott summers, I still have no idea why someone is using the phoenix force or why it suddenly left her and therefore disabled some other guys sword. In short its not a bad story, but I would have taken the opportunity to give some background rather than just assume I knew who everyone was. As a final failing, they messed up the shipping in a really stupid way, OK so you don’t want to hold up an entire event because one story goes 1 issue behind. However War of Kings #1 lead directly on from the end of Kingbreaker #4, the problem, War of Kings #1 was released before #4 of Kingbreaker. If I was in any way worried about who got away from the cliffhanger in #3 it was resolved by seeing the crew of the Starjammer in WoK #1. Overall, this event has a lot of work to do, both to match up to its predecessors and win me over form a shaky start.
I suppose you could call it proof that this is a smaller event, or the fact that with two spin-offs doing another 4 minis before getting into the main story could be called a bit excessive. Anyway, the other lead up is Darkhawk, a small two part story. However by the looks of things it will be followed by a story running parallel to War of Kings called Ascension.
Darkhawk is a little known character, Chris Powell, who uses a suit of Alien Armour (it has varied between being armour or a whole android who replaces him but runs from his head) to fight crime. Last we saw he had left the encounter group for teen super-heroes who were trying to give up super-heroics alongside Turbo, Ricochet, Phil Ulrich and Spider-Woman III (The Spider-Girl Ripoff Mattie Franklyn) seen in the Excellent “Loners”. And lately in Nova he has been working as head of security at Project Pegasus in his Darkhawk guise in the recent Nova story. WoK Darkhawk sees his life nearly destroyed by the arrival of a Similar Darkhawk type called Talon, and an attack by some sort of drone. The two part story basically focused on Chris accepting that he has to leave his friends and family and Travel into space to properly learn how to use his Darkhawk suit as incompatibilities are causing him anger issues. My only gripe with this series was that it is really a tester, and probably could have been summed up in a one shot for Ascension (Assuming Ascension is what I think it is) rather than a two part which seems to padded and finishing abruptly at the same time. A criticism I read was the removal of the characters uniqueness by making him part of a Corps (or order of the raptors or something) however I am intrigued in what I can only assume is Shi’ar links to the Darkhawk armour, what with the Shi’ar liking their bird comparisons.
In fact, this is what’s interesting me about how things are going to come together. Aside from Nova and Guardians of the Galaxy doing the sort of linking I could only encourage, stories being tied together without needing to read both titles, in Nova Worldmind, having stripped Rich of his powers and having recruited and mind controlled a huge number of humans into joining the Corps, has made one of his old recruits, a Shi’ar, Nova Prime. I wonder how the Corps will fit into war of kings. Also War of Kings #1 showed a lot of promise.
So I’m not down on War of Kings, but the minis leading up to it have been less than stellar.

War of Kings

Posted in Comics, Marvel, War of Kings with tags , , on January 15, 2009 by pieman70

The Marvel Cosmic event has started, and I’m dubious. See, back in the 90’s I used to joke that if anything Marvel was making was doing well they’d try to sellotape an X-Men book on to it and inevitably it would all go to hell. Its based on flimsy evidence, and mainly about how bad the old 2099 universe went when they decided an X-Title would be just the thing to bring more readers into the fray. Saying that the Marvel Knights line has never really recovered from the time they added a whole morass of titles, including Wolverine and another X-Book, but saying that the problem was more that they just bunged a Marvel Knights banner on to several titles at that time. Still, in general I have a problem when events or other things try to force me to buy an X-Men book, and its not that I don’t like the X-Men, but I’m just not interested enough to collect the comics. Anyway I digress.

War of Kings is running a little different form the Annihilation titles, presumably because with Guardians of the Galaxy and Nova already running it may be a bit much to get people to pick up 4 tie ins. In fact this could be a good diet event with a few one shots, Tie ins with Nova and Guardians which I already read, A Darkhawk 2 part mini and the problem child, X-Men Kingbreaker.

Yes, an X-Book.
I Missed Issue #1 but ‘m tempted to see if I can track it down. Why, well partly completism but mainly because an X-Men spinnoff is one of the main characters and it may be a better jumping on point.

The plot of War of Kings looks like it will focus on a battle between the Kree and the Shi-Ar. Hang on, you say, this sounds like Operation: Galactic Storm. Well its not inconceivable that the Kree and Shi-Ar would fight again, and the difference here is that the Shi-Ar are lead by Vulcan, who is some relative of Cyclops from another X-book series who ended up running the Shi-Ar. and the Kree, who we see in the Secret Invasion tie in this week,a re now lead by Black Bolt and the inhumans, and using sonic tech based around his planet busting voice. SO the X-Book tie in isn’t entirely untoward. The Shi-Ar are mainly the X-Men’s aliens, and I was wondering where they had been through the Annihilation events. Looks like they’re using the state of disarray to expand.

So, it looks like I’m going to cave and buy an X-Book.

I have reservations. I worry that War of Kings is going to shake up the cosmic status quo again which could be a pain, Guardians is just getting its stride and Nova is doing well, I don’t think the cosmic branch of Marvel needs another event. I worry that this could do bad things to Guardians and Nova. On the other hand, it is still being helmed by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning, and they’ve yet to see me wrong in the cosmic side of things, and 2099 only really went wrong when Peter David left, so perhaps provided D&A can keep things together it should be fine.