Spider-Man & The League of Realms

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Spider-Man and the League of Realms #1

Why We Fight

Writer:  Sean Ryan

Artist:  Nico Leon

Cover Art:  Ken Lashley & Brian Reber

I have to say, I have not been a huge fan of The War of the Realms crossover event so far.  I have found the main story to be fairly underwhelming and too disjointed to be interesting.

However, I really did enjoy the first issue of the three-issue series Spider-Man & the League of Realms.

This was one of the better renditions of Spider-Man we have seen for a bit.

Sure, I was not overly fond of the League of Realms because they were basically just side characters whom I know nothing about, but the contrast that they all have with Spider-Man was good, and I really enjoyed the final conflict between Spidey and the renegade angel Fernande.

Spider-Man is a hero and this issue shines the light on that character trait quite clearly.  I also love the scene where Thor puts Spidey in charge of this group despite everyone’s doubts, including Spidey’s.

Spider-Man’s humor is on display here too as he struggled to learn these names of these characters he has suddenly found fighting beside him.  Elf-Man, Giant Lady, Troll Guy seems to be a nod to the audience that some of these names are difficult to remember and even Spidey has had his troubles.

I was ready to not read this book, but then the writer Sean Ryan gave me a Spider-Man book and he seemed to know what Spidey should be like.  Because of that, I am on board.

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The War of the Realms #4

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The War of the Realms #4

Chapter Four:  The Stand at the Black Bridge

Writer: Jason Aaron

Artist: Russell Dauterman

Cover Art:  Arthur Adams & Matthew Wilson

There have been a lot of positive word of mouth over The War of the Realms, Marvel’s big crossover event  written by Jason Aaron.  Unfortunately, it just has not been hitting the beats for me.

Not even mentioning the fact that there are a ton of crossover issues or new short series that only tangentially connect to the main story, but the main story itself feels too all over the place to truly enjoy.  It also feels as if the story is just a series of shock value scenes that may or may not be fixed in six months.

And honestly, SPOILERS— I just about laughed my head off at Iron Odin.  Especially an Iron Odin that lasts, literally, three pages.  What the hell is going on?

The Asgardian cast is really being decimated which does make me wonder what the future holds for them.  Of course, I don’t for one minute believe that Loki is dead, from issue #1 (I think), but Brunhilde last issue is a way to bring Jane Foster back to the forefront (for some reason).

The book looks great and I like the prestige format of it, but I have not found it worthy so far.  I hope it picks up.  I am a fan of Jason Aaron so I plan on continuing to read it for however long it takes, but this has been a downer so far.

disappointing

 

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The Immortal Hulk #17

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The Incredible Hulk #17

Abomination

Writer:  Al Ewing

Artist:  Joe Bennett

Cover Art:  Alex Ross

My goodness.

I have to tell you.  There is a double page splash page in the middle of this issue that was just shocking and awesome.

The Immortal Hulk has been consistently brilliant since the series started.  We now see something we have never seen before.

It appears that Bruce Banner may not be in charge of his body any longer.  Add to that that the fact that the Devil Hulk is currently being kept at bay, and suddenly something weird is going on.

The man who looks like Banner called himself Joe.  Is that Joe Fixit?  The comic implies that but I am not sure.  Still, it is clearly not Bruce Banner.  Or at least, the personality is not Bruce Banner.

The Immortal Hulk continues to be one of the best reads every month.  Al Ewing has kept the story moving quickly with surprises and mood.  The art is great and the cover by the amazing Alex Ross continues to be fantastic.

Awesomeness

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Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man #6

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Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man #6

“Spider-Bite”

Writer:  Tom Taylor

Artist:  Juann Cabal

Cover Art:  Andrew C. Robinson

There may be spoilers in this post, so be warned.

So this started out with a unexpected scene.  This character of Spider-Bite, Spider-Man’s new 9 1/2 year old partner, was here and was kicking some butt.  They have tried to do these Spider-Man sidekicks and they rarely work out, so I was not excited to see the story again.

However, it was not too far into the book when I realized that there was something else going on.

Everything from the art style to the dialogue was telling us that something besides strict continuity was going on and I was starting to enjoy what I was reading.  Then, the Sinister Sixty?  LOL!

Of course, the book took the turn after this and reveal what was actually happening and brought a deeper poignant feel to what we had read before.  It was kind of what I had expected, but that did not lessen the impact of the few pages.  It shows an (forgive the pun) amazing side to the character of Spider-man, much like it did in the absolute classic “The Kid who Collected Spider-Man.”

The thing is… this does not feel out of character for Spider-Man.  I can believe that he takes the time to go an make wishes come true.. like Marvel’s own John Cena.

While this was not as much of an emotional punch as “The Kid who Collected Spider-man was, Spider-Bite turned out to be a solid and emotionally satisfying story and highlighted the power that heroes/role models can have.

ReadIt

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New Agents of Atlas #1

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New Agents of Atlas #1

“Fire and Ice Chapter One”

Writer:  Greg Pak

Artist:  Gang Hyuk Lim

Cover Art:  Billy Tan

The War of the Realms has been so-so for me so far, and I have not been interested in any of the tie-in issues. They all seem like a waste of time between the main story in the main title.

However, there feels like there is a different purpose in New Agents of Atlas#1, and I kind of dug it.  The team that was formed featured a bunch of Marvel’s Asian characters including several new character that I did not know.

The story focused on Amadeus Cho from the Champions and his problems that put him on the outs with Ms. Marvel and his other teammates.  He stuck with the Agents of Atlas and immediately cause some chaos.

Shang Chi is here, as the preeminent Marvel Asian character.  So is Cindy Moon, aka Silk.  The rest of this group are characters that I am unaware of, but which I liked.

The biggest problem I had with the issue is that there is very minimal character development or introduction.  This felt like a giant fight book and, since so many of these characters are heroes who I do not know, it makes it tough to root for them.  I would have liked to be introduced to some of them in a lesser moment so we could take a breath with the characters and see who they are outside of just their power set.  I hope that will happen in future issues.

I really liked the art of the issue.  It felt very colorful and bright.  The character designs are interesting and I would like to know more about them, so it is not like the first issue turned me off.  Truthfully, I wanted to know more about them and I wish they would have introduced them to me before throwing them into a huge fight.

New Agents of Atlas #1 has some good parts and too many parts where I just wanted more than what they gave me.  It is tough when the cast of your comic is this large, but it is a decent first step.  I will certainly be purchasing the second issue to see where they go from here.  The idea of representation is vital if the comic genre is to continue to survive.

Itsfine

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Savage Avengers#1

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Savage Avengers#1

“Chapter One: Once Upon a Time in the City of Sickles”

Writer:  Gerry Duggan

Artist:  Mike Deodato Jr.

Cover Art:  David Finch & Frank D’Armata

This one is starting off hot.

What you never knew you wanted?  How about a brutal slugfest between The Wolverine and Conan the Barbarian?  Yes please.

Conan, Logan and Brother Voodoo are the main characters involved as one other has a glorified cameo.  There are two characters who appear on the cover who do not appear in the issue so don’t get your hopes up.

Despite that, I like the beginning of this series although I really want to see Conan interact with Ka-Zar, since they are having this adventure set in the Savage land.

The art work of Mike Deodato Jr fits nicely with the tone of the book and helps create a violent and dark mood.  There are several violent images that are beautifully rendered and illustrated.

For Conan, this is a direct sequel to the Avengers: No Road Home series and, while this does not reach that level of goodness, I see some real potential here and I am looking forward to seeing where they take this.  I hope they dive into characters as much as that previous series did and do not simply rely on the bloody battles of these brutal heroes.

Awesomeness

 

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Uncanny X-Men #17

UNCANNY X-MEN #17

Uncanny X-Men #17

We Have Always Been Part 1

Writer:  Matthew Rosenberg

Artist:  Carlos Gomez

Cover Art:  Whilce Portacio & Erick Arciniega

I had stopped collecting almost everything from the X-franchise.  The only regular book I was getting was Dead Man Logan (and Wolverine Long Night, but it is not a regular book to me).  I had been tired of all the same stuff.  The weekly stunt from Uncanny X-Men for their first 10 issues had chased me away.  I only read the first three issues, and I just did not feel the need to read the remainder.  I have heard that it had gotten much better, but I was not inspired.

I was also unimpressed by the latest alternate reality X-books that are out now and I have not bought any of them outside of the number ones.

So I have been heading toward a full break from the mutants of Marvel Comics.

I spotted the cover for Uncanny X-Men #17 and I knew that Ben and Todd from my comic shop had been saying how great Uncanny has been lately.  The cover was intriguing with Cyclops and Wolverine standing over a recently dug grave and I thought I would give it a chance.  Ben raved about the issue as he was determining my bill, but he said that Todd had told him that the last page would blow his mind.  However, Ben then stepped back and said that I might not have as much of an impact from that last page since I have not been reading the series.

I decided to give it a chance, and you know what… Ben was right.  That last page meant very little to me.

The story was fine.  It seems to be ready to pit Cyclops and Wolverine against one another again, which is something that I have seen before.  They are doing it over the shocking death of one of their own (I don’t know if this is a spoiler or happened in a previous issue, so I will keep the name to myself), but, let’s face facts.  Deaths in comics are not anything to be upset about.  Characters return from the dead all the time (case in point, Cyclops and Wolverine).

This character of Kwannon is interesting and I do like the design of her outfit.  I found the reveal of what happened to the deceased character to be quite horrific, and the end result of the case to be anticlimactic.  Then seeing Logan and Scott going at it was just more of the same for me.

I must say that the issue was well written and the art was decent.  The way they interspersed the funeral with Logan/Kwannon was good.  I assume the last page was more important or shocking than it was for me.  I don’t know if the issue made me want to get back into the X-Men series. It was fine.

Itsfine UNCANNY X-MEN #17

The Amazing Spider-Man#20

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The Amazing Spider-Man #20

“Hunted Part 4”

Writer:  Nick Spencer

Artist: Humberto Ramos

Cover Art:  Humberto Ramos & Edgar Delgado

The Spider-Man event Hunted continued this week with the next installment of the series.

Kraven the Hunter has brought a bunch of animal themed villains to Central Park where he has hired Arcade to entrap them inside a force field that surrounds the park.  Spider-Man is here as well.

However Kraven is acting differently than what we are used to and his “son” is becoming frustrated with dear old dad.  Kraven’s son gets into a fight with Curt Conners, who is here looking for his own son, Billy.  Billy is being protected by Felicia Hardy, the Black Cat.

There seems to be a lot going on in Hunted, but the story is moving slowly.  The arc of the villains are interesting, but I prefer more Spider-man than what I am getting.  Although I do like Black Cat showing her heroic side again (she saved little Billy).

The motive of Kraven the Hunter is the biggest question as he has also invited some high class individuals to go on the hunt for the super villains via what is believed to be drone robots.  Why this is included is still uncertain.

The character of the Black Ant seems to be important too as he is with Spidey and is dropping some info.

Overall, this story arc has been inconsistent and has focused on areas that I do not want to know about.  I am somewhat intrigued by the motives of Kraven, but it feels as if there has been too much wait.

Perhaps the issues between the main story, the issues labeled HU, are what is dragging this story out.  These issues focus on some of the villains.  Next issue is ASM #20.HU and it is about the Vulture.

One more month of this arc and I do hope it picks up the pace soon.

disappointing

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Avengers: No Road Home#10 (of 10)

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Avengers: No Road Home #10 (of 10)

Writer:  Mark Waid, Jim Zub & Al Ewing

Artist:  Sean Izaakse

Cover Art:  Marcio Menyz with Erick Arciniega

What a ride we have been on for the last ten weeks.  This is a perfect example of what comics should be.  Great characters.  Great character development.  A strong villain.  Action.  Wonderful storytelling.  And not a sign of a crossover.

The first several pages of this issue, with Vision inside the house with Nyx, is some of the most beautiful art work in the entire series.  The black and white contrast with the colorful Vision is striking.  These pages could be hung on a wall in frames.  Sean Izaakse, whose work has been very strong for the entire series, outdid himself with these pages that left me breathless.  I have been enamored with the writing of Avengers: No Road Home, but this is the first time where the art may have exceeded the story.  Well done.

The whole “House of Ideas” meta bit might have been a tad hokey, but it somehow worked.  Seeing the variations of Marvel heroes coming from the mind of the Vision was really cool.  It brought the main story of Nyx to a satisfying conclusion about halfway through the book which left me wondering, what was remaining?

The falling action of the story was just as fascinating as the rest of the series.  Setting up several of the cast members for their future int he Marvel Universe, I particularly found the Olympians and Hercules intriguing.  I have always enjoyed the character of Hercules and this series has done more for Herc than any book since the days of Greg Pak and the Incredible Hercules.

I am also very excited about the idea of Conan the Barbarian in the Savage Land. I know this is a set-up for the upcoming Savage Avengers series, which I am excited for, but there is one thing I want and that is a confrontation between Conan the Barbarian and Ka-Zar.

Avengers: No Road Home was a milestone for Marvel Comics and should be the road map Marvel uses moving forward.  Of course, when you team up three amazing writers in a collaborative effort for ten-issues, the fact that we got a highly engaging and completely enthralling series should not  have been a surprise.

If you have not read Avengers: No Road Home, what are you waiting for?  I loved it.

excelsior

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Friendly Neighborhood Spider-man#5

Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man #5

Friendly Neighborhood Spider-man #5

“Not Running”

Writer:  Tom Taylor

Artist:  Yildiray Cinar

Cover Art:  Andrew C. Robinson

Peter finally gets the lowdown on Aunt May’s cancer and his reaction is the focus of the book.

I really enjoyed this.  Peter initially pushed away from May, which felt unlike him, but he was working through his issues.  What I liked is that Peter did not become someone that he was not after getting the news.  He reacted very humanly, but understandably while still being the Peter Parker we recognize.

I thought he might go out and deliver some serious beatdowns as Spider-man after getting the news, but the issue took this deeper than that by presenting Peter with a moral dilemma instead of just giving him a super villain to pummel.

Then, the whole Dr. Strange cameo showed a different side to the whole One More Day storyline, a storyline that famously had the character of Spider-man act in a way that many believed he would never have done.  The deal with Mephisto tainted Spider-man for many years and this arc seems to be showing what Spidey really should have done during that time. At least, it has some echos of the story.

The pages of interactions with Peter and Dr. Strange were wonderful and showed a great deal of both characters.

I enjoyed this issue very much.  I never expected Peter to be anywhere but where he ended up in this story.

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Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man #5

Avengers: No Road Home #9 (of 10)

Avengers: No Road Home (2019) #9 (of 10)

Avengers: No Road Home #9 (of 10)

Writers: Jim Zub, Mark Waid & Al Ewing

Artist:  Paco Medina

Cover Art:  Yasmine Putri

Wow.  What a fantastic issue.  The penultimate issue of this weekly Avengers series is just thrilling, unexpected and remarkably based in character.

This is why this series has been so brilliant.  They are not just going through action stories, but every moment is wrapped in character.  The several pages at the beginning of this book where the character named “Euphoria” asks the Avengers and Nyx, the Goddess of Night, why they want the final shard and the following conversations is amazing.  I just loved these pages and read them a couple of times.  How great!

Then, there is a moment with Rocket that is all kinds of awesomeness.  No spoilers, of course, but it is one of my favorite moments in the issue… and that is saying a ton.

And the ending… come on.  This sets up just the most epic final issue of any series in a long time.  This is easily the best Avengers based series going today and could be the best comic Marvel is putting out. I thought Marvel Knights 20th limited series was special last year, but I am telling you, that series had some down moments, but Avengers: No Road Home has not once been anything but compelling.

Not only do I want to know how the storyline with Nyx plays out, I want to know how the character arcs of Vision, Hercules, Hawkeye, Hulk, Voyager (who also gets a big moment here) play out.

I can’t imagine that the conclusion will be anything but astounding.  I have said it before, but I will say it once more…I can’t wait until next week for the final issue of Avengers: No Road Home.

excelsior

 

Avengers: No Road Home (2019) #9 (of 10)

The War of the Realms #1

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The War of the Realms #1

“Chapter One: The Last Realm Standing”

Writer:  Jason Aaron

Artist:  Russell Dauterman

Cover Art:  Arthur Adams & Matthew Wilson

I have been wanting to read this all week since it is the major event of the Marvel Universe. The problem is that I have been pretty busy this week and I have been so far behind my Thor comics that I have been worried that I wouldn’t understand what was happening.  When I finally got to the issue, I did not have a problem understanding what was going on… but, unfortunately, it was underwhelming.

The war began as Malekith’s forces started the war on Midgard.  I’ve always liked Malekith, outside of the wasted use of him in the MCU in Thor: The Dark World,  and his forces are good.  I always love Spider-man and his annoying Freyja and the Asgardians was a nice touch.

The problem was that I just did not find myself too interested in what was happening.  Hopefully, this gets better because it is going to engulf the Marvel Comics for several months here.

I love Jason Aaron, but, honestly, there was some dialogue that was disappointing.  The art is pedestrian, especially the Spider-man parts.  The shocking twist with Loki at the end was unexpected.

Overall, I ended the first issue with a lot of doubt that this was going to come anywhere close to the great Avengers: No Road Home that is going on weekly right now.  I sure hope that this gets better.

tryit

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Avengers: No Road Home #8 (of 10)

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Avengers: No Road Home #8 (of 10)

Writers:  Jim Zub, Mark Waid & Al Ewing

Artist:  Carlo Barberi

Cover Art:  Jesus Aburtov

The eighth issue of the weekly saga that focuses on a group of Avengers squaring off against Nyx, Goddess of Night came out this week and it continued its amazing run of epicness.  This week we get Hulk one on one with Nyx as the remainder of the Avengers start to reconnect.

Hulk, Hawkeye and Rocket find themselves facing off with Nyx, while Hercules, Voyager, Scarlet Witch, Spectrum, Conan and Vision battle against Oizys, Goddess of Misery in the Hyborian Age.

The key to this entire series is how expertly these Avengers blend together.  An unlikely crew, they work surprisingly well together.  And now it appears as if the two groups are finally reuniting.  However, the end of the issue set up an even worse situation for these Avengers to face.

There are only two more issues to go and the anticipation level continues to rise.  I hope that the final two issues can maintain the excellence of the first 8 issues, and I have no reason to believe that they will not.

excelsior

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Marvel Team Up #1

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Marvel Team-Up #1

Writer:  Eve L. Ewing

Artist:  Joey Vazquez

Cover Art:  Felipe Sobreiro

I used to love Marvel Team-Up back in the 1980s.  I love Spider-man so seeing him team up with the greats (and some not so great) in the Marvel Universe was always epic.  So I was excited when I heard that Marvel Team-Up was coming back and that Spidey would team up with Ms. Marvel.  I love Kamala Khan and they make a fun pairing.

The story itself was well done, with some solid writing and the typical quick wit shown by these two characters.

However, there is a weird gimmick going on here.  The comic can be flipped upside down and read to the middle.  On way, we follow Peter Parker as he winds up facing off with the Jackal, and the other way, we see Kamala Khan’s day that leads up to when she meets up with everyone’s favorite web-head.

It feels very gimmicky.

My hope this is not a trend for this series, because I do not think they need to do this. They have Spidey and Ms. Marvel and that should be enough to carry a book.  I don’t know if they are going to switch characters as the series continues or if this is going to be another person (like Deadpool) that Spidey has to find reasons to team up with constantly.

I am looking forward to seeing the answers to those questions.

tryit

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Major X #1

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Major X #1

Writer & Artist:  Rob Liefeld

Cover Art:  Rob Liefeld & Romulo Fajardo Jr.

Now that Marvel Studios have the cinematic rights back to the X-Men, maybe we will see more new X-men characters created.  Rumors swirled that Marvel Comics had put the kibosh on any new characters who would be mutants because if they made a new mutant character, the rights would go to FOX.  Hence, all of the Inhumans that we got for several years.  Now, with the term mutant happily back under the umbrella of Marvel Studios, we can have new X-characters.

So they decided to start with this guy?

Major X, the new character created by Rob Liefeld, has his own book and it was not good.  The writing was so childish and downright weak.  The dialogue was immature and it felt as if it had been written by some of my 7th grade students.

The story dropped the new character into a time in the X-history, seemingly, when Cable was alive and the X-Force team was just forming.  Deadpool did not know people either.  Of course, the book never lets us into that timing, never telling us when this was happening.

The story, as it was, was basically Major X coming back in time to find Cable, I guess, and something something.  It was all just an excuse to have these heroes fight one another. In fact, I am literally looking at two pages of the comic where seven of the 11 panels are Cable, Deadpool, Wolverine or the new future Beast they were calling M’Koy, punching the others with a punch.  Terrible.

Then, Rob Liefeld made his name with his art during the hey days of the 1990s, but this art in Major X #1 is anything but good.  It looks like a considerably less talented artist trying to copy Liefeld’s work.  The fact that it is Liefeld is not a good sign.

I have been moving away from X-Men books over the last several years and this issue certainly will not stop that trend.  I have no intention of adding this to my pull list, even with the obviously cliched answer of who Major X really is.  No Spoilers, but it could not be more cliched.

Not a book I would recommend unless you want to sit down and riff it.

WTF

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