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Marvel comics

Review: Deadpool #8

It’s so refreshing to see Deadpool with his own series again.  I have to admit, for all my love of Thor and the Cap being such amazing heroes, Marvel has some damn great anti-heroes, most certainly including Deadpool, who always sets off with the intention of selling to the highest bidder, and more often than not, tends to come home with no cash at all because much to his dismay, he did something stupid… like the ‘right thing.’

Lead up to the Story

Deadpool has been engaging in shenanigans as usual, been jumped by random b and c list villains, most recently Tiger Shark, out smarted friend and foe alike, and served up enemies to zombies.  Through all of this, he’s found out that both his friend Bob and Tiger Shark were hired to take him out.  The hit was put out by none other than Norman Osborn, or Oscorp.  Basically, if you weren’t paying attention, Norman Osborn is the new Tony Stark and runs the new SHIELD (called HAMMER).  He tricked the world into thinking he was a savior by killing the Scrull queen, using information that Deadpool got for Nick Fury.  All in all, Deadpool is pissed, and this is part 1 of what we can hope is a good old showdown at noon.

Plot Synopsis

Daniel Way has Deadpool begins his assault on Stark Tower.. Osborn Tower?  I don’t know.  He’s assaulting it anyway (this review is starting to sound more and more like a Deadpool comic).  As I said above, this is the first part of the story arc, called Magnum Opus, and is part 1 of 4.  It starts with just a little back story, and goes straight into action really.  Deadpool initially runs into some robotic traps, steals the Iron Man chest piece, throws some bad hair jokes Osborn’s direction, and begins his ascent.  We are then plunged into a classic Deadpool hallucination.  This one is a Jack and the Beanstalk parody, and although it is only a few pages in length, it falls sort of flat.  Not that it is bad, it just seems to be an unnessessary stopping point in the story, a storyline bottle neck of sorts.  As unfortunately for us that it does, things start going worse for Deadpool when he gets into a fight with his inner monologue, or readers.  I can never tell if the white boxes are supposed to be readers, a voice in his head, and if the yellow boxes are him thinking.  No matter what the case, they’re ignoring him, because when he reaches the top, it’s not Osborn who’s waiting for him, it’s the Thunderbolts.

Art Critique

The art is pretty well done, Paco Medina has the Deadpool look down to a T.  Explosions, guns, action scenes, he can do them with great skill.  Basically, everything that you are most likely to encounter in a standard issue of Deadpool.  Sometimes faces are an issue, and can come out disproportional (for example, see the recap page), but this is the exception rather than the rule.  The hallucination, which I mentioned was not my favourite part of the story, really gives Medina a chance to shine, and he takes it.  Everything is much more comic than usual, and I mean that in two ways.  First, it’s absolutely ridiculous, which is awesome, the adaptation of Jack and the Beanstalk is right on target.  Secondly, if you look behind the action, you’ll see that the background is actually made up of dots, as the old comics and newspapers were.  The only major criticism that I have is that when Deadpool takes the Iron Man chest piece, it’s not immediately apparent.  I had to look back and check a few times, and maybe this was intentional, but there could have been a larger colour and size difference.  That said however, the third page or so, the full page spread with Deadpool decked out to assault Stark/Osborn tower is pretty fantastic, it’s always great to see how each artist will render Deadpool fully equipped for action.

Is it Worth Buying?

I would say absolutely, this looks to be a good story arc.  We know that Daniel Way can write a good story, and he’s set it up perfectly for a high action comic in the next issue, with a great cliffhanger.  Even to non-deadpool fans, I would recommend picking up the next few issues of Deadpool.  The story is great, the art is great.  Daniel Way has come into his own with his ability to deliver one-liners befitting Deadpool, with just enough humor, and a few thrown in there that probably only make sense to Deadpool himself.  I will be looking forward to the next issue, to see how the merc with a mouth settles the score not only with the Thunderbolts, but also with the voices in his head.

EDIT: Magnum Opus is Deadpool 8-9 and Thunderbolts 130-131.

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YCR Presents: Thanksgiving Day Top 6 Marvel Titles to be Thankful For

Welcome one and all!  Welcome to the latest issue of Your Comic Relief presents.  This time?  Your top 6 comics to be thankful for this Thanksgiving!  Please take the time to comment and leave me some feedback!  It is much appreciated.

6. Incredible Hercules

A title that I am quite partial to, as I am a huge fan of Greek, Roman, Egyptian, and Norse mythology, Incredible Hercules took over from the Incredible Hulk after World War Hulk ended.  This issue has been faily reliable in terms of quality.  Hercules, accompanied by Amadeus Cho, has set off destroying just about anything in their path, and while much of this has been Cho’s conniving, it has also been Herc’s unpredictability that serves as the catalyst for their antics.  In fact, watching their interactions is one of the many joys this title offers.

5. Uncanny X-Men

Uncanny X-Men had some problems with messiah Complex, it really was just OK.  Not as awesome as it should have been or really as we were promised it would be.  However, the last 6-8 issues of Uncanny have been absolutely fantastic.  Another product of Brubaker’s undeniable, and often simply unbelievable contributions to Marvel.  Now co-authored by Matt Fraction and Ed Brubaker as of issue 502  My favourite part of the last 3 or so issues have been the (re)introductions of each of the characters in each issue, which the authors have taken as an opportunity to make some much appreciated jokes.  Of the jokes, I think the best one has to be calling Wolverine “ubiquitous,” meaning everywhere at once.  I have to assume this is a reference to Wolverine appearing in so many Marvel publications, I remember over the summer there was a week where he was in every single release, and I’m sure that can’t be the only time – just the time I noticed.  Another aspect of this that I have greatly appreciated is the expansion of Pixie as a character; previously a side character in the x-men B-team, but she is now turning into an actual relatable character.  This, mixed with the recent storyline, allows Uncanny X-Men to make the cut into the Your Comic Relief Thanksgiving Top 6.

4. Cable & Deadpool and Deadpool

I have included both titles in this, because in my mind, the star of C&D really was Deadpool, with Cable serving to create meaningful plot devices and serve as a rational figure by which we could appreciate how utterly absurd Deadpool is.  The last several issues of Cable & Deadpool, the “X and Deadpool” run, while we were supposed to believe Cable was dead.  Did anyone raelly think that?  The new Deadpool series features Deadpool still actively ambiguous about his allegiances, and whether this is a function of his dubious (at best) mental compas, or his ever blossoming psychosis, I don’t think even Marvel Knows.

3.  Wolverine Origins

Written by Daniel Way, and illustrated by Steve Dillon, Wolverine Origins has delivered unique story arcs to us all year.  With guest appearances from Deadpool, Captain America, and most recently Daken (Wolverine’s Son).  Probably one of the best arcs of the year in my opinion was the confrontation between Wolverine and Deadpool.  A matchup that people had been waiting for for years; while they did meet up in Cable & Deadpool, it was overhyped and anticlimactic at best.  This time, it went on for several issues, and really delivered.  This title has had the ability to run the gamut of emotional possibilities, from the more serious aspect of the Cap’s storyline to the sheer ridiculousness of Deadpool.  It didn’t stop there however, the story right now of Wolverine and Daken is a reminder to the seriousness of Wolverine’s past, the decisions he has had to make, and stands in stark juxtaposition to the humor of seeing the Wolverine-Deadpool confrontation through the warped mind and eyes of Deadpool.

2. Iron Man

This title has had its ups and downs as of late.  Back when it was Iron Man: Director of Shield, which was before 2008 if I’m not mistaken but bear with me, it was very hit or miss.  There was some subplot of “Iron Man might be Crazy!!!”  Very hit or miss unfortunately.  However, with the most recent story arc of nuclear threat (which as an aside, reminds me of the Ultimate Iron Man II series of 4), Tony Stark has had the opportunity to return to his self-sacrificing…. self.  If you get right down to it, I firmly believe that this is why the Director of Shield thing didn’t work out so well.  he had too much responsibility that he couldn’t afford to do something that everyone else saw as incredibly stupid.  More often than not, his decisions have been incredibly reckless, but he saw that it had to be done, and he was the only one who could do it, such as defusing a nuclear weapon about to go off.  As with Uncanny X-Men, the most recent story arc really makes this much more of a contender than it previously would have been, not to say that before this arc has been bad mind you!  Also, Warmachine is totally badass, and anyone who disagrees has to answer to giant space robot.  They should pay me to love Ironman and the Number One pick this much, am I right?  Now for the number one reason to thank marvel this Thanksgiving!

1. Captain America

Captain America has been Ed Brubaker’s work this year, and damn does he do good work.  In my opinion, this has been THE title to read this year.  Every issue has just been stellar.  I’m not even sure to begin, and am a little ashamed that this paragraph is so much shorter than the others, but honestly, it’s just all good.  It is always the first comic I read whenever I get it home, bar none.  Bucky is shaping up to be a fantastic new Cap, ant the interplay between Faustis and the Red Skull has been fantastic, with plots within plots.  Agent 13 and Falcon have been well developed, but really, the best part has been how in each issue a little more of the Skull’s plot has been revealed to us.

Well, that’s that.  Those of you that know me may have noticed something.  Where’s Thor? Thor this year has been rather lackluster this year, and much to my chagrin (I’m trying to use that word more often, as I always have to look it up).  And this makes Thor sad:

While there have been some cool Thor tie ins, the Secret Invasion was entertaining if nothing else, the bit that happened about Egypt was pretty cool too, and was a cool insight into how the Marvel universe allows for seperate sets of deities, especially if you read the Incredible Hercules as well, issues like 114-117 or something like that.  But I decided to limit myself to regular titles, and not consider limited series such as Logan by Marvel Knights (which is beyond fantastic by the way), or the numerous Thor extra releases recently.  Once again, let me know what you think of my list, and, if any comic bloggers who are big DC fans would like to do a DC version, I would be honored to publish it, and of course link to it.  Just in the spirit of fairness, I would like to have a DC version, but in the spirit of honesty I don’t know much about DC.  That’s it for YCR Presents, have a happy thanksgiving!

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Marvel Knights

So, as an update on my comic-marathon, I’d just like to say that I finished Logan #2, and holy crap. The first one was amazing, and the second one blew me away. I know some people harbor misgivings about Marvel Knights because of some sub-par titles in the past, but right now Marvel Knights is on fire. The last few series they have put out, Captain America: The Chosen, Silver Surfer: Requium, and now Logan do nothing but prove it. Sure, Chosen kinda ran along 1-2 issues more than it had to, but I wish Logan was packing more than three issues. This is just spectacular, and to anyone who hasn’t read it yet, get on that, even if you’re a die-hard DC fan, I want you to go read this. Feel free to comment if you disagree, maybe drop me a line, I’d like to know if anyone out there feels the same way I do.

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Review: Wolverine: Origins #23

No, this isn’t the correct cover at all, my usual method of getting the cover art is not working this time.

 

Lead-up to the Story

Well, not too much really. Part one started with Deadpool trying to kill Wolverine, probably because he was hired to. I think that’s it; the last two issues have been pure fighting pretty much, it seems like this is probably premeditated because Deadpool, at times, seems to have a plan. He did drop a piano on Wolverine though, and called him a Canucklehead; that should be all the leadup you need, right? This is Deadpool, it’s not supposed to make sense!

 

Plot Synopsis

Wolverine: Origins is written by Daniel Way. Very similar to the lead-up information I gave, this comic is about a fight between Deadpool and Wolverine, complete with Deadpool’s inner monologue, which seems to contain two voices. This multiple personality deal is unexplained, but humerous none the less. The fight itself was eagerly anticipated, because the only other time they met, as far as I know was in the Cable & Deadpool issue entitled “Wolverine & Deadpool,” in which the fight lasted all of…. one panel. Wade Wilson got decapitated, and well, that was it. In this issue, Wilson struggles to fend off the formidable Wolverine, while simultaneously dealing with the very minor problem of having his fingers removed. There is an odd scene in which we see someone walking into a room with a captain America costume lying on the bed, and then Wolverine gets hit with an explosion, something that he seems to deal with a lot. This brings up two problems for this reader. The first of which is that Wolverine’s healing factor seems to have skyrocketed in effectiveness recently, possibly due to the way it was portrayed in the movies. Secondly, it was a freaking explosion! That should do more than the slight cosmetic damage we’re shown, I know his healing factor has been put into overdrive for no known reason recently, but there should be more damage than that! The comic ends with both of them inflicting mortal wounds upon each other, and ending in a somewhat homoerotic pose, ‘dying’ in each other’s arms.

 

Art Critique

The artist for Wolverine: Origins is Steve Dillon, an accomplished artist who is well known for his work on Preacher and Hellblazer. Unfortunately, he just can’t seem to get Wolverine’s face right. It is apparent from the first few pages that there is something distinctly wrong about him. Most of the problem is in the eyes I think, or at least that’s where the problem starts. Wolverine is a damaged goods; he’s insane, he’s also calculating and methodical (they even address that in this issue), but he just doesn’t look it. He just either ends up looking happy, surprised, or constipated. This is all very unfortunate, and I am putting down Steve Dillon a lot, but be sure to understand, I do not dislike his art, everything else is very good, he just doesn’t seem to have gotten Wolverine’s face correct enough for me.

 

Is it Worth Buying?

If you have ever wanted to see the showdown between Wolverine and Deadpool, this, and the two issues before it, are worth purchasing, but otherwise, I would say “not really.” Nothing in this run of Origins really strikes me as fantastic, however, the under-par artwork is saved by Daniel Way’s incredibly good grasp on how Deadpool should be written, it’s funny, there’s a joke in the middle of a fight (which I stole and retold yesterday), and Deadpool is flinging around half-formed insults like it’s his…. Well, it kind of is his job, isn’t it?

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Review: The New Avengers Annual, 2008

Lead-up to the Story

            If you have not been reading The New Avengers recently, you probably should.  I feel like I end up saying that a lot.  But the coming Scrull secret invasion story starting in April started in New Avengers.  Basically, the Scrulls are invading, not just the United States, but the whole world.  Several characters have already been revealed as scrulls, for a full listing, visit my friends over at Panels of Awesome for a full list.  Make sure to check out the Awesome Arena while you’re there!

 

Plot Synopsis

            Having just returned victorious, the New Avengers are jumped by the Hood and his new gang, who manage to break though Dr. Strange’s protection on his house.  A fight ensues, and true to his usual caliber, Brian Michael Bendis delivers an amazing fight scene, complete with witty dialogue that is true to each individual character.  I have talked about this before, in one of my Rapid Fire Review sessions.  Most writers can do one style, for example they can write Spider-man’s witty one-liners, or Luke Cage’s angry dialogue, but very few writers have the ability to make these different characters individual styles play of each other well.  Bendis really is one of the best writers that Marvel has at its disposal, and this makes New Avengers a great read.  Back to the storyline however, Dr. Strange was injured after his last confrontation with the Hood, and this time, it gets no better, Dr. Strange is shot, and must use dark and dangerous powers to finish off the intruders.  But SHIELD is watching, but in a strange, but not overly unexpected twist, Ms. Marvel lets them escape, even though it looks like her team could mutiny at any minute.  The book ends on that cliffhanger, as well as Jessica looking for sanctuary in Stark tower, with her baby, who we know is a scrull.

 

Art Critique

            Carlo Pagulayan is the penciler and Jeff Huet is the inker.  The art is busy, very busy, but not to the point that it is detracting from the story too much.  There is a lot going on in almost every panel, and it never seems to be overpowering.  To be honest though, and that’s something I strive for in these reviews, the sheer number of characters that are involved in the story is daunting; I encourage everyone that owns this comic book to open the front cover, and look at the number of characters listed there, all 36 of them.  Each fight panel has so much going on, it actually reminds me of a Where’s Waldo picture, there’s a lot going on, and you could just look for the main point of the action, but if you actually take the time to really look at what’s going on, you can see so much more.  This leads, in my opinion, to a greater appreciation of not only the art, but amount of effort and thought that the artists put into every comic. 

 

Is it Worth Buying?

            Usually for annuals, I would say no, but I highly recommend it, because annuals are usually pretty sweet.  This one however, ties in closely with the story, and looks like it will be important to fully understanding the secret invasion summer crossover.  So I would say yes it is worth buying on both accounts; important for understanding the overall Marvel storyline, and also for its own sheer enjoyment.

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Review: Daredevil #105

Lead-up to the Story

This has been an eventful story in Daredevil, Hood and Mr. Fear have been at each other’s throats during a turf war. The hood has allied almost every B and C list villain, and the Fear has concocted a new drug that makes his thugs unstoppable, and unwaveringly loyal. To make matters worse, Fear got his hands on Milla, and drugged her. Milla then went crazy and pushed an innocent bystander into an oncoming train, killing her. She was then convicted and committed to a psych ward, as Matt Murdock struggles to keep Milla out of jail, and stop her from admitting to what she did (she’s still crazy), Daredevil has to focus on protecting Hell’s Kitchen.

 

Plot Synopsis

Ed Brubaker provides us with the final part of the six part story line, and with such a lot of buildup, he has to deliver or Daredevil will have just been a total flop. Daredevil, before this story arc, and even in the beginning of this one, was horrifically poor, as I referenced in a previous post of mine, when I claimed I was going to drop DD from my pull list, but gave it one last shot, and he delivered. In short, if this issue bombs, you can be sure that this series is going is lose some readership. Thankfully, it seems we can always count on Ed Brubaker to deliver the comic goods.

We discover, fairly early on in this issue than the turf war was really just a ploy by Mr. Fear to mess with Murdock, to try and push him over the edge, to mess with his wife, and to wreak havoc in Hell’s Kitchen, which Daredevil considers his personal responsibility. It seems to be working. As the previous five issues of this story arc consisted mostly of text, it was a breath of fresh air to have some serious action. Murdock squares off with Mr. Fear, who has seemingly drugged himself to make himself fearless. Despite this attempt at giving himself at an advantage, Daredevil still emerges victorious, and demands he cure Milla. But, much to his dismay, there is no cure, Milla is permanently doomed, good news for those who were not fans of Milla. Could Quesada be on a quest to kill off every romantic figure in the hero’s lives? Does he want all characters to be miserable like Peter Parker before MJ fell in love with him? We’ll have to wait and see, but the similarities are there.

 

Art Critique

Michael Lark, Paul Azaceta, and Stefano Gaudiano do a good job with the art. One might think that having three different colorist, and then an inker, Matt Hollingsworth, on top of that would lead to a very mismatched art style, but it doesn’t. It is done in a fairly bland, and simplistic style that fits the Daredevil franchise very well. Of course it is art, but I’m going to call it a very artistic style, using a very limited colour palate, and because of the limited palate, a strong and confident use of shading. All of these features give this comic a very powerful visage. The other day, when I did my review of The Incredible Hercules, I noted how almost every panel seemed to be filled with motion. Well, here the art style is almost the exact opposite, and was part of my decision to review this one; in Daredevil each panel seems to be entirely static, that is to say, frozen in time. Not just frozen in time, but frozen in high speed action. The fact that this issue is more action orientated really gives the artists the chance they have needed to be able to show off their abilities. Almost every panel is filled with a sense of urgency, and combining this with the more Spartan art style gives the impression that the action had paused for only a second, and the artist had to draw it that instant. It is done very well.

 

Is it Worth Buying?

If you have not been following Daredevil, I would say no, but start up with the next issue, and the new story arc. If you had been thinking about possibly dropping Daredevil from your pull list, I would very strongly urge you to read this issue and reconsider, because it really looks like things will be picking up in Hell’s Kitchen in the coming months.

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The Incredible Hercules, formerly known as the Incredible Hulk, #114

            Hercules continues in his own title, not the first time he has had his own comic, he appeared in his own right for the first time in 1982, in a series that ran for a total of four issues, and again in 1984, again for a stunning four issues.  The last time, we, as the collective comic book community saw the son of Zues (this one at least), was in 2005, after a fairly lengthy hiatus, he appeared in an unprecedented five part mini-series, entitled ‘The New Labors.’  If you don’t understand the title, go buy a book on Greek mythology, I’m not just being annoying about it, you’ll get more out of these comics if you do.  Given this somewhat lackluster series for Herc, I found it fitting to do a write up on his latest series that looks like it COULD reach a grand six episodes.

 

Lead-up to the Story

            Written by Greg Pak and Fred Van Lente, and penciled by Paul Neary, this has been an issue I’ve been excited to see in my box each month so far.  Partially because of my love for Greek myth, as well as math, which manifests itself in the form of Amadeus Cho.  I have declared my somewhat controversial adoration of Cho in the past, and I understand that he can be an unloved feature in the Marvel universe.  Bully to all of you I say, I like him, and his coyote.  In the previous issues, we have seen Cho become steadily darker and more bent on revenging his idol, the Hulk.  Hercules has also started questioning Cho’s decisions with increased regularity, although he has been forced to go along with him, generally to avoid capture by his Ares, the god of war.

 

Plot Synopsys

            The story begins with another mythological reference, but don’t worry, its explained in a few pages.  In short, Herc is kicking major SHIELD ass, and thinks he is being denied magical horses.  Most Greek myth was created while people were drunk, true story.  While this is entertaining, the more important parts off the issue have to do with Amadeus Cho, and with Ares.  While attempting to take over a SHIELD helicarrier, Cho is thwarted by Black Widow, but his pup is caught underneath him in his fall, and we’re left in the dark about the fate of his coyote, although, on the last page of the comic, we see requests for names for it, so I’m fairly sure we won’t be seeing the of it, and it’ll have a name, so I won’t have to keep on coming up with novel pronouns for the animal.  Wonder Man figures out that Ares is trying to use both him and SHIELD to take down his rival Hercules, and we should wait in eager anticipation to see how this plays out.  Wonder Man vs Ares anyone?

 

Art Critique

            Paul Neary does a good job of giving the action a sense of action and movement in almost every panel.  Also, he really tried to give Hercules a crazed expression during his hydra blood induced state, but it doesn’t seem to work all too well all of the time.  Drawing can be like writing, similar to how an author does not want to use the same adjective all the time, an artist will not want to use the same expression to depict a certain emotion, however, this results in Herc just having near perfectly circular, round, red eyes.   Also, sometimes Amadeus Cho looks either pudgy, not so much because he has an animal in his jacket, but more so in his face.  Overall however, I must say I am pleased with the artwork as it is provided.  Also, I wonder if Neary himself did the oldschool arts featured in the middle of the book, also, oldschool Ares reminds me of Mr. T.  Mention should be made of the cover art, provided by Arthur Adams, Herc’s arms have extra muscle mass, and this isn’t usually something that bugs me, when I draw I tend to add extra as well, but this is kind of ridiculous. 

 

Is it Worth Buying?

            If you have an interest in Greek mythology, I would say absolutely.  Also, it looks like this story arc with Herc vs Ares, and with Cho attempting to mess up SHIELD may prove important to the overall Marvel storyline, especially with Tony Stark having so many problems in his storyline.  So overall, it is well written, and entertaining to read, definitely earning its spot on my pull list.

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