Tag Archives: Ronin

No Comics?!??!????!!!

I’m not sure if I can remember the last time this happened.  I went to my local comic shop, and asked them to deliver unto me the contents of my box.  However, my box was empty.  Surely you jest!  I protested, but alas, it turns out that zero comics that I read were released this week.  I was particularly surprised by this, because last week only the New Avengers was in my box.  I can feel that the remaining three wednesdays could be particularly heavy in terms of comic reading, and that’s just fine by me.  So instead, I’ve spent the last week, and presumably this week, reading trades (and studying for the GRE’s).  I’ve finished (finally) Watchmen, and am working on Ronin and Green Lantern: Wanted: Hal Jordan.  What comics did you get this week?  Is there anything particularly good that I should pick up?

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Filed under General, Shipping List

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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Filed under Comics, Marvel, Reviews

Rapid Fire Reviews: Gamma Corps, New Avengers, Incredible Herc, and Avengers: The Initiative

World War Hulk – Gamma Corps #4 of 4

The gamma corps is a group of five individuals who believe their lives to have been decimated by the Hulk. They have had their bodies augmented by hulk DNA. The members are Grey, who is essentially a grey, smaller and less berserk version of the hulk, Mess, who has had parts of her skin grafted with skin samples grown from gamma DNA, Mister Gideon, a former pastor who has some titanium hands, Griffin, who’s just crazy, and he flies, and Prodigy, who was a child born autistic, but then was taken into the gamma corps program and is now a super genius with limited telepathic powers. The issues of this mini have been rather entertaining, without standing out as being amazing; this final one however, is pretty good. Nothing amazing in and of itself, however, it shows a character change in the Hulk that we’ve been seeing over the past few months in World War Hulk. While the Hulk always had depth in his character, much of this came from the dichotomy between Bruce Banner and the Hulk, not from the Hulk himself. Now we see the Hulk are more than just a smashing machine, but he’s calm, and calculating, this has been represented well from the artists as well, not only Carlos Ferreira who has done Gamma Corps, but from everyone else who has been drawing in the WWH series. There is a brain behind this new Hulk, and it shows in how he disarms the Gamma Corps with little more than words, even manipulating the leader, Grey, through a deeper understanding of his own psyche. Overall, the series has been worth it, and is worth buying, if you have been following World War Hulk at all.

The New Avengers #37

New Avengers is a series that has been causing quite a stir recently. As the issue that looks to be leading up to the coming Skrull War, it’s polarizing much of the comic book community. I have heard many people say on various forums, that they intend on dropping this series, especially after #37. However, I’ve been enjoying it, it has been going at a good pace, it has some of my favourite characters, and the interaction between Spider-man and Iron Fist during the fights is downright hilarious. The unmasking of the Hood in this issue was interesting, to say the least, but regardless we need to see how it’ll play itself out, perhaps it could even branch into Dr. Strange getting his own title again, I know many people who would be happy about that. As many of you know, I love reading and watching the fights in comic books, and this issue is almost entirely one giant fight, using Dr. Strange’s powers to make it seem as if the new crime syndicate lead by the Hood was entirely surrounded. Speaking of the Hood, he is turning into a fantastic villain; he’s cunning, ruthless, determined, and charismatic. Frankly, I thought this issue was pretty outstanding, and Brian Michael Bendis is doing an exceptional job, one thing I would really like to see though, would be a crossover between Daredevil and New Avengers, because both of their stories are currently revolving around the Hood, yeah, I know I said I was dropping DD, but I’m a sucker for Murdock, and DD is one of my favourite characters, so we’ll see if I actually stick to my guns on this one. The host of characters that Bendis is employing on the villains side is very interesting, and the cast of New Avengers is just astounding, Cage, Strange, Wolverine, Spider-man, Iron Fist, Ronin, all in the same issue, it’s like a Marvel close combat dream team.

The Incredible Hulk #112 – The Incredible Herc

In the aftermath (read aftersmash) of World War Hulk, we find boy genius Amadeus Cho teaming up with Greek demi-god Heracles. Such a combination of brains and brawn is pretty formidable. The issue opens shortly after where #111 left off, with SHIELD attempting to arrest the renegades. The plot and story is pretty good, and bringing in Ares is neat, up until the last page which is kinda cliché. But all in all it goes over well, even if you are of the opinion that no Hulk in a Hulk issue is a waste of time, and I can understand that opinion, but look at how Captain America has been going, we haven’t had a Cap in that issue in almost 10 months, and it is one of the ones I look forward to over any other. There are quite a few reasons I enjoy this beyond the story and art, both of which are very good, it references Greek mythology pretty accurately, and it has Amadeus Cho in it, and that means there’s lots of math going on. Personally, I think math looks pretty when it’s drawn out like this, and the way Amadeus uses it to do all kinds of crazy stuff is just fascinating. I also spend an inordinate amount of time figuring out how the equations have been derived, as they are generally derivations of basic formulae. The cover art, while not usually something I mention, is pretty interesting, in that the artists pay homage to other artists and comic covers by basing their art on theirs. You could call this lazy, but I think it’s interesting. Greg Pak and Fred van Lente have done an outstanding job writing this issue, and it looks set to do nothing but improve. I would highly recommend this issue, and indeed the series to anyone with even a passing interest.

Avengers: The Initiative #7

This issue is a pretty big one as well, we find out loads of things, such as who’s in the scarlet spiders, what happened to MVP, and what the hell is Dr. Baron von Blitzschlag up to? This issue even brings up more questions about One More Day, because Peter Parker essentially has his name cleared as Spider-man in this issue, however, it should be conceded that OMD was more about Aunt May than anything else. In this issue, the Scarlet Spiders are sent after a stolen briefcase that contains plans for a weapon of mass destruction, and during the chase, Peter Parker gets wicked ticked that people are masquerading around as him, in the costume Tony Stark promised was “unique.” Fairly early on in the issue, we do see that Scarlet Spiders do not seem to be mechanical, as I had previously thought them to be, but are indeed manned by people, and you discover who at the end of the issue, but it’s a huge revelation for anyone reading the series, and you should be. There’s some humor, such as when J.J. Jameson says “God, I hate clones,” I think we all hated the clone saga. And Warmachine is about to flip out with people trying to run his initiative base. All in all, this issue of Avengers: The Initiative is packed with stuff, but somehow, the author Dan Slott keeps everything going at a good pace, and at no point does it seem scatterbrained, and it’s a credit to his skill. The art, as written by Stefano Caseli is exactly what I would call ‘comic book art’ and feels exactly how it should. If you have been reading this series, there is no reason to stop now, and if you haven’t, I’d say it’s probably a good idea to start.

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Filed under Comics, Marvel, Reviews