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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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Ebay Week Day 1 – Finding Single Issue Bargains

Attention all! Ebay week if (finally) underway! After many false starts, including yesterday (my job started that day and I completely lost track of time), I almost failed uploading tonight as well due to the storm, but I think I have a window of time big enough to get this post up. This week should prove to be fun, I even have a guest post from Mike Haynes of Panels of Awesome, but that’s for later. So, let us begin, how many times have you missed a single issue that isn’t in your pull box, or you have a run of old comics and are missing a few issues? Well, Ebay can be a wondrous source of single issue comics, even if you are not looking for one particular comic, but you’d like to collect some back issues anyway. While the amazing deals are out there, We, as the comic book community are still feeling the effects of the comic speculation bubble, and as a result there are a lot of overpriced comics due to overspeculation, and a lot of general crap floating around. But hopefully with these few tips will help you accurately search out what you are looking for. Before I start however, I have to say that this is merely a bargain hunting strategy, and if you happen to be looking for Ultimate Spiderman #1 Variant, you’re going to have to be prepared to pay top dollar.

Speculation, What is it, and how does it affect me?

Comic prices are very interesting, as there is no simple linear rule to defining the prices (eg, older = more expensive), as the aforementioned speculation. First though, we must address the issue of, what is speculation? Speculation, put simply, and in the context we are viewing it, is the act of speculating or guessing that a particular item, in our case comic books, will one day become valuable, or that it can be resold for more later. Speculation, literally defined means trading with the purpose of making profits, and I’m sure you’ve seen this, such as when Captain America #25 was released, and it was immediately being sold, or attempted to be sold for $25 dollars on Ebay even though my local comic shop was selling them for the standard $2.99. The first printing was fairly limited however, and they probably sold. As much as this is something that does not please me, I don’t believe my hobby should really be belittled by others for profit, it is a viable trade strategy. We saw the same attempts with the Death of Superman, but DC printed an incredibly large number of those issues, and they’re now found in bargain bins pretty much everywhere. So, the most expensive comics will be the old rare ones, followed by more recent comics being sold by people trying to make a quick dollar, but if you’re searching for something a little more obscure (ie, not a hot item), from the 70-90’s, you’re sure to find a great deal.

What should you, as an honest comic collector take from all this? The short story is, if you are hoping to pick up an important issue you may have missed, Ebay is probably not the place. Heck, the internet is probably not the place you want to look. My advice would be to check out other comic book locations in your local area. Chances are one of them heard the issue was going to be big, and ordered some extras, especially if there is a comic book store located in a cit around you, such as midtown comics in NYC, or a very small comic shop, that probably doesn’t get many patrons is also a good candidate; basically anything on either extreme if your first choices aren’t working out.

Finding Single Issue Bargains

Moving on to what Ebay and the internet can do for you, instead of what it can’t. For this installment of Ebay week, I will be giving some examples and pointers of good search methods, some of which can be applied to finding just about anything on Ebay. First off, know what you are looking for, or alternatively, know that you are not looking for anything in particular, and just browsing. If you have never used Ebay before I suggest you do some browsing, and test searches before committing to anything, it can be daunting, and you want to make sure you are getting the best deals. First off, make use of the categories if you are just browsing, but if you are looking for a particular item, it would be best to not limit your categories due to poorly categorized items, a good example of this would be listing an autographed comic under collectibles, or memorabilia. Also, while browsing/searching, be sure to look to the left hand of your screen. The upper section allows you to limit your search to categories and sub-categories, such as only silver-age comics. Below that allows you to limit or expand your search to include Ebay stores as well as those who offer free shipping. Now, onto the specifics, when searching Ebay, instead of just searching “Signed Thor comic” and taking the first thing that pops up, do alternate searches using synonyms, such as autographed, graphic novel, or include the author or illustrator. Doing this requires you to make good use of the watched items feature. Just click “Watch this item,” and come back to all your favorites later. Doing this allows you to really see what the bargains are. I’ve picked up a good number of comics for exceptionally cheap, such as Journey into Mystery #123 for about $12 US, or the occasional bargain for $3-5 US like the last issue I needed my for Official Marvel Handbook series. However, don’t be afraid to be patient, if you’re in a rush you’ll make mistakes. In my hurry to collect and read all the issues of Civil War I had missed, I ended up spending way more than I had to, and then shipping on top of that! Remember to look for deals on shipping, many sellers will offer them.

Addendum: For examples of what I’m talking about, see my other blog “Life of a Welshman” for proof that great bargains DO exist out there! Today’s entry can be found here.

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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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Top 5 Comic Book Fights of 2007

For the final post of 2007, Your Comic Relief is bringing you my personal opinions (also known as fact) on the top five comic book fights of two thousand and seven. This list is not all inclusive as I have not read every comic from 2007, but from what I’ve read, and what I remember from the beginning of the year (I think these are all from more recent memory, but I gave it a good think), I present you with The Top 5 Comic Book Fights from 2007!

5 – “Patches Malone” vs would be assassins

 

Seen in Gotham Underground #2, this one sneaks in at slot number five because it shows just how amazing Bruce Wayne is. Many comic book fight scenes are drawn out, so that the reader can see each individual motion that the characters are performing. While this is often a good tactic on the part of the writer/artist, this one is awesome by virtue of its exceptionally short length. Weighing in at one page, of which only three panels are of fighting, Bruce beats the snot out of some hired prison goons, in Blackgate Prison. The thugs get the drop on him, and Patches takes them down, with one hand, while holding his food tray, informing them he would greatly appreciate being allowed to eat in peace. Not many fighters from Marvel, DC, or any other publisher could manage to pull this off, and he has them on the floor within one to two hits each. Well done Bruce Wayne.

4 – Iron Man vs The Incredible Hulk

 

Brought to us through the Iron Man – World War Hulk tie in, in Iron Man #19, this fight would have been mediocre at best without the commentary in nearly every panel. As Tony Stark dons the Hulkbuster armour, a speech is being given during the fight, if we allow ourselves to suspend our disbelief that Stark could come up with this while getting pounded by the Hulk, or perhaps believe that it is pre-recorded, the words actually manage to elevate this fight from decent to outstanding. Good enough to send shivers down most people’s spines, as Tony explains his reasoning behind his decisions, and suits up to fight what could potentially be his final battle. Usually we don’t consider the text to be important to the fighting, but in this case, Christos N. Gage has shown us exactly what can be achieved through a proper combination of the two.

3 – Deadpool vs Sabertooth

 

Located in Cable & Deadpool #41, this has all the hallmarks of a hilarious encounter with Deadpool. Starting from the beginning however, there is an amazing lead up to the fight with Domino’s line “Even if I did, I won’t be getting a word in edgewise…” As Deadpool parachutes in and does what he does (or what Wolverine does, but not quite as well, we can never be sure). There were two main selling points on this, the first was that it was an entirely selfless act by Deadpool, and the second was the full page of Wade Wilson unloading round after round, and clip after clip into Sabertooth, while singing, ending with “Hey, look at that. No mo’ buwwets.” To humiliate him even further, he was laughing at Sabertooth while he shuffled around with his tendons shot to pieces, like “Taylor Hicks trying to do Swan Lake.” As great as it was, and as hilarious as Deadpool can be, it ends with Cable telekinetically throwing him in a direction picket at random, ending the issue with a laugh.

2 – Obi-wan Kenobi vs Darth Krayt

Dark Horse makes it into the top 5, and before I get any nitpicking comments, he wasn’t Darth Krayt yet when he fought Obi-wan, he was still simply A’sharad Hett. Carrying on, this one can be found in Star Wars: Legacy #16, and could deserve to be on this list simply by virtue of having lightsabers, or by featuring Obi-wan, one of my favourite Star Wars characters of all time, and I know quite a few of them. The fight is set on Tatooine, and tells the story of Obi-wan’s secret mission to protect Luke Skywalker as he grew up on the remote planet. This assumed, but previously untold story of Obi-wan’s duty is a great revelation, and it is phenomenal to see it represented graphically in a comic book. Simply put, the artist Jan Duursema, manages to give this fight a sense of speed and urgency that is merely attempted by other artists. This is no mere feat in and of itself, but he keeps it up for just over four pages with no dialogue save some “oof” speech bubbles. Obi-wan exiles the shamed Master Hett, and he swears to leave Tatooine and never return.

 

1 – Thor vs Iron Man

 

Thor #3; in my opinion possibly the best comic released this year. During Civil War, Tony Stark used Thor’s genetic code to create a Thor clone, which killed Goliath. Now Thor has returned, and needless to say, Thor is pissed. Thor once said that he never used more than 1/3 of his Asgardian might fighting any mortal, for fear of killing them, but right now, he’s pretty freaking pissed, and it doesn’t help that Iron Man has appeared on SHIELD business, and is upset about Thor basically stealing American Soil, and making a new Asgard on it (see Thor 1 & 2). To quote Thor himself “You defiled my body, desecrated my trust, violated everything that I am. Is this how you define friendship? Is it?” He then uses the mighty Mjolnir to produce a substantial throbbing in Tony Stark’s chest. Similar to how the Patches Malone fight was awesome because they couldn’t touch him, Iron Man throws everything he has at Thor, and he never stands a chance. He tells Iron Man what’s up, and notes that they will finish “discussing” the violation of his person.

 

 

 

That’s it for the Top 5 Fights of 2007, other fights that were considered were Iron Man & Captain America vs mecha-Thor in What If? Civil War, Amadeus Cho vs just about anything in the recent World War Hulk, also from WWH was Ghost Rider vs Hulk in Ghost Rider #13, and lastly Namor vs either Wolverine or Venom in Sub-Mariner: The Initiative issues #4 and 5 respectively. I look forward to hearing your input, and have a safe and happy new year! I will see you all again in 2008!

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Rapid Fire Reviews: Moon Knight, Silver Surfer, Ultimate Iron Man, and Superman/Batman

Moon Knight 2007 Annual

            Marc Spector, aka Moon Knight, is back in this annual… sort of.  He doesn’t appear until page 16 (not counting advertisements), and even then, he disappears for a while, returning on page 25.  The Moon Knight annual is written by Duane Swierczynski (who will be writing Cable!), and illustrated by Jefte Palo (making his debut), and edited by Axel Alonso.  These men are the ones to blame for this, if you didn’t like it.  That’s a tad harsh; the story is good, I just would have preferred to see more Moon Knight in it.  The story is more about a sexual predator and how he preyed upon women, and was eventually found by Moon Knight, told from the perspective of an unlucky woman.  I have to say though, it is refreshing to see that Marc Spector is back to his usual line of work, his previous story arc was confusing and not really to my liking.  The art is good, not the super detailed art you may find elsewhere, but in a style very appropriate for a Moon Knight comic.  In short, if you are a fan of Moon Knight, or looking for a good place to have a look at him, I’d say go ahead and spend your four hard earned dollars, but if you’re apprehensive, you shouldn’t feel bad about skipping out on this issue.

Silver Surfer: In Thy Name #2

            In thy name is highly anticipated among Silver Surfer fans.  Written by Simon Spurrier, and Illustrated by Tan Eng Huat, issue #1 was well received, but issue #2 however, I feel will not be so much.  I’ll be honest, I found it confusing.  I could be the story, and it could be the art, I think it to be a combination of the two, however, I feel that it is more a function of the art.  The story picks up where the last left off, Norrin Radd is fighting a giant monster/demon on a distant planet.  After his victory, the previously utopian queen begins to show her true colours, and the façade of utopian society begins to crumble.  The story progresses, and he discovers that he lower society perceive him to be their savior who will lead them in battle against the ruling society.  This comic, while confusing does present very serious moral issues and metaphors, as is typical for Silver Surfer comics, and this one does not disappoint.  In terms of morality, this story looks like it will become exceptional, but it is still hard to follow.  I do not believe that in graphic novels, I should have to constantly refer back to previous issues to determine who is who, and what they are doing (exception being Astonishing X-Men, because that is released so infrequently).  If you don’t mind having to take breaks to figure out who the characters are, or if you have an overwhelming interest in the Silver Surfer, absolutely go out and purchase this without hesitation.  If, however, that doesn’t sound like you, go ahead and pass on this series.

Ultimate Iron Man II – #1

            It’s finally here: the continuation of Ultimate Iron Man.  Written by bestselling author Orson Scott Card, and art by Pasqual Ferry, with colours by Dean White.  I got into Ultimate Iron Man as a bit of a fluke really, I was ordering things off eBay in a bit of a frenzy, and I saw a cheap hardcover available, it turned out to be Ultimate Iron Man by mistake.  As luck would have it though, I loved it but alas, it was too short, why not continue it I asked?  Well, Marvel has delivered.  I want to say it’s amazing, and it almost is.  It’s good, but it’s nothing revolutionary, I was hoping, for a new series, it would have an all new plot; however it is a continuation of the plot from the first Ultimate Iron Man.  This being said, if you haven’t read the original, you’re going to need to.  While not much is happening in the first part of the issue (it’s all set up for the next one), the action is pretty interesting, and the last 2-3 pages really make you think about what is going on in the world today.  If you have not read the first volume of Ultimate Iron Man, go out and do so, but also, you will not be able to understand what’s happening in volume two.  If you’re willing to go out and buy the trade for the original Ultimate Iron Man, I highly recommend this new series.

Superman/Batman #43

            This month’s Superman/Batman is written by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning, and penciled by Mike McKone.  The issue opens with a bang; the Teen Titans are seemingly attacking the orbiter.  The orbiter is hoping to harness dark matter as a source of energy, and to help analyze massive amounts of incoming data, they’re using a Kryptonian processor.  Not only are the Teen Titans attacking, but as luck would have it, the Kryptonian processor seems to have gone absolutely haywire.  Soon the reader is made aware of two key facts: the processor and the Teen Titans are connected, and it’s not the real Titans.  It all seems to be a diversion for Dr. Light to infiltrate the fortress of solitude using the processor to transmit him self in photonic form.  Luckily though, Batman is guarding the fortress.  While this is all good and interesting, and the comic ends with a nice cliffhanger, nothing really happens from page to page, it’s more of the same each time.  Mike McKone has done a great job with the art however, entirely the style of art I expect from a comic book.  To expand on that idea, it is nice to have some really fine and detailed art, such as found in Marvels, or Silver Surfer: Requiem, but sometimes it’s nice to have art that feels like it really belongs in a comic book.  McKone delivers on this front.  I’d recommend this book, as hopefully the cliffhanger will have something to do with Countdown, and because it was nice to look at.  If you’re apprehensive, I’d wait to see if the story will end up effecting the DC universe as a whole, and if it does, Superman/Batman #43 isn’t entirely likely to sell out.

            As I am posting this, Santa is over Portugal according to the Norad Tracker.

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What If…? Civil War Review

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A big issue released this week was “What If? Civil War,” if you are not familiar with the What If? series, then let me explain. Uatu is a watcher, he watches all timelines, but can not interfere. What If? comics give Uatu an outlet to explain how things may have turned out differently given different circumstances. This time, he tells us what would have happened if either Tony Stark had died prior to Civil War, or if Iron Man and Captain America had settled their differences.

 

What was Civil War

In case you’ve been hiding under a DC rock on the moon (of Endor), Marvel Civil War revolved around the Super Human Registration Act, something that has been frequented by Marvel before, even in X-Men: The Animated Series. This time though, the government won; because of the mass murder of civilians by a super villain Nitro, heroes nation wide are required to reveal their secret identities to the government and operate under their jurisdiction. Many superheroes, who had fought their whole lives to protect their secret identities, were less than thrilled by this idea. Two groups of super heroes formed, pro-registration, lead by Iron Man, and anti-registration resistance, lead by, of all people Captain America. It’s a fairly good story, that has annoyed a LOT of people, but to understand just about anything Marvel these days, you’re going to have to read it, and I suggest you do. If you do not want to know the ending, you probably shouldn’t read this or the comic. In the end however, Captain America admits defeat when he realizes how much damage the super hero civil war is causing, this leads to Cap’s assassination.

Plot Synopsis and Evaluation

We open with Tony Stark (Iron Man), mourning the death of his good friend, Steve Rogers (Captain America). Mourning and second guessing; he’s not sure if he did the right thing, because what he believed to be right at the time lead to death of his best friend. He is approached by a strange man with red eyes, offering him a glimpse at the other possibilities, the other potential time lines. This comic essentially comprises two separate stories, and I’m ok with that, because What If? comics are possibly my favorite. In the first story, Tony Stark dies from the extremis injection, and because of this, Captain America manages to convince all the superhumans to fight against the registration act. However, being super heroes, they fought with great restraint, and many of them ended up dying. The man called to lead the anti-registration movement clones Thor, and makes an army of Thor clones, using these, he murders Captain America and leads the country to believe that the ‘criminal’ Captain America is still on the loose and only he can save them. He runs for, and he becomes President of the United States. A rather sour tale for Tony to hear while he was already grieving the loss of his friend.

The second possible timeline, involves a much smaller change. Tony, while at the ambush of the resistance, asks for Rogers’s help. This simple action leads to a discussion, but also an amazing fight scene. Thor’s clone is released, and is about to kill Goliath, as had happened in the main timeline, but Tony Stark gets in the way, and takes the full force of mecha-Thor’s attack. While preparing to deliver the final blow, Captain America steps in and defends, and even fights off this abomination of Thor (to find out how the REAL Thor took it, read the newest series of Thor, especially issue #3). This timeline leads to peace for all humanity, both super and otherwise. Tony Stark realizes that while the Civil War could have gone better, and his friend could still be alive, it can always go much much worse.

Art Critique

The art is broken down into two sections, the same as the writing. This is essentially two different stories, with the current timeline story as well. The ‘present’ Marvel timeline story between Tony Stark and “The Stranger” (I think we know who this stranger is however), is written by Ed Brubaker, and illustrated by Marko Djurdjevic, and acknowledgement to the works of Frank Miller. This is drawn in a very artistic style, reminiscent of Marvels or Silver Surfer: Requiem. It is near colourless, which makes the stranger’s red eyes stand out even more, the washed out look fits the mood that is set by Brubaker. Marko is exceptionally proficient at this kind of art, and it shows.

The story entitled “What if Captain America led all Heroes against Registration” was written by Kevin Grevioux, and penciled by Gustavo. On the first page of Gustavo’s art, I noticed his rendition of Steve Rogers immediately, and I didn’t like it. I can’t point out exactly what it is about these faces that isn’t right, it must be the proportions. Regardless everyone seems to have a very sunken face which is too long for their body. They also look to be perpetually on the verge of tears. All of that wouldn’t be so bad if roughly 60% of the panels weren’t close up views of someone’s face. The patriotic Captain America Iron Man armor also looks cheesy when drawn by Gustavo. I did not enjoy the artwork at all.

“What if Iron Man Lost the Civil War?” is written by Christos Gage, and illustrated by Harvey Tolibao, and wow, it’s something. This is by far my favourite section of the issue, even though the title is a bit misleading. The only complaint I have, and I will get that out of the way first, is that at one or two points, Captain America has an effeminate face. Moving past that however, each character’s emotions is graphically depicted with great skill, including characters in the background. The fight between Cap + Iron Man with mecha-Thor is stunning. Stunning may be something of an understatement, although it is short, it’s exceptionally engaging and even thrilling. The page where the Cap gives the heroic (and very cliché) line “You’ll have to go through me” really hits home, and it probably wouldn’t have done so without the artwork provided. Lastly, in the last few pages of the issue, there is a two page spread of characters including Dr. Strange, Spiderman, Goliath (who’s alive in this timeline thanks to Iron Man), Spiderwoman, the Patriot, Hulkling, The Sentry, and even one or two I can’t name, although I imagine they might be young avengers, I never really took my time to make note of who they were. Tangents aside, this spread is amazing, and while not necessary for the comic, really ties together the storyline as it comes to a close.

Is it Worth Buying?

I would say an unequivocal “absolutely.” It’s well worth your hard earned money to go out and get this issue, even with the somewhat lackluster first story, the second more than makes up for it. Another aspect I like is that the cover, shown above, is the same as the civil war cover types, which I personally enjoyed. Your Comic Relief definitely recommends “What if? Civil War”.

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