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Spiderman

Rating: ****

Marvel’s Ultimate line of comic books began in the year 2000.  It was an attempt to get new and young readers on board without them having to jump in and figure out the years of confusing continuity that’s existed before.  I wasn’t collecting comics at the time when issue one of Ultimate Spider-Man came out, but I decided to pick up the first few issues.  I thought it was okay.  In my opinion, I think Ultimate Spider-Man really took off after the first story arc.  The comic lasted for over one hundred issues and there were some moments where I lost interest in the book.  I think I stopped collecting around the time Ultimate Moon Knight showed up.  However, I got back into the title when writer Brian Michael Bendis introduced his own take on the Clone Saga for the title.  I don’t know what it is about clones and Spider-Man that makes me go crazy.  The Clone Saga got me to pick up Ultimate Spider-Man again and now it’s done it again with the regular Spider-Man book.

After the Ultimate Clone Saga ended, I dropped the book and haven’t read it since.  With Ultimatum wrecking havoc in the Ultimate Universe, Marvel decided to cancel all of their Ultimate books and relaunch two of them with new number one issues.  So Ultimate Spider-Man is now Ultimate Comics Spider-Man and The Ultimates is now the Ultimate Comics Avengers.  So does Bendis deliver the goods once again with this new Ultimate Spidey title?  You betcha!


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Marvels1

Rating: *** 1/2*

I forget where I first read the preview for the mini-seriesThe Marvels Project.  I heard about this series prior to reading the preview and I didn’t really have an interest in picking it up.  It sounded cool, but with limited funds, I decided I was going to pass on this one.  However, after reading the preview, I was hooked and committed to picking up the series. 

Our story begins in 1938 at the dawn of the Marvel Universe.  An old man is dying in a hospital bed and tells a doctor about the coming age of the super heroes.  The doctor doesn’t believe him of course and the old man dies shortly after telling his story.  He does however leave the doctor a gift.  The gift is a wooden box that contains a pair of six shooters and it is then the doctor realizes that the man who died - Matthew Hawk - was the famed Two-Gun Kid.  Now for those of you who don’t know, the Two-Gun kid is hero within the Marvel Universe who existed in the Old West within the Marvel Universe.  He did however join the Avengers for a period after traveling through time. 

The story then flashes forward a year later to FDR and the coming US involvement in World War II.  We also see Namor the Submariner battling Nazis who are “fishing” for Atlanteans in order to use them for experiments.  Namor is of course not too pleased about this and takes these guys on.  During World War II, the super heroes that battled the Nazis consisted of Captain America, Bucky, Namor, and the Human Torch.  The Torch is also introduced here as we see his origin in how he was invented and then encased in concrete as his creator Professor Phineas Horton could not control him from bursting into flames.  The original Human Torch was an android and the people of the time were angry that scientists created this artificial being.  To some it was a sin and against the laws of nature which was another reason why he was encased in concrete.


Spider-Man601

Rating: ** 1/2*

As readers know from my postings here at Comix 411, I just recently began reading Amazing Spider-Man after a long absence.  I was turned off by the “Brand New Day” storyline and refused to collect Spider-Man.  Well, the latest Amazing Spider-Man annual got me interested in Spidey again after a great story revolving around Ben Reilly.  I also really enjoyed issue #600 of Amazing and was looking forward to this issue after we saw the return of Mary Jane at the end of #600.  Since Amazing Spider-Man began being published three times a month, we’ve had a revolving team of writers and artists.  In this issue we see Mark Waid take over the writing chores and, unfortunately, I was disappointed. 

Mark Waid has done some great comic book work in the past.  He’s the reason I love the characters of Captain America and the Flash (Wally West).  His stories and the development of these characters was amazing and textbook for what I consider good comic book writing.  Over the past few years, Mark Waid’s work hasn’t really interested me all that much.

The story opens up with Peter Parker in bed with a hangover from Aunt May’s wedding.  He notices that he’s not alone and instead of Mary Jane being in bed with him, he discovers that he slept with his roommate Michelle Gonzales.  Peter has no memory of their night together, which upsets her and results in her storming out.  Thinking that he no longer has a roommate or a place to live Peter spends half the time this issue trying to find a new place to live.  The other half is spent trying to remember when and where he was going to meet up with Mary Jane.  While at the wedding reception, Peter got up the courage to talk with her and they made a date to talk.


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Reborn2

Rating: *** 1/2*

Another very good issue from the team of Ed Brubaker and Bryan Hitch.  Captain America: Reborn picks up right where issue one left off.  Steve Rogers is not dead and his friends in the Marvel Universe are trying to rescue him.  Steve is stuck in time as his consciousness is living inside his body in the past.  He keeps jumping from one moment in his life to the next.  In the last issue, we saw Steve as he stormed the beaches on D-Day and in this issue we see moments such as a battle between him and Master Man and Steve visiting President Roosevelt.  He also goes back to the moment where he took the Super-Soldier Serum - more on that later.

Back in the present, the current Captain America, Bucky Barnes, and the Black Widow are battling the Dark Avengers and Norman Osborn’s HAMMER.  They are looking for the device that the Red Skull and Arnim Zola used that resulted in Steve Rogers getting stuck in time after his assassination.  Unfortunately, the Dark Avengers are able to defeat and capture them.  They are interrogated by Norman Osborn.

Under the influence of the Red Skull, Sharon Carter shot Steve Rogers.  However, there was another assassin who took part in the crime: Crossbones.  To the general public, he is the lone gunman and has been incarcerated for the crime alongside his girlfriend, the Red Skull’s daughter, Sin.  Norman Osborn has a discussion with them and a deal is struck.  Which brings us back to Bucky and the Black Widow.  Osborn is interrogating them and reveals that he has released the information to the public that Sharon Carter was in on the assassination and that she is now wanted by the law.  Bucky and Widow are angry of course, but they’re powerless as Osborn tells Black Widow that he is going to release her, but she must bring Sharon Carter back with her or he will kill Bucky.  Why is Norman doing this?  Power.  The deal he made with Crossbones and Sin is to help bring about the return of Steve Rogers as Captain America and I think he needs Sharon to help bring this about.

A Captain America leading his Dark Avengers, under his control?  How deliciously evil!  Go, Norman!  Norman Osborn has really become the number one bad guy in the Marvel Universe over the past year.  Kudos to Marvel for really using the character in this manner after years of simply just being another resurrected Spider-Man villain.  Norman has become Marvel’s answer to Lex Luthor.


AmazingSpiderman600

Rating: ****

After last week’s excellent Amazing Spider-Man Annual #36, I decided it was time to get back into Spider-Man.  For all of us fanboys who rant and rave about never collecting a title again because of something that is done to our favorite comic book character, I think very few of us are ever able to hold onto that promise.  Let’s face it, if it’s a good story and great artwork, we always come back and I’m sure that’s why Marvel had no problem making the “Brand New Day” decision a few years back because they knew we always come back. 

This issue of Amazing Spider-Man is of course a huge milestone as it’s the 600th issue of the title.  I know that the original title was canceled and this is part of the renumbering that was done a few years ago, but still it’s amazing (no pun intended) to see that Spider-Man continues to wow us after so many issues of Amazing and various other Spidey titles.

This issue marks the wedding of Peter Parker’s Aunt May and J. Jonah Jameson Sr.  The issue opens up with long-time Spider-villain Doctor Octopus talking with a doctor about all of the blunt force trauma he’s suffered over the years in fighting Spider-Man and various other heroes and villains in the Marvel Universe.  The prognosis?  He’s got about a year or so left to live.  With this news, Doc Ock decides that he must do something worthwhile before he dies.  Doc Ock decides to use his “brilliant” mind to benefit mankind.  He will use the technology that he has to enable him to control the city of NY.  He wants to make the trains run on time like Mussolini.  Gee thanks, Ock!


CaptainAmerica601

Rating: ***

With the release of Captain America: Reborn the main ongoing storyline of the death, and now rebirth of Cap will be told there.  With issue #601 of the regular monthly title we get a stand alone story by Cap writer Ed Brubaker and veteran comic artist Gene Colan.  I’m going to put my neck out and say I didn’t like Mr. Colan’s artwork here.  I did a Google search and was checking out some of his previous work on Daredevil, Howard the Duck and Tomb of Dracula and thought his work then was very good, but I just wasn’t digging his work here.  The cover of this issue is a good example of what I didn’t like.  Cap almost doesn’t seem to have a neck in this illustration and the wings on his mask protrude out too much for my taste. 

As for the story, Brubaker tells a nice little stand alone story about Cap and Bucky fighting vampires during World War II.  The story is presented as a flashback where we see Bucky as the Winter Soldier talking to Nick Fury relating a story about soldiers turning on their own.  The story takes place in Bastogne, Belgium in February of 1945.  Bucky and Cap find an American soldier dying in an old house.  The soldier tells Cap how much he admires him as Cap tries to comfort him as he dies.  But the soldier is not truly dead, he was bitten by a vampire and the “dead” body is resurrected into a vampire.  Cap and Bucky battle the vampire soldier and end up killing him.


Freddy vs. Jason vs. Ash #5 cover art

Robert Englund, best known for his portrayal of Freddy Kruger from the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise, recently commented on WildStorm’s Freddy vs. Jason vs. Ash comic; however, he seems to merely enjoy looking rather than reading it.

“Well, I love the artwork. I absolutely love the artwork. I like the storyline but I love the artwork. I think the cover art is just phenomenal,” the Los Angeles native explained.

Makes me wonder if he actually read the books…

Read More | Comic Book Resources

AmazingAnnual

Rating: ****

Wow!  Last week I gave a glowing review to Grant Morrison’s Batman and Robin #2 where I used the phrase “wow” to express my appreciation for that issue.  Well, here I am saying “wow” again for Amazing Spider-man Annual #36 because that is exactly how I felt after reading this issue.

I’ve been reading Spider-man on-and-off since the mid-80s.  If the writing was good, I read it, but if it wasn’t I dropped it.  There were three or four monthly Spider-man titles to chose from so I was at least collecting one of them at some point through out the years. In the 90s there was a storyline that will go down infamy as far Spider-man and comics in general: The Clone Saga.  If you’re a comic reader, there is no explanation needed for what was the “Clone Saga”.  I am one of the few people who liked the “Clone Saga” at first, but as time went on the story became a mess and the original planned ending was abandoned due to fan outrage. 

I haven’t read Spider-man for probably over a year now.  I haven’t read it since Marvel Comics committed the sin of the “Brand New Day” storyline which effectively wiped Peter Parker’s marriage to Mary Jane from continuity.  The way in which they did it was atrocious and I refused to buy another Spider-man comic until they reunited Peter and MJ.  Well, I decided to break my promise this once and pick up this issue.  The reason I broke my promise is because of one name: Ben Reilly


CaptainReborn1

Rating: *** 1/2 *
 
Captain America: Reborn is here!  Ed Brubaker’s soon to be classic run on Captain America continues with this mini-series which will return Steve Rogers to land of the living, but did he ever really die in the first place?
 
In Captain America #600 we saw that Sharon Carter recovered the gun that she used to kill Steve.  However, it appears that this is no ordinary gun and Steve Rogers was not killed, but instead he’s – somewhere else right now.
 
Ed Brubaker wastes no time in revealing what happened to Steve and how he will end up returning to the Universe.
 
It seems that the gun that Sharon used to “kill” Steve was part of a larger weapon that the Red Skull and Arnim Zola had borrowed from Dr. Doom.  The weapon was a variation of Doom’s time platform.  After the assassination, Sharon Cater was then strapped to the machine by Zola and the Skull to be used as a homing beacon of sorts in order to retrieve Steve’s body.  Sharon was able to retrieve some of her senses and fought back which resulted in Steve becoming stuck in time and space.  So where is he?  He’s in the past.


Cap600

Rating: ****

This month’s “Captain America” hits the stands this week as the announcement is made that Steve Rogers is returning as Captain America in the mini-series “Captain America: Reborn”. As we all know Steve Rogers was shot and killed by a brainwashed Sharon Carter in “Captain America” (Vol.5) #25. Cap’s long thought dead partner James “Bucky” Buchanan Barnes assumed the role of Captain America in issue #34 of the same series. There are numerous stories in this extra-sized issue of #600, but it is the main story of the book that sets the table for “Reborn” and the return of Rogers as Captain America.

The main story takes place on the one year anniversary of Steve Rogers’ assassination and focuses on all of the supporting players that we’ve seen in Captain America life: Sharon Carter, Bucky, Falcon, Patriot, etc. The story goes from character-to-character and each one has their own little tale. Sharon is remembering the events of the day she pulled the trigger and she remembers handing the gun off to some man. Sharon enters the home of that man and discovers that like her, he was brainwashed on the day of the assassination. After shooting Steve, Sharon unconsciously handed the gun off to the man. She finds the gun and takes off.

One of the characters that is shown in this story is Rikki Barnes the female Bucky that Cap teamed up with during the “Heroes Reborn” series. She has traveled over to the 616 Marvel Universe and aligns herself Eli Bradley The Patriot from the Young Avengers. I like that Marvel has decided to bring this character over into the 616 universe, however things are getting a bit crowded with Cap’s supporting cast. Hopefully writer Ed Brubaker can juggle them all.  Still I welcome the character and see potential.  Maybe they can pair up Rikki and Eli in a relationship.

With the one year anniversary of Captain America’s assassination, the people of New York plan to gather to remember him with a vigil in Central Park. Falcon and the non-registered Avengers plan on attending the vigil which is threatened with being shut down by Norman Osborn’s HAMMER organization. Osborn doesn’t shut it down, but uses it instead to paint himself in a positive light with the public.


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