Rating: *** 1/2*
A great recovery executed to this story by writer Ed Brubaker. I was starting to get a bit bored with it. Although you know how this story is going to end, I still enjoyed this issue. Besides knowing how this story will end, the only other drawback for me was the artwork by Bryan Hitch. I think Hitch is a great artist, but I felt his work seemed rushed here. From what I understand, he’s not a fast artist. so maybe he was rushing to try and get this book out as soon as possible.
I was a bit confused by what was happening as this issue opened with Steve Rogers in a world where the Nazi’s have taken over America. At first I thought he was transported to an alternate universe where the Nazi’s won World War II, but I soon realized that his essence is stuck within his body in some weird world that has been created by the Red Skull as the Skull’s essence has taken over Steve’s body. Thank God because had this been an alternate universe I thought it would have been too cheesy to have a Nazi America where instead of Uncle Sam, you have Uncle Skull.
It was announced a few days ago that Bruce Wayne would finally be coming back as Batman beginning in April 2010. The event will take place in a min-series entitled Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne and it will be written by Grant Morrison. I’m very happy that Bruce Wayne will be returning, but I’m curious as to why both he and Captain America are through the exact chain of events in their lives right now. Both characters saw their side kicks resurrected (Jason Todd and Buck); both were “killed off”; both characters saw side kicks take over the mantle for them (Dick Grayson and Bucky); both are stuck in the past; and both are now trying to make their ways back to the present. What gives? Who’s copying who?
Well the idea of resurrecting Jason Todd began during the Hush storyline in 2002, but we didn’t see Jason return until 2005. The return of Bucky began around the same time in 2005 as well. Steve was killed in early 2007 and Bruce was killed in late 2008. It was revealed a few months ago that Steve was stuck in time, but Bruce was revealed to be stuck in the past at the end of Final Crisis at the beginning of the year. Since we are fans, we are not privy to which company came up with which idea first, but if it were me, I would try to do something a bit different with my company’s character. Also, what good is it for the fans? They will buy it nonetheless, but is it really that interesting to have the same exact thing happen to two iconic characters? What happens when they return?
Rating: *** 1/2
After a delay of about a month, the mini-series Captain America: Reborn continues. I’ve really enjoyed this series so far and would recommend it to non-Cap fans as a good example of a good Captain America story. After reading this issue, however, I’m starting to get a bit disappointed. We know Steve Rogers will be “resurrected” and return as Captain America, but we’ve wondered exactly how the story will end with that conclusion. Well, after reading this issue, I think I’ve got the conclusion figured out. It should be good, but I was hoping for something new and different. Maybe I’m wrong and there will be something different, but I doubt it. Before I give my theory of the conclusion, a quick recap.
The Red Skull has more than nine lives. He’s cheated death once again and is now inhabiting a new robotic body. The Red Skull, his daughter Sin, and her boyfriend Crossbones have arrived in Latveria the homeland of Dr. Doom. Doom has the machine that the Skull needs to recover Captain America, who is currently stuck in time. Sharon Carter is the key to getting Steve back; she has surrendered herself because the Skull’s accomplice Norman Osborn revealed to the media that she was the second shooter in the assassination of Captain America.
Another big week for people with money to throw around as Nickelodeon just bought the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles for $60 million. This is yet another reason why it’s great to hold onto your copyrights. If you’re just working on Batman And The Outsiders #128, you already know it’s a basically a boilerplate work-for-hire contract, but if you’ve created Dingo, Rescue Dog Of The Outback get that thing copyrighted in your name and hold onto it. Because it’s always better for you to have the control - and any related money - than it is to just give it away to a corporation. In the meantime, if you’re tired of reading about contract negotiations, take a look around the internet and discover what folks like Mo Willems, Alan Kupperburg, Bill Crider and Bruce Timm are up to. Here’s how you can fill up your weekend:
Alan Kupperburg: Steven Thompson over at Hooray for Wally Wood, has a nice interview with Alan talking about his days working for Wood. Great stuff. Here’s a taste: “So then he (Wood) asked me if I could pencil Cannon for him. I took the pages home and opened up my T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents and copied out the appropriate panels and adapted them to the situation. And Woody flipped out. He said, ‘You’re hired.’ Within three weeks I was also writing Sally and Cannon.”
Another great issue for this series. In our last issue, Bucky and the Black Widow were captured by Norman and Obsborn. Norman has released to the media that Sharon Carter was the second shooter in the assassination of Captain America. He released the Black Widow and said that unless she returns with Sharon Carter, Bucky is dead.
Our story opens with Cap continuing to jump through time to different points in his life. Cap has now jumped to the time when he was frozen in ice. During this period, Cap was worshiped by local tribe as some sort of ice god. Namor arrives and is angry at the natives and picks up the block of ice and launches back into the ocean. Steve narrates the scene and it seems this isn’t the first time he’s visited this point in time. He says that he tries to cry out for help every time, but it never works. We then flash to the present where Reed Richards and the present Namor are at the same spot. Namor brings up Steve’s glass coffin, only to see his body disappear!
This issue was a test for me. I’m not up on my current Marvel continuity and even if this was a Double Jeopardy round I don’t think I could tell Ultimate Avengers from Dark Avengers or even The Avengers with Patrick McNee and Diana Rigg. I prefer Marvel’s weirder mini-series and one-shots these days, whether it’s Marvel Apes, Marvel Zombies or the new Strange Tales.
So when this first issue came out, I thought I’d pick it up as a test. Will this issue seem like so much super-hero hieroglyphics that I’d need a Rosetta Stone of Continuity to keep up? Or will I be able to just leap into it and be entertained? In other words, how quickly will I have to go to the Wikipedia to figure out what’s going on?
The answer: I didn’t need Wikipedia at all. Yeah, Fury now looks a lot like Samuel L. Jackson (that’s the power of a multi-picture movie deal in the Marvel Universe), Carol Danvers (the one-time Ms. Marvel back when Mark Millar was in diapers) is now the director if S.H.I.E.L.D. Hawkeye is not only carrying a gun (yup), he’s now looking like some kind of ninja warrior in an outfit from a bad 1980s-era comic, wearing a mask that looks like he stole it from Bug’s Fourth World Kirby closet. Oh, and Tony Stark now looks like the current Robert Downey, Jr. and drinks and parties like the old Robert Downey, Jr.
Addendum: The writer of the following article regrets the oversights that were made while writing this post - both comic book and political related. The writer intends to be more careful in the future to adhere to the core subject of Comix 411, which is comic books, and not personal political opinion. Thank you.
Rating: *** 1/2*
The relaunch of the Ultimate Universe continues with Ultimate Comics Avengers. There have been three separate Ultimate Avengers series (then known just as The Ultimates). I read and enjoyed the first series, which was written by Mark Millar, who is also the writer of this new series. Since the premiere of that first series and the recent mini-series Ultimatum, numerous characters have died including: Wasp, Hank Pym, Black Widow, the Scarlet Witch, and Quicksilver. The remaining members of the team will make up the current team: Captain America, Iron Man, Hawkeye, Thor, and Nick Fury.
Before I give my review of this issue, I want to give a little back story on my feelings about Mark Millar. I made a conscious decision not to pick up The Ultimates after the second series. Why? Because of Mark Millar’s political beliefs. Many creators within the comic book world are liberal - which is fine, but I think that Mr. Millar leans more to the left than a liberal. I think he’s a communist.
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.
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.
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.