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Marvel Comics Review: Marvels Project #1

Posted by David Torres Categories: Reviews, Marvel Comics,

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.

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Marvel Comics Review: Captain America: Reborn #2

Posted by David Torres Categories: Reviews, Marvel Comics,

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.

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Marvel Comics Review: Captain America #601

Posted by David Torres Categories: Reviews, Marvel Comics,

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.

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Marvel Comics Review: Captain America: Reborn #1

Posted by David Torres Categories: Reviews, Marvel Comics,

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.

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Marvel Comics Review: Captain America # 600

Posted by David Torres Categories: Reviews, Marvel Comics,

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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Tuesday Preview

Here we are again. The Tuesday Preview has hit three in a row. Couldn’t do it without you.

Some interesting books this week. In Batman 685 I am sure we will learn everything we have to know about Bats. Again, I recommend anyone trying to follow this continuity to read Bubba’s comment for a clear viewpoint on our caped hero. Justice Society of America 23 should either wrap up the Gog storyline or start another. And the biggies, Final Crisis 7 and Revelations 5 - all will be cleared up. Grant Morrison reveals all. Comic readers head for tall buildings.

On the Marvel side we start with the always great Captain America. My best book of the year soldiers on. One of my new favorites is Hercules. Here is a hero that chases every woman in every story that he appears in, but with a grin on his face. And yet he seems to succeed and, as a spill over, the 7th (or 8th) smartest man in the world seems to be getting something out of his palling around with Herc. New Avengers 19 debuts and should contain the Dark Reign Saga. The only worry is that we are going to have too many Avengers teams, but I am sure we’ll never get to 50. Wow, 50 Avengers Initiative teams and 52 DC Universes. Lots of characters huh? And In Ultimate Spider-Man 130 we may continue killing off characters from Ultimatum. Or not.


The Deaths of Batman

Posted by Joel Rosenberg Categories: Editorials, DC Comics,

Let’s face it. They’ll kill Captain America before they kill Batman. Whoops - they did
 
Now we all know comics are not for kids anymore. Trix maybe, comics, no. But we are all adults here and we know that Cap will be back in time for the movie and, after the second year without Batman, he will return also. I am sure that if Captain America can sail along with Bucky as the Winter Soldier then we can rest assured that a Search for the Cowl will find some worthy person to fill it. Add the fact that with RIP and Crisis totally screwing continuity all to hell and is so confusing so much so that my reps at DC can’t even keep it straight. Giving an answer such as “Well, it’s Grant Morrison…” is infuriating because adult fiction should be able to keep itself consistent. But, you know what?  I can live with it.
 
What I cannot stand is this. They have killed Batman twice in two separate books. Dead in Batman 681 and dead in Crisis 6. Let us assume, for argument’s sake, that neither Batman was a clone, an android, a robot, a hero of any of the other 52 universes, or a leftover LMD from Marvel. My customers expect me to be the comic guru and I hate to feel foolish trying to explain, but I can’t explain. Maybe all the inconsistencies are really caused by Superboy Prime banging on the Walls of Eternity. I just don’t think so. It is sloppy writing and I can abide stupid better than sloppy. Still, I am sure that Crisis 7, which comes out next next, will explain it all. Don’t you?


The World According to Todd: Best of 2008

Laura Vandervoort

Figure Caption: You gotta love Supergirl!

It’s that time of year again when we look back at the year and see what lived up to our expectations and what fell flat on its face. So without further ado…here is MY Best of 2008.

Book of the Year: Captain America
When my friends ask me what the best comic out there is, this is my answer. Every month, Brubaker mixes social commentary, superhero history, and pulse pounding action into a symphony of awesomeness. As icing on the cake there is always a new twist or a new piece of character development that makes aspiring writers (like myself) bang their heads on a table wishing they thought of it. Damn you, Ed. Steve Epting’s artwork continues to be realistic and energetic with fun homages to great artists like Steranko.

Worst Book: Countdown to Final Crisis
Wasted time.  Countdown to Final Crisis was an over-hyped highlight reel of the DC Universe that promised to set the stage for Final Crisis. Not only did it not set the stage for Final Crisis, it didn’t do much of anything except steal minutes from my life I’ll never get back. That and about $156 from my wallet. 

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The Joeys - Year End Comic Book Awards - Part 2

Mary Marvel

Bad Guy of the Year: I see three choices here. Libra seems to be running the bad guys in the Crisis series, but we don’t know enough about him yet to make an informed decision. Darkseid seems to be the overriding influence of the bad guys, but he may or may not be dead. Every time I try to get an intelligent answer out of DC they only have one answer: It’s Grant Morrison. I guess that means that all will be clear in 2009. I’m holding my breath. So, in my humble opinion, Norman Osborn is the standout Bad Guy of the Year. From running the Thunderbolts to running everything, he provided a welcome surprise to the end of Secret Invasion. And he’s crazy, too.

Good Guy of the Year: Even though I didn’t like how they got there, I thought Spider-Man had a pretty good year story-wise. Now that Marvel has clarified things, a little, in that the only change was that Peter and MJ never got married so that all continuity remains the same things makes more sense. I thought Thor had a great year - kicking Tony Starks’ butt, having Asgard floating over Oklahoma, and beating the crap out of the Skrulls was neat. But old friend Bucky Barnes, The Winter Soldier, is the Good Guy of the Year. A beautifully drawn and written unending novel has the former Bucky picking up the reins of Captain America. Why soon we won’t even miss Mr. Rogers and as soon as that happens…

Good Girl of the Year: Supergirl is happy/sad, rebellious/obedient, heroic/whiny. In another era I would make a time of the month joke, but who knows about Kryptonian cycles anyway? We’d all like to know what MJ whispered in Mephisto’s ear before stupid Peter took the deal, but we have to wait. By default I make it She-Hulk who fights earth villains, Skrulls, and still finds time to sleep around all over the Marvel universe. And has a Skrull girlfriend too.

Bad Girl of the Year: The Skrull Queen was pretty bad, but then let herself get killed by Norman Osborn. Granny Goodness is not exactly a girl. So I go with Mary Marvel. Of course by next year she’ll be back to the Light Side but I love her in her new black costume. All she needs is a whip and mask and… I think I’ll stop right here before I really do get into trouble with my editor.


Random Thoughts

Posted by Joel Rosenberg Categories: Editorials,

Questions

Presented for your enjoyment a series of random thoughts:

* Is it possible that they are publishing more Captain America comics now that he is dead then when he was alive?
* Is the Superman/Supergirl Maelstrom mini-series drawn by someone who had never seen the characters before he got the assignment?
* Isn’t the Secret Wars Requiem a real rip-off because it is mostly old Ant-Man stories?
* With all the different colored Lanterns showing up in the DC universe, will we get to see the Pink Lanterns? You know, the gay ones? Not that there’s anything wrong with that.
* Wasn’t it cool when in Ultimate Spider-Man, Peter answers the phone with “Hall of Justice”?
* Exactly how many named characters in the Marvel universe has Tony Stark slept with? Apparently She-Hulk and the Lady Liberator’s are taking a census. And who thought up the name Lady Liberators anyway? Sounds 1940ish to me.
* If Batman 683 is picking up from 682, a miracle in itself, don’t we still want to know where the heck in continuity this story line lies?
* Didn’t we just have a year without Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman?
* Can we find out once and for all if Earthlings and Kryptonians can reproduce? All-Star Superman says no, but aren’t the All-Star books set in a different universe? Apparently Clark and Lois spent a year together without Super-powers so shouldn’t we know something by now?
* How could they send off SuperGirl in Smallville? In a Smallville filled with gorgeous women wasn’t she the tops?


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