Friday, March 30, 2012

Flash Review - 3/14/12

Age of Apocalypse #1 – When it was first created, the Age of Apocalypse was new, exciting, and incredibly innovative, and it even warranted 2 one-shot issues to fill in some background on these incredible new takes on classic characters. Then for the 10 year anniversary of the storyline (yes storyline, as in it had a beginning and an ending) we got another one-shot plus a 5 issue limited series to catch us up on what had happened to these character, all of this is still good.  I was skeptical to say the least when I heard about the crossover with X-Force, and more than a little leery about AOA Nightcrawler, but please someone tell me how they strip Jean Grey and Sabretooth of their powers, have them join up with B-class human villains and then call it a new series?!  This is honestly just a huge mistake, and it will undoubtedly ruin the legacy of this incredible storyline.  I suspect it will not have more than 12 issues or less so I will buy them, but this is just an insult to the original concept.

Avengers Academy #27 – Eh…not as great as I would have expected it to be.  First of all, I am not as into the Runaways as I am Young Avengers or even the defunct Young Allies so this issue was already at a disadvantage.  I find the entire Runaway crew to be kinda lame and mostly just knock-offs of the Young Avengers so when they came here and started acting like their bratty superior selves it was even more of a turn off then I had anticipated.  Why do they keep associating the Academy with these cheesy “Next-Gen” teen teams?  Why don’t they every actually meet the Young Avengers?  Or the New X-men/Generation Hope?  Instead we get the Young Allies (which was an slap in the face to Firestar since she used to be an honest to goodness Avenger) and the Runaways?  This book has come such a long way so we can definitely bury one or two bad issues but let’s get it together people!!

Avengers Prelude: Fury’s Big Week #1 – On the other hand, this issue was significantly better than I would have expected!  When watching the various Marvel movies, it seemed like it was one story after another with no connection and Nick Fury showing up at the very end of all of them, but this series is showing us that that wasn’t the case.  According to this book, not only was Fury involved behind the scenes of all of the scenarios from the beginning but in some cases, they were happening practically simultaneously!  I thought that was a really cool twist to the stories.  Other than that, this doesn’t really add too much new information to the mix, it more just added continuity to the separate stories in an effort to bring them all together for the big showdown.  Nothing terribly exciting but still worth a read.

Defenders #4 – I’ll be honest, I am not really clear on whats going on with this Prester Omega character and the giant squiggle but I loved this peak into the past of Stephen Strange.  I mean we know all about his life as a vain surgeon before learning magic and we know about his long time love with Mistress Clea of the Dark Dimension, but this seems to be from even before any of that.  Before his time as a world class surgeon he dated a woman names Martha who left him and began her own life and family, and now she had returned to him by some untold magical means (probably to do with the squiggle).  Unfortunately this is not to last and she once again left him to discover the meaning of her new life, but she did lead Stephen on the path to let someone new into his life, his grad student Molly…who he already slept with.  Ignoring the clear ethical violations involved, she’s nothing like what you would expect him to go for and yet might be exactly what he needs.

Fear Itself: The Fearless #10 – It’s really at the point now where my eyes and ears bleed every time I have to type the words “Fear Itself”, but yes this series is still happening.  On the bright side, this issue is finally making the series exciting!  I’m bored to death of Valkyrie moaning and whining across the globe and I’m tired of Sin’s maniacal posturing too, but the idea of the Serpent having it’s own Destroyer is a pretty cool concept.  I also found it intriguing that Crossbones doesn’t seem to be as on board with her grand schemes as he once was.  The big battle scene at the end was truly epic though.  I mean you have ALL the Avengers (not to mention the Fantastic Four and the Thunderbolts) present at once and every demonic supervillain that Marvel has churned out in the last 25 years like (Master Pandemonium, Witchfire and Blackout just to name a few).  Maybe after 4 months of boring drawn out nonsense, we will actually get an exciting ending to this endless epilogue.

Uncanny X-men #8 – Great ending to a bit of a strange story.  It started out as a mission to save the inhabitants of Tabula Rasa from what amounts to rampant lethal skin cancer, but what really made this issue was some of the finer character moments that were seen.  Namor putting his harpoon to good use with the Tapeworm Queen while Hope develops more than a small crush on him.  Cyclops putting the needs of an entire species first (and they WEREN’T even mutants).  And my personal favorite:  Illyana and Peter fighting for their lives in the underground caverns of Tabula Rasa.  It is truly amazing to see how far these two siblings have come.  Colossus becomes more of a powerhouse on the verge of losing control with every issue while Magik has gone from demonic princess to powerful voice of reason.  Watching him lose control of his very form from tapping into the power of the Juggernaut was one of his more intense moments ever since Illyana died back in 1993.  Of course we can’t forget the foreboding scene between Psylocke and Magneto at the end.  What side are they really on?  Was that just tough guy talk from Magneto or is something more sinister going on that we don’t know about yet?  Or even worse, is he just implying that they are both killers and therefore alike…

Venom #14 – And Circle of Four comes to a close…and what a close it is!  First let me get it out of the way and say I HATE ALEJANDRA!  This incarnation of the Ghost Rider has one horrific issue after another.  I honestly just don’t know what the writers are even thinking at this point.  Watching her flat out push Flash from a moving taxi in the middle of a firefight in Hell was just the absolute last straw!  I mean really, who the hell does that?!  I’m just glad her own title is ending.  On the bright side, we got to see when Venom officially joined the Avengers (or Secret Avengers)…the only annoying thing is that we knew that was coming weeks ago if you’ve been reading that title.

Wolverine & the X-men: Alpha & Omega #3 – It’s…interesting.  I am not sufre I love it or that it was a necessary storyline but it’s definitely interesting.  I love the whole idea of Quire’s construct, it’s like a huge video game that Wolverine and Armor can’t find the end of, and I like even more that he loses control of it when he goes to sleep.  One thing I am not really into is that Wolverine’s body wakes up as the “Berserker” when his mind isn’t in residence.  I am not going to dig through my back issues to find out where, but I am sure at some time in the past his mind has been removed from his body by some force and I am pretty certain that this didn’t happen.  Either way I still maintain that this could have been a one-shot instead of a 5 part series, but whatever.

X-Club #4 – I love this series.  It started out a little strange…and now it’s just completely out there weird!  Is it me or did we find out that not only is Danger somehow pregnant but she and Madison Jefferies are in love?  What the hell are these people doing over there on that island!?  The best part of this is entire story however is the telepathic starfish stuck on top of Nemesis’ head.  He’s just such a douche all the time it’s nice to hear the ridiculousness that goes on in his head.  I’m looking forward to the conclusion of this story, but also just for the series to be over.

X-men #26 – AGH!!  I AM SO BORED OF VAMPIRES!  If I wanted to read about vampires I would pick up some old Chillers or Tomb of Dracula issues.  This is X-men…X-MEN…I want mutants, and world saving.  Not undead vegetarians.  I have said it before I am bored of Raizo Kodo and his band of creeps and I am even over Jubilee’s storyline.  They need to get her under control or just get rid of her but either way they need to be done with the vampire storylines.

Monday, March 26, 2012

The Last Crusade? - Review Avengers: Children's Crusade #9

There are simply no words.  A year and a half, 9 issues, a one-shot and more anxiety then I can put into words here it is finally over.  And all I can say is this: What a colossal LET DOWN.  The Young Avengers have been everything that the New X-men never were and this was supposed to be the pinnacle of their story as well as a jumping off point for their future.  Instead we are given an empty issue with little no to progress, no real direction to the ending to speak of, and a number of characters left in limbo with no clue as to what is happening to them now let alone what WILL be happening to them.  We were promised a conclusion to the Scarlet Witch’s saga, a new line-up for the Young Avengers, and a lead-in to the huge Avengers vs. X-men storyline.  In my honest opinion, none of these things happened in this book.

                This entire “Crusade” was centered on the children’s journey to find Wanda, the mutant Scarlet Witch, and along the way we encountered Magneto, Doom, the Avengers, the X-men, X-Factor, and former comrade (and future enemy) Iron Lad not to mention traipsing through time and changing the past.  During all of this we were supposed to see a resolution to Wanda’s story and, possibly, and reversal of M-Day.  Well only someone who has never read comics before would think that all the mutants were going to get their powers back so that really only leaves us with Wanda’s evolution as a character to really follow and to be completely honest that stopped back in issue 6 when she realized and accepted that Wiccan and Speed were really her children.  Since then we have travelled around, fought some Beyonder-like force that Doom took a hold of and rescued Scott Lang but once she restored Rictor’s powers, Wanda almost became irrelevant to her own story.  The rest of this “Children’s Crusade” became focused on defeating Doom (like every other Marvel storyline ever), preventing the X-men from killing or capturing Wanda, and figuring out what to do with the Young Avengers.  There were many people who said that this series wasn’t worth the time it was taking, but I defended it and said that the payoff would be worth it.  I am thinking at this point that I may have been mistaken.

                Now as for that new line-up for the Young Avengers we were promised…  What new line-up!?  I have been a comic collector for about 20 years at this point and when I hear new line-up, I think of new characters, new powers on old characters and a new direction or mission for the team in general.  None of these things happened to the team this issue!  Cassie and Vision died.  They died!  Cassie from the battle with Dr. Doom while Vision is torn apart by a jealous Iron Lad.  Iron Lad (or should I say Young Kang the Conqueror at this point) then just up and leaves to go into the timestream and cause god knows what damage.  And in the aftermath of all this Elijah just quits being Patriot.  QUITS!  That’s not a new line-up, that a roster massacre!  When this issue closes we don’t see a new line-up for the team, we see a moratorium to the team existence.  In both X-men and Avenger lore, when someone dies, they get a statue in the garden so why do the Young Avengers get one if in theory they are still around with this supposed new line-up?  The only, and I do mean ONLY, possible change I see to the line-up (besides deaths and departures) could be Scott Lang sticking around as team mentor in honor of Cassie but to be honest, that would be such as stretch as to do the team a great disservice.

                I don’t know what the writers were thinking when they plotted this issue but this was possibly the worst ending to one of the best series in recent Marvel history.  It opened up with so much promise and potential for the future and a pledge to tie up many loose ends as well as lead into the next huge storyline.  Well we cleared up some important issues concerning the Scarlet Witch, but the only loose ends that were cleared up regarding the Young Avengers as a whole were the varying deaths that we were abruptly given at the very end of the series.  And regarding the supposed lead-in to Avengers vs. X-men, if I hadn’t seen dozens of promos that included Wanda and Hope with “AVX” plastered across the top, I would have had no idea that this book had any connection to the upcoming storyline.  In fact, at the very end of Children’s Crusade, we aren’t even sure where Wanda is!  All we know is that she’s not captive and Billy (Wiccan) could contact her if he so chose to…which he apparently doesn’t.  I spend a year and a half of dedication to this series and I expected a little more payoff then deaths, disappearances, a gay teenage kiss and some snarky comments from Ms. Marvel.  I guess everyone who said this series wasn’t worth the time, could quite possibly have been right after all.

My Weekly Pull List - 3/21/12

Cable's mission comes to an end...but who will be alive at the end?  Breakout at the Peak in Uncanny X-men!  Havok and Polaris finally back in action with X-Factor! And the stunning final issue of Generation Hope!

Avengers Prelude: Fury’s Big Week #2
Avengers: X-Sanction #4
Fear Itself: The Fearless #11
Generation Hope #17
New Mutants #39
Uncanny X-Men #9
X-Factor #233

Marvel Comics On-sale - 3/21/12

DEAD continues over in Deapool!  Things begin to heat for Valkyrie in the next to last issue of Fear Itself: The Fearless! The comic prelude to the Avengers blockbuster continues in Fury's Big Week!  And the New Mutants are held captive by Warlock, their own teammate!

Amazing Spider-Man #682
Avengers Prelude: Fury’s Big Week #2
Avengers: X-Sanction #4
Deadpool #52
Fear Itself: The Fearless #11
Generation Hope #17
Invincible Iron man #514
John Carter: The Gods of Mars #1
Kick-Ass 2 #7
New Mutants #39
Supercrooks #1
Thunderbolts #171
Uncanny X-Men #9
Wolverine #303
X-Factor #233

My Weekly Pull List - 3/13/12

The movie Avengers team assembles in Avengers Assemble!  Marcus Johnson confronts his father in Battle Scars!  Hellstrom, Loki and Leah vs Nightmare in Journey into Mystery! And it's Exodus vs Wolverine's X-men PLUS Generation Hope and the New X-men!

Avengers #24
Avengers Assemble #1
Battle Scars #5
Carnage U.S.A. #4
Journey into Mystery #635
Wolverine & the X-Men #7
X-Men Legacy #263