Thursday, June 28, 2012

X-Men Legacy #269

Writer: Chris Gage
Penciler: David Baldeon
Inker: Jordi Tarragona
Colorist: Brian Reber
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Release Date: June 27th, 2012

Chris Gage is my hero. Seriously, he took one of my not so favorite X-Men, Rogue, and made her the focus of my current favorite comic. It also didn't hurt that Ms. Marvel poked her head in and had a solid rematch against our lady in green.

This issue is so full of action it will make your head explode. The first punch that Rogue throws into Ms. Marvel's face stands out in my mind. Her fist is engulfed in Ice-Man's absorbed ice power and it sends Ms. Marvel flying. Poor Ms. Marvel...she was just looking for a friend to talk to.

After a pretty epic beat down, Magik shows her face and starts to show the inevitable; The Phoenix Five are starting to let their power go to their heads. It seems like it is about time for Hope to show up again and show everyone who the Phoenix really came for.

This comic is a must read.... 10/10. So much good action, not enough pages....

Wolverine and the X-Men #12

Writer: Jason Aaron
Penciler/Colorist: Chris Bachalo
Inkers: Tim Townsend, Jaime Mendoza, Al Vey and Victor Olazaba
Letterer: Chris Eliopoulos
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Price: $3.99
Release Date: June 27th, 2012

Jason Aaron really knows how to write Wolverine...seriously. Even after being out of comics for years it is obvious to see the immense growth in Wolverine as a character and how much he truly cares about all of the other mutants, especially his students and those at the school.

This issue focuses heavily on Kid Gladiator and Rachel Grey. Rachel has, oddly enough, started hunting people again; namely Avengers and Hope Summers. With a little help from Ice Man, Kid Gladiator, Angel and Phoenix Five version of Namor she takes on the Avengers.

This issue is so full of action it is ridiculous. Kid Gladiator tears the vast majority of the Avengers a new one until Wolverine has to put him in his place. The X-Men are able to achieve their goal of finding Hope but...well I'll let you read it to figure out what happens with that!

The last page sets up the obvious next battle of the Shi'Ar coming to stop the Phoenix Force. I am beyond excited to see what issue #13 has to offer.

This bad boy gets a solid 9/10. Noticing a trend people?

The Amazing Spider-Man #688

Writer: Dan Slott
Pencils: Giuseppe Camuncoli
Inks: Klaus Janson
Colors: Frank D'Armata
Letterer: VC's Joe Caramagna
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Price: $3.99
Release Date: June 27th, 2012

I am really happy that "Ends of the Earth" brought me back to Spider-Man. I want to start by saying, it is obvious that Slott is riding on the coat-tails of the new movie coming out by using The Lizard as the main villain in this current issue but it is done so incredibly well.

This whole issue seems to be about Peter finding himself and also finding a way to save everyone. He has always found The Lizard to be a difficult opponent and has never really found a way to deal with him. He may have finally found a way as well as a way to return him to the form of Doctor Connors. The comic is very well done, told in a style that starts with what is currently happening while being riddled with flashbacks to clear the picture up for the readers.

The aftermath of "Ends of the Earth" is definitely there and there is a lot to come from Spider-Man's world. Although The Lizard is the main enemy for the upcoming film, I am certain this is a different form of him. This comic was a pleasure to read.

I give it a 9/10.

Weekly pulls 6/27

Hey all! This week had a small number of comics...but they were INCREDIBLE.

Amazing Spider-Man (1999) #688
Wolverine and the X-Men #12
X-Men Legacy #269

As you may have noticed, Amazing Spider-Man has now appeared on my pull list. I am not regretting this choice but more on that later. Reviews will more than likely follow later today before we record our podcast. I will include a link to the podcast later and I also want to note that the Avengers vs. X-Men reading order has been updated to include this week's releases!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

The New Avengers #27

Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: Mike Deodato
Color Art: Rain Beredo
Letterer: VC's Joe Caramagna
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Price: $3.99
Release Date: June 20th, 2012

The last part to the Iron Fist/Phoenix Force back story. I had told Darren and Jonny that the only Avengers book I was enjoying so far was this one. Although I have started to enjoy the others, this one still takes the cake. I really enjoy the way the back story is being presented and how it seems Iron Fist is one of the only people who can completely control the Phoenix Force.

I suppose I should be a little more clear. Not Iron Fist as we know him as an Avenger, but the conceptual Iron Fist. According to The New Avengers, "Years and Years Ago" a young, red-haired girl became the Iron Fist and was meant to become one with the Phoenix Force. This three comic tale (New Avengers #25-27) tells this story and what happens to her. I always think it is interesting to see how other people handle the power that is the Phoenix Force.

This story is being told to what is supposed to be the current vessel, Hope. After it is all over, she learns that there is someone who should be training her to make sure she is prepared for the Phoenix Force if the Phoenix Five ever lose control of that power. The person who is to train her is a spider...the thought made me smile.

I give The New Avengers #27 a strong 9/10. Man am I glad this weeks pulls didn't suck!

Uncanny X-Men #14

Writer: Karen Gillen
Artist: Dustin Weaver
Colorist: Jim Charalampidis
Letterer: VC's Joe Cramagna
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Price: $3.99
Release Date: June 20th, 2012

I want to start off by commenting on the art in this is amazing. It has a strange darkness and attention to detail that isn't overly common in any of the books I am reading. On that note, I feel that the art reflects the main focus of the issue well: Mr. Sinister.

It is hard to really place this book in the reading order of AvX. It is only obvious that it falls after the Phoenix Five come to be and after they begin to expand. It only makes sense that Mr. Sinister would start preparing for the X-Men to appear once they have almost perfected the surface world.

If you can guess by the mention of the surface, Mr. Sinister has created a whole city of what seem to be clones of himself underground so that he can prepare for whatever is to come. He has even created clones of some of the most well known heroes from the X-Men to prepare for the assault he feels will be coming from Cyclops in the near future.

The one thing that I will not spoil is the secret clone that he has created which could definitely have an effect on the Phoenix Force being on the planet. You'll have to read to find out!

I give Uncanny X-Men #14 a 8/10...nothing too exciting but a good read none the less.

AvsX Round 6

Story: Jason Aaron, Brian Michael Bendis, Ed Brubaker, Matt Fraction and Jonathan Hickman
Pencils: Olivier Coipel
Inks: Mark Morales
Colors: Laura Martin
Letterer: Chris Eliopoulos
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Price: $3.99
Release Date: June 20th, 2012

Welcome to the new Utopia. The Phoenix Five have been really busy and it is outlined in this issue of AvsX. It is funny, who would have thought that with mutants in control, the Earth would start heading in the right direction? Heck, the X-Men are even willing to HELP the Avengers again! Well, that is of course until they try to kidnap Hope...again.

Every two weeks I am thrilled to pick up the continuation of this series. I am still very much in the party that feels the Cyclops is a douche and I still wonder why he is in charge...of anything. But, he isn't impossible to read and see as a character in this series. Matter of fact, he is NECESSARY for this book to function the way that it does. If it were up to almost any of the other X-Men, Hope would already be under protective custody from the Avengers and all would be good...maybe.

I know it is getting difficult to find the first few issues of this series but if you are able to, start reading it right away! There is no telling where it is going to end up (I think there are going to be a lot of bodies) and there is plenty of action to boot.

I give AvX: Round 6 a 10/10....

Oh two weeks..."No more Avengers" least that is what Cyclops says.

Avengers Academy #32

Writer: Christos Gage
Penciler: Timothy Green II
Inker: Jeff Huet
Colorist: Chris Sotomayor
Letter: VC's Joe Caramagna
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Price: $2.99
Release Date: June 20th, 2012

DEATH TO ALL SENTINELS! Is this really surprising? Now that the Phoenix Five are trying to create a true Utopia, why wouldn't they slap down one of the biggest threats to mutants? If you are not too familiar with Avengers Academy you probably don't know the Justin Seyfert has a best friend, and that best friend is a Sentinel that he has reprogrammed (for the most part) to not want to kill mutants. The sad thing about that is, Emma Frost doesn't give a damn.

As one of the Phoenix Five, Emma decided it would be best for her to go around and melt down all of the remaining Sentinels, including Justin's buddy. Of course everyone at Avengers Academy tried to convince her that it was no danger to her...until it attacks her. Emma of course wants to shut this guy down after he blasts her but there is one main thing that stands in her way. X-23 and the rest of Avengers Academy.

This issue was a pleasure to read and is leading to what should be a great issue next month of the academy taking on Emma Frost, Phoenix Force powers and all!

The first REALLY good Avengers Academy yet: 9/10.

Secret Avengers #28

Writer: Rick Remender
Artist: Renato Guedes
Color: Matthew Wilson w/ Jeremy Mohler
Letterer: Chris Eliopoulos
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Price: $3.99
Release Date: June 20th, 2012

It is good to see some of these tie-in stories coming to a close. I really wasn't too attached to the battle on the Kree planet or what was happening with Captain Marvel. It is hard to think that the Phoenix is going to be stopped somewhere when, if you are reading the main story or other tie-ins, you know it reaches Earth without issue. With that aside, this ended up being a decent piece of story telling.

To start, I really like Ms. Marvel in this story. She is passionate and strong and (spoilers) is able to control the Phoenix Force, even if briefly. Also, Captain Britain lost some of his flatness by putting himself out there and taking on the Phoenix Force basically alone. This is the first issue of Secret Avengers I have truly enjoyed since I picked up the series.

One main note though. I am getting tired of "dead" superheroes coming back to life, even if it is brief. There should be RARE occasions that this works well and should be done. It is so unbelievably overdone that it is hard to feel something when someone passes. If the purpose of comics is to tell a good story, have great art (which I feel this book had some pretty decent page spreads) and to allow the readers to completely connect with characters, then let characters DIE if that is what works for the story.

Okay, enough of my death rant. I do want to make one last mention before I close out this review. I have been trying my best to stay away from major spoilers but am finding that really hard to do. So, from now on I will include spoilers in my reviews but not to the extent that it will ruin the book if you decide to read it yourself.

On that note...I give Secret Avengers #28 a 8/10. Strong ending to a somewhat weak story.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Spider-Man "Ends of the Earth" review

I want to start by saying this is a review for the whole series, not just Avenging Spider-Man #8. I will leave the last section for that review. I stated in an earlier post that "Ends of the Earth" drew me back into my favorite hero's world. It was full of action, strong pacing and even though I haven't read ANY Spider-Man comics in years, I was not lost. I was surprised to see how bad Doc Octopus' health had become but I liked what he decided to do on his way out, destroy the whole flipping planet!

Why not, right? If you wanted to be the last thing people remembered, if you didn't want the world to continue after you, why wouldn't you blow the whole sucker up? Well, that is how Doctor Octopus felt and with the help of the Sinister Six, he almost succeeded. It was great to see how much Spider-Man has grown as a fighter and how well he knows his enemies! The majority of the series is spent with him in a robotic outfit that was outfitted with a special item to deal with each of the members of the Sinister Six (Rhino, Mysterio, Chameleon, Electro, Sandman and Doctor Octopus.)

 Spidey fights with every fiber of his being and finally is able to stop the world from ending. Sadly, one of his companions bites the big one fighting Rhino (I don't want to ruin who...but if you ask directly I'll tell you.)

After all of this chaos, Spider-Man has to recoup and remember his fallen friends. This is where this weeks Avenging Spider-Man picks up.

Avenging Spider-Man #8

Writers: Ty Templeton with Dan Slott
Pencils: Matt Clark
Inks: Sean Parsons
Colors: Wil Quintana
Letterer: VC's Joe Caramagna
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Price: $3.99
Release Date: June 20th, 2012

Avenging Spider-Man could still be a stand-alone this week. It focuses almost completely on a back story dealing with the person who supposedly dies at the end of "Ends of the Earth". I have to admit, there were plenty of times that I caught myself cracking a smile or even a chuckle during this issue. For some reason when Spidey refers to Doctor Octopus as "Doctor Avacado!" (because he's a vegetable, get it?) I caught myself laughing quite hard. I am starting to get the vibe however, that if you are not a major Spider-Man fan, you may want to back off from this comic. His quirky one-liners and jumping back and forth from his main comic, Amazing Spider-Man makes it a little difficult to stay connected to this series.

In all reality, I still love this comic. There really hasn't been a week that has been a total disappointment and as long as that is the case, I will continue to pick it up.

I give Avenging Spider-Man by itself a 7/10.

I give "Ends of the Earth" a 9/10. Give it a is worth your time.

Weekly pulls 6/20/2012

Wow this week had a ton of comics come out on me. My bank account will be thrilled when the AvX series is over and done with. So, here is this weeks pull list:

Avenging Spider-Man #8 (The Epilogue for "Ends of the Earth"!!!)
Secret Avengers #28
AvsX Round 6
Avengers Academy #32
Uncanny X-Men #14
The New Avengers #27

Ouch six books in one week. Reviews will be quick to follow...I read them all last night! Also, I will make a posting about a suggested reading order for the AvX series including Tie-Ins. I want to note that this will be a fluid reading order and there will be changes weekly.

Happy reading my friends!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Amazing Spider-Man "Ends of the Earth" thoughts

This isn't a review...not yet. I just wanted to note something about my new run-in with Spider-Man. I had been told that Spider-Man has lost his flair. That he isn't that witty, brilliant guy he used to be. I heard the writing had become sub-par as well as the artwork. Now, this may have been the case leading up to the recent issues but from what I have seen so far from "Ends of the Earth", Spider-Man is still fighting hard.

Peter Benjamin Parker has always been one of my favorite superheroes and in the past few years has slid into the number one position. He seems to blend so well with others and I was truly hurt to hear that he wasn't the guy I remembered. Reading these issues as well as Avenging Spider-Man has shown me a different picture. Peter/Spider-Man is still that guy. He still makes me chuckle. He still makes me stare at each page in disbelief waiting for the next moment. I absorb every detail hungrily and want more.

I was originally very upset the Avenging Spider-Man # 8 was supposed to be the Epilogue for "Ends of the Earth" because it would require me to delve into a comic I had been dissuaded to read, Amazing Spider-Man. Now I am happy I was able to procure the books (granted I have only read the first three issues: Amazing Spider-Man #682-684) for this story arc and I believe it has convinced me to make Amazing Spider-Man my try something new for this month for I intend to pick up issue # 687 at the end of the month.

I guess this rant and realization needed to be written for one reason and one reason only. Remember that reviews and other people in general have their own opinions. They are just that, opinions. If something interests you, regardless of what others say, give it a shot. What's the worst that can happen? You waste fifteen to twenty minutes reading a few comics or doing something that wasn't as great as you originally thought it would be. What's the best that can happen? You can find something great and continue to enjoy it (even if it is that way only in your eyes.)

Review of "Ends of the Earth" as a whole story arc should be up in the next few days...

Friday, June 15, 2012

X-Men Legacy #268

Writer: Christos N. Gage
Pencils: David Baldeon
Inks: Jordi Tarragona
Colors: Brian Reber
Letterer: Cory Petit
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Price: $2.99
Release Date: June 13th, 2012

It is no secret that I have always been a X-Men fan. The group of mutants fighting for equal rights in a world that just doesn't quite accept them. From what I gather so far in X-Men Legacy, a lot of my favorite X-Men are part of this comic. It is very Rogue-centric but this isn't a bad thing, especially when she is depicted as she was in issue #267.

Regardless, this isn't issue #267, it is #268 and it is dealing specifically with a newer mutant that I am not familiar with, Frenzy. My understanding is that Frenzy has not been really explained too heavily and this issue showed a little of her past. I always think origin stories are so interesting because they help you relate to the hero. Even though this isn't a direct origin story, it is in relation to the fallout of the Phoenix Force being split between five mutants and the new world order caused by this, but it tells enough. It shows her latent abilities awaken and how she reacts to it.

I stand by X-Men Legacy and it was my favorite comic this week. I am excited for the next issue.

I give X-Men Legacy #268 - 9/10

AvX Versus # 3

The Thing VS. Colossus
Writer: Jeff Loeb
Pencils: Ed McGuinness
Inks: Dexter Vines
Colors: Morry Hollowell
Letters: Comicraft's Albert Deschesne

Black Widow VS. Magik
Writer: Christopher Yost
Pencils: Terry Dodson
Inks: Rachel Dodson
Colors: Guru eFx
Letters: VC's Joe Caramagna

Publisher: Marvel Comics
Price: $3.99
Release Date: June 13th, 2012

I think these books are really difficult to judge. They are not a traditional comic by any stretch of the imagination. They were created for one thing and that is to show us fights, in detail, from the AvX storyline. There is no actual plot here, just superheroes beating the living crap out of each other. It is really hard to not enjoy that. Also, for those people out there that remember the show "Pop-up Video" there is a small AvX information box on some of the frames that gives the readers small pieces of information much like that show used to do for music videos. I really like this addition and it has caused me to chuckle on various occasions.

The first fight rocks the pages with Red Hulk punching Colossus (who is now Juggernaut if you didn't know that) through a wall and into The Thing. The fight is full of one-liners that we have grown to expect out of these heroes and is enjoyable to read.

The second fight was not something I was really excited for. I don't care too much for Black Widow and feel that The Avengers movie put too much of a focus on her as a character. I am not too familiar with Colossus' little sister Magik so I was not expecting much. The fight was slightly better than expected but sitting her two days after reading it I can only remember one moment toward the end of the fight dealing with Magik and her sword. I won't ruin it in case you intend to read it.

All in all, I really enjoy reading this beat-em-up books and will happily grab them until the end of September.

I give AvX Versus #3 8/10.

Avengers (2010) #27

Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Pencils: Walt Simonson
Inks: Scott Hanna
Colors: Jason Keith
Letterer: VC's Cory Petit
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Price: $3.99
Release Date: June 13th, 2012

I have to admit, I had given up on The Avengers. The characters had felt two dimensional since I started reading again (granted that was issue #25) and I just didn't care. It also doesn't help that the same story is being told in Secret Avengers yet there are differenct characters missing in each book...It makes it a bit hard to follow. It also makes it hard to WANT to read because of its release date.

For those of us that are reading AvX we are already aware of what happens AFTER the events in this comic. True, it is always enjoyable to see what actually happens but it truly hurts the suspense of the writing. The events of this book take place between AvX #4 and AvX #5. We already see that The Avengers fail to hold the Phoenix Force at bay and that this mission in space is a failure.

All that grief aside I have to say I did enjoy the book. The added pieces with Protector keep my attention and I am finally started to feel connected to some of The Avengers. Not all...some. I will definitely continue to read this book until the AvX event is over but the next few issues better pick up or it will definitely be sayonara after September.

So Avengers (2010) #27 gets a 7/10. Not great but definitely not terrible.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Introductions are in order

Ten years ago something terrible happened. A seventeen year old boy picked up a comic that he once loved, thumbed through it and decided that it just didn't do anything for him anymore. He shoved his boxed collection away for future browsing if the desire ever came over him.

Seven years ago that same kid, now twenty (I know, math can be hard) stumbled across an interesting book called Ultimate Spiderman. His eyes danced around the pages with excitement, one of his favorite childhood superheroes was reborn and it was truly fun to read. That too faded sadly for he had a career creeping up on him after college and the idea to get married.

The years slid by, comics entered and exited the now man's hands never truly drawing him in. That is, until he realized that there was nothing really in the way. Comics had potential and he even had friends that read them as well. Matter of fact, one of those friends decided to ask him to do a podcast with him and another guy due to his previous love of comics.

I am sure you can guess that the guy in that relatively poorly told story was me. The guy asking about the podcast? That guy is Darren who is growing into a truly good friend. The third guy, Jonny Capps, I am still pretty new to but I feel really comfortable around him and can see us grow as friends. Also, that guy REALLY knows his comics.

Darren's request to have me come in on this podcast as the guy who once read and has decided to read again is truly wonderful. In that past month I have started to read comics again, quite heavily I might add, and have loved every moment of it. I have always been a big Marvel kid and with the new release of Avengers vs The X-Men it seemed like the right time to dive back in. I was correct, it is amazing (for the most part).

The question is, what is this blog? Well it is a companion to the aforementioned podcast as well as my twitter account (@philthec). I intend to review the comics that I read weekly, discuss the plots, the art and anything else that catches my attention. I will restate my "Stick, Pick, Stuck and Sayonara" from the podcast or even the week. I will answer any questions that my readers have and ultimately just enjoy getting an outlet to discuss the list of books that I am currently reading.

Speaking of the list of comics....I suppose I should supply that. I will add and remove comics as I get tired of them or are drawn to them. If that happens the blog will inform the readers of those decisions. Also note that I did start reading a short while back and will be filling in holes as I learn information. I will not start my reviews back to the beginning of the month, that seems silly. I will start with the books I read this week.

Onto the list:
Avengers vs X-men (core series)
AvX Versus
The Avengers
The New Avengers
Avengers Academy
Secret Avengers
Uncanny X-Men
X-Men Legacy
Wolverine and the X-Men
Avenging Spider-Man
Marvel Zombies (currently reading the ones I missed. I am on TPB Marvel Zombies 4)

As you can see, there are quite a few comics to talk about. Please give me feedback, let me know about comics you think I should read or why you think my comic choice is dumb! I want to know these things, I want to read good stuff and get better at this job.

Lastly, enjoy my blog!

-Phil the Comic Guy