Saturday, September 29, 2012

Weekly Pulls 09/26/2012

I am running a little late on posting this week but life gets busy! Today my wife ran in the Akron Marathon and posted an impressive time of two hours and twelve minutes. I have also been running around like a chicken with its head cut off to get a lot of things done around my house, with my job and learn some content standards for Ohio.

I guess you guys don't care too much about that though...this blog is about comics. So, on to that stuff. My first thing is a piece of relatively bad news I stumbled across. I wasn't certain if this information was accurate until this week when I read an interview with Dan Slott but it seems that with issue #700 The Amazing Spider-Man will be cancelled. CANCELLED! I am sure this is to start a new series with Spidey's name in the title but Slott has promised that the ending will be something major that many fans may become upset with him over. He even said that he is staying hidden for a few months after publishing the issue so that he doesn't see any of the backlash. For now he is just saying "Keep Reading"....damn.

On another note, Wednesday will have the final issue of Avengers vs X-Men and will lead us into the Marvel NOW! initiative. I must admit that I am pretty excited and have quite a few new titles on my pull list in the upcoming months. Granted, a lot of these titles are replacing old titles but they are still something fresh and new! There are also some aftermath issues for Avengers vs X-Men coming that start on Wednesday, notably Avengers vs X-Men: Consequences...I am excited to see how this all plays out.

This week I grabbed five comics that were quite entertaining. Two of the titles are soon to be cancelled, and none of them are related to Avengers vs X-Men anymore which is refreshing. I am enjoying seeing where these titles are headed after the big battle. On to the titles for the week:

The Amazing Spider-Man #694 (Six more issues after this...)
Gambit #3
Secret Avengers #31
Wolverine and the X-Men #17
X-Men Legacy #274 (One more issue after this....)

All of which were quite good and I will be writing reviews for them in the near future. I can't promise this weekend for I am actually getting to spend some time with my wife. It will be at some point this week though....

I also want to remind everyone that I am reading EVERY issue of The Amazing Spider-Man which will take me from issue #1-700....since that will be the total run. Keep checking in for updated blogs about that. Lastly I want to say that I will be able to COMPLETE the chronological reading order for Avengers vs X-Men this week. I will probably add Consequences as a post reading list but it wont be necessary for chronological enjoyment.

Whew, that was a lot more than I thought I was going to say. So, until I get to post again, happy reading my friends.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Amazing Spider-Man 34-47

I never realized how many lady problems Peter Parker had! First he has issues with Betty Brant, thinking that he loves her but loses her to Ned Leeds...of course he realized after the fact that he wasn't really in love and NOW he has both MJ and Gwen Stacy to worry about. Poor kid has all of the problems...well that and his spider powers....

There are a lot of cool things going on in this series so far. Finally I have seen a great interaction between the Green Goblin (Norman Osborn) and Spider-Man. He is the FIRST person to unmask him yet ends up with amnesia. Also, Peter is starting to become good friends with Norman's son Harry and has even taken an apartment with him!

Update of Flash Thompson...he is still a tool but he has also been drafted for the war. This is the beginning of his army career which is still constantly referenced in the now ungoing Venom comic title. It is so weird to see how much of a jerk he is to Peter while knowing that they become very good friends. That and Flash is the biggest Spider-Man fan ever...funny isn't it?

Aunt May is currently living with Mrs. Watson so Peter has even more chances to interact with MJ who, although very attractive and interested in him, is sort of too ditzy for him. Peter has been mentioning a lot recently that he would far rather have a chance with that groovy Gwen Stacy girl. Yeah I said groovy...what about it? There are so many great 60s/70s slang terms floating around that it gets a little crazy. Heck, a lot of people refer to each other as "Dad," which I never realized was a common term for someone.

Sorry that this is so is hard to sum up more than ten comics in a manner that isn't just a giant my brain is hopping everywhere.

SOOOOOO, list of enemies that have stood out the Spidey has fought thus far:
The Vulture
Doctor Octopus
Green Goblin
Kraven the Hunter
The Shocker
The Rhino
and I am sure some others that I am forgetting....

As you can see, a lot of the stuff we have grown to love and see frequently in this title started a long time ago. I am excited to see where it goes and how many of the people that are currently in the series change into the people I know now. I am but a small fraction through my reading list and will continue to push through. I mean...I only have around 640 old issues left to go....yikes...

Friday, September 21, 2012

Venom #25

Writer: Cullen Bunn
Pencils: Thony Silas
Inks: Nelson Decastro
Colors: Chris Sotomayor
Letterer: VC's Joe Caramagna
Publisher: Marvel Comics (Dan Buckley)
Price: $2.99
Release Date: September 19th, 2012

"Monsters of Evil Part 3"

This was another surprising comic for me. I was really torn on Bunn's first arc with Venom and was uncertain if he would be able to keep pace with the great story telling that Rememder started but Bunn has found his stride.

The Monsters of Evil themselves were not obnoxious or ridiculous as I thought they would be. If anything, they were downplayed while the main focus was on Hellstrom and Venom. We learn that Venom is marked by Mephisto to maybe become the next devil himself. This relates back to an older arc and is slightly interesting but as always, I am not super impressed by Hell storylines.

I am happy to see that Bunn isn't ruining the well formed character and I am definitely excited for the issue coming next month dealing with Minimum Carnage. After that, I will see what this title has to offer...I give this issue a 7/10 which isn't too shabby but I can't wait to see where else Bunn takes this character.

Ultimate Comics Spider-Man #15

Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Penciller: Jennifer Lee
Colorist: JAYPO LLC
Publisher: Marvel Comics (Dan Buckley)
Price: $3.99
Release Date: September 19th, 2012

"United We Stand"

The United States are in trouble! A lot of stuff is going down in the Ultimate Universe and sadly I am not reading it. From the looks of things from the crazy map on the first page of this comic, there are a lot of overrun areas and places that are just wild. I can't comment too much on it per having insanely limited knowledge but things are looking bad.

Things are SO bad that Miles Morales' school has to be closed which is allowing him to become Spider-Man full time instead of having to sneak around his dorm. He truly wants to help out with all of the terrible things going on in the world but just isn't able to as much as he'd like, due to being a 13 year old kid of course.

I am loving watching Miles grow as a superhero. His lack of complete control over his webbing, his complaints about rain on his tights, his confusion of how to help the other superheros is just endearing and so much fun to read and watch happen. I like his sloppy approach to try to join the Ultimates and am excited to see if they actually accept him into the group. I have yet to be let down by this title and hope that next month will give me more ammo for that argument. Way to go Bendis and way to go Miles Morales...10/10.


Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: Sara Pichelli
Publisher: Marvel Comics (Dan Buckley)
Price: $3.99 (each...5 issues)
Release dates: (1) June 13th, 2012 (2) June 27th, 2012 (3) July 11th, 2012 (4) August 08th, 2012 (5) September 19th, 2012

Spider-Men is an incredibly interesting idea that Bendis and Pichelli did an amazing job with. This five issue mini-series finally let the readers see Miles Morales interact with Peter Parker! I am getting ahead of myself though...

Mysterio was up to no good and of course Spider-Man (Peter) noticed and started a battle with him. Turns out that Mysterio found a way to jump between different universes and was planning on tormenting Miles Morales. During the bout, Peter was pushed into the dimensional rift and ended up in the Ultimate Universe. He quickly learned that people knew Spider-Man to be Peter Parker and was confused. After a brief run-in with the current Ultimate Spider-Man (Miles), he is escorted to Shield and meets with Nick Fury.

There are plenty of jokes about a black Spider-Man with a far cooler outfit than Peter's as well as comments on a black Nick Fury. There are a lot of jokes and an immense amount of respect being tossed back and forth between the two Spider-Men.

One of the best moments in this series was the meeting of the Ultimate Universe Aunt May, Gwen Stacy and Peter Parker (who is much older than their recently deceased version of Peter). They tell stories, they show compassion and love and it is heartwarming to see how quickly May would take a new Peter into her house if need be.

There wasn't a moment in this series that I wasn't smiling. I am incredibly happy that I put reading this until the final issue came out this week. If you are a fan of Spider-Man and have started looking into Miles Morales or even just want to get to know him a little better this may be the way to do it.  The final verdict of this mini-series is a solid 9/10, losing a point purely on the fact that some of the jokes were a little too easy. Regardless of that small grief, this is a great series to read and I can't recommend it enough....I truly love me some Spidey...

Avengers Academy #37

Writer: Christos Gage
Artist: Andrea Di Vito
Colorist: Chris Sotomayor
Letterer: VC's Joe Caramagna
Publisher: Marvel Comics (Dan Buckley)
Price: $2.99
Release Date: September 19th, 2012

"Final Exam: Part Four"

I was originally excited for this issue purely based on the fact that it would allow me to drop this comic. I had incredibly low expectations but of course was knocked back by Gage with an ending that was actually NOW I have decided to read the remaining two issues of Avengers Academy and may be slightly sad to see it go....or be happy to see something more vicious take its place (Avengers Arena).

Anyhow, this was the final battle with Justin, The Alchemist. His Clean Slate "virus" was rocketing toward Earth and the only people left to stop him were the young heros of the academy. With surprising teamwork, impressive control of abilities and the us of Jocasta, Justin was defeated....pretty brutally actually. I think that X-23's part in this and how the enemy was handled was truly impressive.

For the first time in a while I am giving Avengers Academy a decent rating of 7/10. It is not perfection but I am definitely starting to feel for the characters and the story...just in time for the title to be cancelled. Way to go Marvel Now!

Avengers #30

Story: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: Walter Simonson
Publisher: Marvel Comics (Dan Buckley)
Price: $3.99
Release Date: September 19th, 2012

While the other Avengers battle Emma Frost and Scott Summers on the front line, Hawkeye and Spider-Woman are busy battling Negative Man in a Shield facility. I feel like this is leading up to the final issues of Bendis' run with Avengers rather than a true AvX tie in. Granted, we see the battle exploding on the first page and Tony Stark and other Avengers discuss being tired from the fight, but that is all we see that deals with the main arc.

This issue was interesting to say the least and it was nice to see the exchanges between Hawkeye and Spider-Woman. I have truly fallen for Brian Michael Bendis' work and this was no exception. Also, the teaser with Hydra and Skrulls that appear toward the ending of this book have definitely sparked an interest in me for the coming issues.

I give Avengers #30 an 8/10. Good book, good art but not too much to write about.

Uncanny X-Men #18

Writer: Kieron Gillen
Artist: Ron Garney
Colorist: Jason Keith & Morry Hollowell
Letterer: VC's Joe Caramagna
Publisher: Marvel Comics (Dan Buckley)
Price: $3.99
Release Date: September 12th, 2012

I must say that I really enjoyed this issue. As readers we really see what is going on in the heads of the final two members of the Phoenix Five and where this series is ultimately headed. Emma Frost and Scott Summers are having a "dinner" psychically while they battle the Avengers and Professor X in the real world. They discuss life, their current goals and what their next step will be. There are a ton of references as to what is going on in the core series that I am not going to mention due to trying to keep this relatively spoil free until I do a total review of AvX.

On that note, I recommend reading this issue after round 11 (see the reading order for AvX) so that you don't have great moments ruined for you. I just think it is cool to see how far Scott has fallen and how willing Emma Frost is to let that happen to him. I give this issue a solid 9/10.

The Panel Scanners Episode 5 and other cool things

As promised in my weekly pulls we recorded Episode 5 of The Panel Scanners last night and you can access that here whenever you have the time to listen to us geek out a bit. We discussed the New 52 "Zero Month" as well as the upcoming Marvel NOW! initiative. As always Jonny, Darren and myself spoke about what we are reading, what is good and plainly what isn't.

I would also like to speak briefly here on how excited I am for Marvel NOW! After everything that has happened and is bound to still happen in  Avengers vs X-Men there should be plenty of grit to fight through in these upcoming comics. As most should know at this point, Marvel is cancelling more than nine titles and starting a few other titles with #1s (I am not certain as to how many are doing this...) The titles being cancelled are big names which I will include here with the issue number in which they are going to be cancelled:

Avengers Academy #39
Captain America #19
Fantastic Four #611
FF #23
Incredible Hulk #15
Invincible Iron Man #527
New Mutants #50
The Mighty Thor #22
Uncanny X-Men #20
X-Men Legacy #275

Considering I only read two of these titles I am not overly upset at the choices but I am sure there are a lot of readers that are upset to see things that they have grown to love vanish once more. Just remember that we should be seeing some new #1 issues coming and that new titles will replace the old.

There are a few titles coming out that have piqued my interest: Uncanny Avengers, All-New X-Men and Avengers Arena. I KNOW there will be I don't know how much more I can afford. We shall see.

Anyhow, other than those things it is business as usual. I almost forgot though! I recently got my hands on the first four issues of the Doctor Who/Star Trek the Next Generation cross-over which I intend to read over the weekend! Cool stuff and definitely out of my normal realm of Marvel. My reviews should also be coming in the next day so be ready for that. If you want something to do until then feel free to listen to the podcast and keep reading all of those amazing comics.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Weekly Pulls 09/19/2012

Another week...another six comics. It is hard to believe that I started out only reading a couple titles to now, almost consistently, having three new books a week! It is insane, slightly expensive, but definitely worth it.

Anyhow...this week didn't have too much that I was super looking forward to. I was able to see the end of a couple arcs that I was iffy on (Avengers Academy and Venom) as well as FINALLY get to read a series that I had shelved until the last issue came out (Spider-Men) and I was able to continue to get more excited about Ultimate Comics Spider-Man.... So it seems I lied, there was plenty to enjoy.

On another note, I have continued my venture through the 50 years of Spider-Man and finally broke through to see MJ's face. I will write more about it in a review but I am still enjoying it very much. Regardless, I am digressing from the main purpose of this post. Here are the six comics I grabbed this week:

Avengers #30
Avengers Academy #37
Spider-Men #5 (I already had 1-4...waited to read until I had 5)
Ultimate Comics Spider-Man #15
Uncanny X-Men #18 (A week late but good none the less)
Venom #25

Reviews will follow as I get time as always. I do want to mention that we are coming down to the last few weeks of Avengers vs X-Men (thank goodness) which will mean that I will soon have the final update to my reading order. I will not be including post AvX stuff due to the lack of chronology that is bound to follow. Lastly, we will be filming episode 5 of The Panel Scanners tonight and I should be able to post a link to that later! Until then, happy reading.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Amazing Spider-Man 13-33

I was lucky enough to tackle a much larger batch of this comic this week due to the fact that I had already finished Spider Island and it was my only focus other than my main comics. I want to say that so far, I am not regretting my decision to tackle these.

I want to start by discussing Bettie Brant. I loathe her in these early issues. She is whiney, jealous and pretty annoying. Every time she sees Peter even talk to another woman or another woman tries to communicate with him she instantly thinks that he is dating her and goes into a deep depression. Yet, when she begins talking to Ned Leeds she expects him to understand that she loves him and that she would rather be with Peter forever instead of Ned. I am BEYOND happy that Peter decided that his way too adventurous self wasn't right for Bettie, even though he was in love with her. Also, with my knowledge of the future, I feel that Flash Thompson was a better mate for Bettie...even though they are no longer an item in Venom.

On to Mary Jane Watson. I think it is genius the way Stan Lee introduces her character in these early issues. 33 issues in and I still haven't even seen her face! You see, Aunt May is good friends with MJ's mother and is constantly trying to hook Peter up with her. Yet, whenever a date is actually set, MJ is either sick or Peter finds a way out of it. Of course because Aunt May is the matchmaker, he has decided that MJ is a dog and that he wants nothing to do with her (and at this point in the story nothing to do with relationships as a whole). The great thing about it is we have seen MJ sitting on a coach with her face blocked with people reacting to her by saying that she is gorgeous and that she should have nothing to do with, as Flash would say, "Puny Parker".

I can't do much else without mentioning J. Jonah Jameson. I love the way he is treated as someone that if you see them smile, you know something terrible is happening and they are making money off of it. He is such a user that you want to hate him but his character is almost comical so you are happy to see him enter the pages. It is good to know that JJJ hasn't changed much over the years.

Another interesting note is Aunt May and her health. From the very beginning of the comics she has struggled with various issues with her age so I find it amazing that somehow she is still very much alive and kicking today. She also thinks that Peter is a weak boy that should rest constantly....lovely.

As for a quick update on the story....Peter has graduated from high school and has started to attend college. Flash Thompson also goes there and we have finally met Gwen Stacy. She has barely had any face time thought because Peter is preoccupied with trying to save Aunt May. In the meantime, Peter was just about to save his Aunt May from death by getting her a serum to cure her radioactive blood. Oh, did I forget to mention that way early in the series Peter gave her a blood transfusion? Yeah, way to go champ. Almost killed your mother figure. Anyhow, during this time Doctor Octopus had returned and was trying to destroy or take over the world. Those concepts are pretty interchangeable considering Spidey always stops him. During Spidey's tussle with Doc Oc they brought down his underwater base leaving Spidey trapped under rubble and sure to die. He was able to escape, exhausted with barely any strength left. With the help of Doctor Connors he was able to get the serum to Aunt May and to save her in the nick of time. There was a teaser on the last page saying Kraven the Hunter would be back in the next issue.

That is a lot of stuff and I left out a ton about Scorpion and Green Goblin but I know we will be seeing a lot about them in the near future. I hope these recaps are as fun for you to read as they are for me to write them. I have really enjoyed my reading experiment thus far and am excited to get back to it. As for my readers, enjoy whatever comics you have laying around. Tackle your old collection! You never know when you will find something amazing to read.

Avenging Spider-Man #12

Writer: Kevin Shinick
Art: Aaron Kuder
Color Art: Matt Hollingsworth
Letterer: VC's Joe Caramagna
Publisher: Marvel Comics (Dan Buckley)
Price: $3.99
Release Date: September 12th, 2012

This issue is exactly why I started reading Avenging Spider-Man...the ridiculousness is there. I chuckled so many times it was crazy and it is nice to see that Peter still struggles with his high school years in his dreams. Oh...and did I mention that this week and next Spidey is teamed up with Deadpool?

Deadpool's silliness is pushed directly into Spidey's dreams where Deadpool is trying to help wake him from his nightmare. Shinick shows the reader different floors in Spidey's dreams and the wild things that are going on in them. We get everything from miniature Wolverines to goth Morbius as well as Spider-Hams webslinging around.

Spidey and Deadpool are forced to find the person controlling his dreams from within to escape and they do so in a very comedic way. There are a lot of one liners, plenty of bullets flying and a lot of punches happening. In the end we learn that the person who was controlling Spidey was Deadpool himself who was using Spidey to help break Hypno-Hustler out of jail because Hypno-Hustler supposedly knows a way to kill Deadpool....

This team-up will continue next month which should be fun. I love the interactions between Spidey and Deadpool and I can honestly say that this issue was fun to read. I was smiling when I set it down. I give it a 9/ loses a point for using Hypno-Hustler....seriously...

X-Men Legacy #273

Writer: Christos Gage
Penciler: Rafa Sandoval
Inker: Jordi Tarragona
Colorist: Rachelle Rosenberg
Letterer: VC's Cory Pettit
Publisher: Marvel Comics (Dan Buckley)
Price: $2.99
Release Date: September 12th, 2012

It is hard to believe that a couple months ago this comic was my pick of the month. I am not saying that it is bad now and I get what Gage was doing by drawing parallels between what is happening on this alien planet and with the Avengers and the X-Men but I didn't connect with the alien races. It became very obvious to me about two issues again that Rogue would ultimately solve the problem on the planet by using the two people she made friends with from the competing races to understand one another.

That said, I still really like the bright art and I still really enjoy Rogue as a character. I am incredibly happy that she was chosen to be a member of Uncanny Avengers. I am also happy that X-Men Legacy is back to the world we know and there is promise of an issue dealing with Magneto coming next.

So, I get the point with his arc Gage. If people work together they can overcome anything. This just felt a little long winded to me. Glad this issue ended with Rogue being dropped back on the battlefield where we see her at the beginning of AvX round 11. I give this issue a 4/ was predictable and I just didn't connect with the alien races. I am sure there are many people out there who dug this arc...I just wasn't one of them.

Scarlet Spider #9

Writer: Chris Yost
Pencils: Khoi Pham
Inks: Palmer, Soto and Ketcham
Colors: Delgado, Soto and Fabela
Letterer: VC's Clayton Cowles
Publisher: Marvel Comics (Dan Buckley)
Price: $2.99
Release Date: September 12th, 2012

"The Second Master: Part Three"

This is the final part of Kaine working with The Rangers and I can't say that I am upset. I am still not jumping on the bandwagon of liking the Rangers....but to be fair, neither is Kaine. 

The fight with Mammon finally happens in this issue but it was sort of scattered. I normally really enjoy the fight sequences in Scarlet Spider but there were a few moments that I had to go back into frames to make sure I understood what happened. There is a moment mid-issue where Kaine jumps into Mammon to grab someone out of the energy source and to free them from being drained but him actually jumping into the beast is was almost as if he teleported from next to the rangers to the other side of the creature. I know this seems a little nitpicky but I have started to get high expectations from this title. 

On that note though, I am not saying I didn't like this issue. Kaine is starting to get very annoyed with being a hero but just can't seem to help himself and keeps doing the things he doesn't want to. He puts his life on the line for others and continues to build his own personality which I love. I am glad that this arc is done and that Kaine is not a part of the Rangers...that may have made me drop this title...

On a very bright note, next month's issue will be part of the Minimum Carnage story which should be great. If you are interested in that here are the release dates:

Minimum Carnage Alpha                   10/03
Scarlet Spider #10                             10/10
Venom #26                                        10/17
Three weeks of what could be a great series. ANYHOW, I give this issue a 7/10 which I think may be my lowest for Scarlet Spider. I guess every month can't be a piece of gold....

Wolverine and the X-Men #16

Writer: Jason Aaron
Penciler/Colorist: Chris Bachalo
Inkers: Tim Townsend, Jaime Menooza & Al Vey
Letterer: VC's Chris Eliopoulos
Publisher: Marvel Comics (Dan Buckley)
Price: $3.99
Release Date: September 12th, 2012

"The Fires of Hell A-Glowing"

The actual AvX overlap isn't major in this issue. I think the main reason it is even in here is to sort of highlight the reasons why people would want their own personal sentinels to take care of mutants. 
I think I may have gotten ahead of myself. The Hellfire Club has recently gained new members, evil children, that have taken over for the older members. This issue is detailing how and why Kade Kilgore is now the leader of the club. As the leader, he has taken it upon himself and his companions to create new, more vicious versions of Sentinels to take care of the mutants that are around the world.

The back story of Kade is wonderfully done, showing how he became evil and how he learned to kill ruthlessly. The comic also does a great job showing how powerful he is...I am not talking about strength, I mean control over those who actually do have strength. Money is truly a powerful weapon.

When I finished this issue I really felt as if Aaron is setting up for the post AvX Wolverine and the X-Men titles. This sick group of kids who now run The Hellfire Club are sure to be pretty nasty enemies. I am definitely excited to see what is coming...I give this issue a 9/10 only because I was expecting more of an AvX tie-in than I got. No worries though, it is definitely worth the cover price.

New Avengers #30

Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: Mike Deodato
Colorer: Rain Beredo
Letterer: VC's Joe Caramagna
Publisher: Marvel Comics (Dan Buckley)
Price: $3.99
Release Date: September 12th, 2012

I have to state once again that if you didn't read Avengers vs X-Men Round 11 you may want to back away from this review for now. I HAVE to mention something that happened in AvX to successfully discuss this comic.

Everyone who doesn't want to be here gone? Good...

This issue picks up right after The Avengers grab the now powered down Emma Frost. We get a decent idea relatively quickly into this issue how people outside of the giant battle are handling mutants.

There is a run-in with an anti-mutant group that is heavily armed and ready to kill any mutant and any mutant sympathizer and the members of The New Avengers want nothing to do with that. With Luke Cage, Daredevil, The Thing, and Mockingbird fighting to defend their new captive they are able to subdue the group with little damage (Luke Cage does get shot up a bit).

That isn't the important stuff though. The ongoing struggle in Luke Cage's mind about his new child and his choice between being an Avenger or being a good father battles him during this issue. Finally, within the last pages of the comic Luke Cage comes up with his final decision....

Bendis has done such a great job with New Avengers that it is hard to think that he is leaving the title after AvX. It really helps give me high hopes for The All-New X-Men which is right around the corner that he is writing. I give this issue a 10/10; good art, humanization of Cage and some really nice fight moments.

Avengers vs X-Men #11

Story: Jason Aaron, Brian Michael Bendis, Ed Brubaker, Matt Fraction and Jonathan Hickman
Script: Brian Michael Bendis
Pencils: Olivier Coipel
Inks: Mark Morales
Colors: Laura Martin
Letters: Chris Eliopoulos
Publisher: Marvel Comics (Dan Buckley)
Price: $3.99
Release Date: September 12th, 2012

"Round 11"

I want to warn my readers before I even get into this review that THIS REVIEW WILL CONTAIN SPOILERS!!!!!!!!!!!! If you have any intention of reading this comic and you hate more than anything when people ruin the big moments for you, stop reading this now. I think this book was phenomenal and would hate to ruin it for anyone. I also feel that it is impossible to talk about the contents of this book without dropping some major have been warned.
I have caught myself with each round of this series realizing that each issue is getting stronger, better, and making me REALLY want to read what is next. So when I say this, I mean this: Round 11 was the best issue yet, hands down. 

As readers we finally see the power go to Cyclops' head and his douchebaggery comes out in full. He realizes that if he would get rid of Emma Frost, he would be unstoppable because he will drain her power. If you read round 10 you saw him start thinking this after Hope gave him a solid punch. Of course now that Scott has completely lost it, the Avengers and X-Men have joined forces with the help of the original leader of the X-Men, Professor Charles Xavier.

From this moment on in this comic it is one major fight. Professor X tries to talk some sense into Scott and even shut him down but is quickly unable. There is an incredible spread about halfway into the comic with Scott being psychically held on one side with Professor X staring at him on the other plus there is a bit of a ruckus going on in the background of the Avengers and X-Men fighting Emma Frost.

As Scott starts to lose his battle with his father figure, he does what I am figuring most people saw coming, he took Emma's power and began to rage. He pushes Xavier out of his head and then roasts him. So, once again in the Marvel Universe, Professor X is dead. I think this one hit me a little harder due to the fact that Scott killed him...I don't know. The comic closes with the worst possible site; Scott covered in fire as the Dark Phoenix.

Sooooo not so much a review as an overview but it was hard not to share and I REALLY want to discuss this comic. I LOVED it and obviously give it a 10/10. I just hope that the release date of Round 12 that is on the Marvel website (09/19) is right, not the "Coming in Three Weeks" teaser that is on the last page of the comic. Here's hoping...

Friday, September 14, 2012

Weekly Pulls 09/12/2012

Once again it was a wonderful week in the world of Marvel Comics! We are quickly approaching the start of Marvel NOW! with the conclusion of AvX and I couldn't be more excited. From everything I have read about the comics that are in our future I have incredibly high hopes for this new direction of Marvel. Noteably, I am looking forward to Uncanny Avengers, The All-New X-Men, and Avengers Arena. The latter is a Battle Royale style world in which the youngest of super heroes are going to battle it out to the death! This is going to replace Avengers Academy which I feel is good because I wasn't able to connect with the heroes unlike a lot of other readers.

This actual week was riddled with me reading a lot of old comics while waiting for the release of my Wednesday books. I read a good fifteen (or more) old Amazing Spider-Man comics (which I will give a general review of later) as well as reading the whole Dark Phoenix Saga for the podcast next Thursday. I forget sometimes how good old comics can be and all reading these old series are doing for me is reminding me as to why I read so much as a youngster.

My actual pulls for this week were solid as well. Due to me not being overly observant and tired while picking up my books, I SOMEHOW missed picking up my issue of Uncanny X-Men #18 and refuse to drive to my shop until Monday when we play Settlers of Catan together. Other than delaying my reading of Uncanny X-Men, there were six books that are great reads:

Avengers vs. X-men Round 11
Avenging Spider-Man #12
New Avengers #30
Scarlet Spider #9
Uncanny X-Men #18 (I technically wont have this till Monday 9/17 due to my slackishness with my pull-list)
Wolverine and the X-Men #16
X-Men Legacy #273

As always reviews will follow sometime Saturday or Sunday. Remember that there wont be a review for Uncanny X-Men until (at earliest) Monday if not until the following weekend when I do my reviews for the pulls of 09/19/2012. I will also do my weekly Amazing Spider-Man discussion and should be updating the AvX reading order (I do know where Uncanny X-Men #18 falls) as well. Until then folks, happy reading!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Amazing Spider-Man #1-12

As I said in my "Weekly Pull" post I am starting a major undertaking which is to read EVERY ISSUE of Amazing Spider-Man. I have already started this venture and am 12 issues deep. So far it is about what I expected which is campy and cheesy yet well written and obviously Stan Lee's work.

There are a couple amazing things I would like to note about the first handful of issues. In issue #11 we get to see what was recently referenced in an issue of Venom during the reveal of who Crimemaster really was. I think it is amazing that writers have kept story points going for over forty years!

Also, it is really cool to see the real origin stories of a lot of the characters I have grown to love over the years. The first time Peter fights Doctor Octopus he is definitely not ready for a real super villain. The Lizard starts out in Florida just hanging out with Lizards and trying to regrow his arm. Electro is still a ridiculous thief and The Vulture was one of Spidey's first villains. It is also cool to see that Peter has always been inventing things to make his fights go easier and that he was always smart enough during fights to learn details about his enemies.

I am not regretting my decision to read these comics yet. Each issue is a full story told and I have yet to see the cursed "to be continued..." at the end of an issue. Stan Lee is a masterful story teller and I am excited to see stories that I know nothing about happen. I also know that here soon I will get to meet Gwen Stacy and Betty Brant will no longer be his main love interest. Oh, did I forget to mention that Flash Thompson's love interest used to be Peter's? Yeah, he was too busy with Liz to notice Betty...also Betty was a high school dropout who worked for the Daily Bugle! Crazy stuff.

Anyhow, I know this post seems like gentle rambling of a somewhat intelligent man but that is the only way I am going to be able to do these Amazing Spider-Man posts. If I am just reading the comics for enjoyment I won't be dissecting them too much but love to share some cool key points that I come across. I hope to continue to read at least ten issues a week and will be able to rant about them to you, my lovely readers, after I do my reviews for that week.

Well, until then everyone. Happy comic reading and remember to not be afraid to post comments here. I love responding to my readers! 

Venom #24

Writer: Cullen Bunn
Pencils: Thony Silas
Inks: Nelson Decastro
Colors: Chris Sotomayor
Letterer: VC's Joe Caramagna
Publisher: Marvel Comics (Dan Buckley)
Price: $2.99
Release Date: September 05th, 2012

"Monsters of Evil: Part 2"

Holy crap demon Venom! Too bad demon minions aren't yummy eh Flash? Well, at least that seems to be the case at the beginning of this issue before he gets control over his inner demons. At first I didn't know how I felt about this storyline but as I got a little further into it I realized that the demon version of Venom is sort of like the embodiment of what Flash has been fighting off the whole time. He has never wanted his inner demons to win and now the battle has become even more serious.
I like the way that Bunn is making it seem as if the demon wants to escape but the symbiote refuses to let it go because it is THAT much of a parasite to its host. I also enjoy the fact that it seems Flash has a lot more control over the suit than he did in the beginning. He is able to stay slim and use tendrils while still fighting with guns! That is something else. 

The build up to the end of this issue and the fight with Daimon Hellstrom was cool but I am not sure how I feel about the actual "Monster of Evil"...I guess I'll have to wait till issue #25 is out. I give this issue a solid 7/10...I don't care that much for the whole hell storyline thing but I sure love me some Venom.

On a related almost every comic I read this week there were inserts for "Minimum Carnage"...I am beyond excited.

Ultimate Comics Spider-Man #14

Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: David Marquez
Colorist: Justin Ponsor
Letterer: VC's Cory Petit
Publisher: Marvel Comics (Dan Buckley)
Price: $3.99
Release Date: September 05th, 2012

"Divided We Fall Part Two"

After reading every single issue of Ultimate Spider-Man leading up to this point through a digital venue I decided that picking up the real comics starting with this issue seemed totally fair. I am definitely not upset that I did so. I am really starting to like Mile Morales as Spider-Man in this universe and am totally surprised at the fact that even though he is a lot like Peter Parker (he even makes some of the same jokes), Bendis is not afraid to reference that and show that it may have something to do with whoever decides to wear the webbed tights.
This issue is a big deal actually. Miles has a meeting with Aunt May, Gwen Stacy and Captain America. Aunt May wanted to give Miles something to make his existence as Spider-Man a little easier while Captain America didn't exactly agree with it. Aunt May gives Miles the one thing he really wouldn't be able to figure out as a 13 year old to make web-shooters. Not only does she give him the left over cartridges, she gives him the formula to make more webbing when needed.

With Washington D.C. a disaster, Captain America is called away to deal with The Rhino tearing apart The Lincoln Tunnel and Miles decides to join him no matter how badly Cap doesn't want that. Miles does a decent job with The Rhino and Captain America decides that perhaps with a little training Miles could be a decent Spider-Man...Let's hope!

I give this issue a solid 9/10! Good writing, great art and left me wanting more. I even want to pick up the other Ultimate Universe stuff for "Divided We Fall" so that I can see everything else going on (even though it isn't necessary).  

Secret Avengers #30

Writer: Rick Remender
Artist: Matteo Wilson
Letterer: VC's Clayton Cowles
Publisher: Marvel Comics (Dan Buckley)
Price: $3.99
Release Date: August 22nd, 2012

"Something Wicked This Way Comes"

As a little surprise bonus for me this week, my comic guy JC scored me this missing issue from a couple weeks back. Have I mentioned how much I love Remender's work with Venom? Because if I haven't, this is the time to state it. I absolutely love the way he works with Flash as Venom and am reminded as to why I was sad when he quit the main Venom title last month.
Regardless, I am happy to see Remender continue his work here in Secret Avengers which started out with a fight between Venom and Taskmaster. The cool thing is, Venom can really stand up against Taskmaster for the most part and requires very little help to get the upper hand. With Taskmaster facing a potential defeat, he is forced to flee which leads to a quick motorcycle chase between himself, one of my other new favorite heroes Hawkeye and Valkyrie as well as some other lowlifes that join in the fun. 

This all leads to a conclusion where we are reminded that Max Fury is not really a real person and that Taskmaster definitely is. The Abyss is now awake and we are about to see a lot of possessed people fighting in the next issue.

Even though I am not super interested in the Abyss thing, I am enjoying what Remender is doing here and am excited to see where it goes in issue #31. I enjoyed reading this and am glad I was able to get a copy of this for myself. I give Secret Avengers #30 a 8/10. Pretty solid stuff.

Hawkeye #2

Writer: Matt Fraction
Artist: David Aja
Colorist: Matt Hollingsworth
Publisher: Marvel Comics (Dan Buckley)
Price: $2.99
Release Date: September 05th, 2012

This comic focuses on Clint Barton and what he is doing with his time when he is not an Avenger. I never thought I would care about Hawkeye or what he does on his free time but for two months in a row now I have been floored by this comic. It has easily been my top pick and I am starting to believe that it is going to continue to do that to me...but I guess I am getting ahead of myself.

This issue focused on Kate Bishop (a previous Hawkeye herself) and Clint going to try to take care of a scam that is happening around town. It seems to be some sort of Cirque show and all of the biggest names are in attendance including Kingpin. With some amazing bow and teamwork, Clint and Kate are able to take care of the scam artists (without killing them mind you) and they are able to escape in one piece. Of course, they escape on the boat with the money stolen from all of the biggest names in crime on it and Clint Barton is accused by Kingpin of robbing them all. This should lead to some pretty decent story arcs in the future.

Not only are the battles solid, the insane aim of both Hawkeyes is great as well as the banter and relationship between Clint and Kate is amazing. It is nearly impossible to put this title down and much like the first issue I have already had more than one reading of it. The story telling is spot on and the art is beyond fitting with the story.

Without missing a beat I give Hawkeye #2 a 10/10. If you are reading comics and you are not reading this title you should get your head checked! Buy it now!

Avengers Academy #36

Writer: Christos Gage
Artist: Andrea Di Vito
Colorist: Chris Sotomayor
Letterer: VC's Joe Caramagna
Publisher: Marvel Comics (Dan Buckley)
Price: $2.99
Release Date: September 05th, 2012

"Final Exam: Part 3 of 4"

I am still having major issues connecting with the cast of this comic. I feel like I should care more that their powers have been taken away from them by Justin and that they are working so hard to get them back as well as stop him but I just don't! The only character I care in the slightest for is X-23 but she hardly gets a panel anymore.

Regardless, this is part three of the arc that is following Avengers Academy's part of AvX. They are still battling Justin and trying to stop him from taking every superheroes powers away from them. Powered down, the team is struggling against his minions to stop the launch of the missiles containing Clean Slate. 

Tattered and exhausted, the team catches up to Jeremy to (no surprise) already be launching Clean Slate into the world to infect everyone and get rid of all of the super powers in the world. Looking back through the comic I didn't feel that it was terrible but it was insanely predictable. The magic users are able to regain their artifacts, they give X-23 her powers back so she won't die and they are slightly too late to stop Jeremy (so that there can be a part four.)

As I continue to state, Avengers Academy is mediocre at best which is sad considering how much I love Gage's work in X-Men Legacy. If there isn't some sort of great ending to this arc I feel like I will be saying sayonara to this comic in the near future.

I give Avengers Academy #36 a predictable 4/10....I really hope the finale is good....   

The Amazing Spider-Man #693

Writer: Dan Slott
Pencils: Humberto Ramos
Inks: Victor Olazaba
Colors: Edgar Delgado
Letterer: VC's Chris Eliopoulos
Publisher: Marvel Comics (Dan Buckley)
Price: $3.99
Release Date: September 05th, 2012

"Alpha Part 2: That Something Special"

Wow Alpha is a tool. The kid is so full of himself and has no idea what he is capable of. This issue deals with Peter trying to figure out what he should do with his creation and what would be best for everyone. Alpha's arrogance gets him in trouble and we get a small flicker of Jackal trying to get possession of Peter's creation.
After the little run in with Jackal, Alpha seems to decide that he shouldn't be around his parents and removes himself (and his money) from their care. There is a small flicker of showing the Fantastic Four noticing how Alpha is getting out of control but they decide to leave it in the hands of Peter.

I am not sure how I feel about this arc so far. Alpha has some potential but is pretty much a douche. Peter wants to return him to normal because he feels he doesn't deserve the power which I am forced to agree with him. I am getting a little tired of the "No More!" moments in Marvel comics. Who didn't see the "Alpha: No More!" moment?

Oh well, I still love me some Spider-Man. It wasn't a terrible issue but I am more excited for the goblin war that is brewing. I give this issue a 7/10....worth the read but not amazing as the title would lead you to believe.

Weekly pulls 09/05 AND Episode 4 of The Panel Scanners!

It is that time of the week again where I tell you what comics I grabbed this week and what is on my mind as a crazy comic reader. I had a pretty decent group of comics fall into my possession this week including a comic I was having a hard time getting my hands on.

Before I get to my actual pulls for the week I want to mention a rather large undertaking that I have decided would be fun for me as well as my readers. In response to Spider-Man finally becoming fifty and with my complete love for the webslinger, I have decided to read EVERY issue of Amazing Spider-Man starting with issue #1 and going all the way to issue #681 which is where "Ends of the Earth" begin and where I started collecting again. I will try to write a blog at least once a week to have a general update as to how my reading is going, how the comics actually are, if they have stood up to the test of time and if I hate myself for making this decision yet. I think it could be a lot of fun to write, to read, and to hear my readers' opinions as well.

On another note; Jonny Capps, Darren and myself have recorded episode four of The Panel Scanners which you can listen to here . I want to note that we decided to film in a different venue, The Nervous Dog Coffee Bar in Stow, Ohio so the sound quality wavers a little at the beginning and you may hear some weird noises throughout. It isn't overly distracting and we actually enjoyed filming there due to the wonderful coffee. We may continue to shoot there and have found a good way to cut back on sound. Let me know, as my listeners, if it still sounds alright!

Now, onto my normal blab that I do weekly. These are the comics that I acquired this week:

The Amazing Spider-Man #693 (The continuation of the Alpha story)
Avengers Academy #36 (Part 3 of 4 of "Final Exam")
Hawkeye #2 (The second issue of an amazing series...)
Secret Avengers #30 (Two weeks late but the fight between Venom and Taskmaster)
Ultimate Spider-Man #14 (After my read of the whole series...Miles Morales and Captain America!)
Venom #24 (Monsters of Evil Part 2)

Six comics with six reviews to follow as soon as I get the time to write them. While you wait, why not give The Panel Scanners Episode 4 (shameless plug) a listen? Until next time my readers, enjoy your comics.