One, Two, Kapow Comic Reviews 05/07/14

Best of the Week


Title:  Original Sin #1

Publisher:  Marvel Comics

Writer:  Jason Aaron

Artist: Mike Deodato

Review:  Thumbs Up!

Honestly I cannot say the last time a big event had me excited.  Maybe Civil War or Secret Invasion, before the onslaught of wave after wave of events wore me out.  Original Sin was not something I had looked forward to, until I started hearing more about some of the ideas they had in store for the “sins” that will be revealed in the normal titles.  Then Original Sin #0 came along and peeked my interest even more.  Now, after reading the full first issue, I can easily say this might just turn out to be Marvel’s best event in years.

Uatu, the Watcher, is from a race of aliens whose soul goal is to watch civilizations and record their histories, but never to interfere or take action.  Uatu knows when an important event is about to unfold and is there to take note.  This time, he knows an important moment is going to happen, something that he cannot change as with every other event he has witnessed, his own murder.

Captain America, Black Widow, Wolverine, and Nick Fury Sr. are all enjoying dinner together at a quaint, secluded diner when Steve receives a message from Thor that something has happened on the moon, where the Watcher lives.  Nick Fury Sr. does not want to join the three as they go to space, but Steve finally convinces him he needs to join.  The heroes join Iron Man and Thor in space at the Watcher’s sanctuary to find the Watcher murdered.  He was not only shot through the head, but his eyes were carved out as well, and a large portion of his equipment was taken.  With only a hand full of heroes and villains even knowing of the Watcher’s existence, Steve convinces Nick Fury Sr. that he is the only one who can lead an investigation looking into the murder.

After reluctantly agreeing to investigate, Fury quickly assembles a team to help him through the process:  Black Panther, Emma Frost, Ant-Man, Punisher, Dr. Strange, Winter Solider, Moon Knight, and Gamora.  The team is split into three to investigate different leads.  Meanwhile in New York, one of the Mindless Ones is wreaking havoc as the Thing and Spider-Man try to stop it.  Apparently the Mindless One has been granted intelligence and self awareness as it shouts about not wanting the intelligence and that the man on the moon knew.  It eventually kills itself in a large explosion, causing Fury to arrive and call the area a crime scene.  This brings us to a place unknown where a large grouping of the Mindless Ones are shown to have been granted the same knowledge, while it seems two people in the shadows are revealed to have at least one of the Watcher’s eyes, ready to unlock what it has scene.

Murder mysteries are always exciting and having the Watcher be the victim works perfectly.  Even though he is only a side character, he literally does see everything that happens on Earth.  The knowledge he has is vast enough that the murderer might not be a villain, the killer really could be a hero this time.  Who better to lead the investigation than the one man who probably has seen nearly as many secrets as Uatu, Nick Fury Sr.  He has been sadly missed in the Marvel Universe ever since his son was brought in, so it is nice to see him take the spotlight once more.  Many suspect this could be Nick Fury Sr.’s swan song, but I doubt that this is it for the super spy extraordinaire.

The team Fury assembles does not seem to have a rhyme or reason yet.  Black Panther was really the only one was explained, as he would do things to unravel the mystery that other heroes might not be willing to do.  The same characteristic can be used for several of the team members, but not all.  Dr. Strange and Ant-Man for instance seem more out of place than any of the others.  The Punisher is another example, we have seen time and time again he just is not a team player.

The series has a lot of potential and issue 0 and 1 are off to great starts.  It helps that the main event is unfolding here, and the tie-ins are mostly being contained in the normal monthly books instead of separate mini-series.  Another problem that I feel hampers many events is that you had to have been reading several books for the build, as with the last large Marvel event, Infinity, which was just to hard to follow without picking up the tie-ins.  For Original Sin, this event has had no build up or other parts that you could find yourself lost with.  Instead this is already one of the most interesting, and most importantly, reader accessible events out there.


Title:  Moon Knight #3

Publisher:  Marvel Comics

Writer:  Warren Ellis

Artist: Declan Shalvey

Review:  Thumbs Up!

In modern comics it is hard to appreciate a monthly book that tells one off stories.  Most books out there have their massive story arcs that is the continuation of the same story, which many.  The last Moon Knight series by Brian Bendis was really just one massive story told in 12 issues.  As good as the first issue of this new series was, I still felt a little hesitant about Warren Ellis’s approach to the book, but now three issues are in and I am loving what he is doing.

Punk rock ghosts are going around the city, attacking whoever they can find roaming the streets.  When you can’t call the Ghostbusters, Moon Knight steps into the roll, but quickly finds that physical attacks will not hurt the ghosts.  They beat him severely and leave him on the street, presumably to move on to another victim.

Licking his wounds, Marc Spector returns to his mansion and tries to think of away that he can possibly fight ghosts.  The spirit of Khonshu advises him that he should look to the ancient artifacts from Egypt that Spector has collected over the years.  The ancient Egyptians, he tells, had a special connection to death, so he should wear some of the ancient armor and garments to combat the dead.

In possibly one of his most terrifying new costumes, Moon Knight goes back out to the city and tracks down the ghosts.  With the Egyptian gear he wears, the ghosts are no match for him.  As they flee, he tracks them back to an abandoned building where he finds their bodies.  The ghosts take refuge in an old music box, which looks like it belonged to one of the members that killed them all.  Moon Knight takes the music box and drops it into the river to, if nothing else, end their terror on the city.

The stories that Warren Ellis have been telling are more silent issues than anything.  You really don’t need words as ghosts beat Moon Knight, or once he turns the tables and beats them.  What makes it work more than anything else is Shalvey’s art.  Without a large amount of dialogue, that art needs to be spot on to carry the story, and it is.  His art is beautiful and brutal at the same time.  It really shows how tough Marc Spector is by getting up after the beating he received.

Ellis and Shalvey are easily proving that a series does not have to implode into multiple issues to tell one great story.  So far they have put out three issues and three great stories.  I do wonder if the series will continue like this or if it will go the route of trying to tell something bigger.  As long as Ellis keeps giving us these fantastic quick stories, I am more than happy with things continuing as they are.


Quick Hits


Title:  All-New X-Factor #7

Publisher:  Marvel Comics

Writer:  Peter David

Artist: Carmine Di Giandomenico

Review:  Thumbs Down!

A mutant hating father has one of his bodyguards shoot his daughter’s webcam, and this is enough to have a super hero team intervene?  The cast of X-Factor must have a lot of free time with their new gig working for Serval Industries for this to make it on their list of things to do.  Or is Peter David just running out of good ideas?  I absolutely loved his previous run on X-Factor before this relaunch, but I am getting closer and closer to dropping this book unless something drastically changes.


Title:  Apocalypse Al #4

Publisher:  Image Comics

Writer:  J. Michael Straczynski

Artist: Sid Kotian

Review:  Thumbs Down!

When the book first started, I absolutely loved the humor and light attitude the book had about the possible apocalypse.  The third issue started to wane on me a bit, and now the final issue was the last nail in the coffin.  The book still had funny moments, but it was just clogged by unnecessary twists regarding a character that should have been introduced in the first issue to have any impact on the finale.  As for the culprit of unlocking the door to hell, a love scorned man who decided to make himself french and end the world.  Good for a quick laugh, but a major let down for expectations.


Title:  Angel and Faith #2

Publisher:  Dark Horse Comics

Writer:  Victor Gischler

Artist: Will Conrad

Review:  Thumbs Up!

.Angel and Faith may share the title, but they are both off on their own currently.  Angel is trudging through sewers looking for the pixies that previously left a dead body in his apartment while Faith is settling into her new job at Deepscan Inc by playing bodyguard to a rock star.  The book has plenty of action while setting up the threat both are facing.  Swapping back and forth between two separate stories can be difficult to juggle, but Gischler does an excellent job of giving just enough time to one character before switching to another.  It doesn’t hurt that Will Conrad’s art is phenomenal and alone pays for the price of admission!


Title:  Bad Blood #5

Publisher:  Dark Horse Comics

Writer:  Jonathan Maberry

Artist: Tyler Crook

Review:  Thumbs Down!

The final for Bad Blood is finally here, and it is just so-so.  Jonas’ lies he told to Lolly and Trick come out after last issue as he tries to weasel himself out of an unwinnable fight.  Which then is showed to be lies, which then turns into more manipulations.  There was just a little to much crammed into one issue as it tried to dump a lot of information on the reader to end the story.  While not the worst comic we read this week, it is just not one that we can recommend.


Title:  Cyclops #1

Publisher:  Marvel Comics

Writer:  Greg Rucka

Artist: Russel Dauterman

Review:  Thumbs Up!

Cyclops is easily one of my favorite X-Men, so I have been excitedly waiting for this solo series to launch.  The funny thing is that after the first issue, I still really don’t care about young Cyclops that much, but Rucka made the impossible happen for me;  he made me actually love Corsair.  Corsair really is an ultra cool space pirate and actually believe it now.  The issue was really just setup for the adventures the father and son will go on, with not much else, but the character interactions were solid.  Young Cyclops can stay along for the ride, but bring on more Corsair!


Title:  Green Arrow #31

Publisher:  DC Comics

Writer:  Jeff Lemire

Artist: Andrea Sorrentino

Review:  Thumbs Up!

The Outsiders War arc has been phenomenal, easily one of the best stories being told in comics currently.  The grand finale was not bad, but it just was not as good as what has come.  Things seemed to wrap up a little to quick, as I was hoping for an all out battle between Oliver and Komodo.  That did not really happen and it feels a little cheap to have Robert taken out of the way as quick as he came into the book.  Complaints aside, this still had lots of great moments, mostly from Katana, though.


Title:  Grindhouse:  Doors Open At Midnight #8

Publisher:  Dark Horse Comics

Writer:  Alex De Campi

Artist: Gary Erskine

Review:  Thumbs Up!

This was the first time I read this book and I feel as though I have missed out on a hell of a lot of fun!  It has gore.  It has humor.  It has even more gore and humor.  The devil doll is continuing to kill the campers with its zombie army in an attempt to take a virgin back to its cavern to unleash hell on earth by spilling some blood. In case of a zombie threat, what would you pick up from the local super market?  Some guns and a brand new pair of ruby red shoes?  Why not?  It takes classic horror stereotypes and has fun with it.  Meaning the reader gets to have a lot hell of a lot of fun reading it.  This has immediately been added to my pull list!


Title:  New Warriors #4

Publisher:  Marvel Comics

Writer:  Christopher Yost

Artist: Marcus To

Review:  Thumbs Down!

The High Evolutionary was trying to kill everyone with powers to protect the world from complete destruction.  The stakes should have felt high, but they never did in this first arc.  The team finally does come together in a great splash page, but beat the bad guys way to easily.  Having Sun Girl be the one to save the day made sense in the larger scheme of things, but since she was the character we have the least invested in being new, her big moment didn’t have as much impact.  Especially since you have to believe the High Evolutionary would be dumb enough to let his guard down as he did.


Title:  Terminator Salvation:  The Final Battle #6

Publisher:  Dark Horse Comics

Writer:  J. Michael Straczynski

Artist: Pete Woods

Review:  Thumbs Up!

The Terminator films will always be classics, that is something you cannot deny.  Except for Terminator Salvation, as that was easily the worst of the four.  I was a little hesitant going into this series knowing that, but so far it has proved me wrong.  It has taken the dull junk of a film that Salvation was and might it a proper homage to the Terminator franchise before the new set of films is released.  Last issue you got to see the moment of Kyle Reese being sent into the past to save Sarah Connor, something we never had a chance to see in the film.  Now we get to see the classic T-800, Schwarzenegger’s terminator, sent back in time for T2 Judgment Day.  Not only are we getting to see these scenes unfold from the future finally, but it has an excellent story to tell as well, as the serial killer Thomas Parnell takes more control of Skynet, crushing the rebellion.  An excellent read for any Terminator fan, big or small.


Title:  Veil #3

Publisher:  Dark Horse Comics

Writer:  Greg Rucka

Artist: Toni Fejzula

Review:  Thumbs Down!

Things stay shrouded in mystery still, without answering many questions.  Carmac summons the mysterious girl to him while Scarborough has men ready to take him down. Unfortunately not much else happens in this issue.  The last few pages add some interesting wrinkles that make it seem as though next month will be more exciting, but was not enough to make this issue worth grabbing.


Title:  The Victories #11

Publisher:  Dark Horse Comics

Writer:  Michael Avon Oeming

Artist: Michael Avon Oeming

Review:  Thumbs Down!

In The Victories finale arc, things are not going quite so well for the heroes.  The issue features the literal explosive death of one of their former members which was one of the best panels I saw all week.  As much as I love Oeming’s art, which was fantastic, I still could not get into the story.  The dialogue seems a bit forced at times and I felt like it had transition problems.

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