The Avengers #1

I’ve decided to change things up a bit. For a while I tried reading the first thing that interested me on a particular day. Then I went through the Spider-Island story. From there I’ve been reviewing Ultimate Spider-Man. While I am loving the Ultimate run, I do see the need to kind of have some variety. As the old saying goes, you can’t live on bread, or just Spider-Man alone. So with that, I’m going to have a schedule.

  1. Sunday-The Amazing Spider-Man
  2. Monday-Civil War
  3. Tuesday-Age of Apocalypse
  4. Wednesday-Death of Wolverine
  5. Thursday-Ultimate Spider-Man
  6. Friday-Fear Itself
  7. Saturday-The Avengers

This of course will be subject to change. Whether it be boredom or finishing up a particular story line, there will be times I shift to another series or event story. In the end, I think this will give me the variety I want plus more exposure to more writers and artists.

So what is there to say about The Avengers? For one, I really enjoyed how the backbone of the story has stayed pretty consistent throughout the years. There have been changes of personnel and relationships among the group have changed over time but the basic premise for the story has stayed surprisingly consistent. Contrast that with DC Comics titles from this time the you’d be hard pressed to find a story that bears any resemblance to their modern counterparts.

To me this speaks well to the genius of Stan Lee and the other contributors at Marvel. The only reason I single Stan out of course is that he’s pretty much the figure head for the writers and artists that Marvel have employed throughout the years. And for the longest time Stan was the man behind the words in all the comics Marvel put out which, even using the Marvel Method (where Stan would provide an artist a basic story outline, the artist would draw the entire comic, then Stan would furnish the story for the written work), is an amazing feat we won’t see from a major comics publisher again.

So what works in this issue? To me, it boils down to simplicity. A bad guy, Loki, wants to fight Thor, frames the Hulk for a crime he didn’t commit, and inadvertently gets a number of other heroes on his case before he is ultimately defeated. While it goes without saying that you would probably get a much deeper appreciation for the story if you have read the stand alone issues for each of these characters, another wonderful part about The Avengers is that the story for the most part stands alone. Prior knowledge of events that happened in other comics is not needed to enjoy what is happening, yet you will find plenty of editor’s notes indicating which comics in question you can read to find out the back story you may be interested in.

One character I haven’t really gotten used to is The Hulk. I will admit that this is because I grew up on the old Incredible Hulk television show which for my money is still one of the best comic book shows ever made. Since getting back into reading comics, I have found it quite strange to see the Hulk more cantankerous than I remember him to be. And the Hulk talking? Come on. To be clear, that doesn’t mean I don’t like the Hulk in this. Apart from him suddenly joining the team after being hounded by them all issue, he’s a wonderful character that I want to see more of in this story.

The only real complaint I have about this issue is Stan’s penchant for filling the pages up with as much text as possible. I fully appreciate that this story was written at a time where most folks were still used to radios being the main form of entertainment even though by this time radios were pretty much being regulated to a secondary entertainment tool in the home. The story comes across like a radio play. I found myself annoyed at some instances where Stan is describing what is going on when there was no need to do so because the art clearly showed what was going on. Again, this comic was a product of its age. If the comic were written today it would be much different. (As evidenced by this great reimagining from Joe Casey and Phil Noto.) Despite that, the story holds up incredibly well. The flaws for the most part add charm to the story because it is very much the type of feeling you get when a team gets together for the first time.

Bottom Line:

This is a must read. That goes without saying. This issue is one of a few issues in comics history that stand as a true corner stone of what make comics great. While Joss Whedon didn’t follow this comic at all when he created the first Avengers movie, I was surprised at how much of a spiritual remake of the comic that movie was.

The art work is crude by today’s standards but make no mistake, most artists wish they could achieve a tenth of what Jack Kirby created. While images have gotten more streamlined and outfits of our heroes have changed over time, you’d be hard pressed to find anyone who wouldn’t say these characters are the same as the ones in the comics today.

Interestingly, you can also say this was the time where the Fantastic Four handed over the mantle of Marvel’s most important team. Spider-Man and to a lesser extent Wolverine and The Punisher, may be the money cows of Marvel. For my money, The Avengers teaming up was the most important act Marvel could have made during this time even though admittedly if it weren’t for a little team at DC called The Justice League, who knows if The Avengers, Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, would have heeded the call and joined together.

Deadpool Kills The Marvel Universe

deadpool-kills-the-marvel-universe

First of all, on 10/29/2015, this site topped over 300 who stopped by and visited the page. For what started as an experiment that got me to start writing as a habit and to read everyday, I have to say that in two short months things are going along quite nice. I’ve been expanding my knowledge of comics beyond the basic names that everyone knows as well as making connections with comic creators that I never would have thought I could do. Like anyone, creators of artistic content want to be noticed. Whether it’s me pontificating on my love or hatred for a comic or said comic creator, people want to know that the work they do is being noticed. So even if you’re stopping by the page to laugh at it, I thank you. I’d especially like to thank the folks who’ve seen the links I’ve posted on reddit for stopping by. Some have given me some very much appreciated feedback that I hope will make future reviews better.

Now on to the comic. It’s a small graphic novel called Deadpool Kills The Marvel Universe. Apart from some glances on some early Deadpool comics on Marvel Unlimited I honestly had not had much exposure to the character. I knew he broke the fourth wall like a Looney Tunes cartoon character but again, I never knew much. I did really enjoy that piece that Ryan Reynolds filmed that got the Deadpool film made.

Deadpool Test Footage

So with that footage I went and bought this series that collects the four issue miniseries. The main premise is Deadpool knows he’s a character in a comic book and decides that it’s time for that universe to be rid of its heroes. So he goes about killing the heroes. When that isn’t enough, he breaks into “our” universe to kill the Marvel writing staff. You almost expect the final frame to be the Looney Tunes end logo saying That’s All Folks!

It’s hard to talk about this series because as far as story goes, there really isn’t one. There’s a setup where Deadpool is brought in front of a psychiatrist who turns out to be a bad guy who tries to recruit him but Daredevil quickly puts an end to that noise. From there, you get to scenes like an extended fight scene with Spider-Man which ends like Bugs Bunny pulling a fast one on Yosemite Sam, albeit a much more messy and final solution.

Now just because it’s tough to explain what is going on that doesn’t make this a bad story. It’s quite fun actually because in its own way it showcases the fact that someone like Spider-Man for example could easily be beat if the bad guy had the right weapon. All it took was a bullet to the head and viola, your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man became your friendly, neighborhood gunshot victim.

As comic fans we take for granted the power that the heroes in the story have. We don’t sit back and think about their vulnerabilities because any hero worth their salt is going to have them otherwise why would we even care? If a hero cannot be defeated, it takes the tension out of the story.

Take what Deadpool does to The Punisher. He sets up a dummy that Frank Castle thinks is him. Once he discovers what is going on, Deadpool shoots him in the head. Simple. Yes, Frank Castle has tons of military training but no military genius could possibly think of every possible scenario they’re going to face. Even if they could, could they possibly prepare for someone who is insane?

The artwork is pretty solid throughout. It’s drawn in the classic Kirby style which does go a long way towards getting you as the reader into the humor of the story. Being presented in such a traditional way only to have the traditional heroes be disposed of so quickly, while jarring, brings reality into the mix and, along with a very polished script, you find yourself laughing over each ludicrous situation. Comic books, especially superhero stories, are works of fantasy. They may be set in familiar settings, sometimes amalgamations of places, in the case of Marvel, set in real life locations, but they are fantasies like the old King Arthur stories nonetheless. While they can certainly incorporate real life quite effectively into the stories, they are as real as the wizards of old. Seeing the bit of reality tossed into the mix that Deadpool brings the story is quite beautifully drawn.

Bottom Line:

If ever there were an existential comic, it’s this one. The character is very much in control here, aware of the fact that he is being controlled by something everyone else around him is not aware of. While he does murder the heroes we’ve grown to love, the way it’s shown on screen illustrates the fact that Deadpool knows quite well that what he is doing is not really happening. It’s just a story. He’s playing a role that someone else is giving him and is having fun doing it. The comic reminded me of the old Daffy Duck classic Duck Amuck.

http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x2j6pt1

That cartoon started with Daffy in a regular cartoon only to realize quite quickly that the animators were messing with him. This is the type of cartoon you could watch over and over again and it won’t get old. This comic, if I had to make an analogy, would be if Quentin Tarantino remade Duck Amuck into a violent orgy of insanity. If you are new to Deadpool and want an intro the character without having to discover issues from comics that are close to thirty years old, start here. This is the perfect primer on what you’ll be expecting from the movie.

Punisher War Journal #1

war journal

I’ve been thinking lately about how I’ve been reviewing comics. Coming into this as a writer I know my main focus has been on the written word of the works I have read, all but ignoring the fact that comics are a melding of art and words together. The words mean nothing without the art and vice versa. What I do not want to do with these reviews are ignore the art in the piece because there is a lot of great art that really helps bring the story along or even enhances it in some cases.

What makes good art? Like a good story, good art to me is something that shouldn’t necessarily stand out. It should feel familiar and have passion but like a waiter if it is doing its job properly you don’t even realize that you are looking at a piece of art. Good comic art is meant to enhance the story, weave its way into the words like thread going into the eye of a needle. So I am going to make more of an effort to focus more on the art apart from saying it’s good. My opinion means nothing if there is not a reason for it.

What I am also going to change is the number ratings I’ve been giving the stories. They have been arbitrary. There is no scientific ranking system I am using to judge what makes a comic good so why should I use it here? I am giving my opinion of a piece so all you as the reader need to know is whether I liked it or not. So from now on that is what you will get.

Now on to the piece at hand. Punisher War Journal. I’ve grown up fascinated with The Punisher. The idea that someone could have the same motivations as the heroes we take for granted but just goes one step further and blows their heads away is an interesting study. What stops Batman from doing the same thing? Why does Spider-Man hold back and not throttle to death some of the criminals that come his way? I mean, they have the chance to end the tragedy these criminals make. Why not do it?

This story involves Frank preparing for something big but getting sidetracked. He finds a woman being attacked, saves her, and discovers that the guys that were attacking her were goons sent by her ex who happens to be a mob big shot. Frank finds the guy and in his oh so subtle way makes sure the guy leaves the woman alone. For life.

Admittedly this is the first part of a longer story. With that, we know from Frank saying many times that he has other things to do but thanks to flashbacks he has involving his family, he decides to help the woman. If this event is just Frank Castle being sidetracked than we are wasting our time here. Comics have the ability to sidetrack where a regular novel may need to be more linear in their storytelling but there should have been more effort to not only have Frank calm down over the big event he has planned but making sure that we know a little more of what is going on with said big event. You may argue that other Punisher issues from this time, 1988, would have more details but again, I feel the goal of any comic is to have a story, while it may be a part of a bigger story, feel like you’re getting a solid beginning, middle, and end with each issue. Take movies. The Empire Strikes Back doesn’t have a traditional ending. There are a LOT of loose threads. But thanks to emotional closure, we as the audience feel satisfied that the ending is complete when the credits roll. We felt the closure plus the desire to see how everything was resolved in the final movie.

Comics HAVE to do the same thing. These days comics cost damn near $4.00 if you buy them in a comic shop. Each issue has to mean something. It has to feel like a full story as well as enticing you to spend more of your money on the next issue (and hopefully the previous issues in order to know the history of the characters). This story failed to live up to this because we had the sense throughout that Frank was preparing for something big. The side mission was fine and all, don’t get me wrong. But when the first caption on page 1 states Chapter 1, you expect to have at least a glimmer of an idea of what is going on by the end of the chapter. I didn’t feel that when this issue ended.

In regards to the art, Marvel was a little weird in the 80’s (in retrospect). As a reader at the time I didn’t notice but now I see that the art is a little too abstract compared to the Silver Age Marvel titles as well as the titles we see now. There were a LOT more solid colors in the the background. Locations seemed more abstract and unrealistic which, reading the story 27 years later, takes me a bit out of it. Where it worked well were the flashback scenes of Frank reliving the murder of his family. While the characters were drawn realistic, everything has a single color assigned to it. It is a bit unnerving but thinking about it, I would think that mentally going over the death of your family again and again would be quite unnerving. Well done there.

Little details as well were great. Something simple like the action lines, those lines indicating movement you see in comics were great. Every time The Punisher attacks someone, his action lines are yellow. With yellow, you have the emotion of caution, fear, a negative feeling. While you as the reader care for Frank Castle I like, now that I paid attention a bit to the art, the fact that little bits of action that could have easily been just a scribble and off to the next big set piece had some thought put behind it.

Bottom Line:

I have some issues with the story. While I did enjoy the story, the fact that you know that this is not the main focus that Frank wants to be involved in took me out of it. It could have been remedied by cluing the reader in a little more as to what he was planning but alas, that was not the case. I recommend it but realize that you are reading an imperfect story here.

I liked how the art went out of its way to help convey the emotions Frank Castle was going through. If it weren’t for the book Understanding Comics, it would probably be something that I would have overlooked. While the art doesn’t stand the test of time, the effort put into conveying the emotion of the piece made the story much more enjoyable than I may have found it if it were just prose. I recommend checking it out.

Jennifer Blood #23

Jennifer-Blood_23

Thanks to a deal on Comixology I was able to pick up the first 36 issues of the Jennifer Blood series from Dynamite Comics. The series was created by the legendary Garth Ennis who is most famous for the Welcome Back, Frank story involving The Punisher.

For the most part the series has been a pretty fun read. It’s similar in vein to the movie Machete. The reality of the story is there to give you interest in the characters while they go off and do bizarre crazy things. But this issue has shown some of the weakness of the story so far.

Jennifer Blood had been established from the start as someone who was meticulous in her planning in her crusade against her evil uncles. Every possible scenario she had planned outcomes for so she could do her job and get out alive with no one suspecting her. Yet almost from the start she starts making mistakes that are so fucking stupid that even I know they are wrong. For example, if she were keeping her weapon stash in her home with her unsuspecting husband and children why the hell would she let it slip that the damn door to the weapon stash was open? Why would she not only be dumb enough to write in excruciating detail every crime she committed but also keep it out in the open where her family could come across it and read her crimes? In the comic she’d tried passing it off as a therapy method but come on, the details she wrote were in such detail that only a complete imbecile would believe her excuse.

She’d also been discovered by her son to be a murderer. At one point she even thought about killing her kids as well despite the fact that one of her goals in doing everything she did was for her family. It is hard to feel sympathy for someone who really doesn’t show any real concern or love for her family. She certainly likes the THOUGHT of a family but not the fact that she has real members of her family.

This issue would have to be considered a flashback issue. It tells the duel story of how she was caught and imprisoned for her crimes while also detailing everything she’d done to get to this point. It is hard to feel sympathy for someone who takes such glee in committing the crimes she did. Now you may argue that The Punisher is the same. That Frank Castle is just the same as Jennifer Blood, someone who had the right intentions but is doing something horrible to achieve his goal. But Frank Castle has been established as being someone who is more of a planner. He wants the bad guys to pay the ultimate price but he also wants to make sure that innocents are never involved. And I have yet to come across a Punisher story that involved Frank doing something like taking the intestines of one of his victims and using it to spell out his initials. That’s the action of someone who is deranged and is a sociopath. Hell, she even suggests that she may have stabbed her dog when she was a kid. Frank Castle snapped and wanted bad guys to pay. No matter how wrong he is, there is something noble about his mission. Jennifer Blood is just a deranged lunatic. (I hope she didn’t hear me.) While the story is still quite entertaining to read, I find it more and more annoying that we’re being somehow forced to try and care about the actions of someone that clearly doesn’t deserve to be cared about.

The art work from issue one is a big plus. It walks the fine line between realistic action showcasing the absurdity of the story we are witnessing. She’s deranged and crazy. The artist does a great job of illustrating the insanity that floods her mind. We see the brutality she dishes out as well as her insane version of what a perfect life would be. He also does a great job in showing the reality that shows its face in her life on occasion, such as her son finally calling her on her shit. The emotion on the kids face is real and well done.

Bottom Line:

This story is not a realistic story in any sense. If you’re expecting anything resembling reality, avoid this comic. This is the type of comic for people who enjoy Jason Statham movies (such as myself). If you sit back and think too hard about what is going on, you will realize how silly and stupid everything that is happening to these characters. But if you want a simple premise with lots and lots of gratuitous action, this is the story for you. It has real glaring weak points which is why I have to give the story a 4.

The art is well done. Not classic by any means like Frank Miller’s work on The Dark Knight Returns or anything like that but it does a great job in giving us a glimpse into the mind of a nutso. The little bits of reality that do shine through ground the story and give it more depth. I give the art an 8.

Daredevil #183

Daredevil_Vol_1_183

Summary:

http://marvel.wikia.com/wiki/Daredevil_Vol_1_183

The Good:

Frank Miller. Frank Miller, along with Alan Moore and others, are responsible for comics as they are today. How so you may be asking? Well, people like Mr. Miller are responsible for taking comics from the adolescent adventure stories that Stan Lee and others created to the hardened adventures that adults could enjoy and love without looking creepy doing it.

This story is about Matt Murdock investigating who was responsible for selling a little girl the drug angel dust. The girl thought snakes were attacking her and decided she would rather jump out of a window than deal with them. During his investigation his crosses paths with The Punisher who tries to enlist his help in taking down criminals in Frank Castle’s very special, tender way.

Much like the tv show that Marvel produced for Netflix, the great thing about Daredevil in this particular story at least is the fact that the story is based in a realism you don’t really get in other comics. Daredevil is like Batman in a lot of ways in how he cares for his city of Hell’s Kitchen and does what he can to clean up the place from the top criminals down to the lowliest scum that he crosses paths with. Matt Murdock is someone you could imagine could actually exist whereas someone like Iron Man or Captain America, while great heroes and characters you love to read about, come across as more idealized versions of what someone imagines a hero could be.

I like the fact that the story deals in a somewhat realistic was the issue of drug abuse. The fact that a comic that came out in 1982 was dealing with such a heavy issue is pretty amazing in and of itself. The fact that it didn’t come across like a very special episode of a 1980’s sitcom is even more amazing. Back in the 80’s, the entertainment industry was a little ham handed to say the least in how they presented drugs and drug abuse. For the most part they were unrealistic in how they presented it giving people the impression that the issue of drug abuse was much more of a black and white issue than it is in real life. In real life good people take drugs not necessarily to escape life because they have such horrible lives. They try it for fun and get hooked without realizing it. While this issue was a little on the formulaic side I think it was as realistic as 1982 comics could be in regards to this topic.

The art work was pretty good. It was simply designed, showcasing the shadows and the darkness of the streets the blind hero is trying to change. When the little girl’s brother is caught on the roof with a gun in his hands the expression on his face is priceless. You feel the kids pain. You see he feels horrible his sister died at the result of remorseless drug dealers and while it is later revealed that he did not kill the drug dealer, you see that he is not quite sad the guy is dead. While there could have been more depth to the scenery when the art required the scene to be emotional it brought its A game.

The Bad:

The cover for this comic is quite famous and rightfully so. It says a lot about the two characters that words would fail to express. But one thing the story did not do was give us the real Frank Castle. While The Punisher was fighting people who know are bad guys, not once is he ever shown to be the sympathetic character he is. The Punisher sympathetic you may ask?

Yes. The main pull about why we care about The Punisher is the WHY of his crusade against crime. If we are not given the why than Frank Castle is just as much a thug as the people he kills. No doubt about it the people that The Punisher kill are bad people and deserved death a long time ago. This is not about trying to feel sorry for people that have intentionally made bad choices in their lives. But we need to care about Frank and the fact that due to his family’s death he’s making the wrong choice for the right reasons. Yet this comic does nothing more than portray Frank Castle as just as much a thug as the drug dealers in the story. It would have been nice to have Matt dig a little deeper into The Punisher’s history and discover what happened with his family. While the two would still be at odds we would at least see that Daredevil understands the motivation for what makes Frank Castle tick despite the fact that what he does sickens him.

The story also suffered from the fact that it didn’t feel self contained. A number of things happened that had no relevance to the main story of this issue, the main issue being Matt Murdock proposing marriage to Heather Glenn at the end of the issue. It’s great and all that Matt has found love but this came out of nowhere especially for someone like me who picked up the story at this particular issue. While I should feel impelled to want to know more of what is going on to the point that I investigate the back issues to read more about what is going on, the story itself should have been much more self contained than it was.

I also didn’t like the fact that what started as a story about the dangers of drugs quickly turned to murder. Granted, this was 1982. I can imagine this story would have come across much different if it were made today. It just made the story seem silly and trite when you barely talk about a twelve year old girl who girls herself while high on angel dust but you have no problem deal with page after page of the consequences of her brother who is not much older than her having to deal with being accused of murder. This country of ours, America. We can show people getting killed and maimed left and right but when it comes to dealing with serious issues like drug abuse and heaven forbid sex and boobies, we must cover our eyes and ears while yelling LALALALALA as loud as we can. We have certainly evolved enough over the years in that I think we can now deal with issues like drug abuse and what not but we’re still quite prudish and ignorant on other issues. I won’t blame the comic for failing to get into more detail about the drug use because frankly that is our society here in America even today. We ignore shit like this until it affects pretty young white girls than it’s a BIG FUCKING DEAL that we must deal with yesterday.

The one complaint I have about the artwork is that it is too minimalist for my tastes. Now being that this is a Frank Miller story, the guy who in Sin City had quite the time with black and white drawings, I should have expected it. While it does have its moments of brilliance, there are times where I wanted more, especially in the external location shots. It comes across like the play Our Town were filmed as an action movie. Too much is going on in such stark empty locations. It was distracting more than it elevated the story.

Bottom Line:

The cover is brilliant. This is like album covers from bands you may never have any interest in listening to but still put out amazing album covers. The violence implied in this cover is great but it really isn’t addressed in the story. The story itself is all right but it’s lacking in the sense that the story is not self contained in any way, shape, or form. I guess that’s how Frank Miller wanted to present the story but I did find myself lost in regards to what was going on. Too much was going on that required you to know enough back story to really appreciate the story. If you didn’t read the previous issues than you really can’t appreciate what this story was trying to do. For that I have to give the story a 4.

The art work could have been better. Being that it was 1982, we’re dealing with a young Frank Miller here. He hadn’t found his style yet, the style that exploded in your face with The Dark Knight Returns and Sin City. While there are moments of brilliance in this issue the art does more to detract from your enjoyment than anything else. I have to give it a 3.

Again, another harsh review. Don’t let that keep you from reading this comic. It’s great to see how great artists evolve. This is a great example of early Frank Miller work. The worst of Frank Miller is better than a lot of great work that is out today.

Jennifer Blood #1

JBlood

I thought I would change things up a bit and explore a comic I was introduced to thanks to a Groupees sale. (Groupees is similar to Humble Bundle but the offering I was introduced to this comic from were a little on the slim side compared to Humble Bundle. At least the money went to a good cause.) It’s written by Garth Ennis so even if the comic is bad, it’s still going to be better than pretty much any other comic out there today.

The Good:

The setup is great. The story is told via diary entries from the main character. She starts off talking about stuff you would imagine a housewife talking about in regards to her day dealing with kids, a husband, and running a house. Little by little she tosses in little clues as to where the story is going by mentioning stuff like reading Guns and Ammo magazine while getting her nails done a the salon and mentioning that a .38 or a .45 would be a better gun that would get the job done faster compared to the .09 mm guns the magazines were crowing about.

The main action of the story occurs near the end and it is pure Ennis. Ennis is famous for his work on The Punisher, most famously the story Welcome Back, Frank. If anyone knows how to write action along with compelling characters and story it’s Garth Ennis and here he does not disappoint. Explosions, blood, violence. But he does a great job in terms of building up to it. It isn’t action for the sake of action. When people are just fighting and we don’t know why there’s no tension there. It may look cool but it’s easily forgettable. When you have someone build up a character and their life for you, once you get to the point of caring for them everything they do has you on the edge of your seat.

The buildup, while slow, is also believable. Now how believable can be debated because after all we are talking about an action story. An action story like this does expect you to have some suspension of disbelief in order to fully appreciate what is going on. Without that, would we have three Expendables movies? (Two too many of those but that’s feedback for another blog.) You get that Jennifer really loves her husband and her family. While you don’t know the reason WHY she is doing what she is doing yet, you get the sense that it must be important, otherwise why would a woman who has so much go through such efforts to do something like this.

The art comes across like the old romance comics that were prevalent in the 1950’s when the balls were temporarily removed from the comic industry. The diary you see on the first page is frilly. The pictures are all bright and optimistic. I love thought that the further we get into the story the colors get darker, reflecting the fact that the story is taking a dark turn. It’s the kind of subliminal thing you need to mentally prepare you for the action you experience.

And the violence. The violence is great! Bodies flying everywhere. Lots of blood. It’s what you expect from modern action stories and it’s great.

The Bad:

As I mentioned the story starts off slow. Real slow. There is a point to it of course. Garth is preparing the stage for when Jennifer finally dons her costume and takes out the criminals that are stealing cars from a ship yard and selling them for profit. It just took a real LONG time to get there and it almost lost my interest. I got it back quickly and thanks to the revelation that one of the men she killed was an Uncle of her’s, I want to know more about why she’s going on a bloody, Punisher like rampage. I just wish there could have been a way to transition her from typical housewife to kick ass assassin a little faster.

The art work near the end did get a little sloppy. The last couple pages of the story involved her cleaning up after her little adventure and while in bed with her husband being coaxed into a quick love making session. Everything at this point felt a little rushed and the characters came off as ugly. Maybe I will change my mind on this the further I read into the story. Maybe we WANT to see that she ultimately views the suburbanite lifestyle as drab and ugly at which point I will revise my opinion. As it stands it was presented that she loves her family and the life they have so to have the story visually end on an ugly note was a bit jarring. And to have one of the last frames end up being her husband look like he’s going to pop an eye out as he finishes his duty was just silly. Who needs to see that? Show more Jennifer!!!

Bottom Line:

This is a good start. I hope to see things pick up the further I get into this series and I don’t doubt that it will. What holds back this particular issue from being amazing is the pace. It is slow. You will feel yourself age as you read the first dozen or so pages. Granted, your patience WILL pay off so don’t take this as too much of a complaint. The problem is though that others may not like the pacing and decide to put the book down before they get to the good part. For that I have to give the story a 5.

The art starts off good. It fits the image that you expect from the syrupy writing you’re reading by being romantic and bright. The further it gets along, the closer it gets to the violent action scenes you’re waiting to see, the darker the piece gets which is great. Again though, the only thing that throws me off are the last few pages which are depicted ugly. There may be a point to that which I will understand later on but for now, being that this is the first issue I have read I have to give it a 5 as well.

I have been harsh with this issue but I have to be clear. I highly recommend it. While flawed, it does grab you by the throat at the end and make you dive for the next issue, if only to see the amazing covers!

Mighty Avengers #13

Mighty_Avengers_Vol_1_13

Summary:

http://marvel.wikia.com/wiki/Mighty_Avengers_Vol_1_13

The Good:

In this issue we take a bit of an interlude to see how the Secret Warriors, a team who’s first issue I had reviewed previously (https://jousmafiles.wordpress.com/2015/09/08/secret-warriors-1/) but who I didn’t know too much about. Seems that the team was brought together by Nick Fury initially to fight against the Skrull invasion because he needed a team of people he knew he could trust, a team that was not on anyone’s books. A team led by everyone’s favorite Inhuman, Daisy Johnson. (She’s known as Skye on Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD television show.)

I have a soft spot for any comic that begins just a few blocks from where I am reading it. It opens in Mount Tabor Park in Portland, Oregon where Daisy meets up with Nick Fury who is in disguise. The disguise is actually pretty funny. In the main Marvel story line, Nick Fury is white. He was only established as black in the Ultimate universe created by Brian Bendis. In this issue, he meets up with Daisy in disguise as the black version of himself in the Ultimate universe.

I liked the interaction Daisy had with each new team member that Nick Fury suggested she speak with. Even a jarring intro she had with a young lady who could read the future seemed natural. While I don’t have a clue where Daisy fits into the grand scheme of things in the Secret Invasion, the team that’s been put together is an interesting group.

The artwork did a good job in showing the individuality of the characters. The scene I enjoyed most was the intro to Doctor Druid’s son. He’d arrived at Doctor Strange’s old home for help where Daisy meets up him. He knows something is up due to having some powers but he doesn’t know where they come from or how to handle them. When Daisy tells him she can help him get a grasp on everything, the smile he gives when hugging her is priceless.

The Bad:

Based on the cover of the issue you’d think that you’d have an issue dealing with the Skrull versions of the heroes we all know and love. You’d be wrong. While the story told in these pages wasn’t bad by any means, it is a kind of bait and switch. Nick Fury has already been introduced into the story so having him on the cover would not have been too far fetched to have. Yet we think we’re going to see Captain America and encounter nothing of the sort.

The story itself, if you can even call it that, felt too short. While it could be said that this could be due to enjoyment of the story, that the story was so good that it felt like it was over before it had a chance to start, I counter that it felt fast because not much of anything really happened. We meet a group of people who on the last frame are lectured by Nick Fury about the pending invasion as they glance of pictures of people Fury believes to be potential Skrulls.

While you don’t doubt that Nick Fury has his heart in the right place, similar to The Punisher you have to ask why he takes some of the actions that he does. He seems to feel that the ends justify the means and that in the name of world peace it is ok to deceive, lie to , hurt, and even have killed people you may love and respect. We get that the Skrull invasion is a pretty serious threat and that big decisions will have to be made but at this point, Nick Fury is in charge of jack shit. His getting involved without SHIELD being involved just makes no sense and makes me not really care for the character that much.

They’re touching on this albeit briefly in the Marvel Movie universe as well. While Nick Fury is supposed to be in charge of the Earth defense force, he keeps a lot to himself and doesn’t trust too many people. There’s a plan B for everything. Again, you sense that he has the right intentions for his actions but in the movies you can’t tell me he didn’t know Hydra had infiltrated SHIELD. There is no way he is that dumb. And if he knew Hydra had infiltrated SHIELD, why didn’t he do anything about it? What is his end game?

The art for this issue, while much better than the last issue of Mighty Avengers, still has that sloppy feel that I didn’t really care for. I like my art a lot cleaner than what is presented in this issue. Locations don’t really appear real. Characters have this non-realistic look that is quite jarring. The disguise I had mentioned Nick Fury was wearing earlier looked nothing like his Ultimate universe self looks like which pretty much ruins the point of having that joke. If you didn’t know about the Ultimate Nick Fury, you have to ask yourself why Nick Fury is walking around in public in black face and how anybody could fall for it?

Bottom Line:

I was harsh on this comic. In some ways it deserves it because there is not much going on. What it does though is introduce you to a new set of characters that I am intrigued to know a little more about. Who are these people and what are their links to characters we may already know? How will they work as a team? Will Daisy Johnson be a good leader? All questions I want to know the answer to. For that, I have to give the story a 7.

The art I am conflicted on. I think it looks horrible. It does however have a couple of good touches such as how Doctor Druid’s son was depicted which was nice to see. I really wish it was much cleaner because the mess really detracts from what was done well. For sloppy drawing, I have to give the art a 4.

This is not a bad issue. I am not looking to see people purposely skip this issue because there is a lot to enjoy. Just know that you are not getting a comic classic. This will just get you to the next issue of the Secret Invasion.

Eminem/The Punisher

Eminem_punisher

We go from the Mona Lisa of comics to the Kim Kardashian of comics. Today I had the misfortune of reading Eminem/The Punisher. I hope to prevent anyone on the planet that is the least bit curious about the contents of this stain on the comics industry from having to endure 18 pages of pure agony.

Summary:

http://marvel.wikia.com/wiki/Eminem/The_Punisher_Vol_1_1

The Good:

You have to look hard but there is some good in this comic. That good is the art work. Pretty solid work from Salvador Larroca. It evoked images of classic Punisher comics and he did one heck of a job in his image of Eminem. The locations are wonderfully drawn.

The Bad:

Where to start? The story is the most implausible piece of trash I have had the misfortune of reading. Eminem comes across as a caricature of himself. I mean, what music artist during regular conversation would repeat lyrics to his own songs? Also, why would a multi-Platinum music artist pull a gun on anyone and attempt to kill them? Yeah some music artists have guns. Eminem himself had troubles with the law early in his career after he had an argument with someone that was talking with his ex or something like that. (I am not his biographer and don’t feel like taking the time to find out what happened cause who the hell cares?)

Also, the bit where Eminem was thrown off a boat in the Arctic and just walks across the frozen water happening to run across the one fisherman who happens to be a big fan of his and also happens to have a chainsaw was just too damn convenient. A deus ex machina of I ever saw one.

Eminem’s “friend” in the story is about as realistic as a porn star’s physique. Why would trailer trash like Eminem know someone who suddenly became a mercenary for hire? A gang banger I could understand. An international mercenary, not so much, especially when the character is presented as having the intelligence of a slug.

Bottom Line:

AVOID THIS COMIC! This is the type of vanity project that makes the comic industry look bad. Similar to professional wrestling clowns, issues like this do nothing but make the average person shake their head in shame and move on to something else to read. I give the story a 0. The artwork is probably the only redeeming quality of the work. But it is far from being enough to redeem this steaming turd of a comic. I give the artwork a 7.