These issues make more sense when read as clump. There is a lot going on in Thunderbolts to conclude this story arc. There are explosions, gamma powered Crimson Dynamos and more bad one-liners from Deadpool: everything that you would want from this series. But writer Daniel Way delivers much more.
It turns out that the Crimson Dynamos are owned and operated by Elektra’s brother Orestez, as somehow he has gotten himself involved in the black market weapons trade. Ultimately, it’s up to the Thundebrolts to destroy these weapons and stop Orestez. There’s a bit of a twist, as he is on to their plan and is somehow attempting to set up a broadcast of this, hoping that he will be killed and wind up as a martyr. Way never really explains this, and it feels a bit out-of-place. Issue #11 ends with the above scene, with Elektra killing her brother off panel in private and not giving him the brutal public display that would influence future terrorists, which he seemed to have wanted. There’s an earlier seen with her being shocked that the Punisher would so easily kill Orestez, and I wonder if that was done to set up future relationship problems between the world’s deadliest trouble.
The rest of the team is pretty static through this. Red Hulk is, well, Red Hulk. Venom and Deadpool are still very uneasy about everything that is going on but seem to get along with each other for the most part. The Leader is turning out to be an asset to the group, as it turns out that he’s gained the ability to speak with electronics the way that the Drummer does in Planetary. This skill comes to use in the groups final battle with Orestez. The issue ends with Leader speaking to a vision of Mercy, with her telling him that he has much more potential than he knows.
This was Way’s last issue in the series, and I would say that he did a decent job for the most part. Even though there were some odd parts of the story that didn’t come across well (like Orestez’s attempt at martyrdom), Thunderbolts has worked for me because of the way he built the team’s shaky group dynamic. It’s like he’s trying to get the point across that the Thunderbolts’ biggest threat is themselves. And that he clearly was able to get across.
This cover is a bit of a swerve; Deadpool doesn’t attack the Punisher at any point in Thunderbolts #8.
While the main team is on various stake out missions against Middle Eastern terrorists and weapons dealers trying to get a lead on the gamma powered weaponry, writer Daniel Way is still building up the tension among the team’s members, specifically as a result of the Punisher/Elektra/Deadpool love triangle. I also love the way that the Leader is portrayed as being somewhat incompetent and not realizing the full potential of what he can or cannot do.
There is a lot of foreshadowing going on, as Orestez Natchios is giving an author lecture about his newest book on terrorism. I’m sure as the story unfolds he is going to have something to do with the gamma Crimson Dynamos from the last issue.
Thunderbolts #7 starts out a bit different from the previous issues, with Phil Noto taking over from Steve Dillon on the penciling duties. Daniel Way has the team dealing with the fallout from their first mission while travelling in a submarine.
There is growing tension on the submarine, as Punisher and Elektra’s somewhat secret relationship has come to life, and Deadpool is quite the jealous merc with a mouth.
The issue ends with all of the Thunderbolts attempting to overthrow the Red Hulk, as they’re still not exactly sure of what’s going on.
Because he’s, you know, gamma powered and everything, Red Hulk quickly dispatches the attempted coup. He finally starts to explain more of their mission and how he has assembled this group to stop enemies of the state that have acquired gamma weaponry. There was a large gamma weapon that was taken during the first story arc and they have to stop it from falling into the wrong hands.
The last pages of the story pretty much reveal that; whoever got a hold of the gamma weapon has used it to put together a battalion of gamma-powered Crimson Dynamo battle armored soldiers.
I’m liking where this is heading and by this point you can see that Way is hitting his stride. Phil Noto’s art is pretty sweet as well. I still don’t get why everyone is so harsh on this series.
So while on my summer vacation, I did something that was sort of a challenge: rereading the first collected volume of Jaime Hernandez’ “Locas” story from Love & Rockets from beginning to end. Could I survive this battle of wills with a 700 page omnibus?
Well I did! It might be the heaviest thing that I’ve read all summer, but it was a fun read. I had previously read these stories about a decade ago and I enjoyed getting reacquainted with Hopey, Maggie and the rest of the crew. And I know it’s silly to say, but I think since the last time I visited these characters, I’ve really learned to enjoy them more.
Hopey and Maggie have an interesting relationship, switching tracks from friendship to romantic on and off through the years. And as the story progresses, they change as characters growing older and their life choices have shaped them. There is a lot of nuance, detail and subtlety in Hernandez’s writing that I didn’t notice the first time I read through his work.
I also like reading this, as you can see how Hernandez evolved both as a writer and as an artist through the series. In the earlier parts of the story, elements of the plot are a lot more absurd, with Maggie being a robotics mechanic and there being dinosaurs. But as everything moves forward, the story becomes more grounded in reality and gets much more enjoyable. And about halfway through, you can tell that Hernandez is visually hitting his stride.
Definitely check this out. By now you all know that my reading taste and habits veer more towards the super hero end of the spectrum, but it’s really nice to branch out to something different. It really is a masterpiece and deserves more attention.
I know I’ve been kind of harsh on some of the New 52 stuff that DC has been putting out, but I was pleasantly surprised after I read Batman/Superman #1-2. But then again, anything that combines Jae Lee’s art with a Greg Pak script will be great.
This series starts out with the two meeting for the first time, shortly after Clark Kent is investigating Bruce Wayne for an article he is writing. After a costumed encounter, they realize each other’s extracurricular activities and there is a lot of fun super hero battling. This newly found friendship/alliance has them take on the mysterious shape-shifting Trickster and eventually sends them to Earth 2 where they encounter alternate versions of themselves!
It is a bit of a complicated read, with all the shape-shifting and multiple versions of the same characters, but it’s definitely worth sticking with. Pak is a great writer and I’m sure it will all make sense at the end. And for Lee’s art, it’s just awesome.
So I give this a thumbs up. It was a pleasant surprise that I wasn’t necessarily planning to check out.
It’s not really a surprise to me that WWE superstar Dolph Ziggler was at San Diego Comic Con last month. I saw him at last year’s New York Comic Con. But what amazes me is seeing him interview the Toxic Avenger and his creator/Troma Entertainment founder Lloyd Kaufman! If that doesn’t make your head explode, I don’t know what will!
Now this was awesome. Red She-Hulk: Hell Hath No Fury was something that felt completely fresh in its concept. Betty Ross (who can change at will into the Red She-Hulk) in a situation like The Fugitive; she has to shut down a top-secret military super soldier program called Echelon.
Since this is technically an attack on the United States, the Avengers have been sent to stop her. They don’t know that Betty has been informed by Nikola Tesla via an ancient computer called the Terranometer is that Echelon will eventually bring about the end of humanity. I know that doesn’t make sense, but if you have been reading Jonathan Hickman’s S.H.I.E.L.D. it would.
She is in pursuit by Machine Man, who winds up joining her after he connects to the Terranometer and learns of this future. Somehow there is a mute girl named Eleanor who is tied to this. Jeff Parker adds a lot of suspense to the story by having the two fighting to escape S.H.I.E.L.D. The book ends with a bit of a cliffhanger, with Jennifer Banner–the original She-Hulk–seemingly getting involved with Echelon’s plan.
I liked Red She-Hulk a lot. Parker put together a really fast paced story, everything ties together and looks to be building to a huge pay off. Carlo Pagulayan’s art is stellar, but there were a few errors in the coloring/after effects that were left in, like notes to the colorists and what not. Normally that could bother someone, but the story and art are so strong that it makes you ignore them. This is good stuff and I want to read more.
It’s no secret that I’m a super fan of Louise Simonson’s work, so getting the X-Factor Forever collection was a must buy for me. The book resolves plot-lines that she had set up nearly twenty years ago!
The first part of the story pretty much reestablished the dynamics of the characters. Cyclops (and his son Nathan, who, you know grows up to be Cable) are adjusting to life with a newly returned from the grave Jean Grey, and the rest of the team is enjoying themselves.
At first, it seems like the kidnapping of young Nathan by Caliban and Mister Sinister is the worst that will happen. But instead, X-Factor finds itself in an uneasy alliance with Apocalypse to find the child, for he is the proof that the cosmic Celestials need to deem mutant-kind a worthy species.
The resulting story has to be the best written Apocalypse I’ve ever encountered. Through the main narrative (and a back-up feature that chronicles his life) we learn that he has been subtly influencing the direction of mankind into evolving, ensuring its survival among the planet’s other species, the Deviants and Eternals. Apocalypse had appointed Mister Sinister to be his apprentice who unfortunately has his ideas on how humans and mutants should evolve. It’s a race against time and whoever has Nathan will control the outcome of the Celestial’s judgement.
Again, the writing on this is amazing. Louise is able to conjure the feelings of Jack Kirby style cosmic drama with Grant Morrison-like sensibilities, all the while not sacrificing her own style. I highly recommend this. And if you pick up the collected version, it includes X-Factor #63-64, which concluded her run on the original series. Get this…you won’t be disappointed.
British comics writer/artist/inker/all around awesome guy Andy Lanning drew this headsketch of Nova for me. I love how he was able to add some silver Sharpie squiggles, adding an awesome effect to it. But what was equally awesome about Andy was the face that he took the time to answer all my silly questions about his writing practices and habits. I was a fan before, but he certainly made a fan for life out of me!
More fun from my New York Comic Con 2012 sketchbook! I got this awesome sketch of Venom from Declan Shelvey! The Irish artist is super awesome and I had a discussion with him about the city of Philadelphia, the setting of his Venom series! You can check out more fun stuff from Declan at his blog.
I was also able to get this awesome sketch of Deadpool by Shawn Crystal, book-ending the awesome Cable one that I got from Reilly Brown. He’s a great artist and you should check out his DeviantArt ASAP.
One of the best things I read in 2012 was Mark Waid’s Daredevil. Not only was it well written, but the art was amazing and you can thank Paolo Rivera for a lot of that. You can check out more of Paolo’s work here.
I’m on vacation this week so we’ll be posting some quick stuff, mostly sketches I picked up at New York Comic Con 2012 starting with this one of Cable by Reilly Brown.
Reilly is an awesome artist and I really loved his work on the Cable and Deadpool series. That said, getting a sketch of Cable from him made me super excited. You can catch up on his current projects on his Tumblr. You should also check out his own project Power Play which I highly recommend.
What’s the best part of birthdays? Birthday presents! One of my coworkers gave me the recent Uncanny Avengers #9 which comes at a perfect time, since I just got through the first collected volume of the series.
The series is still following the same main plot points from before. The Apocalypse Twins are now shown as adults who seem to have some sort of plan to destroy everything, and it’s up to this group of Avengers to save everything.
To make matters more confusing, it turns out that a lot of these current problems are the result of Kang the Conqueror and Immortus’ influence on the time streams. I know they are the same person, but the fact that both of them have independently messed things up has to count for something.
There’s also a lot of division on the team, between the mutants that make up the group and Thor being on one side, and the traditional Avengers on the other. There’s a lot of yelling when it’s revealed that Wolverine lead the covert mission to kill the young child Apocalypse.
The book ends with the Apocalypse Twins revealing their new Four Horsemen: Banshee, Daken, Grim Reaper and Sentry. Things can’t be going to well for the Uncanny Avengers.
Rick Remender does a great job carrying plot points from not only earlier in this series, but going back to his work on Uncanny X-Force. And on the visual side of things, David Acuna is great in how he creates a very unique take on these classic characters.
“Rowdy” Roddy Piper was one of my favorite wrestlers as a young child. I don’t know why I connected so much with him so much; maybe it was because he’s the only significant Scotsman in popular culture or maybe because I’ve always been a snarky, wise cracking person. Anyway, I always loved Piper, even more so than Hulk Hogan. His figure in the WWE Classic Superstars line was a must have.
The sculpting on the figure is really good, capturing his signature “Hot Rod!” ringer t-shirt. The only problem I have with the figure is that the face doesn’t really look that much like Piper. They got the hair perfectly though.
But face aside, Jakks did a really good job capturing his look. He’s wearing his kilt, with the appropriate tartan. You can remove the kilt, and he’s wearing his blue wrestling trunks underneath. I wouldn’t recommend it, as he looks kind of odd wearing just trunks and a t-shirt. The figure looks awesome on my shelf with the rest of his wrestling chums.
On the accessory side, he comes with the original style WWF Intercontinental Championship title belt that he had in early 1992. I still think the match he had with the Mountie on Saturday Night Main Event, with him wearing a zap proof shirt to prevent the Canadian villain’s zap stick from being a factor, was one of the silliest things ever in pro wrestling.He also comes with a microphone. It’s appropriate since he was/is among the best talkers ever in the history of wrestling.
Criticisms aside, it is a really fun action figure and I’m very happy to have it. He stands proudly over Hogan.
During the mid 2000s, I was kind of obsessed with buying the Jakks WWE Classic Superstars line. Having regularly watched Extreme Championship wrestling since it’s debut (lets face it; I was an impressionable youth) It only seemed right that I would get the Sabu figure.
Sabu is dressed in his typical ring gear. His baggy MC Hammer style pants are made out of a sparkly/shiny cloth which really makes him stand out. The detailing is right, even down to his sash belt
They also painted on his various wrist and arm tapes which are a nice touch. Sabu also came with a vinyl white version of his typical headdress to complete the look. The action figure also came with a folding chair as an accessory, so you can have him hit all of his signature wrestling moves, from the Arabian Facebuster to the Triple Jump Moonsault to the rest of your unsuspecting action figures.
Jakks received a lot of criticism for how much they recycled parts of action figures and didn’t detail the figures enough. This figure proves to be the exception. Sabu has all his appropriate scarring on his chest and arms, showing the pains of wrestling in barbed wire rings.
Ultimately, this is one of my favorite action figures from this line. It looks really cool and serves as a nice nostalgia piece to the days when a glorified bingo hall in south Philadelphia was the epicenter of the wrestling universe.
Uncanny Avengers is a follow up of sorts to the events of Avengers vs. X-Men, with a new subgroup of Avengers being assembled for two reasons: to protect the world from super human threats and to publicly show that mutants are a positive force on the world. What this new team–and it’s new leader Havok–get to tackle in their first mission is the Red Skull.
Although technically a clone of the original, the Red Skull has a diabolical plan of his own that harkens back to his Nazi origins. Skull has exhumed the body of Professor Xavier in order to graft the dead mutant’s brain to his own, thus giving him strong telepathic powers. He uses this newly found skill to control the minds of average New Yorkers into murdering mutants. Clearly writer Rick Remender doesn’t care about the laws of science.
But what hakes this work is how the team itself interacts with each other. Havok may be the leader of the group, but Captain America is having a somewhat hard time adjusting to the fact that he’s not in charge. There’s also a lot of tension between Rogue and Scarlet Witch as well. Ultimately, the Avengers are able to stop the Red Skull. As this is going on, there is the birth of twins that seems somewhat important. Thanks to Wikipedia, it turns out that those are the evil future Archangel-as-Apocalypse’s children.
We also get a feel good moment with Havok during a press conference, as he pretty much says that he’d rather be called a human than a mutant. This feeling is shortlived, as an attacking Grim Reaper is killed accidentally by Rogue. So what was arranged to be a huge moment in the coexistence between man and mutant alike turns out to be the broadcast of a mutant killing someone (although a villain) to every television viewer in the world. That has got to hurt their Q rating.
I don’t usually read Uncanny X-Force, but when I do I certainly find it interesting. Writer Sam Humphries seems to have assembled some sort of love quadrangle!
Not having really read this latest volume or the conclusion of the previous, I will admit that I’m a little behind on some of the character developments. But what I do know is that Fantomex has been split into three separate beings based on the three brains that he had. Aside from him, there is now a female side of him named Cluster and a more evil version of called Weapon XIII. Ultimately, Cluster and Fantomex get along for the most part.
There is a lot of flashbacks going on in this which makes it a little confusing at times. Fantomex, Cluster and Psylocke tracking some mutant (who thanks to some online detective work seems to be Bishop), as well as Fantomex and Psylocke going on a string of high-end burglaries to pay for an operation for his mother. This part didn’t really make much sense to me, as Psylocke is pretty wealthy being a member of the Braddock family. Surely her–or her brother Captain Britain–could cough up some money for this.
But what’s more interesting is that there is a very bizarre romantic situation developing. When I read the first volume of Uncanny X-Force, I detected some weird foreshadowing of a Psylocke/Fantomex relationship. I was right; this issue started with them enjoying some post-coital cuddling. Not only that, but Cluster also professed her love of Psylocke which was reciprocated. And the story ends with Weapon XIII having Psylocke kidnapped, and then him telling her that he indeed loves her.
To me, this looks like it’s going to end with the three parts of Fantomex in a fight to the death, leaving only one part. There’s a bit of a mystery to this and it should be interesting to see how it ends. My money is on Cluster getting killed and Psylocke avenging her by taking Weapon XIII’s life, leaving her with an oddly emotionally distant scoundrel in Fantomex.
With the San Diego Comic Con next week, the net is buzzing about an announcement for a X-Force movie. Bleeding Cool has been speculating about it all week, and X-Force co-creator Rob Liefeld has been tweeting up a storm. That said who gets to be in the movie?
I would assume that it would be the original era, as opposed to the X-Force as Wolverine’s covert hit squad. That said, it would be safe to assume that Cable would be in this and would be front and center with the team. I would assume that the movie would branch off from X-Men: The Last Stand, with a group of mutant students from the Xavier Institute going on their own under his leadership.
You would need someone to be a more direct counterpoint to Cable, and I think that is where Cannonball comes in. But as far as the rest of who should (or shouldn’t) be in the movie is pretty up in the air.
Domino makes sense, as she kind of serves as a second to Cable. Warpath brings a unique choice, as they haven’t really had any Native American characters in a super hero movie before. Having Rictor and Sunspot, who are Mexican and Brazillian respectively, might help make the movie easier to market in Latin America. But would they make Rictor be openly gay in the movie as he is in the comics? The same question could be raised if they bring in his boyfriend Shatterstar into the film. That would be another first, too, with having a gay super hero in a mainstream movie.
Sadly, I don’t think anyone would notice or miss Feral and Boom Boom if they weren’t included in the film other than me. So what do you think?
For the last few years, Hasbro has had a GI Joe vs. Transformers set as an exclusive for the San Diego Comic Con. This summer the company has completely outdone themselves.
The set comes with three figures. The Snake Eyes is pretty forgettable, but the rest are amazing. It comes with a figure of the Decepticon Bludgeon’s Pretender exterior. The Pretenders aren’t just Chrissy Hynde’s backing band; they were a sub-line of Transformers that gave the robots a humanoid exterior. And in Bludgeon’s case, it was a zombie samurai. I’m also loving that Baroness comes with the evil Ravage in the right scale to the rest of the GI Joe figures.On the vehicular side, it comes with two Autobot inspired vehicles for the GI Joes. The classic VAMP jeep is decorated to look like Hound, who turned into a military jeep.
And to protect the sky, the GI Joe Skystriker attack plane is made up to look like the Autobot Jetfire. This is extra awesome, as Jetfire himself was a re-decoed Valkyrie plane from the old Robotech toy line, and this vehicle is in scale with the old Robotech action figures. Nerd bliss, I tell you.
It also comes with Blaster, who transformed into a boom box and you can ‘t get more 1980s then that. But Blaster also comes with the cassette tapes that turned into tiny Autobot spies. How cool is that!
My birthday is coming up and I would love any of these!