Archive for the ‘Marvel Comics’ Category

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It’s here, it’s here! Marvel’s big Summer event series has arrived. Time to find out if it lives up to the hype.

After the Avengers are able to preemptively stop a massive attack from happening due to some information from the Inhumans, Iron Man hosts a party in Stark Tower and invites all of the heroes who helped save the day. The heroes learn just how the Inhumans learned about the attack and the revelation immediately causes some skepticism and dissension among the costumed adventurers. The conflict is presented immediately, the battle lines are drawn, and the casualties begin to mount a lot quicker than you might expect.

As previously mentioned, writer Brian Michael Bendis wastes no time in getting right into the the conflict for this series, and honestly, I’m okay with that. We don’t really need grand introductions to these characters’ mentalities and reasons for why they feel their way is best. If you step back and look at each side, you ultimately have to admit that both make valid arguments. I also have to give proper kudos to Bendis for coming up with a genuine, morally thought-provoking conflict for the heroes to fight over. That couldn’t have been easy following the landmark Civil War series from the last decade. What I was very surprised by were how quickly the casualties arrive. I would not have expected that kind of action for at least another issue or two.

David Marquez’s artwork is very clean. There isn’t a lot of huge action in this issue, but the little bit that we do get is well drawn. However, I think Marquez’s true talent is in the up close and personal scenes, of which we do get quite a few here. He has a real talent for wringing emotion and drama out of character faces. For an issue where the last few pages are both emotional and dramatic, that talent came in quite handy.

Admittedly, I’ve been pretty critical of Bendis’ ability to write a solid event book in the past, but this one seems to be off to a pretty good start. Which is equally impressive considering the long shadow of the previous Civil War event series and this Summer’s blockbuster MCU movie as well. The interesting premise combined with Marquez’s solid artwork should hopefully make for a series that can live up to it’s name. I look forward to reading the next few issues.

The Verdict for Civil War II #1:
4 out of 5

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Until next time,
Stay nerdy, my friends.

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Marvel took it upon themselves to relaunch one of their not-so-recognizable characters in Moon Knight #1, but is it a fitting introduction of the character to a new generation of readers?

Admittedly, I am one of that new generation of readers, as I have had only the most limited experience with the character prior to this issue. I more or less knew there was a Moon Knight… that was about it, but I heard good things about this issue and was curious, so I gave it a shot.

Jeff Lemire writes Marc Spector as a sympathetic character, trapped in an asylum where he doesn’t feel he belongs. We get a brief introduction as to how Marc became the Moon Knight, but we’re never quite sure if that’s just a story he made up in his mind, or if it actually happened. Lemire does a great job dangling the carrot of Marc’s sanity without ever letting the readers know which version of the events is real.

Artist Greg Smallwood illustrates a stellar first issue. The art has an indefinite, almost hazy, feel to it that keeps you constantly wondering if what you’re seeing is really happening, or if it might be some corrupted memory. When paired with this particular storyline, it works beautifully.

I went in to this with little to no expectations, and I think I came out a new fan of the character. Pretty sure I’ll stick with this one through at least the first story arc.

The Verdict for Moon Knight #1:
5 out of 5

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Until next time,
Stay nerdy, my friends.

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Marvel’s comic event of the Spring kicks into high gear as former Captain America, Steve Rogers, learns a secret so devastating it could shake up the Marvel universe in a very big way.

Writer Nick Spencer delivers on the mystery and intrigue in the opening book of this mini-series. For fans who read the prelude book, Welcome to Pleasant Hill, we already have a pretty good idea of what’s going on, but it is fun to watch as the writer strings Steve Rogers along, leaving little breadcrumbs for him to find that eventually lead him to the bigger reveal. The story is definitely not heavy on the action, but I don’t think it needs to be. Based on the titles slated to be a part of this event, this issue seems like it’s more of a bookend, and most of the action will probably happen in the tie-ins.

The artist here is Jesus Saiz, and he does a solid job. As previously mentioned, there wasn’t a whole lot of action in this issue, so he had to do a lot of expression drawing, and close in shots. Fortunately, Saiz seems to be pretty good at those, which made reading through this issue a lot more pleasant than it could have been.

Overall, I like this story and where it seems to be going, but I still wonder if maybe the conceit was revealed a bit too early. I can’t help but ask what else the creators have in store for us. One thing is for sure though, I will be along for the ride to find out.

The Verdict for Avengers Standoff: Assault on Pleasant Hill Alpha #1:
4 out of 5

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Until next time,
Stay nerdy, my friends.

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Well, it’s finally here.  Marvel’s first foray into a cable-like television show.  I realize I’m a little late with this one, but my schedule doesn’t really allow for much extended binge watching, so I had to experience this series 2-3 episodes at a time over several days.  That being said, I think most people know the basic story of Daredevil, so I won’t go too deep into a summary for this one.  Matt Murdock is a blind lawyer in the Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood of New York City, but his other senses are greatly heightened and he also possess a sort of “sonar sense” that he uses to fight crime as the titular Daredevil.

Initially, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from this series since the other major adaptation of the character didn’t fare so well, but I had hopes that a slower, serialized format might work a little better, and sure enough that turned out to be the case.  The episodic format really allowed the writers to dig deeper into these characters lives and craft an effective narrative that was able to give even the smaller roles a real weight and purpose.  There are very few throwaway roles here.  But that’s not to say the show has a small cast, quite the opposite actually, as we see several characters from regular Daredevil continuity show up, but everyone has a reason for being there.  I also really enjoyed the way the writers decided to tell the character’s origin story.  Rather than bogging down the first episode or two with how Matt lost his sight and became the vigilante, we’re shown flashbacks in conjunction with the events that are currently taking place.  I felt that it really helped to keep the narrative rolling along, while still showing how things came to be.  The only minor issue I have with this storytelling method is that certain episodes did become a little confusing when they started in the middle of the action, with very little explanation of how things got that way, only to go back and try to craft an explanation that sort of made sense but also seemed kind of unlikely.

The other really bright spot in this series is the casting.  Charlie Cox makes a terrific and believable character out of Murdock.  Deborah Ann Woll and Elden Henson play great roles as immediate supporting cast members Karen Page and Foggy Nelson.  Vincent D’Onofrio brings his trademark quirks to the role of Wilson Fisk, and truly makes the Kingpin a terrifying character again.  Between the way the characters are written, and how well they are portrayed by the actors involved, I really can’t find much flaw here.  It’s rare to find an instance where those two aspects of storytelling combine to create people that the audience can really care about.

Moving on to the next best part; the action!  This series seems to have had the intention of showing the darker underbelly of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  The setting is darker, the characters are darker, and the fight scenes are intense.  There is a very gritty realism to the punches thrown here.  We have to remember, these characters are not super powered, they’re all on the lower end of the strength spectrum for heroes/villains, so they get hurt, they get bloody, and perhaps most realistic of all, they get tired.  I felt more than anything else in the fights, that aspect of fatigue showed through.  There’s a point at the end of a fantastic extended fight scene in episode two that really brought that aspect home for me, where Daredevil is trading blows with 6 or 7 guys in a narrow hallway for several minutes.  As it keeps going on, the characters start to stagger around and Matt is leaning heavily against a wall.  As he senses another person moving in on him, he doesn’t immediately jump into a defensive position, he slowly arches his back and pushes himself off the wall to stumble toward the attacker.  I genuinely feel that that scene alone made this character so much more believable.  My one and only minor complaint with regard to the fight scenes is that I feel some of them lasted a little longer than they should have, but that’s probably just me being nit-picky.

Other notable high points in the series, the Easter Eggs.  There are plenty of them here, and for me they make the show more fun to watch.  Character names, references, tying into other pieces of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  It’s pretty impressive to see Marvel creating such a wide and cohesive universe with their characters.  I can only hope that as they introduce more characters and the universe continues to expand, they’re able to keep everything straight and coherent.

I have one major complaint, and unfortunately it’s a pretty big one.  The suit.  Once Matt finally puts on the traditional Daredevil costume, it’s… sub-par.  I just really feel like a little more thought could have gone into it, because it comes off looking a little silly.  I think it was mostly the mask, it just wasn’t working for me, but like I said, that’s my one major complaint with the entire series.

The Verdict for Daredevil:
I can dig it

Upcoming Reviews:
East of West, Volume 2: We Are All One TPB
Halo: Broken Circle (Novel)
Squarriors #2