Posts Tagged ‘Comics’

image

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

If you like this review, or any of my others, don’t forget to subscribe!

Until next time,
Stay nerdy, my friends.

Advertisements

image

So, the second big superhero faceoff movie of the summer is here, and it is an overwhelming experience. Does that equate to a cinematic success, or an overburdened stumble? You’ll have to keep reading to find out!

Captain America: Civil War begins with an operation in Nigeria to capture Brock Rumlow, aka Crossbones. The plan goes south and results in the deaths of many civilians, and in the wake of the previous destruction New York (Avengers), Washington, DC (Captain America: The Winter Soldier), and Sokovia (Avengers: Age of Ultron), the United Nations drafts a resolution to keep powered individuals in check and hold them responsible for their actions. This film is the culmination of eight years of Marvel Cinematic Universe story lines. I sincerely mean that. There are story threads here that started in the very first Iron Man movie and have worked their way through most of the films since.

The Russo brothers craft an intense action epic here. The fight set-pieces are over the top and everything that I would expect from a large-scale superhero film. But it’s not all fighting, there’s a deeper emotional element to the movie as well. Captain America (Chris Evans) stands firm on the idea that the Avengers are best left alone, and not at the mercy of a UN task force who picks and chooses where they should and should not intervene. On the other hand Iron Man (Robert Downey, Jr.), suffers from immense guilt after the events of Age of Ultron and argues that the heroes need some rules and guidelines to live by. It’s so difficult to pick a side and deem one as the “bad guy” because both of their arguments have merit, and that’s where the true conflict of this story lies.

Evans and Downey give solid performances as the two leads, and the personal conflict between their two characters is realistic. However, the true standout performance in this movie is Chadwick Boseman as T’Challa/Black Panther. The character gets a fitting introduction, and Boseman plays him well, often stealing scenes from some of the other heavy hitters in the film. Tom Holland’s Spider-Man is a fun and light-hearted take on the character, and the young actor plays it well, even if the character’s inclusion in the film feels just slightly tacked on.

I do have a couple of complaints about the movie. For one, I feel the writers played the story a little too safely. I almost wish they would have taken a few more risks and made the stakes for these characters a little higher. A little more uncertainty would definitely make the future of the franchise a little more fun to anticipate. Secondly, while I feel the movie worked as a whole, parts of it did seem a little overstuffed. Not nearly to the extent of certain other superhero movies this year *cough*BatmanvsSuperman*cough*, but crowded nonetheless.

At the end of the day, Disney, Marvel, and the Russos prove that a big budget hero vs. hero movie can work, but it’s not something that can be done overnight.  As I mentioned before, Civil War is the culmination of nearly a decade of story lines. These characters have known and interacted with one another frequently in that time span, tensions and relationships have been built, and that makes a whole lot more sense than these icons just instantly hating one another. It’s not without its flaws, but it sure was a hell of a lot of fun to watch.

The Verdict for Captain America: Civil War:
4 out of 5

If you like this review, or any of my others, don’t forget to subscribe!

Until next time,
Stay nerdy, my friends.

image

Following the events of issue #5, a new story arc begins here, and finally gives some meaning to the series title, Tokyo Ghost. Led Dent returns to Los Angeles, this time on the same side as his old foe, Davey Trauma. However, Led remains haunted by a ghost from his recent past.

I think it’s pretty safe to say that Rick Remender and Sean Murphy treated the first story arc of this series as more of a prologue than anything else. Now we’re really getting into the meat of the story, and let me say, the creators’ collective foot is firmly pressed on the accelerator. We’re barely given any time to breathe as they dive right into this next arc, and after the peace and serenity that we experienced with the main characters in Japan, returning to the dystopic future L.A. is like a kick straight to the gut. We’re also privy to the plan that Trauma and his boss, Flak, have for Tokyo, and it isn’t pretty.

This is definitely a worthy next step in what is probably my second favorite non-superhero comic being published right now. The characters are interesting, the settings are interesting, and the story that’s unfolding is easily one of the best I’ve read in a long time. This issue definitely provides a good jumping on point if you don’t want to go back and read 1-5, but why wouldn’t you want to? I will say, this is definitely for mature readers though, so keep that in mind if you plan to pick it up. Honestly, some of the violence and other less wholesome imagery isn’t necessarily for me, but it fits within the confines of the story, so it all balances out.

The Verdict for Tokyo Ghost #6:
5 out of 5

If you like this review, or any of my others, don’t forget to subscribe!

Until next time,
Stay nerdy, my friends.

image

A new horror series from Dark Horse based on the mansion home of Sarah Winchester, widow of William Winchester (inventor of the Winchester repeating rifle),  House of Penance sets out to explore the popular lore that Sarah felt haunted by the spirits of those killed by her husband’s invention. This supposed haunting led her to the belief that constant building and adding to her mansion would keep the spirits away, so she hired dozens of workers to conduct unending construction at all hours of the day and night.

Writer Peter J. Tomasi crafts a genuinely eerie tale here. Sarah’s apprehension and dread at just about everything is practically palpable. She’s totally paranoid about every little thing, and when she finds something that’s not exactly the way she wants it, or when work stops for just a moment, she begins to panic. Tomasi writes the wandering, rambling, paranoid thoughts in a manner that seems completely believable. Near the end of the first issue, he also introduces a new character into the mix that could have an interesting impact on the story moving forward. The pace of this first issue is a little slow, but I’m willing to stick with it because the story definitely held my attention.

While Tomasi’s writing is great, Ian Bertram’s artwork is spectacular. Each panel resembles a wood engraving, giving the book an aesthetic fitting of the time period in which it takes place. The intricate cross-hatching visible in each page was no doubt incredibly labor intensive, making this issue all the more impressive. To add to this, the characters are drawn in a very unique and highly stylized manner. This level of detail makes the book an absolutely unnerving joy to look at that fits perfectly with Tomasi’s story. It’s almost like reading an old children’s book that took a horrible turn down a dark path in the woods. It left me with a sense of macabre wonder and a desire to find out what happens next.

A creepy story mixed with even creepier artwork, House of Penance #1 is easily one of the most unique and interesting stories that I’ve read this year, and I will certainly be picking up the next few issues to find out where it goes from here. If you’re into old-fashioned gothic horror tales, do yourself a favor and snatch this one off the shelf. You won’t be disappointed.

The Verdict for House of Penance #1:
5 out of 5

If you like this review, or any of my others, don’t forget to subscribe!

Until next time,
Stay nerdy, my friends.