Review: Hulk vs. Thanos #1

(Marvel Comics, 2015)

Writer/Pencils- Jim Starlin
Inks- Andy Smith
Colors- Frank D’Armata

At this point even the casual comic book reader is familiar with the Infinity Gauntlet, at least by name; due mostly to its alluded to inclusion in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Certainly there is no other writer more closely connected to that story and perhaps even the cosmic corner of the Marvel Universe than Jim Starlin. Starlin has dedicated more of his career to Thanos than any other character; beyond the various Infinity titles Starlin has penned several one shots, minis and even an original graphic novel featuring the exploits of the Mad Titan. So with that being the case I have to wonder why the big bad purple skinned villain occupies so few pages of this introductory issue allowing Pip the Troll to all but steal the show.

The idea of this story first came to light around the time Savage Hulk was launched. Marvel teased the concept of pitting these two Goliaths against one another with Starlin at the helm which would most likely mean the story would be set in the cosmic landscape of the Marvel U. Continue reading

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REVIEW: ‘All-New Doop’ #1

(Marvel Comics, 2014)

Written by Peter Milligan
Art by David Lafuente
Color Art by Laura Allred
Lettering by Clayton Cowles
Cover Art by Michael & Laura Allred
Variant Cover Art by Adi Granov

Throughout the midst of the entire Marvel Universe, there are some very peculiar characters that only surface every so often. One of those is none other than Doop. He is nothing more than a fun, little green floating orb that struggles with communicating and is best friends with Wolverine. The world should love Doop, but he is often misunderstood and unappreciated. Continue reading

REVIEW: ‘Daredevil’ #1

(Marvel Comics, 2014)

Storytellers: Mark Waid & Chris Samnee
Coloring: Javier Rodriguez
Lettering: VC’s Joe Caramagna

New York City was more than just a location in the previous runs of Daredevil; the city itself was a supporting character in many ways. It provided a lush, complex environment that often insinuated its way into the narrative much as it does in the Spider-Man mythology. Continue reading

REVIEW: ‘Captain Marvel’ #1

(Marvel Comics, 2014)

Written by Kelly Sue DeConnick
Artwork by David Lopez
Color Artwork by Lee Loughridge

If you heard a strange sound Wednesday it was probably the huge collective sigh of relief heaved by the droves of Captain Marvel fans when this book finally, actually showed up on the racks of local comic shops around the world. Continue reading

REVIEW: ‘Punisher’ #2

(Marvel Comics, 2014)

Written by Nathan Edmondson
Artwork by Mitch Gerads
Lettering by VC’s Cory Petit

Nathan Edmonson and Mitch Gerads came out very appropriately with guns blazing on their first issue of the brand new Marvel Now Punisher series but, the obvious question is, as good as that inaugural issue was, does the second issue maintain the intensity Continue reading

REVIEW: ‘All New Invaders’ #1

(Marvel Comics, 2014)

Written by James Robinson
Artwork by Steve Pugh
Color Artwork by GURU-eFX
Lettering by Cory Petit

When James Robinson left Earth 2 and effectively severed ties with DC, at least for the foreseeable future, I feared there would be an extended period of time without an on-going title being written by the outspoken and innovative Robinson. So when it was announced that the prolific writer was coming to Marvel I was ecstatic Continue reading

REVIEW: “Captain America” #9

(Marvel Comics, 2013)

Review by Shawn Warner

WRITTEN BY:  Rick Remender
BREAKDOWNS BY:  John Romita Jr.
FINISHES BY:  Klaus Janson with Scott Hanna & Tom Palmer
COLOR ARTWORK BY:  Dean White

We are breathlessly approaching the conclusion of Rick Remender and John Romita Jr’s epic opening story arc, with one issue remaining the complex multi-layered plot shows no signs of slowing. Continue reading

REVIEW: “Captain America” #7

(Marvel Comics, 2013)

Review by Shawn Warner

WRITTEN BY:  Rick Remender
PENCILS BY:  John Romita Jr.
INKS BY:  Scott Hanna & Klaus Janson
COLOR ARTWORK BY:  Dean White

There is light at the end of the tunnel but will Cap survive to reach it and if he does will he be in one piece, recent events in Zolandia would make this a tough call. Issue number seven begins with a flashback two years prior to the events currently taking place. Continue reading

REVIEW: “Thanos Rising” #2

(Marvel Comics, 2013)

Review by Shawn Warner

WRITTEN BY:  Jason Aaron
ARTWORK BY:  Simone Bianchi
COLOR ARTWORK BY:  Ive Svorcina
LETTERING BY:  VC’s Clayton Cowles

Thanos’ superior intellect was fueled by an inquisitive restlessness that led to macabre experimentation at a young age. As a young adolescent he was creating an ever widening chasm between himself and his classmates. This is evident when dissecting a lizard for class he is instructed to label all the major organs and organ systems Thanos not only completes the assignment before anyone else he also catalogues the stomach contents, extrapolates its life history and determines the cause of death of the creature. Continue reading

REVIEW: “Guardians of the Galaxy” #2

(Marvel Comics, 2013)

Review by Shawn Warner

WRITTEN BY:  Brian Michael Bendis
PENCILS BY:  Steve McNiven & Sara Pichelli
INKS BY:  John Dell, Mark Morales, Steve McNiven & Sara Pichelli
COLOR ARTWORK BY:  Justin Ponsor
LETTERING BY:  VC’s Cory Petit

In the skies above London, England the Guardians have engaged the Badoon in fierce battle. A squadron of Badoon ships surrounds and fire upon the lone Guardians spacecraft while they are busy on board tending to Tony Starks battle damaged armor. He cannot even contact the other Avengers because the entire region’s communication lines are down as well as his armor’s communication system. Continue reading

VIDEO REVIEW: “Deadpool” #8

2ComicNerds-title-logo-2013--22ComicNerds have returned with a Video Review of “Deadpool” #8, and they also have the results of their ‘funniest superhero’ contest!  Not to mention a fun opening sketch.  Check it out and, as per the usual, check out their channel and other pages, all linked below!  Huge thanks once again to AJ and Lee at 2ComicNerds for allowing us to share these awesome reviews with you!  We hope you enjoy the video.

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REVIEW: “Savage Wolverine” #4

(Marvel Comics, 2013)

Review by Shawn Warner

WRITTEN BY:  Frank Cho
ARTWORK BY:  Frank Cho
COLOR ARTWORK BY:  Jason Keith
LETTERING:  Cory Petit

Shanna The She-Devil lies mortally wounded upon a stretcher carried by two natives of the Savage Land. She is accompanied by a native priest and freelance science genius Amadeus Cho as they make their way across The Savage Land to an organic root formation that by all outward appearances is Man-Thing but it does not move it is rooted in place where it remains silent and still. Shanna is placed before the twisted monstrosity in a shallow grave while the priest performs a ritual incantation. Continue reading

REVIEW: “Guardians of the Galaxy” #1

(Marvel Comics, 2013)

Review by Shawn Warner

WRITER:  Brian Michael Bendis
PENCILS:  Steve McNiven
INKS:  John Dell
COLORS:  Justin Ponsor

Peter Jason Quill aka Star-Lord is Han Solo channeling James T. Kirk in the guise of a young Brad Pitt. His smouldering blue eyes gaze out from beneath a mop of disheveled blonde hair but under his boyish good looks and devil-may-care demeanor beats the heart of a true hero. He is both larger than life and down to Earth. Men want to be him and women (of all species) want to be with him. Guardians of the Galaxy #1 wastes no time in establishing Peter Jason Quill as an interstellar ladies man. Continue reading

VIDEO REVIEW: “Deadpool” #6

2ComicNerds-title-logo-2013--2

Once again we are graced with the awesome presence of our pals 2ComicNerds, who have reviewed the new “Deadpool” #6 in their newest video!  Check out what the guys have to say about the craziness that has been the ‘Dead Presidents’ story arc, then be sure to visit them at any and all of the places linked below!  Now, on the the guys!

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REVIEW: “Cable and X-Force” #6

(Marvel Comics, 2013)

Reviewed by Cory Thrall

WRITTEN BY:  Dennis Hopeless
ARTWORK BY:  Salvador Larroca
COLOR ARTWORK:  Frank D’Armata

When the original X-Force title was pulled from the ashes of ‘New Mutants’, I was in my mid-teens and had been a big Marvel Comics fan for quite some time at this point already.  Sure, it was mostly in the Spider-Man and X-Men universe of titles, but the beginning of X-Force caught my attention enough to buy and read the first chunk of issues. Continue reading

REVIEW: “Wolverine” #1 (2013)

(Marvel NOW!, 2013)

Reviewed by Cory Thrall

WRITER: Paul Cornell
PENCILS: Al Davis
INKS: Mark Farmer
COLOR ART: Matt Hollingsworth

When I first read that Marvel would be releasing a Marvel NOW! Wolverine title, I was excited but a little worried, as Wolvie has his mug in so many books right now (including the ‘Savage Wolverine’ title that began recently), be it an X or an Avengers book.  So I was worried this might all just be a cash-in to gather attention on the character in a more ‘solo’ fashion, in anticipation for the new film.  And, it very well might be.  Either way, I was happy to grab it, and eager to read it, but I’m also a huge Wolverine fan, so a lot of my initial worries were tossed out the window as soon as I opened issue #1. Continue reading

REVIEW: “Age of Ultron” #1

(Marvel Comics, 2013)

Review by Chris Ambrosio

Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Illustrator: Bryan Hitch
Colors: Paul Mounts
Letters: Cory Petit
Editor: Tom Brevoort

I’m new to Bag and Board so go easy on me now guys, this is also my first review, you can say I’m a nooby. I’ve been looking forward to reading Age of Ultron for quite some time now, ever since I’ve read “Age of Ultron coming soon” in the back of The Avengers, AU free comic in May of 2011 issue #0.1, yeah I’ve been kinda sitting on the edge of my seat waiting or this block buster of a miniseries. Continue reading

REVIEW: “All New X-Men” #8

(Marvel Comics, 2013)   –   Reviewed by Sam LeBas

Writer:  Brian Michael Bendis
Artist:  David Marquez
Color:  Marte Garcia
Letterer:  VC’s Cory Petit

All-New_X-Men_Vol_1_8

Issue #8 of All New X-Men delivers humor, action, character development, and the realization that these characters are asking many of the same questions that we readers have been mulling over these last few months.

Bendis’ storytelling remains engaging. He shows his skill at juggling a large cast of characters while simultaneously advancing this high-concept plot. This series makes each character’s motivation clear, and deserves credit for allowing these motivations to matter. Each member of the team has agency and narrative weight, but somehow does not bog down the overall momentum of the story.

In this issue we finally get the opportunity to learn more about Warren as he fights alongside Angel to protect the Avenger’s Mansion from Hydra’s forces. Warren’s anxiety about his future crystallizes as he learns more about this contemporary version of himself. Bendis incorporates character development and action expertly in this stunning sequence. Just as the battle reaches its pinnacle, the Avengers make their appearance.

The realization that Hank McCoy has tampered with the space-time continuum does not sit well with the Avengers. They travel to the Jean Grey School to confront the doctor, with Captain America serving as ambassador. A conversation about ethics and consequences of scientific principles between a genius and a moral straight-arrow should not bring about much laughter. However, Bendis finds a way to diffuse the tension; giving the story a moment of levity as Kitty and Bobby approximate the exchange out of earshot of Cap and McCoy.

Warren’s apprehension about the future, and desire not to know what it holds for him lead him to make an ill-advised attempt to go home. Thankfully, there is a voice of reason to stop him. Despite the high-flying action sequence, the confrontation with the Avengers, and the breakdown of one of the main characters; the most important moment of this issue may be its reminder that Jean Grey is a wild card. What are the implications of such a young version of Jean having access to so much history that has not yet come to pass? If you are not asking yourself that question, you might be missing the point. This foreshadowing casts a long, dark, ominous shadow that plunges the series into a new level of darkness.

Marquez artwork is very well suited for this series. He consistently brings a youthful exuberance to the page, and captures character with a seeming effortless. He gets the outside of the heads so right, that it is easy for the reader to get inside them. His work truly adds to the narrative quality of the book highlighting its themes and nuances, not in an obvious way, but by nudging readers to notice what Bendis has already put into the writing. A two page spread of Warren and Angel fighting Hydra’s goons reveals a great deal of contrast between where this character started, and what he has become. Marquez’s visual representation of this idea brings new clarity to a beautiful moment.

Do not miss an issue of this series. It bubbles with action, fizzes with humor, and beats with the pulse of a phenomenal cast of characters driving the book ever forward.

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Follow Sam on twitter @comicsonice and check out her blog comicsonice.com

REVIEW: “Superior Spider-Man” #5

(Marvel Comics, 2013)   –   Reviewed by J.G. Butler

SuperiorSpidey-No5-cover1By now, if you haven’t heard of the recent goings on within the Spider-Man titles you’re probably not reading this, since there is a pretty crappy internet connection under a rock, or you don’t care.  I’m going to assume either one of those things are true, or that you’ve read it and know what the deal is.  But, either way, this is more about “Superior Spider-Man” issue #5 than it is the whole debacle that was “Amazing Spider-Man” #700 (which I was personally a huge fan of).  So, let’s look in on this new Otto Octavius Spidey and see how he’s been doing.

An old villain, previously saved from death by the earlier Spider-Man, returns and has one thing on his mind.  His name is Massacre, so I’ll let you guess at that one.  As per his name, he killed a large group of civilians in the previous #4, causing Superior Spidey to decide that he won’t fail as Peter previously had, and will end Massacre’s murder spree “at any cost”.  It makes one wonder how far this Spidey might go.  That question is answered in this most recent issue, #5.

This issue finds Otto continuing with his ‘one step forward, two steps back’ approach to becoming a hero, and – of course – a ‘superior’ one, at that.  Although Otto has been making progress on the ‘real’ Peter’s social life, and even begins to fix his and Mary Jane’s relationship, he still has major flaws that are apparent in his attitude and treatment of what crimes ‘deserve’ his attentions, and which do not.  Where the original Spidey would stop at nothing to take care of any type of problem he came across, Otto passes on some superhero duties with the justification of having already done more than Parker had during his career behind the mask.  This of course drives the still-attached corporeal form of the real Peter Parker nuts, giving him more to nag Otto about.  This ‘nagging’, which began with issue #2 of this title, was at first very annoying and whiny, but has since leveled out well, giving Peter moments to complain as well as giving Otto some inspiration and even compliments at times.  Some things Otto really does do better than Peter had, and he acknowledges this.  Peter actually talks a lot in his ghostly form, which Otto is beginning to notice more and more, it seems.

One of his main problems with filling the shoes of the usually charismatic and friendly Parker is that Otto is constantly talking down to fellow employees and superiors at Horizon Labs, which is creating more suspicion and anger at each turn.  He literally bosses the boss around, treats the whole Lab like a group of morons, and feels no need to change a thing.  He’s Otto, even under the suit and with his changing outlook, so the ‘I’m such a genius’ mindset that has always been a part of Doc Oc’s personality is still there, and most times its his main flaw.  When belittling his superiors at Horizon, he is told that Parker never received his Doctorate, thus making Doc Oc not so much of a ‘Doc’ in Peter’s body.  He feels completely robbed of his Doctor title, which is ironic since the whole reason this has happened is because he basically stole Peter’s body.  So, Otto heads back to school, and is not too happy about having to do so.  This further cements his opinion that Peter was a screw-up and a complete fool.  It’s a little silly of a plot twist, but in this situation it’s the only viable option for him.  His first day in school Otto finds himself bugged numerous times by an unseen woman offering tutoring.  Finally, he gives in and goes to her home, planning to ask her to stop bothering him.  He is surprised to find that she has been ‘waiting for him’ (she tells Otto/Spidey/Parker that he will need her if he’s going to pass a class taught by a Dr. Lamaze), and is what she herself describes as a ‘little person’.  Add in the fact that she is a highly intelligent and quite witty woman and a ‘Science Chef’ (using chemicals and physics to create perfect dishes), and we have the makings of a great character.   One might be so bold as to sense the possibility of love in the air for the Superior Spider-Man, but that has yet to be seen in any way.  I do firmly believe she will be an integral part to the title, in one way or another, I’m just not sure how.

After a bit of a study and food with new study-buddy Anna, Otto turns his sights back on Massacre.  As hinted at in #4, Otto’s plan is to get a hold of  Uatu Jackson (a partner from Horizon Labs) and his new version of a facial recognition program, allowing the untold number of spider-bots at Otto’s control to search out Massacre by face alone.  Eventually, the bots do in fact find him, and Spidey rushes off to his location.  The finale of this story is quite a shocker, but maybe not as you might think.  The ending alone makes this an important issue, maybe the most important since ASM #700.

While this issue was an enjoyable and exciting read, there were a few things that irked me.  First of all, this title has already been adding Batman-type gadgets to Spidey’s arsenal, which to a degree would make sense, as Otto is much more savvy in the use of the tech available to him.  It was a minor annoyance at first, but this facial recognition plan sure sounds a lot like Batman’s cellphone sonar trick used in the film “The Dark Knight”.  Peter/Otto’s co-worker Uatu even states that it is ‘too much power for one man to have’, nearly the exact line said by Lucius Fox/Morgan Freeman in ‘Dark Knight’.

This is the second issue with Giuseppe Camuncoli on art, and I have to say I’m not enjoying his very straight forward style quite as much as Ryan Stegman’s intense line work.  He is missed.  I am much happier with Camuncoli’s version, however, of ‘ghost Peter’ appearing in more of a spiritual ‘smoke’/mist form, rather then the ice or glass he looks to have been made of previously.  I just don’t like Camuncoli’s rendering of Spider-Man, as he looks like a bulky wrestler, or like he’s been spending a ton of time lifting weights.  And could we please stop changing the size of his goggle lenses from one panel to the next?  I want to believe that they have a purpose in doing so, but have been unable to see it in any consistent use throughout these issues.

Dan Slott’s writing continues to be solid and intriguing, making this title a fun ride so far.  The characters are still believable as they are adapting to this new Spidey and Peter Parker.  Slott’s dialogue and pacing is spot on, and gives the book a real depth, something not found in a lot of comics today.  Even though Otto is a bad guy trying to be good, we feel for him in his plight, and maybe even feel a little sympathy.  He’s killed hundreds of people (maybe more) over the decades, but something about seeing him so confused and vulnerable is refreshing and relatable.  Not an easy task, especially with the way Otto became Peter Parker.  Or his body.  Or whatever.  While the end scene was very effective, it did feel brought down by the whole ‘anti-publicity’ fast food logo scheme.  This seemed more like a round table discussion where a silly idea gets bigger, until it eventually enters into the work.  It just didn’t feel right.  Also, that earpiece/cell phone idea – does the thing really need to be so large?  Doesn’t Otto have the technological capacity to have some earbuds created for him?  He’s a genius, surrounded by geniuses who also happen to make tools and gadgets for Spidey’s use, so this horrible idea makes no sense.  It’s not only illogical, it also looks horrible and is far too large to even be the type of device it’s attempting to emulate.  Bad choice there, and one I hope they fix or get rid of altogether very soon.

So, how will Spider-Man ever recover from all this damage?  That’s the billion dollar question that has yet to even be addressed, but – please! – no time travel.  Having no scene in this with Green Goblin (since his reveal at the end of #4) also left me wanting.  He may know Peter Parker’s Spider-Man better then anyone, but can he take down Otto’s ‘Superior’ version?  With the way things are progressing, it’s going to be a crazy battle no matter what.

This title has been consistently good, and I’m loving what Slott has been doing with this idea.  It was far more creative than I had expected to begin with, and he has taken that idea and flown high with it.  Another very entertaining issue of one of my favorite monthly reads.

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Follow J.G. Butler on Twitter: @Floor0272