REVIEW: All New Hawkeye #1

(Marvel Comics, 2015)

Written by Jeff Lemire
Art by Ramon Perez

If there was a less enviable assignment in all of the comic book industry than following Matt Fraction, David Aja and Annie Wu’s stellar run on Hawkeye I am certainly not aware of its existence; fortunately for us however there arose from the swirling mists a bold duo who proved to be more than up for the task, the creative team of Jeff Lemire and Ramon Perez. Continue reading

Column: The State of the Marvel Universe

By Shawn Warner

Greetings and salutations fellow True Believers, it’s that time once again when we gather to chart the course to Marvel’s massive Secret Wars, an event so monumental that neither the 616 or the Ultimate Universe will be left standing when all is said and done. This week the masterminds at the House of Ideas announced several more status quo shattering tie-ins and mini-series that you are sure to want to know about; that’s what I am here for, B&B’s own Agent M, to report all the goings on that will ultimately make up the All New Marvel Universe. Continue reading

REVIEW: Avengers World #17

(Marvel Comics, 2015)

Written by Frank Barbiere
Pencils and Inks by Marco Checchetto
Colors by Andres Mossa
Letters by Joe Caramanga

Although writer Frank Barbiere has set this issue in the present it is important to note that the timeline is somewhat fractured in that the narrative running through the series contains plot elements from both the past and the future. Confused yet? Continue reading

REVIEW: Darth Vader #1

(Marvel Comics, 2015)

Written by Kieron Gillen
Art by Salvador Larroca
Color Artwork by Edgar Delgado
Cover by Adi Granov

Marvel’s return to publishing Star Wars titles has been a long time coming, but is off to a superb start with the flagship title drawing critical and fan accolades and now we have the first series to focus on the franchise’s most iconic and complex villain, Darth Vader. Continue reading

REVIEW: Hawkeye #21

(Marvel Comics, 2015)

Story by Matt Fraction
Art by David Aja and Raul Allen
Colors by Matt Hollingsworth

This series has been one of the biggest surprises of the entire Marvel Now undertaking; Matt Fraction and David Aja set the bar in the stratosphere at the very beginning and have consistently reached or surpassed that standard issue after stunning issue. Continue reading

REVIEW: The Black Vortex Alpha

(Marvel Comics, 2015)

Written by Sam Humphries
Pencils by Ed McGuiness and Kris Anka
Inks by Kris Anka, Mark Farmer, Jay Leisten, and Mark Morales
Colors by Marte Garcia and Marcelo Malolo
Letters by Travis Lanham

Last year’s “The Trial of Jean Grey” marked the first time these two teams were paired up for a major crossover. In the time since that first event The Guardians of the Galaxy have become a bona fide part of the pop culture landscape, thanks mainly due to a huge blockbuster film that proved just how exciting and fun this group of cosmic misfits could be. Continue reading

REVIEW: New Avengers #29

(Marvel Comics, 2015)

Written by Jonathan Hickman
Pencils and Inks by Kev Walker
Colored by Frank Martin
Letters by Joe Caramagna

Things have grown exceedingly dark in this issue of New Avengers as the “Time Runs Out” arc speeds headlong into the massive Secret Wars event and the end of the Marvel Universe as we know it. Series writer Jonathan Hickman crafts one of the most poignant chapters yet in his extensive Avengers opus focusing much of the attention on Reed Richards this time and really spelling out exactly what he and his fellow Illuminati members have sacrificed in the face of almost certain destruction. Continue reading

REVIEW: Uncanny Avengers #1

(Marvel Comics, 2015)

Story by Rick Remender
Art by Daniel Acuna

Rick Remender and Daniel Acuna continue their stellar work as the creative team on Uncanny Avengers; the prolific writer and visionary artist bring their collaborative genius back for the franchise re-launch. Remender teamed with Acuna for the lion’s share of the first series hitting their creative stride early on and riding that momentum through the Axis event that decimated the original team to the point of leaving just three of those original team members to return, though not in the physical sense in Wonder Man’s case. Continue reading

Column: The State of the Universe

Greetings and salutations True Believers and welcome to the first in a series of articles that will focus on the major changes coming in the near future for our beloved Marvel Universe. Major is perhaps not a strong enough adjective to describe the changes that were announced by House of Idea big wigs Tom Brevoort and Axel Alonso at a press conference held in Manhattan’s Midtown Comics last week. Continue reading

REVIEW: All New X-Factor #20

(Marvel Comics, 2015)

Writer – Peter David
Artist – Carmine Di Giandomenico

In light of the Earth shattering Secret Wars announcement from Marvel earlier this week, the cancellation of a little but loved series like X-Factor gets lost in the shuffle. This is most likely what led to the book being cancelled with this its 20th consistently well written and entertaining issue, it got lost in the Marvel Now shuffle, overshadowed by bigger books with more hype that were more tied into to the big crossover events.

Continue reading

REVIEW: Deadpool #39

(Marvel Comics 2014)

Writers – Gerry Duggan and Brian Posehn

Pencils – Mike Hawthorne and Mirko Colak

Colors – Ruth Redmond

This is the final Axis tie-in issue of Deadpool so not surprisingly there are lots of resolved plot lines to be found, however not all of them are directly related to the Axis event. Deadpool has been a very busy young man; there’s his recent marriage, his newly discovered daughter and his rescued North Korean friends, the mutant/clone Faux Men all vying for his time and attention. So as you can see the effects of the inversion spell and his subsequent re-emergence on the scene as Zenpool is just one item on a laundry list of life altering events for our mouthy Merc to contend with. Series co-writers Gerry Duggan and Brian Posehn have taken the character into uncharted areas and explored Continue reading

REVIEW: Captain Marvel #10

(Marvel Comics, 2015)

Writer-Kelly Sue DeConnick
Artists-David Lopez, Marcio Takara & Laura Braga
Colors-Lee Loughridge & Nick Filardi

Kelly Sue and company celebrate the 100th solo appearance of Carol Danvers as Captain Marvel with a reflective and thought-provoking two-part story told through three of her most loyal friends in three individual but uniting parts. The first segment is told through Carol’s youngest and perhaps most staunch supporter, Kit. Lovingly dubbed Lt. Trouble, next up is Carol’s long-time comrade and fellow Avenger Jessica Drew Continue reading

Review: Spider-Man and the X-men #1

(Marvel Comics, 2015)

Writer – Elliot Kalan
Artist – Marco Failla
Colors – Ian Herring

Spider-Man and the X-Men have been teaming up since before there was a series called Marvel Team-Up; so Spidey seems a logical choice to take over for the late Wolverine as benefactor of the eponymously titled series. However, that long and storied history is not evident in this first issue; in fact the X-Men of those early team-up days are downright hostile toward our friendly neighborhood web slinger when he shows up hand-picked for the job by Logan himself. The hostile attitudes of the older X-Men are just a warm up for the vehement animosity Spidey finds waiting for him with his inherited class of young mutant students.

Writer, Elliott Kalan gets the dynamic between Spider-Man and the X-Men all wrong from the very beginning; there is no chemistry here, the relationship seems to be devoid of the years of shared history. For this book to succeed that paradigm has to be corrected; the character interaction in this issue is just too antagonistic for Spidey’s one liners and generally humorous demeanor to work in any authentic sense. The unfriendly vibe makes much more sense with the students; here it works just fine calling to mind a John Hughes sort of quality as the group of misfit students face off against the new teacher. It’s a trope that works no matter who the characters are as long as the classroom is the setting. Continue reading

Review: Guardians of the Galaxy Annual #1

(Marvel Comics, 2015)

Writer – Brian Michael Mendis
Artist – Frank Cho
Colors – Jason Keith

Let me begin this review with an apology; I am sorry if I offend, annoy or otherwise displease anyone with my gushing admiration of this book and its stellar creative team. With that out of the way, let the love fest begin, this issue has it all, huge action, intelligent humor, razor sharp wit and some of the most eye popping pages ever created by artiste extraordinaire, Frank Cho. I know this is the pinnacle of fanboyism but, hey this is why I love comic books so much. Bendis and Cho really knock this one out of the park; they take all the elements that made this summer’s GotG movie so much fun with the addition of setting the story firmly in current continuity.

The issue opens with a clever page composition featuring Star Lord bursting with kinetic energy as he quite literally leaps across the page where the rest of his teammates are depicted rather dramatically in a column of equally sized panels; Gamora gazes icily into the distance, Drax peers stoically from the page, Captain Marvel appears poised, ready for anything, Venom hangs inverted his head enters from the top of the panel and finally Groot and Rocket share a panel playing up their vastly differing statures. The page acts as an introduction, though none is needed, and sets a break-neck pace that never slows until the final panel of the issue. Continue reading

Review: Angela: Asgard’s Assassin #1

(Marvel Comics, 2014)

Writers- Kieron Gillen & Marguerite Bennett
Artists- Phil Jimenez, Stephanie Hans, Tom Palmer & Romulo Fajardo

Angela made her Marvel debut back in issue 10 of the Age of Ultron event series, appearing more like a last minute addendum or ill-conceived afterthought than a heralded addition to one of the most celebrated cast of characters in modern history. Met with disdain by some fans and just plain disinterest by others, Marvel has done little to change many minds about this celestial wayfarer from the days of chromium covers and print runs more in line with creators’ egos than actual sales. The result of brilliant writer Neil Gaiman and upstart artist Todd McFarlane, Angela was originally part of the Spawn mythology first appearing in issue 9 of the original series then in her own three issue mini-series also written by Gaiman but, this time drawn by the vastly superior artist Greg Capullo. Continue reading

REVIEW: Superior Iron Man #1

(Marvel Comics, 2014)

Writer – Tom Taylor
Artist – Yildiray Cinar
Colors – Guru eFX

The inversion effects of the events taking place in Axis continue to wreak havoc upon the Marvel Universe turning heroes into villains and vice versa. Perhaps no other hero’s personality has been quite so adversely altered as Tony Stark; the once bright shining knight in high tech armor has pulled up stakes on his east coast digs and relocated to San Francisco, but that is the least of the changes that have turned Stark from hero to heel.

Tony has unleashed his perfection inducing Extremis 3.0 App on the populace of his new hometown, however, unfortunately for him Daredevil has made the exodus to the west ahead of him and DD does not like what Stark has planned for his city. With the even more arrogant and far more devious aspects of Tony’s personality coming to the forefront, profit has become his motivation over any of the altruistic ideals he had previously held in such high regard. Continue reading

Review: Spider-Woman #1

(Marvel Comics, 2014)

Writer- Dennis Hopeless
Pencils- Greg Land
Inks- Jay Leisten
Colors- Frank D’Armata

Reviewed by Shawn Warner

This was one of those books that I was really looking forward to; in spite of all the flack surrounding the ill-fated original cover by woman exploiter extraordinaire, Milo Manara there was some real excitement generated by the return of Jessica Drew to her own solo monthly series. Drew has been in and out of the Marvel Universe spotlight over the years, most recently taking center stage in the events of Secret Invasion. Her role was second only to Norman Osborne’s in its pivotal nature.After that she sort of faded back into the shadows taking her place in the supporting cast of the next few Marvel events. Continue reading

Review: The Multiversity: Pax Americana #1

(DC Comics, 2014)

Grant Morrison- Writer
Frank Quitely- Artist

The Lemniscate, The Cassini Oval, The Devil’s Curve, The Mobius Strip, these are all names for the twisted cylinder used to represent the concept of infinity, it is also a recurring theme in what is hands down the most brilliant single issue of 2014. However, to refer to Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely’s Pax Americana as a single issue is somewhat misleading due to the fact that it reads much more like a graphic novel; thematically as well as for sheer quantity of content, this book contains not one single superfluous panel. Morrison and his longtime collaborator Quitely have crafted a work of storytelling brilliance as well as an exploration of mathematical theorem as applied to a literary endeavor.

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REVIEW: ‘Men of Wrath’ #2

(Icon/Marvel Comics, 2014)

Written by Jason Aaron
Artwork by Ron Garney
Color Artwork by Matt Milla
Lettering by Jared K. Fletcher

Jason Aaron has never been one to shy away from violent subject matter and he certainly brings the brutality with his new series Men of Wrath from Marvels Icon imprint. Just two issues into the narrative and already this series rivals Aaron’s Image title Southern Bastards for family dysfunction and downright nastiness. Continue reading