Wolverine Month: Wolverine+Nick Fury: The Scorpio Connection

The last book I’m going to talk about in this great month of Wolverine is part of the Marvel Graphic Novel line. Rather than the comic-sized paperback format of the other books I’ve talked about, It was a series of high prestige books printed with much better paper and with better color technology. It’s a format I really like, and have quite a few of these even though some of them have been reprinted in modern times.

Drawn by Howard Chaykin (American Flagg, he also drew the first ever Star Wars comics) and written by Archie Goodwin (also did Star Wars for a time, but is mostly known for being the best editor in the history of American comics.), Wolverine+Nick Fury; The Scorpio Connection is more of a Nick Fury story than a Wolverine one. Also, if you’re coming in mostly with a knowledge of the movies, this Nick Fury does not resemble Samuel L. Jackson at all. He’s white, has graying hair and looks a bit like David Hasselhoff.

The story opens with S.H.I.E.L.D. agent David Nanjiwarra, investigating a gun-running ring in Machu Picchu. He, along with the rest of his team, are killed by an unseen figure. The killer leaves a small token with the Zodiac symbol Scorpio.

In Manhattan at a S.H.I.E.L.D. gym, Nick Fury’s old flame Valentina Allegra de Fontaine is being asked out by a young agent, while Fury and his right-hand man, Dum Dum Dugan, reminisce about simpler times. Fury remembers that he used to hope for love and a family, but that all seems behind him now. As they leave Dugan’s wife and kids come along and Fury looks at the scene longingly. He remembers the one family member he did have, his brother Jake, who he killed.

Meanwhile, The supervillain hitman Arcade has his latest deathtrap foiled by the X-Men (In what appears to be their Austrailia-era costumes.) As he escapes, just to mess with Wolverine, he mentions, speaking via a decoy robot, that he intercepted one of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s communications, which said to keep certain information out of Wolverine’s hands at any cost, in fear of how he would react. The info? Agent David Nanjiwarra has died. Turns out he was one of Wolverine’s close friends. Wolvie goes berserk and slices the robot to pieces

S.H.I.E.L.D. has discovered the Scorpio emblem and the dead agents. Fury thinks it has to be a hoax as killed Scorpio himself (and left his true identity out of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s database). Fury goes to a bar and orders a drink. As he’s about to take a sip, his olive is stabbed by Wolverine, who’s not happy about Fury keeping the death a secret. Fury says he’ll help Logan find the killer.

We cut to an island where a handsome young man named Mikel has two attractive young women flirt with him. He’s distracted until an older woman in a bikini tells him to hurry along and get on their boat. (A sentence I loved writing.) The women are actually really mean about it and joke about him being into cougars and it’s something that seems like it could happen, but man, can’t we be nice?

Anyway, the woman is actually his mother and she’s rather catty about Mikel chatting with them. He then puts on the Scorpio costume and shows off his impressive martial arts skills. He, having been trained and conditioned by his mother for one purpose. To kill the man who killed his father. To kill Nick Fury.

Wolverine, now in Machu Picchu, flashes back to when he met David. Wolverine was hunting terrorists in the desert and he collapses and David helped him up. They go to get a drink, but the bartender refuses to serve David because he’s of Aboriginal descent. Wolvie strongarms the guy into doing it. David complains about the conditions working for the Australian government and how the whole country is systematically racist. He plans to join S.H.I.E.L.D. where that sort of thing isn’t tolerated.

So Fury chases Scorpio to Vienna they fight. Fury is really pissed that someone is posing as his dead brother, but Scorpio dramatically rips off his mask, revealing that he’s the son of Jacob Fury. I mean, we all saw it coming.

In Istanbul, Wolverine has tracked an arms dealer from Machu Picchu to a dingy little joint. There he meets the leader of the gun runners, Amber D’Alexis, the mother of Scorpio. And yes, her name sounds like $10 perfume.

Scorpio attacks Logan, and with a combination of his martial arts and his the Zodiac Key, actually manages to hurt him pretty badly. For you continuity buffs, the Zodiac Key is an immensely powerful weapon that looks like a key and apparently can be used to unlock a door to the future or something. This is not that key. It’s a replica and basically just a blaster.

Suddenly the lights go out and Nick Fury scoops up Wolverine. He used a “BlackLight Bomb’ which knocks out anything not in the infrared spectrum. They escape and Fury argues about how it’s too personal to Logan before cracking and revealing it’s personal to him too.

Nick tells Logan that he used to know Amber back when he was CIA agent. He had posed as a gambler at a seedy club she owned to gain underworld connections to bring down criminals. She had clawed her way up from the bottom and created an empire through both illegal and legitimate means. Through one of her legitimate companies, she had hired and then fallen in love with researcher Jacob Fury. Not wanting to blow his cover, he gave Jake and Amber his blessing. He takes her out dancing to thank her for not telling his brother about his activities at the club and predictably, seduces her. She stopped caring about Jake and fell for Nick, but he used their closeness to turn her in. After that, Jake hated him and became Scorpio.

As the flashback ends, it turns out that they were discussing this over dinner and Wolverine eats a shish kabob with his claws and all is perfect for a moment.

There’s a bit where they invade Amber’s private island to take the duo out. They get caught with knockout gas, but that’s literally all to say about it. Not super important. More pressingly, Scorpio attacks the S.H.I.E.L.D.

Base with the gym. Fury and Wolverine show up and chase Scorpio to the top of the building and the foursome fight. Amber reveals that Mikel is actually Nick’s son, which, yeah, you also saw coming. Nick shoots him to stop him from killing Logan, causing him to drop the Zodiac Key. Nick runs to his son’s side. Amber picks it up and blasts Logan something fierce. She points it at Fury and Mikel, saying killing Fury would have been nice, but killing Fury and the son he’ll never know will be better. Then boom! Logan comes from behind and stabs her.

Mikel attempts to escape with a plane on top of the building, but as it’s taking off, Fury and Wolvie bring it down. They all survive and S.H.I.E.L.D. is working to get Mikel deprogrammed from what his mom conditioned him to believe. As they leave the building Logan tosses Fury a cigar and congratulates him on being a parent and what the what? Dude, a little inapropprite all things considered.

Oh, and spoilers, Mikel is deprogrammed and plays a part (and then dies) in Jonathan Hickman’s Secret Warriors series, which is great and you should all read.

The story was continued in graphic novels/annuals called Scorpio Rising and one called Bloody Choices. I have not read either, but there is a collection that contains all three stories, so it’s out there if you want to.

So to wrap up this dumb Wolverine month celebrating this dumb character I love, I chose a story he’s barely in. He could have been removed and it would have been just as strong. David doesn’t get mentioned again, not even in an “and now he’s been avenged can rest” speech. Like, Wolverine’s “Scorpio Connection” seems kinda tenuous at best. It’s kinda unsatisfying if you’re looking for a Wolverine revenge story, but it’s a solid Nick Fury story and I’d still suggest it.

That’s it for “Wolverine Month”. I had fun reading these and fun writing all of these except this last one. You can find me @NicoliRaymond on Twitter and on my podcast Hopelessly Obsessed.

Wolverine Month: The Jungle Adventure

I’m back with my second Wolverine month article. I wanted to take a look at some of the lesser known Wolverine graphic novels from years past. This time I’m looking at Wolverine: The Jungle Adventure. It’s written by Walter Simonson, known for the greatest run of Thor ever, and drawn by Mike Mignola, creator of Hellboy. With such massive creators behind it, I don’t know why it isn’t more talked about.

The story opens with a tribal elder telling his people of the Child of Heaven. He flashes back and talks about a lighter that the tribe found and thought was a device from the gods and they put it on a big rock and worship it.
Now, this tribe is from the Savage Land, which is this jungle in the Antarctic where cavemen and dinosaurs live. Just accept it.
Wolverine lands a one man plane, grabs the lighter and uses it on a cigar. He just puffs it and is like “Okay, Nick Fury signed this lighter in case I’d stop by.“ He doesn’t really question it.
The tribe sees him as a God or at least a Child of the Gods, but some don’t believe it. Their fiercest warrior, Gahck (alternately spelled Gack sometimes, I guess) challenges Wolverine to a fight. Wolverine wins because it’s not a comic about Wolverine being Jungle Rocky.
…Why is this not a comic about Wolverine being Jungle Rocky?

Anyway, he beats Gahck and he’s made chief and he goes to hang out in a cave alone because part of being chief is having a cave. “Not bad, as far as caves go”, says Logan. I like the idea that he has just this extensive knowledge of caves and which ones are the best to live in. Like, I know that he actually does live in caves sometimes, but it’s still pretty great to imagine him looking up cave reviews on Zillow.

Gahck walks in and without the big warrior get up, Logan and the readers learn Gahck is a woman. This is important because her and Logan talk briefly and keeping up the God pretense, says he doesn’t want her as a sacrifice because the tribe sent her up as tribute in the first place.

They talk a bit and then they’re like “Let’s bone”. And they do. But not before Logan can explain what he’s doing in the Savage Land. He was mysteriously sent a ticket to a Broadway show, and according to Logan, a pretty lousy one. During intermission, he’s handed a message by a man with a terrible British accent.

The note says it’s from Jean Grey, telling him to meet her in the back alley. The note smells nothing like her. He decides to check it out anyway, what the heck? He has a few minutes before act II. He’s ambushed by a cyborg who speaks in broken English and I am making none of this up.

The cyborg explodes and Logan smells from his charred remains that “This Johnny comes from the Savage Land”. But he also smells like Logan. Specifically his pain and torment. No, really.

Cut to the present, Logan takes a more active interest in the tribe, leading their hunts and gaining their trust. He kills a dinosaur during one of the hunts and the tribe is sufficiently impressed to not only make him chief, but accept him as one of them. When Chackel, one of the tribesmen, doesn’t come back, Logan takes interest in the situation. Turns out there’s a T-Rex that comes once a year and eats members the tribe. Unusually, it leaves no remains of its victims.

Chackel’s father, doubting Logan’s godhood as he has to be explained this, stabs him in rage. Logan shrugs it off. He’s not happy about it, but he lets the man live. An elder tells him that only one man ever escaped from the T-Rex, after being taken to his “Mountain of Thunder”. Having heard enough, Logan sets out to hunt.

Facing it, it swallows him whole. The tribe is left shocked by this, but then he claws his way out of its stomach, having discovered it was a robot designed to look like a T-Rex with the purpose of capturing, not killing.

He sets off to leave the tribe, but finds out his one man plane is missing he accuses Gahck, think he doesn’t want him to leave and angered she leaves. Gahck is really upset about being accused and storms off. He has the elders point him in the direction of the “Moutain of Thunder”. He dons his X-Men uniform and sets off.

By the way, I want to say that Mignola’s T-Rex fight, along with everything else, is absolutely gnarly.

So Logan arrives at the mountain and smells pain like the cyborg’s, but before he can focus on it, a trapdoor opens and next thing he knows, he wakes tied up in a cell with Apocalypse monologuing before him. This is actually the first meeting between the two, Apocalypse had been around for a while, but had only appeared in X-Men’s sister title X-Factor.

Apocalypse has been experimenting on the cave people, making them cyborgs as assassins. He plans to do the same with Logan. Gahck shows up, having tracked Logan down and she attempts to save him. Apocalypse throws her in a cage and says after he’s done with Wolverine, she’ll be his first test.

Apocalypse turns his back and there’s a really cool page of Logan cutting the ropes on his feet, taking his boots off to get the lighter, which he kept in his boots? And then lights it and burns through the ropes on his hands.

Logan attacks Apocalypse and they fight. Over in the corner, Gahck frees Chackel, who’s fine, and they escape. Apocalypse reveals he was making the cyborgs to eliminate mutants. He’s going to protect the humans from the Mutants and help them reclaim the Earth. Now this is pretty much the oppisite of Big A’s normal game plan, which makes Logan suspicious, and rightfully so. It turns out this Apocalypse is a robot. Logan shreds it to bits.

He looks around the lab and wonders why a robot would create cyborgs or what any of this means. He then finds a skull made of Adamantium. This is interesting because at this time Chris Claremont (writer of X-Men) intended for Wolverine’s metal skeleton to have been grafted onto him by Apocalypse. That never played out, but it’s cool to see.

Just as he starts to consider what it means, a hologram of the real Apocalypse turns on and says that he built this robot to man this base while he was gone, but its programming corrupted and put it in opposition of its creator. Now, this is where it gets bonkers. Rather than deal with it himself, he decided to send Wolverine a ticket to the play, pose as a regular dude to give Logan the note that would lead him to the cyborg, which apparently Apocalypse knew was specifically targeting Logan. That way, Logan would investigate and deal with the robot for him. He thanks Logan for letting him know that he has to work on his British accent AND THEN HE STARTS CRITIQUING THE PLAY.

Apocalypse releases a gas to kill Logan, saying that he can now freely take out two enemies. Wolverine’s healing factor keeps him alive long enough to use the lighter as an explosive…somehow? He takes his aerofoil, which I guess we’re supposed to figure Gahck did take and then flew it to the mountain and left it when she got Chackel out?

The story ends with the Shaman wrapping up his telling, revealing Chackel is a cyborg, but he’s okay and Gahck and Wolverine had a kid and everyone loved-WAIT. THIS KID HAS NEVER SHOWN UP AGAIN. It’s just kind of skirted over and he’s been to the Savage Land again after this, so I don’t know if no one read this or remembers (which is possible). Or if Simonson had plans or what.

Anyway, it was a really fun book, great art, light on continuity and easily accessible. I found it at Half-Price Books for three dollars and if you can find it for around that price I totally recommend it.

 

This is, besides a spellcheck, completely unedited, so maybe not my best work. I do plan on going back to it and redoing sections sometime later this week.

Comic Reviews for the week of May 4th

The Wicked + the Divine #19-Kieron Gillen (W) Jaimie McKelvie (A) Matthew Wilson (C)

Wic/Div continues to be stellar. I don’t know what praises can be sung about this book that haven’t already been screamed, chanted, or belted out. It leaves me breathless every month. Apparently out of words too.

Words: Good

Art:Good

Colors: Good

It’s a master craft in comics.

Spider-Gwen #8-Jason Latour (W) Bengal (A) Rico Renzi (C)

Solicits have spoiled the end of this event, and with the spoiler, maybe this cover should have come later.

That isn’t about the actual book mind you, but it’s a little unfortunate nonetheless.

There’s a cool thing Spider-Women does where it bounces from narrative to narrative, actually forcing you to fill in the blanks from point a to point b. It’s a cool way to engage the reader and probably a result of shipping schedules. But at the midway point it’s cool to see the setting shifted over to the 616.1. Evil Cindy is really cool guys.

I am the kind of person who really digs when everything is constructed to all connect together like Serenity or Spectacular Spider-Man or the MCU. That happens in the main Marvel narrative, but because of years of indepenant books crossing over. It’s often nonsensical and crazy which I also adore for different reasons, Earth-65 seems to have the small more crafted feel I also like. It provides a lot of, “I got that!” moments.

Pretty much everything I said in my last review about Spider-Gwen also applies here,

By the by Marvel, you’re hiring a lot of people who have been putting Disney references in their books lately. Keep it up.

Uncanny X-Men #7-Cullen Bunn (W) Ken Lashley (A) Nolan Woodward (C)

What’s up with Warren?

I don’t know what to say about it because I don’t know how it’s all working.

I am only following this for Apocolypse Wars. I’m really liking it though. Bunn is a writer I did not like very much, but I’ve been getting into his newer stuff quite a bit.

I, just by chance, read some of Lashley’s 90’s stuff this week and I really think modern inking and coloring has really helped his art shine. It’s great. Moody, evocative and a bit jarring when scenes change, but in a good way. It’s a solid comic and I enjoyed it.

A-Force #5– Kelly Thompson (W) Ben Caldwell (A) Ian Herring (C)

It feels like the book has completely coalesced together. This is the A-Force book I wanted, the A-Force book I needed, and finally the A-Force book I got.

I reread the first arc last night and it works better as a whole story as opposed to single issues, but I felt like I got a whole thing with this one. It is Claremont level stuffed. There’s great character stuff, really cool layouts, and a Dazzler Thor. It’s just superb superheroics.

Caldwell is a great addition supplying a raw energy that Molina’s (fragging beautiful) line work didn’t. It’s pop with a little punk influence; it’s a show on the edge of mainstream. It’s encompassing and *ahem* singular.

Thompson is a writer I have quickly come to love. Between Jem and then Ghostbuster Deviations I won’t stop talking about, she has a fun, yet really character balanced style and she knows how to give every character pairing a unique interaction. It’s great.

I also love the subtle nod to Ali’s past with the Beyonder. The characters’ pasts are well referenced but never in a way that makes you feel like you NEED o read it. Just enough to remind you that these ladies exist in a larger universe, but they’re the center (see Boss of Space, Secret Wars, a literal pocket universe hanging out with them). Marvel, I know you’re trying to branch A-Force out as a brand, so action figures and animated shorts, s’all I’m saying.

Scarlet Witch #6-James Robinson (W) Maruerite Sauvage (A)

So another gorgous issue, which generally seems to sum up my feelings about the series in general.

The scripts of this series definitely are benefitted by the art. I know, that describes the entire medium, but this series specifically.

The stories are fine by themselves and the dialogue is very Robinson, but the writing is missing something. He brings in a cool forgotten Marvel character while also making both the character, and their place very contemporary.

There isn’t the magic to the writing found in Starman or the brutal whimsy in Earth 2. (I haven’t touched Airboy, so…). Scaret Witch is a quieter book and the art really does more of the storytelling than I’m used to for one of his series. It is nice, but at first it seemed a little off to me. The book’s tone is quiet and contemplative. It fits incredibly well; it just took a while for it to click.

But I’ve probably spent enough time talking about the writing for a book where all I’m doing id contrasting his style with the art. Marguerite Sauvage makes me want every fashion and perfume ad to be drawn by her (She’s an actual fashion designer.) She is also French Canadian and lives in Paris, so it feels right. I can’t talk about that without bringing up how the very real and very terrifying terrorist attacks on Paris echo through the French characters much like how 9/11 affected the American ones. While Wanda is empathetic and cares about the attacks, she’s a foreigner and responds very much so. It’s good stuff. And that first page is simultaneously peaceful and chilling considering the attacks.

I am wondering how many/what French comics Robinson read and if he at all tried to style it in that fashion. I have only read three or four, but those things are dope. I am really wondering about how the scripts look for the series. I feel like the series may be written Marvel style. It’d be real interesting to find out.

These are supposed to be short reviews, but in a week filled with so many books I unabashedly love, the one I’m most interested in is this one, which three issues ago, I thought about dropping. I may actually write something more indepth about this series later on.

 

X-Men ’92 #3-Chris Sims and Chad Bowers (W) Alti Firmansyah (A) Matt Milla (C)

As a counterpoint to Scarlet Witch and me wanting to write more, there’s some books I don’t want to try to write reviews for because I love them so much. This is one of them. This is one of those books. Everything is “OH,YEAH AWESOME’ in the way your ten year old self would yell it, but it’s done, tongue firmly in cheek, but the writers and artist have the passion to tell it because its cool and because they love it. That’s true storytelling. Move over Shaespere. Sims, Bowers and Firmansyah have Multiversal Draculas!!!

Multiversal Draculas is the perfect intersections of two of my passions. Comic continuity and Draculas.

It’s a perfect comic and I haven’t even gotten to the actual main characters.

The art is perfect as it has been for the past two issues and the Star-Lord and Kitty Pryde mini. I love that Firmansyah is able to adapt her style subtly for each book. I love her art in general. It might be my ideal level of cartooniness. I love it and Matt Milla’s colors work perfectly and there’s no printing errors this time!

Full disclaimer, I am a fan of Sims’ writing and have read/listened/watched all of their interviews on ’92. I am aware of his problematic past and am willing to believe he’s changed. I hope we can all change for the better. I don’t want to dwell on this, that’s not at all the point, I just wanted to say that as I think he’sa fantastic writer and if somehow comes across it, I’d like to but him and Bowers a drink. I’d like to buy drinks for all of the beautiful people who worked on this book.

Klaus #5-Grant Morrison (W) Dan Mora (A)

This book is warm. It makes me feel good and hopeful inside. Everything is so dashing and heroic, you know it’ll all turn out okay.

Because it’s Santa Claus.

It’s exactly the kind of story that Morrison is deft at telling but I’m glad that although hope in the face of all evil is one of his themes. He just feels like he really believes that people are good.

I will turn this into an essay on Morrion if I don’t wrap up, so real quick, Dan Mora’s art is gorgeous and god, I just want every page framed and on my wall.

Klaus is good comics and Yuletime is or should be in our hearts all the time.

Comic Reviews for the week of 4/27

Spider-Woman #6- Dennis Hopeless (w) Joelle Jones (A) Rochelle Rosenberg (C)

How weird would it be to find out in another universe you’re a different gender. Although it would help with distancing yourself from the alt world, I suppose. Certainly seems that way for Jessica and Jesse Drew. I like that a recurring theme in Hopeless’ Spider-Woman run seems to be pitting Jess against alternate versions of herself. Usually literally. Seeing her dealing with it without meeting him was also interesting. As she’s a single mother, she fights Ellen without her husband. PARALELLS! AND NOT JUST EARTHS!

Jones, over the last two years, has become an artist I really get psyched when I find out they’re doing stuff and Rosenberg is actually my favorite colorist. I love the movement and widespreads on the fight between Ellen and Jess. (Can we take a moment to appreciate how great Ellen is? Okay? Good.) It’s a fantastic team and I want them to do an X-Men book.

This was another really good chapter of a really good crossover. Spider-Women may be my favorite of the three (THREE!) crossovers I’ve read so far this year.

Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur #6-Brandon Montclare and Amy Reeder (W) Natacha Bustos (A) Tamra Bonvillian (C)

Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur has a really important message. There are at least three thinkpieces about it, but in case you haven’t read those, the gist is that it’s about breaking the status quo and how hard it is when you’re a gifted child. And a black girl. It’s also about convincing others that your way is just as valid and about finding a place that you feel comfortable. Google to find more in-depth discussions on it.

Everything comes to a beautiful head in the last issue of the arc. And in good dramatic fashion as Lunella gets everything she needed, her biggest fear comes true. Montclare and Reeder are incurably delightful and earnest in their writing and Bustos and Bonvillian’s art is incredibly deft at portraying facial nuance even in a dinosaur.

The Ultimates #6– Al Ewing (W) Christian Ward (A)

This is by far the most conceptual issue yet and that’s saying something.

Ewing proves he’s one of the smartest writers in the business, yet it never seems like he’s trying to tell you that which is exactly what you need. A new take on Galactus, a contemplative Galactus much less, is hard to do and filled with so m juicy themes you’ll be full after finishing the book. But Christian Ward, Christian Ward brings the book to life. The layouts and colors were out of this world, ermm… universe, ermm… omniverse.

I love this book so much. It’s like the better FF runs mixed with Planetary with a splash of Starlin. 

Star-Lord #6 -Sam Humphries (W) Javier Garrón (W) Antonio Fabela (C)

This issue was all of the feels.

As stated before, huge StarKat shipper. So this issue was like candy. Delicious torturous candy. Hopeless would just write this book and play with my emotions forever if it were up to me.

Javier Garrón’s expressive art style is perfect for the expressiveness that’s needed to deal with the most important breakup in comic history. Not only facial expressions (which are super important to me) but also the body language makes everything that much more awkward.

Plus, I knew Peter was a Swiftie, but I never would have pegged Kitty as one.

Patsy Walker a.k.a. Hellcat #5– Kate Leth (W) Brittany Williams (A) Megan Wilson (C)

Hellcat continues to be hella cute. Leth and Williams knock it out of the park again. The fights are fun, but it’s the least interesting part of the book. Not that they’re not good, it’s just that the friendship and legal drama is so much fun!!!

It feels like instead of an end, this is only the beginning of a beautiful, beautiful series. That last page.

Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #7– Ryan North (W) Erica Henderson (A) Rico Renzi (C)

I accidentally killed Doreen like three times. I’m an awful person.

This issue was funny, inventive, and the construction was immaculate. The layout was really inventive. You think it might be a “turn the page if you make this choice” but it flowed from each page which is great and following the arrows was a lot of fun. It’s almost like they’re trying to show up the Allreds’ and Slott’s Silver Surfer #11.

I shouldn’t be surprised as North did the hilarious “To Be Or Not To Be?”, the choose your own Shakespeare. This issue was so good I had a few of my friends who don’t read comics, and they loved it. Plus, I’m always down for Swarm to make an appearance.

Avengers: Standoff: Assault at Pleasant Hill: Omega: #1-Nick Spencer (W) Daniel Acuña (A & C) and Angel Unzeta (A) Matt Wilson (C)

Worst title ever, how was that ever approved?. Good comic though.

I really like the Nick Spencer chapters of this crossover, I’m sure I would have liked it more if I read all of them. I think the structure is weird, but that’s once again probably because of the nature of the crossover.

Acuna’s art is gorgeous as always and I love the battle in the small town. It’s a great contrast to the skyscraper battles super heroes are normally in.

Story takeaways: I like the new Quasar, interested in seeing her again. I liked Kobik, but I don’t really care about Thunderbolts, so looks like I won’t find out what happens until it comes to Marvel Unlimited.

Nicoli Raymond is a writer based out of Illinois. He writes scripts, short stories, and articles on pop culture. He tweets at @NicoliRaymond Contact him at n.raymond616@hotmail.com . He graduates in two days and you should definitely hire him.

Total Pages:27 and 3/4 pages

Comic Reviews for the week of 4/20

Jonesy #3- Sam Humphries (W) Caitlin Rose Boyle (A) Mickey Quinn (C)

The story of the books is Jonesy refusing to learn important lessons but she ends up learning them anyway. It’s a nice little teenage book and I like Sam Humpries a lot and I feel a lot about him having a character that is Hispanic and a nerd and not having it be any sort of conflict.

This felt a little looser than the previous two issues, and that’s okay. Jonesy is the kind of comic that I don’t mind being a little scattered. Jonesy is a little scattered herself, so I think she’d approve. Plus, as the kind of girl who makes ‘zines would be in to fast paced structuring and all over the place narrative.

Extraordinary X-Men #9– Jeff Lemire (W) Humberto Ramos (A) Edgar Delgado (C)

This was an interesting issue. I’m really enjoying Apoclypse Wars so far. I prefer my crossovers to be thematic crossovers anyway, so it’s doubleplusgood.

I liked Man-Thing as a horseman of Apocalypse. I just wish he did something. I like the kids. And it was cool that they actually did…something. It ran a little fast but because it was so much fun. Man, all the stuff this week is good. I also enjoyed all the weird sci-fi/fantasy worlds. Very Claremont-y.

 

Howard the Duck # 6- Chip Zdarsky and Ryan North (W) Joe Quinones (A +C) Joe Jordan Gibson (C)

Why is Kraven hot now?

WHY IS KRAVEN HOT NOW?

Zdarsky always delivers what’s possibly the funniest version of the Marvel Universe but, this seemed a bit toned-down from the normal tone of Howard the Duck, which makes sense considering the crossover. Unbeatable Squirrel Girl is much more kid friendly and I wouldn’t want any kids to get any of Howard’s dirtier jokes. You might though.

Quinones’ art is great. Howard T. Duck is just a consistently great book. Squirrel Girl is great. They’re peanut butter chocolate.

Also, I want robocat.

 

Silk #7– Robbie Thompson (W) Tana Ford (A) Ian Herring (C)A solid issue if a little fast for my taste. I loved Cindy’s interaction with her alternate parents. Seeing Cindy-65 purposely isolate herself from her family as opposed to Cindy-616 being ripped away from her family.

The art was good, once again a good match for the rest of the crossover. Tana Ford is great, I love her faces, and they work so well with Silk so well as a book. I want to see her doing more stuff.

Nicoli Raymond is a writer based out of Illinois. He writes scripts, short stories, and articles on pop culture. He tweets at @NicoliRaymond Contact him at n.raymond616@hotmail.com . This was late because he’s procrastinating on everything because he’s terrified of graduation.

Total Pages:25 and 1/2 pages

Comic Reviews for the Week of April 13th

All-New All-Different Avengers #8-Mark Waid (W) Adam Kubert (A) Various (C)

I was a little lost because I didn’t pick up Uncanny Avengers #8, but everything made sense by the end. Apparently, I missed quite a bit as the villains had all broken loose, Maria Hill was nowhere to be seen and the Avengers had been mind wiped. So definitely buy that one first if you’re intent on following Standoff.

I’m troubled by the same problems that I’ve had with the rest of the series. Waid is a marvelous writer, as is evident by literally everything else he does, but I’m not enjoying this as much as I was hoping. The character work is in the series is good. The Vision, Nova, and Ms. Marvel are particularly compelling. But there’s not enough of it. The book has established its tone, but I have no idea what that is.

The Nick Spencer chapters of the crossover have been tremendous and while he’s writing two Captain America series and Ant-Man right now, I hope he’ll someday get to write the main Avengers book.

Adam Kubert’s art was fine; I wasn’t particularly impressed by it. Not to say it was but and there were lots of fun little things, but I just wasn’t super impressed. He’s talented and there were some cool layouts though. I think the inks were a little off on some pages, because it seemed more sharp than I’m used to seeing from him. As for the colorists, I couldn’t tell which ones did which pages, and the colors were just fine.

This continues to be a series, I keep looking forward to getting better and it doesn’t. Even with all of that said, I am excited for the Standoff finale and I’m excited for next issue and the All-New Wasp.

Guardians of the Galaxy #7- Brian Michael Bendis (W) Valerio Schiti (A) Richard Isanove (C)

Wait…didn’t Bendis do this same storyline a year ago? But much less fun? There have been two or three “The Guardians aren’t together at the moment and then one or several of them are captured stories.” And it’s starting to become a running motif. Which would be fine if it weren’t every other story arc.

Bendis’ character work and dialogue had me grinning thought the whole issue, so I wasn’t actually disappointed. I do hope this is a short arc and the last of it’s kind for a while. A long while. I likrd the character’s acknowlagement of the frewuncy in which this kind of stuff happens.

Rocket is a character that changes depending on the artist’s style and Schiti’s rocket is a ton of fun. A furball of energy waiting to explode, or rather explode you. The different aliens have different postures and that’s a cool touch.

The colors for this series, by Richard Isanove, have been distinctive the entire time Schiti has been working on this book and man, I’ve been digging them so much. Space is dusky and reddish and the barren planets are so full of color.

I’m excited to see the relationship between Agent Venom and Groot next issue, but I’m kind of hoping we’ll get back to Kitty and Peter soon. (I love the StarKat relationship, but there’s some serious problems with it.

A-Force #4– Kelly Thompson and G.Willow Wilson (W) Jorge Molina (A) Laura Martin (C)

I really have a problem with “getting the team together arcs.” If you’re reading single issues, I feel they can last too long. Although it’s only four issues, I thought it could be less. There’s a lot of cool character stuff and the women really interact with each other well. This one is fun and sets up a lot of really cool stuff for the future. I am really interested in Antimatter becoming more than what he was in this arc. Although a strawman fighting for his life is a pretty great first villain for this book.

Jorge Molina’s art is the part of the series I look forward to most every month. It’s gorgeous and the colors only enhance it. It is by far, the best-looking Avengers book right now.

A-Force is a fun book. The characters are a delight, the banter is witty, and the art is immaculate perfection. I’m really excited for the new direction starting next issue; it looks like a lot of fun, more in line with Kelly Thompson’s other series, Jem and the Holograms. Go pick up Jem and go pick this up.

Mockingbird #2-Chelsea Cain (W) Kate Niemczyk (A) Rachelle Rosenbuerg (C)

Okay, this was fun, I love this series a lot. Only two issues in and Chealsa Cain, Kate Nienczyk and Rochelle Rosenberg have made one of the most purely fun series Marvel is putting out. I’m really excited to see how these single-issue stories tie into the mystery of the first issue.

The highlight was obviously naked Hunter and the shock collar. Look. This is one of those books I don’t want to talk about to much because you should just be reading it. So go do that.

All-New X-Men # 8– Dennis Hopeless (W) Paco Diaz (A) Rachelle Rosenberg (C)

It was an intersesting diversion from the rest of the series. Hank McCoy’s struggles to feel relevant have been an underlying theme for the series and as the only member of the O5 (O4?) to not be highlighted in the book yet. Seeing Hank turn to magic shows just entirely how desperate he is. Hopeless’ work on the characters in this series has been particularly deft and there have been a lot of great teenager moments.

I liked in Hank identified the problem that’s been plaguing the magic in the Marvel Universe since Secret Wars ended. The whole of the interactions between Hank and Strange were great as these were two men who were not as different as Hank thinks they are. I like that although Strange has been deaged, he’s still very much the same person he was before and I like him mentoring Young Hank considering that Strange and the elder Hank were both on the Defenders.

Paco Diaz’s art was good. There were some particularly interesting layouts. I actually wasn’t expecting it. The solicit I had read said Bagley would be doing the art, so I was surprised at it. It provides a nice gap between Bagley’s art in All-New and Bachalo’s art in Doctor Strange.

It was a nice palate cleanser before Apocalypse Wars starts next week. Looking forward to it. All-New is still the best mainstream universe X-Book.

X-Men 92 #2-Chris Sims and Chad Bowers (W) Alti Firmansyah (A) Matt Milla (C)

If you like superhero comics you should be reading this. Sims and Bowers have a fantastic understanding of the medium, genre, and decade that really benefits their book.

It’s a really fun and sometimes book in the smartest way.

The art is great Alti Firmansyah draws the perfect Vampire Bear. Her art is energetic and fun and just the best.

There was a printing error with all of the copies I checked out, so that was a bumer. The ink wasn’t centered very well. It looked like it was meant to be 3D, which would be a fitting gimmick for the book if it were intentional. The colors were good and bright and very 90’s.

Also Sexy Draculas.

Spider-Gwen #7-Jason Latour (W) Bengal (A) Rico Renzi (C)

I still really like Jess and Gwen’s relationship. I really , really like Jess interacting with Captain Stacy and the sense of normaility that he and Gwen have worked up over time. The differences between Earths 65 and 616 have always been one of the most fun/disturbing parts of the series, but we’re getting more than normal, and that’s probably because our non-Gwen leads are new to this world, and like the reader discovering new things about it. It’s and effective and interesting way to build the world around Gwen.

want the band to show up more, they’ve been on the edge of the series since the relaunch, I feel like Rodruigezs’ last arc will feature them more prominently, but we’ll see.

Bengal has their own style, but it fits in with Robbie Rodreigez’s art for the rest of the series and Vanessa Del Ray’s art from the opening chapter of the crossover. Rico Renzi provides the same stellar color work I expect and while it’s different than how he colors Rodreguiz, it’s similar enough not to be jarring. I wonder if all of the colorists had a meeting to discuss the crossover and consistency. I’d have liked to have seen that.

I would have liked to have seen what happened to Silk, but Cindy’s exploits will be in her own book next week, so It’s not a complaint. A solid chapter in a solid crossover.

Silver Surfer #3– Dan Slott & Michael Allred (Storytellers) Laura Allred (C)

Saying anything about the story would be a spoiler. It’s a big issue for the Surfer and it’s as heartbreaking as it is uplifting.

Slott and the Allreds fire on all cylinders. I was gasping while reading it. I cried. Their collaboration is the heart of the series and the series is all heart,

I’m eagerly anticipating every issue. Even at it’s darkest, the book never loses its hope or whimsy. It’s exactly the book I want it to be. It may be my favorite series currently coming.

Nicoli Raymond is a writer based out of Illinois. He writes scripts, short stories, and articles on pop culture. He tweets at @NicoliRaymond Contact him at n.raymond616@hotmail.com . He wishes that he was a dumber writer.

Total Pages:24 and 1/2 pages

Comic Reviews-Week of April 6th

TheWicked + The Divine 18-Kieron Gillen (W) Jaimie McKelvie (A) Matthew Wilson (C)

Short version: I have no idea what’s going on anymore and it’s amazing.

Long Version: Gods how I missed Wic/Div. And I didn’t even realize how much I missed McKelvie. The guest artists were stellar, but man, I forgot how incredible McKelvie was as a draftsman. The writing was on point as usual and this book wouldn’t be half as good without Matthew Wilson’s colors.

The start of this arc brought everything together introduced new stuff and-honestly, I can’t write a cohesive review of this. I was gushing the whole time.

It was so good I’m at a loss for words. If you know me, you know that I don’t shut up, so this is a big deal.

Instead have some random thoughts about the book:

I’m a fan of the recap page.

Minerva’s parents were a nice inclusion. I like seeing the parents of child stars that are absorbed in it, but they generally mean well, even if they’re exploiting their kid. Also, Minerva is the best.

Baphomet. I finally like Baphomet.

Morrigan.

What if it’s not Laura? WHAT IF IT’S NOT LAURA?

“Persephone’s in Hell?” Lucifer ruled Hell. Coincidence? ARRRGH!

Morrigan

Shakmet slays with her new ‘do and that outfit.

The energy of the fight was palpable. Shakmet’s predatory attacks vs. Persophone’s graceful movements.

Morrigan.

It ends with not a bang, but….what comes directly after.

Don’t Call it a Comeback.

Black Panther #1– Ta-Nehisi Coates (W) Brian Stelfreeze (A) Laura Martin (C)

It’s as good as everyone said it is.

As opposed to the “AAAAAHHHH, OMG” of Wic/Div, Panther offers weightier content. (I was predispositioned to say headier, but Wic/Div is by Kieron Gillen, so that’s a hard call.)

It is a dense comic and hard to describe without an active conversation. Lots of things happen. It’s a book you’re going to want to buy for yourself. You will want to own it.

Stelfreeze shows a lot of nuance and definitely helps elevate the material. Coates knows how to write politics, the book feels like an essay, but a really compelling one that you want to rush through so you know how it ends. Then you’ll want to read it again to make sure you didn’t miss anything.

Structurally, the backup and cliffhanger make me wonder how this is going to read in trade. It’ll probably be fine, but from the first issue, single issues might be the way to go.

Vision #6-Tom King (W) Gabriel Hernandaz Walta (A), Jordie Bellaire (C)

Oh, man, it’s creepy. King, Walta, and Bellaire continue their stellar run, the end of the first arc, isn’t even the end. It’s the beginning. Of the end, presumably with King signing an exclusive contract with DC.

Walta’s art is sterile, portraying the normal in a most unnerving way. The lines are thin and ghostly in quiet moments, but deep and thick when things get bloody. And Bellaire’s colors have defined the book. It’s as much her book as Walta or King’s. The subtle variations in the house and the deep red of the blood make the book.

It’s a book with a clearly defined identity, which begs the question, “will it survive King’s departure?” Also the question, “when is King leaving”?

Uncanny X-Men #6-Cullen Bunn (W) Ken Lashley (A) Nolan Woodward (C) Paco Medina (A) Juan Vlasco (I) Jesus Aburtov (C)

Picked this up only because of the Apocalypse Wars crossover. I am not a fan of Bunn’s writing, although I did enjoy his Magneto series, but I was pleasantly surprised. The Angel stuff was really enjoyable and Bunn shows a real understanding of the characters, they all seem really well written, except Sabertooth, but I haven’t read much with him post-inversion, so it might be spot-on.

There was a lot of fun stuff in the book, the archangel flock, the cool memeory two page spread, and the Morlock sewer stuff was a fun callback to one of my favorite X-stories. And that ending.

Lashley’s art was brutal and beautiful, although I think a bit too much empathis on the latter. Psylocke was a little pin-up-y at times. I was pretty much X-pecting this from a “Not an X-Force” book, and I’m sure it’s more tame than Land’s.

On the flip side, I love Paco Medina’s art in the backup strip. It was his ormal quality of work, which is to say, phenomenal. Bun iid some fun stuff with the Fact Channel and Xorn. Oh yeah, Xorn?!?!

Scarlet Witch #5-James Robinson (credited for Script) Javier Pulido (A) Munta Vicente (C)

Javier Pulido. Wanda saving ghost nuns from undead inquisitors. A near silent issue. Buy it. Even if you have no interest in the rest of the series, read this one.

Spider-Man #3-Brian Micheal Bendis (W) Sara Pichelli (A) Justin Ponsor (C)

This is a lot better considering the ahhh, weird portrayal of the internet youth last issue. Bendis shows his penchant for dialogue, which always engages me, even when the story is lax. That being said, the story isn’t lax here. Miles’ family life Post-SW isn’t something we’ve seen a lot of, so an issue devoted to just that is a nice cool down. (I mean, look guys, I love Blackheart and him being the first villain got me really excited, so I needed some cool down time at least.)

Miles’ Grandma is fantastic and she is everything a superhero cannot win against. AAAAHHH I love her.The tension between Jefferson and Rio about her rang as particularly true and I hope to see her and the hurricane that follows her a lot more.

Ms. Marvel seemed a little out of character, but I liked that she “got it”. If anyone would understand family getting in the way of heroics, it’s Kamala.

Pichelli thrives on the interpersonal moments and this issue is full of them. Like entirely. The pages with Jefferson, Rio, and Gloria she just raises the tension. It’s palpable just from the art. Her Kamala’s stretchiness is the right amount of gross and cool and I love it. And when she draws Felicia, I can think of only one word: Slay.

One last note: GOLDBAAAAAALLLSSSS!!!

Spider-Women Alpha-Dennis Hopeless, Jason Latour, Robbie Thompson (Story) Robbie Thompson (W) Vanesa Del Ray (A) Jordie Bellaire (C)

Clowntown. Oh, how I long to be in thee.

This was a really fun issue and looks to be a great crossover. Gwen, Jess, and Cindy are a really fun combo and they play off of eachother really well. Each of them has different dynamics together and with just one of the others and that shows deft writing. Cindy, playing the fun-because-it-hurts type, Gwen who just doesn’t get it and she’s jealous of the time her mentor is giving Cindy, and Jess who just wants a girl’s day. Even if their lunch went as planned, the dynamics would have been enough to keep me hooked.

The tiny differences between the worlds were really fun to see (the come see sunny Wakanda/Latveria made me laugh) and I loved the little nods. (I don’t know why the Adaptoid isn’t used more. He’s so goofy.)

The art was really good. There’s a kind of Indie style to all of the books and it’s good to see that style continued in this, especially by a woman, as all of the writers are male. I’d also like to note that Jordie Bellaire is my favorite colorist and this book shows why. She is so, so good at blending tones together. She’s so good.

I am more than intrigued by this, I am actively invested. All three of the books are solid series and I recommend both them and Spider-Women Alpha.

Deadpool/Cable: Split Second– Fabian Nicieza (W) Reilly Brown (W,A)

Only because like, all of my books gave a free digital copy. It was fine. I don’t care much about Deadpool or Cable. If you don’t know Cable, I’m not sure this is a good into. This one didn’t seem to use the Infinite format that well. The writing and art were both fine, not good, not bad, just fine. I wasn’t drawn into it. If you’re a Deadpool fan, I’m sure you’ll like it, if not feel free to skip it

Header art by Stacy Lee. All rights belong to Marvel.

Nicoli Raymond is a writer based out of Illinois. He writes scripts, short stories, and articles on pop culture. He tweets at @NicoliRaymond Contact him at n.raymond616@hotmail.com . He’s sorry this came out so late. It’s been a busy week.

Total Page Count:18 and 1/2