Review: Secret Avengers Vol. 1: Let’s Have a Problem

Secret Avengers, Vol. 1: Let's Have a ProblemSecret Avengers, Vol. 1: Let’s Have a Problem by Ales Kot
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

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Yep, this is it. My favorite Avengers title in years and probably the BEST Secret Avengers stuff ever. Kot has that “Matt Fraction” thing down. Great action with just enough silly. This book starts off right after Nick Spenser’s run on Secret Avengers, but I don’t think you really need to read that run to enjoy this. Maybe just the 3rd volume (cuz it’s good).

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Ales’ team consists of Nick Fury, Black Widow, Spider-Woman, Phil Coulson, and a tag-a-long by the name of Clint Barton. Oh, yeah and the Mental/Mobil/Mechanized Organism Designed Only for Killing. He’s great and also a professional egoist. After this series I’m buying a M.O.D.O.K. t-shirt. He is awesome in this book. Maria Hill sparkles too and she really has her hands full with this crowd. That, and she gets hands on. Dig her.

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A.I.M. continues to make itself an annoyance to the gang in this collection, but there’s also a couple of new villains that show up to shit in our heroes cereal. A crazed poet and arms dealer named Artaud, a killing machine called “The Fury”, Lady Bullseye, and an artificially intelligent bomb by the name of Vladimir just to name a few. The quirkiness of this title is just so fun.

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Michael Walsh is the perfect illustrator for this one too. He’s got a “Matt Wagner” vibe that I love. Wonderfully drawn simple, but distinctive characters and backgrounds that nail it. Mike’s got a new fan in this guy. I’ll be hittin’ his shit up again down the road. Travis Moore, of “Luther Strode” fame, provides some sweet cover art as well. Money.

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Could’ve done without the Original Sin tie-in included at the end of the book. I get that it was collected since Ales wrote it and it wasn’t bad, just didn’t flow or really have anything to do with the rest of the story. And the art was meh.

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This kinda weirdness is usually not my thing, but Ales is able to sell me on it for some reason. I would imagine it’s sorta like folks that appreciate Grant Morrison’s uniqueness. I don’t, but I think Ales’ odd style is a bit more digestible to the blue collar comic fan than Grant’s. Odd without the obscure references and mind-boggling plot lines that Morrison typically baffles me with. A recommend to anyone that’s enjoying Fraction’s Hawkeye or is a fan of any of the characters. Kot and Walsh killed it.

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Review: Irredeemable Vol. 3

Irredeemable, Vol. 3Irredeemable, Vol. 3 by Mark Waid
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Minor spoilery stuff for those that haven’t read up to this volume yet. What are you waitin’ for?

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Finally. The U.S. Government has had enough of the Plutonian’s rampage and is stepping in to do something about it. Yep, the same guys that fucked up the economy, social security, and continue to try and dilute the Constitution to the point of irrelevance are on it. And they’re not gonna fuck this up. Turns out they have a very unique weapon on standby for just such an emergency. This isn’t going to end well.

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Qubit gets his BDSM on and it actually leads to a little information as to what happened to Modeus before he went missing. Turns out Modeus might have actually earned that dangerous reputation, the clever shit. Certainly didn’t see that twist coming.

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A new hero is born. “The Survivor” is here and what a douche-bag he is. Could be the cure is as bad as the disease in this case. Hysterical that the media was about as impressed as I was at his “coming out” party. Toolbox.

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Gil and Bette finally have that sit down about allegations of her infidelity. I was wonderin’ how long Bette was gonna be able to put this one off. Nice guys finish last Gil. But there’s more to this than Bette just going on a trampage. She knows something you don’t know.

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The Plutonian continues to impress with just how much of a malicious degenerate he really is. Yep, he’s hit an all-time low in this one kiddies. He’s takin’ to the handicapped. And how about those adoptive parents. Crazy shit.

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I continue to enjoy this series more with each volume. Peter Krause’s artwork remains consistent and, while I won’t be seeking out other titles based solely on his work, it’s respectable. Waid ends this collection on a cool little cliffhanger. On to volume 4. This title’s got legs.

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*sigh* Review: The Joker: Endgame by James Tynion IV

The Joker: EndgameThe Joker: Endgame by James Tynion IV
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

 

 

 

Thanks, DC!
So nice of you to reprint Batman: Endgame, plus in a few tie-in issues, and sell it as a completely different book.
Way to be classy!

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The tie-in stories aren’t bad, but they’re mostly about random characters…and then Batgirl.
Considering how much I disliked the New Batgirl, I was shocked that it was my favorite out of the bunch. It was told without dialogue, which worked really well for me, because I absolutely LOVE the art from that title.

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The rest of the tie-ins deal with what’s going on for different characters during the Endgame crisis. There’s one nutty set of stories that are all connected, dealing with a doctor at Arkham and some of her loony patients. The Big Reveal at the end of that one left me cold, because I already knew who Eric Border was, and (bonus!) I don’t tend to like tales told through the eyes of arbitrary characters.
I was actually hoping for the Joker’s point of view, because…well, the title says something to that effect. Sadly, no.
I’ve got a better title – The Joke’s on You: We Got Yer Money!

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If you haven’t read Endgame, maybe this would be the way to go? Especially if you’re interesting in purchasing. However, if you have read it (or own it), then this probably isn’t going to impress you all that much. Of course, lots of people loved this arc, so…

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For me, this was a struggle to get through. I was so annoyed that they expected me to re-read the same shit over again that it took me forever to finish it. And, yes, I read the entire thing.
I kept hoping reading Snyder’s Endgame for a second time might help me see it with fresh eyes (or some other nonsense), and maybe I’d find something I missed that would make me enjoy it a bit more.
NOPE. Still thought it was a turd.

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I received a digital copy from NetGalley and the publisher.

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Review: Secret Avengers Vol. 3: How to MA.I.M. a Mockingbird

Secret Avengers Vol. 3: How To Maim A MockingbirdSecret Avengers Vol. 3: How To Maim A Mockingbird by Nick Spencer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

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In preparation for Ales Kot’s run on Secret Avengers, I thought I should pick up the last volume of Nick Spenser’s run since Ales co-wrote the issues collected. It shows. Kot’s quirky fingerprints are all over this bitch.

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This volume seems like something of a lead in for Ales’ 3 volume stint on the team. It puts most of the pieces in place so he can hit the ground running with Secret Avengers Vol 1: Let’s Have a Problem. Really loved MODOK’s introduction in this one. The back and forth between him and Maria Hill was ridiculous throughout. I think Ales does a really good job of riding the line between cornball and serious with this book. That’s tough to pull off for anyone in my opinion. Taskmaster’s also good for a few laughs. Hawkeye, Nick Fury (“Sam Jackson” Fury that is), and Black Widow are all pretty much by the numbers. I think I prefer Nick as an agent as opposed to the SHIELD director. Hawkeye’s true to form and appears to be taken right from his own current, super-popular solo title. Most of the book, as the title implies, focuses on Mockingbird. Not a fan of hers, but the rest of the ensemble cast gets enough face-time while taking on A.I.M. to make up for it.

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The art was decent. Never a fan of Butch Guice or Luke Ross. Not my brand. But whatever, it certainly didn’t suck.

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This collection (along with Anne and Chris’ reviews of the first book) is pretty much a guarantee that Ales’ 3 volume run on the Secret Avengers that follows this is gonna kick some ass. I’d say pick up this book if you’re plannin’ on reading those collections. It doesn’t seem like you need to read Spenser’s 2 previous volumes to get the idea as to what’s going on here (I didn’t) and it’s a good preface to Kot’s take on the team. Now I’m even more fuckin’ stoked to keep on with this title. Bring it.

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Review: The Flash Season Zero by Andrew Kreisberg, Phil Hester (Illustrations), Marcus To (Illustrations)

The Flash Season ZeroThe Flash Season Zero by Andrew Kreisberg
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

3.5 stars

I’m a HUGE fan of the tv show, so that may have some bearing on my rating, but I don’t think so. This was a pretty decent collection of Television Flash stories. Obviously, this is not going to match up with what is going on in the real Flash comics, nor should it. This is strictly for CW fans who want a bit more of their Barry.

OhmyGodIlovethiskid!

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Anyway, most of the time I find these sort of tv spin-offs annoying and horribly cheesy. But (again, perhaps due to my love of the show) this time around I was fairly pleased with the graphic novelization of the show.

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This give a teeny background origin blurb, and then moves on to tell a group of very loosely connected stories about the Flash’s life in Central City.

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The art is sort of all over the place, and although I liked some of it better than others, none of it
WOWed
me. However, I did like the art with cleaner lines more than the chunky/clunky stuff.

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I was happy to see that they didn’t recap last season’s episodes, and instead came up with all new stories to tell, featuring (mostly) all new villains.

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Some of these guys I’d never even heard of, so I was thinking maybe there are a few new creations in this. But it’s also likely that I don’t know every single villain in Barry’s rogue gallery, so it’s quite possible that these might ring a bell to some of you hardcore Flash fans out there.

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I think I should mention that there is an issue with Felicity Smoak for all of you Arrowheads out there…

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One of my favorite issues was the one with Amanda Waller & the Suicide Squad. Of course, this does not have the same cast as the movie, so don’t go into it expecting to see Harley Quinn. Sorry! Instead you’ve got Deadshot, Boomerang, Cupid, and King Shark.

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Oh…and the Suicide Squad issue also includes another Arrow Crossover.

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All in all, not a bad volume for fans. If you like the show, then this might tide you over till the new episodes come out!

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I received a digital copy from Netgalley & the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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Angry Review: Batman, Vol. 7: Endgame by Scott Snyder, Greg Capullo (Illustrator)

Batman, Vol. 7: EndgameBatman, Vol. 7: Endgame by Scott Snyder
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

What the fuck just happened here?!
Wow. I officially loathe one of Snyder’s Batman stories.
Alright. I’m well aware that I’m going to be standing out here by myself, but I fucking HATED this. Like, I can’t even describe the rage I feel right now. Just pure fury mingled with crushing disappointment.
Well, what do you know? I guess could describe it!
Maybe Snyder has been the king of the Batverse for so long now, that he’s started believing his own hype? I mean,
really
?!
You may want to have those looked at, buddy.

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*deep breath*
I did really like parts of it. So there’s that.
Capullo’s art is amazing. Just spot-on, wonderful, and haunting.

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The facial expressions are perfect. Loved the way he drew…everything.

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Warning: Spoilers! Lots of ’em.
I’m not going to be able to properly bitch (or have a full-on tantrum), unless I can talk about what happened. If you haven’t read this yet, you may want to stop reading and come back later.

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Alrighty, the first part of the volume had me all aflutter!
Batman was fighting the leftover effects of Crane’s fear toxin, and he kept having these vivid dreams about his death. Julia was still helping Alfred with everything while he recovered, and it looked like their relationship was vastly improved.
I don’t know what happened in Volume 3 of Batman Eternal yet, but it appears they are living in some building previously owned by the Court of Owls. I hate the Owls, and I thought we were done with that whole hokey storyline, but I’m willing to let it slide.
Anyway, I loved Bruce’s interactions with Alfred.

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Ok, then Wonder Woman popped up outta nowhere and started beating the shit out of Bruce. She wasn’t making a whole lot of sense, and I thought it might be another dream. Apparently not…

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He managed to take her down, but, by that point, Aquaman & Flash were also both after him.
Boom! He pulled on his Justice-League-Taker-Downer suit, and incapacitated both of them. Nicely done! But he still didn’t know what was causing them to go nuts.

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And then Superman showed up, and everything became clear (ish).

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The Joker’s back!
And he’d managed to infect the Justice League with a special Joker Toxin. Batman narrowly escaped Superman, and (somehow) managed to get him, and the rest of the League, confined at A.R.G.U.S..
I’m assuming Alfred and Julia did this off-page, because when Bruce woke up (Clark hits hard!), the JL had already been hooked up to IVs.
Up next? Synthesize an antidote.
The bad news was that Joker let his toxin loose in Gotham, and it was spreading fast. The reallyreally bad news was that there seemed to be no way to make a working antidote.
I was on the edge of my seat by then, baby!
Why can’t they find an antidote?

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Ok, sounds pretty awesome so far, right?
Well, it was!
And then it all stared going downhill for me. At first, it was just little things (how did Joker managed to dose the entire Justice League?), but I brushed them aside, because I’ve been trained to blindly trust Snyder.
But also because of cool jump scares like this:

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But within that panel lies the problem.
I AM NOT FUCKING KIDDING ABOUT THE SPOILERS!
TURN YOUR ASS AROUND, RIGHT THE FUCK NOW!

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First, the fact that Joker was masquerading as the helpful doctor/intern from Arkham (Eric Border) that Batman has been working with, wasn’t a shocker to me. I’d been wondering when they were going to ‘spring’ that one on us. I mean, come on, he’s been shady from the start, but Arkham Manor pretty much confirmed it for me.
I can’t be the only one who was thinking that…

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The next step is a doozy.
The Big Twist is that the Joker can’t be killed. He’s immortal like Vandal Savage, Ra’s al Ghul, or Shovel Face from Twilight.
And he’s been around since (at least) the beginning of Gotham.

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DUM. DUM. DUUUUUM.
So…now we have some new convoluted Joker origin story? And he has powers? Has always had powers?
This explains why the skin on his face has healed itself.
Oh my God, I never thought I’d actually miss the fact that his face wasn’t attached anymore, but I’d rather have a totally human Joker without his fucking face, than WhatEverTheFuck Snyder was trying to sell me here.

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Still, I trusted him.
He’s the Goddamn Batman Snyder!
In my mind, I had full faith that he was going to iron out the kinks in this storyline.
It was an elaborate ruse! Or Bruce was in some Crane induced delusion!
The possibilities were whirling through my mind, even as I watched each corny plot thread unfold.

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Oh my! Joe Chill (exposed to the toxin) is waiting to kill a family. It’s been set up by Joker to look just like Crime Alley! Oh! Batman saves the family, but the toxin spreads to the adults, so he can only rescue the boy.
I’ll bet the boy is somehow part of Joker’s plan!

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Um…nope. Evidently it was just an excuse for Batman to save a kid.
Whuuuut?
Did we really need yet another reminder of the gunshot, the pearls falling, the sad little boy crying in the rain?

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Let me go ahead and answer that for you. No, we did not.
Whatever! In Snyder We Trust!
So when Joker broke into the Batcave and chopped off Alfred’s hand?

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I trusted him.
And when he stole the giant Dinosaur to use in a parade because that’s such an original fucking idea?

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I trusted him.
And when he had to go to the stupid-ass Court of Owls to find out if the Joker was truly immortal?

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I still trusted him.
Then have the world’s lamest fight with one of their Talons?

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I trustehhhh…well, if I’m being honest, I was starting to get pretty worried at this point. And, it turns out, I had every right to be.
Joker isn’t immortal, he’s just found some sort of a Lazarus pit to heal himself. Of course, the key to saving everyone in Gotham (from the toxin) is whatever’s in that Pit Juice.
*rolls eyes*

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The showdown culminates with Batman & Joker in a cave full of explosives.
They proceed to simultaneously stab and psychoanalyze each other to death.
Dr. Phil, what do you think it means when Joker lodges a playing card in Batman’s eye?
Well, Anne, I think it shows that they are definitely two sides of the same coin. They can’t live without each other, and so they will probably die in this cave together.
WhatTheFuck are you talking about, Phil?! Oprah lied to us! Self-help guru, my ass! You’re nothing but an obnoxious bully with a receding hairline, and smarmy grin.

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But it turns out Dr Phil was right.
Yep. They killed Batman…again.
I swear to God, I just now finally feel like I’m caught up on all of the shit from the last time he died, and they’re doing it again?
I guess Nubby Alfred could always step up as the next Dark Knight, if they wanna shake things up for a year or so.

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The final nail in the coffin though?
Batman left a note.

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Luckily, Alfred was able to translate the one word note that said Ha.
Blah, blah, balh…Batman’s story will always be a tragedy, because that’s the way he wanted it.
Live bravely, smile at the void, and eat cake…

Or something like that.
*vomits*
I can’t believe this shit. I CAN’T BELIEVE THIS SHIT!
You just did this, you idiots! Why don’t you kill off someone who hasn’t been dead in the past few years?
Green Arrow and Superman haven’t been dead in a while. Or how ’bout Hal? Maybe Spectre could come back and take him over again?
But no. Let’s kill Batman. Marvel got rid of Wolverine, so we need to off our flagship character, as well.
Great idea!

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*sigh*
Ok, the beginning of the story was great, and Capullo’s art deserves 5 stars all by itself, so this was not a total loss.
Again, I know most of you will love this, think it’s an ass-kicking story, and continue to worship this run. And I don’t want to argue with you, or try to change your mind. This is simply my (fairly worthless) opinion.

Ugh. I’m exhausted from hating Endgame so much. I’m going to bed.

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Initial thoughts:
Wow. I gotta think about this one for a bit…
My knee-jerk reaction is a hearty fuck you to Snyder.

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I received a digital copy from NetGalley & DC.

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