Review: Secret Avengers, Vol. 3: God Level

Secret Avengers, Vol. 3: God LevelSecret Avengers, Vol. 3: God Level by Ales Kot
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

description
God Level is where Kot wraps up his 3 volume run on Secret Avengers and really starts to get his weird-on. Usually that’s where I get off Ales’ crazy train. But not this time folks. Enjoyed the shit outta this title right up to the end.

description

Funny that MODOK, a character I previously thought was oh-so-lame, ended up being one of the best parts of this book. Bunch of great moments including him drunk texting Deadpool, gettin’ all Rambo, and rockin’ out in an apron. Liking Snapper (heh) as well. Go figure. Who would’ve guessed a guy like me would end up diggin’ a dude named after a woman’s hoo-hoo? I would’ve appreciated a bit more Wade Wilson, but only because I think Ales really nails him.

description

Some other highlights of volume 3 included Black Widow and Lady Bullseye on the run, Hawkeye taking out 17 hired guns all by his lonesome, Deadpool’s cameo, and the debriefing interviews at the end of the book.

description

Much respect for Michael Walsh. The guy owned this series and deserves as much credit as Ales for gettin’ me hooked. He crushed whatever it was that Kot’s crazy-ass script called for. I’m guessing that he’s also personally responsible for some of the awesome “little” moments that made this book so damn good. Tradd Moore’s covers were pretty bangin’ too.

description

This type of Avengers story might not be for everybody, but boy did it kill for me. Plenty of action with just enough kookiness and unconventional story-telling to make it fresh. Kot jumps around a bit while getting to where he’s going (linear just ain’t his thing) and it really worked here. Pair him up with a talented guy like Walsh and Marvel created a run that’s among the best that any Avengers title has seen in a while. Bravo boys, hate to see this joy-ride come to an end. Anybody that’s enjoying Fraction’s Hawkeye, Soule’s She-hulk, or Waid’s Daredevil should probably give this title a shot.

Get this review and more at:

View all my reviews

Advertisements

Review: Secret Avengers Vol. 2: The Labyrinth

Secret Avengers, Vol. 2: The LabyrinthSecret Avengers, Vol. 2: The Labyrinth by Ales Kot
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

description
GIRL FIGHT!!! This book opens with a shirt tearin’, bra strippin’, throw down for the ages…Ok, so maybe there are no bras getting pulled off, but boy do Black Widow and Lady Bullseye have at it. There’s enough fish-hooks, eye-gouges, and hair pullin’ to put a smile on this old man’s face anyway. MODOK likey.

description

Hawkeye goes lookin’ for an M.I.A. Agent Coulson and runs into a super-fan by the name of Wade Wilson. Some of my favorite moments in this one are Kot’s take on Deadpool. Ales doesn’t just do a good job with the Merc with a mouth, he crushes it. Over the top redonkulous 4th wall smashin’ fun and absolutely perfect.

description

That’s not all….MORE MODOK!! He’s almost as funny as Wade and his evil plan is finally starting to take shape. Love him.

description

Spider-woman goes on special assignment, Maria Hill does her best Nick Fury impression, and the real villain finally steps out of the shadows and into the light.

description

Kot’s weirdo writing sensibilities and oddness really come through in this book. But not in the overly obscure manner that it does in some of his lesser known work. Definitely much easier to digest than his image title Zero.

description

Michael Walsh’s art remains as amazing as it was in Volume 1. Scratch that, it’s even better. Mike manages to communicate so much emotion with his simple style. NO ONE has ever drawn the Ultimate Warrior so good. Mix in Matthew Wilson’s colors and BLAM!, great stuff. Tradd Moore’s covers rock too.

description

Kot’s unusual storytelling won’t work for everyone, but for me, it’s spot on. Plenty of action as well. Throw in Walsh’s artwork and this book’s a lock for one of my all-time favorite Avenger titles. Read it!

Get this review and more at:

View all my reviews

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

description

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).

description

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.

description

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.

description

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.

description

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.

description

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.

Get this review and more at:

View all my reviews

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

description
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.

description

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.

description

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

description

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.

Get this review and more at:

View all my reviews

Review: Bucky Barnes: The Winter Soldier, Vol. 1: The Man on the Wall

Bucky Barnes: The Winter Soldier, Vol. 1: The Man on the WallBucky Barnes: The Winter Soldier, Vol. 1: The Man on the Wall by Ales Kot
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

description
Ales Kot writes some odd-ball shit. Gotta have mad respect for a guy that isn’t afraid to do his own thing and writes outside the box. That said, he was a little too far outta the box with this one for my tastes. Throw in a couple of unconventional artists and I’m lookin’ for an exit. I didn’t absolutely hate it, but I certainly wasn’t in love with it either.

description

Ales take on Bucky was pretty ambitious. Kot follows up on the Original Sin event of a year or so ago with this collection. If you haven’t read that book, there’s some minor spoilers ahead. Buck has inherited the role of “the man on the wall” in this collection. The first line of preemptive defense against any potential threat to good ole’ mother Earth. It took some guts to change up Barnes’ previous persona in the Marvel Universe and take him beyond the espionage element I had come to associate with him thanks to Ed Brubaker. Now he’s more of a space-ranger, ala’ Buzz Lightyear, kinda guy. That said, I definitely prefer Ed’s take.

description

It was also pretty unique in terms of the artwork provided for the story. The unusual layouts and maverick artistic styles of Marco Rudy and Langdon Foss were a pretty ballsy selections. I felt like this worked better in Ales’ Zero than it did in this book. And while I appreciated the attempt at doing something a little atypical here, it just didn’t rock my world. The art was tough to read and difficult to follow in parts, and while it wasn’t necessarily ugly, it didn’t do much for me either.

description

Ales had a lot going against him with me in this book. Cosmic stories, not my bag. Superheroes in cosmic stories, nuh-uh. Throw in a little time travel and nope, peace out. Really tough for any writer to make that stuff work for me. It can be done, but not this time.

description

So, this book was a bit of a disappointment for me. I’ve accepted that Kot, like all my favorite authors, is gonna put out the occasional stinker. But I’m not givin’ up on Ales. It’s onto Secret Avengers and I’m pretty damned excited about that title. That shit looks sick.

Get this review and more at:

View all my reviews

Review: Secret Avengers, Vol. 2: The Labyrinth by Ales Kot

Secret Avengers, Vol. 2: The LabyrinthSecret Avengers, Vol. 2: The Labyrinth by Ales Kot
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

 

 

 

This is such a fantastic comic, and I give all the credit to Ales Kot. I haven’t read a ton of stuff by him, but everything I have read, I’ve loved.
He even managed to make a volume of Suicide Squad not suck. So, it goes to figure that if you hand him an actual cool team, he could make it rock. And he does.
description
And Michael Walsh’s art is just the perfect compliment to this story. It’s that kind of trippy, blurry, scratchy stuff that I didn’t always enjoy, but it’s really grown on me over the past few years.

description

The highlight for me was the stuff with Deadpool and Hawkeye. Deadpool’s self-aware banter breaks the 4th wall constantly during this one. He has some of the hands-down best lines in this thing!

description

So this time around the Secret Avengers are all scattered across the globe. Coulson (maybe) has PTSD and has wandered off, Hawkeye is tracking Coulson, Jessica is being introduced to some of Maria’s secrets, Fury is in a coma, and Black Widow is…in another dimension? And how does Deapool fit into all of this? Well, you’d have to ask M.O.D.O.K..

description

Ok, the plot is just…wacky. There’s no need for me to go into any details, because it won’t make a bit of difference. The real fun is in the way Kot writes the dialogue between characters.
Now, I will say the the last couple of issues seemed to run off the rails a tad, and the (already) nutty storyline got a bit too screwy for my taste. It’s the only reason this didn’t make it into 5 star territory for me. Even so, I’d recommend this title to friends in a heartbeat.
Especially if they were looking for something a little different.

description

View all my reviews

Review: Zero Vol. 4: Who By Fire

Zero, Vol. 4: Who By FireZero, Vol. 4: Who By Fire by Ales Kot
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

description

NNNNNOOOOOO!!!!! What a dumb as shit way to wrap this one up. What the fuck just happened. Who the hell are Allen Ginsberg, William S. Burroughs, and Joan Vollmer for Christ’s sake? Where is all the ass-kicking?!?!?!? Why did I even waste my god-damn time with this? I KNEW this shit was gonna happen. Ales Kot musta been peakin’ on 12 hits of blotter acid when he puked this crap onto his keyboard. I didn’t expect Edward to ride off into the sunset with the girl, but really?!?!?!?

description

Several deep breathes later….Fuck it, I’m missing something. Come’on Google. We’ll start with who the hell Allen Ginsberg is…

For those of you that have not already read any of my reviews, I’m not a particularly smart guy (having spent much of my parent’s money and college loans on learning how to build a better water bong, desperately trying to contract VD, and pouring endless hours into becoming a world class hackey-sack player). I’m not into “literature”. Most times I’m a “what you see is what you get” mother-fucker, not a thoughtful philosopher. I usually, not always, but usually, like my comics to just be popcorn entertainment. Well written mind you, just a little easier to follow. Soooo, about an hour of internet research and 2 re-reads later, I found that I had developed a much different opinion of this book. Ales Kot REALLY challenged me with the final installment of Zero. He forced me to re-evaluate what my expectations were for this series and maybe the way I appraise other books in the future. Right, I know, pretty deep for a blue collar dip-shit, but it’s true.

description

I’m going out on a limb and guessing the average comic book reader (a category which I typically fit into) is gonna fuckin’ hate this book and the way Kot chooses to end this series. Not because their “dumb”, uneducated, or that it’s poorly written, it’s because Ales isn’t spoon feeding you shit and he requires you to consider just what he is hoping to communicate with Zero. I would imagine that the message is going to be different for anyone that reads it. On some level, I think it’s supposed to be like that. Believe me, if you thought that this series was a little confusing in the first 3 volumes, this book is really going to frustrate. Zero completely breaks from the already muddy reality that Ales created in the earlier books and spirals off into what initially presents itself as an even more distorted and trippy experience. Some of the more recognizable themes about violence and father-son relationships were a little easier to pick up on. Who all these people Ales introduces are, how their lives and work relate to the story, and why Ales chose this sometimes disjointed way of telling Edward’s tale took a little more work. For me, it was worth it only because I felt that I had actually learned something about what I expect from the stories I read, the way I perceive things (in books and otherwise), and had a connection with the author that I rarely have reading books. Now I’m sounding like a weirdo.

description

Anyway, the art also took a bit of effort to appreciate. Some, as in past issues, appealed to me a bit more than others. I really liked that Kot chose to allow all of these different artists to contribute to the story at the end and it wasn’t an idea I was initially sold on. Typically, I like consistency in a story in terms of the artist. I’ve left a few titles simply because there was a change in who was drawing them. I ultimately appreciated many the different styles all of these artists supplied and there was some really nice work in this book. That said, this book was still my least favorite in terms of the artwork when compared to all of the other volumes. Still some nice stuff though. And the coloring of Jordie Bellaire has been beautiful throughout the entire series. Bravo!

description

This is only a recommend to those that are looking to dig a little deeper than the average Marvel or DC monthly. Actually, a lot fuckin’ deeper. While I found something totally new with this series and definitely enjoyed it, read it at your own risk. It’s certainly NOT for everybody.

Get this review and more at:

View all my reviews

Review: Zero Vol.3: The Tenderness Of Wolves

Zero, Vol. 3: Tenderness of Wolves (Zero #3)Zero, Vol. 3: Tenderness of Wolves by Ales Kot

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

There goes Ales Kot making me a liar. I made a statement about not sticking it out with this title in my review of Vol. 2 if there weren’t more in the way of answers with this one. Well, guess I’m fulla shit, because I’m in for vol. 4. Kot keeps givin’ me just enough to string me along.

description

Edward Zero’s back at it in Zero Vol. 3 The Tenderness of Wolves. And by “back at it” I mean he’s straight- up wreckin’ mother fuckers. Kot’s Zero seems to continue to borrow heavily from Ludlum’s Bourne series with the “rogue agency assassin” thing. Ales keeps pulling the curtain back a little bit at a time with this latest collection. While this book plays out a little more straight forward chronologically than the first couple volumes, don’t expect it to make a huge difference in terms of being any more concise. Chapter 12, while being something of a head scratcher, had a pretty unsettling revelation though. Eewww.

description

The off the chain violence helped to keep my attention. Believe me when I tell ya, there’s a butt-ton of it. Zero runs into a couple of folks that are just as hardcore as he is and shit gets REAL. The last 2 issues collected are especially light on dialogue and heavy on the kickassery. Loved it.

description

As in both the prior collections, a new artist tackles the drawing chores with each new chapter. This collection might be my favorite to date in terms of the overall consistency of the artwork. Everybody did a bang up job. Marek Oleksicki being something of a standout with the last chapter. He really nailed the visceral vibe that issue needed.

description

I know the lack immediate clarity about just what the fuck is going on story-wise will put people off to this title. Typically, I fit in that category. But Ales has set the hook and I’m seeing this one through to the end. Which, from I understand, is the next collection. Can’t fuckin’ wait.

Get this review and more at:

View all my reviews

Review: Secret Avengers, Vol. 1: Let’s Have a Problem by Ales Kot

Secret Avengers, Vol. 1: Let's Have a Problem (Secret Avengers #1)Secret Avengers, Vol. 1: Let’s Have a Problem by Ales Kot

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

4.5 stars

Yep, yep, yep! This was very cool!
Not sure why I haven’t heard much about this one, but it’s really good. It’s got the same vibe as Hawkeye, but the premise is like a toned down version of the X-force for Avengers…if that even makes sense.

description

Maria Hill has decided to put together a Top Secret group of heroes to take on Top Secret threats. Nick Fury, Phil Coulson, Black Widow, Spider-Woman, and (unbeknownst to everyone on the team) M.O.D.O.K. make up the team.

description

Oh, and Hawkeye ends up accidentally making the roster.
He’s the Problem that the title refers to.

description

Let’s Have a Problem was just fun to read.
There’s a rampaging Death-machine (ironically called Fury), satellites falling from the sky (???), a self-aware an bomb (who wants to try gelato), an assassination attempt on Hill (she probably deserved it), and a murder in M.O.D.O.K.’s mad science lab (because…shit happens).

description

I didn’t realize it until I decided to look this guy up, but Ales Kot was the guy who wrote the only volume of Suicide Squad that I thought was worth a shit. And after reading this, I can say without a doubt I’ll be stalking whatever he decides to do next.
Highly Recommended!

View all my reviews

Review: Zero Vol. 2 “At The Heart Of It All”

Zero, Vol. 2: At the Heart of It AllZero, Vol. 2: At the Heart of It All by Ales Kot

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Zero Vol. 2: “At The Heart Of It All” has a lot in common with Zero Volume 1 “An Emergency” . It continues to jump back and forth in time to tell the story of Edward Zero. He’s like the new, NC-17 rated Jason Bourne for those of you that missed Vol. 1. Ales continues to tell his origin and what will likely be his ultimate demise at the same time in his own peculiar way. I continue to enjoy all the action and violence, as that’s sort of my taste, but I do agree with Joe in that I’d like to see something come together by the next volume. Ales will hopefully offer a little more of an explanation as to what he is building towards with these first two collections. I’ll be patient. Kot’s odd style appeals to me so it’s really not that hard. And all the ultra-violence helps to pass the time.

description
Continue reading