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.
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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.

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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!

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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..

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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.

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Review: Avengers: Millennium by Mike Costa

Avengers: MillenniumAvengers: Millennium by Mike Costa
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

 

 

 

Time Traaaaaavel!
It was a cockamamie plot with no real point, but I’m sort of used to that by now, so it didn’t really faze me.

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But the characters were cool, the dialogue was funny, and the story didn’t seem to take itself very seriously. So. Yeah, I liked it well enough.

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Alrighty! Wanda and Pietro are on vacation together.
Because that’s what most normal grown brothers and sisters do.
They vacation together. Alone. Without anyone else.
Not creepy or weird…at all. *cough*

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Um…

But whatever. The point is, Wanda senses a disturbance in The Force, and sends Pietro scurrying back to the Avengers mansion to collect reinforcements.

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The Avengers wisely decide to step through a Hydra time portal, end up getting separated across the time stream, and hilarity ensues.
What follows is a nonsensical story about Hydra burying a dragon egg in the past, a burned out dystopian future, and Peter dressing up as a Geisha during of of the World Wars.
I forget which one. And, face it, it doesn’t really matter anyway.

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I still don’t know how they managed to fix it all, but that’s ok, because I don’t think they did either. Basically Cap, who is hanging out with Hawkeye and Quicksilver in the Days of Cavemen, (somehow) manages to freeze himself again…

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Tony, Peter, and Natasha find Capsicle in Japan…but leave him frozen so that Bruce and Wanda can find him someday in the farfarfar future.
And…*cough*…for some reason, this ends up helping them all get back to the past/future/present. Anyway, they all meet up again, and open up a can of whoop-ass on a poor man’s Godzilla monster called Kakaranatharaian.
I swear to God!

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Right. They beat both Hydra and Godzilla by…
You know what, they don’t even pretend to know, so I’m not going to even pretend to explain it.
Hawkeye just dribbled some Magic Dirt over what was left of the egg, and they electrocuted it with Time Syrup or something, and everything goes back to normal.

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The end!
And I know that sounds horrible, but this wasn’t all that bad. It was kinda of fun in a WhoTheFuckCares sort of way. Just silly comic book antics, you know?

Alright, because this was only 4 issues long, Marvel kindly thought to pad this one with some ancient issues from the days of yore. And in keeping with the theme, we get the best time travel stories from 1963!
Avengers # 56 & #71
I know, right?! Now settle down so I can tell you all about it.
The first one is about the gang going back in time because Cap wants to confirm that Bucky really died. He’s holding out hope that his little pal made it off that rocket before it exploded.

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Poor Steve…so delusional. Let it go, buddy. Bucky is gone, and he’s never coming back.

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Of course, this volume wouldn’t be complete without a story about Kang, now would it?
Lucky us, it’s complete!

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On the back TheLatestPull.com says, My god is it good.
Well, I don’t know if I’d go that far, but I would say, My god it could’ve been a whole helluva lot worse.

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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.

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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.

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

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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).

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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!

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Review: Black Widow Vol. 1 (The Finely Woven Thread) by Nathan Edmondson & Phil Noto

Black Widow, Vol. 1: The Finely Woven ThreadBlack Widow, Vol. 1: The Finely Woven Thread by Nathan Edmondson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars


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Buddy Reads for the Shallow Comic Readers this week is “Red” Theme…Black Widow is…a Redhead. and Russian, which is…Red. And she makes people bleed…RED. And the art is heavy on the colour…RED. And I just..RE(a)D it!

Where to start…First off, I don’t love ScarJo’s movie version of Black Widow, she just doesn’t have any gravitas or tortured soul feeling. She’s just T&A. I wish she was more.
This version of Natasha is bang on, right up my alley.

The artwork by Phil Noto is ideally suited to this book and character, so bravo to him on this. It’s got somewhat muted tones, but is heavy on the red, blood red, the colour of spies (because a heavy on the black book would be too dark lol).

I like Nathan Edmondson a lot; his Jake Ellis series was fantastic, and though he did write the less than stellar “Grifter” reboot for New 52, that wasn’t entirely awful. This, however is great.
Natasha feels like she’s worn out, far too old for her actual age, and not just a support player with the big guns. There’s a terrific section where she talks about not being a marksman, or a dude with a shield or a philanthropist with a suit of armour…she’s just a spy. So she doesn’t seek out bang bang shoot em up style action.

I love that she’s motivated by making atonement for her earlier life, and I don’t think we need to have it spelled out for us; I really respect a writer who gives the audience credit to figure it out. She kills people, she used to kill people for the Russians, so she probably killed a lot of people who might not have deserved it. Ergo, she funnels most of her money into trust funds for those left behind. I like it. She’s got a conscience, but at no point do I ever consider her soft or weak.

She keeps people at arm’s length, because people obviously hurt her; the closest thing we see is her lawyer, a neighbour, and Maria Hill, director of SHIELD. (We even get a cameo from Hawkguy, where she looks less than enthused to see him, which I think is a great touch from Edmondson and Noto, differentiating this Black Widow from the Avengers/movie version).

Other reviewers have said that the plot isn’t intricate enough, or details enough given, but really, I think that would be a waste of time. I don’t need to be explained what her motivation is and who everyone she’s going after is, and what they did. I just know she does what she does, it’s work, and she’s damn good at it. This is probably a more accurate depiction of the assassin/spy/operative life anyhow; detached, but highly functional.

I also feel like this minimal style of plot gives us a lot more time to focus on Natasha, see her, and develop our own feelings towards her; we’re not being pressured by the writer to love her, or hate her, we’re being given an honest look, and allowed to make up our own minds. I like this approach a lot, because it doesn’t try so hard to force a character onto us. However, she’s here if we want.

Of course, the Mad Russian Monk is always fun, and it’s nice to see a hero(ine) who, although badass and deadly, isn’t indestructible like an 80s movie hero. She gets beat up, she doesn’t always win, and she doesn’t like it.

There’s so much to like here, I cannot wait to get my hands on volume 2. Also, this day in age, it’s a blast to get a strong female character written well, and independent of others. There’s enough little humour here, but I also like that a Marvel book isn’t afraid to go lighter on the funny for once. It’s not in danger of being a DC book, but it doesn’t try to fit the formula of sarcastic/self-deprication, because that wouldn’t work here at all.

It works, I really enjoyed it, and it’s a great combo of solid writing and superb art. Winner.


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