Review: X-23: Target X by Craig Kyle, Christopher Yost, Michael Choi (Illustrator)

X-23: Target XX-23: Target X by Craig Kyle

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

 

 

10 stars!
Read this! Just…read this!

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This is a continuation of Kyle’s X-23:Innocence Lost, and it does not disappoint. If anything, it’s even better than the first one.

Everything is being told in flashbacks from Luara/X-23’s point of view, while she is being detained by Captain America…and represented by Daredevil.

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X-23 goes looking for her mother’s family. In the last volume she and her cousin were both much younger, and her mother sent Laura in to save her niece from a serial killer.
Her cousin was told none of it happened, but she still has nightmares. Also, X-23’s aunt has hooked up with a smarmy boyfriend that isn’t helping the situation out any. The family dynamic was done very well here, and I loved that the aunt immediately took Laura into her home.

Meanwhile, the folks from the place that cloned her are hot on her trail. And they’ve sent in her handler, Kimura, who is a psychotic assassin that Laura is conditioned to be unable to harm.

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*Important Spoilery Stuff Happens*

Since Laura was cloned from Wolverine’s DNA, and she has very limited self-worth at this point, she sets out on a mission to track him down.
And kill him.
Because she thinks if she’s nothing but a weapon that destroys everything, then how much worse must the guy she came from be, right?
Awww, yeah! It’s a
SNIKT!
fight!

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Wha..?!
Yeah, it’s a surprisingly tender Snikt! fight. Which made more sense than if Wolverine had just carved her up, and left her bleeding.

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Now that Matt and Steve have heard her story, it’s up to Cap to decide what to do with this little girl. He wants to prosecute her for all of the crimes she committed while under the control of the Facility that raised her, but Daredevil thinks that even if he turns her over to S.H.I.E.L.D., she’ll just be used as another weapon.
So what do they decide to do with her?

READ IT!

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Review: Essential FF Vol. 4 by Stan Lee & Jack Kirby

Essential Fantastic Four, Vol. 4Essential Fantastic Four, Vol. 4 by Stan Lee
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

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OK so that was a gigantic collection, spanning about 2 years of FF (67-68 I think). There’s good, there’s bad, there’s ugly.

Good: It’s fun to see Lee/Kirby original work.
Bad: Stan Lee has a great imagination, but his writing of characters was pretty stale and repetitive.
Ugly: The sexism runs rampant too often in this book, and Reed’s middle name should be changed to misogynist probable wife-beater.

I’m the first person who knows you can look at history with today’s standards, but in this case, it’s the late 60s, not 1953 or anything. Women’s rights were happening, music, love, revolution, counter-culture, and Reed Richards seems to be written as the old fuddy duddy who knows best for everyone, including keeping his wife in check. There’s insults, threats of violence, and condescending remarks all the time. I’m going to hope that it’s just the character of Reed Richards who’s supposed to be a Hank Pym-level asshole here…otherwise I think it makes you wonder about ole’ Stan the Man…

Fun things: Black Panther’s first meeting of Black Bolt (all 3 Illuminati together for the first time) and the rest of the Inhumans.
Spider-Man, Daredevil and Thor throwdown against the Y-chromosome FFers.
We see classic villains, like Galactus, the Mad Thinker, Wizard, Annihilus, and for the first time, Psycho-Man.
We get to visit the microverse for the first time.
We see Silver Surfer save Earth, after warnings from Uatu the Watcher.
We see the original Punisher (a robotic herald of Galactus, after Surfer was freed).
We see Maximus the Mad take over Black Bolt’s Inhuman kingdom.
We also see, Sue gets preggo! And the birth of the as-yet-unnamed boy.
We see Reed finally cure Ben, only for Grimmy to have to chose between life forever without powers or forever as the Thing…

Thing is bi-polar; he either talks about Clobberin’ Time or he’s mopey about how Alicia Masters won’t love him if she could see who he is…like Umm…dude? She’s blind, she’s felt the face…she knows.

Johnny likes cars, and making out with Crystal of the Inhumans.
Sue spends the majority of the book on bed rest, and Crystal sits with her and holds her hand…
Only near the end does the sensible thing happen, Crystal joins the FF in Sue’s place after the baby is born.

So that’s it in a nutshell…the stories themselves can be fun, but the dialogue is terrible. Concepts on a cosmic scale, no problem, but basic human interactions? Don’t think Stan figured out those yet…
However, we get Jack Kirby’s fantastic (pun intended!) artwork. Seeing the classics all by his hand is kinda very fun.

Sadly, it’s in black and white and on newsprint, so you lose out on a lot of the real fun.

I’d give this 4 stars for retro fun, icons of the business, and big events in FF history…I’d take away at least 1 star for the borderline misogynistic abuse that Reed throws at Sue (funny part being, Johnny isn’t that way towards Crystal, and Ben sure isn’t that way towards Alicia, so I suppose that would give more credibility to the theory that Stan wrote Reed as a gigantic douche-hole on purpose, and that he himself isn’t a terrible woman-hater).

It did drag a bit at times, and I did skim some stuff, like dialogue heavy parts, to get to the action, or the big moments, or the characters visiting…
But if you’re inclined, it’s definitely classic. (However, I think you have to be in the right mood for it…I almost put it down a few times…but it got better after the first 25% was done…)


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Review: Superior Spider-Man Team Up Vol. 2 – Superior Six; by Chris Yost and Kevin Shinick

Superior Spider-Man Team-Up Volume 2: Superior Six (Marvel Now)Superior Spider-Man Team-Up Volume 2: Superior Six by Christopher Yost
My rating: 4 of 5 stars


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Continuing EVIL week buddy reads with the Shallow Readers, here we’ve got Superior Spider-Man (Evil Otto in Good Peter’s body) alongside the Sinister Superior Six (Vulture, Electro, Sandman, Mysterio, Chameleon (and usually Doc Ock!).

Here’s an interesting twist on things: Otto has the other members of the Six under control via his Spider-bots, so he has control of all their actions, and is using them for various evil shenanigans good!

Of course, since this is Spider-Man, everything goes tits up…Otto is finding out the hard way, he’s got his AND Peter’s bad luck multiplied! The Wrecking Crew shows up to steal some Quantum Physics thing, and he gets help from some Sun Girl character.

Also, the Six talk about how something is off, because Spider-Man was never this mean and also not this long without a joke…talking about how it’s juxtaposed between their evil torture and his, and his taking control of them and imprisoning them to do his bidding is far worse than anything they ever did to him…and they’re kinda right.

Spidey Otto learns from Sun Girl, the minor nobody who wanted to be just like Spidey, what it really means to be a hero, and Otto chastises himself for being too cocky and losing sight of the real reason…there’s also some sad stuff about Sandman, and how he used to think Spider-Man wasn’t all bad, but now, it’s different, and Otto realizes that he’s done far worse than keep them prisoner, he’s united them in the bond of hatred they feel for Spider-Man. Irony of ironies, Otto as Doc Ock could NEVER get them all that together.

The next story Anne will love! It’s all about Otto Spidey being all woebegone after his failures with the Six, and deciding to turn himself into the Avengers and admit everything…but he runs into NAMOR!

Namor is being pursued by Wakandan assassins, and Spidey helps him out even though the Sub-Mariner wants nothing to do with him. Then Spidey tells his tale and Namor laughs in his face and tells him thanks, that’s the best laugh he’s had in years. Then Namor sees Spidey disarm the robot assassins (because they’re not actually Wakandan) and he says, forget this shit Insect Man, you’re superior, you’re better than the sheep you protect, never forget that. Namor is about to tell him he’s earned his respect when Otto straight up BITCH-SLAPS Namor.

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Yeah BOI!

Then he tells him that his bullshit better not endanger the people of his city anymore…and this convinces Otto not to be so emo, that in fact, he’s the greatest super hero EVER! So score one for Namor’s attitude making Otto Spidey stronger…and he gets bitchslapped. Awesome.

Next story is a switch from Chris Yost to Kevin Shinick, and while I enjoyed both, I think Shinick did a good job inserting a bit more humour into the rest of the volume.

This one features our favourite NYC Street Trifecta: Spidey, Daredevil, and Big Pun!
Spidey is internal monologuing about how the city sits on the brink of tension, like before WWI, the American Revolution, and:

“Or the bullet that killed someone named “TWO PACKS” that apparently kicked off some Bi-Coastal WRAPPING War…”

BWAHAHAHA! I laughed so hard at that one I woke my wife up. Two Packs…hahaha. OTTO I love you so hard.

He’s interrupted by Frank and Matt, Frank shoots him to get his attention, and Frank asks when the webbing became bulletproof…then Otto asks how he knew that, only for it to click that he didn’t know and he just shot at him! LOLZ! Oh you guys!
Anyhow, Daredevil says relax, the Devil made him do it…HAHA! (See? a Pun? Weak but funny. Even little ones like this would help DC) it was rubber bullets…at least Frank said they would be…and we need to talk.
Otto freaks out, to which Matt replies “We’re going on five seconds and you’ve already said “Egads” and “Confound it”. You’re NOT yourself…and I’m a tad concerned…”

When Spidey checks to see if Punisher followed DD’s instructions to use rubber bullets, his reply?
“Let’s just say I hear as well as he sees”

This is comedy gold. I mean a Punisher who cracks jokes? OK sure. This I love, and Spider-Man is the ruthless angry one…bingo. LOVE IT.

Down to business, someone stole some of Frank’s weaponry, and he and DD want Spidey’s help, plus they’re not sure if maybe he didn’t take it…so we go back to his secret lair Spider Island. There we discover that someone has stolen all of Otto-Man’s stuff, and that his whole team of minions has been infiltrated…a large battle ensues, and we see the trifecta working together, but Otto refuses to trust the other 2…Daredevil is all “bitch please, Punisher is blind from a flash bang, I’m blind, and we are running around, and Spider-Man doesn’t make ONE ‘blind leading the blind’ joke? who is the sketchy one here?’ (I paraphrase)

Then we have a revelation as to who could have engineered such a job, and gotten into everyone’s heads, once the 3 are on the trust game again (Punisher even makes a trust exercise joke, about falling backwards onto his knife. – I LOVE the Punisher being a smartass….here’s a free idea for Marvel…Peter Parker’s mind in Frank Castle’s body!) Otto Spidey gets SUPER MAD when he discovers that everything is Green Goblin!

The last 2 issues are a very cool retro-drawn look back at how Gobby and Doc Ock started to work together, and how Gobby fucked Otto over super hardcore. Otto’s realization that Goblin did the same thing to him a second time while he’s been Spider-Man is very cleverly illustrated over a 2 page spread, where we see the parallel situations…except this time, Otto thinks with his heart instead of his brain, and that’s what allows Peter’s soul to re-emerge in Spider-Man, and defeat Osborn where Otto never could.

Otto even refers to Peter as the better man, and says he saved both Otto and Anna Maria (Otto’s love while living as Peter). The last page belongs to Pete, telling us in a recap what happened, and how he’s learned about Otto by reliving all his memories and entire life…he won’t condone his actions, but he can empathize with him and relate far better. He also says that Otto deserves the credit for the goblin serum that removes it from those who were infected, so his brain actually was scientifically superior to any other. Then Pete’s final observation is the irony behind Otto’s victory over Norman is that he didn’t think with his mind for once…

I gave this book 4 stars but I think I enjoyed it more than that. I will say so because I just finished Superior Spider-Man’s whole run, and Otto went out in such a way…This feels like returning to a long lost friend…which means that Otto’s Superior Spider-Man was a success, because reading him again made me smile. I have to think that the Superior Spider-Man may be one of the best story arcs of the last decade plus. It took away someone we took for granted (Peter Parker) and it turned our perceptions of his longest running enemy (Otto) and flipped them. Otto as Spider-Man was a great idea, and executed so very well too, which is half the battle with good ideas, letting them come to fruition properly.

I will be seeking out the first volume of this Team-Up series (I did read another one, but it was actually Avenging Spider-Man issues with this title on them instead…).

Strongly recommended for anyone who liked Superior S-M. Very enjoyable, and I do hope Otto rises again somewhere, and is forever changed by his experiences.


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Review: Daredevil Volume 1 by Mark Waid

Daredevil, Volume 1Daredevil, Volume 1 by Mark Waid

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Daredevil


Introduction:

Now, I will admit that the first “Daredevil” comic I had actually picked up was Frank Miller’s “Daredevil: The Man without Fear” comic, which I enjoyed immensely! Now, I am diving into Mark Waid’s portrayal of the legendary superhero Daredevil and I will admit that I found this version of “Daredevil” pretty interesting so far!


What is this story about?

After the events of “Shadowland,” Matt Murdock has finally returned to New York City at his old law firm. But due to outing himself as Daredevil, Matt is finding it more difficult to hide his secret identity as everyone at his law firm are starting to take advantage of this secret and making Matt give up various cases due to the court not supporting his secret identity as “Daredevil.” Later on however, Matt soon discovers that there are some mysterious crimes at work in New York City. First, the Klaw, Master of Sound, ends up returning to the city and then, Matt ends up trying to help out a blind kid who is accidentally thrown into danger when the kid overhears the plans of an international criminal organization, that involves the world’s most fearsome supervillain groups like H.Y.D.R.A, and the organization is looking to kill the blind kid in order to keep their plans a secret.


What I loved about this story:

Mark Waid’s writing: I must admit that Mark Waid’s portrayal of “Daredevil” was pretty interesting and hilarious to read since I was so used to reading about “brooding and dark” Matt Murdock! I loved the way that Mark Waid made Matt Murdock into a more fun-loving and witty character as it had been years since we had seen a more laid back Matt Murdock and it really made reading about him more interesting and fun! I also liked the fact that Mark Waid made some references to Matt’s past events in “Shadowland” as it does indeed affect Matt’s current life, especially with the whole city knowing that he is Daredevil and Matt repenting for his actions in “Shadowland.” But probably the best thing about this volume is the fact that even if you have not read “Shadowland” (and I definitely have not read “Shadowland” yet), this volume makes it easier to jump into the story without having to learn so much about “Shadowland” to completely understand the story.

Paolo Rivera and Marcos Martin’s artwork: Paolo Rivera and Marcos Martin’s artwork are truly creative and colorful to look at and greatly complements the mood of the story! I loved the way that both Paolo Rivera and Marcos Martin detailed the sound waves and effects that Matt Murdock sees in order to sense when people are nearby due to his blindness as it was truly creative! I often wonder how the artists would be able to portray Daredevil’s senses through the art and it was done so beautifully in this volume as you can actually see the sound waves coming from the person that Matt senses which makes the reader actually feel the senses that Matt is sensing. I also loved the way that the fighting scenes are drawn as they made the fighting sequences extremely interesting to look at!

Daredevil


What made me feel uncomfortable about this story:

The reason why I gave this volume a four star rating was because I felt that the story tend to jump all over the place, mainly during the first half of the volume. I actually felt that the second half of the volume was much more superior as we had a straight forward story than we did in the first half of the volume. Also, I will admit that because I did not read “Shadowland” before I dived into this volume, I was a bit confused about how everyone found out about Matt’s secret or how Matt went out of control during “Shadowland.”


Final Thoughts:

Overall, “Daredevil Volume One” is a great volume to read if you are a huge fan of “Daredevil” and if you want to read a comic book that is full of fun and action!

My Rating?

4 pows

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Review: Indestructible Hulk: Gods and Monster, by Mark Waid (& Walt Simonson)!!!

Indestructible Hulk, Vol. 2: Gods and MonsterIndestructible Hulk, Vol. 2: Gods and Monster by Mark Waid
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Not quite as knock-it-out-of-the-park as Vol. 1, but a very cool solid collection.

First off, No more Francis Leinil Yu…

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However, he’s been replaced by the legendary Walt Simonson!!!

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Oh…and he’s drawing THOR! with HULK!

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The story has Banner and his team use a portal to the realm of the Frost Giants to gather elements for Earth, and of course, the Frost Giants show up to attack…luckily Thor arrives and he and Hulk make short work of them.
However, Thor doesn’t remember Banner…or Hulk…so Banner discovers that they must also have gone back in time to before Thor ever crossed paths with the Hulk.

It’s very cool to see Banner and Thor before they met, and Hulk having the knowledge that Thor is a friend. So it’s not in depth story-telling but it’s very cool for geeks like us.

The second story has a different artist, and reveals who the secret contact Banner had from the first volume; the one who was to release sensitive info if Banner ever failed to report in. That person is not a spoiler…but it’s…Daredevil/Matt Murdock!!!

It makes perfect sense for Murdock to be Banner’s lawyer, and the relationship between the 2 men is done very well, there’s mutual respect you don’t always see. What’s even cooler is that Daredevil and Hulk work so very well together as well.

This probably works best for me because Waid also has been writing Daredevil, so he’s got a great grasp of MM, and his Banner/Hulk work is strong too. The only mis-step is an unnecessary super-villain (B-list) appearing.

I really loved the interactions between the 2, and how Daredevil could calm Hulk better than most people, purely due to tone of voice, and the recognition that DD was a friend.
There’s one scene in the midst of battle/explosion between the 2, and the grown man me had tears in my eyes because it was so…sweet? perfect? loyal? friendship at it’s best? Pure instinct, and I loved it.

More solid work from Waid, and I love the work he’s putting out for Marvel the last few years. Long may he run!

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Review: Daredevil, Volume 4 by Mark Waid

Daredevil, Volume 4Daredevil, Volume 4 by Mark Waid

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Maybe I’m overdosing on Daredevil?
I just wasn’t in love with this volume, for some reason.
It’s not bad, just…middle-of-the-roadish.

Matt has been rescued from Latveria, and Pym goes inside his brain to shoot all the mini-Doombots (or something) in his noggin. He succeeds, but somehow their memories get mind-melded together, and now they have a better understanding of each other.
Awwww. So sweet.

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