Review: Fantastic Four Vol. 6 (Foundation) by Jonathan Hickman

Fantastic Four, Volume 6Fantastic Four, Volume 6 by Jonathan Hickman
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I think the best way to describe the final volume of this collection would be disjointed. It’s all over the place, trying to do way too many things at once, and none of the stories flow. It really is a bunch of individual issues tied together because they were all published in the same 6 months.

There’s good stories, boring ones, some interesting ideas, and some very touching ones.

Feels like this just got thrown together, or Hickman just had a bunch of ideas he wasn’t done with.

1)Reed and Nathaniel go forward in time to see what becomes of the FF, and it actually leads to a rather touching moment.

2)Parallel Universe Reed works for Hitler, who won WWII, ends up becoming all-powerful a-la Doom, and leads into the Council of Reeds…

3)Parallel Doom creates his own universe, and it isn’t quite what he bargained for; is saved by unlikely child.

4)FF performs brain surgery on Willy Lumpkin. (Marvel has now had 3 different instances of shrinking to do brain surgery in less than 2yrs: Hank Pym on Daredevil; Hank McCoy on Broo; Reed and FF on Willy…are they trying to suggest something?)

5) Tie-up of the parallel universe Reed saved being moved to the future or something so they never have to worry about not having somewhere to be…

All in all some interesting ideas but just so much going on…

I do like Hickman’s attempts to make things cosmic large, and I do like that each member becomes stronger as individual characters.

Not the place to start with FF though, and I do feel like Fraction’s Marvel Now stuff isn’t quite as good.

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Review: Fantastic Four Volume 5- Forever; by Jonathan Hickman, art by Steve Epting

Fantastic Four, Volume 5Fantastic Four, Volume 5 by Jonathan Hickman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

OK Hickman, your convoluted and cosmos-spanning storylines finally come to a head here. It was just about worth all the headaches so that I knew what the F*** was going on.

There were quite a few HOLY S*** moments, when I was actually like:

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I feel like a lot of people don’t like Hickman because he operates on a cosmic scale, multiverses, layered stories that take a while for the payoff, and I’m usually not interested in a story taking THAT much effort (but I’m not going to say if there’s more than a couple words with 3+ syllables that I’ll stop reading…I mean I am somewhat edu-mah-kay-ted), but this was actually worth the effort.

(Shallow Reading friends, I can’t help but notice not many people have read this one/arc. If you could get all 5 volumes together at once, I think it might be worth, but I think I’ve read this over 2 years or so…)

Long story short: The Earth is being attacked on multiple fronts: The Kree, Annihilus, Multiverse Reed Richards(es?). The FF is without Johnny, who died stopping the Negative Zone forces of Annihilus from attacking Earth; and he’s been replaced by Spider-Man. (I like this because Hickman reminds people that Spidey isn’t just a punchline machine; he’s actually a brain to rival the likes of Reed Richards, Tony Stark, Hank Pym, Bruce Banner, et al.)

If you look at the cover, you’ll note…Johnny is on the cover.
So….HE’S SOMEHOW NOT GOING TO BE DEAD LONG!!!

Which is a shame, as his death/sacrifice was done very well. This would fully support Sam’s belief that character deaths in comics now are pointless. I’d have to agree, but this explanation didn’t take a year-18 months to get to…we pretty much had it less than a few months later.

So here’s the deal: Galactus tells Reed that there’s an evil coming that’s so powerful it’s bigger than him. Sue suggests this might just be Galactus tricking them…Big G-Unit says nope, if this evil arrives, the universe dies…just a lot faster than if he’s in-charge. I like the little detail like that, which acknowledges that Galactus still does what he does. Big G-Unit gives RR a device sorta like a pager for when shit hits the fan.

Meanwhile, the FF-Kids transport the Baxter Building out of NYC, where the attack is coming (one of these days, I swear, it’s going to be in Toledo, Ohio or Bumfk, Iowa. – It almost makes me go back and give the Siege Event more stars because things happened in small town Oklahoma and not NYC.)

Reed sends Spidey to go check on the wee ones…he runs into Annihilus fanatics trying to open the gate the the Negative Zone…and…it opens…UHOH!!!

But then, who should be standing on the other side of the gate?

Johnny freakin’ Storm.

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We then get a whole issue+ setting up what happened to Johnny, and how we ended up where we are. (I appreciate the explanation, which actually helps to prevent it from feeling cheap with his ‘death’). Suffice it to say, Johnny is in pretty decent shape…(view spoiler)

The fight between the Kree and Johnny’s Storm-mada (You like that one? I just invented it) isn’t going well, and there’s all kinds of space wreckage going to hit Earth, so not looking good…Reed and Sue go summon Galactus, as they think this was the Evil/death he spoke of…turns out, it wasn’t…

Someone summons the Celestials (Gigantic Super-Gods), and just as Big G-Unit is telling everyone that shit hasn’t hit the fan yet, he’s like, oh nevermind, my bad…

Galactus defeats one of the Celestials, but they they go all Voltron/Super-Power-Ranger/Ultimate Optimus Prime Transformer, and merge into a gigantic one. Even Big G-Unit can’t handle that…

There’s no chance to defeat Super-Mega-Power Celestial, except that…oh wait…there is. Remember that Council of Reeds? The Reed Richardses from all the multiverses, they got together and figured out this would happen, and prepared mega-weapon on every Earth. It’s time for this one’s turn…good thing Reed’s Dad Nathaniel is there to tell him to let loose…They get a great hit in…but, that ain’t gonna cut it.

The only thing keeping the destruction at bay is Sue…who shields Reed and everyone (oh the whole EARTH I mean…she’s a badass lady…no wonder Namor loves her (see corny line on page 2 or 3)) just in time for the cavalry to arrive…and the cavalry isn’t who you’d expect…unless you paid attention to everything in the previous volumes.

The payoff is stellar. The revelations are astounding. There’s a sweet life lesson (family is more important than anything…awww Mr. Hickman). This finale is so good, it really is.

I won’t ruin it for those of you who will actually go and read it (You should. All in one shot. 5 Volumes. It will make you appreciate Hickman’s scale and scope of his projects.)

But for those of you who want to know: (view spoiler)

But is it just Franklin? No…turns out, the pocket universe is used to summon Franklin’s herald…a fellow you may know, by the name of Galactus.

WHAT!!!?!?!?!?! Yes. In this version, Galactus is the one and only herald of Franklin Richards. Together, Franklin, and Galactus infused with the consumed life of an entire pocket UNIVERSE (not just a planet) has the power to defeat the Celestials. Then we have some nice father/son moments. (hide spoiler)]

Yup. A stellar ending. I am a sucker for Father-Son relationships, they always get me emotional. Hickman, who’s all about cosmic level universe expanding, crazy convoluted stories, boils it down to the love of a father for his son, and visa versa, as the saving grace of the world.

Well done. (There seems to be something in my eye…)

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Review: The Flash: Rebirth by Geoff Johns

The Flash: RebirthThe Flash: Rebirth by Geoff Johns

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Flash


Introduction:

My first introduction to Flash’s character was through the “Justice League” cartoon series that aired on Cartoon Network years ago. Since then, I had become a huge fan of the Flash (even though for many years, I had actually thought that Barry Allen was the Flash in the “Justice League” cartoon, when it turned out to actually be Wally West). So, not only did I want to check this comic book out to prepare for the new live action “Flash” TV series that is coming out on the CW, but I also wanted to learn more about Flash’s character in the DC comics and “The Flash: Rebirth” seemed like a good place to actually start reading the “Flash” comics.


What is this story about?

In this story, Barry Allen, who was hailed a hero after he sacrificed his life during a cosmic crisis in the past, has come back to life and all his friends and family are planning to throw him a special party for his return. Unfortunately, since Barry Allen had been dead for so long, he finds himself being out of place in this new world and he became a bit distant towards his friends, due to wanting to solve the mystery of the person who murdered his mother and why he was brought back to life. Barry will soon realize that a dark force is behind everything that happened to him in his life and he must gather the strength to defeat this new threat that is harming his family!


What I loved about this story:

Geoff Johns’ writing: Now, I will admit that this is the first time I had read anything by Geoff Johns and his run in the DC universe. So, when I heard so many good things about what he has done for the DC universe, I just had to check this title out! I really liked the way that Geoff Johns showed the relationships that Barry Allen has with his family, especially with his wife Iris West and his protégé Wally West. It was great seeing that the Flash family is extremely close to each other and is willing to protect Barry Allen from whatever evil forces comes upon him. I also enjoyed seeing Barry’s relationship with Hal Jordan, the Green Lantern, as it shows that they are truly best friends and that Hal always tries to cheer Barry up whenever Barry is feeling down on himself. I really enjoyed the fact that Geoff Johns tries to make sure that the readers are caught up on Barry Allen’s history as we are treated to seeing Barry’s past from being the Flash to leading to the murder of his mother, which was a pretty nice mystery set up for this story!

Ethan Van Sciver’s artwork: Ethan Van Sciver’s artwork was just marvelous in this volume as the characters look truly realistic and the action sequences were extremely well drawn out! I really loved the scenes where the Flash family fight against various foes as the action sequences are full of bright colors and dramatic artwork and they really set the exciting mood for those scenes. I also loved the way that Ethan Van Sciver drew the emotions on the characters’ faces, especially with Barry Allen’s facial expressions whenever he is feeling sad or angry at the situations he is thrown into.

Flash


What made me feel uncomfortable about this story:

The reason why I gave this graphic novel a four star rating was because there were a couple of places where the story seemed to drag on for so long that I found myself getting a little restless with the storytelling. Also, if you are a new reader to the “Flash” universe, you might get a little confused about how Barry Allen had died in the first place or how his relationships with Iris and Wally West got established since the story does go through those developments a little too fast (I know, it is really because I did not read the previous “Flash” comics before this event, but I got to start somewhere)!


Final Thoughts:

Overall, “The Flash: Rebirth” is a good comic book to get into if you enjoyed Barry Allen as the Flash and if you liked his relationships with his family members. Or if you are just looking for a good Flash family comic in general, this is a pretty good comic to start off with!

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: Fantastic Four Vol. 3 “DOOMED” by Matt Fraction

Fantastic Four, Vol. 3: DoomedFantastic Four, Vol. 3: Doomed by Matt Fraction
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This one hovered at about 1.5 stars for most of the reading. Yup. I can’t tell if I’m just not a FF person (I’m really thinking the proof is all over the place that I should just stop reading FF) or if this is as bad a book as I think it is.

First of all, this is the last volume of the series, which was rebooted AGAIN in April. Yes, again. Just to sum up how ridiculous and idiotic this is, here’s the Wikipedia article explaining ONLY the last 4 years of this title:

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Review: Fantastic Four Vol.2 “Road Trip”, by Matt Fraction

Fantastic Four, Vol. 2: Road TripFantastic Four, Vol. 2: Road Trip by Matt Fraction

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

OK, I’m still unconvinced that FF is the series for me. There’s some good stuff, some great stuff, but also some ridiculous stuff.

Fraction has the potential to be awesome (Hawkeye) but also way too ADD for me (Vol. 3 of this series). The best stuff is on the personal level. Ben has a day as his human form (this from the kids research to cure Ben during the Future Foundation days, I recall reading that one) and goes back to Yancy Street to stand up for the little guys, though I keep wondering if the FF forgot to watch Star Trek’s Prime Directive, for not interfering.

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Review: Deadpool Killustrated by Cullen Bunn

Deadpool KillustratedDeadpool Killustrated by Cullen Bunn

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The other day my mother was commenting that I was the only teenager she knew who’d read classics of any sort. My sister rightly pointed out they were extremely difficult to read. I have to agree with her. It’s like attempting to swallow rock candy whole. First it gets stuck in your throat, then if you get it down, it lies about uneasily in your stomach.
Anyway, this book is what happens if you throw those two things together – when a knowledge of classics combines with a healthy dose of mischievousness, it deliciously explodes into Deadpool Killustrated.

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