Review: Marvel Knights 4 – Vol. 1 by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa

Marvel Knights 4, Volume 1: Wolf at the DoorMarvel Knights 4, Volume 1: Wolf at the Door by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

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OK so issues 1-4 = 5 Stars. 5-7 = 3 stars…ergo, 4 stars. (3.5 really, but I enjoyed the first half a fair bit)

This premise could have fallen on it’s face and been played for laughs, but instead it focuses on the family, the bonds, the connection, and the reality of what can happen to anyone.

The FF goes broke, in the wake of the US gov’t stopping all science funding to the Baxter Building, and on top of that, one of their accountants stole their savings (also Tony Stark, Hammerhead, and some others). So they’re literally destitute.

They move into a dive hotel in Manhattan, and they realize they need to get jobs. Sue, the rational one, is first to get one, as an English teacher at a High School (thanks to Alicia Masters, Thing’s on again off again GF). Thing gets a construction job after saving some workers from a falling slab of concrete. Johnny and Reed are a little slower on the uptake…

Johnny realizes he can’t act, his agent doesn’t want him, and his airhead supermodel girlfriend is now seeing Keanu Reeves instead…(there’s a few Keanu jokes). It takes him a while, but he has an epiphany, and ends up seriously training and studying to join the FDNY…which is a cool idea.

Reed is so lost he doesn’t know what to do, and tries to think himself out of the problem…only issue is, he forgets to pick Franklin up from school and Sue chews him out for it, telling him he needs to accept the situation, and do something about it.

He finally does, and goes to the Unemployment office and has some eye opening chats with other recent people to lose jobs, and has the clerk about to close the office when he’s next in line…but of course, she was saved by the FF in the past, and so she gets him a job…

As an IT Temp for a Law Firm. Yup. You think your IT is slumming it, when they show up in their Assassin’s Creed Hoodie and Big Gulp and fix everything in 10 minutes? Yup.
So they’re all settling into lives as they are now, and after initial reservations and worries, they of course realize that it’s making them closer as a family and that’s all that matters.

I have to admit, I am turning into a sucker for the emotional stuff in comics, when it’s done well. Case in point: Reed walking to work one day, and there’s a crowd because some jumper is about to do it…so Reed stretches himself up and just talks to him (actually lets him talk mostly). Finds out that the man’s teenage son died in a car crash, his wife divorced him 6 months later, and he recently began coughing up blood, only to discover that he had advanced throat cancer and was going to die.
Reed asked if he was afraid of dying, and he said no, just dying alone, because he had no one…
Of course, Reed puts himself in the man’s shoes, thinks about Franklin dying, Sue leaving him, and being alone…then tells him he won’t be alone, and pulls out a scrap of paper and writes his number on it for the man. Tells him to call when he thinks he’s near the end, and Reed will be there to hold his hand. (Even if he’s in the middle of fighting Doom he tells the man).
OK I blubbered, it’s very dusty in here…allergens and such…(Anne, you really shouldn’t have fapped all the Kleenex away).

The second half of the book is about aliens in the backwoods of New Jersey…kinda lame, but there’s decent stuff about Reed trusting in Ben and Sue and so he doesn’t have to worry. Other than that, not much.


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Review: Ultimate FF Vol. 2 – Doom; by Warren Ellis

Ultimate Fantastic Four, Vol. 2: DoomUltimate Fantastic Four, Vol. 2: Doom by Warren Ellis
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

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More tardy Foursome Shallow Buddyreads!

Volume 2 picks up on the hunt for Victor Van Damme, and we discover that he’s had to construct himself a suit of armour to cover his decaying body. He’s based in a squatters area in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Before we get the first showdown before him and the Four, there’s some other stuff to take care of…first off: Warren Ellis is writing!
He’s got a different style than Bendis and Millar, less for the masses, a little more intelligent, but still highly enjoyable. (That isn’t a knock on Bendis or Millar either, I very much enjoy both men’s work).

But here we get explanations of scientific questions about the four that many of us would ask if we ever had the chance: Does Ben still use the potty? (Yes, but it’s not pretty) How strong is he? (7 Tons of psi per hand!) What happens to Reed’s organs when he shifts shapes? (Turns out he doesn’t HAVE any anymore, just some lung-like remnants that oxygenates the blood!)

Very cool stuff. I really liked it.
Victor builds a bunch of robot insects to attack the Baxter Building, which lets Reed know he’s still alive, and he’s got the codes that he changed before the test that changed them all. Reed wants it at all costs, but first, they need to survive the attack. We get to see Reed as the helpless one here, with Johnny and Ben fighting and strong, Sue strong in the use of her powers (and mind, she’s an internal biologist!) and pushes herself to the edge many times.

We also see some jokes about names, like the Human Matchbox, and the Asbestos Thing (Ben isn’t affected by heat in this version, and is also bulletproof (last volume)). We also get introduced to the Fantasti-car, which Reed built at 13, using info Tony Stark put on the internet and his own brain.
Ben and Johnny mock the everloving shit out of Reed, calling everything Fantasti-something. It’s a nice way to develop characters, and also keep Reed from being too high and mighty above everyone else, which was something I always found off-putting about Marvel U Reed a lot of the time.

Sue’s also no slouch intellectually, which I greatly enjoy!

This all leads to a breakout where the Four go after Victor, and we see a showdown, only broken up by the arrival of the Army, and then the realization that he’s got diplomatic immunity…as a Danish citizen…
However, we see a bit more anger and action from Reed here, so it’s a different direction, but I will for sure be following along with this one.


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Review: Indestructible Hulk Vol. 4 – Humanity Bomb; by Mark Waid

Indestructible Hulk, Vol. 4: Humanity BombIndestructible Hulk, Vol. 4: Humanity Bomb by Mark Waid
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

***Green Theme Buddy Reads, with my Shallow homies. If I have to explain how this fits, you are what Professor HULK (ie. Jeff) would call an ‘asshat’***


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I took this out of the library months ago, but Vol. 3 had yet to be ordered…luckily, the Digital Copy in every Marvel Hardcover allows you to get a copy online thru Marvel.com…and then read in Comixology. So this was my first full volume on Comixology, and my first read on my iPad! YAY! No paper cuts! And when I dropped it in the tub, I only got electrocuted a wee bit, but there was no ruined pages!

So at the end of our last adventure, HULK had repaired time like 99% accurately…by smashing the shit out of it. This time, we’re in the Inhumanity Event, where Black Bolt had his hand forced, to release Terragen Mists on Earth, in order to repopulate the latent Inhuman population after Thanos destroyed the Inhumans? I think? So the mists target people who’s DNA has any tiny marker gene for Inhumans…so if your great great granny whored it up with one…you’re fucked.

Cue Banner, working on his Bruce saves the Earth stuff, only to see Tony ‘Asshat’ Stark (copyright Jeff) beat him to it, then Reed Richards, then the Hanks (Pym and McCoy). Shockingly, he’s ANGRY as fuck about it.
Cue up Doc Randall Jessup, one of Banner’s super-scientist lab assistants. He’s apparently a Zen master, who just tells Bruce to chew some gum and count to 120 and gives him some mumbo jumbo…turns out, he talks Bruce down from HULK-ing out!

We get a short flashback to Jessup’s sad backstory, then forward to Jessup and Banner stealing invisibility cloaks to go join a SHIELD mission that Maria Hill told him to stay out of…but of course, no such luck. Jessup again keeps Hulk at bay long enough to save everyone, and manages to impress Banner tremendously.

Next up, Banner returns to the lab to see Asshat Pym and Asshat Stark trying to figure out the Terragen Mists…Banner tells them to fuck off out of his lab, they act super condescending, before he points out that he just happens to be the expert on radiation and its effects on people (Gamma Rays…Hulk…ringing any bells there Stark?) Then Tony gives Bruce 24 hrs to finish his solution.

They show up early, and bring Hank #2 with them (McCoy, Beast). Hank 2 isn’t an asshat, he’s just cautious, and I like that Waid didn’t give him the same personality of a phallus that he did to Pym and Stark. Beast would relate more to Banner on the effects of changes to the self than the other 2.

Of course, the name of this volume is Humanity BOMB…so yes, Bruce has built a BOMB to save HUMANITY from INHUMANITY! See how easily that works? If Waid comes up with his own titles, he deserves a raise. Of course the asshats overreact and that leads to HULK freaking out and running off with the BOMB.
Way to go Iron McAsshat!

So the Hanks and Asshat chase him, and Pym breaks his arm trying to wrestle the bomb from Hulk, and Hulk gets it back…amidst all the chaos, Hank #2 asks the simplest question: Tony, what if the bomb works?
Then goes on to cry Mea Culpa, that he and the Asshats were arrogant not to trust Bruce, and leaves it up to Iron McAsshy to decide what to do…or not do…

So…ya. Long story short, Bomb goes off, freezes time to see if the Terragen Mists will dissipate or lose their effects…turns out…it doesn’t work…but only because it was made by Black Bolt and not on Earth, so different physics and such. In the aftermath, there’s some explosions, and Hulk and the 3 musketeers save as many as they can, and then they all pseudo apologize for being dicks, but I think only McCoy can be pardoned for this one.

Remember Jessup? ya…things don’t go so well for him…Terragen Mists and whatnot…turns out his Zen powers end up counteracting the Hulk’s Anger…which is difficult for Banner when shit goes south…he has to resort to more basic methods…

Then there’s a run in with some super evil scientists experimenting on Terragnen Mist victims…including trying Jessup, but Hulk and the team won’t stand for it…SMASH, team up with Jessup’s Inhuman Monster form, yadda yadda yadda…people die, no more team for Banner at SHIELD, Hill says she might have to “Terminate” Him…he smirks.

Cue Cliffhanger Ending involving Bruce Banner!!!!

Then there’s the Annual, which has Tony and Bruce going after a mad scientist on an island in the middle of nowhere that’s been totally weaponized…this guy was big on influencing both of them to go into weapons work with the military (the way for smart dudes to get $$) even though he wasn’t a nice dude. It’s a decent enough team up, even though Tony is an asshat to Bruce most of the time, they’re actually closer than many think…

This takes place BEFORE the events in Vol. 4 I believe…

So all in all, a solid volume, but it focuses more on the lab people and Jessup, but I think that’s to show how Bruce holds himself responsible for everything bad that happens, even though he can’t be. The stuff with the Hanks and Asshat is the stronger stuff in the volume, and the art is a step in the right direction after volume 3, but it still doesn’t compare to Yu’s volume 1 work.

Sadly, this is also the end of the series…WAHHHH!!! HULK SAD! I’m guessing there’s another one to pick up, but…Waid had a great handle on Banner and Hulk, and I hope that’s not it for him writing it. I also love the interactions with others, epsecially Daredevil and Iron Man and the Hanks.


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Review: The Trial of Jean Grey (GotG & All-New X-Men) by Brian Michael Bendis & Stuart Immonen

Guardians of the Galaxy/All-New X-Men: The Trial of Jean GreyGuardians of the Galaxy/All-New X-Men: The Trial of Jean Grey by Brian Michael Bendis
My rating: 4 of 5 stars


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***This is the first of the “Green Theme” Buddy Reads with the Shallow Readers, criteria being: Drax and Gamora are both green.***

I might be tempted to almost call this 4.5, but 4 seems like its not an insult.

I’ve been following the All-New X-Men, where the past in the present have to be smacked in the face with who they became, and what they did and are doing. It’s a great idea, especially since Bobby may be about the only one who doesn’t have serious drama to look forward to.
Kitty is the perfect leader of this group, because she was the young teen alongside grown up versions of most of these people, so it’s fair to say she can relate to them, and actually knows them as well.

The GOTG, well if I have to explain them, you’re obviously living under a Rock…in North Korea. (Don’t hack me Kim!)

They’ve added a new female ‘Angela’ to the team, and she seems to be a warrior and a half, who both Gamora and Rocket have crushes on.
Rocket Raccoon is by far the funniest thing to happen to Marvel in a long time. There’s one scene with Tony Stark recording a message to send to them, now that he’s back on Earth, and he decides to erase it and try again, only for Rocket to inform him it’s live. The expression on Tony’s face is priceless, as the Guardians were the one gang where Iron Man/Tony Stark wasn’t the cool guy or the funny one, he was the outsider trying hard to fit in and be loved. I LOVE that Bendis has the gumption to write a major character like Tony as kinda the “hey guys, I’m cool too!” character he is there.

Guardian, (Purple Mohawk Alien head of the Sh’iar Guard) decides that with Jean Grey now alive, she should be put to trial for genocide when the Dark Phoenix destroyed a solar system. To break it down, by the end of the book, that’s about the worst decision he could have made.

The GOTG discover that Jean Grey is alive, and go to investigate, but show up just in time to be too late…in Canada.

Gamora: What is a Canada?
Peter Quill/Star-Lord: It’s cold and distant; you’ll love it.

This leads to the X-Men/GOTG team up. Realize that the X-Men are from the past (1960s) where Neil Armstrong has yet to walk on the moon…and Beast is losing his shit about space travel and aliens. It’s fun to see.
The interactions are great, because Bendis writes both books usually, so he knows the characters very well.

The interplay between Bobby and Rocket is hilarious. Rocket getting mad for being called a raccoon, Bobby being excited to talk to a talking raccoon (like a Disney movie he says…funny and a plug for the parent company lol) and so forth.

Meanwhile, it wouldn’t be space and the Shi’ar if a certain band of space pirates didn’t show up…yes you know the ones…

This leads to a well done touching moment between a father and a son, only this time, the father gets the same son back for the second time.

So now we’ve got 3 teams all together going up against Guardian and the Shi’ar, which makes for an awesome throwdown, all the while with Jean in captivity, and being made to see what damage she caused as the Dark Phoenix.

Add to the mixture, J-Son, Peter’s father, showing up and pretending to be caring about Jean and the Phoenix, but having an ulterior motive of course…

So the 3 teams make their way to the Shi’ar homeworld, and shockingly, a battle ensues…

I won’t go into any more specifics, but we see some very new developments, and some major left turns.

But we get some perfect mixture of humour and serious throughout the book, and some gorgeous Stuart Immonen artwork. (I had been very upset when he left All New X-Men, so I’m very happy to see him here again).

There’s also some solid flirtation between Kitty and Peter, who make a decent connection, and of course, some great bits with Groot talking to trees, and making Rocket weirded out…especially back in Canada, when they run into real raccoons.

This is a fantastic, and sensible crossover (for one that involves time travellers stranded, space aliens, talking trees and raccoons, and a gigantic space cosmic entity made of energy…) and I highly recommend it, entertaining, funny, and a good story too, with definite future ramifications.


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Review: Iron Man (Vol. 2) – The Secret Origin of Tony Stark (Book 1), by Kieron Gillen

Iron Man, Vol. 2: The Secret Origin of Tony Stark, Book 1Iron Man, Vol. 2: The Secret Origin of Tony Stark, Book 1 by Kieron Gillen
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Iron Man in Space! Except it’s like Star Wars/Trek…that sounds awesome right? Not so much.
Tony’s supposed to be so smart, yet he gets caught in traps that are just ridiculous.
Greg Land is still on the art…NOT good.

Tony’s about to get busy with an alien princess, (a la Kirk) but she sees his ‘stache and freaks out. This might have been the funniest part of the book.

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Review: Iron Man, Vol. 1 – Believe, by Kieron Gillen

Iron Man, Vol. 1: BelieveIron Man, Vol. 1: Believe by Kieron Gillen
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

OK, so finally my library got this in, and Vol. 2! I was excited, as I am with all Marvel NOW! Books, versus DC New 52, where I have a feeling that sits somewhere between utter dread and ambivalence.

Good stuff: I actually liked the idea of Tony having to go around to shut down the people who’d bought Black-Market Extremis, sort of paying penance for his involvement.

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Review: Indestructible Hulk – Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. Vol. 1 by Mark Waid

Indestructible Hulk, Vol. 1: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.Indestructible Hulk, Vol. 1: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. by Mark Waid

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I’d been wanting to read this since I first heard about it; Mark Waid (one of my favourites, who really looks at heroes in a different way – Incorruptible/Irredeemable is a fantastic mirror series for anyone who’s never read it), Indestructible!, and Agent of SHIELD!

Sadly, I rely on my local library (support your local library peeps, there’s all kinds of great stuff there, and I can’t tell you how many people are shocked when I tell them the library has comics! Current Movies! CDs! eBooks, you name it! I have saved SOOO much $$$ thanks to a library 1 block from my home) for most of my comic/graphic novel reads, and this has not shown up on their buying list as of yet (though, oddly, they already have Volumes 2 & 4…). However, I ended up with a gift card to a bookstore (yes, a store that sells books and it’s NOT Amazon!) and spent a good hour debating what to buy in the comic section, and since I’m writing this review…well you know what I got.

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