Not a bad intro to the Daredevil character. While Kevin Smith definitely overwrote this arc (a disturbing trend in the last three volumes of Marvel wo...moreNot a bad intro to the Daredevil character. While Kevin Smith definitely overwrote this arc (a disturbing trend in the last three volumes of Marvel works I've tried out), the plot ended up pretty solid and there are some pretty nice dialogue gems to be found within this volume.
Matt Murdock has lost his faith. He's been through a rough patch lately and the normally devout Catholic has been handed enough curveballs to leave him feeling pretty bitter with the man upstairs. The love of his life has left him and the tights gig is beginning to feel a more and more like spitting in the wind. In short Matt's in the middle of a huge crisis of conscience and identity when into his lap is thrust a small child. Who, or what, the child is becomes the focus of a bit of an obsession for Murdock. What's clear is that the child is at the center of a struggle between factions of light and dark that have him questioning his beliefs and his role as the child's guardian as his life unravels further and further.
There are strong thematic tones of dark and light, layered double entendres and a seamless blending of the mystic and scientific that gave this run a complexity I wasn't really expecting. Parts of it gave me that old X-Files feeling as Murdock attempts to define which elements of his life are the result of supernatural forces and which are caused by the more mundane and manipulative. Ultimately the resolution took some of the wind out of the sails. It wasn't a terrible explanation, but it falls a bit short of the epic it promises to be in the very beginning. The story has huge consequences for the DD universe though with several characters meeting their soap opera "ends" within the arc.
That last Avengers story and a variety of other aborted reads had me doubting my goal of powering through most of the Marvel Universe since the 2000s, but this one has restored some hope in the endeavor. I like Daredevil. He's like Batman. He and Bruce would get along just fine. They're bitter as @*!#. I also kind of like how he stays kind of exclusively in Hell's Kitchen. I hadn't really noticed before that Daredevil maintains a super low profile in all the major crossover events. I kind of respect the reasoning and like that he's gotten such little exposure and he's fine with it. (less)
Kurt. Kurt, my man. You let me down. I am so disappoint.
I am not a fan of time travel stories. I mean hypothetically, they could be done right, but I...moreKurt. Kurt, my man. You let me down. I am so disappoint.
I am not a fan of time travel stories. I mean hypothetically, they could be done right, but I've yet to find a single case where there aren't at least tiny flaws in logic present. Most of the time there are huge gaping holes in the logic. Sadly, Avengers Forever falls into that latter category.
The premise is interesting - Avengers from different time periods are assembled to rectify dangers further down the time stream. As humanity spreads among the stars and activate the "Destiny Force," they turn into a conquering menace to the rest of the multiverse and a group of self-appointed time guardians employ Immortus to stop humanity in its tracks. While the guardians want humanity expunged from all time streams where they pose a threat, Immortus, who at one point was human, attempts less radical measures and opts for more non-invasive surgical strikes to the time period, spawning a cross-millenial game of catch and mouse that ultimately centers upon the key human who first manifests the Destiny Force: Rick Jones, longtime Avenger buddy pal and adventure bro.
Probably I'm not immersed enough in the lore of the Marvel Universe to really see how cool this story is, but I just can't get over a ton of objective flaws. The whole inside-outside the time stream business and the whole Immortus/Kang paradox was really just too much for me to take. Not only is it confusing as hell, but it just doesn't make any sense at all. For example: at one point the Avengers feel it necessary to escape the time stream (I don't know what that means, but ok), so that they can be safe from Immortus and his masters who have complete control over time. Alright, seems logical. They escape and can finally take a breather unpursued by Immortus who can't see outside the time stream. BUT. If Immortus is smart, (which he'd kind of have to be, right?), why wouldn't you just go back in time to the moment before the Avengers left the time stream and then just prevent them from doing it and yourself from losing them? OR. If Rick Jones and humanity are a colossal threat to the multiverse, why would you attempt to take them out the day that Rick manifests the dangerous Destiny Force? Why not pick a point in time (because you can, right? Isn't that the point of being master of time?) where Rick is defenseless, say as an infant, and take him out then? Why not step on the amoeba that would turn into humanity several millennia down the evolutionary path? Why wait and try to take them out when the most powerful humans can act as guardians for their weaker brethren? I could seriously go on forever on ways you could reduce this story to like five pages, but let's move on to more pressing concerns.
"Uh-oh! My senses are back on-line [GEE WHAT A COINCIDENCE CAPTAIN MARVEL], Wasp -- and I see the problem! They're not seeing us as we truly are! To their eyes, we're THE GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY!" Completely out of left field and 100% to serve whatever zany plot development was supposed to happen next. Powers turn on and off with perfect timing and zero explanation.
"Whatever you say, Kang Tang Walla Walla Bing Bang!" Do I need to editorialize this one? I thought not.
And that's the other thing about the dialogue in this series - there's way too much of it. There're great pages of brilliant and colorfully emotive artwork ruined by walls of text. Completely and unnecessarily overwritten.
Way too much telling instead of showing. In a visual medium, that's inexcusable.(less)
So spurred by the success and general likability of Marvel's phase two slate of films with the promise of even better things to come, I've finally dec...moreSo spurred by the success and general likability of Marvel's phase two slate of films with the promise of even better things to come, I've finally decided to go directly to the sources. A caveat for all the reviews to follow on this shelf: I'm a lifelong, die-hard DC fan who's had little or no interest in any of the Marvel titles beyond the occasional Spider-Man story here or there. I'm woefully ignorant of the company's major events and figures and this is my attempt to rectify things. I got myself a subscription to Marvel Unlimited and I'm diving in following The Complete Marvel Reading Order Guide compiled by Dave Buesing to navigate my way from the late 20th century on. I think I spent more time googling "Where to start reading ...." for a host of titles than I have on actually reading titles and I figured his guide was organized in a more appealing fashion than most others, so what the heck. Here I go....
The Inhumans! Who the hell are they? And why should I start with them?
I still have no idea, but this trade collection of 12 issues from volume two definitely has me on board and a believer in Buesing's general sense of what's good and what isn't. The Inhumans are a race of superhumans (originally created by Stan Lee in 1965, when they first appeared in an issue of the Fantastic Four) who've isolated themselves and their tiny island nation of Attilan on the vestiges of what was once Atlantis, fearing contact with humans and the contaminants they would introduce into their perfectly genetically engineered paradise. The absolute monarch of Attilan is the silent and brooding Black Bolt, whose very words have the power to split the planet asunder. Bolt has recently come to the throne after a dark period in Attilanian history where his mad brother Maximus took the throne and led an uprising of slaves to establish a kind of Caligulan empire of terror. Maximus is safely locked in a prison below the island. For now. However with the induction of the next generation of Attilanians who are having their genetic gifts bestowed upon them, a series of events unfolds that threatens the isolationism of the Inhumans and forces Black Bolt into a desperate choice: does he unleash his power and decimate the human-inhuman force threatening his peaceful people, or does he allow his kind to go extinct rather than commit genocide?
I'm a completely blank slate when it comes to these characters, and I thought it a wonderful introduction to the Marvel universe. The art was stunning and reminded me of grittier Alex Ross and the narrative and dialogue presented by Paul Jenkins was really great. Not too many cliches, and overall he avoided the crappy comic writer trap of describing the action going on in the panel - which I absolutely despise (yes, I'm talking about you again Grant Morrison). You don't need to know anything at all about the history of the Marvel universe to take the dive on this one, and one gets the feeling that the events that unfold in this series are going to have consequences further down the road. The events of The Inhumans take place within a bubble, almost entirely on the island nation of Attilan. Part dynastic struggle, family drama, and morality tale about the responsibility of power and the justice of its exercise - there's enough complexity and depth here to satisfy more mature readers. There are quite a few surprises along the way and the narrative seems to center on key figures in each new issue, beginning and ending with Black Bolt and emphasizing his inner turmoil over the burden not just of protecting and securing the future of his people, but dealing with the burden of the power that resides within him. His inner world is beautifully illuminated by Jae Lee in the absence of dialogue and Bolt manages to be statuesque and contemplative with brief glimmers of genuine emotion that come through like lightning bolts in key frames. The central conflict is resolved in a satisfactorily ingenious way and still left room for serious contemplation about the morality of the choices made by the central characters. Jenkins doesn't forgive his heroes for making difficult choices or provide them with convenient outs and while they may save the day by saving lives they leave behind in their wake ruined reputations, seemingly irreperable breaches of trust and hypocrisies that threaten their identities as "the good guys."
So I read this off of Marvel Unlimited's service on my iPad and I'm not sure if this was normal or not...moreReview applies to Marvel Unlimited's e-edition.
So I read this off of Marvel Unlimited's service on my iPad and I'm not sure if this was normal or not, but each of the "issues" in this collection were like 4 pages long with incredibly fragmented storytelling. I get that this is a Civil War tie-in, but I was kind of expecting a kind of consistent narrative flow from Spider-Man's perspective about the whole mess. I remember having similar problems reading the Civil War TPB as well, feeling like I was missing significant chunks of the story from missing tie-ins as pages jumped around between major events.
Not sure if I should have just read the entire event and all the comics in it in publication order, but this collection, at least in digital form, left a lot to be desired.
The pages I did see did have pretty decent dialogue with big ethical questions that I would have expected from such an intriguing arc. Again, seems like clumsy execution in collecting these stories is the bane of the Marvel Events.
Edit: Upon further googling, apparently the "first 3 page only" bug is a problem with the MU app itself. Will update a proper review of Straczynski's work once the kinks are worked out. Until then, my review of the work remains colored by the fact that I'm paying a subscription fee for what amounts to teasers of 13,000 issues of comic books. (less)
Downloaded the e-edition from Lonely Planet's website and was not disappointed. Decided on this trip on a whim and really had no idea what to expect o...moreDownloaded the e-edition from Lonely Planet's website and was not disappointed. Decided on this trip on a whim and really had no idea what to expect or what I'm about to get myself into, but this guide did a lot to alleviate any misgivings I had and definitely helped me to narrow down what I want to do and how much I want to spend. The books is neatly divided so you can search for only the activities that interest you and there are zoned/regional maps that help you identify the best areas for particular activities. Nearly every eventuality is accounted for and there are several sample itineraries for the lazy that are sorted by length of stay. The book starts off with a top 20 must see/do that's perfect for forming an outline of what to do. Will let you know how accurate it is once I get there, but the work feels solid and it feels more like an insider's guide than a tourist's guidebook. (less)
Goodreads decided to have a fit right when I pressed submit for my review of this book and I'm disinclined to write another. In short, Whedon >>>>>...moreGoodreads decided to have a fit right when I pressed submit for my review of this book and I'm disinclined to write another. In short, Whedon >>>>> Morrison. So much more enjoyable than the previous set of arcs. More intimate, personal, much better dialogue and no pretentious pseudoscience gobbledygook. This set of stories manages to stay character-driven while keeping the planetary, even galactic, stakes high and avoids melodrama by having superheroes face normal problems: grief, love, isolation, fear, and crisis of identity.
More than anything the juxtaposition between Morrison and Whedon has made clear that Morrison, in spite of comics being a visual medium, has a really crappy tendency to tell rather than show. He recaps in stiff dialogue with the traditional "how-did-we-get-here-dialogue" that answers that question no one is asking in stiff and awkward panels. There's none of that in this volume. Whedon assumes his readers are intelligent and doesn't feel the need to say what can easily be shown and inferred. Perhaps he trusts his artists more than Morrison does. Whatever the case, it works better and keeping Cassaday on for the entirety of the run rather than alternating between artists definitely helped build a synergy that makes this a great read.
Professor Xavier continues to be the world's biggest asshole. (less)