This is a really good admixture of traditional Norse legends about Thor and the character as he has evolved in the Marvel Comics universe, with the emThis is a really good admixture of traditional Norse legends about Thor and the character as he has evolved in the Marvel Comics universe, with the emphasis on the former. Students of Scandinavian mythology will find plenty of deviations from the source material, but many of the episodes in this volume stay close to the spirit of the old tales. Thor is not the wise and empathetic hero he has become in the comics, but a violent and moody god of war who refuses to bend to anyone else's will.
A lot of the art is splash pages, and a lot of them could just as easily have been '80s metal album covers. The prose is sometimes awkward, but for the most part it's a good retelling of classic myths in a comic book format....more
J. Michael Straczynski's run writing on Thor has so far been the most enjoyable and involving iteration of the character I've had the pleasure to readJ. Michael Straczynski's run writing on Thor has so far been the most enjoyable and involving iteration of the character I've had the pleasure to read. I love both Norse mythology and pulp fantasy, so I'm predisposed to like the character, but he's still a character that is abysmal when written poorly. The art by Olivier Coipel and Marko Djurdjevic is great as well, and perfectly tells the story....more
You would be hard-pressed to find a superhero more solipsistic than Matt Murdock (a.k.a. Daredevil), at least as he's dBatman broods. Daredevil mopes.
You would be hard-pressed to find a superhero more solipsistic than Matt Murdock (a.k.a. Daredevil), at least as he's depicted in this volume. We all know someone whom we like and admire, but who just won't leave the house or spend time with anyone for weeks at a time. That's Daredevil in this story.
Nevertheless, I loved this story arc. The art is grimy and cinematic, the pacing is perfect, and Daredevil's friends and supporting cast are wonderful; law partner Foggy Nelson, hangdog reporter Ben Urich, bulletproof but very human superhero Luke Cage, private eye Dakota North, and a new character, a man sentenced to die for the murder of three children who just might be innocent of the crime.
This is a great Daredevil story that balances Murdock's career as a lawyer with his activities as a superhero, and spends plenty of time developing the supporting characters and telling an involving story....more
Captain America (a.k.a. Steve Rogers) may be dead, but his friends and foes from all the periods of his career still find themselves in the same orbitCaptain America (a.k.a. Steve Rogers) may be dead, but his friends and foes from all the periods of his career still find themselves in the same orbit. Bucky Barnes, his old partner from World War II, thought deceased but actually kept in suspended animation by the Soviets except when they needed him for black ops and assassinations, which he performed under hypnosis, is all better now and has taken on the role of Captain America with a new uniform that's sort of like the old uniform, but shinier. Bucky is teamed up with Steve's old partner from the '70s, The Falcon, who was one of Marvel's first black superheroes. And Cap's old girlfriend Sharon Carter and The Black Widow (a.k.a. Natalia Romanova) are both key players.
The loony collection of supervillains is ultimately a more interesting bunch. The nutjob who so idolized Captain American in the '50s that he had plastic surgery to look just like Steve Rogers shows up (that was all retconned by Stan Lee when he decided the real Bucky died in World War II and the real Cap was frozen in a block of ice, since Captain America's HUAC-inspired work hunting down Commies was distasteful to the '60s sensibility). This fake Captain America, who is manipulated by The Red Skull, Dr. Zola, and Doctor Faustus, squares off against Bucky, which makes for an exciting few pages, but doesn't really deliver a payoff.
The story arc in this collection concludes the story of The Red Skull (who is in the body of an evil CEO who mostly wears a rubber Red Skull mask in his private time) manipulating American politics through a charismatic third-party puppet candidate. Each issue is well-paced and exciting, but overall I thought there were a lot of opportunities for political satire that were missed. And the resolution to this potentially fascinating story feels too rushed. Also, I thought it was a bold choice to give Bucky, the new Captain America, a pistol and a knife in addition to the famous shield, but nothing comes of it. In the six issues in this collection, he never draws either. Bucky is even drawn in a way that makes him look more like Steve Rogers than he ever did before, which makes the whole thing feel more inconsequential than maybe it should be.
Overall, though, I really enjoyed reading this, and I like Ed Brubaker's writing....more
This was a great triptych of spooky Batman stories to read on a balmy Halloween day. The storybook/nursery rhyme/classic lit motifs get a little old bThis was a great triptych of spooky Batman stories to read on a balmy Halloween day. The storybook/nursery rhyme/classic lit motifs get a little old by the third story, but overall this is just a great, well-written Batman anthology....more
This one is just a mess. The "Hunter/Hunted" story arc only takes up three issues out of the six collected here. Why it's the focal point is a mysteryThis one is just a mess. The "Hunter/Hunted" story arc only takes up three issues out of the six collected here. Why it's the focal point is a mystery. It's a story that could have easily been told in one issue. The son of Kraven styles himself after his old man and kidnaps every animal-themed super villain he can find (e.g., The Rhino, The Vulture), creates a menagerie in the hold of a cargo ship, and halfheartedly hunts The Punisher. That's about it.
The first issue is about The Punisher fighting alien warriors, and the last two barely feature him at all, and are the most interesting in the collection. The fact that the stories are better the less The Punisher is in them should tell you something. Matt Fraction is a decent writer, but he doesn't understand Frank Castle's character.
Also, the decision in the Punisher: War Journal series to return to his original costume (see Amazing Spider Man #129), is a mystifying one to me. Not only are the white boots and gloves ridiculous, they make Frank Castle look too much like an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. I liked the first few issues, but overall this series has been a misfire so far....more
My only memory of Captain Marvel (the Marvel Comics version, not the Fawcett/DC version with the jaunty white cape over one shoulder) from my youth waMy only memory of Captain Marvel (the Marvel Comics version, not the Fawcett/DC version with the jaunty white cape over one shoulder) from my youth was seeing Jim Starlin's 1982 graphic novel The Death of Captain Marvel on the shelf at my local comic store and not purchasing it. He's almost completely a product of the '70s, and was never on my radar.
This mini-series from last year did little to change my feelings about Captain Marvel. For the most part, I found it uninteresting and plodding. Apparently Captain Marvel, whose real name is "Mar-Vell," is a member of the alien race the "Kree." He died of cancer and was buried on Titan, one of Saturn's moons. In this mini-series, there's an accident in the negative zone, and Captain Marvel travels in time from before he was dead to after he was dead, to the present day. Or something. His return seems to have a profound impact on the people of earth. All of New York City recognizes him instantly. They must all be Marvel Comics fans over the age of 45. Personally, if Captain Marvel landed in Manhattan my first thought would be, "Who is that guy? He sure does look like a Mod Hair Ken doll."
If the Kree-Skrull War of the early '70s was a deeply meaningful event for you, you might enjoy this book. I, on the other hand, find Skrulls idiotic and so far am not really enjoying Marvel's whole "Secret Invasion" event....more
Red Hulk different from Green Hulk. Who is Red Hulk? Red Hulk smash Abomination! Red Hulk smash She-Hulk! Red Hulk smash Iron Man! Red Hulk smash GreeRed Hulk different from Green Hulk. Who is Red Hulk? Red Hulk smash Abomination! Red Hulk smash She-Hulk! Red Hulk smash Iron Man! Red Hulk smash Green Hulk! Red Hulk smash Thor! Green Hulk use rope-a-dope on Red Hulk. Green Hulk smash Red Hulk!
That's about all you need to know. Oh, and the Red Hulk is perfectly articulate, while the Green Hulk is not. The shifting abilites of the Incredible Hulk (the green one) to express himself verbally are strange and confusing if you're like me and only check in on the character every now and then. Also, the identity of the Red Hulk is never revealed in these six issues, but if you're like me, you won't really care one way or the other....more
This is a gleefully offensive and very funny take on superheroes that stops just short of being a spoof. The first two or three issues are the best. AThis is a gleefully offensive and very funny take on superheroes that stops just short of being a spoof. The first two or three issues are the best. After that, it loses its ability to shock and becomes over-the-top and repetitive. Still, it's a good idea well-executed, and very enjoyable for what it is....more
The title of this volume is misleading. A casual reader might make the mistake of thinking this is a comic-book event, like the "death" of Captain AmeThe title of this volume is misleading. A casual reader might make the mistake of thinking this is a comic-book event, like the "death" of Captain America or Superman. It's not.
This volume collects the five-issue story arc, "Logan Dies." Written by Marc Guggenheim and drawn by Howard Chaykin (who has a weird, blocky style that I've always liked), "Logan Dies" creates a largely unnecessary and basically silly premise. Since he was "killed" in World War I, Logan/Wolverine has always gone to the same place every time his indestructible, fast-healing body has sustained so much destruction that he is technically dead; another plane of existence in which he does battle against the angel of death, who is called "Lazaer." They fight, Logan wins, Logan comes back to life, none the wiser. In this story, however, he loses the will to engage in yet another mystical battle against Lazaer, and he and Doctor Strange wander around in Purgatory, while the details of Logan's life and death cycle are filled in. The story gets a little meatier once Wolverine re-enters the real world. Apparently he was once killed ("for real," whatever that means in the world of comics) and brought back to life by The Hand, who are Marvel's all-purpose group of ninjas, and now they, or people involved with them, are behind the plot to kill him. Really kill him, that is.
Inconsequential, but relatively entertaining....more
This is one of the best Iron Man story arcs I've ever read. With any comic book character, it's not enough that a story be well written, it also has tThis is one of the best Iron Man story arcs I've ever read. With any comic book character, it's not enough that a story be well written, it also has to complement the protagonist. Tony Stark as Iron Man is essentially the American military-industrial complex incarnate. So the technothriller aspects of this story (a bioweapon that will kill 97.5% of humanity if released) and the political intrigue meld perfectly with all the superhero action. Iron Man emerged from Marvel's Civil War event as an unlikeable megalomaniac, albeit one who recognizes some of his flaws. One reason the "Haunted" arc is so great is that it doesn't try to "fix" this aspect of his character. For the first half of the story, Stark becomes more and more unhinged, and stops taking his armor off for weeks at a time, alarming S.H.I.E.L.D. personnel, since he is now their director. Forced to wear a power-dampening ankle bracelet by a psychiatric order, Stark goes off the reservation and gets the job done with a variety of his older suits, none of which are as powerful as he is used to. Recommended for old and new fans alike....more
Brian Michael Bendis's writing for The New Avengers has never really come together for me. (His writing during this period for The Mighty Avengers plaBrian Michael Bendis's writing for The New Avengers has never really come together for me. (His writing during this period for The Mighty Avengers plays much more to his strengths.) But the art in this volume is beautiful, especially Alex Maleev's art for the first issue, which is a standalone story about the resurrected Clint Barton (Hawkeye) searching for Wanda Maximoff (The Scarlet Witch) in a fictional Eastern European town. Clearly influenced by Gustav Klimt (among others), this story is beautiful and strange. Its blend of the surreal and the erotic is haunting. The subsequent four issues, which involve Doctor Strange hiding Luke Cage and the New Avengers from Iron Man and the Mighty Avengers, as well as the New Avengers traveling to Japan to rescue Maya Lopez (Echo, Ronin) from Elektra and The Hand, were just OK, but Leinil Yu's art made me keep reading....more
I would have liked this more if a different artist had been involved. Steve Dillon's figures and compositions are really stiff, and all of his charactI would have liked this more if a different artist had been involved. Steve Dillon's figures and compositions are really stiff, and all of his characters' faces look exactly the same. It's like Mr. Potato Head, where you stick different wigs, mustaches, and masks on the same model....more