Thursday, January 30, 2014

Why I Love the Guardians (or What A Long Strange Trip It's Been)

Ahh, Guardians of the Galaxy.  If you had an announcement that there was going to be a Guardians of the Galaxy movie coming out, I would probably have been one of the 17 people in the country that was excited.  What was Marvel thinking when they were letting these 3 legged mules into the big show?  I wish I knew what was going through the minds of the Powers That Be that made them decide to do this movie.  The comic had been cancelled, they were part of a semi-popular crossover (War of Kings), and that's it.  So why was I one of the excited ones?

I have always been a space cadet.  Ever since I saw Star Wars on the big screen, I was hooked.  Big space ships, strange aliens, and lots of pew pew guns.  Yeah, I loved it all.  I would have presents open on Christmas morning and my parents would not be able to explain one thing to you that I got (ha ha).  So in 1990 when Marvel released the first issue of Guardians of the Galaxy, I was hooked.  Marvel + Space= Two great tastes that taste great together.

The original team was made up of characters that had original appeared as supporting characters in other Marvel titles.  Big names, they were not.  Major Vance Astrovik, Martinex, Charlie 27, and Yondu.  Two (three) characters joined them as well in this new series, the mysterious Starhawk and Aleta (characters who shared the same body) and Nikki, the head strong young girl from Mercury.  They were on a quest to take back Earth from the Badoon in the 31st century.

The thing that made this title so much fun as well was seeing the descendants of current characters in the Marvel Universe.  They meet the descendant of Logan early on in the series.  They meet the future incarnation of Ghost Rider.  Also the run into Galactus, Wonder Man, and Firelord.  It wasn't especially well written, like many new titles being tossed around in the early 90's, but since it was a smaller title, I took a bit of ownership to it.  This was my comic, that I enjoyed. After 62 issues, they finally called it quits and closed the doors on the series.

Flash forward 13 years and the super team of Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning (known for their cosmic styled comics) took the reigns and started a mini series called Annihilation.  This was an event that wasn't taking place in the Marvel Universe per se.  It had no X-Men, no Avengers, no Spider-Man......NOTHING.  Silver Surfer, Nova, Super Skrull, Ronan the Accuser; names that have come up in other more mainstream comics, but never their own series.  The series described how Annihilus, leader of the Negative Zone, was bringing all of his minions with him in an Annihilation Wave to take over the Marvel Universe.  To take this threat away a team gravitated together made of Star Lord, Drax the Destroyer, Gamora, Phyla Vell (Quasar), Bug, Groot, and Rocket Raccoon.  They were able to fight back the wave and destroy negative zone minions that broke through to the Marvel Universe.

The team stayed together to fight other dangers that would face the universe.  This team had a much more humorous style of writing to it.  Sure, they were dealing with life and death, but still had some clever quips.  This comic lasted for 25 issues culminating in a storyline that I must tell people to check out dealing with a horrible place called the Cancerverse.  Truly a unique storyline.  Once again, star spanning stories were told with big star ships, crazy aliens, and plenty of pew pew guns.  And in the case of Rocket, really big pew pew guns.

Now flash forward to today.  The Guardians are much more recognizable and have started yet another series based upon their adventures.  Sure it is well written, and looks gorgeous, it just doesn't have the fun that the original series had.  Sure I am still reading it and probably will for a long time, but if you get a chance and are a huge fan, check out the old stuff.  That is what is so much fun with comics, they are mini time capsules.  You read those 1990 comics and you get the feel of what was going on in the medium at that time.  The book is really popular right now and will continue to be up to and past the release of the movie.  Oh yeah, and I forgot the one big piece of the puzzle missing form all of this and a key to why their popularity continues to of their main villains............

......yep, our buddy from the end of the Avengers, Thanos.

Well, I hope you enjoyed this little walk back through history of on of my favorite comics.  Let me know if there are any other old titles that you want to know more about.  Until then......later

-  Great Scott

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Green Lantern Corps Annual #2

Green Lantern Annual #2:   Enemies Closer
Writer: Van Jensen / Robert Venditti
Art: Neil Edwards / Tom Derenick

What do you do when everyone in the galaxy wants you dead and your power taken from you?  You make alliances with people that you never thought you would.  With their Sector Houses being destroyed, the Green Lanterns have no haven from the storm of enemies that are confronting them on all sides.  The Khund, the Claan, and the Durlan are working together to strike at the corps while they are disorganized.  I personally am not familiar with the Durlan, a race of tentacles (for lack of a better description) that are able to shape change to any race they wish, their description I find to be not only creepy, but also very disturbing.  Building upon events that occurred in Green Lantern Corps #27, this issue picks up right after and gives a great description not of the heroes, but of the villains, and how they got to where they are now.  One personal bright spot for me is a character named Evil Star (coming from the same universe as an old Image character, Wild Star, which I found to be a great character which I hope to talk about later), and the tragic way that he gained his power.

I like that this issue takes place immediately after the last issue, where a lot of times, the Annuals are stand alone and disrupt the flow that they are building upon in the regular issues.  The art works; very kinetic and works not only as a storytelling device but really shows action well.  I am pleased with where they are going with this as the last issue really had me wanting more.  *****SPOILER WARNING*****  The only thing that did disappoint me is the fact that all of this p@@p is hitting the fan, there just happened to be a double agent planted in with the Durlans.  Really??  Apart from this little Deus Ex Machina, it was an entertaining issue.

Review: Borrow It (Unless hard core Lantern fan)

Review: Superior Spider-Man #26

Review: Superior Spider-Man #26
Written By: Dan Slott
Art By: Ramos, Rodriguez and Martin
$3.99 January 29th 2014

The narrative of this story is divided up into three parts with each section having a different artists and style. Before we begin reviewing the story itself, let me point out that the art switch was not confusing. It allowed the reader to switch paces between what was going on in each section. And each artist's style complimented the pace and the tone of that particular scene.

1- The first part of the narrative we can discuss is the battle between the goblins, The Green Goblin and Hobgoblin wage war on one another in glorious fashion. The artwork during this battle is simply stunning. Take the time while reading the fast paced action and just allow the artwork here to sink in. Without spoiling too much, the goblins decide that rather than wasting manpower or their minions and resources waging war, that they should face of one-on-one.....winner assuming control of both forces. There is a clear victor and some very cool clues and plot twists that develop as a result of this epic battle.

2- The second portion of the tale involves the Superior Spider-Man facing the scrutiny of the Avengers and his wiping of their computer files on him. Long story short and no big spoiler, he realizes he can no longer talk his way out of his behaviors and he quits the Avengers.

3- And lastly, but certainly not least..... building off of the momentum of last issue that had Parker fans ecstatic..... Peter is still fighting the good fight in the recesses of Otto's mind, he now realizes that he has always faced difficult odds, but that is what makes him who he is at his very core. In this section of the story, the artwork compliments the scene as it is reminiscent of the artwork of classic Spidey moments in his history. Peter is visiting in his memories. They are the memories that have not yet been erased and have managed to survive. Peter shows an indomitable will during these scenes and it shows that Slott has a masterful grasp of the character, Peter Parker.

I honestly have loved each and every issue of this title. A large part of me will be sad to see it go. Slott hasn't allowed readers to catch their breath with such a high paced and simultaneously deep narrative. He has woven forever lasting additions into the Spider-Man mythos.

Starting next month is the final arc of the least as we know it. (Still unclear how this will resolve and if we will have 2 Spider-Men or not). But, the big payoff of Slott's long-building epic is about to begin. The Superior Spider-Man, his machines and army are about to do war with the Goblins and their army...all while Peter attempts to fight back from the recesses of Otto's subconscious and reclaim his body/life.
So, come back next month because I am sure it is going to be explosive!

Rating: Buy it!

Review: Guardians of the Galaxy #11.NOW

Review Guardians of the Galaxy #11.NOW

"The Trial of Jean Grey Part 1"
Written By: Brian Michael Bendis
Art By: Sara Pichelli
$3.99 January 29th 2014

The "Trial of Jean Grey" begins here! Infinity has ended and the Guardians are looking for some R&R. Last issue, Gamora and Angela had some bonding time by liberating some of the distant planet's natives who were enslaved by a Badoon army. In this issue, they continue to bond in the way that many women do...they go shopping, right before they murder someone. Peter has a bounty hunter after him, sent by his father. And Tony decides to part ways with the Guardians because he has too many other commitments. So much for rest and relaxation.

Elsewhere, the intergalactic counsel is summoned by Gladiator to inform them of the Shi'ar Empire is planning a secret operation to abduct Jean Grey from Earth and put her on trial for her crimes during her period of possession by the Phoenix. Gladiator informs the counsel as a courtesy, in respect of the "Earth is off limits" law from the King of Spartax, but lets the counsel know the Shi'ar plan on going through with it despite the law. Gladiator also concedes that, although this Jean Grey is a time traveler from the past and has not committed any crimes yet, she will be held accountable anyways.

And finally, Rocket Raccoon has intercepted Badoon communications discussing what is about to happen to Jean Grey and the Guardians jump into action to offer her assistance back on Earth......

The title continues to be very entertaining, but I will admit that the stories haven't been as interesting as they were in the first arc. The plots have been tied to events, etc. I had been longing for a Guardian's tale of cosmic adventure all their own. Last issue, was a nice stand alone treat that focused on Gamora and Angela that really highlighted some character development. But, it seems that this crossover event with the X-Men may be just what I have wished for. After reading this issue, I am hooked and all in. I am glad to see Tony leave the team because it didn't feel like a good fit and seemed rather unnecessary. Bendis does a fantastic job of capturing the personalities of the main cast and exploring the relationships of the teammates as well as the cast of villains within the counsel. All that being said, I would recommend this book on the merit of it's artwork alone. Sara Pichelli does an amazing job on character expression that blends perfectly with the dialog.

Rating: Buy it

Review: Saga #18

Review: Saga #18

Written by: Brian K. Vaughan
Art By: Fiona Staples
Image Comics
$2.99 Jan 29th 2014

Spoiler Free

No Saga until May!?!?!?!
Issue 18 ends the 3rd arc of the Saga tale. The book will be on hiatus until it returns to monthly publication in  May. The reason for this is so that the trade paperback copies (in this case the 3rd volume of 6 issues) will be released in March and allow new readers time to get caught up to the story in trade format. The wait is going to be a rough and painful time for many. This book has a large and growing cult following. The fact is, it just can't seem to stay stocked on the shelves. If, you are like me and love the book, then take the time to introduce it to someone new.

The Review
There isn't a whole lot of action in this issue except for the fight between Gwendolyn and our heroes. Most of the story is devoted in tying up the lose ends from the chaos of last issue and the 6 issue arc in general. There is a great moment and quick thinking on the part of Izabel during her confrontation with Lying Cat. Izabel truly continues to prove her worth to the group and solidifies her role in it in this issue.

All of the sub plots get covered in the pages of this issue. The sub plots aren't resolved insomuch as we have a clear opportunity for the two separate groups to go into new and independent directions from one another. Also, there is not a cliffhanger to end this issue. But, we do know that there will be a jump in time about a year or two ahead beginning in the next arc.

If you haven't read Saga or even heard about it, it has been a fantastic run so far. A new universe of diverse and dynamic characters can be right at your fingertips for a $2.99 price tag. There is no better value in comics. Saga is sweeping up awards and critical acclaim for a reason. It is that damn good. And now is a prime opportunity to get caught up or jump on board, prior to the 4th arc beginning in a few months.

Rating: Buy it for yourself and buy it for someone you love.....couldn't recommend this title more.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Attack on Titan

Review: Attack on Titan (anime)

It has been a harsh winter here in the Northeastern United States, with records low temperatures keeping many people indoors even more than usual. With the usual fandom shows that our household enjoys (Dr. Who, Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead, Sherlock etc.) being between seasons we turned to Netflix on the recommendation of one of our fellow staffers here at Sector3. He recommended an anime series called "Attack on Titan." We knew nothing of the show going in other than it had a 5 star rating on Netflix and the high praise from our friend/staffer.

Since watching the show, my fiance and I have adopted this series as one of our favorite Animes. This was something that hadn't often happened in the fiance and I agreeing on anime series. When either of us turned on Netflix, it was unspoken that we were about to watch the next chapter in this epic saga.

Now, for a spoiler free review.....

The show is 1 season of 25 episode, each around 24 minutes long. The entire run is available to stream on Netflix (where it boasts a 5 star rating). This IS NOT a family-friendly anime! So, you have been warned. If you have kids watch "Sgt. Frog" or "Princess Tutu", they are both family-friendly and quality animes that they will most likely love.

Plot: Spoiler Free
The series follows the story of Eren Yeager, his adopted sister Mikasa Ackerman and their friend Armin Arlert. The setting is a combination of steam punk and fantasy with some of the most beautiful animation that you could possibly hope for. The friends live in a walled city that was constructed to protect the kingdom from colossal Titans for the last 100 years. But, that  peace and security from ancient Titans comes literally, crashing down around them when the walls are breached and humanity is once again under the threat of extinction. Following the attack and death of Eren's mother, the young friends vow revenge and enlist to fight back against the Titans. The character motivations and interactions propel the plot and build a cast that you find yourself caring about. The monsters are always a threat and never taken lightly. The plot could easily suffer from repetiveness, but it doesn't due to each episode propeling this unfolding universe in a compelling direction often times in unpredictable ways and leading to intriguing cliff-hangers. There are a lot of casualties and no character is ever safe from a grisly death. The episodes each tackle individual chapters of the narrative, which moves at a swift pace taking the characters through several years in just a few episodes. But that does not rush or hinder the pace of the plot. Simply put, the story and characters are fantastic.

Warning: There are subtitles...... this is not a voice dubbed anime. But, do not be foolish and let that turn you away from giving this show the chance it deserves! It has won awards and critical acclaim, has had huge market success; 15.9 million copies of manga sold and a even more popular anime for a is that damn good.

So bundle up, stay warm and at all costs.....defend the damn wall.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Review: Batman #27

Batman #27
Writer: Scott Snyder
Pencils: Greg Capullo

Alright, let's get this out of the way.  I am not a fan of the New 52, nope, not at all.  I am not a fan of Batman, not that I dislike the character, just was never my cup of tea.  BUT........I loved this comic.  The New 52 wanted to reboot the DC Universe to entice new readers, what they should have done is what Scott Snyder is doing right now in the Batman title with "Year Zero", telling the story of Bruce Wayne getting his feet wet during the first year.  Contrary to what people think of how the GCPD (Gotham City Police Dept.) may think of Batman, they REALLY HATE him here.  He is digging up all the dirt that they are trying to hide and other than he and Jim Gordon, they want it hid.  The issue starts with Bruce getting the snot beat out of him by the Police.  It looks bad.  He escapes, but with the help of both Alfred, his butler and surrogate father, and Jim Gordon.  This book really starts to solidify the importance of their relationships and where they started to grow.  I don't want to give a lot away here, but really encourage people to read this.  Not because of surprises, but because it is so well written and should be enjoyed that way.

Sure, there is a villain involved, but the overarching story of Batman's first year is what really shines.  Greg Capullo'a art, once again, is beautiful, but I feel the colors were off just a bit.

This is how the universe should have been restarted.  You have a year to go back and tell these types of stories to bring in the new readers and keep older readers.  I know for one, this is definitely a new reader that will be following the character for some time.

Rating:  BUY, BUY!!

P.S.: I got no idea how the cover fits in.  Just sayin'.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Review: Avengers World #2

Review: Avenger's World #2

Written By: Jonathan Hickman & Nick Spencer
Art By: Stefano Caselli
$3.99 January 22nd 2014

We are only on issue #2 of this series and I already like it more than the core title. What I had wanted from this title, as a reader, has been delivered. The Avengers have decided to send smaller squads as response units that will tackle needs across the globe. Issue #1 saw the teams being split and teased the threats each would be facing. This issue of Avenger's World deals solely with one of those units. 

Cannonball, Sunspot and Smasher are investigating Babuda ( island nation and home to A.I.M. terrorists), because the island is growing in size and evolving at a rapid rate..... as the squad approached in issue #1, they were hit by a unknown force of energy and incapacitated. 

In this issue we see the team has been captured by A.I.M. and that only Smasher is left conscious. Smasher tries to escape and  A.I.M.s Scientist Supreme, Andrew Forson, assures her she is free to go and that her allies are being taken care of in the Infirmary. He goes on to explain A.I.M.'s intent is that they plan on making a better world with better food and medicines to share with mankind....blah blah blah. But, it's never as simple as that and we see that A.I.M. has a new guest on their Island, the Entropic Man.

What is the most rewarding part of this particular issue is that we get to see some real character development in Smasher. She is the core focus from start to finish, showing fearlessness, loyalty to her friends and strength in adversity. We also get to see where some of her morals stem from. The treated of this issue is a very intriguing back story of her childhood and Grandfather. It's not an 'Uncle Ben' moment, so don't assume it is that simple. *No spoilers*

When reading Avengers titles, the worlds always at it's tipping point with annihilation, so it is hard to develop characters and allow them to be more fleshed out/have dynamic character growth. But, by focusing on smaller squads and decompressing the narrative, Hickman has told an interesting Smasher tale that gives the character more personality and development. Let's hope that these individual adventures of smaller squads lead to more character development and exploration including interpersonal ones between team-mates.

For me, the only drawback was the scenic artwork of the island itself. The best artwork appears during the flashback moments in my opinion but the scenic design of the issue dissuade you from this issue. Other than that small hiccup it is a very solid issue and should be part of your collection.

Rating: Buy it

Review: Mighty Avengers #5

Review: Mighty Avengers #5
Written By: Al Ewing
Art By: Greg Land
January 22nd 2014 $3.99

Sure, there are a lot of Avengers titles out there. Some feel there may be too many. It's true of course, but this feels different then before. The great thing about this Avengers title is that it sheds a spotlight on something that has been missing in comics..... diversity. Oh I get it, you mean this is the "Black Avengers." Sure, that would be what someone might draw from it on the surface. But although there is much more racial diversity on this team, its the heroes that comprise it which makes this title stand out from the pack. It is a team without Iron Man, Wolverine, or any of the other heroes who are in 6+ more books a month. Sure, it has faces you may know of such as Superior Spider-Man, (for now) but it also has a few that you're probably much less familiar with because this is the only book on the shelf you will find them in. And guess what..... it's freaking awesome.

After Marvels Infinity event, Superior Spider-Man decided this "street-team" of Avengers was in desperate need of new leadership. Despite the fact that the teams leader, Luke Cage, has had years of experience leading an Avengers team Spidey decided for himself that Cage's leadership was ineffective and outdated. This issue resolves that debate in a very entertaining fashion. Meanwhile, we get more clues into who the new Ronin may be.....Don't worry, if the internet hasn't spoiled the reveal for you yet, we won't. And finally,Ronin  takes the rest of the team to investigate a "Death Cult" that has been interested in the Attilan ruins that crashed into the Hudson River. When they arrive, we see that Cortex Incorporated is already there and the three groups do not want to play cooperate.

The artwork was much improved for this issue despite the look of photo-reference for character's faces. The action flows through the panels and is never overworked or confused during the fight scenes.

The book has been very entertaining, but now that the team is established (we may have an official new member *wink*) and we have a plot outside of a Marvel Event, we will now see if this team will continue to entertain. With a fresh squad made up of lesser-knowns to casual fans and some great potential plot threads, it's going to be nice to follow a street level team with more personal development and character growth.

Rating: Buy it

Monday, January 20, 2014

Transformers: More than Meets the Eye #25

Transformers More than Meets the Eye #25
Dark Cybertron Chapter 6: No Exit
Writer: James Roberts and John Barber
Art: James Raiz, Atilio Rojo, and Livid Ramondelli
Colors: Josh Perez and Livid Ramondelli

      We left off last issue with the Lost Light's crew unearthing the body of the titan cityformer Metroplex while undersea inside the "Rod Pod", a smaller vessel, in the shape of their fearless leader Rodimus's head. Meanwhile Minicon forces continued to besiege the vessel.
         Simultaneously, inside the dead universe, Orion Pax, Rodiums, and the rest come face to face with a not-quite dead Nightbeat, whom summarily betrayed and trapped them inside a containment cube.
       And back on Cybertron itself, Starscream and his unaffiliateds are having their own troubles, whilst the exiled Autobot and Decipticon forces are waging a war of their own upon Shockwave's stronghold to come face to face with his Necrotitan.
      Our story proper picks up just from there, with the Dinobots and Astrotrain observing as the bulk of the forces pull out of a losing battle.  The story jumps again, back to the crew of the Lost Light led by Ultra Magnus delving deeper into the mysteries of Metroplex's condition, complicated by a strange absence in his cranium.
      Back at Iacon, Starscream's burden of leadership is even further overwhelmed, as the Necrotitan's march continues. Jump back to the Dead universe team making a desperate gambit against their captor. Face to face with Nova Prime, another member of the team falls, as Nova reveals he plans to turn yet another unwilling captive into a space bridge to exit back into the universe proper. The slippery descent to the endgame is coming at high speeds, with a the Minicons also seeming pawns of Nova Prime, which spells hard times ahead for the Lost Light.

Verdict: Solid issue, however as part 6 of a story so large, pick it up in the trades.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Nova #12

Nova #12
Chapter XII: Help Wanted
Writer: Gerry Duggan
Penciler: Paco Medina
Inker: Juan Vlasco
 Price: $3.99

        The next phase in the journey of Sam Alexander picks up right where last issue left off, with Sam following the map of lights he was seeing, finding a deceased Nova's helmet, and a new antagonist. Cadvian and his 'psycho-magnetizing' abilities seem to be a nice new addition to the cosmic family. His bounty hunting code puts our Novaling off his radar completely, and not unkindly removes him from his ship.
         Sam also seems to be experiencing a lot of personal growth, from his resolve to leave a written record of his exploits for his family, to rushing into a space distress call. Finding a retrofitted Xandarian ship and the occupants using a departed Nova and the remaining charge in his helmet to keep it operational are intriguing concepts as well. 
        Of course, 'saving' the day for the inhabitits isn't always what it seems. Captain Skarrn is just as sketchy as the name and circumstances imply. Sam returns home to some scolding and French Toast, and meanwhile, we get a teaser of another Cosmic player we haven't heard from in some time.

Next month, the littlest Human Rocket crosses paths with the Annihilator Beta Ray Bill, and his mighty weapon Stormbreaker!

Verdict: A nice jumping-on point, early enough in the series that catching up to speed isn't too hard. Buy it!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Review: Superior Spider-Man #25

Superior Spider-Man #245
Written by: Dan Slotted and Christos Gage
Art: Humberto Gage
Marvel: Jan 15th 2014 $4.99

Spoiler free so enjoy!

This title has had huge success as well as polarizing criticism/praise for the status quo change with Otto as Spider-Man. But, as the solicits have revealed in the last few days, Peter will be resurrected and regain the mantle of the Amazing Spider-Man.

This issue concludes the "Darkest Hours" story. Otto has bonded with the Venom symbiotie to become Superior Venom after removing it from Flash Thompson. Now, in this issue, Otto attacks the Hobgoblin's associates and is confronted by the Avengers. The Avengers appeal to their friend, Spider-Man,  to stand down and allow them to help him. Otto is not interested and decides it is time to sever ties with them in a chaotic and violent fashion.....going on the offensive and calling his spider bots and army to aid him to attack his former teammates. Tony is sent by Captain America away from the battle on another mission of importance that ends up being crucial for several reasons.

We also get an inside look at the goblins as they plot against Spider-Man and do recon on his island facility/ their capabilities for an all out attack. The Goblins also declare war on the Hobgoblin.

The beginning of Peter's return are seeded in this issue. Otto believes he has escaped this event with no one the wiser. He believes he has fooled everyone. We see the truth, which is that people are on to him and he has tested the limit one too many times.

Otto has been superior to Peter in his effectiveness and proactiveness, but at a cost. The cracks are beginning to show and when the cost of his reign as Spider-Man comes to its climax we can expect it to be explosive. The war against the Goblins is building. Everyone is suspicious of and outraged by this new Spider-Man including the city's citizens.

Dan Slott has weaved a masterpiece. You do not have to love the series, but you should appreciate its boldness. "Superior" has been inargueablly meaningful, exciting  and spawned many memorable plots that expanded the Spider-Man mythos.  We all knew Peter would eventually be back but it will be interesting to see if Peter adopts Otto's proactiveness in any way and how he could possibly mend the destruction Otto has caused in his personal life.

The War of the Goblins will end the title and return Peter to the mantle, but does this mean the end of Superior? Is Osborn the Green Goblin building this army? How will Peter's spirit break through and rebuild his life? Plenty of good reasons to keep reading the title.

And not to be forgotten, Ramos' art is consistent with the excellence he has been delivering the series. It really shines with his artwork on the Goblins including its newest recruit....*facepalm*  "Who?" you ask ...... Well, I promised no spoilers, so I'll end it there.

Ignore the forum's hate....this title is unforgettable and sells out each issue with good reason.

Rating: Strong Buy It

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Review: Avengers World #1

Writers: Jonathan Hickman, Nick Spencer
Art: Stefano Caselli
Marvel $3.99 Jan 8th 2014

This issue ushers in the post "Infinity" Avengers into the All-New Marvel Now branding. The team is relatively the same line up for the most part (the core team) with a more global-response repurposing mission statement.

The idea had been that the Avengers needed to get larger and they did. Now their mission is to be more of a global presence and they get that opportunity in quick order.

For a #1 issue, it is very accessible to new readers who may or may not even know who all the members are. Several of the teams current roster had their origins in Hickman's current run in the main Avengers title and played large roles in the "Infinity" event. The team has been reduced in size since "Infinity" but several of Hickman's newest members remain active on the team roster. But as I stated before, this issue is very accessible to new readers dispite these new members that you may not be familiar with yet.

It begins with dialogue between Steve Rogers and Bruce Banner discussing the team, their new role as active global responders and their developing relationship with SHIELD.  This section contains the only problem I had with the issue. And the issue is because of its characterization of Bruce Banner. He was written in a way that seemed smug and cocky. Although he has gained control, confidence and appreciation of himself during his characters growth in his solo title, I feel it still was a bit forced, over the top and not the Banner I know and love. His time with SHIELD has put him in a prime place with the Avengers and he and Cap discuss the current state of SHIELDS leadership.

In this issue, four seperate threats occur across the globe and the Avengers split into response units to deal with these threats while Banner and Captain America remain at the Helicarrier to coordinate the efforts.

This splitting of the team into smaller groups allows every character to recieve some amount of time in the spotlight and allow more interpersonal interactions among the characters. Also, the threats themselves all have very intriguing plot hooks that I am excited to see develop....some of which pick up on storylines that have been evolving out of other titles like Secret Avengers.

The locations of these threats range from numerous natural disasters occurring the North America, the Hand causing problems on the island Madripoor (an island that is actually on the back of a living dragon!) , an entire Italian city that has had every citizen disappear and finally the terrorist organization AIM is up to something in their country and of course it is not good.

Like I said, smaller squads,  fantastic plot points to grow and the art could not be more engaging and beautiful. The art in every panel is breathtaking and worth the cover price on its own.

Its appearing like it is going to be an exhilarating ride so don't miss out or get left behind.....don't wait for this to go to the trades. Get it now.

Rating: Buy it

Earth-2 #19 *Spoilers included!*

Earth-2 #19
Writer: Tom Taylor
Penciler: Nicola Scott and Robson Rocha

The Dark Age, Part 3

Going to give some spoiler room here for those whom aren't regular readers of Earth-2.

- Commencing Spoilers-

The newest arc in the Earth-2 saga continues featuring the revealed Brutale, Superman and his rampage on behalf of Darkseid. As the invading parademons and the furies rampage, the World Army and it's wonders are regrouping. Fate has been injured, and Arrow is holding things together on the ground. Meanwhile,  within the Arkham facility, the impromptu team of the new Batman, the newly awakened female Red Tornado (Lois Lane), Major Sato, Marella the Atlantean Queen,  and the rescued super-brain Jimmy Olsen are scouring the sublevels for the next piece of the puzzle.

The interesting thing with this series aside from a really fresh take on the Golden Age heroes and their World War era continuity is their attention to the really obscure bits of DC lore. And as a long-time comic fan, that detail work is refreshing. Sloan's hidden secret turns out to be another Kryptonian, one from the not-often mentioned island of Vathlo, which isn't referred to quite often, but lurks about in the memories of sharp creators. A dark-skinned subset of Kryptonians, whom remained apart from the main Kryptonian empire, although relations were quite strong between them, eventually immigrating to Kandor prior to the destruction of the planet.

The end half of the issue has our heroes departing in a very typical style, with a teaser of what looks to be a reconstituting Solomon Grundy. Between that, the capture of two of the Earth's brightest,  and Superman's rampage on Washington DC, things are looking even worse for our heroes.

The Round Up

To sum it up, the art is as strong as ever, there's no repeated panels, the dialogue is strong, and the story remains quite engaging. Being this deep in an arc, I must say it's for the best to get some familiarity with the backstory before launching into Earth-2 haphazardly, else you will get lost. That being said, I'm quite excited for where the future will be going for this ongoing. I'm only crossing my fingers that there will be no crossovers with the regular New 52 earth aside from World's Finest with Huntress and Power Girl being a part of that earth. I don't think either's ready for a crossover of those proportions at this time, and would only be detrimental to the development of both Earths.

Recommendation: Pick it up in the trade paperback.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Musings on "The Rock".

It has been revealed, by "The Rock" himself, that he has had a sit down meeting with the powers that be at DC about some upcoming work.  Nothing was actually said as to what said work was going to be.  My thought process went through some ideas and then one jumped out that made complete sense...

.....Amazo.  This is a character that could make a great villain in the often mentioned Justice League movie they tell us WILL be coming out.  For those of you not sure who this is, Amazo is a construct made by a Professor Ivo (Those watching Arrow will notice the Professor Ivo is pretty relevant right now, and did anyone notice his ship's name, yep, AMAZO).  This creation had all of the powers of the Justice League.  How amazing of a movie would this be.  One villain that has all of the powers of the big hitters of the DC Universe.  All of the members would be facing off against themselves, personally, I feel that would be better than another Lex Luthor Real Estate plan.  I know that they have recently announced Bryan Cranston as playing Lex Luthor in the Batman / Superman movie coming out, so have Professor Ivo as one of his countless scientists trying to figure a way to get rid of Superman and the gang.

If you really look at the character as well, you could see The Rock playing this character very well.  He has the look, and can definitely look intimidating as well.  That is my two cents.  Now, what do you think is going to be the outcome of The Rock and his meeting with DC?  Let us know here.

- Great Scott

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Geek is Dead: part 1

"Geek culture" has been officially pronounced dead. Sadly, only the devout  have felt the disturbance and will recognize of it's passing into the Gray Wastes. How could this have happened? Who is to blame? Did it happen suddenly or pass from a slow, undiagnosed illness? The writing was on the wall and the final hour has arrived. What were the symptoms and more importantly, is there a cure?

Of course, after reading such a statement, you have the right to ask questions and dispute the proclamation.  You may ask, "Who made you king of the nerds?" Or you may say, "You must be really pretentious and elitist to claim the rights of and ownership of geek culture in order to make such a sweeping claim!"

But before you whip out your sonic screwdriver to prove who's is bigger....hear me out. Let's start with the fact that the term nerd culture even exists. Nerds, geeks and dorks were once words used to identity someone as a social outcast. It reflected someone who was intellectual and outside the mainstream with their interests in fantasy, sci-fi and hobbies. The insulting terms were all interchangeable,  lumped into a generalization that was intended to be derogatory.  But to be fair, we wore those terms like a badge of honor. The difference is that, now we have a "culture" that is not only considered socially acceptable, but it is part of the popular cultural norm....pop and nerd-culture, sharing a symbiotic relationship with the other.

Nowadays, you can enter any mall in America and purchase items that used to only be found at conventions....hats, shirts, mugs, wallets etc and they are all marketed for adults. In fact, the other day I saw a Deadpool t-shirt in men's section Wal-Mart. Deadpool is in Wal-Mart?! Allow that to sink in for a moment. Stores are flooded with products aimed at nerds, geeks and collectors who are not children. Is that a simple case of supply meeting the demand? Of course it is. There was always a demand for it though. But admittedly, the demand has never been so high. I can't tell you how many hipsters I've met who have donned the clothing for fashion with shirts that read "Geek is Chic" and " I Heart Nerds." Long ago, we once wore our nerd logos and crests to identify others of our tribe among the general horde. We took pride in our Spider-Man t-shirt that caused awkward glances, eye rolls and bullying. We suffered the fact we were outcasts for the solace we received when we encountered someone who gave you the head nod....that unspoken, "I'm with you brother. You are not alone." But the clothing and the items shouldn't and truly don't matter to someone who loves something. I love my daughter but I don't wear her image on a hat. That just comes from maturity. Some feel the need to identify themselves and label themselves as a defense mechanism in order to preempt someone doing it for them.

But wait a second, what is exactly the complaint? Doesn't this mean great and wonderful things will be in store for us? Wouldn't this mean the social acceptance of our passions lead to an acceptance of us as people for who we truly are? Doesn't the money machine keep rolling out box office and television hits that have actual quality, with good actors and story-telling? I still don't understand what the problem is.

To many, on the surface, it would appear that the geeks did inherit the Earth. We run the world in every way. But the geek culture is it's own separate entity. We convinced the world that the things we loved so very much, were not only cool, but also, the passions that they evoke are justified. So, is that how the acceptance happened? Is that how our passions became mainstream? The answer is no.

Simply put....We have been invaded. They realized that there was a party and that they were missing out. And like a loud and uninvited drunk they have crashed our party. They have entered our holy land (Comicon), they have distorted the history of our holy texts (comics and graphic novels) and these Skrulls, as I will be referring to them henceforth, have hidden themselves among our own people. Is this a social war? No....not yet. We need to convert them into our ranks. They have taken the first step toward accepting us in some form and now it is time to accept them. Because if we do not convert them, the consequence will be that they stay anyways.

=> Part 2 The Symptoms and The Cure

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Aquaman #26

Aquaman #26
Writer: Jeff Parker
Pencilers: Paul Pelletier / Sean Parsons

 “Sea of Storms” begins with the debut of new AQUAMAN writer Jeff Parker! The Earth’s crust is grinding to life, releasing deadly volcanoes and bizarre creatures…so humanity’s first instinct is to blame Atlantis! And as the plates pull apart, the pressures of ruling a kingdom under siege are weighing on Aquaman and Mera as well!

I will be honest and say that I have not been reading Aquaman regularly, and this being the start of a new arc and a new creative team, why not.  Geoff Johns turned the character of Aquaman around and made him a fan favorite quickly with his run of the previous 25 issues.  He fleshed the character out and made it exciting.  Now in this new issue, Arthur and Mera are dealing with the repercussions of what happened just before.  The political climate of Atlantis is not very welcoming to Arthur or Mera and the other leaders resent that he is spending far too much time with the surface world.  With being the start of a new arc, of course you are going to have things thrown at you.  The plates of the world's crust are coming apart, your kingdom is about to revolt against you, oh and there is a gigantic Leviathan attacking Iceland.

Bottom Line

With this being a new creative team, it is going to be different.  The biggest thing that I noticed and bothered me was the sharing of the pencils credit.  I really enjoy Paul Pelletier's artwork, but when they change page to page on this, it is almost jarring at times.  I am not saying that Sean Parsons is not talented, it is just that their styles can be radically different.  And fighting a giant sea creature, I hope that this is not a sign that they have run out of ideas.  Aquaman is still a character I enjoy so I am interested to see where it goes and am anxious for the creative team to get their sea legs as well.

Recommendation:  Borrow It

Deadpool gets married?!

The Informant: News for Jan. 2nd 2014

Deadpool to Wed a Mystery Bride

I am engaged to be married in 2014, but it now appears that so is the Merc with a Mouth. That's the date, because Deadpool is gettin' hitched!
Marvel has announced through teasers  (puzzle pieced wedding photos and invitations) throughout the week. Today, with the puzzle complete, we can see our groom standing next to his bride to be. Her face, however, is still covered. So, let the speculation begin. One thing is for sure - she is biting off more than she can chew and hilarity will follow. Is this a cheap gimmick?  Or, have recent events in Wade's life, the "The Good the Bad and the Ugly" arc, led him to view his life and existence in a new way? Let us know at Sector3 if your thoughts and if you plan to RSVP.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Review: New Avengers #13.IN *WARNING SPOILERS*

Review: New Avengers #13.IN
Writer: Jonathan Hickman
Marvel $3.99 Dec. 31st 2013

Unlike it's cover or title would suggest, New Avengers #13.IN deals very little with the Inhumans following the events in the "Infinity" event/crossover. In fact, it is solely concerned with the continued prophecies of the Black Swan. She has been warning the Illuminati of the oncoming destruction that will end their world, basically since this book began.

The Black Swan first appeared way back in New Avengers #1 from another reality of the multiverse and warned them of what happens when multiple earths collapse in on one other. Which, she explains, is what led her to this reality (Earth 616). She fled her reality while destroying it's Earth, thus preventing the destruction of both universes. The Illuminati have kept her their prisoner/guest ever since. They mine her for advice and on instruction on weapons construction in order to combat these incursions. She does aide them throughout the series, but is always vague and dramatic rather than simply give the vital information.

Following the events of "Infinity"- The Black Swan mocks the Illuminati's intergalactic war and victory over the Builders because she claims the real threat is still out there. She then instructs them in building a "Mirror." This mirror is to view and map realities as they fall one by one during these "incursions". So basically, the Illuminati watch realities fall when dimensional earths crash into one another. They plan to use the mirror, because whomever they may meet during an incursion will probably also have one. So, not having one is a disadvantage. Lost yet?

So, in this issue, the Illuminati of Earth-616 use their "mirror" to witness another reality (Earth-20399) that has its own and different team of Illuminati. The Illuminati of that world are being killed during the incursion. This is the first time we have had any emotion context to these other Earths. We are introduced to these new villains who are referred to as the "Black Priests." These Black Priests wipe out, in just a couple of pages, the Earth-20399's Illuminati. And the Illuminati of Earth-616 look on in horror. The design of The Black Priests look amazing, in my opinion.

Also in this issue somewhere, far from his teammates, we see Dr. Strange contemplating making horrible sacrifices in order to gain and amass mystical powers. This is what I found most interesting about this issue, because it seems like being mind-controlled in "Infinity" has really impacted him in a psychological way.

Bottom Line

In the regular Avengers title, there is ALSO a planet being hurled at Earth in the story "Rogue Planet". How is that different than whats happening here you ask? Well, in that title, it seems that someone has found a way to use entire planets like rocks in a catapult. Does Hickman have writers block? What's the deal with planets colliding with Earth for completely different reasons in each of his Avengers titles going on at the same time?
I want to trust Hickman who knocked it out of the park with "Infinity". But this was more work to get through and wasn't fun to read or igniting my imagination whatsoever. I'm going to stick with this title because he has earned my trust but I hope the book becomes more enjoyable and exciting. I know Hickman writes for the holistic and long approach but for now this has been  the weakest issue to date for this series.

Recommendation:  Borrow it

Guardians of the Galaxy #10

Review: Guardians of the Galaxy #10

Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: Kevin Maguire
Marvel $3.99 Dec. 31st 2013

The plot of this issue is pretty straightforward. Following the events of Infinity, Gamora is out hunting for Thanos and decides that Angela, who craves a hunt, should join her. They travel to a planet enslaved by the Badoon, known allies to Thanos and his forces, to liberate the slaves and track leads to the whereabouts of Thanos. 

The issue can be viewed as a stand alone tale that has ties to larger plots.It primarily focuses on the developing comradery between Gamora and Angela as they liberate the slaves, and take the badoon forces out all by themselves. Angela gets a shocking revelation involving her people and Gamora gets the intel that she set out for. However, the Guardians won't get much time for these plot threads and will be put on the shelf as the Guardians deal with the "Trial of Jean Grey" next issue.

The writing Bendis does for the interactions between the two female leads is very solid and creates an interesting dynamic within the team....They don't ask the boys permission or even inform them of their plans. The warrior women go on the mission and handle it with barely breaking a sweat. Gamora has always been her own woman and the men of the team have always respected that, but now it seems she has a feminine equal to identify with. The art is solid but nothing fantastic. It does it's job of cleanly portraying the battles and scope of the setting but doesn't wow the eyes at any moment.

In short this is one of the more fun Marvel titles out there and this issue tells a complete and interesting story as well as develop a bond between two characters all in a single issue. Bendis continues to deliver on his titles.

Rating: Buy it