Saturday, February 22, 2014

News: "Original Sin" - Marvel's Next Event

 Frontline News Coverage: 
"Original Sin" Marvel's Next Event - Everything You Need To Know.

By Brian Howard

This event has the makings to be a great jumping on point for new readers who haven't read a comics event before. This article is an up to date compilation of information on the series, its background and what sets it apart from other events of the past.

Many people complain that there are too many company-wide crossover events and that they, as readers, suffer from event fatigue. Inevitably, each event is pitched as, "things will never be the same, ramifications for years to come etc etc."  To a small degree this is true. Mostly however, the effects last for a year or two at the most before almost everything returns to the status-quo.  

So, what makes Marvel's next event 'Original Sin' stand out from the rest? Well, it is not being billed as an end of the world event. Simply put, this is a murder mystery in which everyone in the Marvel Universe is a suspect. A whodunit tale that begins with the death of Uatu, The Watcher. 

The crime scene: Who killed Uatu
Who is the Watcher? A Brief History
For those of you who do not know Uatu...He is a member of the Watchers, which are a extraterrestrial species who are sent throughout space to observe the actions and histories of species throughout their history and existence. Uatu is the one who was sent to Earth to monitor it and our solar system. Created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, he first appeared in Fantastic Four #13 back in 1963. Uatu has been a witness to everything that has ever happened on Earth from his post on the moon. At times, he has broken his vow of non-action to assist heroes during a hopeless struggle. So, it always went without saying that if he shows up, then there is something big that is going to happen and it usually isn't something good. 

"Original Sin" Plot
Uatu's murder is a big deal for many reasons. First and foremost, who would want the The Watcher dead and why? From what we know so far, there is a clear motive. Apparently, the eyes of a Watcher are like a hard-drive and store all the information that he has taken in. The killer removes the Watchers eyes for this reason. Now, the killer not only possesses the history of Earth's events but also every single secret anyone has ever had no matter how large are small. You can imagine what chaos might ensue if suddenly every secret in the universe suddenly became public information. Just imagine in your own life what you might learn about those around you as well as what they would discover about you. It would be chaos. This is an NSA leak on a superhero scale. Secrets: like the locations of hidden artifacts and weapons of great power, secret identities, magical and technological secrets.....all the way down to and including betrayals. (example: The New Avengers mind wiping Captain America after he had moral objections to their plans. Cap might not think very kindly about that revelation).

But, as to who would commit this crime, well that's the fun of a murder mystery and everyone is a suspect. Is his murder intended to cover up something or is it a power grab for his knowledge.

The original Nick Fury is going to lead a group of Marvel heroes to investigate the murder and bring the killer to justice. We see the Punisher, Black Panther and Dr. Strange all lending their talents to the investigation.

Who is guilty?!
"Original Sin #2"

"Original Sin" begins in May 2014 and is by the creative team of writer, Jason Aaron and Mike Deodato Jr. for the 8 issue series. There will be tie ins throughout most Marvel titles and this time those tie-ins will matter to each character given the nature of the main story and the intimate secrets that could be revealed.

An unlikely friendship
"Original Sin" will have a prelude #0 issue which will be by another creative team: Mark Waid and Jim Cheung. This issue will give you a look into the final hours of Uatu's life and his relationship with Sam Alexander, a 15 year old rookie superhero and last of the Nova Corps. Sam has made a compelling friendship with Uatu recently in his own Nova title. Sam goes to visit the Watcher to talk about his feelings and at times uses Uatu as a shoulder to lean on. Sam as a character, is fresh and just out of the gate. His perspective gives new readers the chance to have the Marvel Universe open up around them while it does for his character. Here we have two people, one at the end of his journey and one at his beginning. How this effects young Sam Alexander will no doubt be emotional. 

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Sector Podcast S1E1

Today Agents, we bring to you the premiere episode of Sector 3's podcast, starring Brian Howard and Randall Smith. Within we bring news of the week, including our thoughts on the Guardians of the Galaxy trailer's debut, John Romita Jr departing Marvel for DC, and Attack on Titan!

Also, we give our reviews of some of our stack pulls, including Nova #13, Avengers World #3, and New Warriors #1!

Listen below, or follow the link for a download. We will be setting up for iTunes, and rss feed support soon.

Download our Podcast! (Right-click, and "Save as")

Avengers World #3

Review: Avengers World #3 
Shang Chi v. Gorgan

Written by: Jonathan Hickman and Nick Spencer
Art by: Stefan Caselli
Marvel $3.99
Feb. 20th 2014

The Avengers have been split into smaller squads and sent to respond to individual global catastrophes. In this issue, we jump to a different squad and threat. This time, the action switches to the island of Madripoor.

The island city has been revealed to be resting on the head of a gigantic and ancient dragon. The dragon rises up out of the ocean following a ceremony conducted by Gorgon. Gorgon is in control of The Hand in Madripoor and Shang-Chi attempts to stop them single handedly from completing the ceremony (he is the only Avenger who appears in this issue).

What ensues is a straight-forward one on one kung fu battle. The fight is interesting because Shang-Chi knows he is outmatched but fights on anyhow by calling upon the essence of warriors from the past. This is depicted with  flashbacks of those warriors own tales. 

I am not going to spoil who is the victor of this duel, but if you like martial art stories..... this is for you. I continue to enjoy the smaller squads and more intimate characterizations in the Avengers World premise. However, I was more interested in the dragon and what purpose it's awakening was for. That was not discussed at all in this issue which was disappointing to me. 

The artwork continues to be very solid. The clear depiction and flow of the martial arts fight made the battle itself very enjoyable and easy to follow. But the sadly the story could be summed up entirely by the cover.

Rating: Borrow it

The Dragon Isle of Mandripoor

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Green Lantern Corps #28

Green Lantern Corps #28
Writers: Van Jensen
Pencils: Bernard Chang

The continued war against the Green Lanterns continues, but know we have a rag tag bunch of bounty hunters, Green Lanterns, and Fatality along for the ride.  This issue, finds our group tracking down a past lantern who is a Durlan ( a deadly shape changing alien race).  On a planet that closely resembles Tattooine, they track down the rebel and take him in, or so we think.  This is a lot tougher than what the directions told them.  Not only are the Lanterns fighting this battle on this side, they are also being hunted down on Mogo, the sentient planet Green Lantern.  Salaak, the brainy Lantern I like to call him, is beaten badly as another is taken hostage by a shadowy group.  It is not until the last page do we find out who is behind this abduction, and I can tell you, it put a smile on my face, evil - but still a smile.

Once again,there  is a war going on.  I have not read this title for a while, but the last time I was reading it, guess what, there was a war going on.  The storyline of tracking the rebel Lantern is quite cool and wish that they were covering that one more instead of running around in three different directions.  Not every story has to be an enormous event.  Take a break and tell smaller stories.  I still am not taken up with the storyline,bu t my love of Green Lanterns is pushing me to continue reading.  Another thing with this issue is the art.  It is very grainy and stiff in places, but it really works with the hunt storyline.  Another thing that they employed in this issue was a stark red, white, and black coloring of certain important panels in the story.  I like this, but they have not been using it throughout the story.t  his would be a great technique to use during the storyline, but it feels like they are just trying all sorts of things to grab readers that they are not crafting a cohesive story.

Like I said, if you are a hard core Lantern fan, pick it up.  I am interested in seeing where it goes, but were I not a fan, this would definitely pass my radar.

Recommendation:  Borrow / Pass

-Great Scott

Review: Superior Spider-Man #27

Review: Superior Spider-Man #27       
"Goblin Nation Part 1"

Writer: Dan Slott
Artist: Giuseppe Camuncoli
Marvel $3.99
Feb. 12th 2014

The end has begun....the final arc of Superior Spider-Man has arrived.

The city is under attack. Spider-Man is getting called out by the Green Goblin and his forces. Otto's Spider-bots are down, as is his entire  intelligence grid throughout the city and into Spider Island. Going dark forces Spider-Man to meet with the Green Goblin in person. There is a huge revelation during this meeting that I won't even hint at here. Meanwhile, mayor Jameson finally has had enough of getting his strings pulled. So, the mayor begins to put a plan of action in affect to change that. We see Peter attempting new ways at battling back through Otto's "Mindscape." By the end of the issue, it is an all out war between Spider-Man and the Green Goblin including the armies that each had been creating over the last 27 issues.

At this point, we all know that Peter Parker will be returning from the "grave" that Otto Octavious sent him to a year ago. The infamous story resulted in death threats to writer Dan Slott along with the most passionately divided fan base I have ever witnessed for a title. This went far beyond the usual Internet trolls, haters and feigned outrage. No, this rage had a pulse. It was alive and it was ugly. On the opposite end of the spectrum, Superior Spider-Man had a devout fan base and the sales were phenomenal (one of Marvels most successive monthly titles).

Personally, I have loved Dan Slott's run. Why? Because it has been exciting. I would hate to see the usual characters rotating in the same recycled plot points..... bank robbery, quip, Aunt May is dying (again), late for work, Parker luck etc. There have been some great Spider-Man stories and arcs throughout his current run....he has added many great characters, locales and changes to the mythos while masterfully weaving dozens of plots together in an exhilarating, well-paced and intelligent epic.

At Peter's core, he is a man who will always face insurmountable odds, having to dig deep and find strength he didn't know he had to win the day. But, he is also the relatable everyman. Peter has spent his life saving others, but now he battles to save himself. The question everyone wants to know is, "how the hell can Peter do it this time?"

Rating: Buy it

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Review: Mighty Avengers #6

Review: Mighty Avengers #6

Written by: Al Ewing
Art by: Valerio Schiti
Cover by: Greg Land
$3.99 January 5th 2014

 Let me start by saying that this cover truly outshines the rest in the series so far. It set my expectations higher for this issue and I was not disappointed. Finally, we get past the chaos of Infinity that threw this team together haphazardly. And we see the team has divorced itself from Superior Spider-Man after his attempted coup of the team's leadership. 

The teams formation and evolution begins to feel more organic. Now that the roster is established and finalized we begin to see why this team is choosing to stay together. Their mission statement is pretty clear.....need help? Then you should hire the Mighty Avengers! They are operating out of a renovated theater and are setting up helplines, shelters and response teams for everyday people in crisis. A departure from the other Avengers titles, this team's going to clean up the neighborhood. 

Where this issue shines the most is the characters interactions with each other. The dialog is fantastic and shows that Ewing has a good grasp of the history and characterization of the cast.The cast is moving into the new headquarters and you get the feeling that it is starting to feel like this is a home more than a high-tech super base. There is this strong sense that this is more of a family than most teams that start out. This team for the most part, is up front and understands one another. 

White Tiger has been traumatized by the events that happened to her in Avengers Arena, and she is near a breaking point of restlessness. Blue Marvel has separate scenes with both Mr. and Mrs. Cage that go in very different emotional directions. And in another scene, team members Power Man and Spectrum train together under the tutelage of veteran Avenger She-Hulk. Iron Fist drops by to visit his friends and wish them a happy housewarming. Luke introduces Danny to the new team, but it doesn't appear that Iron Fist will be joining the team as a regular or official member just yet. 

The only action comes from that of what appears to be the simple arson of a book store. The man who committed is a far-right fanatic. (We learn the arsonist has a boss and there is more to it than a simple fire) He believes he got away with the crime. Throughout this issue, the plot keeps cutting back from scenes of the teams interactions at their home to this arsonist. The arsonist seems paranoid that a bird is following him, and that anxiety is ever growing for good reason. 

This issue crescendos with a very cool moment that will seemingly propel this team into their first official adventure. This is a great jumping on point for people who get intimidated by years of continuity or for anyone who is familiar with the characters and their history but is tired of cosmic invasions and end of reality threats. 

The interior art was vastly improved making this issue far more enjoyable than some previous issues. It's about damn time that we have a Marvel team made of characters who are solely on one team alone. ( New Warriors will be out soon, but not here just yet) The readers are getting dynamic characters, interactions and team development and that is what draws you to a team book in the first place.

Rating: Buy it

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Review: Ms. Marvel #1

Review: Ms. Marvel #1

Written by: G Willow Wilson
Art by: Sara Pichelli
Marvel Comics
January 5th 2014

The writers/review staff here at Sector3 conducted a draft (much like fantasy football) for who was going to review each title for the year 2014. Ms. Marvel was obviously one of the titles that I chose to draft. The reason that I chose her is that she, Ms. Marvel (Carol Danvers) is one of my favorite characters. In fact, she is also my daughter's absolute and unquestionable favorite. My daughter even cosplayed Ms. Marvel at the Pittsburgh Comicon when she was only 4 years old and won first place. So, needless to say I was excited to review this title. And no one in Marvel comics has a more cult-like fan base that Ms. Marvel. They even have a name for themselves, "The Carol Corps!"

*menacing music begins to play*

And then the news/ controversy came out that this title would feature an all new heroine. It was revealed that she would be a 16 year old Muslim Pakistani-American named, Kamala Khan......and boy did that cause the Internet to explode! We all knew that there would be a fresh character taking up the mantle of Ms. Marvel, because the original, Carol Danvers, went on to become the current Captain Marvel in her own series by that name.

Some Muslims were upset because they feared that the character wouldn't honor Islam or portray it in an unflattering sense, possibly making her a stereotype! Others were upset that the character was Muslim to begin with! Sadly, in a world of male dominated comics, no one seemed to celebrate the fact that this book is written, drawn and edited by women...... and the editor herself is Pakistani-American.

I was super nervous about how this book would turn out. Not because of the character's background (that is a welcomed diversity into characterization and personality), not because of a female staff (we want women in comics!) but truth be told....My hands were white-knuckled nervous while opening the book, because the mantel and the name itself are so dear to my daughter and I. I was so afraid that this would be a stain on the legacy.

Now that I have read it, I have put those fears to rest.

Kamala is a 16 yr. old girl that is a shy misfit. She is unsure where she belongs in a city where her family isn't the norm. Kamala is a creative introvert, who just wants to feel accepted and fit in. At her heart, she is like most teens and is trying to find herself. She is also an Avengers fan-girl that idolizes Captain Marvel. She even has very comedic day dreams of adventuring with them.

The story sets the tone of her family life and those ise, but the character, Zoe fills the role of an antagonist in this opening of her origin story. Zoe is everything that Kamala thinks she wants to be before learning a tough lesson in adolescence. By the end of this issue, the terrgen mists from the fallout of the pages of Infinity spread through New York. This event is the catalyst for Kamala's powers. She will be one of the many new Inhumans. The transformation in the cocoon sequence was very interesting and I won't spoil it for you here. We don't get details on a power set or have any combat in this issue but it was a very well paced narrative. The art was cartoonish at times, and in some parts, it worked well to that effect. But for the most part the more cartoonish art was off-putting. Other times, mainly during emotional faces and close-ups, the art was very good.
n her neighborhood /school. There isn't a villain per

Before making judgements on the book based on presumptions, read it. The book makes no political or religious statements. She isn't blond or buxom. She is just that awkward teen who stands in the back of the room waiting to be asked to join the fun. A young woman who doesn't fit the common mold of female superheroes is a much needed breath of fresh air to readers. I gladly will stay on this title and review it monthly. I welcome you to join me on that journey as we watch Marvels latest female heroine find her place in the universe.

Let's all hope she makes you proud Carol.....

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

The Best Purchase You Can Make

If you are like me and enjoy the old issues of DC and Marvel comics, something you must look into are the DC Showcases and the Marvel Essentials.  These massive tomes collect the early issues of these publishers works in a great and somewhat inexpensive manor.  In each collection, you will get around 500 pages of great past comics.  Here you can see early Bob Kane Batman issues, you can see Cap join the Avengers, see how the Kree / Skrull war unfolded.  These books collect around 20 issues of these comics and additional titles that fill in the gaps of certain storylines.

Some people turn their noses up at these collections because they are not in color.  In all actuality, this makes them that much more enjoyable at times.  You can see the artists work clearer without the addition of the colors. I know I have about 10 of these collections that are remarkable to sit down and read.  Sure, some of the dialogue is dated, but it would be.  You are reading comics from a totally different age.

Coming in at a price point of around $19.99 to $29.99, these can be a steal.  Try and get a copy of Avengers #4 for any where near that amount......I dare you.  Another plus is, at a lot of cons, you can find copies going for 50% off at some retailers, so keep your eyes peeled.

So, turn away from your need from color and delve into this world of great comics from the past and see how your favorite characters became who they are today.

p.s.  If you need color, grab some colored pencils.  You will never find a greater coloring book in your life.

- Great Scott