It’s that time again: Bullet Reviews! We start off with Age of Ultron #6 and Wolverine and the X-Men #27AU then Dark Shadows: Year One #1, Green Arrow #19, He-Man #1, Iron Man #8, Jirni #1, Mars Attacks #9, Star Wars: Darth Vader and the Ninth Assassin #1, Superior Spider-Man #9, Transformers: Regeneration One #90, and The Walking Dead #109
AGE OF ULTRON #6 (Marvel NOW!)
This issue had a few things that made the series improve. First, we got to see the future where Ultron is hiding. I cannot say it is dark, because it’s actually pretty damn bright. But the little Ultron nano-bots? Unlike the other Ultrons in this series, these looked more like Ultron. It gave it that extra effect of actually happening. Iron Man’s classic armor… Another positive. It was nice to see it in action after all these years. And how did this happen? Well, the artwork by Brandon Peterson and Carlos Pacheco on pencils. Peterson did the current/future team and Pacheco did the past team. And because of the timeline shift, it worked. Quite well. The impact was intended to be different in to the 2 eras and 2 different artists to make Bendis’ vision come alive actually worked. Now, this issue as a standalone was OK – we did not get a lot of the story of Logan and Sue in the past until we read the Wolverine and the X-Men tie-in (see elsewhere in this bullet list) where those gaps are filled in. Again, not a huge issue overall, but the butterfly effect event did begin here. Logan did take out the father of Ultron, and now it’s time to see what the result of that is in the rest of the series. – Kelly Cassidy
WOLVERINE AND THE X-MEN #27AU (Marvel NOW!)
This is – by far – the BEST issue of Wolverine and the X-Men I have read in a long time. Maybe since when the series was first getting off the ground. And it had nothing to do with the series itself except for Logan having a part to play. Matt Kindt continued with a story of Logan and Sue in the past that fills in the gaps missing from AoU #6. Now, this is not the best tie-in so far to AoU (I leave that to Avengers Assemble as we recently covered in bullets) but I enjoyed this issue more than the main story for a few reasons. One – there was some depth to the characters. We saw Logan and Sue in action, and we saw something that Logan was responsible for that just – quite frankly – shows how bad the butterfly effect can be before going after Pym. I don’t want to ruin it for some, but let’s just say Logan caused something to occur in the past that came back to bite him in the ass in the future – literally, at times. And it’s just plain eerie. But apart from that, my favorite thing about this was the fact that they used time travel and inserted panels from past stories here. Yes, we see panels from Steve Ditko & Joe Sinnott and John Buscema & George Bell mixed into the Logan and Sue story drawn by Paco Medina – and it’s done FANTASTICALLY well. I highly recommend this story if you’re a long-time X-Men fan and want to see a surprising origin of villains you would not expect in an Ultron story. -Kelly Cassidy
DARK SHADOWS: YEAR ONE #1 (Dynamite)
I never would have thought I would still be reading Dynamite’s Dark Shadows series, only because I worried it would be cancelled because it wasn’t like the movie but much to Dynamite’s credit they retained the original tone and feel of the TV series and have been able to keep the book exciting enough to continue for over a year now. But not only did I not think I’d have the regular Dark Shadows series but to have two books based on the franchise was never something I dreamed of.
Imagine my surprise when I saw the announcement for this title. I was concerned that the main series was going to be cancelled. Happily, it isn’t and we now have two books for the franchise. Year One, as any comics fan knows, is the origin, the beginning. We go back in time, before Barnabas was a vampire, and learn more of who he was before he was a vamp. Most of what we see here is known to fans of the franchise but the way it’s told it doesn’t feel like retread. For those who may not know, we see Barnabas Collins, looking forward to his marriage to Josette Dupress but is sort of lulled into a one night affair with a woman in a bar. This is where the trouble begins. It gets worse when we find that the woman is Angelique Bouchard, Josette’s handmaiden and someone who is very much in love with Barnabas, whether that love is true or more lust isn’t known but she becomes obsessed with Barnabas and when he blocks her advances things get worse. Angelique shows her true nature… she’s a witch and I don’t mean that she’s a mean woman, no, she’s a witch. Spells and all. She makes Barnabas’ life a living hell, demanding that he marry her, but when she gets her way he discovers her plot and as a wedding gift gives her three bullets. Normally, this would be the end of all the troubles but in Dark Shadows it just means things are about to get much, much worse for Barnabas. This was a fun telling of the origin of Barnabas. Nothing has been changed so much you have no idea what’s going on. The art is just as good as the main book but since this is before Collinswood was plunged into darkness it doesn’t have that dark, gothic tone which is perfect! I can’t wait for the next issue! -Skott Jimenez
GREEN ARROW #19 (DC)
Jeff Lemire is an incredible writer. I could easily end this review with that. He has taken a character unsuccessful with other writers and established him as very fun and interesting to read. Even though we’re only three issues into his run he’s managed to create an engaging narrative and truly exceptional action sequences. Issue #19 is a reinforcing statement in my argument, the action is wonderfully fluid and at times very exciting and the narrative moves at a great pace. Many times have I read comics where I can only sum it up as people fight but nothing really moves forward; Green Arrow is an exception.
This issue sees Ollie learning more secrets about his father as his fight with Komodo becomes more ruthless. The previous issues have constantly shown Komodo getting the best of Ollie so every time Green Arrow gets in a good shot I actually found myself relieved. But as we’ve seen, nothing is easy for Ollie and this series becomes more exciting. My only beef with this issue is that the fold out cover ruins a big surprise in the comic.
Andrea Sorrentino’s art, as I’ve said in my review of issue #18, continues to grow on me. I’ve found myself falling more in love with the heavy shadows and great focus on detail. It’s easy to see the expression on the characters faces and truly know what they’re feeling. – Victor Correa
HE-MAN AND THE MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE #1 (DC)
The first issue of the all-new ongoing series was picked up partly out of curiosity and partly out of nostalgia. It apparently picks up after the recent miniseries as references to the death of the Sorceress are where we begin here. While the Masters deal with this loss, and as Adam deals with the change in Teela’s hair color (a funny moment or two) there is an invasion beginning as Hordak makes his play and sends his army to Eternia to take it over. This is where we get a mention at the possible demise of ‘the skeletal’ one.
Hordak’s general is revealed to be Adora which shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone but it doesn’t take from the impact of the attack on Eternia and the Palace. It seems as though Hordak’s upped his game and is taking no prisoners.
It must be said that this isn’t your old-school He-Man story. It goes a little further than the 2002 reboot of the series as well; it’s apparent when people, including children, are killed by Hordak’s army. I figured the first issue would be worth buying especially considering it’s written by the legendary Keith Giffen. The thing I didn’t expect is actually wanting to check out what happens next. This book is actually really good and worth reading, especially if, like me, you are a child of the 1980’s. I was even surprised by the art of Pop Mahn, a man who drew arguably the worst looking issues of the 90’s Ghost Rider series, something I never forgave him for. But his work on this book is certainly a major improvement. I’ll be getting the next issue for sure! -Skott Jimenez
IRON MAN #8 (Marvel NOW!)
Again, the ONLY reason I picked this up is because of the appearance of Death’s Head so that’s all I’m going to talk about here. I don’t really know much of what’s going on because I never read the Avengers Vs. X-Men so the whole thing with the Phoenix Force doesn’t really mean much for me. But it is very important for this part of the Iron Man series and also gives Death’s Head a reason for being here. As was explained last issue this alien race worshiped the Phoenix as a god. When it was destroyed at the end of AvX they blamed Iron Man for the destruction of their god. They hire Death’s Head to kill Iron Man and we get treated to dodgeball… Death’s Head style! I would like to petition Marvel to allow Kieron Gillen to do a Death’s Head miniseries! Explain why he’s so large and why he looks the way he does and bring him back into the 616.
But that wasn’t the only big thing that happened here. We find that this alien race was leeching its powers from a source that you don’t want to anger: The Celestials! It’s always interesting when they show up and very rare to see them take action against anyone that isn’t a cosmic threat.
Will Death’s Head be in the next issue? According to solicits, and in the words of Death’s Head: Buy this comic… And stay healthy, yes? -Skott Jimenez
JIRNI #1 (Aspen)
I’ll admit, I’ve had the urge of late to try a lot of new things. Seeing some titles from Aspen, which I rarely see at my LCS, I tried something new. Now, the $1.00 price tag was nice, but after trying one of the previous titles from Aspen I liked what I saw. So I gave this series a chance and I enjoyed it. I can honestly say that, of what I picked up last week, this was the most fun book I read. Written by J.T. Krul (whom I knew from runs on Green Arrow for DC) I was skeptical as I was not a huge fan of when the new GA series launched but this was a great fantasy-style story. The art by Paolo Pantalena was fantastic and although many complain that seeing women who are exceptionally proportioned up top is not correct, this is a fantasy story and these are elves and the like. It suited the story. But not only is it full of fantasy like that, but it has its hands into things like Aladdin with a feeling of genies (Djinn) and the mysticism there. It’s a nice mix! I think I’m gonna pick up the next few of this one – although it was a fun read, if it’s going to be an ongoing monthly it may be one that I get in trade. I have not yet decided. But I do recommend this for a fun read. -Kelly Cassidy
MARS ATTACKS #9 (IDW)
Man, those pesky Martians have been beating down the humans for a long time now but this issue gives the human race a glimmer of hope as a boy, his dog, and a mysterious man wage a war against them in a bid to save the scientist who created a weapon that the Martians fear more than anything the humans have come up with. The only thing is why would young Tommy Bailey be so trusting of Avery after being betrayed be another adult so recently. But, the kid is smart, he adapts and probably took a full measure of the man before going with him. And it seems like the right decision as they figure out their target and begin their mission of freeing the scientist and bringing an end to this Martian invasion. Their choice of weapon is almost perfect: a giant Martian robot that just rips through Martian soldiers in a very nasty way.
I have a strong feeling this series is ending with the next issue because there are no solicits for a Mars Attacks #11 or any issue beyond that. It’s kind of sad because the series is a lot of fun, though a more vicious streak by the Martians would have been nice, and a more global look at their attack would have given more impact, but my hope is we will have more Mars Attacks from IDW in the future. I know there is a Mars Attacks The Classics one-shot coming up but, please, IDW, give us more Mars Attacks! -Skott Jimenez
STAR WARS: DARTH VADER AND THE NINTH ASSASSIN #1 (Dark Horse)
I started picking up the Dark Horse Star Wars series because of the new series by Brian Wood, and I was exceptionally impressed. I then picked up Star Wars Legacy, and was again very impressed. So what am I to do when I see another series – this time a mini – on the shelf? I give it a shot. This story takes place after Episode 3, where Vader is still on the rise with power. Seeing him in these early days but still being intimidating is quite nice – he’s cocky, he’s arrogant, and he still acts like Annakin wherein he KNOWS everything… but he does not yet have the intimidation down. He’s more the bully gaining power here – and the intent here is for Vader to be brought down. And this is where one man is trying to find the right person to bring Vader down once and for all in an act of revenge. Tim Siedell, Stephen Thompson and Mark Irwin script, pencil and ink (respectively) a story that has passion, a strong story, and manages to make you feel somewhat sorry for Vader. If I didn’t know what was to come of Vader, I would feel for him – and it’s hard to feel bad for a Sith lord, but this story manages to do it! I’m curious to find the previous collections of Vader stories that take place between Episode 3 and 4, because if they are anything like this one is starting out to be it’s gonna be amazing! -Kelly Cassidy
SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN #8 (Marvel NOW!)
This is where things get interesting. While trying to stop Cardiac, who he believes to be a criminal, Spider-Man stumbles upon the truth of what Cardiac does and also learns the impact his actions have on people as he comes face-to-face with a little girl who is dying because of his actions during Ends Of The Earth. In a move that is still uncharacteristic, Otto uses the device he needs for himself to cure the little girl. But this is secondary. The main reason he wants his machine back is because after the Avengers…’convinced’ him to take some tests to make sure he’s who he claims to be (and by ‘convince’ I mean they ended up having to knock him out and by ‘make sure he’s who he claims to be’ I mean they wanted to know if he was a Skrull or not). Otto noticed something strange in the brain scans, something the Avengers who were present couldn’t see and it may have something to do with why he’s been acting strange and hearing a voice in his head.
He finally learns that Peter Parker still exists, somehow, in his head. He knows what the problem is and has decided to do something about it.
I was also glad to see Carlie Cooper who is putting the pieces together herself and calls on someone to help, someone who isn’t happy with her. This wraps up another great issue in the long run of Dan Slott Spider-Man stories. Next issue is supposed to be a shocker, I can’t wait! -Skott Jimenez
TRANSFORMERS: REGENERATION ONE #90 (IDW)
This one came out a week or two ago but I still loved it. Especially considering my recent purchase of a Generation One Optimus Prime figure, missing only his gun.
This issue concludes Scorponok’s scheme to remake the entire Transformers race in his image as he’s attacked on all sides by forces led by Grimlock who’s desperate to redeem himself as well as attacked by people he thought were turned to his side. In the end, Scorp is defeated but the cost may be very high as the Dinobot leader seemingly sacrifices himself to destroy the Decepticon. But can Grimlock truly be dead?
We also find that Hot Rod is learning more and more about the history of Cybertron and it’s inhabitants. What impact will this have in the future? I’m not sure yet but it’s most likely going to be big.
Finally.. on Earth, Galvatron is making his move and Starscream plots as he always does with Shockwave as a very possible ally. But with the arrival of Prime on the scene how are these things going to play out? All these different threads work together very well. It seems like there is a lot going on but it’s done so well that one storyline doesn’t trip over any of the others. Plus, this series is good, old-school Transformers fun and how could any fan not love that? -Skott Jimenez
THE WALKING DEAD #109 (Image)
This issue takes a break from the coming war between Negan and, well, everyone. We focus on Maggie and how she deals with the loss of Glenn. She’s making a new home for Sophia and herself at The Hilltop, she’s continuing to try to maintain something of a normal for her adopted daughter. Part of adjusting is to have something that for Glenn that has all but forgotten in this time: a grave. She visits it often as she mourns the loss of her husband.
It’s the arrival of Jesus that slams us, and Maggie, back into the very real situation of the upcoming hostilities as he begins to form a coalition of soldiers who will take a stand against Negan but soon learns that even people he thought of as trusted friends may not be and that will make this situation even worse if Negan learns there are those rallying against him.
One this that happened here that was a long time coming is Rick finally letting Carl step up and officially fill the role that he’s unofficially had for a while now. Carl is no longer a boy, he’s a battle-worn young man who has proven himself time and again. I’d also like to say it’s nice to see him without that bandage on his face, the longer hair covering his wound is nice touch as is the loss of the police hat. He’s no longer standing in the shadow of Rick, he’s standing beside him in the light now. Of course…. I hope this doesn’t mean Kirkman is planning to kill off Rick. This was a nice slow-down issue, a calm before the storm issue. -Skott Jimenez