Bullet Reviews are a way to give you, our loyal readers, a chance to fill in those small weeks that hit all of us from time to time. Sadly, sometimes it even hit Bullet Reviews but fear not! Though there aren’t many this week we have many fine full reviews available on the site and some are conveniently linked to after we talk about Avengers Assemble #15AU, Dark Shadows #16 and The Walking Dead #110:
AVENGERS ASSEMBLE #15AU (Marvel NOW!)
This was the only tie-in to Age of Ultron this week and it was a little different than I expected. The last AoU tie-in for Avengers Assemble focused on the Black Widow; this issue focuses on several other members of the Avengers: Captain Marvel, Captain Britain, Excalibur, and the Black Knight (Dane Whitman). The entire issue takes place in London, which makes sense given the background of 3 of the 4 characters. (Even though Dane isn’t British, the heritage of where he obtained his abilities is.) Why Captain Marvel is in the UK is also explained; she was an Air Force pilot and was on vacation visiting the RAF museum. Captain Britain was an Avenger during the previous run of Secret Avengers, and Dane has been a long-time member of the team (and was one of my favorite characters on the team from back in the day). I had never heard of this Excalibur character before (at least not to my recollection so, if I have, she did not make that huge of an impression) but she seems somewhat interesting here. What I really enjoyed was what I think is a new character, Computer Graham. He’s a dude who used to write some amazing computer games in the past (think classic Nintendo style – they show some 8-bit scenes in the book) but he has the ability to actually enter a technology and interact with it on its level. So why does this pose a threat to Ultron? Well, in the opening scenes, we see the original Ultron design telling him to “Submit or Perish” and, being the Brit that he is, Computer Graham asks them why they don’t simply say “Exterminate”. So… they do. And now they sound like Daleks from Doctor Who. I loved the last Avengers Assemble AoU tie-in, and found this one good but not as engaging. There was definitely a little more humor here which I enjoyed, but the main concern I have is that the recent issue of Age of Ultron retconned the timeline and this goes back to just as Ultron was invading. I would have LOVED to have seen an Avengers Assemble tie-in that took place in that alternate timeline (like Marvel did a long time back with the original Age of Apocalypse miniseries) and establish the stories of some of those retconned characters. But this was still a good read – not the best of the bunch so far, but still good. – Kelly Cassidy
DARK SHADOWS #16 (Dynamite)
So we know 1984 doesn’t end up being a very happy year for the Collins Family, and for Collinsport in general. But now that Barnabas knows what happens he has to fight to prevent a demon in his body from killing everyone he knows. But the plan hinges on getting someone with a long history of hating Barnabas to help… which is what the future version of this character said would need to happen.
This story does run the risk of tripping over itself but so far it’s been nothing but entertaining. With the known future of Collinsport at risk we, the reader, know who needs to be dealt with and how but with the characters in the story not knowing it makes things very exciting! The big thing here is Barnabas is actually playing the hero. For all the years he hated being a vampire and worked to cure himself of his curse but it might be the strength and power his curse gives him that may help him survive the coming storm.
Dynamite has really hit a stride in this series. The serialized monthly comic book format fits the scope and tone of the story perfectly. I couldn’t be happier with this series. From the writing to the art, it’s respecting the legacy of Dark Shadows in every possible way. -Skott Jimenez
THE WALKING DEAD #110 (Image/Skybound)
This is another of those wonderfully stressful ‘calm before the storm’ issues. Nothing of any real note takes place but Robert Kirkman is clearly putting all his characters in the places they need to be for the upcoming war. While nothing ‘exciting’ takes place there are some very fine character moments in this issue. You have to appreciate Carl’s first impression of Ezekiel and his pet. It’s one of the few moments we’ve seen actually have a child moment. There is also the conversation between Ezekiel and Michonne where we finally learn a little more about the man, giving me, at least, a little more trust in the man. What was probably the golden moment of this issue is towards the end of their conversation Michonne smiles. Yes, she smile! Something we’ve rarely, if ever, seen and I have to say I actually like it. A smile looks really good on her!
So, once again, our cast is on the road to another war. But with what we’ve seen from Negan kind of puts everyone at risk. The man is a monster in nearly every sense of the word but what makes him even more dangerous is the fact that he actually doesn’t see the evil that he does as actually being evil. At least The Governor, on some level, realized this. Who is worse? I guess in coming issues we will see. -Skott Jimenez
Alright, now that we have those taken care of what about some of these other books reviewed by some of our fine contributors: