This week’s Bullet Reviews cover Avengers #12, Dark Shadows: Year One #2, Green Team: Teen Trillionaires #1, Journey Into Mystery #652, Wolverine and the X-Men #30, and X-Men #1.
Check them out if you’re having a small week and need something to fill the void of no comics!
AVENGERS #12 (Marvel NOW!)
Jonathan Hickman has been building up a world-destroying epic in both the pages of this title as well as New Avengers, all of which is supposedly building up to Infinity. This issue seems to be some relaxation time for part of the Avengers team as they monitor and train a group of, shall we say, unique children in the Savage Land. Hyperion has taken rather a special liking to them and we see a few other Avengers take a different approach to nurturing these young children who seem to grow – as individuals but also somewhat as a species – in a relatively short period. Thor has them take on various quests to learn competition and teamwork; Hawkeye and Spider-Woman are supposed to be teaching them accountability but instead spend the time working on their tan; and Spider-Man shows here that this is most definitely not Peter Parker, who would never deign to call children like this brats. One would think that the quick growth of the species would endure some curiosity in Otto, but that was not the case. We also see Iron Man… kind of. This is one of the first acknowledgements of Tony being out in space and powering up a local suit of armor and operating it remotely. Now, even with Stark Tech, I don’t see him being able to do that over such a long distance so hopefully Tony is only out in space to help launch the Guardians own book and will return to Earth after Infinity. The book did not need him and with multiple writers – Hickman, Brian Bendis, Kieron Gillen – each giving their take on the character something is bound to be contradictory. I am happy that at least his no longer being on Earth is acknowledged, even if it’s done in such a way that his inclusion to assist in this issue was not necessary. What this issue had that really intrigued me was its last page, which contained another purple-hued character whom I cannot recall seeing in the pages of the Marvel U in some time. Maybe this is something that ties into “Hunger” with the purple reference? Yes, with a species growing at an alarming rate, is it any surprise that we see the return of the High Evolutionary? Mr Hickman, you surprised me by throwing the New Universe into these pages and now with the Evolutionary. Looking back, I could see the hints you tossed in. A writer who can put those little hints in so you can see them after the fact… You have impressed me the last few issues without doubt. Thank you. -Kelly Cassidy
DARK SHADOWS: YEAR ONE #2 (Dynamite)
After finally watching the Tim Burton movie called Dark Shadows I have to say these books from Dynamite are even better. All I’ll say is that movie was horrid on every level. The ONLY thing they got right was names of characters. It was garbage.
This book, and the main Dark Shadows series, are the exact opposite of that movie. While the main series continues the events of the TV series, Year One goes back to the beginning and fully fleshes out the origins of Barnabas Collins and this issue shows the biggest event in the life of Barnabas: we see exactly how Angelique turns him into a vampire! It was a very pivotal moment in his life and one that impacted everyone in the Collins family. The creative team of Marc Andreyko and Guiu Vilanova are doing a great job not only in telling this story but in giving it a tone and look that goes with the main book perfectly. Their handling of Barnabas, in attitude and look, is spot on and,, as I said, allows this series to fit perfectly. I imagine that once this story is done one would be able to read this then watch the entire Dark Shadows TV series followed by the ongoing comic book series by Dynamite. It’s absolutely perfect.
So, if you’ve made the mistake of watching that Tim Burton trash the you should be checking these books out. It’s the best way to get that nasty taste out of your mouths. -Skott Jimenez
GREEN TEAM: TEEN TRILLIONAIRES #1 (DC)
OK, so the concept sounded absolutely ridiculous. Even with that, I had to give it a shot as I have all DC books that have been part of the New 52. I can honestly say that I was immensely surprised by this title. It isn’t your typical teen heroes book. No, instead it’s as the name implies – a group of teens who have lots of money who are trying to… well, do what they want. There is a prince trying to define his own place; a starlet who is looking for some additional opportunity; a texas oil dude who’s always looking out for more; and then the main guy, named Commodore (and nicknamed 64) who has the major bank roll and is looking for new opportunities to help him succeed. He’s the type of guy who has enough money to take a major risk and if he loses on it… so be it. But he doesn’t seem to be that worried as he also has an ulterior motive in mind… He wants to be a super hero and this activity is giving him the means to find the best way to do that. The book is written by the team of Art Baltazar and Franco, both of whom are new to me. The story introduced the characters in such a way that it did not seem forced and progressed the story forward, which was nice. We were not expected to know anything about the characters or what was going on, and the basic introduction worked well and led up to the cliffhanger that will help define the villains in the next issue. The art is by Ig Guara and J.P. Mayer on pencils and inks respectively. The art is quite reminiscent of the old Young Justice artwork from Todd Nuack, who is one of my favorite artists so this was a welcome sight. The villains were… strange-looking, but maybe the reasons behind it will be covered in a future issue. Regardless, this is a book I think I am going to continue for this first arc to see how it goes but if it maintains this status quo I may add it to my pull list. -Kelly Cassidy
JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY #652 (Marvel NOW!)
Alright, I’ve been singing the praises of this series for years now and we all know that when a highly entertaining book gets an all new creative team and lead character it tends to suffer. This book is that rare example of it not getting worse but it’s actually getting better if you can believe that! I’ve been praising this series even more since Kathryn Immonen and Valerio Schiti and if you need an example of why this is probably the only book Marvel does that feels like Marvel COMICS and not Marvel Entertainment. This is the issue that people curious about this series need to look at. It’s the perfect example of what makes this book so darn entertaining. The writing, the art, the colors… everything is just plain fun. Yeah, that’s something you don’t hear much when people talk about a Marvel Comic: Fun. From the beginning of the story with Sif taking care of some business for Gaea who falls victim to an unknown ailment to Sif and Gaea ending up in space courtesy of Tony Stark (who is in outer space himself) and the re-appearance of one of my all time favorite characters, Beta Ray Bill, this issue has everything you need to show you why this is one of the few books coming from Marvel that is a Marvel COMIC and not a Marvel Movie Pitch. Great writing, great art, a surprisingly capable main character… this book has everything you need for an enjoyable comic book. Yeah, I know I’m repeating myself a little bit but I’m trying to get the point across about this title!
Probably the best sequence in this issue is the conversation between Sif and Jane Foster. It’s a golden moment to be sure and one that was so funny that I had to share it with my girlfriend. This moment alone is worth buying this book! -Skott Jimenez
WOLVERINE AND THE X-MEN #30 (Marvel NOW!)
I said something similar with the Age of Ultron crossover issue, but this is really the issue this title has needed for a while. And by a while I mean since it first launched. We’ve had a lot of setup leading up to this point but finally I think Jason Aaron has delivered on where he wanted to get the team to go. We had an arc that was building up and creating the new Hellfire Club made up of a bunch of spoiled rich kids, and now we finally begin the story that brings the X-Men face to face with this new club in the prologue of “The Hellfire Saga”. A lot of things happen here… Beast is finally searching for help for Broo, the young Brood that was injured and seems to be reverting to form for his species (why he didn’t ask his brainy cohorts in the New Avengers is beyond me but anyway…). There is the discovery that someone in the school is a traitor and, with several students leaving the Jean Grey Academy to join the Hellfire Club, it’s not hard to reason why. It ultimately ends with another student leaving to join the Hellfire Club, one whom we knew would eventually do something of the sort: Quentin Quire. We get some insight into why Idie left the school. We discover the traitor. Basically, this is an issue which ties up a number of open and loosed story points from the first 2+ years of the series and now appears to be promising to get good. I held out hope on this book because it was an X-book, and it looks like my long-term hopefulness seems to have paid off… at least for this issue. The artwork, though, was kind of a mess with a number of artists contributing. Where we finally get a solid story, we have artwork that looks a little too cartoony – especially with Logan being all upset that his students are leaving and he’s shoving his claws into people. Just doesn’t seem to fly with the story, I’m sorry to say. Hopefully we have a consistent artist on the Hellfire Saga arc, as I think it needs that consistency. Maybe it’s Aaron trying to find an artist that works with him and this story ongoing; I’m hoping so. But don’t sacrifice what looks to be the first amazing arc of the story to find that out – you’ve had 30 issues already to do just that. -Kelly Cassidy
X-MEN #1 (Marvel NOW!)
People have been talking about an all-female team of heroes for a while now. Marvel launched their first team made up of all super woman, the Fearless Defenders, a few months ago. To say I was not thrilled at first is an understatement, but as time went on it slowly lost its appeal. This book, though, was made up of characters who are neither new nor underused by any means, but are now brought to the forefront together whereas they never have before. Writer Brian Wood (Image’s Mara, Dark Horse’s Star Wars, and Marvel’s Ultimate X-Men) have brought together the leading X-women in a story that brings Jubilee back into the fold. I know there was some arc where she became a vampire, but I missed that. But it was great to see her in her old X-Men togs – the shades, the yellow jacket… This is the Jubilee I remember. Not only that, but to see that Kitty Pryde is pulling a Wolverine and showing up in every X-book out there – this one, Wolverine and the X-Men, All-New X-Men, and perhaps even a guest appearance in Uncanny… But that’s because she, for a while, became very underutilized and I think now is getting her place back into the Marvel pantheon. Rachel is great to see here, too, along with Storm and Psylocke (as that duo does double duty in Uncanny X-Force as well). It looks like Jubes needs help and so returns to the school with a baby in tow… a baby that seems to have someone after her and who is chasing down Jubilee. But maybe the little one isn’t all that she seems… Although it was a good first issue and leaves me wanting more, I have mixed feelings on it. First, I want it to succeed as we haven’t seen an X-configuration like this… well, ever. But I have not been impressed with what’s gone on in Ultimate X-Men which Wood is also writing, so I’m simply hoping that’s a byproduct of how unthrilled I am with the Ultimate universe in general (Spider-Man there being the exception). Oliver Coipel does a great job on the art here, though, so that balances out my uncertainty, at least for a little bit. I hope that Wood can capture the feeling and the camaraderie of this group sooner rather than later. Kitty and Rachel were very close in the pages of Excalibur, and Storm, Betsy and Rogue were all senior members of the X-team with Jubilee first started tagging along… I’m hopeful that this book has the energy that has been lacking from its Ultimate counterpart from the same writer. I have high expectations, as do many others. Wood has not let me down with Star Wars and I am liking Mara, so I’m hoping it’s just that one book being the exception to the rule. For X-fans, though, pick this up. Give the first few issues a try as I am. My gut tells me we will be pleasantly surprised. -Kelly Cassidy