It’s Tuesday and that means Bullet Reviews! This week we look at Age Of Ultron #9, The Colonized #3, Dark Shadows #17, Fairest #16, Godzilla #12, and Winter Soldier #19:
AGE OF ULTRON #9 (Marvel NOW!)
We’re heading into the final issue of this event and, although I had high hopes for it, at times it just didn’t seem to do a lot for me. It set the stage for what’s to come in the Marvel U, it sounds like, but with the hype from Free Comic Book Day a few years back I was expecting more. Now, that said, this issue did deliver a few things to truly set the stage. First, some comments from the other-current-time Tony Stark: “Time is an organism… It lives, and breathes and every time you travel through it, you rip it… We’re not alone in the universe.” Now, if this didn’t allude to something going on soon (maybe the incursions in the pages of The Avengers or the upcoming Infinity series, or maybe Hunger?) then nothing did. And maybe this was what we were waiting for within the arc – confirmation that there is a conclusion coming. We also have the confrontation that the cover alludes to – Logan vs. Logan. And we get the Logan who lived through AoU and the parallel future decide that the younger Logan – who confronted Pym but didn’t do the deed – should survive. Young Logan pops his claws and (off panel) takes down his future self. But, with the way Logan heals, can we expect to see 2 Logans in the future? Can he truly kill himself once and for all? And by leaving Pym alive with the idea to build an ultimate failsafe into Ultron, is the future saved? The final issue coming soon will answer all of those questions. For an event whose associated issues (such as those in Avengers Assemble) were better than the main story, at least we are going to see some sort of conclusion. Bendis has a knack for keeping so many plotlines open, but since he has shifted to the X-universe for the most part now, it’s nice to get an encapsulated story. The art by both Carlos Pacheco and Brandon Peterson works well, too, with Pacheco taking on the past scenes and Peterson dealing with the alternate present. If you haven’t read any of the issues leading up to this one, don’t jump on now. Wait for the trade. But as a reader of the series, I feel confident in saying this was one of the better issues, mostly due to the Logan confrontation, and a potential ripple in the character of Pym in addressing a flaw of the Ultron robot. -Kelly Cassidy
THE COLONIZED #3 (IDW)
Aliens, zombies, and separatist militiamen. You put these three groups together and what could possibly go wrong? Well, if Chris Ryall is writing it there is plenty that can go wrong! In this penultimate issue we have the guy who runs the town working with the aliens and gathering a whole lot of guns and ammunition from the grave of his recently deceased father. The father’s body was found by the ATF agent under the house. You also have one of the more radical members of this community in the possession of some nasty explosives and when he loads them on a soon-to-be runaway train aimed at a house full of innocent living people, including children, you can expect the final issue of this miniseries to be rather interesting!
All in all I’d have to say this story has been very entertaining from beginning to end but I’m doubtful this can be made into an ongoing franchise like Ryall’s Zombies Vs. Robots series. But regardless, this is one of those books that is being done for no other reason than to entertain the reader, which is succeeds in doing perfectly! If you haven’t been getting these books then I would highly recommend the trade when it comes out. -Skott Jimenez
DARK SHADOWS #17 (Dynamite Entertainment)
I’m on record saying how much I’m enjoying this series but with each new issue I am surprised as to how good it is, it really seems like this series gets better and better with each new issue! We’re still in the middle of the battle with Barnabas trying to defeat a demon that has taken control over his body and is preparing to lay waste to everything he knows and loves. The situation is so desperate that Barnabas has turned to his nemesis Nicholas Blair, who at one time was in love with and working for Angelique, for help. With Blair being an accomplished Warlock they seem to have a plan that will save Carolyn and Roger from their possession as well as help Barnabas defeat the demon and regain his body… But can Blair be trusted once everything is said and done? Can he actually be working for the side of good? I guess we’ll have to wait.
Aside from some great writing that does the legacy of Dark Shadows massive good there is some more great art here by Nacho Tenorio. He’s great for this book, I really hope he’s going to stick around. He captures the tone of Mike Raicht’s script perfectly and it makes me want to get the Dark Shadows complete series collection so I can enjoy these characters even more! This book also completely washed the nasty aftertaste of the Tim Burton abomination away. As long as this series is around then Dark Shadows is in very capable hands. -Skott Jimenez
FAIREST #16 (Vertigo)
The Return Of The Maharaja continues as a certain Prince continues to try to work his charm on Nalayani and also seems to be equally infatuated with the idea of having yet another battle to fight, and I’m sure the idea of having a whole village of people praising him for his heroic deeds has a tiny bit to do with it. But the mystery for me is the dhole, these canines that have been attacking her village but they don’t seem to be attacking at random they seem to have someone controlling them. This only adds to the mystery and intrigue.
This issue also has some great art on it. Stephen Sadowski is going to always be welcome to this series, his facial expressions are top-notch. But not only do we have great pencils but we have some great inkers: Phil Jimenez (no relation) and Dan Green. All together they give us some great visuals, a hallmark of the Fables line of books.
Overall this story is off to a great start and writer Sean E. Williams is going a great job making his mark on the Fables Universe. He will most certainly be welcome back anytime! -Skott Jimenez
GODZILLA #12 (IDW)
This series, or I guess this chapter in IDW’s run with the King Of The Monsters, has been more fun than your can shake a destroyed city at! As we near the end of this arc with this creative team we have nothing less than an all out battle between Godzilla, the Monsters, and Boxer and co. and the evil Space Monsters and I have to say Duane Swierczynski has been able to pace these fights in a way that makes it feel more like a movie than a comic book. I believe the next issue is not only the final issue of this run but also his final issue as writer, I’ll be sad to see him go. He’s been able to balance the monster fighting and the human aspect of these stories perfectly. But his writing alone didn’t make this a great comic without some fantastic art. Simon Gane has been doing a fantastic job of making not only Godzilla but all the monsters, both classic and contemporary, look larger than live and twice as awesome!
This issue has Godzilla fighting for his life against an old foe, Space Godzilla, and a more recent menace: Monster X who has the ability to transform into the even more deadly Monster X II! As I’ve been saying with every issue of this run: This is the series Godzilla fans have been waiting for and IDW’s series of Godzilla books is the best way to keep fans happy until next year’s Godzilla reboot movie (though a reboot is pretty stupid considering the King Of The Monsters has a great origin that doesn’t need to be changed). G-Fans: Check this book out! -Skott Jimenez
WINTER SOLDIER #19 (Marvel)
Almost 2 years ago, Bucky Barnes was “killed off” again. This time, though, it was all an intentional ruse so he could go undercover. His reviver (if you will), Ed Brubaker, brought the Winter Soldier to more spy and espionage related heights, and it was a pleasure to read. I was worried when Brubaker left the book, but Jason Latour proved to be the perfect successor to Brubaker. Maybe I am one of the few who thought that, as this is the last issue of Winter Soldier. Whereas many Marvel books focus on battles and the fights with other superhumans (hero or villain), this is one series that had its own share of villains but also looked back at the history of the character in more detail. Many Marvel books look forward – this one used the past to propel its hero forward. And it did it with some super powers but a lot of intriguing storylines and characters instead. This is what I would expect from a SHIELD series today and what Secret Avengers promises to be – espionage, spying, but in a superpowered world. This issue, as Bucky passed through several iterations of time, had different art styles that were unique to the time. Nick Klein did a great job, including a recreation of that fateful scene when Bucky originally “died” on that plane with Steve Rogers many years ago. It was very Kirby-esque and the coloring of the scene added to it, using the same color palette and styling of the era when it was originally published. Of concern, though, is that Bucky now appears to have the ability to visit other time periods himself, visiting his former love the Black Widow, who no longer seems to remember their relationship together (a byproduct of Brubaker’s last story). The public at large will get to know Bucky in the next Captain America movie which focuses on the emergence of the Winter Solider, and I for one am looking forward to it. When characters return from the dead in the comics, it’s usually done in a cheesy way, but the return of Bucky worked with the mythos of Captain America and using the same criteria, but with a twist. And that’s what made this character one of the most interesting in the Marvel Universe for many years now. And I’m sad to see him go and not know where he will turn up next. -Kelly Cassidy