All-New Bullet Reviews #142!
This week: All-New Invaders #1, All-New X-Factor #2 (twice), Avengers #25, Avengers World #2, Harley Quinn #2, Painkiller Jane: The Price Of Freedom #3, Superior Spider-Man Team-Up #9, and X-Files Conspiracy: Ghostbusters. Watch for the occasional spoiler.
(Click on the covers to see them)
ALL-NEW INVADERS #1 (All-New Marvel NOW!)
A lesson to Marvel: When you want to do a number 1 issue it makes more sense, and holds more impact, when you give us a first issue that isn’t just a relaunched series that was perfectly fine to begin with. It also helps if the characters and concept are interesting. All-New Invaders #1 succeeds in the first part but the second part is where it falls apart. It’s most likely just me but these characters working together are not enough to keep my interest beyond this issue. Something to do with a weapon called God’s Whisper and the Kree wanting it. I’m sure this book will be exciting and interesting for a lot of people but for me, I’ve pretty much already forgotten most of this issue and I read it within the last few days.
It’s beginning to look at if All-New Marvel NOW! is going to be as disappointing as the regular Marvel NOW! stuff was for me. Also, I’m already sick of the tag ‘All-New’. -Skott Jimenez
ALL-NEW X-FACTOR #2 (All-New Marvel NOW!)
The first corporate sponsored team (not really), welcome to X-Factor! Thank god they kept Peter David on this title as he has been fantastic. I love that Gambit is back to being in a team title, where he fits best in my opinion, but I am not quite sure X-Factor is the right place. It would appear all the work that has been done in the last 8 years is slowly being depleted to make Quicksilver back to being a genuine normal good guy. I hate that. This is Quicksilver we are talking about. The dude is NOT okay. Polaris is emotionally unstable regardless of being sober, and Gambit is a lying thief. Take those things and make a very friction based team ala Uncanny Avengers. Quicksilver is the son of Magneto, he is twisted and devious and sometimes downright evil. He has a severe daddy complex, and I don’t want to see that go away! Yes he was an Avenger, but so was Scarlet Witch! They came from being evil, they were “reformed” but even during “Avengers: Disassembled” and “House of M” we saw the true character depth of Pietro and Wanda. David even went so far as to call Quicksilver evil in the last issue. Polaris of all people called him that (and rightfully so). If this series is gonna last I am gonna need a little bit more from David, and stick to his roots, X-Factor was the best X title for a long time thanks to him, now is his time to reclaim that title, but this issue was definitely not what we have come to expect and respect out of Peter David. The artwork isn’t awful but it doesn’t jump off the page either. But that is just what I have come to expect from Marvel these days…sad times indeed. -Nick Furious
ALL-NEW X-FACTOR #2 (All-New Marvel NOW!)
One of the things Marvel has been doing best this year is spreading the A.I.M. organization around various books. If that’s really who’s in charge of this mutant experimentation facility X-Factor is attacking, Serval Industries looks all the better for sending them there. You have to love to hate this cocky scientist, who isn’t scared about being attacked, but excited that possible new test subjects are walking right into his lab. The facility’s defenses do all right against the team at first, until Polaris just starts tearing things down in frustration. Gambit and Quicksilver escape their death traps in time to fight the scientist, who’s tested his own work on himself and become a giant glowing monster, who brags about being “better at being a mutant than them” basically. As they defeat the thing Gambit quotes Star Wars (think specifically about things Luke might have done in a T-16 back home) and with Disney’s acquisition, um, get used to that. So Fatale, Abyss, and Reaper are saved, but not entirely grateful, because of their unpleasant history with quicksilver. They still blame him for his role in “M-Day,” and for giving them back screwed up versions of their powers that left them forced to live in lousy pocket dimension to survive. I find it kind of interesting that even though this is “all new” X-Factor, this issue and even in some ways the last, relied heavily on tying up old threads of the last volume. They’ve dealt with danger room exercises more difficult than this, but there’s a charm to the simplicity of this issue too. Everyone gets to use their powers in very clearly depicted ways, and even though I give this title some crap for seeming more familiar than truly all new, everything is being mixed around in a way that makes it feel fresh and exciting. -Scorpio Moon
AVENGERS #25 (All-New Marvel NOW!)
First the original X-Men, now the original Avengers? Ah but things aren’t quite what they seem. After Director Hill found Hank Pym dead she contacted the Avengers SHIELD liaisons – Bruce Banner and Steve Rogers, to discuss where they go from here. Of course there was much more to the issue than that, but that is all you really need to hear to know that this next story arc for Avengers is going back to the basics. Avengers taking on cases/bad guys in character trial. It would appear Hickman is taking his route in New Avengers to bridge Avengers back to before Brian Michael Bendis changed the format to be something “different”. Different isn’t always a bad thing, but in the case of Avengers and New Avengers, it most certainly was. The artwork from Larroca was awesome, I especially liked his depiction of the original Avengers, very delicate and found even the smallest depictions when it came to Wasp old uniform. The best part about this story is that it takes inspiration from a DC story (that translated very well to television on the series Justice League titled ‘Justice Lords’) ‘Destiny’s Hand’, one of my all time favorite JLA stories ever. I dunno if Marvel saw massive potential with bringing back the original X-Men or if Hickman has plans other than literally bringing back the original Avengers, but I see something really awesome coming out of this. Taking a route like this screams “big event worthy,” but I am glad it is just small story arc in the Avengers instead. This is the kind of thing I have come to expect from Avengers, always a damn good time. -Nick Furious
AVENGERS WORLD #2 (All-New Marvel NOW!)
I will be the first person to admit this newly formed Avengers team just doesn’t grab me like past Avengers teams have. Cannonball and Sunspot are pretty much wasted as far as good fleshed out characters and they belong in an X-Force or X-Men book. With that said, this issue proved to me that Smasher is definitely worthy of being an Avenger. Her backstory is so intriguing to me, I would probably buy a solo title for Smasher alone. Everyone knows every X and Avenger title compromises a good 20 percent of all Marvel titles, but this one (this issue, the first one was very disappointing) was really well done. This title is essentially Secret Avengers + Avengers mixed into one. The first issue wasn’t just disappointing, it was a huge waste of my time. I expected better out of Hickman and Spencer especially because I hold both of them in very high regards, but Avengers World #2 redeemed the series, and it might even make it on to the pull list if this kind of storytelling keeps up. I want to like the newly added Avengers, I want to like Scott Summer’s X-Men team, I want to like the Young Avengers, and so on, but there is only so much cake to go around! It looks like next issue will be Shang-centric so here is to hoping the artwork (especially the SHIELD scenes) and story continue to be as explosive as this time around. Don’t let me down Marvel! -Nick Furious
HARLEY QUINN #2 (DC)
Alright, so I picked up the Zero and first issue because my LCS wanted me to review it for their Facebook page and I was fine with that, I mean, I don’t read New 52 stuff (I’m not really a fan of DC in general) but I figured it would be a one time only thing. Then I saw the cover for this issue. Stupid great looking cover.
Now, it’s an obvious and accepted premise that DC is trying to fashion Harley to be kind of their version of Deadpool and while that might seem like a cheap way to use a character the comparison only applies on a very basic level. Harley is very much her own character, though she does hear a voice and on one occasion seems to understand that she exists in a comic book, but there are more than enough things that separate them. For example, Harley owns her own building and is essentially a landlord now. She is trying to juggle that with making legit money. Problem is there is someone out there who doesn’t want her to succeed. They have put a bounty on our gal’s head and it’s beginning to annoy her having to kill bounty hunters all the time. While it’s a fairly light premise and there doesn’t seem to be much to give the series mileage, Harley has been surprisingly versatile (that has nothing to do with her ‘friendship with Poison Ivy, by the way) so I may end up actually reading a DC series for the first time in almost a decade. Also, the stuffed beaver she talks to was the source of some very interesting jokes in this book. -Skott Jimenez
PAINKILLER JANE: THE PRICE OF FREEDOM #3 (ICON/Marvel)
I have always liked Jimmy Palmiotti and Painkiller Jane is one of his best characters ever. This series recently launched from ICON, the Marvel Comics division for creator owned comics and it has been an amazing story so far. Jane Vasko, to give you the quick and dirty on her, was a cop working for the NYPD. Trying to infiltrate the mob, she gets blown up and shot full of a mysterious mix of drugs that giver her amazing regenerative powers. Basically, she gets shot and beat up a lot, but the other guy (or girl) always comes out the worse for wear. In this current series, The Price of Freedom, Jane is asked by her friend, a detective on the force, to meet a princess from Saudi Arabia and ensure her safety. Not as easy as it sounds. In this third issue, Jane takes on the muscle, a huge guy who has kidnapped the princess and is holding her for ransom. The truth of the matter is that someone wants her dead and they don’t really care who does it. The introduction of Churchill, the bounty hunter/security person, working for Mr. Poonwalla, the princess’ father, is a shady kind of guy. By the end of the book, as the princess and her bodyguard/boyfriend are running away, Churchill may be the bad guy as he accepts an offer from Poonwalla’s younger son to do something for $2 million. What could it be? Probably kill the princess, since he doesn’t look a thing like Mario. The pacing is good, the fights are awesome, and I love Amanda Conner’s covers. This is a great read. -Aaron Clutter
SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN TEAM-UP #9 (Marvel)
Pretty much all you need to know here is that Superior Spider-Man, The Punisher and Daredevil are in the same book at the same time. But if you want to know more here you go: The Punisher had one of his warehouses raided, and knows of Spider-Man’s recent raids on the city’s villains’ weapon stores. Spider-Man eventually agrees to take them to Spider-Island to show them he doesn’t have Punisher’s weapons but that is when things go south in a major way and Spider-Island becomes an early theater of battle for the “Goblin War,” which Spider-Island itself may not survive. Our heroes may not fair that well either.
Entertaining, very humorous, action-packed, and a shocker of an ending makes this one of the best issues of this series. I’d have to say Otto’s interaction with Daredevil and The Punisher was a lot more entertaining than Peter’s recent stuff. I’ll still be sad to see Otto go but I have to wonder what will happen with this series once the always Amazing Spider-Man returns.
Until then I have to say I highly recommend this specific issue. It exceeded my expectations. -Skott Jimenez
X-FILES CONSPIRACY: GHOSTBUSTERS (IDW)
The Lone Gunmen continue their quest to figure out what the messages from the future mean and how they can prevent a lot of bad things from happening. Their first stop is New York City and a very familiar former firehouse. They have an interesting and entertaining meeting with the Ghostbusters and end up coming face to face with the supernatural while denying the fact that they are seeing ghosts.
They get some interesting information on how the messages from the future might have ended up in present day but still not enough to prevent disaster. But at least they are a little bit closer. Meanwhile, as I said, this issue was entertaining. It was fun seeing the Ghostbusters kind of face off against a group of people who are strangely on their level but at the same time don’t really buy into what they are and what they do. Certainly was more fun than I expected it to be! -Skott Jimenez