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Bullet Reviews #17: BOOM! and Marvel Comics

28 DAYS LATER #24 (Boom! Studios)28 Days Later
This is the end…my only friend….well the end of 28 Days Later. Surely running to 28 issues would have been snappier? Come on, 28 issues later is just sitting there for the taking. Anyway this is the last issue in the series which focused on the character Selena from the live action version and her long journey after with Clint. London is burning and there but is there a positive ending in sight for this story?
Written by Michael Alan Nelson and drawn by Pablo Peppino this series has been often a brutal and bloody affair bound in leather and steel by the central character and for fans of the Danny Boyle film it was a no-brainer to pick up this tie in. Issue #24 is, however, the epilogue to the series and unless you want major spoilers there is no room here for new readers. There is little in the way of action, but rather and expedient exodus of the burning city of London with the aid of piss-soaked towels and a little motor boat. Neatly winking at 28 Months Later during its closing scenes. If you’d like a story to bridge the films pick up the Graphic Novel releases later in the year.- Thom Atkinson

AnnihilatorsANNIHILATORS #4 of 4 (Marvel)
The first Annihilators story wraps up and what a way to go! The focus of this story is Dredd who was trying to free the Dire Wraiths from their exile in limbo. Turns out Dredd was a Wraith himself but in this story it was actually a Skrull in his place. The Wraiths and the Skrull are distant cousins. The Skrull is trying to free the Wraiths in an attempt to resurrect the Skrull Empire. The Wraiths decide enough is enough, they just want to no longer be exiled and want to begin to live their existence in the regular universe. The Annihilators use their collective powers to free the Wraiths and create a new kind of sun all at the same time. The other moment is interest here is the conversation between Immortus and Quasar. Immortus tells Quasar that he must live and that “the future is going to need you. Very soon.” I love the Abnett and Lanning foreshadowing! ALSO in this issue is the wrap-up of the Rocket Raccoon/Groot series. Rocket and the other inhabitants of Halfworld must figure out how to keep the dangerous Star Thief from escaping and destroying things left and right. This was such a fun story, just having Rocket and Groot shine on their own for a few issues. I have to admit I’m looking forward to Annihilators: Earthfall which will also feature Rocket and Groot back-up story! –Skott Jimenez

AVENGERS #14 (Marvel)Avengers
Wow, I have be the most negative Bullet Reviewer out there this week. Bendis provides us with an interesting take for the Fear Itself Avenger tie-in. Like I said, it’s interesting, but still pretty irrelevant. We see Rulk get pummeled beyond recognition by Thor-ized Thing and Avengers Tower fall. But other than that, the characterization is a bit off and the dialog (there wasn’t much) was skimpy on the story-side. Bottom line: it was cool to see Rulk stand up for the Avengers, but it was not cool to pay ?HOW MUCH? for a book of artwork. Here’s what I’m thinking, any book that has direct tie-ins to Fear Itself will suck until the event is over (this excludes the Limited Series. I’m not talking about those.). Allow me to tell you why I think this is the truth. Because Fear Itself is so basic in its premise, because it is so linear with its story, we cannot have interwoven threads. Each book follows the battle of a different hammer and the proper title deals with Sin and the Serpent. So we are stuck for eight months each book fighting the same villains. I think this should have been a little more thought out. I would encourage you to compare the premise of this event with others like Secret Invasion, House of M, or even Civil War. Think about how each book could fit into the event, and now think about how each book can fit into what Fear Itself has become. –Andy Kirby

Captain AmericaCAPTAIN AMERICA CORPS #1 (Marvel)
I would have to say that this book is not a necessary addition to the Marvel catalog this week. The only reason I can see for it is to have more Captain America books out when the movie hits. That being said, the story is interesting as it takes the timeline as well as the multiverse by the throat and throws it all together. We have the MC2 represented as well as different universes’ Caps. The book deals with the mysterious disappearances of Steve Rogers in different realities. Somehow someone is swiping our intrepid leader away to the detriment of the time stream. So a cross-section of heroes that bear the shield are assembled to fix the issue, leading them to a police state future time. And that’s where we leave off. The only real thing the book has going for it so far is the fact that it makes a political statement. Expect a Comic Polity article about the first few issues soon. But other than that, I’m not seeing this as anything but a stumbling block for future continuity and books. –Andy Kirby

DAKEN: DARK WOLVERINE #10 (Marvel)Daken Dark Wolverine
Drugs, sex, and violence ensue as Rob Williams takes the helm of Wolverine’s prodigeous (yeah, I just made that word up! What now, Webster? What NOW?!) title. Gotta say, Williams must have the mentality of “Go Big or Go Home!” because this book draws the reader in–not by character development or plot, but rather through shock value. Gotta say, not a big fan of this approach. If you were going to make your mark on one of your first Marvel releases, I think I would have set up a story that would lead to further character growth and continuity intrigue…instead we got stagnant plot devices and shock value. I mean, what are we saying? That Daken is so seductive that he can turn people gay? Isn’t that a slap in the face to the gay community? Doesn’t that counter every argument about people’s “orientation?” Am I misunderstanding the issue? At any rate, as a heterosexual, Williams has muddied my comprehension of the whole thing. But enough about the sex–let’s talk about the violence and drugs. So what Williams has done is set a new standard for Daken. A new status quo, if you will. He’s not cold and calculating. He’s not overly devious and brilliant; rather, he is a creature of vicious habit. He likes the fact that his pills can overcome his healing ability and he likes to cut people up into little, tiny pieces. Am I the only one that sees this as a step backwards from where he was going? –Andy Kirby

Fear Itself, DeadpoolFEAR ITSELF: DEADPOOL #1 of 3 (Marvel)
“The Chosenest” written by Christopher Hastings and pencils by Bong Dazo. With “The Worthy” running rampant we find Deadpool trying to make a buck installing anti-villain home security systems. A brief appearance by Juggarnaut, some plumbers who are more than they seem, and the return of Spidey’s villain The Walrus set up an entertaining springboard for the rest of the story. This issue doesn’t drag and you don’t need to be following all of Fear Itself to understand what’s going on. If you like Deadpool don’t be too legit to quit and spend the $2.99 for 20 pages of humor and action. -Jared Walter

FEAR ITSELF: YOUTH IN REVOLT #2 of 6 (Marvel)Fear Itself
It’s good to see the Initiative have some panel time, but it’s been so long that I’ve forgotten who these characters are, what they do, and why I should care. McKeever writes a good story, full of young struggle and teen angst, but the bottom line is the readership seems to only care about the “Next Big Thing.” That being said, McKeever is fighting an uphill battle. There’s a lot of social commentary strung between the panels of this story, but nothing that seems solid enough to compile to a single theme. Prodigy has to do what he has to do, Cloud 9 values friendship over what is needed in a time of crisis, and people are fearful of chaos and what they don’t understand. I’m still interested in where this book is going. And I like to give McKeever all the credit and chances that he is due; however, the vast array of characters that is contained here is like keeping up with alley cats when the local Chinese restaurant comes looking for dinner. –Andy Kirby

HulkHULK #35 (Marvel)
Truth be told: I kept falling asleep during this one. I mean, yeah, it was late. But really? That uninteresting and that unimportant? I have contemplated dropping this book so many times. (The problem is that I’m a completist, and I’m hopelessly addicted.) Let’s face it, when Parker puts the pencil to the proverbial paper, decent stories are created–and I know there is an overall plan here for where the title is going. But I just, for the life of me, can’t see where this is going. My biggest beef with this arc is how much it doesn’t matter. It feels like a quick and dirty repeat of what the Green Hulk goes through, which maybe that’s the point. Maybe Parker is taking us to a spot where Ross can see what it’s like for Bruce. But this has yet to be seen. So for the time being, I’ll still give it a shot. –Andy Kirby

INCORRUPTIBLE Vol. 4 (Boom! Studios)Incorruptible
There is something intrinsically cool about characters who walk the line, between good and bad, and those, like Incorruptible‘s Max Damage ,that change sides completely. The perennial villain trying to go straight Damage was, and in a way still is, The Plutonians’ nemesis, but with the roles reversed and the game changed the rule book is now out of the window. Incorruptible Vol. 4 collects issue #13-16 and picks up with the turbulent relationship of Damage and Plutonians’ ex-girlfriend, Alana. The initial thread tantalises readers with the prospect of a Damage/Plutonian showdown courtesy of Damages master plan (written on the back of an envelope and never revealed to the audience). Alas, as readers of Irredeemable will know, the Plutonian was defeated by other means.
With Max Damage now adrift he attempts to be a superhero, destroying cityscapes to catch pick-pockets and dealing with his sidekick, Headcase (very much as by nature as by name). Although the flip-side to Mark Waid’s Irredeemable, you can still indulge in the mayhem of Incorruptible without losing the plot. Waid’s writing is very poised and controlled delivering each set piece with aplomb, though the action in this volume is stilted over the four issues it’s, perhaps, Headcase who becomes the most fascinating character and after former sidekicks Jailbait’s exploits a series about Damage’s revolving partnerships could be the most interesting concept yet. – Thom Atkinson

Iron ManINVINCIBLE IRON MAN #505 (Marvel)
Fear Itself Tie-In! Good GRACIOUS! And this is the same writer who is taking Fear Itself by the noodles? I can’t think of a more uselessly drawn out story. Fraction must think that this eight issue story arc deal is working for him because that has been the majority of his arcs, and if he draws out this Grey Gargoyle thing to the extent of Fear Itself I will go mad! It is insanely dry and drastically a misuse of time. I realize there has to be a tie-in with the big three, BUT we don’t have a tie-in with Brubaker’s Captain America book and I don’t really think many people have complained or even noticed, for that matter. And the worst part of this is that I can’t really even give you a review of this book: they fight, Iron Man breaks a lot of stone people, Detroit Steel gets killed, and Tony’s company isn’t happy. That’s it. That’s the whole issue. Now you may be saying, “Gee Andy, that sounds like a lot. That sounds like a lot of other books out there.” But when you have very little dialog, and the issues and feelings are superficial and predictable, and the tie-in is forced…then there really is no point in reading this. We should all pick up the book after Fear Itself is done and gone. Maybe we’ll get a story after that. –Andy Kirby

JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY #624 (Marvel)Journey Into Mystery
Fear Itself Tie-In! Books with triple digit numbers are becoming rare…Journey Into Mystery follows the quest of the recently resurrected Loki, now a child, as he tries to figure out a way to save Asgard and stop the Serpent. This time he needs to journey to Hell and to Hel. What is he searching for and is he really on the side of Asgard this time? His dealings with Mephisto and Hela make one wonder but this new Loki is certainly a character with many layers and not easy to read. While I miss reading about Thor in this series, the mystery surrounding Loki and what he is really up to is making this a very entertaining series. And, with apologies to Matt Fraction, I really don’t like the way he’s been writing Thor lately.  -Skott Jimenez

Malignant ManMALIGNANT MAN #3 (Boom! Studios)
Well, well, well, alien parasites, telepathy, swords, guns, bullets blazing and blood splattering; is this mindless violence? No, it’s actually a gripping fast paced earth based chunk of sci-fi written by James Wan & Michael Alan Nelson with art by Pitor Kowalski. In issue #3 our main man Alan Gates is coming to grips with the parasite saving his life, his battle with Cancer, being shot in the head and losing limbs. As he races towards Area 51 with company in tow can he find the answers he seeks?
The answers you may find from Malignant Man #3 is a very enjoyable high octane thriller, slightly warped and a little disturbed, but never the less a captivating read. Though some elements may be familiar, this does feel fresher with a smattering of humour to keep things from descending into ‘dark’ territory. With enough crimson blood spilled to paint the walls this is a long way from Booms! All-Ages titles and its intelligently aimed at a cynical-mature audience inviting those sceptics to come along for the ride. – Thom Atkinson

STAN LEE’S SOLDIER ZERO #9 (Boom! Studios)Stan Lee
Issue #9 of this ongoing series is a drop down in gear to a slower pace, the beginning of a new arc, employed almost specifically to allow new readers to come on board. The early narrative exposition serves to make sure the reader is up to date with exactly who or what Soldier Zero is. It’s difficult to know just how much of the story is developed by Stan Lee but Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning do a decent job of keeping the pace light in what is essentially an introductory issue.
With countryside walks, long talks and roadside diners you will not see Soldier Zero ‘suit up’ until the final pages of this issue which is a necessary evil in establishing the human side, Stewart Trautmann. The success of a comic book lies in both alters to an ego being engaging so that the reader should not pine whenever there is no action. Soldier Zero does a decent job of this in a cruise ride of an issue, jump in here if you’re new, issue #10 could be a doozy. – Thom Atkinson

Uncanny X-MenUNCANNY X-MEN #538 (Marvel)
Imagine this: you live in San Francisco. Got it? Cool. Now imagine that out of the blue your neighborhood is given to a violent alien race to see if they can make it better? Oh, but it’s okay because this group of super-powered outcasts that have laid claim to your coastline gave it the wary stamp of approval. Would you be cool with that? WHAT IN THE WORLD?? On what planet would this be okay? Is San Francisco this tolerant? But don’t worry because this girl who couldn’t touch her lover can now. And people died but were resurrected. My point is, it’s all good. NOW: does that sound like a good story to you? My wife is sleeping on the couch, she wakes up and says, “how were your comics.” My reply, “umm…not all that good.” Kind of an off week all the way around Marvel. –Andy Kirby

This one arrived at my LCS a little late but as I told him, I don’t care if it’s late as long as I get it! Previously, we saw 100 people lock themselves into Undercity as the world was being overrun by zombies. This time we see those people who thought they were safe we very wrong as the Reverend Tully Baxter, who was bitten last issue, turns and infects many of the 100 survivors. Things get even worse for them when the insane Reverend Caleb Ironwood arrives in Undercity with his Godbots and begins to cleanse everything in his Holy Mission to spread his gospel. Things seem to be bad until they get even worse when something….I have no idea what…begins to break through the ground and takes out some zombies and looks like it wants some living flesh as well. Seriously, how bad can things get for these people?! IDW has really set the standard for Zombie Action comics, they don’t have the long running drama of Image’s The Walking Dead but they have a great mythos they have created over the years! –Skott Jimenez


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Comments (2)

Very cool to see coverage of more companies than Marvel…Well done guys!!

Skott of Fables

Yes, this week's contributors really stepped up! I appreciate all the contributions from everyone that participates in these!

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