Thursday, 30 July 2015

Runaways 1 & 2 (Secret Wars)

Runaways #1 (Secret Wars)

I went into Runaways think it was going to be a story about the last Runaways team but, as I'm beginning to learn, with Secret Wars Titles it's never exactly what you expected. All in all, turns out the story kicks off in Doomstadt (capital domain of BATTLEWORLD) where there is a school for the most gifted and brightest accross BATTLEWORLD domains where they are trained as potential leaders and 'DoomElites' in Doom's world.


At the school there are a bunch of teens (obviously) who were given this school's version of detention after causing a ruckus in the hallways (long story; read the book; you'll love it, I promise).

The problem is they have to register with their teams for their final exams but are stuck in this detention. Eventually Amadeus Cho (one of the miscreants) manages to get them out of their detention by reprogramming their doombot warden.

Their escape is shortly discovered but they are still allowed to register with the catch being they must do it as a team. There's the interesting reveal at the end that Doom's daughter is actually headmaster of the institute

What I liked?: If you know a thing or two about the type of comics I like then you will know that I loved this title. I'm quickly captivated by tales of the young heroes in the marvel universe as well as re-imagining and alternate versions. The title has some of my favorite characters-- including Molly (the only carry over from the original Runaways), Pixie and Cloak and Dagger. It also features Jubilee, Sanna (apparently a completely new character), Skaar, Delphyne and Amadeus Cho. It's noteworthy to point out that cloak and dagger are imagined as brother and sister in this incarnation and their powers are inverted -- which makes me feel not so bad for imagining Polaris and Havok as bro and sis in my fan fiction.

All in all, it was a really fun and easy read. The first book quickly and easily set the stage for all things to come and leaves me wanting more. I love the light tone it has in an otherwise, seemingly, dark situation (I mean, Doom is God of all the world here)

Dislikes?: I really don't know who Sanna is. The story may not be as captivating for some people, I can already see persons who care little for b-listers and c-listers passing it along and it's not as grandiose in the use of powers and the situation doesn't feel as ominous as you would expect (and as we see in other titles). Many people prefer all the high stakes drama but this is still a good book for me.

I give it a 7.5/10

Runaways #2 (Secret Wars)

At the start of this second issue I felt like "Oh no. I'm not gonna like this." For a brief moment it felt like the style and tone had shifted. I don't really know why. But then when I got into it I LOVED it.

We start with an opening ceremony for the exams with an officiating speech from headmaster Valeria. While getting prepped for the exams Pixie convinces Jubilee to try and mend things with Sanna, who seemed to not be having it.

At the beginning of the exam Amadeus recommended, as Bucky suggested, to lay low as a strategy to make it out of the exam. Again, Sanna didn't seem to be having it and she initiates battle as soon as the virtual program commences.

Having studied the computer programming for the exams, Amadeous makes the group aware of a glitch in the simulation room where they can go and wait till it's over. The team head for safety but due to Jubilees stubborn reluctance to move on Pixie's coaxing Pixie ends up being taken out.

The team soon discovers that the glitched area is where the bodies of students who failed the exams end up. It turned out that the exams were not a simulation after all but was really pitting students against each other and so it is discovered that Pixie, too, is dead.

Having discovered the school's secret, and figuring that knowing the secret will mean their own deaths, the students decide to, you guessed it, run. This after the reluctance of Sanna and a distraught Jubilee.

In the end there is a narrow escape after Jubilee takes Molly with her to replace Pixie in the Night Witches gang; Amadeous grabs the remains of the decommissioned detention doombot he had compromised in the first issue; and Dagger (Ty) having found his sister Cloak (Tandy) is told by her she cannot leave with him and must stay as an "inside" in the school.

And, it's only after their narrow escape in a stolen aircraft that they realize.... Sanna is missing.

Likes?: There's a lot to like about this comic it's fun with the dark undertones of the situation the kids find themselves living in. The situation becomes darker and they find themselves in an almost hopeless position having witnessed something they shouldn't have.

I love the art and I feel it perfectly matches the style and tome of the book. The colouring matches the darker tomes of the story while the cute button nos faces matches the more youthful, fun and exuberant moments.

Dislikes?: They killed Pixie. She's one of my favourite characters. *sigh*

Runaways for the win. i give it an 8.5/10

Saturday, 25 July 2015

Secret Wars 2099 1-3

Secret Wars 2099 takes place in the (you guessed it) 2099 domain of BATTLEWORLD. The title surrounds a band of the 2099 version of the avengers-- all new characters, except for Hercules, all with their own intrigue.

Secret Wars 2099 #1

The first issue opens by introducing the characters in the setting of a battle against 'The Chain Gang' who have stolen something or another. We're introduced to Captain America (muscular female super-soldier); Hawk(wings and talons), Black Widow(kind of a spider-lady), Iron man (man in armor) and Hercules (demigod).

The real intrigue are the reveals, mostly closer towards the end: Cap is some split personality form of Roberta Mendez, who thinks she's a mere secretary or something but in reality becomes the super-soldier whenever she's "activated" by Mr. Stone; Black Widow isn't very reserved when it comes to lethal methods; The man in the Iron man suite is actually a, quite handsome, little person; and The Vision is some weird precognitive semi-comatose person in a pool of water.

Likes? : It's a fair opening and it has caught my interest in the series. I love the incarnations of Cap, The Hawk, Iron, The Vision and even Hercules. It's a re-imagining that seems plucked right out of my brain (So I should probably note who the writer is to see what else he's done). It's a slightly dark tone to the comic a more adult feel.

Dislikes? : Not much that I can say now, but we still a a few more issues to go.

I give it 7.5/10

Secret Wars 2099 #2

The second issues see Cap's alter ego being attacked in the night while she lay asleep beside her husband.After her husband gets knocked unconscious she's able to transform into Cap and save the day. The assassin kills himself before she can get any information out of him and so she reports to Alchemax about the incident.

By the time Roberta is back it is revealed that her husband is also an agent of Alchemax as he also sends a report back the alter ego Roberta has no recollection of the incident.

Meanwhile we get a glimpse of Hawk's temper as he loses to Black Widow in chess. Mr. Stone accosts Black Widow about suspected spouse-murderer who was found dead and half eaten. Apparently Black Widow seems to be more than just a code-name.

Eventual the Avengers Assemble with a lead on someone from downtown who might know about the assassination attempt. Turns out they are the only one's after him as this man is sooner accosted a very aggressive gentleman who, when confronted by the avengers, becomes the hulk. A battle ensues with hulk and the Avengers. The fight halts with the arrival of other members of Hulk's team-- The Silver Surfer and some flying girl.

Likes? : It's a solid issue. If follows nicely from it's introductory issues and gives a painting of just how flawed and kinda twisted the characters in the Avengers are. They aren't really boy scouts, except for Cap who tries to be-- but how can she be when she has this secret from her alter ego who knows nothing about her. They all seen like they are creations of Alchemax, operating under Mr. Stone.

Dislikes?: While the art is clean, it's kind of annoying how poor the art is at proportion, anatomy and perspective. There was some inconsistency in coloring (it seems) as in one page The Submariner's skin was "white" in stead of blue.

I give it 7.5/10

Secret Wars 2099 #3

The third issue kicks off right where the fourth left off. Hulk, Silver Surfer and Dr. Strange (the flying girl) are introduced as the defenders. Their and the Avenger's mutual target manages to us the opportunity of the clash to escape in the midst of it all. It is revealed that he possesses talents in sorcery and uses in to aid his escape before being taken down by the other two defenders, Valkyrie and The Submariner.

Being the tail-chaser he is, then makes a pass at Valkyrie and ends up fighting with The Submariner who happens to be her boyfriend, before they both get stopped and owned by the Silver Surfer.
The two teams agree to take their captive back to Alchemax, Cap promising the Defenders that they would be able to leave, for them to interrogate the suspect. It turns out that they couldn't get much information from the man more than a mention of a "dweller" which Dr. Strange seems to think is important.

At the end of it all Mr. Stone, who is evidently a vampire of some sort, then tries to force the Defenders to join their ranks-- Dr. Strange and Valkyrie only narrowly escaping capture.

Likes?: It's pretty good book. A bit rushed in story development but it is a limited series after all. The characters are all still very interesting.

Dislikes?: I wish we could take some more time to know the character and get their back stories better fleshed out, but it is what is is: you can only do so much with a limited set of issues. That said, i find it migh be a waste of pages whenever it comes to Herc. I'm just not interested in seeing him make a fool of himself and it adds little to the story, just humor.

I give it 7.5/10

Sunday, 5 July 2015

Review: X-tinction Agenda 1 & 2

Being the X-geek that I am I had to pick up X-tinction Agenda from the Secret Wars event. The title is set in the X-topic domain of BATTLEWORLD and is overseen by Baron Grey (Rachel Grey aka Phoenix). Because it's a four issue auction-packed miniseries it has to stuff a whole lot in each issue; so my receive only gives the basics:

X-tinction Agenda #1

The first issue kicks off with the final battle for Genosha that left Havok and Rahne as new leaders in this country. It fast forwards to years later when the country is plagued by an extinction virus causing them to be quarantined and cut off from the rest of X-topia. There are food riots and the only thing Havoks team is left to do is have Mystique pose as Xavier (who is no dead) to quell them.

The Genoshan leaders plead with both Lord Emperor doom AND Baron Grey but to know avail. The Genoshans believe the with the help of mutant healer Triage and Rogue, under the advice of their gene engineer, could help them stop the plague. Under the advice of Beast, Baron Grey refuses to lift the quarantine.

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Review: Infinity Gauntlet 1 & 2

Infinity Gauntlet wasn't quite what I was expecting... But it was so much more!

Infinity Gauntlet #1 Cover (Secret Wars)

It's set in a part of BATTLWORLD (I don't know why I always all-caps that word) that has been all but completely destroyed by "the bugs" -- giant bug-like alien life forms that eat people.  It's the story of Anwen and her family in the desolate post-apocalyptic landscape, trying to survive and evade these bugs. Her mom had left to join the Nova Corps in efforts to stop the bugs but it's been years and they haven't heard from her, or them, since.

The story of Anwen's Mother, Infinity Gauntlet #1, Secret Wars

Infinity Gauntlet #1

This first issued was following a day in Anwen's life when suddenly her family is attacked my these alien bugs. The group end up getting split up and Anwen loses her grandfather when he risks himself to save her.

 Anwen's Grandpa sacrifices himself for her, Infinity Gauntlet #1, Secret Wars

Anwen ends up finding an infinity gem after killing a bug that was threatening her.

Sunday, 28 June 2015

Review : Secret Wars 1-3

Secret Wars 1-3

I'm not going to go into much detail, but these books are highly recommended (by me) anyway, so go get reading and check out my review:

Secret Wars #1

 secret wars #1 cover

You have to read Secret Wars #1 twice to love it: On the first read you'll probably not have a clue of everything that's going one; on the second read (when you're reading to do a review on your blog after having read a few other Secret War tie-in titles) you'll realize how epic it is.

Secret Wars #1 excellently sets the stage for what the rest of the series is going to be. It opens with the war between 616 and 1610, with backstage, evilous players such as 1610's Reed Richards and (I think) 616's Thanos and The Cabal, as the two worlds are colliding. Needless to say, nobody wins the war and the 616 team manages to get some select heroes on a safety raft to survive the incursion.

Ultimate Reed and 616 Cabal plot during the Incursion

We also see Doom being set up to become the God of the BATTLEWORD that ensues.

Stephen Strange and Dr Doom  Secret Wars 1

What I liked? : On the second read? EVERYTHING!! Just get ready for a great series. There is so much happening in this book: Look out for development with Phoenix-Cyclops, a mourning 616 Reed, evil 1610 Reed, The Cabal and God-Doom.

Friday, 19 June 2015

(Return of) Comics I like: Secret Wars

I have been out of the comics game for a while now -- haven't been reading any for months from being swamped with work and life in general and also losing interest in most titles (as you already know). But -- praise the lord -- I've finally decided to dive back into the world of fiction which I love so dearly, and it seems not a moment too soon: Secret Wars is at hand.

Several titles have launched surrounding this universe-changing event and it would seem this event is ready to sweep me in. And, as I get swept, I feel I'm going to rekindle my sharing the experience with you through blogging about the titles I've picked.

The great thing about secret wars that makes it attractive to someone with my type of comic book tastes is that in this new BATTLEWORLD it's created, where Doom is god, there are, first of all, several point ones where I can hop on to these titles and, secondly, these titles are all set in their own little world that is being built from ground up; so I wont be getting too lost in the convoluted-ness that is typical 616 continuity-- you just have to know these characters exist... and that's it; follow the story from there.

I'll be giving my reviews of some of my favourite titles as the weeks press on and we'll watch where the event goes from there.

Usually I hate crossovers but this one seems just right for me.

Saturday, 12 April 2014

What ever happened to all the Comics I Like?

What ever happened to all the Comics I Like?

They’re gone, mostly. In the time that I haven't been able to post reviews (due to too many reasons to get into) most of the comics I like seemed to disappear. I haven't really been able to get my weekly read in as I used to and as a result a comic story has to capture me to get me to keep up, but most haven't been able to do so.

Granted, I don’t think I’ve given them all a fair chance. I loved X-factor. When it restarted in the recent volume I never read more than two books. When the Guardians of the Galaxy invaded All New X-men I stopped simply because I felt the story was about to go nowhere that I might want to follow and didn’t feel like I wanted to be introduced to the guardians there. It is that I’m so strapped for time that a title has to be really good for me to go out for it these days. Though I’m really not certain why I still follow Wolverine and The X-men, It’s been losing me for a while now. Ultimate X-men has ended, finally. So has Young Avengers, just as it was getting good again. All in all, I’m at a very odd place with comics.

But there’s good news. Avengers Undercover, like it’s predecessor Avengers Arena, just from the first two books has knocked my socks off! Also, while I’ve been on and off with this latest volume, something about the X-men title is definitely growing on me. ANYTHING that features Miles Morales has me gleeful as a schoolgirl on at a boyband concert (or something like that).

Even better news ; I should have a bit more time to be back on comics. I really should explore some new titles and give others a chance. It’s just I seem to have a particular taste that I still haven’t fully summed it yet ( I’ll probably expound on these tastes in a later post ). A lot of these comics, on the face of it, don't seem to appeal to me. I think I’ll be making a pact with myself to give other books  a try, to be more open in trying to find more comics I like.

Side note : Interesting how I’m not compelled to pick up X-factor when anyone who’s ever bothered to bat an eye at my fanfiction would know I’m very interested in the character Lorna Dane.