Archive for Captain America

Beyond the Pale

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Captain America and the Mighty Avengers #6

So a few months ago, Jason Quantrell, CEO of Cortex, went and got his mind obliterated and his body possessed by the Beyond Corporation, last seen in the glorious pages of Nextwave: Agents of H.A.T.E. He turned his pet supervillainess, Quickfire, into a monster who spreads corruption to turn other people into monsters. She’s already corrupted Power Man and White Tiger, and she has no trouble at all transforming She-Hulk and Kaluu, too, leaving Captain America to fight alone. Meanwhile, Quantrell talks a bunch of nuttiness to Luke Cage and Jessica Jones before dumping them into outer space. The Blue Marvel rescues them in the nick of time, but when they mention the Beyond Corporation, Monica Rambeau loses it — she’s been told for years that the Beyond Corporation never existed and all the events of Nextwave were in her head.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Though I have my doubts that Warren Ellis is real happy with this. And Monica is getting progressively lighter-skinned — although it is good to see her back in her dreads again. But in all, it’s a good story with some nice Nextwave touches — and if we don’t see the rest of the Nextwave team, I’ll be deeply disappointed.

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Sensation Comics #8

We start out with a fantastic story written by James Tynion IV and illustrated by Noelle Stevenson, who we’ve seen most recently as the artist on Lumberjanes. Fifteen-year-old Princess Diana has sneaked away from Themyscira to see what the rest of the world is like. She meets up with a girl named Riley, who is upset because a bunch of boys are keeping her from playing Dance Dance Revolution. Diana’s sense of justice is awakened, and she decides to help Riley out. She also meets her friends and discovers ice cream and roller skating and laser tag and so much more. In the second story, Heather Nuhfer and Ryan Benjamin bring us a tale of Wonder Woman helping protect the fledgling Indian space program from the plots of Lex Luthor.

Verdict: Thumbs up. The second story is pretty nice, but holy frijoles, the first one, starring Wonder Teen, is absolutely outstanding. It might be the best — or at least the most pure fun — of any of the stories in this series, which was already filled with a lot of very enjoyable tales.

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Going Beyond

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Captain America and the Mighty Avengers #5

First things first: Ladies and gentlemen, that is just about the worst comic book cover I’ve seen this year. Maybe all of last year, too. It’s a terrible, muddy, over-chaotic muddle with a style entirely different from the art between the covers.

Now that that’s out of the way — forget the cover. What we’ve got inside is a just plain wonderful comic book. Or rather, what we’ve got inside is a pretty typical comic — until the last page happens.

While Monica Rambeau experiments with her light powers by adopting the form of the Blue Marvel — in the altogether, as they say in the hipster circles — Dr. Positron, the Marvel’s mad scientist son, shows up for a short brawl with the Marvel, Monica, and Spider-Man before revealing that he’s found his brother in the Neutral Zone, but he’ll need help to get him out. Elsewhere, Power Man and White Tiger go hunting for whoever killed Gideon Mace and run into way more trouble than they can handle. And Luke Cage and Jessica Jones have a meeting with Jason Quantrell, sinister CEO of Cortex Incorporated — and we learn who’s really behind Quantrell’s diabolic grin.

Verdict: Thumbs up. No spoilers, folks, but no kidding, when I read the last page of this one, I sat there in Flabbergasted Jawdrop Mode for at least 30 seconds. I don’t know if they can follow up with the promise of that last page, but I’m really looking forward to the next issue now.

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Red Sonja #100

Well, it’s not really the 100th issue of this series, but they figure they’ve got the 100th issue to feature Sonja. Sounds iffy to me, but it makes a decent anthology comic. We’ve got creators ranging from Gail Simone to Roy Thomas to Michael Avon Oeming and many more. We get Sonja facing off against spider demons and mutated Rapunzels, we get Sonja taking on an unexpected assistant in a battle against a monster, and we get Sonja meeting one of her own heroes and earning a few wishes.

Verdict: Thumbs up. An incredible variety of stories offered here — some classic hack-and-slash battles, some more introspective stories, and all of them excellent reads. It’s especially wonderful to see a story by Roy Thomas, Sonja’s creator.

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Batgirl #39

All of a sudden, everyone in Burnside is after Batgirl — whoever’s running the Hooq app is offering $20 million for her capture, dead or alive. And Barbara is being plagued by weird memory troubles, too. She enlists the aid of Black Canary, then realizes that her brain scan is part of Hooq’s programming — is Batgirl trying to kill herself?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Nice art and a much more relateable story. This comic’s emphasis on social media and smartphone apps is making more sense now, and it’ll be interesting to see where things go from here.

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Silver Surfer #9

Galactus has come to the planet Newhaven, home to the last survivors of millions of worlds destroyed by the Eater of Worlds. Rejected by Dawn, the Surfer heads out to stop Galactus — by surfing the planet’s moon into his face! That gets Galactus’ attention, but he reacts by stripping the Surfer of his cosmic powers, leaving him powerless and adrift in space. Can anyone stop Galactus now?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Outstanding art, as always, from Mike and Laura Allred. Big ups for Dan Slott’s story, too — surfing a whole moon is pretty inspired, even if it’d pretty obviously be something Galactus would shrug off. I’m assuming Norrin will get re-powered next issue — but with this comic, who knows?

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Loki: Agent of Asgard #11

Everyone in Asgard is mad at Loki. Loki is very depressed. Old King Future Loki is very mean.

Verdict: Thumbs down. Just a bit too overdone on the woe-is-me stuff.

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Random Access Memories

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The Wicked + the Divine #7

Laura and Inanna believe that the people who tried to assassinate Lucifer (waaaay back in Issue #1) weren’t actually opposed to the gods — they were really fans. So Laura has traveled to Fantheon, a huge London convention for god fans. She’s a minor celebrity here, as one of the few confidants of Lucifer, so she has to sign a lot of autographs and attend a few panel discussions. She finally gets to meet up with Woden — he wears a Daft Punk/Tron costume, his only power lets him empower his specially designated Valkyries, and he’s considered a creepy racist, at best. When he humiliates a former Valkyrie at the convention, she tries to take the fabled Prometheus gambit — murder a god, and you gain his powers. It doesn’t work out for her at all. After that, she meets up with Baphomet and the Morrigan, who invite her to party, and reveal there’s a new god being introduced: Dionysus.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Great art and story, but I say that every time. Gotta give extra credit to the great pun-filled map of the London Fantheon. And do we talk enough about the outstanding work Matthew Wilson is doing on the coloring? ‘Cause a lot of the reason this book looks so gorgeous is because of all the amazing work he does with the colors.

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Captain America and the Mighty Avengers #4

Cap has recently been de-inverted and is back to his old self, but he’s still dealing with all the bad publicity he created for himself by going hardcore fascist. Luke is also back to normal, but he’s pretending to be evil so he can find out what’s up with Jason Quantrell, the thoroughly evil CEO of Cortex, Inc. But he’s not quite as undercover as he thought he was. And Power Man and White Tiger are investigating the death of racist supervillain Gideon Mace. What monster is waiting for them? What’s the connection to Cortex? And will Sam Wilson get his spirit back?

Verdict: Ehh, not at all bad. But it’s nothing earthshatteringly fantastic either.

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Lumberjanes #10

While April, Ripley, and Jo decide they’re going to finally get some merit badges — starting with the badge for cake decorating — Molly and Mal go off in the woods for their picnic, but before anything romantic can go on, they end up chasing the mysterious Bear Woman, who then accidentally leads them through an otherworldly outhouse into a world full of dinosaurs! Will they be able to make it back home?

Verdict: Thumbs up. What we expected to be a low-key day of loafing around ends up with dinosaur chases. Holy cheese. And that’s not even counting the oh-so-awkward-and-sweet picnic or Ripley dancing with a raccoon.

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Dare for Danger

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Daredevil #11

Matt Murdock talks to a former villain, George Smith, who used to call himself the Stunt-Master. He gave up crime years ago, but is frustrated that there’s a new stuntman running around and calling himself the Stunt-Master. He specializes in impossible stunts — and in fact, he seems to die every time he tries a stunt, before revealing his survival. Anyway, Smith is unhappy that he’s getting no money for the new Stunt-Master’s routine, and he wants Matt to do something about it. Matt isn’t too encouraging — Smith sold the name years ago — but he gets more interested when the new Stunt-Master starts calling himself a daredevil, a man without fear, and just outright calling out Daredevil to face him. And when Smith commits suicide, he decides to take direct action. How does the new Stunt-Master defy death? And why is Daredevil willing to risk his own life for a cheap stunt?

Verdict: Thumbs up. We get the standard outstanding writing and art we’ve come to expect — ain’t nothing wrong with awesomeness month after month after month, is there? I love the way this series puts mysteries together, letting Matt’s superhuman senses show us how the scheme is put together and then letting us watch him figure out the motive and work out a way to put the bad guys away…

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Captain America and the Mighty Avengers #3

Y’all hold on, ’cause this is gonna get a little confusing. The regular Avengers — Iron Man, Thor, Captain America (formerly the Falcon), the Scarlet Witch, the Wasp, Medusa, and Luke Cage — have all turned evil. And the Mighty Avengers — Spectrum, She-Hulk, the Blue Marvel, Power Man, White Tiger, and Kaluu — are not evil, but don’t know what the heck is going on. So now there’s gonna be a big ol’ fight. It’s gonna be pretty short, right? The evil Avengers don’t have anyone who can handle the Blue Marvel. But Tony Stark arranges for a global crisis on the opposite end of the planet, knowing the Marvel will fly off to take care of it. So the sides are much more evenly matched now — and the evil Avengers are guaranteed to cheat. Can the Mighty Avengers emerge from this with their skins intact?

Verdict: Thumbs up. These crossovers are often pretty silly, but this is a nice way to get the parts of it that work without having to spend too much money picking up every other issue. And beyond that, the writing’s great, and the art is nice, too.

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Closed for Business

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Captain America and the Mighty Avengers #2

While the Mighty Avengers stomp on a gang of high-tech roller-bladers called the Fast Five, the newly villainous Captain America is plotting with the equally villainous Tony Stark to wipe out all the heroes. And the newly villainous businessman Luke Cage announces he’s just sold the Mighty Avengers, which gets him in trouble with the rest of the team and his wife. Luckily, the ever-savvy She-Hulk, the team’s lawyer, has a surprise for Luke — but he and Captain America have an even bigger surprise waiting in the wings…

Verdict: Thumbs up. I’m not entirely sold on the Axis morality-switching, but the story seems just fine. I’ve got some doubts about the art, particularly in the way that the Blue Marvel is looking whiter and whiter in almost every panel.

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Clive Barker’s Nightbreed #7

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Trees #7

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Colder: The Bad Seed #2

Okay, it looks like I just don’t have the patience to dig through the convolutions of the plots in these three comics. It’s not that I disliked them at all — they were all pretty good — but there’s lots of twisty-plot things and side-stories and such-and-all going on, and I’m too lazy to mess with ‘em right now.

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Friday Night Fights: Free for All!

Well, my children, it’s the end of another thoroughly gruesome week, and one measly weekend just ain’t really gonna settle things down for us. But it’ll help. So let’s celebrate while we can with everyone’s favorite: FRIDAY NIGHT FIGHTS!

Tonight’s battle comes to us from February 1983’s Marvel Two-in-One #96 by Tom DeFalco, Ron Wilson, and Mike Esposito. Ben Grimm is stuck in the hospital after a rough battle, and now a whole bunch of supervillains are on the way to finish him off.

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But Marvel’s superheroes aren’t gonna let Aunt Petunia’s favorite nephew down, are they?

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That’s a bunch of Marvel’s greatest superheroes beating up on the Rhino, MODOK, and a bunch of Moloids. Not a bad way to kick off the weekend, is it?

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Baby, You’re a Star

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Captain Marvel #9

Captain Marvel and Tic are traveling through the galaxy when they unexpectedly meet up with mutant teleporting rock superstar Lila Cheney! She reveals a particularly weird problem she has — she’s supposed to marry a prince on a world where everyone rhymes, and she doesn’t really want to get hitched. So Carol and Tic have to figure out a way to keep Lila away from the altar. Can she handle fighting off a jealous suitor? Can she keep this rhyming gig going all the way through? Will there be a surprise wedding after all?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Fun story, fantastic and charismatic art — David Lopez has a very strong talent for great facial expressions — and perfectly servicible rhymes. It’s a fun and funny break, and the sort of thing that’s always enjoyable in a superhero comic.

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Red Sonja #13

Sonja tracks down and executes a murderous sorcerer, but not before he hits her with a terrible curse, depriving her of the ability to ever forgive anyone of any slight, no matter how small. That means she ends up unleashing on everyone she comes across — and her newly boundless rage even costs her the opportunity to destroy the only marauder who escaped her vengeance after the destruction of her home village.

Verdict: Thumbs up. New storyarc, but same familiar and wonderful artwork and storytelling we’ve come to expect from this title. Looking forward to what looks like a more personal challenge for the She-Devil with a Sword…

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Captain America and the Mighty Avengers #1

The Falcon is the new Captain America, and he’s preparing to lead the Mighty Avengers. This is good news, right? Well, maybe not. The Falcon was among a number of superheroes and villains affected in the “Axis” crossover — a mystical/psionic event has flipped their psyches around on their axes. Luke Cage is now a very hard-edged and ruthless businessman, while the new Captain America is, well, a fascist, much too eager to use brutal, unforgiving methods against criminals or, in fact, anyone who gets in his way. So he’s not so much going to lead the Mighty Avengers as he is going to try to kill them all…

Verdict: Man, I don’t know. The story is fine, the art is wonderful, the interlude with Spider-Man begging forgiveness for Otto Octavius’ time running around in his body is funny — but I really, really question the wisdom of pulling the high-profile stunt of putting an African-American superhero in the Captain America costume and immediately turning him into not only a supervillain but an enthusiastic fascist. There are just a vast number of unfortunate implications going on right there…

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Friday Night Fights: American Glory! And Batroc!

We’re still celebrating the Fourth of July, and we’ve gotten to point of the evening where we can start blowing stuff up. While we’re remembering not to blow our fingers off with fireworks — and also not to set off fireworks late at night outside my window while I’m trying to sleep — let’s enjoy some Friday Night Fights featuring our favorite patriotic hero and the most glorious French supervillain stereotype!

From December 1980’s Captain America #252 by John Byrne, Roger L. Stern, Joe Rubinstein, and Bob Sharen, the diabolical Mr. Hyde has a twisted plan to destroy New York City, just to avenge himself on one fellow supervillain. But he didn’t count on the always fantastic… Batroc! Ze Leapair!

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Soon enough, Captain America has joined the fight, leaving the two Revolutionary War allies fighting against the villain inspired by a British novel. So it’s historical and educational!

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Everyone have a wonderful Independence Day — and again, stop setting off those firecrackers outside my window! DON’T MAKE ME COME OUT THERE WITH THE HOSE, YOU PUNKS!

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Friday Night Fights: Knock Down, Drag Out!

Friends and neighbors, it is my sincere wish that all of y’all will get to enjoy a nice long Memorial Day weekend. I know not everyone gets Monday off — and if you’re one of them that don’t, I hope you at least enjoy a not too stressful Monday. But it is definitely the weekend now, and that means it’s time for… FRIDAY NIGHT FIGHTS!

Tonight’s brawl comes to us from April 1977’s Iron Fist #12 by Chris Claremont, John Byrne, Dan Adkins, and Don Warfield. Iron Fist finds his way into Avengers Mansion — and onto Captain America’s hit list.

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Hope y’all enjoy this (hopefully) long holiday weekend, and I reckon I’ll see y’all back here on Monday.

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Friday Night Fights: A Kraven for Punishment!

Awright, let’s do this — it’s Friday, we’re all ready for the weekend, and the only way to get things started is with a little random comic-book violence! It’s time again for… FRIDAY NIGHT FIGHTS!

Tonight’s battle comes to us from September 2010’s Marvel Adventures: Super Heroes #4 by Paul Tobin, Ronan Cliquet, and Amilton Santos. Kraven the Hunter has been working as a mercenary bounty hunter, which means he’s mostly been keeping the Avengers from capturing Deadpool while endangering innocent civilians. Once the team finally has the Merc with a Mouth in custody, it’s time for Captain America to deal with Kraven.

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That’s all we got for this week. See you mugs back here on Monday morning.

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