Archive for Secret Avengers

Down to the Underworld

Daredevil #10

The Mole Man has turned grave-robber, snatching dozens of bodies from a cemetery in New York City — including the body of Matt Murdock’s father. So Daredevil has pursued the Mole Man underground, narrowly avoiding death in the jaws of his monstrous minions. He soon learns the Mole Man’s motives — when he was just normal, short, ugly Dr. Harvey Elder, there was a woman at his workplace who was the only person who treated him kindly — and when he found out she had died, Harvey had stolen all the bodies in the cemetery just to find her and tell her, postmortem, that he loved her. Daredevil shows up, and a terrific fight breaks out — the Mole Man, despite being short, overweight, and almost blind, is a skilled fighter. Will Daredevil be able to stop him? Will he be able to save the gravenapped bodies?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Near-perfect from beginning to end. Amazing action, great dialogue, and beautiful characterization. Unexpected depths for the Mole Man, who is both sympathetic and astoundingly creepy. It’s a little scary how much fun this comic is every month.

All Star Western #7

Jonah Hex and Amadeus Arkham have traveled to New Orleans in pursuit of criminal mastermind Thurston Moody. They soon team up with Western vigilantes Nighthawk and Cinnamon after Hex saves a bunch of people in a terrorist bombing. Turns out the terrorists are radical anti-immigration loons, and Nighthawk and Cinnamon recruit Hex, with his ever-present Confederate Army uniform, to spy on them. This leads him to a gladiatorial arena where immigrants and non-whites are served up to be killed by beautiful assassin Z.C. Branke. But will Hex’s undercover investigation stick him in the ring as well?

Verdict: Thumbs up. My minor nitpicks are (1) Aw, gee, not more of that useless Amadeus Arkham! and (2) I think Jonah Hex is too well-known in DC’s version of the Wild West to be able to go unrecognized by the criminal community. But other than that, good dialogue, good action, and great art by Moritat.

Snarked #6

Wilburforce J. Walrus, Clyde McDunk, Queen Scarlett, and Prince Rusty, along with the rest of the crew of the Old Gertrude, are searching for Snark Island and the kidnapped King — but they’re soon accosted by pirates — the Mad Hatter, the March Hare, the Dormouse, Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum, the White Rabbit, Humpty Dumpty, and the Caterpillar. The pirates are all starving and desperate for our heroes’ crocodile steaks, and their battle tactics are fairly eccentric — firing some of their own crew at the other ship, then sitting around and arguing until they themselves get boarded. Will Queen Scarlett be able to hatch a plan to subdue the pirates? And will the Walrus manage to rescue everyone when that plan flops?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Wonderfully funny stuff. Great cartooning, lots of funny situations, just an all-around fun comic for kids of all ages. Yes, that includes you grownups, too.

Secret Avengers #24

The Secret Avengers run around the robot-filled secret city of the Descendants. They get beat up, argue, get shot, and get angsty while the robots plan some sort of generic Evil Doomy Evil Doom.

Verdict: Thumbs down. So much angst, so much boredom.

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Avengers and More Avengers

Secret Avengers #23

Yalda, a Pakistani woman who has unexpectedly exhibited the ability to absorb and redirect massive amounts of energy, has been abducted, along with her son, by a group of unusual Adaptoids, androids able to mimic superpowers. Though the Secret Avengers were unable to stop them, Ant-Man is able to hitch a ride with them and soon discovers a large underground city full of Adaptoids. Meanwhile, we get plenty of team moments — Beast tells Hank Pym that he’s going to do everything he can to make sure Pym never creates another artificial intelligence again, because all of his robots tend to turn out to be evil. Captain America and Jim Hammond, the original Human Torch from World War II, meet with Peter Parker’s old nemesis Flash Thompson, who’s lost his legs in the war and now serves as the part-time host to the Venom symbiote so he can use it for special ops missions. Hawkeye is dead set against having Venom as a team member, however, and kicks him and Cap off the team’s satellite.

Back in the Adaptoid city, their leader realizes that Yalda will never agree to join them, so he orders her killed. Ant-Man springs into action, but he’s no match for all of them. Yalda is killed, but Ant-Man is able to escape into the city with her child, despite his damaged helmet. The rest of the Secret Avengers finally make it into the city, but will they be in time to save Ant-Man?

Verdict: Thumbs down. So much stuff wrong with this. First, there’s a serious problem with Hawkeye being in charge of the team. As Snell points out, Hawkeye is the last person around who should be complaining about former villains like Venom joining the Avengers. Plus kicking Captain America — Captain Freakin’ America! — out of an Avengers HQ! And just generally complaining and bitching at everyone. Dude just doesn’t have what it takes. Second, I’m really not a fan of creating fairly interesting characters like Yalda just to have her stupidly killed. And the art is just not something I’m having an easy time getting adjusted to. And I am fairly bugged that, despite that awesome Art Adams cover, Venom doesn’t ever really show up in the story. Having said all that, I did like this issue’s treatment of Ant-Man and his completely outmatched struggle against the Adaptoids — very action-packed and desperate in all the right ways.

Avengers Academy #26

Jocasta and Veil are back — and they want Avengers Academy shut down permanently. Jocasta insists that it’s too dangerous, and teenaged superheroes are too likely to be killed. The rest of the Avengers object strongly, and Jocasta calls in backup — corporate supervillain Jeremy Briggs and a bunch of kids from the Initiative who they’ve recruited. They’re all set to have a typical superhero-vs.-superhero fight — and Reptil hits everyone with his tail and tells ’em to settle the heck down and quit acting like idiots. And it works! Everyone basically sits down and debates the pros and cons of teen superheroes vs. teen corporate metahumans. And they do that for almost the entire issue!

Verdict: Thumbs up. I never would’ve imagined that a superhero comic this wordy would work so well — but it does work excellently. There’s no significant shift in the cast of the comic, but all the issues are addressed fairly honestly — and it’s just a good, fun comic to read. Try doing this with a normal Avengers comic and it’d fall to pieces…

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American Batwoman

Batwoman #6

A wide variety of stories here — Batwoman getting into the swing of things as a new DEO agent, Jacob Kane watching over his niece Bette in the Gotham ICU, Maggie Sawyer investigating more child kidnappings and juggling her romance with Kate Kane, and a new villain named Maro engineering evil behind the scenes months ago.

Verdict: Thumbs up. J.H. Williams III is still doing the story, but Amy Reeder is contributing the art for this storyarc. Is it still the most gorgeous comic on the stands? Yes, it is. Yes, it absolutely is. And yes, the stories are still fun — it’s nice to see that Bette Kane and Jacob Kane are still important parts of the supporting cast, even if Kate doesn’t appear to ever deal with them, and Batwoman’s gleeful badassery is still grand fun.

Secret Avengers #22

After Captain Britain joins the Secret Avengers (and gets very angry when he learns that he’s going to be following orders from Hawkeye), the team heads off to investigate an incident in Pakistan in which a woman inhaled a bomb blast and then released it with even greater force, killing hundreds of people. When the team catches up to the woman, who’s being held captive by terrorists who want to use her ability to wage war, they soon find themselves attacked by a bunch of unknown supervillains with strange powers.

Verdict: Thumbs down. I liked parts of it — the introduction of the fire-inhaling woman is well-done, and it’s cool to see that the team’s HQ is now located in a secret miniaturized satellite, but in general, I thought the story was a bad combination of boring and confusing.

Frankenstein: Agent of S.H.A.D.E. #6

The Humanids, the 24-hour artificial nonsentient workforce used by S.H.A.D.E. has started a revolution, a storyline telegraphed from the very first issue. Meanwhile, Frankenstein and the Creature Commandos travel to Vietnam to apprehend one of Frank’s ’60s-era comrades, an atomic-powered superhuman called Col. Quantum, who was part Dr. Manhattan and part the Comedian. Can Quantum be captured? Will the revolt back at S.H.A.D.E. HQ be stopped in time?

Verdict: Thumbs down. This is a title that’s rapidly starting to tire me. The art is weird, the supporting cast is either dull or irritating, the storylines are either dull or predictable, and I just don’t see where it’s all supposed to go from here.

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Praise Godzilla

Godzilla: Kingdom of Monsters #11

Godzilla and King Ghidorah are down, but Rodan and Battra have just arrived on the scene, both mentally controlled by the evil French telepath girls. They want to control even more giant monsters, and to get Godzilla back to fighting strength, they have Rodan and Battra carry him to a nuclear power plant, drop him in, and blow it up. Godzilla is energized, but will he be bent to the twins’ wills? And is anything going to be left standing afterwards?

Verdict: Thumbs up. For the most part, a knock-down, drag-out fight between Godzilla, Rodan, and Battra. It’s good fightin’, and even though they’re all giant monsters, it’s all smart fightin’, too.

All Star Western #5

Jonah Hex and Doc Arkham are stuck underground, surrounded by — well, I think we can call ’em mutants. They’re quickly disarmed and thrown into an underground river, where they’re washed out in a waterfall and stuck on a narrow ledge. Things get worse from there, as Arkham’s panic about dying of starvation attracts a bunch of cave-dwelling Indians who all try to kill them. Once they escape them, things get even worse when they have to climb a sheer cliff. And then things get even worse.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Wow, Doc Arkham really is completely useless — amusingly, frustratingly useless. Besides that, it’s got good action, good dialogue, and it’s just all-around good fun.

Secret Avengers #21.1

The first of Rick Remender’s run on this series opens with a mission just for Captain America and Hawkeye. They’re running around the rogue nation of Bagalia. They’re on a mission to save an American politician from assassination — but he’s not even a real person, just a robotic Life Model Decoy. And it turns out the whole escapade was a test for Hawkeye to see if he was ready to take over the Secret Avengers. Cap is mad at him for flunking the test, Hawkeye is mad at Cap for treating him like a junior space cadet. They split up to go home — and then Cap gets ambushed and captured by Whiplash, Vengeance, and Princess Python — they’re working with Max Fury, a Life Model Decoy who looks like Nick Fury, so they can form a new Masters of Evil team. Will they be able to use Cap’s capture to create anti-American propaganda?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Not half bad. Good art, good dialogue, good story. We’ll see if Hawkeye can actually manage to lead a covert team or not…

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Into the Woods

Finally getting the last two weeks’ worth of comics reviewed… just in time to pick up new comics this afternoon. Siiiiigh.

Morning Glories #15

Zoe, Hunter, and Jun are participating in something called Woodrun, which involves them… running through the woods. Jun gets eliminated pretty quickly when he’s flagged by another team — no serious penalty, but he’s out of the game and has to go back to the campus. Hunter gets some friendly chatting done with a fellow geeky student, and Zoe reminisces about how her life went to hell in high school. The two students, who normally hate each other’s guts, get in a little time to talk to each other in a non-antagonistic fashion, and everything seems pretty hunky-dory. But nothing ever seems to turn out completely positive in this comic…

Verdict: Thumbs up. What a cliffhanger! On top of that, we’ve got good dialogue, good characterization, and more backstory for Zoe. It’s all good stuff — go grab it while you can.

Demon Knights #5

Our heroes are all undergoing more stress and disagreement as the night wears on, and the Questing Queen and Mordru take advantage by sending their astral bodies out to tempt the heroes to desert the villagers. Who will resist? And who will betray their companions?

Verdict: Thumbs up, but it was actually a lot less enjoyable than other issues. It’s just going on and on and on, and I think this storyarc could’ve been wrapped up faster than this. Writing for the trade makes for dull, over-long comics…

Secret Avengers #21

Looks like the whole Secret Avengers crew is along for the ride on this one. The team stages a fake emergency at the Office of National Emergency to try to track down an employee who is a secret agent of the Shadow Council. Once they get the mole to reveal themselves, they learn what the Shadow Council has been up to — secret breeding experiments to create human hybrids who could turn into terrifying and all-but unstoppable monsters — and those monsters are just seconds from waking up in the building’s basement. Any chance anyone can stop the unstoppable monsters?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Nice set-up, nice complications, nice solution. Not a lot of fancy characterization, but this is an action comic, and it definitely brings on the action.

Frankenstein: Agent of S.H.A.D.E. #5

Frankenstein and OMAC beat up on each other while Brother Eye tries to infiltrate

Verdict: Thumbs down. I don’t mind an all-fighting comic, but this was all-dumb-fighting, and I don’t like those at all.

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Time and Time Again

Secret Avengers #20

The latest Secret Avengers op has gone bad, leaving Steve Rogers, Sharon Carter, and War Machine dead, and Black Widow using an untested “escape hatch” teleporter to escape to… five years in the past? Turns out the “escape hatch” is a wrist-mounted time machine with a few serious limitations — events that have already happened still have to happen, so she can’t just timejump to five minutes before the end of the mission and wipe out the bad guys. This leads to a great deal of jumping back and forth through time, learning about how time travel works, financing a genius to get him to build a wrist-mounted time machine, getting weapons engineers to build weapons that won’t actually kill her teammates and making sure those weapons are in the hands of the bad guys. But will all this time travel actually save the Secret Avengers?

Verdict: Thumbs up. This was actually the first of Warren Ellis’ “Secret Avengers” comics that really felt like a Warren Ellis comic. It’s high concept, packed full of action, and insanely complicated, but it’s still very, very human. I loved all the scenes with Count Khronus and Kongo, especially the art shifts that accompanied their first appearance.

Static Shock #5

Static escapes from the watery grave Piranha threw him into. The Slate Gang loses their security contract with the criminal organization, and Piranha takes it over on a probationary basis. The crooks say they can’t find any civilian identity for Static — not even Virgil Hawkins has the same DNA. And they kidnap Virgil’s sister, Sharon — or one of them, since they’re perfect clones. Guilotina tries to make friends with Sharon, and Static tries to track down where Piranha is taking Sharon.

Verdict: Thumbs down. Too much confusion. Why can’t the bad guys tell that Static is Virgil Hawkins, and if they don’t think he’s Static, why do they kidnap his sister? What’s with the threatening note left for Virgil at home? About the only part of this that I enjoyed was the retelling of Static’s origin. Other than that, wow, what a colossal mess.

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The Grace of Godzilla

Godzilla: Kingdom of Monsters #9

Steven Woods and his young traveling companion Allie have a new vehicle to travel around the country in — the abandoned and battle-scarred Mechagodzilla! Woods has gotten the manual controls switched on, and he’s able to beat up on Anguirus. Woods reveals that he’s got a mad-on to destroy Godzilla, because the King of Monsters killed his whole family. Eventually, President Ogden and what’s left of the American government are able to contact Mechagodzilla and order him back to Detroit, but it may already be too late for that.

Verdict: Thumbs up. This really does seem to be the most focused issue of this series so far. Most other issues have had multiple storylines running and multiple characters, sometimes very minor ones. But this one is focused entirely on Woods, Allie, and Mechagodzilla, and it makes it a vastly stronger story. I wasn’t really expecting a lot from this issue, but I was very pleased with how it turned out — kudos to writer Jason Ciaramella for that.

Secret Avengers #19

Steve Rogers, Sharon Carter, the Black Widow, and Moon Knight are in the Baltic nation of Symkaria, looking to take down a drug lord named Voydanoi, who is apparently using drugs to make his thugs as powerful as super-soldiers. But it soon becomes apparent that Voydanoi’s minions aren’t super-soldiers, and they didn’t get their abilities from drugs — they emit brightly-colored, swirling lights when they’re knocked unconscious. Will the team be able to make it past all the enhanced guards to the penthouse? Once they’re there, will they be able to handle Voydanoi himself?

Verdict: Thumbs up. It’s a good but not spectacular story. Good action all around, and it’s nice to see Moon Knight do something other than be the Crazy Guy.

Dark Horse Presents #6

This anthology series stuffs another metric ton of good stories in here. We’ve got Peter Hogan and Steve Parkhouse’s “Resident Alien,” Carla Speed McNeil’s “Finder: Third World,” Felipe Melo and Juan Cavia’s “Adventures of Dog Mendonca and Pizzaboy,” Evan Dorkin and Jill Thompson’s “Beasts of Burden,” Fabio Moon’s “Change,” Neal Adams’ “Blood,” Steve Niles and Christopher Mittens’ “Criminal Macabre,” Haward Chaykin’s “Marked Man,” Robert Love and David Walker’s “Number 13,” and Andi Watson’s “Skeleton Key.”

Verdict: Thumbs up. Nothing particularly bad, and lots of stuff that’s really good. Personal favorites included “Marked Man” and “Finder: Third World,” which both seem to get more amazing with every new chapter, and “Beasts of Burden,” which is always grand, grand fun.

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Hell House

Still tired of doing reviews all the blasted time, so I’m hoping to get all the reviews out of the way before the weekend. Can I do it? Let’s see!

Abe Sapien: The Devil Does Not Jest #2

Abe is in a bad way after getting mobbed and cut to ribbons by a bunch of little monsters. He meets up with the ghost of the demonologist Van Laer while he’s hallucinating — he tells him how he let his arrogance convince him to raise a powerful demon. He was able to destroy it, but not before it infected his wife with a poison that turned her into a monster. Will Abe and the sheriff be able to survive before help arrives?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Monsters, monsters, monsters. Fishmen, ghosts, demons, axes. Everything I need in a pre-Halloween comic book. Yes, get both chapters of this, if you can.

Daredevil #5

Blind translater Austin Cao has hired Matt Murdock to represent him in a wrongful termination suit. But Cao was fired because his boss feared he’d overheard some shady dealings, and the crooks employing his boss decide to deal with both Cao and Murdock with a hit squad. It’s a good thing Matt Murdock is Daredevil so he can beat the stuffins out of the assassins. Matt gets Austin to a safe location, then helps him remember the conversation he’d accidentally overheard — a scheme to register the ships of criminal organizations with Latveria to make sure they’ll be able to fly below any legal radar. Daredevil moves to protect Austin’s boss from the bad guys, but there’s a new assassin on the way — a superstrong killing machine called Bruiser.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Smart, smart writing from Mark Waid, and amazingly gorgeous art from Marcos Martin. You’re reading this comic, aren’t you? Why aren’t you reading this comic?

Secret Avengers #18

Steve Rogers, Sharon Carter, and Shang-Chi, Master of Kung Fu, are in a secret hideout in another dimension — a broken dimension, actually, with laws of physics that don’t work right. However, some matter in this broken dimension can be transported to our own — and due to its weird physical properties, this transmatter can very easily be made to undergo nuclear fusion. This means that a small amount of it could be used to completely destroy the Earth. So they need to stop a degraded clone-copy of Arnim Zola from transporting the transmatter back to Earth. What’s this all boil down to? A heck of a lot of Shang-Chi beating up people.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Come on, this issue is basically a tribute to how much fun it is to see Shang-Chi beat people up. And that’s a very, very good thing.

All Star Western #2

Jonah Hex and Amadeus Arkham are in big trouble. They know that Gotham City’s serial killer is actually supported by a secret conspiracy of many of the city’s most powerful people, all belonging to something called the Religion of Crime, and they’ll never let them live with that knowledge. Of course, you send a squad of gunmen to take on Jonah Hex, you’re likely to end up with a squad of dead gunmen. But Hex and Arkham are still just two men against a whole city of evil. All that, plus there’s a backup story starring the new version of Western hero El Diablo, riding into town to save a bunch of townspeople from zombies.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Nice to see that the Religion of Crime hasn’t been scrapheaped with the old DC Universe. Nice to see Hex shooting a buttload of bad guys. But I do hope we see Arkham doing something other than merely observing the action soon.

Avengers Academy #20

In the aftermath of “Fear Itself,” Veil has decided to leave Avengers Academy — and she calls mega-wealthy metahuman sociopath Jeremy Briggs to see if he’ll give her a job with his company. In addition, Speedball has also decided to quit the group, finally feeling that he’s made up for the Stamford disaster and wanting to be a regular hero again. So is this the beginning of the end of Avengers Academy, or just the end of the beginning?

Verdict: Thumbs up. The farewell to Veil, Speedball, and some other characters is nice — but honestly, the ones leaving were the ones that were the least interesting characters in the comic. Still, I’m fairly keen on the fact that this really cool comic is going to continue.

All reviews complete? ALL REVIEWS COMPLETE!

Today’s Cool Links:

  • Another article on how DC is shooting itself in the foot by marketing themselves solely to immature white males — and why it’s important to keep saying so.
  • This was a really interesting article about scientists who study octopus intelligence and the suprising things they’re learning.
  • If you’ve been missing Allie Brosh’s posts on “Hyperbole and a Half,” she has the sad but inspiring story of where she’s been.

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Keep on Truckin’

Secret Avengers #17

Steve Rogers and the Secret Avengers learn about a strange semi truck roaming Serbia and using some mysterious energy to kidnap entire villages for unknown but likely evil purposes. There’s no time to make lots of preparations — so Steve gets Sharon Carter, War Machine, and Valkyrie onto a Quincarrier and rushes them to Eastern Europe to find the strange semi. And what they find is… weird technology in the hands of weird cyber-zombies with bad attitudes. And their truck is resistant to almost everything they do to it. Can the team stop the truck, save the civilians, and track down the bad guys?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Good dialogue and outstanding action — and it’s not mindless action, either — this stuff is plotted out carefully, almost choreographed. But I’ve certainly come to expect that from anything Warren Ellis writes.

Abe Sapien: The Devil Does Not Jest #1

A flashback to an earlier episode in amphibious B.P.R.D. agent Abe Sapien’s life. In the mid-1980s, Abe meets up with Peter Van Laer, a man whose grandfather was a noted scholar and expert in demonology. The grandfather went missing decades ago — nothing mysterious, he just ran off with a co-ed and deserted the family. But Van Laer has just learned that his grandfather had another son, so he and Abe travel to Maine to visit the uncle and learn what they can about the grandfather’s studies. Things don’t go well — Uncle Turner chops Peter up with an axe, and Abe shoots him dead. The local sheriff investigates, but gets led off by strange noises, and when Abe goes to help, he gets attacked by lizardy insect-monsters. And there are several horrifying things waiting in the basement of the house.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Excellent action — seems like half the comic is skinny, bookish Abe beating the snot out of monsters — and the other half of the comic is amazingly creepy stuff. This is a nice little horror-pulp comic to start October off with.

Dungeons & Dragons #11

Adric Fell and his band of adventurers have worked their way into an ancient citadel in the Feywild, looking for an artifact called the Guide of Gates. The bad news is there’s a wizard working for the bad guys who Adric actually abandoned in the Feywild years ago. The good news is that the wizard is blind and can only identify them by the sound of their voices. They’re able to disguise and bluff their way out of that problem, and Tisha the tiefling warlock gets the wizard off their trail, but the rest of them still have to find the Guide of Gates and battle a gigantic golem. Will they be able to stop the golem, find the Guide, and smuggle the treasure and themselves out past an army of guards?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Very good action, dialogue, intrigue — just an amazingly clever and well-done story.

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Fun with Freaks!

Well, I never read any of “Flashpoint,” so you won’t get a review of that here. And I’m not a big fan of Geoff Johns anymore — I don’t like Brian Michael Bendis at Marvel, so why should I want his new clone working at DC? — so I didn’t pick up the new “Justice League” either. But don’t worry — there were plenty of other comics released this week…

The Goon #35

A new issue of “The Goon!” And it’s written by Evan Dorkin! The Goon and Franky stumble onto a creepy circus called Brigadoon’s Dreamland Carnival — and the entire thing is run by sideshow freaks! The freaks accept both Franky and the Goon — because heck, why wouldn’t they? But while looking around the carnival, our heroes discover that the entire thing is geared around torturing and murdering innocent normals. That’s too rotten for even Franky to stomach, but can even the Goon survive the Midgets of All Nations, the Ossified Man, or the monstrous Ten-in-One?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Very good, very funny, and fantastic action. Evan Dorkin and Eric Powell should team up much more often, ’cause this was the most fun I’ve had reading a comic in ages.

Secret Avengers #16

So they said, “Hey, Scott, Warren Ellis is gonna be writing the ‘Secret Avengers’ comic.” And I said, “Yeah, sign me up for that.”

Our team includes Steve Rogers, Hank McCoy, the Black Widow, and Moon Knight. They’ve been sent on a mission deep underground, in one of the secret cities of the late and unlamented Secret Empire, because they’ve detected Von Doom Radiation — one of the radioactive emissions of time travel. They soon learn that a group called the Shadow Council has taken over the city and built a time machine large and powerful enough to annihilate the city above it — and any other city on the planet. Can four people stop an army and eliminate this threat to the planet?

Verdict: Ehh, kinda on the fence about this one. The action is good, the scale of the threat is impressive, and the dialogue seemed fine. But I just didn’t find myself as charged up about it as I expected. Maybe I got my hopes up too high?

Rocketeer Adventures #4

The anthology tribute to Dave Stevens‘ grand retro-pulp action hero wraps up with a trio of tales. First, Dave Gibbons and Scott Hampton take us beachside as the Rocketeer tries to save a champion surfer’s rare heirloom surfboard. Next, Joe Pruett and Tony Harris bring us a story of Cliff Secord’s trip under the sea as he takes on a Japanese submarine. And finally, John Arcudi and Brendan McCarthy introduce us to the Aeronaut, a Nazi rocketeer with a superior version of Cliff’s suit.

Verdict: Thumbs up. All the stories were a bucket of fun, with wonderful art and tons of outstanding pulp-hero action. My lone complaint about this issue — as it’s been with every issue of this series — is that we don’t get any of Dave Stevens’ classic stories to enjoy.

The Amazing Spider-Man #668

With tons of New Yorkers discovering their own spider-powers, Spider-Man is at a distinct disadvantage — his fellow superheroes can’t tell the difference between his imitators and the real deal! So the Wall-Crawler gets benched, but he still figures out a way to help — pretending to be just an ordinary New Yorker who’s discovered new spider-powers, he makes a video calling for other empowered New Yorkers to come help fight the bad guys. And of course they do — in droves. Swarms, even. Mayor J. Jonah Jameson deputizes everyone, and Peter Parker and his girlfriend Carlie Cooper get put in charge of weaponizing Spidey’s old high-tech costumes and later realize that the Jackal is probably behind all of this. How much trouble are they going to get into inside one of Miles Warren’s old hideouts? Probably a lot…

Verdict: Thumbs up. The story behind this seems to be developing pretty well. We get some great action, fun dialogue, and a lot of crazy superheroics. This one has been a lot more fun than I was expecting.

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