Archive for Young Avengers

Farewell, Young Avengers


Young Avengers #15

It’s the final issue of “Young Avengers”! NO FAIR! Can we trick Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie into continuing this series somehow?

Marvel Boy has a heart-to-heart with Broo — who isn’t actually paying attention to him. Loki makes an appearance, we find out who zombie Patriot was, We find out where Tommy was hiding, and we get one final moment with the whole team together. Plus one final surprise about some of the characters’ sexual orientations…

Verdict: Thumbs up. And not just for this issue, which was entirely fun and charismatic, but for the series as a whole. We need more superhero comics where the characters are this much fun to read about. The big reveal at the end will get everyone talking, but the bigger news is that it’s still possible to make fun, exciting teen superhero comics that don’t skimp on the action or characterization and never devolve into mindless carnage. DC could learn some lessons from this book.


The Fox #3

The Fox is still traveling through a strange crystalline fantasy world, dodging deadly traps and monsters. He encounters and defeats a giant spider and a flaming monster, discovers a transmogrified superhero, and saves another hero, only to land in even more trouble than before. Meanwhile, the Shield battles two wartime enemies, but discovers they may actually be on the same side for once.

Verdict: Thumbs up. My favorite issue of this series so far. I’ve complained that it didn’t feel like it was bringing the A-game that it should, but it’s finally feeling like the kind of butt-whupping comic we should expect. Let’s hope it keeps the party train rolling…

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So Very Many Comics…

I’m still trying to clear space for more holiday gift recommendations, so I’m gonna see if I can clear all my regular comics reviews all at once. Strap on your seat belt, kids — we’re gonna do a review marathon…


FF #15

The Future Foundation has everything planned out, and they’re ready to take down Doctor Doom. They send in a bunch of robots controlled by the kids to distract Doom and his robots and to wreck up his Latverian castle, while the grownups and their allies infiltrate and sabotage Doom behind the scenes before finally moving in for the final confrontation. But will all their preparation allow them to succeed against Doom the Annihilating Conqueror?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Great action, great humor, intrigue, drama — and thanks to co-writer and scripter Lee Allred, the story is jam-packed with in-jokes geared directly to fans of the late, lamented City of Heroes, the best dang superhero MMO ever. I loved it, and I want a lot more of it, so I’m crossing my fingers that the series will continue, despite its predicted demise.


Red Sonja #6

Sonja was prepared to duel Dark Annisia to the death, but they’ve both been surprised by the re-emergence of the genocidal tyrant Bazrat, who reveals that the plague that afflicted Sonja and the kingdom wasn’t actually a plague at all — it was all poison administered secretly to the populace. Can Sonja and Annisia stop fighting long enough to stop the madman?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Excellent action, drama, and art, and a genuinely smart story, all wrapped up in a nice chainmail bow.


Itty Bitty Hellboy #5

Abe’s little sister Eve is having a birthday, and everyone is invited to the party! Hellboy, Liz, the Rogers, Baba (and her chicken-leg hut), Hecate, Lobster Johnson, Johann Kraus, and many more all show up. Presents are opened, seaweed cake is devoured, hot sauce is splashed on people, and Hellboy gets turned into a chicken. Just like every other day then, right?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Very funny, very cute — it’s too bad this is the final issue, because Art Baltazar and Franco did a great job making Hellboy and his supporting cast look so adorable.


Young Avengers #14

Evil has been vanquished, and it’s time for the after party. A wide selection of artists are on hand to help document the first half of the Young Avengers’ last big party, along with most of the other young superheroes in the Marvel Universe. Wiccan and Hulkling reconcile for good, we learn more of Miss America’s origin and about her secret connection to Wiccan, and Kate Bishop decides where she stands with Noh-Varr.

Verdict: Thumbs up. A bunch of excellently crafted stories about relationships — both romantic and familial — all backed up by a bunch of cool artists. I’m gonna miss this series, but it’s nice to see they’re going out pushing the envelope.


A Voice in the Dark #2

Zoey is worried that her urges to commit murder are going to get the better of her, so she starts up a campus talk-radio show, hoping she’ll be able to quell her homicidal desires by basking in other people’s darkness. And her very first caller is someone who’s contemplating suicide. Can Zoey keep her from killing herself? Can her uncle and his fellow police officers find the girl in time?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Fantastic art and a great story that does not go where we expect it to go. Is there anything Zoey can do to keep from getting completely washed over in blood? Maybe not — and it’ll be fun seeing how it all turns out for her…


Daredevil #34

Matt Murdock wants to strike a serious blow against the racist Sons of the Serpent — and he particularly wants to take their ally, the Jester, out of circulation. He’s managed to obtain the Darkhold, an ancient mystical book that the Sons consider their Bible, and he’s also gotten hold of a device that will allow him to broadcast to every TV, radio, and web browser in New York City. He enlists the aid of Kirsten McDuffie and then makes his broadcast, warning New Yorkers about the Sons and threatening to destroy the Darkhold if they don’t turn over the Jester. Can the gamble pay off? Or will the Sons kill McDuffie as revenge?

Verdict: Thumbs up. It’s an excellent story, with some real shining moments for McDuffie. The action is quite nice, and as always, Javier Rodriguez’s artwork is phenomenally beautiful.


Revival #16

The authorities are now exterminating the local livestock, which has gotten a serious dose of whatever is causing the revivals, and Ramin and Sheriff Cypress are the targets of a low-level terrorist attack. Dana Cypress enlists her ex-husband Derrick and her sister Em — a secret Reviver — to help investigate whoever murdered Em. And Derrick runs into a mysteriously deformed arsonist. What the heck’s going on?

Verdict: Thumbs up. The series is definitely trending away from horror right now and back toward noir. Not a bad thing at all — great characterization and art, and I’m still loving the story.


Pretty Deadly #3

Ya know, I’m not sure I could tell you the plot in a way that’ll really make sense. But we learn more about Ginny and Fox and Death, how they got the way they are, and what may be coming up for them eventually.

Verdict: Thumbs up. I liked this issue a lot more. It made a lot more sense, I could keep track of who the characters were, and there were multiple really good, really powerful scenes. I hope they can keep the quality high on this one.

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Young Avengers #13

It’s the final battle between the Young Avengers and the monstrous shapeshifting mind-controlling Mother! And while Wiccan tries to become the Demiurge, and the teen heroes on Earth fight off the alternate-universe monster versions of the Young Avengers, the rest of the team is fighting Leah and her allies — who are all, somehow, different facets of Loki’s personality. No, I don’t understand how it works either, but once Teen Loki confesses, Leah and the rest of her stooges vanish, except for the zombie Patriot. But it may do no good, because Mother is about to eat Wiccan and take control of the universe. Can Hulkling manage to give his lover the pep talk he needs, or is this the end of everything?

Verdict: Thumbs up. No, I didn’t really understand all of it, but it was stylish and beautifully illustrated and fun, and it’s everything that great superhero comics should be — and we gotta enjoy the heck out of this series while it still lasts. So it’s worth getting, either now or whenever it gets released in trade paperback.


Velvet #2

Velvet has been framed for the death of several agents, and she’s on the run, trying to avoid getting apprehended or killed. Is there anyone she can trust, or is she completely on the outside now?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Yes, it’s a very short plot description because nearly the entire story is devoted to epic chase scenes and fistfights. The action is absolutely fantastic, and you should be reading this one for that alone.


Hellboy in Hell #5

Hey, I thought this one ended months ago. Hellboy is still in Hell, and he meets up with some old gentleman who sold his soul to the Devil years ago. He and his friends agreed to the bargain on the condition that if they could answer the demon’s questions on the day he harvested them, they could go free. Can Hellboy figure out a way to get the old man’s soul free?

Verdict: Thumbs up. It’s a nice story, and it’s got real live Mike Mignola artwork. Yeah, this really better be on your list, kid.


The Fox #2

So the Fox finds himself running around some bizarre crystalline world being menaced by a giant monster — until suddenly his wife Mae appears, wearing a costume similar to his and calling herself the She-Fox. And she pretty much kicks his ass all over the city. But wait a minute — wasn’t Paul in some crystal world just a minute ago? Who’s trying to gaslight him and how can he escape? Plus we get a short backup story about the Shield and how he spent part of World War II.

Verdict: Thumbs up. The story’s fine and the art’s nice. The story and characters are growing on me, though I still wish this were a bit more epic and out of the usual Marvel/DC formula.

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The Voice of Death


A Voice in the Dark #1

I’ve got a bit of a soft spot in my heart for radio — I worked as a DJ and quasi-news dude for years, and despite the fact that radio station owners are, without exception, morally bereft, incompetent morons, I still have lots of fond memories of my radio days. So a story based around radio is something that’s gonna grab my interest.

Our lead character is Zoey Aarons, a young college student with a newly adopted little sister — one of her best friends, Seven, who was outed as a lesbian by a schoolmate and then disowned by her family. Zoey’s family adopted her, and Seven is very glad to be part of the family. Oh, but that’s not the important part of the story. See, Zoey murdered the girl who outed Seven, and she has nearly constant temptations to kill again. She’s a budding serial killer, and she has no idea how she’s going to make it through college without killing someone else.

Her lone strategy for keeping her inner psycho at bay is to run her own late night talk radio program on the campus station, encouraging people to call in anonymously and talk about whatever dark thoughts are on their minds. Can wallowing in other people’s darkness keep her own murderous urges under control?

Verdict: Thumbs up. I absolutely love the characters and dialogue, and our very unconventional serial killing heroine is really fun. She’s clearly keeping her emotions knuckled down, partly to keep herself from just going stabby on everyone, partly because her uncle, a homicide detective, lives in town and checks up on her periodically.

And maybe more fascinating than the story and the characters is the comic’s creator. Larime Taylor has arthrogryposis, a birth defect that leaves his joints in locked positions. He has almost no use of his arms or legs, so he draws with his mouth. And the artwork is absolutely fantastic.

So in other words, great story, great characters, great art, a great creator — and radio. Worth picking up, y’all.


Young Avengers #12

Mother and Leah plan to tear the earth apart with an invasion of alternate-reality evil Young Avengers — and with Mother’s mind-warping powers, the grownups will believe that all the bad guys are really the Young Avengers. Luckily, our heroes have some backup — almost every teenaged superhero on the planet. Can they stop the invasion? Can the Young Avengers fight through Mother’s hand-picked, shallow supervillain guardians to rescue Hulkling and save the world?

Verdict: Thumbs up. A fun, action-packed, characterization-rich story told with incredible style. You’ve likely already heard that Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie will end this comic in a few issues — I actually don’t feel that bad about that. Great storytellers should be allowed to tell their stories their way — and I also have faith that the Young Avengers will return before long.

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Monster Mash


Daredevil #32

The Jester has lured Matt Murdock into a trap, but he’s frustrated when he doesn’t react the way he expected. The Jester assumes that Daredevil is a sighted superhero pretending to be blind, but since Matt really is blind, his radar sense can’t tell that the hanged dummy is supposed to look like Foggy Nelson, and he can smell the cyanide on the supposed suicide note. Frustrated, the Jester sends in a couple crooked cops to kill him — and of course, they get their butts whupped. Later, Matt’s research with the real Foggy reveals that the Sons of the Serpent might have had quasi-mystic origins, and that sends Daredevil on a visit to Dr. Strange.

Doc Strange tells Matt to visit a small town in Kentucky. Turns out, it’s a hotbed of activity for the Sons of the Serpent, and while trying to stop them from lynching someone, he also runs afoul of…the Legion of Monsters! Can Daredevil make friends with the Werewolf by Night, N’Kntu the Living Mummy, Satana, the Monster of Frankenstein, and the Zombie Simon Garth? Or is he about to join them in undeath?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Even aside from the great story by Mark Waid and the great art by Chris Samnee, there’s just nothing I love more than classic comic book monsters. Especially when we’re getting this close to Halloween.


FF #13

Scott Lang has saved all of the Future Foundation from the machinations of Doctor Doom, Alex Power, and Maximus the Mad by teleporting everyone to a place where Doom can’t track them. Doom is infuriated, of course, and takes his wrath out on Kid Immortus and Ravona. So where is the Future Foundation? They’re hiding in the Impossible Man’s pants. He teleports them all to the Blue Area of the Moon, where Scott gets Uatu himself (and his girlfriend Ulana) to surrender by threatening him with the Ultimate Nullifier. And then a bunch of alternate-timeline versions of Red Ghost and the Super-Apes appear — the kids make friends with all the apes by offering them bananas, and then kick the tar out of all the Red Ghosts. Well, this is all great, but how does Scott plan to stop Doctor Doom?

Verdict: Thumbs up. So many funny moments in this one — She-Hulk’s horror at discovering where they’re all hiding; Bentley-23’s realization that Uatu’s name makes its own pun; the kids’ reactions to word that Uatu has a girlfriend; Uatu needing to visit the bathroom; the entire sequence with Red Ghost; and much, much more besides. Tons of great lines and wonderful art. It’s a grand story and a great lesson on how much fun comics can be when they embrace their inherent sense of humor.


Young Avengers #11

Kid Loki discovers that Leah has allied with Mother and captured Hulkling, and Mother plans to unleash the evil alternates of our heroes on the Earth to wreak mass destruction. In an attempt to build up enough mystical power to break Mother’s spells, Wiccan magically turns turns Kid Loki into Teen Loki — but he’s still not powerful enough. So the new plan is to invade Mother’s home dimension, age Wiccan into the Demiurge, and recruit other teenaged superheroes on Earth to stop the invasion of the Evil Young Avengers. That’s a lot of stuff that can go wrong, ain’t it?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Great art, great writing, fun dialogue, desperate situations, awesome characters. I just enjoy every issue of this comic so much.

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A Little Bit of Hell


Itty Bitty Hellboy #2

Art Baltazar and Franco’s tribute to Mike Mignola’s pulpiest creations continues, as Lobster Johnson arrives on the scene, with his talking blue pet Lobster Smith. They’re on the lookout for the Sasquatch, so all the Hellboy kids gleefully offer to help out. Apparently, looking for Sasquatch involves doing lots and lots of yelling, which bothers Johnson more and more as time goes by. Meanwhile, the bad guys disguise themselves as woodland creatures, Liz starts some fires, and Roger’s underwear continues to be hilarious.

Verdict: Thumbs up. The only thing I have to say about this one is that it’s adorable and funny and awesome. If you loved Tiny Titans or Superman Family Adventures or Patrick the Wolf Boy, you should definitely be reading this.


Young Avengers #10

Mother, the horrible interdimensional parasite who has bedeviled the Young Avengers, matches wits against Loki, gets fairly freaked out by the zombiepuppet version of Patriot, and plots with Leah, who, in her guise as Hulkling’s counselor, works to lead the teen shapeshifter astray.

Verdict: Thumbs up. A very interesting focus on different characters — Mother and Teddy are the two who get most of our attention, but the brief snippets of Loki’s devious mind and Leah’s ruthless deceitfulness are also quite enjoyable. And the art is beautifully done, as is the case in every issue of this series.


Wonder Woman #23.2

Apollo turns some L.A. gangsta girls into his oracles so he can see the full history of the First Born. Basically, he was Zeus and Hera’s first kid, they threw him out of Olympus, he built his own empire of pain and murder, and then the gods laid the smackdown on him.

Verdict: Thumbs down. This could’ve been told within the regular Wonder Woman comics. And it should’ve been, too.

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A Bunch of Comics that Really Didn’t Do that Much for Me

Let’s run through ’em fast.


Captain Marvel #15

So Carol didn’t die in space. She just lost her memory and is somehow faking her way through everything. A ton of superheroes go to blow up some evil aliens called the Builders, but Carol gets stuck in space all alone, then she turns into Binary. Okay, fine, everything old is new again.

Verdict: Ehh.


FF #11

The FF go back in time to try to rescue the Fantastic Four, but they get hijacked by the Impossible Man, and they agree to take on his son Adolf as a student.

Verdict: Ehh.


The Green Team #4

Everyone fights Riot, who turns out to be Comm’s father. Cecilia loses her cyborg arm, and the nanites in Comm’s suit give him superpowers.

Verdict: Ehh.


Lazarus #3

Forever Carlyle visits the Morray family to offer them a truce. She and Joacquim, the Morray Lazarus get along very well. Jonah and Johanna Carlyle, however, are plotting against everyone.

Verdict: A bit better, but still mostly ehh.


Uncanny Avengers #11

Daken stabs Wolverine through the head, the Sentry tears his own face off, and the Scarlet Witch may be about to rapture every mutant on Earth to another planet.

Verdict: I’m a little amazed how little I care about this comic.


Young Avengers #9

Prodigy’s smooch with Hulkling is just gonna cause more angst. The rest of the team meets Leah, a former handmaiden of Hela banished to another dimension by Loki years ago. The team finally rescues Hulkling and Prodigy from Mother’s dimension by hitting her with a bunch of evil alternates versions of themselves. And Kate Bishop is close enough to her birthday that she’ll end up becoming an adult and joining Mother’s side soon. Plus Hulkling’s new therapist looks familiar…

Verdict: Thumbs up. The only one of these I really enjoyed. Lots of fun, lots of action, plenty of intrigue and mystery and humor and spooky stuff.

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Dimension Dancing


Young Avengers #8

The team is pursuing the mysterious faux-Patriot through parallel dimensions to try to find where he’s kidnapped Wiccan’s brother, Speed. They run through a bunch of very, very bad parallel dimensions, where they’ve turned into monsters or conquerors or gods or corpses, and they run through very, very few that are any good. But when they run into Mother’s home dimension, and when they get separated while they’re there, that’s very, very, very bad.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Fantastic art, fantastic writing, frequently hilarious dialogue, frequently creepy images, and frequently awesome action. I’m loving this series so very much.


The Green Team #3

Commodore, Mo, and Mo’s bodyguard Abisha are, for whatever reason, hanging out with Deathstroke while he tries to execute a contract. Meanwhile, Cecilia Sunbeam is trying to cope with her new cyborg arm, while J.P. Houston watches out for the Riot terrorists attacking them. Once Comm and Mo ride down Deathstroke’s zipline and help him (kinda? maybe?) corner his target (all he wants to do is talk to the target, which is kind of a stupid thing to hire an assassin to do), everyone travels to Monaco, where they’re again attacked by Riot. But this time, Deathstroke helps capture one of them so they can find out what they want.

Verdict: Thumbs down. I really had so much trouble getting over the idea that these wealthy superhero fanatics would want to hang out with a murderous assassin. And I’d like to find out more about Cecilia’s cyborg arm, but apparently, that’s just going to be one of those things no one bothers to explain.

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Calling Dispatch


Astro City #2

Our focal character in this issue is Marella, who has just taken a call center job — but it’s no mere phone bank. This is a job helping run the call center for the Honor Guard, the world’s premier team of superheroes. She and her coworkers take calls and emails from all over the world from people who need the help of the world’s greatest superheroes — and Marella has to work to determine which calls really need the Honor Guard and which can be handled by more mundane authorities. Everyone who works there wants the glory of being the person to supervise an alert for a serious Honor Guard emergency, but they don’t come often. Luckily, there are perks — travel around the world, getting to meet the Honor Guard, and much more. But there are some serious dangers if you ever screw up on the job…

Verdict: Thumbs up. Fantastic story and art. A fun glimpse behind the scenes at how a major superteam would operate — monitor duty for the whole planet wouldn’t be handled by just one overworked superhero, but by a team of dispatchers keeping track of potential crises. And I’m still just plain charged up that we’ve got Astro City comics on the shelves again. So yeah, people, go read this great stuff, alright?


Young Avengers #7

The Young Avengers are still roaming around Earth and space, avoiding New York City and any contact with their parents — otherwise, Mother, the interdimensional reality-warping parasite, is able to attack them. They tangle with a bunch of Skrulls (or at least “Skrulls”). Hulkling worries that Wiccan may accidentally be mind-controlling him. We learn that Marvel Boy actually has mind-control saliva. And Prodigy seeks the team out to recruit their help in finding Speed, who vanished mysteriously last issue.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Great story and dialogue. Amazing art and design. People, this comic is just plain crazy-fun. And it looks like we get to go alternate-dimension hopping next issue, so come on, let’s go for a ride!


Worlds’ Finest #14

Desaad’s forces are still moving against Huntress and Power Girl, burning up their safehouses and labs and hideouts to force them into a direct confrontation. And eventually, a direct confrontation is just what he gets.

Verdict: Thumbs up. It’s a simple enough plot, but there are lots of things to like about it. We get some nice characterization and dialogue, lots of fine action, and Desaad being a twisted freak. I’m enjoying Paul Levitz’s work on this one just fine.

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Arise, Lazarus


Lazarus #1

The new series by Greg Rucka and Michael Lark is a dystopian sci-fi study on a woman who can’t die. Our setting is the future, when there are no more nations or states, just a handful of wealthy families that govern a small number of useful serfs and a far larger population of the seemingly useless poor, called the Waste. Our lead character is Forever “Eve” Carlyle, the protector of the Family Carlyle. She’s a genetically-engineered warrior known as a Lazarus who regenerates from all damage and is a specialist in all forms of combat. She’s not exactly loved by her family, but she has her duty and she’s willing to carry it out.

Our story starts as Eve is ambushed by some Waste looking for food. They shoot her and leave her for dead, but she heals up, tracks them down, and slaughters them. And it’s soon learned that a rival family invaded one of the Carlyle food compounds, shot a bunch of guards and tried to steal the seed vaults. How did they manage to get so far onto the family property? It’s suspected that they had help from some of the serfs on the inside — one of the technicians betrayed the family, and the family expects their Lazarus to find and execute the traitor. Does Eve have enough faith in her family to do the job?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Very, very nice work here. Excellent writing and art, very enjoyable world-building and characterization. Seriously, this looks like it’s going to be a very interesting story.


FF #8

The Future Foundation returns to New York City, and we get treated to an issue of shenanigans and wrap-up. Doctor Doom makes his move to force Alex Power to be his pawn. Bentley-23 and Ahura wage a Home Alone-style battle against all the other kids in the Baxter Building. Darla Deering gets a couple of rings to help her change into her Miss Thing costume more quickly, leading to a sequence designed to appeal to comic fans of my advanced age. Medusa and She-Hulk have a brawl over Medusa endangering the kids and Jenn’s refusal to treat her like nobility. The D.O.O.M.H.E.R.B.I.E.S. discuss Daft Punk, and some of the Fantastic Four’s greatest enemies prepare to make their moves against the Future Foundation.

Verdict: Thumbs up. It’s a fairly humdrum issue, in a way — most of it’s devoted to fairly friendly slugfests. But the bits with the Thing Rings, Daft Punk, Doom, and a few other small but significant moments carry this one over the top.


Young Avengers #6

We check in with a couple of character who aren’t part of the Young Avengers team, at least not yet — Speed, a young speedster and kinda-sorta brother of Wiccan, and Prodigy, a former mutant who managed to absorb the knowledge of a huge number of people before he lost his powers, making him a super-genius in everything from science to combat. Both of them are working for a mysterious company — Prodigy takes technical support calls on every subject from bomb disarming to how to fight Elektra. Speed assembles electronics, doing dreary months’ worth of work in mere minutes. They discover that someone wearing the costume of Speed’s former teammate Patriot is sabotaging the company, and they decide to stop him. But whoever it is, it isn’t Patriot, and he has abilities they can’t counter. What the heck is going on?

Verdict: Thumbs up. A great couple of character studies, and I hope we see both of these guys on the team soon enough. All in all, a really nice, excellently designed comic book.

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