Review – Avengers #27 (AVX)

Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Pencils: Walter Simonson
Inks: Scott Hanna
Colors: Jason Keith
Letters: VC’s  Cory Petit
Published by: Marvel Comics

We’re back with Avengers #27!

The Secret Avengers are facing huge problems as they plummet toward the Sun, The Protector acting on the orders of the empire has betrayed the group to get his hands on the Phoenix Force they were able to capture. Naturally betraying a group of super heroes isn’t without some regrets, we see an emotional battle with him as he displays his job well done and comes to find his expectations weren’t mirrored in the upcoming actions from the colony. Instead of being one to have it both ways and enjoy a job well done, he’s torn that such thoughts are merely dreams and he may have just cost dear friends their only hope.

The story dances between this issue and the reawakening team on the shuttle pulling out of a near death course set toward the Sun, using all of their might they were able to bank away from incineration this time but only by the smallest bit of luck. As one might imagine they were a little more than angry about the backstabbing and attack that went down on the ship and the idea that he would leave them for dead in a flash of a moment. The story wraps itself up quickly to get back on track to the main AVX arc instead of hanging behind as it has so far, the teaser for the next issue falling on Red Hulk so it seems they’ll leave the rest of the story catch-up to the Secret Avengers books again.

Overall it’s a solid entry, the twists in the issue are well placed to keep tension and guessing until it hits and even then it has some surprises that are pleasing to see given how much passes in just a few pages. I’m still not a fan of the roadkill face Thor though, I don’t think I ever will be, I know he’s burly and huge and that’s cool but it’s like someone used a rolling-pin to flatten his face out and it just kills. In general the faces could use a bit of extra attention but it seems to be par for the course right now so it’s one of those things to live with or skip over it.

Story:★★★★☆ 
Art:★★★☆☆ 
Dialog:★★★★☆ 
Overall:★★★★☆ 

Review – Secret Avengers #27 (AvX)

Writer: Rick Remender
Artist: Renato Guedes
Colors: Bettie Breitweiser & Matthew Wilson
Letters: Chris Eliopoulos
Cover: Alan Davis, Mark Farmer & Laura Martin

*Clarification – This story takes place before Avengers 26 and 27 in the AvX storyline.

A beaten and bruised crew emerges on Kree, hoping to find time to do repairs and tend to the injured of their group under secrecy from the government of the planet. All seems to be going well enough until we see Captain Marvel call two of his Kree allies on the Secret Avengers team into action, from here the goal is established that all Avengers will fall to his reborn might.

With this call to arms we see another faction emerge in the battle for the Phoenix Force, the Kree allies of Protector, Ms. Marvel and Captain Marvel group up on behalf of the planet to control and harness the Phoenix for what is said to be the next evolution of the Kree people. Life isn’t so simple though, while it’s not outlandish to see this come up, there’s another force at work speaking to the Kree and driving them directly into sacrifice instead of salvation. On a normal day those in the Secret Avengers might not have such a hard time, in this case they’re fighting with anything they have after being crushed in space when trying to contain the Phoenix Force in a deep space challenge.

The twist with Marvel is certainly interesting, he’s looking for redemption within his people for all that he’s done in the past, clouded by pride and likely mind control he goes out hoping to strike down the Avengers and inspire faith. He dreams of more for his people as he lays blow for blow, but the romantic view of life and his people will only last so long before the truth starts to rise to the surface and pop the visions he thought he knew so well. There is a darkness lurking but time will only tell if Marvel becomes aware to it and is able to react for the good of the universe.

Renato Guedes lays down great art through the book, highlighting expression and movement and pages of horrible pain to Thor and others as they get slugged around by Captain Marvel. It’s really just a brutal series of events in this issue but with the right attention that’s alright because the dialog and story still sprinkle in as it happens without feeling awkward.

Release date: May 23, 2012

Story:★★★★☆ 
Art:★★★★☆ 
Dialog:★★★½☆ 
Overall:★★★★☆ 

Review – The Avengers #26 (AvX)

Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Pencils: Walter Simonson
Inks: Scott Hanna
Colors: Jason Keith
Letters: VC’s Cory Petit
Published by: Marvel Comics

Time for a flashback and flash forward through the AvX universe, Avengers 26 attempts to elaborate on what has been going on in the series so far and it attempts to make some sense of the slaughter from Secret Avengers that we saw a few weeks ago. For those who followed that story, this might not make a lot of sense but it’s something that happens when you attempt to retell what’s already long inscribed into the story.

Captain America needs some heroes that can put it all on the line in a suicide mission, the Earth is in danger and they need to contain or stop the Phoenix if at all possible. He picks a select group of heroes for that task and sends them into the great beyond hoping for the best even though the worst seems inevitable no matter who goes up there. Everyone has a moment to say goodbye and we see some personal struggles to highlight the moment itself, it’s a hard reality that none of them could come back to the planet after this battle.

The story jumps forward to their conflict and dances through the struggle and drama of the battle, in this we see some slight story alterations a massive spoiler skip and a continuation of the battle into a new area that was lost from Secret Avengers, new hope is found from the team and things look incredibly positive until some of the deeper seeded prequel stories start coming into play. As a galactic superpower, everyone wants control of the Phoenix and even the tightest friendships or alliances can’t stop those desires from coming full circle. Betrayal strikes and the team is torn over the moves that come next. Hopefully this extended arc gets more elaboration though, it still fails to connect to AvX #4 directly and it leaves out a huge twist from Secret Avengers #26.

As a retelling, it’s okay and it’s a bit awkward in how it jumps around the existing story that was written, it’s hard to write over what was already said and established in a story. The new twist doesn’t even connect to the existing AvX arc which makes matters worse as we’re left to guess where all these pieces are coming into play and if we’re going to start moving to future stories ahead of the main arc in the same week. In the art area the treatment of many characters is a bit… poor, I look at Thor and Ms. Marvel and even Captain America and wonder what on Earth happened to their faces as the book takes off. The consistency changes somewhat through the rest of the issue but it’s just a hard hit to see characters morphed out as they are.

Story:★★★☆☆ 
Art:★★★½☆ 
Dialog:★★★★☆ 
Overall:★★★★☆ 

Marvel 99 cent Mondays brings The Avengers

Looking to stock up for not a lot of money today? Marvel is cranking out multiple titles from the Avengers universe for super cheap today. Check out the list and link below and get a chance to catch up or explore a new series entirely.

Pretty great deal and some nice variety in the mix, get a leg up on your favorite books as The Avengers movie tears it up in theaters and AvX helps rock things as well.

Marvel Mondays 99 cent sale: The Avengers

Review – SECRET #1 – One: Teeth, with which to eat

Writer: Jonathan Hickman
Artist: Ryan Bodenheim
Colors: Michael Garland
Letters: Rus Wooton

Secret is a new property hitting the Image Comics line, taking a detour from the supernatural to the dark world of private security, government secrets and pain. The last one is a bit odd to mention but SECRET packs so much of it in the panels that it’s hard to neglect including it.

The story is simple as Image Comics points out

A man gets shot in London, a law firm gets broken into in Washington, an accountant gives away the password to his computer, and something put to sleep 20 years ago awakens. What is the unsavory relationship all these things share, and how could it bring down two of the largest governments in the history of the world?

Scratch that, it’s not simple, in fact the description doesn’t even touch how down and dirty this first issue gets in the first pages. Woken in the night on his secure compound, Mr. Dunn is assaulted but it’s not a thug, in fact it’s no ordinary encounter at all… the ordeal is an execution of power not a negotiation or a plea or even a demand. A man broken to his very core by a systematic collector on a mission from a higher power is what transpires in only the first pages. This sets the tone for SECRET and it’s a very high level atmosphere as Dunn has his life shattered in a simple series of events by an unknown that has only the vaguest request.

SECRET moves forward from there, what is an entry-level problem grows quickly, the exchanges are quick full of information, the dialogue building toward a conspiracy or threat that can’t even be identified and so the hunt is on not just for security but to neutralize the problem from coming again. In the corporate world for this comic these deals are not so direct, in fact it all comes down to memos, blackmail and exploitation to make a point. Mr. Dunn no doubt still shaking from his encounter skips ahead of all this in favor of dumping the baggage onto a third-party without much forethought just that he doesn’t want to run and even if he did where would he even hide.

It’s a unique story to have in a world of super heroes and zombies right now, while those are good in their own respect it’s always nice to have some wider variety out there and SECRET gets it done with a sense of style and classic appeal. Artistically it’s a special read for me, it takes special effort and considerations to maintain such a monotone palette and successfully engage and drive a reader in a comic. Ryan Bodenheim and Michael Garland get this done by using creative levels of contrast throughout the book to define focal points even when there isn’t a direct clash. The read is very driven by contrast and you feel out the key players and gestures based on the intensity. Anyone looking for some variety of a darker kind in their collection would do well to include SECRET in their next trip to the store or online order.

Story:★★★★½ 
Art:★★★★½ 
Dialog:★★★★½ 
Overall:★★★★½ 

SECRET from Image comics sells out, goes into second print

Jonathan Hickman just launched his second series today from Image Comics and it’s already in back order with distributors, SECRET #1 is a team effort with Ryan Bodenheim and just barely touched down for fans. The team is excited about the news and already talking about the news.

“Well, I couldn’t be happier for Ryan. He’s worked extremely hard on this project, and together we think we’ve delivered an extremely interesting, and timely, tale,” explained Hickman. “That retailers and fans are as excited for the book as we are, only makes the entire experience more rewarding.”

The second printing will arrive on the same day as SECRET #2 on May 9th so fans will have to hold out for a while if they can’t find it locally. We did manage to find a copy so we’ll have coverage soon for everyone on the new series.

In the meantime a little bit on SECRET

A complex tale of private security firms, government corruption, and conspiracy, SECRET comes out a month after Hickman’s new series with Nick Pitarra THE MANHATTAN PROJECTS sold out of its first issue.

Link: Image Comics

Norman Osborn saga goes 99 cents today

Norman Osborn has been quite a busy figure in the Marvel Universe, if you’ve missed out his happenings during Secret Invasion you can catch up on it all today using the Marvel Comics Digital App for Android and iOS.

Comics in the sale:

At 99 cents per issue it’s quite a steal, although I do suggest looking into the companion books for Secret Invasion instead of just reading the main saga as it gets pretty fun. Heroes doubting heroes, a mass infiltration of the Earth by the Skrull Empire in a way never imagined before and in the middle of it the human race and a ton of confused Marvel heroes trying to make sense of it all as the world gets flipped upside down on them.