Marvel’s Secret Wars 2015

The main story arc of Marvel’s Secret Wars has finally come to an end, and while it was a truly exciting story at times, the ending was underwhelming.

Maybe it’s because the post event stories have already started, maybe it’s because the ending was predictable, or maybe it’s that the event ended because the story did, but the release of the final issue of the story registered as little more than a footnote, as far as my excitement for it is concerned.

The ending was pretty well telegraphed once Molecule Man was revealed as the source of Doom’s power. The fact that everything returned to something approaching normal means that, as transformative events go, it wasn’t much of one. The Battleworld showed us some of our favourite characters as very different versions of themselves, it put them in unfamiliar situations, and made some characters more interesting. It should have set up a Marvel world with some seriously fun changes, but instead it just fizzled out into an artistically beautiful, yet thoroughly predictable finale, and left the only truly interesting change as the new, supposedly improved, Victor Von Doom.

So there it is. The Secret Wars started with a bang, then, thanks to Molecule Man and Reed Richards, became an event that few characters in the Marvel universe will remember, and less impactful than other events like AvX, House of M, and Axis.

Ultimately, the Secret Wars event was greater than its core story. The side stories were much more entertaining than the core story, and the core story outlived the event for way too long. It’s still a good read, just to see how it all fits together.

Also, I’m annoyed that Elsa Bloodstone and Abigail Brand didn’t get their own series post event.

In other words, ignore my whining and read the damned comic. It gets a 4/5 rating.

Belated Reviews #1- Army of Darkness: Ash Saves Obama

There are some awesome comics, movies, games, etc. that I’ve missed out on through the years and I’m sure there’s even more steaming piles of something unpleasant that I’ve been lucky enough to avoid. In this not-so cleverly titled series, Belated Reviews, I seek to uncover them all. The good, the bad and the butt funking ugly. While I hope to be pleasantly surprised from time to time, I have the sneaking suspicion that I’ll be putting myself through a lot more torture than one man should ever bear and I do it all for you, Damien dear reader.

We’re going to start off this series with a franchise near and dear to me and an entry to it that I completely forgot even existed, Army of Darkness: Ash Saves Obama.

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This is a 4 issue series released by Dynamite in 2009 during the whole “put Obama in everything” debacle. Is it any good? Well… I guess we’re about to find out. Let’s start with the…

Expectations

Um…. huh? I… I… I CAN’T FEEL MY FACE!! Let’s just get this over with. I’m already regretting my choice. Maybe I should have went with the other 4 issue series I picked up, Ash Gets Hitched. Skimming the pages of Ash Saves Obama is not promising at all. The art is not appealing. Boring even. It doesn’t look like much is going to happen here. As I skim I realize Ash has his chainsaw on some of the covers but… I don’t see it anywhere in the pages. This is making me uncomfortable. Maybe I missed it, I am just skimming after all…

Issue #1

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Nope, didn’t miss it. Not as far as this issue is concerned but in all fairness the chainsaw is not on the cover of this issue. You know what Ash did have? Two fleshy functioning hands in at least half the panels! Ruh-Roh Raggy. So what else did I find in the pages of issue one? There was a neat Stargate reference, that should give our own Charles Weeden a raging… nevermind, moving on. Outside of that, this issue has met all my expectations. In case you weren’t reading above, that’s not a good thing. I’ll give the art a bit more credit than my first impression, it’s not so bad. Ordinary for sure but not quite as boring as it seemed during my skim-through. In this story Ash finds himself dealing with another form of the Necronomicon… A comic book that was written in the 80’s, when one geek (nerd as they call them in this series) reads a passage from it and ends up unleashing an evil spirit that hops into one of the other geeks in the store. Chaos ensues, clearly. Oh yeah, Obama happens to be visiting in town and stops at the S-mart to pick up some comic books for his daughters as the fit hits the shan. All of this sounds fun-ish as I type it but in the context of this issue, it’s not. There are also major logic fails here (has this not happened before? The clerk seemed pretty well versed on how to “use” the comic and it’s on the rack with everything else so clearly it has some sort of existing popularity) but I’m not even getting into it. I feel like the writer put zero thought into this so why should I? Maybe issue two will do some ‘splaing.

Verdict so far: While there are a few good nods and meta references in this issue (I’m looking at you Alien Apocalypse comic book) it’s not enough to keep me from puking in my own mouth. I don’t even think I’d be going on to the next issue if it wasn’t for this review.

Issue #2

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Annnnnd another excellent excrement issue. Do we really even have to go through this? I feel like writing about what I just read is going to be about as much fun as going over my darkest childhood traumas in front of classroom filled with circus clowns on acid (who may or may not be masturbating as I tell my tale). Alas, here we go. We get a little more action and excitement in this issue because clearly this Elliot Serrano guy must have written once or twice before to get this job. Looks like he has had some jobs, he did a Grumpy Cat comic book. Good for you, Elliot Serrano, good for you. Now, when I say this book has a little more action and excitement in it I mean the characters run around for a little bit, some words are thrown and Ash fights a Zombie-Robot (so fun!!) with a sword, still no chainsaw. Then some more running around S-mart. Where did Obama go? I have no clue but the last page does find Ash face to face with a Michael Jackson Thriller Zombie. This book is truly terrifying.

Issue #3

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I hate you, dear reader, I hate you so much… Oh look, a chainsaw on the cover!! Now we finally get to the bottom of our mystery. Onward hoes to issue three. Have I mentioned how much I hate you yet? OK, so I just finished the issue. No Obama again (2 issues now). No chainsaw even though there’s one on the cover. That’s it. That’s all I can stands and I can’t stands no more! This issue was even worse than the first two and I want to punch my computer screen and my special area. I’m never going to get this time back in my life. I should have just eaten that bowl of Corn Flakes and went to sleep! Guess I better go read issue four.

Issue #4

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YEAH RIGHT!! No such luck. I wouldn’t read this final issue for the sake of all the starving children in all the worlds. Screw those skinny bastards, I’m not reading another word of this trash! Save your dime and save your time, folks. This review is no doubt infinitely more entertaining than all 4 issues of Ash sort of meets and then who cares Obama. You’re welcome. I can’t end this piece, however, without getting to the bottom of our chainsaw mystery so here I go holding my nose as I look over each panel. Nope, no chainsaw. I was right. We do get three panels of Obama in his office so that’s something, right? RIGHT!?!

And that’s it. I think we all feel better about ourselves now. I know I do now that this nightmare is over. Keep checking back at this website because I think another installment of Belated Reviews is coming really soon to make up for this mess. Hopefully we’ll have better luck next time.

Final Verdict: Avoid at ALL costs. This series isn’t even worthy as a gag gift or pirated download.

Drawn Dispatches – 12/08

Those of you who loved the 1814 series from the Battleworld will be as overjoyed as I am about Red Wolf. The story starts where 1814 left off, with Red Wolf as the sheriff of Timely. The comic seems to follow the standard formula of a first issue – introducing new characters, including his mother, and a foe for him to chase. Many of the others from the Battleworld series don’t get an appearance, separating this from the Secret Wars. The only thing is that his foe seems to have access to weapons that don’t fit into the time period. You’ll have to read the comic to find out how it ends up with someone tweeting a picture of the Red Wolf!

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Spidey issue 1 takes us back to the good old days of Spider-Man, and it’s beautiful! We get to see a Spidey that’s just starting out, but in the modern world. He’s back to a simpler time, where he doesn’t have a lot of the baggage. He’s funny, carefree, and innocent. It’s worth reading just as a look back without having to travel back in time. A wonderful comic!

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Invincible Iron Man, now up to issue 4, still has Doom being uncharacteristically helpful, and it’s blowing Tony Stark’s mind. There is a moonlight ninja fight beach party, a visit to see sick kids at the hospital, and a Mary Jane concert. There’s also Madam Masque and a lot of magic. Stepping away from this specific issue and looking at the series so far, this has quickly become my favourite version of Tony Stark. He’s found something to aspire to in these first few issues, and he’s looking seriously at self improvement. The appearance of Doom as a handsome, apparently good person, has thrown him for more of a loop than he could have guessed.

There was a lot more I could have talked about this week, but Spidey put me in a whimsical mood. Let me know in the comments what you thought of the comics I’ve talked about!

Drawn Dispatches – 11/30

Jacked is a new six issue series from Vertigo that has begun in an impressive way. Written by Eric Kripke (creator of the Supernatural TV series), it starts out describing the life of a man who used to be successful, but has since fallen through the cracks and is surviving. He just wants to be important again. He is an average guy, really. He did well when the economy was booming, and is stuck hunting for work now that it’s in the toilet. He’s someone many people in their 40’s will identify with. He’s looking for a break, and becoming desperate. He finds in in a drug. Yes, this comic is strictly not for children. The drug, while it gives him great strength, also has side effects. Kripke’s writing is strong, and we really get into the main character’s head, and John Higgins‘ artwork brings to mind so many scenes from movies that it communicates a whole new level of story just through the movie references it evokes. This will be an interesting comic to read.

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Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur introduces Lunella Lafayette to the Marvel universe. This pre-teen super genius is bored of life in a school that can’t teach her anything she doesn’t already know to a more advanced level, and is terrified of Terrigen, because she believes she is an Inhuman. Using a Kree detector that she built herself, she finds a strange glowing orb – The Nightstone. Before long, a portal is opened across time to the Savage Lands. The opening of the portal causes the death of Moon Boy, and Devil Dinosaur chases a group of the Killer-Folk through the portal to avenge him.

This is a great start to another new hero in Marvel’s efforts to become more diverse. As with Kamala Khan and Miles Morales, Lunella brings more colour to the Marvel universe, and looks to be a worthy successor to Moon Boy. Her brains and Devil’s brawn should be a good match, but what I’m looking forward to more is the challenges she’ll face keeping a bright red dinosaur hidden and safe in New York. It should be a lot of fun!

There have been so many awesome comics this week, but these two were the ones that peaked my interest. What have you been reading, and what did you think of it? Let me know in the comments!

 

Drawn Dispatches 11/26

After last time’s diversion, there’s a lot to catch up on. Like Deadpool. This all new first issue starts with the Merc with the Mouth everywhere, and yet nowhere to be found. Deadpool, it seems, is subcontracting while the real deal is helping people who can’t afford his services. Not very mercenary of him, but then again, neither is funding the Avengers (I’ll wait for you to wrap your head around that particular bit of information). We see Luke Cage, someone who might be Jessica Jones, and Matt Murdock. We also hear how Deadpool was tricked into killing his own parents, and we’re hit by a lot of other information. What we don’t really get is any real story until the final page where a Deadpool kills a zoning comissioner. We’ll have to see what happens next.

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Vision, complete with family, move to the suburbs. This happens after he’s wiped all emotions from his memories. His wife, Virginia, and their high school age twins, Viv and Vin, try to fit in with normal neighbours and a normal life, until the Grip Reaper arrives. I’m not going to tell you too much about this particular comic, but I recommend it because it was really, really darkly funny!

All-New, All-Different Avengers (2015-) 001-000

All-New, All-Different Avengers starts up with Ms Marvel calling Nova a jerk, Sam Wilson (as Captain America) saving a family from a falling car, and a penniless Iron Man who had to sell the Avengers Tower. There are no Avengers, there is no funding, but that doesn’t stop threats from arriving on Earth. Threats like a Chitauri called Warbringer, who we see standing over the defeated Iron Man, Captain America, and Miles Morales’ Spider-man. The second half of the comic has Kamala Khan trying to stop a Microverse creature from tearing up her neighbourhood. Nova, who had been following the creature, becomes mesmerised by Ms Marvel, and his attempts at breaking the ice just come across as creepy. They part ways confused, thinking they won’t see each other again. Of course, they will, if the front cover is any indication.

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All-New Wolverine brings a new Wolverine in the form of Laura Kinney, also known as X-23. With all of Logan’s bad attitude, and none of his adamantium skeleton, we get to experience a Wolverine who sometimes needs to let her brain stitch back together. This leads to flashbacks with Logan, and a different take on the Wolverine in more than one way. I’m looking forward to seeing how this progresses.

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Secret Wars continues with its penultimate issue. The war for the Battleworld begins in earnest. The Shield Wall has fallen, and all hell is breaking loose. This issue focuses on changing allegiances within the factions fighting for control of the Battleworld. With two issues left, this one feels like more of a set-up than anything to get my teeth into, story-wise.

Sorry for the delay getting these written up, folks, but I’ve been in stress hell for the past three weeks. Will catch up on the latest and greatest in the comic book world soon, especially with new Ms Marvel and Silk out!

What have I missed over the past two weeks? Let me know!

Drawn Dispatches – 11/09

This week, I’m going to focus on just one comic series: Sex.

From Image Comics, Sex is definitely for grown-ups, and while it contains adult language and imagery, that’s not all it’s about (despite the title). The comic is currently on its 25th issue, and it asks an interesting question: How does a former dark vigilante navigate life after hanging up his armour? Simon Cooke was once The Armored Saint (there isn’t a comic featuring his life as that vigilante/hero), protecting the people of Saturn City. His mentor, Quinn, asked him to retire his alter ego in her will. In normal life, Cooke is a billionaire playboy (sound familiar?), but without his quest to rid his city of evil, he’s unsure about how to live as a CEO and human being. The series started out as an exploration into how Cooke attempts to live and form relationships, but it has drown in depth and scope since then.

Other characters are his former nemesis, Annabelle LaGravanese who is now the owner of an adult club, and Keenan Wade, Cooke’s former sidekick, who is waging his own war on the gangs of Saturn City.

This series is compelling, and not for the most obvious reason. Yes, there is sex in the comic, but the comic soon becomes about a lot more than sex – It shows how a city reacts to a power vacuum. The series spends time following the leaders of the various gangs around Saturn City as they fight for control, and through flashbacks and journal entries, we see how Quinn devised the Armored Saint, and how she planned Keenan’s life as well.

The latest issue highlights the power struggle between the gangs, and reveals Quinn’s history with Cooke’s parents (who are missing and presumed dead). As has become normal with these comics, the eponymous act is secondary, even tertiary to the story.

I recommend this series to all grown up comic readers, and especially those who are Batman fans, just because of the parallels between Bruce Wayne and Simon Cooke.

In other news, there were a few new comics released this week, and I’ll cover the best of those next week. Let me know in the comments if you have a favourite that you want me to take a look at!