50-Word Review: Star Wars – Obi-Wan and Anakin #1

Obi-Wan_and_Anakin_1_coverSet between Star Wars Episode 1 and 2, Obi-Wan and his padawan Anakin are called to assist on a planet that’s meant to have no inhabitants.

Charles Soule’s writing and Marco Checchetto’s art come together well. There’s also some nice back story featuring Palpatine / Mace Windu – this five-issue series is looking good.



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50-Word Review: Daredevil #1

Daredevil_Vol_5_1_TextlessDaredevil’s back in New York, his identity again secret and he has a trainee / sidekick to boot. Soule’s writing continues the story nicely from Waid’s farewell and Garney’s art creates the required dark atmosphere.

Add in Murdock as a prosecutor and all the ingredients are there for a great series.

I Was Cynical About Secrets Wars and Battleworld Until..

Cursor_and_1872__2015___1___Comics___Marvel_com… I finished reading the first issue of 1872, one of the 5000 comics Marvel is putting out with it’s universe-altering, cross-over reboot extravaganza.

But before I get onto that, I just want to put it out there that I was cynical about the whole Secret Wars / Battleworld thing from the time it was announced. I saw it as both an overt money grab and a lazy way to change a whole bunch of character relationships and storylines. I actually still think I’m right to some extent on both those counts, but given I’ve only read Secret Wars #1 up until now, it’s not fair for me to stake my claim too forcefully.

The 1872 title stood out for me as something a little different, given it was featuring the long-dormant character Red Wolf. I decided to add the title to my pull list and I’m really glad I did. Set in the Wild West of… 1872… I was expecting something a little quirkier than the more standard superhero titles and I was spot on in that expectation.

The town of Timely has Wilson Fisk as its Mayor. It’s Sheriff is Steve Rogers and its newspaper editor is Ben Urich. The town drunk is a Mr T Stark and there’s a nerdy guy called Bruce Banner as well. Get the picture? Writer Gerry Duggan could have turned the premise into a feast of in-jokes feast thankfully he hasn’t, instead focusing on the story itself and the qualities these characters bring to the situation at hand.

Nik Virella’s art is excellent, creating an authentic Western feel without overstating the case.

This is a title I’ll be buying to the end, and it’s also made me think twice about checking out some of the other new titles. Hats off to the team on this title: you’ve managed to do something fresh that will likely stand the test of time well. Not just real time: Marvel time even!

Review: Darth Vader #1 and #2

Darth_Vader__2015___2___Comics___Marvel_comMarvel had lots to live up to when they took over the reins from Dark Horse in telling Star Wars stories in comics. The first two issues of Darth Vader prove they’ve achieved that aim.

Darth Vader is everything you’d expect plus some. Vader’s personal agendas, combined with a Empire struggling to regain its feet after the loss of the (first) Death Star make for a great story. Kieron Gillen’s writing is strong and like Jason Aaron’s work on the flagship Star Wars title, replicates the atmosphere of the original movies beautifully. Salvador Larroca’s art is top notch as well, with some great full page Darth Vader art to stop and savor. The scene in Jabba’s palace with the full audience is alone worth the price of admission.

It’s been way too long since I’ve been truly excited about Marvel titles, but Darth Vader (and Star Wars) are definitely in that category at the moment.

Why are you not reading this?

Daredevil TV Series Trailer: Watch It Here

It’s not long until April 10th. I have to keep telling myself that.

So what do you think? Looking good?

50-Word Review: Star Wars #1

starwars-issue1Huge expectations surrounded this series re-launch and to a large extent they are met. Set between A New Hope and Empire Strikes Back, Aaron’s story deftly recreates the atmospherics of those movies whilst providing a new and interesting storyline. Cassaday’s art also ensures this series is a keeper.


Why Marvel’s Secret Wars Leaves Me Cold

Marvel_com__The_Official_Site___Iron_Man__Spider-Man__Hulk__X-Men__Wolverine_and_the_heroes_of_the_Marvel_Universe_Comics__News__Movies_and_Video_Games___Marvel_comFirst, the usual disclaimer: I’m a Marvel Comics reader and collector for 35+ years, with no particular axe to grind. Now onto business:

Today Marvel’s head comic honchos Axel Alonso and Tom Brevoort unveiled a future, universe-wide event called Secret Wars, which unless I’m missing some key history is the third Secret Wars event in Marvel’s history.

Which is why I’m feeling pretty cynical about the whole thing from the get-go. I can’t blame Marvel of wanting to reset some things (although they’ve claimed this event isn’t a reboot, which is as believable as them saying they’ll retire the X-Men forever), but it’s been done before. Twice.

The thing is, I actually don’t have an issue with repeating a successful event – and I don’t doubt this latest Secret Wars will be a success, at least commercially.  It’s that I’d nearly bank my whole Marvel collection on the fact that it’ll also happen again. Put Secret Wars 4 in your diary folks – say, 2017 or 2018? That’s what leaves me cold: this is just another small stepping stone in an endless road of ‘universe-changing!!’ events.

So there you have it, the old guy who’s seen too much is telling the new kids to get off his lawn. Except that us old people are a fairly hefty chunk of the people who buy Marvel stuff month after month. And I for one am buying less and can’t see that changing.

All that said, here’s three things that would get this old whiner back on board in a big way:

1. Provide some sort of commitment to a title’s longevity. I’m seeing the ever-growing cynicism towards the constant ending of titles, with new number one issues a month or three later. Marvel needs to, and is, making money, but there are ways of refreshing titles that treat readers less as idiot money machines than the constant series re-launches. If post-Secret Wars there were some sort of commitment to series longevity, I’d be impressed. If a title does need to be cancelled, that’s reasonable, just don’t insult me by re-launching it a month or two later.

2. Reduce the cross-overs. I find cross-overs have an inverse relationship with story quality, so I’m hoping that once Secret Wars is done that maybe there’ll be a little less of it happening. Which is of course a naive thought given the commercial imperatives for cross-overs.

3. A final and least likely to be implemented request: pull off some good licensed title integrations in the new merged universe. If ROM for example is now part of the main universe ongoing, I’m a happy man (yes I’m easily pleased like that). Hell, throw in The Micronauts as well!

Now it’s over to you: does the Secret Wars announcement excite the hell out of you, leave you cold like me or put you somewhere in-between? Would love to hear your thoughts.

New Avengers: Age of Ultron Trailer – Watch It Here

The latest trailer is out and it provides the usual minimal pieces of new footage to keep up drooling. Love the Hulk stuff at the end:

Give us your thoughts below!

50-Word Review: Daredevil #11

backgroundWaid and Samnee are on a roll, but there’s no complacence here. Recent issues have covered post-natal depression and Murdock’s own depression and now we have a great story on aging and relevance involving The Stunt-Master. I’m hoping the TV launch doesn’t change the great trajectory this title is on.


Ant-Man Trailer Released – Watch It Here

The hype in the lead-up to this trailer has been incredible – there was even an ant-sized version of the teaser, which itself was just touting the trailer that’s premiering on Marvel’s new TV show Agent Carter. .

Here we go:

Not surprisingly, there’s not a huge amount to see but I don’t doubt it’s achieved the aim of building interest in the widening Marvel movie franchise.

Over to you: do you like what you see?