Quick Hits: Reviews of Avengers #8 and more…

Avengers #8

Avengers #8: Probably the most comic-booky of all the comic books I read… and I mean that in the best way possible. Brian Michael Bendis and John Romita Jr. make a great team to bring us a series that has been consistently great and never fails to feel like it could’ve just been unearthed from the back of your dustiest longbox. In this issue Tony Stark covertly reassembles the Illuminati and learns the fate of Black Bolt, the Illuminatie start to realize just how grave of a threat they face, we see the Red Hulk get his assed kicked by a dude in shorts and Steve Rogers and the rest of the Avengers stumble upon a big secret. Highly recommended. A
Review by Spaceman Spiff

Action Comics #896: I’m sure by now you all know how much I’m loving Lex Luthor’s tour of the DCU courtesy of Paul Cornell and Pete Woods, right? Right. This issue continues that in fine fashion as Vandal Savage ambushes Lex in his own place of business and Lex fights back with Vandal’s daughter’s team of mercenaries, the Secret Six. It’s a solid comic, filled with interesting character moments, nice art and great humor. BUT. My gut positively hit the floor when I got to the last page and found out that I’d have to buy next week’s Secret Six #29 to find out how the story ends. That kind of stunt-purchasing garbage should’ve died in the ’90s; there’s absolutely no reason that I should have to pick up a title I don’t normally read to get an essential part of one of my favorite monthly book’s stories. It’s straight-up BS on DC’s part and it takes what would’ve been an easy A book to a C-.
Review by Rebel Rikki

Captain America #613: The title of this storyline, “The Trial of Captain America,” kinda made me wanna cry and bury my head in the pillow, but so far this tale has been anything but boring. The return of Sin as the new Red Skull is both fun to read and ties very well into everything Ed Brubaker has done since taking over this title. Steve Rogers preps Dr. Faust to testify for the defense—tell me that won’t backfire—as the new Red Skull drops a major bombshell in the media and in the meantime prepares an entirely different kind of bomb aimed at a high-profile target. Brubaker has done a great job of building up the tension and Butch Guice’s moody art is pitch-perfect. A
Review by Spaceman Spiff

Flash #8: This issue, brought to us by Messrs Geoff Johns and Scott Kolins, spotlights the (new) origin of Eobard Thawne, the current Reverse Flash. My opinion waffled back and forth while reading this. At first I was intrigued by Eobard’s home digs of the 25th century, an era when, we’re told, it is literally a crime to waste time. I then found myself questioning how the world could ever get that way when superheroes were around (surely Superman wouldn’t allow it!). But as the issue progresses and we hear more and more about how the Flash is only a “legend” in the 25th century, I started to realize that maybe there were no superheroes around after all, and then I had to know why. Johns has set up a fascinating dystopia here. It’s not too dissimilar from what he did a few years ago in Action Comics‘ “Superman and the Legion of Superheroes,” but it’s a plot that’s very much to my tastes. In addition, the numerous scenes in which Thawne rewrites his own history using his “negative speed force” abilities are really well done and, frankly, quite chilling. This was a fantastic issue of Flash, maybe the best to date, and it’s both renewed my faith in this title and made me really excited for stories to come.  A
Review by Rebel Rikki

Green Lantern #61: I’ve talked before about how in recent years the Green Lantern universe has blown up in scope and built itself a tremendous world to inhabit. I’m always disappointed when an issue of GL chooses to ignore that growth and instead do something fairly played out, like for instance last month’s issue in which Hal Jordan battles a Parallax-possessed Flash. Fortunately, Green Lantern #61 is the exact opposite of that. In fact, this time Hal Jordan is nowhere to be found. Instead, Geoff Johns and Doug Mahnke give us a fascinating one-and-done tale in which Atrocitus tracks his Red Entity target to a small town in Montana. Before he can capture the creature, though, the Spectre shows up with his own plans. I welcome any story that lets us know more about Atrocitus, one of the more fascinating characters to come out of GL’s universe expansion. Throwing the Spectre (who, let’s not forget, represents God’s wrath) into the mix is a smooth move, and Mahnke’s art is unmatched. The issue ends with our main characters presenting some pretty non-mainstream philosophy about vengeance and the value of life in general, and even if I don’t totally agree with it I absolutely love when silly little superhero comics challenge generally accepted (religious) notions of morality. A
Review by Rebel Rikki

Nemesis #4: Twists and turns as we learn more about Nemesis’ motives… but has he really been the mastermind all this time? Unfortunately, it seems this series pays off only to ramp up to a second series where the stakes may be raised even further. Still not sure how I feel about the final revelation and how it ties in with the previous three issues, but it definitely piqued my interest for the next arc. And I can’t really say any more with spoilers, so let’s just say this was a fun series and the follow-up should be even more interesting! B+
Review by Spaceman Spiff

S.H.I.E.L.D. #5: Jonathan Hickman and Dustin Weaver here continue their mind-bending story that takes us behind the curtain of the Marvel Universe. In this issue we jump across space and time to visit a future wasteland seemingly ruled by Rama-Tut, witness Howard Stark saying goodbye to his boy for the last time, and watch the simultaneous development of the philosophies of Leonard DaVinci and Jack Kirby. I’ve said before and I’ll say it again: it will be impossible to really know what this series is about until it’s finished. But getting to that finish continues to be an exhilarating ride. A-
Review by Rebel Rikki

Secret Warriors #23: Nick Fury’s team dismantled? Probably not, but it sure looks that way after reading this issue. This was a real fun inbetween-arcs issue as we catch up with what Druid had been up to since he was “dumped” by Fury and sent packing. Part of this issue almost reads like ‘Biggest Loser – Superhero Edition,’ but thats partly what made it fun as we see Druid finally step up and into his full potential. Daisy learns the truth about J.T.’s betrayal and Nick Fury gets the final word. This series is definitely speeding towards a thrilling conclusion. B+
Review by Spaceman Spiff

Ultimate Avengers 3 #5: I was a fan of Ultimate Avengers until this series. An unoriginal vampires meet superheroes storyline—at a time when vampires are oversaturated—and some horrible art from Steve Dillon have put this series at the bottom of my reading pile consistently. I just don’t understand the attraction of Dillon’s art, I’ve seen more dynamic poses on action figures. D
Review by Spaceman Spiff

tags: action comics, avengers, captain america, flash, green lantern, nemesis, s.h.i.e.l.d., secret warriors

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