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BATTLEWORLD BATTLEWORLD

BATTLEWORLDBATTLEWORLD

 

ROUND 1, BATTLE 12

Follow the bracket here!

CAPTAIN MARVEL AND THE CAROL CORPS

Captain_Marvel_And_The_Carol_Corps_1

VS

Ghost-Racers-1-600x911GHOST RACERS

 

Secret Wars seems like it has spent the last month or so teetering on saying something. It doesn’t have to say anything; it’s a mainstream comic book released in the summer. This isn’t to say it needs to be garbage, but it is O.K. if it has little on its mind other than making people say “Oh, that’s kind of cool.” But for the last couple of weeks, everything seems like it has been simultaneously hinting at something while dodging it at the same time. Carol Danvers has no time for that bullshit. In what has to be one of the least likely books to simply and clearly present our main message, Captain Marvel and the Carol Corps (that’s the name, I swear) is my pick for book of the week, much less winner of this battle.

On its surface, the book seems like nothing more than an update on what Carol Danvers has been doing since Doom recreated the world in his gross image. Danvers is the leader of the Carol Corps, a group of pilots who patrol Hala Fields by day (HALA!), and hang out and have fresh and witty cool-girl convos by night. It does everything a Battleworld comic needs to do: set-up your premise, introduce your character, OH MY GOD SOMETHING HAPPENED IN THE LAST PANEL THAT COULD CHANGE THIS WORLD/THESE PEOPLE FOREVER!!!! The difference is that while all of this is happening, and it certainly did happen, we also get a glimpse of exactly what Secret Wars is going to all be about. I don’t know what the ramifications are going to be for the Marvel Universe story wise when it’s all said and done, but the lessons learned begin here.

The fact that “I was just following orders” is not a good excuse is nothing new as a theme. Dozens of stories have been told – mostly involving Nazi soldiers’ pleas for mercy – focusing on whether or not a soldier who did unspeakable things is accountable for it. So the fact that that’s the main focus of Captain Marvel and the Carol Corps isn’t a big deal. Captain Marvel is tasked with destroying an enemy ship that seems dangerous. She asks her superiors why it seems dangerous, or if capturing the enemy wouldn’t be better than obliterating them, to which she is told to shut the fuck up and go do her job. So she goes to do her job, because she’s Carol Danvers, and then stops at the last second to save a person on the boat, because she’s Carol Fucking Danvers. And that’s the CHANGE THIS WORLD/THESE PEOPLE moment: Carol said no to her superior, and their superior is Doom. And that’s probably not going to be good for Carol.

 

This is why all of the cool people you know are always like "That's so J.A.N." every time you defend Nazis.

This is why all of the cool people you know are always like “That’s so J.A.N.” every time you defend Nazis.

Meanwhile, in every other Battleworld book, writers are making sure their characters are saying things like “Thank God” and “Praise God” all of them time, because when they replace the word “God” with the word “Doom,” readers get a real good idea of just how powerful Doom really is in this world. And therein lies the thing I think Secret Wars is actually tackling, the idea of just how dangerous it can be when there’s no separation of church and state.

See, Danvers has to follow orders because that’s how the military works. Danvers’ superior has to follow orders because she was given orders by fucking God himself. There’s no questioning involved. There’s no committees or hearings or summits or delegates or debates. “Because God said so” is the kind of thing that anyone who speaks to Doom can say to anyone else. It’s easy to think that, here in the real world, a separation of church and state is necessary because we all have different churches, and if the state was intertwined with one particular church, that would be unfair. That’s part of it, but not all of it. In Secret Wars we get to see what the world would be like under one God – one God that even some of his subjects are lucky enough to speak to. And it still doesn’t work because sometimes GodPeople are moody. Sometimes they are overprotective or under protective. Sometimes they love summer events of the past so fucking much that they give each one they can remember a little land to call their own. But all of the time  – literally 100 percent of the time – they get their way, with no reason to question their own judgment, and no one else to question it for them. It sounds great, if you’re the God, and even then it doesn’t sound super great. It definitely sounds easy though, a world full of questionless zombies, bumping into each other until Doom tells them it’s safe to come home. That is, unless, Carol Fucking Danvers is one of those subjects.

Dr_Doom-Marvel_Funko-Pop_Vinyl-Funko-trampt-83613m

Kneel before your God, pweese.

I don’t think the characters that believe that Doom is their God are stupid. It’s what they believe. It’s all they know. What I do think is stupid – the thing that will separate the heroes of this story from the ones who watch the action – is ever getting to a point where you stop yourself from asking questions, because you ran into a wall of “because I said so’s.” That’s how Doom wants it, and they don’t know it yet, but that’s how Reed Richards and Tony Stark and Hank McCoy and Namor and Charles Xavier and T’Challa also wanted it. They haven’t seen the connection yet, the thing that Cap had been screaming at them throughout all of the Marvel events for the last decade and a half, but all they really wanted is to be who Doom is now. The Illuminati worked their balls off to control the world, for what they thought was the better good, and just when they were almost there, they smashed two planets into each other, and gave Doom the opportunity to get there first. Again, I don’t know what the next Marvel Universe is going to look like, but I know everyone’s about to realize one thing: Cap was right. He’s always right, and he always will be right. And if you ever find yourself thinking that he might be wrong, you’re a horrible asshole and you’re about to be the bad guy of your own story. It’s not just about the separation of church and state. It’s about the heads of state leapfrogging that role so they can be the heads of the church. So that they can be Gods. So, once again, thanks Illuminati. Maybe do something else with your time after all of this is over.

Ghost Racers was also pretty great. Five Ghost Riders race in front of a huge group of fans. The newest, Robbie Reyes, is unbeatable, which means the other four get tortured. This is all so Arcade can win some bets. It’s an awesome vision of just a few more reasons why DoomWorld would be terrible, and one of the five Ghost Riders is a blinded centaur with two Gatling guns that come out of the side of his body. Super rad, but come on. This is Carol Danvers week.

Ghost_Racers_1_Slade_Variant_Panosian-600x911

Look at this mother fucker.

 

 

– Ryan Haley

 

TUNE IN MONDAY, WHEN YEARS OF FUTURE PAST TAKES ON 1602: ANGELA WITCH HUNTER!

The Super Hero Hour Hour 6/11

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Ladies and gentlemen, our great national non-nightmare has come to a close, as one of the greatest television shows to ever be based on a comic (not a HUGE competition) comes to its season’s end. Mike and Ryan tackle the iZombie season finale as objectively as possible, while still trying to prove that its their own baby, and not the other’s. Mike says he was stoked on this when it was first announced, while Ryan says he loved this idea one day before that, the whole time forgetting they knew it was going to be horrible every day leading up to its season premiere. They also review the ninth episode of Daredevil (the one where Fisk “fights” Matt and then FIGHTS Daredevil), and give out the Hourie for Best Supporting Actor for a Male Appearing in a Television Show Based on a Comic Book.

BATTLEWORLD BATTLEWORLD

BATTLEWORLDBATTLEWORLD

ROUND 2, BATTLE 2

Follow the bracket here!

SECRET WARS: BATTLEWORLD #2

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VS

ULTIMATE END #2

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Secret Wars: Battleworld reads a lot like Marvel’s old “What If?” series.  Each issue features two short arcs about a different wacky result of Battleworld’s existence.  Simply put, Secret Wars: Battleworld is what it’s like when worlds collide.  M.O.D.O.K. summons and fights an army of M.O.D.O.K.s.  Blade and Howard the Duck team up to fight a duck dracula.  A Doctor Strange-Possessed Punisher fights Wolverine, Hulk, Spider-Man and Ghost Rider. War Machine receives a pep talk from Captain America (they’re not always very crazy).

certainly not this crazy

certainly not this crazy

The tone of the series varies wildly between stories.  The first story of Secret Wars: Battleworld does, in fact, feature a Blade/Howard the Duck team up and it is followed by the tale of a revenge-hungry War Machine searching for his daughter’s killer (but mostly receiving Captain America pep-talks).  This isn’t necessarily bad, the reader just needs to be able to cope and roll with it, but it highlights one of the main issues of the series: it is, by default, a place for stories too unimportant to receive their own dedicated storyline.  It helps flesh out the world, it examines the consequences of Battleworld’s creation and makes the whole thing feel less McGuffin-like and more drama-filled, but it’s essentially a companion piece.

this is not a companion piece

this is not a companion piece

Ultimate End is guided firmly by the hand of Brian Michael Bendis, and the series’ ability to pull good storytelling from absolute chaos shows just what giving a great writer a bit of a free reign can do for you.  It features the same consequence-exploring vibe as Secret Wars: Battleworld in a more coherent package.  Tony Stark helps Tony Stark face his resurgent alcoholism.  Peter Parker visits dead Peter Parker’s family.  Hulk fights Hulk.  Now that I think about it, Marvel may have a “one Hulk-on-Hulk fight per series” minimum in place.  I mean Hulks are just all over the place in Battleworld.  Can we get statistics on how many Hulks per capita this place has?  It’s gotta be pushing 1:1 at this point.

What if HULKHULKHULKHULKHULKHULKHULKHULKHULKHULK

What if Hulks Hulked Hulks Hulk Hulk Hulk Hulk Hulk

Bendis also does an excellent job of making his series stand on its own.  There are plenty of Battlew0rld tropes found in the pages of Ultimate End, by they always feel more like they’ve been drawn upon to help Bendis tell his story rather than the more typical feeling that a comic is being temporarily abducted to serve as a host organism for Big Picture back story.  There’s no “oh look Hawkeye’s got a scene in this Thor movie because he’s too small to get his own flick” here.  The Thor Corp does make an appearance, but it clearly moves the plot forward (while also fulfilling Marvel’s “one Thor Corp appearance per series” quota).

they breed like rabits

they breed like rabits

Ultimate End wins in a landslide, due far more to its great storytelling than to any lack of merit from Secret Wars: Battleworld.  In an ideal world, they co-exist side-by-side, happily being read in a meadow somewhere near a bubbling brook.  They could laugh and play, being tickled by the fingers of their readers, maybe sharing occasional wistful glances with each other.  But this is Battleworld Battleworld, bitch.  Go grab your copies of Secret Wars: Battleworld and burn that shit, it’s dead to you now.  Long live Ultimate End, may it continue to soak its pages in the blood of its enemies.

 

PopFilter Versus: Southern Bastards

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In yet another riveting episode of PopFilter Versus, Jason is forced to read ANOTHER comic book! Though it seems outrageous, his love for Jason Aaron has forced him into this life and now he must deal with the fall out. Listen in as Ryan guides him on what can only be called an hallucinogenic fever dream that would make Larry Flynt blush.

And that’s just the freaking intro.

BATTLEWORLD BATTLEWORLD

BATTLEWORLDBATTLEWORLD

WEEK FOUR PREVIEW

 

ROUND TWOBATTLE TWO

SECRET WARS: BATTLEWORLD #1-2

portrait_incredibleDAVID WALKER and DONNY CATES (w)
JJ KIRBY and MARCO TURINI (a)
• BLADE is on the trail of the dreaded Count Drakula, but not if HOWARD THE DUCK has something to say about it! (Spoiler: He Does!)
• Rising star David Walker (SHAFT) and JJ Kirby tell the tale of the Daywalker trapped in a city of ducks!
• The death of his daughter has made gladiator Thaddeus Ross a true WAR MACHINE, but will he ever find vengeance in the ring or become the monster he hates? Donny Cates (BUZZKILL, GHOST FLEET) and Marco Turini (CYBERFORCE) bring the pain and the glory!
32 PGS./Rated T …$3.99

VS

ULTIMATE END #1-2

Ultimate-The-End_2BRIAN MICHAEL BENDIS (w) • MARK BAGLEY (a/C)
THE LAST ULTIMATES STORY BY THE GROUND-BREAKING UNIVERSE’S FOUNDING FATHERS!
• The countdown has begun
• An end of an era
• Who will survive?
32 PGS./Rated T+ …$3.99

ROUND ONEBATTLE ELEVEN

YEARS OF FUTURE PAST #1

YOFP001MARGUERITE BENNETT (w)
MIKE NORTON (a)
Cover by ART ADAMS
• In the dystopian nations of BATTLEWORLD, the mutants of New York City must fight to survive the rule of the Sentinels!
• At their center is Kate Pryde, a heroine tried and tested by war, and mother of the last mutant ever to be born before the purges of the Mutant Control Act!
• With revolution on the wind, the X-Men are not a broken team with nothing left to lose, but a desperate family with more at risk than ever before!
40 PGS./Rated T+ …$4.99

VS

1602: WITCH HUNTER ANGELA #1

1602MARGUERITE BENNETT with KIERON GILLEN (w)
STEPHANIE HANS with MARGUERITE SAUVAGE (a)
Cover by STEPHANIE HANS
• In the altered realms of BATTLEWORLD, Angela and Sera are WITCH HUNTERS, the scourges of King James’ England, 1602.
• In a land beset by magic and monstrosity, they seek a new and seductive evil—not witchbreed, but deal-making FAUSTIANS, who bargain with ancient creatures for unnatural power!
• Moral ambiguity? Fancy allusions? Marguerite making the most of that English degree?
• tl;dr – try 1602 WITCH HUNTER ANGELA #1!
32 PGS./Rated T+ …$3.99

ROUND ONEBATTLE TWELVE

CAPTAIN MARVEL AND THE CAROL CORPS #1

CMCACORPS_SWKELLY SUE DECONNICK & KELLY THOMPSON (w)
DAVID LOPEZ (a/C)
• Atten-Hut!  These ladies are the best of the best–and will take you down if you threaten their Captain.
• Welcome to Hala Field, where being a part of the elite Carol Corps, requires guts, guile and a whole lot of grit.  So put on your uniform and get ready for a high-flying Captain Marvel series years in the making.
32 PGS./Rated T+ …$3.99

VS

GHOST RACERS #1

Ghost_Racers_1_CoverFELIPE SMITH (w) • JUAN GEDEON (a)
Cover by FRANCESCO FRANCAVILLA
FURIOUS RACE FROM HELL IN A BLAZING ARENA OF HORROR!!!
• Welcome to the scorching-hot track where cursed souls race at the speed of sin, anything and everything goes and the only rule is no rule–it’s the spectacle known as the GHOST RACES; the most hellish “entertainment” known to BATTLEWORLD!
• 1st place prize: Temporary freedom from the ARENA, but what happens to the unlucky and unholy losers?
• It’s all-out, high-speed warfare among the most bizarre and vicious GHOST RIDERS of the MARVEL UNIVERSE. Expect MANY familiar SKULLS!!
32 PGS./Rated T …$3.99

ROUND ONEBATTLE THIRTEEN

MARVEL ZOMBIES #1

MARVEL_ZOMBIES_1SIMON SPURRIER (w) • KEV WALKER (a/C)
Cover by Ken Lashley
• Elsa Bloodstone is stationed on the Shield, burdened with the Sisyphean task of keeping the zombie hordes from rampaging through Battleworld.
• In those moments where she’s not enrapt in the throes of battle, she meditates on her deceased father…how everything he taught her gave her the means to fight the zombies, but all the love he didn’t give her is what motivated the self-destructive actions that landed her on the Wall in the first place.
• But when she sees a human child caught in the middle of the zombieverse, she’ll muster every ounce of determination she has to throw herself into the zombie horde to rescue the girl.
• And once Elsa finds her, she’s going to have to fight her way back out…
32 PGS./Rated T+ …$3.99

VS

MRS DEADPOOL AND THE HOWLING COMMANDOS #1

MRS_DEADPOOL_VAR_SWGERRY DUGGAN (w) • SALVADOR ESPIN (a)
Cover by REILLY BROWN
• She is Shiklah—undisputed Queen of the Monster Metropolis below Manhattan!
• In the world that was, she married Deadpool, the Merc with the Mouth…
• …But nothing on Battleworld is quite as it was.
• Now, she commands the Howling Commandos: Werewolf By Night! Frankenstein’s Monster! The Living Mummy! Man-Thing! And Marcus the Centaur!
• What would her late husband think of that???
32 PGS./Parental Advisory …$3.99


PopFilter vs. Goonie Squad

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This week Jason, Ryan and Mike all draft a team of adventurous young characters to create a pop culture super team of kid’s action movies! Listen to it because you care. Enjoy it because you have good taste.

Battleworld Battleworld

BATTLEWORLDBATTLEWORLD

 

Round 1 fight 10

See the bracket here!

 

Giant Little Sized Marvel

giantsizelittlemarvelavx1cover

Vs

X-tinction Agenda

XTAG2015001

 

I thought of only one thing when I heard of the first comic in this battle:

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Giant Little Sized Marvel is an exercise in the ridiculous. A comic book starring Marvel characters as children?

b

 

The comic is essentially the Avengers and the X-Men as Sunday comic characters who engage in adorable little pissing contests. Issue #1 has the two teams battle over who’s culinary enterprise is going to earn the business of a hungry Toad and Blob.

Untitled

Captain America’s gap is so cute it’s making my ovaries hum

 

This comic book has major nostalgia points in ways that it does and does not earn. By taking characters everyone knows, and who many grew up with, and putting them in a Saturday morning cartoon format, it manages to short circuit the part of the brain that remembers childhood things fondly. It feels like I use to watch Marvel Babies as a kid. Compare this intro:

 

with Giant Little Marvel’s intro:

aa

aaa

There is something oddly similar, right? Look at the sing-songiness, and the way that the characters are drawn in the same scale. If it weren’t so well done it would be manipulative. The rationale behind the production of this comic is not super clear. The hand that reaches into the past to pull an invisible heart string might be an elaborate way for Marvel to make fun of itself. Regardless of that speculation, Giant Little Marvel is cheeky and fun.

Our next comic is more of an X-men story. X-tinction Agenda starts off with a flashback. This flashback is more referential than important to what’s going on. It establishes a history of a mutant-slave revolt in the country of Genosha. The point of all this is to set up that Rahne and Havok have stayed behind on Genosha to build a better tomorrow for the newly freed “mutates.”

aaaa

They also bone

 

The actual main conflict has nothing to do with slavery. However many years after the mutant-slave revolt, the country has been afflicted by a devastating plague. The plot deals with how Rahne and Havok enact their plan to save the people of of Genosha.

This is, without a doubt, the busiest looking comic I have ever read. The plot already starts off bogged down with a lot of backstory. As the story progresses, the plot skips around from one point to another without giving anything a chance to settle in. There is a mysterious meeting with Doom, a bedroom scene, and a ghostly premonition of Scott Summers and none of it has any gravity. I don’t know if this is solely due to bad writing or because the accompanying art is so bad. The artwork is so flashy and busy that I wonder if I can get a seizure just by looking at it.

a

What am I even suppose to be looking at here? The eye jumps everywhere. There is so much going on in each panel, why in addition are they divided by diagonal lines? There is no continuity. It’s overwhelming. Most of the comic is like this. The story’s plot is over complicated by the insanity that is the artwork. The artist tries so hard to make every panel fraught with excitement, only, because every panel is trying to be simulating, none of it is. Instead, it’s a manic mess.

The Results:

Giant Little Marvel runs the risk of being overly saccharine and a tad gimmicky. However I found it clever and funny. I can easily see a rendition of it in the Sunday funnies. I can’t get past how much I hated looking at X-tinction Agenda. That never-ending battle sequence on acid gave me a gnarly headache. Congratulations, Giant Little Marvel!

-Stephanie Rose

CHECK US OUT NEXT TIME AS WE PIT YEARS OF FUTURE PAST WITH 1602 WITCH HUNTER!

Battleworld Battleworld

BATTLEWORLDBATTLEWORLD

Round 1, Fight 11

Follow the bracket here!

Armor Wars

4446321-armor_wars_1_cover

vs

Future Imperfect

4547713-future_imperfect_1_cover

 

******SPOILER ALERTS!!! DO NOT READ IF YOU DON’T WANT THESE COMICS SPOILED FOR YOU! AND ESPECIALLY DON’T EMAIL ME COMPLAINING IF YOU READ IT ANYWAY

 

Armor Wars takes place in a place called Technopolis where everyone wears Iron Man type suits, all the time. This somehow relates to an arms race between Tony and Arno Stark. I don’t know, it’s pretty unclear. The story opens up with a Spyder-Man named Peter Urich web-crawling along the city.

1spyderman

This scene acts more like a cold open, but it does become important later. In the mean time, the writer felt we needed a scene with a whole lot of information dump. Enter Tony Stark and Pepper:

2stark

This exchange exists solely for the purpose of explaining to the reader what’s going on. This shows a lack of faith in one’s ability to tell a story, especially this early on. It is the sloppiest kind of exposition. But even with this scene that just exists to explain to the reader what is going on, I’m still pretty confused. But Tony has to go, so the scene ends.

 

From this point, we are introduced to Grand Marshall Rhodes. Rhodes is having a daydream and he gets yanked back to reality by a fellow officer trying to get his attention.

4

Makes sense so far, right? The fantasy melts away and is replaced by the police station Rhodes is actually standing in. But look at the top of the next page:

5

In the upper panels, the background returns to the fantasy. Then in the lower we are once again at the police station. This transition from Rhodes’ memories, to police station, back to his memories then once again to the police station is jarring. Why not just let the memory of that one party that turned to shit play out completely before returning to reality? Why yank the reader around so much? This is just weird. It is also emblematic of the fundamental inability to create unity for this issue. This comic pays little attention to where it’s going and how its getting there.

 

But perhaps my biggest complaint about this issue is the fact that they forgot to give Tony Stark a personality.

3.weiner

 

His character falls completely flat throughout the narrative. They somehow made the Avenger with arguably the most attitude completely boring. Boo to you.

 

Moving on, we have Future Imperfect. It is a known fact that everyone loves a good grammar pun, so it has that working for it. The story opens in a desert just outside of a city called Dystopia (the name of which is a little on the nose.)  Ruby Summers stumbles across an old man who needs help.

1.

I really enjoy the little details in this comic, such as the way Ruby’s hair pops out of the top panel just a little bit. This both shows the expanse of the desert background and her domain over it. The old man identifies himself as Odin. The Odin. Just as important, he tells her that he is also fighting against the Dystopian leader, a man by the name of Maestro. Ruby introduces Odin to her rebel friends and they take Odin to their rebel hideaway. That’s when shit gets real cause hold up, that’s not really Odin! The once feeble old man begins to transform into old Hulk. Oh yeah, he’s also the bad guy they have led him directly to their rebel lair.

maestro

If you ignore the fact that nothing the characters do makes sense until then (like only running a security check to make sure this guy is who he says he is once he is already in their secret underground hideout), then this is actually a pretty well laid out story. I can forgive those little character eccentricities a lot easier than I can forgive bad storytelling or boring characters.

 

THE RESULTS:

If you couldn’t already tell, I hated Armor Wars and thought Future Perfect was pretty okay. So it’s pretty obvious Future Perfect is the winner. Both had problems with exposition, rushing the reader along through strange or improbable events to get him or her to the main event of the story. But Future Perfect takes its time and is a straightforward sequence of events that leads somewhere. Armor Wars is scattered, flat, and hard to understand.



-Stephanie Rose

CHECK US OUT TOMORROW WHEN WE FACE OFF GIANT SIZED LITTLE MARVEL VS X-TINCTION AGENDA!!

 

Super Hero Hour Hour 6/5/15

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This week, Ryan and Mike discuss the merits of iZombie’s penultimate episode of the season as well as another single episode of Daredevil. That’s right; eight episodes into Daredevil and they still haven’t caved into their crippling desire to watch the whole season in one sitting. One Cheeto, Oreo and Mountain Dew laden sitting.

POPFILTER VERSUS: STREET FIGHT MIXTAPE

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In this edition of PopFilter Versus, The Taste Buds create a 90 minute soundtrack to amplify the quality of your next street fight! With these tunes, there’s no way you’ll lose. 15 songs, one long fucking fight. It’s PopFilter’s Official Street Fight Mixtape!

BATTLEWORLD BATTLEWORLD

BATTLEWORLDBATTLEWORLD

 

ROUND 1, BATTLE 8

FOLLOW THE BRACKET HERE!

Where Monsters Dwell

WHERE MONSTERS DWELL

vs

The Amazing Spider-Man: Renew your Vows

AM_SM_RYV_SW

 

 

***WARNING: CONTAINS SPOILERS!! READ AT YOUR OWN RISK***

 

Where Monsters Dwell has features a hero who is half Indiana Jones and half Rick Blaine. We meet Flying Ace Karl Kaufmann somewhere in the Pacific Rim, in the hut of some Native Tribes Woman. In perhaps my favorite opening line of all time, she says to him,  “The sickness of the morning is upon me and soon my bellow will grow.”

 

The writing and artistry really come together in this intro. Especially in this 4-panel sequence:

 

funnyseq

Kaufmann has promised to go ask this girl’s father, the chief of the tribe, for her hand in marriage. She daydreams blissfully as we watch our hero book it in the top-right 3rd of the panel. This is a profoundly clever layout. It introduces the protagonist in the moment where he abandons a simple woman and their child. It also manages to take the time and space to let that joke land. The moment you meet a character sets up how the reader will interact with him or her. This scene needed a whole page. This is a great introduction. It has the reader in stitches. The very first thing you learn about Karl Kaufmann, The Famous Flying Ace, is that he is one big ol’ douche-bag.

 

Another character is introduced that I really hope I see again in future issues. He looks like he comes from the Samuel L. Jackson Production Wing at the Marvel Studios. He is only present for a moment and says very little. All we need to know about Winch is he can fix any engine, and he is 100% bad ass.

badassblackman

So much awesome.

 

Just then a Katy Perry look-a-like shows up.

KatyPerry

 

This British Bird’s name is Clementine  Franklin-Cox. She hires Kaufmann to fly her to meet her husband. Clem proves to be an interesting foil for Kaufmann. She’s resourceful, mysterious and tough as shit. She surprises Kaufmann, which is a thing I get the distinct impression doesn’t happen very often. Something tells me these two are going to have quite an adventure.

bossbitch

Shortly after these two get on their way, they run into a fantastic storm. Things are harrowing. The contrast of the darkness of these panels with the orangeish pale colors of the previous panels give them weight and drama. They cannot land the plane until they have made it through the storm. So then, naturally, dinosaurs:

dinos

For one, I love the artwork of this frame. There is something so pleasing about the color scale of this panel, from the way it goes from the warm light of the sun on the top-right to the blackness of a storm they just passed to the left. They have survived the vicious storm, only to be attacked by a pack of Pteranodon Longiceps! These beasts rip through Kaufmann’s F2B Bristol Fighter like an box of tissue paper. So these two are stranded in this bizarre place with no food, water, means of communication, or any idea where they are. I’m looking forward to how this thing is going to play out.

 

Issue #1 of Where Monsters Dwell is funny, entertaining, and done very well. Now let’s check out the competition.

 

Second in this battle we have The Amazing Spider Man: Renew Your Vows. This is the story of Peter Parker, if he married Mary-Jane Watson and had a baby. It’s a premise that makes any die hard Spider-Man fan scratch his head and wonder “why this story?”

 

This is our introduction to our hero:

1

For all intents and purposes, this introduction is very vivid. It has five panels, all from radically different angles. Not one is superfluous. The artist offers a series of quick glances around Peter and MJ’s life. It creates a fast pace that the rest of the comic maintains. So we meet Peter Parker and Mary Jane as they sit down and discuss raising their child, priorities, and how blissfully happy they are. (Though Parker does look a little strung-out.)

2.problem

Now a family man, Parker has come to rely on his income selling photos of Spider-man to the Daily Bugle. This is where J. Jonah Jameson reveals the nature of the dilemma: vigilantes everywhere are turning up dead. The Avengers make a cameo. The ensuing battle sequence plays out explosively

8explosive

Spider-Man has to choose between protecting his family and helping The Avengers face this bastard:

Untitled

But it isn’t a choice for Spider-Man. He runs to the aid of his family. The issue digs into the motivation behind what makes Peter Parker fiercely protective of his identity. It is never unclear where his priorities lie. Venom has his baby. There is only one thing for Parker to do.

5.ddfan

He’s got to rescue his family. Only…wait a second…

 

6.ddfan

Is that what I think it is?

 

7.ddfan

No way!

 

 

Spider-Man’s kid is a Daredevil fan! Righteous!

 

Our hero is faced with an impasse. He can no longer be both Peter Parker and Spider-Man. The comic skips a few years and revisits Peter and his daughter down the road. Parker is waxing on about finding a greater responsibility in being a husband and parent and then this shit happens:

9

Cold, PP. Just cold.

 

What is cool about these 4 panels is they are able to show a new side to Peter Parker’s character. Issue number one practically trips over its own toes in an attempt to illustrate what is happening in these 4 panels. Peter Parker is walking with his daughter through the streets of New York and he is not the man he use to be. He ignores a citizen in need to walk his child to school. I half expected Parker to go all Donald Draper on the husband-and-father front and just leave MJ to raise the kid mostly on her own while battling his enemies across the New York skyline. But he makes what he believes in the honorable choice. It will be interesting to watch what (if anything) draws Peter Parker back into his costume.

 

THE RESULTS:

 

Visually, one of the key differences in these two comics is the pace they propel readers forward. Where Monsters Dwell does a lot a lot with a little. Renew Your Vows does a lot with a lot. These are intrinsically different styles; it’s not about which style is better. Where Monsters Dwell has unity of purpose, it’s funny, and the artwork is great. But is it possible that it will hit the ground running and trip along the way? The way this issue was laid out makes me doubt it, but you never know. Renew Your Vows presents an interesting take on the entire superhero genre. It pops with outstanding action sequences. The juxtaposition between how the two men react to fatherhood is interesting. Because of the kind of men these two heroes are, their characters seem diametrically opposed. But the winner here is Where Monsters Dwell who will move on to face Secret Wars: Journal in Round Two.

 

NEXT UP! ARMOR WARS VS FUTURE IMPERFECT

 

-Stephanie Rose

 

BATTLEWORLD BATTLEWORLD

BATTLEWORLDBATTLEWORLD

WEEK TWO PREVIEW

 

ROUND ONEBATTLE EIGHT

WHERE MONSTERS DWELL #1

WHERE MONSTERS DWELLGARTH ENNIS (w) • RUSS BRAUN (a)
Cover by FRANK CHO
VARIANT COVER BY ALEX MALEEV
• GARTH ENNIS returns to Marvel Comics proper and he’s bringing his The Boys collaborator Russ Braun along with him! Fighter planes and dinosaurs collide in this raucous tale that starts with the classic Marvel character Phantom Eagle and digs much deeper!
32 PGS./Rated T+ …$3.99

VS

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN: RENEW YOUR VOWS #1

AM_SM_RYV_SWDAN SLOTT (w) • ADAM KUBERT (a/C)

THE LAST SPIDER-MAN STORY
• Not even The Amazing Spider-Man is safe from Secret Wars! In this new Marvel Universe, Peter Parker, Mary Jane Watson and their daughter have to scrape by to make ends meet, but they have each other…
• Face front, True Believers. This is the one you’ve been asking for.
32 PGS. (EACH)/Rated T …$3.99 (EACH)

ROUND ONEBATTLE NINE

ARMOR WARS #1

4446321-armor_wars_1_coverJAMES ROBINSON (w)
MARCIO TAKARA (a)
A SHADOW FALLS OVER AN ARMORED UTOPIA!
• TECHNOPOLIS:  Amazing Domain of science and wonder created by rival genius brothers TONY AND ARNO STARK.  A utopia except…a unique disease forces EVERYONE to wear armor to live and breathe.
• In this armored land a hero is murdered and the killer’s identity a mystery Baron Tony Stark must solve.
• But in doing so, will Technopolis be forced into a civil war?
32 PGS./Rated T+ …$3.99

VS

FUTURE IMPERFECT #1

4547713-future_imperfect_1_coverPETER DAVID (w)
GREG LAND (a/C)
ON BATTLEWORLD, THE DICTATOR OF DYSTOPIA IS A FAMILIAR FACE!
• THE MAESTRO rules but there are those who want him dethroned!
• What role does RUBY SUMMERS have in the plan for this dangerous rebellion?
• Have the rebels genuinely found ODIN, the father of The Gods, as an ally against the Maestro?
32 PGS./Rated T+ …$3.99

ROUND ONEBATTLE TEN

GIANT-SIZE LITTLE MARVEL: AVX #1

giantsizelittlemarvelavx1coverSKOTTIE YOUNG (w) • SKOTTIE YOUNG (a/C)
• The toughest, funniest, craziest and most adorable Marvel heroes THROW DOWN.
• Featuring all your favorites including Cyclops, Hawkeye, Black Widow, Wolverine! They’re all there, just shorter!
• Skottie Young brings out the big guns in the series fans have been waiting for!
32 PGS./Rated T …$3.99

VS

X-TINCTION AGENDA #1 XTAG2015001    MARC GUGGENHEIM (w)
CARMINE DI GIANDOMENICO (a)
• Ten years since the fall of Cameron Hodge and his fascist regime. Ten years that Havok and Wolfsbane have labored to rebuild Genosha. But their work may be for naught, as a plague has spread across their nation, infecting mutants and threatening their race with extinction.
• With the country quarantined and seemingly abandoned by the rest of the world, including the X-Men, old friends may become new enemies as Genosha’s rulers fight to save their people!
• Experience an alternate future fueled by the events of the landmark first X-Crossover of 1990, X-Tinction Agenda!
32 PGS./Rated T+ …$3.99

BATTLEWORLD BATTLEWORLD

BATTLEWORLDBATTLEWORLD

ROUND 1, BATTLE 7

Follow the bracket here!

SECRET WARS 2099 #1

Secret_Wars_2099-720x1100

VS

SECRET WARS JOURNAL #1

STK671120

In this battle, we once again have 2 books playing in parallel sandboxes. With Secret Wars 2099, David and party are expanding the 2099 universe in scope and characters from what we saw in its initial run the 90s and the more recent return. In Secret Wars Journal, Shen et al. are riffing on the Marvel 1602 vibe with a character we never saw in that’s original outing. So both are taking what people know of alternate universes, and adding to them. Bold move in such a finely tuned crossover machine. Why should readers care about these new versions of characters in alternate realities that don’t matter to the main story? Two answers: Readers loving seeing the familiar turned upside down, and quality of individual issues aside, it’s a breath of fresh air for an event series to let “extraneous” stories breathe and grow in their own natural pace.

So it’s a shame to say that both of these books are among the weakest that have come out in #Battleworld so far. While it’s fun to see 2099 versions of the Avengers (which Marvel keeps pimping out as NEVER SEEN BEFORE!), this issue doesn’t give itself time to make us care about these Avengers. They’re just visual riffs and changes on the current core Avengers (read: movie version). Hawkeye 2099 is actually part-bird. Captain America 2099 is a blonde woman who may not know she’s Captain America (probably the most interesting thing in the book). Iron Man and Black Widow 2099s, are just a different dude in armor and different lady in Black Widow leather (and a stupid multi-eyed mask when she’s suited up). And Hercules is still just Hercules. So they couldn’t even think of more than two major changes to characters.

Screen Shot 2015-06-01 at 5.02.57 PM

Shockingly not from X-Men the Animated Series.

There’s an inherent problem with the very concept of 2099, and that is it hasn’t left it’s 90s roots. Everything is still supposed to be big, and extreme, and sticking it to the corporate man. Except now we’ve seem comics go bigger and extremer while also adding nuance and insight to character work, and the sticking it to the man is pretty tired and fangless. On top of that, there isn’t much story to dig into in this first issue—neither Secret Wars over-arcing story, nor self-contained momentum. There are seeds planted about Captain America’s identity, about the nefariousness of corporations (duh), and about how date-rapey Hercules can be, but none of them really grab you. The whole thing is a relic from a past that isn’t far enough to have relics; it’s a What If tale where the creators for got to ask, Why Does It Matter?

why

Never ignore the roadsigns.

 Secret Wars Journal suffers from the same, “wouldn’t it be neat” momentum as 2099, the difference is, it IS neat. At least more neat. Kate Bishop (Lady Hawkeye) as a Robin Hood figure is a fun story, and if the issues aren’t going to “matter”, they should at least be entertaining. And this issue was entertaining (at least the first 1/2). The story wasn’t exceptionally original but there was a swiftness to the pacing that lined up with the art to keep the pages turning. What this story absolutely nailed, is having a competent, badass, unsexualized female hero saving the shit out of her two male sidekicks. It’s not trying to shove a message down your throat, it just effortlessly shows how easy it is to have a well-rounded female character…  and in less than 10 pages. And since Journal is another anthology/one shot series, writers and artists can keep jumping around and digging into various parts of Battleworld that won’t see a lot of play in the main story. Just so you know, I’m straight up avoiding talking about the second story in this issue, a convoluted story about the X-Mens in Egypt fighting a Moon Goddess. So if anything, come for the fun minutiae learning about this new universe. Secret Wars Journal moves on! -MG

THURSDAY: WHERE MONSTERS DWELL

VS

AMAZING SPIDERMAN: RENEW YOUR VOWS

PopFilter Podcast Episode 199

Play

This week, the friends finish their epic mountain building process with the Actionbusters (TM) mountain spanning the years 2006-2015. That’s right! See if you favorite modern movie maverick made it!

They also yell at each other about At Long Last A$AP by A$AP Rocky and Fox’s mini-series Wayward Pines. Plus they pretend to like each other, but come on…199 episodes is a lot.

BATTLEWORLD BATTLEWORLD

BATTLEWORLDBATTLEWORLD

ROUND 1, BATTLE 6

Follow the bracket here!

MODOK: ASSASSIN #1

MODOK1

VS

OLD MAN LOGAN #1

OM_Logan_1

In the early 2000s, when comic book companies realized that the only people reading their books were 40 year olds, the methods of storytelling began to change. They didn’t need to follow Stan Lee’s adage of remembering every comic is somebody’s first comic anymore, and could spend less time on the thousands of words of constant exposition that Stan Lee was enamored with. This made the narrator box and thought bubbles unnecessary, as the writers didn’t feel the need to cover eight issues worth of story in 22 pages.

indexLook at the panel on the right, without reading what’s in the yellow box. Can you tell that the Hulk is turning back into Bruce Banner? You can? Now read the yellow box, which lets you know the transformation is awesome.

firstmet6-3-3f And then there’s the thought bubble. The solid circle on the left is dialogue, while the cloudy one on the right is Spider-Man’s internal monologue. Why would he say one of these out loud, and not the other? Why would either be said out loud? Does Peter Parker think that normal people say one sentence, and then think one sentence, whereas people who say two sentences in a row out loud are crazy? We can only assume that probably.

Once we hit the 2000s, and comics became G-Rated things for adults, these two techniques went away, and are now occasionally replaced with a combination of the two. Now, the character’s thoughts appear in a box that looks similar to the one that used to contain the omniscient narration. Like so:

comic-art-terms-narrative-box

See, that’s not Stan Lee’s exuberant loquaciousness making the story easier to understand (and harder to read), that’s the thoughts of the main character. No more thought bubbles, no more narrative boxes, but an amalgamation of the two. It still might feel like cheating, as narration often feels, especially in such a visual medium where not enough of the storytelling is given to the artists. But after two weeks of Battleworld Battleworld, I’m starting to think that the winners of these battles might be the ones who figure out a way to handle the narrative boxes the best.

M.O.D.O.K.: Assassin and Old Man Logan both tell the story of killers forced to be brutal because of the worlds they live in. Logan’s is brutal because it’s a post-apocalyptic western that takes place after a mob of Hulks took control of the world. MODOK’s world is brutal because he’s a giant head that thinks he should be the supreme ruler, but no one can take him seriously because they are too busy being disgusted at his appearance. MODOK has always been one of the more successful comedic characters. Maybe it’s because it’s hard to yell out Dr. Doom-like dialogue unless you’re wearing a kick ass green hood. Maybe it’s because he’s not overused, or doesn’t rely on pop culture references. And M.O.D.O.K.: Assassin is about the best you can hope for with MODOK as a main character. It’s violent and funny, and for once we get to see MODOK somewhat competent. Unfortunately for him, Old Man Logan is back, mother fucker.

Brian Michael Bendis is probably my favorite writer of all time. He’s easy to make fun of now, but there was a time when he could set an entire issue in the Avengers cafeteria, and it would be the best thing you read that week. That being said, Bendis does not seem like he would be a good fit for OML. It stars Wolverine as William Munny, and characters based on iconic Clint Eastwood roles probably don’t have a lot of time for lightning fast banter. But Bendis’ Wolverine doesn’t mess around. He’s not jumping from quippy conversation to quippy conversation, giving characters a mix of their previous personalities with the usual Bendis tone. It’s an important moment for Bendis, now that he’s wrapped up his X-Men run and staring out at a post-Secret Wars world. It’s a bit of proof that we too quickly slap a label on these writers. But it’s a bigger moment for Secret Wars spinoffs in general, as it reminds us that we should kickback and enjoy all of these crazy stories on their own, as opposed to being overly concerned about how each one fits into the current world, or whatever we’ll have when it’s all over.

M.O.D.O.K.: Assassin used little narrative boxes to let us know who this MODOK is, and what his world is like. It never feels like a cheat – in fact, in might be necessary in this crazy world of battles and secrets. But Bendis sets the boxes down for a minute and lets artist Andrea Sorrentino take over. Bendis gives us a little scene with Logan and the daughter of Luke Cage and Jessica Jones, and he gets Logan out to the Shield, which sets-up the rest of the arc. But when you’re dealing with a man who talks little and punches often, it’s up to Sorrentino to lead the way. The action is quiet, and brutal, and there’s a distinct lack of quipping during the fight. Now that Bendis has gotten Logan over the wall, we’re going to get to see Sorrentino’s vision of Wolverine vs. Zombies and Wolverine vs. Ultrons. And we’ll get to see all of that in Round 2.

TOMORROW: SECRET WARS 2099 VS SECRET WARS JOURNAL!!!

BATTLEWORLD BATTLEWORLD

BATTLEWORLDBATTLEWORLD

Round 1, Battle 5

follow the bracket here!

INHUMANS: ATTLIAN RISING #1

VS

THE INFINITY GAUNTLET #1

inf_gauntlet_1

One of the major dangers of a GIANT, EPIC, WORLD-ALTERING, CROSSOVER EVENT in the comic world is to lose the humanity amongst all of the SWEET EPIC SHIT. The small, simple moments that make fans fall in love with the characters get lost in the necessitated threads connecting one story to every other story (or at least to the main story) rippling through the multiverse. Another danger is that the story is connected barely at all, a 1-2 page intermission in the issue reminding the reader of all money and time they should be spending on the event if they want to be in the know. *

*Hey Filterinos! To get the full scoop on this critique, check out PopFilter Presents: BattleworldBattleworld articles 1-4. –THE BOARD

 

 Based on the covers alone, I assumed Inhumans: Attilan Rising #1 (Charles Soule, John Timms, Roberto Poggi, Frank D’Armarta) would out pace The Infinity Gauntlet #1 (Gerry Duggan, Dustin Weaver) easily. The art for the Attilan cover is distinct, crisp, and straight up cool. Gauntlet looks like generic space opera comics but for the Disney-set.

Now early on, both issues work incredibly well, for pretty similar reasons. Rather than zooming out and covering numerous characters at once, they both open on small sets of groups wandering in their respective wildernesses that are now strewn throughout #Battleworld. They both play with tropes of other genres: Gauntlet post-apocalypse that’s so popular this century, and Attilan leaning towards a WWI spy drama. They handle their differing group dynamics equally as well. Gauntlet stars a family (a father, two daughters, and a grandfather) sticking together in a post-apocalyptic city trying to escape “Bugs” that may have killed the mother in space. Missing parent tragedy? Check. Small story focused on human emotions and interactions against a backdrop of a deadly world. Check.

But Attilan opens with this:

Screen Shot 2015-05-28 at 6.59.15 PM

Screen Shot 2015-05-28 at 8.02.07 PM

Fuck. Yeah. That’s a 1920s gangster GhostRider. 

A ragtag resistance group trying to de-hulkify Hulkland of Battleworld to grow their resistance group. AND their group consists of Marvel players so small their powers and personalities are new, and there’s no baggage to get through. Just “oh shit, that’s sweet” moments. So if both issues are avoiding the major crossover dangers, and telling more intimate stories, what separates them?

images-15

Well, Inhumans: Attilan Rising throws away the promising initial beats it sets up by shifting to Medusa, Dr. Doom, and a bunch of politics it doesn’t need. At least not in the starting issue. Also, let’s not try to parse out if this Medusa is the same as the Medusa who appeared in A-Force, or if they know each other exist, or can be in the same room, or one dies if the other dies. I hope it’s an alternate version, otherwise there’s a sliding timeline in the Battleworld books, and that’s the kind of shenanigans that made this crossover necessary. Not only does the focus shift to a confusing conundrum, but Doom is shoved in ordering Medusa to get a hold on her kingdom. There’s that annoying tie-in from the first paragraph! Not to mention the exposition heavy dialogue strains under the weight of explaining how this specific Manhattan kingdom operates, how Battleworld operates, how these characters operate. While it’s a fun and wide-reaching idea that a reader could pick up any issue as their first issue of Battleworld, covering the same bases in almost every first issue is getting fucking exhausting. But there’s one moment that Attilan really cemented how much it seemingly wanted Gauntlet to move on in the bracket:

 Screen Shot 2015-05-28 at 7.00.13 PM

This.

We’ve gone too fucking far. When you take a badass silent hero, and turn him into a Humphrey Bogart’s try-hard little brother, we’re done. This is the shark-jumpingest character twist of Battleworld so far. And I pray to Uatu we don’t see worse. Not only does it eviscerate what makes Black Bolt so cool, it boringly maps out how this specific series is going to play out. Close your eyes, and think for half-second, and you’ll be able to map out to 99% accuracy how this story is moving forward. And while it may be a fun journey (and the espionage parts were fun), it’s just not strong enough to continue. There’s an alternate reality where Attilan moved on. Based on the potential promised by the first couple of pages of both books, the caper could have won out over the post-apocalypse given the latter’s saturation. But major sidetracking on Attilan’s part, and some smart decisions in Gauntlet clinched it.

Because The Infinity Gauntlet did something incredibly brave—it introduced brand new characters to the Marvel universe. Gone completely is the baggage of past storylines. Gone completely are fan expectations. The weight on Duggan and Weaver is still heavily present, but it’s a pure weight, a hopeful weight: they just need to show us a compelling story. And they do! The characters may be archetypal right now, but groundwork for developing the personalities and their dynamics are laid out. There’s a complexity in this issue that is effortless in a way Attilan crumbled under trying to get you to be impressed. The creative team behind Gauntlet lays out the immediate danger for the Bakian family clearly– get the hell away from giant space bugs. But the real danger that the Bakians don’t see is the animalistic take on Thanos stalking in the shadows. This isn’t the overlord/general/mastermind we’re used to, but the way Weaver draws him is cat-like, just another beast in the wild. The few panels they show him are more intimidating than anything the MCU has done with him yet.

 Screen Shot 2015-05-28 at 7.40.40 PM

Lurking in the shadows will never not be scary.

 While this book is juggling immediate danger with imminent danger, and family dynamics with survival, it very quietly tells an origin story. Because our narrator, Anwen, who I haven’t had a chance to mention yet, this smart, spunky, outspoken, strong female, is going to be Marvel’s next breakout superhero. I predict the 2010s are remembered for giving us Miles Morales, Kamala Khan, and Anwen Bakian. So not only have Duggan and Weaver started a delightful (SELF-CONTAINED!) adventure within this sprawling saga, they’ve slyly put forth an argument that it’s okay if some of our old favorites die off in this universe blender. There are new heroes out there to fall in love with.-MG

 

Follow Mike on Twitter @Microphoneyo!

Super Hero Hour Hour 5/29/15

Play

This week, Ryan and Mike discuss the new iZombie and Daredevil episode 107. They also give out the first annual Hourie for “Best Leading Performance”. Get your head right and dig it!

PopFilter Podcast Episode 198, pt. 2

Play

The exciting conclusion the the Taste Buds (TM) getting destroyed by David Lynch!

And if you enjoyed this episode, you have Professor Todd McGowan to thank! Go get his book The Impossible David Lynch and get yourself learned on some important film stuffs!

BATTLEWORLD BATTLEWORLD

BATTLEWORLDBATTLEWORLD

Round 1, Battle 4

follow the bracket here!

INFERNO #1

Inferno

VS

ULTIMATE END #1

Okay, so comic books are a major thing right now and everyone is good with that. It’s cool because I am also super good with that. I’m not going to freak out about it so stop thinking that I’m going to freak out about it. Today, instead of freaking out, we’re going to look at the merits of Ultimate End 001 vs. Inferno 001. One is about a bunch of superheroes doing things and the other is also that. Okay, stalemate. Let’s do this.

Not a picture of me about to write this article.

Not a picture of me about to write this article.

Inferno is a crazy tale of someone named Piotr (which is an admittedly stupid name) trying to rescue his sister, whose name is also painfully Russian. She is trapped (or not) in a living, breathing tower that was once the Empire State building but now houses hell on Earth (or at least a crazy fucking den of dastardly demons). Got it? Good. Ultimate End follows basically every superhero from the Marvel universe that has had or will soon have a film dealing with a gigantic rip in the universe that has caused all kinds of things to happen that very clearly should not have happened. With me so far? Great. Without spoiling too much of the sweet pages of either issue, Ultimate End is our winner. And while it does have a slightly better known cast of crazy characters, the reason it is the victor in this battle is two-fold.

Not seen in either book, Bikosaurus Rex, whose powers are far too numerous and obvious to name.

Not seen in either book, Bikosaurus Rex, whose powers are far too numerous and obvious to name.

To begin with, comic books are won and lost between the huge battle scenes. You know the type; big, hulking monsters getting punched and kicked by our superheroes while dealing out their own brand of pain over two or three pages where the only dialogue is “ooooof” or “faboom”. In between those pages, you get a voice, an idea and a perspective of what an author is trying to do with his cast. What does Brian Michael Bendis have to say about Spiderman that hasn’t been spewed across pages and screens for decades? When a group of heroes is chatting, does the dialogue bend to the characters or do the characters find a way to fit into the narrative? While Inferno does a good job of making me care about characters like Colossus and Domino that I am all but completely unfamiliar with, Ultimate makes familiar characters act in an unfamiliar way and I buy it hook, line and sinker.

Psych! I don’t care about Domino!

As if that weren’t enough, the artwork in Ultimate blends and helps the story in a much more natural way than Inferno. With Inferno, Javier Garron is doing masterful work that makes you forget that you’re reading and feel like you’re watching. Unfortunately, Inferno drew the short straw in being forced to spar with Ultimate, which finds a way to balance Bendis’ insane balance of humor and action with Mark Bagley’s odd ability to enhance or counteract those moments through his artwork. Even with his seemingly intuitive knowledge of how to work with Bendis, without a doubt, Bagley’s most impressive artistic moment was his ability to turn a bright white light into something that you felt you had to squint at until you realize that it’s a fucking comic book and the light isn’t actually getting brighter.

Psshh...like I even care about bright lights.

Psshh, like I care about bright lights. I don’t even care about Domino…

For everything Inferno did right, Ultimate End found a way to do super right. It’s easy to get immersed in both books right off the bat, but in a battle of comic books, it only seems fair that the most super challenger moves on.

 

With Love,
Jason R. Noble

BATTLEWORLD BATTLEWORLD

BATTLEWORLDBATTLEWORLD

WEEK TWO PREVIEW

 

ROUND ONEBATTLE FOUR

ULTIMATE END #1

Ultimate_End_1

BRIAN MICHAEL BENDIS (w) • MARK BAGLEY (a/C)
Variant Cover by DAVID MARQUEZ
ACTION FIGURE VARIANT COVER BY JOHN TYLER CHRISTOPHER
YOUNG VARIANT COVER BY SKOTTIE YOUNG
• MILES MORALES and the rest of the heroes of the ULTIMATE U face final extinction
• As the end of their world becomes inevitable, will the heroes’ heartbreaking sacrifices make any difference?
• The dramatic end of an era begins here!
32 PGS./Rated T+ …$3.99

VS

INFERNO #1

INFERNO_1

DENNIS HOPELESS (w) • JAVIER GARRON (a/C)
VARIANT COVER BY ADI GRANOV
• Spinning out of the universe-shattering events of Secret Wars comes a new twist on the X-Men classic that’s a whole hell of a lot hotter than you remember
• 5 years ago a band of demons rose up out of the fiery depths and turned Manhattan into Hell on Earth. The X-Men fought to vanquish the demon horde and… The X-Men failed.
• Welcome back to the Inferno.
• On this the fifth anniversary of Manhattan’s fall, Piotr Rasputin is leading a small band of mutants back into the Inferno. Colossus doesn’t know what they’ll find on the other side of those flames but he knows for certain… They’re not coming back without his sister.
32 PGS./Rated T+ …$3.99

ROUND ONEBATTLE FIVE

INFINITY GUANTLET #1

inf_gauntlet_1

GERRY DUGGAN & DUSTIN WEAVER (w) • DUSTIN WEAVER (a/C)
VARIANT COVER BY ADI GRANOV
YOUNG VARIANT BY SKOTTIE YOUNG
BLANK VARIANT ALSO AVAILABLE
Think your life is hard? Anwen Bakian’s family lives in a post-apocalyptic wasteland, scrounging for food and avoiding giant bugs intent on eating them. Mom left years ago to join the Nova force and never came back. So it’s just Anwen, her dad, her sister and her grandpa against the huge insects. That is, until she finds a mysterious stone that may or may not hold incredible cosmic power. Don’t miss this incredible new series by DEADPOOL writer Gerry Duggan and EDGE OF SPIDER-VERSE writer/artist Dustin Weaver that will set the cosmic table for the Marvel Universe for years to come!
32 PGS./Rated T …$3.99

VS

INHUMANS: ATTILAN RISING #1

Atilian_Rising_1

CHARLES SOULE (w) • JOHN TIMMS (a)
COVER BY DAVE JOHNSON
Design Variant by DAVE JOHNSON
VARIANT COVER BY W. SCOTT FORBES
YOUNG VARIANT BY SKOTTIE YOUNG
BLANK VARIANT COVER
• There is a rebellion brewing on Battleworld and it stretches far and wide into every domain. Medusa, ruler of Attilan, is tasked with uncovering the leader of this uprising and scuttling it with extreme prejudice. When she discovers the leader of this rebellion is Black Bolt, however, things get complicated.
32 PGS./Rated T+ …$3.99

ROUND ONEBATTLE SIX

MODOK: ASSASSIN #1

MODOK1

CHRIS YOST (w) • AMILCAR PINNA (a)
Cover by DAVID LAFUENTE
VARIANT COVER BY TBA
• In a world populated by the most fearsome thieves, murderers and ne’er-do-wells, there is one who is a HEAD above the rest…
• Enter, M.O.D.O.K.: The Mental Organism Designed Only for KILLING!
• Killville’s very own Merc with a Maw is open for business! But his next job may be biting off more than he can chew…
32 PGS./Rated T+ …$3.99

VS

OLD MAN LOGAN #1

OM_Logan_1

BRIAN MICHAEL BENDIS (w) • ANDREA SORRENTINO (a/C)
Variant Cover by STEVE McNIVEN
VARIANT COVER BY ANDREA SORRENTINO
YOUNG VARIANT BY SKOTTIE YOUNG
BLANK VARIANT COVER
• Enter the Wastelands…a realm where all heroes have been murdered by their arch-enemies, villains who now rule over the land with an iron fist. In the midst of this dystopian chaos, one man may make a difference…a reluctant warrior who was once the greatest mutant of all…a man known as OLD MAN LOGAN.
40 PGS./Rated T …$4.99

ROUND ONEBATTLE SEVEN

SECRET WARS 2099 #1

SCWARS_2099_1

PETER DAVID (w) • WILL SLINEY (a)
Cover by Dave Rapoza
VARIANT COVER BY TBA
• When everything ends, it’s time to go back to the future. Revisit the world of 2099 and see it a whole new light, as characters who have never been seen before make their first appearances – including the AVENGERS 2099. Can the ideal of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes survive in a world where megacorporations rule with an iron fist?
32 PGS./Rated T …$3.99

VS

SECRET WARS JOURNAL #1

SW_JOURNAL_1

Prudence Shen & Michael Rosenberg (w)
Ramon Bachs & Luca Pizzari (a)
Cover by Kevin Wada
VARIANT COVER BY TBA
ACTION FIGURE VARIANT BY JOHN TYLER CHRISTOPHER
WITNESS THE STRANGE TALES OF BATTLEWORLD! TWO SCINTILLATING STORIES OF SECRET WARS!
• Is LADY KATE of 1602 the nefarious HAWKEYE BANDIT who robs from the rich and gives to the poor?
• Can an enslaved band of MUTANTS in EGYPTIA overthrow their overlord, KHONSHU?
• Can YOU afford not to read the coolest, hippest, most continuity-important book in all of SECRET WARS??? Because this is TOTALLY THAT BOOK. But don’t tell anyone. It’ll be our little Secret…Wars Journal.
32 PGS./Rated T+ …$3.99