As I am a big fan of comic books and I've recently gotten a new batch of them I figured that I'd try to review them all. Now this may be kind of late for all of them but I live in Sweden and I get everything kind of late. But that's the way it is. So here we go.
By Brian Michael Bendis (Writer), Olivier Copiel (Penciler), Mark Morales (Inker), Laura Martin (Colorist) and Chris Eliopoulos (Letterer)
Review: For me this issue was an improvement over the previous one which felt a bit too short and the writing didn't engage me. Issue #2 of this limited series delivers a better comic with more memorable moments. A few personal favorites are Maria Hill saving Thor by blasting Norman Osborn with a rocket launcher, Thor sending Daken with a lightning bolt and the last page actually made me laugh.
That said, the issue as a whole still felt sort of hollow to me writing wise. Nothing really surprising happen, except for a pointless death which I'll get to soon. There's fighting, Captain America makes a grand speech to the heroes he's gathered to beat up on Norman's forces (kind of pointless speech since the heroes would love to that even without a rousing speech) and more of the same. Heroes are heroes and villains are villains. Standard stuff.
There is a nice plot-thread concerning Norman's declining sanity, and the Sentry seems to be less whiney and talkative as well. So, hopefully those'll make the last two issues stand out more.
As for the pointless death. It's a pointless death with a gore rating that doesn't fit in with the rest of the story. It's either a part of an already planned story that will make it even more pointless or it's actually intended to shock me. Instead I role my eyes at it and get bored.
For all the ups and down that the writing has the art is solid throughout the entire thing. Copiel is a brilliant superhero comic artist. Everything looks dynamic and epic. The gorey death is however rather awkward, but that's not Copiel's fault. He did his best with what he was told to draw.
Overall, an entertaining issue. The writing is a bit uneven but still pretty good and the art is just great.
Overall Score: 6/10.
AVENGERS: THE INITIATIVE #33
By Christos Gage (Writer), Jorge Molina (Penciler), Victor Olazaba (Inker) and Edgar Delgado (Letterer)
Review: This issue, which was a tie-in comic to the Siege issue reviewed above, felt rather disjointed. It jumped back and forth between the large battle from Siege, only here from two other perspectives, and the Avengers Resistance attacking Camp Hammer.
Both of the stories get roughly the same amount of pages dedicated to each other and have little to no impact on one another so it feels a little like reading two different stories that are only half-finished. They're still tied together because of the events they're tied into. But nothing more.
What's here IS good. In fact, it's VERY good. Christos Gage excells at writing the type of character introspective stories that we get here while adding exciting action scenes to it all. The look into Taskmaster's, one of my favourite Marvel villains, mind as he's trying to decide whether or not aiming for life as a big time supervillain is worth it and Diamondback analysing her relationship with Constrictor gives us some great insight to both characters. I do love Taskmaster being a voice of reason, commenting on all the insane shit going on around him.
The assult on Camp Hammond is the weaker of the two storylines. At least to me as there are few characters here that I care that much about. It also feels like things are being set up for a big finale despite it being in the middle of big ass fight. Like I said, the action is welldone but I just wish that more time would be spent on Taskmaster and Diamondback.
The art is good. Molina is great at drawing large and crowded fight scenes with a surprising amount of detail. So yeah, it's good.
So the story felt disjointed but what we got was great stuff and the art was good. A solid issue in most regards, but not perfect.
Overall Score: 7/10.
By Jeff Parker (Writer), Miguel Sepulveda (Artist), Frank Martin (Colorist) and Comicraft's Albert Deschesne (Letterer)
Review: Another tie-in comic to Siege. Only this one stays away from the main action of the large battle and focuses more on Norman's specially chosen taskforce the Thunderbolts, as one could guess from the title. This allows the comic to tell it's own story and only being marginally dependent of the events in Siege. So this one reads better as a stand alone comic.
The interaction between the Thunderbolts is the main plus if you ask me. These people are not heroes, some of them are in fact asshole supervillains, and they don't like each other at all. So naturally the interaction between them should be somewhat... tense. Jeff Parker manages very well with portraying the team as such. There's some seriously fun, yet dark, dialogue here as the team make their way into the Asgardian armory. Even Norman's reccorded hologram gives us a memorable moment that shows how little he actually cares about the team.
Even though I think that he's a horrible monster Mr. X gets the best moment in the issue when he reaches a new career highlight in killing a god. A nameless mook god mind you, but still a god.
The issues ends with a cliff-hanger as the Mighty Avengers, or what's left of them, show up for a good old-fashioned throw down. If the M. A. had been at full force the Thunderbolts would've lost pretty quickly. With the depleted ranks of the M. A. however things are a bit more evened out and I look forward to the next issue.
Overall Score: 7,5/10.
GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY #23
By Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning (Writers), Wes Craig Penciller, Serge Lapointe (Inker), Nathan Fairbairn (Colorist) and VC's Joe Caramagna (Letterer)
Review: A comic that has NOTHING to do with Siege. Hooray! Instead this comic tells the story of how the half of the team readers thought had died during the devastating battle against the powerful madman Magus actually survived. The problem is that Magus is the one behind this little miracle and he's planning on turning them over to his side.
The main focus of this issue lies on Phyla-Vell, a lady with way too many legacies on her shoulder. I appreciate that very much as I feel that she hasn't been explored enough during the series' run. Here we finally get some insight into her feelings for her fellow teammates and her reasons for becoming death's avatar, though it was fairly obvious it was still nice to read her thoughts on the matter.
But fleshing Phyla out isn't the only thing that the comic does. It also gives us lots of Magus being deliciously evil, in the special kind of madman/tyrant despot way that is always fun to read. He's just a delight to read while still being menacing and cringe worthy in his saddism. A great villain for a great book.
In a sub-plot the Guardians that aren't captured are on security duty for what could be seen as a galatic U.N. meeting. Abett and Lanning (DnA) uses this to gives us a few guest cameos, which includes an almost show stealing appearance from Blastaar. This interlude gives a nice, but brief, update about how things are progressing in the larger part of space. It also gives us some nice foreshadowing as Moondragon freaks out right before a strange attacked is launched.
The issue ends with a good cliffhanger that has me pumped for the next issue.
Then there's the art. Which is a difficult case. Wes Craig is a talented artists, if somewhat stylised, but there are questions whether he fits for this series or not. Personally I think he needs another colourist. The one from issues #12-13 worked out perfectly in my opinion. As it stands the art is good but might not really fit the series due to the way it is coloured.
I do love this series so much. The writing is always top-notch and while the art may not be perfect it still does it job good enough. Why more people aren't buying this series is beyond me and makes me want to slam my face against a wall.
Overall Score: 9/10