I came into this read with extremely negative expectations. I remember way back when the Ultimate Universe was still in its infancy and it was outright stated that they were never going to do a crossover. But that was 10 years ago and as Bendis has pointed out in an interview about the crossover, "Things change." It just seemed gimmicky and lately, gimmicky has taken precedence over quality content and depth, such as with Marvel's AvX and DC's New 52 for the most part. Lately Bendis has just not been impressing on a lot of his titles. There is one thing that Bendis knows how to do well and I have always enjoyed and that is his writing on the Ultimate Universe. One of the reasons I had such reservations about this arc was because this arc would be a crossover of a universe that Bendis writes that I love and a universe that he writes that I have been thoroughly disappointed.
After having read the first issue, I am tossing all that fear and those pesky reservations out the window. I enjoyed this series so much I was shocked. Bendis was writing like he was BENDIS again. The writer that can do no wrong. The writer that creates a story that you cannot help but get sucked into. Funnily enough, it only featured regular Spider-Man almost the entire time. Bendis has certain flare for comedic writing where Spider-Man is concerned. If only AvX was written like this. But to be fair, I think Bendis has a stronger understanding of Spider-Man than the characters littering AvX, he has been writing Spider-Man for a decade (even if it was the Ultimate Universe one).
The art is a knockout. Ultimate Spider-Man readers will recognize the work of Pichelli right away. She has been on most of the new Ultimate Spider-Man run and did a few issues from Death of Spider-Man. It just fits perfectly with Bendis Spider-Man writing. Comedy in comic books is just as much on the shoulders of the artist as it is with the writer and I can think of few artists that could be better for this mini. Something about it reminds me of Amanda Conner, one of my favorite comic book artists. The action is solid as well. It just looks realistic. No issues with the art at all for this one. Pichelli was someone I have kept an eye on for a few issues but now she is climbing the favs list.
The story is pretty straightforward. Spider-Man (the regular one) is thinking about how he loves New York and beating up a few baddies when he sees some energy blast come from a dilapidated building. Turns out someone got their hands on Stark tech and that someone is Mysterio! Punch, kick, quip and webs ensue and Spider-Man is thrown into the energy coming from the Stark tech. Suddenly he is in a New York that is familiar, yet different. Hilarity ensues as he attempts to be the hero he is and people react to his costume. For those of you who do not know why... shame on you!
Overall I felt this first issue did its job of getting me interested and then some. I most certainly will be getting the next issue that comes out and I hope you do as well. It is a solid 4.8/5. My only gripe is that this issue had a lot of splash pages. Splash pages are great but sometimes, less is more and it felt like an extremely fast read because of it.
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I have been loving this series so far. Kaine has been a thoroughly enjoyable character that has very human struggles. He is a man that is good at his core but struggles with who he used to be and because of his past, he sees himself as a villain. But beyond that, what makes him interesting is that he wants to be good.This issue was really good. We got to see so much; how the city of Houston saw him, his internal conflict, his friends and some crazy fighting. I did not like a few things. They gave Kaine a tattoo. This is a problem for me for two reasons. One is that he is supposed to have durability enough where something like a tattoo needle would have no effect. He also has a healing factor, not on the order of Wolverine but over time, I would think his body would erase the tattoo, so getting one is pointless. Then there is the fact that the tattoo just looks ugly. I love tattoos but I think if you are going to get one, you might as well make it something that looks good and not like that ridiculous crap he put on his arm. This is just something that artists will have to deal with later. I hope they just phase it out like it never happened because it just looks terrible.
Other than that, the issue was spectacular. I hope this issue is getting the number to support an ongoing series because this is one of the few titles Marvel is putting out that is worth buying. The art is enjoyable in a cartoony kind of way. I personally prefer a more serious or dark kind of art, especially for a series that deals with a protagonist like this but other than that, there is nothing wrong with this art at all. Stegman does a fine job and is consistent throughout his time on the series and it is appropriate during the light moments of the series such as his time with his friends, especially with Aracely.
The fight with Ana was very well done. He is well beyond her in stats but he also does not have a spider sense like Spider-Man does and she seems to be the superior fighter. It also helps that she prepped the fight and had a few advantages. But both characters were treated with respect and I love that in a character fight.
Overall this issue was a 4.4/5 for me. Loved it but it was not the best issue for the series to date. I am eager to see what happens in the next issue though with the reveal on the last page. This series is only 6 issues in so I seriously recommend picking it up. Doubly so if you are not interested in the AvX event that is going on right now with Marvel.
To see this and other reviews done by me, click the source link here.
If you want to read a spoiler-free review, visit fellow blogger Gregg's review on the movie here. My review will contain spoilers so if you want to see it yourself first, come back to my review later.
I actually found this movie to be extremely engaging and fun the entire time. I have heard some say they got bored in between the blood letting. I have also hear some say that it had too much buildup before things started getting scary. I disagree with this. I found it all to be wonderfully constructed development. I personally loved how the movie did not give us all the answers as well, which happens to be one of the biggest complaints of the film. But provided it gets the sequel it is aiming for, these things will be revealed. The movie was over 2 hours long and I left the theater wishing it was 3 hours long. The complaints I have been hearing have been almost exclusively from fans of the Alien franchise. I personally was never a hardcore fan of the franchise, far too scary for me when I was a tot. But I did watch the films a few years ago and found the first two enjoyable. That said, I barely remember the films so I went into this movie with the thought that it was connected to another film that I do not really remember and I had slightly high expectations. Those expectations were exceeded and then some.
I loved the pacing of the movie. The cinematography was amazing. It was some of the best CGI I have seen and it was seamless with the rest of the movie. The locations selected for the movie were gorgeous and memorable, the movie had a rock star casting and almost everyone performed phenomenally. This movie does tie into the Alien movie. It explains the "space jockey" we see in the 1979 film. But one thing people need to understand is that the Alien film and the Prometheus film take place on 2 different places. Prometheus takes place on the moon LV-223 while the Alien movie starts out on planetoid LV-426. They are not directly connected in the sense that one leads into the other. Prometheus predated the events of Alien by about 30 years.
Some of the things I want to talk about are the questions and theories I have about the movie.
Did the Engineers create the xenomorph species as a means to cleans an experiment or as a superior experiment to humanity?
Was the Engineer at the end of the film infected by the xenomorph parasite? Because his armor was not a suit like it was with the other Engineers we see throughout the film. It was clearly part of his body.
Why did they want to destroy humanity just 2,000 years ago when there is evidence of their involvement with humanity as far back as 35,000 years ago as well as implied scenes that they seeded Earth with all of its life?
Why did the Engineer at the end of the movie kill his fellow Engineers in the holo-recordings?
Why did the Engineer at the end not kill humanity 2,000 years ago and instead went into stasis?
Why did the rest of the species not carry out the mission of destroying humanity when they had no word from their military lab that the mission was or was not a success?
Did the Engineers seed other planets? Is that why there were thousands of vials of the xenoparasite?
These are just some of the questions that I would like to have answered. I believe they will be answered in the sequel, assuming it happens but as of right now, they are fun to think over and try to come up with my own explanations.
Overall I was extremely satisfied with the movie. I will give this movie a 4.8/5. It is well worth your money. As a matter of a fact, I want to see it again and that almost never happens with me and the theater experience outside of maybe Avengers. Some said it lacked the suspense of the Alien film but so what? It is not the same movie. It breaks new ground in the franchise and does not even deal with the xenomorph that we see in the first Alien movie. The only reason this movie was not just flat out perfect was because the campy "Let's go get that alien bastard American style!" type scene at the end when Janek and his pilots decide to crash into the Engineer's ship with to the tune of some adventurous music. It seemed a little overdone to me but it in no way ruined the movie for me.
Be sure to check out the review on my blog here as well as all my other blogs and reviews.
This series is my second favorite post apocalyptic dystopian comic series next to The Walking Dead. It does not play at being edgy like DC's New 52, it outright is hardcore edgy comics. Never does an issue arrive that is not packed to the gills with blood. One of the coolest things about it is pretty much what was one of the coolest thing about this series when it came out in the 90s. We get to see some of our favorite characters in a dark mirror. Like Star Trek's Mirror Universe. Often the bad guys in the regular universe are now the heroes and the heroes in the normal universe are now the big bad scaries. There are some characters that are already standout favorites of mine. Jean Grey and Prophet. They are just oozing bad ass. If you read last month's issue, you know how much of a BAMF Jean is now. She sweep kicked some dude! Top ranked fighter for sure!
This issue dealt mostly with Fiend's capture. She had killed Abyss upon his resurrection and destroyed some necessary plasma lines to Beast's equipment before being caught. Elsewhere Goodnight is trying to convince Bruce Banner to become The Thing and help his friends out. Without giving away too much of the issue, Prophet shows up and does what he normally does, which is show his complete genius where tactics are concerned. He also intentionally brings a mutant back to life, which surprised me a great deal but it seems to me that out of all of the humans, he is one of the few that have no hate for mutants as a species, seeing them only as humans with power. The mutant he brought back to life is one of my favorite lesser known mutants in the 616 universe (that is the normal universe to you comic noobs). As far as choices go, this is probably the best one considering the mutant's power set.
I was a little let down in the issue due to the cover. It implied that we were going to have a major smack down, drag out fight between Weapon Omega (Wolverine) and The Thing (Hulk) but all we get is a few panels. The fight could barely be called that. I know we have seen Wolverine vs Hulk a million times so maybe the writers just felt like it was so overdone that we could just skip it, but in my opinion, it is overdone because people love seeing it.
That is really my only complaint. The art is fantastic in a dirty, gritty kind of way and the plot is not overly complex but leaves a few things in the dark so we want to come back next month and see what happens. I honestly wish more comics would take a page out of this book's bindings and follow its formula, especially the more "popular" titles.
If you are a first time reader, this issue will not leave you in the dark. Assuming you can read the two paragraphs on the first page, you will be brought up to speed on everything you need to know. So I would even recommend this issue to new readers. Overall I give this issue a 4.7/5. A mostly pleasing issue with the only problem for me being the Hulk/Wolverine fight. However, this also will have my favorite mutant in the upcoming months so it almost made up for it.
This is my first read for the Captain America volume. It is the second issue in the "Shock to the System" story arc. I was worried that I would be kind of lost without having read Captain America 11, which started this arc but I had no such problems. Everything I needed to know was on the first page. There is a new Scourge villain but this one believes what he is doing is saving America. Gyrich is his handler and used to be a high ranking politician/patriot that Captain America got fired last year. Gyrich has a hate for supers and is being brainwashed by Hydra to make political war on supers which resulted in Scourge critically injuring Diamondback, a reformed villain. Very easy to settle into. Actually, everything about this issue was easy to digest.
I was very pleased with the art. I am new to Zircher's work but I like it a lot. It reminds me of Jae Lee's work in a way. I think it is the heavy shadows. It has a very grounded style. It feels real and organic. The action was also handled very well. Captain America dominated. As a matter of a fact, it seemed like Captain America was unusually invested in the mission, which was gathering intel on Gyrich, his boss and Scourge. He seemed to have no problem with Dum Dum Dugan gunning down Hydra agents. But it could be reasoned that Cap was highly upset because his history with Diamondback (they dated for a short time).
So Cap and Dugan plow into a Hydra facility and wipe everyone out. They get some intel they were looking for but it turns out that the intel was a gift from Gyrich's boss, Bravo. Cap notes that finding anything beyond that point will be extremely difficult and we jump to Scourge taking on a D-list villian called the Rattler. During the course of the fight, Scourse's mask is broken and we get to see who the dastardly vigilante is. It turns out that Scourge is... Oh like I am going to tell you. If you want to know, and you really should because this story is really good, then you should go out and get it for yourself.
Overall this issue really made me want to go back and read the previous 11 issues. Not because I felt I needed to catch up, but because I honestly feel like the writing was spectacular and I really wanted to see more Captain America stories by Brubaker. And if you need one more push, this story arc has absolutely nothing to do with the dreadful AvX Marvel event. That alone should make you throw your money at the comic book store you frequent. I give this issue a 4.6/5. A great issue to get you into the series.
I can only review this issue as a reader that has not read any of the issues from the previous Batman Incorporated series. I decided to pick this issue up because of the ridiculous praise this issue has gotten, it had Grant Morrison as the writer and because it was a first issue, which is usually the perfect time to jump into a series. However, I felt like I was getting the middle of a ongoing story here.
Honestly, I have no idea why this issue is getting so much praise, it is nothing special at all. The writing is just okay. The dialogue was decent but I found Goatboy's narration tedious and unoriginal. On top of that, the plot was just weird. Batman and Damian chase a few baddies into a slaughterhouse and while some of the workers are actually more goons, others are not and those innocents just keep on doing their work despite a super hero battle happening right in front of them with swinging chainsaws and gunfire. Maybe that was supposed to be a joke about desensitization with society or whatever but I just did not get it. And Damian adopting a cow and becoming a vegetarian? I guess it would be funny to some. Then there is some quick jump to the Leviathan organization, showing them take over a west side criminal organization called The Brother's Grimm.
The actual plot for this issue is about Damian's mother Talia Al Ghul, having put a price on Damian's head and every assassin around was trying to get a piece of that pie. But the one that is at the front of the race is some pathetic cabdriver/mercenary that just wants the money for his kid. Goatboy also accidentally killed a friend of his that honestly seemed more deserving of the name. I cannot figure out if the guy that was shot was wearing a mask or if that was his real head. Most masks do not show various expressions or have long goat tongues fall out when killed. Someone told me that if I was put off by gore in comics, I would not like this issue but that is not true. I do not really care for this issue because it is just not that interesting. As for gore, I read Crossed and The Boys. This was nothing by comparison.
The art was no better. At first I seriously thought I was reading a Frank Quitely issue. It took me a while to realize that it was someone just trying to draw like him, which in my opinion is not something that one should strive for in a comic book. Not that I really have a problem with Quitely or the artist that emulated him Chris Burnham strictly from an art appreciator point of view. I just think everything looks ugly. The characters, the environment, the scene transitions... all ugly. And this might be me just nitpicking but I like the art in the comics I read to look good. The proportions are just weird and there is a sloppiness about the whole thing that I do not care for. One thing I did like was the action scenes though. Burnham does seem to know how to make his fights look pretty cool.
Now, despite all my grievances, this is not a terrible issue. I am listing a few reasons why I do not believe it is worthy of all the praise it is getting. It does seem like the wrong issue to start with for a new reader, which is odd considering it is the first issue in a series. It is just not new-reader-friendly. The issue itself is not actually bad, just weird. I think it would appeal to Batman fans and readers that have a strong affinity towards quirky and odd comics. It just did not work out for me. Overall, I just felt like it was okay. A 2.7/5 seems about right for me. I do expect some serious rage from Batman or Morrison fans over my rating but it will not change my opinion of it as a new reader.
Spoiler for those that have not read the issue, Damian supposedly gets shot in the head but we never see it and he conveniently has his head covered by his hood when Batman is screaming to the heavens while holding his dead boy. I hate stuff like that. It is a weak attempt at a hook and we all know Damian did not really get shot and they will have some lame excuse why Batman and Damian played along. I actually wish he did get shot just for an actual surprise.