Four titles have their last hoorah. Closure slowly starts.
“” (20 pages) Robbie Thompson, Tana Ford, Ian Herring, Travis Lanham
Cindy finishes a session with her shrink. She finds the next appointment futile since the world is coming to an end. JJJ gives Cindy the scoop of the century: her brother is alive and well going by an alias in a halfway house. She suits up and furiously webs through the city in a frantic pursuit. Various distractions get in her way but they don’t deter her mission such as: a quick goodbye to Lola and Rafferty, rescuing an errant bus, coming across Dragonclaw who saves her from being buried by the bus. While blacked out, Silk flashes back to her parents’ love and determination to find her a cure. JJJ had the right info: ‘James Park’ is indeed her baby brother Albert. The two embrace as the Incursion takes over.
Finally!! Cindy gets some closure in reuniting with her brother. It’s unfortunate her parents are still MIA. Mr. Jameson is more humane than he comes across. The double-page spread with the web highlighting Silk’s heroics is an indication that she has rightly secured her spot in the Spider-Family. This is the “last” issue before the relaunch in October. [8/10]
SILVER SURFER #14
“Hard Restart” (20 pages) by Dan Slott, Mike Allred, Laura Allred, VC’s Joe Sabino
Dawn and Norrin each go about their separate ways in reshaping reality. Dawn resurrects her family after the Incursion but is not up to snuff. Her sister Eve doesn’t sugar-coat her ineptitude. Her father asks her to bring back his dearly departed wife (her mother) but the topic makes Dawn extremely uncomfortable. Besides, it’s a real tricky thing bringing back the dead. [sarcasm] Eve is struggling. Zee suggests her sister to accompany them. She refuses. She’d rather have Norrin assist. Speaking of which, Glorian watches over the Surfer’s endeavours. For one who weids the Power Cosmic, it’s a piece of cake. He gives new life to several races as well as his former master. That was a major mistake once he realizes that Galactus’ enormous appetite can never be sated. Something is seriously awry!!! Dawn’s particular version of Norrin appears at her beck and call; the real Norrin is too expert at his achievements. The Shaper of Worlds lies helpless but is the only one upset at the imbalance of events.
Mike Allred is the unsung hero of this title!! He is the ultimate illustrator for all the trippy matters. This book in general is underrated. Mr. Slott definitely has an imagination on par with the universe!! [8.5/10]
FUTURE IMPERFECT #5
“” (20 pages) Peter David, Greg Land, Jay Leisten, Nolan Woodard, VC’s Joe Sabino
Rick Jones is the Ancient One!! This leaves the Maestro scratching his head. As his former friend states: “You got a problem with the name?” Janis is also taken aback by her grandfather’s appearance. There’s no use pussyfooting. Rick leads the gamma-irradiated despot to the Destroyer armour. Maestro refuses to believe in the simplicity of the mission. Rick states that Doom is on his way to kick out the trespassers. Maestro, in his lust for power, takes the bait. Doom materializes ready to swat the gnats when the former Hulk comes out encased in the enchanted metal. Doom is no match for the Asgardian magic. Maestro vanquishes his foe. NNNAAAHHH. Fake-out!! It was all in his mind :0 Maestro seems himself as the ultimate ruler of Battleworld. In reality, he’s transformed back to Banner and delusional that he is in fact the supreme sovereign. The magic within the Ancient One’s abode grants anyone his/her greatest wish.
This was a surprising conclusion. I didn’t see the twist. Greg Land delivers the most epic full-page spreads as well as panel work. Maestro will return in the upcoming CONTEST of CHAMPIONS. The question here is: how long does he remain in this dream state? [8.5/10]
AGE of ULTRON vs. MARVEL ZOMBIES #4
“es Robinson, Steve Pugh [main art], Paul Rivoche & John Rauch [flashback sequence], Jim Charalampidis, VC’s Clayton Cowles
The Big Three of Human Torch, Vision, and Wonder Man are the key in defeating Ultron and his mechanized zombie minions. Simon Williams specifically is the main ingredient because of the ionic energy within his body. Hank Pym informs them that they may remain vegetables or human automatons but Jim agrees since it means relinquish control from the Adamantium-laced A.I. The trio share their final moments with their loved ones: Agatha accepts her mortality, Marte is selfish is losing Simon, Rokio tells Jim that she’s expecting. Hank’s work on his Clockwork Man is essential to understanding and defeating Ultron. The inevitable battle takes place. The women hold their one including a surprise save from Janet!! The trinity are about to enter the disruptor beam when Iron Cross knocks away Human Torch and takes his place. She is joined in the afterlife with her Simon as well as the Vision. Hank and Janet make their peace. Jim and Rokio will see their son come to life. All’s well that ends well.
This ended way too quickly!! I assumed it would have been five issues but I didn’t pay close attention to the advance solicitations. I was hoping to have seen the Clockwork Man make an unexpected appearance or be the Timely version of Ultron but alas, it was not meant to be. As with all these other series, it’ll be interesting to see what comes with All-New All-Different Marvel. [7.5/10]
STAR-LORD & KITTY PRYDE #3
“” (20 pages) Sam Humphries, Alti Firmansyah, Jessica Kholinne, VC’s Joe Sabino
The mismatched pair can get out alive if they stop bickering long enough and put aside their differences. Peter is able to reprogram Widget with a song. I’m not making that up!! Gambit is a bit miffed but always has a trick up his sleeve: he pulls out the Longshot blades. They ricochet and cut into Peter’s arm. Kitty seems genuinely concerned. Doom makes his presence known. He knocks out his disciple and demands that Peter sing a song to prevent banishment. Surprise!! It’s Drax in disguise! Kitty opens the bag containing the anomaly: it’s Rocket Raccoon’s tail. Peter reminisces about the good times he had with his furry little buddy. The Thors come for Gambit. He won’t give up that easily. After begging and pleading, Kitty tells Peter he can keep her find. She plants one on him and admits that his puppy dog eyes got to her. She walks away on air. Drax informs Peter that they’re both unemployed. On that note, Peter suggests thieving. Drax sees the appeal to that suggestion.
Once again, I’m a little awed at the speedy delivery. I guess there was no point in dragging it. It’s all been sung 😉 I get the tongue-in-cheek aspect to this but there was no development of the budding tension between the two protagonists. The art seemed very buffoonish which undermined the gravity of the situation. [5/10]
“The Thunder Room” (20 pages) Jason Aaron, Chris Sprouse & Goran Sudžuka, Karl Story & Dexter Vines, Marte Gracia w/ Israel Silva, VC’s Joe Sabino
The perp has been nabbed. Vagrant Loki awaits questioning. Thorlief will take point. Rune Thor sneers at his ability. Throg gives Lief a stern warning: Loki is an unknown variable and a viable threat even with his magic being blocked. The parlay is a battle of wits. Loki rattles Lief with the names Donald Blake and Jane Foster. Loki is not the murder but he purposely piled up the bodies of those individuals for the Thors to find. His motive? Get back at who lied to him. No one does that to the ultimate deceiver. Boo hoo! Lief’s search leads him to the Deadlands. Sure enough the carcasses of Jane and Donald are there. He’s attacked from behind but it isn’t a zombie, it’s his colleague Rune Thor :0 He is Beta Ray Bill’s killer!! He bests Lief in combat and is about to smite him for good but leaves him for food. Luckily, Odinson comes to his rescue. Odinson is pleased that Lief refused to obey his orders. Answers will be provided.
The two-page spread of Lief and Loki in the Thunder Room was reflective of a true police procedural, especially with all the word balloons! How many of you spotted the ‘Fear Itself’ symbol as the decorative piece for the mirror? The fact that one of the Thors is a traitor left my jaw on the floor. Even with that reveal, one question festers: why?? Things have to be neatly tied in a bow next issue. Jane is the centrepiece. Bring her forth! [8.5/10]
AGE of APOCALYPSE #3
“Too Little, Too Late” (20 pages) Fabian Nicieza, Gerardo Sandoval, David Curiel, VC’s Clayton Cowles
Dr. Nemesis laments over Jean Grey’s imprisonment. He wants to unleash her to her full splendor like her codename of the Phoenix. He tries to strike a bargain with Sabretooth in overthrowing Dark Beast. Sheriff Danvers is being tortured. She’s a tough broad but she buckles a bit to spare hundreds from being killed. She lies about where the virus is but Matt Murdoch pinpoints a half-truth. Cypher listens in on Magneto’s failure as a team leader with a mission that cost the lives of Banshee and Sunfire. That was the turning point in humans versus mutants. Blink and Burner try to intimidate Cyclops but to no avail. Burner’s powers are not functioning. Emma is receiving psychic feedback from Jean. The truth is out: the humans have the ultimate virus to extinguish mutantkind. Sabretooth confronts Sinister, Beast, and Abyss about the creators of the virus. The X-Men fight against the Horsemen. The battle is interrupted when Apocalypse drops in and releases their death agent.
It’s about frickin’ time that the name behind the series enter the fray!! En Sabah Nur is determined to remain at the top of the food chain. The Legacy Virus is the means to his end. I continue to find the art off-putting. Cypher may be the mouthpiece for this horrifying world but he still has to come out of his shell. Will he survive or suffer the same fate as his 616 counterpart? [6/10]
SQUADRON SINISTER #3
“New Universal Destruction” (20 pages) Marc Guggenheim, Carlos Pacheco, Mariano Taibo, Frank Martin, VC’s Joe Caramagna
Nighthawk has a secret rendezvous with Sandman who delivers the Argonite gun to him. Whizzer has tagged along but is somewhat perplexed since he thought Paste-Pot Pete was the culprit. Nighthawk assures him that it’s all part of the master plan. Before Hyperion, Pete rats out Whizzer. He is outraged at Hawk’s betrayal and speeds off but is vaporized by Hype’s heat-vision. Pete gets his neck snapped by Hawk. Kyle Richmond is an expert at playing both sides. He astounds Dr. Spectrum when he brings the energy bearer to Nutopia where an army of Starbrands are ready to fight led by Warrior Woman. Kenji wants to blab but Kyle discourages him and lies by telling him that Zarda will make him the patsy. Kenji has the fear of god put into him. Hype lays waste to Black Fox and Yankee Clipper of the First Line but allows Nightingale to live. Zarda returns. He demands her whereabouts and informs her of Whizzer’s betrayal. She has a romp in the sack with him and is about to come clean regarding the murder of the Iron Thor when Nutopians invade. Hype in his rage kills Spitfire and Star Brand. Nighthawk impales Hazzard. Zarda tells Jacob, another Star Brand, to get the hell out of dodge. Before that, he has to fake smacking her so that she is scot-free. Zarda misleads Hype by ratting out Kenji. Kyle tells Zarda to disappear for good now that his plan has come to fruition. She assumed he would dispose of her. He admits that he is clueless regarding Kenji’s disappearance. She is curious about what he’ll do to Hyperion. He tells her that the tide will change. With that statement, he has the power prism firmly in his hands behind his back.
Betrayals everywhere!! Just like the Distinguished Competition’s analog, Kyle Richmond a.k.a. Nighthawk is the most ruthless, dangerous member of the team. I like how Pacheco purposely threw in some shots of his dark (k)night poses. The New Universe still has a fighting chance despite the decimation brought by Hyperion. [7.5/10]
SPIDER-ISLAND #3 (of 5)
“Goblin Knight in Shining Armor” (15 pages) Christos Gage, Paco Diaz, Frank D’Armata, Travis Lanham
Agent Venom and Vision succeed in retrieving Peter Parker, the one-and-only Spider-Man!! The Spider-Queen is miffed but won’t make her soldiers cannon fodder. There is no cure to the Spider-Plague but any other genetic tampering will eat away at the hive mind. She issues new orders to her minions. Flash is beside himself. The hero he has idolized his entire life is the puny Parker that he used to bully. The shoe’s on the other foot! Peter tells Flash that he’s in command. Peter is wary of Stegron’s participation but more so Tony’s descent into dementia. Peter works on the Lizard formula while the others attempt to undo the Queen’s efforts. Peter is upset that three of his former flames Betty, Mary Jane, and Carlie, along with Sharon Carter have been turned. The others warn him that they are bait. Being heroes, they are not quitters. The four women are turned into lizards and brought back to the secret base. Ambush!! The women had tracking devices. Tony goes into full Goblin mode to ward off the invaders. His sacrifice is noted. Venom states that it’s high time to take back Spider-Island.
There’s a lot crammed into fifteen pages. I’m impressed with Christos Gage. There’s a faint little checkmark in the win column for the heroes. They are making progress. Tony is absolutely maniacal as the Goblin formula seeps through his system. Flash’s hero worship never gets old. [6/10]
“The Enemy Within!” (5 pages) Tom DeFalco & Ron Frenz, Sal Buscema, Andrew Crossley, Travis Lanham
Spider-Woman has her hands full pounding the snot out of J2, unaware that she’s under Enthralla’s spell. She still sees Daemos, her father’s killer. Ant-Man is beaten to a pulp by a spellbound Jarvis. Ben Parker from Earth-982 meets Harry Osborn and Phil Urich. The mastermind behind the whole debacle is revealed: Red Queen a.k.a. Hope Pym!! She wants the Avengers restored to their former glory which is something her parents has established. She gives Juggie an ultimatum: remove his helmet or see his friends and teammates killed. He obliges. Enthralla begins to work her magic on him. Hope smiles with wicked glee.
Once again, the story is a little too short but the creative team make headway in revealing the true brains of the outfit. I’m really enjoying this extra feature!! I collected SPIDER-GIRL all the way to the end as well as A-NEXT. [8/10]
HAIL HYDRA #2
“” (20 pages) by Rick Remender, Roland Boschi, Chris Chuckry & Rachelle Rosenberg, VC’s Clayton Cowles
Ian thinks back to his ‘father’ Steve who instilled in him an indomitable spirit. Leopold, Armin Zola’s true ‘son’ easily defeats Ian. He breaks his back à la Bane and provides a sit-rep to the geneticist. Zola is outraged. He wants his perfect specimen in one piece. Leo refuses to retrieve Ian when he has pulled a Houdini and breaks off communication with dear old dad. Nomad finds himself among the Avengers brought there by Ellie, daughter of Steve Rogers and Sharon Carter!! Some miscommunication leads to communication. Ian may be of Zola’s blood and have the same visage as the notorious Captain Hydra (Leopold) but that’s obviously not the case. Steve has no knowledge of this supposed offspring. Mistrust remains regarding Ian since Zola can mind-jump to different bodies. Venom and his Vipers crawl out of the shadows!! Ian must prove himself by aiding Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. The heroes fight valiant but only Elle and Ian make it out alive.
The violence has been turned up several notches!! Mr. Remender pulls no punches here. It’s a good thing Nomad is able to regenerate otherwise this would’ve been the end of the story!! Ellie’s introduction has potential since she may be used in the mainstream universe. Little Ultron is the most unique incarnation of the established automaton. Brilliant! [8/10]
HOUSE of M #2
“” (20 pages) by Dennis Hopeless & Cullen Bunn, Marco Failla, Matt Wilson, VC’s Clayton Cowles
Magneto is playing chess with an unseen opponent who happens to be a dragon as well as his prisoner. Death Locket repairs Misty’s arm and gives Hawkeye a bullet that neutralizes mutants’ abilities. Black Cat wonders if the deactivated Deathloks can prove useful in their fight. Speed and Wiccan are picked up by their mother. Wanda is none too pleased at the threats made by Wolverine towards her sons. She breaks him apart molecule by molecule. Shaw tries to excuse him but she won’t hear it. She casts all the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents aside. Shaw realizes that she’s a powderkeg that is best left alone. Power play is in effect!! Namor and Pietro waste no time in overtaking Castle Magnus. As the Atlanteans attack, the heroes storm the palace. Hawkeye hits his target. In the fray, Magneto loosened the chains that shackled Fin Fang Foom!!! Lorna comes to her father’s aid after she dispatched of some zombie cyborgs. FFF is about to snack on Clint when a tidal wave swoops them all away. The terrible twosome stand ready to take possession.
I have a strong sneaky suspicion that Namor and Pietro are quite intimate with each other. There’s a heavy implication. Not that there’s anything wrong with that 😉 Cullen Bunn coming in as co-writer made me cock my eyebrows. Could this be to accelerate the shipping schedule? Wanda is definitely the wild card in all this. [6.5/10]
Tags: Marvel Comics, Secret Wars Declassified