Eight is enough!!! A little “small” by regular standards but still sufficient >_< Half say sayonara. The other half have one more lap to run. The end isn’t as far away as thought!!
SECRET WARS JOURNAL #5 (of 5)
“Risk of Infection” (10 pages) Jen & Sylvia Soska, Alec Morgan, Nolan Woodard, VC’s Cory Petit
Linda Carter, Night Nurse, doesn’t make the rounds in a hospital. Nope!! She goes between domains and administers her medical skills where necessary. Her methods are most unorthodox. She uses a magically-laced crossbow to take down a demon leader and his hordes. She’s not fighting at top form since she’s suffering from a nagging head wound. When she seeks sanctuary inside a church, a young girl shoots her in square in the chest. There’s no way out of it. Linda falls face in the dirt.
Domain #31: The Wastelands
Night Nurse is sporting an interesting look: a massive red star on the right side of her face. It’s obviously a tattoo but I question its origin. Is it blood dried up or a mark put upon her as she pursued her career? There’s an extension that reaches below her chin. I know nothing of the Soska Sisters but have learned they are twins and Canadians to boot!! Woot woot!! This version of Night Nurse should make the jump to ANADM. I’ll credit Alec Morgan with Linda’s transformation. The cover made me believe she was a zombie. The scene with Daredevil in his black street ninja costume is a shout-out to all Netflix viewers. That panel almost escaped me. [8/10]
“MILL•E: the Model Citizen!” (10 pages) Aaron Alexovich, Diogo Saito, Rachelle Rosenberg, VC’s Cory Petit
Every ruler needs a spokesperson. Doom is a man of the people (feel free to disagree) but even he needs vox populi. Enter the best PR rep for the job: MILL•E!! She’s a perkily programmed robot singing the despot’s praises to the highest of heavens. Her task is simple: amass supporters by the thousands. She has failed miserably in so many domains!!! She’s not the only model. Gosh no! Having only one is foolhardy. Doom issues an ultimatum. She’ll be turned to slag if she messes up one more time. Westchester just won’t submit. Doom himself takes over her programming and begins tearing up the town. MILL•E is now exiled to the Deadlands handing out flyers for God Emperor Doom.
Domain #33: Westchester
Aaron Alexovich’s strong suit is comedy and it’s very apparent in this short story. MILL•E’s attractive features can only get her so far. The common people know not to buy into dolled-up propaganda. I laughed at the modern off-beat update to a character from the 40’s. Diogo Saito did a bang-up job in rendering MILL•E as a believable teen or young adult. The Chibi Dooms had me guffawing like Goofy. They look harmless enough. An ingenious concept all around!! Reminds me of the Distinguished Competition’s newest offering PREZ. (albeit quite different) [8/10]
ARMOR WARS #5
“Armor War” (20 pages) James Robinson, Marcio Takara, Esther Sanz, VC’s Travis Lanham
Heavy metal clash!! Kiri tussles with Tony while Lila has her hands full with Arno and Machine Men. Tony confesses everything to Kiri. He’s got nothing to lose and everything to win. He expresses deep regret over his actions but her tech as well as Lila’s is too efficient against his ‘brainwashing’. It’s also impenetrable. Thus, he gives her one last chance to divulge before offing her. The children really are the future!! They overpower Stark’s armor and all of his tech. The Thors arrive to arrest the two brothers. Kiri becomes Baroness of Technopolis while Lila takes the position of Thor, carrying on her uncle’s legacy.
The conclusion is semi-satisfying. Mr. Robinson misdirected all of us with the focus on Spyder-Man for almost half of the first issue. It’s gratifying to see the women come to the forefront and emerge victorious. Howard Stark’s virus is still incurable but that’s a story for another day. Marcio Takara goes banzai with the mecha battle. The Moving Fortresses are superior to the Iron Men and not just because of their size although it’s a pleasure to see Lila squeeze Arno. [7/10]
“” (20 pages) Mike Costa, André Araújo, Rachelle Rosenberg, VC’s Joe Caramagna
A de-powered Peter Parker dodges the Green Goblin while the Spiders deal with an angry but determined Thor. Electro inadvertently enters the fray. Gwen asks him to use his powers on the Siege Perilous since it’s a teleportation device. Sure enough, when he zaps it, Thor is put out of commission. The plan worked too well since it created a feedback loop and took out everyone. Peter comes across his porcine analog. At first he thinks he’s hallucinating but that isn’t the case. Norman sits in his magic chair and is brain-fried thanks to Pete’s interference. The Sinister Six bust in ready to finish them off. The Web Warriors revive and threaten to bust some skulls. They retreat. The ragtag band of web-heads will continue to adventure together.
The intrigue of the first issue has turned into a jumbled mess. Too many characters with lack of focus. There were two notable moments: (1) the panel emulating the cover from AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #39 and (2) Peter being able to lift up Thor’s hammer even though he found it uncomfortable. He is the worthiest one of all!! I feel that this series could have been shortened by one issue. It was unnecessary to prolong the fight against Osborn. The Spiders look too cartoony. I’d rather see their various facets: daring, driven, enthusiastic, heroic, mysterious, stubborn. I’m wondering about this world’s Peter Parker joining the others when ANADM launches. [6/10]
GUARDIANS of KNOWHERE #4
“” (20 pages) Brian Michael Bendis, Mike Deodato, Frank Martin, VC’s Cory Petit
The towering warrior woman have marvelled Angela and Gamora. They are in awe but not intimidated and not to transmit that to the stranger. Gamora wants to talk things through. Angela acts out. The Nova Corps return and engage. Her identity unknown and language indistinguishable until she’s able to spit out that she’s Kree!!! She kills the entire Corps. Angela will ignore Gamora’s foolish notions of another world due to her heroic contribution in battle. Gamora doesn’t flinch. She cannot ignore the names that fill her head. Heresy be damend! The Kree is not down for the count just yet! She impales Angela ending her life. Gamora flies into a rage. It takes all of the Guardians to eliminate the threat. Peter Quill (the one and only) shows up. He’s real!! He’s overjoyed to see his teammates but they do not recognize nor remember him. rocket informs him that they’re on Knowhere. They will take their fight to Doom!!
Mr. Bendis stressed the importance of last issue. I will surmise that it is because of the Kree Accuser’s appearance. This issue brought about Angela’s death. Didn’t see that one coming! What really matters is that the saga continues in SECRET WARS and the relaunched GUARDIANS of the GALAXY. Peter made it from the Life Raft to hanging Kitty to reuniting with his teammates. His return is significant since he remembers everything. This verifies Gamora’s saneness. Mr. Deodato’s art will never get any complaints from me. The women really stand out in their poses and stances. The half-page spreads and symmetrical panels (on angles, no less!) really emphasize the formidable opponent’s ruthlessness. The last page full shot of Knowhere is breathtaking, more so since in space you need an apparatus to help you breathe ;-P [8.5/10]
INFINITY GAUNTLET #4
“” (20 pages) Dustin Weaver, Gerry Duggan, Rain Beredo, ComiCraft’s Albert Deschesne
Adam Warlock and his Knights of Xandar await and greet the Bakian Clan/Nova Corps. Their arrival was anticipated. Oh yeah, three Guardians tag along: Star-Lord, Gamora, and Groot. Warlock possesses the Mind Gem. With it, the Annihilation Wave is easily repelled. The extension of good will is over. He will slaughter all the visitors and retrieve the Gauntlet for himself. Eve creates the Infinity Armor to protect herself. An all-out battle ensues with Drax reappearing. To say he is hellbent on killing Thanos is a vast understatement!! Thanos slays Warlock and Eve as well. He retrieves the power glove for his thick grey hand. Thanos puts Drax out of his misery. The entire universe is in peril.
The cosmic scale increases! More familiar faces with a different spin are presented. How many astute readers noticed the reference to The Stranger?!? Thanos revealed his true colours sooner than anticipated but that is in line with his nature. Eve pulled the coolest stunt ever in creating the armour. Anwen has to take point and pound the Mad Titan to a pulp. [7/10]
SPIDER-ISLAND #4 (of 5)
“Intelligent Design” (15 pages) Christos Gage, Paco Diaz, Frank D’Armata, VC’s Clayton Cowles
Newly converted allies Betty, Carlie, Mary Jane, and Sharon are ready to join the fight. Stegron will create a distraction with his Retro-Regeneration Ray. Say that three times fast!! Dinosaurs roam the Earth anew!! The Spider-Queen makes herself available for the free-for-all. She blasts everyone with a sonic scream but Agent Venom is immune to its effect thanks to the stealth suit Spidey gave him. Cap-Wolf is unfazed as well. Venom pops some caps into her and webs her mouth shut. The only option is to kill her. All parties have the itchy finger. Spider-Man stands firm in his murder-free stance. Whilst debating, the Queen metamorphoses into an even bigger mean version of herself. You should’ve heeded your teammates, Spidey!
Too many ingredients ruin the dish. The shortened amount of pages hinders the story. It’s neat to see Agent Venom confidently in the lead but the various characters surrounding him take from his main role. Spidey is my main man in the MU and will remain so for many years to come. I’m content with him having support status. The point is this: how to find a cure for the virus. [6/10]
“I Am the Avengers!” (5 pages) Tom DeFalco & Ron Frenz, Sal Buscema, Andrew Crossley, VC’s Clayton Cowles
Hope Van Dyne plays the maniacal villainess well. She tilts her head back, laughs out loud (not the internet speak), and externally monologues. Scott Lang is about to be slain for his transgressions. Luckily for him, Mayday was playing possum and thwarts the execution. She was wise enough to dial for back-up. Enter her Amazing Friends: The Buzz! Darkdevil! Green Goblin! Kaine! Ladyhawk! Raptor! It’s a three-way throwdown. Make that four. Cassie, under Enthralla’s spell, is compelled to kill her father. Looks like Mr. Lang is Scott-free no longer.
I mentioned in the previous two issues that I wish this story were twice the length!! I’m enjoying this extra more than the main feature. Mr. Buscema has perfectly captured Hope’s face: it’s eerily similar to Evangeline Lilly’s. The heroes will come out on top but will someone perish? [8/10]
AGE of APOCALYPSE #4
“Legacies” (20 pages) Fabian Nicieza, Iban Coello, David Curiel, VC’s Clayton Cowles
The Legacy Virus has been unleashed. Cannonball is the first casualty. Magneto is stopped by Mr. Sinister. If he uses his powers, he’ll succumb to it as well. Iceman is alive and chilling!! He was reforming via the rain. He manages to have a lock on Apocalypse. Burner reveals his origins to Cyclops and Wolverine. He was one of four kidnapped mutants who escaped Dark Beast’s lab. His name is Adam. Havoc interrupts the fun. Once he is appraised of the dire situation, he allies himself with his brother and the other two. They venture to find Jean. Heroes and villains must make peace to defeat the big bad. Magneto is triumphant is slaying the First Mutant but at the cost of his own life. Emma gently puts him out of his misery. She forcibly retrieves more info from Dr. Corbeau. The creator of the virus is Dr. Nemesis. The quirky quartet are fending him off.
Death, violence, intensity, shocking twists – all suitable for this dystopian setting. If only ‘Poc could remain six feet under in the MU…Burner’s backstory just got interesting. Cypher is still narrator but I suppose that fits given his ability to interpret emotion through language. [6.5/10]
HOUSE of M #3
“” (20 pages) Dennis Hopeless & Cullen Bunn, Ario Anindito, Matt Wilson, VC’s Joe Caramagna
Magneto isn’t all washed up just yet. Dutiful daughter Polaris saves dear old dad as well as the rebellious humans. She wants to keep them alive to pump more info out of them. Mags reluctantly acquiesces but will get his chance later. Pietro and Namor bandy over taking charge. Namor wants Magneto and Polaris’ head on a platter. Pietro abhors the violence but must take on his new duties. Both agree that Pietro is the rightful heir. That being said, Quicksilver announces to the entire populace his ascension. Oh yeah, his father has kicked the bucket. S.H.I.E.L.D. are ordered to lay low by the new monarch’s orders. Misty shoots Polaris in the back and provides an escape. Wanda becomes even more unhinged. She is about to tear apart the Helicarrier when Pietro appears. He lulls her into taking his side. Black Cat, Hawkeye, and Misty Knight don’t get too far. Magneto is about to tear them open when Death Locket gains the upper hand. She informs the former king of her son’s usurpation. The motley crew storm the castle to take back what belongs to Magnus. Black Cat is relishing the situation.
The direction of this story is a little more off-course than I would like. I’m confident that there’s an unspoken bond between Pietro and Namor if you catch my drift 😉 Polaris is carrying her weight which is more deserving than her guest role in Mr. Bunn’s chronicles of Erik Lehnsherr. Death Locket, you’re quite the upstart!! [6/10]
Tags: Marvel Comics, Secret Wars Declassified