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Old 01-05-2011, 11:10 PM   #1
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The Mighty Reviews 1/5/11

Wktf’s Reviews

Steel #1
DC Comics
Written by: Steve Lyons
Art by: Ed Benes
Cover by: Alex Garner

John Henry Irons was created by Louise Simonson and Jon Bogdanove and premiered in the DC Universe following the historic Death of Superman as one of the four Superman substitutes whose stories, frankly stated, were far more interesting than the Death of Superman slugfest itself. As Steel, a kind of Iron Man with a hammer but fashioned in Superman’s image, complete with “S” symbol and red cape, he became a viable hero in his own right and even a member of the Justice League. This premier issue, I believe, is his first title (though his story previously was told in one of the four concurrent Superman titles years ago) and is being used to launch DC’s “Reign of Doomsday” storyline that will, like most comic book events, cross multiple titles in the DCU.

For some reason that, as of yet, is unclear Doomsday has resurfaced on Earth and is taking apart downtown Metropolis. That said, the monster is screaming Steel’s name so, it seems, his rampage is designed to draw Steel into battle which, of course, is a battle Irons has no hope of winning. As the battle ensues Steel’s plan is to stay out of the monster’s reach but Doomsday’s ever-evolving and adaptive powers make that feat impossible which, as mentioned previously, makes this battle’s outcome all but a certainty.

Ed Benes’ art is the primary draw of this book. It’s ably written and all that but, in the end, there’s only so much you can do with a story like this. As an opening to a crossover event it’s an okay start considering how curious the ending is and what Doomsday’s got up his sleeve. Why would a destructive monster behave this way? Is he planning something? Is that even possible, even considering the creature’s ability to rapidly evolve? Even though Benes’ art makes the graphics crisp and strong it remains to be seen if this opening salvo is enough to make me care enough to pick up the next issue or follow Reign of Doomsday through its obligatory multiple titles.

The Avengers #8
Marvel Comics
Written by: Brian Michael Bendis
Drawn by: John Romita, Jr.
Cover by: John Romita, Jr.

I’ve not been too keen on this title up until now. Wonder Man’s rampage seemed a bit random and the whole Maestro/Kang/Ultron/Kid Avengers time travel thing was convolute cacophony that seemed more spectacle than story. But this issue is something different. For those of you who tuned in for issue #7, Parker Robbins, the former Hood and near-super villain Kingpin during Dark Reign, somehow was able to burgle not only Attilan but also the Baxter Building and gotten a hold of the red and yellow Infinity Gems. When last we saw these gems The Illuminati, during their mini series, agreed to divvy them up and keep them separated forever to avoid another reality destroying Infinity Gauntlet debacle. But with the red jewel in hand Robbins undertook the daring task of testing his new mettle against the Red Hulk and, basically, took him down for the count. And the end of last issue, a battered Rulk crashed through the windows of Avengers Tower.

With this issue The Illuminati, having disbanded during or before Civil War, have come together, due to Iron Man’s suspicion of the actual problem. But not before Commander Rogers, despite the bromantic hug these two shared at the end of Avengers Prime (see review, below), casts suspicion on Stark’s sudden disappearance and orders Maria Hill to track him. Seeing the Illuminati gather again casts a strong foreboding over Robbins’ intent that gives this issue a well deserved world-ending chill to it. Medusa’s appearance in place of Black Bolt’s is a nice touch and brings some strong pathos to this gathering. And this issue’s final scene begs for a come-to-terms moment and status quo reckoning, a cool factor on top of the existing mega-threat, which put a huge smile on my face.

I’ve not been crazy about JRJR’s art on this run, though I don’t know if that’s a function of his pencils or Klaus Janson’s inks. The two combined more effectively when they partnered with Dan Jurgens on Thor. But this issue feels tighter and cleaner, and the battle between the Rulk and Robbins is wildly brutal. These two artists combine with Bendis’ tight and tense script to deliver, finally, a flagship Avengers issue that makes this title feel like it’s, again finally, the premier and most important Marvel universe title. Kudos, team. I’m on board and stoked for this ride!

Avengers Prime #5 (of 5)
Marvel Comics
Written by: Brian Michael Bendis
Drawn by: Alan Davis
Cover by: Alan Davis

The Big Three’s Nine-World saving quest comes to an end with this issue. And, while this series started strong but continued a bit weakly, the ending delivers a satisfying conclusion and some just plain stunning Alan Davis art. The main principle guiding this title is that there’s been so much damage inflicted on the relationship between these three characters, damage exclusively created by Tony Stark (let’s face it, he’s directly to blame for the Civil War, indirectly blame for the Death of Captain America, and shares responsibility for the creation of Clor—for which Thor gave him a majorly angry drubbing in his own book), that the move out of Dark Reign and into The Heroic Age (a banner no longer on Marvel’s titles, I see) can’t happen successfully without some reconciliation among these three.

Every major title needs a major villain, and they don’t get much more major than Hela…especially when she’s in possession of the Twilight Sword created by Surtur. Now, how this sword shrunk to a size where she could wield it wasn’t explained. And how it is that the Hela here is portrayed so differently than the Hela in Thor’s own book also isn’t explained. But, nevertheless, this is an all out battle issue as the Big Three are joined by an army of trolls, elves and assorted monsters all of whom want the Nine Worlds returned to their former status. The biggest problem is that Hela used The Twilight Sword to separate Thor from Mjolnir, a problem that seriously handicaps our heroes in the face of the goddess of death.

This is an exciting and fun issue that, as predicted, borders a bit on the corny side at the end but delivers the bromance moments long time Avengers fans crave. I wouldn’t say this series is a must read, and I’m not sure I’ll be picking up the inevitable trade once it’s published, but I’d say it does offer a fairly satisfying and slightly necessary transition from Marvel’s prior to its current state. And it’s just great to see Thor, Iron Man and Cap battle together again.
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Old 01-05-2011, 11:39 PM   #2
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Joe, nice reviews. I need to catch up on my Avengers Prime. Great to see Steve Rogers back!
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Old 01-06-2011, 12:22 AM   #3
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Good review, wtkf. But why do heroes think this "separation technic" is going to work? They do this all the time. Whenever they have some shield or some helmet or some other powerful item, they brake it up, and they separate it. Wouldn't it be smarter to house all this stuff in one place? That way if someone came along and tried to steal them (or actually did steal them) all the heroes could be alerted at once that these things are missing. Instead of having one guy find one in the shell of the abandoned city of the inhumans-- 'cause who the hell was around to set that alarm off? Nobody! But again, I did like the same story seven months ago in Pet Avengers.
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Old 01-11-2011, 12:44 AM   #4
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You can tell that Marvel is really focusing on Avengers right now for their up-in-coming movies. They have some good writers and artists working on their Avengers line. But I have to agree with you on the Avengers Prime. It started well...but it was not as epic as I thought it should be. Also, If I were Thor I would of done the right thing with Asgard. His reasoning there was a little weak I thought.
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Old 01-11-2011, 08:31 AM   #5
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Looking forward to the conclusion of Prime but glad i dropped Avengers. I don't need anymore Rulk
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