Monday, November 29, 2010

Guardians of the Galaxy and Nova

Hello and welcome, one and all, to part 2 of my guided tour through Marvels space opus. This time, I'll be taking a look at the series that started after Annihilation was finished. Those two books are Guardians of the Galaxy and Nova.

For those who have read comics throughout the years, the names on these books are not new ones. Both Guardians and Nova have had several runs in the past, which are typically quarter bin fodder now. Abnett and Lanning took a different approach to both of these books, than how they had been handled in the past.

After giving Nova an updated look in the pages of Annihilation, it only makes sense to do the same for the Guardians. With a fresh look, and a vastly different lineup, this book was able to distinguish itself from it's guilty pleasure past. It was an important first step for this book, if they wanted to ensure the book had even mild success.

Both books covered a wide range of topics in the Marvel U. From Nova's visit home during the Civil War, to the Guardians finding a lost Celestial head/space station on the outermost regions of the universe, it was clear these books were not going to hold back in terms of thought provoking stories. It was evident that there wasn't a leash on these writers, as anything seemed possible within these pages.

By "anything", I'm referring to telepathic Russian space dogs, holographic bounty hunters, trips to Phalanx home world, and possessed living planets. These books took you on a wild tour of faraway worlds, and insane concepts. They really brought the excitement and mystery back into the Marvel U. Did I mention they had a raccoon with a rocket launcher that hung out with a talking tree? If that doesn't do anything for you, then chances are your inner child has died. These books are just fun, plain and simple.

While major events like Annihilation set the stage for this rebirth of space stories, it's books like Guardians and Nova that held it together. These books were the mortar to the bricks. If you haven't taken the time to familiarize yourself with these books, then do yourself a favor and pick them up.

Next up! Annihilation: Conquest

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Namor is a dick!

You would think that a guy that spent as much time hanging around with Captain America as much as Namor has, would probably learn a thing or too about being a decent person. A person that spent the majority of his youth fighting the good fight against the nazis, for the freedom of the world, would have developed a strong moral fiber. If you thought all of that, you would be wrong.

Let me tell you what Namor spends the majority of his time doing. He spends his time swimming around the ocean yelling at fish, whining, and trying to bang your girlfriend. If you need proof of the latter, check out this weeks issue of the Fantastic Four. Namor is still trying to bang Sue Storm. It's been about 30 years Namor, she's not giving it up man. Reed Richards is smarter than you, and can stretch any part of his body out...ANY part. You can't compete with that Namor. Your lucky that Reed hasn't invented a virus specifically designed to kill you, and only you. It's time to move on. Perhaps there are some lovely fish ladies swooning over you....

Oh wait, he did move on. He's been trying to get with Emma Frost in the X-books for the past year and a half. Big surprise, she's not giving it up either. You want to know why? Because she's with Cyclops, leader of the damn X-Men. Namor, and his winged feet, can't compete with that level of awesomeness. Regardless if you managed to get with her for a brief moment in the past. It's the PAST man, get over it. It's cool that Namor tried to hook up with someone of than Sue, but let's try and go for a lady without a man in her life. You're the drunk frat guy hanging out at a trashy bar of the Marvel Universe.

It wouldn't be so bad, if he wasn't an indignant ass to everyone he meets. Always prattling on about how the surface world is full of jerks and how Atlantis is the best ever. You're not endearing yourself to anyone by insulting where they live constantly. You're just acting like a snotty kid that says he has all the cool stuff at his house, in hopes to make everyone think he's awesome. It's not working, get a new shtick or shut up.

If I was Reed Richards and Cyclops, I'd hold this guy down and optic blast his face off. He's the idiotic frat boy of the Marvel Universe. Any guy that has abs like Namor does, and still can't get a girl, is easily a huge ass.Do the math!

"Imperius Rex" means "I'm a giant tool and a dumbass".

Friday, November 19, 2010

Marvel's Space Opus Part 1


If I had told you ten years ago that Marvel will publish a line of comics set in outerspace that are awesome, you would have laughed in my face. Marvel's outer space had been stuck in the 70's for what seemed like an eternity. Occasionally some jerk would get a hold of infinity gem, and the avengers would go stomp them. The worlds of Marvel's outer space were an after thought at best. That was until recently though. Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning have performed an act that many would have considered impossible, they made space the place to be.

These talented writers first rubbed their defibrillator paddles together when they produced the first issue of Annihilation. The premise was simple, Annihilus gathers his army in the Negative Zone and launches attack into the Marvel heroes space. Annihilus, a Fantastic Four villain, never really seemed like a threat before. The FF tended to handle him easily, so the idea of him trying to attack the universe seemed like a bit of a stretch. That is, until you see the first few pages of this book. A massive, menacing armada enters space and immediately starts to destroy planets, which includes the home planet of the Nova Corps. Their ships all look like giant bugs, and the soldiers are twice as gruesome. This Annihilus means business, and it doesn't look like anyone will stop him. The idea of giving a C-list villain a bump like this is one of several tricks these writers implored to make things interesting. This power jump takes you off guard, and suddenly you don't know what to expect from each issue.

Since they gave a power bump to a villain, it seems only logical to give one to a hero as well. This is where Nova comes into the picture. Nova has been in one second rate group after another throughout his years in comics. He's had several solo series, but they never really gained any traction. He belongs to an intergalactic police force, but spends most of his time trying to nab muggers in NYC. Abnett and Lanning saw the potential in this character, and endowed him with the power of the entire Nova Corps. If you're looking for a comparison, imagine if Hal Jordan had the power of every Green Lantern. Yeah, Nova is pretty hardcore now. He's also patroling space now, something you would have assumed he would have done from the very beginning of his career.

Nova isn't the only character that receives an update though. Many of Marvel's space characters now have modern looks, including Drax, Gamora, Super Skrull, and Ronan the Accuser. These are characters that you probably haven't though of in a while, but suddenly look pretty damn awesome. You also get to see them use their powers in new, and exciting ways. They have depth now! It's such a radical departure from how these characters have been treated for years, that it's shocking. It's part of what makes this series so interesting, it's almost like they're all brand new characters.

Once you get over the shock of seeing these characters handled with care and purpose, you realize that this is a serious war story. These are epic space battles, and land battles to boot. There are massive casualties on both sides. Even characters that you wouldn't expect to die end up receiving the axe. It's a bold story that isn't afraid to try something different.

You also get to see characters move on with their lives. What I mean is, some of these characters have been floating in limbo with what they say they're supposed to be doing. In this series, characters make choices and move forward. Any historian of the Marvel U will appreciate these actions, it's a breath of fresh air to see. I mean if Drax has been trying to kill Thanos since the 70's, maybe he should just kill him already. Just sayin'...

The whole series feels epic, and features a lot of back and forth action between Annihilus and our heroes. While that's awesome, it was still possible for this series to fall flat on its face if it didn't end well. When you're staging a comeback for several characters, you need something that's going to seal the deal. Something that's going to make the reader say "Hell yeah, this is awesome." Well this ending delivers in spades. Fleets of ships in ruins, tons of people have died, and Annihilus and Nova are battling in space to determine who will win this war. With each fighter pushed to the brink, Nova throws a hail Mary. He forces hit fist down Annihilus's throat and rips his heart out.... Hell yeah, that was awesome.

This book sets the stage for what will become the best Marvel space books in the companies history. It's an amazing feat for these two writers to assemble so many characters, that most comic readers could have given a damn about, and tell a story that has you cheering for them by the end. Nobody walks out the same way they walked in here, and that's a good thing.

Next: Nova and Guardians of the Galaxy Series

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Review Invincible #75

Invincible #75

It's a bloody, intergalactic, superhuman, throwdown the likes o' which ya never seen in this months milestone issue of Invincible!

The Viltrumite War nears its conclusion in this issue as Invincible and the rest of the United Planets troops make a final assault on the Viltrumite home-world. If you figured the Viltrumites wouldn't take this type of aggressive behavior lying down, then you are correct. A bloody battle begins in this issue, with some serious casualties for both sides. This story continues to escalate into something that is so vast and epic, you wonder if they could ever bring Invincible down to fighting guys on Earth again.

Robert Kirkman's writing in this issue is good, but doesn't really advance any characters. Besides checking off the deceased box next to their names. It's an action issue, lots of brutal superhuman battles. For what it is, it's top notch. It moves at a quick pace and is full of dialogue that fits the scenes. Given the issue previous was an exposition issue, I think its safe to excuse that this is all action.

The art is where this book will blow you away. Ryan Ottley blows the doors off of the place with this issue. If you were wondering why this extra long issue was late, just take a look through to see why. Anyone that is familiar with Ottley's work, knows that it's full of detail. Thankfully, none of that was sacrificed for the daunting task of recreating this epic battles. I've also never seen someone punching someone through their fist into their opponents stomach, then continue upwards with the fist coming out of their opponents mouth look so good. Heads be bein' ripped off, and it's beautiful!

You may be thinking "Chad, this issue is $6.00! I'm not an oil tycoon! I can't afford that!". I say this! The invincible story is 36 pages, plus there's a science dog back-up story, PLUS there's a Tech Jacket back-up story. You're literally getting two comic books worth of material, for the price of two comic books. It's worth it.

I would definitely recommend this issue for anyone who was disappointed with War of the Superman or someone who loves Dragonball Z as well. It's an epic superhero space battle that is sure to entertain even the most jaded of comic book fans.