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Oct 172014
 
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[We apologize for the late posting of this week's Four-Color Bullet. Our editor ran away from home. She has since been located in a remote town in northern California, and put back to work. Thank you for your patience.]

 

Welcome to this week’s Four-Color Bullet, the only comic book review column not rebooting with an all-female cast.

This week in the comicsverse, those guys at Marvel bring us the second issue of Avengers vs. X-Men: AXIS, wherein our heroes learn the horrible secret of the Red Skull’s Genoshan Re-education camps; Edge of Spider-Verse #5 introduces us to another player in the upcoming Spider-Verse saga: SP//dr; and Wolverine is dead, but who will be shaped more by his legacy? His allies or his enemies?, in Death of Wolverine: The Logan Legacy.

From DC this week, Part One of The Amazo Virus begins in Justice League #35; Huntress and Power Girl return home to defend it from the forces of Apokolips, in Earth 2: World’s End #2; and Raven’s night out lands the Titans in trouble, in Teen Titans #5.

 

Writer: Charles Soule Artists: Steve McNiven and Justin Ponsor MARVEL

Writer: Charles Soule
Artists: Steve McNiven and Justin Ponsor
MARVEL

“Death of …” issues in comics are almost always gimmicky. Ask those of us who were around when Superman died, or even when they retconned Jean Grey’s death in X-Men. The death of Wolverine, while assuredly not permanent, was handled in a very non-gimmick way. Fans knew for some time that this was coming. It wasn’t like the good old days when if a character died, you didn’t know about it until you read the issue. Death of Wolverine #4, and the entire series for that matter, has been great. Charles Soule, who is one of Marvel’s best writers, did a fantastic job at writing a well-paced story no one had done before. Aside from his death, which does happen, we see many favorite allies and enemies, reminding us what a long and storied life Logan had. Throw some Steve McNiven and Justin Ponsor art, this series was just about as good as it could have been. I have a gripe … one solitary gripe … but we’ll get to that in a minute.

I’m not coming out with spoilers of any sort. If you were a Wolverine fan of any caliber, you need to read this series. This comic book nerd thought it was a heroic and touching send off that was very Shakespearean to me and honored one of Comicdom’s most iconic characters. For decades, fans read Wolverine’s famous dialogue: “I’m the best there is at what I do,” often followed by, “and what I do ain’t very nice. Bub.” What Wolverine does this issue confirms his being the best. If that last page doesn’t stir something, I’d almost say you’re not a fan of literature.

My only real gripe, is that I felt that it didn’t have to take four issues to tell this story. Sometimes it felt like Soule wanted to add more but didn’t have the time.

This was just a great series, and the final issue was powerful, and just one of the best Wolverine stories I’ve read in a long time. And now that Wolverine is dead, his legacy will live on. It will be interesting to see how that plays out. Because it looks like Marvel’s 2015 Secret Wars reboot … well … I wouldn’t count the old Canuck out for long.

And that wraps up this week’s Four-Color Bullet. For the next four weeks, I’ll be … busy, so you can catch your favorite comic book review column on Saturdays during that time. As for my whereabouts, stay tuned to Krypton Radio for that info. They’ll have interesting pics.

It’s a great time to be a comics fan. See you next Saturday!

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Oct 112014
 
Poster for the animated Guardians of the Galaxy to premiere in 2015.
Poster for the animated Guardians of the Galaxy to premiere in 2015.

Poster for the animated Guardians of the Galaxy to premiere in 2015.

by Nur Hussein, staff writer

Yesterday, at New York Comic Con, Marvel told audiences that the Guardians of the Galaxy animated series (announced last August at San Diego Comic Con) is now in production, with a slated release date of 2015 on Disney XD. Attendees at both cons saw some test footage of the show, and Disney/Marvel has released said footage on the internet. The clip reveals a stylized, almost anime-like approach to the art and animation, and it works pretty well.

We see Rocket pursued by a robot drone across the rainy rooftops of a futuristic cityscape in the rain, before he finally vanquishes it with a freakily large gun. Then we see Star-Lord, who then proceeds tells him “you definitely need bigger blasters.” Make no mistake, Marvel is cashing in on the popularity of this summer’s hottest comic book movie; this is the smart-alec version of Star-Lord we saw in the film, complete with disappearing helmet. We can see all the characters in the poster for the show, and they’re all dressed in their movie outfits.

Now, this isn’t the first time we’ve seen animated versions of the Guardians of the Galaxy. They’ve also appeared on two Avengers cartoons (Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes and Avengers: Assemble) as well as Ultimate Spider-Man. All of these were released before the Guardians movie, thus the character designs were more based on the comics. On Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, the Guardians’ roster was different too; instead of Gamora and Drax we had Phyla-Vell/Quasar and Adam Warlock. It is unknown whether the new cartoon’s roster will incorporate other Guardians from the comics, but let’s hope so! It’s a very richly detailed world and it’d be nice to meet these ‘fringe’ characters from the Marvel universe.

The cartoon will be produced by Marvel Animation, with Alan Fine, Dan Buckley, Joe Quesada, and Jeph Loeb named as producers. So if you miss the Guardians, you won’t have to wait for the 2017 sequel before we see them again!

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Oct 092014
 
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Welcome to another Four-Color Bullet. I am proud to say that we are the only comic-book review column not responsible for the destruction of an entire universe. So let’s talk about comics.

From Marvel, it’s time for yet another company-wide event as the Avengers and the X-Men team up again, this time to take down the Red Skull, armed with Xavier’s brain, in Axis #1;  Ms. Marvel teams up with the Amazing Spider-Man, and the Spider-Verse event draws near, in The Amazing Spider-Man #7; and it’s Halloween in Brooklyn, and the bad guys are dressing up as good guys and Hawkeye and Deadpool team up to stop the mess, in Hawkeye and Deadpool #1.

From DC this week,  it’s the beginning of the end of Earth 2 in Earth 2: World’s End #1; Klarion the Witchboy is bored and Earth is his new playground, in Klarion #1; and a new era of Batgirl begins, in Batgirl #35.

And Jack Burton’s quest to save Wang Chi may be over, but Lo Pan still has his eyes on Miao Yin, in Big Trouble in Little China #5 by BOOM! Studios.

 

Joshua Williamson: Writer Andrei Bressan: Artist IMAGE COMICS

Joshua Williamson: Writer
Andrei Bressan: Artist
IMAGE COMICS

Only one comic this week made it this far, but it’s a doozy. Joshua Williamson has another smash hit on his hands with Birthright. After Ghosted, and Nailbiter, how much more can this guy top himself? It seems like everything Image has put out lately is becoming a favorite, but that’s just the quality of Image Comics.

Birthright #1 starts out as a missing-child story. Williamson brilliantly depicts the emotional turmoil of a family losing their child. Desperate fathers, grieving mothers, and the destruction of a family. We see some time pass, and how this family copes with the loss of a child. And then the crazy comes. Honestly, I think the less you know about this comic, the better. Just when you think you know where the story is taking you, it throws a sack over your head, spins you around 40 times, then pushes you down a hill. Now, twists happen all the time in comics, and they’re getting so frequent that comics readers are getting kind of cynical. This month’s issue of DC’s Batman throws a big twist at you.

But Williamson pulls this one off smashingly. And even if the twist doesn’t impress you, that last page will have you screaming and looking for the rest of the comic, and you’re going to get angry when you realize you have to wait until next month. As if this book couldn’t get better, you’re hit with the amazing art of Andrei Bressan. Artists have the tough job, especially with a first issue, of establishing the looks of the characters when you first meet them. Bressan does it like a pro.

I have nothing negative to say about this book. Nothing. It’s a fun first issue that throws you a curve and has you gasping for the next issue. Loved it. Go get it. And in 10 years, you can hold up your first issue proudly.

And this wraps a very short Four-Color Bullet. Always feel free to email or comment on anything. Anything at all.

It’s a great time to be a comics fan. See you next Thursday!

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Oct 022014
 
Jason Aaron: Writer
Russell Dauterman: Artist
Matthew Wilson: Colors
Cover Art by Russell Dauterman

MARVEL

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Welcome to this week’s Four-Color Bullet, the only comic book review column worthy to wield the hammer of Thor. Let’s get to some comics!

This week from Marvel, the story of the death of the man known as Wolverine continues, in The Death of Wolverine #3; it’s the series finale of Captain America as the new Sentinel of Liberty stands revealed, just in time to end Zola’s mad plan once and for all. in Captain America #25; and the Avengers Unity Squad stands helpless against the Red Skull and his S-Men, as the march to AXIS continues, in Uncanny Avengers #25.

From DC this week, the Main Man gets his ongoing New 52 series, in Lobo #1; martial law is declared in Gotham, and one of Batman’s deadliest foes takes center stage, in Batman: Eternal #26; and it’s the Justice League’s final battle against The Five, in Justice League 3000 #10.

From IDW this week, the story of how the X-Files division came to be continues in The X-Files: Zero Year #3; and the boys find out about Splinter’s secret deal with Old Hob, causing a rift in the family, in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #38.

Valiant brings us the aftermath to the Armor Hunters invasion, and nothing on Earth will ever be the same, in Armor Hunters: Aftermath #1

And from Image Comics, Zack Thompson takes on the Colossal, in the fourth issue of the hot new series, TechJacket.

 

The original Guardians of the Galaxy are back!

Dan Abnett: Writer Gerardo Sandoval: Artist Edgar Delgado: Colorist Cover Art by Alex Ross MARVEL

Dan Abnett: Writer
Gerardo Sandoval: Artist
Edgar Delgado: Colorist
Cover Art by Alex Ross
MARVEL

Before Star-Lord, Drax, Rocket, Gamora, and Groot, there were Vance Astro, Charlie-27, Martinex, Yondu, and Starhawk. The original Guardians of the Galaxy hailed from the 31st century, exploring the Marvel Universe at a time when Marvel’s heroes have been long dead. I always thought it was unlikely that fans, me included, would ever see a return of the originals, but thankfully, we were wrong.

Guardians 3000 indeed returns the team to 31st century action, and puts you right in the middle of it. I am a big Dan Abnett fan. He has helmed the cosmic corners of both DC and Marvel. He wrote a great take on DC’s Legion of Super-Heroes, rejuvenated Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy, and brought us the epic Annihilation event. So, putting Abnett in charge of writing this science-fiction epic, set in Marvel’s far-flung future, was a natural choice. Abnett starts it off with the team literally fighting for their lives, and hints of a time anomaly meta-plot, which, with all of the time anomaly stories that Marvel is doing lately as a rumored means to reboot their Universe, makes one wonder if this is a part of that plan. There is no loss of action in the first issue, getting what you’d expect from a futuristic, sci-fi story, as the reader is breathlessly trying to keep up with Abnett’s fast-paced opening scene.

I have to say, though, that while Marvel got half of the creative team right,  I am not thrilled about Gerardo Sandoval’s art. Facial expressions are ridiculous and reminds me of a bargain-basement Sam Kieth. The whole thing is extreme and way too over-the-top. I’m the kind of comics fan who can ignore the art, to a point, as long as the story is good. Notable exceptions are Mike Allred, and the guy drawing She-Hulk. Marvel really needs to get a new artist on this thing, quick. Andy Lanning would have been great. Just sayin’.

And Mr. Abnett doesn’t get a pass. In every futuristic story, you’re bound to have a fair amount of future-slang. I think Abnett threw it on a little thick, this time. There was so much of it that it slowed the book down for me.

If you’re a long-time GotG fan and you have fond memories of the original team, I think you’ll like it overall. If your first exposure to the Guardians is from the movie or the Bendis re-launch, you may not like it as much, since introductions are few and far between. But if you like some seriously good, sci-fi action, you might surprise yourself.

 

If (s)he be worthy …

Jason Aaron: Writer Russell Dauterman: Artist Matthew Wilson: Colors Cover Art by Russell Dauterman MARVEL

Jason Aaron: Writer
Russell Dauterman: Artist
Matthew Wilson: Colors
Cover Art by Russell Dauterman
MARVEL

Back in Original Sin, when the Avengers were fighting Nick Fury to a near-standstill on the moon, Fury whispered something in Thor’s ear. Immediately after, Mjolnir dropped like a rock to the moon’s surface and Thor wasn’t able to pick it back up. He had become unworthy. With a stop to forward the plot with an attack from Frost Giants on a Roxxon undersea base, Thor #1 picks up where that fateful scene left off. If you haven’t read any of Original Sin, this first issue does a fine job of filling the reader in. We see Thor trying to adapt to the new status quo, while family and friends try to help him make sense of it. But this issue isn’t all about Thor trying to be Thor. There’s a Frost Giant invasion of Earth going on far beneath the waves, and the only one with any chance of stopping it is our powered-down, hammerless, former God of Thunder.

We know how awesome writer Jason Aaron’s take on Thor has been. I wasn’t even a fan of Thor until Aaron’s work. But with the high fantasy that came with being Asgardian, Thor became, in my eyes, anyway, the new Superman, after DC and the New 52 ruined him. So knowing what we know about Jason Aaron’s Thor, there’s no reason to think the adventures of this new Thor would be any different. And don’t expect any answers this issue as to what Fury said to Thor, and why he’s suddenly unworthy. The reader doesn’t even see the new, female Thor until the last panel, as the original Thor is very much present and still in the fight.

Russell Dauterman’s art is gorgeous. The Asgardians look high-fantasy regal, and Thor’s hellish struggle with current events is easily seen.

Even though there will be a female Thor in the mix, our original hero is very much present and accounted for. Having the status quo rattled is tough for diehard fans to take. But Jason Aaron and Marvel have an intriguing something up their collective sleeve, and this book should be given a chance before just dismissing out it of hand.

And that wraps up Four-Color Bullet for this week. Did you like Thor #1? Comment below or send me an email if you want to talk comics.

It’s a great time to be a comics fan. See you next Thursday!

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Sep 252014
 
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Welcome, comic fans, to another Four-Color Bullet, proudly, the only comic book review column whose cover doesn’t smell like pot.

From the folks at the Marvel Bullpen this week, Dr. Aaron Aikman, a.k.a. Spider-Man, must fend off Morlun’s arrival to his part of the Spider-Verse, in Edge of Spider-Verse #3; Deadpool is attacked by a Spider-Slayer, and– wait, what? What’s a Spider-Slayer doing in Deadpool’s book? The crazy continues in Deadpool #35; and Luke Cage and his Mighty Avengers take on the Deathwalkers for all the marbles. At stake? Humanity,  in  issue#14, the final issue of Mighty Avengers. Next stop: Captain America and the Mighty Avengers!

From DC this week, riots are breaking out all over Gotham, and martial law may soon be a reality whether Batman likes it or not, in Batman: Eternal #25; Superman’s fight with Doomsday continues from the pages of Superman/WonderWoman, leading up to one of the most talked-about endings in DC fandom, in Superman: Doomed #2; and Green Hornet has been pardoned! And now the Dynamic Duo must work with their adversaries to foil an attack on Gotham, in Batman ’66 Meets the Green Hornet #10.

Image/Skybound brings us Robert Kirkman’s fourth issue of his horror series, Outcast, in which Kyle’s journey takes a new direction, and who is Luke Masters, and what is his deal?

Valiant’s crossover event concludes as Earth’s heroes rally behind X-O Manowar to face the Armor Hunters in a final, no-holds-barred showdown, in Armor Hunters #4.

IDW’s Cartoon Network: Super Secret Crisis War continues in issue four as the League of Extraordinary Villains  complete their robot army of the captive Powerpuff Girls, Dexter, and Samurai Jack, with plans to conquer the universe! But why aren’t there any Ed, Edd, and Eddy robots?

The Colonial Fleet gather together under Arch-Duke Adama’s leadership, Athena and Starbuck are captured by pirates, and Apollo and his team take on Baltar’s Cylonic Knights, in the second issue of the smash hit Steampunk Battlestar Galactica: 1880, from Dynamite.

 

The Final Issue! Can the team save New York from the terror of Tiamat? And will the cost be one of their own?

Erik Burnham: Writer Dan Schoening: Artist Luis Antonio Delgado: Colorist IDW PUBLISHING

Erik Burnham: Writer
Dan Schoening: Artist
Luis Antonio Delgado: Colorist
IDW PUBLISHING

The end is here! The Ghostbusters series finale! Erik Burnham and Dan Schoening conclude the Mass Hysteria story arc with more of a whimper than a bang, taking more of an emotional ending than an action-packed one.  Oh, there’s plenty of creepy, ghost-busting action, and it is creepy, but a large portion of the story revolves around Winston Zeddemore, and his noble efforts at stopping Tiamat’s reign of terror on a personal level. As I was reading this, I was daunted at the task that writer Erik Burnham had before him. Over the last few years, the Ghostbusters have acquired some extra teammates. How do you conclude an epic storyline, find something for everyone to do, and say goodbye to everybody?

But he manages it nicely. Even if it’s only a one-word bubble, everybody contributes. But as I said earlier, the story is really focused on Winston, giving us some considerable emotional weight. The weight on his shoulders is evident, and in a very heart-wrenching and tear-inducing moment, we see Winston’s nobility, and the cost he pays to save humanity. But while we’re crying over Winston’s plight, Burnham provides some balance, splitting the action, giving us some “zap, cap, in the trap,” visual, trademark-bantering, popcorn-in-the-gullet-shoveling, ghost-busting action with one of the, as Ray called it, “gross-” est beasties the team has ever faced, giving us a twisted and hilarious battle. And artist Dan Schoening and colorist Luis Antonio Delgado’s work has been nothing but stellar throughout, and nothing changes here. The ghosties are creepy and weird, and everything is rendered in beautiful detail. I will follow this creative team wherever they may go.

However …

You know what? No “however.” I have nothing bad to say. This was at the top of my pile every month and it ended on a high note. And we even get a glimpse into everyone’s future, like in one of those “what happened next” post-movie scenes. And the final page is guaranteed to give the reader a dose of teary-eyed nostalgia.

 Ghostbusters was fun, and a well-done book from beginning to end, and as a reader, I am sad to see it go. Now, bring on the TMNT crossover!

 

Rori’s mysterious powers continue to manifest, leading her to a classmate with a dark secret. One he might be willing to kill to keep.

Writer: Jim Zub Artist: Steve Cummings IMAGE COMICS

Writer: Jim Zub
Artist: Steve Cummings
IMAGE COMICS

Image’s new horror comic continues with its second issue. I’m really getting into this one. I like writer Jim Zub’s work on this. He’s really good. Giving our heroine Rori Lane, a Japanese/Irish teen who lives with her mother in Japan, was brilliant. She has her foot in Japanese culture, yet she’s also half-gaijin, or foreigner, and it’s through her gaijin eyes that we experience the spooky side of Japanese culture with her.

As an anime and manga fan, I notice that a lot of Western artists portray Tokyo as this futuristic city bathed in lights. There are areas of Tokyo that are like this, but as a whole, it’s inaccurate. Manga drawn by Japanese artists aren’t like this. Artist Steve Cummings actually lives in Tokyo, so the scenes are spot on and he gets what the city looks like. We get the naked truth. Spirits and ghosts are at the center of the series, so with the accurate and real depictions of Tokyo, we can perhaps fool ourselves into thinking it’s real. Unlike other artists, who draw, for example, New York without having ever seen the city. we have an artist who delivers Tokyo accurately.

As far as story goes, Zub takes us deeper into Japanese mythology and with this issue, Rori gets a mysterious new ally. The encounter with Rori’s new friend provides much of the action, and we get a further look into the powers that our Buffy-like hero is manifesting. Ayane isn’t present in this one, but Tokyo’s cat population is keeping an eye on Rori.

At the end of each issue, thus far, we’re treated to an informative essay by Zack Davisson on Japanese culture. Last month was ghosts of Japanese culture, this month was an essay on why high schools are so important in Japan, and why they’re an important part of anime and manga.

However, I’m hoping that Zub can pick up the pace a little, giving a little more insight on Rori’s powers and what’s going on.

This is fast becoming one of my favorite books, both for content, and a nice price tag.

And this brings Four-Color Bullet to a close. Email and comment if you so desire. If you’re a Krypton Radio fan near Tennessee, come by Wizard World Nashville Comic con and say “hi.” I’ll be roaming around Music City Center in the thick of it all, so I hope I see you there.

It’s a great time to be a comics fan. See you next week!

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Sep 252014
 
Big_Hero_6_(film)_poster

We realize this probably won’t be the last trailer we see for Disney’s Big Hero 6, but we’re looking forward to seeing this so much that we just can’t resist sharing it with you. It’s based very loosely on a relatively obscure Marvel Comics title from 1998, with nearly the entire storyline being rewritten. Purists will be disappointed, but there’s little ground for grumbling, really, because this treatment has almost nothing to do with the original book. The story revolves around a 14-year-old robotics prodigy named Hiro who lives in the fictional city San Fransokyo. It’s still about a team of superheroes, though, and in this new trailer we get to see them suit up, and we learn a little more about Beymax, a medical robot created by Hiro’s elder brother.

It’s also the first collaboration between Disney Animation and Marvel Studios since Disney bought Marvel in 2009. While every bit as bright and light hearted as other Disney films, it does deal with some rather heavy emotional themes. It looks like nothing Disney has ever done before, and separates itself even further from the usual Disney fare by not being a musical.

If you want to listen to the theme music for the movie, go to the official web site. It’s about as epic as the score for The Avengers.  

Ryan Potter plays Hiro Hamada. Beymax is voiced by Scott Adsit. Big Hero 6 releases in the United States on November 7, 2014. U.K. residents don’t get to see it until January 15. We have no idea why they have to wait that long, and a delay like this between the U.S. release and the U.K. release is very unusual.

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