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Mar 152015
 
Writer: Chip Zdarsky
Artists: Joe Quinones and Rico RenziMARVEL

by Michael Brown

Welcome to this week’s Four-Color Bullet, the only comic-book review column trapped in a world we never made.

From Marvel this week, the first story arc since Star Wars returned to Marvel comes to an end, as Han, Leia, and Chewie try to make their escape from Cymoon-1, while Luke faces off against Vader, in Star Wars #3; Gwen Stacy takes on the Vulture, and the NYPD in the second issue of the comic book the fans created, Spider-Gwen #2; it’s Spider-Man vs. Beast in a knockdown, drag-out, no-holds-barred … science fair? Someone at the Jean Grey school knows Spidey’s secret identity, and introducing, for a few minutes anyway, the all-new Sinister Six, in Spider-Man and the X-Men #4.

From DC this week, Harley and Deadshot are at Ground Zero of a metahuman revolt, in New Suicide Squad #8; Constantine’s trip to Earth-2 killed him. Now what’s in store for the Hellblazer?, in Constantine #23.

From the folks at Valiant, the Eternal Warrior must contend with an old and deadly foe, while reeling from the aftermath of a devastating battle, in Unity #16; past and future collide as we see what made Colin King the man known as Ninjak, while he tracks down a secret cabal of shinobi masters, in Ninjak #1.

From BOOM! Studios this week, Ted “Theodore” Logan and Bill S. Preston, Esquire return in righteous new adventures. After learning of their destiny to create galactic harmony, the duo travel to the 27th century to cure little Chuck De Nomolos of his hatred of Wyld Stallyns, in the first issue of Bill and Ted’s Most Triumphant Return; as the USPF army comes down on the seceded nation of Florida, Snake is forced to take up arms for the twins. Little does he know that all is going according to plan. With an invasion in full swing, the end game is put into action, in Escape From New York #4

 

The Return of the Duck

Writer: Chip Zdarsky Artists: Joe Quinones and Rico Renzi MARVEL

Writer: Chip Zdarsky
Artists: Joe Quinones and Rico Renzi
MARVEL

It took a 12-second gag at the end of the Guardians of the Galaxy movie to cause fans to forget about that earlier George Lucas-helmed disaster, and embrace Howard the Duck back into Marvel. And with all of that clamoring and embracing, everyone’s favorite mouthy mallard has returned to comics. And you know what? It feels good. Howard first appeared in 1973, and he was a counter-culture icon, walking through a world he didn’t understand. Sent to Earth via the Nexus of All Realities, Howard, in his first series, was full of satire, parody, and even some vulgarity, but it seems that writer Chip Zdarsky may be toning down some aspects of the original. But even so, one thing Zdarsky hasn’t toned down is Howard’s snark.

Zdarsky makes Howard sound grouchy, but not irritating, and still sporting some early 1970’s attitudes that just don’t fly in these modern times. And he’s not giving the reader too much in the way of seriousness, as seen in what may go down in Marvel Comics history as one of the most ludicrous and hilarious break-ins ever. Plus, Zdarsky’s take on She-Hulk and Spider-Man, who guest star in the first issue, is fantastically and rip-roaringly hilarious, as he establishes their relationship with Howard. And artist Joe Quinones provides some really great visuals.

The one thing I didn’t like was the fact that there is an appearance by one character that’s a direct reference to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and yeah, this character exists in the pre-MCU comics, the way he appears mirrors the movies, or rather, one movie in particular. But the end seems to resolve itself, setting the reader up for what will be a crazy second issue.

A lot of things had to go just right, and the stars had to align perfectly in order for this new incarnation of Howard the Duck to work. But work it does, and this is a good relaunch of a character who, up till now, appeared in cameos and one-shots, and isn’t largely remembered by younger fans from that 1986 stinker film. But whether you’ve been a Howard fan for years, or you were one of those moviegoers who didn’t understand why everyone was cheering at the end of Guardians of the Galaxy, this issue is a great intro to one of Marvel’s more kicked-about characters.

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Mar 042015
 
Avengers: Age of Ultron

We’ve been waiting forever for this movie, and we have been given a sign from on high that it is going to live up to all our expectations. Witness the wonder and glory that is the third theatrical trailer for Avengers: Age of Ultron. Both written and directed by Joss Whedon, and produced by Kevin Feige, it’s the cure for the summer thirst for superhero movies. Watch the trailer. Twice. We’ll wait.

 

When Tony Stark tries to jumpstart a dormant peacekeeping program, a superpowerful artificial intelligence with full access to Stark’s entire cache of advanced weapon technology. The press release says, “things go awry.” We were just going to say, “what could possibly go wrong?”

Anyway, the team is back. Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, The Incredible Hulk, Black Widow and Hawkeye, are put to the ultimate test as the fate of the planet hangs in the balance. As the Ultron pulls himself together and turns out to be a major threat, the Avengers have to stop him from pacifying the world by destroying it.

All the original cast is back, but with a couple of new additions.  Don Cheadle returns as James Rhodes/War Machine, Cobie Smulders is back as fandom’s secret crush Agent Maria Hill, and of course we all know James Spader is Ultron. While we’re also getting some new treats with Pietro Maximoff/Silver Streak, played by Aaron Taylor-Johnson, and Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch, played by Elizabeth Olsen, the one we can’t wait to see is the newest addition to the Avengers team, the Vision. Watch for Paul Bettany in this role in the trailer at about the two minute mark.

The Marvel comic book The Avengers was first published in 1963, and except for the pages of the comic books (yes, we read the comics, and you should too) the iconic heroes have never looked better.

Avengers: Age of Ultron stars Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Don Cheadle, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Bettany, Cobie Smulders, Stellan Skarsgård with James Spader and Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury and premiers in the U.S. on May 1.

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Feb 282015
 
Writer: Jason Latour
Artists: Robbi Rodriguez and Rico RenziMARVEL

by Michael Brown

Hey there, Bulleteers, and welcome back to another Four-Color Bullet! Allow me to offer sincere apologies for the lack of the Bullet for the last couple of weeks. I hail from the state of Tennessee, and we were caught in the grip of a major ice storm that knocked electricity out across the entire state. I was out for a week, myself, leaving me unable to do much comic book reading or reviews. But I am back now, and we will proceed with the 4CB Hit List.

From Marvel this week, Darth Vader continues to deal with the fallout from the destruction of the Emperor’s expensive battle station, in Star Wars: Darth Vader #2; Spider-Verse reaches its epilogue as the Spiders return to their respective universes, and Peter has one last clash with a Superior foe, in Amazing Spider-Man #15; terrorists have taken over the Sanctum Sanctorum while Dr. Strange is away, leaving agent Phil Coulson and S.H.I.E.L.D., along with Spider-Man, to take back Strange’s abode, in S.H.I.E.L.D. #3.

From DC this week, the penultimate chapter of the Joker’s horrifying return, in Batman #39; Barry Allen is trapped in the Speed Force while an imposter wreaks havoc in his absence, in The Flash #39.

From IDW, it’s Attack on Technodrome Part Three, as Leonardo and the gang engage Krang’s forces on Burnow Island, while Splinter and the Mutanimals take on Karai and the Foot, in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #43.

 

Gwen Stacy, Spider-Woman, in her own series. And it’s everything you wanted it to be.

Writer: Jason Latour Artists: Robbi Rodriguez and Rico Renzi MARVEL

Writer: Jason Latour
Artists: Robbi Rodriguez and Rico Renzi
MARVEL

This is an example of how the fans can sway the powers-that-be. When Gwen Stacy first appeared in Edge of Spider-Verse #2, fan outcry was huge. They loved her and wanted more. Gwen Stacy’s gorgeous costume started showing up in cosplay videos all over the Intarwebs, and with her appearance in Spider-Verse, she only increased in popularity.

So, we get Gwen Stacy back. Okay, yeah, it’s Gwen from an alternate universe, but since having a full-on resurrection of her would be absolutely unacceptable, since it’s such a pivotal point in Peter’s life, this is truly the next best thing. Writer Jason Latour has given us a new Gwen. Not the Gwen we knew, necessarily, but it is her, and we get to meet her for the first time.

And her world is a little different, too, being in an alternate universe. George Stacy is alive, Peter Parker is dead, Ben Grimm is an NYPD officer, Frank Castle is a detective, and the cool just keeps on comin’. The art team of Robbi Rodriguez and Rico Renzi give the book its own feel, and their work on her costume is awesome. Easily one of the best costumes in comics today, pretty much proving that sometimes, less is more. And I’ve always been a fan of the old What If …? stories, and this could easily come right out of it. It even has an Exiles kind of vibe. And I was huge Exiles fan.

This is just a great book and I have a feeling it’s going to do big things. If you haven’t read it yet, I highly recommend that you do.

 

 

 

 

 

 

That wraps Four-Color Bullet for this week. Email and comment if you so desire. I like mail.

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

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Feb 212015
 
wolverineAtTheOffice

It’s as wackadoo as it sounds. Sam Macaroni has been making some really well produced videos about familiar characters in unfamiliar circumstances, and, as they say, “hilarity ensues.” This first episode follows Wolverine through an average workday, as he tries to handle his anger management issues. This isn’t the first time we’ve featured Wolverine in a video of the day, and we have to say, this is some real cutting edge entertainment.

Get it?  “Cutting edge?”

Enjoy.

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Feb 042015
 
charliecoxdaredevil

We all knew Marvel Studios was going to be working on this since the rights reverted to them from 20th Century Fox in 2012. It’s taken three years, but they’re finally ready to start showing off their Daredevil series to the world. Daredevil is the first of four Marvel series to debut on the streaming service, the other three being Jessica Jones, Iron Fist and Luke Cage. 

If you’re looking for the traditional red suit like the one Ben Affleck wore in the ill-fated 2003 movie, you may have to wait a while. They’re starting him off with a very, very retro look, based on original concept designs for the comic book character.

Daredevil stars Boardwalk Empire’s Charlie Cox as Matt Murdock, the blind lawyer turned crime fighter  living in modern-day Hell’s Kitchen, New York. The villian Wilson Fisk (“The Kingpin”) will be played by Vincent D’Onofrio. Other interesting casting choices include Rosario Dawson as Claire Temple, Elden Henson as Foggy Nelson and Deborah Ann Woll(True Blood) as Karen Page. We see all of them in this first trailer, pivoting around Murdock in a confessional with a priest.

Daredevil premieres on April 10 on Netflix. And by “premiere,” we mean the entire first season is going to drop at once. Prepare for some serious binge-watching.

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Jan 302015
 
Writers: Erik Burnham and Tom Waltz
Artists: Dan Schoening and Luis Antonio Delgado
IDW PUBLISHING

Four-Color Bullet

Welcome to this week’s Four-Color Bullet, now coming at you on Fridays, since Thursday has become New Comic Day for digital titles. I want to make sure everything is covered for you, my comic book-obsessed, Four-Color fans. You Bulleteers.

This week from DC, Batman #38 brings Part Four of Endgame. The Joker is back, and fun time is over; The Multiversity Guidebook details each of the 52 worlds in the Multiverse in DC’s Multiversity event; Barry Allen is trapped in the Speed Force, while the all-new, all murderous Flash takes his place in Central City, in The Flash #38.

From Marvel this week, a new round of adventures for the Avengers Unity Squad begins in Uncanny Avengers #1; Peter Parker’s new job as guidance counselor at the Jean Grey Academy is off to a rocky start. His students are captured by Sauron and Stegron, Staten Island is in danger of being colonized by the Savage Land, and Shark Girl may be a traitor. All this, and a pteranodon/stegosaurus/shark love triangle, in Spider-Man and the X-Men #2; Spider-Verse continues as Miguel O’Hara and Lady Spider head to Lady Spider’s steampunk Earth, fleeing the Inheritors. But Doctor Octopus and The Six Men of Sinistry are waiting for them, in Spider-Man 2099 #8.

And from BOOM! Studios, Jack Burton, now the new leader of the Lords of Death, and Wang Chi return to San Francisco Chinatown to rescue Miao Yin and Egg Shen from Lo Pan, and put an end to Lo Pan and acolyte Qiang Yu’s magical foolishness. But someone will pay the ultimate price to rid the world of Lo Pan’s evil for good, in Big Trouble in Little China #8.

 

Epic team-up concludes: Ghostbusters and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles on defense, running out of time

Writers: Erik Burnham and Tom Waltz Artists: Dan Schoening and Luis Antonio Delgado IDW PUBLISHING

Writers: Erik Burnham and Tom Waltz
Artists: Dan Schoening and Luis Antonio Delgado
IDW PUBLISHING

The TMNT/Ghostbusters crossover has been nothing but fun since the get-go. And while it may sound ridiculous, it has been far from it. Ghostbusters writer Erik Burnham and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles writer Tom Waltz have teamed up to bring fans the ’80s crossover to end all ’80s crossovers. Knowing that this was the final issue of this titanic turtle team up made me sad, because now … there’s no more Ghostbusters awesomeness. But at least the writers ended it with a bang.

The comedy that has been present throughout was here as well, but nothing that made me laugh out loud. Plenty of chuckles, smirks, and chortles, but no hearty guffaws. But both teams merged and reacted with each other well, and I expected nothing less.

The action scenes, drawn by Dan Schoening Luis Antonio Delgado, also Ghostbusters alumni, were gorgeous. Everything is beautifully animated with a cinematic feel. While the Ghostbusters are focused on fighting our villain with unlicensed nuclear accelerators and other tech, they never engage in any fisticuffs. Leo and the gang, however, are providing ninja action at every turn. And while you won’t see the Ghostbusters use any of the Turtles’ weapons, the Turtles do get a chance to suit up in Ghostbusters gear. Donatello wore a proton pack last issue, in fact.

Chi-You, the series’ villain, is sadly kind of one-dimensional, but Burnham gives him enough juice to provide an action-packed finale that gets everybody involved. Burnham and Waltz have created a villain able to plague both the superior-tech Ghostbusters, and the up-close-and-personal ninja fighting of the TMNT.

With all that said, this issue isn’t going to WOW you. There’s no big shocker ending or jaw-dropping twist. Nothing to make you go “Oooooo” or have you scratching your head at the meaning of the universe. It’s just good, solid fun and the final issue of an ’80s romp, and the farewell to a comic series I thoroughly enjoyed. Here’s hoping IDW brings them back for another crossover. It just begs to be done.

And that concludes Four-Color Bullet for this week. Email and comment if you choose. Correspondence is always welcome.

It’s going to be a great year for comics fans.

Catch you guys next week!

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