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War of Kings (Review/Retrospective)

This is the twelfth in a series of comic book reviews that will look at the direction of Marvel’s shared universe (particularly their “Avengers” franchise) over the past five or so years, as they’ve been attempting to position the property at the heart of their fictional universe. With The Avengers planned for a cinematic release in 2012, I thought I’d bring myself up to speed by taking a look at Marvel’s tangled web of continuity.

War of Kings is perhaps the best thing to come out of Secret Invasion. In fact, the miniseries went out of its way to highlight its links to the Marvel comics mega-event, with the story even kicking off in a Secret Invasion: War of Kings special (note the order there, it isn’t War of Kings: Secret Invasion). However, not withstanding the attempts to tie the series back to the high-selling mainstream events that Marvel was consistently churning out, War of Kings is essentially an epic space opera, the story of an interstellar war and alien politics, told with the wit and charm that writer Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning have made the cosmic line famous for. Tying it into Secret Invasion only serves to highlight the deficiencies with that event, as the writers here attempt the same sort of story with the same sort of themes, but with more skill and grace than the bigger event could off.

Now is the time...

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Ed Brubaker’s Run on Uncanny X-Men – The Rise and Fall of the Shi’ar Empire (Review/Retrospective)

I’m currently wading my way through Marvel’s somewhat complicated continuity, with a major focus on The Avengers, what with the film due out in 2012 and all that. Anyway, this isn’t really a “big” crossover in its own right, but it factors into a big event I’ll be looking at later on today. Consider this an appendix.

Ed Brubaker’s run on Uncanny X-Men isn’t as widely praised as his work on Daredevil or Captain America – in fact, while Marvel couldn’t wait to churn out omnibus releases of his work on those two titles, his Uncanny X-Men run, like Matt Fraction’s run which followed, has been haphazardly collected. Part of me suspects that this might be down to factors outside Brubaker’s control – Joss Whedon was monopolising the most popular X-Men for Astonishing X-Men when Brubaker kicked off his run – but part of it comes down to the simple fact that Brubaker simply isn’t a great writer of team books. That said, writing a year-long space epic featuring none of the more iconic characters as his introductory arc probably didn’t help much.

Brotherly love…

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