Advertisements
    Advertisements
  • Following Us

  • Categories

  • Check out the Archives









  • Awards & Nominations

  • Advertisements

Ultimate Comics: Hawkeye (Review)

To celebrate the release of Thor: The Dark World towards the end of next month, we’ll be looking at some Thor and Avenger-related comics throughout September. Check back weekly for the latest reviews and retrospectives.

Ultimate Comics: Hawkeye is pretty much a companion piece to Jonathan Hickman’s Ultimate Comics: Ultimates run. Unlike other miniseries like Ultimate Comics: Thor or Ultimate Comics: Captain America, Hawkeye isn’t designed to be read on its own. It is clearly intended as a story to be read in parallel with Hickman’s on-going Ultimates narrative, unfolding at the same time alongside that particular story. As such, it’s a weird miniseries to read on its own terms, doing a rather excellent job of fleshing out the global scale of Hickman’s Ultimates work, but never really working on its own terms.

Broken arrow...

Broken arrow…

Continue reading

Advertisements

Jonathan Hickman’s Run on Ultimate Comics: Ultimates (Review/Retrospective)

To celebrate the release of Thor: The Dark World towards the end of next month, we’ll be looking at some Thor and Avenger-related comics throughout September. Check back weekly for the latest reviews and retrospectives.

There’s something to be said for keeping Marvel’s Ultimate Universe as a “do anything you want” sandbox for up-and-coming creators, a chance for writers and artists to demonstrate their ability to tell comic book stories without worrying too much about the status quo or putting everything back in something resembling the way they found it. After all, the Ultimate Universe provided a fertile starting point for creators like Mark Millar, Brian Michael Bendis and Brian K. Vaughn to demonstrate they could tell big bombastic superhero stories, with Millar and Bendis going on to radically shape  the mainstream Marvel continuity.

As such, Jonathan Hickman’s run on the awkwardly-titled Ultimate Comics: Ultimates feels like an audition. It’s very clearly a weird alternate-universe take on many of the ideas that he would carry over to his run on Avengers and New Avengers when he succeeded creator Brian Michael Bendis. Hickman’s Ultimates is bristling with big ideas, and an exciting willingness to tear down and build up without any hesitation. The only real problem is that it feels like a story sorely missing an ending.

Thor smash!

Thor smash!

Continue reading

Secret Warriors Omnibus (Review/Retrospective)

There are plans within plans… wheels within wheels. The old order is waking from a deep sleep any my masters… they hunger for knowledge of this new world.

– Leviathan Disciple

Secret Warriors is an interesting ride. It’s a rather bold narrative, crafted with a great deal of skill by author Jonathan Hickman, exploring an interesting underbelly of the Marvel Universe, while providing a pretty compelling exploration of Marvel’s super-spy Nick Fury. It reads like a densely-packed pulpy espionage thriller, with Hickman cleverly layering the story and gradually peeling back the skin to reveal wheels within wheels. While the climax of the story isn’t as strong as it should be, Secret Warriors still makes for an interesting read, a relatively long-running series that was carefully planned out from the beginning and executed with considerable style.

Secret Agent Man!

Note: There will be spoilers in this here review. Don’t worry, I’ll flag them before we reach them, but given the twisty nature of the narrative, I thought I’d let you know up-front.

Continue reading

Acts of Vengeance: The Punisher vs. Doctor Doom (Review/Retrospective)

April (and a little bit of May) are “Avengers month” at the m0vie blog. In anticipation of Joss Whedon’s superhero epic, we’ll have a variety of articles and reviews published looking at various aspects of “Earth’s Mightiest Heroes.”

In celebration of the release of The Avengers, this weekend we’re taking a look at the massive 1989-90 crossover “Acts of Vengeance”, which pitted various villains against some unlikely heroes. I’ll be looking at some of the most fun match-ups. This arc is collected in the companion omnibus.

I tend to like my Punisher stories with a hint of the ridiculous about them. I seem to be the only person who thought that Garth Ennis did his best work on the character as part of Marvel Knights rather than Punisher MAX, because I tend to think the character works best as a sort of an absurd straight man in mainstream comics. He is, after all, a character who uses superhero iconography (a giant skull on his chest, no matter how stripped-down the iteration) while being a guy with a gun who likes to kill criminals. I’ve always felt that the character required a suspension of disbelief that that only really worked if he was played just slightly ridiculous. Of course, that’s my opinion, and I seem to be in the minority on this, but it probably explains why I found Mike Baron’s tie-in to Acts of Vengeance – pitting the Punisher against Doctor Doom – to be so much damn fun.

Closing in to seal his doom…

Note: The always wonderful Chris Simms took a more indepth look at this unlikely crossover on Comics Alliance, perfectly capturing the wonderful insanity of it all.

Continue reading

S.H.I.E.L.D: Architects of Forever(Review/Retrospective)

April (and a little bit of May) are “Avengers month” at the m0vie blog. In anticipation of Joss Whedon’s superhero epic, we’ll have a variety of articles and reviews published looking at various aspects of “Earth’s Mightiest Heroes.” Today we’re looking at a miniseries exploring the history of S.H.I.E.L.D., the organisation which has played a big role in the Marvel cinematic universe.

Jonathan Hickman is something of a rising star at Marvel, with his acclaimed work on Secret Warriors, Fantastic Four and Ultimate Comics: Ultimates, along with character-centric miniseries like Ultimate Thor and Ultimate Hawkeye. Much like Jason Aaron, the writer has demonstrated a remarkable ability with both the smaller cult characters in the universe, as well as some of its bigger names – it has been argued that Hickman has been doing fascinating things with characters who had stumbled a bit of late in Marvel’s shared universe, like Nick Fury or the “first family” of the company, the Fantastic Four. Hickman has a wonderful talent to combine old established concepts with clever new ideas to produce an interesting result. S.H.I.E.L.D., documenting the history of Marvel’s premiere espionage organisation, demonstrates this quite well.

At least what I understood of it.

The SHIELD protects us...

Continue reading

Why Does It Matter That Spider-Man is Black?

It’s interesting the odd way that comic books occasionally overlap with the mainstream. Mainly, it appears to be when a death is involved, like the coverage that Ed Brubaker’s The Death of Captain America inspired, or the pop culture impact of Grant Morrison’s Batman R.I.P. (or even Jonathan Hickman’s death of Johnny Storm in The Fantastic Four). These week, we’ve had a minor media storm over something a bit different: a new character taking an established identity. Most mainstream media outlets weren’t interested in the resurrection of Bucky Barnes to replace Steve Rogers, nor Dick Grayson donning the cowl in Batman & Robin. However, there’s been a storm in a teacup brewing over the fact that the new lead in Ultimate Spider-Man is black.

Why on Earth is this such a big deal?

The only colours I associate with Spider-man are blue and red...

Continue reading

Ultimate Comics: Thor (Review/Retrospective)

With the release of Marvel’s big-budget superhero action movie Thor this summer, we’re taking a month to celebrate the God of Thunder. Check back each Wednesday for a Thor-related review.

“It burns,” Thor tells us as the comic opens. “The world tree burns… Surely this is the end of all things…” Yes, Jonathan Hickman suggests, it is indeed the end, but it is also the beginning. The lives of gods, like the myths themselves and the comic books they inspire, are cyclical and endless. This scene, as Nazi stormtroopers and frost giants march on Asgard, might be the end, but it is also the beginning.

Thor Smash!

Continue reading