• Following Us

  • Categories

  • Check out the Archives









  • Awards & Nominations

X-Men by Jim Lee and Chris Claremont (and Whilce Portacio) Omnibus, Vol. 2 (Review/Retrospective)

With our month looking at Avengers comics officially over, we thought it might be fun to dig into that other iconic Marvel property, the X-Men. Join us for a month of X-Men related reviews and discussion.

Gotta say this for the man — he knows how to make an exit.

– Archangel, X-Men #3 (Claremont’s last issue)

And so, this is the end. The end of Claremont’s quite simply epic run on the X-Men books. It’s amazing to look back on the writer’s output today, and simply try to consider the size of his contribution to the franchise. While he departed the books as they were at the height of their appeal (X-Men #1 famously being the best-selling comic book of all time), it’s hard to argue that X-Men ever would have reached that height without Claremont’s vision and style. While the writer undoubtedly had his weaknesses, I think his contributions to the medium are rather undervalued. While writers like Alan Moore and Frank Miller reinvented comic books, I think that Claremont was an expert at incorporating those radical changes into his work, and a writer who managed to secure the support of his fans by giving the X-Men a sense of pop culture resonance that a lot of subsequent writers tried and failed to capture.

Through X-tremes…

Continue reading

Uncanny X-Men by Chris Claremont Omnibus, Vol. 1 (Review/Retrospective)

With our month looking at Avengers comics officially over, we thought it might be fun to dig into that other iconic Marvel property, the X-Men. Join us for a month of X-Men related reviews and discussion.

Chris Claremont wrote Uncanny X-Men for seventeen years, which is really quite a run in mainstream American comics, especially for a writer who didn’t create the property that he was working on. Over the course of a defining run that lasted almost two decades, the creator shaped the franchise from the forgotten stepchild of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby – cancelled and reduced to reprints – into Marvel’s biggest and most successful comic book franchise. While the book hadn’t quite made it to the top of the sales charts by the end of this omnibus collection, it was well on its way – and you can see Claremont gradually moulding the team into the iconic collection of mutants that we’d see across a myriad of mediums.

Marvel had a smash hit on their hands…

Continue reading

Thor by Walt Simonson Omnibus (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.” We’re also taking a look at some of the notable stories featuring individual Avengers.

Read our review of The Avengers here.

Walt Simonson’s run on Thor is one of the truly great Marvel runs of the eighties – along with Frank Miller’s take on Daredevil and John Byrne’s tenure on The Fantastic Four. It’s great to have that entire run – and the Baldar the Brave miniseries – collected in one absolutely giant omnibus, which stands as one of the greatest accomplishments of Marvel’s collected editions department. Did I mention that it has been lavishly recoloured for the occasion? Because it has. And it’s spectacular.

A snake in the grass (and pretty much everywhere else)...

Continue reading

Fantastic Four by John Byrne Omnibus (Review/Retrospective)

Celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Fantastic Four, I’m taking a look at some of the stories featuring the characters over the past half-century.

John Byrne’s Fantastic Four run is pretty major as Marvel comic book runs go. It’s generally regarded to be one of the better comic book runs of the eighties, alongside Frank Miller’s Daredevil and Walt Simonson’s Thor, but it’s also widely regarded as the best run on Marvel’s flagship family since Stan Lee and Jack Kirby finished their record-setting run establishing both the series and the shared Marvel Universe. (The length of the run has since been surpassed, appropriately enough, by Brian Michael Bendis and Mark Bagley on Ultimate Spider-Man.) This was my first time reading the run, which has received the massive omnibus treatment from Marvel. I have to admit, while not quite blown away by it, I was remarkably impressed by the love and craftsmanship that Byrne poured into the run. I wouldn’t class it as iconic or genre-defining, but it’s a remarkably solid examination of the franchise that launched the Marvel Universe.

Fantastic!

Continue reading

Thor by J. Michael Straczynski Omnibus (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.

J. Michael Straczynski’s run on Thor is a somewhat controversial one. In fact, this rather wonderful omnibus collection comes with little by way of textual extras. There is no introduction from a recognisable figure, nor any scripts included, nor any commentary or interviews. One can almost sense the discomfort in the air. The saga of Straczynski’s run on Thor is a long and complicated one, but it ended with the author departing both the publisher and the comic a lot earlier than anticipated. To this day, both sides have differing accounts of what occurred, and both insist that they are in the right. That’s a lot of subtext behind one lovely hardcover volume, but it’s something that was always in my mind – particularly as I approached the somewhat “crowded” conclusion. Still, it’s a great epic story, albeit one with a slightly disappointing ending.

Hammering home...

Continue reading

Ghost Rider by Jason Aaron Omnibus

You’re the divine wrath of God himself, Johnny Blaze. Yet you spend all your time cruising around the U.S. of A. Did you really think that was the only country God cared about?

– Sara, The Last Stand of the Spirits of Vengeance

Ghost Rider is a strange character. Created in the seventies, he saw his stock take a huge increase in value during the nineties in the era of “darker and edgier” heroes before slowly fading down to relative obscurity. The closest the character has come to mainstream success has been the god-awful Nicolas Cage Ghost Rider film. So, he makes a strange choice to receive a Marvel Omnibus, somewhat comparable to the Omnibus collecting  The Immortal Iron Fist a few years back. The prestige format is usually reserved for the best of the best, high profile runs (past and present) on characters of either historical importance or receiving a feature film in the coming year. Jason Aaron is a creator rising in prominence, but it still seems a strange choice to publish his Ghost Rider run in the format. That said, it is perhaps the best run ever written on the character.

Head-to-head, skull-to-skull...

Continue reading

Daredevil by Ed Brubaker Omnibus, Vol. II

Still, it must have been nice for you, Murdock.

What?

To win this one. It seems like you really needed it.

– North and Murdock

There goes the whiniest superhero I ever met.

– Mr. Izo

I’ve said it before and I’ll likely say it again: Daredevil has had an amazing ten-year run under the stewardship of Kevin Smith, David Mack, Brian Michael Bendis and Ed Brubaker. It’s just been a really well-put together comic book which really works. one of the finest compliments of the book I’ve read, and one I sadly can’t take credit for, is that Daredevil mostly avoids the deconstruction which has been a fixture of many iconic runs, while also avoiding the pitfalls of nostalgia that typically define the reaction to deconstruction – instead, the book has found a third way: it has found a way to take the conventional tropes of the superhero genre, and use them to offer something relatively new and exciting, exploring the story potential inherent in ideas like a secret identity, or what happens when a vigilante creates a vacuum in crime. Ed Brubaker, who – if you ask me – has offered the most fascinating run on the character and has surpassed his work on Captain America, finishes his run here and closes a chapter in the life of the Marvel Universe’s most tragic superhero.

Stars in your eyes...

Note: This review will contain spoilers for the end of Brubaker’s run, if you aren’t already familiar with it. I’ll flag them beforehand, but consider yourself warned.

Continue reading