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Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, Volume 1 (Review)

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.”

It’s fascinating how Marvel managed to effectively reinvent the Avengers franchise over the better part of the last decade, pushing the title to the centre of their publishing line and revitalising it – both through Mark Millar’s alternate-continuity Ultimates and Brian Michael Bendis’ New Avengers. Both were poles apart from the type of books fans associated with the property, favouring sweeping and blockbuster storytelling in the place of the more conventional soap opera antics. As such, Joe Casey’s miniseries, offering a reflection on the first few years of the team, feels like something of a polite acknowledgment of the legacy of the team, and an attempt to celebrate their history together.

Not quite a train wreck…

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Final Crisis: Rogues’ Revenge (Review/Retrospective)

This January, I’m going to take a look at some of DC’s biggest “events.” I’ll be starting with the most recent one, Flashpoint, but – in the spirit of the character – we’re going to have a marathon run through Flash stories before we get there. Check back daily this week for more Flash-ified goodness…

Rumours on the street are that Jesse James bought it. I thought you might be dead, too. Tar pit said Zoom buried you under the Flash Museum. Computron swore you were banished to some kinda war planet. And Double Down bet me a grand the Titans had you locked up in their tower.

But you’re here. You escaped!

– The Trickster just about sums up everything that happened since Geoff Johns left

It was a touch period for the Flash after Geoff Johns finished his rather tremendous run on the character. Although Mark Waid’s first run with Wally West was a celebrated comic book run, his brief tenure on the title following Johns’ departure was not nearly as well received. Wally West was shipped off to an alternate dimension, and then brought back. The teenage Bart Allen was turned into the Flash, and then unceremoniously killed. The Rogues were sent to another planet, and the supporting cast suffered the indignity of Countdown to Final Crisis. All of this happened in a few years, and transformed DC’s Flash comic books from some of the best on the market to something of a joke.

However, Geoff Johns’ Final Crisis tie-in miniseries seems intended to assure the faithful that everything is going to be okay. Even Captain Cold dismisses everything that’s happened as “one %%@#$@-up year.”Let’s just put it behind us.

Cold warriors...

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Geoff Johns’ Run on The Flash – Rogues, Crossfire & Blitz

What with Geoff Johns returning to write The Flash, I figured I’d dig out some of the old collections of his first run on the title – arguably the run which brought the writer to the attention of comic book readers everywhere. In a run spanning five years, Johns managed to not only offer a suitably impressive successor to Mark Waid’s run on the title, but also tell his own boldly unique story. In a way, the writer’s time on the title can be broken down into two distinct halves – in fact, the final issue collected here is consciously a transition, with the universe being massively re-written and the status quo irrevocably altered. This collection represents the end of that first half, in which Johns was paired with artist Scott Kolins. I think it’s fair to say that the pair made magic on the title.

The Rogues take the opportunity to chill out...

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Annihilation – Vol. 1-3 (Hardcover) (Review/Retrospective)

This is the fifth in a series of comic book reviews that will look at the direction of Marvel’s mainstream shared universe over the past five or so years – primarily with a focus on The Avengers 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. This is more of a tangential entry, though, as we’re going into space with marvel’s “cosmic” titles. But still, sometimes you need to go away to come back.

When people think of the Marvel crossover events of the past decade, they’ll name ones like Civil War or Secret Invasion or House of M. Very few will mention Annihilation, Marvel’s first big cosmic crossover event of the past ten years, but those few will generally speak quite highly of it.

The Silver Surfer goes for gold...

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