Review Roundup for January 24th, 2018
This week was very fun. I love this job. There are links to full reviews of the two big books of the week. Please let us know what you’d like us to review by leaving a comment on our Facebook page, send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or messaging any of us directly. Keep in mind that the format we’ll follow will be as follows:
Book Title and Number(Story Arc Name)*
*Denotes Book of the Week
Here we go!
Amazing Spider-Man #794 (Threat Level: Red pt 1)
It’s been a year since Spidey beat Zodiac and the doorway where he is stuck is opening up on this day. Spidey and Horizon have been preparing for it. An independent contractor has been storying the Zodiac Key, which begins to power up. As this is happening, 2 “Agents”, Krane and Coleman, doing a delivery, open the case they’re delivering, which contains pumpkin bombs, and attack the personnel in this underwater facility, called the Lock Box. As this takes place, the Zodiac Key escapes containment causing the base to begin to flood. Spidey and his team are waiting for Zodiac and as the door opens, they try to keep him from escaping. The Zodiac Key comes and allows him to escape. Back in the Lock Box, Krane and Coleman are killing agents in search of an item. In London, Spidey and his team go to Big Ben to stop Zodiac. Spidey tries to stop him through conventional means, but he can’t. He tries to pull the Zodiac Key out of a mechanism that Zodiac built for it, but that doesn’t work either. Spider-Man realizes that they Key came to Zodiac because he needed it, so he had to make sure Zodiac really needed it. He tosses Zodiac out of Big Ben’s clock face, prompting the Zodiac Key to disengage and save Zodiac. Mockingbird knocks him out and Horizon helps with the Zodiac Key, as Zodiac is taken into custody. As he’s being taken away, Zodiac warns him that something is coming to tear his world apart. Coleman and Krane walk into an office where Norman Osborn is waiting. They hand him a canister and leave. Inside the canister is the Carnage symbiote, which Norman is looking to bond with.
Story – Sets up a major shift in Spidey’s world while tying up a loose end from a previous story arc. 8/10
Art – This book looks really good, especially every shot of Spider-Man, action or not. 8/10
Continuity/Character Consistency – This issue relies heavily on continuity. Dan Slott’s Superior Spider-Man run did the same, so I’d imagine that there were some hints back there as well towards this. 9/10
Twist Factor – Norman Osborn with the Carnage symbiote and Spidey tossing Zodiac out of Big Ben. 9/10
Final Score – 8.5/10
Avengers #677 (No Surrender)*
Told from Quicksilver’s point of view, we learn about the fallout from the last issue. There is a little bit of time spent with the Black Order, but we also learn a little bit about who has started this whole thing. The Avengers regroup and go on offense while attempting to unfreeze their colleagues via magic. This has unexpected consequences for at least one Avenger. Click here for our full review.
Story – Fast paced story (no pun intended) that again provides answers, yet more questions. 8/10
Art – This book looks good. There’s a lot of action here and those shots look as good as those with just dialogue. 8/10
Continuity/Character Consistency – As we learn more about Voyager, the more she’s tied into Avengers continuity, which adds an interesting twist. 7/10
Twist Factor – Trading one Avenger for another, with potentially catastrophic consequences. 8/10
Final Score – 8/10
Doomsday Clock #3*
The cliffhanger from the last issue is immediately addressed, with a pretty big change to the lore. This leads to a confrontation that is quite satisfying and ‘poetic’. The most anticipated meeting thus far in the series takes place and takes an interesting turn. A pair of characters show why they are menacing and go in search of a character whose turf they invade. Click here for our full review.
Story – Excellent story-telling, deeper mystery, great twists and turns. 9/10
Art – The art has not, and I suspect will not disappoint, especially with the delay. 9/10
Continuity/Character Consistency –So curious about what has gone wrong in the months to turn everyone. Loving the mystery. 9/10
Twist Factor – Comedian’s Justice and Batman’s turn. 10/10
Final Score – 9/10
The Flash #39 (Perfect Storm)
For a series reaching it’s 700th issue, this has been done a fairly low amount of fanfare. Much of the first half of this issue is based around Barry (as The Flash) and Iris. Iris tells Barry about how she figured it all out as soon as Thawne uncovered his identity. We briefly catch up with Kid Flash and Avery, who has come home to witness Dr. Karver on trial. They witness Korver get killed by a mysterious force, causing Wally to question who would want Karver dead. Barry takes Iris to the Watchtower, where humorously asks for Batman or Superman’s secret identity, which Barry responds to by saying they aren’t his secrets to tell. As they return to Central City, Barry’s dialogue with Iris and his internal monologue are being interrupted leading to time slowing to a crawl and the voice inviting Barry to come to it. Barry arrives at the CCPD and is attacked by Multiplex, Meena, and a new player, Raijin, who is a master of lightning. He reveals, that he’s just a soldier and that he works for someone else. That is revealed to be Grodd, which is unfortunately spoiled by the cover.
Story – A few long overdue conversations occur with Iris and Barry, but some things are left off of the table. Hopefully this continues, even with Grodd in the picture. 8/10
Art – The sketchy, kinetic style really looks good in a Flash book. Hopefully, it continues. 7/10
Continuity/Character Consistency – This deals with a lot of what Barry has been doing since Flashpoint happened, which is clearly a strength. 8/10
Twist Factor – The reveal that Grodd’s life depends on him getting the Speed Force. 7/10
Final Score – 7.5/10
Justice League of America #23 (Deadly Fable)
Caitlin opens this issue by sharing the story of the First Monarch, Tsaritsa and her sister Freya. She explains how Freya had the same problem that she does with heat sickness. As that story ends, the JLA is captured by Tsaritsa while she parades through Happy Harbor and Caitlin feels guilty about what she’s done to attempt to save people. Then we briefly catch up with the Ray, who is dealing with some guilt for leaving the JLA. Back in Happy Harbor, Caitlin expresses her concerns to the First Monarch and implores her to be better than her first reign. Then, we see where Vixen was killed and she then begins to regenerate since she used the abilities of Planaria. Oddly, we never see her face. At former Mount Justice, Lobo lashes out at Caitlin as Tsaritsa’s workers complete her machine. The Ray shows up and frees the JLA and they fight to keep Tsaritsa from opening the door on her machine. She opens the door and we see Promethea ready to do battle
Story – Disappointing at times, especially where Vixen is concerned. This book seems to have lost a bit of direction. 6/10
Art – Awesome action, but some character designs fall flat to me. 6/10
Continuity/Character Consistency – The characters have been building and growing, but this feels like a regression for Caitlin in general. 6/10
Twist Factor – Vixen’s return to life - even though I wasn’t happy about it, it was still surprising. 7/10
Final Score – 6/10
Luke Cage #169 (Caged!)
Last issue ended with Luke causing a cave in and breaking free of Ringmaster’s control. This issue concludes this arc and serves as the penultimate issue of the series, sadly. As Luke begins to remember who he is, there’s an homage to Amazing Spider-Man #33 when he’s lifting rocks off of himself and Gonzo. As they both regain their memories, they need to find a way out of the caved in mine. Ringmaster orders his mind-controlled servants to make sure Luke is dead, just as they hear Luke punching his way through the debris. Ringmaster’s reactions are priceless in this sequence. Luke and Gonzo plug their ears to avoid Ringmaster’s control. As Luke fights through the guards, Ringmaster controls the inmates in the prison to get them and sends them after Luke. Ringmaster has overexerted himself and begins to lose control. Gonzo breaks the microphone Ringmaster is using to control everyone simultaneously and gets into a brief scuffle with him. Luke shows up and dispatches of Ringmaster, using only open hand slaps to the face. The issue ends with Luke heading home to his wife and daughter.
Story – While action packed, we’ve seen Luke deal with mind control before, so it’s a bit of a jumbled retread. It missed any kind of emotional impact. 6/10
Art – At times the artwork is cool, but at other times, the faces look unnecessairily creepy. The action sequences are sweet though. 7/10
Continuity/Character Consistency – Luke is awesome throughout, especially as he remembers who he is. I wish we got more time with him and his family though. 7/10
Twist Factor – Spider-Man homage early in the issue. 8/10
Final Score – 7/10
Marvel 2-in-1: The Thing and the Human Torch #2 (Fate of the Four)
When we catch up with Ben at the start of this issue, he’s talking to Alicia about the lie that he’s told Johnny and the struggle that he’s having. Oddly, as they are traveling to Monster Island, we learn that Johnny cleans himself by using his powers. They look for the Multisect, which will allow them to explore other dimensions. They stumble into a war between Mole Man and Googam who are busy trying to lead the monsters on Monster Island. This leads to a fight pitting Ben and Johnny against the monster minions. Johnny gets overwhelmed and is saved by Doom, who has been following the half of the Fantastic Four. Doom realizes that Ben never told Johnny that Reed, Sue, and the kids are dead (which we know is incorrect). Doom inadvertently becomes the leader of the monsters and sends Googam and Mole Man away. This leads to a great flashback story about what Reed and Ben call their ‘first adventure’ together. This leads them right to the Multisect which sets up where this book goes moving forward.
Story – It’s nice to have a spiritual Fantastic Four book, and it’s clearly shows with this issue. So much good storytelling, capitalizing on the rich history of these characters. 9/10
Art – Amazing Art, but then again, I love Jim Cheung’s style. Looks **fantastic**. 9/10
Continuity/Character Consistency – Builds on so much history and prior characterization. The emotional drama will absolutely come to a head at some point. 8/10
Twist Factor – The ‘Victor Von Doof’ flashback story. 10/10
Final Score – 9/10
Nightwing: The New Order #6
This issue wraps up the miniseries setting up the future for this universe. Dick has sent Kate to the doorstep of the resistance, in exchange for letting him and Jake go. Kate leads an attack sending in John Stewart among others to bring the resistance in. Without Jake to help repower Superman, they rely on Lex’s robots to help even the odds. Jake wakes up and has an argument with Dick, which culminates in him saying he wishes that he was a good Robin like Dick was. Dick turns around and aids the resistance while Jake goes back to repower Superman with help from Lex. Lex, of course, turns on them as Jake and Clark realize that the HQ is over a bomb that will reintroduce powers to the world, but wipe out Metropolis. As Jake explains what has happened to those fighting outside, they all rally to stop this bomb, which explodes in the air harmlessly. We find out that the book is being told by future Jake to his son, who he’s named Richard. We found out that Dick did all he could to atone for his mistakes with the rest of his life.
Story – Interesting premise, but as a whole, I would have liked to experience more of this world and see more about these relationships. 7/10
Art – Some awesome designs, but some bad facial work at times. 6/10
Continuity/Character Consistency – I love how certain relationships are carried over and utilize their history and certain characteristics are exemplified, especially in Nightwing. 8/10
Twist Factor – Jake’s use of his powers. He is clearly incredibly powerful, stemming from his mother. 7/10
Final Score – 7/10
Phoenix Resurrection #4
Jean’s psyche seems to be shattering in this world that has been created. There’s death, destruction, and fire everywhere, but only when she’s not looking. The X-Men enter the “egg” in hopes of finding Jean and find all of the dead X-Men that have been popping up in the series. It naturally leads to a fight until they discover a diner where they see Jean. Jean cannot see them, yet she realizes something is amiss. She discusses what she’s been experiencing with Annie back in the diner. Beast comes up with a theory that Jean is being incubated in this “egg” for the Phoenix and if she merges with it, they’re all dead. The Phoenix entity shows up, presumably looking for a fight. The team decides not to give it the fight they think it craves, and decides one of them should go talk to Jean. Young Scott volunteers, but gets overtaken by Old Man Logan. The book ends with Logan walking toward the diner with the Phoenix perched on top, as he’s saying he knows he has to stop the Phoenix if it bonds with Jean.
Story – Does a good job of displaying how fractured Jean is and how desperate the X-Men are about this situation. Also answers the question about the dead X-Men. 7/10
Art – Generally looks good and I love the design of the Phoenix in this book. Also, heavy amount of characters and they’re all looking good, despite not all being front and center. 7/10
Continuity/Character Consistency – This book clearly moves quickly, but still has no answer about when it happens in relation to the current X Books. 6/10
Twist Factor – Even with time displacement, Scott and Logan are still weak over any version of Jean. 7/10
Final Score – 7/10
Teen Titans #16 (Alone Against the World)
Coming off of the Super Sons crossover, this issue focuses on Starfire, which is a smart move. It seems like the next few will focus on one member of the team. An opening battle with Mammoth leads to Kory feeling disconnected from Gar and Raven. She’s being stalked throughout the start of the issue by Psions, who then use their fighters to possess people and attack Starfire. She defends herself and helps those affected until she gets overpowered and captured. She has history with the Psions. They subjected her to torture, testing her powers. Now they look to do the same to analyze how Tamaraneans process pain. She breaks free, only to discover that they now control Gar and Raven. Star shows off just how powerful she is by freeing herself and her friends from the Psions. Raven gets rid of the Psions in a similar fashion to how she held Mammoth earlier in the issue. The issue ends with her bonding with her teammates.
Story – I’ve always loved self-contained stories that draw on a character’s history and experiences and that’s what this is. There was a little bit of development and touched on other characters, however missed an opportunity to involve Robin, who needs some help connecting with this team. 6/10
Art – Solid artwork throughout. Good facial work even in panels that are smaller, but slight inconsistencies at points. Could have used a splash page late in the issue to show off Kory’s power. 7/10
Continuity/Character Consistency – Drew on Starfire’s history, yet we saw her develop just a little bit as well. 7/10
Twist Factor – Beast Boy trying to find out the Psion’s location. 6/10
Final Score – 6.5/10
X-Men Blue #20 (Cross Time Capers)
Picking up where last issue left off, Charles Xavier II has the team vulnerable until Bloodstorm turns to mist and sets the team up to fight back. Jean amps up the Psishields and hears Professor X calling out to her. She finds him incapacitated by Cerebro and he eventually wakes up. Back in the battle, Beast fights Old Man Deadpool, when he teleports away and comes back. Except when he comes back, he brings everybody that the team has met throughout this story arc. Realizing the odds are not in their favor, Charles II teleports his team out which sends all those brought through by Beast back as well. The team is briefly reunited with Professor X who sends them back. He says that they must return the exact moment after they departed to help repair the timeline. Returning back to the current timeline, they explain all of this to Magneto and deal with the fallout of their time jumping. At the conclusion, Magneto slips into the timestream to seek Charles II and his Brotherhood. The book implies that he kills them at the end, but we can’t be sure…
Story – Time travel stories are confusing, but fun. This implies that there are big ramifications for this team on the way and that’s never a good thing for mutants. Didn’t make full use of the characters from earlier in the story. 6/10
Art – This book lacked some action in the big set pieces, but was the beneficiary of some strong facial work, particularly Jean when she finds Professor X. 7/10
Continuity/Character Consistency – Sometimes it’s hard to remember that this is a young team and that showed this issue, which is on full display here. Curious about how/when the Phoenix story will be incorporated, since a Venom crossover seems to be on deck. 6/10
Twist Factor – Magneto at the end of this book. He’s pretty terrifying. 8/10
Final Score – 7/10