Graphic Novel Review: Civil War II #1

I respect the future. I believe in the future. I worship at its feet.

With the blockbuster success of Marvel’s Captain America: Civil War. It’s only fitting that Marvel also release,  not long after the sequel to the 2007 series with the same name. Does Civil War II have what it takes to grab it’s audience as powerful as the first Civil War?

When the terrigen mist passed through Ohio State, Ulysses a college student, transformed into an inhuman with the ability to possibly foresee the future. In return, Carol Danvers (Captain Marvel) offered Ulysses to work for The Ultimates. However Tony Stark (Iron Man) have a different idea as he believes it is too soon to rely on Ulysses ability. This in return created a conflict of interest between Carol Danvers and Tony Stark. On one side Carol feels that judgement should be passed before action while Tony feels judgement should come after it.

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Right from the get-go Civil War II doesn’t waste anytime explaining the conflicting ideologies between the two parties. From what started as a lively party turned into a tense debate about Ulysses’ ability. For the most part the debate itself was interesting however the motivation behind it was lacking.

Though it’s understandable that story teller Brian Michael Bendis is setting up these conflicting environments, it did occur unnaturally. Which can be considered the only flaw in this issue. The following events however offered a whole lot more as not only was it emotionally felt but it added enough fuel to the conflict to make you care about how these characters will progress with their situation.

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Artist, David Marquez and color artist, Justin Ponsor did a great job with their illustrations as the action scenes looked incredible but they’re ability to humanize the characters through their facial expressions are superb. Though some of them are unfamiliar characters, you still feel for them and you feel the gravity of the situation.

Overall this is a very strong first issue for the story-line. Other than the unnatural start of the debate, this issue sets up the events as carefully as possible in order to feel like it’s not just a sequel but a worthy follow up to the previous Civil War.

Rating: 4.5/5

Graphic Novel Review: The Superior Foes of Spider Man Vol 1 by Nick Spencer

It’s not like I’d had some big change of heart and wanted to do right suddenly. I was just looking to save my own ass that makes it totally okay! anybody would get that, right?

-Nick Spencer, Superior Foes of Spider Man Vol 1

The new Sinister Six is as sinister as ever in The Superior Foes of Spider Man. Led by Fred Myers as the Boomerang, the Sinister Six is comprises of 5 lesser Spider Man villains. Counting in Boomerang you also get The Beetle, Shocker, Overdrive and Speed Demon. Together this 5 forms the new and improved Sinister Six (But there’s only 5 of them) Yeah, I know.

Reading the title of the series, who would want to read a comic book about Spider Man’s lesser villains? But here comes the phrase “Don’t judge a book by it’s cover” comes in. Don’t be fooled, The Superior Foes of Spider Man has a lot of good things to offer.

The story starts of slow, with the Narration takes it time to introduce who are we rooting for and who are the current Sinister Five, I mean Six. However upon reading on Issue 3 you can clearly see the charm and wit the Volume has in store. The narration itself is very reminiscent of older Guy Ritchie films such as Snatch and Lock Stock. This works extremely well as what we have is a plot involving a heist and basically the mob.

The dialogue is humorous using a combination of witty humor and pop culture references. The characters themselves are likable in a way that no matter how pathetic they might be you still root for them. The art and illustrations works just as well as it complements the overall parts of the book, from the characters the environments and the action.

The strongest aspect of the book itself is the dialogue and trust me there are a lot. That being said it works as it’s incredibly funny at times and the character of Fred Myers is charming and is someone you can root for. Aside from the slow start the lack of action might bother some readers however the latter sequences provides an exciting heist in action with plenty of twists and turns. Highly recommended to more mature readers and for readers looking for something unique to try.

Rating: 4.2/5

Graphic Novel Review: Deadpool vs Carnage by Cullen Bunn

Everything I do from here on out is random. I can’t be stopped! can’t be caged! can’t be tracked my every action is a tribute an offering to the almighty CHAOS

– Cullen Bunn, Deadpool vs Carnage

Now this was a fun read, two murderous psychopaths butting heads in the most bloodiest, craziest but also hilarious battle I’ve seen in a graphic novel fight. Cletus Kasady aka Carnage just escape prison and his first action is go on a killing spree, though his killings are random, his main objective is to feed chaos. While Deadpool watches the TV about Carnage’s killings he believed the Universe gave him a sign to hunt down Carnage and stop him on his murderous spree.

There is really nothing here other than, Deadpool and Carnage fighting each other. There’s no deep story, no lessons to be learned just a straight brawl and it works really well. One of the main reason it works is because the story knows it. It knows what it’s doing and it knows what’s it supposed to be.

The fight themselves are entertaining as both of them don’t really get hurt, thanks to their regenerative powers. This results in creative ways to out each other off and each fight only gets better and better. The humor is there delivered mostly by Deadpool and he’s always charming and funny however Carnage does deliver some funny moments as well though most of it is unintentional.

Overall this was an entertaining read, possibly not for everyone as the fights themselves are violent and there are a lot of collateral damage whenever they face off but the comic book is quite unsympathetic on that area and it focuses mostly on their battles. Highly recommended for Deadpool and Carnage fans and maybe most of Marvel readers.

Rating: 4.7/5

 

Graphic Novel Review: We3 by Grant Morrison

“We3 Home Now”

-Grant Morrison, We3

1 (dog), 2(cat) and 3(rabbit) are a team of soldier animals equipped with high tech suit and given limited speech capabilities, the team is used to fight the government’s battles. That is until the head of the operation decided to decommission the team and commanded the people in charge to have the animals put down. Fortunately for them the person that trained them didn’t have the heart to take them out but instead released the team in the wild while authorities chase after them doing everything in their power to eliminate the 3 animals.

First off WOW what a read, I can tell this is not for everyone specially for animal lovers as the series is visceral, brutal, bloody and flat out gory. However if you want a solid Sci-Fi story involving bad-ass house pets this is definitely recommended for you. The story is set out as a chase which is quite simple however it works extremely well. The story has a way to make you care for the animals right from the get go and makes you keep caring all the way to the end. Granted their speech capabilities is limited, every word they utter is substantial.

The pacing is perfect as it never slowed down, there’s always a threat right around the corner for the team to face and it’s always something bigger than the last one. The art is beautiful, specially the cover for each issue, as it shows the missing poster for each pet and its both creative and brilliant. There are some disturbing scenes as it shows both human and animal decapitation but by adding these strong visuals it compliments the story tremendously.

Overall We3 is an amazing series, the only problem is it’s only 3 issues but those issues are memorable and eventful it’s incredibly well put. Like I said animal lovers might hate it because the depiction of gore towards animals but for the right crowd We3 is a masterpiece.

Rating: 4.4/5

Graphic Novel Review: Batman, The Killing Joke by Alan Moore

“I’ve been thinking lately, about you, about me. About what’s going to happen to us, in the end. We’re going to kill each other aren’t we? Perhaps you’ll kill me, perhaps I’ll kill you. Perhaps sooner, perhaps later”

– The Killing Joke, Alan Moore

Hands down The Killing Joke by Alan Moore is the darkest batman issue I’ve ever read, granted I don’t read many, however this issue caters to more mature audiences as it goes down a dark, gritty and violently graphic path. In The Killing Joke, The Joker escapes from Arkham Asylum once again, this time instead of terrorizing the people of Gotham, The Joker targets only one family, as The Joker delivers a chilling attempt to make Commissioner Jim Gordon insane.

Easily deserving of it’s accolades The Killing Joke does not disappoint. In fact I’m angry at myself for taking this long to read this issue. There are a lot of things to love and very little to dislike, if there’s any.

One of the best thing about the issue is we get to see the origin of the Joker, this part of the issue is such a fascinating read as we see The Joker dealing with problems that we usually face, problems such as unemployment, poverty even personal demons such as self pity. We see him in such a vulnerable state and you can’t help but feel sorry for the guy. That said, we follow his story and we see his transition from this broken man to what he is today and it’s mind-blowing. We still get the despicable Joker that we usually know and he truly is despicable in this issue. There are proper times where one could just like the character of the Joker but this isn’t one of those times as I found myself hating The Joker, not because he was badly written, no he was written masterfully but it’s because he does some incredibly villainous acts and I’m sure this will resonate to other readers as well.

The art is amazing to look at, so good that there were moments where I felt uncomfortable as I look through the illustrations and read the dialogues and the pacing was just right as it perfectly delivers shocking moments and the story is great overall. Highly recommended to everyone unless you’re 14 or under since there are themes here that are just not appropriate for younger readers. That said, if you haven’t read it grab a copy right now.

Rating: 4.5/5

Graphic Novel Review: Ten Grand, Vol 2 by J. Michael Straczynski

“Here’s how you destroy your enemies. You don’t fight them, especially if there are more of them than there are of you. You don’t argue with them, because that tells them what you’re really thinking. You don’t rat them out to somebody else and let them do the dirty work, because that’s chickenshit. They way you defeat them is to do everything you can to let them think they understand you… that they know all the soft places where you will bend, where you will compromise, where they can own you. Then you show them just how wrong they are. Then you use the soft places their cupidity has exposed against them and then you destroy them. The trick is to make sure they don’t figure it out before you make your move.”

– Ten Grand Vol 2, J Michael Straczynski

After finding out that J. Michael Straczynski, co-created and co-wrote the Netflix hit show Sense8, I was excited to read the second volume of Ten Grand. The first one was fun with a really cool mythology behind it, ending could’ve been better but hey it’s the first volume so we’ll give that a pass. In volume 2 however, I felt like the author went all out. The gloves were off and he really wanted to end this with a bang. That said, this volume was as fun as the first volume if not even better.

We see Joe Fitzgerald in the spirit plane, a place between heaven and hell one might call it purgatory. And he’s continuing his quest to find Laura. This time with him, is the angel he freed from captivity from the first volume, Jehoel. Together they travel through the Spirit Plane. However, things get complicated as other angels attack them, specifically Jehoel. And it is Joe’s job to find answers as to why attack them and also find his beloved Laura.

I thought this volume was just fun to read, the story was interesting it also had some funny dialogues and triumphant moments. If there’s anything disappointing it would be the art style. I loved the art in the first volume and in here they completely changed it. It still looks great but not as great as the first one.

That said, this volume is a great follow up and finale for the series though nothing special but highly recommended to people who read the first volume.

Rating: 3.5/5

Graphic Novel Review: Daredevil: Born Again by Frank Miller, Art by David Mazzucchelli

Born Again by Frank Miller is without a doubt one of the most maturely written Daredevil story. It starts off with the tragic case of Karen Page’s drug addiction. Unfortunately for her it got severely bad that she traded The Daredevil’s identity just to get a fix.

As The Daredevil’s identity travels from person to person. It eventually got into the hands of The Kingpin. This information in hand, The Kingpin devised a plan to destroy everything around Matthew Murdock and ensure’s he suffers before delivering the Coup de Grace.

Whenever you search a top ten list of comics, without a doubt Daredevil is mentioned. It might be the fact that the character is incredibly grounded that readers might actually see, no pun intended themselves be that person. He’s not a millionaire, doesn’t have superpowers but rather heightened senses, though that barely counts as a superpower. However most of the times he’s vulnerable. And in Born Again we see his vulnerability affect him to an incredible extent. We see him beaten down, broken, barely alive and we empathize. We want him to make it, to get revenge on the Kingpin. However this is not a revenge story but more of a fall and rise story.

It reminds us that some heroes are also human, that heroes also have emotions likewise a breaking point. As we see Matthew Murdock in his, some of us may know how it feels to be at the very bottom to the point of having absolutely nothing to lose. That itself is the driving point of the story and it wonderfully written.

The art is off 80-90s comics and it is beautiful to look at. Characters like Ben Urich, The Kingpin and also Karen Page are fleshed out and adds substance to the story. The only real complain that I would point out is how underwhelming the ending is. That said, it is still an amazing story and one which is worth reading.

Rating: 4/5