Secret Wars Master of Kung Fu #1 Review

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by Haden Blackman, Dalibor Talajic, Miroslav Mrva

It’s hard going from DC’s Convergence books to Marvel’s Secret Wars. The Convergence books may have classic/familiar takes on heroes but saddled with the same boring location/dilemma (Stuck inside a giant dome in a Gotham City), but if this book is any indication, Secret Wars is simply allowing creators to run loose with Marvel properties.

One of my favorite Shang-Chi stories, and the watermark by which I judge all other Shang-Chi books, is the Spider-Island mini. It has good characterization, strong action scenes, and has little to do with Spider-Island itself. This book could be in my Top Ten Shang-Chi stories, if it finishes strong.

It opens with an “animated” Kung Fu movie style introduction, establishing the history of this world. It involves the city of K’un Lun in a state of constant bloodshed from the feud between the Ten Rings and the Iron Fist clan’s. Eventually they decide to have a tournament to choose a ruler instead of continuing with a never-ending war.

The Ten Rings clan currently rules with an oppressive regime as the tournament for the next ruler of K’un Lun approaches. A drunkard, revealed to be Shang-Chi, engages three members of the Ten Rings and defeats them easily. The peasants see him fight and help him hide in order to convince him to compete in the tournament and dethrone the current ruler.

This is a fun book, having many tropes of Kung Fu films without many of the downsides of the genre. Shang-Chi is a bit less heroic than his 616 iteration but still faithful enough to follow. The art shines in depicting an ancient-esque city with people randomly Kung Fu fighting in broad day light while horned and/or lizard citizens look on.

Some of what is teased for the next issue I’m apprehensive about, but for a book called “Master of Kung Fu” it lives up to the title.

Rating: Poor, Fair, Good, Great, Excellent.

Convergence Superboy & the LOSH #2 Review

  cby Stuart Moore, Peter Gross, Mark Farmer

Moore and Farmer continue a strong and more “mature” LOSH in their final Convergence tie-in.

Superboy is written like an actual teenager, and the Kents while still nurturing and kind also impart actual life lessons to him about making tough decisions in life. Some focus is given to the Atomic Knights, but not enough to form an emotional attachment.

Their world has been much further on the brink than the LOSH Earth, which makes them more desperate and determined to survive. With this being a DC story with a Silver Age bent, the LOSH and Atomic Knights decide to work together to save the Ak’s Earth, potentially condemning both to be destroyed by Telos.

Peter Gross provides layouts in this issue, smoothing out the art and making it more reminiscent of the 1980s LOSH comics. Farmer’s style is still visible, but Gross’ layouts give him more mainstream consistency. Overall, easily one of the best Legion stories that have been published in the last few years despite Convergence’s limitations. Moore and Farmer seem like natural handlers of the LOSH’s mythos and make feel interesting again whereas previous writers lacked magic in their portrayal. Hopefully we see them again in the future.

Rating: Poor, Fair, Good, Great, Excellent.

Sons of Anarchy #21 Review

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by Ryan Ferrier, Matias Bergara, Paul Little

Ferrier continues a story that feels like an unfilmed set of episodes from the show.

Spunky continues his half-baked plan to take over Charming, trying to sway the Mayans to his side for support. Alverez plays along, perhaps letting his anger at Jax cloud his judgement. Jax finds out the clubhouse was trashed and Lyla kidnapped which leads to him swiftly return to Charming to rectify the situation.

Meanwhile, a mutual spurned business partner finds out her drug shipment has been stolen and plans retaliation against both SAMCRO and the Mayans.

Wow, this book is firing on all cylinders. The art by Bergara is still full of expression, and noticeably captures the mood of the diverse cast and locations.

Lyla unfortunately doesn’t get much to say, but thankfully acts much like her screen counterpart. The inclusion of Jax’s writing to Abel is a nice modern touch and further humanizes him as a character.

Already looking forward to next month and the next installment of this arc.

Rating:Poor, Fair, Good, Great, Excellent.

Kieron Gillen Leaving Iron Man

ORIGINAL-SIN-3-2-HULK-VS-IRON-MAN-23bf5-4e55e

Writer Kieron Gillen of Young Avengers, Phonogram, Three, Journey Into Mystery, Origin II & Uncanny X-Men will be relenting his current writing duties on Iron Man for what he describes as

“Basically, the situation is this. An enormous opportunity turned up. We looked at my schedule. We realized that it just wasn’t going to work. The new book Marvel was offering was so utterly irresistible, I knew something had to give – and I realized that I was actually in a good place to bring my run to a conclusion.”

No word on what this next opportunity entails. Details via the authors tumblr

UNCOVERING THE BEST COVERS, 5-22-14

Want to know what covers caught our attention this week?

Curious what our eyes fell in love with at first sight?

Well, here they are, the most memorable images on the stands this Wednesday . . .

Cosmo is ready to jam with . . .

Wonder Woman Allred variant
Wonder Woman #31 by Mike Allred

How exactly did we get half-way through May without selecting any of these Allred variants . . ?

Continue reading UNCOVERING THE BEST COVERS, 5-22-14

Review of Secret Wars Battleworld #1

Secret Wars Battleworld 1 James StokoeSoldier Supreme by Joshua Williamson and Mike Henderson

M.O.D.O.K. Madness by Ed Brisson and Scott Hepburn

Battleworld #1 contains two smaller stories. One by Joshua Williamson and the other by Ed Brisson, two writers who I love right now. I was not sure exactly what to expect inside the pages of Battleworld, and to be honest I am still not sure exactly what this title is. Don’t get me wrong, that is not a bad thing. This book appears to be a place where small one shot stories can be told. This is where all the ideas too wild to put into any main titles will end up. Battleworld is the home for creators to do whatever they have always wanted to do with the Marvel character they are given. It is a very fun book, don’t expect to open up Battleworld and have any profound thoughts, in fact, I think I actually forgot how to solve a rubik’s cube by reading Battleworld. But, it is a load of fun!

The first story is Soldier Supreme. The spirit of Doctor Strange is dwelling inside Frank Castle. They coexist in one body, which means a ripped dude wearing a punisher skull t-shirt and a cape. Great visual, right? Frank is hunted down by The Infernal Four, which are described as a Hulk, a Wolverine, a Ghost Rider and a Spiderman. It is The Infernal Four’s job to detain Frank and take him to the Deadlands. Well, guess what? Franky no likey. This results in a huge battle and the only thing better than Frank Castle in a shoot em up battle, is Frank Castle with the powers of Doctor Strange in a shoot em up battle! This story really was very enjoyable.

The second story was M.O.D.O.K. Madness. This story had me laughing out loud. Basically, M.O.D.O.K. summons all of the other M.O.D.O.K.S. on Battleworld to have the most superior team. His plan is to overtake Doom and rule Battleworld. Well, what does one M.O.D.O.K. say to another M.O.D.O.K. when they hear about a plan to take over Battleworld? “How can we all be the one true and supreme Lord? Mathematically, that does not equate.” Of course none of the M.O.D.O.K.S. are going to agree to this plan, they are just going to bicker until one decides to shoot the other. Summoning many different versions of yourself to carryout your plan of world domination, doesn’t always end quite as it was drawn up. Especially when your leading characteristic is arrogance. Another enjoyable story.

Battleworld is going to be fun and wacky, telling the craziest stories on this already fantastically imaginative planet. Pick it up if you are looking for some fun, meaningless stories. It is sure to deliver a good time.

– Dean

Women in the Comic Shop

A while back I attended a panel at the Gem City Comic Con; and the topic was “Comic Book Women”. Or comic creators who happen to be female if you prefer. One of the topics that came up was Comic shops and the sort of environment they create to women. In case you’re clueless about the fairer sex (like many guys are, in many cases), a woman’s biggest daily concern isn’t shoes or finding a man, it’s about their personal safety. An epiphany occurred when the women on the panel spoke about how many comic shops are designed make women feel unsafe. Dim lighting, obscured windows, few points of exit, full of men who by reputation have trouble interacting with women; does that sound like a welcoming place if you are a female? Continue reading Women in the Comic Shop