Spider-Man: Reign

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Spider-Man: Reign is a 4 issue miniseries written and drawn by Kaare Andres. In this story set over 30 years in the future, Spider-Man has retired and New York is now a dictator state controlled by the mayor and their police force called the Reign. Peter Parker lives alone and at the beginning of the story he is fired from his day job. A somehow still alive J Jonah Jameson comes to Peter’s house to try and get him out of retirement. After Peter refuses JJJ is attacked outside so Peter saves him. Now that Spider-Man has returned the Mayor sends the new Sinister Six after him. Now Spider-Man must survive the fight, take down the mayor, and try and get over the death of Mary Jane.

This is a pretty infamous comic right here. I’m sure if you’ve heard of Reign you know the big twist about Mary Jane’s death. I’m of the consensus about how ridiculous it all is so when I finally read through this myself I wasn’t bothered by it. There’s a lot of other parts of this story that I have problems with but there’s a lot to like here.

Andrews art here is very interesting. It definitely sets the mood for this dark future and there’s good designs for these older characters. The fight against the Sinister Six in the end is a good fight, it’s like Karate Island or something where Peter fights a different member as he climbs through a building. My favorite thing overall though has to be everything with Mary Jane, her cause of death not included. Andrews really sells the relationship that they had and shows how losing her really affected Peter.

Moving on to some negatives though as the story does have a few. There is a lot of just weird stuff in this story. Doc Ock is dead and his body is being dragged around by his tentacle arms to go out and find Spider-Man. The true villain behind this is all is a cool reveal but I think it was just there to have a twist in the story. Some of the dialogue is pretty overdramatic and unrealistic here too. This little girl talks like a revolutionary and that kind of makes sense because of her father but it’s still weird and looks like an adult’s dialogue.

Reign is a weird story and I really think you should read it and form your own opinion. There’s a good emotional and personal story in here but it’s a little too on the nose and grim.

Writer: Kaare Andrews

Artist: Kaare Andrews

Rating: Buy for a bargain

It hasn't got a leg to stand on...

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All-Star Western #29

So I was walking around the local Wal-Mart and near the checkout I saw this comic just laying out in the open. I assume it was in one of those bagged “3 for $5” comic bags and was ripped out of it. I was intrigued by the Darwyn Cooke cover and decided I’d give it a read. Single issue stories like this aren’t usually reviewed here on this site but this comic turned out to be a standalone story so I thought I’d give my thoughts on it. For context, I’ve never read an issue of this series and my only exposure to Jonah Hex is from Booster Gold #3.

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This comic is mostly a set up to get Jonah Hex and his girlfriend, Gina, sitting around a campfire so he can tell her a story from his past. After Gina is shot by Apaches, her and Jonah go and rest by a fire. She can’t sleep so Jonah tells her a Jonah Hex story. He tells her about the time he went after a man named McCabe who was hunting down and killing native Americans.

There’s not a lot to talk about without spoiling the events but this is a fun comic. Hex’s story is interesting and there’s a few good twists even in this short amount of time. It’s a good sign that Palmiotti and Gray can write a story this late into a series and have it still be accessible to new readers. Cliff Richards’s art here is very good. The action scenes are very dynamic and it just has a Western vibe. There’s good shadows and some interesting visuals during a hallucination sequence. Jonah is a cool character and he plays well off of Gina. They have a good banter back and forth and they make a cute couple.

I don’t know how good the rest of this series is but this was a fun little story and it was a fun way to spend five minutes in a store.

Writers: Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray

Artist: Cliff Richards

Rating: Full Price

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Squadron Supreme (1985)

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In 1985 Mark Gruenwald wrote Squadron Supreme¬†a 12 issue limited series starring the titular Squadron Supreme on an alternate Earth, Earth 712. On this Earth Kyle Richmond, Nighthawk, was the president of America when he was mind controlled and took over the Earth. He and the rest of the Squadron are returned to normal but the world is in ruin. Hyperion decides to make Earth into a Utopia and solve all of the world’s problems by focusing on issues like violence, famine and poverty. Nighthawk opposes this plan and disappears from the team as they unmask and announce their plan to the world. Can even the world’s greatest superheroes reform the planet or will they tear themselves apart?

Squadron Supreme is a very interesting, mature look at a superhero story. It raises a lot of moral questions and the heroes of the story do questionable things. The Squadron kill, brainwash, rape and can barely get along but in the end they’re trying to make things better. There’s a lot of characters as they are based on DC’s Justice League but they all get enough focus or play some role in the story. It’s a twelve issue series so there’s a lot of time for Gruenwald to build up background events like Nighthawk planning to stop the Squadron and when things are about to completely implode you can feel the suspense and tension. The climax of the story is a giant battle where casualties mount on both sides and thanks to the nature of this alternative universe anybody can die.

This series has a lot of cool characters that are all flawed in some way but they’re still interesting to read about. I prefer DC over Marvel anyway so reading knock offs of their characters makes this series more interesting to me. Doctor Spectrum, Golden Archer and Tom Thumb were the best characters to me as they all have flaws and have to make moral decisions that are pretty awful. A lot of scenes in this series are pretty dark as a lot of the characters die of things like cancer or in accidents. My only criticism would have to be how it can be pretty wordy and that it’s a long read because it starts slowly.

Writer: Mark Gruenwald

Artist: John Buscema

Rating: Full Price

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Irredeemable Vol. 1

What would you do if the world’s greatest hero became it’s greatest villain? That’s the question asked by Mark Waid and Peter Krause’s Irredeemable, a comic premiering in 2009 that wrapped up in 2012 after 37 issues. The Plutonian, Earth’s mightiest hero, one day just snaps. He lobotomizes his kid sidekick, destroys his own home city of Sky City, and kills multiple superheroes. The only ones left to stop him are the remaining superheroes, the Paradigm.

Coming out 4 years before a similar comic, Injustice, Irredeemable brings us the story about a Superman who couldn’t take the pressure of being the world’s greatest hero. The very first scene of the comic sets the tone as Plutonian vaporizes a fellow hero and his family with no remorse. All the other members of the Paradigm fear him and can only watch as he wipes out an entire country. The Plutonian is like a force and his unpredictability and power make for an interesting villain. As the scene in the supervillain hideout shows, he’s not just super strong, he’s super smart. The flashbacks to his hero days really bring you in and make you wonder exactly why he flipped out. This volume doesn’t give you those answers but it does tell you that Plutonian didn’t have a perfect record before he finally snapped.

This story follows the heroes as they try and figure out what happened to the Plutonian and try to survive against his onslaught. A lot of new characters are introduced here and Mark Waid uses familiar character tropes to make them easier to relate to and understand, like Hickman did in Invincible. There’s not a lot of time to build in character personalities as it is only 4 issues and there’s a lot more going on.

One thing that makes this comic stand out is Peter Krause’s art. This comic is very dark and Krause brings that darkness with heavy shadows and dull colors. It makes a good contrast to the flashback scenes where everything is bright and colorful.

Irredeemable is an interesting comic that sets up a lot of great stuff in the future where we get a dark, depressing look at a world that lost its Superman.

Writer: Mark Waid

Artist: Peter Krause

Rating: Full Price

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New Super-Man Vol. 1: Made In China

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New Super-Man is a comic series released in 2016 that is currently ongoing and will be renamed soon so I thought it was a good time to jump into the series and see how it is.

Our series begins by introducing us to our protagonist, Kong Kenan, a Shangai teenager who is currently bullying some kid named Luo Lixin. The two are attacked by Blue Condor, a supervillain from a group called the Freedom Fighters. Kenan throws a can at Condor and that scares him off. Kenan is quickly scouted out by a secret organization called the Ministry of Self-Reliance who imbue him with energy from the dead New 52 Superman. This gives Kenan the power of Superman for a brief moment until Wonder-Woman and Bat-Man of China arrive and take him down. Kenan’s powers are shorted out now and it’s bad timing as the Freedom Fighters of China start attacking people to try and take down the Ministry.

Coming into a new series like this there’s a lot that has to be done to build up interest in the reader. Fortunately, New Super-Man does this very well. There’s a lot going on in the background of this series as a lot of characters and groups are introduced. It handles this well by not continuously hinting at stuff but by just letting the story play out. Next volume we learn the histories of both Bat-Man and Wonder-Woman but here they’re just fun characters and that’s what we see first. We get a similar idea with Kenan as we see who he is and how he acts before we learn why. At first Kenan isn’t very likeable as he bullies this kid and Bat-Man for being overweight and is just rude mostly. Soon though he relaxes on these as he becomes friends with Bat-Man and Lixin.

Any good aspect of this series is the nice world building aspect of it. This story is set in China so it’s a lot more visually interesting than usual just because of the setting. All the new heroes and villains have nice visual designs. The Folding Paper Man stands out among the villains for having a weird power and using it in clever ways. The art overall is very good as there’s quite a bit of action and it’s all dynamic and bright. There’s a lot of interesting plot twists and there’s just something about the story that feels familiar in a good way. I highly recommend New Super-Man and I can’t wait to continue reading the series.

Writer: Gene Luen Yang

Artist: Viktor Bogdanovic

Rating: Vintage

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The Mad Titan Marathon Results

The Mad Titan Marathon Results: 

Well this was one long marathon, while some computer troubles slowed me down I managed to get out these nineteen reviews and I’m glad to be back into it. Now lets look at these results. This will be a big post.

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#1: The Death of Captain Marvel
Rating: Vintage

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#2: The Infinity Gauntlet
Rating: Vintage

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#3: Thanos Quest
Rating: Vintage

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#4: Avengers Vs. Thanos
Rating: Vintage

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#5: Rebirth of Thanos
Rating: Full Price

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#6: Thanos Imperative
Rating: Full Price

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#7: Infinity
Rating: Buy For a Bargain

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#8: Thanos (Solo Comic)
Rating: Buy For a Bargain

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#9: Infinity Gauntlet Aftermath
Rating: Buy For a Bargain

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#10: Infinity War
Rating: Borrow From a Mate

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#11: The Infinity Entity
Rating: Borrow From a Mate

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#12: Marvel Universe: The End
Rating: Borrow From a Mate

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#13: Thanos: Cosmic Powers
Rating: Borrow From a Mate

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#14: Thanos: A God Up There Listening
Rating: Borrow From a Mate

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#15: The Infinity Abyss
Rating: Rubbish

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#16: Infinity Crusade
Rating: Rubbish

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#17: The Infinity Revelation
Rating: Rubbish

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#18: The Infinity Relativity
Rating: Rubbish

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#19: Infinity Finale
Rating: Rubbish

Thank you to all who stuck through with the technical problems and to anyone who enjoyed these posts. Have a good day now everyone, we can finally move on to another subject.

 

 

Infinity Finale

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Infinity Finale is the final graphic novel in the new Infinity Trilogy by Jim Starlin, with Ron Lim now on art. Picking up where Relativity left off, Thanos wakes up in Death’s palace. Months have passed since the last comic and Annihilus has destroyed most of the universe. His power has increased to the level where he has taken out Galactus and all the Celestials. The only hope left to save this universe is Adam Warlock, who is still trapped with Doctor Bultar. Thanos defends against Annihilus with the last of Earth’s heroes and again the universe is destroyed and remade.

We’ve reached the end of this marathon finally and it’s pretty fitting as this comic reminds me a lot of Marvel Universe: The End. Once again there’s this unstoppable cosmic threat who destroys most of the universe, a lot of heroes die in the fight against them, and then in the end something hits reset on the universe. This time it’s the alternate reality Adam Warlock, with the powers of his destroyed universe, who fixes everything and sets things back to the start basically. He disappears in the end to become the new Living Tribunal but before he goes he brings back the original, who died in Infinity Revelation. So basically the point of this whole trilogy was just to show off Starlin’s favorite characters and make them the strongest characters in the Marvel Universe.

Despite the stakes being higher than ever, the entire universe is almost gone, there’s still no tension or drama here because Starlin doesn’t build it right. When we begin our comic with a dead Galactus you know that something is going to have to fix that. Annihilus is insanely overpowered now so anything that does defeat him will come off as cheap or convenient, which is what happens here with Adam Warlock taking out all the villains. So we have no stakes, no character to care about as our main character has died so many times now it doesn’t even matter, and the plot is thin. The best parts of this comic are just rehashes of Starlin’s better works. I will at least compliment Ron Lim on his art. He draws bloody battle scenes and dead bodies pretty well.

I’d say just skip this whole trilogy. Entity may have been slightly better than all of this but it only really works in context with the rest of comics so on it’s own I wouldn’t recommend it.

Writer: Jim Starlin

Artist: Ron Lim

Rating: Rubbish

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