July Comics Ranking

Didn’t do this last month as I didn’t review enough comics to warrant it. With the history lesson out of the way, let’s get to the rankings.

7-6

#7: Martian Manhunter, 2006

Pros: Picks up near the end, unintentional comedy

Cons: Constant typos, multiple illogical moments, J’onn is out of character and overpowered

#6: Dark Avengers Vol 1 – Assemble

Pros: Some good jokes, great art

Cons: Sentry ruins fight scenes, Sentry takes up too much time, other characters have no personality or purpose

5-4

#5: Rann-Thanagar: Holy War

Pros: Varied and interesting cast, some good world building and space locales

Cons: Too preachy, The Weird settles most problems, Animal Man is treated like a joke

#4: Showcase Presents: Blue Beetle

Pros: Good art even in black and white, handles multiple subplots well, great mix of comedy, action, and drama

Cons: Stilted 80’s dialogue

3-2

#3: Carnage: Family Feud

Pros: Beautiful art, many good villains, horror elements integrate well with the humor and action

Cons: Requires a little backstory to get into

#2: Ant-Man and Wasp: Small World

Pros: Bright and colorful art, the characters bounce off of each other well, good jokes

Cons: An interesting character is dropped for the sake of a joke

And now the winner…………..

1

#1: Carnage, USA

Pros: Comic book cheesiness done right, a well done and poignant ending, The Thing beats up a giraffe

Cons: Hawkeye is in it and he complains for a bit

This was a pretty good month for comics and I hope next month is even better. Thanks to everyone that reads these reviews.

Ant-Man and Wasp: Small World

Ant-Man is a success at the Box office so let’s celebrate with a review of an Ant-Man comic that doesn’t even have anything to do with Scott Lang, the Ant-Man himself. Ant-Man and Wasp is a 3 issue miniseries from 2011 where the new Ant-Man, Eric O’Grady, and Hank Pym as the Wasp team up to do science.

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The main core of this miniseries is the relationship between the titular characters, as they are polar opposites. O’Grady is a catholic, alcoholic, womanizer while Pym is a guilt-driven and science type guy. Pym doesn’t like O’Grady because he stole the Ant-Man costume even though Scott Lang did the same, but Pym justifies it saying that he let him steal it on purpose. Scott himself is a sore spot for Pym, mentioning his death earns O’Grady a punch in the gut. There never really is a bonding moment between the two, but they both seem to have mutual respect for each other near the end. Speaking of the ending it is really nice, showing the more human side of Hank Pym, a thing some writers ignore (Bendis.)

The actual plot, beyond the vague statement I said at the beginning, is that a personal “Heaven” that contains Bill Foster’s mind is stolen from Hank Pym. The villains go in through O’Grady’s brain by knocking him out while he’s at Avenger’s Mansion. The person who stole it is named Anesthesia, a Half-Sleepwalker, who is an interesting character but is taken out of the plot in a very insulting manner. There is also Monica Rappaccini, the mastermind of A.I.M who hates everyone who isn’t a genius like her or Hank Pym. They’re both good villains, who’s future is foreshadowed quite effectively.

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Final Thoughts: Eric O’Grady is quite a Booster Gold like character. He stole a suit, he has a bad reputation but still tries to do good, he’s a womanizer, and makes reference heavy jokes. The only thing he has over Booster are his amazing muttonchops. The art is very good and bright and the writing, is smart and not overly wordy like most science stories. I also really like Hank Pym’s Wasp costume.

Rating: Full Price

Carnage, USA

[Spoilers for the last Carnage and Carnage, USA]

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Ok, this is the direct sequel to Carnage: Family Feud and it is also the most ridiculous thing I have ever read. Spoilers are going to be in effect because I must explain the amazing things that happen in this comic.

It starts with Carnage going to Doverton, Colorado. He takes over the entire town, turning into his vision of an American paradise. The Avengers and New Avengers go into the town, but all but Spider-Man are quickly taken over by Carnage’s symbiote. The government sends in the Mercury Team, a team of operatives wielding Symbiote weapons, and threatens to firebomb the whole town unless they get out in a certain time. Their final backup for the team is Flash Thompson, the current Venom. Dr. Tanis, who has the Symbiote, Scorn, also goes in to get revenge on Carnage.

Now here is where things get awesome. Dr. Tanis creates a machine to separate Cletus from Carnage, and pushes him into it with a bulldozer, but also knocks Flash into it, separating him from Venom. Both Flash and Cletus are both crippled and are now fighting in a meat packing factory. It’s hilarious to read, as they jump around and hang off of the meat hooks. Even more ridiculous is that their Symbiotes both attach to this group of zoo animals that were in the town. So outside a bunch of Carnage possessed lions and giraffes are fighting the Avengers, while a Venom possessed gorilla rushes to get back to Flash. Flash becomes Venom and defeats Cletus, while Captain America convinces the government to localize the strike to the Carnage symbiotes. They put Cletus into captivity and then realize that they didn’t really win, as the entire city is in ruins.

Final Thoughts: Wow, that was just something. Everything in this book is unsettling, from the look of the Carnage possessed town’s people and animals to the depressing ending. It’s just an amazing book, with great comic book moments and a powerful ending message.

Rating: Vintage

Carnage: Family Feud

[Minor spoilers ahead]

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Carnage is one of the quintessential 90’s villains. His only goal is to destroy, kill, and cause mayhem wherever he goes. At some point in the last couple years the lamest hero ever, The Sentry, threw Carnage into space and ripped him in half. Demonstrated by the title, Carnage has returned but how he’s back and who is in control of it is the main sticking point of this story. Before reading this book I highly recommend you either read or read about the Maximum Carnage event as this is a sort of sequel to it. I’m also going to try and keep this short because the mini-series is short at only 5 issues.

The story begins with Tony Stark at a meeting for Michael Hall, a tech genius who’s name makes it impossible for me to not think he is Michael C Hall in Gamer. He has some prosthetic arm on display and later he uses the same technology to create his own Power Rangers team called the Iron Rangers. When Tony tries to find out info on Hall he notices Doppelganger attacking a van, and calls up Spider-Man to help him out. When the Iron Rangers (Who’s names are all based on colors like Royal Blue and Burnt Orange,) show up they accidentally shoot off Dr. Tanis’s, a psychiatrist for the villain Shriek, arm. She gets a prosthetic from Hall Industries, and that’s where everything starts to turn dark.

This was an amazing read and most of my enjoyment came from the photo realistic, painted art style. The artist, Clayton Crain, draws Iron Man the best of any artist I have ever seen. There’s also the banter and interaction between Iron Man and Spider-Man, who have a lot in common. The fight against Carnage at the end is a great example of escalation, as more characters get involved and the villain gets stronger. My only gripes are the amount of random powers the symbiotes seem to have and the time spent until Carnage actually arrives is too long.

Final Thoughts: The title makes me want to see Steve Harvey as a super hero. Also the way Doppelganger is drawn is actually scary, way better than when he was just Spider-Man with more arms.

Rating: Full Price

Carnage 005-006

Dark Avengers Vol 1 – Assemble

Been a while since the last Marvel review, Marvel Zombies takes a lot out of a person. Ok, so the gist of this book is that the Avengers have broken up because of Civil War and a Skrull invasion. So naturally the best person to put in charge of the new Avengers is Norman freaking Osborn, aka Green Goblin. He gathers up a couple of characters of questionable morality and makes them look like the real Avengers. On paper this concept should work, Thunderbolts proved that is does. However, the characters chosen and the lack of focus on characterization kills this.

The book has a bunch of characters, but only two or three are focused on in these six issues. It’s mostly just Norman Osborn and The Sentry through most of it. There’s way to many scenes of Norman and Sentry just talking, because Sentry has a split personality that Norman is trying to abuse.And anyone who knows anything about The Sentry knows he’s the most overpowered character in the Marvel universe. His very presence removes any tension from the story, as you know nothing will stop him, which is what happens as he takes care of an entire army of Atlanteans by himself.

Every other character is underdeveloped. Venom just eats people, Moonstone is just angry all the time, Bullseye is angry all the time as well, Captain Marvel says almost nothing and then leaves the team, Daken says almost nothing throughout, and Ares is the God of War. They says “Ares, God of War” every single time and it’s obnoxious every time. The first arc is about Dr. Doom having a magic fight with Morgana le Fay, but he loses so the Avengers come to save him. Morgana is attacking them from the past, so Norman (As the Iron Patriot) and Doom go back and stop her using magic words.

Final Thoughts: Ugh, it’s been pretty negative these last couple of reviews. But at the end of the day this was a waste of time, with annoying or bland characters doing nothing.

Rating: Rubbish

osborn7

Martian Manhunter, 2006

[Spoilers ahead]

Martian Manhunter may be one of my favorites, but this comic does not show any aspect that I like about the character. Him being the only Martian is one of the cores of the character, and this 8 issue series brings in some other Martians who have been on Earth the whole time. We all know that the status quo is God so these Martians won’t make it through the series, but it can at least be an enjoyable series. Sadly, this book is held down by a boring spy, espionage story tied into J’onn and the rest of the heroes acting like idiots.

Don't know if there was an editor, but he should be fired
Don’t know if there was an editor, but he should be fired

The best way to review this is to point out some of the finer bits of stupidity. The amount of typos is ridiculous, making unintentional comedy when a Martian refers to Superman as “The guy who files.” At a point the Department of Homeland Security build a team to try and capture J’onn. They bring in Zatanna, Green Arrow, Hal Jordan, Vixen, and Black Canary. When this team finally confronts J’onn (two issues after they introduced,) all they do is have Vixen charge at J’onn and then she gets beaten up. At one point the Green Martians hide out in a village where no one else knows where they are. Then out of the blue Alfred shows up to deliver information to J’onn.

The only remotely good thing is the other Martians, who have interesting costume designs, but no personalities. The twist is that they are all White Martians, brainwashed by an evil Green Martian. I also did like the final battles against the White Martians, where J’onn fights an actually equal opponent. This culminates with J’onn fighting the Green Martian, Cay’an. The “fight” is just them shooting energy at each other like this is Dragon Ball Z, and then we see J’onn just hanging around somewhere else. So, final notes, it’s a nonsensical story even by comics standard with a boring lead.

Rating: Rubbish

I don't even know what they were trying to say here
I don’t even know what they were trying to say here

Rann-Thanagar: Holy War

[Spoilers for Rann-Thanagar: Holy War ahead]

With the recent announcement of Jim Starlin putting an end to his most famous creation, Thanos, I thought it was a good time to review one of his miniseries, Rann-Thanagar: Holy War.There is a lot of history from multiple series going into this, including the the original Rann-Thanagar War, Hardcore Station, 52, and other cosmic stories. I can just break down the plot into our heroes fighting against religious freaks and overly hyped up villains in space. Sounds like a short summary, but for eight issues that’s your lot. What I really want to talk about in this series are the characters, and boy are there a lot of them.

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Our main heroes are Adam Strange and Hawkman, the representatives of their planet, who have some pretty good camaraderie with each other. Tigrar from the Omega Men, Starfire, Chief Justice Max from Hardcore Station, and Animal Man all serve little purpose in the series. However, Animal Man is treated like garbage throughout the series, constantly being injured and insulted by the other characters. Captain Comet, when he’s not acting like the original Booster Gold, and Bizarro are here to show off how strong the villain Synnar is when he blasts down Bizarro and causes a strong telepath like Comet pain using his mind. My favorite character throughout it is Starman (Prince Gavyn,) who manages to tame Bizarro with cartoons and food, and then battle an evil god called Lady Styx. The real character problem is The Weird, who’s power of intangibility allows him to defeat both main villains, and save everyone multiple times.

There’s also a lot of nonsensical and quite frankly preachy dialogue and plot points. Hawkman is beaten up by Rannians for trying to tell them how evil Styx is and is about to be executed. Then they look outside and a volcano disappears, so they let Hawkman go. Adam Strange’s stepfather becomes very religious for no reason, and tries to push it on everyone, akin to a Jehovah’s Witness. The metaphor isn’t exactly deep or insightful is what I’m saying.

Final Notes: It starts off pretty strong when they are gathering up a team and the scenes of intentional comedy like when The Weird lives up to his name, or the occasional side conversation are promising. But then it gets all muddied with too many cults and depressing moments with no satisfying resolution. The characters are mostly pointless, with The Weird, Captain Comet, and Adam Strange pulling most of the weight. It’s just a mostly boring and preachy story with a couple character highlights from Bizarro and Prince Gavyn.

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Rating: Borrow from a mate