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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Infinity Entity

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The Infinity Entity is a 4 issue miniseries taking place in between The Infinity Relativity and the Infinity Finale that focuses on Adam Warlock. At the end of Relativity, Warlock was kidnapped by Annihilus and put inside some tube. Here he suddenly wakes up in the middle of nowhere and he ends up at the first meeting of the Avengers in an early issue of their series. After fighting them he goes on an adventure through the universe to understand his current situation.

Like most modern Starlin comics, this comic doesn’t have much in story as Warlock just goes around to figure out what’s going on right now. The final issue reveals that none of this is actually happening so it can feel like a waste of time to read this as a lot of information is repeated from Relativity. The big reveal of Doctor Boltar comes in this series but like I said last time it’s pretty obvious who he really is. After the reveal the villain spends a few pages just monologuing and explaining his evil plan. Starlin falls back into the familiar plot point of the character not yet adjusting to their omnipotence to explain why they were defeated so easily despite their amazing power.

To talk positives I’d mention the art. Alan Davis does a lot of cool splash pages and spreads of the cosmic entities, even if they’re just standing around doing nothing. In the Avengers section the art takes on a Jack Kirby inspired style that fits very well into the tone of the issue. Sometimes the art has a Neal Adams like quality to it with the faces while retaining some of Davis’s own original style. I feel if Starlin just let the art tell the story and removed a lot of his heavy exposition the story would be a lot stronger here.

At the end of the day it’s a mostly irrelevant side story to the new Infinity trilogy but it has good art that makes up for the poor storytelling.

Writer: Jim Starlin

Artist: Alan Davis

Rating: Borrow from a Mate

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The Infinity Relativity

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The Infinity Relativity is the second part of the new Infinity Trilogy. Let’s hope it improves over the last one. In this comic Thanos fights Annihilus, the Bug King who has his swarm of insects attacking the universe. He teams up with the Guardians of the Galaxy and Adam Warlock again to fight off Annihilus, who’s power has been increased since his appearance in Annihilation, and his Annihilation Wave. We also finally get a resolution for the events of Infinity Revelation, which barely had an ending.

So I will say Infinity Relativity improves over Revelation in a few ways. There’s more characters, like the Guardians and they get their own moments to be competent and fight the Wave. Annihilus isn’t a great villain but at least this comic has a villain unlike last time. Thanos gets some beating at least when he first faces Annihilus but even then Thanos wins their fight because he is Thanos. Getting an answer for what happened at the end of Revelation at least makes the Adam Warlock parts better as there’s an interesting development with him.

To go onto negatives I’d have to start with how it’s still a boring, predictable read just like the last one. Being the middle issue of a trilogy there is no true ending here as the story just stops on a cliffhanger. I think Revelation can stand on its own as you at least get a conclusion with Thanos and the Universal beings. Starlin is still doing double duty as writer and artist but the art is way less appealing here. There’s no neat visual tricks like last time and there’s no interesting fight scenes here, just big space battles that don’t really matter. Annihilus is a generic villain and he has this sidekick who’s obviously more than he looks but the twist of who he really isn’t revealed here even though it’s pretty easy to figure it out.

So even if this did improve on the last one a little bit it still doesn’t make it any good.

Writer: Jim Starlin

Artist: Jim Starlin

Rating: Rubbish

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The Infinity Revelation

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The Infinity Revelation is a Marvel Graphic novel that is the beginning of Jim Starlin’s last Infinity Trilogy. Thanos detects some imbalance in the universe; an imbalance inside of himself. After meeting with the Guardians of the Galaxy and a newly reborn Adam Warlock, Thanos discovers some Dreidel looking object. This object leads Thanos on a quest that brings him into conflict with the Annihilators and somehow they destroy another universe.

Infinity Revelation is another Jim Starlin comic where Thanos goes on a quest for power and in the end the whole universe gets wiped out. So once again we retread the same plotlines but with even more meta commentary about things that Starlin himself is guilty of doing. What really soured me on this comic was how much Starlin tried to prop up his own work while ignoring the works of other writers. In this comic there’s a few pages of Thanos history that covers basically everything I’ve reviewed for the marathon (it includes the battle with Akhenaten which is apparently non-canon so I’m not sure where this OGN fits in.) During this recap and a little before it Thanos mentions his appearance in Infinity was out of character for him and shares a similar sentiment for when he joined Annihilus in Annihilation. Another example would be the aforementioned battle with the Annihilators where Adam Warlock and Thanos take down some of the strongest cosmic superheroes with barely any effort. There’s no stakes or tension in the story because Thanos and Warlock are so much stronger and smarter than everybody else.

While I don’t have much good to say about Starlin’s writing, his art is still really good. It has a classic feel to it even with modern coloring and inking. Starlin does some interesting visual tricks like having characters change appearances between panels to show off the current imbalance in the universe. While I don’t like the purpose of the fight against the Annihilators, it’s a well done action scene. My favorite image is the two page spread where we see a world ruled by Thanos.

In the end good art doesn’t make up for a lack of quality writing and plotting. The shilling for Starlin’s pet characters kills this comic as he tries to make them the coolest characters by making everyone else weak.

Writer: Jim Starlin

Artist: Jim Starlin

Rating: Rubbish

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Thanos: A God Up There Listening

After the events of Infinity, Thane is taken away by the Ebony Maw, one of Thanos’s henchmen. Maw tries to convince Thane to inherit his father’s legacy but Thane is reluctant to become a killer like Thanos. Maw takes Thane to a bar to talk to an alien who recorded an instance of Thanos taking on Ego the Living Planet. This is somehow supposed to convince Thane that he is his father’s son.
Infinite Comics are digital only comics that are presented in a different format where slight changes are made through a page to tell the story. For example, a page will have Ebony Maw in the middle and when tapping to go forward Thane will now be on the page next to him. It’s an interesting storytelling format and it makes this kind of bland story a little more bearable. The art is pretty good as it’s bright but muted enough in its colors to represent this darker story. The fight with Ego is pretty good as Thanos and him are equally matched even if it’s predictable because this is a flashback sequence.
While the flashback story may be good the framing device around it with Thane just isn’t so good. I think it was obvious how the story would go even if the character development towards it wasn’t great. Ebony Maw is just a cliché talking villain who is trying to convince the hero to become evil. Thane himself isn’t an interesting character as everything about him I’ve seen before. I never bought his change at the end of Infinity or what was so bad about what he did so his turn here still doesn’t work.
So while this isn’t the worst comic in the Thanos story it can just be skipped.
Writer: Rob Williams
Artist: Iban Coello
Rating: Borrow from a Mate
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Infinity

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Infinity is a 2013 comic book event written by Jonathan Hickman that crosses over with his then current runs of Avengers and New Avengers. The Avengers go into space to fight off an invasion by the Builders, an ancient civilization that have deemed the Universe broken. When the Avengers leave Thanos decides it’s the perfect time to invade Earth to hunt down and kill one of his own children, Thane. Thanos has brought along his own minions this time, the Black Order, who hunt down the Illuminati for their Infinity Gems.

Ok I’m gonna try and keep this short as this review is from the Infinity hardcover which is over 600 pages long. Going into this I caught up on Avengers and New Avengers just to get a grasp on the current storyline but I was aware of what was happening with the Marvel universe ending. Hickman’s Avengers was weak as it was very dry and it had too many pointless characters just clogging up the pages while the important characters got all the spotlight. However, New Avengers was a great series where a small cast paid off and we get some interesting stories where our heroes had moral decisions and there’s tension between the characters.

Infinity is like a sandwich where the event comic is between a mediocre series and a good series and it just gets lost in there. There’s two main plots going on so the plot of the Builders in space is handled in Avengers and the attack by Thanos is handled in New Avengers. So the Infinity comic itself just stays in the middle of these two plots until they finally converge. It’s a while before things meet as the plot in the Avengers series just takes so long to finally end. There’s a lot of strategizing and galactic politics but in the end it really just took Starbrand to wipe out all the Aleph and the day was saved. Starbrand and Captain Universe are two overpowered characters on the Avengers team who just completely wipe out any villain. This, plus the lack of deaths or any noticeable destruction, completely remove all the tension and stakes from the story.

New Avengers does a lot of good things in its issues. As the Illuminati try to save their Earth by destroying other Earths, Thanos attacks. Now there are two very clear problems with no easy solution to either of them. One of my favorite aspects of this series is the rivalry between Namor and Black Panther. T’Challa still hates Namor after he flooded Wakanda in AvX and Namor is just an arrogant jerk so they get into conflict. They talk bad about each other and threaten each other and in this series you actually believe someone’s going to kill the other. Black Bolt has some great moments as he works on a secret machine with his brother Maximus and has a one on one fight with Thanos. The only downsides I’d give this series is that it lacks focus on some members of the group, mainly Doctor Strange and Beast. Strange has a moment where he gets angry and prepares to fight, it cuts away for a couple pages, and then we get back to the scene and he’s blown away instantly.

The main focus of Infinity is the son of Thanos, Thane. I’ll talk a lot more about him next review but here he’s pretty lame. He has this cliché perfect life until Thanos comes into it and tears it apart. He has an alright power but it’s only used to make an homage to a scene from way back in Avengers vs. Thanos. Speaking of Thanos, here he’s just completely generic. He wants to kill his son and that’s about it for motivation and there’s no big scheme or plot to get interested in. Thanos’s henchman, the Black Order, have cool names and appearances and it’s good that they stuck around as they provide a good fight scene for the last issue.

So while Infinity and Avengers aren’t so good the New Avengers comic is and I’d recommend that highly over the rest. I’d say just skip over the Avengers issues as they’re pointless.

Writer: Jonathan Hickman

Artists: Jim Cheung, Jerome Opena, Dustin Weaver

Rating: Buy for a bargain

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The Thanos Imperative

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The Thanos Imperative is a six issue miniseries that includes two one-shot comics, one for a prologue and another for an epilogue. This series stars the Guardians of the Galaxy and Thanos as they try to stop an invasion from another reality where death does not exist. The ruler of this “Cancerverse” is Lord Mar-Vell who leads the Revengers, a Lovecraft inspired team of Avengers. A lot of the biggest cosmic characters are in this event as they all try to survive against the invading forces.

Thanos Imperative is the last big event by the team of Abnett and Lanning who have created the biggest cosmic events in the modern age of Marvel from Annihilation to Realm of Kings. Having only read Annihilation this comic does a good job keeping you up with previous events as the Ignition one-shot provides some context while advancing the story by introducing our villain. I really was surprised to see Lord Mar-Vell as the villain and the explanation for how he turned into one in his universe is very interesting as it’s unexpected. Unfortunately he falls into the generic side of villains as he does cliché things like killing his own subordinates for no good reason.

This story has a whole lot of characters and while that can be a strength as they’re obviously trying to tell this space epic, it can bog down things. The Inhumans and their drama with some other ruler is very irrelevant and just seems petty for them to argue at this time when everything is in danger. My favorite character in the comic was Cosmo and that’s because he’s a funny space dog who actually trash talks Thanos and does a lot to help the team. Nova and Star-Lord are the two main heroes here as they try and escort Thanos into the Cancerverse. They’re a good team and they have similar personalities that gives them good lines and jokes. The rest of the Guardians and the Cosmic beings don’t stand out much as they all play backseat to Thanos himself.

In this comic, for the first time, Thanos started to annoy me. There’s a lot of scenes of him and Drax just fighting and scenes of characters saying how great Thanos is. Having read all these comics about him, his scheming has just gotten old. Starlin himself criticized the constant deaths and rebirths of Marvel characters but here it just keeps happening with Thanos. There’s a lot of death in this comic and all of it now has been reversed so it’s hard to buy into the stakes of the event.

The Thanos Imperative has a few negatives but the positives outweigh them. The art is very good, the characters who are important are cool and have funny lines, the basic idea of the Cancerverse is something I’ve never seen before, and the Lovecraft inspired heroes are visually interesting villains.

Writers: Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning

Artists: Miguel Sepulveda and Brad Walker

Rating: Full Price

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Thanos #1-12

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In 2003, Thanos starred in his first ever solo series written and drawn by his creator, Jim Starlin. After the first six issue arc the creative team of Keith Giffen and Ron Lim took over the title for the last six issues. The story takes place a while after the events of The End (Which is non-canon so I don’t really understand why it’s mentioned in this canon story.) Thanos decides to atone for his previous actions and helps out a small planet a clone of his had attacked a while ago. What starts as a simple mission to help becomes something bigger as Galactus becomes involved and something else that may be even bigger than him. After this arc Thanos joins up with some space cops at the edge of the universe to stop the Maker, a now female Beyonder.

So for the first time Thanos stars in an ongoing comic and now he’s become an anti-hero. While he does kill some people he tries to justify it every time and here he is truly just trying to help and make amends. This is a big change for the character as he’s spent a long time hanging around the edge of being an anti-hero. The first arc of this series “Hunger” is pretty good as Thanos fights against an unknown entity trying to invade this universe. It starts a little slow as Starlin sets up what Thanos is doing now and we get a recap of what has been happening in the past comics. It starts to pick up when Galactus shows up and there’s good fight scenes with him. The true villain is actually a new character and I wish it had showed up again as it was a little more unique than the usual invading alien. Starlin does the art for his issues and as always it’s very well done. My only other complaint with this arc is that characters just kind of pop up when they’re needed and then just disappear. Moondragon shows up for one issue and then is just thrown out once she’s served her purpose.

The second arc “Samaritan” doesn’t hold up as well as “Hunger.” There’s a lot going on in Samaritan as we are introduced to this prison called the Kyln and there’s a bunch of new characters being introduced. The problem though is that these characters seem to have a lot of background and history but we don’t really get told about them. The Omega Core characters are just some generic cops who banter a lot, Mynx is a generic cat like villain, and Skreet is an annoying pixie girl who Thanos lets join him for some reason. The other villains, the Maker and the Fallen One are just too confusing and that makes them uninteresting to me. The best part of this arc is the team of Gladiator and Star-Lord, making his first appearance here. They have an actually good banter and there’s some mystery as we hear about something awful that Peter Quill did that makes him give up the Star-Lord name.

The main focus of the comic though is Thanos and here Thanos is still written pretty well. Both writers keep a consistent character with him as he tries to atone for his sins but he still has some bad tendencies. Thanos, especially in the Hunger arc, shows off his intelligence and planning against a stronger foe while also being dismissive of people below him like Pip and Moondragon. I still wish the character had just died off in The End but Hunger wasn’t bad and I’d definitely recommend it for fans of Thanos. However, Samaritan is a pretty weak arc and since it’s half the story this comic is going to be dead in the middle in terms of rating.

Writers: Jim Starlin, Keith Giffen

Artists: Jim Starlin, Ron Lim

Rating: Buy for a Bargain

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