Rich Johnston’s The Avengefuls

The Avengefuls

Today’s review is for The Avengefuls, a parody comic by Rich Johnston. If you don’t know who that is, he is the founder of the internet rumor mill BleedingCool. However, I don’t want to make this post just about bashing Johnston and his website. We’re going to look at a series of comics he did around 2012 to ride off the hype of the Avengers movie coming out that year. There’s 4 comics: Iron Muslim, Captain American Idol, Scienthorlogy, and The Avengefuls. Just going to talk about them all right in this one post because there’s no point in distinguishing them as I’d just say the same thing about every single issue. That point is that every single issue of this parody series is just horribly unfunny. Of course comedy is subjective and maybe there is somebody that thinks that this sort of humor is funny, but this right here didn’t work for me at all.

This series is just like one of those movies like “Disaster Movie” or “Epic Movie” where most of the jokes are just random reference humor. Captain American Idol is the biggest offender, as Gordon Ramsay and David Hasselhoff are in it for no good reason. In Scienthorlogy( I’m probably gonna spell this wrong throughout the review, but it’s a pain to type) there’s references to Natalie Portman in V for Vendetta and something about Anonymous which I had to look up to actually understand. The Avengefuls issue actually has Black Widow call Thor out on making an outdated “There’s an app for that” joke when these books reference a movie from 2005. It’s not just the reference humor that’s bad though, the other jokes are just lame. There’s a lot of lazy sex jokes, random humor, jokes trying to be adult by having the characters be racist or make fun of religion, and jokes like having characters say “exposition” over and over in the Thor comic.

The final Avengefuls issue is just the worst thing about this whole series. This whole issue just feels dated and every joke about the Avengers has been done before. Here’s a “hot take” from Rich, Hawkeye and Black Widow aren’t as cool as the other Avengers. The villain turns out to be a Hulk powered Osama Bin Laden and they must have thought that this was hilarious because almost every line has him say Osama in the place of Hulk. The ending of this issue for no reason has Obama come in and save the day. This might have been some kind of parody but I don’t understand this joke and it doesn’t even really seem like a joke.

Nothing more to say here, except I think the art overall is just bad even though the artists are talented.

Writer: Rich Johnston

Artists: Chris Haley, Michael Netzer, Bryan Turner

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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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 Avengers vs. Thanos

Let’s begin the marathon with the origins of Thanos.

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Avengers vs. Thanos is a trade paperback collecting many different comics that make up Thanos’ first two major storylines, the Cosmic Cube and the battle with the Magus. I’ll include exactly what’s collected in the bottom but the main comics include issues of Warlock, Captain Marvel, Marvel Feature, Avengers, Marvel Two-In-One and Daredevil mostly while including his very first appearance in Iron Man #55. 

With so many different comics put together in this collection you’d think the story wouldn’t flow so well, and besides a kind of weird tangent into Daredevil, it all fits together well. I would put that down to a good list of editors like Marv Wolfman, Len Wein, Roy Thomas, and Archie Goodman. The art team manages to create a consistent art style across every issue that keeps the book looking good in that classic 70s Marvel style. Of course when talking about Thanos Jim Starlin’s name comes up and his pencils, plotting, and scripting definitely keeps this book on track.

Thanos first appears near the back half of Iron Man #55 and his appearance still hadn’t been ironed out so he looks very odd. His lips are way too big, his outfit doesn’t cover his whole body yet, and he’s more wrinkly than craggy. This Thanos though, is actually a robot; our first hint of Thanos’ intelligence and scheming. Then the next issues of Captain Marvel show Thanos with his modern appearance, notably the dark eyes and craggy chin. He reveals his first scheme is to acquire the Cosmic Cube, the ultimate weapon in the universe. Here Thanos is given the motivation that makes him such a compelling and interesting character, his love for Mistress Death. Of course he does such awful things and goes too far but it’s almost admirable how much he would do just for the one he loves.

The main heroes opposing Thanos in this early story are Iron Man, the Thing, Captain Marvel, and Drax while the Avengers pop up mostly as fodder. Thing is written very well and has some of the funniest lines of the book. Captain Marvel is the most interesting character to me and his dynamic with Rick Jones makes his issues my favorite ones. Special mention to issue #29, Metamorphosis, where Captain Marvel goes through a journey of enlightenment and comes out with the power of Cosmic Awareness. It’s very trippy and psychedelic, like most of Starlin’s comics, and the way the universe is drawn is always amazing to look at. Drax is in the story in his original incarnation as the Destroyer, with thoughts of destroying Thanos as the only thing he has. This sets him up for his future characterization but he’s not very interesting as he is here.

After a very interesting conclusion to the Cube story, Thanos ends up in the Warlock comic. Adam Warlock is a major character in cosmic Marvel and here he faces off against an evil future version of himself with an awful afro called The Magus. Thankfully most of the very overt religious metaphors with Adam aren’t here and it’s mostly about Adam wandering as everything falls apart around him. These issues set in motion events that will be followed up on in the final issue of the trade and even the Infinity Gauntlet. Not to spoil anything but the final issue does a very good job of wrapping everything up and gives Spider-Man one of the best scenes I’ve seen from him.

After planning this marathon and having read so many related comics I appreciate these early issues more. A lot of important characters are created and key concepts like the Infinity Gems and Cosmic Cube show up here. My only criticisms go to the more tangential Daredevil issues that only explain a little more about Moondragon, a future important character, but don’t really relate to the overall story of the Cosmic Cube which is where the issues are placed. Overall I really enjoy this trade and would recommend it to anyone interested in Thanos.

Issues collected in the trade: Iron Man (1968) 55; Captain Marvel (1968) 25-33; Marvel Feature (1971) 12; Daredevil (1964) 105-107; Avengers (1963) 125; Warlock (1972) 9-11, 15; Avengers Annual (1967) 7; Marvel Two -In-One Annual 2; material from Logan ‘s Run 6

Writers: Jim Starlin, Mike Friedrich, Steve Gerber, and Steve Englehart with Scott Edelman

Artists: Jim Starlin, Don Heck, Bob Brown, and John Buscema with Mike Zeck

Rating: Vintage

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The Mad Titan Marathon Announcement

Happy New Year’s everybody .

I know I’ve basically disappeared again but I wanna make it up and get back into the review game. So that’s why I’m announcing this marathon; a marathon all about Marvel’s Mad Titan, Thanos.

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Now this marathon will start tomorrow on 1/2/2018 and will go through the whole month, just to cover the amount of comics I want to review here. There’s no set schedule for when posts come out yet but the order of comics is based on a reading list which can be found here. I won’t be reviewing and reading everything on that page so I will put down here exactly what will be included in this month long marathon.

  • Avengers vs. Thanos
  • The Death of Captain Marvel
  • Rebirth of Thanos
  • Thanos Quest
  • Infinity Gauntlet
  • Infinity Gauntlet Aftermath
  • Infinity War
  • Infinity War Aftermath
  • Infinity Crusade
  • Thanos: Cosmic Powers
  • Infinity Abyss
  • Marvel Universe: The End
  • Thanos #1-12
  • Thanos Imperative
  • Infinity
  • Thanos: A God Up There Listening
  • The Infinity Revelation
  • The Infinity Relativity
  • The Infinity Entity
  • The Infinity Finale

And that’s where I’ll cap off this marathon, I’ve got a lot read and still some to read so I’ll see you all throughout the month with these reviews. Until tomorrow, goodbye for now.

 

Avengers Confidential: Black Widow & Punisher

After Punisher interferes with a S.H.I.E.L.D. mission he is taken into custody by Black Widow and Nick Fury. Fury teams the two up to infiltrate Leviathan, a terrorist group with access to S.H.I.E.L.D technology. They must stop them from selling this tech to other villains while dealing with someone from Widow’s past.

This is the first animated Marvel movie I have seen and from what I’ve heard this is somehow the best one. If that’s true I never went to see anymore Marvel animated films. This was a terrible movie and except for the animation there is nothing good here. None of the characters have anything unique about them and you’re just expected to know who they are. Even if I did know anything about these two I’d be annoyed with how inconsistent they are. Widow tells Punisher not to kill some super soldiers as they used to be innocent civilians so he starts shooting their legs instead. A couple minutes later he is blowing them away with a grenade launcher and shooting them in the chest.

The man who stole the S.H.I.E.L.D technology was a former agent called Elihas who was in a relationship with Widow. He thought he wasn’t good enough for Widow and left to join Leviathan and gets injected with some power serum. He talks about how much he loves her in the same conversation as he’s punching her across the room. Once he’s told how dumb his plans are he joins the heroes in taking down Leviathan. Just then we’re introduced to the actual villain behind the whole thing, Orion. Orion, the main villain of the movie, appears for only the last 15 minutes. His design is so ridiculous and he’s taken out so quick he’s not threatening at all. Speaking of villains the last part of the movie is a giant cameo fest. The titular Avengers finally arrive and the villains buying the tech brawl with them. They’re all taken from the comics but only one is named, Graviton. They all just come out at random for an action scene at the end.

The real killer for this movie is the voice acting. Brian Bloom is an alright Punisher, but he never emotes and just growls his way through the movie. Jennifer Carpenter is awful as Black Widow. Her tone almost never matches the animation. John Eric Bentley’s Nick Fury is the most boring character in the movie. He talks in this one inflection in every scene and doesn’t do anything to make him likable like Samuel L. Jackson. While everyone else is just boring and bland, Grant George’s Elihas is actually terrible. In his climactic fight with Natasha he sounds like he’s on the verge of tears, but not in a good way, more like he stubbed his toe. Every other character, which there aren’t many, is passable on the voice acting.

The animation is pretty good, particularly in the fight scenes, but it’s in those fight scenes that this movie again loses me. They talk about the main heroes being normal people but they must have super speed for all the wind they whip up when they fight each other and all the bullets and explosions they dodge. The animation can’t make up for every other problem and the numerous plot holes that I can’t go into without spoiling it make this a terrible experience. I think if you can get a friend to watch it with you you can have some fun riffing on it, but the boring scenes and trite dialogue might stifle your fun.

Rating: 43% = Burnt Chicken

Avengers Vs. X-Men

Real life got in the way, doesn’t matter, let’s get on with the review

Avengers vs. X-Men was a Marvel comics event from 2012 written by Brian Michael Bendis, Matt Fraction, Jason Aaron, Ed Brubaker and Jonathan Hickman. The maxi-series spanned 12 issues, with each writer scripting different issues. Having 5 people all working separately on the same book could cause some issues, and sadly that’s what happened here. Let’s get to the plot outline first.

The almighty Phoenix is on it’s way to Earth. Its target is Hope Summers, Cyclops’ daughter from the future. Cyclops wants to keep Hope on Earth to harness the Phoenix to restore the mutant population, while Captain America wants to take Hope away to prevent the Phoenix from destroying Earth. That’s about as much plot as you need before the fists start flying and the cloud of stupid that occurs from the fight prevents any character from doing anything smart or rational. The name “Avengers vs. X-Men” would better be changed to “Cyclops vs. Captain America” as they are the only two characters that the book seems to focus on. Scarlet Witch and Hope are also very important to the story, but I don’t consider them really characters in this book. They’re just plot devices to keep the story going, and the ending with them is telegraphed by the halfway point.

While he is one of the only characters, Captain America is heavily out of character, All he cares about by the end is being right and beating down Cyclops. When a tragic attack is carried out by an X-Man, all Cap cares about is that this is now a war, even though people are dying all around him. Even Black Panther calls him out on this (he does the same thing to Tony but about science and magic.) The worst part is how hard they try to make Cyclops the villain, when he is only shown doing bad things after he is attacked or provoked. There’s no ambiguity by the end about who the villain is supposed to be, which shouldn’t happen in one of these superhero fight books. Having the villain be the more likable person, while the designated heroes are all jerks is like a double screw up.

There are some good parts in it, the second issue springs to mind. It’s the issue where the fight actually starts and there are some good single fights with pretty funny caption boxes. Spider-Man was also awesome in the book, with his crowning moment appearing in issue 9. The designs of the “Phoenix Five” are pretty good, but the characters themselves don’t really have much of a point. There is also another good fight on the Moon in issue 4.

The Phoenix itself seems to have its powers decided at random, where sometimes it is strong enough to keep Wolverine down for a couple hours and then later only for a couple seconds. It keeps him down for a long time when it wasn’t even close to Earth, but can’t keep him down when it’s in its almost purest form. And when one of the Phoenix Five reveals the ability to give legs to whales, he then remembers that whales don’t like land.

Final Thoughts: Huh, that got a little weird near the end. The book after this AVX Consequences and the AVX: VS tie ins are actually really good and I’d highly recommend those over this. This book is also really long, with too much padding and predictable foreshadowing.

Rating: Borrow from a Mate

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