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 Review Date: 04/02/2010
    
              Good King Leonardo has decreed that we review this week the following three Marvel comics and one D.C. comic:
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The Marvels Project #7
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Ed Brubaker & Steve Epting: Creators
Dave Stewart: Colors

 

 
 

        
     Marvel Comics is up to issue #7 in its eight-issue mini-series entitled The Marvels Project.  The series is the creation of veteran writer Ed Brubaker and artist Steve Epting, with colors by Dave Stewart.  I'd previously reviewed one of the earlier issues in the series, and decided to review the latest story segment to see how the mini-series is progressing.  The concept of The Marvels Project is to present a Golden Age storyline that interweaves the origin tales of the original A-list Timely/Marvel superheroes in a new pre-World War II plot, with the overall storyline narrated by The Angel, a Golden Age crimefighter who inherited his six-shooters from an elderly Two-Gun Kid.

     The previous issues in this series have combined two sub-plots.  The first storyline gave us the well-known origin stories of such characters as Captain America and Bucky, the Submariner, Sgt. Fury and The Original Human Torch and Toro.  The second plotline is a spy thriller, detailing the ongoing efforts of our heroes in opposing Nazi actions in Europe as well as opposing Axis domestic spy efforts in 1940, pre-World War II America.  Issue #7 advances both storylines.  On the superhero origin side, we're presented with the origin story of the Golden Age superhero The Destroyer, as well as further details in the origin stories of superhero sidekicks Bucky and Toro.  The spy story advances with Captain America discovering that the Nazis have allied themselves with a secret Nazi faction within Namor's undersea kingdom.  Its clear by the end of the issue that these developments will climax in next month's issue #8 with the consequences of Namor discovering the Nazi element previously secreted in his Kingdom.

     I've enjoyed previous issues in this series mainly on the elements of the wonderful artwork combined with veteran writer Ed Brubaker's skill in revising the well-known origin tales of these heroes by connecting them together in one common storyline.  Issue #7 adds the very entertaining new plot element of an actual evil Nazi faction within the undersea kingdom of Atlantis.  Its all a very well-presented and fresh approach to the Marvel WWII comic book universe, and is being evolved in Brubaker's capable narrative hands as the incident that turns Namor from a rogue hero into an American ally in the upcoming World War  II.  You don't need to read the previous six issues to enjoy this unfolding fresh take on Marvel's Golden Age universe, but my advice is to both read this latest issue and also enjoy the previous six issues, all still available at That's Entertainment.

 
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Doomwar #2
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Jonathan Maberry: Writer
Scot Eaton: Pencils
Andy Lanning & Robert Campanella: Inks
Jean-Francois Beaulieu: Colors

 

 
 

              
     Marvel Comics is up to issue #2 in a 6-issue mini-series entitled Doomwar, starring of course, big-time Marvel bad guy Doctor Doom.  The series is written by Jonathan Maberry with art by the team of Scot Eaton, Andy Lanning, Robert Campanella and Jean-Francois Beaulieu.  A first page narrative tells us that in issue #1, Dr. Doom conquered the Black Panther's home kingdom of Wakanda.  While various forces and teams of heroes are fighting a counterattack, Dr. Doom is poised to break into a vault and obtain the element Vibranium, the rare mystical element mined in Wakanda that will give him even greater power.

     Issue #2 throws the reader hip-deep into the battle action of several ongoing sub-plots, as some of the X-Men, the original Black Panther T'Challa and the new Black Panther Shuri all fight to either regain the kingdom or directly stop Dr. Doom from getting through the last security level into that vault full of Vibranium.  Two of the more central storythreads focus on the two Black Panthers.  In one, the X-Men are concerned and try to convince the new Black Panther Shuri that she's too bloodthirsty, as she steadily kills anyone she battles in the kingdom's military forces who have sided with Dr. Doom.  The main sub-plot focuses on T'Challa's confrontation with Dr. Doom at the vault, as Doom plays a cat-and-mouse game with T'Challa, offering hostages T'Challa's mother and wife Storm in exchange for the vault password.  The issue ends on a cliffhanger of Doom escalating this war to a higher level in the next issue.

     This isn't the greatest of comic issues, but its solid enough to warrant a recommended and deserved thumbs-up.  The storyline is interesting, although for the first half of the issue there are too many confusing sub-plots with just too many characters to easily keep track of.  But the action shifts in the second half of the issue, zeroing in on Dr. Doom and T'Challa, which makes for very entertaining reading, and leaves us wondering what interesting developments in this war will be detailed in upcoming issues.  So a positive recommendation to read this standard tale that features an interesting mix of Marvel heroes taking-on the evil Dr. Doom.

 
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Superman/Batman #70
Publisher: D.C. Comics
Joe Casey: Writer
Ardian Syaf & Jay Fabok: Pencils
Vicente Cifuentes, Norn Rapmund & Marlo Alquiza: Inks
Ulises Arreola: Colors

 

 
 

          
     Issue #70 is the latest in DC Comics's long-running Superman/Batman title.  The issue is entitled "The Big Noise," and is part three in an ongoing multi-issue storyarc scripted by Joe Casey with art by the large creative team listed above.  I had reviewed the first installment in this storyarc, in which Superman and Batman are slowly discovering that an alien shapeshifter is on Earth, having arrived on a derelict Kryptonian warship that time-traveled to present-day Earth from the past.  The shapeshifter had taken the disguise of philanthropist/adventurer Anderson Gaines, as he began to scheme to kill his Kryptonian foe, Superman.

     The game is afoot in this new issue, as Superman and Batman by this point have figured-out the entire situation.  The shapeshifter/Gaines controls STAR Labs, and uses company resources to send a time-traveling assassin to attack Superman at his Arctic Fortress of Solitude.  On a parallel track, Batman hatches a plot to counterattack Gaines as the alien attempts to retake control of the derelict Kryptonian warship, which our pair of heroes have parked for safekeeping on the dark side of the moon.  The issue concludes with a dramatic cliffhanger, as Superman battles the assassin while Batman launches into space in a rocketship to attack the shapeshifter on the moon.

     This is another high quality and very entertaining addition to this ongoing storyline.  The script is top notch, with accompanying art that portrays just the right style of dark menace for the alienness of this shapeshifter story.  The science fiction element is also a lot of fun, as Batman blasts-off into space for what will be a space-based adventure in next month's issue.  Credit is also due to writer Joe Casey for blending-in a subtle sub-plot that reflects Batman's "dark knight" intensity, as he overly obsesses on capturing the alien, taking the situation even more personally than Superman due to the shapeshifter having initially tricked him into believing that he was actually Anderson Gaines when they crossed paths and shook hands.  So get onboard for this space adventure tale with a unique Kryptonian twist.

 
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Breaking Into Comics The Marvel Way #2
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Various Writers & Artists

 

 

 
 

          
     Marvel Comics has just published issue #2 in its two-issue mini-series Breaking Into Comics The Marvel Way.  I gave a positive review a few columns ago to issue #1 in this brief series, in which Marvel presents six stories per issue featuring newbie artists whom they've recently discovered.  The stories present a variety of Marvel Universe superheroes, so the comic is actually a nice recreation of the old Golden Age "comics cavalcade" format, in which the comic book companies of that era would publish a large issue stuffed with stories starring a wide variety of their company's featured stars.

     Similar to issue #1, the current issue gives the reader six stories of widely varying artistic styles in order to deliberately showcase these rookie bullpen artists.  Two stories stood-out for me as personal favorites.  "Fantastic Four: Signals" is scripted by Simon Spurrier with art by Stephen Thompson and Roland Paris.  It's a light comedy in which the Fantastic Four battle a seemingly invincible H.P. Lovecraft-style blob monster in the heart of New York.  The newcomer art is excellent and the tale has a very cute and unexpected solution to dealing with the monster threat.  "Hammer and Sinew" is a Thor story written by Kevin Grevioux with art by Thomas Labourot and Christian Lerolle.  Without providing any spoiler details, its a very moving instructional tale with a positive life lesson about responsibility and values.

     As with issue #1, I'm giving this issue a very positive thumbs-up recommendation.  The quality of the storytelling and art is a bit below issue #1, in which a few tales gave us extremely high grade plotting, including a tale by A-list veteran Brian Michael Bendis.  But issue #2 is still a very entertaining and high quality issue.  So both issues in this title, combined with February's Valentine's Day-themed "Heartbreakers" one-shot from Marvel and last week's "Superman 80-Page Giant" from DC Comics, give us a nice emerging trend of the big two comic book companies adding the "comics cavalcade" structure back to their new issues inventory.  Its an enjoyable an affordable trend that I hope the comic book companies keep producing.

 
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New Contest Announcement!!

Good King Leonardo is a faithful follower of the Final Season of the t.v. show "Lost," in which everyone's trying to once and for all get off of that mysterious tropical island.  As such, the King offers the following contest challenge:  If you were trapped on a deserted island in the middle of nowhere, if you had the choice, what comic book or books would you wish to have with you to sustain you in your exile?  E-mail us at Gordon_A@msn.com with your choice or choices, not just naming the comic title but telling us why you would want this indispensible comic book(s) with you above all other choices, as you settle-into your Gilligan's Island/Lost situation.

     That's all for now, so have a great comic book reading week and see you again next week Here In Bongo Congo!

 

 
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