Tag Archives: Jonathan Hickman

It’s Wednesday! (June 12, 2013)

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PETER PANZERFAUST #11
Story by: Kurtis J Wiebe; Art By: Tyler Jenkins

“CRY OF THE WOLF”
Having faced the wrath of The Hook, Peter and the Lost Boys join forces with the Braves in guerilla warfare from their secret hideout in the Sticks. This time, Felix is the man with the memories, and as Mr. Parsons soon learns, he’s not eager to revisit that life.

A NEW STORY ARC BEGINS HERE! PERFECT JUMP ON POINT!

This books grows stronger with each issue.

It wasn’t clear whether the series would run out of steam after the first arc, but it’s developing into a really nice story driven equal parts by character and plot. The art is great: distinct and fits the narrative so well.

Unfortunately I’m on the road and can’t dig into my back issues to provide a more insightful critique of specific points in the series. Needless to say, highly recommended.

THE BLACK BEETLE: NO WAY OUT #4 (of 4)
darkhorse-blackbeetle4Writer, Artist and Cover: Francesco Francavilla

The epic conclusion to Black Beetle’s first series! Colt City’s caped crusader goes head to head with the mysterious villain Labyrinto! Can Black Beetle make it out of this maze of matched wits and matched blows alive?!

I’m constantly finding evidence that supports Carl Jung’s concept of collective unconsciousness. The current trend in pulp comics is one. To varying degrees of success, the books range in type from bringing pulp characters into the 21st century to doing pulp with a modern twist to planting both feet firmly in the genre and creating a classic pulp story. Francavilla’s series plays in the third space and does it marvelously.

It’s receiving lots of love from across the geek blogs. Here is a roundup of glowing reviews for issue #3.

THE MANHATTAN PROJECTS #12
image-manhattanprojects12Story by: Jonathan Hickman; Art By: Nick Pitarra

“THE FERMI PARADOX”
Learn the secret history of Enrico Fermi and, more importantly, “if someone is out there” why we haven’t “found them yet.”

The thrilling FEEL GOOD, BAD SCIENCE series continues in THE MANHATTAN PROJECTS #12: THE FERMI PARADOX!

This series is just really good fun and has so many elements I like in a comic. It’s a zany, alternate-history sci-fi adventure story that is so over the top I would imagine readers either love it or hate it.

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It’s Wednesday! (June 5, 2013)

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TEN GRAND #2
 Story by: J. Michael Straczynski; Art By: Ben Templesmith
“ANGELS NEVER LIE”
FDA (Federal Demon Association) Advisory. Contents contain: one cult church where incantations are encoded into the playlist; one flesh-dwelling, food-obsessed demon; one seer capable of perceiving the spirit world but blinded to this one; one missing woman; one murder; one angel with an agenda of his own; and one rendezvous between supernatural investigator Joe Fitzgerald and the woman he loves, now deceased, in what may or may not be heaven. Warning: do not operate heavy equipment while reading.

All the basic building blocks are here for a solid supernatural thriller. I have faith the creative duo of Straczynski & Templesmith can pull off something special. So far, so good.

DAREDEVIL END OF DAYS #8 (OF 8)
Daredevil_EndofDays8-maleev-withcovercopyWriter: Brian Michael Bendis and David Mack; Artist: Klaus Janson; Finished Art: Bill Sienkiewcz
The stunning conclusion to Daredevil’s final story! The mystery of Daredevil’s final words are revealed – and Ben Urich’s life will never be the same! Some of the Man Without Fear’s greatest artists bring you the conclusion of his life story!

Some people like this series. Others, longtime Daredevil readers, do not like it at all. I put myself firmly in the camp of the former. The Bendis run on the Man Without Fear is probably my favourite. Too many “gritty,” “realistic” comics come off like a cliche. And we seem overrun at the moment by a overabundance of stories filled with worlds where superheros are new and regular people are suddenly thrust into that world. (There is a larger theme here to explore another day.)

But Bendis’s take on DD and the End of Days mini-series captures the essence of the character for me. I do see him as operating on the edge, fueled by a drive for justice so deep that he is a vigilante in the truest sense of the word.

And if you haven’t already, check out our #CoverVsCover poll – this week a holy trinity of Daredevil artists.

MISTER X EVICTION #2 (OF 3)
darkhorse-misterx-2Writer, Penciller and Cover by Dean Motter; Inker and Colorist: Hamid Bahrami

Visionary artist and designer Dean Motter reintroduces his classic character! When Radiant City’s government falls to a coup, Mister X’s possession of secret city plans makes him and his friends a target of the city’s new masters!

Backup story featuring Rosetta Stone!

AVENGERS #13
Written by: Jonathan Hickman; Art by: Mike Deodato; Cover by: Leinil Yu

Avengers-13-cover“EVOLUTIONARY LEAP”
• The High Evolutionary stakes his claim on the Children of the Sun.
• Hyperion learns the true cost of the decisions he’s made at the Origin Site in the Savage Land.
• The Return of techno-titan Terminus.

Part of the purpose of this blog is to highlight books I like, steer those who share my taste and sensibility in comics toward material they would enjoy. I don’t want to spend my time and waste your time dumping on books. But having enjoyed so much of Hickman’s body of work these past few years, I feel compelled to share my disappointment with his run on Avengers/New Avengers

I know a lot of people are loving this book. They don’t mind the slow burn to the big payoff (the upcoming “Infinity” story later this summer). But the previous issue basically had no plot and there was also no character development to help drive the story in the absence of, well, a story. I read a review on The Pure Mood (I think) that delved into how each Avengers character represented a different stage of human emotional development in issue #12, which I completely agree with. But none of that helped me enjoy the story any more. In fact, if that was the intended “big concept” Hickman was aiming to deliver then, while the book delivered on that intent, it was really thin.

I hope I’m wrong. I hope I’ve missed a big part of the story that, in a few issues time, I’m going to kick myself. And maybe that’s what Infinity is going to deliver. But I just think more than a year is a really long time to wait for this story that could have been told in half the number of issues.

So, why do I keep coming back? Starbrand and Nightmask. Omega Flight. High Evolutionary. Terminus. I mean, c’mon, Terminus!

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It’s Wednesday! (April 24, 2013)

marvel-newavengers5-hickmanHow about that striking New Avengers cover by Jock? The Black Swan is one hot number.

A pretty solid group of titles in my pull list this week. I’m excited to crack open Jupiter’s Legacy, which I’ve already covered off. (Go ahead, click through and take the poll. Don’t be shy.)

But we have a theme today: Wednesday, April 23 has been declared Jonathan Hickman Day. That’s right, there are four – count ’em, four – Hickman books on shelves. And people can’t get enough!

That John Barber, such a cutup. Oh, he’s only a senior editor at IDW.

So what’s all the fuss about? We’ve got two Image books and two Avengers books. I say without hesitation that two of those four are simply great. I typically like to reserve judgement until I’ve read 3 or so issues, but East of West is fresh and stunning to look at. The Manhattan Projects is easily one of my monthly highlights. The other two, while I admit there is an element of fun, I’m not fully on board. But I’m only one opinion.

Here’s what Hickman is serving up to readers this week:

image_eastofwest-2EAST OF WEST #2
Story by:
Jonathan Hickman, Art By: Nick Dragotta

“SONS OF PROPHECY”
Following the high crimes in the debut issue of EAST OF WEST, the fallout spreads across the broken nations of America. Forces align to stave off the apocalypse, while equally powerful ones do everything they can to bring it to pass. 

One of the most exciting new books of the year, this is EAST OF WEST, a brand new, ongoing, monthly comic from the award-winning team of Marvel’s FF, JONATHAN HICKMAN and NICK DRAGOTTA.

MANHATTAN PROJECTS #11
image_themanhattanprojects#11Story by: Jonathan Hickman, Art By: Nick Pitarra

“BUILDING”
Following the dramatic events of The LOGIC REVOLUTION, what will the Science Lords of the Manhattan Projects do with an Earth they now completely control? NOTHING GOOD.

The thrilling FEEL GOOD, BAD SCIENCE series continues in THE MANHATTAN PROJECTS #11: BUILDING!

AVENGERS #10
Marvel_Avengers10_Hickman_CoverStory by: Jonathan Hickman, Art by: Mike Deodato, Colors by: Frank Martin, Cover by: Dustin Weaver, Justin Ponsor, Daniel Acuna

“VALIDATOR”

• We learn that the Canadian super team Omega Flight got lost in a Garden Origin Site.

• Discover what happens when the Avengers go in to rescue them.

• Learn why ADAPTATION is the scariest word in the Marvel Universe.

NEW AVENGERS #5
marvel-newavengers#5-variantStory by: Jonathan Hickman, Art by: Steve Epting, Cover by: Jock, Joe Quinones

“BLACK SWAN”

• Learn the history of the enigmatic Black Swan.

• What answers can she provide the Illuminati?

• And watch as the New Avengers do the unthinkable!

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It’s Wednesday! (March 27, 2013)

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Apparently everyone is chomping at the bit for Guardians of the Galaxy this week. I like a Marvel cosmic book when it’s done well. But I have enough going on, so GoG is not on my list.

There are, however, three books I’m most curious about. Time Warp (Vertigo Comics), which I wrote about here a few days ago. The second is the new Hickman/Dragotta ongoing (Image Comics). Finally another Vertigo book, The Unwritten.

EAST OF WEST #1
Story by: Jonathan Hickman, Art By: Nick Dragotta

“OUT OF THE WASTELAND”
The things that divide us are stronger than the things that unite us. A Sci-Fi Western set in a dystopian America where all hope for the future rests in the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse…who just happen to be trying to kill the President of the United States.

One of the most exciting new books of the year, this is EAST OF WEST, a brand new, ongoing, monthly comic from the award-winning team of Marvel’s FF, JONATHAN HICKMAN and NICK DRAGOTTA.

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I remember reading the letters pages of Fantastic Four/FF when Hickman was writing the books, and there were people who really didn’t like Dragotta on FF. One person, I recall, wrote in complaining he couldn’t tell the difference between Bentley and Franklin or something like that.

I don’t understand them. I respect their opinion, but I thought Dragotta brought a fresh, fun take to the book. He was probably the artist who best captured for me as an adult the feeling I used to get reading Power Pack when I was a kid. I anticipate this new book will be a lot of fun.

That said, I have two concerns. The first is the reliability of the regular schedule. Doesn’t need to be monthly for me. I’ll take bi-monthly or monthly with a break between story arcs so they can catch up on other work. Hickman’s been able to continue to pump out The Manhattan Projects regularly for the most part amidst his Marvel books, but Secret got shelved early on.

My second worry is whether he is starting to spread himself too thin. Having never written a monthly comic, I don’t know how much time that takes. I’m assuming his approach is to write big chunks of script at a time for each series and then hand that over to the artist. So maybe that’s not an issue. But both Avengers books he is writing are leaving me a little bit cold at the moment. Or maybe those books are best read in a sizeable run.

Some reviewers are calling East of West the best book of the month. I guess we’ll see.

THE UNWRITTEN #47
Written by: Mike Carey, Art by: Peter Gross, Cover by: Yuko Shimizu

vertigo_unwritten47_cover“Orpheus in the Underworld” part 1! Still on his quest to bring Lizzie back from the dead, Tom Taylor has made it as far as Hades—but he’s left his memories behind in the waters of Lethe. Now he’s face-to-face with the king of the underworld, who’s got his own sinister agenda and no good reason to offer Tom an Orpheus deal…

I buy this book every month, but I tend to read them 4 or 6 issues at a time. (Wow, 6 issues? That’s half a year.) I really do think the story is best consumed that way.

I enjoy where Carey and Gross have taken The Unwritten. The series has defied my expectations. Just when I think it might get boring or safe, when I think I’m going to drop it from my pull list, they throw something new at me. And I like unexpected storytelling. Let’s be honest: this is unlike the vast majority of books on the comic store shelves. There are very few good fantasy ongoing comic series for readers. The Unwritten is solid.

The upcoming arc with the (not quite?) crossover into the Fables universe has a lot of potential for fun times.

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It’s Wednesday – capes & tights edition! (March 20, 2013)

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This is a tights & capes edition!

NEW AVENGERS #4
Writer: Jonathan HickmanArt: Steve Epting ,Cover Artist: Jock 

“WORLD EATER” The Illuminati have learned that Earth is the center point for the death of the Universe. If this is true, doesn’t that mean destroying it might save everything else? Enter the world eater, Galactus.

AVENGERS #8
avengers8-hickmanWriter: Jonathan Hickman, Art & Cover: Dustin Weaver

The Avengers face off against the World Breaker. Discover the imminent threat to the Avengers World. Watch as we get our first hints as the hidden connections between the events of Avengers and New Avengers.

First of all,  how about that juicy cover on New Avengers by Jock leading this article? Delicious.

To the best of my recollection, my introduction to his work was his collaboration with Scott Snyder on Detective Comics, which is a breathtaking run.

I followed Hickman over to Avengers from his brilliant stint on Fantastic Four. I can only guess this was part of Marvel’s plan when they kicked off the creative team shake-up across their titles.

I’m hot and cold on these titles – I love them one month and don’t the next. Some great ideas in here. Good characterization. Compelling dialogue. And unlike a few reviews I’ve seen, I like the characters he’s chosen to focus on in Avengers. A good writer can take B, C and Z-listers and craft a compelling story. Hickman proves his ability as a writer.

That said, something about the pacing doesn’t sit well with me. But as I write this I’m remembering this was my reaction when I started reading his run on Fantastic Four. Everything felt rushed and choppy. But the story built to this incredible crescendo that was worth the ride. However, those books had an emotional core – love and family – that I’m not sure can be replicated in these two titles. But I’m willing to keep reading for now partly because, as someone who came of age with Marvel in the 80s, I am totally digging the use of New Universe characters. Even though I knew it was coming, I was still thrilled by the way he “revealed” Nightmask in issue #6. Well done, Mr. Hickman. Well done.

Over in New Avengers, well let’s just say I have high hopes Hickman is building to a moment when the characters are going to do something really bad that will have readers saying “Oh shit!” and it will be worth the wait. (It’s definitely brewing). Plus, this issue has Galactus.

HARBINGER #10
HAR_010_CVR_SUAYAN1Writer: Joshua Dysart, Pencilers: Matthew Clark, Alvaro Martinez, Dimi Macheras, and Brian Thies

Lead or die. Peter Stanchek is about to face his toughest test yet.

Trapped between the opposing forces of Toyo Harada’s Eggbreakers and Project Rising Spirit, Peter Stanchek and his wayward band of renegade telekinetics are about to find themselves in a vicious, three-way firefight. Can they put aside their fears and do battle as the team they’ll need to be to survive? The Renegades are about to make their big debut – and, when the smoke clears, the Valiant Universe is going to be a very different place.

X-O MANOWAR #11
XO_011_CVR_CRAIN1Writer: Robert Venditti, Penciler: Cary Nord, Colorist: Moose Baumann

ALL-NEW ARC! PLANET DEATH has arrived! X-O Manowar’s one-man invasion of the Vine’s alien homeworld starts here!

At long last, Aric of Dacia will take his revenge on the alien race that have pursued him at every turn. As his Visigoth forefathers sacked Rome, so too will Aric of Dacia bring a devastating assault to the doorstep of his oppressors. Taking the battle directly to the Vine planet of Loam, he will decimate their armies, he will level their cities – and he will not stop until the whole of their empire is reduced to ash. But when one man declares war on an entire world, what painful consequences will he reap for himself – and for the whole of human race?

For the most part, Valiant books have not disappointed. I’ve really enjoyed both Harbinger and X-O Manowar so far. I’m off Archer & Armstrong, but that’s mostly because I have too many books and need to cut back somewhere (sorry guys). I haven’t tried Shadowman or Bloodshot yet.

Harbinger specifically evokes in me the same feelings I had reading Chris Claremont’s run on the original New Mutants. Dysart’s writing on this book comes across as fresh and surprising with a bit of edge, which is impressive considering this is a reboot and there is a glut of books on the market at the moment, many of which feel like rehashes of something you’ve already read.

If you’re looking for a superhero-type action book and are turned off by Marvel and DC, I encourage you to check out Valiant’s line. The quality is definitely there.

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