The Valiant Comics Train Keeps A-Rollin’

Funny story: I was in the Baltimore/Annapolis area last weekend and while there I drank way more than was healthy or even called for (hubcap sized margarita, for starters), ate a gross but delicious conglomeration of food called crab nachos, and found a stupendous comic book store in Annapolis called Capital ComicsIf you’re in the area, I urge you to visit.  Great staff, great selection, plus there’s a dog.

While at Capital I discovered that I was missing the Baltimore Comic-Con by a week; namely, it’s this weekend.  Right nowOh, hamburgers.  No worries, as someone else went and posted a transcript & preview art from the Valiant Comics panel! Now, it’s no secret that I’ve been completely on board with this new Valiant launch (mostly to see if they make any allusions to Deathmate) and I hope I’ve been able to drag a few along with me.  Either way check out the recap of the panel over at Comic Book Resources but stay here at Modern Borefare for soothing words & HARD HITTING VALIANT ACTION.


Advertisements

Haul Thoughts: Surprises (Bad) & Surprises (Good)

Let’s do this! Don’t forget to chime in in the comments below.

AvX 08 – IMPERIOUS REX!!! Namor has shown up in Wakanda looking to tear The Avengers a collective new butthole and he very nearly succeeds.  The opening splash page is as menacing as Namor has looked in recent memory and you see that this is not something that Wakanda will be recovering from anytime soon. Iron Fist is indignant that Iron Man and The Thunderer skip out to K’un-Lun without him, meanwhile Wakandans are being devoured by Atlantean seas serpents.  Typical rich guy.  Meanwhile Cap is all “I knew Cyclops was a dick! Forget all these corpses, I was right all along!” Typical unfrozen World War II science experiment. Anyway, Cap calls the Avengers, whom Namor proceeds to go H.A.M. on, even taking full powered blows to the dome from Red Hulk, Thing, Mjolnir, Dr. Strange and The Vision.  NAMOR AIN’T CARE and he goes on to prove this by breaking the Red Hulk’s arm like it was one of my brittle, bird-like wrists. Then he decides to set the rest of the Avengers on fire. Then super Deus Ex Machina a.k.a The Scarlet Witch shows up, somehow (ed.note: With her ill-defined powers, that’s how!) defeats Namor whom the Phoenix Force decides to ditch, flowing into the other members of the Phoenix Force. Charles Xavier’s floating bald head shows up to scold Cyclops; Cyclops tells Chuck to “Cram it with walnuts, ugly”; Cap cries. Buy? Sure, if you’ve bought the earlier seven.

The Invincible Iron Man 521 – Think I mentioned this before but WHOA. The Invincible Iron Man is awesome. If you haven’t been reading this title, go back to #500 and read them all.  I never cared for Iron Man; sure the movies got me interested and I think I picked up the book at an ideal time. So, if you’re planning on following my lead and picking up the earlier 20 issues, SPOILERS HERE Tony Stark is super-boned and the super-boner (ed.note: Really?) is non other  than the Mandarin.  Some observations: apparently 6 months have passed since issue #520 and all sorts of shenanigans have gone on, chiefly that Stark is working for the Mandarin. Side note: is the Mandarin the Marvel Universe equivalent of a beholder from Advanced Dungeons & Dragons? Seriously, check it out:

Beholder powers:

BEHOLD...er

Mandarin ring powers:

Where's the duck sauce ring?

Back to the issue at hand, literally.  Resilient (formerly Stark Resilient) takes some shots at the crappiness of the cloud and introduces their solution, the swarm (which Warren Ellis introduced in Transmetropolitan a decade ago…).  That’s one of the reasons this book is so excellent; it’s not all tights, capes & punchy-punchy.  There’s corporate espionage, futurism, science, rad armor, clever banter..so good.  Just buy it. Buy? Duh. Also, if I can’t have the Infinity Gauntlet, I’d gladly take the Mandarin’s rings.

Before Watchmen – Silk Spectre 02 – I really  like Amanda Conner’s art on this book. In fact, I feel this is tied with Ozymandias  as the Before Watchmen book with the best art. Definitely an Archie vibe going on. That being said…what the hell?! The first issue was so good where this one is…not. Not as good. The spirit of the book hasn’t really changed, but something this issue seems off.  I did like the analogs of The Beatles and the Rolling Stones as well as an appearance from Kid Charlemagne himself, Owsley Stanley and what is possibly supposed to be Frank Sinatra? I don’t know, the innocence and free-spiritedness of the first issue gets muddled with some subplot about causing Haight-Ashbury hippies to embark on acid-fueled shopping trips. Also, the Silk Spectre’s costume is highly impractical. That’s not a reason to knock the book, it’s just that even fictional teenagers are idiots. Buy? Yes, as it’s not enough to derail the series (plus you’re already halfway through at this point). But don’t prepare for the high notes of last issue.

Daredevil – 15 – High hopes for Murdock this week; was he able to meet them? Welllllll….was the arc resolved? For the most part, as it’ll most likely wrap up next month. Was the premise clever? Daredevil sans senses? Sure.  Was there anything outwardly terrible about this issue? Not especially.  So…? Can’t help you dude. Then is it a Buy? It’s not the highpoint of this excellent series, but neither was the Punisher/Spider-Man crossover.   It’s not a jumping on point, that’s for sure.

Fables 119 – Even if this series had nothing else going for it, it still has the best covers in the industry.  Before I started reading, I was really hoping that this arc would wrap up this issue or next.  But then I started reading; wow. If you’re a Fables fan, you won’t be disappointed.  Things to note: a pretty shocking death, an Angry Birds cameo and my new favorite phrase, “shit fire on Pop-Tarts”! Buy? Have you read the previous 118 issues? Then you pretty much have to, don’t you?

Justice League 11- Not going to lie, I’m kind of lost with this book.  I’m not thrilled at the supernatural bent the it’s taken either; isn’t that the purview of the Justice League Dark? The high point for this issue was probably Wonder Woman calling the Green Lantern a dickless bitch, in so many words. Also, Diana’s problem solving starts and ends with decapitation. They’ve really made her one of the most compelling characters in the whole New 52. Also a nice touch: Cyborg: “I’m not partly dead, am I?” Batman:”…of course not”. What a dick! Buy? If you’re not invested in the series at this point? It’s a pass.

Saga 05 – I’m oddly compelled to keep getting this book.  It’s clearly been building up for the past four issues and there is a bit of payoff here, but not in an equivalent amount to the rising action.  The book opens with the television-headed prince who is a/the protagonist? Antagonist? All I know is that in the future/past, robots poop.  Also, the two sides in the giant war that I (and I assume other readers) are trying to puzzle out art the “horns” and the “wings”, and a clutch of winged shock troopers drop down on our narrator  and it’s parents Alana and Marko.  SPOILERS Marko breaks his vow of nonviolence and goes apeshit, slicing through all of the shock troopers and is about to really start cutting heads, forcing Alana’s hand. END SPOILERS.  Far more happens and I think this book is finally starting to pick up.  I seem to remember Vaugh’s Runaways was a bit of a slow starter as well. Buy? At this point, while it’s still early in the series, yes, but only if you pick up the other four.  Or wait a few months and pick up the first six issues in a collected format.

The Dark Tower – The Man in Black 02 – As I’ve already read all of The Dark Tower  books, it seems a bit foolish to then buy them in serialized comic format.  But it’s still a powerful series and Robin Furth & Peter David are doing extremely solid work on this and all the previous Dark Tower  series.  Buy? If you like The Dark Tower, all the trades are worth picking up.  It definitely fills in gaps that were only hinted at in the series.

Wonder Woman 11 – Sometimes I get my comics & video games confused, like with all the Olympians showing up in WW and I find myself thinking, “Didn’t Kratos kill all you?”. This issue isn’t as good as the previous two in Hades, but it seems to be setting the stage for a pretty epic confrontation with Apollo and Hera, so I’ll check in next month. Buy? Not as a starting point, but this isn’t an issue that’ll make you drop the book either.

X-O Manowar 03 – The payoff! Aric and the X-O Manowar class armor make nice (it grows Aric’s hand back, he disintegrates aliens) until an explosion sends them flying outside of the ship. Aric apparently has his Dorothy moments, as he clicks his gold-and-powder blue heels together, disappears from deep space and reappears above modern Rome, where he crashes into the Coliseum. I’m interested to see if they go back to the “unfrozen viking business magnate” schtick Valiant used the first time with X-O. Buy? No brainer. Get the other two while you’re at it and transport yourself back to ’94.

Whew!  Sound off in the comments about your thoughts on my thoughts, on what you picked up this week, on what you refrained from picking up this week or just general what-have-you’s.  Goodnight Cleveland, where ever you are!

This Week’s Comics Haul – Sweltering in the City Edition

It’s too hot to even move; best thing to do is find solace in some air conditioning with a stack of comics. What I picked up this week (And a rare show of restraint!); what did you get? Tell us in the comments!

AvX 08

Before Watchmen Silk Spectre 02

Daredevil 15

Fables 119

Invincible Iron Man 521

Justice League 11

Saga 05

The Dark Tower: The Man in Black 02

Wonder Woman 14

X-O Manowar 03

Books I’ve picked up in the past but this week I was able to show restraint and not buy:

Wolverine ($5 bucks??! C’mon) & Fantastic Four. . Granted it’s only two but it’s a start!

A strong crop of books this week; it’s difficult to pick out which one or two could be the stand-outs this week. But picking two, I’d say it’ll be X-O Manowar and… Daredevil. Daredevil ?!? Yes, DD. I like the current arc, hell, I’ve liked the entire relaunch. It’s a fun book that still feels dangerous for the characters. It’s a delicate balancing act and Mark Waid pulls it off.
Reviews and thoughts on these in the next few days, along with the kick off of the MB Interview series!

The Return of Ninjak & Thanos

The Return of Ninjak – Interesting that Valiant, in re-launching their universe from the beginning, is bringing back a late era Valiant character in Ninjak, instead of one of their pillars like Magnus or Solar.  Then again those are Gold Key characters and I’m sure Valiant wants to push their own creations.  Check out the art for Ninjak’s return below, followed by a brief slideshow of Joe Quesada’s incredible art for the launch of the first Ninjak title.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

-The Return of Thanos – This is a little stranger.  The press release which announces what looks like two new series and an appearance in Avengers Assemble (also a new book?) actually, upon closer reading, looks like it’s Marvel re-releasing the awesome Thanos Quest two-part miniseries which led to The Infinity Gauntlet. Stranger, it then looks like Marvel’s retitled The Infinity Gauntlet as Thanos: The Final Threat with a description that sounds very Gauntlet-esque:

From creator Jim Starlin, Thanos: The Final Threat #1 follows the Mad Eternal as he gathers the cosmic Infinity Gems in a bid for interplanetary power! Can even the combined might of the Avengers, Captain Marvel, Spider-Man, and others stand up to Thanos might?

I reached out to my one tenuous contact at Marvel for more information but so far I’ve heard nothing back.  Updates when I get them/ suss them out.

After the jump, new promo art for Ninjak & Thanos’ Quest.

Continue reading

This Week’s Comic Haul With BONUS Reflections

This is what happens when you slack off; you have to combine two posts into one.  NOW YOU KNOW.  Let’s get to it:

Animal Man #10 – The exceptional run continues.  Buddy Baker’s wife continues to ignore good advice, his son with the exceptional mullets meets someone unexpected, flying dogs to the rescue and Buddy finding out what’s in store for him…good issue.

Avengers vs. X-Men #05 – GAH.  My brain…definite points for coming up with an ending I did not see coming.  Whether that ending is any good…I’ll discuss further in the comments to keep this as spoiler free as possible.

Before Watchmen: The Minutemen #01 – So torn on buying this book but in the end, what are you going to do? Not buy it?  It’s Watchmen, for chrissake.  Even if it is a complete and utter train wreck.  But you know? I didn’t hate this issue.  There were some interesting allusions made, some tentative groundwork laid.  HOWEVER. Was Watchmen so successful due in some part to the fact that you didn’t have the complete story?  That even after 12 issues, you had to drawn your own conclusions?    Whatever this series becomes (I’m talking about the entire Before Watchmen plan DC’s got) I’m hoping it doesn’t trample upon the original too much.  I’ll definitely be reading the original 12 after these all wrap up.

Detective Comics #10 – Seemed like a placeholder title, honestly.  I’ll give it until #12 before I decide whether to continue reading or not. The villain had a cool design at least.

Harbinger #01 – YES. SO AWESOME.  I have zero idea how old you are or how long you’ve read comics, but I first became aware of Valiant Comics through my local comic shop & Wizard back when I was still buying every shit derivative Blood/Fire/Death/Hell/Stryke book Image was putting out.  By then it was too late; the early books were way too scarce and way too expensive for someone with a 20 hour a week minimum wage job to pick up.  But the sense that these were somehow different and better  definitely permeated the first few years of Valiant, before they expanded their line, got caught up in the creative and production death spiral that was Deathmate (look it up), started pumping out double chromium covers on everything and eventually got bought by Acclaim before finally dying an ugly death.  WELL.  Now it’s back and back to basics and it F’N RULES.  Buy this.  X-O Manowar too.  So excited to see where these go from here.  Toyo Harada is a bad mutha.

Swamp Thing #10 – This also had the feel of a tweener issue. The artist also swapped out for the book, so that was a bit disconcerting.  I’m intrigued by Anton Arcade though.  Seeing as how he killed Swamp Thing and all this…

Ultimate Comics Spider-Man #11 – Like Phil Collins said, I don’t care anymore.  Sorry Miles, I’ve been with you for 11 issues and I’m getting your book out of habit more than anything else.  Time to break on out of here.

Uncanny X-Men #13 – I think Marvel wants me to stop giving them my money.  At least for X titles.  Storm narrating how her husband The Black Panther beat the shit out of her? “He eventually got his K.O.”? Is this a video game? Then Rulk snapping Psylocke’s arm via joint manipulation?  LIKE HE WOULDN’T HAVE JUST TORN IT OFF AND BEAT HER TO DEATH WITH IT.  GTFO.  Then some story about some X third stringers I don’t care about.  Then a last page appearance by Super Slut Force. (See comments as I don’t want to give any spoilers here).

XO Manowar #02 – Can I just read this every week? So awesome. In case I didn’t say it strongly enough earlier, you should really be reading these Valiant books.  Especially with Bloodshot and Archer & Armstrong on the way.