Comics Shotglass Reviews for 8/05/2015

Comics Shotglass Reviews for 8/05/2015

Meeting your heroes doesn't always have to end in disappointment or disembowelment.

Hello folks! It's been a packed week for the gaming industry with The International 5, Gamescom, and RTX all happening. If you're a bit overwhelmed, you can find solace here, in my weekly comic reviews.

This week I have an all Marvel/DC week, comprised of Ms. Marvel #17, Ultimate End #4, Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows #3, Civil War #2, Omega Men #3, Siege #2, and Detective Comics #43. Like always, this column highlights just a few of the comic books on sale each week, without delving into heavy spoilers. If you're interested in any book, click on the title and it'll take you to that book's Comixology page. Onward and upward!

Ms. Marvel #17

Written by G. Willow Wilson
Art by Adrian Alphona, Ian Herring

This issue actually takes place prior to Secret Wars, and as such carries the "Last Days" branding. Two universes are colliding and the Avengers are on the case, but in the meantime Jersey City's best hero, Ms. Marvel, is doing her best to keep everyone safe. We all know this won't end well, but until then Kamala Khan is more than the hero that Jersey deserves.

The major focus of this issue is Kamala finally meeting her personal hero and namesake, Carol Danvers. Danvers has long since switched over to using Captain Marvel, so Kamala has a chance to stand in front of her hero and essentially ask, "Am I worthy of your old name?" Her awkward introduction is endearing and over the course of the issue she's gets to talk shop with a real, bonafide superhero. She learns that you can't save everyone and that every person who puts on costume is a bit lost and scared. These are lessons Kamala needed and having them come from Carol is perfect.

Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows #3

Written by Dan Slott
Art by Adam Kubert, John Dell, Andrew Hennessey, Mark Morales

The problem I had with the first issue of Renew Your Vows is the character in costume wasn't Spider-Man. Sure, the character was named Peter Parker and wore the familiar costume, but he wasn't a hero. One responsibility trumped another and so Spider-Man really died along with the Avengers. That wasn't my Spider-Man.

Issue #2 showed us glimpses of the Spider-Man I enjoy and after #3 delves into darker territory again, Peter is reminded who he's supposed to be by the child he left crime-fighting for. Renew Your Vows looks like it will ultimately be about that choice: is your responsibility to your family greater than the responsibility to use your skills for the greater good? This is still the darker, brutal Spider-Man we saw in the first issue, but he's getting better. Slowly, but surely.

Omega Men #3

Written by Tom King
Art by Barnaby Bagenda, Jose Marzan Jr., Romulo Fajardo, Jr.

I read this book for Kyle Rayner. The Omega Men are essentially freedom fighters/terrorists depending on which perspective you hold. They're fighting against the Alpha religion that has taken over this sector of the galaxy and enslaved its people. This is an odd book. It is a book of grey morality, in that the Omega Men are arguably as bad as those they fight against, merely on a smaller scale.

I buy it because I enjoy Tom King's work on Grayson and I've always been a Kyle Rayner fan. I would like the book more if Kyle was more engaged, because as it stands there's no sympathetic look into their world. The Omega Men themselves are various levels of asshole and amusing, so I need that in order to fully buy into the book. Your time will come soon, Rayner. I can feel it.

Ultimate End #4

Written by Brian Michael Bendis
Art by Mark Bagley, Scott Hanna, Justin Ponsor

Ultimate End #4 is all over the place. Part of the book is concerned with the growing tensions in the merged region of Marvel and Ultimate Marvel Manhattan. Another part is both Tony Starks working to find a way to unmerge the regions. There's the Punisher tearing around the merged New York. Finally, there's Valeria questioning Doom on why he made such a cluster of this region, because once again, the overall point of Secret Wars is these Battleworld regions don't work as enclosed bubbles. There's even a brief Old Man Logan cameo and the character featured prominently on the cover doesn't even appear until the very end.

There's simply too much going on in this book. Nothing, with the exception of Valeria's conversation with Doom, is given any real weight. It's a shame, because this is nominally the end of the Ultimate Universe and this mini-series is not adequate for that task.

Detective Comics #43

Written by Brian Buccellato
Art by Fernando Blanco, Brian Buccellato

I'm liking this new Batman. It's not the majesty of Dick Grayson as Batman, but it feels good. Batman is a nigh-invincible man who prefers to work alone. New Batman is doing his best, but even if he screws up, he has his team behind him.

While "Batman" is more about the Batman himself, "Detective Comics" shines a light on his support crew of police officers, including grizzled Detective Harvey Bullock. The cops don't have things easy. There's regular police work, there's super villains, and there's one of their own going rogue. Detective Comics is actually a book about detectives; flawed individuals trying to do the right thing in one of the DC Universe's worst cities.

Siege #2

Written by Kieron Gillen
Art by Filipe Andrade, Rachel Rosenberg, Yasmine Putri, Kyle Strahm, Jesus Aburtov, In-Hyuk Lee

Abigail Brand is Commander of the Shield, an immense wall that protects the rest of Battleworld from the Deadlands, a place where the Marvel Zombies plague, Annihilation Wave, and Ultron Engine survive. Her former second-in-command just left to find her lover in the Deadlands, her new second-in-command is Kang, she just got a message from the future that says all is lost, and even if she gets out of this, her job will never end.

This is a war book in the vein of old World War I and World War II comics. A small, beleaguered force on one front of a war much larger than them. It crackles with ideas and unique characters.

In the midst of this, the best part is the Endless Summers. Even as one person in an army of clones, Scott Summers is still the moody Cyclops we all know and love, who'll take the world's sins on his shoulders for little more than a handshake and a hug. Gillen always understood Cyclops.

Civil War #2

Written by Charles Soule
Art by Leinil Francis Yu, Gerry Alanguilan, Sunny Gho

Steve Rogers controls the Blue, a place with only two laws: hurt no one and help when you can. Tony Stark controls the Iron, where his SHIELD agents carefully monitor and train superhumans to keep things safe. It's a question of freedom versus safety. Which would you choose?

Both sides are at each other's throats, but Stark's side is starting to realize they've been played by a third faction the entire time. Rogers's side is working on a device to de-power people if they break the rules, because they're realizing that rampant freedom means someone's going to get hurt. The problem is, both sides searching for what they want will probably escalate the war. (Oh, and Peter Parker is a bit of a dick.)

Yu is still rocking it on the art side.

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Mike Williams

Reviews Editor

M.H. Williams is new to the journalism game, but he's been a gamer since the NES first graced American shores. Third-person action-adventure games are his personal poison: Uncharted, Infamous, and Assassin's Creed just to name a few. If you see him around a convention, he's not hard to spot: Black guy, glasses, and a tie.

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