Animal Man says his farewells, Ms. Marvel bulks up, Aric becomes an Agent of U.S.A., Magnus takes electronic engineering to a new level with his robot friends, and Turok doesn’t play nice with crusaders.
With a big comic book convention and life in general getting in the way, another two week “This Week in Comics” is coming at you! This week has the new releases of Animal Man (2) #29, Ms. Marvel (3) #2, and X-O Manowar (3) #23, but back issue reviews of Dynamite’s Magnus Robot Fighter (4) #1 and Turok: Dinosaur Hunter #2. Overall, a good two week pull…hopefully I’ll keep on top of next week!
Animal Man (2) #29
Publisher: DC Comics
Cover Price: $2.99
Writer: Jeff Lemire
Artist: Travel Foreman/Jeff Lemire
Date: May 2014
Title: “…Goodnight, Animal Man”
Animal Man has decisions to make. The threat to Red is over, but Earth still needs an Avatar. With Shepherd and Socks now in charge of the Red, Animal Man finds freedom for Maxine and that it is time to say goodbye.
Animal Man is finished. It is sad to see a comic which started out with such a bang to end so strong. The comic suffered a big lull in the middle with changes and the overly long Rotworld storyline, but this issue shows what made the story original when the New 52 launched.
The story wraps up (somewhat) all the events of Buddy’s life and returns it to as much of a normal status as a superhero can be. Maxine is free of being the avatar and the Red is restored. The story about Buddy having to return to Bridgewalker isn’t really resolved but is referenced.
The art for the issue is stellar. I loved Foreman’s initial run on the series and felt it lost something with his leaving. The addition of Formeman and Lemire doing the fairytale portion of the story makes the book a real standout (with a fun cover).
I will miss Animal Man though the issues sometimes lagged. I love the character and enjoyed the reboot concept. I was happy to have another Animal Man series for a while at least, and Lemire has said he has plans for Animal Man in the new Justice League title.
Ms. Marvel (3) #2
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Cover Price: $2.99
Writer: G. Willow Wilson
Artist: Adrian Alphona
Date: May 2014
Title: “All Mankind” Part 2 of 5
Kamala Khan suddenly finds herself with powers. Now as she tries to quickly adjust to the new reality of her life, she finds that having super powers could be the life changing event she has been looking for.
I enjoyed the first issue of Ms. Marvel and Ms. Marvel #2 is no different in that sense. The character is an interesting one and one of the first characters to be affected by the explosion of the Terrigen bomb during Infinity. Though the issue is fun, there are a few complaints.
Not much happened in this issue. The first issue had a lot of information. It introduced Kamala, her family, and gave her powers. Here, all Kamala did was a save a classmate (who was briefly established in the first issue) and goes home…with so much exposition in the first story, I kind of wanted more to happen in this issue…with pacing like this, Ms. Marvel #3 might just have her walking to school.
Alphona’s art works well with the story. Alphona was a natural choice for this comic with his work on Runaways which also featured younger characters. It is a nice blend of almost a manga style with a natural style…It is fun but I do look forward to more colorful issues.
Ms. Marvel is a fun little comic but I do need it to pick up the pace. Comics just seem to constantly pour out of Marvel and grabbing readers is a quick and dirty necessity today. I can tolerate a few slow issues, but I hope more happens in Ms. Marvel #3.
X-O Manowar (3) #23
Publisher: Valiant Comics
Cover Price: $3.99
Writer: Robert Venditti
Artist: Diego Bernard
Date: March 2014
Title: “Wreckage” Prelude to Armor Hunters
Aric and his people are trying to make new lives for themselves on the plains of Nebraska as Aric works with Capshaw and the U.S. government. When a UFO crashes into the Chinese space station, Aric encounters a horror that seeks to destroy him and claim the armor.
X-O Manowar continues to be one of Valiant’s best titles. The comic is just a fun action story and it is always good when it starts a new arc. Unity was a bit sloppy in that it actually crossed into other comics and hopefully, X-O Manowar will be a stand-alone title for a bit.
Valiant really needs to pump up their villain gallery, but I don’t know that Malgam is the answer. I am glad to see a non-Vine and non-Valiant villain (like Bloodshot or Harada). Aric has already proven himself against most of the characters of the Valiant universe and various military units. I want more true super-villains for all the Valiant characters to spar with.
The art for X-O Manowar continues to be strong as well. Diego Bernard does a nice job with the style of the comic and here we get to see some more space adventures. I also like that X-O doesn’t generally pull punches. Here we get a head blown off and an astronaut’s arm ripped off…it is rather graphic for the standard comic.
X-O Manowar is one of the better action comics out there. If you are considering giving Valiant a try, you might consider this title (or Archer & Armstrong). It has a solid story and you don’t need much background in the character to follow it. Take a shot at Valiant!
Magnus Robot Fighter (Dynamite) #1
Cover Price: $3.99
Writer: Fred Van Lente
Artist: Cory Smith
1A has raised Magnus and allowed him to live within a fantasy world. When that bubble breaks, Magnus finds himself in a world ruled by robots and only he has the keys to fight them.
Written by Fred Van Lente and illustrated by Cory Smith, Magnus Robot Fighter #1 by Dynamite relaunches the classic character from Gold Key and Valiant’s series. With the realaunch of Valiant, it didn’t seem like it would be long before characters like Magnus would return along with Solar, Turok, and other “Valiant” characters that weren’t part of the Valiant relaunch deal.
Magnus was one of the original Valiant titles that I had more interest in. The goofy almost toga wearing Magnus does battle with robots using a kung-fu method? It is like a little kid’s dream and it amazes me that it exists. The new Magnus alters some story aspects of the original series, but keeps the themes.
I like how the issue is set up. Magnus’ perfect world shatters and he finds himself in the robot controlled dystopia. He’s quickly set up as the outsider and there could be a lot done with the idea that as the outsider, he’s essentially a terrorist fighting against the system…a bit of a V for Vendetta story with killer robots.
Magnus’ story is also paired with some strong art. I like Smith’s take on the character and the look of the future could be rich for exploration…plus we ditched that toga though I’d like to see a throwback to it sometime.
Magnus Robot Fighter will get a second issue from me. I just like the concept and there is room for exploration. It is a fun title with a fun character and worth checking out.
Turok: Dinosaur Hunter (Dynamite) #2
Cover Price: $3.99
Writer: Greg Pak
Artist: Mirko Colak
Turok and Andar find themselves forced to watch as the crusaders move in on the villagers. As Turok debates saving the people he feels no connection to, Andar’s sister Kita learns that she’s to be a gift for the leader’s daughter Marion. When Turok and Andar make a stand, the crusaders reveal a surprise of their own.
I thought the first issue of Turok had potential, but was a bit confusing. I enjoy the character and the concept, but Pak introduced too many characters too quickly with art that made them hard to distinguish. This issue of Turok rectifies that problem with a more streamlined story.
With such an old character, a relaunch was necessary and I do like where they are going with Turok. The idea of a New World invasion including dinosaurs and an alternate reality England is fun. I look forward to seeing where the story goes from here and of course I could do with more dinosaurs…it is in the title after all.
With less characters to focus on, Colak’s art grows better in this issue and is less inky. The design and artwork for the pages is great and the characters really pop more so this issue.
Turok could turn into a good series, and I’m anxious to see where it goes from here. I like Dynamite and Valiant’s relaunch of the “not ready for prime time” characters and have been enjoying them more than many DC and Marvel titles. Turok could continue that trend.