Black Panther

I suppose this is based on the comic miniseries that came out a few years ago, which I didn't read, and therefore I'm not sure. In any event, this cartoon version is often rather slow moving, and horribly animated (even if they did try to make the art look like Frank Miller did it). However, it is very funny and actually quite intriguing! Besides introducing us the character of the Black Panther, the leader of an isolationist, technologically advanced, African nation, as well as support characters and villains, it has a very interesting plot wherein a group of villains (and what a hodgepodge group it is!), backed by the United States, attempt a coup. Probably would've been better to just read the comic, since the animation is such crap, but how can you beat having Stan Lee as a racist US General?

Inhumans

This is a horrible series which is just a narrated series of pictures about the super-powered being called inhumans and the struggles their king has to deal with such as his insane brother, a human attack, and some other nonsense. Apparently, it was an award-winning comic (which I think I read and disliked). Really pointless, the upcoming movie can't be worse.

Daredevil: Born Again - Frank Miller

While Miller had been steadily making a name for himself and producing some of the best comics for the blind vigilante, it is Born Again that truly shaped DD's world. And though Miller's art is lots of fun, David Mazzucchelli's art is magnificent as his ability to render images both complexly and simply, capture emotions and produce iconic imagery. It is a perfect storm of comic. This doesn't suggest it is flawless. The story revolves around the Kingpin of crime and his plan to utterly destroy DD (and any who stand in his way) when he learns of the crime fighter's secret identity. Miller does a great job showing how a man with great influence can produce great evil. The problem is largely two fold in that the inciting incident is that an old girlfriend of DD is now a junky whore (and, together with his bad ass ninja Elektra, may be the start of Miller's eventual depiction of just about all his female characters as bad ass whores) and the destruction of DD's life is done in an issue or two, when I think it would be much stronger to have it slowly building in the background of other plots so we can better see the Kingpin's actions slowly destroying a great man (then again, it's comics and who knows how much of an attention span people have). It also does leave a major complication in the Marvel world as DD's identity is out there. I'm not sure what ever happened with that. 

A-Force Presents (vol. 1)

Let's face facts, this collection of individual starting issues of various comics featuring female superheroes is strictly designed as an attempt to prove that Marvel comics is diversified enough to include female heroines. While I still maintain that Marvel comics is the boy's club that pays lip-service, at best, to issues of diversity, I will say that most of these issues are decent enough. How many readers will jump on to one of these series based only on this remains to be seen. A Force

Nextwave: Agents of H.A.T.E - Warren Ellis

The first thing you may notice about this review is I'm not going to give it the time necessary to fully detail why I feel what I do, mainly because I feel Ellis did a lot of short cuts on this work, so if he doesn't care, why should I? The saddest thing is that I really could've loved this comic. It actually assembles quite an interesting group of superheroes such as Machine Man, a west coast avengers Capt. Marvel, Boom-Boom, and some others I don't know, and yet they really worked well together and made a great team. The problem was the plot attempts to be Grant Morrison's Doom Patrol, while making fun of some really good characters with cheap parodies (e.g., Nick Fury) or simply making fun of the originals (looking at you Devil Dinosaur). I will say I loved the return of Forbush-Man, and if you don't know who that is it's because you're a person. I don't care if this won an '07 Young Adult Library Service Association award, the fact remains this could've been a really fun and interesting comic that avoids the Marvel continuity, but instead reads more like an insult to both Marvel comics and Marvel comics fans. Nextwave

Chaos War - Greg Pak & Fred Van Lente

Seriously, it took two author to produce the worst comic I've ever read. The cliched plot of the end of the universe coupled with Hercules, of all characters, having supergod powers and, with the help of his super genius friend (because dumb jocks and super geniuses are always buds), proceed to do nothing page after page until they win and everything is back to normal. I read it all because I had to prove to myself that it could not possibly be this bad--but it was, and I'm convinced it is an inside joke meant as an insult toward comic readers because I can't believe they thought this was anything less than awful. It's posted under the October/Halloween theme because it is a nightmare to read.

Thor: The Goddess of Thunder - Jason Aaron

I finally got around taking a look at this all new, all different, exactly the same Thor comic. So, something happened, blah blah blah, Thor is now female, or to be more precise, a female is now Thor, the god(dess) of thunder. In this short collection, Aaron does a decent job presenting a relatively interesting Thor comic wherein frost giants, dark elves, and evil corporations all combine to cause trouble. The problem is that there is nothing substantial in this comic that couldn't be done with the old Thor. And in the end, is that not the point of having a change in a character, especially a substantial one such as a gender shift? thor

Hawkeye (vol 3): L.A. Woman - Matt Fraction

Continuing my reading of the series, Fraction takes quite a detour by focusing the comic on the female Hawkeye, Kate Bishop, and sending her to Los Angeles. I'm not really sure what the point of this volume was, as Bishop is a horrible detective and superhero, and the whole thing seems to be more of a joke and the clichéd comment that everyone in LA is focused on youth and beauty. hawkeye

Ant-Man (vol 1): Second-Chance Man - Nick Spencer

I really enjoyed this comic about a man who can reduce his size to that of an ant and communicate with them. While I still think Hank Pym is the only real Ant-Man, I much prefer Scott Lang to that other idiot who was temporarily in the costume. The collection deals with Scott trying to fix his life, which gets him involved with various C level characters. That's the thing about such superheroes, sometimes you have to acknowledge that they're not Thor or Superman and embrace the idea that they're not going to save the world, but you can have stories that are very meaningful for them, and can still have a great deal of fun and silliness to them, all the while telling an interesting story. ant-man

Mystique: Ultimate Collection - Sean McKeever

I'm pretty sure this collection is the end of the series, which is a little disappointing as I felt it had potential. Yes, it seems that just about every hero or villain at some point winds up working as a secret agent, and the shape changing mutant Mystique is roped into being a pawn for the telepathic mutant Prof. X. As I said in my first review of the series (and I think I'm missing some middle graphic novel), there really is nothing Mystique is assigned to do that the Professor couldn't do better, such as finding out if a skincare company is testing products on mutants like they were rabbits, but when Mystique is enlisted to assassinate the Professor, well, maybe she is the right person for the job. There're definitely interesting twists and turns to the story, which is why I felt it has potential, but at the same time it never gets particularly deep with its characters--seeing that it focuses really on a single character, there's plenty of opportunity to do so (and don't tell me her scenes with Shepard count, much better to have focused on Shortpack (what's it like to be an isolated mutant only a few inches tall? that must be very lonely)). mystique

Daredevil Visionaries: Frank Miller vol 3

Continuing with Miller's take on the blind vigilante, he produces a pretty good collection. The stories aren't bad as they are well written with plenty of action and involve ninja, the Punisher, and the possible resurrection of the master assassin Elektra, so what's not to like?! You definitely see how Miller is evolving as both a writer and an artist. 

Red Hulk: Scorched Earth - Jeff Parker

The Red Hulk has been beaten, but now has a chance to redeem himself by helping defend the planet against doomsday projects put in place by the Leader and MODOK (mental organism designed only for killing (it's a giant head, how cool is that!)). Naturally, this won't be easy, especially as the hero community considers this Hulk to be a villain. I think it's a great idea, unfortunately, the action scenes need more, well, action, and the soul-searching scenes just don't have much to them. scorched earth

Ms. Marvel (vol 1-3): No Normal & Generation Why & Crushed - G. Willow Wilson

Remember yesterday I said: "All I want for Christmas as a young adult oriented comic revolving around strong female characters. This title is not it."? Well this title isn't it either. The big to do about this comic is that the teenage girl, who develops strange bendy powers because she is really an Inhuman, is Muslim. Okay, that might've been interesting twist. You know what else might of been an interesting twist? Writing a good comic that actually had characters in it, an exciting plot, and maybe some dramatic interaction. Just about every character is absolutely superficial (you're my best friend, now that I said that, you don't need to be in the series for a couple of issues, and when we do see you again you'll have nothing to say), and while the art by Adrian Alphona can be quite fun I'm not sure if that's the proper tone for a comic that's trying to be "important" (to be fair comicsalliance.com claims it's important but they're absolutely wrong). I guess I just don't understand what they're trying to do with this comic. Isn't it hard enough for the typical comic industry to produce an interesting comic about a woman or a Muslim, so you are going to take it upon yourself to do both? So you can fail twice as fast? By the way, Ms is not an abbreviation, it's a feminist terminology to counter the all or nothing distinction between Miss and Mrs. (notice that the last one is an abbreviation which is why it ends with a "."). And if you're going to use Ms. Marvel, why not just give her the same powers? This mix of Mr. Fantastic with Pym particles is rather annoying. And perhaps you would've been better off with an established villain to at least ground the comic (so you could've avoided what you're forced to do in volume 2, which is throw in the guest stars). And the whole plot line of kids being brainwashed and then immediately un-brainwashed and empowered just read as completely pandering to what some old guys believe a YA audience wants to hear. Another disappointment. ms marvel  

Ok, update, the library had the 3rd volume and I figured: "just once more". Honestly, it wasn't bad (wasn't great either, but...) as I found there was more attempt at humor even if a big plot-line was unrequited love and crushes that go terribly wrong--hey, it's a book about teens, I get that this needs to be part of it, even if I think it wasn't a great job. Despite my above mentioned problems, there may still be hope for the comic (maybe). ms marvel

Hulk (vol 2): Red & Green - Jeph Loeb

These weren't bad stories focusing on the Red Hulk, and the hunt the super human community engages in to find, stop, and figure out who he is. My problem was that I felt all the stories were taken from larger stories and, therefore, I was missing a more important narrative arc. red and green

Daredevil Visionaries: Frank Miller vol 2

I jumped to reading this Daredevil collection written and drawn by the once not crazy Miller after only a few pages of the first volume since it was so painfully filled with tropes I thought I would vomit. This one is much better as it has significantly less and it introduces Miller's Elektra character and the storyline involving her ties to the blind vigilante, Daredevil, the ruthless mob leader, The Kingpin, and the sociopath killer, Bullseye. I like how the work for hire that Miller did (thus giving him no rights to it) is called visionary, since Marvel comics doesn't seem to have any vision these past decades, nor do they seem interested in having any. The other ironic thing is that the Elektra storyline is not very long and not all that great. Ok, it's a ninja chick, which is pretty hot, but literary within seconds of meeting her, Daredevil reveals all his secrets for no reason, and  isn't it shocking that someone named Elektra would be obsessed with her father? Sadly, the comic, for all its value at the time, doesn't hold up well with the passage of time. 

Spider-Woman: Agent of S.W.O.R.D - Brian Michael Bendis

Although rather slow-moving, and focusing on a C level character, Spider-Woman, this was the most I enjoyed one of Bendis's comics in a long time. It starts in the aftermath of the Skrull invasion, wherein Jessica Drew is having a pity party over the fact that she was raised a Hydra agent and was replaced by the Skrull leader and now she is sad. She is approached by a secret organization that will give her the means and legitimacy to hunt and kill Skrulls and the like. What made this good was the fact that it focused on one character (for the most part)--and a woman at that--and her adventure and issues with being part of this secret organization: S.W.O.R.D. Alex Maleev's art has much to be desired; I'm not interested in this watercolor/ photorealism, and you can distinctly see the New York City cops' uniforms in the far off Southeast Asian country that was pointlessly the setting of the story. Yes, there could've been more action, but I'm very grateful the weren't pages of monologues as I've seen Bendis do before. If there is more of the series I would read it. Spider-woman

Onslaught: Unleashed - Sean McKeever

I haven't read much of McKeever's works, but what I have I've greatly enjoyed, therefore I assumed I would like this as well. Boy was I wrong. Admittedly, I had no idea who Onslaught was (apparently some bullshit with Prof. X and Magneto merging into one superpowered evil mutant; there's some info in the back of the book, but I don't want to have to read the book, to realize there's information I needed for the beginning of the book), but when you toss a dozen characters together you really can't give any of them much depth, and the plot was simply throw everything at the bad guy and when that doesn't work do it again. There were individual scenes that appeared to end abruptly, as if some of the writing was edited out, which just indicated to me that the whole thing needed to be heavily edited again. Filipe Andrade's art was interesting, but his elongated, angular style will not be for everyone. Bottom line: this was sadly disappointing with no real purpose or meaning in the Marvel universe. onslaught

Thor: First Thunder - Bryan J.L. Glass

I'm really like the idea a retelling the Marvel Thor origin and keeping true to the original events. However, I really dislike this comic. I found Tan Eng Huat's art off-putting (something about the perspectives just rubs me the wrong way) and I'm not sure what Glass was trying to do with the story. I was really looking forward to having the Norse god Thor fight the alien rock creatures and deal with being in the body of the crippled Dr. Don Blake, but the focus revolves too much around daddy issues, Blake's inability to have a relationship (yes he has a bum leg, but he's a gorgeous doctor and no one can be blind enough to miss Nurse Foster throwing herself at him), and the potentially awesome Loki, god of mischief, not really being very interesting. Thor

Ant-Man: Prelude

In preparation for the movie launch, Marvel comics has a collection of several Ant-Man comics, a couple of which are supposed to relate, probably tangentially, to the movie. Personally, I like Ant-Man, I just think there's something really cool about being ridiculously small, having all your natural strengths, controlling those annoying bugs, and popping in and out of places. Additionally, I think the original Ant-Man is pretty awesome as he's a super scientist. This collection, however, isn't particularly thrilling, and focuses on the new Ant-Man, who was some reformed criminal with an engineering degree or something. I hope the movie is a lot better than this collection. Ant-man