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Darth Vader (2015) #5 [Review]

darthvader(2015)005Vader part V

Writer: Kieron Gillen
Artist: Salvador Larroca
Colorist: Edgar Delgado
Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Cover Artist: Adi Granov
Assistant Editor: Heather Antos
Editor: Jordan D. White
Executive Editors: C.B. Cebulski, Mike Marts
Published by: Marvel Comics
Cover Date: July 2015
Cover Price: $3.99

I intended to drop this. I don’t like the lack of dialogue, and captioning, and how quick it is to read. The speed at which I can blast through an issue makes it a REALLY HORRIBLE “value” for what I spend. But DARN IT…this thing is great to look at, sure is pretty. And I already got the first FOUR issues, the first 2/3 of the arc, and I just had to go and look inside to see if this was a new story or still continuing the existing one, and it’s part 5. So…I bought this, against conscious prior intent…and so help me, I’m really enjoying this title when I get past the conscious, principled complaints.

It ALSO certainly did NOT help that I just re-watched the original Star Wars films, so have these characters–and this time period in the Star Wars canon–front and center in my mind, craving whatever else there is that looks good, looks like it fits, and…in some ways, perhaps I’m just a “sucker” for this stuff right now. The fact that as I sit and type this I feel like I have a stupid, silly grin on my face accentuates that.

Of necessity, we already pretty much know the ultimate fate–or lack thereof–that will befall most of these characters. These droids aren’t around come Empire Strikes Back–they’re not even significant enough to be referenced. Ditto Doctor Aphra. But that doesn’t excuse the feeling they matter right now, in this story, as it is presently unfolding.

I don’t care for the Doctor Who comics, and shoehorning in of new/different/”extra” Companions…yet I’m ok with this for Star Wars comics. Aphra is unlikely to survive, but she’s cool right now, and likeable, and written well and modern despite being set in a story between movies that saw initial theatrical release more than three decades ago.

There’s not a LOT of story in this issue, and I have to keep going back to the art as what makes this. I’m aware of Gillen having done a fair bit with the X-Men title/characters some years back, but largely have yet to read that run, so there’s nothing to the story itself here that I can look at as seeing/feeling this is a Gillen story. But the consistency of the characters and the witty one-offs (Triple-Zero being what he is yet having concern for politeness made me grin) and such give this a modern, contemporary feel while Larroca‘s art (though actually, credit’s gotta go to the ENTIRE visual team) really makes this book. And I don’t usually care about the art enough to gush like this.

I’d love to simply not like this book, because it’s published by Marvel and I’ve not been thrilled with Marvel for awhile as well as the fact that Star Wars and Dark Horse have been pretty much synonymous to me for basically the entire time I’ve been reading comics until just a few months ago.

But despite myself, it’s enjoyable and a fun read and quite worthwhile in and of itself. If you’re a fan of Star Wars, and Darth Vader…I highly recommend this. If you haven’t followed the single issues, it will definitely be worth checking out in the inevitable collected volume.

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Superior Spider-Man #10 [Review]

superiorspiderman010Writer: Dan Slott
Penciler: Ryan Stegman
Inks: Stegman & Cam Smith
Color Art: Edgar Delgado
Letterer: Chris Eliopoulos
Cover Art: Marcos Martin
Assistant Editor: Ellie Pyle
Editor: Stephen Wacker
Published by: Marvel Comics
Cover Price: $3.99

Ten issues in, and now we’re suddenly, supposedly…um, back where we started, I guess. The new, the superior, Doc Ock is Spider-Man, in Peter Parker’s body…and there is no Peter. Wasn’t that what the original premise seemed to be? But then we had Force-Ghost Peter, revealed that last page of #1, and I was excited for this series, beyond the tentative trying-it-out.

So, here we are, tenth issue…11 if you count the Age of Ultron issue I skipped/ignored. And while Ock continues to smooth out his process of being proactively superior as Spider-Man to Parker’s ways, we see a recurring tattoo, obviously a reference to the Green Goblin. And Ock continues improving things in the personal life of Parker, reveling in his solidified superiority. And that cliffhanger…

Well, ok, I admit some sarcasm’s leaking through in this post. Even though I’m being the usual, purposeful vague in summarizing things–I prefer not to spoil an issue, and heck, too much detail in the summary sorta defeats the purpose of you reading the issue yourself. But having read this issue…I’m just feeling rather sarcastic toward the issue, and the series.

The art’s pretty much consistent with the run so far, so nothing really to complain about, there. It fits the title, and the story, as it’s been what we’ve had. I have no real issue with it overall, though it’s a bit stylistic and such…not what I’d necessarily choose or want specifically for Spider-Man, but after taking a half-decade sojourn from the Spidey-verse and coming back in for the Ock-and-Parker-Swapped bit…it’s worked.

Story wise…I’m just disengaging. Disinterested. I hesitate to use the word “bored,” but I’m just losing interest so fast in this title, and even the status quo.

I remember reading Amazing Spider-Man #700 at the turn of the year, backtracking almost immediately to #698 and #699, and having to wait til mid/late January for the premiere of Superior Spider-Man #1. but here we are, not even June yet, and we’ve got 10 issues. That’s basically 2 issues per month for January through May…at $3.99 apiece.

That’s 3 1/3 issues’ difference in pricing at this point…or another way of looking at it, for only $1 less per issue, I might go another 5-10 issues before burning out on sheer price point alone.

But I’m no longer impressed. My patience has worn out. And this issue, toted as a jumping on point from what I saw in stuff “about” the issue this week…well, I should’ve left this on the shelf. And while I’d be tempted to at least give it til issue #12… Well, where’s the “wholeness” in 12 anymore, what USED TO be a single, full year of a title…when at this pace that’s a mere 6 months?

Superior Spider-Man #1 [Review]


Full review posted to cxPulp.com
.

Story: 3/5
Art: 4/5
Overall: 4/5

Captain America #600 [Review]

One Year After

Writer: Ed Brubaker
Art: Butch Guice, Howard Chaykin, Rafael Albuquerque, David Aja, Mitch Breitweiser
Colors: Frank D’Armata, Edgar Delgado, Matt Hollingsworth, Mitch Breitweiser
Letters: VC’s Joe Caramagna, Chris Eliopoulos
Assoc. Editor: Jeanine Schaefer
Editor: Tom Brevoort
Cover: Steve Epting (variant by Alex Ross)
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Other features and bonus materials: Credits below review

The best thing I can say about this issue, and the “core” story is that in terms of the continuity itself, it’s pretty good. Brubaker and the artists deliver a story that fits well within the ongoing narrative…however, any “surprise” or “wonder” to where things were going were totally blasted away by Marvel’s hype-machine…a hype-machine that suggested this would be the best thing since sliced bread (or Captain America #25, anyway).

Guess what?

It’s not THAT good. It fails to live up to the hype.

The story centers on the one-year in-story anniversary of Steve Rogers’ death. The various characters–particularly Bucky as the new Captain America, Sharon Carter, Falcon, and the rest of the (whatever adjective) Avengers as they recognize the date and deal with it in their own way. Sharon makes a startling discovery that seems to be the key to what will come in the Reborn mini.

WHile there are numerous extras in the art credits for this story, the art still came across quite well, and the changes in art did not seem all that glaring to me–if anything, they managed to fit the story itself for the most part. The writing continues to be the strong stuff one expects from Brubaker, and delivers in that way.

However, it seems that one must now follow the story from this issue into a 5-issue mini-series to get “the whole story,” to say nothing of 1. this title apparently will be on hiatus for the duration of the mini and 2. this is the second big-number “anniversary issue” in the last several months–with all the #1s and a couple #50s and whatnot in the last decade or so…the point kinda loses its impact.

The bonus materials were decent, but not wonderful. I enjoyed the Origin segment for the art styling and its brief overview of Steve Rogers’ origin. The In Memoriam segment was also pretty good, giving a look at characters from Cap’s past that haven’t really had a huge place in the present stories. I vaguely recall at least one of the characters from the last Cap series I’d followed (the one that ran from 1998 or so until 2001/early 2002). The other segments were decent but nothing spectacular or memorable. I did not read the reprint part–something about it just wouldn’t draw me in, and I couldn’t bring myself to force a reading of it. However, it looks to be an early Cap vs. Red Skull story, presumably to add some context to the characters’ history given the Skull’s prominence in this series/saga.

All in all, the issue is (barely) worth its cover price…it took long enough to read to at least “justify” the $2 higher price over a standard issue. It did not measure up to the hype, though…and unless you’ve been following Brubaker’s saga for awhile, I wouldn’t really recommend this issue. I assume you’ll have all you need to “get” the story if you simply know that Steve Rogers died, and then pick up with whatever the story is in Captain America Reborn.

(Core) Story: 7/10
Art (core story): 8/10
Whole (including issue’s extras): 5.5/10


Origin
By: Alex Ross, Paul Dini, Todd Klein (first published in Captain America: Red, White and Blue; September 2002)

In Memorium
Script: Roger Stern
Art: Kalman Andrasofszky
Color Art: Marte Gracia
Letters: VC’s Joe Caramagna, Chris Eliopoulos

The Persistence of Memoriabilia
Script: Mark Waid
Art: Dale Eaglesham
Color Art: Paul Mounts
Letters: VC’s Joe Caramagna, Chris Eliopoulos

My Bulletin Board
By: Joe Simon

Red Skull’s Deadly Revenge
By: Stan Lee and Al Avison (first published in Captain America Comics #16; July 1942)

Cover Gallery
Special Thanks To: Philipp Lenssen (coverbrowser.com, comics.org)

Misc. Credits
Designer, Bonus Material: Spring Hoteling
Production, Bonus Material: Jerry Kalinowski
Editor in Chief: Joe Quesada
Publisher: Dan Buckley
Executive Producer: Alan Fine

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