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Secret Wars: Battleworld #1 [Review]

secretwars_battleworld001Soldier Supreme; M.O.D.O.K. Madness

Writers: Joshua Williamson, Ed Brisson
Artists: Mike Henderson, Scott Hepburn
Color Artists: Jordan Boyd, Matt Milla
Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Cover Artist: Paco Medina
Editor: Jon Moisan
Published by: Marvel Comics
Cover Date: July 2015
Cover Price: $3.99

This issue gives us two stories set in Battleworld. The first is a skirmish between a Punisher merged with the spirit of Dr. Strange, Sorceror Supreme and The Infernal Four (a Hulk, Ghost Rider, Wolverine, and Spider-Man). The battle seems to shift things from one status quo to another, perhaps a transitional/origin type thing for stuff either to come or as a side-story to put a reference “on-panel.”

The other story shows us a bunch of M.O.D.O.K.s brought together by a “prime” MODOK who has realized it might be best to work with himself rather than others. Of course, this really turns out to be a poor plan, as MODOK(s) tend to have a bit too much ego to not try to be THE leader of any group instead of following.

I was good with the art for both stories. Though I’m not particularly familiar with the visual team, I had no real issue following along and was simply able to take in the story as I turned the pages. The stories themselves, similarly, were simply what they were. Essentially half-issue length done-in-ones to offer us glimpses of different characters that might not otherwise get a spotlight in Secret Wars.

Opening the issue and seeing that there were two stories, I was immediately disappointing, mentally flashing back to the “extended fight-scenes” nature of AvX: Vs from several years ago and assumed this was that series’ counterpart. Actually reading the issue I was pleasantly surprised to find something that while still basically “just” fights, at least a little more plot-driven and developmental for Secret Wars.

I could see enjoying this series for the glimpses of characters not otherwise overly spotlighted, but I’ve also been “trained” to be used to (and even prefer) the multi-issue/several-issue stories. Given that, these seem to (by simple pagecount) lack something to be more engaging and interesting for me.

All in all it’s not a bad issue, and well worth reading if you enjoy MODOK or the Sorceror Supreme…or if (like me) you’re simply delving into Secret Wars and want to see characters from different (former) realities interacting. This should also work well as a “companion” book to expand on the main Secret Wars book running through the event.

Battleworld does not seem (yet) to be all that ESSENTIAL…just kinda fun-ish and “worthwhile” to read if you so choose. I haven’t decided yet if I’ll continue with the series…it might depend on how much clustering there is the week the next issue is out and whether I feel like adding it to the stack.

X-Men #2 [Review]

Full review posted to cxPulp.com.

Story: 4/5
Art: 3.5/5
Overall: 3.5/5

X-Men #1 [Review]

Full review posted to cxPulp.com.

Story: 4/5
Art: 3.5/5
Overall: 3.5/5

Deadpool #17 [Review]

Want You to Want Me Part Three: The Revolution Will Be Televised

Writer: Daniel Way
Penciller: Paco Medina
Inker: Juan Vlasco
Colorist: Marte Gracia
Letterer: VC’s Joe Sabino
Assistant Editor: Jody Leheup
Editor: Axel Alonso
Cover: Jason Pearson
Publisher: Marvel Comics

It’s hard to believe this is only the third issue of Deadpool that I’ve bought new of this series. Since picking up #15 to “try” at a friend’s persistent urging/recommendation, I’ve gone back and bought issues 12-14, the Secret Invasion trade, the Deadpool/Thunderbolts trade, a Suicide Kings hardcover, Merc With a Mouth 1-3 (and 4 “new”), as well as Deadpool #900 and Deadpool Team-Up #899. (And of course, also picked up this week’s Amazing Spider-Man #611 just because it had Deadpool in it).

As the above paragraph probably suggests…I’m hooked. I’m a total sucker for anything Deadpool right now. Of course…that’s for good reason The character’s at the top of his game under the various creative teams right now. And over-exposed or exploited as the character may be, I’m thoroughly enjoying such a concentrated dose of the character at present.

This issue picks up on Deadpool seeking to prove himself to Cyclops, that he can cut it s an X-man. Cyclops is handling a sensitive political situation, and Deadpool doesn’t exactly help. His involvement leads Cyclops to send Domino after the Merc…and a misunderstnding with her overhearing Cyclops talking to Wolverine keeps them from hanging onto Wade once they have him. We’re also given a sort of wacky take on H.A.M.M.E.R. and its agents that fits perfectly with Deadpool. The ending sets up the concluding chapter of this arc on a fairly generic cliffhanger.

The art’s good stuff here, and I continue to really enjoy Medina’s work. This contrasts with the cover art, which–while amusing enough–isn’t all that appealing. Still, I’m thankful for the interior being to my liking.

I like that this title is fairly well self-contained; despite the large number of other Deadpool comics and appearances going on at present, this story isn’t forced to acknowledge all of that; its story is its own entity.

This isn’t a great jumping-on point, really (but certainly is not the worst, thanks to the “Previously Page” that Marvel actually does very well with). As a whole, this really feels like the “main” Deadpool book, allowing the other books their status as “secondary” or “side” titles. This seems the book you’ll want to give a look at if you’re interested in Deadpool’s place in interaction with the current Marvel Universe’s ongoing continuity (Dark Reign and all that).

All in all, another solid issue, and I’m ready for the next.

Story: 7.5/10
Art: 8.5/10
Whole: 8/10

Deadpool #16 [Review]

Want You to Want Me Part Two: No Man is an Island

Writer: Daniel Way
Penciller: Paco Medina
Inker: Juan Vlasco
Colorist: Marte Gracia
Letterer: VC’s Joe Sabino
Assistant Editor: Jody Leheup
Editor: Axel Alonso
Cover: Jason Pearson
Publisher: Marvel Comics

After the cliffhanger emphasis put on Deadpool’s decision last issue, this issue was rather abrubt to start out. Deadpool is flatly turned down and away. Upon further consideration, Cyclops sends Domino after him to bring Deadpool in to the team. This results in some misunderstanding between Deadpool and Domino, before Deadpool spills the beans on his plan to show the X-Men what “moves” he’s got to bring to the team.

This is my first new, bought-day-of-release issue of Deadpool in years. I vaguely recall picking up the final issue of Cable/Deadpool a few years back; prior to that, I don’t recall if I picked up the first issue of whatever the long-running solo Deadpool title became with that “reboot” back in 2001/2002ish. And before that, I’d picked up the first issue of the first 1990s mini-series (that came out the same summer as the first Sabretooth miniseries…guess which character’s ultimately had “legs”?).

The “previously” page lets one in on the bare essentials you need-to-know for this issue…I don’t even need to remember what happened in the previous issue (though I’ve enjoyed issues 15 and 12-14 [in that order]). This is one thing I definitely applaud Marvel on that I’ve long felt DC needs to do–especially the WAY Marvel does it, it’s something that adds to the single issue format, and is easily removed for the collected volume with zero loss of story or story pages. But it adds a lot to the issue itself…not to mention providing a consistent place to see which creator did what on a given issue.

Though there’s some dark, violent stuff to this series…there’s a warped sense of fun about it, too, that makes it simply an enjoyable book to read, with some amusing gags and pokes through the “fourth wall.” The art just plays right into this, as the visual style is very solid…and really quite good in and of itself. Cyclops, Domino, and of course, Deadpool all look quite good in this issue, and for that alone the art gets props from me. The visuals bring in contemporary looks for the various characters…and really makes ’em look about the best I’ve seen them in awhile–particularly Cyclops and Deadpool himself.

This issue and its story are grounded in the “Dark Reign” status quo the overall Marvel Universe is mired in…and yet thankfully keeps somewhat above it, in a way. There’s also the fact that the issue is a mere $2.99…which is QUITE a steal on a book from this publisher of late.

There’s plenty of backstory to be had in Deadpool as a character, even just from this current series. That context will add an extra layer of enjoyment to the reading of this issue. At the same time, short of another reboot or an issue specifically labeled on its cover or in solicitations as a jump-on point…this is about as good a jump-on point as one’s gonna get.

If you like the character and aren’t reading this book, I’d recommend giving it a shot. ALso, if you’re avoiding Marvel for all the $3.99 books and yet want a peek into the Marvel Universe of late…this seems an excellent title for peeking in on things at the already-high-enough $2.99 price point.

Story: 7/10
Art: 8.5/10
Whole: 8/10

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