Empyre: Avengers (2020) #1 by Jim Zub

Empyre: Avengers (2020) #1 (of 3)Empyre: Avengers (2020) #1 by Jim Zub

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This comic takes a while to get going, spending too much time checking in with Avengers strike teams across the globe, protecting humanity from getting caught in the crossfire in the Cotati vs Kree/Skrull war. A lot of this felt really clunky and the comic doesn’t really hit its stride until the end when we find out that this is really about Ka-Zar, the Black Knight, Brother Voodoo and the Scarlet Witch dealing with a Cotati incursion into the Savage Land. They appear to have won both Man-Thing and Ka-Zar’s wife, Shanna, to their cause and…tune in next time! Ahh…I was just getting into this at last!

Zub’s writing is decent enough, but the only character he seems really comfortable with writing is the Black Knight. Carlos Magno’s art is decent enough, but would greatly benefit from the services of a decent inker. Given that no inker is credited on this book, that’s clearly something that he didn’t have. As such everything feels a little flat.

As I said, I finally got into this towards the end, so hopefully #2 will be a big improvement.

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Empyre: X-Men (2020) #1 by Jonathan Hickman

Empyre: X-Men (2020) #1 (of 4)Empyre: X-Men (2020) #1 by Jonathan Hickman

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is a fun, silly read. Well, I say silly…the idea that Wanda resurrected everyone who died on Genosha…in an attempt to atone for M-Day…as ZOMBIES…is pretty horrific. I know, she didn’t mean it, it’s just another Scarlet Witch f**k up! I actually thought this might have something to do with how she willed Billy (and Tommy) into existence, as Billy’s the fiance of the new emperor of the Kree and Skrulls, who’s…you know…at the centre of this whole Empyre thing. But apparently not.

Instead it’s about zombies fighting plant people on Genosha and the X-Men getting caught in the middle. Or, rather, four of the X-Men…Angel, Magik, M and Madrox. Hmm, there’s a lot of Ms there…

Anyway, Magik is one of my favourite characters, so that’s a win! The art’s decent, although not quite up to the standard of everything else in this event, and the writing is by Hickman and Tini Howard…so it’s pretty solid. But, yeah, this doesn’t have much to do with Empyre and I doubt it’s going to have much impact on what’s going on in X-Men either.

So, not a bad comic, but also nothing special.

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Empyre (2020) #2 by Al Ewing

Empyre (2020) #2 (of 6)Empyre (2020) #2 by Al Ewing

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Empyre continues to be a solid five star book.

Gorgeous art, excellent writing, what more could you ask for?

I was left wondering where this book would go after #1, and it seems the only way is up. This issue is action packed from start to finish and…at the risk of spoilers…the development with Carol at the end was just *chefs kiss*

I’m loving this, and the fact that we only have a week to wait between issues just makes it even better!

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Lords Of Empyre: Emperor Hulkling (2020) #1 (Lords Of Empyre by Chip Zdarsky

Lords Of Empyre: Emperor Hulkling (2020) #1 (Lords Of Empyre (2020))Lords Of Empyre: Emperor Hulkling (2020) #1 (Lords Of Empyre by Chip Zdarsky

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’ve been a fan of Billy and Teddy since I first read Young Avengers, and it’s been great to see Marvel allowing the characters to grow and their relationship to grow along with them. I had worried that Empyre would see Billy forgotten as Teddy shot of into space to be a big time space emperor, but those fears were allayed by this wonderful issue.

The art is superb, as it has been across Empyre so far, and the writing is just as good.

For what could have been a throwaway, inconsequential, one-shot tie in, this feels like essential reading. Well done to everyone involved!

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Giant-Size X-Men: Magneto #1 by Jonathan Hickman

Giant-Size X-Men: Magneto #1Giant-Size X-Men: Magneto #1 by Jonathan Hickman

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Interesting.

Not a lot happens, but what does happen is excellently written and drawn.

This is clearly sowing a seed for something else, which will undoubtedly bear fruit at a later date…which has been something a theme throughout these Giant Size issues.

While it may seem like this is not essential reading now, I’m expecting it to become a key part of the puzzle at a later date. I just hope that Marvel allows Hickman to see this through to the end.

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Avengers (2018-) #34 by Jason Aaron

Avengers (2018-) #34Avengers (2018-) #34 by Jason Aaron

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A bit of a dip in quality this month from this usually outstanding series, but this feels like it’s mostly set up for what’s to come next, which perhaps explains it.

I spent most of this issue confused as to what’s actually going on, and while I’m sure that all will become clear in time, it was a bit disorienting.

It feels like the Starbrand plot line has been building forever, it would be nice to have it finally come to fruition soon.

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2020 iWolverine #1 by Larry Hama

2020 iWolverine #1 (of 2)2020 iWolverine #1 by Larry Hama

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I like Hama’s writing and it’s good to see Albert and Elsie Dee again, but….there’s just not much here. I don’t really blame Hama for that, nor do I blame Boschi for the lacklustre art, this is just an inconsequential tie-in to a poor event. Really, the only thing this has to do with the main Iron Man 2020 event is that Albert’s the robot version of Wolverine.

I had hoped that this even would be a little gem, but instead it’s been nothing but a disappointment. I’m not sure if I should be annoyed that some parts of it simply aren’t being printed, it seems, or if I should be relieved…but I would have rather have had the Ironheart stuff than this. But, then, if it was as half hearted as the rest of this event, maybe I should be glad that i won’t get to read it.

Ah well, both Hama and Albert deserved better than this.

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Empyre (2020) #1 (of 6) by Al Ewing

Empyre (2020) #1 (of 6): Director's CutEmpyre (2020) #1 (of 6) by Al Ewing

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is what Marvel does best. Big, bold, exciting…it looks gorgeous and it’s skilfully written.

Maybe the big twist would have been obvious if I’d ever sat down and thought, “I wonder what’s going to happen in Empyre,” but as I didn’t I kinda just accepted who was in the right and who was in the wrong until, whoops, silly me…of course Tony has got the wrong end of the stick and is so damn sure that he’s in the right that he doesn’t stop to consider any other possibility, because that’s what he always does. Meanwhile, Reed is so bust considering every possibility that things get way out of hand before he’s decided to act. And, see, this is why I say this is what Marvel does best, because it builds these clear characterisations then dumps the characters in a story together and then what happens happens. And, yes, with hindsight it’s completely predictable, but when you let yourself get caught up in the story and carried along with it then it isn’t.

This is only #1 (although we’ve had a couple of #0s and a “road to” issue before this) and, honestly, I have no idea what happens NEXT. Sure, I might have been able to work out what happened a the end of #1 if I’d thought about it, but that’s just the beginning. I have no idea how things play out from here. We’ve got another five issues, plus innumerable tie in issues and n epilogue to go before we get to the end of this story…and I’m quite happy to just sit back and enjoy the ride till we get there!

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Snake Eyes: Deadgame #1 by Rob Liefeld

Snake Eyes: Deadgame #1Snake Eyes: Deadgame #1 by Rob Liefeld

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

You know, I like Rob Liefeld, his enthusiasm for comics is infectious and his art style was, in the 90s, what punk rock was to prog rock in the 70s. Namely, a breath of fresh air. In the past thirty years he’s learned to recruit excellent inkers and colourists to make up for his artistic shortcomings, and while the art is far from technically perfect, there’s no denying it’s a very pretty book…assuming you like that 90s aesthetic. Snake Eyes seems so perfectly designed to play to Liefeld’s artistic strengths you’d be forgiven for thinking he was one of his creations.

Okay, that’s enough about the art, what about the plot? Well, what about it? It’s absolutely ludicrous, of course. Liefeld teams Snake Eyes up with Scarlett, Roadblock and the original GI Joe himself, Joe Colton (because of course he does) to fight an ancient evil that’s a legend amongst the Arashikage clan (because of course he does).

Look, this comic definitely doesn’t deserve the four and five star reviews that other people are giving it, but it’s really not bad. It’s fun, it’s stupid, it’s drawn by Rob Liefeld and it has Snake Eyes in it. It’s very much a case of it does it exactly what it says on the tin.

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Daredevil #242 by Ann Nocenti

Daredevil #242Daredevil #242 by Ann Nocenti

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This issue, sadly, is something of a confused mess, lacking subtlety and a clear idea of what it’s actually trying to say.

Is it a damning indictment of the capitalist system, in which rich individuals horde the wealth generated by the working man, while simultaneously denying that working man access to the fruits of his labour?

Is it a damning indictment of the media, which sees everything as a story and chews people up and spits them out once they’s served their useful purpose of selling papers or winning ratings?

Is it an examination of the way in which superheroes, who claim to be peaceful men, use violence often in order to protect an unjust system, protecting capital and keeping the working man down?

Well, it’s trying to be all of these things at once and not really being clear about what it thinks in regards to any of these subjects. It’s asking a lot of interesting questions and answering none of them. Its biggest problem is that it has that working man accidentally murder the capitalist who’s denying him the fruits of his labour…which leaves it not really sure of who’s right or wrong. Is the greedy capitalist a bad man? Undoubtedly. Was the working man right to murder him? No. The problem being that super heroes don’t really work especially well with these kinds of moral ambiguities. I mean, I think that’s what Nocenti is trying to explore here, I just don’t think it works particularly well (and I do feel that a less workman like artist might have sold the inherent conflict within the narrative better).

The whole part with Karen suddenly being afraid of Matt because of how violent this peaceful man that she loves is when he’s Daredevil really didn’t make much sense to me either. She’s only thinking about this now? Really?

Still, for all its shortcomings this comic is still very readable. But maybe I just love reading comics from the eighties…? (There’s no maybe about it!)

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