Crossover #1 by Donny Cates

Crossover #1Crossover #1 by Donny Cates
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’m honestly torn, and half way through reading this I was convinced that I was going to write a bad review…and then…it sucked me in.

You see, it’s a little too sure of its own cleverness, and that always puts me off…but, then, aren’t I a little too sure of my own cleverness in some of the comics I write? And…maybe this is clever? I’ll admit that I do think naming the main character Ellipses is fairly brilliant.

I’m also unsure of the way the comic book community is presented here, but I’m willing to give it the benefit of the doubt and see how it plays out.

I find it funny that the “fictional” characters…the ones who’ve stepped out of the pages of a comic, are coloured traditionally, with the dots of four colour process printing…while everyone else, who is actually also a fictional character in a comic, is coloured like…well…a regular modern comic. It gets very meta.

But that last page…promises something that…it can’t possibly deliver on…right?

But, then, this is called Crossover…

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Fantastic Four (2018-) #22 by Dan Slott

Fantastic Four (2018-) #22Fantastic Four (2018-) #22 by Dan Slott

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

So, in my review of #21 I complained that Wolverine just running his claws through the Skrull girl was wildly out of character, but I needn’t have worried because, of course, those actions really had no consequences at all. She’s fine. But somehow knows Alicia and nobody, including Alicia herself, really knows why.

Also, remember those FF costumes that Spidey and Logan were wearing on the cover of the last issue? They actually get those costumes this time. On the last page.

Meanwhile, the Priests of Pama are making Spidey’s Spider-Sese go crazy, and they want the Kree kid…for some reason. Well, it’s because he’s the Kree’s living chronicle, apparently, and so there are details of a doohickey in his mind that will help the Cotati win the war. Oh yeah, the Priests of Pama are working with Cotati for some reason, Despite the fact that the Cotati are dead set of wiping out all flesh based life…and the Priests of Pama are human. But, hey, I’m sure they totally have understandable motivations that we’ll totally find out next month, maybe.

I’m being overly harsh because it’s currently a million degrees here, and to be fair this issue has some great dialogue and some really pretty art. But, yeah, this wasn’t awful, but it wasn’t great either.

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Lords Of Empyre: Celestial Messiah (2020) #1 (Lords Of Empyre by Alex Paknadel

Lords Of Empyre: Celestial Messiah (2020) #1 (Lords Of Empyre (2020))Lords Of Empyre: Celestial Messiah (2020) #1 (Lords Of Empyre by Alex Paknadel

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This issue serves, essentially, as a good recap of a lot of past Avengers lore…specifically in regards to Mantis and Swordsman…that I wasn’t previously familiar with. It does a good job of humanising Quoi and making him seem like a sympathetic character. However, that said, it almost does TOO good a job, ultimately giving us no real reason for his rejection of his mother and determination to kill all meat, than his devotion to his father. There needs to be more to it than that for us to accept this previously cute kid who hand made a Swordsman costume so that he could make friends, as a now villain hell bent on wiping out all flesh based life. And I really hope that there’s more to his eventual defeat than his mother showing up and convincing him to be good.

The art is excellent in places, particularly the splash page of Quoi and Cotati Swordsman walking down a flight of stairs. Sounds boring, I know, but Lins finds a way to make it visually interesting. The highs of the art make the lows more frustrating, as in places the art looks rushed. This may well be a result of Lins having to meet a deadline while inking himself.

The real highlight of this issue, however, is the absolutely gorgeous cover art by Rob Reis. Simply stunning work.

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Empyre: X-Men (2020) #2 by Gerry Duggan

Empyre: X-Men (2020) #2 (of 4)Empyre: X-Men (2020) #2 by Gerry Duggan

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a huuuuge improvement over the first issue, which I did enjoy, but this is so much fun. I think the prologue with Wanda definitely dragged the first issue down, and this issue isn’t burdened with that and gets to just be a crazy romp with Angel singing Neil Diamond to Hordeculture and Magik showing off.

And talking of Magik…Werneck sure draws a good Magik. And it’s nice to see the Darkchylde back again. More Magik, please. Can we have some more Magik stories? There should definitely be more Magik.

M and Madrox don’t get to do a whole lot, but hopefully they’ll get a chance to shine before this story ends. Jamie, in particular, is just kinda’…there.

But, yeah, this is good.

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New Mutants (2019-) #10 by Ed Brisson

New Mutants (2019-) #10New Mutants (2019-) #10 by Ed Brisson

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is no Hickman and Noto, but…what is? It might be unfair to Ed Brisson and Mike del Mundo to compare them to Hickman and Noto, but it’s inevitable, and they really don’t compare. But taken on its own merits, this issue is reasonably good and a definite improvement on the previous non-Hickman/Noto New Mutants issues.

It still doesn’t quite gel though, and I think the issue is that Brisson’s New Mutants lacks the joy of Hickman’s. It lacks the fun, the silliness, the humour. Instead it tries, really hard…like with the Glob scene here (and the recipe that another reviewer on Good Reads took particular offence at)…and…sure, it’s…funny? But it feels somewhat forced, and lacks the whimsy of Hickman’s issues.

Also, del Mundo’s art is perfectly good, but perfectly good isn’t really good enough on a current X-book, and it’s certainly not good enough when it’s inevitably going to be directly compared with the work of Phil Noto.

All in all, I certainly didn’t hate this issues, it’s just that it could have been so much better.

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Daredevil #243 by Ann Nocenti

Daredevil #243Daredevil #243 by Ann Nocenti

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

First off I should say that I don’t feel qualified to comment on the possibly problematic racial aspects of this issue. I simply don’t know enough about voodoo and Haiti to know if there are issues with those parts of the story.

That said, this is really good stuff. The writing is, at times, poetic and it combines with the art to create a comic which is, at times, incredibly atmospheric. At times dark and mysterious and also quite disturbing in places. A Haitian drug dealer, who goes by the peculiar name of Danny Guitar, is exploiting people’s superstition and using voodoo, which he’s clear he doesn’t believe in, to control the drugs trade in Hell’s Kitchen. However, a mysterious pair intend to make him pay for his cynical misuse of voodoo.

Beyond that, the underlying theme of this comic is whether or not it’s right to mete out justice with your fists, or to gather evidence and prosecute wrongdoers in a court of law. Both the equally oddly named Detective “Bucko” Leary and Karen Page challenge Daredevil on this point, and so he seeks to gather evidence of Danny Guitar’s drug dealing to hand over to to the proper authorities.

Look, this is an entirely valid point, and probably should be explored in super hero comics…but, at the same time, if the system worked in Marvel’s New York then there’d be no need for costumed heroes and this book wouldn’t exist. The very premise behind this book is that Matt needs to work both within and without the system to see that justice is served.

Overall this is a very strong issue, with some great writing and some appropriately gritty and atmospheric (yes, I’ve used that word twice) art.

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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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Empyre (2020) #0: Fantastic Four by Dan Slott

Empyre (2020) #0: Fantastic FourEmpyre (2020) #0: Fantastic Four by Dan Slott

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Not as good as the Avengers issue, but I wasn’t expecting it to be, mainly because I’ve found Dan Slott’s writing to be a bit hit and miss over the years…and more often miss lately. But this one is mostly hit and it’s a lot of fun, with great art by RB Silva.

As a segue into the coming events of Empyre it seems to work well, and I’m assuming that pair of Kree and Skull kids they pick up here will play a part in that. Franklin and Valeria getting up to mischief is something I always enjoy, so their gambling shenanigans amused me here.

It’s action packed and full of fun, exactly how the Fantastic Four should be!

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