You’ve met the A-Force, now Marvel is pulling out all the stops to introduce it’s “next big thing.” The line-up for Marvel’s All-New, All Different brand is going to be a mish-mash of some of your old favorites, and new characters you may have never seen before, so let’s dive in, shall we?
Here are a list of the characters, and which books you can find them in (that we know of). Clockwise, we have:
Agent Phil Coulson (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.): These people have to report to somebody. He’s the guy with a gun surrounded by people with super powers.
Spider-Gwen (Spider-Gwen): Gwen Stacy and her readers hit the jackpot when it was announced she would be a regular in the Marvel U.
Spider-Man (Amazing Spider-Man): Yep, Peter Parker is still around, doing Spider-stuff. No surprise here.
Iron Man (Superior Iron Man): Tony is on his way to becoming a total d-bag. Sorry, let me clarify – a totally unlikeable d-bag. The new suit suggests that he does not hold on to his symbiote-Extremis armor much longer.
Ultimate Spider-Man, Miles Morales (Miles Morales: Ultimate Spider-Man): The end of the Ultimate universe means that Miles will have a new home alongside the 616 Peter Parker and a slew of familiar Spideys.
Red Wolf (time travel back to 1972 for his 9-issue solo series): Not to use the “T” word, but I’m hoping this resurrected character isn’t a token move, just to sell books under the guise of diversity.
Ms. Marvel, Kamala Khan (Ms. Marvel): Ain’t no party like a Ms. Marvel party cuz a Ms. Marvel party don’t stop.
Thor, Jane Foster (Thor): After the recent reveal that the new Thor is Jane Foster, and that she is dying, what the heck will become of her going forward in the MU?
Ant-Man, Scott Lang (Ant-Man): He’s not your father’s Ant-Man, that’s for sure. Scott Lang is twice as hilarious, and hasn’t created a killer robot – so he’s already winning that debate, in my books.
Steve Rogers (Civil War): After passing on the mantle of Captain America, Steve Rogers is just an old man who knows how to do nothing but fight (I see you, Solid Snake!). Could he perhaps take over Nick Fury’s duties?
Black Panther, T’Challa (New Avengers, Avengers): Even if it’s just to hype him up for his solo film, give this man something to do, Marvel! This is the guy who just recently went to war with Namor. T’Challa is a fan favorite in need of some resurrection, and Marvel doesn’t have to do much work to make that happen; he’s not Aquaman, for crying out loud.
Spider-Woman, Jessica Drew (Spider-Woman): Another Spider-person carving a space of their own in the MU. She’s smart, sassy, and hopefully has a bigger role to play as an Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. going forward.
UPDATE: A second team was announced today.
Same thing, clockwise from the top left, here is the second team and where you can find them in comic books:
Doctor Spectrum (New Avengers): After being murdered by Black Bolt, she is making a comeback here.
Rocket Raccoon (Groot): It wouldn’t be the MU without him at this point.
Hyperion (Avengers): A new Hyperion joined the team with the Marvel NOW! reboot, one without the image of being a bootlegged Superman. I’m interested to see where he fits in the MU, but this new costume looks better than the previous ones.
Iron Man: Is him being the centerpiece of both images a sign of something? It seems unlikely that Marvel would do that incidentally; could this be indicative of a two-Tony dynamic like the one from Ultimate End. Who doesn’t want more Iron Man?
Daredevil (Daredevil): Oh. Em. Gee… Is that the Shadowlands version of Daredevil? I hope it’s not something lame, like just to emulate the homemade suit on the Netflix series. I would much like to see Matt Murdock back in control of the Hand.
Doctor Strange (Secret Wars): He’s currently serving as Doom’s bitch-boy in the Secret Wars series, but that doesn’t mean he’ll stay like that. He’s still one of the most powerful beings in the universe, and seems to be carrying an Asgardian axe – one used specifically for kicking ass, and then taking names.
Old Man Logan (Old Man Logan): Has Logan outgrown the X-Men? This very surly version of an already-very surly character is going to be an odd, but intriguing, fit in an MU with so many mutants and heroes in it. I’m thinking it will be like reading Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt with superheroes… if the role of Kimmy was played by Hugh Jackman.
X-23 (All-New X-Men): Doesn’t really matter your take on the situation, but X-23 looks BAD ASS as the new Wolverine. Kudos to Marvel for bringing back the original colorway. Total fangasm for her taking over the mantle.
Medusa (A-Force, Inhuman, Inhumans: Attilan Rising): This cutie with the long red hair is part of the A-Force, an all-new, all-female team of badass women, but more recognizable as part of the royal family of Attilan.
Human Torch, Johnny Storm (Uncanny Inhumans): Johnny has had a ridiculous journey the past couple years. He died. He was resurrected. His spot on the team was taken by Spider-Man. He lost his powers. In short, it sucked to be Johnny Storm. That is, until some Terrigen Mist helped Johnny find his powers, and a new team.
Karnak (New Avengers): Here’s a guy who doesn’t look like he belongs… You may remember this guy as the one who jumped out of a window and killed himself before the Terrigen Mist spread and created so many Inhumans.
The Thing : Whether he’s feeling self-conscious about his rock-hard abs or just trying out a new fashion style, Ben Grimm is back and rocking a Guardians of the Galaxy suit – one that matches Rocket, who is perched on his shoulders.
Citizen V: This guy (whomever it is taking up the mantle) is so flamboyantly patriotic, he’s like the Elton John of America. Even Steve Rogers is like, “dude, tone it down.” The concept of Citizen V (vee) has been around since World War II, and whose death led to the creation of super soldier Steve Rogers. His new iteration looks like the lovechild of Batman, Captain America and Spawn.
The mythical A+: Classic comic book material. Belongs next to your copy of The Notebookand The Joy of Cooking.
A: Would definitely recommend to all comic book readers. Even more so to fans of the genre or characters
B: Enjoyable read. Fans of the genre or characters will especially like.
C: Non-essential read. Can be enjoyable for fans of the genre or characters, but likely for only one or two events in the books.
D: Unenjoyable book. Read at your own risk. Might find satisfaction if major flaws are overlooked.
F: Please don’t buy this book. Donate your money to a local comic book writer’s workshop instead to inspire future generations to write something better than this trash.
Pick of the Week:
Black Science #10 – A
What’s cooler than a laser beam spitting, flying hippo-dragon cruising into the horizon of multiple setting suns against the backdrop of the most geologically unfathomable mountain range you’ve ever seen?!If you somehow have an answer for that, you sure as Hell better tell me in the comments section below, because I can’t think of anything!Thanks again Matteo Scalera for making love to my eyes.The events in Black Science are building up to something dimension shattering – literally.Though it appears the formula is repeating itself, I’ve got a feeling that Remender is just leading us on.I wouldn’t be surprised if in the Dimensionauts’ next jump this crazy adventure gets turned up another notch.If nothing else, we’ll at least get to see the laser-ninja shaman in action again! – Taylor
Alien: Fire & Stone #2 – B
I’m surprised.The Fire & Stone storyline is already 6 issues deep and in each new release the plot deepens and new elements continue to pop up.Each issue has left me on the edge of my seat and slack jawed.I said it last time and I’ll say it this time:The Fire & Stone story is possibly the best interwoven multi-titled comic arch I’ve ever read.Each story element is solid in delivery.The characters are engaging, the intrigue and creepy factor are out of this world, there are twists galore, and… just… everything is great!There is plenty of this story left to tell and so many questions left to answer.It makes me so happy to know that this thrill ride isn’t even halfway over. – Taylor
Earth 2: World’s End #4 – B-
This issue finally kind of settled down and focused on two groups of heroes, giving little time to what else is going on. I appreciated this, as this series was starting to get a bit jumbled. We’re introduced to a new character and get to see Apokolips and his crew. I still have no idea why we’re getting Dick Grayson’s story as nothing really seems to be happening there. One thing I have learned in the last week is that the World’s End story is going to have huge implications for the Futures End story happening on normal Earth. I know, I know, I probably should have known this, but, I didn’t…this also explains a lot about why it has been so spastic until now. That being said, this series is definitely more enjoyable than most Futures End stories and hopefully it will bring something fresh to what has become very stale. – Cody
Wonder Woman #35 – C-
The epic finale of Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang’s Wonder Woman 35-issue arc is the least epic finale that I could have hoped for. Over the past three years, Wonder Woman has rewrote Diana’s lore as a bastard child of Zeus himself. She has transformed into the Goddess of War, slugged it out with the other gods and faced off with Zeus’ First Born. So it’s extremely disappointed that such a well-told and carefully-crafted could come to such a screeching halt. It’s hastily wrapped up and the overall message is convoluted with just a few pages in this issue. It in no ways taints my memory of the 34 issues that preceded it, but I’m not heart-broken that we get an all new creative team starting next month. – Sherif
Sinestro #6 – D
On its own, this month’s issue of Sinestro is pretty good.Sinestro and his fear mongering Corps. are still ruthless and very entertaining to watch in battle.The pencil and ink-work is still on point.Sinestro is still crazy powerful and super scary.The thing that killed it for me this month is the thing I dislike most about comic books – abrupt and total change in plot.I see this more often with the major publishers and with superhero characters.Story lines from other comic books work their way into “related” titles and (for me) it only serves as a major buzz kill and disappointment.What happened to Sinestro’s frozen brethren?Who is this lamely named warrior Goddess and where did she come from?Is Hal Jordan still pouting on that rock after getting his ass handed to him?I was really feeling Sinestro thus far, but I have hard time forgiving such grandiose inconsistencies. – Taylor
Cartoon Network Super Secret Crisis War #5 – B+
This series has continued to amaze me every week in how well they mix these character together and have them work so well. This week we see things finally moving forward for the good guys as the bad guys are not getting along and it seems to be breaking them apart. They are about to blow up one of the characters worlds which isn’t revealed until the end, but will the heroes be able to save this earth and all the other universes earths? Will any bad guys actually help the heroes? Well, in great Saturday morning cartoon fashion, we wont find out until the exciting conclusion next month but we get an idea of what may happen. This series is filled with nostalgia and nerdy humor for those who watched any of these shows and offers us more material from franchises we loved which we felt we may never see again. – Jacob
Saga #24 – A-
(A) In all my years, I don’t think I have ever heard the phrase “stick it in my spinneret.” Saga continues to push the boundaries and introduce new and fantastical elements to an already complex and multi-faceted story. There has not been one moment where I’ve said to myself, “This is just like…” Dream team Brian K Vaughan and Fiona Staples introduce several new characters in this issue, as well as reacquaint us with several more, reminding us just how deep this story can be. Saga is a one-of-a-kind adventure that will have you laughing, gasping and losing yourself in, issue after issue. – Sherif
(B) Flip to page 17 of this month’s issue of Saga… Got that image burned into your brain?Good!Let this now everlasting burn be your eternal reminder of how great this series is.Contemporary media based entertainment nowadays much too frequently lacks originality and genuine creativity.Stepping outside the realm of comic books for just a second, think of the last 3 movies you went to see.I’m willing to bet my Saga collection that at least one of those movies was a sequel, remake, or a “based-on” work.Brian Vaughan and Fiona Staples are the antithesis to this notion.The story these two creative geniuses have put together rival any story (comic book or otherwise) I’ve experienced in the last 3 years – maybe more.I can’t urge strongly enough to those who haven’t been following this series the pure enjoyment and gratification waiting for you in Saga.If you appreciate originality as much as I do, then I command you to read Saga! – Taylor
Rasputin #1 – B
The use of red wine though the first panels is captivating and manipulates the eye to only look at what it wants you to look at. Red, overall, is used through the book to highlight certain moments in different way. Always, in one way or another a life force, the imagery holds fast. The is stark dialogue ramps up the emotional weight of the story. The images are rather jarring and have an intense punch to the gut. Much of the dialogue in the bubbles are replaced with images, such as, a skull in the dialogue bubble instead of words. The effect is haunting. I have always been utterly fascinated by Rasputin and glad someone is taking a crack at his story. If you like the occult and Rasputin like me, you’ll enjoy this book. – Jené
Roche Limit #2 – B
I love how this story goes back and forth between the scientist who set up this new world and the development of the story. Its one part existential crises, one part murder mystery. Cosmic and myopic in the same breath. And yet, both stories are the same and play off one another a sort of cosmic tapestry where all actions and reaction interplay with one another. One person story affects the larger level of the reality. I dig. Also, it’s just pretty, I get lost in the artwork still sometimes forsaking the story. Little less annoyed with the logistics of the story compared to the last book. It’s rounding out and I’m pulled in such a way I wish I had several books to binge read instead of the slow serial reveal. – Jené
Cutter #4 – F
Well, the Cutter miniseries has come to end and may I just say, thank god for that – what a cliché, unoriginal and overall unwelcome storyline. The conclusion in issue #4 offered literally nothing of interest and I kind of hate myself for reading it. What I’m sure was intended to be a shocking ending is extremely played out and I can think of at least three things off the top of my head that offer the same twist of a family member out for revenge for their victimized loved one (Prom Night, I Still Know What You Did Last Summer, basically every movie…) I feel bad being so harsh, but honestly the Cutter series felt way too drawn out (in only four issues, mind you), completely unoriginal and frankly boring. The characters were weak and easily forgettable and the writing felt phoned in. I’m not sure writers Robert Napton and Seamus Kevin Fahey even gave a shit what happened by the end of it. As a reader, I sure didn’t. Cutter felt lazy and like it was written by people that know nothing about horror and the conclusion of the story only confirmed that for me. Oh, and what I can only assume was supposed to be a “deep” final panel can kiss my ass. I get it, the cycle continues as long as there are people who are too weak to stand up for what’s right. Your social commentary isn’t scary and it only makes me hate you more. Overall, Cutter was worth avoiding, and a huge disappointment. – Keriann
Death of Wolverine: Deadpool & Captain America #1 – A-
Personally a Deadpool and Captain America team-up sounds wonderful, but then you add that it is the old Steve Rogers and it makes for the best thing to come out of the Death of Wolverine storyline and off shoots yet. In this we see Deadpool and Steve Rogers teaming up to collect any DNA of Logan/Wolverine so that nobody can clone him or use it for evil purposes. Although the underlying story is about this we actually get quite a good character study of both Deadpool and Captain America in this, showcasing sides of them only Wolverine had seen and helped them with. The ending of it had me a bit worried as to what will happen next, as I am sure any reader will understand and don’t want to give too much away, but I have a feeling it will all work itself out. Although the typical Deadpool humor is still there (seeing Steve Rogers respond to each joke Deadpool makes on whether he got the reference or not was quite funny) but we get a more drama heavy book here but with that we get a story that finally offers us something worthwhile in this never-ending Death of Wolverine saga. – Jacob
Death of Wolverine: The Logan Legacy #3 – C-
This week The Logan Legacy covers Sabretooth and his story about Wolverine, and oh, what a completely messed up story it is. Not much has come from the Death of Wolverine event that has been outstanding, even though I have enjoyed it all, but this does not change that as even though it is a entertaining story, it is one that ultimately seemed way off course and mostly just an avenue to show Sabretooth killing lots of people. This issue definitely gives you an idea in how fucked up Sabretooth really is as we see what he did right after Wolverines death and it was not very nice at all. The next issue is going to cover Lady Deathstrike and I have always felt she was one of Wolverine’s best villains, so hopefully we can get a worthwhile story from her and not be a rather unmeaningful story like the last two have been. – Jacob
Deathlok #1 – C-
As first issues goes, this book really isn’t all that impressive or captivating. Hays is living a double live as a secret operative and a single father. That was all that was really established in this book besides a lot of fighting bad guys that seem more like civilian casualties. Deathlok is being used to some nefarious ends he’s unaware of, or so it appears. Everyone needs some fluff in their life, but I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone. Still, I am curious about how the story will play out and the relationship between him and his daughter. At the moment the story is more action plot than character development. – Jené
All-New X-Men #33 – D
Between DC and Marvel, there is just too much “alternate universe” crap going on. Here, some mysterious all-powerful mutant girl got flustered, sneezed, and sent everybody to a different universe. Okay, where are the hidden cameras? Joke’s over guys… While the prospect of these guys ending up in different universes is intriguing, and the humor is on-point as per usual, I just can’t see this storyline being unique enough to wade through the whole thing for. Each issue keeps getting shorter, but it doesn’t help me stay interested. Best to just wait for this arc to end before jumping on the bandwagon. – Sherif
Axis: Revolutions #1 – F
I’m sorry folks, but this book did absolutely nothing for me. The first half was just some morality story as told by Spider-Man (ugh…) and the rest featured Doctor Strange (UGH….); all of the magic talk made him sound ridiculous and reminded me of Ron Burgundy on more than one occasion. Save your time! – Cody
Ciudad #1 – D
What do you get when you take Denzel Washington from Man On Fire and Russell Crowe from Proof Of Life, mix them together and throw the character into the chaos of the drug-infested streets of modern day Mexico? Ciudad is what you get! Just in case the previously listed movies draw an involuntary “WTF?” from your lips, Ciudad’s main character is an extractor. A man with James Bond-like skills paid to return the kidnapped to freedom from those wicked and evil enough to attempt to ransom them off. Are you salivating yet? I wasn’t but, different strokes for different folks, right?! The first thing that grabbed me when I opened Ciudad was the art, which is, sad to say, downright poor. From it’s quality to it’s color (Ciudad is completely black and white) it’s leaves you with that lackluster feeling that only bad CGI in a B movie can engender. This is an issue that could have really benefited from color, and that’s not to say that there aren’t some panels that are breath taking (cause a few are magnificent), but the art as a whole takes away from the book. There’s nearly no character development, and what little there is leaves you wanting. Like a twinkie without the cream you’re wondering, where’s the filling? I will say, the action is well done. The language used is very immersive and the action keeps you engaged with brutal yet instinctive violence. It’s just not enough. Ciudad reminds me of Steven Segal. There’s not a lot of substance, and it’s not much to look at, but it can kick some ass from time to time. So open an issue if you’re feeling froggy but like the crime congested streets in Ciudad, enter at your own risk. – Zach
Panel with the Most Awesomeness:
That about wraps it up for our reviews this week! Look for next week’s previews coming soon. Any comic books you didn’t see reviewed that you want reviewed? Any grades you didn’t agree on? Let us know in the comments!
All images taken from ComiXology app and the credit for them goes to the respective publishers; thanks to IDW Comics, image Comics, Dark Horse, Boom! Studios, Oni Press, Dynamite Entertainment, DC and Marvel for putting out great books.
Character: Captain America, Nick Fury, Bucky Barnes, Black Widow, Agent 13 and Red Skull
Writer: Ed Brubaker (The Man Who Laughs, Fatale, Velvet)
Art: Steve Epting (Crux, Velvet)
SCORECARD (each category ranked on a 10-point scale):
Storyline – 8
Art – 8
Captivity and Length – 8
Identity – 9
Use of Medium – 8
Depth – 9
Fluidity – 9
Intrigue/Originality – 8
The Little Things – 9
Overall awesomeness – 9
When the second Captain America movie (check out our review of the movie Captain America: The Winter Soldierhere) came out, you didn’t think we’d let you watch the film without getting an in-depth look at the graphic novel, too. The story of the Winter Soldier is a relatively new one, coming out just under a decade ago, but it’s one of Cap’s most iconic stories. The actual Winter Soldier story arc spans issues #8-14 (minus issue #10, which is a tie-in to House of M), but there is a lot of necessary back-story in the first volume that build up the suspense to Winter Soldier. Also, while the concept of the movie is the same, the meat of the book is far different from the film, so don’t come in with any preconceptions of what will happen – just enjoy the ride!
By now I’m sure you all know that Bucky, who was Cap’s kid sidekick until his apparent death (in Avengers #56, but like all Marvel characters, Bucky has been ret-2conned multiple times), is the Winter Soldier. This soldier was a tool for the Soviet Union, and was literally “put on ice” to complete special assignments. This might be old hat to us, but ten years ago, this was jaw-dropping. The shock factor of a cheerful kid sidekick becoming the deadliest weapon in the world was unprecedented. Winter Soldier does a solid job of alluding to the shock factor; there are numerous flashbacks and dead drops to buildup what is, in essence, a stand-off between Captain America and the Winter Soldier.
Like the movie portrays, this is not the same Captain America you recognize from the war days. He is no longer a gimmick, or war propaganda; he is a super-soldier with the feeling that he is being played with. It’s a demon that Cap struggles with throughout the book, and What makes Brubaker’s writing so great is he is fully ready to let Cap fall into one of his darkest places (not too dark, but really dark for Steve Rogers). The theory that Bucky was chosen as a symbol to inspire young men to join the war effort was just a cover-up. Bucky was actually the most ruthless weapon the Allies had; he did the gruesome deeds that Cap couldn’t. It’s a brilliant rewriting of a character to fit not just the story, but the times that the story is released in. This fact also sheds new light on just who Captain America is – not just the guy who punched Hitler in the face, but the one who sanctioned the actions that a Bucky, a child, could take in the name of freedom.
The issues are so well-paced. We begin with what looks to be the typical villain arc when Red Skull creeps around and secures a Cosmic Cube (an item capable of turning wish into reality – similar to Loki’s scepter, hmm… However, we’re quickly in the middle of a murder/mystery and forced to play catch-up like the dunces we are. I mean, if Nick Fury can figure out the riddle, I know I can’t. Speaking of Fury, his role in Winter Soldier is significant. While Cap is definitely the one taking the lead during the mission, none of it would have been possible without Fury’s keen eye (pun intended) and S.H.I.E.L.D. resources. That being said, Steve Rogers isn’t inept in any way; he puts the hurt on everybody in his way – often. The characteristic way the shied bounces off of and into foes very enjoyable to look at on paper.
Ed Brubaker’s Captain America: Winter Soldier is one of the best written books about Cap out there, and it’s almost ironic that a story that deviates from what was considered canon has the most identity with Steve Rogers. The ending fell a bit flat, but we do get some closure to the arc, and the aftermath of what happens here echoes through the series for years to come. The mirror image of Captain America and the Winter Soldier also creates dialogue among fans and casual readers alike (Note:Winter Soldier mentions and includes other figures like Falcon and the Invaders. If you want to dive deeper, those are good places to start). Any comic book fan should pick this up and read it – it’s simply the American thing to do.
“I can do everything he does… only slower” – how we feel about big shot blog sites who get their movie reviews in a week early because of special privileges
Oh Captain, my Captain! Chris Evans returns as Steve Rogers in his first solo film since Captain America:The First Avenger in 2011. He is not alone, though, as S.H.IE.L.D. director Nick Fury and mistress of espionage, Black Widow, join him in his mission to take down the Winter Soldier. There is a lot of back-story in this movie found in the comic books (Captain America: Winter Soldier review coming soon), and some of them might be considered light spoilers for casual fans of Captain America’s character, but fans who don’t know might be a little confused without those spoilers. It is never actually mentioned that Natasha Romanoff (check out our article on her here) is the Black Widow, and there are a lot of other details that sort of don’t really make sense unless you’ve seen The First Avenger, Avengers or read the associate comic books. While some might consider it poor story-telling, I look at it as not getting rewarded for doing your homework. Now that Marvel has hooked in the masses, it seems to be setting a new precedent by making viewers delve deeper to understand the whole story.
From the get-go, we can see that this is not your father’s Captain America. The naive young man who stood for truth, justice and the American way has opened his eyes to how the world really works. He still holds a moral standard that makes his colleagues roll their eyes, but is definitely going to throw down in the line of duty. In the strictest sense of it, he is no longer a champion of the American government, but the spirit of America. I feel like a good majority of Avengers showed Rogers being poked fun at for not knowing the various pop culture and historical references and making fun of his theological ideals and sense of and morality. Thankfully, this has been laid to rest and Cap now has a little notepad in which he lists all the things he has to catch up on, most recently added being Marvin Gaye’s soundtrack to Troubleman. Note: this list is actually different, depending on the country you see the film in. It’s a quick way to see how the character has grown, and to avoid beating a dead horse.
What really piqued my interest was Captain America’s level of brutality. Sure, he killed a bunch of Nazis in WWII, but that was war. I expected Captain America to have the same sort of moral compass as a Spider-Man or a Batman, where every life is sacred and not even the most vile are to die. That theory’s thrown out the window here as Cap stabs, smashes and explodes his way to put the bad guys down – most notably in the first ten minutes of espionage-filled action. Have we just evolved our super-hero standards to fit the modern day, or is this a darker, jaded Captain America that we’re seeing here?
While The First Avenger let people believe in the symbol, The Winter Soldier had more of an origin story identity than the actual origin story did. We get to see Steve Rogers become a super-soldier, take down Red Skull and find the courage to defeat an army – but Winter Soldier really embodies the hero that we associate the character Captain America as. A lot of it has to do with the acting; Chris Evans plays the perfect Captain America. Even with an all-star cast at his side, there was never a moment that it didn’t feel like it was his story. The “supporting cast” absolutely makes the movie. I haven’t seen Samuel L. Jackson this bad-ass since he was chopping off heads with a purple lightsaber. I mean, he’s no David Hasselhoff, thank God, but he’s as Nick Fury as you’re ever going to get; he’s the leading agent of a super-spy program for a reason, and Sam Jackson played it to a T. Note: Sadly, there are no exclamations of “Mother-f***er” in this film. Meanwhile, the talented ScarJo plays Black Widow extremely well. She’s sexy without being objectified – a role model for women and a poster model for men, truly the best of both worlds. However, it’s Anthony Mackie’s portrayal of Sam Wilson AKA Falcon that really stole the show. From Mackie’s acting to the way the his costume was designed, Falcon was bad-ass – and from the looks of it, this won’t be the only movie he will be in.
What makes Winter Soldier so great is it’s reflection of current society. Much the way The Dark Knight showed us our fear of terrorism and the symbol of how that is dealt with, Captain America: The Winter Soldier showed us our addiction to using government enforcement. Ah, the plot thickens. Everything is not what it seems though, as the whole shebang has been a conspiracy, an infection that has swept the whole system. Iconic movies like V for Vendetta have portrayed similar messages, but not quite as plainly as Winter Soldier showed it, and especially not as relate-able as to U.S. drone strikes taking down its own citizens. Surprisingly to some, this isn’t the first time Steve Rogers has taken on the entire U.S. government in the name of its people, so who is really the enemy here? I’ve seen the movie and I still don’t know; these are the questions that keep a good movie in the minds of its viewers.
So, we’ve spent a lot of time talking about Captain America, but what about the Winter Soldier? He is in half the title, after all. When the book that the film is based off of (review of that coming soon as well) was released almost a decade ago, the big reveal was that Bucky Barnes – friend and partner of Steve Rogers before his heroic and untimely death in The First Avenger – was actually the Winter Soldier, and it floored readers. Thanks to IMDb and the rest of the internet, we all knew this coming in. The reveal wasn’t quite as built-up as I would have liked, and I feel the whole portrayal of Bucky was really rushed; there was maybe 15-20 minutes devoted to him – and that is a shame because the Winter Soldier (both before and after the events of the movie) is one of the most ruthless killers in the Marvel universe. We do get some superb action sequences with Bucky and Captain America, each blow giving off waves of power, reminiscent of an epic anime fight. While on-screen, they do the Winter Soldier justice – but in the same way that Bucky was a pawn for the Russians, he is also just a pawn for the deeper storyline of the movie.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier also did not shy away from fanboy moments. The Amazing Stan Lee made his usual cameo (honestly one of his funniest), but it was another guest star that made us gush aloud in the theater. I won’t spoil it, but the Russo Brothers, who direct the movie, also are executive producers for a television show we can’t seem to get enough of – we’ll let you guess. We also get a taste of other not so super villains too, with Baltroc and Crossbones getting some screen time (they’re not in their traditional costumes, so see if you can find them). The use of the vibranium shield was spot on and a clear ode to the books; every fight sequence begins or ends with Rogers bouncing this thing off walls, even at one point destroying a S.H.I.E.L.D. fighter plane with it. Captain America was also a monster in combat. Exponentially quicker and stronger than his opponents, he put the hurt on a lot of people in spectacular fashion. Every punch, grapple and shield bash looked just as one from a super-soldier should.
To bastardize a line from The Dark Knight, Captain America: The Winter Soldier is the movie that we deserve, and the one we need. In a time where we are getting dangerously close to superhero super-saturation, it’s great to see a comic book film that favors character development over plot development. There are, of course, the explosions, fight scenes and witty one-liners that set a high standard at Marvel Studios, but what really makes Captain America: The Winter Soldier worth your money is the front-row seat to watching one of the finest characters in comic books saving the world from itself. Although the actual Winter Soldier (or Agent 13, for that matter) wasn’t in it for very long, The Winter Soldier drove home it’s sociopolitical points while still looking like one of the best comic book movies to come out.
Lyric: “One a thought is born, nothing can harm it/You don’t understand the magnitude of torment, that it took for me to form it/I dare ya to deal, each of the labyrinth characters killed/Got a Captain America shield that I wear in the field.”
What is more American that Hip-Hop and being a nerd? The correct answer to that is Captain America. However, today on “DTC,” we combine all three to possibly make the most American thing in existence. Surprisingly, today’s song “Duality” fits in perfectly with all of our topics. For those “DTC” fans out there, you might remember a while back we did a “DTC” about Captain America (Hopsin’s “Lunch Time Cypher”), yet contrary to this week’s article, it was about Cap getting… well, Cap’d. Today’s article is all about surviving through the battle. K-Rino takes this duality notion to heart by posing the question, what would happen if he had a rap partner. So rather than finding a rap partner, he decided to just split himself in half and become his own rap partner. Similar to the superheroes of the world, they all have duel identities. For every Bruce Banner, there is a Hulk. For every Bruce Wayne, there is a Batman. And for every Steve Rodgers there is a Captain America.
We all have this other side of us that either contradicts who we are or thrives in addition to our known character. Everybody has this dual identity. It’s not just superheroes; rappers are no different: where there is a Wasalu Muhammad Jaco, there is also a Lupe Fiasco . With a Calvin Cordozar Broadus, Jr, you have a Snoop Dogg, and if there is an Eric Kaiser, there is always going to be a K-Rino. For most rappers and poets of today, their dual identity comes with one powerful weapon – their words. That is exactly what K-Rino is trying to say in this lyric. Once an artist develops a thought behind a song, and spends so much time and energy to make it into a harmony, followed by a rhythmic flow, nothing and nobody can take that away from them. A majority of hip-hop artist form their songs based off of their personal lives, so when K-Rino speaks about the torment involved with forming that thought, he is talking about the difficult life he has had to go through, which has been the reason he is a rapper today. Without that life and that hardship, he wouldn’t be able to form such a song. And if you dare challenge him on those thoughts, it can only end badly for you.
So, similar to Captain America’s vibranium shield that keeps him safe in harms way, words do the same for the rappers of the world. Just like nothing can harm Captain America when he is covered by his shield, nothing can harm an artist when covered by his poetry. The same can be said for anybody and everybody, you just have to go figure out what your shield is. Coming back to the notion of duality, just like we all have that one thing that makes us feel safe, we all have that one thing that can harm us. For Captain America that opposing force is the Winter Soldier. Within the next few days the world will get to see that battle play out on the big screen. Dropping April 4, 2014, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, is going to shoot off vita-rays into every nerd heart, turning them into super nerd soldiers. This film looks to be a great one with the reappearance of some of our major characters such as the Captain and Black Widow, and the addition of some new ones, mainly Falcon and the Winter Soldier. I don’t know about you, but me and all of my other dual identity cannot wait to see this movie in theaters. So check out Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and go our there and discover the duality in your life.
Lyric: “I got foreign objects/That’ll get you capped in America (Captain America) like Marvel Comics”
I pledge allegiance to the panels of the united comic book universe, and to the trade paper backs for which it stands, thousands of dimensions, under Stan Lee, assembled, with fun and justice (Batman voice) for all. In this song, brought to us by Hopsin in his third studio album, Knock Madness, he wants to kick it old school and send us back to a place where we all use to gather around the lunch table in high school and spit a cypher. Remember what I told you all week one, all nerds grow up to be rappers, so if you were reading comics at your lunchroom table instead of freestyle rapping, your career in Hip Hop is still possible.
Case in point, Passionate MC, who brought us this gangsta-nerdy lyric, which by the way isn’t his only comic book reference in this song. Captain America is a character that stands for freedom, and equality for everyone. He believes what is right should be held in the highest regard over anything else, even over himself. He stands up for more than just the American people and he would even go through crazy extremes to protect what is right. I don’t want to be that dude on the internet that spoils stuff about cool things, so if you are interested in knowing what these crazy extreme things are check out Captain America Vol. 5 #25. Based upon this lyric, I can only guess that Passionate MC knows about Captain America #25. It’s probably what he was reading during lunch (March 2007). With the new Captain America: The Winter Solider movie coming out April 4, 2014 we are going to get to see our star spangled hero in action once again. With the addition of several characters, namely Falcon and The Winter Soldier we are going to get a deeper look into Captain America A.K.A Steve Rodger’s life.
I don’t know how they do it, but Scott Synder and Greg Capullo have made this feel like a true origin story. While most teams exploring an updated origin tend to focus on some untold section of a chararacter’s history, The New 52 Batman has been told however the creative team damn well pleases. After taking on the Red Hood Gang in the beginning of the Zero Year arc, Batman is now facing (Dr.) Death itself and The Riddler, as well as fighting his own personal demons. The artwork from Capullo is amazing, as it captures more of an early 1940’s Detective Comics vibe than most titles in 2013, a nod to his versatility – and let’s not forget about the comeback of the purple gloves. Storywise, it’s exciting and unpredictable. DC just let Synder have full reign on this book. Even the change to Jim Gordon’s canon, as heart-wrenching as it is, is spectacular story-telling. I can’t get enough of this flagship series.
Justice League #25 (DC Comics) – A
Have you ever wondered what it would be like if Batman was evil? Thanks to the re-introduction of The Crime Syndicate into the DC Universe and the magnificent writing of the legendary Geoff Johns, you don’t have to wonder. Justice League #25 focuses our attention on Owlman, the Earth-3 alternate universe version of Batman, and his origin story. Recreating the infamous Crime Alley Haley’s Circus scenes where Bruce and Dick Grayson’s parents are murdered, we get a disturbing look at Owlman’s persona. Oddly enough, he has a soft spot for our world’s Dick Grayson, as he tries to win him over. Even with the world controlled by the Syndicate, as long as it’s written by Geoff Johns, I wouldn’t have it any other way
Batman: Black & White #4 (DC Comics) – A
Batman: Black and White is a collection of stories from 6 different writers. Can I begin with stating that the art work is phenomenal? The book starts off with “Ghosts of Gotham” by Nathan Edmondson and Kenneth Rocafort. This pairing is perfect. I wish their story went on for an entire book. Batman is hunting a killer in a graveyard. He is in full gumshoe mode until coming face to face with a menacing figure. Dustin Nguyen is a one man army. He tackles both art and story for “Long Day.” Although the story lacks any depth, the artwork more than makes up for it as Batman gets ready to begin his work in Gotham. Sean Galloway offers his bold animation style to end the book. It will remind you of the old WB animated series. You will love this collection. Black and White was easily my favorite of the week.
Superman/Wonder Woman #3 (DC Comics) – A-
This is a perfect opportunity to jump into a series that is has just begun. Only three issues in, Superman/Wonder Woman has started off with a real bang. What seemed like a cheap way to capitalize on a love story from their individual series is shaping up quite nicely to be an awesome story by itself. These two superheroes are powerful enough together to go up against some of the more powerful enemies in their prospective rogue galleries. It will be interesting to see what challenges are thrown at them whilst they try to cultivate a meaningful relationship amidst the chaos. This will also be a welcome change of pace from the traditional Clark Kent/Lois Lane relationship as well, giving a woman who can fully understand him a chance in the spotlight. The real question is….. What would their baby be like?
The Amazing Spiderman #700.2 (Marvel Comics) – B
New York is in a deep freeze, and our Friendly Neighborhood Spiderman is swinging from rooftop to rooftop to protect his city. He is trying to get to Aunt May, but is sidetracked by the emergencies the weather has created. He does everything that he can, from saving people in a burning building to pulling an ambulance from falling off the Queensboro Bridge. Peter is obligated to doing all that he can to save lives. He would risk everything he loves to do the right thing, but will he get to Aunt May in time? The story is a little slow, but it’s appreciated. We haven’t seen a human and vulnerable side of Peter Parker in quite some time.
Batgirl #26 (DC Comics) – B-
This whole Wanted arc has had me in a glass case of emotion. This twisted love triangle between Batgirl, her dad and her new boyfriend has had readers on edge for issues, thanks to the great writing of Gail Simone. When Barbara finds out that her dad is now the target of a up and coming group of villains, she comes to his rescue. This isn’t the climax, however, as Batgirl is finally ready to show Commissioner Gordon just who is under the cowl. The epic cover illustrates the scene perfectly. However, Gordon refuses to look at her when she lays it all out in the open. You can almost feel the pain and disappoint of Batgirl, which is a gift and a curse, because you find yourself wanting it to happen, especially after a reveal about her psycho brother. How long have they done this dance? Batgirl gave me enough to want to keep reading the series, but I can’t help but feel disappointed that it didn’t turn out how I wanted it to.
Captain America: Living Legend #4 (Marvel Comics) – B-
Living Legend is a four-part series that follows what seems to be a pretty standard Cap formula – take something that happened to him in WW2 and have it come back to haunt him today. For a guy who was frozen for fifty years, he sure has a way of having his past continue to catch up with him. Don’t expect any real character development here, with just four issues to tell a story, expect only plot pieces essential to the direct story to be told. This is really a shame because there was a chance for some interesting development with the main villain and supporting cast. Still, the artwork is amazing and is a must read for any Cap fan.
Marvel Knight: Hulk #1 (Marvel Comics) – C+
Dr. Bruce Banner is once again on the run. He finds himself in Paris pursued by a clandestine agency. Before he can change into The Hulk he is chased down by two huge Gamma induced monsters. Piotr Kowalski’s art in this issue is just what I needed. It seems odd that an artist with such a soft touch for subtly would be involved with a story arc about a violent uncontrollable beast. His panels are bold, yet subdued. I know Sherif is a big fan of his Sex series, I have yet to pick up an issue, but may have to start reading the series now.
Justice League 3000 #1 (DC Comics) – C+
When news broke of Justice League3000, not much of the actual storyline was revealed. We knew the story took place 1000 years in the future, and we knew that these would be familiar characters, but that’s about it. This debut can be summed up in one awesome word: CADMUS. Project Cadmus is originally a 1970’s Jack Kirby creation also called the DNA Project, has a history of splicing DNA with new clones – from Superboy to Bizarro. So you have futuristic clones with no context of how they came to be. Throw in the Wonder Twins, and you’ve got one confusing issue. 3000 is full of potential, but it’s story-telling will have to carry the series, as the panel-by-panel writing and art only show glimpses of greatness.
Wolverine #12 (Marvel Comics) – C+
Wolverine’s appeal in the Marvel universe has always been his willingness to leap into danger no matter the consequence. But what we’re finding out is the result of what happens when an alien virus takes Logan’s healing power from him; SPOILER, it’s not a good look. In a show-down that’s been building since the beginning of the series, Wolverine is coming face-to-face with the Hand (no relation to the Foot) and the Silver Samurai, led by Sabretooth. It’s a bit of a struggle of an issue, as Wolverine is slashed and battered throughout the issue. With his fate left in Sabretooth’s claws, I was left feeling excited for the conclusion to the Killable story arc.
Nighwing #26 (DC Comics) – C
Dick Grayson has had the displeasure of living in Batman’s shadow for too long. Since moving to Chicago in Nightwing #19, he has flourished as his own character. The writer, Kyle Higgins, is actually a Chicago native himself, which has given the city more life. It may not be Blüdhaven, but it’s Nightwing’s home nonetheless. With bad guys of his own, such as The Prankster, Tony Zucco, and the Marionette, Nightwing has been far removed from the Bat-family, and this story is no different, chasing down a thief with quite the creepy alter-ego, leading to a reveal at the end that… well let’s just say that you can take Nightwing out of Gotham, but you can’t take the Gotham out of Nightwing. As is typical DC fashion, there is nothing pertaining to the events of Forever Evil in the episode, contrary to the cover; I felt misled, but I still enjoyed the issue.
Three #3 (image Comics) – C
If you are expecting Three to be anything like Frank Miller’s 300, I am afraid you will be very upset, I know I was. It is however, a decent story in its own right. While it has initially been slow to start, it shows promise with the way the author depicts everyday Spartan life. This book is about more than just the Spartan warrior, it is about the politics and class struggles of the everyday Spartan. The series’ writer, Kieron Gillen, has gone to great lengths, including contacting some of the foremost experts in the field, to make sure that his depiction is as accurate as possible. Despite this being less about war and death, and more about life, the book hasn’t completely forgotten about battle and the violent nature in which the Spartans lived their lives. This book shows promise for what it is, however, if all you are looking for is more of 300, I would give it a pass.
The Amazing Spiderman #700.3 (Marvel Comics) – C
Joe Casey picks up the Amazing Spiderman 700.3 where David Morrell left off. Peter Parker has just saved his dear Aunt May from a New York blizzard. Not shortly after, as Spiderman, he finds himself in a life or death fight with Firebrand. He suffers nearly fatal wounds and is rescued by a shadowy ambulance. He awakens to find himself bandaged in a creepy hospital desperately trying to figure out how he arrived in a mysterious infirmary that seems to be for criminals only. I didn’t care for the art in this issue, there is a shot of The Thing fighting Rhino that looks too simple to be in an Amazing Spiderman book. I’m just not a fan of Timothy Green’s pencils in this issue at all. I was also excited about the simplicity in the story behind issues 700.1 and 700.2, and this issue took that right away in the first pages. Hopefully 700.4 takes us in a clear direction and our wall-crawler can get out of the web he now finds himself in!
The Walking Dead #118 (image Comics) – C-
There has been a lot of death in The Walking Dead, some impacting, others ostentatious. I mean, it’s a post-apocalyptic soap opera (George Romero’s words, but true), so we’re expected to see death around every corner. However, the death of a beloved character came so unnecessarily and with such gratuitousness that it just plain pissed me off. Sure, there was a pretty sweet battle cry from Maggie at the beginning to let readers know she’s still that chick “that rode in like Zorro on a horse,” but the momentum carried by #117 is completely lost in telling the story of a death I feel no connection to, but by all means should. To be honest, I’m beginning to feel that way about the series altogether.
Justice League of America #10 (DC Comics) – D
When JLA launched almost a year ago under the helm of Geoff Johns, I thought that this ragtag team of superheroes had found a home together as a B team to the original Justice League. However, after ten issues, it’s become apparent that this book is little more than a drawing board for the Forever Evil arc. There has been little to no exploration of obscure characters such as: The Martian Manhunter, Catwoman, Green Arrow and (our favorite) Simon Baz. In this issue, we get a jumbled together, after-thought of a backstory of Stargirl, one of the lamest heroes I’ve seen in The New 52. There is also a reveal at the end that has to do with the end of the world, but I could have found out from a Facebook status with the same amount of entertainment I had reading the comic.
Funniest Panel of the Week:
Epic Panel of the Week:
Cover of the Week:
That about wraps it up for our reviews this week! Look for next week’s previews coming soon. Any comic books you didn’t see reviewed that you want reviewed? Any grades you didn’t agree on? Let us know in the comments!
All images taken from ComiXology app and the credit for them goes to the respective publishers; thanks to IDW Comics, image Comics, Dark Horse, DC and Marvel for putting out great books.