**AS ALWAYS BE MINDFUL THAT THERE WILL BE SLIGHT SPOILERS, READ AT YOUR OWN PERIL!!**
Secret Avengers #3
Writer: Ales Cot
Artist: Michael Walsh
Reviewer: Aitch Cee
3 issues in and this is still the book I wish Agents of SHIELD would have been on TV.
Ales Kot still brings a laugh to my face reading this book in the face of impending nuclear doom. This book starts off with her sending the group out after a missile that went missing after Fury, Jr and Coulson’s space romp. In the middle of the mission when things get hairy, Coulson freezes and needs to be bailed out and all of this along with a bomb that needs to be talked down from suicide; yes that really happens here. In the meantime there is a really mad, mad scientist trying to spoil everyone’s day.
This issue like the others, has a great mix of action and humor thanks to Michael Walsh’s work to bring Kot’s writing style alive in this book. If you doubt what he can do, check out the overhead portion that he does describing a scene. The only thing that we still haven’t really gotten yet is figuring out M.O.D.O.K.’s motivations working with SHIELD.
This is one of the few Marvel books that I can recommend right now because it’s a perfect mix of humor and action and not a hard book to get into. Kot and Walsh are a great team and I look forward to more.
5 out of 5 stars
Writer: Mark Millar
Artist: Goran Parlov
Reviewer: Oz Longworth Jr. or Oh Captain My Captain
I want to say that if you look hard enough outside of the Big Two (Marvel and DC), you can find some good unconventional stuff out there, but honestly you don’t have to look that hard. With non-superhero titles such as Saga and The Mercenary Sea doing so well, there’s a big market for off-beat stories to be told. Mark Millar’s “Starlight” is a godsend that, three issues in, has already garnered enough buzz among readers that Fox has decided to go forward in adapting it for a film. This book tells the story of Duke McQueen, a former space adventurer who once saved the universe decades ago only to come home and have nobody believe him.
Issue 3 picks up, Duke has been called back into action and spirited off into the stars for one last adventure. He returns to his old stomping grounds to find that things have changed drastically thanks to a new, more menacing threat than before. The great thing about this book is Millar’s welcome change of pace. With previous titles such as Kick-Ass and Nemesis, he has a tendency to take superhero tropes down a very dark, bleak path. The rules here are quite different. This series doesn’t even attempt to apologize for the obvious influences from Flash Gordon and John Carter of Mars. Despite our hero’s reservations about being a bit old for these kind of these kind of shenanigans (though it doesn’t seem to stop Bruce Willis), McQueen doesn’t waste a lot of time harping on the details in this issue, our hero hits the ground running, kicking more ass in a mere matter of panels than a kung-fu film festival. Goran Parlov’s art is insanely beautiful as always. He brings a very simplistic look to the world of Tantalus. My only real complaint here is that the majority panels are always very tight and feel a bit claustrophobic. This is sort of a shame considering that we’re being introduced to a brand new alien world. Still, even though this is just a little more than a minor complaint, it’s not a dealbreaker with everything there is to love about this book.
Bottom Line: This book is so good, it completely makes up for Kick-Ass 3.
4 out of 5.
Writer: Jonathan Hickman
Artists: Leinil Francis Yu and Gerry Alanguilan
Reviewer: Lee Gordon
Original Sin is not just about who shot the Watcher. It’s also about the weight heroes carry when burdened with the unthinkable atrocities they might have done (or plan to do) to save the world. This was the very reason the Illuminati was formed, and reformed, to make the hard choices. Some heroes didn’t like that.
This book gives a flashback (of sorts) playing out what happened months ago when an incursion of another Earth threatened the 616 universe. It was Captain Steve Rogers along with the Infinity Gauntlet that saved the day. Unfortunately, the burden weighed too heavy on the noble Captain’s shoulders. Even though they won, the Gauntlet was lost.
A question was posed, what do we do if it happens again. Tempers were hot. Tony, T’Chilla, Namor, Reed, Strange, Blackagar, and Hank made a tough choice, a choice that has just come back to haunt Tony, because now, Captain America remembers.
The Avengers are at their best when it is a house divided, and I mean the team, not the book. It is not often a writer can pull off a team book because sacrifices are made. A writer tends to play favorites.
Jonathan Hickman does a wonderful job keeping each character as their own separate entity to allow the story to flow. He portrays Captain America with strength and righteous anger, even when he is uncertain who he should be angry with. And what Hickman does with words, Leinil Yu does with pencils.
Steve went to confront Tony and he didn’t go alone either. His back up teammates were always considered B-listers in the guise of Black Widow and Hawkeye, whose popularity has surged due to the recent movies. Steve also has a few heavy hitters like Hyperion and the Starbrand, even though he only asked for Thor, the thunder god asked those two to come along. Of course we are talking about Tony Stark here, so that might not even be enough. The issue culminated with the Captain’s rage, along with a right cross against his brother in arms, Iron Man. A fight begins between man and iron until a trinket appears, one that was once listed as “gone”
Avengers 29 is tagged as part of “original sin” but this book could stand alone by itself. This is the type of book that is building on the strength of its characters and what characters are as great as the Avengers, especially when it shows the weight and integrity that Captain America holds, after all when a man asks and a god answers, is that not the true measure of a great man.
Then there was the final panel that made me remember, being impatient, that I had to wait until the next issue came out.
4.5 out of 5 stars
Deadly Hands of Kung Fu #1
Writer: Mike Benson
Artist: Tan Eng Huat
Reviewer: Ray Willis
With finding out the death of loved one, Shang Chi ventures to London to find the killers that are responsible for it. The story is simple and starts with Shang-Chi’s former love falling to the hands of Razor Fist which I haven’t seen this guy in a very long time and his three assassins with various weapons. While going after Crossbones who leaves bodies in his path, Shang-Chi goes through the motion of his training. His body knows what to do without him telling it to do. Vengeance doesn’t fuel Shang-Chi but Justice in whatever form it takes. After delivering Crossbones, Captain America give Shang-Chi the bad news. Shang-Chi goes off to find the perpetrators but Shang-Chi visits the people that his late acquaintance was close to and travels to London. The action in this issue was really good with a daring take down of Crossbones from a helicopter seamlessly and finding off multiple attackers at once. Showing that he fast enough to catch knives and react like a coil snake ready strike. Also the death in the first few pages was brutal.
The art is okay but too much shading on the characters faces look pretty bad. Some faces looked a bit stiff and that’s pretty much it. Also I have not heard of Tan Eng Huat before until now. The fights were good but I want to see more but it’s the first issue so I can let that pass. This is a good start for the Master of Kung Fu and I hope to see more in the next few issue of the deadly hands of Kung Fu.
4 out of 5