Written by: Cullen Bunn
Art by: Jorge Molina, Matteo Buffagni
Published by: Marvel Comics
X-MEN GOLD #1
Written by: Marc Guggenheim
Art by: Ardian Syaf, Jay Leisten, Frank Martin, and Cory Petit
Published by: Marvel Comics
When I bought X-Men Gold #1 last Friday, I thought my review would be a simple one to write. But on Saturday, all hell broke loose when news about what artist Ardian Syaf included in the issue came to light.
If you haven’t heard the details, you can read all about it here.
There is no excuse for this. If he wishes to express his feelings like this, he should do it in his own comic. There is no way he can stay on the book past issue #2, and I won’t be surprised is Marvel fires him from the company for good.
What makes the situation even sadder is that his actions have overshadowed what was otherwise an enjoyable first issue. X-Men Gold #1 is a return to form for the children of the atom. These are the X-Men I remember fondly from decades ago. Writer Marc Guggenheim has the X-Men doing X-Men stuff again: playing baseball, working as a team, spending time as a family. I could go on and on, and all of it works!
I’m not saying X-Men Gold #1 is the greatest X-Men comic ever, but damn if it wasn’t fun seeing the X-Men act normal again. This issue had action, humor, and even some great one-on-one conversations. But with a roster that includes Kitty Pryde, Rachel Grey, Colossus, Nightcrawler, Old Man Logan, and Storm, you really can’t go wrong.
The one thing I didn’t like in this comic, was Rachel Summers’ new codename of Prestige. There’s one panel that tries to explain it, but it wasn’t enough. Ever since she droppes Phoenix as her codename, it’s been downhill for Rachel. And why the heck does she have a cape? Maybe of this will be answered in future issues.
Anyway,s is X-Men Gold #1 is a solid debut for the new team, and one worth checking out if you haven’t followed the X-Men in a long time. I can only hope even better things are ahead.
X-Men Gold #1 score: B
X-O MANOWAR #1
Written by: Matt Kindt
Art by: Tomás Giorello, Diego Rodriguez, and Dave Sharpe
Published by: Valiant Entertainment
Boy have things changed for Aric of Urth since I last read an issue of X-O Manowar. The new series from valiant opens on the Planet Gorin, where Aric is living a quiet life as a farmer. Aric has settled down with one of the local ladies, and he seems pretty content.
Well, maybe except for the whole tail conversation the two have, that was a little weird. The exchange is especially odd since no Azurians with tails are ever shown in the comic.
Anywho, in X-O Manowar #1, all able bodies are forced into service, which basically means they’ll be used as human shields for the Azurian soldiers. Drafted by the Azurians, Aric fights, showing his fighting spirit, determination, and why he is an army of one. But interestingly enough, also shows that Aric doesn’t always want to fight. He does so because he has no other choice.
Writer Matt Kindt teases several events from Aric’s past, but he does so in a way that even new readers will know what is going on. It doesn’t even matter if you haven’t read an X-O Manowar adventure in a while either, X-O Manowar #1 is the perfect place to start again.
Tomás Giorello’s art is gritty, and raw. The colors by Diego Rodriguez are rich and make every panel pop. The battle scenes feel epic and brutal. While the quiet moments feel intimate. I’m really impressed with this team, and their work in X-O Manowar #1 is truly wonderful.
X-O Manowar #1 is a strong debut from Valiant, one that welcomes new and old readers, and sets the stage for the adventure ahead. X-O Manowar #1 offers a lot to look forward to and I will be back to see how things unfold in issue #2.
Well done Valiant, well done.
X-O Manowar #1 score: B+
X-MEN PRIME #1
Written by: Marc Guggenheim, Greg Pak, and Cullen Bunn
Art by: Ken Lashley, Ibraim Roberson, Leonard Kirk, Guillermo Ortego, Morry Hollowell, Frank D’Armata, Michael Garland, and Joe Caramagna
Published by: Marvel Comics
X-Men Prime #1 sees Storm recruit Kitty Pryde out of retirement to lead the ResurreXion for the X-Men. Along the way we check in on Lady Deathstrike who will star in the upcoming Weapon-X title.
Later in the issue, we run into Jubilee and a handful of students we’ll see more of in the upcoming Generation X book. And last, but not least, we see Jean Grey and the time-displaced original X-Men who will star in the upcoming X-Men Blue.
Writer Marc Guggenheim uses Kitty Pryde as our tour guide, one that old and new fans can relate to. Meanwhile Greg Pak, and Cullen Bunn handle the sections featuring the upcoming titles. But I’m happy to say the change between writers though, is pretty seamless.
Guggenheim writes Kitty as a still young character, but one that has seen too much battle and heartache too. But despite this, Kitty is still the hopeful person we all knod and love. And in this issue, Kitty knows what’s best for the X-Men, what exactly she needs to do to bring them back to being the X-Men we cared about.
The art in X-Men Prime is quite nice, with Ken Lashley taking home the gold. I’ve liked his work ever since he was on Excalibur in the early 1990’s, so it was nice to see him draw Kitty again. The other scenes fall to Ibraim Roberson and Leonard Kirk. The Lady Deathstrike scene is darker, and less detailed than the Kitty Pryde sequences, but it definitely fits the scene. And Lady Deathstrike looks just like Kelly Hu did in the film X2, right down to the pant suit.
Meanwhile, the segment with the time displaced X-Men, is brighter, more fun, and includes costumes. Not great costumes minds you, but at least they’re wearing some. This part of the issue also sees Jean Grey wondering why the boys are always so protective of her. A good question, considering she’s probably the most powerful out of all of them.
X-Men Prime #1 is exactly what you expected: An overpriced issue that previews the new upcoming X-Men books. However, X-Men Prime is also pretty damn good, and that is something I was not expecting.
All of the sudden I’m interested in the Weapon-X and Jean Grey books, and I can’t wait to see what kitty Pryde has in store for the children of the atom.
X-Men Prime #1 score: A-
By mid-1998, I was considering giving up collecting comics. Things got to the point where I just wasn’t enjoying them anymore. One day I realized I was still buying some titles out of habit, rather than because I liked the stories.
But the industry as a whole had issues back then: X-Men was unreadable, Hal Jordan was evil and dead, but not really. And Image Comics was not the company it is today. It just wasn’t a good time for comics, or for me.
But then came a new series from Image Comics that brought the fun back, and that book was… Danger Girl?!?
Yup. Danger Girl is responsible for keeping me interested in comics. I don’t remember what made me pick up Danger Girl #1, but I’m guessing it had something to do with J. Scott Campbell’s art. Yeah, he has a very 90’s t&a style, but one thing Campbell has always done well is facial expressions, and as an art student, I liked learning from him.
Anyways, Danger Girl was one of the first books from Image’s new Cliffhanger imprint. Launched in 1998 bt Campbell, Joe Madureira and Humberto Ramos, the new line had huge potential, but out of the three artists, only Ramos managed to deliver long running series.
But that’s a whole different story.
The first issue of Danger Girl begins with main character Abbey Chase pursuing a James Bond type villain named Donavin Conrad. He is in possession of a mystical Mayan artifact and making a getaway on a speedboat. During the chase, Abby is forced off the road by Conrad’s hencmen.
Not one to give up easily, Abby crashes her jeep into the water and into Donavin’s speedboat. Abby manages to beat the villain, and just before going over a waterfall, she’s rescued by a tall blonde dangling from a helicopter.
From the opening sequence alone, I liked Ms. Chase right away and knew she was one tough cookie. I also wanted to know who the hot blonde was. And when I saw the Bond-esque credits in issue #1, I was hooked. Danger Girl was going to be one hell of a ride.
The rest of the Danger Girl cast is just as much fun as Abby Chase. There’s Sydney Savage, the sexy catsuit wearing Australian. Her friendship with Abby was one of my favorite aspects of the book. Another member of the team (early on at leasT) was Tatiana Romanova, a sultry Russian formerly with the KGB. She was recruited for her phenomenal combat and espionage talents.
The other Danger Girl member is Silicon Valerie, a teenager who graduated top of her class at Oxford in her early teens. She’s the Q of the group, although she’d much rather be out on the field with the other ladies. The Danger Girl group was led by a man named Deuce, who bears a striking resemblance to Sean Connery. Deuce is a former British Secret Service Agent who was brought back from retirement to lead and oversee the world’s first all-female espionage network, otherwise known as Danger Girl.
If you know anything about J. Scott Campbell’s art, then you know to expect a lot of t&a shots. But unlike other comic books of the era, those shots actually fit nicely with the story Campbell is trying to tell here. He even makes fun of the situation by having Sydney Savage use her good looks and charms on the bad guys. Even Abby has some funny moments when she comments on the clothes she’s forced to wear. Let’s just say you’ll never see James Bond in a car-chase while wearing a little frilly waitress dress.
The first Danger Girl series lasted only 7 issues, and to this day I don’t understand why. Sure, Danger Girl popped up again a few times over the years, they even teamed-up with Batman, but none of those comics had the charm and fun of the original books.
That being said, if you ever run across the Danger Girl issues at a convention, don’t judge then unfairly, and give them a shot. Danger Girl #1 has everything you want from a 007 adventure and more. And yeah, it has some cheesecake shots, but the entire comic is just plain fun.
Written by Marguerite Bennett & James Tynion IV
Art by Steve Epting
Published by DC Comics
“The Many Arms Of Death” part one! At last—Batwoman is back in her own ongoing series! On the island nation of Coryana, anything goes for members of the criminal underworld…and during her lost years after being drummed out of the military, Kate Kane found a kind of refuge there.
But now, a deadly new bioweapon is available in the markets of Coryana, and Batwoman will have to face up to the things she did in those days…and the people she left behind, some of whom would be happier to see her dead than alive!
Batwoman #1 features the character doing some classic detective work. as she tries to solve a case that forces her to travel back to her roots. Parts of the story work well, but other parts could have been better. There’s just not enough in this comic to sink your teeth into, which is rather disappointing for a first issue.
Even so, the memory segment in this issue is intriguing. Hopefully future issues will develop these scenes even more. The sequence in Batwoman #1 works in large part due to the black and white art, with the exception of the red of Kate’s hair, a woman’s lips, and another’s eyes.
Steve Epting’s art is a perfect match for Batwoman. Here, Epting was able to set the mood with darkness, but he was also able to showcase the character’s sadness and regret. I also loved the way he draws the Batwoman suit. There are no thigh high boots with six-inch heels. Instead, Steve Epting gives us a suit that looks practical and could work in the real world.
Without a doubt, Epting is one of the best artists in comics. And what’s amazing is that his art style continues to evolve. He is a better artist now than he was in the early 1990’s when he worked on the Avengers.
In the end, there were parts of Batwoman #1 that I loved, and other parts that fell short to me. But I trust and like the work of co-writer Marguerite Bennett, so I believe the story will be sharper in future issues.
Batwoman #1 score: B
SCARLET WITCH #15
Story by James Robinson
Art by Vanessa R. Del Rey
Published by Marvel Comics
Witchcraft has been saved. Now Wanda has an even harder thing ahead of her – planning her life now her task is done. But first she must face a witch-demon who possesses a young boy with a bloodline connection to witches of yore. Join us as Wanda must battle evil both in present-day New York…and Havana, Cuba in 1954!!
Ever since I resumed my weekly comic store visits last summer, I’ve noticed the Scarlet Witch solo comic on the rack, but never picked it up. At first it was because I was avoiding anything from Marvel, and later because I had too many other things on my pull list.
Then last week, while browsing the new release racks, I saw the cover to Scarlet Witch #15, and loved it. This my favorite cover of the year, it’s a gorgeous cover despite its simplicity. And that was it, with that killer cover, I thought this was a good time to check out what’s new with the Scarlet Witch.
From what I understand, in this series Wanda’s abilities are used in a more supernatural way, finally showing the character as a witch. Wanda is currently on her own, trying to fix witchcraft and find those responsible for destroying it.
While this is a very different take on Wanda, I enjoyed what James Robinson did with this new angle. Also, it was nice to see the Scarlet Witch more confident of herself, in control of her powers, and even with a sense of humor.
It’s a shame that Scarlet Witch #15 is the last issue of this series, because I would have loved to see the character grow more confident. But I am happy that as a result of her journey in this series, Wanda is ready to face her future, and to rejoin the Avengers.
Vanessa Del Rey’s art adds to the supernatural feel of this issue. Most of her panels are dark and set the mood for the story. But her rendition of Wanda always stands out, and she looks beautiful and powerful.
Overall, this was a good story to send Wanda to whatever her adventure is. I for one, am very excited to see where the Scarlet Witch turns up next, but first things first: I need to pick up the other 14 issues of this series.
Scarlet Witch #15 score: A