Loki: Agent of Asgard #4

This series gives no french toast about telling the story consequetively: So we begin with Sigurd (the ever glorious) climbing a mountain to see Kaluu (Master of Black Magic). And He has Gram! The hero’s blade! But Loki is supposed to have that!

In the recent past, Loki is having dinner (baked salmon with lemon) with Verity Willis. Verity is one of my favorite new characters: a human lie detector. She’s a human. She can detect lies from gods, too. Which is how she sees Sigurd who has turned himself invisible with a Lightbender Invisibility Belt stolen from AIM. Sigurd is busting in to steal Gram. Duh. Once he’s busted, Sigurd tries to talk his way out it. But it turn out that the All-Mother has assigned Loki to have Sigurd returned to Asgard. The All-Mother is still displeased that Loki let Lorelei escape and they tell him that either Sigurd is returned or Loki himself will be. 

Sigurd and Loki duel and Sigurd is victorious. Duh. 

Back on the mountain: Kajuu is impressed, and when Sigurd requests that he be put onto the wheel of incarnation, so that when he dies he can be reborn instead of being tortured by Valkyries in Valhalla (a plotline that goes back to New Mutants #43 about 4 years ago). Kajuu agrees to help Sigurd with the sacrilegious deed and he gets Sigurd to sign it in blood.

It’s not Kajuu, it’s Mephisto. And he’s set to damn Sigurd to the torture pits. Only Loki’s gotten there first (and tripled up on invisibility cloaks) and switched the contract: he sends Sigurd back to Asgard and Mephisto back to Hell. Parting words from Mephisto, “It’s what I’d expect from the young punk. Not from you.” He knows that “kid Loki” is gone, and inside is his old pal.

Loki is getting anxious, not about Mephisto finding him out, but about the All-Mother locking up Asgardians for roaming free on Midgard, “In other words, today it’s him… tomorrow it’s one of us.” He asks Verity, Lorelei and Thor to help him on his mission.

“You don’t bring a sword to a Loki fight” is the name of the next issue. I wonder if Loki will come into contact with his alternate self that’s roaming about. But it’s still early in the series yet.

For Asgardia’s finest: Y.A.L.A. (you always live again) 

Not for Sigurd this time, but it’s working for Loki… thus far.

Lee Garbett’s art is well suited, fight scenes are crisp and the look matches the feel of the writing excellently. Something I don’t often acknowledge? The Lettering. Asgardian’s get their old school fancy font, Mephisto gets an odd one, scrolls appear here and there to announce random facts or times. It’s just good. It’s just so good. I have so much love for this series.

Comic-book Catch up #4

Featuring Ms Marvel #3, Tomb Raider #3, Lazarus #8

Ms Marvel #3

Kamala Khan is experiencing the backlash from sneaking out. Her parents are upset, she’s still upset with Bruno. Bruno has his own mayhem happening, his brother asks him to steal from his register at the convenience store. Zoe is getting all the attention for getting saved while Kamala tries to get a grip on her powers and ends up in hiding even though she’s the hero in this story. She’s worrying she’s outgrowing her life “like a pair of pants that no longer fit” and in the next moment she’s confronting both teenage drama and an armed robber head on. G Willow Wilson writes teenage well, and she provides insight to the way that Kamala’s culture separates her from others in Jersey City, but also how it bonds her with her friends. She questions authority but is realistically insecure and charming. 

Tomb Raider #3

We’re treated to a bit more backstory on the hard hitting Reyes. In Dublin, her daughter is in imminent danger from the Solarii cult. They want the artifact Lara stole. Only, she still doesn’t remember it. She tries to lie, but the cult members don’t buy it. Suddenly, someone takes aim and shoots the gangsters and Lara breaks a glass over someone’s head. Meanwhile, Sam is in trouble. Lara and Reyes make a break for it, with the men in hot pursuit, Reyes and her daughter split from Lara (I love when characters don’t all orbit the main protagonist, btw. So Reyes calling Lara out on being the cause of this, on being bad luck. Worthwhile). Lara clubs a goon with the a busker’s guitar and grabs his gun. Reyes’ daughter says she was too mean to Lara. Lara finds out that Sam has been taken and throws down, but one goon sneaks up on her- she averts disaster but causing a soccer riot. But the goons just keep coming. Luckily, Reyes shows her daughter what it means to be loyal and double backs for Lara, with a “Don’t thank me, it was Miss Manners here.” And Lara declares they’ll go back to Yamatai to stop this and save Sam.

Sam Nishimura has the best answering machine message of all time. “I’m either off shooting an award winning documentary or passed out drunk. You know what to do.”

Lazarus #8

The first 5 were amazing, a new series with so much promise. One with a female lead (and still more females with their own agendas) that creates a world that is bleak, violent and corporate. One of all out class warfare. How could I not be in love? But the momentum has slowed, flashbacks to Forever’s childhood bog down the series instead of advance it. Currently, Forever is looking for and IED while the Barretts are looking to go get jobs with the Carlyles, they’re headed for Denver. Them and everyone else. Like pioneers travelling to a new frontier, to their last ditch effort: the road is hard. Worse when Forever finds that Denver is the target of this attack. But her father refuses to cancel the lift. Forever is in a race to stop the plot in the final pages. but it won’t be resolved til next month. 

Tuesday Nerd News-Day

Super-News Galore!! There are no spoilers on this PAGE but there are in some LINKS. 

In Captain America: The Winter Soldier, when Cap meets the man who will be Falcon, he gets a tip on things he missed while he was frozen and adds it to “The List” well, that list changed for international markets. My personal favorite is the South Korean list with the inclusion of “Dance Dance Revolution”

Captain America 3 is officially announced for May 6, 2016. Which is the proposed date for whatever DC thinks that they are doing with Batman/Superman or the Justice League. Marvel Cinematic Universe is a steam roller at this point, even with a fresh franchise I think DC would lose out, not Marvel. 

After the shake up in the stellar sequel, Agents of (SHIELD) returns tonight! I think it is really interesting that they are lining up so much with the cinematic universe, but I think the gaps between new episodes were a real challenge in keeping fans’ attention, either way. It’s going to be a crazy return tonight, join me for the the live tweet! PS- Samuel L Jackson will be back for the season finale!

Captain America 2 shattered records, becoming the highest grossing April release of all time with $65 million domestically in the first 3 days. These numbers were boosted (slightly) by Robert Downey, Jr. He wrangled up a crew and celebrated his 49th birthday Marvel style with a trip to see Captain America 2!

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In other Marvel franchise news (although not Marvel Studios news): Jackman has previously discussed that his days as Wolverine might be numbered. Who would Jackman choose to take over the claws? Channing Tatum. Interesting. Channing Tatum has already agreed to play Gambit if Fox gets a Solo Gambit movie going. The studio has not declared this project is in the works ..yet. 

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For the record: I am so down for either of those things. Actually, he’s really TOO frigging boyishly good looking for Wolverine. I don’t actually care though. *sigh*

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Silver Surfer #1

I waffled on whether or not this was something I was going to read. I never cared for Silver Surfer. That is very likely because my only exposure to Silver Surfer was that terrible Fantastic Four sequel. I read the short in All-New Marvel NOW! Point One and I thoroughly enjoyed it, I saw complaints that the Point NOW! compilation was a convoluted money suck ..and honestly, there were a couple underwhelming stories… All-New Invaders, anyone? But Silver Surfer blew me away. And ultimately that glimpse is what caused me to try this series.

One major and unmistakable plus is Mike Allred on the art. It’s unmistakable in style, it’s lush and fun.

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Another plus? The characters, Eve and Dawn, twin sisters who could not be less similar. One wants to travel the world, one is happy to stay at home in the most wonderful place on earth. One dresses like a bumble bee and one like a lady bug. It’s really nice to have the “opposite” duality played with out cliched “light and dark”, “good and evil” undertones. But make no mistake Eve and Dawn are really like Night and Day.

The story begins with two children and their father looking up at the night sky when a shooting star passes overhead. The first girl wises to travel the world and go anywhere and everywhere all the time. Dawn, hard pressed for a wish of her own, impulsively (and sweetly) says, “I wish that the star could just keep going. Then everyone could get a wish. And it could stay up in the sky forever.”

But it wasn’t a star… it was the Silver Surfer (who had stopped by Earth to see if it was a suitable meal for Galactus).

Flash forward 12 years, Norrin Rad is reformed he’s no longer the herald and is no longer followed by a wave of distruction. He’s rebuilding a universe, he’s embarrassed ..and he’s afraid, he isn’t a God and unworthy of praise, he’s trying to atone but he knows ultimately there is no redemption for him. He decides to leave and let them have their lives. And he is soon propositioned by 2 floating eyeballs to be the champion who saves the IMPERICON.

What’s the Impericon? A collection of all the wonders from all the universes, a magnificent travelers outpost that had always been a secret. Zed (a fishy alien) facilitates his appointment of championship and scans him with “the motivator” to see Silver Surfer’s true intentions.

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Meanwhile, the mundane Dawn helps run the Bed and Breakfast in her hometown of Anchor Bay while Eve has wonderful adventures across the globe.

While Zed is convincing Norrin Rad that he must save the Impericon from a mysterious oncoming threat, he reveals he has some collateral to make sure Norrin complies. The most important person in the universe. Turns out, that “Motivator” also finds the one person in all of creation who means the most to him. Silver Surfer screams and tries to think of who of his family or allies they would imprison…

…But the person who is summoned… is Dawn.

“Okay. I have absolutely no idea who that is.”

Dan Slott is quite obviously a huge Doctor Who fan, with Norrin Rad as the intense and troubled by his past Ten and homebody Dawn Greenwood as audience insert Rose Tyler. Her sister is going to be so jealous of her adventures. It’s also very interesting, how could she be the most important person in the universe? Was it her wish? did a child’s wish ensure the longevity of the Silver Surfer? How sweet is that possibility?

Mike Allred’s art is stunning. It’s just phenomenal, retro looking but heavily detailed, Laura Allred adds popping color and contrast. The result is beyond spectacular, especially so with the Impericon.

Ms. Marvel #2

Kamala is disoriented and still in a mist, she keeps flashing between looking like herself and looking like Carol Danvers. She hears 2 of her classmates drunkenly getting out of hand. Kamala hides and inadvertently makes herself small. But when self absorbed bully Zoe falls into the lake, Kamala thinks of a passage in the Qur’an and rushes in to help. She transforms into Captain Marvel and grows her arm large to scoop the girl up from the bottom of the lake (Zoe also says that she’ll never get wasted again). 

Kamala is still getting the hang of it. She runs off when she can’t figure out how to get her arm small and once she figures out that she can reverse the effects she runs for home. Where she gets busted. And her parents fuss that she is untrustworthy and they tell her that they are disappointed. Her brother offers to pray for her. She also finds out that her friend called them -broke the code and ratted her out! 

And she makes a decision. If they can’t understand why she wanted to go to a party, they aren’t going to understand that she has superpowers. 

G. Willow Wilson nails Kamala’s reactions, from confusion to panic… from being overwhelmed to solving a problem. Adrian Alphona brings these emotions to life, the scenes are vague and distorted by the mist which fits with the narrative that Kamala has no idea what is at play. She catches a glimpse of a person flying through the air. Is it a hero? An Avenger? ..or will it be a villain?

 What I enjoy is that this book is diverse. It deals directly with Kamala being bullied for being Pakistani and Muslim, Zoe comes by and says awful white-centric remarks.. Kamala is a first generation American, she has an identity that is not mine.. but much in the way that one can still listen to Against Me’s trans dysphoria blues without being trans… most can relate to a time when they felt like an outcast. In this case most people can remember when they did something that they weren’t sure was the right thing to impress their friends and had to live with the consequences. Most people can remember a time that they felt like their parents didn’t understand them. And it’s great to see this told from a perspective that I don’t have by an author who is drawing upon her own life experience.

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It’s wonderful. If you like teenage supes and/or appreciate diversity in your media you’ve got to grab this.

Lazarus #7

Lazarus has consistently been one of my favorite series. I love dystopians. I love female leads. i love the “what ifs” of impossibly stratified classes and corporate wealth that elevates families into royalty… and dumps everyone else into poverty so extreme that there’s no escape. It’s impressive… and yeah, it’s depressing. 

The review for last issue is here.

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So I’m a huge fan and we’re getting into some meat now. The Barrets, an impoverished Midwestern family who recently lost everything in a flood is travelling to Denver for “the Lift” they are hoping to get jobs working for the Carlyles …but so are alot of people, so many that they clog up the highway as they make their way on horseback. They are attacked in the night and their daughter, Leigh, is killed and the father is shot.  

Forever is interrogating the woman who ‘distracted’ the guards so that her friends could steal materials to make a bomb. She doesn’t care about threats of prison or torture. But Johanna offers her something different.. a better life. A make over, higher social status, acting classes, a job. Is it an offer to good to refuse?

We also get another glimpse into Forever’s training with Marisol. I think Forever kills her. It’s so heavy. Greg Rucka is stopping my heart with this one. Next issue Forever will be at “the Lift” and since she’s becoming more aware of the atrocities both inside and outside of her family I expect her to get into a lot of trouble. But her training tells her that if her family needs someone dead… she must abide. Will she sympathize with the “waste” or will she stay true to the Carlyles? 

The faux advertisement for Morray cellular service on the back page is a nice touch. Corporate empires = global take over. It’s terrifying and awesome. 

Uncanny X-Men #19.NOW

or Uncanny X-Men vs SHIELD #1

I was reading Uncanny X-Men during BotA and then I stopped when the crossover ended (although I kept up with All-New X-Men) but I decided that the new “jumping off point” was the perfect time to get back into it. Brian Michael Bendis writes stuff I want to read. That’s the long and short of it.

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So those other X-men at the Charles Xavier school have been under attack by SHIELD designed Sentinels (this truth came out near the end of BotA when Xorna/Jean Grey forced SHIELD helicarriers to attack the X-Men and exposed this new weaponry) because of this Cyclops has become increasingly reclusive and paranoid. The face of the New Mutant Revolution is considered a terrorist by SHIELD and in the early pages we see Maria Hill trying to track down Cyclops, she confronts and interrogates Hijack. And Raven (who has been living as the disco diva) draining Disco Dazzler of her “mutant growth hormone”. It’s heavy.

Cyclops and Eva (who? I’m not sure) are monitoring cerebro for mutant activity when they see some that is… significant. They rush to be the first there. With a “To me, my X-Men” Cyclops, Magik, Emma Frost, the Cuckoos, Christopher, Eva, et al., rush to the scene.. but it was a trap and they are confronted with these new Sentinels. Emma and Magik make fun of each others shirts before they try to GTFO.

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Which they can’t- their mutant powers are being disrupted. Luckily Magik’s sorcerer powers still work (she’s been studying with Dr. Strange lately) and Eva can still create a “time bubble” (and Emma Frost whispers a “you have to tell him” when Cyclops thanks her.. I have questions). The Sentinels run off.

And the X-Men are left in the middle of some serious destruction. People are pissed, people are scared,

And Cyclops declares war on SHIELD… and whoever else.

Jeez. BMB is just phenom. Let’s face it. And if there’s anything I like more that a hero rising it’s an ego maniac driving himself into a paranoid frenzy. Oooh, and I love Magik, I was hoping she’d hang out with KP’s team (they’re in space with the Guardians of the Galaxy right now) but this works for me.

But I have questions:

I’ll link some reviews in hopes they’ll come over and explain.

xmenxpert reviews this week’s Uncanny X-Men and X-Men #12 -and I agree, Magik is her own book worthy… I mean seriously, LongShot (who?) has a book… Wolverine has 3. STAHP

healed1337 also liked this month’s Uncanny X-Men over X-Men #12.

Hi guys, hope that got your attention: Who the heck is Eva and where did Rogue go anyway?