The Buy Pile: August 2016

Again, I appreciate we are halfway through October and I’m posting about August but we’re here now. With Civil War II kicking off in all the series tying into it, Aaron’s masterful Last Days of Magic still reverberating through Doctor Strange’s sensational series, Before Dead No More starting in ASM and the Justice League fighting the Kindred, August can decidedly be said to have been a busy month for me (Just you wait for October…). To top it all off, my first purchased-whilst-collecting-the-series Annual (I do have an Ant-man annual but that was before I was a hard-core collector of series). 9 comics to review this time so we had best get started.

All-new All-different Avengers #13

Despite the Civil War II logo being emblazoned on the front cover, #13 is less of a tie-in and more of a prelude to the new ‘Avengers’ title kicking off in November (Which, after some consideration, will not be added to my buy pile). Back in #5/#6 Kang took control of the Vision for the worst which left our favourite synthezoid feeling rather angry at himself and, moreover, Kang. He approaches Ulysses, the root of Civil War II (Which I will get round to reviewing (Eventually…)), in the hope that he can glean some information on the location of Kang but to little avail. Vision, with his own agenda, charges his batteries to the max by going intense sun bathing (You think I’m joking but that really is the best way to describe it) and then uses the Fantastic Four’s old time machine to track Kang down. He goes first to Ancient Egypt as this was where Kang began his conquest as Pharaoh Rama-Tut. Finding Kang’s time machine he goes to its date of origin where he finds Kang tinkering away at his infamous helmet. Finally, he time jumps back to the crib of Kang where he kidnaps him! And I thought the X-men were a troublesome lot when it came to time travel… The final page finishes with Kang’s rightfully upset parents and ‘Kang War One’ being teased (Kang War One being the first arc of the new Avengers title).

For a Civil War II tie-in issue this one was actually very good (Though don’t confuse that for me thinking others aren’t, I just wasn’t looking forward to this one (I love this Avengers team and I’m rather saddened by the prospect of it splitting up.)). The focus on Vision, a character whom is shrouded with mystery at the best times, provided an interesting story. Next Issue: The Unstoppable Wasp!

All-new All-different Avengers Annual #1

From child kidnapping to Ms Marvel reading Fan Fiction, the overly-anticipated (I’m a bit of fan boy when it comes to Ms Marvel (Marvel full stop, really) ANAD Annual lived up to my expectations.  With 6 fan fictions within it I can’t possibly describe them all and possibly lose your interest at comic #2 (Though I may have lost it at #1 so… (No one may be reading this at all)) so I’ll provide a brief summary (And I mean brief). The first, The Once and Future Marvel, sees Ms Marvel and Captain Marvel fighting Skrulls in space. Carol ends up dying and Ms Marvel takes up her mantle until the original Captain Marvel comes back and retakes his mantle. To round it all off, very sexist remarks involving Captain Marvel (Old) stating that it’s a MAN-tle and not a WOMAN-tle. I have no words… Nor did Ms Marvel. The Adventures of She-Hulk is a little more light hearted with the writer also illustrating the short story which is basically a fourth wall breaking tale of silliness. Up Close and Fursonal is just too darn weird to be given more than a sentence so it is basically a tale about Avengers as animals. Squirrel Girl VS Ms Marvel is pretty straightforward until the end where it is revealed that it was in fact it was just an arcade-game-match between the two friends. An evening with Ms Marvel: A True Story (Not written by me (*Laughs Nervously*)) details a cool guy’s (I’m really not helping in convincing you all that it wasn’t me (Ha ha… Ha…) encounter with Ms Marvel where he gives her a heads up on a bad guy behind her. The comic ends with the reveal of the author of a love triangle piece between Nova, Ms Marvel and Spider-Morales whom is in fact Morales.

This annual lived up to my expectations on a fan-fictional level without getting too weird (I’ll leave you to decide what classifies as weird fan fiction) but occasionally rather rude (Though it was done with the intention of being seen as rude). It added a joyful tale amongst some rather serious and dark goings on as of late which I appreciated greatly. I’m now further saddened at the prospect of this series ending once Marvel NOW! 2.0 kicks in.

The Amazing Spider-man #16

Spider-Parker is left concerned when his Step-Uncle Jay is whisked off to hospital after collapsing unexpectedly. A cure is on offer from a company called New U who can offer an ultimate salvation, at a price. Keen to see if the cure works, Parker goes off to visit the company HQ. Meanwhile, The Parker Industries Chemical Plant in Oklahoma explodes, trapping several people inside. Parker quickly heads to the scene (Private jets can come in handy sometimes). He manages to save all of them but one employee, Jerry, who he gets out but who is in a critical condition after taking in a whole load of chemicals (Let’s just say his mask was not crack-a-lackin’). Parker is desperate to keep Jerry alive, his son waiting on the edge of his seat to see Spider-Parker save his dad, so he takes a leap of faith and asks New U to save Jerry. Jerry is saved but when Parker goes into see him he detects something very wrong with Jerry. The issue ends with Jonah Jameson approaching New U for help where he discovers the extent of New U’s capabilities when his dead second wife Marla emerges from a shadowy corner.

As the Jackal begins to get more limelight in these issues the extent of what he is able to achieve is astounding and terrifying. It is proving to be a very interesting plot already and the story has not even fully kicked in yet. Seeing Spider-Parker saving his employees was touching and reminded me why I liked the character so much. He lives up to the Amazing. Next issue: All-new Electro!

The Amazing Spider-man #17

With Spider-Parker otherwise engaged in Oklahoma, Parker asks his right hand man the Prowler/ Other Spider-man (For obvious reasons, he likes to keep people guessing) to investigate New U in San Francisco. Whilst scouting the exterior of the facility, The Jackal and his crew are working inside granting Electro (Dillon) his powers back to little avail. Dillon, for obvious reasons (Several Hundred Kilojoules), was less than keen to go through the process but, as seen before, Jackal offers up someone from his past: Francine, his recently deceased girlfriend who he may have killed (The Kiss of Death is truly appropriate here). With Dillon showing no signs of gaining his powers back, they remove him from the power-up device where he comes in close range of Francine who begins to take discharged energy from Electro’s suit. Thus, All-new Electro (And a dead Max Dillon)! Whilst all this was going the Prowler was recording it on camera where he is discovered by the Lizard. He niftily drops the temperature of his suit and breaks free of the Lizard’s grasp and makes his get away. He almost makes it but our friend all-new Electro overdoes the zapping and, well, burns him to a crisp. The issue ends with Hobie Brown (The Prowler) being brought back to life and submitting to the Jackal.

Another amazing issue of Spider-Parker, as ever, which further intensifies the level of power Jackal is wielding. Rhino, the Lizard, Electro and now the Prowler (Arguably a bit of a step down but everyone’s important, no matter how small)! The Pokémon Go references were rather amusing, especially when Brown used it to help in his escape. Next issue: The Living Brain on a rampage!

The Astonishing Ant-man #11

With Ant-man finally in prison (After a decidedly long build up (I hasten to add that I’m not glad about that fact, despite how my opening words came across)), a quick flashback on some of the best moments we’ve shared including: the introduction of Hench, Hench X and Lackey, Cassie regaining her powers under a new guise: Stinger and the operation to save Cassie from the Cross family. We then fast-forward to the closing scene of Astonishing Ant-man #10 with Ant-man and Stinger surrounded by the police. Ant-man, being the guy he is, takes sole blame for the incident, protecting his daughter whom he would do anything for. Life for Lang following his arrest sees him behaving in prison, making the best of a bad situation. He gets several visits from his employer who surprisingly supported his actions and found it rather exciting (She was an superhero herself, back in the days of Captain America (She casually had an old Nazi robot in a safe at her bank, as you do)), his ex-girlfriend and his daughter. Meanwhile, Darren Cross is left saddened by the condition of his son but his mood improves when his brother, Crossfire, takes him to  a captured Hijack who tells Cross about a lab. Whilst all that is going on, the Power Broker is talking with his investors about the progression of Hench whilst on a beach testing out the new villain travel app, specialising in lairs. His relaxation is cut short by Stinger who takes him back to the mainland. The issue ends with Scott talking to an old friend and lawyer: She-Hulk.

With this title drawing to its close (Sorry everyone, this one isn’t making it to Marvel NOW! 2.0 (I don’t know why I’m apologising, I didn’t get it cut (Maybe I should have petitioned…))) I’m semi-concerned with the number of ends that will need to be tied up. Nevertheless, this issue continues with more heartfelt moments which reminds me why I like Ant-man so much. His concern for his daughter never fails to amaze me and it is making it harder for me to see this series go.

Doctor Strange #11

With Last Days of Magic over, Doctor Strange is facing a world with very little magic and is desperate to find any means of getting his powers back. Magic itself is not fully dead (Thankfully or this series would become a bit of a pointless series (Doctor Strange: Sous-Chef Supreme just doesn’t have the same ring to it…)) and is slowly growing back to its former glory. The threats posed by the stronger creatures prove more challenging for the Doctor (Except when he goes Lucille (Click here) on it and sorts the problem out). Perhaps the biggest blow, personally, is the state of Sanctum Sanctorum. All his magical books are gone and the doors are playing up a bit (Which doesn’t sound that serious but he had a pretty extensive book collection and a door threw Wong across the room). The issue ends with the return of Doctor Strange’s oldest enemy: Baron Mordo! Next Issue: Doctor Strange Annual #1.

Since #1 this series has been phenomenal with my only problem coming from Dormammu nicking a couple of issues in transit and delaying my reading of it (Ha ha… Ha). This issue again lives up the high standard of the series so far and as the final canon issue of the All-new All-different volume of this series. With a double issue in October I can’t wait to see where this series is headed and I’m very excited for the annual (Which should be coming next week (I finish one of these posts only to have to write another one (I do it to myself so I can’t complain))).

Ms Marvel #10

With Bruno in a critical condition in hospital we have a flashback to the first meeting of Miss Khan and Mr Carrelli back in 2nd Grade. Kamala is not so keen to go over to Bruno but after a stern word from her mother she goes over. Bruno has had a rough time of late after being taken out of the care of his mother whom we learn has a drug problem. Despite her prejudgement, they connect over Tween Mutant Samurai Turtles and Kamala’s jewellery. Very cute, to say the least. Very distressed at his condition, Kamala Khan leaves her friend’s bed side and goes to confront the cadets. After a row over Ulysses not predicting the event, Ms Marvel and Becky get into a fight after a conflict of beliefs. Becky hits the first blow in her plasma armour but is, naturally (I’m not biased, it is fact…), no match for Ms Marvel. The fight is broken up by the arrival of Captain Marvel. Refusing to work for Becky, Ms Marvel runs off while Becky monologues, indicating something rather sinister about her (I was never really fond of her anyway). In an attempt to prove that predictive justice is flawed she approaches Hijinx, leader of the Canadian Ninja Syndicate, and asks him if he wants to plan a crime. The issue ends with Khan again at Bruno’s bed side until his state worsens quite suddenly and he has to be whisked off to surgery.

The decline of Ms Marvel’s faith in predictive justice further in this issue makes for yet a another brilliant issue in this series. The conflict with Becky and the approaching of Hijinx are set to make the next issue an exciting one indeed, I’m sure. On the other side of it all, Bruno’s condition is most disheartening as, alongside Khan, he is a beloved character and I’m slightly distressed at the prospect of him leaving it the way in which he is set to. The absence of his girlfriend is a little confusing considering how close Bruno and Michaela have become but I imagine there is a perfectly valid explanation. We shall have to wait and see what happens in a week or so.

Justice League #2

With the Justice League still reeling from an assault by the Kindred, they are trying to sort out the chaos that has ensued after a series of natural disasters. The Green Lanterns are shipping (In literal boats created by their rings) the people out of Hong Kong which is currently being dramatically flooded. Flash runs to the aid of Batman who is facing an invasion of Gotham by aliens similar to those seen in the Justice League: Rebirth #1. The Flash makes short work of the situation whilst Aquaman wakes up having watched Atlantis reduced to rubble. Most of the Justice League then assemble on their space base where Cyborg  informs them of the arrival of several thousands of the alien spaceships that Batman and the Flash just dealt with in Gotham. Aquaman manages to find some of his people where he bares witness to the rise of our first Kindred Being. The issue ends with Superman taking down two of the craft whilst Batman realises that, although he isn’t his friend, the Superman of this Earth is just as much a Superman as his old friend and is desperately needed.

Another great issue of the Justice League that, despite the bad rap it’s getting off of other people and by critics, is as gripping and exciting as issue 1. The Green Lanterns ferrying people out of Hong Kong was rather fantastic to see and the pair are really starting to grow on me as characters. Less Wonder Woman this issue which is disappointing as she is arguably one of my favourite members along with Aquaman and the Flash. A fantastic issue overall, despite it having less Wonder Woman.

Justice League #3

With more Giant Kindred beings rising around the world, Wonder Women confronts the being forming in Russia where she is taken into the beast by the people it’s composed of. The Green Lanterns are hard at work taking out alien spacecraft entering Earth, feeling slightly overwhelmed by it all. Cyborg is hard at work clearing the Watch Tower (The Justice League’s space base) of an invasion of the aliens. In an attempt to turn the tide in favour of the Justice League, Batman approaches Superman at Kent Farm whilst the Lanterns turn their attention to the location from which the aliens are coming from. Batman pleads with Superman to enter the Earth’s mantle to destroy some large structures within it which are generating the natural disasters. Lois is less than enthused with her husband putting himself at risk but Clark is set on helping the League and protecting his family. Cyborg opens up a Boom Tube through which Superman enters the Earth’s mantle. As is often the way of these things, upon Superman’s departure one of the alien vessels breaks through the Green Lanterns defence and crash lands at Kent Farm. Batman quickly whisks Lois and Jon away whilst Cyborg tackles the aliens. The issue ends with the 5 Kindred Beings coming together and Superman beginning to feel the pressure (As one would when entering the Earth’s mantle, I’d imagine).

Another crack-a-lackin’ issue with lots more Wonder Woman for a start but less Flash. I guess I can’t have it all. The uniting of the Kindred does not bode well and indicates some exciting content ahead. The Green Lanterns have yet again shown a display of awe that has increased my liking of them a great deal.

Overall, a cracking month (As always) for comics in terms of content and excitement for me. The Justice League have been cemented into my Buy Pile which some may be glad to hear (Equally, none of you may care which is equally valid (Just don’t say it to my face please, this post has taken an age to right)). Next month: The end of All-new All-different Marvel (Well, almost).


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