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411’s Comic Reviews: Captain America: Road to War #1, Obi-Wan and Anakin #1, More

April 28, 2016 | Posted by Steve Gustafson

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Hello and welcome to 411mania’s weekly Comic Book Review Roundtable! Each week we’ll be serving up a warm dish of reviews from Marvel, DC, and anything else that captures our interest. What did you pick up this week? Let us know in the comments.

Want to write a review? If you can write at least one review a week, consistently, email me at [email protected]!

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Yesterday we asked, “Will DC’s Sexual Harassment Claims Hurt Them?”

Now on with the show!

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Captain America: Road to War #1

Review by RobF

What do you have when you remove all the fun and excitement of the Avengers movies? The Captain America: Road to War comic. Will Corona Pilgrim and Andrea Di Vito present a dull and uninspired prelude to the soon-to-be blockbuster Captain America Civil War movie.

When you have actors like Chris Evans and Robert Downey and you have a movie like CW on the horizon you would expect a comic to get the ball rolling and set the public up for future events. Well, I guess the story does that but in the blandest way possible. Pilgrim introduces readers to the new Avengers with some Black Widow insight. Everyone is getting along so well here you would wonder where the conflict lies. An Iron Man/Tony Stark appearance is a throw-in: It really has no place here. And the one place that probably could use a better explanation (Wanda’s robot crushing power) gets nothing.

While the art is nice it comes off more like a pin-up book rather than a continuous story. Andrea Di Vito is a competent artist but each panel looks like they were drawn separately and then assembled in an attempt to make a comic.

The final insult to me here is Marvel charging $4.99 for this comic. Granted Tales of Suspense 48 is included but I think one would be better suited to seek out the original story and avoid this story altogether.

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Flash #50

Review by Rob Bonnette

This is the latest chapter in the ‘Flash wanted by the police’ arc that’s going on now. So far the Central City, specifically Capt. Frye (Barry’s surrogate father figure while his Dad was in prison), has been tasked with bringing in the Flash due to him being labeled a danger to society after all the damage to the Central City Police Station in some of his recent clashes. And to bring him in the police have deputized none other than his longtime adversaries (and criminals themselves) the Rogues.

At the beginning of this issue Flash has been captured after a fight with the Rogues at Central City High School and is in some special handcuffs slapped on him by the Trickster (one of the Rogues). Captain Cold and his crew are beside themselves with joy at helping put their longtime enemy in the hands of the very police they’ve evaded for all these years. Cold starts reading him his rights before Frye interrupts him. Mirror Master goes to take off Flash’s mask and Frye stops him, not wanting to do it in front of everyone. Later Barry’s Dad is waiting for his son to show up to fish with him when he hears the news about the Flash being arrested. He then gets on the phone to call in a favor someone owes him.

At Iron Heights, Flash is about to be booked (and presumably unmasked) when the favor gets paid off. Turns out Barry’s dad called someone he knew on the inside to cause a disruption allowing Barry to make a hasty retreat (not before saving some cops in danger). What comes later is another fight with the Rogues, after which we find out who is behind the whole scheme to put the Flash behind bars and it is none other than…….the Riddler. Seems like Mr. Nygma has left behind Gotham for a spell to try his hand in Central City for a while. The issue ends with Riddler using some drones to take down not only Flash but all the Rogues as well. There’s also an add-on story about Wally West discovering that he’s starting to develop the Speed Force related powers that Flash and other speedsters possess.

This was an excellent issue of the series. The artwork was top notch and we got a great fight between Flash and the Rogues along with a prison break scene and some good villain work by the Riddler. Any time you get the Flash and the entire Rogues gang fighting in print it’s good. And the throwback to previous arcs with some of the characters involved in the Iron Heights prison break was a nice touch. The add on story is an obvious setup to Wally finding his place as Kid Flash in the DC Rebirth era that is set to begin in a month; it was good for what it was and gave us a glimpse into what kind of character he’ll be soon. Highly recommend this one, although you’ll need to pick up the previous few issues to get the whole story.

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The Unbelievable Gwenpool #1

Review by Edward Tripp

Like an unknown quarterback leading their team to the Super Bowl, Gwenpool’s rise from variant cover art to star of her own series has been meteoric to say the least. For starters this is not Gwen Stacy, but a character whose name is actually Gwen Poole. Gwen is a comic book fan from our world and for unknown reasons (as she states this is not an origin issue) becomes part of the main Marvel continuity. She has no powers or real abilities just some of the greatest luck and timing I’ve witnessed in recent comic book memory. Should you dismiss this book as a gimmick or marketing ploy? No, because you will be missing one of the more humorous titles Marvel has to offer.

Christopher Hastings does an amazing job it creating an issue that is entertaining and full of tongue-in-cheek moments. This issue is broken up into two parts with Daniel Beyruth and Tamra Bonvillain handling the prologue art and Gurihiru in charge of the issue’s main artwork. The prologue introduces Gwen to the readers as she foils an attempted bank robbery. The artwork that Beyuth and Bonvillian provide matched the action packed scene while being a contrast to the main art style of Gurihiru.

Gurihiru’s cartoon style art reminded me of some of my favorite anime films. I found this as a major highlight of the issue especially when combined with the humor of Hastings. One scene in particular sees Gwen draw dollar signs on lens of her mask after seeing the reward on a job. For whatever reason this summed up zaniness of the book quite well for me. Going forward I am excited to see more of their artistic take on the rest of the Marvel Universe.

As the old saying goes you should never judge a book by its cover or in this case the variant cover it was based on. Gwenpool #1 is enjoyable first issue for the naive and charming character. There will be detractors that will never pick up this book. I recommend reading this issue before you reach any judgement. Who knows maybe like me you will be pleasantly surprised by a meta-humor of this issue.If you like Deadpool, Howard the Duck, or Harley Quinn this will be right in your wheelhouse.

Overall rating: 90 out of 100

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Obi-Wan and Anakin #1

Review by Jonathan Durden

Something I think many people were curious about when they saw Star Wars: Attack of the Clones would be the many adventures that Obi-Wan and Anakin embarked on in between episodes one and two. Say what you will about the prequels, I’m all for more Obi-Wan, even if it means dealing with young Anakin. Writer Charles Soule (who also wrote issue #1 of Poe Dameron that I reviewed last week as well as the current Daredevil run) and artist Marco Checchetto deliver a new story featuring these two characters.

When I picked this comic up from the ‘ole LCS, it was out of genuine curiosity more than anything else, which is something that has gotten me into many comics in the past. Unfortunately, I’m not sure it’ll be enough to keep me on board with this one. Don’t get me wrong, the current story arc that Soule is leaning toward looks to be interesting enough, but it’s the underlying hints of the main theme that make me sigh. We see in this first issue Anakin misbehaving in training, like one might expect, but in a very dangerous way. A way that we don’t see him behave until the latter half of AotC, even.

He hears two fellow padawans call him a “slave to his emotions” and just an outright “slave”, and he just sort of loses it. He force-pulls both their lightsabers, turns them on, and points them at their owners. Literally threatening to kill two colleagues over a snide comment. Granted, he often does have trouble controlling his emotions and “minding his thoughts”, but this is just a little too over-the-top for me.

Not only that, but we see Chancellor Palpatine take an unhealthy interest in him from the very beginning and practically force Mace Windu to make an appointment for him with Anakin that I’m assuming we’ll see in issue #2. I don’t know about you, but I am fully aware of the fact that Anakin turns to the dark side and becomes Darth Vader. I am aware that he betrays Obi-Wan and the entire Jedi Order for a woman he ends up losing anyway. I am aware he tries to get his Jedi son to betray all of his friends to join him on the dark side. Eventually.

I don’t need sub-plots shoved down my throat about how he threatens to kill kids his age using force moves I’ve never even seen Jedi Masters use before. We get it. He becomes the bad guy in the end. I just wanted to see some cool adventures with Obi-Wan trying his best to train this fun-loving yet unruly kid who just wants to be a Jedi.

But who knows, maybe I’m being too picky. The main story arc that Soule sets up in this issue was interesting enough for me to pick up the next issue to see where he takes it, but if I’m to expect more Anakin basically being a Sith before he even becomes a Jedi, then this is a comic that won’t make it on my pull list unfortunately. Considering how the cover for issue #4 has Darth Vader’s mask as the backdrop, I have a feeling I’m just setting myself up for disappointment.

Still, there are some redeeming factors, like how we get to see a new planet and meet people who have no idea who Jedi are, and we get Obi-Wan going on an adventure with Anakin, which is all I wanted to begin with. Not to mention it’s still pretty to look at. Maybe I can find a way to tolerate it, but a comic that I simply tolerate is not one that is memorable at all regardless of subject matter.

All that said, I love Charles Soule’s writing for Poe Dameron and Daredevil and Marco Checchetto is a great artist with a beautiful two-page spread in this issue and I will certainly be looking out for more of his work. It’s just a shame Soule felt the need to hint so heavily Anakin’s evil side. We all know it’s there, but for me it was just a little unnecessary and over-the-top for this issue.

As I understand it, Anakin is a troubled kid trying to gain the approval of his higher-ups. Why do we need him to be borderline murderous? If anyone feels differently or think that this was the right direction to go for this new story, let me know in the comments I’d love to hear your thoughts. Despite the good dialogue and pretty artwork, Obi-Wan and Anakin #1 receives a 4 out of 10 for me.

Steve here! That’s all the time we have. Tell us what you’re reading below and see you back here next week!