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411’s Comic Reviews: Civil War II #2, Batman: Rebirth #1, More

June 23, 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, “Is Spider-Man’s Clone Conspiracy a Good Idea?”

Now on with the show!

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Civil War II #2

Review by RobF

With 2 Avengers dead, or presumed dead, Tony Stark has decided to take the future into his own hands. Which puts him in direct conflict with the Marvel Universe. Brian Bendis and David Marquez present the moral dilemma of all moral dilemmas: When does the punishment fit the crime?

Tony Stark, inconsolable over the death of James Rhodes (War Machine), has decided that he needed to kidnap the Inhuman Ulysses and find out what makes his powers work. NO ONE is happy about this. The Avengers and Inhumans make an uneasy truce in order to track down Stark and rescue Ulysses. In the end they find an unrepentant Stark. As the debate over Stark’s action rages on, the young pre-cog has another vision. A Hulk will kill the Avengers. But which Hulk? Apparently Ms. Marvel has decided as she visits Bruce Banner.

What I find unusual about this story is Stark’s attitude. He claims to be a futurist yet he rejects someone who can see the future. And the kidnapping and torture seem to be extreme even for him. Honestly no one is coming off well so far, it’s hard to determine who the villain is here. Are Ms. Marvel’s pre-emptive strikes the new reality or is it better to punish after the crime has been committed?

David Marquez does a fine job juggling all the various characters. Clearly is strength is facial expressions and CW has given him the opportunity to shine. One cannot forget to acknowledge Justin Ponsor’s coloring talents.

This Civil War lacks the impact that its predecessor had but in the end it may be a better story. It’s been a slow moving tale but it looks like it’s picking up steam.

Rating: 7.0 out of 10

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Batman: Rebirth #1

Review by Rob Bonnette

This is the first issue of both the Rebirth run of the series and with the new team of writer Tom King (Vision, Grayson) and David Finch. They are, of course, taking over for the now legendary team of Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo after their 51 issue run ended with the pre-Rebirth issue Batman 51. This issue is titled ‘I Am Gotham: Part One’ and introduces two new characters in Gotham and Gotham Girl. The issue starts off on a plane making its descent towards Gotham airport and quickly cuts away to Batman and Commissioner Gordon on the roof of the Gotham PD headquarters, hashing over the details of a missing trio of missiles when one of them hits the plane and sends it toward a certain fatal crash landing. The Dark Knight gets on the horn to Alfred and then to his newest associate Duke Thomas before trying to get hold of the other Justice League members. It turns out the League is busy so it’s up to Batman to handle this one himself. With Duke’s help in calculating what angle to jump in order to get on the top of the plane, Batman gets atop the plane and in pure Batman fashion attaches the devices he brought along to right the plane’s path. But a complication arises in that Batman has to stay atop the plane in order to guide it in, which will result in certain death. After resigning himself to his fate and choosing t make the sacrifice the plane is brought down safely not by Batman but by Gotham and Gotham Girl. The final panel is both our and Batman’s first meeting with this new duo.

Pretty simple story overall, but the magic here is in the details. There are numerous Easter Eggs calling back to original Batman creators Bob Kane and Bill Finger as well as King and Finch’s most recent predecessors Snyder and Capullo. The conversation between Batman and Duke that runs throughout the rescue mission gives some important insight into where Duke fits in right now on the team (not quite field ready but more than ready to help with his insight) while the ones between Batman and Gordon both before and during the mission do a great job of showing how their relationship works. Gordon comes to him when an impossible situation arises, expects both the worst outcome while hoping for Bruce to pull of some miracle, and is both surprised but not shocked when he comes through. And then there are the ‘last words’ Bruce gives to Alfred while he’s sure the plane landing is going to kill him – instructions on what to tell the boys, and an admission that Dick Grayson is as good a teacher of superhero-ing as he is and that Duke has future heroics ahead of him. Lastly, there’s a snippet of conversation between some passengers on the plane that spells out life in Gotham to a T vs the other big cities in the DC world.

All in all, a great start for the new team. The mission for the issue is pretty straightforward and simple, but the dialogue rules all. In just one issue we get to see Batman’s relationships with Gordon, Alfred, Duke, and his city excellently spelled out, and how Batman’s true mission is not just beating up bad guys to deal with the loss of his parents but to truly rescue his city and the people in it. Following Snyder and Capullo is a tough task but if this issue is any indication King and Finch are up to the task.

RATING: 9.0 out of 10

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Civil War II #2

Review by Rob Bonnette

Part 2 of Marvel’s big event of the year picks up shortly after where part 1 left off. James Rhodes, aka War Machine is apparently dead and She-Hulk looked to be on the way there herself. Rhodes’ best friend Tony Stark, aka Iron Man, is still grieving and is still really pissed off over what happened – using the help of a clairvoyant Inhuman, the Ultimates team led by Carol Danvers attacked Thanos along with Rhodes, She-Hulk and some others. Things went bad and Rhodes ended up dead. So now Stark has broken into the Inhumans home of New Attilan and is looking for Ulysses, the Inhuman who has visions of the future and was used to set up the mission. He is confronted by Madusa, queen of the Inhumans, who tries to talk him down. When he refuses she tries to corral him but he zaps her and knocks her down, which brings out the rest of the Inhuman crew to get him. A fight ensues, and Stark wins because he was using a decoy suit while he was escaping with Ulysses in tow.

We go next to SHIELD headquarters where Danvers and Black Panther are talking to SHIELD director Maria Hill about the situation and how they need to get over to Stark Towers immediately; not to get Tony but because the Inhumans are likely there to strike back at him. Lo and behold, the Inhumans are there to cause havoc when Danvers and a team comprised of various Ultimates and Avengers meet them to talk them out of leveling the place. They promise to get Ulysses back, which Ulysses reluctantly agrees to. Then we get to the meat of the issue – Stark with Ulysses, trying to find out how his powers work. He starts out trying to get him to just conjure one up, to no avail. Then he goes to trying to trigger one by threatening him. And then the Danvers-led crew shows up. After some back and forth, Ulysses finally has a vision and it’s a doozy – the Incredible Hulk killing Danvers and Stark. The issue ends with Danvers approaching the Hulk’s alter ego Bruce Banner.

I’d call this a good issue overall. The action was mostly limited to the first few pages, but the rest wasn’t boring. We got some explanation as to how Ulysses’ powers work, which of course leads to further questions as to how Danvers got him to cook up the vision of Thanos to set up the ill-fated mission of issue one. We also got a hint that while Rhodes is indeed dead and gone She-Hulk is not….for now. The advertised throwdown between factions led by Stark and Danvers didn’t really get much closer to happening – there are seven more issues so we might have a few more to wait for that. For now the main beef is between Stark and the Inhumnans with Danvers’ Ultimates/Avengers mashup team serving as mediators. I liked this issue, but it was a bit of a step down from the first one for me. I don’t feel yet like they’re going to be keep this up for seven more issues without throwing in some obvious filler but for now so far, so good.

Rating: 8.0 out of 10

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Weavers #2

Review by Jonathan Durden

With the barrage of the Rebirth specials from DC and the continuing slew of new #1s from Marvel, it’s easy for independents to be overlooked or discarded. I get it. I do it too. But every so often I find something that piques my interest…and that is what I found last month with the first issue of Weavers. The follow-up issue did not disappoint either.

In the second issue, Sid struggles with the thought that he still may not be trusted by his new family. At the end of the last issue we see him kill a man using his newfound power given to him by swallowing the spider. Most would assume his loyalty after that, or at the very least realize he isn’t an undercover cop. However, Sid is not out of the woods yet.

In this issue, Sid continues his transformation into a Weaver and the problems that come with it. He begins hearing a voice which tells him what to do, which leads to more bodies. He is then faced with his final test to prove his loyalty to the Weavers, hopefully for good.

I have no prior experience of the creative team on this miniseries, and time will tell whether I will add to my “look out for” list, but right now I am thoroughly enjoying this book. Simon Spurrier writes, Dylan Burnett draws, and Triona Farrell colors. Every member of this team pulls their weight and more for this crime-horror-supernatural comic story. I love that Spurrier keeps me guessing. I love Burnett’s scene-setting that is so cinematic. I love the way Farrell can set the whole tone of a scene or page just by using color. And I heavily anticipate the next issue.

I’m sticking it out for the next four issues of Weavers. Spurrier has me hooked and I want to find out what’s going to unfold. One of the things I really liked about this concept was that every member of this “family” has a unique ability, and once you swallow the spider, you either adapt and join the mob or you die. If you enjoy mob-style crime stories and/or tales of the horrific and supernatural, I encourage you to delve into this mini. I don’t think you will be disappointed.

Rating: 9.0 out of 10

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Amazing Spider-Man #14

Review by Sankalp G.

The cliffhanger from the last issue did its job. After talking about how the new Spider-Man/Peter Parker just doesn’t feel right, I still picked up this issue because…Spider-Man. The bickering between Iron Man and Spider-Man wasn’t the best but it was hilarious enough to keep me interested. Knowing what Regent did in the “Renew Your Vows” tie-in, I was curious how Slott went ahead with it in this series.

This issue continues the story of the Regent and his hatred for super-powered humans. He unleashes his deadly plan and captures most of the Frontliners in the current Marvel universe. The only remaining superheroes, Spider-Man and Iron-Man, are investigating the abduction of Miles Morales. Regent acquires the powers of the captured superheroes and it leads to a battle between the Kings of Quips (Spider-Man and Iron-Man) and Regent.

The way Regent captures all of the heroes was at least viable and didn’t feel forced or unrealistic. Then there is the buddy cop thing with a little tussle between Tony and Peter, which was great to read. The scene between Miles’ parents and our heroes was also a way of showing that partnership. Then there is MJ, who is stuck here between, in the words of Miles, “man-children”. Harry Osborn Lyman was also great here as he tries to find Betty. This was another plus because her story didn’t became a loose thread and was acknowledged.

The art is better than last week. Less mistakes and the battles were well choreographed. There are still some lingering problems though and artist Camuncoli still has that “expressions” problem I mentioned.

Then there are other things. Marvel has been teasing this MJ/Peter stuff and there is also an important panel in terms of Aunt May, that I don’t want to reveal, which mean another unnecessary change/event is coming in near future.

Solid but nothing special here other than dynamics between Spidey and Iron-Man. The next issue is the payoff issue, which I believe is too early and there are many ways they could’ve gone with Regent. It also teases the “MJ is Iron-Spider Suit Mary”.

Rating: 6.5 out of 10

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