Movies & TV / Columns

411’s Comic Reviews: Civil War II #6, The Avengers #1, More

November 3, 2016 | Posted by Steve Gustafson

 photo Comic-Book_zpsegeyemih.jpg

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]!

 photo spider-woman_zpsu6h8sdiv.jpg

Yesterday we asked, “Are We Becoming Too Harsh on Comic Book Artists?”

Now on with the show!

 photo Civil-War_zpsu4mvzayn.jpg

Civil War II #6

Review by RobF

Is it me or does Civil War II seem like it’s been going on forever? Maybe because after 6 issues very little has happened and we still have several issues to go. Can Brian Bendis and David Marquez bring this story to a satisfying (and late) ending? Can we stay awake long enough to find out?

After last issues reveal one would expect something to move this plot forward. Instead we get the same characters saying the same things as before. Tony Stark is in full I-told-you-so mode, Captain Marvel is still holding to her future predictions. And everyone has an opinion, EVERYONE. Cap, Black Panther, Peter Quill and Spider-Man all restate their positions again so we don’t forget them (I suppose).

The only storyline that seems to have progressed is Spider-Miles. Even though he has committed no crime the sheer possibility of the situation, even as remote as this one, has crushed his spirit. This is the kind of thing that could change him forever; it will be interesting to see how he emerges when it’s all over.

David Marquez’s art has been consistently good throughout the series. It takes a strong artist to convey the various emotions this story details and he is up to the task. Props to Justin Ponsor’s coloring as well.

With CW expanded to 8 issues it’s surprising that Bendis didn’t take advantage of the space to enhance the story. Instead he chose to stretch out an already thin plot. One can only hope the climax is worth the wait.

Rating: 5.0 out of 10

 photo Doctor-Strange_zpswnratja9.jpg

Doctor Strange: The Oath #1

Review by Jonathan Durden

I had Doctor Strange on my pull list for a few issues but had to remove it due to lack of interest and the sheer volume of other titles occupying my list at that time. Then came this past Saturday at my LCS when they had thousands of free comics for “Halloween ComicFest.” It was a great day for the local comic store and there was a line out the door before they even opened. I’m super proud to have them just a few minutes away from my house.

So, obviously I swung by to see what was there and to alleviate some weight off of my backed-up pull list. I think I heard a sigh of relief come from the filing cabinet as Joe, the owner, lifted the stack of comics from the folder. Before I did that though I had some time to peruse the free comics. What I saw was pretty typical for a free comic book day, and I picked out some of the ones that looked the best to me. My favorite one by far? Doctor Strange: The Oath #1.

Brian K. Vaughan writing Doctor Strange? Sign me up. Now I don’t know if this is a basic one-arc run with Vaughan behind the scripts, but whatever it is I’m in. (And if anyone does know what the deal will be for this story, please feel free to say so in the comments!) I imagine this issue was strategically published on this day for a few reasons:

1. Halloween and Doctor Strange go great together.
2. Brian K. Vaughan draws in the readers that know him with a free comic.
3. The Doctor Strange movie featuring Benedict Cumberbatch releases less than a week afterwards.
4. It serves as a good jumping-on point for new readers.

So, this just makes sense for Marvel to do, right? Either way, I’m glad they did it. It shows great insight into Strange’s and Wong’s strong friendship they’ve formed over the years and the potential dramatically life-saving or life-threatening effects that this “elixir” Strange found could have.

Like I said, I only had Doctor Strange on the pull list for a few issues and that is all the experience I’ve had with him other than cameos in other comics. I say that to give you all full disclosure so that if I say something inaccurate or just wrong or stupid, that is why and you can feel free to call me out on it.

Onto the meat of the issue. I loved the idea of a doctor that specifically caters to heroes and vigilantes. The opening scene with Iron Fist was great and it is so clear Vaughan is writing it, which made me just want more and more of this story.

As a Doctor Strange novice, I can honestly say I was not lost by any means at all in this issue. I knew exactly what was going on, Vaughan with the help of Editor Tom Brevoort did a good job explaining things that needed explaining and it flowed really well for all the time-jumping it did. New Strange readers could easily jump on here.

That said, the only confusion I felt was that I didn’t know who the big bad was a few pages in, who has the stolen elixir given to him by Brigand, another guy I don’t know. If you know Doctor Strange’s enemies well, or just Marvel enemies in general, you may have caught on to who that is because of the coin or lotus or whatever it was that he was spinning in his hand, but I did not. But it is also clearly not vital information if artist Marcos Martin (who did an amazing job on the whole issue with the help of colorist Javier Rodriguez and inker Alvaro Lopez) purposely left out his face.

I hope the next issue is as good if not better than this first one. I do intend to get it as soon as it arrives on the shelves. I greatly enjoyed this one, and it made me more interested in Doctor Strange as a character and helped me to see how obvious of a choice it was to cast Benedict Cumberbatch, the BBC Sherlock, as Strange in the new movie. So, this issue was solid on all fronts for me.

Rating: 10 out of 10

 photo Avengers_zpsqrkqwop1.jpg

The Avengers #1

Review by Stephen M. Lyon

Marvel’s answer to DC’s Rebirth is their own re-boot of titles – Marvel NOW! – and Avengers #1 is one of the more successful titles. So far I haven’t been particularly impressed with Marvel’s various new series, but the artwork and storytelling in this book give hope for a fresh spin on a classic superhero team.

The story begins with in the middle of a battle between several heroes and a Frost-Wolf. Thor (the current, female Thor), Wasp, Hercules, and Captain America (Sam Wilson) work together to take the beast down, and then Captain America offering Hercules a spot on the Avengers team – an offer which is accepted. The book then jumps forward to a meeting in the Baxter Building (of Fantastic Four fame), which is now the New York Headquarters for Park Industries (For those who haven’t been following the Spider-Man story line, myself included, Peter Parker is now the extremely wealthy head of a tech company.). Peter comes out and offers to bankroll the new Avengers, and allow them to use the building as the new headquarters, as they are no longer able to use Avengers Hanger. Most of the team seems open to the possibility, except for Wasp, who aggressively states her animosity, particularly because of a Parker’s relationship with Spider-Man, his bodyguard (Note: Can they rip off Tony Stark and Iron Man any more?). As Peter is showing off the views of the city from atop the tower, they spy a conflict between the Vision and Kang the Conqueror and the Scarlet Centurion. The Avengers approach the battle, and are suddenly joined in the conflict by Spider-Man. Kang decides to disintegrate a building, causing the Avengers to rush to save the people within it, and providing a diversion resulting in his and the Scarlet Centurion’s besting of the Vision. The try to extract information from him, but he off-loaded it. Eventually the Avengers recover him and he gives an explanation, which I will not give do to spoilers, but it involves time travel (always fun, when Kang is involved) and altering the paths of history by interfering with current heroes and villains at the time of their infancy.

If you’re going to Marvel a shot with any of its new titles, I recommend that it be The Avengers #1. The gorgeous cover by Alex Ross is worth the cost alone. The internal art is special too; the penciling by Mike del Mundo is very stylized, but his own coloring creates a great dynamic, with a shimmer that is a bit like that of Alex Ross, but still unique; my one critique would be that some of the facial features have a tendency to look ape-like, particularly those of the Wasp. The writing by Mark Waid isn’t particularly special as of yet, but it’s promising enough to see where the series leads, and he makes sure to keep the personality of the classic avengers team, but with new members.

Rating: 8.0 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! You can now find our reviews on ComicBookRoundUp.com!