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411’s Comic Reviews: Thanos #14, Doomsday Clock #2, More

January 4, 2018 | Posted by Steve Gustafson
Thanos 14

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]!

Yesterday we discussed “DC Comics Finishes 2017 Strong”

Now on with the show!

Doomsday Clock #2

Review by Stephen Gustafson

“DC and Watchmen characters collide at last! The story that began in DC UNIVERSE: REBIRTH #1 comes to a thrilling and unexpected crescendo in the pages of this titanic twelve-issue series by the all-star team that brought you BATMAN: EARTH ONE and SHAZAM!

In this second chapter: The Dark Knight discovers another relic from the Watchmen world. Lex Luthor pays a devil’s bargain. And killer clowns trek through Gotham seeking a madman.”

Against all odds, Geoff Johns and Gary Frank are delivering a concise, focused story that avoids the usual speed bumps a crossover of this caliber could easily run into.

I’ll admit that when I first read about DC’s plan to intermingle the Watchmen universe with the DC proper one, I was skeptical. It reeked of being a gimmick and would tarnish the reputation of a classic series that’s attained legendary status.

Johns did a number of interviews leading up to the book and my stance softened a bit as he spoke about his goals and focus. In an interview with CBR he said, “The whole series is character-driven. It’s all about the characters. We’re spending time with the characters, and we’re doing moments and interactions that I hope are unexpected. I think the version that Gary Frank and I weren’t interested in telling was a DC vs. Marvel-type crossover. We were not interested in anything like that. It’s not like somebody said, ‘Hey, Geoff, Gary — do Watchmen characters meet DC characters.’ That never came from anybody.

When we came up with this story, when I pitched this story to everybody, we made it clear right then what we wanted to do, and everybody was psyched for it. I think the interactions between the characters — they’re on the page, so people can see what we’ve done and what we’re doing and the tone of it. The thing we didn’t want to do is have it just be about fight scenes and kind of a typical crossover.”

The characters from Watchmen are fully realized and deeply layered. My biggest question centered on Johns’ understanding of these characters and how they would interact with DC’s finest.

Safe to say that the second issue stands just as tall as the first and is shaping up to do the characters from Watchmen justice. Will it be a classic in the same vein? No. But the high risk they took in telling this story has easily paid off.

Rating: 9.0 out of 10

Animosity: Evolution #3

Review by Stephen Gustafson

“New forces emerge to vie for power in the City of the Animals as famine looms from all sides…another pulse-pounding chapter in Marguerite Bennet’s epic saga!

From the brilliant mind of creator/writer Marguerite Bennett (INSEXTS, Bombshells and Batwoman) with artwork by SHIPWRECK’s Eric Gapstur—ANIMOSITY: EVOLUTION is an exciting new series that expands upon this already amazing world!”

Animosity reads like your favorite TV show that you don’t want to binge so you can relish each episode as it comes out. The anticipation is just as important as the payoff and Marguerite Bennett knows how to deliver action, drama, humor, and thought provoking situations that stick with you after you’re done reading.

The basic set up of Animosity is easy to get:

One day, the Animals woke up.
They started thinking.
They started talking.
They started taking revenge.

This premise could go in a hundred directions and easily spin out of control but Bennett keeps each issue on track, never letting the possibilities spill out over the story arc. Eric Gapstur brings it all to life on the page with easy to follow flow and clear lines that keep things crisp.

Animosity:Evolution may be the best book you’re not reading. Rectify that post haste.

Rating: 8.5 out of 10

Star Wars: Rogue One GN

Preview by Stephen Gustafson

IDW Publishing continues to expand its Star Wars graphic novel line with another beautifully realized Star Wars adaptation as Star Wars: Rogue One Graphic Novel Adaptation has officially arrived.

Fans of the Star Wars blockbuster can re-live the adventure in a new art style appealing to fans of Disney’s animation. The mission to steal the Death Star plans has never looked so good! Return to the adventure with the ragtag crew of Jyn, Cassian, K-2SO, Chirrut, and Baze in a galaxy far, far away. See the sands of Scarif, Vader’s castle on Mustafar, or even the kyber rich desert moon of Jedha as you flip through this 80-page book.

Star Wars: Rogue One Graphic Novel Adaptation features the creative talent of Star Wars veterans, including author Alessandro Ferrari (Star Wars Saga graphic novel adaptations, Star Wars: The Force Awakens), along with illustrators and artists Andrew Parisi, Igor Chimisso (Star Wars Saga), Matteo Piana (Star Wars Saga, The Ring of the Seven Worlds), and a brand-new cover by artist Eric Jones (Tron: Ghost in the Machine, Star Wars Adventures).

Thanos #14

Review by RobF

A comic series featuring a villain as a main character is doomed to fail, mainly because there is a shortage of quality stories to be told. This is not the case with Thanos, particularly with Donny Cates and Geoff Shaw piloting the ship. They have managed to retell Thanos’s origin while giving it a spin that keeps you wanting more. And Thanos always wants more.

Thanks to the Spirit of Vengeance Thanos gets to meet his future self and finds out he has won, that he has conquered the universe. As it turns out, it wasn’t through some grand plan, it was through longevity. He just outlasted his enemies. While I question his execution, I applaud his persistence. But as we are finding out, maybe it wasn’t the best plan. After a horrific battle the future Thanos makes a request to his younger self to help find someone he lost-the love of his life, Death.

I think Cates is doing a good job of mixing Thanos’ past with some new nuggets of information. It seems like from the day he was born the chips were stacked against him. It almost makes you feel sorry from him until you turn the page and realize what a bastard Thanos has truly been over the years.

Geoff Shaw’s great visuals shine, particularly through the many battles Thanos had over the years. An old Thor, a throne made from Galactus’ head and a judging Celestial are just a few of the obstacles the Mad Titan had to overcome.

Thanos has battled just about everyone in the Marvel Universe. He may be facing his toughest battle to date, the fight against fate. As the saying goes, be careful what you wish for you just might get it.

Rating: 8.0 out of 10

Phoenix Resurrection: The Return Of Jean Grey #1

Review by John Pumpernickel

Dante refers to the phoenix in Inferno Canto XXIV:

“Even thus by the great sages ’tis confessed
The phoenix dies, and then is born again,
When it approaches its five-hundredth year;

On herb or grain it feeds not in its life,
But only on tears of incense and amomum,
And nard and myrrh are its last winding-sheet.”

In Greek mythology a phoenix is a long-lived bird that is cyclically regenerated or born again. Associated with the Sun, a phoenix obtains new life by arising from the ashes of its predecessor.

Marvel’s Jean Grey has died, come back, died, come back…and I’ve lost count. She’s been cursed, mourned, celebrated, and scorned but the one constant has been her ever changing status quo in the Marvel universe.

Phoenix Resurrection: The Return Of Jean Grey #1 gives us her return and while a book focusing on Grey should be an easy task, the first issue is inconsistent and gets lost when the X-Men enter the picture.

A first issue is supposed to pull you in and capture you enough to seek out the next issue. While Jean Grey is a character deserving of a series all her own, this wasn’t the way to launch it. The issue loses its focus and the artwork doesn’t quite capture the emotion the story is going for.

While a book about Grey might find success in the future, it most likely be from the ashes of this one.

Rating: 5.0 out of 10

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