New Comic Book Reviews for the Week of 3/21/18

Ninja-K #5 (Valiant)

This one wraps up the arc for going down memory lane of the lettered Ninja under MI6 (I believe). Ninja-C and Ninja-K assault the shadowy hidden branch of MI6 that has manipulated the Ninja since the beginning of the program. Once the information is secured, C turns on K and wants to just dump it all, for all to see. K understands that if they dump it all instead of selective parts of it, that innocent people will be harmed in the process so this leads to C vs K and a last ditch battle.

The art is once again beautiful in this book and it does turn out to be a pretty good ending to an arc that I felt was full of setups. I’m going to have to go back and reread it all together now that it is all out. Sometimes a binge can make it feel more complete than reading and waiting for the story to build monthly (just like in TV). On a side note, I did enjoy Colin calling LiveWire at the end and getting closer to her. I do hope they can be together after the coming Harbinger War 2 tears them apart.

Ninja-K was the only new book this week so that’s all I have for review. Additionally, I’ve been re-reading one of my favorite arcs in The Uncanny X-men and X-Factor on Marvel Unlimited: Inferno. The cover art, especially the art for the X-men books is quite literally epic in these. It’s been a long time since I have reread them and it’s just as enjoyable now. I remember being mesmerized by the events of Inferno on the page when I was a kid. It felt so “adult” to me, which is kind of what the X titles should feel like to young readers. There should be a level of maturation when moving from something like Avengers to X-men. Back in the day, the Marvel group of excellence was X-men. Avengers were that superhero-y team that always had happy endings. Whereas the X-titles took you on a journey that really put all of the characters through an emotional ringer.

While I’ve read, and enjoy several of the current X-titles, they don’t come off as being the same as the X-titles from the 80’s and 90’s. It doesn’t feel like they are on another level from the “goody-goody” Avengers. Marvel really should get back to using the X-men as the mature titles that readers “move into” when they are ready. Bring back the more complex plots and deeper emotions that were once pivotal to an X-story from the 80’s and 90’s.

New Comic Book Reviews for the Week of 2/21/18

Ninjak vs The Valiant Universe #2 (Valiant)

Continuing on from last months issue #1, Ninjak has been blackmailed into stealing an item from MI6 and Neville has requested that LiveWire activate Unity (for which Ninjak is apart of) to hunt him down. Neville still doesn’t know that Ninjak is doing all of this because his ex-wife and child have been kidnapped. The only thing stopping Ninjak from telling him, when he was escaping MI6, was the nanites that Roku had injected into Ninjak, which she was listening in on. Cut to now and Bloodshot is the first person Ninjak goes up against. Points deducted from Bloodshot for trying to sneak up on a Ninja and getting caught in a reflection. He does get a piece of him and from that Bloodshot can verify that Ninjak has nanites in his blood, which he shouldn’t have. Meanwhile. Ninjak goes up against X-O Manowar, barely getting away, only for The Eternal Warrior to find him and try to talk him down from what he is doing. It is Bloodshot though, scoring those deducted points back, who has the final action of the issue by firing on Ninjak, which leads us into a cliff hanger for the next issue. Was Ninjak shot? Knocked out? How did the nanites relaying info to Roku go down? Was it some sort of EMP that Bloodshot fired?

This series is of course the adaption to the coming web short that will supposedly be released in April (crossing my fingers). It’s a good intro to the characters of the Valiant Universe and issue 2 here has one of my favorite covers of the year already. So pick this up because this is some good stuff!!!

The Amazing Spider-man #796 (Marvel)

I haven’t read this one yet but it is selling like hot cakes due to bad speculation. So much so that shady local comic shops (LCS’s) are jacking up the price from day 1 on loyal customers. I know, this doesn’t hurt me because I’m all digital, but it is another reason I’m happy to be done with buying physical copies. The reason I’m highlighting this issue is because this is yet another awesome cover this year. With this cover, the Ninjak cover above, and a coming X-O cover (I’ll be posting that when it hits stands), I’m loving the cover art that is being put out there this year. This is an Alex Ross cover, so you know it is awesome just based on his name alone. Just look at it… Simply marvelous!!!

Quick Hits: The Monthly Pop Culture Round Up

Star Wars The Last Jedi

I saw Star Wars The Last Jedi Saturday morning and I loved it. It was fun, it was visual, and despite a nit picky audience, it did Star Wars proud. I did go in knowing what the spoilers would be. When I had read through the spoilers on Friday, I have to say, they made me mad. Mad enough to lower my expectations. In the end, while every spoiler was in there, none of them really mattered. It proved to be a movie that flew over the audience criticisms and I enjoyed it thoroughly. If you haven’t seen The Last Jedi yet, what are you waiting for? GO SEE IT!!!

The Amazing Spider-man Worldwide

I’ve sworn off reading/buying Marvel comics ever since they retconned the Peter/MJ marriage, after all, Spider-man is my favorite superhero. I had every right to be mad. With that said, the artwork and the change up in the dynamic of Peter Parker’s life had been piquing my interest. I may not have bought or read any current Marvel comics, but I did stay in the know. With Worldwide, Parker had become a Tony Stark-like persona with his own company, Parker Industries, and Spider-man was now, much like Iron Man, Peter’s secret identity that was also his bodyguard.

I ended up picking up the trades via Comixology and I have to say, this has been a super fun read. Yes, Marvel, you lured me back with this. I wouldn’t even mind if Peter Parker got involved long term with Bobbi Morse (Mockingbird) since their dynamic together has been so damn good in this. Also… We really need a Cloak and Dagger monthly!!! This team seems so much more interesting now, than how they were portrayed in the 90’s.

I may even put Spider-man back on my Comixology subscription list now… Well played Marvel… Well played…

My Comixology Subscriptions…

That brings me to my Comixology subscriptions. I feel a change is coming. All summer I have immersed myself in The Valiant Universe but there is a tremor in the verse. Harbinger Renegades seems to have gone on hiatus until Harbinger Wars 2 starts later next year (2018) meaning that subscription is currently TBD (To Be Determined for a release date). The last several issues seemed to be meandering, which was odd because everything to do with Harbingers had been excellent. It started to feel like they were just milking it to get to the Harbinger Wars 2 “event” instead of trying to offer up anything in the time being. Then all of a sudden, the monthly title is on hiatus after they print up a #0 last month. I’m not happy about that.

Bloodshot Salvation has been written really weird too, ever since this new volume debuted. The 4th book was completely done as a backstory for Rampage, a new bad guy that they are introducing. As a matter of fact, this issue #4 felt like one of the last issues for Harbinger Renegades that had nothing to do with the current book but making a setup issue for the bad guy that is to come. When I got the end of reading both of these, it kind of felt like spinning wheels. Introducing new villains and such should still have something to do with the current book. After all… I’m not buying the book for Rampage. I’m buying the book to see what happens to Bloodshot. It shouldn’t take a whole book to tell the past on one bad guy.

That brings me to X-O Manowar. I’ve been liking where it is going but some of the art that is coming up, which has been previewed, has got me worried. One of the things that I rave on Valiant for, is the excellent artwork. These new upcoming pages don’t look like they hold up to past work. Hopefully this won’t be an ongoing trend.

Ninja-K issue #1 was awesome!!! Still my favorite standout character in The Valiant Universe. If you haven’t checked out the new Ninja-K, then you should go check it out immediately.

I’ll probably remove Harbinger Renegades from my subscriptions for now since it is on hiatus. Bloodshot may go next if it doesn’t get back on track. The same for X-O if the artwork suffers too much. Ninja-K is secure in every way right now.

Tidbits:

-I’m done with The Walking Dead. I just can’t anymore… That show has just gotten so bad that “hate watching” it doesn’t sustain my interest in it.

Mr. Robot S3 just ended and DAMN… By far the BEST show on TV. So much tension in every episode!!! I can’t wait for S4 (which has been greenlit out of 5 seasons in total).

Shameless on showtime is still proving to be a powerhouse of a show. I just can’t get enough of the Gallaghers. We’re at the halfway point for this season and it is MUST WATCH TV!!!

Agents of Shield S5 has been really good too this year. Moving the agents to future space has proved to be a good decision. And Fitz just showed up!!!

Knightfall on History had me excited… then I watched the first 2 episodes and I’m just not feeling it. I start doing other stuff while it is on because the characters are just not holding my attention. This one might be over for me.

Until next time…

Spider-man #1

 It’s hard to believe that this comic is now 27 years old. I remember, when I bought it (them), that it was a time when comics were booming. Todd McFarlane was THE artist of the time (still one of the greatest today) and this was one of the most eagerly anticipated comics in modern times. 

 I met Todd McFarlane at the big yearly comic show in Atlanta. In 1990, that show was actually bigger than the now massive Dragon*con which was just a small little affair across the street. After Todd had signed tons of books, he stuck around for awhile and my friend and I were able to talk with him for a bit. We had asked him, if he knew how many spiders he had drawn on the number 1 cover, and he wasn’t sure. So he told us to count them, and then give him our answer and addresses and that he might see if he could make a contest out of it. I’m not sure if it ever became a contest, but it was very cool to meet my artistic hero of the time. He was very cool, answered all of our questions, and joked around with those that had stayed after the signing. 

 Spider-man number 1 had several variants. The sealed version, the regular version, the black and silver version, the black and gold version, and then there may have been a few more. I got my “regular version” signed by both Todd McFarlane and Jim Salicrup (editor). As far as prices… They  can go from anywhere from $45 – thousands depending on signatures and CGC grading quality. Honestly… I probably wouldn’t even bother trying to sell a comic without getting a CGC grading for it. The market for comics is way down and at least a CGC grading will give you some leverage in selling. Like anything, you will most likely not get retail, so don’t even think about that. You will get under the top speculated pricing because the retailer will need to make money selling it to someone. Having said that, no, these comics are not for sale!!! 

 Another cool thing about this Spider-man #1 is that the cover recently became a shirt which can be found at Target. I think that out of all of my comics collection this one still brings back the most memories. Seriously hard to believe it is 27 years old now!!!