Posted in Comic Book Roundup, Weekly Comic Book Roundup

Weekly Comic Book Roundup #13

Justice League Dark, Volume 1: The Last Age of Magic

(Justice League Dark (2018) #1)

by James Tynion IVAlvaro Martinez (Illustrations), Daniel Sampere (Illustrations)

The Synopsis

The new Justice League Dark is here! Led by Wonder Woman this team of Zatanna, Swamp Thing, Man-Bat and Detective Chimp (?) must bring the fight against all supernatural foes too big for the World’s Greatest Super Heroes!

From the pages of JUSTICE LEAGUE: NO JUSTICE comes writer James Tynion IV’s epic new series JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK! Earth’s magic once belonged to them. Now they want the magic back. But who exactly are they? It’s up to the new Justice League Dark to find out and stop this nightmarish new threat at all costs! After the events of NO JUSTICE, Wonder Woman guides the misfit magic mix against enemies too fantastic even for the Justice League. Plus, what awful things are coming through the Tree of Wonder? Dark days ahead…

Written by James Tynion IV (Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) with phenomenal illustrations from Alvaro Martinez (Detective Comics), this bold new graphic novel series is one of the most anticipated in years! Collects issues #1-3 and 5-6.

The Verdict

A brilliant new dive into the world of magic for DC Comics, everything fans thought they knew about this world is turned upside down. The emergence of new magical threats, as well as the rules of magic being rewritten and magic’s origins all come into play here as Wonder Woman finds herself leading a team into a world she only partially understands. Shocking betrayals and amazingly horror-themed artwork make this a must-read for DC Comics fans.

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Old Lady Harley

(Old Lady Harley #1-5)

by Frank Tieri

The Synopsis

After liberating New York City from her now-feral Gang of Harleys, poor Harley wants nothing more than to slip back into retirement in her coastal (and heavily guarded) paradise. But the Laughing Boys Gang has another idea–they’ll follow her to the ends of the Earth, to drag her back to their leader!

If you think that’s a big problem, just wait. The Joker couldn’t possibly still be alive, could he? After all … Harley killed him with her bare hands! Should she turn to President Power Girl for help? Or flee to the 51st state, Atlantis? Step into an insane vision of a future DC Universe we all better hope we don’t live to see!

In this dystopian-future tale, Harley’s quest to find out how The Joker could possibly still be alive has taken her back to their old stomping grounds, but Gotham City is very different nowadays! Nobody’s allowed on the streets without the Batman’s permission–but who is this Batman, anyway? Harley’s only choice is to return to Arkham…the Arkham Home for Criminally Insane Retirees, that is! Fancy a round of bingo with the Riddler? Or some pool aerobics with Killer Croc? Collects Harley Quinn #42 (Rebirth Series) and Old Lady Harley #1-5

The Verdict

A hilarious and gritty dystopian future for the world of DC Comics, only a zany character like Harley Quinn could appropriately bring this story to life. Seeing the state of the world in this apocalyptic world is fascinating to see, with a nation of zombies on one side and a nation led by a villain on the other, the United States is in a state of chaos, and Harley must navigate it her way to find out if the Joker has truly returned. Dark secrets and shocking revelations await for this amazing series, with fantastic artwork that is reminiscent of Mad Max. 

The Hellblazer, Volume 1: The Poison Truth

(The Hellblazer (2016) #1)

by Simon Oliver (Writer), Moritat (Artist), Andre Szymanowicz (Colourist), Sal Cipriano (Letterer)

The Synopsis

John Constantine, the hard-hearted Hellblazer returns home to London to face an impossible choice: live an immortal life bonded to a demonic curse, or shift that curse to eight million people–killing each and every one of them! What to do, what to do…

The Hellblazer is back in the first volume of the continued story of one of DC’s most iconic and long-lasting characters by writer Simon Oliver (FBP) with art by Moriat (The Spirit).

CollectingHellblazer 1-6

The Verdict

A true testament to the character of John Constantine, the fantastic gothic artwork compliments the story of one of DC Comics most fascinating magical antiheroes. The story focuses on the character’s ability to con his way out of any situation, and the consequences that come as a result. A marvelous look at the delicate balance John walks between the real world and the magical one just beneath the surface. 

The Batman Who Laughs

(The Batman Who Laughs #1–7)

by Scott Snyder (Goodreads Author), James Tynion IVJock (Illustrator), Eduardo Risso (Illustrator), David Baron (Colorist)

The Synopsis

Left rattled by the events of Dark Knights: Metal, Bruce Wayne must come face to face with the ultimate evil spawned from the Dark Multiverse. One part Batman one part Joker. The Batman Who Laughs.

“A Batman who laughs is a Batman who always wins.”

The mastermind behind Dark Nights: Metal, Scott Snyder, gives you a look inside the most terrifying version of Batman ever! He and superstar artist Jock (Batman: The Black Mirror) kick off a chain of events that makes Dark Nights: Metal seem like child’s play.

The Batman Who Laughs not only survived his fight with The Joker at the end of Dark Nights: Metal, but is now enacting a sinister plan across the Multiverse–something both terrifying and oddly familiar. When Bruce Wayne realizes the only way to stop this madman is to kill him, he must consider violating the very rule Batman can’t ever break … the rule that created this insatiable villain–the Batman Who Laughs!

As Bruce begins to deduce that his current life is somehow wrong and that all the mistakes he’s made are somehow connected, the Batman Who Laughs unleashes a brand-new evil. Enter one of the most punishing Batmen of the Dark Multiverse: the Grim Knight!

Collects The Batman Who Laughs #1-7 and The Batman Who Laughs: The Grim Knight #1.

The Verdict

This marks the next chapter of one of Batman’s darkest chapters. After the events of Dark Nights: Metal, Batman got a grim look at the darkest aspects of himself across the dark multiverse. However things aren’t what they seem, as the most evil of them all survived and is now haunting Batman and the DC Universe. The Batman Who Laughs is a fantastic and dark new edition to the DC Universe villains, and this story sets up several future storylines in the multiverse. 

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Thor, Vol. 1: God of Thunder Reborn

(Thor (2018) (Collected Editions) #1)

by Jason Aaron (Writer), Mike del Mundo (Illustrations), Christian Ward (Illustrations)

The Synopsis

LET SOUND THE CRY – THE GOD OF THUNDER HAS RETURNED! Thor Odinson has regained his mantle – and with it, a wild new world of trouble on his mighty hands! The artifacts of Asgard have been scattered across the Earth, and to reclaim them, Thor will have to face some ugly truths. Like the production cost on hundreds of new hammers! And the Thunder God is going to need every last one of them if he’s going to stop the unstoppable Juggernaut. Jason Aaron takes the Prince of Asgard in a whole new direction with YOUNG GUN artist Mike Del Mundo joining him at the helm! And don’t miss the latest chapter of the King Thor saga with acclaimed BLACK BOLT artist Christian Ward, as the Thor of the far future encounters an old friend who’s undergone some startling changes.

COLLECTING: THOR (2018) 1-6

The Verdict

A new era of Thor kicks off here with this original story that sees Thor and Loki on an adventure straight to Hel. With the War of the Realms nearly on them, the two brothers and adversaries must traverse Hel and find a way of stopping a fiery army hellbent on taking over the realm for themselves, all in the name of Malekith. Exploring Thor’s complex family and his path to reclaiming the mantle of Thor, this was a visually stunning and exciting read. 

Tony Stark: Iron Man, Vol. 1: Self-Made Man

(Tony Stark: Iron Man (Collected Editions) #1)

by Dan Slott (Text), Valerio Schiti (Illustrations), Gang Hyuk Lim (Illustrations)

The Synopsis

From the cusp of tomorrow’s dreams to the forefront of imagination, one man always soars on the cutting edge of adventure! You know his name. Everyone knows his name! Tony Stark is Iron Man. And Iron Man…is an idea. Always changing. Always evolving. Now Dan Slott and Valerio Schiti propel the ultimate self-made hero to new heights of inventiveness! But Tony has been holding back an enormous secret since his return, and there’s only one person on Earth he’d trust with it: James Rhodes?! This will change everything. Plus: Jocasta! Machine Man! The Gauntlet! The Wasp! The arrival of Tony Stark’s new rival…Sunset Bain! And the Manticore, the most powerful assault vehicle in the Marvel Universe! Tony Stark is Iron Man. The future is now. Strap in!

COLLECTING: TONY STARK: IRON MAN 1-5

The Verdict

Tony Stark is back! The new and improved Iron Man takes the world by storm as he adds new team members to his company and he begins his work as Iron Man once more. However his new lease on life comes with a cost, and he begins to question just how much of himself returned to the land of the living. A bustling new series that has a great focus on the tech side of the Marvel Universe, and the age old question of rights and morality for the AI heroes of the universe. 

The Immortal Hulk, Volume 1: Or is he Both?

(Immortal Hulk (Collected Editions) #1)

by Al EwingJoe Bennett

The Synopsis

THE RETURN OF BRUCE BANNER! You know Bruce Banner. He’s quiet, calm, never complains. He’s a man who believes he can use the darkest elements of his personality to do good in the world. If someone were to shoot him in the head… All he’d do is die. But the horror lives deeper. A horror that refuses to die. When night falls something other than the man gets up again. The horror is the Immortal Hulk. COLLECTING: IMMORTAL HULK 1-5, MATERIAL FROM AVENGERS: NO SURRENDER 684

The Verdict

The story of the Incredible Hulk returns to a more horror-centric story, as the Hulk gains a new persona in the Immortal Hulk. The many horror motifs are present throughout this comic, and it was refreshing to see Bruce Banner and the Hulk on the run, hitting the road much like he did in his early years. This was a fantastic first run in the new Hulk’s story.

Black Panther, Vol. 6: The Intergalactic Empire of Wakanda, Part One

(Black Panther (2016/2018) (Collected Editions) #6)

by Ta-Nehisi Coates (Text), Daniel Acuña (Illustrations), Jen Bartel (Illustrations)

The Synopsis

A bold new direction for the Black Panther! For years, T’Challa has kept foreign invaders out of his homeland, protecting his people from everything from meddling governments to long-lost gods. Now, he will discover that Wakanda is much bigger than he ever dreamed…across the vast Multiverse lies an empire founded in T’Challa’s name! Jump on now and learn the truth behind the Intergalactic Empire of Wakanda! Ta-Nehisi Coates welcomes aboard fan-favorite artist Daniel Acuña for a Black Panther story unlike any other!

COLLECTING: BLACK PANTHER (2018) 1-6

The Verdict

First and foremost, I want to extend my deepest condolences to the late and great actor and the King himself, Chadwick Boseman, aka T’Challa of the MCU. It was a devastating loss to not only Marvel fans but the world and his family. My deepest sympathies to everyone impacted by this loss.

This comic does a great job of taking Black Panther and the lore of Wakanda into a whole new direction. A great blend that puts the world of Marvel Comics into a galactic setting like no other, the story behind how T’Challa found his way into a whole other galaxy is both fascinating and engaging. This is a story not to be missed in the Marvel Universe.

Amazing Spider-Man by Nick Spencer, Vol. 1: Back to Basics

(Amazing Spider-Man (2018) #1)

by Nick Spencer (Writer), Ryan Ottley (Illustrations)

The Synopsis

An alien invasion attacks New York City and the only one who can stop it is…Spider-Man?! But that’s far from all you’ll find here – a revelation from the past puts Peter Parker’s job, relationships and whole life in jeopardy! And if even that’s not enough, you’ll see a new roommate, new love interests and a new villain!

COLLECTING: AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 1-5, FREE COMIC BOOK DAY 2018 (AMAZING SPIDER-MAN STORY)

The Verdict

Back to Basics is an appropriate title for the brand new Spider-Man series. Peter Parker is back to his life as Spidey, and dealing with the complications as a result of it. Being framed as Wilson Fisk’s new buddy by the Mayor himself, all the heroes see Pete as a sell-out to one of New York’s worst villains. Meanwhile, Pete’s job is in jeopardy and his newest roommate is a shock even to himself. This is a great new start to one of Marvel’s most iconic heroes. 

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Venom by Donny Cates, Vol. 1: Rex

(Venom (2018) (Collected Editions) #1)

by Donny Cates (Writer), Ryan Stegman (Artist)

The Synopsis

An ancient and primordial evil has been awakened beneath the streets of New York. With it, something equally evil has been awakened in that most wicked of web-slingers: Venom! The symbiote may still be a Lethal Protector of innocents in New York, but this never-before-seen threat could possibly force Venom to relinquish everything it holds dear — including its human host, Eddie Brock! As Eddie and Venom summon the strength to defend New York against the most powerful foe they’ve ever faced, there’s one more thing standing in their way: Miles Morales, Spider-Man! Two of the hottest creators in comics today, Donny Cates and Ryan Stegman, join forces to deliver a Venom adventure a thousand years in the making!

COLLECTING: VENOM (2018) 1-6

The Verdict

The origin story of Venom and the Symbiotes takes a dark and cosmic turn as the true nature of this alien race is revealed. As Eddie Brock bonds with his symbiote once more, he discovers that an ancient and powerful force deriving from the Symbiote’s origins is awake, and is setting it’s sights for Earth. He must fight to stop this powerful force before everything is consumed by the coming of a dark god. A gritty and twisted new spin on the Venom mythos. 

Absolute Carnage

(Absolute Carnage (Collected Editions))

by Donny CatesRyan Stegman (Illustrations)

The Synopsis

After turning Venom’s world upside down a year ago, DONNY CATES and RYAN STEGMAN are about to put the Sinister Symbiote through hell again, only this time CARNAGE has come calling, and everyone who’s ever worn a symbiote is dead in his sights! He’s skirted the periphery of the Marvel Universe for months, but Cletus Kasady at last stands poised to make his grand return to New York in a blistering, action-packed story…and he wants to paint the town red! And there’s NOTHING anyone can do to stop it!

COLLECTING: Absolute Carnage 1-5 

The Verdict

One of Marvel’s deadliest and most terrifying crossover events in recent years was also one of its best. The development of the Venom/Carnage mythos is fascinating to see unfold, and treating the Carnage event like a more terrifying zombie apocalypse was an inspired choice. Definitely a must-read for Marvel fans. 

Occupy Avengers, Vol. 1: Taking Back Justice

(Occupy Avengers #1-4)

by David F. Walker (Writer), Carlos Pacheco (Penciler), Rafael Fonteriz (Inker), Sonia Oback (Colourist), Clayton Cowles (Letterer)

The Synopsis

Super heroes – they’re a privileged class. Doing what they want, when they want, and suffering no consequences. They have no regard for the ordinary people who are left behind to suffer in their wake. Who will stand up for the little guy? There is a man. If you can find him, and if he believes in your story, he and his friends will put things right. Some call him an outlaw, rebel, Robin Hood. To others, he is a hero. No powers to speak of – just skills, smarts and a burning drive to take back justice. The man’s name is Hawkeye. He doesn’t look for trouble, but trouble finds him – and he’ll quickly drag Western hero Red Wolf into it as well! It’s a shame that they’re facing certain death; they would have made a great team.

COLLECTING: Occupy Avengers 1-4 and Avengers (1963) 80-8

The Verdict

A refreshing new vision for the famed archer and classic Avenger, Hawkeye gets to hit the road and become a new kind of hero. Righting wrongs wherever he goes, he seeks to make a difference for those who have no one to fight for them, all while being haunted by his slaying of his friend Bruce Banner during the Civil War II events. It’s a great introduction for some new heroes like Red Wolf and a great new direction for Clint Barton overall. 

A-Force, Volume 1: Hypertime

(A-Force (Collected Editions) #1)

by G. Willow Wilson (Goodreads Author) (Writer), Kelly Thompson (Goodreads Author), Marguerite BennettJorge Molina (Artist), Jim Cheung (Illustrator)

The Synopsis

What do you do when a sentient cosmic event rampages through Japan? ASSEMBLE A-FORCE! Marvel’s newest hero, SINGULARITY, has escaped Battleworld and found her way to the Marvel Universe! But she didn’t make the journey alone. To combat the villainous ANTIMATTER, Singularity will call upon Earth’s mightiest team of Avengers. And one thing’s for sure: They are A FORCE to be reckoned with!

CollectingA-Force 1-4, Avengers 83, A-Force 1, material from Avengers 0 

The Verdict

A fantastic new direction for some of Marvel’s most powerful female heroes. The dynamic between characters like She-Hulk and Medusa are fascinating to see unfold here, and the new hero Singularity is a great new character to include in the Marvel Universe. Beautiful artwork and a much deserved all-female heroic team make this a must-read comic. 

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Falcon: Take Flight

(Falcon (2017) #1-8)

by Rodney BarnesJosh Cassara (Illustrations)

The Synopsis

LEGACY! In the wake of SECRET EMPIRE, Sam Wilson has laid down the shield and taken to the sky once again! Reborn and recommitted, THE FALCON takes flight on a personal mission to reconnect with the American people and train his new partner THE PATRIOT. But when a gang war overtakes the streets of Chicago, Sam finds himself stuck in the middle of a situation far more dangerous than he could’ve imagined-one with its roots in an unexpected corner of the Marvel Universe! COLLECTING: FALCON 1-5

The Verdict

A brilliant follow-up to the events of Secret Empire, the personal journey of Sam Wilson and the anger he harbors for the betrayal he felt after Steve Rodgers (actually a faux-Rodgers at the time) led a HYDRA invasion. With the true Steve Rodgers returned as Captain America, Sam begins his life as Falcon once more. Introducing the character to the world of the supernatural while also showcasing the racial tension and violence in our world today made this an instant must-read for Marvel fans.

Posted in Comic Book Roundup

Weekly Comic Book Roundup #9

Batgirl and the Birds of Prey, Volume 1: Who Is Oracle?

(Batgirl and the Birds of Prey #1)

by Julie Benson (Writer), Shawna Benson (Goodreads Author) (Writer), Claire Roe (Artist), Allen Passalaqua (Colourist), Steve Wands (Goodreads Author) (Letterer), Roge Antonio (Artist), Yanick Paquette (Cover Artist), Nathan Fairbairn (Cover Colourist) , Deron Bennett (Letterer)

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Synopsis

A part of DC Universe: Rebirth!

The Birds of Prey prowl the street of Gotham once again! The sisterly, crime-fighting trio–Batgirl, Black Canary, and Huntress–get the band back together in the aftermath of DC Universe: Rebirth, but they’re not reconnecting for nostalgia’s sake. A mysterious new criminal operative called Oracle has declared war on Gotham. Barbara Gordon, a.k.a. Batgirl, and a.k.a. cyber-superhero Oracle in a previous guise, takes exception to someone smearing her legacy.

Writing duo and sisters Julie and Shawna Benson, along with breakout artist Claire Roe, reunite the femme fatale crew in Batgirl and the Birds of Prey, Volume 1: Who Is Oracle?!

CollectingBatgirl and the Birds of Prey 1-6, Rebirth

Verdict

A fantastic new entry in the infamous Birds of Prey team history. The introduction of Huntress onto the Rebirth era team while the mystery of who the new “Oracle” is will keep fans invested from the very beginning. The team’s dynamic and the impact each has on the city of Gotham and beyond make this a relatable story as well, as powerful female heroes are finally becoming more prevalent and showcase the power of teamwork as the streets of Gotham become more and more dangerous. A must read for the DC Rebirth era, as well as the perfect read to prepare for the upcoming Harley Quinn and the Birds of Prey film. 

Star Wars: Princess Leia

(Star Wars: Marvel Miniseries)

by Mark WaidTerry Dodson (Illustrator), Rachel Dodson (Inker, Cover Art), Jordie Bellaire (Colourist), Joe Caramagna (Letterer)

Synopsis

When Princess Leia Organa was captured by the Empire, she never betrayed her convictions – even after the complete destruction of her home world, Alderaan. When her rescue came, Leia grabbed a blaster and joined the fight, escaping back to the Rebel Alliance and helping strike the biggest blow against the Empire – the destruction of the Death Star! But in the aftermath of that victory, the question remains…what is a princess without a world? As Leia comes to grips with her loss, a new mission leads her to the underground world of Sullust. The Empire is rounding up fugitive Alderaanians, and that doesn’t sit well with their Princess! But what can one woman do against the Galactic Empire? They’re about to find out! Join the galaxy’s toughest Princess on a quest to save her people and rebuild her life!

COLLECTING: PRINCESS LEIA #1-5

Verdict

A fantastic way to keep the legacy of Princess Leia going, this miniseries did a marvelous job of showcasing the strength and courage and overall hope that Leia embodied in the franchise, and why she was one of the strongest heroes of the Star Wars series. Exploring the aftermath of her homeworld’s destruction and getting to see the history and culture of her people play out was fantastic to see, and the artwork was beautifully done and used a warmth that spoke to the tone of the character herself. A must read Star Wars series. 

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Red Hood and the Outlaws, Volume 1: Dark Trinity

(Red Hood and the Outlaws (2016) #1)

by Scott Lobdell (Writer), Dexter Soy (Artist), Veronica Gandini (Colourist), Taylor Esposito (Letterer), Giuseppe Camuncoli (Cover Penciler), Cam Smith (Cover Inker), Dean White (Cover Colourist)

Synopsis 

A part of DC Universe: Rebirth!

Jason Todd, a.k.a. Redd Hood, has been many things–a Robin, dead, the Red Hood–now he’s back and he’s embracing his bad side!

With his new status as a villain, Red Hood plans to take down Gotham’s underworld from the inside. Joined by a fallen Amazon named Artemis and a half-baked Superman clone named Bizarro, this dark trinity will soon discover that the line between hero and villain is harder to discern than they might think.

CollectingRed Hood & the Outlaws 1-6

Verdict

Red Hood has always been a fascinating character, but seeing his character growth in this DC Rebirth era is great to see. The conflict of proving himself to Bruce by not killing and his desire to end crime for good play out well here, as does his new relationship with fellow outlaws Artemis and Bizarro. Each brings a unique perspective to the story while also showcasing that heroes don’t always follow a black or white moral code, but that doesn’t mean they’re not heroes. A great read with a fantastic opening villain in the narrative and a brilliant origin story to the team and Bizarro himself. 

Black Bolt, Vol. 1: Hard Time

(Black Bolt (Collected Editions) #1)

by Saladin Ahmed (Goodreads Author) (Writer), Christian Ward (Illustrator)

Synopsis

The silent king of the Inhumans stars in his first-ever solo series! But it begins with Black Bolt…imprisoned?! Where exactly is he? Why has he been jailed? And who could be powerful enough to hold the uncanny Black Bolt? The answers to both will shock you -and Black Bolt as well! For if he is to learn the truth, he must first win a fight to the death with a fellow inmate -the Absorbing Man! Award-winning science fiction writer Saladin Ahmed (Throne of the Crescent Moon) crafts a story as trippy as it is action-packed, with truly mind-bending art from the one-and-only Christian Ward (ODY-C)!

COLLECTING: BLACK BOLT 1-6

Verdict

Definitely one of the most complex members of not only the Marvel Universe but the Inhuman Royal Family is the king, Black Bolt. Now a fallen king, Black Bolt gets a much needed spotlight as fans are treated to an exploration of the all powerful Inhuman in an all-new light. The King finds himself a prisoner, and making allies with criminals in the process, as he faces one of the most terrifying foes in the Marvel Universe, and must find his place in the universe when he can’t rely on his own powers. A fantastic read that Marvel fans will love. 

Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows

(Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows (2015) #1-5)

by Dan Slott (Writer), Michel Fiffe (Goodreads Author), Felipe SmithMarguerite BennettJeremy Whitley (Goodreads Author), Katie CookGurihiru (Artist), Adam Kubert (Artist) , Kris Anka (Artist)

Synopsis

Not even The Amazing Spider-Man is safe from Secret Wars! In this new Marvel Universe, Peter Parker, Mary Jane Watson and their daughter Annie have to scrape by to make ends meet, but they have each other…However, who is Regent and what is his nefarious plan that has already claimed Daredevil and Moon Knight? It’s a brand new world full of brand new challenges for Peter Parker, The Amazing Spider-Man!

CollectingAmazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows 1-5 & materiel from Spider-Verse 2

Verdict

Getting the chance to explore the Marvel multiverse is always a fun time. Fans of the Marvel Comics universe know Peter Parker’s story well by now, so getting to see a world where he and Mary Jane not only married, but started a family together and became their own little super-family is a refreshing change of pace. The evolution of their daughter Annie, as well as Mary Jane becoming her own hero as well, makes the blend of family dynamics and heroics a fun journey to go on. Blend this with the evolution of a new generation of Osborn and the X-Men, and fans are given a brilliant new path to explore in the Marvel Multiverse. 

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The War of the Realms

(War of the Realms (Collected Editions))

by Jason AaronRussell Dauterman (Illustrator), Matthew Wilson (Colorist), Arthur Adams (Cover)

Synopsis

THE WAR OF THE REALMS is upon us! Malekith, king of the Dark Elves, has been conquering the Ten Realms and now has his sights set on the last one: Earth. And with armies of Frost Giants, Fire Goblins, trolls, angel warriors, Roxxon corporate soldiers, the Enchantress and the prince of lies himself, Loki, at his side, Malekith may just succeed. Asgardia is no more, Old Asgard is in ruins, and the majority of Asgardians are refugees on Earth. Now Thor and Earth’s heroes — including the Avengers, the Fantastic Four, and even such unlikely allies as Venom and Punisher — are all that stand in Malekith’s way! It’s an event five years in the making as the MIGHTY THOR creative team of writer Jason Aaron, artist Russell Dauterman and colorist Matthew Wilson reunite to save the Ten Realms!

COLLECTING: WAR OF THE REALMS 1-6, WAR OF THE REALMS: OMEGA

Verdict

One of Marvel’s most explosive and brutal storylines in recent years, the crossover event sees the heroes of the Marvel Universe fighting for their lives and the lives of every realm in the universe as Malekith the King of the Dark Elves has led an army to invade and conquer all realms, and leaves Earth, or Midgard, for last. A great way to see the heroes push themselves to the limit and see many heroes grow and evolve in the face of Armageddon, not least of all Thor, who becomes something far more powerful than he could have ever thought possible. A magnificent read. 

Posted in Comic Book Roundup

Comic Book Round-Up #4: July 19th, 2019

Spider-Verse (Collected Edition)

by Dan Slott (Text), Christos Gage (Text), Dave Williams (Illustrator), David Hine (Goodreads Author) (Text), Paul Smith (Illustrator), Fabrice Sapolsky (Text), Gerry Conway (Text), Giuseppe Camuncoli (Illustrations)

Synopsis

Someone is working their way through the multiverse, leaving a trail of dead spiders in their wake! As the Superior Spider-Man faces this foe in the future, MC2’s Spider-Girl finds herself under attack! From 1602 to the era of Noir, from a spider-powered Gwen Stacy to the world-famous Spider-Ham, spider-themed heroes everywhere, in every world, begin to falter and fall. How can “our” Spider-Man possibly hope to survive against this unstoppable interdimensional onslaught? Guest-starring every Spider-Man ever…and then some! Spider-UK, Sp//dr, Scarlet Spiders, Spider-Woman, Spider-Man 2099…can any of them survive the arrival of Morlun?

COLLECTING: Amazing Spider-Man 7-15, Superior Spider-Man 32-33, Free Comic Book Day 2014 (Guardians of the Galaxy) 1 (5 page Spider-Man story), Spider-Verse 1-2, Spider-Verse Team-Up 1-3, Scarlet Spiders 1-3, Spider-Woman 1-4, Spider-Man 2099 6-8

Verdict

A strong new chapter in the Spider-Man mythos. Anything to do with the concept of the multiverse always intrigues me, and the exploration of so many different versions and iterations of a Spider hero in the Marvel Universe was evenly explored with the lore of the deadly and mysterious new villains the Inheritors. Seeing how these multiversal heroes interact with one another and the different combinations of illustration styles made this a truly engaging read, and took the Spider-Man lore into a fresh new direction that I cannot wait to explore more. 

Spider-Geddon: Edge of Spider-Geddon

(Spider-Verse (Collected Editions) #2.1)

by Jed Mackay

Synopsis 

Spider-Punk is back and better than ever. After SPIDER-VERSE, Hobie Brown was a Web-Warrior, but that didn’t mean things back in his universe were solved. The writer of the Spider-Punk story in SPIDER-VERSE is back and joined by VENOM’s Gerardo Sandoval! Spider-Punk’s Earth is under attack both on the ground and from space, meaning his responsibility seems to outweigh his power. After Gerard Way (My Chemical Romance, The Umbrella Academy) and Jake Wyatt created SP//dr back in SPIDERVERSE, she was one of the most requested heroes. With Spider-Geddon on the horizon, SP//dr is back. Zac Thompson and Lonnie Nadler are joining the team to bring you the next chapter in Peni Parker’s life and set the table for the Spider-Event of 2018!

COLLECTING: EDGE OF SPIDER-GEDDON 1-4, SUPERIOR OCTOPUS 1 

Verdict

After the events of Spider-Verse, it was hard for me to see how much further the storyline of the multiversal Spider Force could go. Yet this next chapter in the Inheritor saga was a great introduction into the deadliest chapter of the Spider-Man mythos yet. Getting to dive head first into the various worlds of the Spiders, from Hobie Brown’s Spider-Punk to the incredible new SP//dr story based on Umbrella Academy writer and My Chemical Romance lead singer Gerard Way’s original Spider-Verse creation, giving a more tech based Spider hero the spotlight she deserves. This is a great way to jump into the action and see the buildup to Spider-Geddon’s epic story. 

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Spider-Geddon: Covert Ops

(Spider-Verse (Collected Editions) #2.2)

by Christopher J. PriestJody Houser (Goodreads Author), Paulo Siqueira (Illustrator), Andres Genolet (Illustrator)

Synopsis

KAINE & SPIDER-WOMAN lead a rough and ready crew of Spiders on a mission to save the multi-verse that will almost certainly lead to their deaths! Spiders you love and a few new ones will risk it all to stop the Inheritors from unleashing the ultimate foe! All hands are needed in the fight to defeat the Inheritors-this time for good! Meanwhile: Anya Corazon leads a hopeful team of young heroes to investigate a legend of the Spider Society that may hold the key. If science brought the Inheritors back, maybe ancient magic can

put them away. 

COLLECTING: SPIDER-FORCE 1-3, SPIDER-GIRLS 1-3 

Verdict

Getting to explore the various differences between the Spider army in this Spider-Geddon tie in was a breath of fresh air. From the deadly, hopeless situation Kaine, Jessica Drew and other Spiders find themselves in when facing the wrath of an Inheritor, to the more hopeful and emotional struggle of Anya, May and a new Spider hero who may hold the key to stopping the Inheritors once and for all, this story has many twists and turns that will both shock and excite longtime fans of the Spider-Man lore. 

Spider-Geddon

(Spider-Verse (Collected Editions) #2)

by Christos Gage (Text), Clayton Crain (Illustrations)

Synopsis 

SPIDERGEDDON IS HERE! The end of all Spiders doesn’t exclude the star of the most anticipated video game of 2018! How does he enter the Marvel Universe and what role will he play in the final chapter of SPIDER-VERSE?!

COLLECTING: SPIDER-GEDDON 0-5, SPIDER-GEDDON: VAULT OF SPIDERS 1-2

Verdict

A fantastic story in the Spider-Man lore that has been building since the first pages of Spider-Verse. The Spider-Geddon event explores many great aspects of the major Marvel Event. From Peter Parker’s fight for survival against his deadly Inheritor nemesis Morlun to the battle for leadership between Miles Morales and Otto Octavius, aka Ultimate Spider-Man and Superior Spider-Man, this story has a lot of surprises in store for longtime fans of this story. The shocking deaths, new Spider-heroes and major battles with the Inheritors will leave fans on the edge of their seat as they wait to see who will survive, and who will win. 

Batwoman, Vol. 1: The Many Arms of Death

(Batwoman (2017) #1)

by Marguerite BennettJames Tynion IVSteve EptingStephanie HansRenato Arlem

Synopsis

Batwoman returns with her own series in BATWOMAN VOL. 1, as a part of DC Rebirth!

The newest chapter of Batwoman’s life begins here! Monster Venom is the hottest new bioweapon on the market…and to break up the syndicate spreading it around the world, Batwoman’s going to have to return to the place where she spent some of her darkest hours! 

With writing from Marguerite Bennett (DC BOMBSHELLS) and James Tynion IV (DETECTIVE COMICS), as well as spectacular art from Steve Epting (CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER) and Ben Oliver (THE MULTIVERSITY), this new series spins directly out of the smash hit DETECTIVE COMICS series! 

BATWOMAN VOL. 1 collects issues #1-6 and the one-shot special BATWOMAN: REBIRTH #1. 

Verdict

With her live-action debut set to arrive in just a few months time on the CW, Batwoman is quickly showcasing why she is one of DC Comic’s fan favorite heroes. The first chapter in her Rebirth storyline explores Kate Kane’s dark past, especially what is known as her “Lost Year”. Forced to come face to face with old allies, older foes and a new threat that threatens to tear the world apart, Kate must navigate the familiar waters of a place she once called home, and must learn to own the mistakes and pain of her past in order to overcome the threat that looms over her and the world at large. The story does an amazing job of exploring the emotional core of Batwoman as a person while also highlighting her never ending determination to never stop fighting in the face of impossible odds, which makes her such a great character and hero to explore. 

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Green Arrow, Vol. 1: The Death & Life of Oliver Queen

(Green Arrow (2016) #1)

by Benjamin Percy (Goodreads Author), Otto Schmidt (Artist), Juan Ferreyra (Artist)

Synopsis 

Part of the most critically acclaimed, best-selling, all-new line of volume one graphic novels, DC Universe Rebirth!

By day he’s Oliver Queen, playboy socialite, CEO of Queen Industries and philanthropic do-gooder. But at night he patrols the streets of Seattle, where he champions the oppressed as a true social justice warrior. He is Green Arrow.

But how can you fight the man when you are the man? That’s the question left with Oliver after an electric, love-at-first-sight encounter with Black Canary, the superhero rock star who challenges everything he thought he knew about protecting the innocent. As if that weren’t enough, a sinister organization with ties to his nearest and dearest prepares to tear down Oliver’s financial empire, destroy his family’ s legacy and end his life.

Without fortune or friends, can Green Arrow defeat this unholy alliance of traitors? Or has death finally caught up with Oliver Queen?

Discover the shocking answers in GREEN ARROW VOL. 1: THE DEATH AND LIFE OF OLIVER QUEEN, the surprise hit series from writer BENJAMIN PERCY (TEEN TITANS), gorgeously illustrated by OTTO SCHMIDT (Korvac Saga) and JUAN FERREYRA (NEW SUICIDE SQUAD) and exploding from the blockbuster DC Universe Rebirth event! Collects GREEN ARROW: REBIRTH #1 and GREEN ARROW #1-5.

Verdict

A truly strong start to the Rebirth era of Green Arrow comics. DC has done a great job of jumping feet first into the new status quo for Oliver Queen, showcasing an established if not rocky relationship with his newfound younger sister Emiko, (hiding a secret of her own), a chance meeting with the powerful hero Black Canary, and put Oliver’s convictions to the test when he must chose between the money that funds his life and his crusade as the Green Arrow and the lives closest to him. Bringing a strong new foe into the fold and exploring the darker side of DC Comic’s vigilante stories, this is a great starting off point for the new era of Green Arrow. 

Posted in Interviews

Interview with Travis Smith

1) Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get into writing?

I got into writing about superheroes and philosophy after reading an article by Adam Barkman published in Comment magazine. I could give that a try, I thought. Why not? Barkman looked at superheroes from a “mythological” point of view; I would prefer to look at them from a somewhat more human perspective. When I discovered an article by Jonathan V. Last in The Weekly Standard that I disagreed with I took it as an opportunity to respond. Last argued for the timeliness of the Christopher Nolan trilogy of Batman films; I argued that Spider-Man was a better hero for our times, in commemoration of what was then the fiftieth anniversary of Spider-Man’s first appearance. Little did I know that this one article would lead to an entire book on the subject.

2) What inspired you to write your book?

University professors are asked to find ways to engage in the public dissemination of knowledge. Most of our research is written for an academic audience. How does someone like myself take what I study and teach in the history of political philosophy and make it relevant for a wider audience? Well, if Plato can discuss the popular heroes of his time, whose adventures are depicted in the epic poems of Homer, then why can’t I look into superheroes, whose stories have become popularized lately in so many feature films? I look at them to find out what they might teach us about ourselves and our ideals—who we imagine ourselves to be at our best, or who we would become if only we could be better than we are?

3) What theme or message do you hope readers will take away from your book?

I’d point to the value of thinking critically about the things we happen to enjoy, and the possibility of thinking critically about ourselves in the process. This is something we can do even with respect to our amusements—the music we like, the TV shows we binge on, the athletes we admire, the vloggers we subscribe to. Focusing on questions of ethics when doing so leads us to wonder: How does thinking about the character of this or that person, whether real or fictional, help me to better understand the worldview and motivations of people similar to them—whether that’s someone I’ve encountered in my private life, or public figures like politicians, leading professionals, or outspoken celebrities? What answers to life’s problems do they represent, and should we heed them? What does whether I like or dislike some particular person or character tell me about myself?

4) What drew you into this particular genre?

In the classroom, I draw on a lot of examples from popular culture in order to make old ideas and arguments seem relevant and familiar to my students. With respect to superhero stories in particular, I’ve read plenty of comic books over the years and re-watched the movies based on them more than enough. I put that hobby to use in Superhero Ethics.

5) If you could sit down with any character in your book, what would you ask them and why?

I would like to know why Tony Stark doesn’t share his most advanced technologies with everyone—whether they want him to or not. Why not save people from ever needing saving again through upgrades and alterations to the human condition? Not that I would want him to—but I don’t really understand why he doesn’t. That said, I’d be concerned that by pushing him on it I might inadvertently convince him to give it a try, or else stop playing the hero entirely. Either way, better to keep my mouth shut, really. The most interesting line of dialogue to me in Avengers: Infinity War occurs when Thanos tells Iron Man, “You are not the only one cursed with knowledge.” In Superhero Ethics I argue that Tony Stark willfully refrains from drawing the furthermost consequences of his views regarding human nature and our place in the cosmos—including, ultimately, that he himself is insignificant. He struggles with a nagging suspicion that his pride—which is substantial—is vanity, and all of his efforts and sacrifices are offered in vain.

I’d also like to hear Wolverine explain his fascination with Japan. I think it’s because culturally, feudal Japan is practically the exact opposite of present-day Canada. We can be glad that imperial Japan at its worst was ended non-fictionally and still romanticize traditional Japanese society in fiction as representing honor-based society at its best. Still, I’d like to hear Logan’s perspective on it over a few bottles of beer, hoping he’ll call me “bub” at least once—and that I’ll be able to sneak out the back door of the dive bar before the inevitable brawl gets underway.

6) What social media site has been the most helpful in developing your readership?

Personally, I avoid using social media. I worry that it’s an engine of incivility.

7) What advice would you give to aspiring or just starting authors out there?

Read. A lot. Read a lot of good books. Even books you imagine you’ll dislike by authors you expect to disagree with. For starters, read about Achilles sulking in his tent in the Iliad if you haven’t already. Also, learn to take criticism well, and be your own harshest critic. Reread everything you write, out loud, and ask yourself if it actually says what you want it to say in the best possible way. Always be revising but recognize that your words will never be perfect. Nothing that you decide today is good enough for now will seem good enough later in retrospect—and that’s okay.

8) What does the future hold in store for you? Any new books/projects on the horizon?

Some people have asked me whether I’ll write about Superheroine Ethics next. Or perhaps Supervillain Ethics. What about something fandom-adjacent, like Pro Wrestling Ethics? Within this genre, I haven’t decided yet. As a professor of political theory, I intend to publish more on the philosophy of Thomas Hobbes, including pieces informed by my analyses of superhero stories, on subjects such as bravery, magic, and the imagination. I’m convinced that Thomas Hobbes himself thinks he’s like a superhero or something.

Bonus/Fun Questions:

Who was your favorite superhero growing up?

On Saturday morning cartoons, I liked Green Lantern best, mainly because of Sinestro. As a teen, I connected most with Rogue. For over a dozen years now though, Ms./Captain Marvel (Carol Danvers) has been my favorite. I await her feature film debut in 2019 with great anticipation.

Do you prefer Marvel or DC? Or do you find them to be on equal footing overall?

When I wrote Superhero Ethics, I didn’t just focus on my favorite characters. I wanted the book to be accessible to casual fans and a general readership. I didn’t want it to be accessible only to those of us who have read a hundred thousand comic books. My book might give the impression that I prefer Marvel, but my analyses weren’t decided by my subjective preferences. I tried to give more generous readings to characters who interest me less and be tougher on characters I like most. Speaking personally, I am a fan of both universe’s characters. I started reading comic books as a pre-teen at the time of Crisis on Infinite Earths, and DC successfully persuaded me to disregard the pre-Crisis multiverse as no longer relevant and too confusing and supposedly unsophisticated. As I have gotten older, however, I have discovered how fantastic Silver Age Superman, Flash, Legion, and Earth-Two stories are. I have also enjoyed exploring DC’s western and war genre comics, too, such as Jonah Hex and Haunted Tank.

Which non-Marvel or -DC hero do you think would fit into the ethical discussion of superheroes? 

Sailor Moon and The Tick were favorites of mine when I was young. Captain Planet probably deserves some critical analysis, too, but I don’t think I could sit through enough episodes to assess the character fully.

If you were to create your own hero based on the ethical discussions raised in your book, what would that hero’s name be, what powers would they have (if any), and what villain/threat would they face to mirror the challenges of our world?

I already have a hero in my wife. [Awwww!] Putting up with me and my hobbies has got to be challenge enough. And who knows what kind of villainy I’d be up to if she wasn’t always asking me, “What are you doing?!?” I try to keep in mind how Aristotle would have told Ajax to listen to Tecmessa.

Thank you, Anthony, for the opportunity to discuss Superhero Ethics with you. I’m glad that you enjoyed the book!

About the Author:
Smith_Travis
Travis Smith is the author of Superhero Ethics (Templeton Press). He received his PhD from Harvard University and is associate professor of political science at Concordia University. He has been collecting comic books since he bought Uncanny X-Men #207 with his allowance in 1986. His writing has appeared in the Weekly Standard and Convivium Magazine. For more information, please visit https://www.templetonpress.org/books/superhero-ethics

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Posted in reviews

Superhero Ethics: 10 Comic Book Heroes; 10 Ways to Save The World; Which One Do We Need Most Now? By Travis Smith | REVIEW

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

Superheroes are one of the biggest money grabbers of the twenty-first century. Fans around the world love flocking to the world’s of Marvel, DC and other comic book publishers who make the most popular comic books, films, television programs and more. Yet there has been one question that has always been on fans minds since the comic book industry began: who is the best of all the heroes? While this has always been a matter of popularity, but author Travis Smith has done something truly spectacular by focusing not on their popularity, but the ethics of each character and comparing it to our society today and what we truly need in a hero. That’s what makes Superhero Ethics: 10 Comic Book Heroes; 10 Ways to Save The World; Which One Do We Need Most Now? such an incredible read. Here’s the synopsis:

Whether in comic books or on movie screens, superhero stories are where many people first encounter questions about how they should conduct their lives.

Although these outlandish figures—in their capes, masks, and tights, with their unbelievable origins and preternatural powers—are often dismissed as juvenile amusements, they really are profound metaphors for different approaches to shaping one’s character and facing the challenges of life.

But, given the choice, which superhero should we follow today? Who is most worthy of our admiration? Whose goals are most noble? Whose ethics should we strive to emulate?

To decide, Travis Smith takes ten top superheroes and pits them one against another, chapter by chapter. The hero who better exemplifies how we ought to live advances to the final round. By the end of the book, a single superhero emerges victorious and is crowned most exemplary for our times.

How, then, shall we live?

How can we overcome our beastly nature and preserve our humanity? (The Hulk vs. Wolverine)

How far can we rely on our willpower and imagination to improve the human condition? (Iron Man vs. Green Lantern)

What limits must we observe when protecting our neighborhood from crime and corruption? (Batman vs. Spider-Man)

Will the pursuit of an active life or a contemplative life bring us true fulfillment? (Captain America vs. Mr. Fantastic)

Should we put our faith in proven tradition or in modern progress to achieve a harmonious society? (Thor vs. Superman)

Using superheroes to bring into focus these timeless themes of the human condition, Smith takes us on an adventure as fantastic as any you’ll find on a splash page or the silver screen—an intellectual adventure filled with surprising insights, unexpected twists and turns, and a daring climax you’ll be thinking about long after it’s over. 

This is truly one of the most unique books I’ve read this year. The deep analysis of each of these well known heroes and the complexities of each character’s heroic actions and their motivations is something that’s always fascinated me. Yet never before has someone so articulately brought these issues to the forefront of the comic book industry and given audiences a deeper connection to these heroes as Travis Smith has done.

The book allows audiences to really analyze the motivations these characters have for taking on the mantle of hero, and whether or not their actions are completely selfless or not. It also compares these heroes and their ethics to our current political climate and gives historical context to these hero’s actions as well. It’s a really interesting and wonderfully different perspective that allows a wider audience as well as die hard comic book fans an opportunity to really understand the heroes they love in a whole new way.

Overall I loved this book. It was entertaining yet educational all at once, delving into political, intellectual, philosophical and of course ethical questions no one usually bothers to ask about the superhero community. Yet the author does a superb job of bringing these issues to light and giving us a chance to look deep within ourselves and determine which hero represents our best, brightest and most ethical hero in the twenty-first century. If you haven’t yet be sure to pick up your copy of Superhero Ethics by Travis Smith today!

Rating: 10/10

About the Author:

Smith_Travis

Travis Smith is the author of Superhero Ethics (Templeton Press). He received his PhD from Harvard University and is associate professor of political science at Concordia University. He has been collecting comic books since he bought Uncanny X-Men #207 with his allowance in 1986. His writing has appeared in the Weekly Standard and Convivium Magazine. For more information, please visit https://www.templetonpress.org/books/superhero-ethics

Posted in Movie Reviews, reviews

Marvel’s Avengers: Infinity War Review (SPOILER FREE)

It’s all lead to this. Ten years in the making, Earth’s mightiest heroes have finally gathered together to face the MCU’s greatest villain, Thanos. The ultimate architect of the threats faced by the Avengers, the Mad Titan goes on a bloody warpath of destruction across the MCU in the recently released film, Avengers: Infinity War. Here’s the synopsis:

Avengers-Infinity-War-Captain-America-Leads-the-Charge-noscale.jpg

Iron Man, Thor, the Hulk and the rest of the Avengers unite to battle their most powerful enemy yet — the evil Thanos. On a mission to collect all six Infinity Stones, Thanos plans to use the artifacts to inflict his twisted will on reality. The fate of the planet and existence itself has never been more uncertain as everything the Avengers have fought for has led up to this moment.

To say this film both amazed and stunned me would be a gross understatement. My first reaction of course was this:

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After my initial shock wore off, I realized I had just seen the best MCU film to date. While films like Black Panther, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2, Captain America Civil War and Spider-Man: Homecoming all have blown me away with incredible storytelling over the years, this film did something truly unique, and that’s bring a huge, cosmic and company wide comic book event to the big screen. We’ve seen individual stories emerge beautifully over the years in the superhero film realm, but Infinity War took a massive story like Infinity Gauntlet and Infinity and combined both big events into the stuff comic books are made of.

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I have to tread carefully, as I promised not to spoil anything for you guys. I highly recommend you see this film, and if you guys want me to make a separate post talking about the film’s shocking moments and what my theories for the future of the MCU are, then leave a comment down below letting me know. However for the context of this review, I can say that the film was beautifully made. The visual effects of course were brilliant, and getting to see so many heroes and characters interact for the first time was amazing to see. The best scenes featured interactions between the likes of Dr. Strange and Iron Man, Thor and Rocket Raccon, and Scarlett Witch and Vision. These characters stole the show as far as I’m concerned, as did Gamora, who had the biggest connection to Thanos throughout this entire film.

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The performances given by these actors was incredible. Not only did we get the amazing humor we’ve come to expect from these films, but the MCU finally delved into darker storytelling and showed a very visceral, real comic book war unfold. The emotions were running high throughout the entire film, from the movie’s opening scene to the closing credits. Joe and Anthony Russo did a brilliant job directing and bringing this story together, proving they have a profound command on the MCU and it’s overall direction. The film did a great job of connecting to big Marvel Comics moments, left plenty of Easter eggs and theories running to keep fans guessing until the next film, and provided one of the biggest shocks in superhero film history. With only Ant Man & The Wasp and Captain Marvel set to premiere before the big Avengers 4 film, fans will be eagerly anticipating the untitled Avengers movie in hopes of seeing how the first book of the MCU franchise ends.

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I loved this movie. I look back at my time watching this movie, and I can’t find one flaw in it. The villain was fully flushed out, and Josh Brolin did an amazing job of providing an incredible performance as the MCU’s greatest villain to date. The acting and directing was superb, and the overall story was able to do something very few superhero films can do, and that’s shock the audience. If you guys haven’t yet, be sure to see Avengers: Infinity War today!

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