This was an incredibly packed week of comic book releases. Early this week we posted reviews for Alice Never After #3, Batman/Catwoman: Gotham War – Red Hood #1, Invincible Iron Man #10, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #112, Tales Of The Titans #3, and Ultimate Invasion #4. With this being such a packed week I’ve put together a new Weekly Comic Book Review round-up to cover Avengers #5, Green Arrow #4, and Jean Grey #2. Scroll down to find out how these comic books turned out.
Writer: Jed MacKay
Artist: Ivan Fiorelli
Colorist: Federico Blee
Letterer: Cory Petit
“Battle zone: Vatican City. God vs. living godhead as Thor battles Idol Alabaster. Battle zone: Sydney. Witch vs. revenant as the Scarlet Witch wages war upon the Dead. Battle zone: Toronto. Engineer vs. artist as Iron Man clashes with the Citysmith. Assembled, the Avengers are invincible. But separated, how can they triumph?” – Marvel Comics
Avengers #5 is an example of how letting a creative cook with their direction can pay off. There is a sense of freedom with the way Jed MacKay is writing the series. That freedom isn’t something where he is trying to take the Avengers on an unfamiliar path that doesn’t fit the team. Rather, MacKay understands what other creative teams have successfully done with their Avengers run to amplify why the team is known as the Earth’s Mightiest Heroes.
This latest issue is the best example of how well MacKay understands the scale of story the Avengers should be dealing with as Marvel’s premiere superhero team. Everything with the Impossible City and Ashen Combine is hitting. MacKay has presented each member of the Ashen Combine as major threats without burying the Avengers. MacKay makes sure the story is paced in a way where the Avengers are still being able to show out while the villains show they are major threats that won’t be easy to defeat. That led to the sense of chaos created throughout Avengers #5 make the fact the story didn’t matter as you were into all the action.
Speaking of the action, Ivan Fiorelli steps in and does a very good job with all the choreography. The artwork was a bit too clean for all the damage being done. But outside that the various action shots delivered on being dynamic. Each member of the Avengers and Ashen Combine were presented strong to get over how dangerous this situation is to Earth.
Avengers #5 was not designed to push the overall Impossible City story forward. This was more about getting over the Ashen Combine over as they overpowered the Avengers. The way that was accomplished will be good for the long-term and builds greater confidence in Jed MacKay being the correct choice as the writer of the main Avengers series.
Story Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 7.5 Night Girls out of 10
Writer: Joshua Williamson
Artist: Sean Izaakse
Colorist: Romulo Fajardo Jr.
Letterer: Troy Peteri
“OLIVER QUEEN VS. PARALLAX! PARALLAX RETURNS! Years ago, Oliver Queen died and was resurrected by his good ol’ buddy Hal Jordan. But it wasn’t really Hal, it was Parallax. And did no one think that would come with a cost?! Now Parallax has returned to collect! Meanwhile, Arsenal and Black Canary’s search for Oliver Queen leads them to a long-lost Green Arrow family member…who isn’t so happy to be found!” – DC Comics
The Dawn of DC Green Arrow has been a title that’s left me feeling conflicted. There are so many great Multiverse and grounded elements that are working. The problem is that even when personal stakes such as Parallax Hal Jordan are added Oliver Queen doesn’t fit this story. Which could be the point of this entire narrative with Oliver but all the elements are just not clicking together.
The biggest problem with this storyline is shown throughout Green Arrow #4 as there is no sense of plot progression. This issue is solely sold by the battle between Parallax and Green Arrow. It almost feels like we are going around in circles with every issue of Green Arrow until we hit the typical six issue minimum for story arcs. It doesn’t help that for all the players, from Parallax to the Legion of Super Heroes, all we get is a bunch of talking. This creates a repetitive feel to every conversation.
That is not to say there aren’t good parts to Green Arrow #4. While short, Dinah Lance and Roy Harper are at least showing they are actively trying to figure things out. Getting Cheshire involved is a cool development to keep the attention on Amanda Waller having some role in all this.
To Sean Izaakse credit, while we get a lot of talking throughout Green Arrow #4 the artwork steps up in a big way. Izaakse continue to nail the look a Multiverse-level story should have. There is great variety to each setting to play into the way past, present, and future are utilized throughout the story. This helps the story to push forward even if the actual developments feel they are going around in circle.
The deeper we are getting with this intro Multiverse arc for Green Arrow the more the ambition is showing to be to great for the story to handle. There are a lot of cool elements, such as the Legion of Super Heroes and Parallax usage, but the story is just not hitting with Oliver Queen at the center. Hopefully the way Green Arrow #4 ended will be a sign this story will finally start having positive progress forward rather than going in circles.
Story Rating: 4 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Writer: Louise Simonson
Artist: Bernard Chang
Colorist: Marcelo Maiolo
Letterer: Ariana Maher
“THE DARKEST PERIOD IN JEAN GREY’S HISTORY! The Dark Phoenix has haunted Jean Grey since it emerged from Jamaica Bay. But what if the Phoenix had chosen…someone else? The love story of Cyclops and Jean Grey is one of the most beloved in Marvel Comics’ history. Now witness a legendary creator break their hearts—and their minds. But this is no ‘what if.’ Jean Grey is not where she is meant to be…and neither is the rest of mutantkind. Stunning secrets will be revealed as Jean Grey lays the groundwork for her next shocking appearance in ‘Fall of X’!” – Marvel Comics
With the first issue of Jean Grey, Louise Simonson and Bernard Chang laid the foundation for how they will be approaching applying the “What If…?” concept with Multiverse elements. Jean being self-aware and creating all of these “What If…?” scenarios has given greater meaning to what this Marvel concept is. In the process we see how, in search for answers of where she went wrong, Jean’s role in Fall of X is taking shape.
Going back to the Dark Phoenix Saga is an obvious place where Jean would identify where things went wrong. Because of that placing the trust in the two greatest loves in her life to possibly fill her role is a heartbreaking one. Jean knows what the power of the Phoenix Force did to her. Believing that maybe Wolverine or Cyclops would be stronger and overcome the Phoenix Force influence that she could shows this trust. Unfortunately, we see that what Jean didn’t take into account was were both Wolverine and Cyclops were also at this point in their lives. The Phoenix Force is too great of a power that without experiencing everything post-Dark Phoenix Saga there was no one to help with controlling it.
This sets the stage well for the next “What If…?” big crossroad moment in Jean’s life: the introduction of Madelyne Pryor. We’ve seen hints in other possible futures and “What If…?” scenarios where Madelyne Pryor introduction was more than her just being Jean’s clone. How Simonson tackles Jean vs Madelyne is something that could redefine both characters for Fall of X and beyond.
Bernard Chang artwork was great throughout Jean Grey #1. Chang captured the designs of the X-Men during this period well, while providing some modern touches. Phoenix Wolverine in particular stood out. The unique way the Phoenix Force utilized Wolverine’s powers compared to Jean Grey got over all the overwhelming power we saw. Throughout this Chang found great ways to show Jean’s sorrow as she realized neither Wolverine nor Cyclops could handle the Phoenix Force. It all made for an overall great looking comic book.
The first issue of Jean Grey was more about establishing the general direction of this mini-series. Now with Jean Grey #2 Louise Simonson and Bernard Chang were able to go all in with tapping into the potential of the series’ foundation. In the process Simonson and Chang are able to take the “What If…?” concept to give greater insight into Jean Grey’s character as her role in Fall of X develops.
Story Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10