Comic Review: Generations: The Iron #1 (Marvel Comics)

Adam reads as many comics as he can afford. Then he reviews one every other week.

This week, I picked up another installment of Marvel’s Generations, the stop gap between the contentious Secret Empire that wrapped up last week and their next event, Marvel Legacy, that will apparently smash together classic characters and their more recent legacy counterparts into a new status quo. Generations is a series of one-shots, where the current and classic versions of several of Marvel’s most recognizable characters team up for a short adventure. This time, I’m reviewing The Iron, written by Brian Michael Bendis, pencils by Marco Rudy, Szymon Kudranski and Nico Leon, inks by Kudranski, Will Sliney, Scott Koblish and Leon, colours by Rudy, Dean White and Paul Mounts, and letters from VC’s Clayton Cowles.

“The Vanishing Point – An instant apart! A moment beyond! Loosed from the shackles of past, present and future – a place where time has no meaning! But where true insight can be gained! Make your choice! Select your destination! This journey is a gift…”

The Iron stars Riri Williams as Ironheart, Tony Stark’s replacement shellhead in the wake of the punishment he received at the hands of Captain Marvel in last year’s Civil War II. The story picks up with Riri falling, her suit failing and the Tony Stark AI she uses as her version of Jarvis/Friday unresponsive. She lands in a futuristic Chicago, and how she got there is a complete mystery. But before she passes out, she meets a group of young Avengers, most of whom appear to be related to recognizable original members and all of whom know who Ironheart is. When she wakes up, she discovers that Tony Stark is alive and well, and is now 126 years old. And he has a new title too. Tony takes Riri on a tour of the future, a utopia of science and philosophy that includes the quickest thwarting of a villain ever, and the return of an old face (or an older version of a young face) that hasn’t been seen in the Marvel U for a couple of years. But Tony also needs to make sure he doesn’t reveal too many secrets, as knowing your own future can be a dangerous thing. They have banned time travel in the future after all.

There are still no more clues as to what the Vanishing Point is, or why heroes are being time displaced for these brief adventures. I had expected some indication to come in the finale of Secret Empire, but all there was was a throwaway line that something had happened. However, Generations continues to be a lot of fun, and The Iron is no different. There is a lot of interesting philosophizing, and it is rare to see a future in a Marvel comic where everything is actually going well. As with The Thunder, at least one hero here leaves with their horizons expanded. Generally, the story and dialogue from Bendis here are good, though both Riri and Tony have one instance where they add in a comment halfway into a speech bubble in parentheses, which just isn’t how people talk and so I’m not sure what the aim is, other than a snide comment within a comment.

Interestingly, while the art goes through several changes throughout the issue, it never feels incomplete or inconsistent. Rather, it feels like each section of the story and the tour of the future switches between discrete art styles that gives a satisfying overall flow. There are levels of Ditko-esque psychedelia throughout that almost resembles Christian Ward’s work on ODY-C, and some really interesting paneling is employed across the issue. The colorist on the book bring this psychedelia to life, as a contrast to the blue tones of the future.

The Iron is another strong Generations book, even if it doesn’t answer any more questions than the other issues. Pick it up at your LCS or digitally now!

Score: 7.5 Shards of the Odinsdottir out of 10

Comic Review – Secret Empire #0 (Marvel Comics)

Adam reads as many comics as he can afford. Then he reviews one every other week.

This week saw the start of Secret Empire, the latest event from Marvel comics that marks the culmination of over a year of build up in Captain America Steve Rogers. We’ve been assured that this will be the last major event from Marvel for 18 months after this 9 issue series (although I don’t know if this issue counts as 1 of 9, or 0 of 9…), which is definitely a good thing since everyone is feeling serious event fatigue. Not that every event has been bad (Secret Wars was great), but a break in the constant story interruptions, world resetting, series ending and new #1s is certainly welcome. Here is hoping that Secret Empire leads us into that break on a high. Secret Empire #0 was written by current Captain America (both Steve Rogers and Sam Wilson) writer Nick Spencer, with prologue art by Rod Reis, main story art by Daniel Acuña and letters by VC’s Travis Lanham. Cover art was provided by Mark Brooks.

Cover by Mark Brooks

Following on from the events started in Captain America Steve Rogers #1 in May 2016 and the Pleasant Hill event, Captain America has had his reality rewritten by the Red Skull and a sentient cosmic cube in the form of a little girl, known as Kobik. You may have heard about it when the internet melted down as a result. In the new reality, Steve Rogers was recruited by Hydra at a young age to be their spy, and so unbeknownst to all of his allies, Captain America has always been an agent of Hydra. Over the last year he has been maneuvering and scheming his ultimate plan to take over the world, now finally revealing himself and his allegiance to all who thought they knew and trusted him.

I won’t go much more into details of the plot, but Secret Empire #0  is action packed and a thrill to read. Spencer has weaved a layered and complex plot with the fall of the greatest Avenger and his betrayal, and the time he has spent with the character really pays off. The most puzzling aspect of this issue is therefore the question of why this is a #0 rather than the opening issue of the event itself? Zero issues typically set the table for the event, and recap the plot leading up to it for anyone that might not have been following. But Secret Empire #0 seems to be essential reading and an integral part of the story, and it would be confusing and a shame for readers to miss out due to that #0 rather than #1 on the cover. Also I don’t know why Tony Stark is back in the land of the living. I read Invincible Iron Man too and as far as I was aware the only Tony was RiRi Williams’s AI. Is this the AI? Because there was definitely a man inside that can at one point. Those quibbles aside, the storytelling in this issue was great.

Art by Daniel Acuña

As for the art, it is consistently strong throughout. The prologue from Rod Reis is a gorgeous and ethereal opener that displays the weight of the story to come. Acuña’s art throughout the main story is similarly incredible, jumping between some fantastic action that stretches from New York, to Earth’s orbit and the skies above Sokovia, and the dark, heavier moments that drive the plot and show the determination and grim resolve behind the master strategist with his efforts aimed at dominating the world rather than saving it. Acuña’s bold art makes these latter character moments really land, with the surprise these heroes are experiencing feeling really genuine.

Secret Empire is off to a good start, with strong art and a story that feels like a real payoff to a year of story. Issue #0 feels like essential reading for the plot, and even then it may be a little impenetrable to new readers. Even so, I definitely recommend Secret Empire #0,  which you can pick up at your local comic shop or digitally now!

Score: 8 Helicarriers out of 10

 

Pick up the first two volumes of Spencer’s Captain America Steve Rogers run here and here!

Comic Review – The Avengers #6 (Marvel Comics)

Adam reads as many comics as he can afford. Then he reviews one every other week.

This week I’m reviewing issue #6 of The Avengers from Marvel Comics, written by Mark Waid with art by Mike del Mundo, colours by del Mundo and Marco D’Alfonso, and letters by VC’s Cory Petit. This is the end of the first arc since the series (and team) restarted in the wake of last year’s Civil War II event.

Cover art by Alex Ross

The current team is made up of Vision, Hercules, Spider-Man (Peter Parker), Wasp (Nadia Pym), Thor (Jane Foster) and Captain America (Sam Wilson). These are the current (or one of two current) iterations of these heroes, which is only an important distinction in that this is a full-on, multiple team superhero time travel romp. Vision, in a very ‘what if you killed Hitler in the crib’ move, abducted long time Avengers villain and time travelling douchebag Kang while he was still a baby. That ended fairly badly. But Captain America seemed to think it was a generally good plan, and the execution was the problem. Bigger and more complicated is how Sam saw their take down of Kang. So he assembled more Avengers – future Vision, the founding members (Giant Man, Wasp (Janet Van Dyne), Iron Man, Hulk, Thor (Odinson)) and a few other past members (Captain America (Steve Rogers), Captain Marvel (Monica Rambeau), Namor, She-Hulk and Black Knight). Then these folks split into three teams and attacked Kang and his strongholds across the timeline. Weirdly, this still isn’t going very well, to the extent that Giant Man and the original Wasp are being erased from time, which in turn means the Avengers never happened.

Does that sounds confusing? Probably. But it is well written confusing. This arc has been huge fun action, mercifully disconnected from the major goings on in the Marvel Universe, probably due to it largely taking place across time. Waid has a great handle on all of these characters, and while the size of the roster in this issue and the last precludes many character moments, there remains some good Parker quipping, and a lot of Vision and future Vision dialogue.

Art by del Mundo and D’Alfonso

Mike del Mundo’s art is not what you would typically expect for an Avengers book, but it is gorgeous to look at and suits the epic and twisting time travel plot. It almost swirls across the page, and despite often not having any backgrounds to speak of the panels are so stuffed with action and characters that you rarely notice. The character art is very strong too, with some fantastic looks of shock and surprise on a lot of Kangs and Kang minions. Although the colour palette is a little washed out, it is brilliantly vibrant and often brings a warmth to the book that rounds off the art very well.

As the end of an arc, I can’t really recommend The Avengers #6 as a jumping on point from a story perspective as you are likely to be fairly lost, but it is a strong and very enjoyable conclusion to this first arc and I’ve really enjoyed it. I’ll be carrying on with it and you should check out the next story. I can however recommend it purely based on del Mundo’s fantastic art, which is worth picking up the book for alone. Check out The Avengers at your LCS or digitally now!

Score: 8 Kangs out of 10

The Lost Lighthouse: The Weekly Rapture 66 – People Are Awful

Welcome back to The Weekly Rapture, brought to you by The Lost Lighthouse.

This week Gary and Adam chat about Marvel’s ‘Divided We Fall’, the removal of Alien 3 and Alien: Resurrection from the canon, Preacher (with a minor spoiler sort of) and the official announcement of the Bioshock Collection, while Adam watches a cartoon that is 8 years old and Gary is somehow responsible for the EU Referendum result.

No main talking point this week!


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Early sketch of the Captain America statue due to go up in Brooklyn this year

You can as always get in touch through Facebook or on Twitter @lost_lighthouse, email us at thelostlighthouse@live.co.uk or sound off in the ‘leave a reply’ box at the bottom of the podcast page on the website.

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Adam’s Most Anticipated of 2016

Here is what Adam is most looking forward to in 2016, in no particular order (I don’t know why I picked that featured photo either).

Captain America: Civil War

Civil War

I’ve not exactly made it a secret that I’m a big fan of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, or that I think Chris Evans makes a great Steve Rogers. As more details and the cast has been revealed for third Captain America film, a lot of people have labelled it as ‘Avengers 2.5’ as it seems 80% of the MCU is going to be in it. But from the first trailer that hit, the film’s focus definitely still seems to be on Cap and how he is seeing events. Also Iron Man is there. I don’t find hero Vs hero to be the most interesting plotline, but things don’t look quite as simple as that. Oh, and Black Panther looks really cool.

 

Finishing my PhD

For better or worse, this year I’ll be free of this terrible curse. Horrible life decision.

 

Rogue One

Rogue One

Ah genuine excitement for new Star Wars. How I’ve missed you. I loved The Force Awakens, and while I’m not overly enthused by some of the ideas floating around for the upcoming anthology films, more Star Wars while we wait for the numbered films should be a good thing (and means those films won’t be rushed). The first film set to be released in December is ‘Rogue One’, centered on the group of rebels who stole the plans for the first Death Star. And it has an excellent cast.

 

New Thrice Album

CUgUKXHWUAAU7be

Thrice are one of my favourite bands, with their 2005 album ‘Vheissu’ being one of my desert island discs. Remembering picking it up at lunch time at school 10 years ago makes me feel incredibly old. From their emo punk roots Thrice developed into a brilliant progressive band that is full of intelligent and inventive musical ideas. They announced they were going on a hiatus back in 2012, but unlike many bands who make the same decision they always said they weren’t breaking up, and they were just “taking a break from being a full-time band”. In 2015 they held up that promise, playing a smattering of festivals internationally, one of which was Hevy Fest in the UK which I was lucky enough to catch. Near the end of November they announced that there would be a new album in 2016, and I can’t wait.

 

New Every Time I Die Album

ETID

I have two ETID tattoos. I’m a reasonably big fan of theirs. Something that always inexplicably surprises me is that especially with heavy bands, I expect that eventually the formula will get repetitive or stale, and I’m always delighted when it doesn’t. With every album Every Time I Die have managed to surprise with how interesting and genre pushing their music is, while still retaining their core sound that drew me to them in the first place. Their last album ‘From Parts Unknown’ was a fast, vicious affair that managed to outdo it’s predecessors in terms of raw heaviness. Their awesome riffs and punishing drums are only equaled for me in the bestial vocals from Keith Buckley and his insightful, intelligent lyrics. Look up what ‘Moor‘ is about. Intense.

Anyway, in a recent podcast guitarist Jordan Buckley said that they were going into the studio early on this year, and I can’t wait. They were halfway through a tour of the UK in November before having to postpone the London shows, and they’ve been rescheduled to May/June next year. I have tickets to 3 shows in a row. If I die, know I died doing what I loved – being bludgeoned to death by a large bald man with face tattoos.

 

Daredevil Season 2

Daredevil

Netflix’s Daredevil series was great. A lot of people seemed to agree, which is why we’re getting a second series, probably in the first half of 2016. Joining the cast from season one are Élodie Yung as Electra and Jon Bernthal as Frank Castle AKA The Punisher. I don’t know how they’ll both figure in to the series, but I’m sure it will be good.

 

Luke Cage

Luke cage

I really enjoyed Mike Colter as Luke Cage in 2015’s Jessica Jones (a show I made my favourite TV show of the year), so I’m not particularly worried about the quality of the Luke Cage solo series. Netflix are doing a great job with these shows, and I can’t see Cage being any different. I imagine it will all debut at a similar sort of time of year that Jessica Jones did this year.

 

Writing More

This year I started playing around with writing some fiction, mostly in the form of short stories. I don’t pretend to be good at it, but I find it extremely cathartic and it’s great to get swept up in. Unfortunately my current hectic and stressful work life has meant this has had to go on the back burner, largely relegated to jotting down plot details and story ideas when they come to me, so I don’t forget them when I finish my PhD and I can dedicate the time and energy I’d like to to them. I’ll probably figure some way of sharing this stuff in due time, so watch this space. Maybe.

 

Doctor Strange

Doctor Strange

Last week we were treated to our first look at Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Strange, the Sorcerer Supreme from the upcoming film, due out in early November of 2016. I think he looks fantastic, continuing the grand tradition in the MCU of nailing a “real world” representation of a classic comic costume. Doctor Strange will be bringing the magical elements of the Marvel Universe more into focus as Phase 3 of the MCU continues (I know Scarlet Witch counts too, but they were fairly vague about her power set in Age of Ultron), making everything feel more full and complex. Little is known of the plot so far (good!) but with the always brilliant Cumberbatch being joined by Chiwetel Eijofor, Tilda Swindon, Mads Mikkelsen and Rachel McAdams it’s sure to be pretty good!

 

Uncharted 4

Uncharted 4

I’m looking forward to generally having a lot more time for gaming in 2016, even if that point is still a few months away. One game that has been pretty highly anticipated is the Playstation exclusive Uncharted 4, due out in mid-March. Naughty Dog make beautiful, cinematic games and the last installment Uncharted 3 on the PS3 was no exception. Neither was The Last of Us. So with a new console generation to take advantage of, the new Uncharted, with the subtitle ‘A Thief’s End’, already looks stunning from what has been shown so far. It seems to be being billed as Nathan Drake’s last adventure. We’ll see if that actually happens, but Nolan North returning as Drake is a welcome one, even if the now older Drake will be less quippy and more world-weary. I just hope there are fewer ‘oh no! the ledge is crumbling, press X to grab the one below, phew!’ moments. I also couldn’t care less about the multiplayer mode.

 

What are you looking forward to in 2016? Let us know!

The Lost Lighthouse: The Weekly Rapture 52 – The Bacon Tremors

Welcome back to The Weekly Rapture, brought to you by The Lost Lighthouse.

This week we chatted about the Captain America: Civil War trailer, the Batman Vs. Superman teaser (the rather spoilery trailer was released after we recorded), Marvel’s Secret Wars delays and Kevin Bacon returning to Tremors, while Gary cuts off entire news segments and Adam remembers Kevin Bacon is actually a good actor.

Gary in 60 seconds was ”Pacific Rim’, with Gary attempting to take on kaiju and jaegers in under a minute. Keep an eye on twitter  for the poll for next time!

This week’s main talking point was Jessica Jones, the new dark superhero TV show from Marvel and Netflix. We talk about what we liked (a lot), what we didn’t (not much) and how it all fits in the MCU. It’s light on spoilers, but if you’re worried about finding out anything at all before you watch it then you can skip the second half of the podcast from 32 minutes in, and listen later to see if you agree with us!

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What did you think of Jessica Jones, or anything else we’ve talked about this week? You can as always get in touch through Facebook or on Twitter @lost_lighthouse, email us at thelostlighthouse@live.co.uk or sound off in the ‘leave a reply’ box at the bottom of the podcast page on the website.

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Enjoy!

Comic Review – All New, All Different Avengers #1 (Marvel)

Kit is taking over the weekly comic book review because Adam is in the unenviable position of attempting to finish off his PhD.

Warning: minor spoilers.

“Great, she thinks I’m a lunatic. Don’t be nervous, just say something funny. SAY SOMETHING FUNNY.” – Nova doing about as well as I did when I met my now fiancé.

First things first, I’m engaged. I asked the question last weekend in the most spectacularly nerdy way I could – buy building my now fiancé a game where I ask her in the end. Bearing in mind I know nothing about programming I feel this was quite a feat! She said yes, she’s stuck with me now, success!

Anyway, you’re more interested in getting into the comic book review, aren’t you? Well now I’ve got that personal note out of the way I’ll get on into it. I’ve had a hell of a busy week with work and feeling smug, but I have managed to fit in an issue of the All-New, All-Different Avengers! Written by Mark Waid with art by Adam Kubert and colours by Sonia Oback for the main story, and Mahmud Asrar and Dave McCaig in the back up story, with letters from VC’s Cory Petit.

It’s yet another Marvel new starter, I picked it as I’m sure it’ll be one of their big pushes over the coming months, bringing in a lot of familiar faces into the line-up. Sort of. We currently have Captain America, Thor, Spider-Man, Iron Man, Vision, Ms Marvel and Nova. And only two of these are the ‘original’ versions of themselves. Currently wearing the titles we actually have Sam Wilson (you’ll know him as Falcon in the films), Thor – but female (actual identity is a secret), Miles Morales (started off as Ultimate Spider-Man after Ultimate Peter Parker died), Tony Stark, Vision, Kamala Khan (took over as Ms Marvel) and Sam Alexander (not the original Nova, I don’t know much about him yet!). So there you have it, it’s an All-New, All-Different Avengers, literally (not counting Iron Man or Vision).

avengersI went into this comic quite hopeful, I’ve really enjoyed this Thor and Spidey’s stories so far and I always like seeing stories mix things up a bit. And this is the ultimate mix up!

The very first page shows Ms Marvel calling Nova a jerk, standing on a huge pile of rubble, no context given, yet. The story itself begins with Captain America and Iron Man meeting up and stumbling across a huge explosion/blast of energy that Spider-Man was near. It turns out Warbringer, one of Nova’s enemies has teleported to Earth and is there to well… bring war. He happens across a potential ally is his war-bringing plans, only to be set upon by the Avengers.

After a very quick bout the story cuts away to Ms Marvel and Nova. A beast has been let loose and is on the rampage and they team up to take it on. To then VERY awkwardly introduce themselves. Nova tries to hit on Ms Marvel, he’s about as smooth as I am, which is roughly on par with sand paper.

I think there was a bit much happening by coincidence in this issue, but the character interplays were great. I enjoyed the Ms Marvel – Nova exchange a lot and I feel team up stories are usually built on these moments and on that front it’s a good start.

Final Verdict

It’s a start. I was disappointed not to see much of Thor (who has been incredibly badass in her own story!) or Vision yet, but there are only so many pages and bringing all seven characters into one issue may have been a bit much. As I mentioned I feel there was maybe a bit much happening be coincidence in this issue, but with some good writing coincidence can be fine to start a story as long as it isn’t used to end a story. I’ll give issue two and three a try most likely, it’s a fine start.

Final Score – 7.5 Awkward Pick-Up Lines out of 10!