The worst thing that can happen has happened to the Marvel Comics universe. Ultron, the Avengers’ most dangerous enemy, a machine monster built by one of their own, has conquered and laid waste to the planet, and decimated and enslaved mankind. The few surviving heroes of the world have escaped to the Savage Land where they have come up with a plan to save us all.
With access to Doctor Doom’s Time Platform, half of the heroes have decided to go to the future, from which Ultron has masterminded this conquest, and defeat him once and for all. However, Wolverine has different plans, he will go to the past and kill the Avenger Hank Pym, who created Ultron in the first place, before it happens. Now, enter the two Ages of Ultron, after the jump…
Age of Ultron is writer Brian Michael Bendis’ swan song on the Avengers franchise. Ultron is the ultimate archenemy of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. Beside their destruction all it wants is the eradication of mankind and the coming of a machine age. The story so far – Ultron has won. We all woke up one morning and everything was different – we were living, dying, or worse, in the Age of Ultron.
Age of Ultron is writer Brian Michael Bendis’ swan song on the Avengers franchise. Ultron is the ultimate archenemy of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. Beside their destruction all it wants is the eradication of mankind and the coming of a machine age. The story so far – Ultron has won. We all woke up one morning and everything was different – we were living, dying, or worse, in the Age of Ultron. Check out last week’s review here for the details. See my new review of Book Two, and more, after the jump.
In the decades since “Flash of Two Worlds” in Flash #123 in 1961, the story that introduced Earth-Two and the basic concept of the Multiverse in comics, the idea of parallel universes have gone from science fiction theory to science fact. The Multiverse is more relevant now than it ever has.
While DC Comics has been the place the Multiverse is most bandied about, Marvel has done its share of play there as well. Marvel’s past in parallel dimensions seems about to come back and bite it in its butt in recent issues of Avengers and New Avengers. It’s a coming crisis in the Marvel Multiverse, after the jump.
There are the comic books you read because they star a particularly favourite character – or group of characters. There are also the comic books you read because a major got-the-fans-talking storyline is running through them. Of course, there are the comics you read because a certain artist you enjoy is working on them, not to mention the comics you read because an effectively brilliant marketing blitz has convinced you to pick the books up.
Then again, maybe it’s the name of the writer that has peaked your interest.
And that’s how Ed Brubaker drew me into Winter Soldier.
I was a little late to the writer, Ed Brubaker. I knew of him, but didn’t read his work until the hardcover collected editions of Gotham Central started hitting the shelves. Even then, I was reading Gotham Central because of co-writer Greg Rucka and because I always loved the art of Michael Lark.
In hindsight, I should have been more aware of is work.
Of course, I absolutely adored Gotham Central – specifically Ed Brubaker’s writing on the series. And doncha’ know, he had worked with Michael Lark a few years earlier on Scene of the Crime, another fine title, recently collected in a hardcover edition and making this very column last November!
Over the last year and a half, Ed Brubaker and artist Butch Guice’s monthly offering of Winter Soldier has been, hands down, one of the best comics I’ve ever had the joy of reading. Bold words, I know, but I’m not alone. There are plenty of other Biff Bam Poppers around these parts who feel the same way. To be honest, I wasn’t very familiar with Bucky Barnes, Captain America’s long-time pal, who, it turns out, was kidnapped by the Soviets and brainwashed into being a communist assassin. The Winter Soldier series is Bucky’s penance.
Part superhero comic, part detective noir, and part political thriller, Winter Soldier always had its main protagonist as a central character study. Here was a broken patriot, now in the midst of healing, trying to do right once again and reclaim the man – the hero – he once was. It’s been a fascinating read, month after month, and has won plaudits throughout the industry. For a heightened sense of drama, Brubaker brought back an old assassin compatriot who has forced the brainwashing procedure on Bucky’s love interest, Natasha Romanoff, the Black Widow! Issue #14, out today, is the culmination of that storyline and readers have been eagerly awaiting the payoff for the length of the series.
Unfortunately, issue #14 is also Brubaker’s last issue on the title. He’s leaving the medium of comics (at least with the major publishers) in pursuit of television and film projects. The monthly Winter Soldier, I know, won’t be the same without him.
So make the run to your comic book shop today and pick up Winter Soldier #14 – the ending of a grand character study done in epic, action-packed fashion. A warm and fond farewell to an adored series and a favourite writer indeed!
Best of luck in your future projects Ed – we’ll definitely be looking out with fervent interest as to what you’re up to!
Every Wednesday, JP makes the after-work run to his local downtown comic book shop. Comics arrive on Wednesdays you see and JP, fearful that the latest issue will sell out, rushes out to purchase his copy. This regular, weekly column will highlight a particularly interesting release, written in short order, of course, because JP has to get his – before someone else does!
“And there came a day, a day unlike any other, when Earth’s mightiest heroes and heroines found themselves united against a common threat. On that day, the Avengers were born — to fight the foes no single super hero could withstand! Heed the call, then — for now, the Avengers Assemble!”
What a year it was for Avengers fans – with the success of the film and the new direction of the comic book, fans have had a lot to be happy about. And while you may think the Blu-ray release of Joss Whedon’s record-breaking film would be the Avengers product worth highlighting in our gift guide (and it is well worth a purchase), for dyed-in-the-wool fans and newcomers to Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, we’re recommending picking up the fantastic first season of the animated Avengers series.
Find out why after the jump!
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The confrontation between Marvel Comics’ two biggest franchises, and their two biggest superhero teams, was the event of the summer, and the do-not-miss maxi-series that changed the status quo of the Marvel Universe. Yes, the Avengers versus the X-Men – AvsX – was the big one this year.
If you missed it, or if you didn’t, there’s an amazing way to relive all the action you did and didn’t see, with this edition of Biff Bam Pop’s Holiday Gift Guide. We’ll check out the AvsX Hardcover Edition after the jump.
Every other week, Jason Shayer will highlight an issue or a run of issues pulled from the horde of comic book long boxes that occupy more room in his house than his wife can tolerate. Each of these reviews will delve into what made that issue or run significant as well as discuss the creative personalities behind the work. “Long Box” refers to the lengthy, white cardboard boxes most comics find themselves stored within – bagged, alphabetized and numerically ordered.
The teaming up of Roger Stern and John Byrne was one of those key 1980s pairings in which the sum of their total was greater than their parts. Roger Stern was writing The Incredible Hulk and editing the Uncanny X-Men while John Byrne was hitting a creative peak with Chris Claremont on the Uncanny X-Men.
Everything about Captain America #253 screamed horror, from its creepy cover to it’s atmospheric opening to its cliffhanger ending. It started with a murder in England, apparently the work of a deadly slasher who had left the victim drained of blood. The prolog had a wonderful Hammer Horror feel to it and you couldn’t help but look for Peter Cushing to walk on to one of the panels and make a cameo.