Avengers #40 – Comic Review

Black Panther has a long running legacy as King of Wakanda. In the Illuminati, he found both allies and enemies. This comic brings together a key set of plotlines running through Marvels’ Avengers comics.

This review contains spoilers for issue #40 of Avengers: key character interactions. Avengers #40 offers:

  • Thoughtful art choices and panel arrangements
  • Key character deveopments for the long running Avengers comics under the Marvel Now tag
  • Value placed in keeping principals despite circumstances becoming near-untennable

The blue lights of the Incursions events appear, and villains are appear with strong lettering and detail. Panels toward the end of the issue are thoughtful, and push the story forward to its conclusion.

Expansive blue light fills most of this issue. Blue colour has a special significance. It marks a type of incursion. Rapid atrophy of the multiverse brought on by two identical Earths colliding with each other are either red or blue coloured. Villains such as Proxima Midnight, Black Swan, and Thanos appear in this comic. Lettering and penciling artwork depicts these formidable characters in detail.

Strong artwork appears in the final sections of the comic.

Blackbolt speaks loudly. The force of his voice sends Namor flying off a platform. The art in the following scenes are emotional. Panels of equal size, dividing the page into a grid, break up the page. Each panel flashes between Namor and Black Panther, pushing everything forward to the final two pages.

Black Panther receives key character development. The endgame in chess from the beginning of the comic plays out toward the end.

There’s a legacy played out in this comic. A knife – Wakandan weaponry – is handed down from Black Panther, to Black Panther. The blade moves in and out of T’Challa’s (Black Panther himself) possession. Eventually, the knife gains a purpose more than legacy. T’Challa’s character grows in this issue. A plan he has put into place for a long time – a fragile plan that might fall down if variable do not work – comes together.

A quote from Doctor Doom on the endgame in chess placed in the opening pages plays out as T’Challa’s plan reaches its end. The final two pages fullfills the premise put into place by quoting Doom.

Other interesting character moments are Beast finding a new lesson to teach Cannonball and Sunspot – both former students, and Captain America growning weary with the Illuminati making plans around him and his team of SHIELD/Avengers heroes.

It’s not a spoiler to state the Three Kings (Namor, Black Bolt, and Black Panther) all play a key role in the comic’s finale. A comment is made: Characters who keep values in place, and those that don’t are contrasted.

Doctor Doom says “Once you know what your opponent is capable of, you can manipulate the board to engineer a successful endgame. A successful endgame is two strategies rolled into one. First, you show them what they guessed might have been coming. And then…you show them what they didn’t”.

T’challa showed Namor what was coming – a blade directed at him in revenge for the war Atlantis unleashed on Wakanda. What he did not know was coming, was a third king arriving. Black Bolt’s support of Black Panther against Namor tips the scales.

The plan Black Panther used, which Namor expected, was to trap the Cabal in a doomed universe, which was about to collide with the mainstream, Marvel Universe Earth (an incursion event). Through a contrast between Captain America and the Illuminati, the comic values perseverance, and keeping principals in place despite circumstances changing. Namor abandoned any code or ethics in an effort to save the Earth from repeated incursions. That plot line is brought down, to it’s eventual end.

Avengers #40 is published by Marvel comics ($4.99 USD). Jonathan Hickman (W.) Stefano Caselli (P.) Frank Martin (C.) VC’s Cory Petit (L.) Cover artwork by D. Keown and J. Keith.

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PAX Australia 2014 Cosplay

For three days in Melbourne, the Penny Arcade Expo (PAX) showcases new, retro, independent, and top-tier games, including card games and table top games.

Cosplayers at PAX showed off some clever and detailed costumes that set a high standard, crossing-over different genres and characters.

SailorAmerica

P1040026

Kaidan

Palutena

Rosalina

PAJWS copy

laraJedi

AWS

P1040028

Anges

JPGL

MPDR

Borderlands

Action Comics #35, Wonder Woman #34, Captain America #25 – Short Comic Review

While I’m on vacation for three weeks, I’ve put together a short round up of comics published this week. I’ll return to full reviews on October 11, 2014.

Action Comics #35

The comic opens with Superman flying through space, and closes with Lois Lane starring directly out at the reader, saying “you don’t understand Superman at all”. The last few pages of the comic are narrated by Lane’s article. While Clark Kent might be disillusioned and depressed following his recent Doomsday infection – not to mention the guilt he is feeling after meeting with Lana Lang back in Smallville – Lane argues that Superman needs Earth and it’s people. Superman might appear to bring monsters and destruction, but he inspires us to be better. In turn, people inspire Superman to be a better, stronger, and faster hero.

It’s an interesting story. Superman is not up on a pedestal. He’s a part of the world, and an important part that keeps everything moving forward. Also worth seeing is a page where the heroes of Metropolis are seen helping the city recover from a recent attack by Brainiac. The young shapeshifter Baka returns. Supergirl saves small family from falling cement. Moreover, a page shows police officers and the Metropolis fire service working to save the city – a tribute to their service.

Wonder Woman #34

There’s some great ideas and insights into what it means to be a god in this issue. Wonder Woman also struggles with a tough question. She wants to be peaceful, however she has been selected as the new god of war, and her family is under attack from the powerful villain known as The First Born.

Hera says that human life, to her, is like watching television. The characters mean little to her, ultimately, and the episodes are relatively short. Zola is not impressed. Eris, god of chaos, laughs at Hera for her detached point of view. Meanwhile Wonder Woman, faces the question: stay true to her peaceful ideas, or use violence, and fight a war against the first born. This is escalated to the brink of no return, where she cannot reason or argue her enemy out of his war with the gods.

Hera makes a decisions. She shows restraint, and something a bit like kindness to Wonder Woman, Zola, Orion, and several other cast members. Hera, Eris, and Wonder Woman also have some of the best wordplay in the comic. There’s some interesting moments in the artwork, when monsters are transformed into crystal statues, and giant, elephant mechs charge into battle.

Captain America #25

The new Captain America arrives in this issue. Jet Black endures drama. Even her brother Ian questions her motives, her rejection of Arnim Zola, and her friendship with Captain America. The pain drawn on her face is powerfully executed when accusations are thrown at her.

Arnim Zola returns to dimension Z in a brilliant flash of white and blue light. Later, Captain America and the avengers enter into another situation of extreme pressure – a dinner party at Avengers Mansion with all of the current Avengers teams (except the Young Avengers and Secret Avengers) and X-factor. These scenes have several back-and-forth comedy moments between characters. Artwork here is highly colourful. Hyperion’s head to body proportion may need adjustment, however.

A full page artwork introduces the new Captain America.

An epilogue reintroduces an old threat – Hydra believe now is the time to start drawing plans against the new Captain America.

Captain America #23 – Comic Review

Steve Rodgers might have aged, but his intelligence for battle strategy remains. Can he stand up to an armour clad intruder who can slip past the Avengers?

Captain America #23 offers:

  • Impressive full page artwork with a great sense of motion and space
  • Great character dialog
  • A small theme of resilience
  • A story that depicts the villain as the mirror-opposite of the hero

An intruder inside Avengers mansion wears impressive armour. The metal plates are coloured in regal purple and gold. Full page artworks show off Iron Man defending the mansion, and a team of monstrous copies of the Avengers – the “Unvengers”

The intruder inside the Avengers mansion wears impressive armour. Their costume is regal purple and gold, and coated in spikes. The action scenes where this intruder slides, jumps, and vaults past Iron Man, Thor, and The Hulk show impressive grasp of space and motion.

The Falcon later flies over New York, joined by Jet Black – also showing good sense of space in the artwork. Full page artwork throughout the issue depicts Iron Man defending Avengers Mansion, and the debut of the “Unvengers”, which are monstrous imitations of the Avengers created by Zola.

The Avengers, The Falcon, and Jet Black receive some interesting Dialog. Hulk makes a great statement about smashing things.

Captain America’s supporting cast have some strong and interesting dialog – Iron Man, Hulk, Thor specifically in the opening and middle scenes of the comic have great conversation points.

Despite his age, Steve Rodgers still has a commanding presence. The villain – Zola – is silent in this issue. Zola’s influence spreads across the comic regardless. Captain America takes on a strategists role. He sends the Avengers and his allies on a mission to stop Zola.

later, Hulk in particular has a great moment about smashing, and The Falcon tells Jet Black that he refuses to be left behind.

Spoilers for Captain America #23 follow

The villain and hero mirror each other in this comic book. A reunion between two characters adds a resilience theme to the comic.

There is a major parallel draw between Captain America and Zola in this comic. The point hinges on Steve Rodger’s son, and Zola’s daughter. Both Ian and Jet Black have grown and established their own identities. When Jet Black infiltrates Zola’s massive castle, Ian attacks the Avengers Mansion in an attempt to reconnect with his Father.

The actions of Zola’s daughter and Rodger’s son mirror each other, just as the hero and villain sit at opposite ends of the a spectrum.

Zola has, in addition, made copies of Steve Rodgers friends in the Avengers. The villain, in this case, literally copies the hero.

Ian’s reunion with his father brings a theme of resilience to the comic book. Ian is dressed in hard armour, and overcomes a series of obstacles on the way to his goal. These scenes make a small statement about not giving up and staying resilient.

Captain America #23 is published by Marvel comics ($3.99 USD). Rick Remender (W.) Carlos Pacheco (P.) Mariano Taibo (I.) Dean White (C.) VC’s Joe Caramagna (L, & Production) Cover artwork by Pacheco and White.

Avengers #29 – Comic Review

Secrets, kept hidden by a select team called the Illuminati crash into Captain America and The Avengers day-to-day life. A tie in to the new Marvel event titled Orignal Sin, and a marvel comic that ties together events from New Avengers #3, Avengers #29 offers:

  • Detailed artwork that makes effective use of light, space, and colour
  • A clash between Captain America and Iron Man
  • Strong themes of power, and necessary force, which leads to moral questioning
  • A reprint of New Avengers #3 appears, which extends the comic length and price. These scenes have been entirely redrawn, however.

Despite some complicated panels, the artwork captures the viewpoint of Captain America, and has strong use of light and colour

A complicated set of panels appears early on in the comic. The text is somewhat hard to read. It’s worth looking at each small panel, however. In deep shadows, the Illuminati eject Captain America from their order.

It looks effective that the artwork has a moment of clutter, followed by a moment of clarity. The viewpoint character is Captain America. He prefers simplicity. It’s part of his character. It makes senses that he would have a bad dream that looks cluttered to him, and the audience.

The art for the scene where Steven Rodgers wakes up from the bad dream, and remembers what has been done, are detailed and dramatic. He has a sharp, angry expression brought out by pencil and ink.

Colourful fight scenes later on in the comic are also impressive. Bright red and white lights fill these panels.

A clash between Captain America and Iron man at least equal to their first argument in Civil War sparks up here. The Illuminati’s decisions raise several moral questions.

Before Original Sin there was a secret meeting. The Illuminati made a decision. An Incursion event – where two parallel worlds collide, and this collision speeds up the end of the universe. Destroying certain worlds, each filled with their own life, before the Incursion happens slows down the Universe’s end.

Captain America disagreed – the Illuminati want to hunt Incursion worlds and kill them before they can reduce the Universe’s lifespan.

It’s a dilemma. End a one dangerous world to save the Universe. Because Captain America disagreed, the Illuminati removed his memory of the conversation.

Captain America remembers, however, which sparks a new division between Captain America and Iron Man. The tensions is at least equal to their disagreement in Civil War. This is a shocking break.

Captain America’s anger is powerful in this comic.

What’s interesting is a group of older males decide they have enough power and intelligence to make the best decisions possible for the Earth. To make decisions that no one else dares to take. They will shoulder that impossible burden for everyone on the Earth.

Is this arrogance, Or are the Illuminati guardians? Can anything good come from their fatal choice?

Themes of necessary force spring out of the Illuminati’s decisions. Captain America’s actions also brings a theme of weapons into Avengers #29

This comic investigates these kinds of moral questions. The need for weapons is brought up here. Captain America criticises the Illuminati for inventing weapons. Later, Captain America needs Hawkeye and Black widow’s weapons.

The Illuminati continue to build their weapons in the name of defending the Earth without Captain America bothering them with his golden age morals. They exercises a lot of power in their control of memory. Several of their members are Kings. Power is a large theme here. Exploring the moral questions above introduce a theme of necessary force – is destroying one planet necessary to save the universe?

A popular culture reference is the removal or blocking of a key character’s memory through magic to cover up a morally grey decision. DC comics Identity Crisis comic had similar events – the magician Zatana blocked a heroic character’s memories

Avengers #29 is published by Marvel comics ($4.99 USD). Jonathan Hickman (W.) Lenil Francis Yu (P.) Sunny Gho (C.) VC’s Crry Petit (L.) Cover artwork by Frank Cho and Jason Keith.

Gold Coast Supanova 2014 Cosplay Part 2

Below is part 2 of 2: a Supanova cosplay photo collection featuring skilful costumes from the Gold Coast 2014 festival.

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P1030762

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P1030781

P1030760

P1030777

P1030768

P1030764

P1030754

P1030748

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20140405_122114

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P1030770

P1030756

20140405_120824~2

P1030749

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Avengers #26 – Comic Review

What Avengers #26 offers

In a story filled with science fiction ideas, the Avengers face a familiar challenge: not only have tyrannical, and arrogant versions of their core membership arrived from another world, but AIM scientists have a new surprise. Avengers #26 offers:

  • Themes of coercion, control, and playing god
  • Avengers from a parallel world
  • Heavy dialog, but a great story for Avengers fans

The comic book is a great sci-fi story. While the issue is entertaining, there are few deep themes. New readers might find the comic bewildering: reading the Avengers comic from the earlier issues will clear up any confusion, however.

Bright Orange colours, Murky metal tones, and villains dressed in yellow and black uniforms bring their creations to life

Another set of Avengers arrive from another world. Seems a bit obvious when written plainly. What appears in the art, and the dialog, entertains, however. Cold, steel laboratories are grey and uninviting. Huge bolts of electricity stream across the pages of several different scenes. The artwork is reminiscent of Frankenstein – creatures spring to life from cold metal tables.

Bright and orange colours, and electric shades of violent, support fighting scenes: these colours are the backdrop as Marvel super heroes clashing with AIM scientists latest creation.

Tony Stark has a flippant sense of humor, and a tyrannical, alternative version of Thor is pleased to show New York citizens his boot

AIM returns in Avengers #26. They have built a new weapon – powerful androids – using DNA samples collected from several Avengers, including Captain America, Black Widow. Marvel heroes across the entire Avengers team are about to face robots replicating the talents and abilities of the Avengers. AIM’s robot’s rise from their laboratories. Their first task: tidy up another AIM experiment that went wrong. Their goal is to capture a group of tyrannical Avengers AIM accidentally brought to the Marvel universe from another world.

What adds a lighter tone to the comic book is an exchange between Maria Hill of SHIELD and Iron man. She questions the Avengers about their recent activity. Black Widow says she has been getting her nails done. Tony tells her the same:

  1. “Exactly where were you three hours ago?” Maria Hill
  2. “Having my nails done.” Tony Stark

The tyrant version of Thor from anther world wields lighting from his hammer to terrify everyday people in the streets. He states that “all things should know what they truly are…and now these[people] have learned their place”. These visitors from another world behave arrogantly. For comic readers, alternative versions of well known super heroes are interesting. The cast of this comic shows off several of these alternative characters.

Themes of theft, coercion, and playing god appear.

AIM scientist, those Marvel Villains donning yellow and black uniforms, carry out unspeakably awful crimes. I cringed at their actions in this comic book. The theft of the Avengers DNA is frightening; the sample taken by AIM scientists is re-purposed and processed. Robots with copies of the Avengers power’s are born. AIM has created sentient life – Artificial intelligence. Through the theft of the Avengers talents, AIM plays god. In one panel, a scientists makes a reference to Incan mythology – human sacrifice to please some mercurial deity. The analogy is murky. It could be more clear. The point is AIM scientists compare their process of stealing DNA from the Avengers, and using it to build their own super powered androids, to a god-like process.

Avengers #26 has Marvel villains playing god. The act of ruthless theft is therefore villainous. Depicting the act of creating life as villainous, however, represents a sci-fi and popular culture staple.

Coercion and control exacted by the tyrant Avengers from another, parallel world is interesting. Thor’s actions, and Wasp’s control of the Hulk for example. Thor is a god. He’s used to stepping over or on things smaller than him. Wasp is manipulative. This alternative version of the flying and stinging super hero – Janet Van Dyne – has a device that allows her to control the Hulk. Their goal is to command, control, and conquer.

Avengers #26 is published by Marvel comics ($3.99 USD). Jonathan Hickman (W.) Salvador Larroca (A) Frank Martin (C.) VC’s Cory Petit (L.) Cover artwork by Mike Deodato and Frank Martin.