In part one we looked at what DC, Valiant, and IDW had to offer. Here in part two it’s all about Marvel, including CAPTAIN MARVEL #5, DAREDEVIL #19, WINTER SOLDIER #11, VENOM #26 (MINIMUM CARNAGE PART 3), and AVENGERS VS X-MEN: CONSEQUENCES #2.
CAPTAIN MARVEL #6 continues the trend of throwing our heroine across time and space, this time to hang out with a much younger Helen Cobb. Helen was Carol Danvers’ mentor and role model, and Danvers decided to match her high altitude record. This somehow resulted in Captain Marvel getting flung around time. In previous issues, she visited a Peruvian island during WWII. Now she’s in the sixties, where Cobb is vying for a chance for herself and a number of other female pilots to get into the space program.
It’s not going well, so Captain Marvel will have to lend assistance.
We get a new artist on this issue, though I don’t know if Emma Rios will stay on for more than this issue. She uses a lot more hard lines, which really make the energy effects look…off. Still, good and stylized work nonetheless. Seems like I’ll have to keep reading (much to my chagrin) out of curiosity, though the end reveal has something to do with it too.
Coincidentally, DAREDEVIL #19 is no slouch in the twist department. Matt Murdock’s year hasn’t proceeded swimmingly. His father’s grave defiled, his flesh hunted by the collective supervillain underworld, his senses dulled by nanomachines, and now we’re pretty sure he’s going mad. At least that’s what his (former) partner Foggy Nelson thinks. Not without cause, neither. Matt’s father’s skull found its way into Matt’s desk drawer, and now he’s starting to see things. Things like his insane ex-wife sleeping in his house when she should be in the asylum.
Getting to be a blind vigilante can’t even trust his expanded senses anymore. Perhaps he is mad. Or is he?
As a rule I try not to spoil a story if I think it’s good (Demon Knights excluded, which I can’t seem to shut up about for whatever reason). Indeed, the story unfolding needs reading, and by all of you. Unlike Nobel Prizes – which they give out to anybody these days regardless of merit – one doesn’t receive an Eisner Award for best continuing series for nothing. Let alone an Eisner and FOUR Harvey Awards. Daredevil doesn’t let up even now, because it’s now going circular on us. We learn exactly whose responsible for this tomfoolery, and it’s a person readers haven’t seen since the first issues of the series.
And that person got an upgrade since we last saw him. Or last most people saw him, since I came into the series a few issues in and had to get caught up. Catching up provided by the not very funny but endlessly informative Last Angry Geek. Regardless, this is some spooky stuff, though unfortunately the cover gives away part of the reveal. It only makes sense in context, but it’s a spoiled reveal nonetheless.
It took me a bit of thinking to figure out why WINTER SOLDIER #11 seemed like a chore to read. And then I realized what it is: enormous sections of this book lately have been devoted to Barnes being strung along by Leo Novokov, and in the meantime not doing much of anything. There’s plenty of stuff happening, but there’s only so long a man can sit and wait for the big confrontation to occur.
Cold War style espionage is in full swing, which means a lot of waiting around for clues, following up on clues only to find more clues, and minor updates as to what’s going on. There’s an entire fight between the Winter Soldier and Hawkeye, and the forces of AIM, and I could barely care because it ended with no great brawl or confrontation between the main characters. Though it did end with information on what needs to happen next. It’s a bit extreme in concept, though I can bet it’s going to take several more issues to get these guys in the same room together.
In fairness, the book does everything it can to be a solid issue of spy fiction. It’s just that the pacing of this entire story arc is too much. I’ve been looking for series to drop for a while now, and Winter Soldier seems like the likely candidate simply because it started out so exciting, and it’s going at a snail’s pace now.
VENOM #26 marks the third installment of the cross-series storyline Minimum Carnage. In previous issues, the Scarlet Spider and Venom followed Cletus Kassidy into the Microverse, a tiny subatomic universe where tiny subatomic people live their tiny subatomic lives. So obvious Carnage is going to screw it up, though as it turns out it was already pretty screwed up to begin with. In addition to seeing slightly more of the group allied with Carnage – I say slightly because there’s a reason the series didn’t bother introducing them individually – we meet the Enigma Force and the Redeemer, one a group of for lack of a better word superheroes of the microverse, the other a former war king turned prophet. We learn a lot about these guys.
Given that I’ve had experience with super teams introduced that apparently already had a history in Marvel comics, I’m willing to bet these guys weren’t just invented for Minimum Carnage. I say this because it really feels like we’re being introduced to an entire franchise. Like if you’d said there was an obscure Marvel comics title featuring these guys, I’d ask what corner of the Earth it’s published in, rather than dismissing it out of hand.
It’s kind of like that feeling one got in Highlander: The Source, where we’re told about what was probably a much better movie that happened chronologically just before the one we got. Minimum Carnage at least isn’t bastardizing an entire franchise.
That being said, it feels almost like Venom and Scarlet Spider and even Carnage are intruding on an entire storyline all on its own, filled with mass cloning facilities, evil Marquis, and a quest for redemption and salvation. Also for some reason the people in the Microverse really don’t take kindly to the Symbiotes. I mean really, really don’t take kindly to them. How is it possible that Kaine is probably the least hated of the upworlders to visit?
Finally there’s AVENGERS VS X-MEN: CONSEQUENCES #2. Apparently this is a weekly series as opposed to a monthly or even bi-weekly series. So I dearly hope you aren’t sick of AVX yet. We’ve only been talking about it for the last six months, so what’s yet another month?
Another month is what happens when I start really regretting my decision to check this series out in the first place.
Issue two is a Cyclops centered affair, as he has another talk with one of his friends, this time Wolverine. And when I say friend in this instance, I mean Wolverine desperately desires to carve Cyclops up like a stuck pig for what the latter did to Professor X. Lot of deep character stuff going on, including Cyclops determining that someone is going to try to murder him if not Wolverine, and that maybe he ought to be.
I really need to save what little I have explain about AVX: Consequences, because we have three more weeks yet of this. I will say we finally get to see what’s up with that other mutant prisoner sharing Cyclops’ wing. And he brought friends. And by friends, I mean see above and you’ll get the general picture.
Does the prospect of five straight weeks of AVX induce cringing as it does in me? Are you interested in more time travel courtesy of Captain Marvel? Do you even know what a Harvey Award is? Do you find Winter Soldier as tedious right now as I do? And does the Enigma Force actually exist outside of Minimum Carnage? Leave your comments below.