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Comic Book Reviews – Week #11

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Welcome back comic fans for another instalment of comic reviews. This weeks roundup contains arguably one of Marvels biggest major events in years, with The War of the Realms. There is also a review of Journey into a Mystery, a 5 issue mini series tie in, that gives a more hearted tale that ties into the same Marvel event. As well as those series there is also reviews over on the D.C. side for the latest issue of Young Justice and a the latest issue of the amnesiac Nightwing!

So read on true believers and I hope you enjoy the latest instalment!

Realms collide in the epic War of The Realms

The War of the Realms – 6 issue Marvel Mini Series event

Written byJason Aarron

Drawn by: Russell Dauterman

The biggest event of the summer finally arrives for Marvel and for the heroes of Asgard and Midgard.

After several years’ worth of material by the superb scribing of Aarron, with all the plots, twist and arcs that have took place mainly in the pages of Thor (and Lady Thor) along with Avengers, it all leads to the big Marvel Summer event.  The payoff is an amazing story that makes all the years of hard work that writer, Aarron has put in totally worth it, with a fantastic series (that is also perfect for being made into a future Marvel Cinematic Universe film) and certainly the finest major Marvel comic event in a long time.

Knowledge of all the threads and plots written by Aarron is not necessary as this event is written to ensure that new readers will find the story accessible without any confusion at all but for those who have read anything relating to the road to the War of the Realms they will find this mini-series even more rewarding. 

The premise is that the evil Maleketh has fought and defeated nine of the ten realms with only Midgard (Earth) standing in his way.  When all hope is lost, it falls on Earths mightiest heroes, along with the remaining heroes of the defeated nine realms, including Asgard, to take a stand against Malekith and his army in one last attempt to overcome and win the war.

Reading through the pages of the War of the Realms is a pure joy.  I have no problem in saying that this is arguably Aarrons finest work to date and that the passion he puts in to all six issues is sincerely felt through each chapter.

I enjoyed seeing the mix of Asgardian characters mixed in with Earths heroes with excellent interaction and monologue between them.

There are twists, there is death (not everyone makes it out alive but I’ll say no more than that) and there is action a plenty with Aarrons humour added for extra measure and just a few moments of calm but rarely enough for the script to slow in pace. The combination of all this all come together in a wonderful combination making the it a such an entertaining and engaging read.

Can the symbiotic Venom be controlled in the War of The Realms?!

It is a difficult book to review without dropping hints of what makes this story work without giving away scenes but suffice to say, if you have been following the stories of Thor and Lady Thor particularly over the past 4 years, like i have, then i’m sure you’ll not find a more satisfying and rewarding payoff for all the hard work put into those pages like I did in this series.  

From previous story arcs including Thor being unworthy, to Jane Foster taking the mantle of Mjolnir and becoming Lady Thor (such a wonderful run that Marvel Studios are taking the material and making it Thor’s next movie), to all the scheming and plotting of Malekth and not forgetting the great stories of the young and future Thor side stories, it all rolls in to one big payoff with nods to all the mentioned stories and more!

Of all the issues it has to be said the first and final issues are probably the best but that’s not to say the remaining 4 issues aren’t excellent, as every chapter is wonderful, but the build-up and the finale are truly the standouts.  There is so much I want to type about the finale that makes it amazing and worthy of the high praise score but I will leave it to you, the reader to read and enjoy.

Art wise it is a spectacle, with wonderful pencils and colours shining through in each issue and is some of Dautermans finest work.  The big battle scenes and action sequences really stand out and none of the art feels rushed with detail that is a visual joy from page to page and the work on the art should be deservedly given the high praise.

Could this story be told in less than six issues?  I don’t think so, there is a slight middle section that slows the story down in issue three but it’s all relevant to plot and the arc at that point in the story.  There is also an Omega issue after issue six, that deals with the aftermath that will then lead into 4 new ongoing Marvel titles and also serves as a nice wrap-up to the full story.

If you have every thought of picking up a new Marvel event to read, if you’re a first time comic reader or a veteran of the hobby, I encourage you to pick this up.  Worry not of the concluding plot threads and arcs in other Marvel titles as this is, as mentioned written to be accessible by all.

It is a masterclass is writing and art and also opens the doors to many new future plots as well as leading into other Marvel titles.  The War of The Realms is indeed worthy and more.

Score out of 10:-

Story – 9.5

Art – 9

Overall – 9.5

Baby duty dilemmas and talking Asgardian dogs while on the run from Aries. It’s all in Journey into Mystery!

Journey into Mystery #1-5 – Mini Series – War of the Realms tie in.

Written by: The McElroy Brothers

Drawn by: André Lima Araújois

With the war of the realms being such a huge event and hitting all the major Marvel titles, it was inevitable that there would be spinoffs to tie into the main story of the summer hit.

I don’t mind a mini-series tie-in, to big events, so long as it has a strong story with purpose and a rewarding payoff.  (This is arguably true of any title and script).  Luckily Journey into mystery is a fun, engaging comic run, that keeps you entertained for the five issues even if there are a few bumps along the way.

The story is of Thor’s young baby sister being hunted and kidnapped by Aries, god of war, as instructed by Malkakith and his evil army.

With Midgards heroes doing battle with an army of Frost Giants, Trolls and Fire Goblins to name but a few and Thor missing during the events of the war itself, it falls to Lady Freyja to put together a small band of available heroes with unique skills, to search and rescue the young infant Asgardian. 

The makeshift team chosen are Miles Morales – Spiderman, Kate Bishop – Hawkeye, Wonderman, Balder the brave and Thors pet dog, the talking bloody thirsty hound – Thori!

This is a fun, comical story that keeps itself light-hearted throughout the mini series.  There is great monologue and chemistry between the newly formed team of heroes as they try to escape, out wit and out run the enemies.  

The writers aren’t afraid to throw comedy in this series, amongst the chaos of the war of the realms despite the seriousness of the ongoing war.

It may not be a time for jokes but the writing and laughs are nicely added and timed perfectly, unlike some titles where the writer can try too hard to be funny and the laughs fall flat, (see the review of Young Justice #7 below) here the comedy is pitched just right.  Yes there is seriousness, action and plenty of drama amongst this story but it is the characters and humour that make this story work so well and adds some nice light heartedness to the overall enjoyable script.

The fact the mini-series doesn’t take itself too seriously does help, as on paper this should be a serious gritty type of script but the writers are clearly in their element when throwing quick one liners and humour in to the mix of danger and peril and it works well.

The art suits the style of the script and although it can appear a bit rushed in places and also lacking in detail in some scenes for the characters, the overall visual aspect is ok, just not as sharp as i would have liked. There is great use of colour pallet though and helps make each panel standout more as a result.

If you’re after a fun but eventful side quest amongst the huge War of the Realms, with a neat self-contained story that also has links to the main arc, then venturing into Journey into Mystery is a recommended read, that just about keeps you engaged through to the end. Just don’t take the script to seriously and you will enjoy this event tie-in for what it is.

Score out of 10:-

Story – 7

Art – 6.5

Overall – 7

The multiverse sends the Young Justice into peril in Issue 7!

Young Justice #7

Written By: Brian Michael Bendis

Drawn by: John Timms

Young Justice starts a new story arc called Lost in the Multiverse.  Following the events of the climax of the previous 6 issue storyline, the young heroes are teleported back to earth only for things to go from bad to worse for the team as they somehow end up being teleported to several multiverse Earths with disasterous results.

Sadly this is a big let-down after the fairly impressive first six issue arc.  The initial premise of this new storyline sounds great on paper but the script lends itself to being more on the silly nonsense side of a script than an enjoyable engaging plot.

The cast continue to have great banter and it’s one of the key things that does make the Young Justice team work so well but in this issue I feel that writer, Bendis is concentrating almost to hard in trying to get elements comedy shoehorned into the story that the script and flow of the issue suffers as a result.  By the end of the issue I found myself bored with overall read coming across as bland and immature rather than a entertaining, comical, action packed fun story.

The heroes spend far to much time debating the hows and whys they keep landing on different Earths that it got tiring and despite meeting lots of strange and wacky characters and variations of Prime Earth, the story isn’t told very well and there doesn’t seem to be any point to any it.  It’s a case of if you missed this issue then you really won’t have missed anything as the ending to this issue feels like a repeat of the end of the last issue.

The art by Timms also seems to suffer slightly this issue with some over the top cartoonish style pencils that are quite detailed but does seem a step down compared to the last few issues. The inks and colours are impressive though and they give a neatness to the art.

Since the debut of Young Justices have found the run to have been a slow burner that has improved with each issue but sadly issue 7 takes a large nose dive and so I am hoping that the next chapter of Lost in the Multiverse picks up the pace next month.

Score out of 10:-

Story4

Art: 7

Overall: 5

A good jumping on point for new readers in the latest issue of Nightwing!

Nightwing #62 – Courtship of the owls

Written by: Dan Jurgens

Drawn by: Ronan Cliquet

The amnesic Nightwing takes a bit of downtime this issue, after the action packed previous story arc of the Burnback saga.

The first quarter of this issue reads more like a recap of the past 12 issues which is strange but at the same time it does give a good opportunity as a good jumping on point for new readers who are interested in Nightwing or the direction of the ‘new Nightwings’ team.

The story is fairly slow paced and it’s more about Dick Grayson reflecting back on the recent events after being shot in the head that caused his amnesia and his new direction as a loner yet making time to work with the new team of Nightwings.

The supporting cast all contribute to the story but this is mainly a Grayson centric story and it is all the better for it. I find the new Nightwing team are a good addition to the series but sometimes I feel the main lead in Grayson does get lost in the shuffle of the new status quo, particularly in some of the previous issues.  

I also feel this current run by writer, Jurgens is ready for Grayson to get his memory back, return to his Nightwing costume and back into the Batman family as the overall arc of amnesiac hero is is starting to feel a little directionless and starting to feel slightly stale.

The art is clean and crisp and although it can lack detail in some panels and the colours are a little drab in some scenes, i still found the pencils are visually impressive enough.

The final pages tie into the ‘Year of the Villain’ upcoming DC event that is slowly starting to impact on all the major DC titles. This issue features everyone’s favourite villain, Lex Luthor who is scheming and plotting behind the scenes.  As a result, it does leave a nice cliff-hanger and spells bad news for Grayson for the upcoming issues.

Issue 63 is a no thrills story but it is a nicely paced plot and as mentioned, it is a good jumping on point for new readers.  I just hope that Jurgens has an endgame and payoff for Nightwing and that he starts to progress the plot more than he has been with that of Grayson and his memory loss in the upcoming months.

Score out of 10:-

Story – 7

Art – 7

Overall – 7

That’s all for this week readers but be sure to check back next time for another instalment of all things comics, including the big X-Men event: Age of X (leading into the even bigger event of Powers of X and House of X) as well a review of the latest X-Force, 5 issue story arc and more!

Be sure leave your thoughts and any feedback in the comments below.

Bye for now. Thwip, Thwip!

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