Home > Comic Catch-Up, Comics, Reviews > Comic Catch-Up: New Releases, 10.09.09

Comic Catch-Up: New Releases, 10.09.09

Dark Reign - The List - Avengers #1 (2009) - Page 11Even with the best intentions, the second week of the Comic Catch-Up escaped me, so here’s a quick catch-up for the week of September 10th, a week of Marvel comics that saw Norman Osborn taken down a few pegs with regard to the mutant situation in the culmination of Matt Fraction’s Utopia arc, ushering in a new status quo for mutant-kind, and beginning the important The List banner of books which may or may not lead to the end of the Osborn’s Dark Reign.

This entry of the Comic Catch-Up takes a look at Dark Avengers: Uncanny X-Men – Exodus one-shot, Dark Reign: The List – Avengers one-shot, Thunderbolts #135, War of Kings: Who Will Rule? one-shot and Ultimate Comics: Avengers #2.

exodus x men scans by mr B  - Page 1

Exodus, written by Matt Fraction; art by Mike Deodato, Terry Dodson and Rachel Dodson provides the culmination of the Utopia crossover that has been straddling both Uncanny X-Men and Dark Avengers, and after the revelation of Asteroid M (though many thought it was Providence) rising from the sea last issue, the formation of the X-Men’s island nation is now well underway. There was some impressive sparring between the Dark Avengers and their mutant counterparts, with some interesting results: Cyclops proved himself overpowered, but still the master tactician when taking on the Iron Patriot; Wolverine exerted revenge on Weapon Omega after the death of Alpha Flight way back when; the unhinged Bullseye found his match in the equally unhinged Archangel; and the combined efforts of the self-titled Science Club sought revenge on Dark Beast for his crimes against humanity and this reality’s Beast. The rest of the battle was a combination of factors, with far more lasting consequences, as Ares gets taken down by a newly Valkyrie-powered Dani Moonstar and the combined efforts of Namor, Emma Frost and Charles Xavier come to physical and mental blows with the Sentry, separating the Sentry and the Void and leaving Emma in her diamond form.

There’s something cathartic in seeing the two teams finally come to blows after such lead-up, and Fraction easily finds the voices and motivations of the Dark Avengers. But the issue also seems a little too late for the event, as if its treading ground already covered in the other issues, or at least events that should have happened before. But nonetheless, it’s nice to see the various X-teams working together again as a group and the events of Utopia certainly leave both books in an interesting position for the future.

Best Moment #1: Namor trades more than just physical blows with The Sentry.

Best Moment #2: Dani Moonstar turns up with the New Mutants, ready to kick some Ares-arse.

Dark Reign - The List - Avengers #1 (2009) - Page 1

As Norman Osborn struggles to put a positive spin on the events of Utopia, the heroes of the New Avengers are ready and willing to go to the aid of their mutant friends, while Clint Baron wants to kill Osborn himself in The List – Avengers written by Brian Michael Bendis; art by Marko Djurdjevic. It’s an issue equal parts dialogue and action, beginning with Ares interrupting Osborn’s conversation, supposedly as he enters information into his suit, moving to the New Avengers discussing the situation at length and Clint discussing his own responsibilities with Mockingbird before setting out for an assault on the Dark Avenger’s headquarters.

Fans have known for years how awesome Clint can be, but he hasn’t had much chance to show it off recently…until single-handedly taking on the majority of the Dark Avengers, as he does in this issue. At the end of the day, Clint’s no match for the strength of Ares, but he takes care of Venom, Bullseye and Daken, even getting a literal shot at Osborn himself. Of course, then the game changes, and Ronin falls into the hands of Osborn and H.A.M.M.E.R. Djurdjevic captures the noir-elements of Ronin’s plan perfectly, helping to make the mostly human Clint feel like a superhuman. It’s been a long time coming, with Clint and Osborn coming to blows regularly since the Dark Reign began, and to a certain extent, it’s been a little bit too long, but one of the two is bound to had difficulty getting out of this one.

Best Moment: Osborn relishes his moment of victory.

Thunderbolts #135 - Page 1

With the Marvel Universe being subtitles “the Norman Osborn show” at the moment, he surfaces again in the pages of Thunderbolts #135, written by Andy Diggle; art by Miguel Sepulveda as the Thunderbolts pursue Songbird, now being helped by the Black Widow, revealed to be everyone’s favourite red-headed Russian, Natasha Romanoff. As the two women make their escape from Norman’s hit squad, aided by the mysterious Ghost, they find their way to one of Nick Fury’s safehouses, inadvertently playing straight into Osborn’s hands.

Thunderbolts has always shown the more dastardly side of Norman Osborn, and it’s been no different under Diggle, even beginning with Osborn orchestrating an attack on the new US President in order to save his own hide. But now, it appears that Osborn has been playing Black Widow from the beginning, and while she has thought she’s been checking in with Nick Fury, it has been Osborn all along, using her to keep tabs on his team. But if Natasha hasn’t been liaising with Fury, then just who is it that comes to the aid of herself and Songbird?

Best Moment: Another final page of Osborn relishing his moment of victory, could this be the end of Nick Fury?

War of Kings - Who Will Rule  #1 (2009) - Page 1Out in deep space, the effects of the Kree-Shi’ar war are still being felt, and Who Will Rule, written by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning; art by Paul Pelletier takes a look at events on Chandilar. Vulcan and Black Bolt are both still presumed dead after the explosion that tore a dimensional hole at the end of the War Of Kings mini-series, and the Shi’ar Empire is in ruins, with Gladiator acting as an interim leader and with the Starjammers and the Inhumans eager for him to take up the title permanently.

The issue mostly focuses on the Inhumans’ arrival on Chandilar and a funeral procession for Lilandra Neramani, with a fight ensuing when the Imperial Guard refuse to recognise the death of Vulcan. The issue also provides the set-up for the next galactic event, with a shadowy figure claiming that he will soon rule.

Best Moment #1: Gladiator is recognised as the leader of the Shi’ar.

Best Moment #2: The shape of things to come?

Ultimate Comics Avengers #2 - Page 1

Moving away from the big events of the main Marvel Universe, Ultimate Comics continue their reboot with Avengers #2, written by Mark Millar; art by Carlos Pacheco. With the possibility of a rogue Captain America, head of S.H.I.E.L.D. Carol Danvers brings in Nick Fury (this time, it’s the one who looks like Samuel L. Jackson) and Hawkeye to bring him in, and Fury reactivates the Avengers Project.  The issue is mostly flashback, with the origins of the Red Skull explained, and just why he’s remained such a secret up until now.

Ultimate Comics: Avengers is fast making up for what Ultimates Vol 3 and Ultimatum did to the Ultimate Universe but in the same way as Millar’s previous Ultimates series was, Avengers might prove to be a better read in trade format once the arc has finished. Until then, it remains to be seen what will become of Captain America and his son.

Best Moment #1: The origins of the Ultimate Red Skull.

Best Moment #2: Hold up, there’s a new Stark boy on the block.

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