Tag Archive: Avengers Academy

DC’s Issue #0’s started this week, but was there anything of any real note in them to check out? Couple this with a light week from Marvel and on the Indie front should make this an interesting Pullbox! Find out below!

Marvel – Venom #24 – Hellstrom has brought the demon inside Flash Thompson to the surface, but is he strong enough to force it back down? Or is the symbiote even stronger than both the possession and in his host combined? Agent Venom must find help as soon as possible before whatever it is inside him ends up destroying him though.

Seeing the Venom symbiote’s ferocity again like it was in this issue was a refreshing sight and seeing what Thompson’s desperation would push him to do again made this issue a fun read. The end reveal of what Hellstrom’s master plan felt a little cheesy and a little more oddball than I’d expect from the son of the devil, but could be entertaining if pulled off well in the next issue. As is though, I’ll be picking it up just to see what Venom does next as the demon inside him is ready for an interesting fight!

Marvel – Avengers Academy #36 – The Clean Slate nanotech meant to de-power the world of all its superheroes is ready to go and the Academy’s revolt against the plan has pushed up the timetable of its release by Jeremy Briggs! Half the team still has to reclaim their powers though if they have any hope of going after Briggs and his hired help in time to stop the missiles full of the nanotech.

I haven’t loved every issue, but most of Avengers Academy has been a fun and entertaining read and this 4-issue story arc has been no exception as you finally start to see many of the characters come into their own and mature. Much how real people might if there were in a real academy tailored to folks with super powers. The entire story does have a bit of a funny feel to it though as it’s also a bit too neat at certain points. It makes me feel that this is all just some Danger Room test or something and the last issue of the story will end with the kids coming out of stasis or the like. After all, how would you figure out if a bunch of super powered kids were ready to graduate to the big league? Maybe I’m reading too much into it. Either way, this book is only good at this point depending on how early you got into it, being the most rewarding for fans who’ve been there since Issue #1. As is, you might want to wait until after this story.

DC – Batman: Detective Comics #0 – Looking to go into the origin stories of every DC superhero, DC’s Issue #0 initiative for Detective Comics tells of one of Bruce Wayne’s last training exercises. In the Himalayas, he searches for a master of martial arts and body control called Shihan Matsuda. There, Bruce will learn some of his most valuable lessons of both mind and body, but they will come at a terrible cost.

I’ve been one of the biggest critics of the New 52 since it started a year ago. And this Issue #0 program is just another poor idea by DC to push comics as it delays current storylines of major characters by another month, forcing us to read stories we already know for most of our favorite heroes. At the very least though, this particular book, that could make sense as part of Batman’s back story, was a good read and helped us learn where Batman acquired some of the techniques that allow him to slow his breathing, control his body temperature, and increase his pain resistance. It also explains part of the reasons why he keeps most people at arm’s length in his never-ending crusade against crime in Gotham.

The worst thing about this book and the rest of the Issue #0 run though is DC blatantly ignoring the histories of some of their most celebrated characters. By claiming James Gordon and the Phantom Stranger (who is next in the Pullbox) just appeared in the DCU a few months ago literally throws away DECADES of history and sends the wrong message to new fans. Honestly, DC should be embarrassed by how they do things now and if I didn’t feel a responsibility to keep reading comics, I’d probably stop. Even with their relaunch of Spider-Man a few years ago, at least they didn’t suddenly change that Spider-Man’s first appearance wasn’t in Amazing Fantasy #15.

DC – The Phantom Stranger #0 – Judas Iscariot, one of history’s most infamous villains, has been brought forward to a council of wizards to pay for his crime against humanity. As part of the Trinity of Sin, Judas must now walk the earth for eternity until he atones for his crime, now as The Phantom Stranger!

The Phantom Stranger’s origin has always been in question, but the constant theme of dealing with heaven and hell has always been there, so making him Judas Iscariot and making his quest one for atonement isn’t a bad idea. And since he’s had so many origins over the years, banging an official one out and making it readily available for the public was a very good idea by DC. But completely ignoring his past 50 years of history though cannot be forgiven and on top of this slap in the face to long term fans, the book itself isn’t even that great a read once you get past the first few pages. Hopefully this can lead to some more interesting adventures featuring Phantom Stranger since he’s been eerily quiet (even for him) during the New 52, but DC better get their act together before long term fans stage a massive revolt.

Valiant – Archer & Armstrong #2 – After dispatching the lower level thugs of ‘The One Percent’, Archer is captured by some more imposing figures. Armstrong is there to help bust him out, but not before Archer has a vision and understands what he must do to save his friends. Now, in the vein of National Treasure and The Da Vinci Code, Archer and Armstrong are on a scavenger hunt around various holy locations in the hopes of finding the six pieces to The Boon, an item of immense power that everyone else is dying to get and only Armstrong has the clues to find!

This was an amazing read and is yet another feather in the cap of Valiant Comics and their triumphant return to Pullboxes and comic book stores everywhere. The dynamic between Archer and Armstrong is great to watch and this epic movie feel to what they’re doing makes it all the better. Not to mention, unlike many other comics out there, this still has a feeling of unpredictability while taking jabs at today’s more prominent organizations like the American government and the Catholic Church. Ninja nuns anyone? Fred Van Lente continues to show off as a tremendous writer in the industry and this is easily my favorite new indie of the year so far. Bravo on every front. Get on this book NOW folks.

After finally recovering from a SDCC caused coma, The Pullbox has returned! A busy week this week in terms of comics as we saw an enticing new #1, some crazy things happen in AvX, and a new entrant into our indie space. So without further ado, here is this week’s Pullbox!

DC – Batman Beyond Unlimited #6 – This collection of stories following Terry McGinnis, the Batman of the future, gives us three interesting continuations of tales started in earlier issues. First, Solomon Grundy reveals himself to Superman while Lex’s daughter’s plan comes to fruition. In another story, Batman and the rest of the future Justice League travel to Apokolips to help Orion and a blinded Darkseid fight a giant serpent. The final story follows Batman by himself and the Jokerz from all over the country continue their migration to Gotham and Batman needs to prioritize multiple attacks at once!

Honestly, I love this comic. I don’t mind paying an extra dollar each month to get several stories in an obviously extended book. I just hope that they don’t forget it’s called Batman Beyond as there is a lot of Superman love here. If they were going to do that, they should really give him his own future book as I think fans would snatch up both. Especially considering how epic the fight is between Grundy and Superman and Lex’s illegitimate daughter following in her daddy’s footsteps is priceless. The other two stories were okay in terms of writing and pacing, but the Jokerz story is starting to drag as so little happens month to month and needs a jumpstart again.

DC – Nightwing #11 – Nightwing starts to get to the bottom of this new villain named Paragon and his group called The Republic of Tomorrow. But with him fighting both the police for being framed, the banks for a loan to buy Amusement Mile, and these new bad guys, it’s going to be hard for Nightwing to come out on top!

This book did a good job of setting up the next issue where we will likely see the climax of this story arc where the villain and his connection to everyone in the past few issues will be resolved. Good action early on followed up by a lot of plot to maintain order within the story worked well for my tastes and shows why Kyle Higgins is the perfect guy to be writing Nightwing. My favorite part of the book though may have been Damian actually accidentally assisting Dick in putting the final pieces of this puzzle together and their banter back and forth.

Marvel – Captain Marvel #1 – After what happened on the Kree homeworld, Carol Danvers has donned a new costume and a new outlook on life. While helping Captain America battle The Absorbing Man though, Cap suggests that it’s time Carol changes her superhero name to something that fits her a bit more and pays respect to someone she clearly cared deeply about. This, Carol takes the mantle of the new Captain Marvel.

This was a good start to this new monthly. I’m not really sure how I feel about the new costume and haircut for Carol just yet, and the plain cover might turn some folks off, but once you crack this book open, you’ll be happy you did. The art inside is something special and its rare I’m this blown away more by the art than the writing of a book. Not to say the writing isn’t solid. Starting off with a B-level villain, but coming out of the gates with it, was a good move because Absorbing Man can be quickly dispatched and that allowed for plenty of time to develop Carol and her hesitation at taking the Captain Marvel moniker. Her banter/beating-up of Spider-Man briefly also added some necessary comedy relief to what was otherwise a very serious book. Good pacing, action, humor, and drama, all in the first issue, really shocked me and has made Captain Marvel a book I will at least be picking up a few issues of, if not making a permanent fixture in the Pullbox.

Marvel – Avengers Academy #33 – Emma Frost continues her tirade about why Juston’s Sentinel must be turned into scrap. And the entire Avengers Academy wants to fight her tooth and nail to stop that from happening. Has Emma become mad with power though or does she make a point about the Sentinel being an abomination? Either way, Juston doesn’t care and won’t stand for it!

This was an entertaining story arc from the first issue up to this conclusion. It subtly asks questions about artificial intelligence and what makes us human, while mixing it with a lot of over the top action and fighting between Emma and the Academy, even if the save at the end was a little weak. More importantly, this issue serves as a launching point for what could be the four most important issues in Avengers Academy history as things look to take a turn for the worst as this AvX event continues.

Boom Studios – Extermination #2 – Alien forces have invaded the Earth and its people have been utterly decimated. In order to survive, odd alliances have been made, most notably between a former superhero named Nox and a former supervillain named The Red Reaper. All does not seem lost though as the unlikely pair moves across the wasteland towards Nox’s secret lair for supplies, they are discovered by another band of survivors. Unfortunately, Nox and the leader of this rag tag band have a history and he’s having a tough time letting go of the past. 

The first issue was only $1 and it was an interesting concept that this Batman/Joker like team are forced to pair up in a post-apocalyptic world full of zombies and other monsters that have destroyed everything they know and love. This second issue though was well worth the normal cover price as it completely blew me away. The relationship between Nox and Red Reaper is wonderful to see develop and Nox’s loyalty to his morals is admirable to a fault. The best part of the book so far has been the interspersed flashbacks showing us their world as it once was as they make off the cuff references to things that clearly no longer exist. I can’t wait to see where this book goes from here and being only two issues in, it shouldn’t be hard to find Issue 1 and get on board immediately, which I highly recommend. 

This was a surprisingly tough Pullbox to put together this week as there just wasn’t a lot of titles that stood out to me as most issues, especially with all these re-launches going on from both Marvel and DC, are just building up to the bigger action with these issues serving more as a lot of plot development right now. Still, I was able to pull a few out that I think are worthy of your attention so without further ado, here is this week’s Pullbox!

1) DC – Red Lanterns #3: Atrocitus has picked Bleez as his lieutenant and restored her intelligence, but he may be learning that there is a reason that the red makes many of its followers blind with rage as Bleez immediately begins showing her lack of loyalty to the Red Lantern leader now that she is thinking for herself again. Great artwork obviously punctuated with a lot vibrant reds throughout this book, the story is a clear example of what I was talking about above. We get Bleez’s bio and why she was chosen to part of the red, as well as why she has skeletal wings in this issue. We also see what could become a lot of drama for the Red Lanterns later on as without a Lantern war going on to focus their rage, the infighting may begin sooner rather later and Red Lantern vs Red Lantern spells one thing: bloodbath. At least Atrocitus still has his kitty.

2) DC – Swamp Thing #3: I make it a point to try to give you some variety whenever I do the Pullbox each week, but one comic that has been consistently awesome and surprisingly so is Swamp Thing as I’ve featured all three issues now. Alec Holland realizes that he may not have a choice in becoming the defender of the green once again as he learns that while he may be the jolly green knight for the environment, that the rot, the blackness, has a champion as well and with the help of Abigail Arcane, Swamp Thing must prevent the two from merging or be thrust into an all out war for life on earth to continue! Again, a lot more story than anything setting up what can be an awesome confrontation, to see the champion of the black’s powers begin to emerge where he controls rotting and dead flesh and to see what he does in a cancer hospital…all I can say is wow. Gruesome, grotesque, and with more to come, Swamp Thing was one of my few easy choices this week.

3) Marvel – Avengers Academy #21: The original members of the Avengers Academy are forced to accept new members into the old West Coast Avengers mansion as tensions run high as they feel like they are being replaced and new enemies begin to reveal their plans against the Academy. The highlight of this issue is clearly when the lack of communication between Hank Pym and the students reaches a boiling point and erupts into a giant brawl between Luke Cage, Hawkeye, Captain America, and Hank Pym against the original Academy members (minus Veil who left last issue). This massive positive is what propelled this issue into the Pullbox this week because the reveal at the end of the comic where the Acadmey kids from the future have indeed turned evil reminds me too much of a Teen Titans story from a few years ago where the Titans had to take on their future selves. If this is the route this comic is going then as much as I’ve enjoyed this book for the past almost two years, it may be going into the territory of having itself removed if that is indeed the story Marvel is setting up.

4) Marvel – Uncanny X-Men #1: As we continue to see the fallout from Schism with the X-Men, we see just what lengths Scott Summers is willing to go in order to try to save what is left of mutantkind. Unfortunately, an old nemesis from the past, Mr. Sinister, has the same idea, but is going to about things in a very different way and the sleeping Celestial sticking out of San Francisco looks to be a key part of his plans. Although the issue is paced a bit too quickly for my liking, to see Marvel finally work the Celestial back into a story after several years of it just hanging in the background of battles taking place in San Francisco is great. Not to mention Sinister’s new hipster look makes everyone know right from the get-go that his intentions are…well…sinister. Lots of action including Colossus still struggling with the power of the Juggernaut, which I can’t wait for that fallout sooner or later, and this is a very solid re-launch to one of Marvel’s standbys from all the way back in the 1960s.

5) Archie – Sonic The Hedgehog #230: I admit that I was very tempted to pick Last of the Greats #2 as my indie pick, but when you stick a 20th anniversary label on something, I have to pick it up. Basically, Sonic, set in the cartoon universe of the early 90s where Eggman is still Robotnik and Sonic has a whole slew of friends called the freedom fighters have stopped Robotnik’s latest plan to robotize the planet Mobius. But it comes at a cost that Sonic might not be able to bear. Honestly, the fact that Sonic has had an ongoing comic for this long in and of itself is mind boggling, but if you’re like me and actually remember watching the short lived Saturday morning cartoon starring Jaleel White (yes, Steve Urkel did this voice of Sonic the Hedgehog), then you’ll probably enjoy reliving a small slice of childhood with this 20th anniversary issue commemorating the release of Sonic Generations celebrating Sonic’s grand run in gaming to date.