Front Lines - Secret Wars (Week of July 15, 2015)

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Front Lines by Mike Maillaro, Mike Weaver, Grey Scherl, and Gina Maillaro

ARMOR WARS #3  by James Robinson and Marcio Takara

Summary: Kiri is mourning at Spyder-Man’s grave with Lila.  Kiri is feeling betrayed that Peter never told her that he was Spyder-Man.  Rhodey arrives to talk to them about what he found during the autopsy.  Peter’s Uncle Ben Urich was also murdered.  Rhodes is certain Peter and Ben had found out what caused Technolopolis to get sick.  Spyder-Man’s armor points them towards Wilson Disk.  Rhodes has heard rumors that tied Fisk to Arno Stark, so he goes to check it out.

Meanwhile, Tony has taken the fight right to Arno’s headquarters.  He fights past the defenses and reaches Arno.  They end up blasting each other out of the sky.  As they are both laying on the ground, they both laugh.  Tony tells Arno that they need to talk.

Kiri is developing a weapon so she can get revenge on whoever killed Peter.  Her entire base is a giant robot.

Rhodes confronts Fisk.  But Fisk seems less than impressed.  Several armored thugs arrive to back Fisk up.  Rhodes has a small army of War Machine armors with him. It looks like we’re about to have a big metal smackdown...but then the issue ends.

Grey: I have no idea why I keep buying this book, I mean, really, I don’t. It’s just so...manic? Like, there are ideas there, but Robinson is just jumping around so much that I can’t find myself caring for too long. Then you get stuff like Fisk’s army, and I mean, I remembered it after the fact, but I had completely forgotten that was a plot point.

Mike Maillaro: I am pretty sure you started buying it because you liked my review of issue 1.  I totally agree with what you said.   The sad part is Technopolis is such a compelling locale, but the comic itself is all over the place and doesn’t seem able to focus on any one plot point long enough to make it meaningful.

Score: 3/5


Summary: Back in the day, Stark sacrificed his life to allow Dr Yinsen the chance to escape captivity.  Years later, Yinsen has become Rescue and is the baron of Yinsen City, a domain protected by a team of heroes called the Defenders.  Yinsen dreams of the final incursion...and of Stark’s sacrifice. The problem is that Stark is still alive...and the President of the Warzone domain.  Yinsen is certain that the world is wrong.  She-Hulk is the Thor for this domain.  Others here are having strange dreams too.

A woman approaches the domain’s wall from the outside, breaking her way in. Dr. Fatza Hussain...Captain Britain. She claims she comes in peace.  She is having problems with her memories too.  She is determined to get back to her Britain...a land she only vaguely remembers.  Yinsen believes her.  She-Hulk reluctantly agrees. Doom was listening in, and strips She-Hulk of her Thor powers.  He then arranges for the next domain over to invade.  The Defenders are defeated and Hussian is taken prisoner by “Boss” Luke Cage.

Mike Maillaro: It was very random that Mondo City was an homage to Judge Dredd…

Gina Maillaro: This comic was very good.  Spider-Hero was an odd in-joke from Mighty Avengers according to Mike, but I thought it was still pretty funny.  The Judge Dredd thing was real cool.  Overall, CAPTAIN BRITAIN AND THE MIGHTY DEFENDERS is a good place to show revolution against Doom’s lies.  The characters had utopia, as long as they kept believing in Doom’s world.  Problems in utopia show the flaws in Doom’s vision.

Mike: I thought everything with Yinsen was really well done.  Nice twist with Tony letting him survive.  I don’t think we had ever seen that happen before.  It was kind of messed up that Stark dying young allows Earth to become an utopia.  Lesson learned.  Stark sucks.


CAPTAIN MARVEL AND THE CAROL CORPS #2 by Kelly Sue DeConnick, Kelly Thompson, and David Lopez

Summary: Carol heads back to the site of the ship she was ordered to destroy last issue.  She doesn’t find much, though the ship was named the Albatross.  She is ordered to come back to base, this is a No-Fly Zone.  Back in the barracks, the man she rescued wakes up.  His name is Captain Rhodes.  They summon a doctor for him, but the Doc is the Baroness's personal physician.  She says she has a responsibility to Doom.  Carol and the Corps try to convince Doc that Doom is lying, which Doc takes as blasphemy.  Doom ever lied about Carol’s origins...which the Doc admits is true.  Carol’s powers came from “the Void” not Doom’s magic.  They let the Doc go, though they aren’t sure if she will rat them out.  The Corps start working on a plan to get to the Void.  Carol finds out that Rhodes was from Limbo and decided to travel the sea to learn the truth about Battleworld.  They have a lot in common.  Carol wants to test the ship before they launch, but one of her pilots decides she can’t wait and steals it.  

Mike Maillaro: A little better than the first issue, but this was way too slow paced.  It feels like they should have combined these first two issues into one comic and it would have been much stronger.  I did like a lot of this issue, but it definitely feels like it’s being dragged out.

Score: 3.5/5

GUARDIANS OF KNOWHERE  #1 by Brian Michael Bendis and Mike Deodato

Summary: Knowhere is the head of a Celestial orbiting Battleworld.  Supposedly it was severed off by Doom.  Angela has come to Knowhere looking for Gamora.  She questions Drax, and they end up fighting.  She stabs him in the neck.  Gamora arrives, her eyes glowing.  Angela was sent after Gamora because Gamora left her territory. Rocket Raccoon arrives to blast Angela and held the others escape.  They go to see Mantis.  Gamora’s head is pretty messed up.  She seems to have a lot of memories of the universe before Battleworld, including a being named Thanos that none of the others has ever heard of.  A powerful being named Yotata suddenly arrives to attack Drax.

Gina Maillaro: I thought this was a decent book.  The characters were pretty dead on from their 616 counterparts.  I am a little perplexed in the whole “in space” thing since the premise of SECRET WARS is “the stars are gone.”  It didn’t make a lot of sense for them to flee Knowhere and end up on another planet with Mantis.

Mike: I think that was supposed to be another part of Knowhere...though you are right, it wasn’t all that clear.

Gina: I did enjoy the humor in this one.  Unfortunately, a lot of that seems to be missing from SECRET WARS.  So many of the characters and settings are so grim.  

I MISS GROOT!  Don’t know where he is...probably in a pot someplace.  Doom’s Tree of Life.  I also missed Starlord.  It feels like this book is missing it’s glue without them.

Mike: I didn’t like this one at all.  It really felt dull.  I agree that the lack of Starlord is a big part of that.  Thankfully, he’ll be back in next week’s STARLORD AND KITTY PRYDE.  You should review that one.

Gina: 3.5/5

Mike: 2.5/5


HAIL HYDRA #1 by Rick Remender and Roland Boschi

Summary: We find out that 616 Nomad survived Baron Zemo’s attempt to kill him and escaped into the Infinite Elevator, which brought him into another reality.  A reality where Hydra rules all.  They attack Nomad, but he manages to fight them off.  He decides he needs to get back to the Infinite Elevator to get home.  But, first he decides to help rescue some captives Hydra has taken.  Nomad breaks into a prison complex run by Arnim Zola, and manages to lead a massive prison break.  After the break out, Nomad is attacked by this world’s version of Leopald Zola (Nomad’s real identity before he took the name Ian Rogers).

Mike Maillaro: This was a real odd way to bring Nomad into the story.  It worked surprisingly well, especially as an epilogue to everything that happened to him in ALL-NEW CAPTAIN AMERICA.  Nomad encountering an “evil” version of himself that had never met Steve Rogers was a real cool story idea.   This is not quite what I expected from this issue, but I enjoyed it a lot.

Score: 4/5

INHUMANS: ATTILAN RISING #3 by Charle Soule and John Timms

Summary: Black Bolt’s humanitarian mission has brought him into conflict with Medusa who tries to arrest him and his “Voice Unheard” team.   Black Bolt’s team is vastly outnumbered.

Back at the Quiet Room, Medusa’s forces have raided the Voice Unhead’s HQ.  The Voice Unheard fights back, determined to escape or die trying.

In an effort to give his team the chance to escape, Black Bolt changes Medusa head on.  He manages to take her hostage.  He is willing to turn himself in on the condition that Medusa lets the others go free.  The others try to teleport back to the Quiet Room, but the gate is damaged and they end up lost mid-teleport.  Medusa has Black Bolt by the neck as the issue ends.

Mike Maillaro: Damn!  This was like EMPIRE STRIKES BACK level of “things go badly quickly for the heroes.”  I enjoyed this issue quite a bit, even if it was a little bleak. The character moments here worked real well, like Murdock making a blind joke and Karnak’s attempt to use Kamala as a distraction.  All of the different elements came together real well here.

Score: 4/5

PLANET HULK #3  by Sam Humphries and Marc Laming

Summary: Rogers was attacked by a Hulked-out sea creature at the end of the last issue.  Doc Green and Devil Dinosaur arrive to help Rogers defeat the Sea-Hulk. Devil Dinosaur is able to rip the Sea-Hulk to shreds, much to Doc Green’s surprise.  This fight has taken them far off course.  Doc Green says they will have to cut through the Barrens which is controlled by Tribal Hulks.  

As they travel, they discover a wall made of skulls.  This was the results of a civil war between the Mud Kingdom and the Tribal Hulks.  They are suddenly attacked by Tribal Hulks, and Rogers gets hit with several spears.

Mike Maillaro: I like that Rogers refers to Devil Dinosaur as Warbound.  That was a nice homage to the original PLANET HULK storyline.  The only real problem I had with this issue was Doc Green’s long speeches.  They seem like they are supposed to make Rogers doubt himself, but I just found them bland and wandering.  Also, this issue ended with the exact same cliffhanger as issue 2.  Rogers ends up separated from Doc Green and Devil Dinosaur and in danger.  I bet issue 4 starts with Doc Green and Devil Dinosaur arriving in the nick of time to save him...again.  This was not a bad comic, it just rambled a little, and didn’t move the story as much as I would have liked.

Score: 3/5

KORVAC SAGA #2 by Dan Abnett and Otto Schmidt

Summary: As Baron Korvac of Forest Hills and Baron Simon Williams of Holy Wood engage in a “floatercade” parade, Nikki Gold patrols the subway system looking for the Abomination.  She comes across him and engages him in battle, but he’s too much for her.  Vance Astro and Martinex come to assist.  Meanwhile, at the floatercade, Carina Korvac transforms into a Mindless One.  Wonder Man’s Avengers attack the Mindless One and kill it, only to have it then revert to Carina.  At the same time, Nikki manages to fill the Abomination full of lead and take him down as well.  Baron Korvac secludes himself, going quietly insane, as Wonder Man suggests to Vance and Martinex that the Thors may very well smite Korvac’s domain to cinders for the uncontrolled monster virus, so he wants to dissociate with Korvac.  Vance counters that if Wonder Man doesn’t help, it could spread to Holy Wood too.  Meanwhile, Vance also appears on the terrace to comfort Captain Marvel about his killing blow on Carina. Starhawk goes to the astral plane to see if he can figure out what’s happening with Moondragon helping out.  He encounters something in there that might be the source of the infection, and it seems to annihilate him in the last panels.

Weaver: The only redeeming feature of the first issue was the last panel cliffhanger with Carina talking about the stars, clearly being affected by the madness.  So why not completely ignore that for the first several pages then have it be a big surprise when she monstermorphs a little later.  Also, apparently Vance is the only Guardian that they want to have talk to people since he seems to be in two places at once at the end in order to talk to different Avengers.  I wanted to like this series, but it comes off very sloppy and disjointed.

Score: 1.5/5


“A Thousand Cuts” by Ivan Brandon and Aaron Conley

Summary: Somewhere under Battleworld, Mojo runs a pirated broadcast specializing in unusual fights.  Today, he has a massive Wolverine battle royale going on.  One of the Logans is deep in meditation and seems to have no interest in joining the fight.  This Zen Logan gets stabbed, but continues to refuse to fight.  He tries to convince the others not to fight, resulting in him getting sliced up pretty bad.  In the end, all the Wolverines seem poised to finish him off, as he goes into meditation again.

Mike Maillaro: WTF?  This story makes no sense in terms of Battleworld.  Doom would never allow Mojo to play this kind of game without Doom controlling it.  This read as bad fan fic.  And the ending was real unclear -- I blame the art for that.  I am not sure if Zen Logan was about to be killed or if the other Logans were coming around to his perspective.

“Fistful of ‘Changas” by Ryan Ferrier and Logan Faerber

Summary:  A cowboy Deadpool rides Lockjaw through the desert.  Deadpool is looking for an upgraded ride, so he’s tracking Devil Dinosaur.  They catch up to Devil Dinosaur, and Moonboy attacks Deadpool.  Deadpool ends up punting Moonboy away.  He tries to ride Devil Dinosaur, but gets eaten.  He tastes so bad, Devil Dinosaur ends up puking him back up.  Moonboy and Deadpool end up deciding to ride together.

Mike Maillaro:  This was an odd story, but at least it was entertaining.  Odd that Devil Dinosaur keeps popping up in various SECRET WARS stories.  Someone at Marvel is clearly a fan.

“World War Ant” by Ryan Ferrier and Paul Pope

Summary: This was just one page.  Eric O’ Grady is fighting with Dr Pym.  And the fight ends abruptly when Scott Lang accidentally steps on both of them.

Mike Maillaro:  I thought the first story was bad, but I enjoyed the second story.  And the Ant-Man short was so random that I had to laugh.  These shorts have been real hit or miss, but I do give Marvel a lot of credit for being willing to do so many experimental stories.  I would rather read something new that I didn’t quite like instead of reading something that has been done to death.  

Score: 3/5

SIEGE  #1 by Kieron Gillen and Filipe Andrade

Summary: 10 years ago, Abigail Brand fights a Secret War against Ord and defeats him.  As a result, she banished to the shield wall...which seems to be exactly what she wants.  We see a lot of characters from other books there including Kate Bishop from Secret Wars Journal and America Chavez from A-FORCE.  And a clone army of Cyclops called The Endless Summer.  Really?

We find out Brand took over as the head of shield security after Fury vanished about 6 months ago.  Brand’s new second-in-command has arrived, Kang.  30 years ago, the shield wall collapsed allowing Ultrons, zombies, and the Annihilation Wave to rampage across the land until Doom turned them away.  Brand’s parents were killed in this rampage, so that is why she is determined to never let it happen again.

Suddenly, another Kang appears from the future to try and warn them about a mistake they will make in 20 days causing the shield wall to fall.  Thanos is to blame.  Abigail has no idea who Thanos is, but promises to kill him to ensure the wall will stand.

Mike Maillaro:  This comic was a little too cute at times.  Fury and Brand are leaders of shield..a wall...not a worldwide peace organization.  And Endless Summer? Really???   But I still there there was a lot of good stuff here, especially how it tied in with other SECRET WARS series.   I do think the timeline seemed a little odd.  No on here seems to have any doubts that things have always been Battleworld, and that sort of contradicts a lot of what we’ve seen in other SECRET WARS titles.

Score: 3.5/5

SILVER SURFER #13 by Dan Slott and Michael Allred

Summary: Surfer and Dawn aren’t sure what to do with their new relationship.  She suggests that they take the long way back to Earth.  They encounter some of the races and beings they met in their wanderings around the universe, which gives them both an opportunity to reflect on how much their journey has changed them.  When  they get back to the Imperium, Surfer hears the Never Queen warning them “that you must go now.  There is no future!”  Surfer races away at top speed with Dawn.  He decides to travel back in time, but everything they have encountered is vanishing because of the Final Incursion...including Earth.

They end up encountering a Future Dawn and Future Surfer assuring them that everything works out in the end.  Surfer doesn’t see them, just Dawn.  Future Dawn points out a rip in reality, which allows Surfer and Dawn to escape.  After they are gone, Future Dawn says that she hates lying, even to herself.

Surfer and Dawn find themselves in a vast empty space.  Two beings approach them.  A cloaked figure named Glorian and his metallic servant Zee.  They are the ones who opened the rip in space to allow them to survive.  Eternity is here, but all the planets and stars have vanished...except for Battleworld and a strange moon (probably Knowhere).  Glorion asks them to help him create a new reality.  Surfer says they need material.  Glorian reveals that the white emptiness is the Shaper of Worlds and they can use him as raw material.

Mike Maillaro: Lots to digest on this one.  I loved Surfer and Dawn’s journey through their past adventures.  It was strange to see SECRET WARS from this perspective. To be honest, I am not sure it worked all that well.  I did enjoy this comic as a good issue of Slott and Allred’s great run on SILVER SURFER (including a quirky little Doctor Who reference), but it wasn’t all that vital as part of SECRET WARS.

Score: 4/5

WHERE MONSTERS DWELL #3 by Garth Ennis and Russ Braun

Summary: After encountering a tribe of Amazons, Karl Kaufmann discovers that his passenger, Clemmie Franklin-Cox, enjoys the company of women as much as he does.  Upon entering their fort, he sees an old plane trapped in a tree, and theorizes he could cannibalize the prop and some gas from it and get his plane fixed to escape. Clemmie doesn’t want to escape, she likes living right there.  Karl considers becoming the “king” of the civilization being the only man, but discovers that they kill most men, and keep a few prisoner just to have breeding stock.  Clemmie joins the tribe and declares Karl her slave so that he’s allowed to be semi-free, but that changes when he sneaks off and encounters some of the breeding stock, who seem to have aged rather rapidly and are in physical pain from the amount they have to produce.  He tries to free them, but gets caught.  He challenges the Amazons to a one on one combat for his freedom, which constitutes him taking a single punch and succumbing. Clemmie seems to have some connection to Karl that he didn’t realize until now, and he realizes that maybe all of this wasn’t some accident.  The Amazons decide that he need to go to the chopping block for his crimes...but they’re not decapitating him.  Well, at least, not in the standard way.

Weaver: The best parts of this book are that it reads exactly like an old serial with the resolution of previous cliffhanger, building of plots, then introduction of the new cliffhanger.  The writing and art are both great for the series.  However, I felt that just not enough happened in this one, and we stayed in the realm of talking about penises through euphemisms for a little too long.  It’s still a good comic, but that holds it back from being perfect.

Score: 4/5

YEARS OF FUTURE PAST #3 by Marguerite Bennett and Mike Norton

Summary: All this time, Lockheed has been guarding the last mutant refuge, Centrum.  He’s grown pretty large, and has been half blinded by Sentinels, but he agrees to one last mission to protect the fleeing mutants.  Storm, Wolverine, Kitty, Angel, Colossus, Cameron, and Chrissie make a break for it as Lockheed gives his life to save them.  Cameron and Chrissie discover that they are both Kitty and Colossus’ children, despite Wolverine raising Cameron.  The group gets separated, with Kitty and her two kids making it to Coney Island first.  There, they gather in the Doom Cathedral, which is run by Nightcrawler as another last mutant refuge.  Chrissie and Cameron both take some time getting past the fact that they’re siblings.  Nightcrawler suggests they attack a mutant concentration camp conveniently right across from the church, and Chrissie rushes in over Cameron’s objections.  The rest follow, only to discover it’s a trap.  The Brotherhood/Freedom Force is deployed here, ready to fight the X-Men.

Weaver: I was pretty disappointed by this after the first two issues were really good.  This is still good, but it’s a little sloppy.  Chrissie doesn’t know what Star Wars or Wikipedia is...but defends her right to cry about Harry Potter.  Coney Island appears to still have theme parkish areas right across from a church right across from a massive detention center.  I don’t know about you, but I doubt I’d take the kids to a theme park by a detention center.  There was just a lot that didn’t quite make sense here...but the parts that did continued to be good.

Score: 3/5