Thursday, 27 August 2015

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2: Angela (Marvel NOW!) Review

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2: Angela (Marvel NOW!)
Look at all of these characters... That
are totally boring.

Writer: Brian Michael Bendis

Artists: Sara Pichelli and Francesco Francavilla

Collects: Guardians of the Galaxy #4-10

Background Information:

The Guardians of the Galaxy... is a group of heroes who defend... earth... not the galaxy. At the moment their big concern is earth and to hell with everything else!

Not really a big surprise; when a team called "Earth's Mightiest Heroes" consists of an American playboy, an American soldier, an American archer, an American scientist, the most American russian woman I have ever seen on film and a guy who is from an entirely fictional location it's no surprise that the Guardians are only concerned with earth because there is no way characters can be relatable unless the nationalities and locations are our own, right?




If there's evidence that Marvel will keep publishing any old shlock so long as there is a MCU franchise alongside it, it's Marvel NOW!'s Guardians of the Galaxy. Two volumes in and there is nothing particularly good about it. This is the same company that cancelled the rather enjoyable New Warriors and the at-least-coherent Fantastic Four because there are no MCU movies attached to the title. Angela is a bland, pointless book that fails to hold readers' attention.

It's okay; it's not like her universe was using her.
So, Angela, a woman from heaven has wound up in the Earth realm and is getting into fights. That'
s it- that's the whole story. If that sounds totally boring and pointless, it's becasue it is. Nobody in this book seems to know their reason for fighting- and to be honest, I couldn't remember if there was. Either way, these battles are anti-climatic and bland. There's no reason to care about the victor in these fights because Bendis fails to ramp up the tension in any meaningful way. Nothing hinges on anything in this volume and if you want to see an example of that; a battle with the forces of Thanos for the fate of Earth portrays no sense of urgency whatsoever.

The introduction of Angela also fails to be a significant as Bendis clearly pretends it is. Even though the entire book is based around her, her presence doesn't seem to pose a threat. She is there to see if Earth actually exists. Nobody is chasing her, her presence hasn't upset the natural order and she isn't out to kill anyone. Yet Bendis devotes five issues to this non-story.

I like Bendis, I really do, but I like him for his character development. He's not great at action books and Angela is living proof of that. All-New X-Men, Ultimate Spider-Man; for all of the flaws of these books, they've got great character moments. I haven't seen any of that in Guardians of the Galaxy, and it's grating.

I could colour thins properly, buuuuut....
I will give Bendis this though, It's the one thing this book does right. I don't think it justifies the cost of the book. But Bendis gives us a Tony Stark that is totally out of his depth. On Earth, Tony gets too sweet a deal. His role as the face of the MCU means that everyone thinks he's a genius-supersoldier-immortal-stallion on Earth. In space, his intelligence is dwarfed by a talking racoon- which is not the least of the halariously awkward situations he finds himself in. As someone who HATES Tony Stark (I'm definitely team Steve for Civil War), it was a joy to behold. Unfortunately, these moments are few and far between and don't save this series from bombing hard.

Art here is a mixed bag of mediocre and mistaking-terrible-for-unique. There is one issue where the colourist seemed to be in the last thirty minutes of his friday shift and decided to colour each panel in one or two colours. It's not as interesting as I think the artist hoped it would be.

I never understood why people criticise Bendis until this Angela. Now? I think "oh, THAT'S why people think he can't write." This gets a one out of five minutes before the end of a friday shift.


+ Tony Stark looking like a fool.
- Dull story.
- Mediocre to awful art.

Alternate Option: All-New X-Men: Yesterday's X-Men

This is why Bendis still has a job with Marvel. Read it.

Monday, 3 August 2015

Tom Talks: Grayson #1 (with spoilers)

So, this is another post that I'll be making, where I regularly go through each issue of a comic series and mock it. And what better way to start it than with Dick Grayson's Backside Grayson: the one comic that I'll never forgive for not being Nightwing.

Wait, is this a gritty reboot of Guy Smiley?
Greyson #1: Remember how Things Used to be Better?
Open book on four panels that remind us that Dick Grayson used to be an acrobat, Robin, Nightwing and dead (but not Batman, because shut up); all of which would have made for a vastly better comic. Cut to Dick Grayson with a blond wig jumping onto a train and beating up a random because EXCITEMENT! And just in case you didn't think it was cool, a guy in a black cowl (again, not Batman) tells you it was- so start thinking it was cool, underlings!
Look everyone; better versions of the title character!
But that's all the cool you get for now, because cut to boring scene of Dick on said train in Russia flirting with a conductor. How do we know it's in Russia? Well, Dick compliments a girl in horrible Russian- hint, Dick; "Dyevushka" is Russian for "Girl", not "Jevochka".
If you're still not convinced, there are two ACTUAL RUSSIANS on the train as well; y'know, the kind we see on TV all the time; a woman who looks like every blonde supermodel ever and an overweight man- just like the ones on Anastasia. In the meantime, she is being watched by someone that I'm going to call Frizzyhairlady until this issue reveals her name. Frizzyhair lady tells Dick that she drugged the fat Russian's drink, but it's not working for some reason.
So Dick jumps in, flirting with blonde supermodel. In the process, he purposefully spills his red wine all over her white dress, and she has to leave to clean up.
Guy Smiley Dick Grayson in his blonde wig.
STOP RIGHT THERE! Blonde supermodel starts talking to someone. Not just anyone, but the random who Dick knocked out earlier; who's still clinging to the train. She can't have a full conversation, though, because Frizzyhairlady uses weird hypnotic powers to knock her out.
Meanwhile, Dick has taken the fat person from Anastasia and flippy-jumped off the train before people starts shooting at them. Wait- so, either Dick decided to jump off the train knowing that there were shooty people there, or the shooty people knew Dick was going to jump off right there. Seriously, the only other option is to have shooty people en masse along the entire train track and that would seem very un-spy-like. It's okay though, Dick and fat guy can take cover in a nuclear silo. When they're being shot at. With bullets. In a place that could cause a nuclear explosion. Who exactly thought Dick would make a good spy?
Well, not surprisingly, the silo turns out to be a bad idea. Not because the place is explody, and the last place you would want someone shooting guns, but because black-trenchcoat-not-Batman is there and he wants to fight. Cue fightscene with unrealistic amounts of talking. He discovers that Dick works for Spyral. Then BOOM! Turns out the fat character from Anastasia is covered in purple energy and has blasted not-Batman out of the silo (again, they realise this a nuclear facility, right?). Dick again uses all the logic at his disposal to call the guy covered in purple energy who can shoot people inside a nuclear silo a loser.
Spinny kicks are the best kicks.
This should surprise no one, but that annoys the fatty and he blasts at Dick. Dick dodges, fatty has powered down, and Dick can apprehend him before the silo falls down.
Back at Spy headquarters. Dick's boss, a guy with a swirly face (and even though it sounds like a kid who got bullied in high school, I'm calling him Swirlyface) compliments them a job well done (aside from the very-conspicuous explosion of a nuclear silo) and- HOLD UP; FRIZZYHAIRLADY HAS A NAME. She's Helena Bertinelli- no, not Huntress, don't call her that.
Night time, and Dick is working out in his underwear. Cue total silence from people who would be up in arms if this was a female. He then interrupts the giddy screams of women who thought they picked up a Magic Mike comic to use a hotwired radio to talk to Bruce Wayne (it's okay though, he's still in his underwear). He's interrupted when Helena interrupts him where they discuss using hypnos- source of the weird hypnotic powers. She flirts with Dick, and then reveals that she doesn't need to use hypnos, because she's hot enough to make Dick go ga-ga. That'll only happen once, right? I mean, they're not going to make Dick's sexuality the only thing driving this book, right?
For everyone to marvel at Dick's... personality.
Cut to a Spyral lab, where a scientist is examining the fat Russian from Anastasia's newly-removed stomach, which seems to be the source of his powers. Swirlyface looks at pictures of superheroes, declaring that all must be unmasked.