Tag Archives: Marvel Comics

Alien #4 – Review

Alien #4  

Written by: Phillip Kennedy Johnson  

Art by: Salvador Larroca 
Released: July 2021 
Published by Marvel Comics

This first foray into the Alien universe for Marvel has had many a critical eye from its considerable fan base.
I’ve found the issues so far have been limited in true horror scares as they focussed well on a more action based theme. This issue is well written and the lettering flowed to compliment the pace and developing many a possible twist. The central theme finds a good blend of characters descending into the bowels of the infested depths of the Epsilon station Alien hive.  

Is that Mark Wahlberg or Gabe Cruz on the cover of this issue with a poorly painted Bishop sandwiched between two Aliens? The covers and variants of them to date have been pretty solid but this one really isn’t my cup of tea. The veins on the foreground Alien are just a little too veiny in their phallic tones where the original art of H.R.Giger’s Aliens were more subtle in their sexual inferences. The hand placement on the foreground creature reminded me of a frozen Bela Lugosi which was entertaining but looked more tame than frightening. 

There wasn’t much in the way of claustrophobic tension that I would have expected in entering the Alien hive. As the main plot point of the issue, the livestock originated ALPHA sample is depicted well but like the cover just doesn’t have the crescendo and fearsome factor of other Alien art such as the early Dark Horse Comics heavy black ink work. 


There are big strides in this issue to push the story forward. Despite being a bit lighter on action than previous issues, there is a flowing momentum that helps elevate the danger the characters are in. Bishop’s functional android personality makes a great contrast with Cruz’s sombre and battle worn soldier disposition which helped me feel invested in the story. I really enjoyed the interactions between them especially in light of the early plot build of them being in a counselling relationship from issue #1. 

What could have been big reveals were a little flat in what could have been a seminal fright moments for a Marvel taking the franchise by the scruff of the neck first arc. There are still many directions this story could take and overall I think Marvel may be feeling their way into stories and the genre for the future. It really is a tough fan base to please. They certainly have the clout to attract fans, writers and artists to collaborate on some great work moving forward. 

This is very much a comic that takes place in the same universe as the early Aliens but it isn’t a story that is chained to their lore; the references are there for lovers of the franchise but they are like sprinkles of connection rather than heavy investment. Johnson provides us a more psychological and historic trauma insight into Cruz’s past life and how it affects him in this present rescue mission. 

Marvel titles garner wide attraction and new generations may find their way into the joy of the Alien franchise through this new branding. Some older fans may be quick to criticise this story arc finding it a bit short on its teen + promise. I expected a little more horror out of it. One thing is sure with a month between issues there is no shortage of historic material to keep us rolling in Alien stories.  


Verdict

An expansive story for an ever expanding Alien universe. 


Reviewed by Taz Maz

Star Wars: Boushh #1 – Review

STAR WARS: BOUSHH #1

Written by: Alyssa Wong
Art: David Baldeon
Colours: Israel Silva

Released: 15/09/21
Publisher: Marvel Comics


The massive, line-wide War of the Bounty Hunters narrative has rumbled on for several months now, with characters, major plot points and events spreading and intersecting across all the ongoing Star Wars titles. The slight outliers, however, have been the one-shots that have been thrown into the mix. While the stories of Jabba the Hutt and 4-LOM & Zuckuss have certainly depended on the happenings of the main series, they haven’t had the biggest impact on the overarching tale. Each has been fun, but not much else besides.

The same sense of playfulness runs through Alyssa Wong and David Baldeon’s Boussh #1, but while it may still be another title that has little impact on the core mini-series, it is an essential read in its own right. Wong and Baldeon deliver an action-packed, emotionally driven, self-contained narrative that brings to the fore everything that makes this event’s focus on the seedier side of the Star Wars galaxy so appealing.

Making one of the many bounty hunters that litter the Star Wars universe (and filled the toy boxes of many a child of the 80s) stand out can’t be an easy job – each of them is appealing in their own way but, no matter how badass a writer might try to make them, they will always be eclipsed by the man himself, Boba Fett. Wong takes a slightly different approach here. Boushh is certainly tough and knows what he is doing, but it’s his personal background and how the cruel laws of his home planet of Uba have shaped him into who he is that make him a truly engaging character. Wong has done a sterling job of making us care not only for Boushh but for his entire crew of exiles who, in just a few short pages, are convincingly positioned as a sort of family who could probably carry their own ongoing series (especially if Wong were at the helm).

What’s even more astounding is that Boushh isn’t even the best part of this book (though he comes a very close second). That honour goes to ruthless crime boss Domina Tagge, featured recently in Wong’s ongoing run on Doctor Aphra. She’s at once sexy and scary, a force to be reckoned with who would evidently do anything to maintain supremacy, as skilled of a talker as she is a fighter. Her dialogue drips with charm and malice and, in the moments where words aren’t required, Baldeon does just as good a job as Wong of imbuing her with a sense of self-righteousness and power – a raised eyebrow here, a half-smile there; every little detail is beautifully considered and skilfully conveyed.

Baldeon’s subtlety, quite rightly, goes out of the window for the more action-oriented panels. They have the vibrancy of work by Pepe Larraz and the eye-popping, cartoonish gorgeousness of the pencils of fellow Star Wars artist, Luke Ross and are wonderfully embellished with colours by Israel Silva. Burnished oranges leap off the page throughout the book, from Boushh’s tragic backstory to the humming plasma blade wielded by Domina Tagge, to the fiery backgrounds that compliment the book’s dramatic and satisfying conclusion.



VERDICT

While it may be part of a bigger story, Boushh #1 is a near-perfect standalone story, and we can only hope that this one-shot morphs into something much bigger in the future. A wish list for the attention of Marvel, Disney and Lucasfilm:

  • More Boushh
  • More Domina Tagge
  • More Alyssa Wong


Review by Nathan Harrison

The Amazing Spider-Man #75 Review



The Amazing Spider-man #75

Reviewed by Leo Brocklehurst

Written by: Zeb Wells 

Artwork by: Patrick Gleason
Released on 6/10/21

Published by Marvel Comics 

BEYOND IS HERE!

So I haven’t been THIS excited for Spider-man in quite a while now, I was hyped when this new run started because we finally got a change up from Dan Slott to Nick Spencer and my favourite artist Ryan Ottley was on the book aswell.

However, as the series progressed, we lost Ryan Ottley (on Spider-man, he is still very much alive) around the halfway point of the run and the plots got a little stale (Kings Ransom and the Chameleon Conspiracy to be specific). The stories were in my opinion, more exciting than the previous run but lacking the constant state of epic-ness and energy that the book had seen before, but now, I think things are finally going to be… amazing (forgive the pun) once again. Let’s dig in!

This time around, the story starts with a young Peter Parker walking the streets of New York with Aunt May, blowing up a piece of gum. Aunt May realises she never bought that for Pete and asks where he got it from, Peter doesn’t understand what he did but said “it felt too easy”. They end up going back to the store and paying the store clerk for the gum and once they get home uncle Ben asks to talk to Peter, giving him a speech about the man who you are in private and that you can’t hide from him. Ben turns around, disfigured by a hole in his face with spiders crawling out of it and we soon discover it was just a dream.

Peter wakes up miserable over Harry’s death (last ish) and decides to go get some fresh air outside, on a specific building where its quiet and solitary, where he has nothing to worry about. I always like little things like this, they communicate to readers that Peter is a human being; he still faces problems and tribulation and has his safe spaces of his own to go to, they really drive home the “everyman” aspect of the character. Once he gets up onto the roof of this building he sees another Spider-man swing past?! Spidey throws a slue of tricks at the imposter but they prove useless; his webs bounce right of the shady character and they run right through the wall Peter pulls down on them. Following that, a spider looking device is deployed and wraps Peter up, allowing the doppelganger to escape. The device tells Peter that he will be let go in an hour and he should use this time to “reflect on his life’s decisions” Which might be the funniest thing I’ve read all year.

The following day, Pete runs into Ben Reilly (who last appeared in Iron man a few years back I believe but I’m sure you’re familiar with the character from the infamous clone saga storyline back in the mid 90’s). They talk in a restaurant and Ben reveals it was him who was running around the night before and that’s what he’s come to talk to  Peter about. The beyond corporation has hired him to be Spider-man after acquiring the trademark to the hero from the now defunct Parker industries (the company Otto Octavius began when he was in control of Peter’s brain, when Peter regained control he totally tanked the company and had to sell off all the assets although he was unaware Otto had trademarked the Spider-man name). Ben came to tell him that he wasn’t asking to be a Spider-man but that he will be, like it or not. After all, they both have the same moral code so its not like you can keep him out of the fight. Peter has no choice but to accept it and they go their own ways.

Ben returns to his penthouse in the beyond tower to his girlfriend Janine, who just got out of prison last issue. There’s a pretty nice moment where they take in just how different their living conditions are now from a few years ago until its interrupted by Reilly’s overseer of sorts to partake in some sort of session.

We cut to later as the (typically hulk villains) U-foes are carrying out a mission when Peter arrives on the scene to stop them, he makes a joke about the stench that X-ray carries when they reply that the joke wasn’t funny the first time when, all of a sudden, Reilly breaks through the debris under him. They team up against the villains and hold their own until X-ray let’s out an explosion of ionising radiation, reducing the area to Rubble; as Ben recovers (due to his radiation proof suit) and goes to re-group with Peter he sees that Pete’s been injured pretty bad and as he falls to the ground and blacks out, the issue ends.

Things look pretty rough for Peter but it makes for one heck of a story! Before I talk about anything else I just want to talk about beautiful wrap around cover by comic book veteran Arthur Adams! This cover was jaw-droppingly gorgeous and the solicited covers for the beyond books look incredible, in other news, I loved this book! Pretty sure this is my favourite issue of Spider-man since the red goblin arc in 2018.




I didn’t realise how much the title was coasting until I came out of it and beyond looks like a non-stop thrill rife and I can’t wait!!! I’m pretty sure they had me in mind when they made the series thrice-monthly if I’m being completely honest. Zeb Wells writing was funny, exciting and did a spot-on job of all the characters personalities and the like although Wells is no newcomer to ASM, he’s done several short stories in other spider-books and scripted the awesome storyline SHED back in 2010 with legendary artist Chris Bachalo. Patrick Gleason’s art in this book is really just brilliant, I love the way he draws Spidey but I just have one teeny, tiny nit-pick on the artwork which is that it can be pretty inconsistent. I double checked and he is the only pencilled on the issue but it looks like it can be two different styles at some points. In parts, peter looks in style with Gleason’s art but in others he looks like a 3-d tracing. It’s the only problem I’ve had with his art, I don’t know whether he gets worn out or if he’s just experimenting with different styles but when that’s my biggest complaint with a comic you know it’s good, it’s sooooo good. BUY IT!


10/10

Reviewed by Leo Brocklehurst 14/10/21