The Unworthy Thor #5 (Marvel)

Thor

CREDIT: Marvel Comics

Rating: 5/5 – The Whisper That Made Thor Unworthy is Finally Revealed.
by ComicSpectrum reviewer Adam Brunell

Issue 5 of the Unworthy Thor was released this week; it’s been a very long road of enigma and action. The Odinson became unworthy back in Marvel’s “Original Sin” event in 2014, and wasn’t seen for some time. During his time of hiatus Jane Foster rose to be a Mighty Thor, but there was always something in the comics pointing out that the Odinson was nowhere to be found. 5 months ago readers found out where the old Thor was and what he was doing, he was a prisoner looking for another weapon of power, that weapon happened to be the Ultimate Thor’s hammer from the Ultimate Universe. One thing stood between Thor and the Ultimate Mjolnir, and that was The Collector.

It’s been a wild and exciting ride to say the least. If there is one thing that Writer Jason Aaron can do well with his stories, it’s to tease and throw you a curveball. Since 2014 readers that followed the fall of Thor have wondered, “What was the whisper?” Nick Fury said one simple thing and Thor became unworthy, but what was said was so small in print that you couldn’t make it out. The time has finally come to know what was said….so I would recommend picking up the latest issue of Unworthy Thor to find out just what it was. Thor took those words to heart, so much to heart that it ran with him all the way to the very end of this series. Aaron provides an extremely emotional and powerful story with an intense ending. Thor fans will either love it or hate it, but a different kind of Thor will rise with the Ultimate Mjolnir in hand, and Odinson will be changed forever. Through this series the art alone has been a big factor in making this series pure gold for me.  Artists Olivier Coipel, Pascal Alixe and Kim Jacinto have delivered colorful, powerful and extremely emotional art through this entire run.

I now know what was whispered to Thor to make him unworthy, and it makes perfect since as to why Thor would think himself unworthy because of it. It speaks volumes for Thor, and if what was said had this much of an impact on him, the Odinson obviously is wrought with self-esteem issues. I found this whole situation to be an emotional ride from start to finish, and Thor has become a much stronger hero and person because of it. Now, what will this new Thor bring to the Marvel Universe? Is he bringing a war with him, and who are the combatants?  So many questions have been answered just to leave more mysteries in its wake.  I look forward to seeing Thor’s continuing tale unfold.

Reviewed by: Adam Brunell
(adamb@comicspectrum.com
)
https://comicspectrum.com/ Covering the full spectrum of comics culture

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Cadmus #1 (Antarctic Press)

Cadmus1

CREDIT: Antarctic Press

Rating: 4/5 – If You’re a Fan of Greek Mythology, Look for This Comic!
by ComicSpectrum EiC Bob Bretall

Cadmus #1 was a pleasant surprise for me at my local comic shop this week.  It’s a book I completely missed noticing in Previews, even though I spend a few hours looking though it each month, so I’m glad it’s a comic that my local shop stocked so I could buy it off the rack.  If you’re unfamiliar with the story of Cadmus (like I was) this comic presents a pretty straight retelling of the myth, with a few differences, from the version that I subsequently looked up online before writing this review.  But the thing with myths is that there are numerous versions floating around after several thousand years.

Sam Beck is both writer and artist of this tale that brings Cadmus, founder of Thebes, to colorful life in the 17 pages of this comic adaption of the myth.  Beck does a nice job setting the stage with a family tree and text page prologue that sets the stage for the story, before diving into the story with the inciting event of Zeus abducting Cadmus’ sister Europa.  The events of many years are compressed into the 17 pages of the comic ably illustrated in a very clean art style that I found very well suited to the story.  I liked his page design and was particularly fond of the scroll work he added to the top and bottom of each page.  I had a bit of an issue with how the story flowed near the end, it seemed rushed, but there’s only so much that can be done in 17 pages.  Beck did add in 4 pages at the back with bios of characters and one key item, the Necklace of Harmonia, that is featured in some versions of the myth but didn’t make it into the main story here.  Another thing that Beck could have added that would be of help to some readers would be a pronunciation guide to various characters and places.  Eric Shanower provides this in his “Age of Bronze” comics and that’s where I learned the pronunciation of most of the names presented here.

Cadmus is a tale of the times when gods walked the earth regularly interacting with humans; helping them, vexing them, in some cases marrying them, in others just leaving them with children out of wedlock.  If you’re a fan of Greek mythology, this is a must read comic.  It tells a tales that I’ve never seen before in comics, so is likely not one of the more common ones and I’ve read my fair share of tales of this type.  This comic is from one of the smaller publishers and is a niche topic, so it may not be on the rack at every comic shop, but it’s worth asking your shop to place a reorder for a copy if this sounds interesting to you!

Reviewed by: Bob Bretall
(bob@comicspectrum.com
)
https://comicspectrum.com/ By Fans who Love Comics for Fans who Love Comics

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Inhumans vs. X-Men #6 (Marvel)

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CREDIT: Marvel

Rating: 4/5 – This Battle of Genetically Altered Heroes Saved by the Art.
by ComicSpectrum reviewer Adam Brunell

Whether you were rooting for the Inhumans or X-Men, the battle has come to an end.  For now.  This spread out Marvel Comics event took two groups of genetically altered characters and pitted them against each other for one very good reason, survival. The Inhuman Terrigen mist was flooding across Earth and in the process it was saturating the atmosphere. If you didn’t already know, the mist activates dormant genes in some humans that have some kind of lineage with the Inhumans, but the mist is also a deadly poison to Mutants. Like usual, the X-Men are fighting for their very lives and the Inhumans are fighting for the survival of their people as well. One will die, and one will grow, and no one seems to be able to figure out a middle ground.

Writers Charles Soule and Jeff Lemire took a rather questionable Marvel Comics event premise, and created an interesting storyline. Artist Leinil Francis Yu brings captivating art panel after panel for this series, wide spread battle scenes and all.  Everything is on par with what I thought a great event should look like, I just wished the story was as great as the art supplied for it. The six issue series that spread into every Inhuman and X-Men comic title was short lived but left many points open for debate. All the Mutants came together; they all agreed that they will not die without a fight. Oddly enough, Emma Frost brought everyone together after Scott Summers was killed. Back in the “Death of X” series, Emma made everyone believe that Scott was killed by Black Bolt, and she is using that as her motivation and fuel to start the fire. Her plan works out perfectly, mutants are ready to fight and a plan is set in place to neutralize the Inhumans and destroy the last of the Terrigen mist. The good news is, the Mutants had a great plan, but they didn’t take the Nuhumans into consideration. The war between the two comes to an end, but not without mass causalities. This entire event felt scattered and the confusing at times.  If you were not on board, you didn’t miss much. Marvel has announced new X-Men titles to be released already, so that gives away that the Mutants don’t die out from the mist.

Friends turned on friends, new enemies and allies are made, kings and queens fall, and no one is truly happy in the end. This story died out for me about halfway through the event, with Marvel leaking new upcoming X-Men and Inhuman titles a little too early; it supplied readers with the outcome of this war. What readers couldn’t piece together till the end is just how far one powerful Mutant would go to make a point.  This entire event seemed setup to use all too familiar situations for a new story; Multiple Man dying again and again, a telepath controlling everyone’s minds for their own ends, and a big battle where all common sense and reason is lost. I felt like this event could have come out to be much more, but ended up as just another event that seemed to drag on with a bunch of filler crossover and tie-in comics.  That said, for fans of the X-Men and Inhumans franchises, there was still entertainment to be had in the art and some of the individual character moments.

Reviewed by: Adam Brunell
(adamb@comicspectrum.com
)
https://comicspectrum.com/ Covering the full spectrum of comics culture

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Savage Things #1 (DC/Vertigo)

SavageThings1

CREDIT: DC/Vertigo

Rating: 5/5 – Jason Bourne Meets Seven in Vertigo’s New Thriller.
by ComicSpectrum EiC Bob Bretall

Savage Things bursts out of the gate strong.  I’ll recap the 1st 3 pages, not really a spoiler since you’re going to hit these in the 1st 30 seconds of reading the comic:  We open on a boy watching a fire in a field (that appears to be one that he himself set).  He bikes home to find a man sitting on the couch with his dead parents (the man has killed the boy’s parents).  He asks the boy one question, “What would you do if I let you go?”  The boy’s answer, “I’d kill you.” Calmly stated, no trace of anger or emotion on his face.  “I think you’re going to like your new home.”   And we’re off…jump to 25 years later.

Justin Jordan (Luther Strode, Spread) has created a world where the US government recruits sociopaths as youngsters and trains them to be weapons.  Diabolical.  Effective.  Volatile.  The rest of the issue sets up the point of conflict for the series, which is set to run 8 issues.  It’s graphic and cryptic, and it causes the men who created the “at least they’re OUR sociopaths” program to sit up and take notice.  All the pieces are not on the board yet and it’s not completely clear what side every character introduced is going to end up on, but the story certainly grabbed my attention from page one and didn’t let it go until the end.  Artist Ibrahim Moustafa has a clean and realistic style well suited to the story and solid page design that varies to drive the pace of the story, but doesn’t go overboard on overly complex design which worked for me to keep the story rooted in an almost documentary-like reality well suited for an espionage thriller like this.  Jordan and Moustafa augment the present day action with flashbacks that build the backstory which are distinguished by a muted color palette provided by Jordan Boyd.

Savage Things pulls no punches and I have the feeling that by the end of this 8 issue series Justin Jordan will have taken us on a tour of the world-view of sociopath assassins, both those who have gone off the rails and those that have been reined in to serve the side of good.  I have the additional feeling that “good” in the context of this series is going to be a lot more of a grey area, mostly good in contrast to the very clearly delineated “bad”.  If you like thrillers with mysteries to be solved, clandestine government agencies, and action like you’d find in Bourne or Bond, then Savage Things is probably going to be right up your alley.  It’s a series that is, for me, right in the classic Vertigo sweet spot.  I loved this issue, the only negative for me is that this is an 8 issue series and not the beginning of an epic series like 100 Bullets.

Reviewed by: Bob Bretall
(bob@comicspectrum.com
)
https://comicspectrum.com/ Covering the full spectrum of comics culture

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The Power of the Dark Crystal #1 (BOOM!/Archaia)

darkcrystal

CREDIT: BOOM!/Archaia

Rating: 5/5 – The Long Awaited Dark Crystal Sequel is Finally Here.
by ComicSpectrum reviewer Adam Brunell

What a glorious moment being brought down memory lane. The Dark Crystal was an amazing movie of fantasy and adventure from 1982 directed by Frank Oz and Jim Henson.  The story took place in an unknown world that praised a crystal for its salvation. At one point the crystal was shattered and a fragment broke off, ripping its sacred but corrupt beings into two parts. While one half lived a life of wisdom and peace, the other became corrupt and turned the land into a nightmare ruled by an evil monarch. One day a hero came along named Jen who had been raised by the peaceful and wise beings that once were one part of the keepers of the land. Jen was from an extinct race and a prophecy came to say that Jen would make the Crystal whole once again.

Now let’s skip ahead a hundred years. This comic is the unmade sequel to The Dark Crystal outlined by Jim Henson, so devoted fans of the movie may want to jump on board. While the movie was never made, the story is now being told by Writer Simon Spurrier along with Artists Kelly and Nichole Matthews. Jen with his friend Kira brought peace to the land, they became the new leaders of the known world around them, and they established a government of their own based on peace and joy. But Jen and Kira must rest for long periods of time in order to stay healthy and living. While they sleep, a shadow of corruption has spread in their kingdom. A ritual to offer gifts to the crystal has started, but something is amiss over the horizon. A being not seen before has come to speak with Jen and Kira to request their help, but all this being is seeing is the negative side to this land. This new being seems to be an innocent, like Jen once was, and looking to save their own land from something similar to what Jen and Kira had fought a hundred years ago. The only issue is this stranger from another land believes the crystal will fix everything, but the crystal is already spoken for.

The Power of the Dark Crystal has started out to be a colorful and intriguing beginning to a possibly intense story. The art is vast and vibrant; the writing is so well done it’s as if I am back watching the first Dark Crystal movie being narrated by Joseph O’Conor. In the first issue we don’t get a lot of time with the original heroes, but there are appearances from other memorable characters from the movie.  This comic is the first issue of a twelve issue part story and is the sequel to the movie that devoted fans have been waiting for.  I’m excited and on board for this series!

Reviewed by: Adam Brunell
(adamb@comicspectrum.com
)
https://comicspectrum.com/ Covering the full spectrum of comics culture

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Elektra #1 (Marvel)

1_medium-1

CREDIT: Marvel

Rating: 3.5/5 – Elektra in the Bright Lights of Las Vegas.
By ComicSpectrum senior reviewer Shawn Hoklas.

I’ll start out by saying that Elektra isn’t on my list of favorite characters. While Daredevil is one of my favorites and while I enjoyed Elektra during the classic Frank Miller run, Elektra never really connected with me and I’ve always thought she should have remained dead after being killed by Bullseye. That being said, I really enjoyed the 2014 series with Elektra, but that was primarily because of the Mike Del Mundo art. After picking up the new Bullseye and Kingpin series that also have the “Running with the Devil” headline on the cover, I thought I’d give Elektra a try.

Written by Matt Owens and drawn by Juan Cabal, we first see Elektra undercover in a Vegas hotel that she suspects is providing more than just gambling for money. Her investigations prove to be correct and she comes across a young woman in need of the types of services that Elektra can offer. Elektra does have some adult themes to the story like abuse against women for example, but it’s never done in a tasteless way to Owens’ credit and this female character is at the center of it. Owens makes you root for Elektra because of this, but the story ends up being a rather simple “revenge” tale that, like mentioned above is good, but nothing you haven’t seen or read plenty of times before. It’s not until the very end that the story presents more potential for what could be with a villain I’m not sure Elektra’s ever encountered before.  The art by Juan Cabal is very clean and bright, which didn’t connect with me as I felt that it wasn’t a good choice for Elektra.  Cabal’s art is definitely solid and with the bright lights of Vegas, the colors by Antonio Fabela and Marcio Menyz really brighten up the book, but that  just seemed off for how I view the character .

Elektra is taken to the bright lights of Las Vegas in this new series where she seems to be helping those in need, while being watched by a classic villain outside of those usually seen in Daredevil family books.  This first issue still has a solid story and art that others may really enjoy, though it was too bright for my personal view of Elektra.  I’m not sure if there was enough to make me want to stick around for this series, mostly because of the departure from how we have usually seen the character, though that may be a plus for other readers.

Reviewed by: Shawn Hoklas
(shawn@comicspectrum.com
)
https://comicspectrum.com/ Covering the full spectrum of comics culture

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Monsters Unleashed #3 (Marvel)

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CREDIT: Marvel Comics

Rating: 3/5 – Monsters Without Any Personality.
By ComicSpectrum senior reviewer Shawn Hoklas.

When Bob reviewed the first issue of Monsters Unleashed, he described it as a “standard superhero slugfest” and now that we’re three issues in, nothing has really changed. When I think of Monsters Unleashed, I don’t think of the classic Kirby Monsters like this series has brought back. Instead, I think of the wonderful black and white Marvel magazine from the early to mid 1970s that starred the Man-Thing, Werewolf by Night, and many more. Much like this current series, that magazine had some really great art, but the writing was much more to my liking than what I’ve read here so far. Much of that has to do with the fact that I was hoping we’d get more personalities and insight into the monsters, rather than an abundance of superheroes and yet another story with roots tied to the Inhumans (who Marvel are really pushing hard lately).

After a big fight between the monsters and heroes, we go back to the character introduced in the first issue who has the power to “draw” monsters into existence. We learn his origin, which to me was a bit of a let down, even though writer Cullen Bunn does a nice job of explaining just what he’s capable of. The issue serves as a transitional story that sets up the rest of the series, but it failed to get me excited. There are plenty of appearances by Marvel characters, but the monsters seem like just a generic threat. Only three of the monsters have any sort of dialogue in this third issue, none of it providing any insight on what makes them interesting or unique.  It’s definitely a personal feeling, but some of the story elements involving Inhuman origins and characters seems too easy. I enjoy the Inhumans, but the simple cocoon-hatching origin feels like an easy out for writers to create new characters. The art by Leinil Francis Yu is solid throughout and does make up for some of my dislike for the story. His opening pages are packed with monsters like Fin Fang Foom and Googam, Son of Goom. The action is easy to follow and while the colors seem a tad too dark at times, the overall package was a delight to look at.

Unfortunately, I’m just not that excited about this series.  The monsters are too generic with little in the story to flesh them out.  There are plenty of tie-in issues to this event where these monsters may be explored more (issues numbered “.MU” in a variety of Marvel series), but I avoided buying most of those since I didn’t feel as though they’d be required reading.  If I can find some of the tie-ins on the cheap at a convention this summer, that may give me a bit more of what I was hoping for. On the bright side, I can still go back to those great black and white magazines with the same name!

Reviewed by: Shawn Hoklas
(shawn@comicspectrum.com
)
https://comicspectrum.com/ Covering the full spectrum of comics culture

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