Posted on

Outlawed #1 Review

Writer:  Eve Ewing
Artist:  Kim Jacinto
Color Artist:  Espen Grundetjern
Letterer:  Clayton Cowles
Cover Artist:  Pepe Larraz

Are we willing to give up our freedoms to be safe? Would you trade increased restrictions on parts of the population if it meant slightly increased stability? In this new Marvel comic our favorite teen heroes Ms. Marvel, Spider-Man, Ironheart, Nova, and more have to grapple with this serious question, and whether or not their good intentions outweigh the serious consequences of their actions. After an “incident” at a local school, politicians introduce new legislation that makes underage vigilantism illegal, and the teen superheroes that we know and love must either stand their ground or cut and run.

Tensions rise and the nation divides. As a new government task force looms the Champions must rise to meet them. One thing we can be sure of: the next generation of superheroes won’t take this one lying down. They’ll stand and fight, whether we want them to or not. Both the writing and the artwork in this issue are superb. Writer Eve Ewing, artist Kim Jacinto, and color artist Espen Grundetjurn weave their talents together to produce a fierce tapestry of light and story. Intense action scenes make it a page-turner, with huge splashes of color and movement.

At the center of the action, we’ll get to see how the changes impact the lives of two teen heroes, Miles Morales and Kamala Kahn, in their respective ongoing series. Then the two will rejoin forces along with Nova as the story continues in Champions #1 available April 8th.

Review by Megan Goble

Posted on

Spider-Woman #1 Review

Writer: Karla Pacheco
Artist: Pere Perez (backstory: Paulo Siqueira & Oren Junior)
Color Artist: Frank D’Armata
Letterer: VC’s Travis Lanham
Cover Artist: Jung-Geun Yoon

For the first time in three years, Spider-Woman is back in her own ongoing series–and she’s got new threads for the occasion. In the first story of this giant-size issue, Jessica Drew is hired to protect the birthday party of a billionaire’s daughter. When kidnappers come, Jess puts her powers on full display, all while suffering through a persistent headache that might be from something other than the bratty kids she’s babysitting. The second story offers a segue from Drew’s activities in Strikeforce (where anyone looking for an extra dose of Spider-Woman can still find her monthly!) to how she acquired her new “work clothes” for this series.

After writing a few short stories and one-shots for Marvel, Karla Pacheco has finally been given the reins of an ongoing series. She’s joined by artist Pere Perez, and together their layouts and art make exciting action sequences without sacrificing readability. Which is great, given that the majority of their story is action. The final eight pages are a fair bit quieter, with Pacheco joined by Paulo Siqueira and Oren Junior doing pencils and ink, respectively, as we get a glimpse of a “normal” day in the life of Jessica Drew.

Spider-Woman #1 is a quick and fun read that serves as a good introduction to who Jessica Drew is, what she can do, where she is, how she got there, and why you should care about this individual with a hyphen and a “Spider” in their name. While this is a new take on the character, complete with a makeover, long-time fans can appreciate the steps taken to acknowledge Jessica’s past stories rather than disregard them. So whether you’re newly interested in Spider-Woman, or you’ve followed her since 1977, this series will appeal to you.

Review by Andrew Fellner

Posted on

Spider-Woman #1 HALF OFF!

Spider-Woman is back in a new series written by Karla Pacheco with art by Pere Perez! You can pick up the main cover or the J Scott Campbell cover of issue #1 for HALF OFF! Offer good until 3/22 or while supplies last.

Also, check out these other variants available at Ultimate Comics!

Yoon New Costume, Ron Lim, Stanley Artgerm
Nauck, Hidden Gem, Karre Andrews
Peach Momoko, Garcin Collage, Bruce Timm
Web, Chip Kidd Die Cut

Also be on the look out for the super secret hidden variant!

Posted on

Strange Academy #1 Review

Writer: Skottie Young
Artist: Humberto Ramos
Color Artist: Edgar Delgado
Letterer: VC’s Clayton Cowles
Cover Artists: Humberto Ramos and Edgar Delgado

Strange Academy’s titular institution is the Marvel Universe’s solution for young sorcerers, witches, and other mystic types looking to control their powers in the same way Xavier’s School provided a solution for “Gifted Youngsters.” The book opens up with a young girl named Emily Bright writing Doctor Strange a letter explaining her struggles with controlling her magical abilities. Shortly afterwards, she’s brought to Strange Academy where she meets her fellow classmates (introducing a large cast of new characters) and instructors (consisting of many fan-favorite magic-users).

Even considering the 40-page size of this series debut, Skottie Young packs a lot of material into the story. The school, its purpose, the characters, relationships, rivalries, and more are all established with excellent pacing, giving everything its fair share of time before naturally flowing into the next idea. Humberto Ramos’s art helps stuff even more substance into the book. The way he draws people and facial expressions gives characters unique personalities without the reader having to even look at a word of dialogue.

While it may be natural to see “magic school” and immediately draw comparisons to the adventures of a particular scarred wizard, this book separates itself well enough to feel fresh. Some mild language may keep this book out of younger hands, and though it’s targeted at a teenage audience it can certainly be enjoyed by older readers. If you have even the slightest interest in the magical elements of Marvel, this book is a must-read.

Review by Andrew Fellner

Posted on

Iron Heart #1-2 Review

Writer: Eve. L Ewing

Artist: Kevin Libranda and Luciano Vecchio

Colorist: Matt Milla

Letterer: VC’s Clayton Cowles


Tony Stark…genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist. Riri Williams…. genius, college student, awkward nerd, concerned citizen.

After a run in Invincible Iron Man, Riri Williams gets a new suit and a new title; Ironheart. Though she is a superhero in her own right, Riri still struggles with feelings that she doesn’t belong. In her first bout, the villain Clash antagonizes her with deliberate mockery against her age calling her Barbie Dreamhouse Iron Man and suggesting that she is from the “JV squad”. Even in her community, she is constantly correcting people who reference her as Iron Chick and Little Iron. As the only undergraduate student at MIT with her own lab she is subject to the spontaneous and uninvited visits from the Dean as he brings in spectators, affirming that her space is not really her own. Unlike Tony, she doesn’t have a billionaire inheritance and the dean reminds her that her innovations have costs.

Writer Eve Ewing brings relatability to the character by giving a realistic sense to Riri’s introverted and geeky nature making references to her Star Trek cosplay and her love of hip hop music. From her internal musings to her conversations with an old friend from home, Riri feels like someone we could know (or perhaps someone we do know). And with her successes, we also get to see Riri stumble as she works through making updates, enhancements and repairs to her suit. She develops a self learning artificial intelligence to assist her on missions and, to her surprise, it manifests itself as a version of her childhood best friend who was shot and killed and with whose death Riri is still struggling.

Ironheart is a great read so far with two solid issues that would appeal to pre-teen to adult readers.


Posted on

Conan the Barbarian #1

Writer: Jason Aaron

Penciler: Mahmud Asrar

Colorist: Matthew Wilson

Letterer: VC’s Travis Lanham

Cover: Esad Ribic


By Crom, Conan is back, and at Marvel no less! This month you’re going to notice that Marvel is going all in on Conan. Marvel’s launching two new ongoings with Conan the Barbarian and Savage Sword of Conan done by Gerry Duggan and Ron Garney, an Age of Conan mini-series done by friend of the store Tini Howard and Kate Niemczyk, and a full month of Conan True Believers! For those new to the character that may seem like a lot, but Conan was once a Marvel Comics staple. With Marvel celebrating its 80th anniversary, bringing Conan back to the fold feels right.


Now I will fully admit that my Conan credentials may seem light. My dad was a big Conan fan. I remember reading through some late 70’s Conan as a kid, but I always preferred Thor. I was, however enthralled by the Arnold Schwarzenegger Conan movies. In those movies, Arnold succeeded in making Conan larger than life and while a bit silly at times, the sense of adventure always kept me coming back for more. Besides, the sequel had Grace Jones as a badass warrior and Wilt Chamberlain…nuff said. Despite my eternal disappointment that Conan the Destroyer’s ending teaser was never followed through, I had never been motivated to check out the comics until now.


It was writer Jason Aaron’s enthusiasm for the source material that got me excited to give Conan a try. When the series was announced, he tweeted a photo of his bookshelf filled to the brim with Conan novels and comic collections. Since his Thor is one of the best comics coming out right now, I knew I had to give Conan a try. This issue did not disappoint.


Aaron’s love for the character radiates off of the pages. The book opens with a beautiful two page spread with art from the original Marvel era of Conan. It was nice to see the homage, but Aaron makes sure to deliver his take on the character. Similar to his Thor run, we aren’t seeing a story from just one period of Conan’s life. The Life and Death of Conan starts off while Conan is still just an adventurer but threads into his life as King Conan of Aquilonia. Aaron delivers a fast-paced and bloody first issue, filled with the brawls, and pulpy dialogue you’d expect from a Conan story.


Mahmud Asrar’s art more than keeps up with the pace of the story. Conan is the statuesque and legendary figure of myth, but the art remains kinetic and energetic. Matthew Wilson sticks with a heavy red and brown color palette helping set the tone, underscore the violence, and build the world.


This issue was a great start to the series, perfect for long-time Conan fans and new readers. I’m excited to see the rest of the new Conan line. If you’ve been jonesing for a fun fantasy romp, don’t miss this issue.

Posted on

Venom #1

Writer: Donny Cates
Penciler: Ryan Stegman
Inker: J.P. Mayer
Colorist: Frank Martin
Letterer: Clayton Cowles

So, if you haven’t heard Marvel just rebooted…again. Get ready to see a lot of Marvel number
ones in the coming months, including Doctor Strange, Deadpool, The Immortal Hulk and the
recently launched Avengers title by Jason Aaron and Ed McGuinness.

Regardless of your feelings toward this reboot/relaunch/whatever-you- want-to- call-it, the new
Venom title is one you don’t want to miss. In conjunction with the thirtieth anniversary of the
iconic Spider-Man nemesis’ first appearance, the new Venom comic is both a love-letter and the
start of a brand new story.

As Eddie Brock struggles to control his alternate ego while holding down his reporter job, he
soon encounters a mysterious ex-military operative. Here, Eddie learns new details about the
origins of the Venom symbiote, details that could change everything and bring about powerful
new enemies.

Despite my skepticism about the whole Marvel relaunch, I was intrigued by this title solely
because of the creative team. Donny Cates has become one of my favorite comic writers over
the last year, with horror titles like Redneck and Babyteeth. Since joining Marvel, he’s not only
been able to provide fantastically entertaining revamps of Doctor Strange and Thanos, but also
give these books a darker and edgier aesthetic.

The same is true of Venom. Cates and the brilliant Ryan Stegman deliver a tour de force in this
comic, combining supernatural horror with a character-driven narrative. This first issue sets up
an exploration of the legacy of Venom, from Eddie Brock to Flash Thompson to other possible
hosts. As Eddie wrestles with his inner-demons and encounters new foes, the storytelling is a
culmination of internal conflicts and bombastic action sequences. Coupled with the griminess
and cinematic touch of Frank Martin’s colors, this is one to dazzle both longtime Venom fans
and newer readers.

Time will tell if the Sony-produced Venom movie in October will thrive or flop, but regardless
Marvel fans have this gem to indulge in.

Posted on

Darkhawk #51

Writers: Chris Sims, Chad Bowers
Artist: Kev Walker
Colorist: Java Tartaglia
Letterer: VC’s Travis Lanham
Publisher: Marvel

As part of Marvel’s Legacy reboot, the company has put together a series of one-shots for its
more obscure, B-list characters. Silver Sable, Master of Kung Fu and now Darkhawk are all part
of this initiative. The idea is that if these books sell a fair amount and garner enough interest
among readers, Marvel will consider giving these characters ongoing titles. My hope is that
sales for Darkhawk #51 will skyrocket, as this title would make for a great cosmic superhero

Chris Powell became Darkhawk years ago when he discovered an amulet in an old amusement
park. This event turned him into a being of immense power who used his gifts to fight crime.
Now however, it’s been a long time since Powell merged with his superhero alter-ego, and he
currently leads a more simple life as a cop. Yet when a tip leads him to the same amusement
park where he first discovered the gem, what he discovers there may just change his plans for
his future.

Writers Chris Sims and Chad Bowers do a great job introducing Darkhawk to readers who are
unfamiliar with the character, and also providing plenty of reasons for why this comic should be
an ongoing. As a one-shot it makes you want to dig deeper into the character’s mythos and hunt
down classic issues, but it also leaves plenty doors open for the story to continue.
Likewise, Kev Walker’s art is a delight, delivering the tone and aesthetic of a classic Saturday
morning superhero cartoon. I’ve only read a handful of Nova stories, but it has a similar feel to
that book stylistically. The colors are bright and engaging, providing the feel of a sweeping
space opera.

I’m really hoping enough people will like this book to want to see it continue, and regardless of
whether or not it does get greenlit as an ongoing it’s still a great collector’s item to have. Sims
and Bowers are regular guests at both NC Comicon shows, so get your copy of Darkhawk #51
now so you can get it signed at Oak City in March!

Posted on

Marvel Legacy #1

Title: Marvel Legacy #1
Writer: Jason Aaron
Artists: Esad Ribic, Steve McNiven and various others
Colorist: Matthew Wilson
Letterer: Cory Petit
Publisher: Marvel

 Rebooting a long-established universe is a tricky business. On the one hand you want to imbue the story with plenty of mythology and cater toward longtime readers, but you also have to entice newer fans to give it a shot and make it an easy jumping-on point. Marvel Legacy #1 is admittedly less successful in the latter, but it remains a rich celebration of the Marvel universe that sets the stage for the post-Secret Empire era.

Now, there’s no denying that many of this issue’s story beats are based on DC’s widely acclaimed Rebirth one-shot from last year. Old characters who have either been dead or absent for a while return, generations of heroes collide and new cosmic elements are added to the universe which have the potential to alter everything from here on. Yet whereas the Rebirth one-shot revealed Wally West as the point-of-view protagonist a few pages into the story and told a more personal character piece, in this book Jason Aaron waits until the last page to reveal the narrator. The reveal itself is quite satisfying, as it serves as a kind of meta-narrative for how the Marvel universe has evolved in the decades since Jack Kirby and Stan Lee created these characters.

In terms of the story itself, Aaron opens in the Stone Age, where it’s revealed that some of the world’s greatest heroes have their ancestral roots here. Mjolnir and the Asgardian mythos play a big role here, which is befitting given how beloved Aaron’s Thor run is. The original Cap however only makes a brief appearance, as Steve finds himself wandering the countryside following the events of Secret Empire. Likewise, Tony Stark only gets a brief mention, stating that he’s been off the grid for a while. We also get glimpses of Ben Grimm and Johnny Storm wondering if the world still needs or remembers them, Deadpool apparently seeking redemption, Doctor Strange and Iron Fist conversing about dreams and the return of an iconic hero. If all this sounds overtly expository, it’s because this issue is the exposition of the new Marvel era. The only major character absent is Spider-Man, but the Spider-Man Generations book also came out today.

There’s little I need to do to convince you to buy this comic, especially if you’re a hardcore Marvel fan or are just interested in reading any of the new titles this fall. It may come across as a bit convoluted if you haven’t been following Marvel for a while, but nonetheless Aaron handles the material with the skills of a master storyteller. Couple that with the book’s team of superstar artists ranging from Steve McNiven to Ed McGuinness, and you’ve got yourself a nice collector’s item here. Pick it up this week at any Ultimate Comics location and you’ll get it for half off, as well as a free copy of the Marvel Previews magazine. Excelsior!