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Sunday, August 22, 2010

Comic Review - Avengers 167-177


Title/Storyline

Avengers 167-177 (aka the Korvac Saga)
Publish Date/Year
1976/1977
Creative Team
Jim Shooter, George Perez, Sal Buscema, Dave Wenzel
Issue(s)
167-177
Publisher
Marvel

Story
In an earlier battle with Thor (in Thor's own title), Korvac careens to the 20th century from the future and but using the vast knowledge he had gained, recreates himself in perfect humanoid form calling himself "Michael". He travels to Earth with the noble intent of reshaping it into a utopia. Korvac, however, is pursued by his enemies from the future
- the Guardians of the Galaxy, who join forces with the Avengers in a bid to stop the villain's assumed evil plans. Having hdden himself in an American suburb called Forest Hills, none of the Avengers or the Guardians could locate him.

Starhawk (a member of the Guardians who has heightened cosmic awareness just like Mer-Vell) somehow senses and finds Korvac to battle him alone in secret. Korvac, however, defeats and disintegrates Starhawk and then recreates him atom by atom, but without the ability to perceive Korvac/Michael in any way so as to avoid future detection/confrontation.

The Collector (an Elder of the Universe) had foreseen the coming of two beings that were more powerful than the Elders (Korvac and Eternal), and remade his own daughter Carina into a being of incredible power to be used as a weapon against Michael after earning his trust. Things do not go as The Collector planned as Carina falls in love with Michael after their meeting and she begins to sympathize with him and his plans for utopia. The Collector is soon
defeated by the Avengers after a failed bid to "collect" and protect the heroes as Korvac would eventually destroy them all. Korvac, discovers the Collector's plot and disintegrates the Elder as the Avengers watched in disbelief!

The Avengers finally managed to narrow down where Korvac may be hiding from the energy dispensed in destroying the Collector. However, they still could not locate him if not for Starhawk reacting to the Avengers speaking to thin-air (as he is now unable to perceive him at all!).

And that's when things go south resulting in almost ALL (except for Thor and Moondragon) of the Avengers & Guardians of the Galaxy biting the Big One!

It was Carina's final act to join Michael in death that she used every iota of her strength to revive all of the dead heroes.

Art
George, Sal and Dave provided some awesome visuals. Although the work in those issues can't be compared with the work they produce today (Well, I haven't seen Dave Wenzel's work for some years now. The last that I saw his work was the comic version of the Hobbit - which by the was was brilliant.)
Overall
This story was one of the earliest ever epic level storylines that (the others that I can recall off the top of my head would be the Kree-Skrull War, which ran from #91-97) ran for over 6 issues. Back then, stories of this nature were very rare, unlike today. As such, they were really treasured, not only because they were rare but also because they were great stories and these stories weren't run-of-the-mill stories but were significant.

A classic cosmic epic from the past!

Order your copy of the trade paperback here 31% off:
Avengers: The Korvac Saga (Marvel Premiere Classic)

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Comic Review - Spider-Woman 1-7




Title/Storyline
Spider-Woman - Agent of S.W.O.R.D.
Publish Date/Year
2009/2010
Creative Team
Brian Michael Bendis, Alex Maleev
Issue(s)
1-7
Publisher
Marvel
Story
Emotionally scathed by her abduction by the Skrulls and being replaced by the Skrull Queen who planned and executed the Secret Invasion and her subsequent return to Earth after the Skrulls' defeat, Jessica Drew is very down on herself. Thinking that her life's even more screwed over than Wolverine's.

Soon, Agent Abigail Brand, Head of S.W.O.R.D. (the alien hunting organization in the Marvel Universe), recruits her and gives her the motivation to find closure and climb out of her depression by setting her off on a Skrull hunt.

Her first mission lands her in a Madripoor jail. Altho' she could break out of jail easily, she prefers not to as she wanted learn all she can about the Skrulls in Madripoor.

Her investigating officer threatens that if she doesn't come clean with him about why she's there, she would be extradited back to USA into the hands of Norman Osborn (now head of SHIELD - see Dark Reign).

Readers are introduced to a never been revealed power - the ability to cause men to fall madly in love with her thru' pheromone emissions!

Investigating officer Detective Chong, helps her escape but is soon killed by a mysterious assailant in a flying car. Being an ex-HYDRA and ex-SHIELD agent, she suspects the occupant to be a SHIELD agent (as SHIELD, especially Nick Fury, often uses them).

The cops in pursuit are brutally killed by the same assailant - who we soon learn is the off-kilter Viper (aka Madame Hydra). Viper wants her back into HYDRA and offers her the chance to escape the cops as she's a fugitive as far as the cops were concerned. Jessica borad the car but she refuses to rejoin HYDRA.

Viper throws Jessica an incentive to do so and finds herself face to face with a Skrull captive that had been tortured by Hydra - the one who could give her info on the Skrull she was hunting in Madripoor! She confronts him and her inner demons. After her brutal battle with the captive Skrull, she makes her escape from the HYDRA base by jumping off from what looked like the tallest builing in Madripoor BUT she can't fly without her costume!

She's resourceful enough to survive the fall but ends up in police custody again to retrieve her costume. As soon as she does, the Thunderbolts (Osborn's hunting dogs) arrive to confront her.

She takes on the Thunderbolts all by herself and manages to evade capture. She then continues her search for her quarry. Her investigative skills from her days as a PI have paid off. She manages to track down the Skrull she was hunting but this time, the battle is vastly different as this Skrull, unlike the previous one, had not been starved and tortured by HYDRA. Jessica is barely able to stay 1 step ahead of being killed when the Avengers arrive, with her best friend, Ms Marvel (Carol Danvers) leading the way to save the day.

By the end of issue 7, it does bring closure to Jeccica's inner turmoil as she had been accepted by her friends once more.
Art
Alex Maleev had outdone himself. The work is absolutely beautiful. Flawless. He is a master at using light and shadows and this is pretty evident in this series. Moreover, his colors add even more depth to his work. Brilliant!

I had fallen in love with his work from his Daredevil days (OK, OK, I admit I have not read Alias yet! The book that introduced the world to his work.) This series is best work to yet!
As a pseudo-realistic artist (with the likes of Alex Ross, etc), I really like his work because altho' technically, his panels are still snapshots, he manages to infuse so much artistry into it that they seem fluid and dynamic.

Additional Comments
What's refreshing and different is that altho this is a superhero comic, you'd expect Spider-Woman to be in costume but Jessica Drew is in civillian togs for the most part.

What's unfortunate is that this series was not intended to be a mini series but a regular one. I was really stoked to see what they would do nest as I am fairly fond of their version of Spider-Woman. However, Marvel had decided to do a motion comic based on the series. This had meant that Maleev had to do so much work between the motion comic and the regular comic that he burned out. It was said that the 7 issues together with the motion comic equalled the work of about 22 regular issues. Ouch!

I was really upset that the book had ended with only 7 issues. What more can I say, for the fans, 'Nuff Said. For those who had not had to pleasure to be acquainted with Jessica Drew, this is indeed a great arc (trade paperback) to pick up. Great stuff. Go and read it!
Get the full story here at 27% OFF!
Spider-Woman: Agent of S.W.O.R.D.