Comic Book Recap & Review – Superman: Son of Kal-El (2021-) Issue #1

Today’s post is a recap and review of the first issue of Superman: Son of Kal-El. I wrote a while back about how excited I was that there was a bi superman, and I’ve finally been able to sit down and read the first issue. I haven’t read a DC book in quite some time, and I’m excited about getting to see what is going on with this character.

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Comic Book Recap & Review – Eternals One-Shots (2021)

Today’s post is a recap and review of some recent Eternals single-issue stories. I’m not sure why the ongoing series was paused for a bit after issue six in favor of these separate stories, but I’m looking forward to seeing what they are about, especially with the movie so close and the way issue six of the series ended. If you are curious about my thoughts on the first six issues of the current Eternals run, you can find them here.

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Comic Book Recap & Review – Sinister War (2021)

Today’s post is a recap and review of the comic Sinister War, which was released earlier this year. It definitely feels like the Amazing Spider-Man title has been building to something big. So, I’m looking forward to seeing what happens in this event and the tie-in Spider-Man issues. For simplicity sake, the recap will only go over events from the Sinister War issues, but I’ll include my thoughts on the Spider-Man issues when I discuss my opinions in the review at the end.

Recap (Spoiler Alert!)

The comic starts with Peter and MJ attending her movie premiere. They are walking the red carpet, when the movie’s director comes to take MJ away to do an interview. Once they are away from Peter, the director asks MJ if she’s told Peter the truth yet, and she hasn’t. The director is actually none other than the reformed? Mysterio. As they do the interview, Peter looks on thinking about how he will ask MJ to marry him tonight once the movie premiere is over. As they settle into their seats for the movie premiere, a loud BOOM erupts and the Savage Six tear through the movie screen. A fight ensues, and Peter dons his Spider-Man suit to enter the fray. As he is fighting, Vulture captures MJ, who is then saved by none other than Mysterio. Vulture and Mysterio start battling it out because Vulture is upset about how he was portrayed in the movie. Vulture gets the upper hand until the Sinister Six burst into the auditorium. The two villain teams fight each other over Mysterio. As they do, Peter and MJ get in a fight over her knowing about Mysterio, and Mysterio tells Peter he knows something important that explains everything that is going on. Before he can listen, Peter jumps back into the fight to try to keep the two villain teams from bringing the auditorium down around them. While Peter is fighting, Doc Oc attempts to persuade Mysterio to rejoin the Sinister Six and turn over MJ to him. Mysterio agrees and helps them get away with MJ. Spider-Man is left there alone and passes out. He wakes up in Kindred’s mausoleum facing several teams of villains. The scene cuts away to Doctor Strange facing down Mephisto over some deal he has made regarding the ongoing events. Mephisto offers Doctor Strange a chance to change things by playing a game of chance…

Spider-Man is engaged in a brutal battle with all his enemies in the graveyard outside of Kindred’s mausoleum. They almost capture him multiple times as he bounces from fighting one group of villains to another. Throughout the fighting, the scene flashes back several times to show that Kindred has recruited them all to kill Spider-Man. He implants brain-eating centipedes in all their heads to motivate them to comply with his orders and tells them all that they must kill Spider-Man. He offers the one who succeeds in killing Spider-Man the right hand spot in hell since they are all going there anyway. In the present, the battle continues and Spider-Man begins to be overwhelmed by the sheer number of foes.

Spider-Man is hiding in the graveyard attempting to stay out of the sights of the 30 villains after him. Silver Sable shows up unexpectedly with a team of her own, including Wolverine and the Human Torch. They tell Spider-Man to rest as they go get more help. When they get closer, Wolverine suddenly turns into the Lizard and lunges at Spider-Man. It turns out they were all villains disguised by Mysterio. The villains resume beating up on Spider-Man as Kindred awakens the Sin Eater from his grave to go after Spider-Man, as well. Peter attempts to run for it and looks like he is going to get away with the use of his web shooter, but Doc Ock grabs him out of the air. The villains then begin fighting again over who should finish him off, and Spider-Man is able to crawl away while they are distracted. As he runs, he continues to dodge and fight villain after villain before facing Boomerang, who tells him to run and sets off one of his own boomerangs as a distraction. Spider-Man gets away and hides behind a dumpster. The Sin Eater and several other new villains descend on him there and tell him there is no hiding from his sins.

Spider-Man is once again in a battle for his life. The newest six enemies to arrive, led by the supposed-to-be-dead Sin Eater, attack him ruthlessly. Sin Eater manages to beat Spider-Man on the back of the head with his gun, which causes him to crumple to the ground. Like a good villain, Sin Eater then tells Spider-Man all about how he was brought back from hell to drag him back with him all because Spider-Man won’t face his own sins. His monologue gives Spider-Man some time to recover, and he shoots web into the end of Sin Eater’s gun, which causes it to blow Sin Eater’s hands off when he fires it. This allows Spider-Man to fly off on his web. He attempts to find a place to fight where others won’t get hurt while 36 of his enemies chase after him so that they might avoid the eternal damnation Kindred has promised them. They catch up to him and another large fight ensues. In it, Morlun manages to capture Spider-Man and begins to drink his essence. Boomerang saves him again at the cost of his own life. His death inspires Spider-Man to find a second wind and keep fighting, and it also inspires Boomerang’s crew to see that they should be fighting to die on their own terms like he did. So, they switch sides and begin fighting the other five teams of villains. Despite this help, Spider-Man is losing. The infighting gives Doc Ock the chance to capture one of Kindred’s brain centipedes and come up with a plan to end his control over all of them. He activates his plan and destroys all the bugs, freeing all of the villains from Kindred’s control. Spider-Man escapes the scene while they are all incapacitated. The scene cuts away back to Doctor Strange and Mephisto. It appears Doctor Strange won their bet, and Mephisto is upset he has lost all the souls of the villains. He walks away warning Doctor Strange that Spider-Man may yet be facing a major loss.

My Review

This was an explosive story with many cool fight scenes. I loved that it brought back a ton of cool villains that Spider-Man himself barely even remembered fighting. It truly was a battle royale of epic proportions. There wasn’t really a lot else there, though. Story wise this event was pretty weak, unless you also read the tie-in Amazing Spider-Man comics. These four issues were pretty much just Spider-Man getting his butt kicked and running away over and over until Doc Ock saved the day. The ending of the last issue didn’t really provide much of a resolution to the larger story either. You must continue to read the next issue of Spider-Man to get the resolution. So, I’m not sure why this needed a separate title of its own. Personally, I haven’t really enjoyed the Kindred arc for a while. I liked it at first, and the mystery was interesting, but it has gone on and on forever without any real answers. I also haven’t really cared for the idea of punishing Spider-Man for his supposed culpability in the deaths of those he loves when I think the blame should definitely be squarely on the villains. As a short arc to show him grow beyond his self-blame, it could have worked, but the length of the arc has just made it repetitive and unwarranted torture of the character at this point. The final answers given in the two issues after this event wrapped up were also pretty unsatisfactory for me since I haven’t read a ton of old Spider-Man books, and the answers hinge on understanding a lot of previous plotlines that made no sense to me. All in all, I thought this event had some great fight scenes but very little substance. I’m looking forward to seeing what the next era of Spider-Man brings now that all of the Kindred business is resolved and new writers are at the helm.

Comic Book Recap & Review – Shang-Chi (2020)

Today’s post is a recap and review of the comic Shang-Chi, which finished up its five issue run earlier this year. I didn’t really know anything about Shang-Chi before seeing the new movie a few weeks ago. So, I’m interested to see what background info this recent comic may provide.

Recap (Spoiler Alert!)

The comic begins with a brief history lesson on the founding of the Five Weapons Society and how Zheng Zu became the leader of the group. It tells about how Zheng Zu then went on to lead the society to defend China against numerous threats over many centuries before being defeated by his own son, Shang-Chi. It turns out the narrator of this tale so far is Master Staff, who is telling the tale of the great Zheng Zu to his underlings. Immediately after telling the story, he is challenged by Sister Hammer, who is displeased with his command of the society. The two engage in battle, with Sister Hammer dealing the final blow, which leads to Master Staff’s torch going out on their father’s shrine. This indicates his rule of the society is over, but a new torch is lit, one that indicates the Hand has been chosen as leader. Sister Hammer is furious and promises to prove her worth to her father’s spirit so that she may rule the society. She then beats the remaining soldiers into submission, and they agree to follow her lead even though Zu’s shrine did not pick her. She announces she’s sending them to the USA. The story then cuts to San Francisco where Shang-Chi is working in a bakery. He’s flying through orders when a beautiful woman named Delilah walks into the shop. She asks him why he’s working in her auntie’s shop since he’s a superhero. It turns out he’s not great a holding down jobs, and the shop owner offered to let him live in one of her apartments in exchange for some help. She slips him her number when her auntie returns and ushers her into the back for some soup. Shang-Chi notices someone prowling on the roof with a gun and goes to investigate. He is caught at gun point by Leiko Wu, a British secret agent. He disarms her, and she says she needs to speak with him urgently. They go to his apartment, and Leiko tells Shang-Chi his father’s society is still active and in the city targeting him. At that moment, people burst into the apartment and a fight ensues. It is two of Shang-Chi’s siblings and some of Sister Hammer’s warriors. When they find out that Shang-Chi is Brother Hand, the rightful ruler of the society, Shang-Chi’s siblings kill the other men and attempt to enlist him in a fight against Sister Hammer before she destroys the world. Shang-Chi realizes that Sister Hammer is his little sister who he grew up with for a time, and he decides to attempt to save her from his father’s cult even though she is trying to kill him.

Shang-Chi reflects on the last time he saw his sister as a child; his father found the two of them exploring parts of his compound that were forbidden and then separated them forever. Shang-Chi assumed she was dead and doesn’t know how to feel now the he knows she was alive this entire time. Shang-Chi and Leiko fly to the House of the Deadly Staff, and he jumps out of the plane after programming the plan to return Leiko home despite much resistance from her. As Shang-Chi descends, a shot fired by his sister rips through his parachute, but he manages to land easily. He quickly defeats some of the soldiers sent to kill him before confronting his sister. They have a tear-filled reunion full of hugs, tears, and sharing a meal before his sister explains how their father’s spirit passed over her to lead in favor of Shang-Chi. Shang-Chi attempts to persuade her to leave the society while doubling over in pain. Unsurprisingly, it turns out the meal was poisoned, and Shang-Chi collapses into unconsciousness. He wakes up only to be surrounded by zombie vampire creatures, and a fight ensues. He is damaged and begins bleeding what looks like the night sky before being rescued by some of his other siblings, the same ones who initially came to warn him. As they are escaping in a boat, Shang-Chi begins to see a zombie/vampire version of his father speaking to him.

His siblings take Shang-Chi to the House of the Dagger outside of Paris, France. They explain to him why there are houses of the Five Warriors scattered across the world. His father wanted to keep tabs on the nations that attempted to take over China in the early 20th century. While in Paris, Shang-Chi has been training there to learn to fight Sister Hammer’s deadly vampire zombies. He has learned a lot about how to defeat the creatures, but his wound from the fight with them continues to grow despite having stopped bleeding. While examining his wound, Shang-Chi begins to see his father again. He beckons Shang-Chi toward his shrine and gets him to move it, which shows there is another shrine behind it for Shang-Chi’s uncle that holds a map of some sort. When Sister Dagger finds that he has desecrated his father’s shrine by moving it, she attacks him and forces him out of her house. He goes to a library to research the map but finds nothing. He reaches out to Leiko for help searching for clues and finds out MI5 is planning an attack on his family. He also learns that Sister Hammer is currently attacking the Louvre. Shang-Chi goes to confront her again, but she has brought a vampire zombie with her to help find a specific urn. When she gives it the order to find it, Shang-Chi feels compelled to comply to her orders as well until his other siblings show up and shake him out of it. A fight ensues that leaves Sister Hammer on the losing side until the vampire zombie shows up with the urn she was looking for. She orders the vampire zombie to explode, and it set off a bomb giving her the cover to escape with her prize.

Shang-Chi and his two siblings use the map he found to go to their uncle’s tomb. It turns out the ghost Shang-Chi has been seeing is his uncle and not his father. As they enter a cave, the three of them are approached by a giant monster that is guarding the tomb. At the same time, MI5 is attacking the headquarters of Sister Hammer, and all of them are defeated and turned into more zombie vampires for her army. Back in the cave, the monster attacks the three siblings and appears indestructible. Sister Dagger and Brother Sabre tell Shang-Chi to keep going into the tomb while they hold off the monster guardian. He arrives at the grave and performs the appropriate rituals. Then his uncle appears before him and asks what he needs. Shang-Chi explains he needs help defeating the zombie vampires and healing his wounds, but his uncle recognizes he needs more than that. Shang-Chi tells him he wants to be free of the cult his father created to live in the normal world. His uncle tells him the story of how Zheng Zu killed him. It turns out Zheng Zu wanted to sacrifice his life to give his brother the power to defeat the British invaders, who used the power of Dormammu to crush their society, but his brother wouldn’t have it and left his powers to Zheng Zu instead. The death of his brother left Zheng Zu out of balance and tipped him into becoming the man who ruled by fear and coveted strength and power. Shang-Chi’s uncle explained to him that he cannot run away from his family because they will always be a part of him and necessary for him to maintain balance within himself. While this conversation is ongoing, the siblings are still fighting the monster, who tells them Zheng Zu’s plan for revenge includes Shang-Chi defeating Sister Hammer before causing the world to burn once he becomes commander. At that moment, Shang-Chi returns, and, together, the three of the siblings are able to overpower the monster and leave the cave with Brother Sabre now suspicious of Shang-Chi.

The vampire zombies, along with Sister Hammer, attack London! MI5 soldiers put up a valiant fight, but they are quickly being eaten by the enemy. Just as all hope seems lost, Shang-Chi and his siblings, along with other warriors, drop into the battle. They all fight valiantly, and Shang-Chi and his siblings go after Sister Hammer. As he gets closer to her, Shang-Chi’s wounds pulsate and spread while his mind becomes cluttered by her orders to destroy the city. Sister Hammer attacks and orders Shang-Chi to kill the other siblings. Shang-Chi manages to resist the order and tells his siblings to get away. Sister Hammer places a microchip of some sort onto his forehead, but he is still able to resist it’s control. However, now that he’s connected like the others, he can see that she is using the chips to implant her own grievance into the vampire zombies, which is helping to keep them animated. Shang-Chi uses the chip to step into her memory, and he sees that her grievance is tied to her mistreatment by their father. Sister Hammer and Shang-Chi confront the memory, and it loses its hold on Sister Hammer once she sees her father for what he truly was, a man gripped by fear, hate, and loneliness after the death of his brother. They both come to realize the hold their father has had on their life, with Shang-Chi fighting to become the opposite of what he wanted and Sister Hammer attempting to become exactly what he wanted. However, Sister Hammer interprets it to be Shang-Chi taking away her purpose in life and begins to attack him. Leiko arrives and tries to shoot Sister Hammer, but Shang-Chi stops the bullet. Sister Hammer escapes. Meanwhile, all the zombie vampires collapse now that the memory fueling them has lost its power. Later, Shang-Chi moves out of his apartment to take up the mantle of Commander of the Five Weapons Society and declares it to be a new era for the group that will focus on being protectors of China.

My Review

This was a great story to start with having no prior knowledge of Shang-Chi. It gave a lot of information about his background and delivered the history in a way that was compelling and interesting. It reminded me of the movie in many ways with its focus on his ties to his father and sister, but it used them in slightly different ways. I enjoyed the infusion of some Chinese history and the information about the different rebellions and things the colonizing countries did to the Chinese people. Ultimately, it was a story about family and finding peace with the negative life influences family can sometimes have. Overall, I enjoyed the story, and I’m looking forward to seeing where the character of Shang-Chi goes next in the comics since there were a few story threads left open-ended.

Comic Book Recap & Review – W.E.B. of Spider-Man (2021)

Today’s post is a recap and review of the comic W.E.B. of Spider-Man, which recently finished up its five issue run. I love Spider-Man and was excited to see him join up with a new team even if only for five issues!

Recap (Spoiler Alert!)

The story begins with Peter Parker explaining he is a founding member of the Worldwide Engineering Brigade created by Tony Stark, which brings together some of the most brilliant young minds from around the world. Peter is excited to participate in something that can highlight his talents outside of Spider-Man. He arrives for his first day with the new team and introduces himself to everyone. They immediately start posturing over who is smarter until a glitch happens in the computer system leading to the creation of what appears to be holograms of different villains come to life. The holograms begin targeting W.E.B. classified data banks, and all the W.E.B. members begin attacking with no coordinated plan. Unsurprisingly, their clumsy attacks go wrong, and they wind up floating around the room. Peter decides to cut power to the building to try to turn off the holograms, but it doesn’t work, which means they are not holograms but viruses with an external power source. Peter suits up as Spider-Man while the others are distracted and convinces them to work as a team. One by one they use their inventions and powers to take down the viruses, but each time they destroy one, the others gain in power and size. Eventually, only one virus is left, the Green Goblin look alike, and he is huge.

Spider-Man attempts to fight the Green Goblin virus, but he’s no match for him alone. The rest of the team decides to use the same tactics as before on this one remaining virus, but it doesn’t work. He’s too strong. The virus abruptly disappears, along with the data he has stolen. The team decides to search the building for whoever was controlling the virus. Spider-Man heads to the roof where he finds the actual Green Goblin, who almost blows Spider-Man up. Spider-Man shoots his web at the Green Goblin and sticks to his glider just as he is taking off. They go flying off the building and down into the subway tunnels with the rest of the W.E.B. team in pursuit. Using earpieces, they come up with a plan to funnel the Green Goblin back to the station closest to W.E.B. headquarters so that they can use a de-magnetizer to erase the stolen data. The plan works, but Spider-Man is suspicious about the Green Goblin because he notices there is something different about him. However, he cannot investigate his suspicions as the Green Goblin has disappeared. The team begins to celebrate their victory until Iron Man shows up wanting answers to why a large part of the city is without power. It seems the de-magnetizer had quite the effect.

Iron Man is livid that the W.E.B. team knocked out the power and decides they cannot be trusted when left on their own. So, he decides to send them on a private plane to France to oversee the completion of the W.E.B. facility in Paris while chaperoned by the pilots. As the plane is descending into Paris, the Green Goblin appears out of nowhere and attacks the plane. It causes an electrical surge, which knocks out the pilots. The plane begins to fall until Peter uses his webshooter to pull up on the wing flap lever and causes the plane to soar back into the air. The team then tries to figure out how to land the plane. They decide to attempt to rotate the engines manually so that they can be used as thrusters to help them glide to the surface. Thanks goodness for that Avengers tech. The only problem is the plane still has no power to ignite them. Peter has them smash out the plane’s windows and uses his webshooters to pull the engines into position to help slow down their descent. Another member of their team is able to reboot the plane just in time to fire the thrusters. When they leave the plane, spider-bots are waiting to take them to the W.E.B. headquarters in Paris, but the team decides a little sightseeing is in order after their near death experience. Eventually they make their way to the headquarters, and are surprised to find Amadeus Cho waiting for them.

Amadeus Cho starts berating them as soon as they walk through the door and indicates that one of them must be the Green Goblin’s target instead of the data since he seems to be after them even when no data is involved. Peter speaks up and voices his concern that it is not really the Green Goblin at all. Amadeus decides to do some research, and is interrupted by a hologram of Iron Man, who commends the team for saving his plane and lets them know none of the suspects they are researching were involved. Then the hologram unexpectedly attacks them after the real Iron Man has seemingly disconnected. A fight ensues that leaves a hole in the headquarters through which Green Goblin comes crawling. A fight ensues that causes the team to split up; half of them go fight Green Goblin to save the city and the other half stay to fight the Iron Man virus. The team left in the headquarters uses headsets to enter the computer system to fight the virus while Amadeus Cho, Squirrel Girl, and Peter chase after the Green Goblin. The team inside the computer decided to become a virus themselves to infect the Iron Man virus that is stealing all their data. They quickly defeat the virus. Back in the city, the others are fighting Green Goblin and Squirrel Girl recognizes that he is made from artificial flesh. Now that the virus is gone, the team inside the computer decides to look for markers that could identify its creator, and they are surprised to find out it is Mendel Stromm, whose brain apparently lives on in the form of Cy-Gob.

Cy-Gob is determined to get all the information on W.E.B. he can find, which leads to an all out brawl in Paris. He overloads all the spider-bots that were helping the W.E.B. team fight him. Then the rest of the team shows up to the fight now that they have defeated the virus. They begin to attack Cy-Gob, but he doesn’t seem to care about damage to his body. He has learned how to move his consciousness along any wireless internet connection and starts hopping from device to device before jumping back into his body and throwing a bomb at the team. In the smoke, Cy-Gob disappears and the team receives a report he is headed toward the Louvre to potentially attack a lab located underneath it. They go there as quickly as possible, but Cy-Gob has already weaponized the particle accelerator from the lab and uses it to attack them. It turns out he plans to use the accelerator to restructure the atoms in the team’s cerebral cortices so he can fuse them with his own and take their intelligence. They quickly come up with a plan to use some of the Louvre’s mirrors to reflect his particle beam back at him and finally defeat him. Then the team is hailed as heroes by the Louvre administrators and they all decide to continue working together to create something great.

My Review

I didn’t really know anything about this story going into it other than it was another Spider-Man story. It seemed separate from the Amazing Spider-Man continuity, which is the story I follow most often, but it also sounded interesting with Spider-Man becoming part of a new team. The story was good, and I enjoyed seeing Peter get to shine a bit outside of the costume. He was definitely in his element and able to use his intelligence. It was also intriguing to see him struggle a bit with wanting to be known for more than just Spider-Man. The tone of the story was pretty light, and it seemed geared towards younger readers. However, I still enjoyed it. My favorite parts were when the team entered the computer system to fight the virus and when they were trying to figure out how to land the plane. Overall, it was a fun read with some cool concepts and nice art that taught a valuable lesson about teamwork.

Comic Book Recap & Review – Doctor Who: Missy (2021): The Master Plan

I’m excited to get back to integrating some comic book material into my content now that Trope-ical Readathon is over. Today’s post is a recap and review of the most recent Doctor Who comic, which centered Missy as the main character instead of the Doctor. I was excited to get to this arc because Missy is one of my favorite characters and probably my favorite incarnation of the Master.

Recap (Spoiler Alert!)

The story starts with a conversation between the administrator of Stormcage prison and the Third Doctor. The Doctor is checking up to make sure the Master is still locked away safely in the prison. The administrator assures the Doctor that the Master is still safely locked away. Upon completion of their conversation, Missy waltzes into the administrators office, but, surprise, she is pretending to be ‘Doctor Who.’ She convinces the administrator she is the Doctor and is allowed access to the Master. She informs the Master she needs help retrieving a part of the Key to Time, all while still pretending to be the Doctor. She releases the Master from his cell, and, surprising no one, he turns on her and attempts to skewer her with a sword.

Missy pulls out her own sword, and a duel ensues. While the standoff continues, the alarm begins blaring, and Missy and the Master are surrounded by the guards. The two of them then switch to fighting the guards instead of each other. One of the guards gets shot by someone unexpectedly. That someone happens to be River Song, who is also incarcerated in Stormcage and is an expert at breaking out. River helps Missy and the Master safely reach the TARDIS, and they quickly enter it and set off for the fragment of the Key to Time, leaving River behind at the prison. Upon arriving at the fragment, Missy and the Master lament about how good the security is at the door the Doctor created for protecting it. The Master begins to outline his plan to crack it, which involves traveling through the Doctor’s and his timelines in the TARDIS until they find the key to the door.

Missy and the Master hop back in the TARDIS and visit several different places within the timeline. They are attacked by indigenous life on one planet, and they watch scenes from their futures and pasts on others. However, they still have not found the key. They go further and further back in their lives until they finally pick up a reading on the key in the 1970’s during the era of the Third Doctor. They sneak into UNIT headquarters looking for the key. Missy finds it hidden in a stapler, but the Master seems to have disappeared. He is stalking away down the hall looking to bring doom upon the brigadier.

The Master wanders the halls looking for his revenge on the brigadier while Missy begins searching for him with the key in tow. The Master finds the brigadier and is poised to shrink him when Missy stops him from pulling the trigger. Another standoff ensues before they agree to head back to the TARDIS since they now possess the key. Once in the TARDIS, Missy reveals that she intends to return the Master to his cell in Stormcage before using the key, and the Master expresses he knows she is a version of himself, rather than the Doctor. He attempts to convince her to join forces so that they could grasp unlimited power together. Then the Twelfth Doctor pops out of the shadows. It turns out Missy has been working with him all along to procure the key for the Doctor. The Master is obviously furious and tries again to convince Missy to help him instead, but she ends up putting him back in Stormcage. Afterward, Missy gives the Doctor the key but not before making an impression of it for herself…

My Review

This was such a fun story. The writers and artists captured the essence of Missy perfectly. It was hilarious seeing her pretend to be the Doctor, and her snarky dialogue with her younger self was a true treat to read. The time-hopping was interesting to see, and I enjoyed getting to see Missy’s reactions to her younger selves and the Master’s reactions to his older selves. Her interaction with River was also a treat since the two characters never actually met onscreen. The story was a bit simple for a Doctor Who story, but I still enjoyed it. It also seems like it was setting up something bigger for the future. So, I’m looking forward to seeing where it all goes. The artwork throughout these issues was gorgeous, but I’m not surprised as I always love the art in these Doctor Who comics. If you like Doctor Who, and especially Missy, this short comic arc is not to be missed.

Comic Book Recap & Review – Eternals (2021-): Only Death Is Eternal

I’ve decided to try out something new this week. Today’s post will be a recap and review of a recent comic book arc. I’ve been thinking about how to incorporate comic books into the blog in a more substantial way than my New Comic Book Day posts, and I think spending some time describing and reviewing a recent release is a good start. I chose the new Eternals book because the first arc of the book ended in today’s release of the sixth issue, which means I’m not as ridiculously behind as I am on most other titles. I also knew absolutely nothing about the Eternals going into reading this book, and I wanted to learn about them prior to the release of their movie later this year. Without further ado, here is my Recap & Review of the first arc of Eternals (2021-), Only Death is Eternal.

Recap (Spoiler Alert!)

The story begins with the rebirth of Ikaris, who is apparently the last of the Eternals to be reborn after what seems to be some sort of previous battle or cataclysm. He is given the directive to free Sprite from imprisonment that happens to Eternals who go wrong and endanger the everlasting mission of protecting Earth and humanity from the Deviants. Not long after being woken up, Ikaris and Sprite find the leader of the Eternals murdered and go off to find the killer. During the pursuit, they find Thanos in the wrecked city of Titanos, which houses what appear to be glimpses through time. It is in one of these glimpses/portals that Ikaris see himself standing over the grave of a boy while giving an apology.

A fight between Ikaris and Thanos ensues with them falling through different time portals as they fight. Eventually they end up back on Titanos, where it appears Thanos kills Ikaris. However, Sprite has played a trick that makes it seem like Ikaris has died while the two of them escape Titanos to return to Olympus. Upon their return, they find out the machine that resurrects the Eternals, which apparently is intricately intertwined with the planet Earth, is broken, and their leader will not be coming back. The infighting and finger-pointing start immediately since they all know it must be one of them to have orchestrated the whole plot. Only an Eternal would have access to the portals needed to undermine the machine. So, a group of them, led by Sersi, decided to band together to solve the mystery, while Ikaris sets out to find and protect the boy whose grave he saw in the time portal on Titanos.

Sersi and her group seek out Thena, who is living in Lemuria with the Deviants. The day prior Thena fought with her father, the ruler of the Eternals, and decided to leave to live in Lemuria to help the Deviants rather than just hunt them. Therefore, she is now a prime suspect for the murder of her father, especially since she has loved Deviants in the past, which has never ended well. She decides to join their group and attempt to find her father’s murderer, as well. Meanwhile, Ikaris begins standing watch over the boy when violent weather disturbances start happening all over the Earth, which are a result of the malfunctions happening in the machine. Earth appears to be coming undone. The group of investigators then find out that most of the Eternals in Polaria, another major city of Eternals, have been murdered, as well. This leads suspicion to Druig, who has now become the highest ranking living Eternal of that city.

The struggle to fix the machine rages on as Phastos attempts to stabilize things and keep the destruction from growing on Earth. Sersi’s group decided to investigate the deaths that occurred in Polaria. While members of the investigative group question Druig, Thanos appears out of nowhere spoiling for a fight. During the battle, Druig uses his mind tricks to stall Thanos, and Thena is able to run him threw with a sword before he portals away. However, Druig planted a message in Thanos’s mind, which called him back after the fight ended and the other Eternals had left. When Thanos reappears, Druig makes clear he would like to work together with Thanos and begins to make plans now that the suspicion is off of him for the murders.

The investigative team have devised a plan to bait another Eternal under suspicion, Gilgamesh. The plan works leading to a fight between Ikaris and Gilgamesh, who has abandoned the Eternals and strikes against them if they harm humans. Ikaris wins the fight, and the group interrogates Gilgamesh. Meanwhile, Druig is meeting with Thanos and finds out another Eternal has been pulling his strings the entire time. The group decided to travel to the machine so that Gilgamesh can prove he is not the one who has disabled it even though he has been known to do it in the past. Upon arriving, he is able to show he didn’t perform the sabotage, but he and the group are able to isolate the problem. They realize only one person could have done it, Phastos. The machine begins to blow up around him as he continues to try to stabilize it to stop the destruction on Earth. He expresses he is trying to destroy the Eternals but not the Earth just as the group enters a portal to travel to confront Phastos only to find Thanos waiting for them.

It turns out Phastos set up this entire ordeal to destroy the Eternals and made a deal to resurrect Thanos if he helped him succeed. Thanos attacks the group of Eternals, and it seems like they are about to defeat him when Phastos transports them all away to random locations around the world. He realizes he has doomed the world and needs their help to stop it. Ikaris is the only one able to fly to the rescue and saves the world by stabilizing the machine, but he loses his life in the process. Throughout all of this, Sprite has been protecting the boy Ikaris was worried about, who has managed to survive all of the upheaval happening on Earth. Phastos reveals his reasons for his actions to the other Eternals. It turns out that each time an Eternal is resurrected, a human dies. It is at this point that Ikaris is resurrected, and the boy he tried so hard to protect dies as a result. The whole group decides to leave Eternal society as a result of being shaken by this revelation and move to Lemuria to live with the Deviants.

My Review

These six issues packed a major punch. I enjoyed the story and found the nihilistic attitude toward the eternal conflict an interesting one, especially when coupled with the cost of the resurrections that continue the fighting. It is also always nice to see the mad Titan in action. However, there was a lot I was confused about, such as why the Earth was narrating the story and who was sacrificed for the resurrections before there were humans if the beings are truly eternal and pre-date humanity. At times, the story felt a lot like a history lesson, which was interesting but also difficult to follow for someone with no knowledge of the Eternals. Although, the writers did a good job of spreading the history out over the issues so it wasn’t all so overwhelming at once, and they included brief interludes that introduced many of the key characters and historical events. This definitely seems like a more obscure and somewhat convoluted part of the Marvel universe, but I liked it nonetheless. I’m definitely curious to see where the story goes next.

Comic Book Review – The Amazing Spider-Man (2018) #50 – 57 & #50.LR – 54.LR

I’ve been a fan of Spider-Man for a very long time. I loved the animated cartoon from the 90’s and enjoyed all of the movies. I’ve always enjoyed his wit and humor and related to the nerdy teenage boy turned super hero story. However, I didn’t start reading Spider-Man comics until much more recently. I started picking it up towards the end of the last run in 2017. So, Spencer’s time writing the book is really all I know.

This event, Last Remains, was the culmination of a slow burn story seeded way back in 2018 with The Amazing Spider-Man (2018) #1. That issue, and many more since, hinted at a major villain pulling the strings of the things happening to Peter. I was surprised by the reveal of Kindred’s identity and am still somewhat confused on exactly how it is possible. I’m not sure if the confusion comes from something I missed about this character from previous comics or if the answers just haven’t come yet. I guess time will tell.

I enjoyed the darkness of the arc. It is not something I associate with Spider-Man when I think of the cartoons or movies. However, the things that happen to Peter in this story are terrible. It explores the idea of collateral damage from being a superhero very well. I never really stopped to think of the death and tragedy that has surrounded this character, but it seems there has been a lot, and Peter had to face it all here.

The art was really great. There are some very hair-raising scenes, and I found Kindred to be a super creepy villain. A couple scenes, in particular, have stuck with me since reading it, but talking about them would mean spoilers.

Overall, this arc was a good crescendo to the story told in this run of Spider-Man so far while also setting things up for the story of Kindred to continue. My main complaint would be the abrupt ending of the showdown between Kindred and the good guys. There was so much build-up and then it was over fairly quickly. However, I get the sense that may have been on purpose so that Kindred could move on to the next phase of his plan.

I rate this arc 4 out of 5 stars. Have you read Last Remains yet? What did you think? Are there any other Spider-Man runs that you think would help inform the events of this one? If so, let me know, and I’ll add them to my TBR.

Comic Book Review – Star Wars: Darth Vader (2020) #6 – 11

I liked the first arc of this comic book and enjoyed the two previous iterations immensely. This arc was a bit hit or miss. It tries to provide context to some aspects of the sequel trilogy, but in doing so, it created even more questions and potentially created even larger plot holes. Although, I’m not sure whether the comic itself or the sequel trilogy is to blame for these problems; the comic largely just fills in part of the story that was implied by events in The Rise of Skywalker. While I didn’t hate the move, it definitely left some holes in the larger story of the saga, which become even clearer after reading this comic.

In this story, the Emperor was angry with Darth Vader for the events of the previous arc and punished him by stripping away much of the machinery keeping him alive. Darth Vader had to fight for his life, and during this fight he learned some of the Emperor’s biggest secrets. The story felt somewhat like a rehash because the previous Darth Vader comics also had arcs devoted to the Emperor testing Darth Vader. At some point, repeating this story-line begins to undermine the relationship seen between the Emperor and Vader in the original trilogy. And I think this arc comes very close to crossing that line.

Despite its shortcomings, there were things to like about this story, as well. It, once again, gave an incredible look into Darth Vader’s power. I enjoyed seeing him overcome all the odds and rebuild himself from scraps. The artwork really made his struggle and his power come to life in a beautiful way. I also liked how they included some ideas from the sequel trilogy that didn’t make it into the movies.

Overall, I enjoyed reading the arc but was disappointed with how it filled in the holes left by The Rise of Skywalker. It has left me with even more questions, but I am interested to see how Darth Vader’s story moves forward from the trials he faced in these issues. Therefore, I rate this arc 3 out of 5 stars.

Have you read the Into the Fire arc? What did you think?

Doctor Who: Time Lord Victorious: Monstrous Beauty Review

Monstrous Beauty is a three-part comic that was published in the Doctor Who Magazine as part of the Time Lord Victorious multimedia project. In this comic, we find the 9th doctor and Rose after they accidentally venture into the dark times at the very beginning of creation. Throughout this adventure they face multiple obstacles and encounter new, but ancient, species that seem to have a taste for blood.

2 out of 5 stars

I don’t hate this story, but I don’t love it either. The premise is interesting, and we get to see a little more of the dark times and some of the monsters that are supposed to make it so scary. It also did a great job of portraying the 9th doctor and Rose. The dialogue really made me feel like I was watching an episode with the two of them in it. The story also provided a glimpse into what the Gallifreyans were up to at this point in history, which was interesting but also confusingly contradictory to the current canon as outlined in the Timeless Children. For example, the Gallifreyan people we see in this comic clearly have mastered space travel, but their genetics are different from that of the doctor, which I assume means they cannot regenerate yet. However, one the most recent episodes of the show indicated that the first space traveler, Tecteun, was also the person who granted the Time Lords regeneration abilities. So, how can they have advanced space travel but not regeneration? Maybe I just missed some detail that explains this, but I still find it very confusing. Most importantly, the ending of this story was rushed and did not make sense to me at all. I think the story would have been better if it had more issues to flesh out the conflicts and resolutions.

Overall, I came away from this comic feeling underwhelmed and somewhat confused. While certain aspects of it were fun to see (it truly was a delight to see nine and Rose back together), this was clearly a forgettable, filler story to explain how the ninth doctor shows up in other parts of the Time Lord Victorious story. Therefore, I rate it 2 out of 5 stars.