Friday, July 03, 2015

Grading Marvel's Battle World: Round One

A lot of titles have already debuted from Marvel's Battle World.  Some great, some lame, and some eh.  Here's the tally so far.

1602: Witch Hunter Angela #1
Marguerite Bennett and Stephanie Hans

I love the art on this title.  Angela fits into the 1602 line really well, actually, and they adapted her character to this role in the best way possible.  I'm a fan of this Elizabethan storytelling, when in the right hands, as it proves to be here.

Grade: A

A-Force #1-2
Marguerite Bennett, G. Willow Wilson and Jorge Molina

Of the Battle World books I've read, this is one of the more sunny superhero-y ones.  The ladies are front-and-center, protecting their realm from threats, and trying to stay under Doom's radar, for fear that they will be paid a visit by the Thor Corps.  With She-Hulk ambassador of the realm, they investigate some odd goings-on.  Great art.  Bonus points for a cameo of Meggan.  I'm glad this is going to be an ongoing in the All-New All Different Marvel.

Grade: A

Captain Marvel and the Carol Corps #1
Kelly Sue DeConnick and David Lopez

More great art on this series that sees Carol Danvers leading a group of female fighter pilots in another Battle World realm.  As we see in several other Battle World realms, Carol's squad begins to question the way of things here, including the stars that are missing from the skies.  I can't say I'm the biggest fan of the militant vibe of this book, but it is intriguing and great to look at.

Grade: B-

Inferno #1-2
Dennis Hopeless and Javier Garron

I think that Magik is one of the most exciting X-Men characters currently, so I'm glad she gets to be the focus of this series, which envisions New York had the demons of inferno won, and the Darkchylde had taken over Illyana.  Mostly, we see this book through the eyes of Illyana's brother Colossus, who wages war with the demons, at the cost of several friends, in his quest to save his sister.  This is a fun book, if not a little too evasive on some points.

Grade: B

The Infinity Gauntlet #1
Dustin Weaver and Gerry Duggan

In a post-apocalyptic landscape, a handful of survivors try to survive as the annihilation wave descends upon them.  This book focuses on new characters, a family, whose mother figure is absent, their world's Nova, as she has gone into battle a while ago.  I like that this is such a fresh corner of this world, with stunning artwork and thrilling action.  A pleasant surprise.

Grade: A+

Inhumans: Attilan Rising #1-2
Charles Soule and John Timms

It seems so wrong to have the Inhumans scattered so.  Medusa runs this domain, while Blackbolt is part of an underground movement.  The resistance is actually really cool, and there's a cool scene where they confront the Thor Corps.  A bar that serves as neutral ground between realms, The Quiet Room, is where the resistance plots its moves against Doom, while Doom puts the pressure on Medusa to weed them out.  There's great intrigue in this title, especially when it comes to some of Medusa's spies who try to infiltrate the resistance in issue two.

Grade: A-

Marvel Zombies #1
Simon Spurrier and Kev Walker

Ella Bloodstone is fucking fantastic.  She needs a TV show or a movie.  Or both.  Of course it's fun to see zombies, and even more fun to see our favorite characters translated into zombies, but Elsa steals the show here, as usual.  The hard-hitting, no-nonsense monster hunter navigates the most feared realm of Battle World, with nothing but her wits and a bothersome companion.

Grade: A-

Mrs. Deadpool and the Howling Commandos #1
Gerry Duggan and Salvador Espin

I love the Monster Metropolis, and a team of monsters is usually so much fun!  Elsa Bloodstone previously teamed up with the legion of monsters to great effect.  Unfortunately, Shiklah (Mrs. Deadpool) is no Elsa.  Shiklah is a dull protagonist and it seems like the creative team doesn't know what to do with the monsters.  They're just boring.  The humor falls flat and the art is less than special.  What could have been a bright point in Battle World turns out to be a sour spot.

Grade: D-

Planet Hulk #1-2
Sam Humphries and Marc Laming

Now, this is what Battle World was created for.  Planet Hulk is a celebrated storytime.  Setting up a real domain for that concept to thrive paid off here.  Throw in Cap riding Devil Dinosaur and you've got a solid gold concept.  Execute it with fantastic art and an exciting story, and you've hit a homerun.

Grade: A

Where Monsters Dwell #1
Garth Ennis and Russ Braun

This seemed like a dream title.  Garth Ennis' Battlefields series seemed like he was born for this type of book.  World War I flying ace battling dinosaurs?  I mean, come on.  Unfortunately, the protagonist is kind of a jerk, and doesn't seem as charismatic as he thinks he is to offset this deficiency.  In fact, he's pretty much a cardboard cutout of a womanizing adventurer.  His traveling companion adds a little color to this otherwise dull title, but I'd say that with that premise, this should have been spectacular.  Instead of continuing with this snoozer, I think I'll just re-read Athena Voltaire.

Grade: D

Years of Future Past #1
Marguerite Bennett and Mike Norton

Don't be misled by that cover.  Your favorite spunky X-Man Kitty Pryde is not the main character of this title.  No, it's her daughter, Christina.  Kate does play a big role, and while the creative team would like to remind its audience of that excellent storyarc Days of Future Past, this title suffers from the comparison.  This post-apocalyptic world adds nothing new that we haven't seen before, and is just kind of...dull.  A sequel to Days of Future Past needs to be badass and action-packed, not weighed down by exposition and posters in the background that hint at a dark past.  This was just kind of flat, with no real creative spark behind it.  It felt like they were going through the motions of what re-visiting this storyline would be like, and had no idea what to do with it except show off the world that we've already seen (and was utilized so much better previously).

Grade: C

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