Alien was one of my most anticipated comic releases ever since Marvel's announcement in 2020, and I have had the chance of going through the pages of it; I must say I feel vindicated for being anxious to read it.
With Phillip Kennedy Johnson as the author of these new series with a recent masterpiece in his cache, such as Marvel Zombies: Ressurection and Empyre: Captain America, bringing the terror in those small comic book pages was no issue, and along with the artist, Salvador Larroca they made sure to bring the same feeling you'll remember from the films along with their own twisted, nightmarish feeling.
Weyland - Yutani Corporate
What really made me anxious to wait for Marvel's Alien's next chapter was the sense of something new to something ancient and familiar. The story's base revolves around Gabriel Cruz, a recently retired soldier who almost gave his life to Weyland-Yutani. If you are not familiar with the Alien franchise Weyland-Yutani aka Wey-Yu or known as "The Company." As per real-life standards, a company known as "The Company" is something that, most often than less, doesn't bode well with the largest percentage of the population. Such is the situation with Weyland-Yutani as well.
Weyland-Yutani Corporation is a conglomerate with its hands in way too many places, and most often than not, their primary goal end goal is to profit. What company would it be otherwise, right?
Through a bit of unethical practises, disregard of human life and the control of many human colonies. You'll see why "The Company" could be hated enough to be the main target of underground organizations that are trying to hurt them as much as possible, which is another wonderful aspect brought forth with Marvel's Alien.
All of these are known, though, right? If you are a fan of the Alien franchise, then you are betting your horses on the story behind Gabriel Cruz and his estranged relationship with his son. The secrets they keep from each other are too many to count from even this one issue.
And trust me when I say this, Alien #1 contains some panels that you definitely won't see coming and it ends with a massive cliffhanger.
Best Marvel Comics 2021 (so far)
There is always something for everyone in the past few years when it comes to Marvel comics. From action, adventure, drama, and comedy, Marvel excel in creating stories that everyone can enjoy. If the past years are going to be an example of how 2021 is going to be lined up then this is going to be an amazing year.
In case you are wondering though what Marvel comic you should invest your time (and money) then here's a list that we swear by.
House of X #2 - Comic Series Review
If House of X #1 and Powers of X #1 wasn't good enough for you or if you wanted the extra push to jump into the relaunch of X-Men from the hands of Hickman and Larraz then House of X #2 is here to make you do just that.
I can't stretch enough the importance of this storyline from Hickman and even though for new readers the first issue (which worked nicely as a jumping-on point) might have been slightly chaotic and confusing House of X #2 is here to fix that.
The story is obviously a key point for the reincarnation of X-Men. Hickman is not holding back and we dare say this might be our favorite Hickman comic or at least it moves towards that direction.
The story of the comic itself was quite a surprise as it explains the groundhog days of Moira MacTaggert (first appeared in Uncanny X-Men #96) a mutant with the ability of reincarnation, perfect memory and the ability to stay hidden from other mutants. Seeing her previous lifes in a single issue in such a concise manner making it easy to digest and even feel for the character seeing her pass through the emotions of birth, life, and death, as well as understand the reasoning of every choice in-between was extraordinary. Now I am certain that Hickman can pull off pretty much everything when it comes to a story.
The timeline of Moiras various lifes was a masterpiece and it deserves to be recognized. Hickman makes it possible to go through 10 lifetimes within a page with the use of a timeline graph.
The art from Larraz still inspires. It's one of the best aspects of the comic. Now it is clear that Larraz and Hickman make a great team. Larraz brings to life the best aspects of each panel beautifully.
There are not a lot of Cons when it comes to the story and art itself. If we could pick something as a negative that would be the use of extremely too many reading materials. We loved the timeline graph of Moiras lifetimes but the wall of texts that we encountered within the pages of House of X #1 and Powers of X #1 seems to continue with House of X #2 and we would love to see less.
Powers of X #1 - Comic Series Review
After "House of X #1" comes Hickman's "Powers of X #1", a natural follow-up on the new mythos of X-Men. It is now obvious that Hickman has an ace hidden in his sleeve and we can't wait to see him slowly unfold it and winning back the entire pot of fans that were disappointed with (let's be honest) most of the previous X-Men storylines dating back quite a while.
Talking about dates, the Powers of X picks up not only after the House of X left us off, but before, as well as thousands of years in the future. Yes, you've read that right. Hickman did not just create another linear timeline X-Men comic, but he transformed him on an epic sci-fi storyline jumping off four distinct X-Men moments. And let me tell you, that all of them are filled with action, story, drama, and depth.
When it comes to art, Silva has made it clear that he is a master of creativity. It's not an everyday task to create art that will try to embody the future of human and mutantkind. Yet, Silva was given a task to do so and he did it in the best way possible.
Try to keep in mind that this is a brave new beginning for the X-Men by the hands of Hickman. A big part of every new beginning is the author's intention to fill you in on all those details that brought us to this point while making sure that new readers are not going to get lost.
Both House of X and Power of X first issues seemed to provide a bit too much information as a form of an infographic which might have caused some readers to get bored but played a huge role on working as a guide.
Having said that, reading Powers of X is not a walk in the park either. New readers will definitely get a bit confused but reading it more than once will help make things fall into place, especially if you remind yourself that this is a continuity of House of X #1.
Overall it was an amazing start on a comic series that we already know is going to smash it. It wasn't as good as House of X but only because there was a lot of confusion with the jumping points in time and the extra reading material in between. Hickman and Silva deliver another huge blow!
House of X #1 - Comic Series Review
Let's jump straight into the main reason why we are all here. Jonathan Hickman is a master of his art and House of X is no different than all the rest masterpieces he touched. From his acclaimed run of both the Avengers and Fantastic Four, Hickman has made a name for himself with fans following every story he touches.
House of X is no different. Together with Pepe Larraz as an artist, Hickman has created an entirely new universe for X-Men, bringing them right back on the map, making sure that this time they are there to stay.
Starting, House of X #1, with the words of Charles Xavier on a white page:
Humans of the planet Earth.
While you slept, the world changed.
Since this work is the genesis of an entirely new world for the X-men the next few pages are more fitting than anything. Professor X standing near a tree which at its roots there are pods hatching and the original X-Men crawl to him while he is uttering the old familiar words. "To me, my X-Men.".
Right from the start, there is a sense that things we knew about the X-Men, Professor X or even the entire mutant population no longer apply. When they have been previously painted as the victims of human atrocities now they are in control. They are powerful and they are stepping up and what is most interesting - for once there is no other side. They are united under one person. One idea.
The story revolves around the creation of a nation and a new country, safe-haven for the mutants on top of the living island of Krakoa. Moreover, in order for Professor X to make sure that humans give mutants their space he has made an unnegotiable deal. The use of the Flower of Krakoa.
In order to gain leverage over the humans, Xavier purchased a pharmaceutical company to provide a variety of drugs created by the flower of Krakoa.
Human Drug L: This flower produces a drug that extends the life of a human for five years. Human Drug I: This flower produces an adaptive universal antibiotic. A super drug for humans. Human Drug M: This flower produces a drug that cures diseases of the mind (in humans)
It's not an easy pass for the governments but what it's made clear is that even if the humans passed, the Mutants wouldn't care. This is a deal set in stone.
Hickman's, Krakoa is objectively the best interpretation of the living island since its first appearance back in Giant-Size X-Men #1, 1975. Yet Pepe Larraz is the one that has taken this bad boy home with some of the most creative, colorful and surrealistic view of a new beginning I have ever seen. In a sense, everything and everyone seems to be making a great new start at a place that they fought far too long to get and Larraz makes sure that you can see the happiness through his vibrant art.
Having said that, not everything in this new world is happy or at least not everything is peaceful.
House of X provides a great new opportunity for new starters to jump right into the world of Mutants and Hickman makes it so much easier with the great "infographics" placed in key moments within the first issue explaining the history but also some generic information about the mutants such what an omega power mutant is and a list of them and their powers.
One of the main characters in this first issue of House of X is no one else than Magneto. Responsible for the tour and introduction of this new world to the human race he is not holding back his punches. There is no room for humans and no tolerance or forgiveness for those that will defy them. His outfit might have changed but he feels the same inside with the difference that now he lives his dream with the approval and on the side of Xavier. Magneto was no short than god-like and that was terrifying, and what was even more terrifying is the fact that he knew it ending the first issue of the series with everything you ever wanted to hear him saying.
You have new Gods now.
This is not another X-Men story and is certainly here to make a statement. House of X is here to change the way we look at the Mutants as a collective and probably will make a huge impact on the Marvel Universe. If you are looking for a new classic, Hickman's X-Men is the series you are looking for and an easy title to go in our best Marvel comic series of 2019.
The Origin Story of Yelena Belova
Yelena Belova is a fictional character created by Devin Grayson and J.G. Jones for Marvel Comics. Yelena is the second modern-era Black Widow and was first appeared in Inhumans #5 in March 1999. Just as Natasha Romanova, Yelena Belova was trained in the Red Room, a Soviet training facility, created in order to train highly specialized spies.
Yelena was initially trained and sent to kill Natasha Romanova but they eventually became allies and sister figures while she also had numerous team affiliations with teams such as S.H.I.E.L.D., Vanguard, and HYDRA who also changed her in a version of Super-Adaptoid.
Publication History of Yelena Belova aka Black Widow
Yelena first brief appearance was in Inhumans #5 where she played a role in providing a tool that would assist humans to attack the city of the Inhumans by breaking the energy barrier surrounding the city from the inside out. She was fully introduced in the 1999 Marvel Knights mini-series Black Widow.
She appeared in another mini-series later in 2001, also titled Black Widow this time featuring Natasha Romanova and Daredevil.
In 2002 Yelena got her own three-issue mini-series called "Black Widow: Pale Little Spider" created by Greg Rucka and Igor Kordey and published by MAX Comics a Marvel Comics imprint formed a year earlier in 2001 publishing more mature oriented comics. In this limited series Rucka and Kordey explore the story of how Yelena became the Black Widow as a flashback.
Power and Abilities
Yelena Belova was trained in the Red Room from the same spymasters that trained Natasha Romanova so her abilities are similar and include peak athletic condition, extensive military, martial arts, and espionage training and at the time she was a Super-Adaptoid she had the ability to adapt the powers of anyone around her in rapid succession.
Yelena Belova Biography
Yelena's past is quite the bumpy ride jumping from good to bad and from one team to another in a short history of publication. Starting out as a spy and assassin that was trained in the Red Room by the same spymasters that trained Natasha Romanova, Yelena's took the name Black Widow once her Spymaster was assassinated. Finding the murderer and killing him was the first step in the vast history of revenge killings.
Yelena, believing that she is the one deserving the title, Black Widow, more than anyone she volunteered to go against the first Black Widow, Natasha Romanova. During the confrontation, Natasha manages to turn Yelena by encouraging her to free herself from the control of others and find her own way. Belova then retires in Cuba becoming a businesswoman and a model in Black Widow 2 Vol. 1.
She then returns to the game joining S.H.I.E.L.D and during a mining operation of Vibranium in the Antarctic Savage Land in the "New Avengers vol 1, #5" where she barely survived an attack from Sauron.
HYDRA picked up the broken pieces of Yelena and genetically altered her transferred her consciousness into a new version of Super Adaptoid and set her on a path for revenge against the New Avengers whom she engaged in combat but got defeated by Tony Stark's 49 successive Iron Man armors and Sentry's, Void persona.
Later in Marvel Comics Presents Vol. 2 #5, Yelena is working with a black-ops team called Vanguard who carries out secret missions, including assassinations. Some well-known members of the group are their leader Colonel America along with Retcon, Blade, Dominic Fortune, and Micromax.
During the Dark Reign storyline which began in 2008 as a one-shot and then moved into multiple standalone mini-series during 2009, Yelena seemingly joined Norman Osborn's Thunderbolts only to be revealed that it was Natasha Romanova in disguise working as a double agent for Nick Fury. In another twist, Osborn reveals to Natasha that it was his plan to make her believe that she was working for Fury but it was his idea for Natasha to take the identity of Yelena in order for her to do his dirty work.
The real Yelena is freed from the stasis she was held by A.I.M. who is then placed in the High Council of A.I.M. alongside Mentallo, Superia, Andrew Forson, Graviton and the undercover Taskmaster.
After the death of Natasha Romanova by Captain America's doppelganger, Yelena Belova reassumes the identity of the Black Widow in order to honor the late Natasha. Yelena now as Black Widow travels the world to assassinate the Hydra's generals.
Florence Pugh is going to portray Yelena Belova in the upcoming Black Widow movie which is set to launch on May 1, 2020, alongside Scarlett Johansson who is going to play Black Widow, David Harbour, playing Red Guardian, Rachel Weisz as Melina and O-T Fagbenie as Mason.
Meet The Skrulls #1 - Comic Book Review
Meet The Skrulls #1 (out of 5) has been an amazing kickstarter for the series with outstanding art from Niko Henrichon and a story from Robbie Thompson that will mesmerize you.
Ever since Captain Marvel's movie we have seen a great interest in the history of Skrulls their powers and their motives, and it can't be that much of a coincidence that "Meet The Skrulls" hit the market a day prior to the movie. Lest we forget we met quite a few Skrulls during the movie and we really enjoyed it.
As the comic preview betrays above "Meet The Skrulls" revolves around the Warners. A family that resembles a typical suburban family with one simple difference. They are shape-shifting aliens here to pave the way for the Skrull invasion.
Nothing can stop their plans except themselves.
The Warners even though shape-shifting Skrull agents with a mission they forgot to account one thing. Their own family issues.
The Warner family consists of a four members. Carl the father, who secretly works for Tony Stark aka Ironman, in order to gain access to his files and Anti-Skrull tech. Gloria the mother, who works for Congresswoman Baker securing the votes necessary for her to get elected in order to push their own agenda forward. Madison, the eldest daughter who attends Stamford High School in order to infiltrate and befriend kids whose parents seem important.
Finally Alice, the younger daughter who we have a better view of her life but not her mission. Alice is young and grew on earth which affected her in more ways that the rest of her family. She has the usual teenage difficulties and can't perform her duties as required by her family.
We could basically describe this family as a super-alien dysfunctional family, which poses a number of similarities to the "Vision" comic series.
There is also something creepy going on, and here is where the comic becomes very interesting. We know they are here to destroy us, but we can't stop feeling sorry for them or empathizing with the characters in multiple levels.
An organization is hunting them down family by family, and a project called Project Blossom will help the government to finally be able to root them out by seeing under their shape-shifting abilities. In the meantime, a mysterious agent is hunting and electrocuting every Skrull he can find. And he is on the trail of Alice.
Daredevil (2019) #1 Review
This has been an amazing start for Daredevil and with Zdarsky and Checchetto creating a Daredevil story worthy of the legacy of Matt Murdock.
Checchetto's use of darker colors has been a unique view of a darker Daredevil, one that definitely feels like he is back for action and he, for once is not intentionally holding back. He has been off the game for a while and it feels like he wants a piece of the action for a single reason (even if he tried to justify it with another). It almost feels like Daredevil is an addict for seeking pain.
The writing from Zdarsky has also brought into light the element that makes Matt Murdock one of the greatest. By giving us a certain view of Murdock's early age as a young defendant of the innocent we see that Matt's righteous path did not start after his accident but he was always on it.
A lawyer with the highest regard for the law conflicted on a daily basis for breaking the law but from his point of view, someone has too. This is the story of Matt Murdock Zdarsky and Checchetto bring to life with their Daredevil #1.
This could also work as a great jump on point since it requires no past explanation or knowledge.
Can't wait to read the next one!
Thor (2018) #1 Review
Thor's finally back and he brings with him comic writer Jason Aaron and artist Mike Del Mundo. Or it's the other way around. It's weirdly difficult to explain which is which since they seem so embedded and in sync that both Thor and the Creative team behind him compliment each other at one hundred percent.
Jason Aaron makes this a wonderful jump on point for any new readers yet keeps things pretty interesting for people that know what brought the God of Thunder here.
Where is here you ask?
Well, I guess that a great sum comes from Thor himself within the first pages of the first story of the issue.
Even for a God of Asgard, a warrior born and the blood son of all-father Odin, my life has been rather... eventful of late. To say the Hel-damned least. Unworthiness, the Disciples of Thanos, the Mangog and the destruction of Asgardia. The fall of the new Thor. The death of Mjolnir. And now I suppose you can add "cornered by a cult of demon-worshipping cannibal" to the list.
Thor (2018) #1 - Thor Thoughts
Few more thoughts like this within the first pages and we are all up to speed. Just a great example of how Aaron creates a magnificent experience for new and old readers of Thor.
As you can see troubles just keep on coming at Thor but (thankfully for us since we desire blood and action) these troubles are just the start. For you see with the destruction of Asgardia a ton of Odin's artifacts were spread throughout the realm and you don't just let anyone play with Odin's toys. No. You use whatever means necessary to round them all up.
Even if that means fighting the Unstoppable Juggernaut and Namor without Mjolnir but with a thousand different weapons created by the dwarves. Here comes Mike Del Mundo's ingenuity creating scenes that will blow you away.
You might have already noticed the cover art hint but in case you didn't take a closer look at Thor's hammer. Or should I say... hammers.
Mike Del Mundo is a unique artist that always seeks to tell a story with his art. Nothing really changes (and that is good) with his work at Thor. Lush visuals filled with color and small details. We loved the watercolor-like effect in Thor just as we did with his older work.
No matter the story that Mike Del Mundo is working on he always tells a story with his art apart from the main story. So make sure to keep your eyes open as well as your mind because there are more happening in the panels than just words.
Finally Aaror takes us in future were we see Grandfather Thor, literally playing God, a dying 275 years old Jane Foster, the end of time and ... a space shark.
It just can't get better than this.
The Immortal Hulk Reading Guide & Review
Immortal Hulk has been on shelves for a while now with fans going berserk for it. It's been hovering over the greatest comic of the year to the greatest comic of the decade with Bruce Banner fans lining up the comic book stores to get there hands onto a copy of the series.
So here comes the great question. Where did it all start?
Bruce Banner was dead for pretty much a couple of years before we got a glimpse of what's to come in Avengers #684 which featured the face of Hulk after weeks of hints over his apparent resurrection.
What Led to the Immortal Hulk?
What you must understand is that Hulk hasn't always been conceived as a superhero but mainly a monster. In some cases fighting supervillains and in some terrorizing cities depending his emotional state. Much like Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hide which as also the inspiration for his creation.
Though the decades though Hulk and his alter ego Bruce Banner changed a lot from a Monster to a Hero to a Super Intelligent Doctor fighting crime to this moment which is a combination of all of the above.
At the start of the All-New, All-Different Marvel Comics series we find out that Bruce Banner was no longer the Hulk but just a scientist which was now dedicating his time to helping humanity.
Amadeus Cho, a long time friend was able to extract the Hulk from Banner and absorb it himself in order to help Banner. Amadeus Cho was also able to maintain his intelligence while on the Hulk form.
Unfortunately not long after his separation from Hulk, Banner became the center of attention at Civil War II #5 where the Inhuman Ulysses had a vision which saw Bruce Banner regaining power and slaughtered the majority of superheroes on Earth.
A team led by Captain Marvel tried to find and stop Banner's transformation and during the standoff which was basically a heated argument of Banner trying to explain he no longer possess the powers of Hulk, Hawkeye releases a special arrow that instantly kills Bruce Banner. The arrow was specially made from Bruce Banner and given to Hawkeye in order to make sure that if he ever loses control to the Hulk, Hawkeye will end it for him.
After Banner's death Hawkeye swore that he saw a green spark in Banner's eyes which caused him to release the arrow. Unfortunately he terminated his services from the Avengers not long after.
First Appearance of the Immortal Hulk
There has been a number of resurrections since his death but this one seems to be the last and most permanent.
In the Uncanny Avengers #15, Daniel Drumm, brother of Brother Voodoo, resurrected the Hulk powered by a demonic force, and used him as a weapon against the Avengers while they tried to recruit Elektra. That concluded fast with Hulk's lifeless body since the connection to the demonic realm was broken.
Soon thereafter in Secret Empire, the evil version of Steve Rogers resurrected the Hulk and used him against the rebels hiding within the Nevada mountains. Even though the use of the Hulk was a success it was revealed that the method used was only temporary and only gave life to the Hulk for a few hours.
The main attraction came later on at the Avengers: No Surrender event, a 16 issue mini-series that took place from Avengers #675 till Avengers #690 that saw two great forces of the universe the Grandmaster and Challenger, steal and transform Earth into a "chessboard" for their next game.
During those events we see the Hulk resurface as a secret pawn of the Challenger and... well he is a little bit different and a little bit all the same. As we mentioned above the "new" Hulk is all about revenge, rage, and fury and resembles more the first Hulk than anything else.
Immortal Hulk Series
As expected right after the events of Avengers: No Surrender and with the conclusion that the Hulk just cannot die, came the new series of the Immortal Hulk and soon thereafter became one of the best comics series of 2018 as well as holds a top position at the Best Marvel Comics of 2019 so far and how could it not.
The Immortal Hulk brings out what we hoped for many years to come, portraying one of Marvel's oldest and fan favourite superhero into something that barely resembles anything that we have seen before.
The Immortal Hulk is something in between all the variations we have seen. Al Ewing and Joe Bennett made it clear that they wanted to create something unique and they did. There is a horror vibe in the comic story and the art it self which was the pain point missing from Hulk's previous stories and we love it.
Hulk is not roaming the earth fighting crime in a way that is strangely small for his size but in all reality it makes sense. He was used from so many forces before that he just wants to be left alone and yet it seems that he can't find the peace he wants. From one adventure to the other Bruce Banner finds himself in trouble and when that happens he simple, dies.
Well, that's the twist, Bruce Banner dies for the Hulk to live and dig out of his grave to get the revenge it seeks. The story is closely related to the initial story of the Hulk (being mostly portrayed as a monster) instead of a hero and what better analogy for Bruce Banner and the Hulk than the one of Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hide.