S.H.I.E.L.D / NEW MGMT/ NINJAK / AGENT OF HYDRA / ANT-MAN [Reviews]: These Days Be the Last.

Well, well, well… in just a few short weeks it’ll be time to take a look at the East Coast, and the New York Comic-Con. But, in the meantime, we here at GodHatesGeeks are looking to showcase some of the upcoming titles. We have two looks at the same character, the beginning of the end for two characters, and a whole lot of Matt Kindt.

With the summer nearing an end and the cool weather on the horizon, let’s dive right in, as we’ve got a lot to cover on this special edition of the Saturday Stash

Yeah–I said Saturday.

Shield #9 --- Marvel Comics
S.H.I.E.L.D. #9 – Marvel Comics
"The Apostle" Lance Paul @Lance_Paul
“The Apostle” Lance Paul @Lance_Paul

The Marvel Universe can be a confusing and creepy place. Avid Marvel comic fans have read exploits of Agent Fury over 40-years through numerous adventures and have even seen S.H.I.E.L.D agents in 1000 BC fighting among the Egyptians or honoring Leonardo DaVinci as a member. But never have the two S.H.I.E.L.D’s combined in present day till now. Marvel delivers a spy’ful packed issue that also includes the next generation of Agents with STAKE — commanded by the LMD Dum Dum Dugan — and the very first issue created by the great Jack Kirby (every comic you’ve ever loved), who also celebrates a birthday today.

Pi II.
Pi II.

Like all S.H.I.E.L.D issues, the key mystery is: What is the mission? Coulson is delivered a secret document that is supposed to be the last open case of the late Nick Fury Sr., requesting his presence for a clandestine meeting with an unknown agent going by D.E.A.T.H.

The ish is presented beautifully with original art panels from Jack Kirby—the same art panels used to pitch S.H.I.E.L.D to a much younger Stan Lee (everything) back in the 60’s. Little does Coulson know this will change his perspective on how old S.H.I.E.L.D actually is, plus ties up loose ends from 50-years of Spy comics.

Also this chock-full issue delivers an enjoyable story of the creation of STAKE and the return of Dum Dum Dugan, who (if you True Believer’s remember) was found to be dead, and an LMD back in the Original Sin event. Now Dugan is tasked to command a less-than-human mosh posh of agents, including: Frankenstein, Zombie, Abomination kid, etc. The final third of this issue includes the original Jack Kurby and Stan Lee appearance in all its 60’s glory.

Off the bat, this issue was enjoyable and kept the pages turning. The list of talents and story make it almost worth that 5.99$ price of admission. Lee Ferguson (Flash Gordon, Dungeons & Dragons) picks right up where Jack Kirby’s original pages end. Plus Mark Waid (Flash, Irredeemable) once again has outdone himself with an intriguing story. Al Ewing (Judge Dredd) and Stefano Caselli (Thunder Bolts, The Amazing Spider-Man) then pick right up with the return of Dugan masterfully illustrated; if this is the official team for the new “Howling Commandos” book, we are in good hands. Overall buy it, read it and enjoy it! This Traveling Nerd did! 4.25/5 Agents of Shield Agree.

New MGMT --- Dark Horse Comics
NEW MGMT #1 – Dark Horse Comics
Lisa "The Goddam" Wu @the_goddamn_wu
Lisa “The Goddam” Wu

Readers, when perusing Matt Kindt’s New MGMT, ensure that the Pixies’ “Where is my Mind” is looping in the background, because this is the exact kind of rippling unease that New MGNT #1 will envoke. That said, there is no need to ask “where are my favorite characters from Mind MGNTNew MGMT #1 is not just the beginning of a new series but the final chapter of Mind MGNT, closing the loop for readers in an immensely satisfying way.

Former Mind MGNT readers, surely need no tips on how to absorb Kindt’s layered narrative. But, for first-time readers, here is a humble suggestion: Pay attention to EVERY detail. Sometimes, one has to look for the fine print.

That'll teach 'em.
That’ll teach ’em.

In this issue, the war is over, and the world has changed under the a new management style. Will this be the case of “meet the new boss; same as the old boss”? Only Kindt will tell as the series continues. No one ever wants Pete Townsend of The Who to be right about new management.

But, as of right now, things are improving. The team has been managing the world’s many complex problems with peace and love. [*spoiler alert*] After all, readers find out Meru was conceived with that purpose in mind. Without giving out more spoilers, readers will discover that comics are a great way to disseminate information even to souped-up agents. In these pulps, the writer shares her experience in the field to ensure that new agents will not fall into victim to the mental wear of their jobs.

Kindt (PistolwhipRevolver) has continued to surprise with his evocative and oddly, but pleasantly, unnerving narrative. Mind MGNT and New MNGT truly are his children, born like Athena from Zeus’s mind, as he is not only the writer but artist as well. Matt Kindt had help, as stated in his letter column; but Matt doesn’t need “h.e.l.p.” from many, and his new work will prove just as unsettling a treasure to his readers as his previous one. 4/5 Souped-up Agents.

Ninjak #6 --- Valiant Comics
NINJAK #6 – Valiant Comics
"Dynast" Dana Keels IG/Twitter @hatandwand
“Dynast” Dana Keels
IG/Twitter @hatandwand

The Shadow Seven. Sounds like something from a Bruce Lee flick, eh? Ninjak is back on the attack in a brand new story arc, The Shadow Wars. Engaged on a new mission to rid the world of the terrorist organization Weaponeer, Ninjak is also tasked with uncovering the mystery of the Shadow Seven, and must eliminate them all.

As far as the story goes, Issue Six is solid all around. Matt Kindt (New MGMT) writes in a good amount of set-up and exposition, This outweighs the action this issue, which isn’t necessarily bad, considering the intense levels of action for which the series is known. No doubt, it’ll come later. But the action this issue does have is well-drawn thanks to Raul Allen (Unity, Dead Drop) and nicely detailed, feeling almost Samurai Champloo-ish in tone.

The back up tale, “The Lost Files”, is a nice added bonus. This short story gives the book a bit more mileage, which is more than enough incentive for you to grab your copy. 4/5 Bibles.

Book Of Death: The Fall Of Ninjak --- Valiant Comics
“El Sacerdote” J.L. Caraballo Twitter @captzaff007
“El Sacerdote” J.L. Caraballo Twitter @captzaff007

I am an on-again/off-again reader when it comes to Ninjak, but he is definitely one of the more interesting and fun Valiant titles out there. Being a huge James Bond fan, and a large superhero comics fan (who would’ve thought, eh?), this title is the best of both worlds for me. That being said…

Book Of Death: Fall of Ninjak left me feeling as if I needed about two months’ worth of reading to find out exactly what was going on. This title is not for average readers, but for the more hardcore fans of everyone’s favorite ninja/spy. The script my Matt Kindt (New MGMT) reads as if it is wrapping up the entire legacy of Ninjak, bouncing around between the future and past (which is the present). A lot of exposition and explanation that went a bit over my head, but never felt as if it were bogging down the action — and there is plenty of it, including Gin-Gr going on one last task to stop Livewire’s blasting of Japan into orbit. Trevor Hairsine‘s (Judge Dredd, Black Panther) art is fluid and sharp, but a bit workmanlike. As it suits the story, it is very serviceable, but nothing extraordinary.

Again, I liked the action a lot, was impressed with how much exposition could be incorporated without slowing down the story, and Ninjak is a delight to read whenever I get around to doing so, but this title does not take its time explaining itself to non- or semi-regular readers. 3.5/5 Floating Japans.

House Of M #1 --- Marvel Comics
HOUSE OF M #1 – Marvel Comics
"The Apostate" Adam Mondschein @AdamMondschein
“The Apostate” Adam Mondschein

While some may deride the first half of House of M #1 for its languishing slow burn inside the mind of Magneto, I found Dennis Hopeless’ (Inferno, Spider-Woman) passionate inner-monologue as a foundation-laying corner-stone to what will certainly prove to be the kind of politically-charged thrill ride that made House of Cards so successful. Is King Magneto channeling an inner Frank Underwood? Probably not: he’s far less underhanded and scheming, but who knows? Perhaps those conspiring against him in this issue are actually wandering into a trap of his own making.

HOM2015001-int2-5-4e7b0It’s difficult to tell where this will head, and even more difficult to side with the humans who are out of place in a mutant-run world, running for their lives and hiding from the Sentries that protect Genosha. With Hawkeye, Black Cat, Misty, Luke Cage and a new face called Death Locket being hunted down by Wolverine, Rogue, Nightcrawler, Sasquatch, Toad and others, I find myself wanting more focus on this squad of bad-ass human hunters than those fleeing and whining about not being mutants. That said, it was certainly more interesting than watching the breakfast scene unfold in the royal palace between Pietro and his sisters.

Marco Failla’s (Spider-Man & The X-Men, X Campus) art work has a soft, animation-quality that feels like an old episode of X-men Evolution; this is both good and bad, as a sharper, more detailed feel of Magneto’s face (in particular) could help ‘show’ the story rather than ‘tell’ it in places. But at the end of the day, House of M #1 lays out some interesting pieces to see where they all fall in the coming issues. 4/5 Bibles.

Hank Johnson: Agent Of HYDRA --- Marvel Comics
Stephanie "Lady Croft" Panisello @Steph_Panisello
Stephanie “Lady Croft” Panisello

Hank Johnson, Agent of Hydra #1 follows the story of Hydra Agent Hank, or as Madame Hydra calls him: “Hanky Panky”.

Writer David Mandel (executive producer of Curb your Enthusiasm, writer for Seinfeld and current show runner for Veep) is a comedic GENIUS! He creates Hank Johnson’s character as a relatable everyman combined with his experience as a Hydra Agent within the over-arching Secret Wars. The writing is witty, and finds a way to sprinkle in our beloved Avengers, villains and storylines without them stealing the show.

Hail Taxes!
Hail Taxes!

We get to know Hank, his struggles as an employee, father, husband and friend while living in the destroyed multiverse of Earth-616 and Earth-1610’s remains known as “BattleWorld”. This world is comprised of many regions maintained by Victor Van Doom, and many other favorite villains play a role as leaders in the Hydra community. The comic allows us see the behind-the-scene personalities and charitable ways of the bad guys.

Artist Michael Walsh (Secret Avengers, Comeback) makes great use of comedy through his character expressions and color palette. Mandel and Walsh found a beautiful balance between the witty writing and art, to giving life to the everyman and cameo villains throughout the use of subtle humor. A favorite example is the Mysterio reference, which I won’t ruin, but keep your eyes peeled for easter eggs throughout for a myriad characters.

This one off is truly hilarious and a fun creative read for fans. It’s a treat to read a good comic, but a real surprise to find one packed with light humor and a story that comes full circle. Bravo Mandel and Walsh- this is a keeper! 5/5 Cups of Coffee.

Last Days Of Ant-Man --- Marvel Comics
LAST DAYS OF ANT-MAN #1 – Marvel Comics
Michelle “Magdalene” Kisner @RobotCookie

Poor Ant-Man can never rest on his laurels—if it isn’t one thing, it’s another. This particular “thing” is the annihilation of the entire planet, which is definitely shaping up to be a major bummer. Writer Nick Spencer (Morning Glories, Bedlam) seems to be the master of self-referential storytelling, with clever asides and even a few fourth wall-breaks for good measure.

While it felt like the beginning of the comic was too front-heavy with exposition, it picks up more towards the latter half of the story. Most of the jokes were pretty snappy and there are plenty of visual gags thanks to Ramon Rosanas’ (Atlas, Spider-Man 1602) clean pencilling. The coloring is bright and saturated as well with bold lines.

However, this seems to be a bit too abstract of place for a newcomer to pick up on the Ant-Man mythos. Even so, the story is easy to understand even if the reader is unable to pick up on some of the more subtle nuances and references. Ant-Man is an everyman, and that helps people identify with him easier. It’s nice to take a break from the more serious Marvel superheroes and watch Ant-Man fumble around a little bit. With a great cliffhanger ending, it will be sure to have readers salivating for more 3.75/5 Bibles.

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