Greetings from the Odinson,
It’s time for Odinson’s 2014: The Year in Review!
Part 1: The Comics
Avengers and the X-Men: Axis – The diabolical Red Skull possesses the unparalleled telepathic powers of the deceased Charles Xavier (see Uncanny Avengers: The Red Shadow). The Avengers/X-Men unity team was barely able to stop him. Now, the arch fiend has returned and this time he has evolved into the nigh unstoppable form of Onslaught! All appears lost as the united teams of Avengers and X-Men are unable to match Red Skull’s new found might. This causes Magneto to assemble a team of villains that includes Enchantress, Sabretooth, Doctor Doom and more in order to mount a comeback. The psychic backlash of Skull’s defeat causes a highly unusual change in all that were present at the battle. The Marvel U is turned upside down as heroes become villainous and villains become heroic. The story allows creators to tell distinctly different stories with characters that would not normally act thus, but in the end, Axis just rings hollow as a “Big Event” that really has nowhere to go. Odinson Rating: 2 1/2 out of 5 Hammers
Batman Eternal – Not since the second and third movies of The Matrix Trilogy, Reloaded and Revolutions, has the Odinson been so thoroughly satisfied and utterly disappointed at the same time with a piece of popular fiction. With an assembled creative team of All-Stars, this weekly series has the potential to be really great. For the first ten to fifteen issues, Eternal really pays off. The story begins at the climax of the tale with the Dark Knight crucified and forced to watch as the city he has sworn to protect burns! It flashes back to the beginning where Commissioner Gordon is framed for the murders of an entire subway full of civilians. Batman and his allies race against the clock to solve the mystery of who is really behind the catastrophe and clear the name of Jim Gordon. Things get really complicated as foes from the past return to add to the chaos. However, the story takes a decidedly strange turn when suddenly this murder mystery turns into supernatural horror story with a zombie outbreak at Arkham Asylum. This part of the story is a little mottled involving Killer Croc, Batwing, the Joker’s Daughter, and the Spectre. However, as the story heads toward the finish line, I am looking forward to the end and finding out just who is behind everything. Batman Eternal is a great mystery with a weird detour into the supernatural that hopefully will right itself before the final page is turned. Odinson Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5 Hammers – (Though the score may be higher depending on the ending.)
Spider-Verse – I am thoroughly enjoying this tale that teams up every single version of Spider-Man from across the multiverse! Morlun the nigh unstoppable vampire-like creature has returned and this time he is not alone. His entire family is systematically going from universe to universe and murdering all the Spider-Men throughout the multiverse. Peter Parker is joined by Ultimate Spider-Man, Spider-Man 2099, Spider-Man Noir, Spider-Girl, Spider-Woman, Spider-Man 1966, Captain Universe Spider-Man, Gwen Stacy Spider-Girl, Scarlet Spider, Silk, Superior Spider-Man and more in order to draw a line in the sand and make a last stand! The Odinson’s heart was broken as Morlun destroyed a part of his childhood when he murdered Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends. As more and more heroes fall in battle, time is running out as the United Spider-Men try desperately to find a way to stop unbeatable foes. Odinson Rating: 4 out of 5 Hammers
Fire and Stone – This is one crossover event that truly delivers. Dark Horse Comics uses elements from Aliens, Predator, and Prometheus and weave a sci-fi/horror/mystery that revolves around the infamous planet known as LV-223. Four mini-series – Aliens, Predator, Aliens vs. Predator, and Prometheus follow different avenues but they all intersect and cross paths to create a many layered story that is begging to be adapted to the Big Screen. Odinson Rating: 4 out of 5 Hammers
Batman: Zero Year – Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo keep adding to their stellar run on the Caped Crusader. This time around they explore the year when Bruce Wayne was very first trying to find his way and discover the hero he would eventually grow into. They pit a neophyte Batman against the diabolical machinations of the deviously cunning Riddler. Snyder’s scripts are full of great characterization and page-turning suspense and I’ve said it before and I’m sure I’ll say it many times again – Greg Capullo was born to drawn the adventures of the Caped Crusader. Odinson Rating: 4 1/2 out of 5 Hammers
The Buffyverse – In Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 10, the Scooby Gang returns to Sunny Dale where they fight against impossible odds to prevent a monstrous demon from ascending out of the Hellmouth. This tale just reeked of “been there done that.” In Buffy’s own words – “How many times can one town be destroyed?” Meanwhile, over in Angel and Faith Season 10, the vampire with a soul has a showdown with Amy the Witch in Magic Town and Faith goes on a quest in South America where she will come face-to-face with Riley. As anyone who has seen the fourth season of the TV show knows, these two have a turbulent history. There’s good to be had from the ongoing Buffyverse but the creators really need to step it up because it’s not blowing my hair back. Odinson Rating: 3 out of 5 Hammers
The Armor Hunters – An elite group of assassins from beyond the stars, a team of killers that specializes in the destruction of Manowar Armors, has arrived on Earth and not even the combined might of Unity, Harbingers, X-O Manowar, and Bloodshot may be able to stop them! Valiant delivers with this high octane companywide crossover. Odinson Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5 Hammers
Death of Wolverine – Oh, boy! Yet another death of a super hero story. In many ways, this particular storytelling device legitimizes Logan as an A-List hero in the pantheon of super heroes. The Odinson’s biggest beef with this tale is not how he met his end. Actually, I found it to be pretty original and interesting. No, my problem with the death of Wolverine is with the circumstances leading up to it and the revelation surrounding the ultimate one responsible for it. It just didn’t resonate with me and I felt the execution of this story could have been better. As a Wolverine fan, Death of Wolverine is worth a read, but as a long time comics fan, I really don’t see this story having long lasting resonance. Odinson Rating: 2 1/2 out of 5 Hammers
2014 was certainly a rocky road of hit and misses for the comic companies. Hopefully 2015 with the conclusions to Batman Eternal, Spider-Verse, and Batman: Endgame and the upcoming Big Events – Secret Wars and Convergence – comics can make a big comeback. Be here next week when the Odinson is sure to get some cheers (and jeers) for his 2014 the Year in Review: Movies and Television.
This is Odinson bidding thee farewell