Joshua Phillips

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    SECRET EMPIRE BEGINS

    secret empire

    When Marvel first announced that Captain America was a Hydra sleeper agent, I, like many of my fellow comic book fans, was a bit shaken. It seemed like another tactic to quickly boost sales for yet another big crossover event that would “change the face of Marvel as we know it.” How many times did we hear that in 2016? Too many.

    But as writer Nick Spencer started laying the foundation for Secret Empire in Captain America: Steve Rogers, I began to get more comfortable with this bold new idea. Spencer wrote Cap’s new status in a believable way and watching Cap’s plans come together was fascinating. The buildup to the event was a slow burn and was akin to watching Rogers play chess on a global scale, as pieces were slowly sliding into place right under the noses of our favorite Marvel heroes. After a few months, I found myself enthralled in the tale that Spencer was telling, gobbling up every issue the minute they hit the comic shop.

    “Cap simultaneously at his best and his worst.”

    After a solid year of buildup, Cap’s plan is finally coming to fruition in Secret Empire #0. While most event books start with a bang, this one sees Cap remain calm and collected throughout the entire book. In Secret Empire #0, we see Cap take swathes of Marvel heroes off the playing field group by group as each of his three plans come together. As the book itself tells us, Cap has always been a master strategist; now no longer shackled by morals, this is Cap simultaneously at his best and his worst. I can’t wait to see how far he will go when he needs to get his hands dirty and handle the heroes personally.

    The art by Daniel Acuna is as excellent as Spencer’s writing. Each character’s face conveys a broad range of emotion, which is fantastic since there is a lot of emotion on display in this issue. You can feel the fear and despair dripping off the faces of every Marvel hero as they realize the grim reality that awaits them.

    Issue #0 is a must-read comic if you’re planning on reading Secret Empire. Even if you haven’t read any of the issues that precede this event, this still serves as an excellent starting point and quickly gets new readers up to speed. If every issue in this event can match the writing and art of this one, Secret Empire as a whole will end up as one of Marvel’s best events.

    After nearly everyone called this storyline the worst thing to ever happen to Captain America, it just might end up being the best thing to happen to the Marvel Universe in years.

    PRE-ORDER SECRET EMPIRE AND SAVE!

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    Find out the truth in Daredevil #18

    Every week we review a select few comics for New Comic Book Day. There are so many that come out each week it’s hard to choose. This week we take a gander at Batwoman, Punisher and Daredevil. Check out our other blog articles so see our thoughts on other books. Be sure to comment or share our post on Facebook or Twitter if you like our articles!

    SPOILER ALERT — We try to keep from posting spoilers, but one may sneak through to our reviews now and again. Read with caution, true believers.

    Batwoman #1
    By: Marguerite Bennett, James Tynion IV, Steve Epting

    Finally, Batwoman is back in her own solo comic! I’ve immensely enjoyed James Tynion IV’s work with Batwoman and the voice he has given her in Detective Comics, but I’ve longed for Kate Kane to be the star of the show instead of a member of an ensemble. Batwoman #1 is everything I hoped a Batwoman comic would be and more.

    It fully fleshes out Batwoman, giving her a base of operations, a method of transportation, and even her own Pennyworth butler. However, the writing duo of Marguerite Bennett and James Tynion IV have made sure Batwoman isn’t just a female Batman. Part of that is due to her unique voice and globe-spanning mission while the remaining part is due to her unique past that the issue starts to touch on. There are many layers to Kate Kane, and the issue starts to peel them back one-by-one. Complementing the story is the beautiful art by Steve Epting.

    Not only is the issue a great jumping on point for new fans, but it also serves as an excellent book for longtime Batwoman readers. Batwoman #1 is highly recommended and is one series to keep an eye on in the future.

    GET CAUGHT UP WITH KATE KANE (AKA BATWOMAN) IN DETECTIVE COMICS

    Punisher #10
    By: Becky Cloonan, Matt Horak, Declan Shalvey

    Punisher’s one-man war on Condor continues in Punisher #10. Becky Cloonan continues to delight as she writes a Frank Castle that is tough-as-nails, resourceful, and leaves a trail of bodies in his wake. This comic has never been shy about showing violence, but what Punisher does with a bear trap takes this comic to a whole new level. Punisher #10 lives up to its parental advisory notice.

    As the story starts racing to its conclusion, this is turning into one Punisher tale you don’t want to miss. Due to the unfortunate passing of Steve Dillon, artist Matt Horak fills in for art duties. He captures Dillon’s style almost perfectly and allows the book to fit in stylistically with the previous issues. If you’ve yet to check out this series, you’ll want to make some room on your pull list as it’s worth reading. Punisher #10 is an excellent read and shows that Marvel can still pump out mature titles that are on par with the rest of the industry.

    FIND ALL OF BECKY CLOONAN’S AMAZING WORK.

    Daredevil #18
    By: Charles Soule, Ron Garney, Matt Milla

    One of the burning questions since the beginning of Charles Soule’s Daredevil run has been “How did Matt get his secret identity back?” After over a year, Charles Soule is finally ready to answer that question. Daredevil #17 was told entirely by flashbacks and bridged the previous series to the current one, and Daredevil #18 picks up right where #17 left off.

    Soule introduces readers to The Purple Man, who promptly gives us a display of his powers in a downright horrifying fashion. In fact, the story ends up being more about him and his offspring than about Daredevil. The twist at the end brings about more questions, and we’ll see more than a few fan theories as a result of this issue. I’m excited to see how Charles Soule ties it all together.

    If you’ve yet to check out Charles Soule’s Daredevil, #17 and #18 are a fantastic place to start. I know I’m planning on checking out the previous issues of this series; if the writing is as good as this issue, I’m in for a treat.

    PICK UP ALL THINGS DAREDEVIL

    What did you think of these books? What should we review next week? Let us know below!

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