Comic Book Review – Uncanny Avengers Volumes 1 & 2

Uncanny Avengers Volume 1: The Red Shadow (2014)
Uncanny Avengers Volume 2: The Apocalypse Twins (2014)
Written by Rick Remender (with Gerry Duggan)
Art by John Cassaday, Olivier Coipel, Daniel Acuna, and Adam Kubert

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In the devastating wake of Cyclops’ insurrection, the public perception of mutantkind has plummeted. To remedy this a joint group bringing together the Avengers and the X-Men has been formed. This Unity Squad is composed of Captain America, Wolverine, Rogue, Thor, Scarlet Witch, and led by Havok. They are thrown right into the fire when The Red Skull rears his head, having spliced the newly deceased Charles Xavier’s brain tissue with his own. Possessing the mental abilities of Xavier, Red Skull can force the population to descend into violence and brutality to further his supremacist agenda. However, the Skull is only one danger, with something even worse looming on the horizon. The Skull’s actions ripple into the future bringing the arrival of the Apocalypse Twins and the potential end of Earth.

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Comic Book Review – Secret Avengers by Rick Remender

Secret Avengers V1-3 (2012-13)
Written by Rick Remender
Art by Patrick Zircher, Gabriel Hardman, Renato Guedes, Matteo Scalara, and Andy Kuhn

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Founded in the wake of Norman Osborn’s reign as leader HAMMER, the Secret Avengers set out to deal with rogue nations and terrorists under a veil of secrecy. Initially founded by Steve Rogers, the reins are handed over to Hawkeye with a team consisting of Valkyrie, The Beast, Black Widow, Captain Britain, the original Human Torch, and the Irredeemable Ant-Man. Their first mission has them responding to what appears to be a terrorist attack in Pakistan. Instead, they uncover a conspiracy of robots, androids, and automatons that has been brewing for decades. These Descendants, as they call themselves, are intent on getting their hands on a child born from one of their own, an anomaly in creation. A second threat comes in the form of a life model decoy of Nick Fury that runs the rogue nation of Bagalia. This sends the Avengers into a full-on war with an army of super-villains.

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Comic Book Review – Punisher: In the Blood

Punisher: In the Blood (2011)
Written by Rick Remender
Art by Roland Boschi

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There was one significant loose end left at the end of Remender’s Punisher run: Jigsaw’s paternity of Henry Russo. There’s also the resurrected former sidekick Microchip running around. Moreover, to add to the chaos, a mysterious leather-clad masked woman appears on the scene, and Frank believes this is his wife, brought back from the dead by the Hood, still alive and kicking. Life isn’t going to get comfortable for Marvel’s top vigilante as Remender brings his run on the character to its conclusion.

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Comic Book Review – Venom by Rick Remender Volume 2

Venom by Rick Remender Volume 2 (2012)
Written by Rick Remender with Jeff Parker, Rob Williams, and Cullen Bunn
Art by Tony Moore, Lee Garbett, Sana Takeda, Julian Totino Tedesco, Lan Medina, Kev Walker, and Declan Shalvey

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Flash Thompson is down and out in Las Vegas, his relationship with Betty Brant ruined due to his obligations as Agent Venom for Project: Rebirth and the shadow of Crime-Smith looming over him. He becomes inadvertently involved in the attempted hostile takeover of Earth by the prince of hell Blackheart. This crisis also brings together Johnny Blaze & the new Ghost Rider, The Red Hulk, and X-23 for the “Circle of Four” story arc. Once this is resolved, Flash finds himself back in New York ready to face down Crime-Smith and Jack O’Lantern. However, they were prepared for him and unleashed their gang of villains, some familiar faces from Remender’s opening arc on The Punisher. All this culminates in Venom’s induction into the ranks of the Secret Avengers and the possibility of a new life for our hero.

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Comic Book Review – Doctor Voodoo

Doctor Voodoo: Avenger of the Supernatural (2010)
Written by Rick Remender
Art by Jefte Palo

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Jericho Drumm has assumed the mantle of Earth’s Sorcerer Supreme from Stephen Strange. As soon as the former Brother Voodoo takes on this new role, he is assailed by Doctor Doom and other forces of the supernatural. This causes problems at his medical practice in New Orleans, and Drumm must work to tackle these dark powers that seek entry into our realm. At the root of this assault is the demigod Nightmare who is warping the very fabric of reality into a mesh of the concrete and the abstract.

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Comic Book Review – Punisher: Franken-castle

Punisher: Franken-Castle (2010)
Written by Rick Remender
Art by Tony Moore, Dan Brereton, and Jefte Palo

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Punisher faces off with Norman Osborn’s HAMMER, the villain’s answer to SHIELD. Dealing the killing blow is Daken, the twisted son of Wolverine. Their rooftop battle concludes with the Punisher sliced into pieces and dead in an alleyway. The end of the story right? Nope. Punisher’s remains are taken underground by a legion of monsters, living in fear of Helsgaard and his forces. Helsgaard is a deformed monster hunter who leads a band of modern-day samurai to purge the planet of all they view obscene and unnatural. Punisher is rebuilt as a Frankenstein-esque creature by the vampire Morbius. He is reluctant to help these misfits at first but circumstances and a reminder of his mission to fight evil draw him into this epic conflict.

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Comic Book Review – Punisher: Dark Reign & Dead End

Punisher: Dark Reign (2010)
Written by Rick Remender
Art by Jerome Opeña

Punisher: Dead End (2010)
Written by Rick Remender
Art by Tan Huat

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The Marvel Universe has come under the sway of Norman Osborn. The Skrull invasion was thwarted by the business tycoon, and in the aftermath, Tony Stark and the Avengers are smeared as criminals. Frank Castle the Punisher has decided to take Osborn out himself but finds out the “reformed” villain has support in the form of The Sentry and The Hood. Punisher gets help from Henry Russo, a young man with street smarts and tech skills who fills the role of the vigilante’s late support Micro Chip. The supernaturally-powered Hood decides to taunt Punisher by using dark magic to resurrect long-dead villains as well as people that will dig into Punisher’s deepest psychic wounds.

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