Comix This Week: 07/23/2014

In the late 90’s, myself and a few friends were avid comic book readers. Every Wednesday we would dutifully pick up our comics at the local shop, read them, and share quick reviews with each other. It was fun and we did it pretty much every week from 1996 to around 2005. We tapered off as some stopped reading, random bouts of apathy intervened, and some of us just lost touch with one another. As this blog has grown over the last 4 years, I feel a need to write more things for all of you to read. So, Comix this week is reborn. Comic books are one of the great loves of my life, and I hope that all of you enjoy this weekly jaunt into this amazing world. As with my movie reviews, this is not comprehensive. I cannot afford to read every comic, nor will I illegally download them, I respect the medium too much for that, but I don’t judge any who do. Every week there will be a “pick of the week”. I may do a year-end retrospective sometime around new year’s day. I use cover images in my reviews. These images are from various comic companies, such as Marvel, DC, and Image in today’s case. They own this stuff. I do this for fun, not money.Enjoy.

July 23rd, 2014

Batman 32

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Today is batman’s 75th Anniversary, and it brings a close to the never-ending “Zero year” storyline. The Riddler has taken control of Gotham for 1 month and Batman uses his wits, a some help from Lucius Fox and Jim Gordon, to stop him and save the city. I picked up the few issues I was missing this week to catch up. A better telling of the events of Dark Knight Rises, Snyder reminds us why he is the definitive Batman writer of our times. I think it is time for me to stop my DC Comics Ban. In other Batman news:

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Look at that awesome cowl.

All New Invaders 8

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The Human torch meets Phil Coulson and face off against a ton of Deathloks. meh. Lets see where this goes.

Amazing Spider-Man 4

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We meet Silk, the other person bitten by the radioactive Spider after Peter. She has been kept in hiding for years, and Spidey busts her out. Honestly, it’s a bit rooted in older Spider-Man stories, especially all that Ezekiel stuff I did not care for. Not too sure about where this is headed.

Velvet 6

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The new story arc begins! Velvet returns to London to begin the hunt for answers to why she was framed. This is what Brubaker does best, smart spy stuff.

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Saga 21

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It’s almost embarrassing at this point. A few comics are heads and tails above all others, and they all seem published by Image. Saga is one of the best comic books of the last decade. The art is phenomenal and the writing is beyond great. Prince Robot IV discovers that he has a son, so he plans to see the Robot King for help. Meanwhile, the marriage of our heroes is in Jeopardy as Alana becomes hooked to Drugs and Marko grows closer to the woman next door. A fascinating comic. So well done.

Comix This Week: 07/16/2014

In the late 90’s, myself and a few friends were avid comic book readers. Every Wednesday we would dutifully pick up our comics at the local shop, read them, and share quick reviews with each other. It was fun and we did it pretty much every week from 1996 to around 2005. We tapered off as some stopped reading, random bouts of apathy intervened, and some of us just lost touch with one another. As this blog has grown over the last 4 years, I feel a need to write more things for all of you to read. So, Comix this week is reborn. Comic books are one of the great loves of my life, and I hope that all of you enjoy this weekly jaunt into this amazing world. As with my movie reviews, this is not comprehensive. I cannot afford to read every comic, nor will I illegally download them, I respect the medium too much for that, but I don’t judge any who do. Every week there will be a “pick of the week”. I may do a year end retrospective sometime around new year’s day. I use cover images in my reviews. These images are from various comic companies, such as Marvel, DC, and Image in today’s case. They own this stuff. I do this for fun, not money.Enjoy.

July 16th, 2014

X-men 23

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A rather predictable issue. She Hulk, lawyer, comes to the X-Men to read Charles Xavier’s Will. She cannot read it until all name are present, including… Scott Summers. Blah. Last issue of this arc I am getting.

Harley Quinn invades Comic-Con International San Diego

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One thing scares me about the title- Comic-Con International… San Diego. It is San Diego Comic Con International. This tells me that there are hopes to franchise Comic-Con. Bad move. The comic itself was okay. The scene where she has group sex with a room full of 30 Joker cosplayers was odd. No. not joking.

Original Sin 5

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The Story continues. Nick Fury’s plan to find a replacement to be his successor as “protector of earth” gets a bit tougher when the combined Avengers attack his space station. It ends with Fury jumping into battle armor for one last fight. This is going to be the end of “classic” Nick Fury. This bothers me. We’ve already seen the end of The Watcher, but his existence is kinda weird. I can see him returning. With the introduction of Nick Fury Jr, who looks just like Sam Jackson, I feel this is really the end for this great character. 😦

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Stray Bullets: Killers 5

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This comic is tough to beat. We see the return of Amy Racecar in this new series as the fantasy world expands with updates including her new boyfriend- the cripple. It ended badly for them in this adventure. It will be fun to see it reflected in future stories.

 

 

Star Wars Revisited 6: The Clone Wars 3

A long time ago… I discovered Star Wars. It would define my life. It’s time to rediscover it.

1: The Phantom Menace | 2: Attack of the Clones | 3: Clone Wars season 1 and 2 | The Clone Wars 1

The Clone Wars 2 |

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Part 3

This show is truly astounding. While I generally enjoyed the prequels, no hate here, I understand the issues they have. Serious mistakes were made in the conception stage by George Lucas that hobbled the films, particularly Episode I and II, with some major problems. This series fixes them almost immediately. I am doing something a bit crazy for this show. I am not watching them by season. No, I am going chronologically. The series actually jumps around quite a bit in the timeline of the clone war. Some episodes from seasons 2 and 3 take place before season 1! A few episodes actually happen before the Clone Wars movie that was in theaters. I am not going to go hog wild on these reviews, just give you guys a taste, every 20 or so episodes, of how the show plays out.

My aim at this point is to finish this entire series, as well as all films and other shows before the release of Star Wars: Rebels in the fall. Here are the stories that more or less encompass Season 3.

45: Corruption: Padme is on a diplomatic mission to Mandalore when they uncover a major corruption scandal at the docks that is causing schoolchildren to get sick. An episode against soda in school. lol.

46: The Academy: Ahsoka is sent to Mandalore to teach children about corruption. They uncover a plot by the chairman of Mandalore to create a black market.

47: Assassin: Bounty Hunter Aurra Sing resurfaces in an attempt to kill Padme on Alderaan. Ahsoka uses her force visions to track her down.

48: Arc Troopers: Greivous and Ventress lead an attack on Kamino and a battle ensues. We see the return of 99, who dies in battle. Fives and Echo are promoted to ARC Troopers.

49: Sphere of Influence: Baron Papanoida’s children are kidnapped in an attempt to get his planet to join the Federation. Essentially the Lucas family hunting down Greedo and getting into a shootout.

50: Evil Plans:  R2D2 goes to a Droid day spa as Cad Bane kidnaps C-3PO, hoping to discover the Sentate floor plans within his memory banks. Unfortunately 3PO is essentially useless. lol.They instead try to find R2D2 who is the one that actually has good info. R2 is taken, Bane gets his information and wipes the droids of everything that happened.Bane delivers the info to Jabba on Tattooine where he is offered another job, by the leaders of the 5 Hutt families who want Ziro the Hutt broken out of prison.

51: Hostage Crisis: The Season One finale! Evil Plans set up the heist we see in this episode and Cad Bane leads a group of Bounty Hunters into the Senate to bust out Ziro by kidnapping Senators for ransom.

52: Hunt for Ziro: Obi Wan and Quinlan Vos travel to Nal Hutta to recover Ziro and Cad Bane. We are treated to a song by Sy Snootles, Ziro’s lover. She busts him out of prison, the Jedi chase them as Bane is hired by the Hutts to find him. Ziro goes to his mother’s house in the swamp to borrow her starship to make his escape. On a jungle planet, once Ziro gets evidence he has on the Hutts, Snootles turns on him and kills him for breaking her heart. Bane fights the Jedi in a particularly good fight scene and makes his escape. Snottles gives the evidence to Jabba, who now has tremendous power in the Hutt Council. I love this episode, and I hate it. I really liked Ziro.

53: Heroes on both Sides: Padme sneaks into Seperatist space with Ahsoka to broker a peace treaty. A droid attack or Coruscant destroys any chance for peace.

54: Pursuit of Peace: As Padme pushes for peace, the Republic uses the eased Banking Regulations to increase the size of the Army. Dooku has the Peaceful separatist leader murdered to stop the peace accord. Meanwhile, the banking clan plans to charge the Republic 25% interest on the loan. As Organa and Amidala work to stop the bill, thugs begin attacking Senators to sway the vote.

55: Senate Murders: The final episode of season 2 in the timeline. After the events of “Pursuit of peace”,  Padme’s “Uncle” Ona is killed and Padme must discover who is responsible. As the body count rises, Padme tries to unravel the mystery.

56: Nightsisters: One of the best 3 part stories of the series begins! Ventress has been abandoned by Dooku and is almost killed. She return home to Dathomir where she finds her people, the Nightsisters who heal her and assist in her attempt to kill Dooku.

57: Monster: Assaj Ventress chooses a male of her species to train as a new apprentice for Dooku, to infiltrate him and be used to assasinate the Separatist leader. She chooses Savage Opress, whom she uses dark side magic to turn into an unstopable killing c

58: Witches of the Mist: Ventress and Opress make their move against Count Dooku, but Opress decides that he wishes to serve neither of them, and escapes back to Dathomir where he is told of his lost Brother- Darth Maul, who is still alive and will complete his training.

59: Overlords: Anakin, Obi Wan, and Ahsoka find themselves on a strange planet where the balance of the force is played out between Brother and Sister, two beings representing the Dark and Light sides of the Force. “Father” maintains balance between them. Qui Gon speaks to Obi Wan from the spirit realm.

60: Altar of Mortis: The battle between Brother and Sister continues as Anakin discovers more of his destiny as the chosen one.

61: Ghosts of Mortis: Sister is dead, and Anakin must stop Brother. Along the way, he is shown his future, Darth Vader.

62: The Citadel: The Citadel- Separatist prison! The Jedi must go there and break out Jedi Master Piell and Captain Wihuf Tarkin, who posses information needed by the Republic.

63: Counter Attack: The prison escapes continue. Seriously, that’s about it.

64: Citadel Rescue: They fight their way out and escape. This arc existed just to introduce Tarkin, and I am okay with his.

65: Padawan Lost: During a battle, Ahsoka is kidnapped by Trandoshan slavers and brought to a planet where she will be hunted. She meets other Padawans and organizes them into a resistance.

66: Wookiee Hunt: Ahsoka continues her fight against the Trandoshans along with new allies- a Wookiee who has been brought in to be hunted, and not just any Wookiee- Chewbacca. Surprise- they escape.

These episodes continued the dramatic opening up of this universe. We saw further development of the Mandalore/Bounty Hunter stories, while introducing the awesome Nightsisters of Dathomir, as well as the appearance of Tarkin and fan favorite Chewbacca. I was personally sad to see the story of Ziro come to an end. I am absolutely alone in loving that Truman Capote Hutt, but that’s okay. Star Wars has something for everyone.

Now that I have reached the end of season 3, we have reached the end of the out of sequence storytelling. It was interesting to see it all play out in order though, with this season completing the gaps in season one and two. From Season 4 onwards, the episodes get a little out of order, but they stay contained in one season- no more episodes taking place during events of seasons 1 or 2. Another 3 blogs to go and this segment of our adventure will be, sadly, completed. I am stepping up the pace over the next month as I would like this series to be over before the release of Rebels in the fall of 2014.

See you next time as we cover another 20 or so episodes which follow the story of Season 4.

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Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

The 397th film I have seen in theaters…

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SO….Good

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It has been 10 years since the events of “Rise of the Planet of the Apes”. Humanity has been all but wiped out by the Simian Flu- a man made disease which is deadly to humans, but gives Apes intelligence. In the Muir woods outside San Francisco, Caesar has created a home for his apes. While out hunting, two young apes come across some humans. Frightened, the human shoots one of the children. Despite this event, the humans, realizing that the Apes are intelligent, send an envoy to them. The humans need to use an old hydro plant in Ape territory to restore power to San Francisco. Although his Lieutenant Koba is against this, Caesar allows the humans to do their work. Koba leads some Apes into the city, kill some humans and steal guns. Koba shoots Caesar and frames the humans. Koba leads the Apes into an attack on San Francisco and captures all the humans and imprisons them. Caesar, after being nursed back to health by the good humans, faces off against Koba.

Even though Koba is defeated, the humans are pissed that the Apes attacked. A nearby military installation has also been contacted about the Ape problem. The last chance for Human/Ape coexistence has died. War has begun, and Caesar’s Apes have access to San Francisco’s Arsenal.

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Andy Serkis returns as Caesar. Even more than the previous film, the power of this man’s acting shines through the CGI. He won’t be, but he should be nominated for an Oscar.

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Jason Clarke plays Malcolm, the leader of the Human team that is restarting the hydro plant. He sees the path for peace between the species and becomes Caesar’s friend. A decent performance. Of all the human’s his was the most developed character, but even then he did not do that much. This was an Ape movie all the way.

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Kerri Russell, my 90’s crush, appears as Ellie, a nurse who is also Malcolm’s  wife. She is emotional support, and healer for the group, but is sadly underutilized.

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Kodi Smit-McPhee plays Malcolm’s son Alexander. Alex befriends Orangutan Maurice through a mutual love of art.

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Gary Oldman is Dreyfus, the leader of the humans. He sees the Apes as animals and nothing more. A former military man, he has the skills to defend the humans and destroy the Apes. Despite this, he is not an all out evil character. He has lost his family and is fighting to save the only one he has left. It is a testament to Oldman’s strength as an actor that so much is revealed about this character with such a small role.

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I intentionally saved him for last. Toby Kebbell is Koba, the Ape that was a lab rat in “Rise”. This is a character as fully realized as Caesar. Mo-cap is going to be a tremendous tool to allow for amazing performances.

SO GOOD. I found it a worthy sequel to the original, on par with the excellence of the former effort. An excellent, yet thought provoking SciFi film?! They just don’t make these anymore. Unlike other reboots/remakes, these films are more than worthy of the “Planet of the Apes” name.

 

Comix this week: 07/09/2014

In the late 90’s, myself and a few friends were avid comic book readers. Every Wednesday we would dutifully pick up our comics at the local shop, read them, and share quick reviews with each other. It was fun and we did it pretty much every week from 1996 to around 2005. We tapered off as some stopped reading, random bouts of apathy intervened, and some of us just lost touch with one another. As this blog has grown over the last 4 years, I feel a need to write more things for all of you to read. So, Comix this week is reborn. Comic books are one of the great loves of my life, and I hope that all of you enjoy this weekly jaunt into this amazing world. As with my movie reviews, this is not comprehensive. I cannot afford to read every comic, nor will I illegally download them, I respect the medium too much for that, but I don’t judge any who do. Every week there will be a “pick of the week”. I may do a year end retrospective sometime around new year’s day. I use cover images in my reviews. These images are from various comic companies, such as Marvel and Image in today’s case. They own this stuff. I do this for fun, not money.Enjoy.

July 9, 2014

 

 The Walking Dead 129

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We continue to learn about the new status quo as our story has jumped into the future. Negan is a prisoner in Rick’s new world. His son, Carl, is moving away from home to learn a trade at one of the other pockets of civilization. As the new characters meet and get used to Rick and his ways, they stumble upon Negan, who will try to use them to gain his freedom and sow chaos in this new society. A decent issue. I was SO CLOSE to dropping this from my pull list, but the time jump breathed some new life into it.

Avengers 32

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Cap and company are being thrown further and further into the future due to a broken infinity gem- time. After the chaos of the Ultron controlled Earth of last issue, they now find themselves about 5000 years in the future. Humanity has spread across the stars and is a interplanetary society. Franklin Richards, son of Reed and Sue, is still alive and provides some perspective on the colliding universe problem to Captain America. Cap is undeterred though. He believes the Illuminati are wrong, despite the threat to the universe. A fascinating issue. This one definitely felt like the calm before the storm. Hickman is great.

Wolverine 10

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The end is almost here! Wolverine has spent most of this new series undercover. To the world, it appears that he turns bad after losing his healing factor. This issue features a new Logan. He is at peace with himself, and his situation. He knows that death is inevitable and that he has to face it. He also must save the criminal gang he befriended these past 9 issues, as they are now prisoners of Sabretooth. Back on the right side of things, Logan is going to attack his old enemy with the full might of SHIELD. A fantastic series. I know that Wolverine will not stay dead for long, they never do in comics. This series has been pretty great. Let’s hope it ends on a similar note.

Winter Soldier: The Bitter March 5

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The series finally ends! This one has been delayed quite a bit. It ended well, although predictably. Bucky helps save the scientist lady from the Soviets only to have her die in a helicopter explosion. He is taken back to Russia and his mind is wiped. Great art, and a decent little vignette of the olden days of Cold War intrigue.

All-New Invaders 7

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A great issue that shows The Human torch reasoning with the grand-daughter of Golden Girl- Japanese superhero of WW2. The grand-daughter, Radiance, has taken hostages due to discovering that the Invaders had knowledge of the Atom Bomb. Hammond reasons with her, and eventually defuses the situation by telling her how things really went down in 1945, and her grandmother’s role in saving lives. An interesting character who I assume will be part of the new Invaders roster. Not sure about the anime sexy cover though.

Amazing Spider-Man 1.3

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Dan Slott tells this new version of “Untold Tales” of Spider-man’s earliest days in the suit. We mostly see him interact with “Clash” a schoolmate who initially loves Spidey, but comes to hate him. I love the Alex Ross covers on these issues, and I really love the old school art inside. My fear is that this will overstay it’s welcome, if it has not already. As much as I enjoyed it, I kept asking myself if another comic of this type necessary? The early days of Peter’s heroic career have been done to death. Hit 1.6 and end please. Please.

Ok here it is folks….

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Spider-Man 2099 #1

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Miguel O’Hara is back!

After the events of Superior Spider-Man, Miguel finds himself stuck in 2014. He has used his time travel knowledge to win the lottery, to afford an apartment, and get a job at Alchemax. In 2099, he fights Alchemax and it’s evil machinations. Of course, he is secretly the son of Alchemax CEO Tyler Stone. Now in the past, he is working with his grandfather, the douchebag Tiberious Stone who has teamed with Liz Allen, ex wife of Harry Osborn. Unknown to all, Norman Osborn was instrumental in the establishment of Alchemax as his legacy. Oscorp is dead, but his money and power, through Liz and little Normie, can ensure the survival of his empire. Anyway! As Miguel swings around, a time cop from the 2200’s has come back to kill him and set the timeline right. A fun battle unfolds in Alchemax HQ, and the time cop is eradicated. Liz realizes that this new Spider-Man is an Alchemax employee and wants him working for her.

It was great to have this series back! it was a definite favorite of mine back in the 90’s. I cannot believe the original issue came out over 20 years ago! I. Am. So. Old.

Edge of Tomorrow

The 396th film I have seen in theaters…

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Dammit Tom Cruise. Stop making good movies.

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Tom Cruise is a former ad executive who is aiding the army in recruitment and propaganda for their war against the Alien “Mimics” that have taken over Europe. While trying to get out of front line reporter duty, he tries to blackmail a general and is busted down to private and forced to fight on the front. The battle is a disaster and the entire invading troop is killed. Cruise dies while blowing up one of the Mimics, it’s blood acid blood falls on him, melting his face as he dies…

He then wakes up 24 hours in the past, caught in a Groundhog Day situation. He soon discovers another who went through a similar experience, the “Full Metal Bitch” as she is known. As he lives, dies, and lives, he trains as a soldier and tries to find a way to repel the alien force and end the war.

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Tom Cruise makes good movies. Despite the drama and lunacy, the guy can act and also pick great movies to be in. He was flawless in this.

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Emily Blunt as “The Bitch”, the woman who had the same groundhog day thing happen to her in a past battle. I’ve known her name, and have seen her cameo in Muppets, but am mostly unfamiliar with her work. She was pretty badass in this. I think she has a strong career ahead of her.

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Ah, Bill Paxton. This guy is like apple pie and meatloaf. Pure comfort food at this point. He has been in just about EVERYTHING for the last 20+ years, and that’s okay. He is always great. He was particularly perfect in this film as Cruise’s Commanding Officer.

I don’t know what it is, but Tom Cruise is on a Sci-Fi roll right now. Two of the better films of the genre in recent years featured Cruise- This, and Oblivion. It is a shame that this has not reached a wider audience in America. This should have been #1 at the box office, and a major hit. A great movie.

Comix this week 07/02/2014

In the late 90’s, a group of friends were avid comic book readers. Every Wednesday, we would pick up our comics, read them, and share quick reviews with each other. It was fun and we did it pretty much every week from 1996 to 2005. Eventually, we tapered off, some stopped reading, some of us lost touch with one another. As this blog has grown over the last 4 years, I feel a need to write more things for all of you to read. So, Comix this week is reborn. As with my movie reviews, this is not comprehensive. I cannot afford to read every comic, nor will I illegally download them, I respect the artists and writers too much for that. Every week there will be a “pick of the week”.

I use cover images in my reviews. These images are from various comic companies, such as Marvel, DC, and Image in today’s case. They own this stuff. I do this for fun, not money. Enjoy.

March 26, 2014

 

 East of West 13

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Death battles the Texas Rangers dudes as the Indians prepare for War.

Captain America 22

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Steve Rogers is depowered and is his real age of around 90 years old. At his weakest moment, Dr Zola leads his army to Earth and joins with the Red Skull to conquer!

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Original Sin 5

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The secrets of Nick Fury are FINALLY revealed. While is Life Model Decoys were on Earth fighting with the Avengers, he was actually an old man living on a spaceship! He has spent the last several decades defending Earth from Alien attack! A great issue. I was not expecting this quality from Original Sin. Let’s see if they can end the series with something spectacular.