‘Avengers #34: The Age of Khonshu Part Two’ review

Moon Knight may be done causing trouble for the Avengers (for now), but the imminent threat to the Earth still lingers. Whoever Moon Knight is preparing to face must be quite intimidating considering what he had to go through in the last issue. Spoilers for Avengers #33 ahead.

Avengers #34 opens with Moon Knight fighting other followers of Khonshu to converse with the Egyptian moon god. Upon reaching Khonshu, the god appears scared out of his mind as he is tormented by an evil presence. This presence is Mephisto, the hell-spawn himself. We know not what Khonshu foresaw Mephisto doing, but whatever it is warranted Moon Knight defeating multiple Avengers and taking their powers for himself. With the combined powers of the Iron Fist, Sorcerer Supreme, Spirit of Vengence and Mjolnir, Moon Knight is a force to be reckoned with.

Moon Knight and Khonshu meeting with Mephisto in Avengers #34

After the amazing showcase of Moon Knight’s resourcefulness in Avengers #33, writer Jason Aaron takes a step back and focuses more on Marc Spector’s inner conflict. Moon Knight’s conversation with Black Panther shows the horrors Spector has witnessed thanks to Khonshu. The fear on T’Challa’s face when he sees Spector’s eyes exemplifies this. Moon Knight’s constant inner-turmoil seems to have been relinquished to change the fate of the world. His determination has led him to Mephisto, but will he be able to stand toe-to-toe with the devil himself?

Moon Knight interrogating Black Panther in Avengers #34

Artist Javier Garron is doing Khonshu’s work with his presentation of Moon Knight’s brute-force style of fighting. Even with the mystical powers of Doctor Strange at his fingertips, our loony moony boy still chooses to go the more direct method, albeit in a more over-the-top fashion. This comic does not shy away from how relentless Moon Knight can be in a fight, which is represented flawlessly in his fight against Mephisto. Jason Keith’s color work burns brilliantly throughout the comic, mostly due to the intense flames of the Spirit of Vengence’s hellfire and Mephisto’s pyrokinesis.

Avengers #34 is a deep dive into Moon Knight’s headspace, with most of its pages spent explaining his motivation in the previous issue. Marc Spector is a broken man. Jason Aaron presents the mental war being fought between Spector and Khonshu in a more shallow way compared to other writers, but it never feels out of place. Seeing Khonshu terrified is genuinely frightening. Although, I would be scared of Mephisto too, even if I had all the powers of a god. This was a good second issue and I am excited to see how the other Avengers are going to deal with Moon Knight in the next issue.

Rating: 8/10

Buy the comic: https://www.comixology.com/Avengers-2018-34/digital-comic/844467?ref=c2VhcmNoL2luZGV4L2Rlc2t0b3Avc2xpZGVyTGlzdC9pdGVtU2xpZGVy

‘Empyre #1’ review

After 3 months of delays, Marvel’s biggest event of 2020 is here! Empyre is shaking up the fate of the Marvel universe over the next few weeks and it all starts with this first issue.

After their adventure at the Casino Cosmico in Empyre #0, the Fantastic Four discover a fleet of Skrull and Kree warships heading toward Earth. The Fantastic Four discover that Hulkling, a Kree-Skrull hybrid who is a former member of the Young Avengers, is the new leader of both the Kree and the Skrulls. They also learn that the two armies are planning an attack on their mutual enemy, the Cotati. The Cotati are residing on the Earth’s Moon, forcing the Avengers involvement in the imminent conflict.

The Fantastic Four discovering Kree-Skrull ships heading towards Earth in Empyre #1

Written by Immortal Hulk writer Al Ewing and Fantastic Four writer Dan Slott, Empyre #1 begins with the Fantastic Four and the Avengers attempting to negotiate between the Kree-Skrull army and the Cotati. The negotiations do not go well, and a battle between the Kree-Skrull forces and the Avengers commences. Reed Richards (Mr. Fantastic) is staunchly against the conflict as he does not fully understand why the Kree and Skrulls see the Cotati as a threat.

Iron Man and the rest of the Avengers, consisting of Captain America, Captain Marvel, Black Panther, Thor, She-Hulk and Ghost Rider, believe the Cotati are a peaceful nature-loving people with no desire for war. Reed does not fully understand the Kree and the Skrulls’ distaste for the Cotati, but he believes there is a good reason for it. This disagreement, not just between the Kree-Skrull armada and the Cotati, but between the Fantastic Four and the Avengers, leads to a major conflict on the Moon.

Ghost Rider’s Ghost Quinjet in Empyre #1

The art throughout the conflict is great, providing a clear view of the battle’s size. Valerio Schiti’s artwork is dynamic, drawing focus to the grandness of the event with the wide panels showcasing the Kree-Skrull fleet or the page showing off the Ghost Quinjet in all its hellish glory. Most of that beautiful glory, though, is thanks to colorist Marte Gracia, who brings the beautiful colors of each character to life through their surroundings. The best example of this is the bright light that shines when Hulkling manages to deflect Mjolnir with his sword.

However, the action is not the main centerpiece of the issue. The moral conflict between each character is clearly represented through Schiti’s panels. The mixed perspectives within the pages of the Fantastic Four’s conversation with Hulkling paints the picture of a strong leader who will do anything for his people.

Super Skrull informing Hulking of the Fantastic Four’s unexpected arrival in Empyre #1

Empyre is an enthralling event. It is interesting to see the Kree and Skrull united, but it seems that the Avengers are on the wrong side for a change. The Cotati do not seem to be what the Avengers believe. The ending of this first issue sets the stage, not just for the event, but for the Marvel universe going forward. I am excited to see how much of an impact this event will have in Marvel’s ongoing series. One thing is for certain though, Slott and Ewing definitely know what they are doing.

Rating: 8.5/10

Buy the comic here: https://www.comixology.com/Empyre-2020-1-of-6-Directors-Cut/digital-comic/836669?ref=c2VyaWVzL3ZpZXcvZGVza3RvcC9ncmlkTGlzdC9SZWNlbnRBZGRpdGlvbnM

‘Dark Nights: Death Metal #2’ review

The craziness continues in DC Comics’ current event, Dark Nights: Death Metal. Major spoilers for the first issue of Dark Nights: Death Metal and Flash Forward ahead.

The second issue of Dark Knights: Death Metal begins shortly after the events of the first issue, with Wonder Woman, Wally West (now Dr. Manhattan) and Swamp Thing. After the death of the Batman Who Laughs, the evil Batmen across the Earth are left without a true leader. The issue sees the Justice League finally reunite with the Justice Society of America. The two superhero teams will have to join forces to stop Perpetua and rebuild the multiverse. The whole issue features lots of fun moments, such as seeing the bat-dinosaur again. However, there are also a whole slew of new Batmen including Batom (an amalgamation of Batman and the Atom) and Batmobeast (the Batmobile with Bruce’s mind inside).

Swamp Thing, Batmobeast, Wally West and Wonder Woman in Dark Nights: Death Metal #2

Getting to see the Justice Society in a comic again, especially Jay Garrick, was the highlight of the issue for me. Jay’s reunion with Wally nearly brought tears to my eyes. Wally is my favorite DC character, so seeing him in an event as big as Death Metal brings me joy. It is interesting that we have not seen Wally use any of Manhattan’s powers yet. Is writer Scott Snyder saving them for a more climatic moment in the later issues?

This issue is calmer than the first, focusing more on character interaction than bombastic action. Wonder Woman talking to Batman about his recklessness in the first issue felt very organic, especially considering the torture that the Batman Who Laughs and Perpetua put them through. Bruce does not take Diana’s words well, but luckily Swamp Thing and Wally are both there to calm the situation down.

Jay Garrick reuniting with Wally West in Dark Nights: Death Metal #2

The gothic-style character designs for Wonder Woman, Swamp Thing and Batman shine in this issue, especially with the dark backdrop of the Batcave. Greg Capullo’s designs fit the absurdity while still fitting the more serious tone of certain scenes. Jonathan Glapion’s inks and FCO Plascencia‚Äôs colors further add to the craziness presented within the issue and further define the personalities of each character, especially the villains. This is expressed particularly well in the jaw-dropping reveal at the end of the issue.

Dark Knights: Death Metal is gearing up to be the most ridiculously fun story DC Comics has told in years. I could not be more excited for the rest of this event, especially after that ending. I will not be getting off Snyder and Capullo’s wild ride anytime soon.

Rating: 8.5/10

Buy the comic here: https://www.comixology.com/Dark-Nights-Death-Metal-2020-2/digital-comic/875250