Rob Thomas's Comic Reviews

Reviewer For: Geeked Out Nation Reviews: 26
7.8Avg. Review Rating

8.8
All-New Ghost Rider #1

Mar 27, 2014

All-New Ghost Rider is barely past the starting line, but already my feelings of suspicion and wariness are giving way to optimism. In Robbie Reyes I feel like we may have a potentially worthy successor to Johnny Blaze's legacy. Both are thrill-seeking rebels who find solace in the purr of a revved-up engine. Both end up in their respective, character-defining crucibles due to their desire to save family. And I have to admit I love the nod to Blaze's classic outfit in the flap-fronted leather jacket. And while this raises questions of how this new Ghost Rider is related to the Blaze/Zarathos Rider currently palling around with the Thunderbolts, hopefully we'll find out soon enough. Alright, guys. You have my attention. Let's just hope you can navigate the curves ahead.

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9.0
All-New Ghost Rider #2

Apr 12, 2014

All-New Ghost Rider has one more issue to go before it passes the "Three Episode Test" that I subject all new releases to. However, I think it's safe to say at this point that I'm probably going to be sticking with this one. I still have plenty of unanswered questions"How did Grumpy get his hands on a haunted car? What exactly IS the force possessing Robbie?"but I'm willing to sit back and go for the action-packed, white-knuckle ride that Smith and Moore are taking us on. Don't forget to buckle your seatbelts, kids.

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7.3
All-New Ghost Rider #3

May 17, 2014

As I mentioned before, despite this issue having plenty of action and a fair touch of exposition, it still feels like things don't progress all that far, story-wise. I'm sure the usual decompressed, “writing for the trade” pacing is partially to blame. And I really wouldn't want to see Moore forgo his big fat panels full of action and Val Staples' bright colors for a tighter, more compact presentation (which would require a more substantial script from Smith, to begin with). I suppose this is just that inevitable middle section of any six issue storyline where things shift into cruise control for a while. Damn it! I said I was going to lay off the car puns!

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7.8
All-New Ghost Rider #4

Jun 28, 2014

Storyline pacing issues notwithstanding, All-New Ghost Rider #4 is a solid enough continuation of the Robbie Reyes origin story, but there are times where he almost feels like he's taking a back seat in his own narrative. So much of this arc's focus has been on the villains when we should still be getting to know him and his history. Maybe that will come during whatever follows "Engines of Vengeance," but for now, the Rider keeps on riding.

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5.0
Captain America (2012) #16.NOW

Feb 9, 2014

I'm truly glad to see Jet Black getting more page time. I was initially worried that she would slip into the background in the wake of "Dimension Z" and eventually disappear. And while I have big hopes to see what Mr. Remender does with her role in Cap's cast of supporting characters (especially that sneaking suspicion that she may be positioned as a possible love interest somewhere down the road), this issue feels like a missed step to me. A serviceable story (at best), filled with suspect motivations, unclear connections to a new arc, a whole lot of messed-up art and an ending that leaves us wondering just what the hell actually happened. We know you have the ability to do better in you, Rick. And while we feel we deserve to see it, even more so than us, Jet deserves to live it.

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7.5
Captain America (2012) #17

Feb 22, 2014

Drawing obvious inspiration, down to his thin-lipped visage, from countercultural icon Timothy Leary, Mindbubble feels like the kind of kitschy character that we would have seen Marvel experimenting with in the 1970s or perhaps even into the early 80s. His foppish attire, complete with candy cane-striped walking stick, feels incongruous with the modern era, while not exactly connecting with the zeitgeist of the period he's supposed to hail from either. He's an odd bird, to say the least. And while I'm sure that's intentional, it makes it difficult to sort out my feelings about the character. At the very least, he needs to ditch Arcade's old tailor.

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8.0
Captain America (2012) #19

Apr 2, 2014

While I wouldn't say reading Remender's Winter Soldier series is required to appreciate Captain America #19, or this arc in general, I do want to go back and re-analyze that first issue again now that I'm paying full attention to what will probably foreshadow Ran Shen's disillusionment with and eventual fall from grace from S.H.I.E.L.D. Still, this issue is a solid entry in the current storyline, which is rapidly starting to heat up.

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7.7
Guardians of the Galaxy (2013) #10

Jan 12, 2014

Next issue brings the start of a crossover with another Bendis title, All-New X-Men, and before long, we'll be seeing two new additions to the team in the form of Captain Marvel and Agent Venom. In the meantime, this issue serves as a decent palate cleanser and a nice twist on the "Girls Night Out" theme. It's an enjoyable enough read, but certainly not the best place for new readers to jump on. But hopefully crossing over into the X-Verse in the coming months will draw some new eyes over to Guardians of the Galaxy; anything that increases their exposure and potentially drags new converts out to the movies this August is more than fine with me.

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8.0
Guardians of the Galaxy (2013) #13

Mar 28, 2014

At the end of the day, we're left with a crossover that, while it didn't completely satisfy me, at least shook up the status quo a bit, which is more than I can say a lot of the time. Too often crossovers like this return absolutely nothing in the end, but this one doesn't appear as if it will be free of repercussions. But after this month, the X-Men return to their book and the Guardians of the Galaxy to theirs, though Bendis has left the door open for future crossovers in the form of Star-Lord and Kitty's flirtatious parting. Hopefully each team will get a bit of time to breathe on their own before this happens again, however. The Guardians definitely need it.

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8.0
Guardians of the Galaxy (2013) #14

Apr 26, 2014

While none of the three stories featured in this issue are any great shakes unto themselves, taken as a whole, this anniversary issue packs in a fair bit of content into its forty pages. It's also nice to see Abnett and Lanning touching on the universe of these characters they helped mold, even if they aren't working together anymore. Guardians of the Galaxy #14 also serves as a decent (albeit pricey) jumping-on point for anyone who has missed the previous year's worth of issues. Considering half of those were either Trial of Jean Grey or Infinity crossovers, new readers could pick up here and not feel like they've honestly missed that much. With the movie looming on the horizon, let's see where Bendis goes with the Guardians in Year Two.

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5.3
Guardians of the Galaxy (2013) #16

Jun 28, 2014

With the Guardians of the Galaxy movie's impending release looming just over a month from now, Marvel needs to have strong team helming this book for the trickle of new readers that will inevitably be crossing over after they leave the theater, and not the scattered, fragmented mess we currently have. Throwing some Avengers on the team is a nice nod toward trying to tie the space-bound and terrestrial super-powered worlds together and honestly, I think Captain Marvel is a great addition. But it says a lot about the creative team currently running this ship when the Guardians were better written and more engaging when they were guest starring in Carol's solo title than in their own home book. Hell, Kelly Sue DeConnick turned Avengers Assemble from a shameless movie-inspired snooze into one of the better Avengers books in recent memory. Is she too busy to take on another book?

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5.8
Guardians of the Galaxy (2013) #17

Aug 2, 2014

But between Legendary Star-Lord and Rocket Raccoon now on the shelves, we clearly have no shortage of writers willing to handle Guardians-related properties these days. Marvel needs to right the ship and get a writer on Guardians who has a clear vision and direction for the team before they let this opportunity slip past them. With next issue teasing resolution for the Cancerverse/Richard Rider Nova storyline that ended the original Guardians run as a tie-in to Original Sin, I shudder a bit to think of how things could potentially be messed up. Here's hoping I'm wrong.

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4.0
Guardians of the Galaxy: Galaxy's Most Wanted #1

Jul 6, 2014

It's an unfortunate thing when the 30+ year old reprinted comic jammed into the back of your book is a more compelling read than your main feature. It's a strange choice, but then again, Guardians of the Galaxy: Galaxy's Most Wanted just all around smells of poorly made decisions on the part of Marvel's marketing department. Let's just hope the critical acclaim surrounding Rocket Raccoon #1 doesn't lead to them over-saturating the market with the furry little guy in the hopes of banking on him being the next breakout movie star.

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8.4
Inhuman #1

Apr 5, 2014

Provided it doesn't ultimately turn into an episodic affair of "let's chase the bad guy around the globe" each month, Inhuman #1 shows a lot of potential. In not focusing solely on the existing Inhuman royalty, Marvel has opened the door for a lot of different storytelling opportunities. If Charles Soule can stick the landing, however, remains to be seen. It may not be the Game of Thrones-esque epic of intrigue and politics that was rumored to be Fraction's direction for the series, but it's far too early to dismiss this as merely a rushed, half-hearted replacement. If nothing else, I'll be back next month for more of Joe Mad's gorgeous artwork. I suggest you do the same.

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7.8
Justice League United #0

Apr 24, 2014

With its eclectic lineup of mismatched characters and co-focus on the DC's cosmic aspects, the Justice League United team feels like a DCU mash-up of The Defenders and Guardians of the Galaxy. Seeing as I happen to be huge fans of both of those teams, I'm keeping my fingers crossed that Lemire can keep the action hot, the story flowing and the banter witty. It could end up collapsing under the weight of the premise's ambition, but I remain cautiously optimistic.

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8.0
Legendary Star-Lord #1

Jul 5, 2014

With the cliffhanger issue ending teasing yet more family drama for Peter Quill, I'm left pleasantly surprised by how happy I was with Legendary Star-Lord #1. Initially, I feared we were looking at just another hasty, thrown-together movie cash-in, but even if that was the initial premise, the final product delivers a decent enough level of quality that I hope we get to see this series go other places once the hype of the movie has died down. I've always been a huge Cosmic Marvel fan and the renewed interest in this sector that the movie has brought sits very well with me.

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8.6
Legendary Star-Lord #2

Aug 9, 2014

There's not really much to dislike about this issue. The Sarlacc pit-with-the-serial-numbers-filed-off monster was a bit uninspired, though even it had a bit of a twist to it (which itself felt inspired a touch by Empire Strikes Back in a weird bit of cross-pollinated reference-lifting). Meanwhile, Humphries does a bit more to expand the cast of the Cosmic Marvel universe by tossing some new players into the mix, both in the form of Star-Lord's sister as well as a new, mysterious underworld player in Mister Knife. Overall, Legendary Star-Lord #2 actually elevated itself above the series' first issue, which is a rare feat in and of itself. With the main Guardians of the Galaxy book barely treading water, at least we have two good solo series to keep the quality level up for these characters.

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7.9
New Avengers (2013) #14

Feb 9, 2014

Jonathan Hickman's New Avengers may not be a flavor that suits your palate. It may be too dry for many. He doesn't do rapid-fire patter like Bendis, or write relatable folks who feel like your friends the way DeConnick might. He doesn't grant you easy access to his worlds and he certainly doesn't hold your hand. But provided you're okay with that, he can take you on some very interesting journeys.

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6.9
Nightcrawler (2014) #1

Apr 9, 2014

Both the art and the writing have an old school sensibility about them. But while Nauck's classic references feel reverently nostalgic, Claremont's feel sadly regressive. I worry that in his years away from regular comic work, his skills may have atrophied a bit. Characterization was the biggest hallmark of his decade and a half run on Uncanny X-Men, but it feels lacking here. I'm willing to stick it out for a few more issues in hopes that Claremont BAMFs off the rust and gives us the Nightcrawler adventure that we've been waiting years to see. Kurt has endured a few crises of faith in his lifetime; let's hope I can do the same.

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10
Rocket Raccoon #1

Jul 2, 2014

My face was a broad, constant smile as I eagerly devoured Rocket Raccoon #1. That's not something I can say about many other books in recent memory, much less the first issue of a brand new series. Skottie Young has brought back something that's been desperately missing from too many books published by the Big Two these days: fun. Good, simple, enjoyable fun. Rocket Raccoon #1 hits so many sweet spots, it's actually kind of sickening. It's light without being fluffy pap. It's cute without being twee. It's effortlessly funny without feeling forced or relying on cheap yuks. It's the kind of zany, madcap, cartoony space romp we've wanted for years without even realizing it. My recommendation for this could not be any higher. Sleep on this one and it's your own loss.

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9.5
Rocket Raccoon #2

Aug 9, 2014

So does Rocket Raccoon #2 hold a candle to its debut? For the most part, for the most part, yes–it totally does. The first half of the story (up through the prison break sequence) felt much more entertaining than what followed, but Skottie Young only taps the brakes gently here. Clearly, by the end of the issue, he's stomping the accelerator again, sending us careening into yet-another out-of-control scenario. Next issue finds Rocket, Groot, and company facing down the Ex-Armada and I, for one, cannot wait. Kudos, Skottie. Kudos, Marvel.

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9.0
Skinned #1

Apr 17, 2014

Skinned still wears that fresh, gooey caul of first issue mystery. We don't yet know enough about these characters or the world they inhabit, but we have plenty of questions. What's a Life-Extra and why are the common folk auditioning for the dubious privilege of being one? What are the origins behind IRIS and Occupeye? And just what led to its eventual ubiquitous adoption? Daniel, Holt and Gowdy have set the stage for what could well be the next breakout hit of the indie comic scene. Be sure to keep your eyes on this one.

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7.0
Skinned #2

Jun 21, 2014

Skinned #2 isn't a bad offering, by any means; it's just a bit slow in terms of progress after such a stellar opening. We do have some unanswered questions raised by this issue, of course. Why did Shuda decide to help? What's going on with IRIS? Where is Aldair? And whose blood was that? Issue #3 seems primed to ratchet the story back up and maybe finally give us some needed detail on the world or these characters along with a dose of drama. The premise alone makes Skinned one of this year's potentially huge sleeper hits and I desperately hope that this is just the calm before Holt, Daniel and Gowdy unleash the storm.

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10
The Wicked + The Divine #1

Jun 20, 2014

While I felt Young Avengers started started strong out of the gate, by the end the magic had kind of fizzled a bit for me. On the other hand, most of Gillen's other recent works have ranged from pretty good (Uncanny X-Men, Iron Man) to utterly enthralling (Uber, Journey Into Mystery). Clearly he has the chops to handle the sort of ride he and McKelvie are promising with The Wicked + The Divine, if not knock it clean out of the park, and the first issue is one of the most instantly magnetic things I've read this year. While I'm not expecting a let-down, I do feel these guys are going to be hard-pressed to maintain this level of quality for the long term. But I'm optimistic for now. I'm going to be over here now, saying a little prayer and, like Leonard Cohen sang, "waiting for the miracle to come."

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8.0
Thor: God of Thunder #19.NOW

Feb 15, 2014

Thor: God of Thunder #19 serves as a fairly good jumping-on for new readers. It builds off of most of what Jason Aaron has penned for the series to date, but at no point is it required reading (though I would still recommend issue 12, if you can find it). And while the time-split narrative is territory Aaron has already tread before, we'll have to wait an issue or two to see how the parallel stories play out before rendering judgment on it. As it stands, "The Last Days of Midgard" #1 looks to be a solid start to a new chapter.

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9.5
X-Force (2014) #5

May 17, 2014

If they're still available locally (for those of you who don't roll digital) I'd recommend tracking down all of Spurrier's current X-Force run, as this is not the place for new readers jumping on. Indeed, this issue's impact is totally spoiled without reading the run-up to it. Still, Spurrier is rapidly reenforcing his position as Marvel's go-to guy for making mothballed characters shine for a new era.

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