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    Reviews by Ammar Al Subahi

    Punisher: War Zone #2

    Publisher: Marvel
    Writer: Greg Rucka
    Artist: Carmine Di Giandomenico
    Colors: Matt Hollingsworth

    Rating: 2/5

    Premise: Having realized that the Black Widow is after him, the Punisher leads her on a wild goose chase all over the world.

    Part two of what is essentially Punisher vs the Avengers. And I'm going to be very brief: this was rather 'meh' and pretty lacklustre. This issue we follow Black Widow as she chases Punisher all around the world, following his murderous tracks, until she finally catches up with him in central Africa. A big chase leading to nothing, really, as Punisher manages to shake her off his tail.

    Artwise this issue was pretty nice, specifically so during the more colourful locations. But pretty art doesn't make up for what essentially is an unnecessary filler-issue. As a one-shot this would've been okay, but this is the second part of something bigger than that and we only have three issue left.

    Hopefully things pick up next issue.

    Sword of Sorcery #2

    Publisher: DC
    Writer: Christy Marx & Tony Bedard (back-up)
    Artist: Aaron Lopresti & Jesus Saiz (back-up)
    Colourist: Hi-Fi & Brian Reber (back-up)

    Rating: 2/5

    Premise: Amaya begins to learn more about her origin and what it means to be a princess of the house of Amethyst + Beowulf squares off with the foul monster called Grendel.

    So last issue we were cast in to a world of myths and magic just as clueless as our main character; a 16-year old girl named Amaya who finds out she's actually the princess of a mighty faction in a Game of Thrones-like world of fantasy (but with more colours). And this issue we get exposition dump after exposition dump until something finally happens.

    And that's it, really. There's a lot of talking here. The only genuine conflict here is two pages long which is a sub-plot regarding the House of Diamonds. This was sadly an extremely boring issue, and the only thing that made it worth the effort of reading it was the art, which excels yet again but feels almost wasted on such a slow issue as this.

    The back-up storyline at least progresses this issue. But even that one felt fairly lackluster. Mostly I think it's because the confrontation between Beowulf and Grendel felt poorly staged, or perhaps my bitterness over the main storyline takes it on this one as well. Either way, the back-up was definitely better in this issue.

    Very disappointing issue. Let's hope this was a fluke.

    Thor: God of Thunder #1 - #2

    Publisher: Marvel
    Writer: Jason Aaron
    Artist: Esad Ribic
    Colors: Dean White (issue #1) & Ive Svorcina (issue #2)

    Rating: 4/5

    Premise: Someone is butchering gods indiscriminately, and that someone is about to face the wrath of Thor.

    So I'm lagging behind with the Marvel Now stuff and I saw that this had already gone to its second issue. So I decided to review them as one issue instead of doing them separately.

    Thor: God of Thunder is set in the present, the past, and the future. And the one thing every timeline has in common is that gods from different cultures and pantheons keep dropping like flies. And as Thor sets out to investigate this matter, he comes face to face with Gorr The God Butcher!

    Okay, aside from Gorr's rather ridiculous Voldemort inspired design, I thought this was one of the better reads of Marvel Now. Aaron has a good grip on the character and his evolution: brash and overconfident as a youngster, more mature but still a little bit short tempered as an adult, and battle hardened and cynical as an old man. The focus on the younger incarnation and the dark fantasy aspect of the mythos I feel is a very welcome one.

    And artist Esad Ribic is more than competent enough to capitalize on that fantasy touch. And I especially like the way he conveys the boastfulness and arrogance of a younger Thor which he contrasts in his later portrayals of a more mature Thor. The colouring is really key to this as well: it perfectly catches the chilly and barren atmosphere of the landscape and the mood of the story. And while each issue has a different colourist assigned, this untrained reviewer couldn't catch any significant difference.

    A great fantasy ride and introduction to Thor of which fans of the movie should feel at home with.