The New Mutants Movie.

NM1GNI’m not afraid to say it. When news initially broke of a New Mutants movie to spin off from the X-Men movies that FOX Studios has been doing – especially after the news that Cable would be slated for the second Deadpool movie; I was pretty sure what we were going to be looking at was the “X-Force” version of the New Mutants.

Much to my surprise, that is apparently not the case. The New Mutants spin off movie will include Danielle (Mirage), Sam (Cannonball), Roberto (Sunspot), Illyana (Magik), Rahne (Wolfsbane) and an alien (Warlock). So, of the original New Mutants line up, only Karma got the boot out of the movie (which is odd, since the movie talks about teenage angst; you’d think they could fit Karma in there, and the morally questions of seizing control of someone’s mind), and Illyana and Warlock (who joined later) will be in there instead.

NM87I am sincerely surprised that the movie wasn’t gearing up for Cable to take over the New Mutants after his appearance in the Deadpool movie and give us an X-Force movie. So I was half expecting the New Mutants cast to consist of Cannonball, Boom Boom, Rictor, Wolfsbane, Warpath and Shatterstar. Because if teenage angst is the focus, that group sure has plenty of it as well.

UXM160It’s interesting that they’re bringing Illyana into the New Mutants movie, as I am curious if they plan on tying it in with Colossus, who appeared in the X-Men movies (a few times, different actors), and also appeared (most notably, and the closest version to the true comic book Colossus) in Deadpool. Will Illyana be Colossus’ younger sister in the movie as well, or be completely separate? Will they even acknowledge Colossus in this movie, or are they going to treat it as it’s own entity? They’re calling it an X-Men spin off, but I am not entirely sure if they will tie the two together.

Magik_4And if they do bring Illyana into the movie (well, it’s not if, they already said they are) – I wonder if she’s going to have a correct origin? Will she be a magic user, because of the events she endured during Uncanny X-Men #160 (and further explained in Magik #1-4) or will she simply be a mutant who has magic like abilities (similar to The Scarlet Witch). Illyana’s entire fiasco in the Limbo realm could be an entire movie itself (and a damn good movie, if done right!), so it seems unlikely that her powers will be true to their comic book form. (Which is a shame, to me, at least, because Uncanny X-Men #160 is hailed as one of my favorite issues from the Uncanny X-Men run!)

The rest of the cast (Cannonball, Mirage, Sunspot, and Wolfsbane, all have fairly uncomplicated origins). Cannonball/Sam, is just a simple Kentucky boy. Mirage/Danielle is a Native American, young woman. Sunspot/Roberto is a rich, young Brazillian boy. And Wolfsbane/Rahne is a Scottish, heavily religious (she was originally, anyway) young girl with tons of insecurity issues.

NM64I will say that Warlock is an unusual addition to the movie cast of characters. So far, the X-Men franchise has shied away from referencing anything that has to do with aliens of any kind. All of their movies have always been about mutants, or humans vs mutants. No hint of any kind of aliens. So adding Warlock into the mix makes it a weird twist. It almost seems like it would have been a better route to go with Doug Ramsey, being a mutant (computer programmer who can build anything because he understands the language of computers; sort of close to what his mutant power is), building Warlock. (And who knows, perhaps Warlock will not be an alien, but rather a robotic construction like I am thinking).

NM16So next, one wonders – who will the New Mutants be battling? Well, other than the fact that the previous X-Men movie ruined Sebastian Shaw (don’t get me started – really, don’t…) I would hope that they battle someone along their own age group – and ideally, would bring them against the Hellions. It’d be great if the Hellions were from the Hellfire Club school and they were duking it out with Professor Xavier’s school students.

That way, it keeps the first movie, very level, very much on par with what you’d expect from a group of… New Mutants.

Now that I’ve said my peace (for now), the additional details are that Simon Kinberg will be producing the New Mutants movie. Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Webber who did The Fault in Our Stars and The Spectacular (neither of which I have seen) are writing the script for The New Mutants.

What are your thoughts? Excited? Worried?

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Until next time!
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Retro Review: Secret Defenders.

SD1It’s always an interesting voyage. Going back and reading comics that are quite a bit older, that you can swear up and down were “totally awesome comics.”

And so begins, the next Retro Review! Prepare yourself for a mystical adventure going back to 1993 when Marvel Comics gave us Secret Defenders.

Now, I was a huge fan of the original Defenders run, and unlike many, I actually also really enjoyed the New Defenders, as it was called (Defenders #121 or so, and after). The Defenders had come to an end early 1986, after a grand 152 issue run.

So when Marvel presented Secret Defenders, I remember being sincerely interested and super excited when I saw the cover of the first issue! It had Wolverine (which, granted in 1990’s he was everywhere – so why not be on the Secret Defenders book too, right? He was clearly the hook for the selling power). Because the cover also included Doctor Strange (naturally!), Nomad (who I was a really big fan of – read the previous Retro Review where I covered his limited series and series), Spider-Woman (who I loved from Secret Wars, then in West Coast Avengers), and Darkhawk (whom I was a big fan of – loved his original series, loved him in the New Warriors, and loved his guest appearance, also in West Coast Avengers). I thought this was going to be the team.

SD4But, not so much. As it turned out, the series had a number of short stories, with rotating characters, depending on who Doctor Strange’s Tarot cards said would be needed. Reason for concern? Well, not so much for me, initially. After all, the second issue had Sleepwalker (who I found interesting), Punisher (the selling point for this story arc), Doctor Strange, and my biggest “comic book crush” – Namorita. So how could it go wrong?

Well, because the stories were all indeed “short stories” – lasting anywhere from two to three issues only, you don’t get a lot of development. The formula seemed to be:

  1. Doctor Strange summons the random team of heroes together.
    1. At least one of them is always upset and not wanting to be a part of the team.
  2. First part of the story is the heroes adjusting and getting along in the face of the threat.
  3. Next issue is the heroes, at a point, where it seems like they can’t win.
  4. Third and final issue of the story arc, is some magical means that turns it all around, and the heroes prevail.

SD8Now, granted, the heroes should always prevail. But the problem is, after they prevail, they all went their separate ways, so you didn’t get to feel any real development with the heroes. And because the stories were always short stories, the villains were typically trivial, or completely made up for the “short story” itself, which loses some “Urmph!” to a “world changing event” that Doctor Strange needs to summon some heroes to do something to “save the world.” You don’t feel like the world’s in all that much danger when the villains are made up for that story; because you can pretty much bet, that no matter what, that villain is not going to pull one over on the heroes.

SD12Even the letters column of the book pointed out the relatively weak story telling, and the lack of development, and the heroes always winning in the same formula. I thought it was pretty cool that Marvel was printing both praises, and negative comments in their letter column for the book. (The rest of the letters were recommendations as to who they’d like to see appear as a “team” in the book). So Marvel took a different approach come issue #12 – rather than Doctor Strange summoning up heroes, it was actually Thanos who summoned up a group of villains to do his bidding; this included Rhino, Super Skrull, Nitro and Titanium Man. I thought this was a great twist, because we always see the point of view from the heroes; comics were always about heroes doing heroic things. But this gave us a glimpse at villains, their motives, and how they interacted with one another. (Naturally, Thanos betrays them all by the end, but who didn’t see that coming?)

SD15But that didn’t last long. It lasted two or three issues (what a surprise!). But when it returned to the focus being on heroes, it wasn’t Doctor Strange summoning heroes. No. The book takes a turn for the worse (in my own opinion). Doctor Strange bestows (curses) Doctor Anthony Druid (Doctor Druid) with precognitive powers, so that now he sees when bad things are coming down the magical pipeline. So, Doctor Druid (other than being a pretty horrible person, and a worse hero) had been redesigned from his actual, tolerable appearance of being a balding man with the “horse shoe” hair style, to a younger, buffer, stronger, thirty foot wearing pony tail version of himself.

How Doctor Druid USED to look before his horrid 90's Redesign to make him "marketable."

How Doctor Druid USED to look before his horrid 90’s Redesign to make him “marketable.”

So his first mission, he summons up Deadpool and Luke Cage. Now one thing that bothered me – so Luke Cage is hired to protect this museum from theft, right? So some people break in and are trying to steal a mystical item… and what’s Luke Cage do? He breaks through a wall in the museum. Then goes on about how he won’t let anyone steal from a place he’s been hired to protect – but apparently, him smashing through the museum’s wall was okay? I get that it’s dramatic, but it’s also bad story telling. But anyway – the bad guys get the magical thing, and make good of their escape. So now the heroes are chasing them down, and as a consequence of this woman using magic, she’s forced to drain the life of people – and enter stage right, the unfortunate soul of Cody. He’s killed by her lethal kiss, but as the magic flows all around, his body is reanimated and he adapts the “heroic name” of Cadavar, and what does he do? He rips out one of his own ribs, and it becomes a mystical sword. (I am not kidding you). Along with Doctor Druid’s team is a woman named Shadowoman (that’s not a typo – it’s Shadowoman – not Shadow Woman, but Shadowoman – with only one “w” in there).

SD16The book then tries to appease fans, who complained about a lack of “main stay” characters for the cast, but giving us Doctor Druid, Shadowoman, and Cadaver as main stay characters, with the always shady Doctor Druid, clearly displaying questionable motives (and acting completely horrid throughout his time as the team’s “leader”).

What I never understood about Shadowoman (that pains me to type) is that she was “dead” but alive (thanks to Doctor Druid’s questionable actions), but when she was out being a hero – she wore a costume similar to that of the original Spider-Woman. And while the original Spider-Woman’s name was Jessica Drew, Shadowoman’s name was Julia. It didn’t help that they both had long, flowing, black hair that was drawn very similar. None of this was ever explained.

Will the real Spider-Woman please stand up?

Will the real Spider-Woman please stand up?

Shadowoman would eventually learn what Doctor Druid did to her, and get a new name (Sepulchre) and get a major costume improvement (though, as a New Warriors fan, I found it sort of resembled Turbo’s costume; but nowhere near as much as the exact copy of Spider-Woman’s costume she wore as Shadowoman).

One of the more stranger moments of Secret Defenders to me, is the time that the writer for the series, seemed like they might have been out of ideas for the story; and needed to pull a random collection of heroes that were somewhat recognizable; but wasn’t sure how to do it…

SD23So what they did was break out an issue of the Marvel Universe Handbook (man, I loved those things! Still have them all!) and didn’t get any further than the letter “D” in the Marvel Universe Handbook as one team consisted of: Dagger, Deathlok and Drax the Destroyer. Now, I am a fan of Deathlok (his series may be one of the upcoming Retro Reviews I do), and loved Dagger (especially throughout her series with Cloak, and her appearances in New Warriors). Drax, at the time, I wasn’t exactly a fan of. He reminded me too much of the Hulk (back then, because he was still pretty brainless; and like Hulk, was all green, and like Hulk had purple for his choice of clothing colors).

SD22Another odd moment was the introduction of Joshua Pryce, who carried around with him, a head in a jar (that could speak to him). He was a part of a mystical band that recognized Doctor Druid as the real threat. But that’s normal right? Well, what’s odd (I don’t know if something changed in the story because the series was suddenly coming to an end) – but the head that Joshua carried with him, had abilities; and often killed people that helped them (like when they hitchiked and got a ride from a trucker; the head inside the jar blew up the truck, killing the driver; then it tried to kill a pregnant woman and her husband by dropping beams on them from a construction site)… and this is somehow supposed to be a hero? So I am not sure if something did change, but it was odd – that these two (or at least the head in the jar) would be concerned about the end of the world, when it’s doing it’s own killing spree along the way to find Doctor Druid.

SD25The series came to an end with issue #25, with the corrupted Doctor Druid defeated and restored (along with Cadavar and Sepulchre killed in the issue and restored in the issue). Sepulchre would eventually go on to make a few appearances (even recently), like trying to be a baby sitter for Luke Cage. Joshua Pryce joined the recent Howling Commandos led by Man Wolf. Cadaver, not sure if he ever resurfaced.

So with all of that summary said – let’s break down how I would rate this book.

 

STORY: C

Because of the rotating characters, it did make it hard to get a feel for any of the characters (even if you were familiar with them). In some cases, some of the characters were written worse than one shot guest appearances in a comic. And because, near the end, the team became about Doctor Druid, Shadowoman and Cadavar primarily; while it was nice to see them try to make a main stay cast; it was just three characters I cared nothing for.

ART: C

The artist changed every couple of stories it felt like, and over all, it seemed like a lot of artists on this book were just going through the motions. Sometimes the art was pretty good, sometimes, it wasn’t there at all. So the lack of consistency, makes me land this at an average score of “C.”

OVER ALL: C
Over all, with both story and art with a C – I’d say the book sits there. It’s cool to see some characters you enjoy doing something different than what they primarily did in their own titles or team books. But the stories were generally weak, making it hard to feel like you were really going to enjoy the experience.

Until next time!
– Uncanny Tawmis Logue

 

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Comic Relief Podcast – Issue #22 – Suicide Flawed (The Suicide Squad Episode)

SS_Banner_CRP_SIZEDWelcome to Issue #22 of the Comic Relief Podcast where this time we focus on the much debated Suicide Squad movie. We brought on our good friend, and special guest, Colleen Rodriguez to weigh in her thoughts and opinions. Oddly enough, it seems in so many regards, the three of us didn’t agree on a lot of aspects; where one or two of us might have liked something, the other didn’t; or where two of us thought the movie was okay, the other that it was pretty good (save for a few things). Despite frequently disagreeing with one another throughout the podcast, we managed to stay pretty civil (see folks, you can disagree and still be civil!)

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For those adoring fans who want to download and cherish the sound of our voices forever, can download Issue #22 – Suicide Flawed.

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The Wrath of Con. (Not Such An Original Title, As It Turns Out)…

01It’s been a few weeks now. A few weeks since San Diego’s population increased by several thousand; though in the heat of it all, it felt like several million.

I am, of course, talking about San Diego Comic Con 2016. San Diego Comic Con is a mad house, every single year.

While, I have complained for quite some time now that San Diego Comic Con stopped being a Comic Con many, many, many years ago – it still has that title. But if you go into San Diego Comic Con and you’re expecting to find a convention with comic books, you’re going to be sadly disappointed.

SDCC2016_01 (5)Still, that’s not to say that the San Diego Comic Con has done away with comics entirely, as a theme. But San Diego Comic Con has become more of a show that an actual comic book convention. The days of the San Diego Comic Convention being lined with comic book vendors is now over. Comic book vendors are squeezed into a very small area, taking up perhaps 5% of the Convention floor. The rest? It’s the Ritz and Blitz of of anything and everything else related to comic books; whether that’s enormous Marvel, DC and Image booths, with other companies such as Darkhorse and IDW among others, also having large booths, but no actual comics; just things to look at, and typically used as a stage to announce various comic book related shows, movies, DVDs, etc that are all coming out from said companies.

SDCC2016_01 (3)The artists are shoved, away from the comics and the major booths, into rows of tiny tables, that provide enough room – barely – for them to put their elbows on; and there’s so many tiny tables crammed together, that it’s insanely difficult to spot an artist you might be looking for.

And if you’re confined to staying in the Convention Center and not venturing into Downtown to hunt down your food; you’re limited to two food courts (maybe there was a third I am not aware of?). And seating? Yeah, you can forget about seating. At the food court downstairs, there’s about sixty tables SDCC2016_01 (1)(and that’s perhaps being generous), and upstairs, there’s like ten tables. The problem is, a lot of people also used that as a place to rest. Because the other option was sitting upstairs, outside – and in San Diego, other than Saturday, the temperature was typically 95 to 98 degrees… which is pretty freaking hot. So, we had found a spot between the stairs (where people can’t walk), but – even the very, very, very nice Security Woman who came by and told us, “Look, I know you’re not blocking any traffic because people can’t walk here, but the security team has asked me to come down and tell you to move. I know, it’s stupid. But I am just doing my job.” We put up no fight, and relocated to stand by the doors and just stand and eat.

SDCC2016_01 (8)Now that the San Diego Comic Con has grown well beyond just the convention center, and now not only includes outside behind the convention center, the side area of the convention center, across the street of the convention center, and now into several hotels – it would be nice to see that inside the Convention Center if they made more of an effort to expand where people could sit to eat their (slightly) over priced hotdogs and pizzas that they buy in the Convention Center. Maybe even dedicating one of the Convention Halls as a place to eat and/or rest. I think this would alleviate some of the problems I felt were an issue; like resting against a wall, and having Security come by every 3 seconds telling us to move, or to stand closer to the pillars, so we’re not blocking foot traffic. While I completely understand that they’re doing their job, keeping areas clear in the event of some emergency; having a place to rest, that wasn’t outside in the blistering heat, would be nice.

SDCC2016_01 (17)Now, while it certainly sounds like I did not have a good time; let me make it clear. I actually did. Surprisingly, I had a better day Saturday (which I have always viewed the “worse” day, because that’s when there seems to be the most people, so getting to anything seems literally impossible). But Saturday, other than that moment that the Suicide Squad cast came out at the DC booth, and the crowd imprisoned me between two immovable walls of people, with their arms up in their air, holding up their phones to record everything (and putting my nose at armpit level), I still managed to have a very good time Saturday. (Ironically, Sunday seemed to be more packed with people when it hit like 11am, to the point it became extremely difficult to move around, then having the Convention Security shouting in your ears, “Keep moving! Keep walking!” when you’re trying to do just that but can’t), was enough to shorten my stay on Sunday.

SDCC2016_01 (7)It was really cool on Saturday, seeing a bunch of cool Star Wars: Rogue One stuff… (there’s a lot more pictures on our Facebook page, see the link to the right and how to access the page!).

Also, while walking around, I took a quick tour through some of the Marvel booth (which was pretty packed with people, so it was a bit of a struggle to move), but I did manage to snap a photo with the Captain America shield, and also got to snap some photos of some action figures I am interested in being released… (Click the images for larger versions!)

And as luck would have it, I also managed to run into Colleen (Harley Quinn), Cindy (Poison Ivy) and Ace (Mrs. Freeze) doing their Rockabilly versions of these characters! (Click the images for larger versions!)

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Retro Review: Nomad (Limited Series & Series)

NOMAD_01LSIt’s no big secret. I am a fan of the obscure characters. And most often times, the more obscure a character is, the more I tend to like them. This is not to be “different” or “rage against the crowd” who enjoys the more popular characters. I think a lot of this has to do with the aspiring writer within me. If there’s an obscure character, there’s untapped potential to flesh out that character and tell some stories with them.

So when a (good) writer does this; I typically really enjoy the books. This is why I always looked back very fondly of the character Jack Monroe – better known as Nomad.

I am not going to go into the “backstory” of Jack Monroe; because it ties to Captain America – one of the Captain America’s anyway – when he had the name “Bucky” (not to be confused with the original Bucky, who was the side kick of Steve Rogers, better known as Captain America). Like I said, if you look too deep into his backstory, you’re going to end up with a convoluted headache.

However, writer Fabian Nicieza took Jack Monroe, after the events of Captain America, and having adopted the name “Nomad” (and apparently growing his hair out – a lot). It started with a four issue limited series of Nomad, and it essentially tells about how Jack Monroe has struck out on his own – become his own man, away from the shadow of Captain America. He “adopts” (well, technically, kidnaps if you really look at it) a baby, infant girl and gives her the name “Bucky” (granted the woman he took her from was a prostitute and a drug addict).

NOMAD_01SDuring the time of the comic, I never questioned the idea of Jack Monroe hauling baby Bucky around and dragging her into trouble. (There were times where he had made several underground contacts and would leave Baby Bucky in the hands of people he trusted – well, as much as Jack Monroe trusted anyone anyway).

The original series started off very strong. It tackled a number of real life events head on, and didn’t shy away from it – whether it was drug addiction, the battle (and fear) that was so wide spread (due to a lot of lack of information) about HIV and AIDS, and racism (among other subjects). The book did not shy away from this wandering warrior taking on odd jobs that had him dealing with an assortment of things.

NOMAD_05In the beginning; the series also featured a wide assortment of guest stars ranging from The Punisher, Deadpool, Daredevil, Red Wolf and Gambit. However, as the series progressed, there were fewer and fewer guest stars (which I always felt was a shame; because here you have this character essentially traveling across the United States; it seemed like there was an endless pool of character for Jack to run into, and team up with, or be at odds with).

As the series went on, a new artist by the name of Rick Mays became the regular artist. And it’s true that an artist helps tell the story that the writer is telling. For me, I was not a fan of Rick Mays art style; and I felt because of that, the story (for me) began to suffer.

NOMAD_15However, I’d never say I hated the book. The ending got to be a little rushed – but that could be because around issue #21 or #22, they had announced that issue #25 was going to be the final issue.

And here’s where memory is always a little foggy; I had complained that Winter Soldier killed Jack Monroe and never suffered any consequences because he was “brain washed” and not of his own mind. However, in issue #25 of Nomad, Jack Monroe guns down and kills about sixty white supremacists. Now, granted – no one likes a white supremacists; but to openly gun them down? In the end, Jack Monroe blows himself up (and many others) in order to stop an event from unfolding; and while it appears he dies in the explosion; he’s found, barely breathing and re-enters suspended animation once more to preserve his life.

He would eventually re-appear, now mind controlled himself, as Scourge in the pages of Thunderbolts – but that’s a Retro Review for another time.

All together, I’d give it the following rankings judging the entire series:

NOMAD_16Story: B+
The story was typically quite engaging and cutting edge for its time. Fabian was not afraid to push the stories to the edge and deal with real world problems through the comic. There was even some editorial debates; because he had apparently planned on giving Nomad HIV, but the editors were against it.

Art: C
Most of the art throughout the series was pretty good (though it was frequently chalk full of very 80’s women – hey, the comic was made back then – with some voluptuous ladies to fill the pages). But hey, a renegade on the road; whose best friends were sometimes prostitutes, what can you expect? Artist Rick Mays, as I said, wasn’t one I enjoyed. He’s not a bad artist by any stretch of the imagination; just didn’t think it worked well with this book.

Over All: B
The stories were mostly spot on; the art tended to be good (even when it wasn’t my style, with the exception of a few panels that made me cringe).

This Retro Review is brought to you by Tawmis Logue!

 

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Comic Catch Up!

captain-marvel-a5d31Captain Marvel (2016) Vol. 1: Rise of the Alpha Flight

Written by Michele Fazekas and Tara Butters

Art by Kris Anka and Felipe Smith

Colors by Matthew Wilson

Fan favorite Carol Danvers is back in her 6th solo series as Captain Marvel. This time around, Captain Marvel receives the Hollywood treatment by Agent Carter show runners, Michele Fazekas and Tara Butters. The level of quality shows in this great sci-fi story that could have easily been written for television.

Story: A

Carol Danvers has taken the assignment of Commanding Officer on board the new low-orbit space station, Alpha Flight. Accompanied by none other than Puck, Sasquatch and Aurora of the Canadian super team (you guessed it) Alpha Flight. Abigail Brand, ex-commander of S.W.O.R.D.’s low orbit space, The Peak, is her second in command.  Carol, as head of the New Alpha Flight along with Abigail Brand are earth’s first line of defense against extra terrestrial attacks.   I have to admit (and Tawmis will testify to this) I have never been a big fan of Alpha Flight but what I am a huge fan of is good writers doing justice to lesser known characters.  Fazekas and Butters do just that.

Captain Marvel’s new appointment as the Space Station commander gets off to a pretty mundane start. Contract disputes with the station janitors and day to day tasks leave Danvers a bit disillusioned, that is, until she discovers a mysterious ghost ship drifting towards Earth. With the help of Alpha Flight, Captain Marvel boards the ghost ship and accidentally activates the ship’s power while on board, triggering a full on attack.

Alpha Flight fends off the attack but not without a few consequences. Captain Marvel’s powers have been depleted and she begins having visions of the memories of Mar-Vell, the Kree Soldier from which Danver’s powers were derived from.  The crew learns that the ghost ship is somehow causing Captain Marvel’s issues and decide to completely destroy it as opposed to researching and exploring it. That plan is quickly interrupted when a second ship, similar to the first,  approaches with a live crew, hell bent on destroying Captain Marvel.

Art: B

Captain Marvel’s art is very clean. The space station Hala Star design looks great . Alpha Flight crew’s uniforms are a nice bland of the Canadian team’s north star design mixed with Captain Marvel’s Hala Star.  The spaceship’s Alpha Flight rides are remeniscint of the Nova Corp ships used in the Guardians of the Galaxy movie. I’m a sucker for clean art lines, what can I say.

Overall:A

Captain Marvel has been my favorite character of the Marvel Now era.  Add great story-telling, clean art and the return of a classic team make this book a recommended pick up. Marvel is making a big push towards empowered female characters and Captain Marvel is the poster child for this generation of super heroines and as the co-lead in Marvel’s current summer crossover event, Civil War II. Captain Marvel is smart, funny, strong and grounded. Hopefully, this character’s personality traits translate well in her future movie. When it does, I will be at the premiere wearing my Carol Corp t-shirt. 

 

41zYlQCG7HL._SX327_BO1,204,203,200_East of West Vol. 1

Written by Jonathan Hickman

Art by Nick Dragotta

Colors by Frank Martin

Imagine if the American Civil War never ended and to this very day, the fighting between the American Union and Confederate states raged on. Another dystopian mashup done incredibly well brought to us by the good people at Image comics. Saga brought us a sci-fi / fantasy mashup, Lazarus introduces us to a post apocalyptic future with a feudal twist and now East of West brings sci-fi to the old west (to be fair, East of West pre dates Lazarus by three years but you get the picture).  The apocalypse is here, the 4 four horsemen have arrived and our only hope is…..love.  

Story: A

East of West is set in present day America with a dystopian western sci-fi twist. The world is on the eve of the apocalypse and the four horseman are poised to usher in end times.  The world’s imminent doom is staved off only by the power of love, the sting of betrayal and the wrath of revenge. Death, while embarked on fulfilling his prophetic duty, falls in love and has son with the daughter of the Chinese Chairman and patriarchal leader, Mao Zedong. The other horsemen don’t approve of Death’s behavior one bit. Famine, War, and Pestilence betray death by capturing and enslaving Death’s baby’s momma,  killing the newborn (called “The Beast”)and then…. something happens that kills the horsemen. That “something” has yet to be explained at this point in the story,  but War, Famine and Pestilence are resurrected 10 years later as children – Death lives.

Art: A

Nick Dragotta’s art and style is simply amazing. Feels like a steampunk version of The Good, The Bad and The Ugly….but you know, just good. The lines are clean (my favorite),  the characters look cool as hell and the colors contrast perfectly with the characters.

Overall: A

The characters have their own unique style, the settings look old west and worn and the vehicles are a nice blend of futuristic rugged western. Like the books mentioned in the intro of this review, East of West has a very unique style all of it’s own. The story and art are rich and layered. I highly recommend this book to anybody looking to try a story outside the big 2. You will not be disappointed. 

 

Maico M. Moreno

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Marvel NOW! Again… So Marvel Now Redux. (Part Three)

Marvel_NOW_catalog_61Now we head into the third round! Coming up we have The Clone Conspiracy – I can’t imagine this is going to be an ongoing series. Dan Slott typically handles Spider-Man very well. So I may pick this up and see what’s up with this cover. I am not sure who it is on the cover (other than Spider-Man) – it looks like an Anubis head (but it also looks like a Jackal, which would make sense with the title of this book – but, let’s be real – did we need another Spider-Man related book?) Creative team is: • The Clone Conspiracy #1 by Dan Slott, Christos Gage & Giuseppe Camuncoli

 

Marvel_NOW_catalog_62Speaking of Spider-Man related books, we have Silk. I’ve not been an over all fan of the influx of female Spider-Man related characters; Silk was fine, then we got Spider-Gwen, which – was that really needed? (Wasn’t a Gwenpool enough?) Anyway, I’ve not been picking up this book. I’ve not even heard if it’s good or bad. The creative team is: • Silk #13 by Robbie Thompson & Tana Ford

Marvel_NOW_catalog_63Up next we have Prowler – and if the cover is any indication, it looks to be a new Prowler. It looks like a much younger version than the original Prowler. I admit I am curious why Marvel would be pushing this character – of all the characters they have. So I may peek at this and see what the story is about. Again, this has to do with learning more about villains. Curious if they’re going to make – what I assume is this new Prowler – a hero? The creative team: • Prowler #1 by Sean Ryan & Jamal Campbell

Marvel_NOW_catalog_64And then there’s… this… Spider-Gwen. I know a lot of people love her. I see her cosplayed so much as Conventions. And I am happy that people are able to connect to this character. I’ve never been able to get into it. Creative team is • Spider-Gwen #15 by Jason Latour & Robbi Rodriguez

Marvel_NOW_catalog_65Which flows right into the next book which is Spider-Man (with Miles) who appears to have a relationship with Spider-Gwen. (And here we are with yet another duplicated hero – with Peter calling himself Spider-Man, Miles calling himself Spider-Man, and even Miguel from Spider-Man 2099). I’ve not picked up this series, mostly because of the writer. The creative team here is: • Spider-Man #12 by Brian Michael Bendis & Sarah Pichelli

Marvel_NOW_catalog_66Another Spider related title; though at least, she’s not directly connected to Spider-Man (other than the name) is Spider-Woman. I’ve not collected this series; but if this series brings back Hobgoblin; I might pick up the issues with him in it (as I have always preferred him over Green Goblin… I know, despite how much I complain about duplicates!) I don’t care for the art on the cover; but that’s a different artist than the interior art. So when Hobgoblin appears I may check out the issue. The creative team is: Dennis Hopeless & Veronica Fish.

 

Marvel_NOW_catalog_67Speaking just a moment about about Spider-Man 2099, that’s the next one I want to discuss. I really love this cover; and not just because the classic looking Spider-Man 2099 is standing victoriously overly the new white costumed Spider-Man 2099 (I’ve been pretty vocal about how much I like Spider-Man 2099, but I hated that costume change – his original costume is so incredible, that it didn’t need to change – especially with jets to fly). I have been thoroughly enjoying Spider-Man 2099, despite that costume change! So I am looking forward to see what this cover means – if anything. The creative team here is: • Spider-Man 2099 #21 by Peter David & Will Sliney

Marvel_NOW_catalog_68And now Venom is going to be getting his own series – I am guessing Venom: Space Knight didn’t work out as well as they had hoped? I never picked it up, and by the looks of this cover, they’re going back to the more classic Venom (which I think they should have never ventured from). He had some fun limited series during the 90’s that I enjoyed; and if this new book follows along those lines, I will definitely be checking this out. The creative team here is: • Venom #1 by Mike Costa & Gerardo Sandoval

Marvel_NOW_catalog_69And staying within the Spider-Man realm, we have Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows. Gerry Conway did some good writing; so I may pick up where this title is headed. Some have speculated that Peter Parker and Mary Jane will be getting married again; or that the whole “One More Day” event is getting reversed. Curious if that’s where this is headed. The creative team is: • Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows #1 by Gerry Conway & Ryan Stegman

 

Marvel_NOW_catalog_70Gerry Duggan is writing Deadpool now – and I’ve never been a big fan of the character. I enjoyed his original appearances as a mercenary with swords and guns; but he’s been everywhere now (and essentially become the new “Wolverine” – who, ironically I enjoyed back in the day, before I became over saturated with him!) Now I admit, Madcap has become a part of the Deadpool titles; and I am a huge fan of Madcap from his appearances in Captain America (and even in – I believe it was Ghost Rider). But I am not sure if it’s enough to make me want to pick up the book and see what they’re doing with him – even though the title of this one appears to be Madcap Recall. The creative team is: • Deadpool #21 by Gerry Duggan & Mike Hawthorne

Marvel_NOW_catalog_71Another Deadpool book is Deadpool & the Mercs for Money which I thought Madcap, Slapstick and few others were slated for; but apparently that entire cast has been changed by two monkeys, Domino, Teenage Megasonic, Machine Man, and a guy in what appears to be a Deadpool costume. The creative team here is: • Deadpool & The Mercs For Money #4 by Cullen Bunn & Iban Coello

Marvel_NOW_catalog_72Speaking of Slapstick it looks like he’s getting his own title now. It will probably do very well, because it will probably echo the same type of writing found in Deadpool. Despite apparently having joined the New Warriors off panel, and my interest and love of the New Warriors, I can’t see buying this book for myself. The creative team behind this insanity is: • Slapstick #1 by Reilly Brown, Fred Van Lente & Mike Norton

Marvel_NOW_catalog_73Up next is Solo – which I mainly remember from Spider-Man, and don’t remember much more about him. However, if the interior is as good as the cover art; I’d probably give this book a swing and see what they’re trying to do with it. The creative team behind that is: • Solo #1 by Gerry Duggan, Geoffrey Thorne & Paco Diaz

Marvel_NOW_catalog_74Another obscure villain getting his own book, Foolkiller gets a new look. Initially, it reminded me of Night Thrasher because of the red and black theme. Doesn’t look like a book I’d pick up. Creative team is: • Foolkiller #1 by Max Bemis & Dalibor Talajic

Marvel_NOW_catalog_76And there’s a Guardians of the Galaxy (I should have fit that with the other Guardians books I was mentioning previously)… This appears to be the final arc of the story – and, from what I have heard, (I’ve made it clear I am not a Bendis fan), but many people seem to be disappointed what Bendis has done with Guardians of the Galaxy… But then, it’s difficult to follow up what Abnett & Lanning did with the book… and what the movie did. Creative team is • Guardians of the Galaxy #15 by Brian Michael Bendis & Valerio Schiti

 

And finally – been saving this one for last…

Marvel_NOW_catalog_75I won’t believe it’s true, until I see it… but it looks like they’re going to finally be bringing back Rich Rider as Nova. Again – I am waiting. I am going to control myself and not allow myself to be excited about this. Because there is no creative team announced yet…

Cynical Tawmis.

 

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Marvel NOW! Again… So Marvel Now Redux. (Part Two)

Marvel_NOW_catalog_32Okay, let’s continue. It’s a pretty long list. Next up we have Doctor Strange. They shoved every typical Doctor Strange villain on this cover; and did a pretty cool job of it. Despite Shaman of Alpha Flight having the occasional appearance in this title; I’ve not been collecting this. I wasn’t a big fan of Jason Aaron’s run on Thor, so when I heard he was taking over Doctor Strange, I was not compelled to pick up the book (despite being a huge fan of the character, especially from his days as a part of the original Defenders team). The creative team on this is: • Doctor Strange #12 by Jason Aaron & Chris Bachalo

 

Marvel_NOW_catalog_33Now, because Marvel likes causing a little bit of confusion, there’s also apparently a Doctor Strange: Sorcerers Supreme where it’s Stephen Strange along with some other powerful magic users of the Marvel Universe. I recognize most; and I assumed the horned figure in the background is Santana, and not Magik. I may flip through this and take a look; the idea of these characters ripped from various time lines to save ours, sort of sounds like Secret Defenders (none of them were ripped from various time lines; just an odd collection of characters out to do secret missions). The creative team here is: • Doctor Strange: Sorcerers Supreme #1 by Robbie Thompson & Javier Rodriguez

Marvel_NOW_catalog_34The next one; I admit, I have my concerns. I have the first few issues of The Mighty Thor when it relaunched with Jane as the new Thor… and in this… by the looks of it, the Asgardians are going to fight the Shi’ar… and that also includes, by the looks of it, the Imperial Guard. Now if you know me, you know that I love me some Shi’ar and I love me some Imperial Guard; but, Jason Aaron (who isn’t a bad writer by any means, just not my type of writer that I enjoy), is going to be telling this story. I will undoubtedly, at least be flipping through this book to see how it looks and see how my beloved Shi’ar and Imperial Guard are being treated. Creative team on this title is: • The Mighty Thor #15 by Jason Aaron & Russell Dauterman

Marvel_NOW_catalog_35Speaking of Thor, and there being multiples, the “real” Thor (as in, born from Odin) and now going by The Unworthy Thor has a book where by the looks of it – he’s going to get a hold of the “hammer” that the Ultimates version of Thor used, which would be an interesting twist and allow both Thors to exist (because, you know there isn’t enough doubles of these characters running around). It’s a shame that they didn’t reverse this; give Jane this hammer and the actual Thor his own hammer. This way it aligns with what a new reader might expect to see (if they’re only reading comics because of the current movies). At any rate, Jason Aaron is writing this one – so, I probably won’t be getting this either. But art is by Coipel… that’s very difficult to turn down. Creative team is: • The Unworthy Thor #1 by Jason Aaron & Olivier Coipel

Marvel_NOW_catalog_36Next we have Patsy Walker, AKA Hellcat… I’ve not been getting this because it looks like Marvel’s attempt at capturing the Selfie Batgirl crowd… and … is that Jubilee on the cover? Back in her original costume? And no longer a vampire? (She may have been cured? I am not even sure, as other than the current Uncanny X-Men, I stopped caring). At any rate, not a fan of the over all art (not bad, again, just not my style). The creative team here is: • Patsy Walker A.K.A. Hellcat! #11 by Kate Leth & Brittney L. Williams

 

 

Marvel_NOW_catalog_37Black Widow continues, which I’ve not been reading. It’s funny; I have always liked her in a team book environment (Champions, Avengers), but I just can’t get into her as a solo book. The No More Secrets – I am not sure what that’s about – but seems to fall into line with what happened in the Marvel movies, where she released all that data for the entire world to consume. The creative team is Mark Waid & Chris Samnee writing and Chris Samnee on the art.

 

 

Marvel_NOW_catalog_38Next we have Moon Knight – and you can probably read Maico’s previous post of Comic Catch Up to see how much he’s enjoying Moon Knight. He’s hailing it as one of his favorite (Marvel) books out right now. I’ve missed the last few volumes of Moon Knight who keeps getting a good push (which he should, he’s an interesting character) – his original series was a little wonky (which I have all of, except for a few issues). So I won’t say much more about Moon Knight and let you read what Maico has been saying about the book! The creative team on this is: • Moon Knight #20 by Jeff Lemire & Greg Smallwood

 

Marvel_NOW_catalog_39The next one is The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl and as I said before, I am not big into the art style, nor the story telling style. But a lot of people are enjoying the wonky story telling, odd art, and 4th wall breaking that’s become so insanely popular since Deadpool. Creative team on this is: • The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #16 by Ryan North & Erica Henderson

 

 

 

Marvel_NOW_catalog_40Going away from the lighthearted tone, to something much darker, we have Punisher. Now, I have always enjoyed Punisher when he shows up in a title; but my moment of honest (ironic, as I type this I am wearing my Punisher t-shirt) – the only Punisher title I ever picked up was the one that was supposed run four issues – but ended up running five issues, back in the 80’s. But for some reason, I have never followed the Punisher solo books. It’s not surprising to see Punisher with his own title; he has typically been a very popular character, and with his recent appearance in the Daredevil Netflix show; and the rumblings (I say that because I’ve not seen a release date for it) that Punisher will have his own show on Netflix, it’s no surprise Marvel would want to keep this book going! Creative team here is: • Punisher #7 by Becky Cloonan & Steve Dillon

Marvel_NOW_catalog_41All right, speaking of Daredevil let’s talk about the ongoing Daredevil series. Now, I dig Charles Soule as a writer; and I can’t honestly say why I never picked up this title, since he’s writing it, and I have enjoyed Daredevil (I have pretty good run of the original series), and enjoyed the Daredevil show on Netflix immensely. Well, speaking of the show getting a another season, there’s no doubt that Marvel is going to keep pushing this book (as they should!) while that series is continuing to do so well on NetFlix. Creative team on this book is Charles Soule and Ron Garney.

 

Marvel_NOW_catalog_42Right along with Daredevil and even the Netflix show of Daredevil, we see that Kingpin is also getting his own series. He’s already gotten a strong push through Civil War II: Kingpin. While Kingpin has always been a pretty popular character, I can’t help but feel that a large part of the current surge of interest is because of how his character is shown on the Daredevil Netflix series. So, again, all of this probably ties into the success of that show, and why Marvel is capitalizing on that success. While I love the comic (Daredevil), and I love the show (and how well Kingpin is written and acted), just as a solo character in a book? Not for me, but I don’t doubt that it might be pretty good. Just don’t have enough interest vested in the character to purchase his solo book. Creative team is: • Kingpin #1 by Matthew Rosenberg & Ben Torres

Marvel_NOW_catalog_43And moving along the lines of Daredevil and Kingpin – we have Bullseye getting his own solo series. Here’s another one where I have always liked when Bulleye appeared in a book; just not sure I could ever get into a solo book about him. It seems like it’d be a very difficult book to write; he’s either going to go after average Joes; or if he’s going after super heroes; seems to me he’d lose quite a bit of those fights (well, in terms of not being able to do what he does best; and that is kill someone with his accuracy). I typically enjoy books that focus on the villain; because you get to see them develop rather than show up, fight a hero and lose. I may flip through this and see where this book goes. Creative team is: • Bullseye #1 by Ed Brisson & Guillermo Sanna

Marvel_NOW_catalog_44The next one; I was disappointed. I have almost the entire run (after it became) Power Man & Iron Fist of the original series. When I heard that this was coming back; nostalgia was at epic proportions; only to find that I didn’t like the anime cartoon style that the book featured. Needless to say, I only got as far as the first issue. The creative team is: • Power Man & Iron Fist #10 by David Walker & Sanford Greene

 

 

 

Marvel_NOW_catalog_45First they made a young Power Man (with Victor Alvarez) and now they’re making a young, female, Asian Iron Fist too. It can’t be long until the two of them team up right? And here’s yet another duplicate hero in the Marvel Universe. It’s getting out of hand. Remember when all the characters were pretty much original? While I have always enjoyed Iron Fist, I simply can’t stand that there’s yet ANOTHER duplicated character in the Marvel Universe. So that already turns me off from this book, no matter how fantastic the story telling might be. The creative team here is: • Iron Fists #1 by Kaare Andrews & Afu Chan

 

Marvel_NOW_catalog_46Next in line is Totally Awesome Hulk which I never collected, I admit, based on the concept and title alone. Yet another duplicated hero. I really have nothing else to say about it, other than the creative team behind this book is: • The Totally Awesome Hulk #15 by Greg Pak & unnamed artist

 

 

 

 

Marvel_NOW_catalog_47The Unbelievable Gwenpool is yet another book that I simply never had interest in. She’s a Deadpool knock off (obviously). And while I have never looked into it because I never cared, but I assume it’s some time displaced alternate reality whatever Gwen Stacy. I don’t care to know if I am right or not. Creative team here is: • The Unbelievable Gwenpool #7 by Christopher Hastings & Gurihiru

 

 

 

Marvel_NOW_catalog_48Next up we have Uncanny Inhumans, also written by Charles Soule (who I said I typically enjoy). However, I’ve never been a big fan of the Inhumans; I dig when they show up in other books but never as a solo type series. Creative team is: • Uncanny Inhumans #15 by Charles Soule & Kev Walker

 

 

 

 

Marvel_NOW_catalog_49Next we have a new character called Mosaic who gets his own title. I know nothing about this character. Actually, don’t care to know anything about this character. I feel like Marvel has a treasure trove of characters; and they keep producing new characters, trying to find the next big thing with these characters, rather than digging in their vast pool of characters to tell a story. Creative team is: • Mosaic #1 by Geoffrey Thorne & Khary Randolph

 

 

Marvel_NOW_catalog_50Never picked up Ms. Marvel (the current series), because I felt like it was a gimmick that Marvel was hoping would catch on big. It’s unfair, because, yes they might be telling fantastic stories; but I am sick and tired of Marvel’s constant gimmick attempts, that I won’t even touch a book that gives any hint of that. I know a lot of people have enjoyed her book; and I am glad it’s still going for those folks. It’s just not for me. Creative team is: • Ms. Marvel #12 by G. Willow Wilson & Takeshi Miyazawa

 

 

Marvel_NOW_catalog_51Moon Girl & Devil Dinosaur. This one was doomed from the start for me. As I said above, I dislike gimmicks. There was a Moon Boy & Devil Dinosaur; and to be more diverse, Marvel did away with Moon Boy and replaced it by a woman – but hold on! – to be even more diverse, she’s a young, African American girl. I have had several people tell me (repeatedly) that it’s a really cute story. And it might be. But again, just removing an existing character to replace it with a gender swapped character has been going on entirely too much these days, rather than using existing characters. (Granted, I am not sure how well a Moon Boy & Devil Dinosaur story would work out, considering Moon Boy’s limited use of the English language). For those enjoying this cute story, I am happy for you, and I hope it runs a long time. Just not for me. Creative team is: • Moon Girl & Devil Dinosaur #13 by Amy Reeder, Brandon Montclare, & Natacha Bustos

Marvel_NOW_catalog_52The Death of X has created a lot of speculation. Just the other day I posted my own speculation as to what the Death of X means. Well considering we’ve now seen several X-Men related characters on the covers of several of these books; it looks like Mutants aren’t going away (or if they are, they’re still appearing in these books). But the Death of X covers certainly do lend to the idea that a lot of mutants may potentially die. You can look at that cover and probably pin point some recognizable figures.

Marvel_NOW_catalog_53There’s another side that shows even more mutants who don’t look like they’re having a fantastic day. But seeing a bunch of mutant dead bodies doesn’t mean anything really. After all, for those that remember the Fall of the Mutants storyline; it was a whole line of dead X-Men bodies. The Inhumans in both of these photos pretty much seem to be having the time of their lives however. It’s noticeable that in the month of October, there isn’t a single X-Book being published. This could be because they want to focus on the Death of X, or it could be because of Death of X, they’re doing away with any “X-Men” books and shuffling them off into other books like Uncanny Avengers and Black Panther. Creative team is: • Death of X #1 by Jeff Lemire, Charles Soule & Aaron Kuder

Marvel_NOW_catalog_56Now the cover for Cage! is done by a different artist than the cover artist – and that’s a good thing, because I am not a fan of the cover art. I never picked up Power Man when he had his own series; I dig get interested when it was Power Man & Iron Fist. I don’t know if I’d pick up a book just about Luke Cage. Will have to flip through it and see how it looks. The creative team is: • Cage! #1 by Genndy Tartakovsky

 

 

 

Marvel_NOW_catalog_57Next in the line is Gamora, who Marvel should have immediately pushed out a series after the success of Guardians of the Galaxy in the theater. The cover art is fantastic. And it’s written by Nicole Perlman, who I believe had a hand in the original script for the Guardians of the Galaxy movie. I will probably pick this up, just because Gamora is an excellent, strong, female character. The creative team here is: • Gamora #1 by Nicole Perlman & Marco Checchetto

 

 

Marvel_NOW_catalog_58Star-Lord is another one, speaking of Guardians of the Galaxy. I collected his most recent series, until I couldn’t anymore. I never bought the relationship between him and Kitty Pryde, and it felt so utterly forced and no dynamic. So now he’s getting a rebooted series. I may check out the first issue and see where they’re going with this new series. Creative team is: • Star-Lord #1 by Chip Zdarsky & unnamed artist

 

 

Marvel_NOW_catalog_59And continuing along with the lines of Guardians of the Galaxy, we have Rocket Raccoon getting a rebooted series. I didn’t care for his most recent series (mostly because of the cartoony art style). If the art is similar to what’s on this cover; I would probably pick up this book. The artist has not yet been named. Creative team is: • Rocket Raccoon #1 by Matthew Rosenberg (no artist announced)

 

 

Marvel_NOW_catalog_60As another one related to Guardians of the Galaxy we have Thanos. He’s another one that I love when he appears, because you know it’s going to be a good fight. But as his own series? I don’t know. Never got the other ones. Creative team: • Thanos #1 by Jeff Lemire & Mike Deodato

 

 

 

We will be back for a round three!
Cynical Tawmis.

 

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Marvel NOW! Again… So Marvel Now Redux. (Part One)

Marvel_NOW_catalog_02So Marvel NOW! is back – again – with a second round. Some images leaked this past Monday, so Marvel went ahead and released everything about this new Marvel NOW! 2.0 that they’re going to launch – including a list of new titles and what titles are going to keep going.

So as you can see to the left, there’s the general shin-dig, run down, whatever you want to call it that Marvel is doing with Marvel NOW! 2.0 – splitting off from an event/cross over – not another limited series type event like Civil War II or Secret Wars – called Divided We Stand.

Marvel has promised to “shake things up” and “rock the Marvel Universe.” Apparently, no one has told them that “shaking things up” too much feels like there’s little regard for any continuity or real story telling; and just looking to always go for the next big change or shock value. But that’s just me – sick of things being “shaken up.”

Marvel_NOW_catalog_03So let’s take a look at what’s coming out, shall we? Over here to the right (you can click it to see a larger version, if you can’t read that tiny writing). So we can see that several titles are continuing; while others, that are currently doing fairly well, such as Captain Marvel are yet again getting another reboot. What does that make this volume of Captain Marvel? Like… Volume Six? Seven? It’s getting a little more than ridiculous when a title that’s barely ten or so issues in; is getting yet another reboot in October with a brand new Issue #1. On the flip side, other titles are going to continue their numbering. And Marvel is launching a slew of new books as well. So how about we start going over some of those?

Marvel_NOW_catalog_10First, there’s The Avengers. Now the cover has the original Avengers standing behind a team of Avengers that Captain America led very early in the original run of the book. All of them look to be wearing the classic versions of those costumes as well. So are we just looking at this random cover that has nothing to do with what’s going to happen in the book; or we going to get some retro stories / untold tales of these Avengers from “back in the day.” Something to note, the issue is numbered as 1.1 (why make things simply by numbering it 0 or 1 or something logical? Why? Because… Marvel). I am willing to at least open this book and see where it’s headed; the cover has me curious. The book has the creative team of Mark Waid & Barry Kitson.

Marvel_NOW_catalog_11Next we have Champions, which seems to feature Cyclops (a very young one? Is this the time displaced Cyclops, I assume?), Ms. Marvel, Nova (Sam Alexander), Spider-Man (Miles), Awesome Hulk (Cho) and what I am guessing is Vision’s daughter (who I know absolutely nothing about). Now they have it under the flag ship name of Champions – which was originally a great book – very Defenders like – a team that wasn’t really a team. But this? This looks like kids with super powers going to school. And for me, that’s pretty much going to be an easy pass. The only character of interest to me is Nova (Sam Alexander), because I run a New Warriors website; so I’d only be interested what comes of him. But that’s not enough to dump hard earned money into this book. The creative team here is: • Champions #1 by Mark Waid & Humberto Ramos

Marvel_NOW_catalog_12The next book is Occupy Avengers… and I can’t even begin to guess what this book might be about. If I were to take a stab – maybe this group of people led by Hawkeye (or whatever he’s going to be calling himself, since there’s also a Hawkeye book – but not about him – more on that later!) – holding the Avengers responsible for potential damage they do? Yes? No? Maybe. While I have always been a big fan of Hawkeye – I am not sure what this book is about – and the title sounds entirely too political to even remotely capture my interest, despite it appearing to feature Hawkeye. This one will be another pass for me. The creative team here is: • Occupy Avengers #1 by David Walker & Gabriel Walta

Marvel_NOW_catalog_13The next book we have is Avengers – and this starts with a #1. So I am not sure if the previously mentioned Avengers 1.1 has anything to do with this book or not. This book seems to feature Captain America (Sam Wilson), Thor (Jane), Vision, Wasp (I just assume it’s not Janet), Hercules (um, with a gun for some reason), and I am not sure who that other character is – sort of looks like Black Panther meets Iron Man meets Ronin. This (other than the fact that Hercules is carrying a gun) looks potentially interesting. I will probably as least flip through the first issue and see if it looks like it might capture my attention. Looks like a pretty solid team, at any rate. And feels as close to a real Avengers book as it’s ever been in the last… what, ten to fifteen years? The creative team here is: • Avengers #1 by Mark Waid & Mike Del Mundo

Marvel_NOW_catalog_14And then we move onto Uncanny Avengers. This looks to be Brother Voodoo (?), Wasp (?), no idea who the next woman is, then Deadpool, then Cable, Rogue, and not sure who that next guy is, and then Quicksilver… That’s a very, very, very unusual cast of characters that’s thrown together. Sadly, there’s nothing about this title that’s really pulling me to pick it up, despite the unusual cast of characters. It’s good to know that beyond the Death of X that at least some mutants will continue to exist (as you can see from that month of titles listed early; there’s actually no “X” book other than the Death of X – so I was even beginning to speculate that the entire Mutant Gene on Earth would get “muted” and Mutants would cease to exist until Marvel got the movie rights back from Fox or something). The creative team here is: • Uncanny Avengers #15 by Gerry Duggan & Pepe Larraz

Marvel_NOW_catalog_15I know this book is going to be interesting to someone but that someone is not me. This looks to have Doctor Doom (the guy behind the statue of Liberty – is my guess), along with Cannonball, and – I guess a new character – a female Iron Patriot (What? Marvel swap another character out to make it more diverse? Tell me it isn’t so!), then what looks like a Geth (if you’re familiar with Mass Effect) – is it Iron White Tiger now or something? Then Squirrel Girl (no surprise to see her pushed), and Red Hulk (the mustache? Really?), and Miss Liberty (I believe her name is). I just don’t understand what is interesting about this odd collection of characters. Like I said, I’m sure this book will be a draw for someone; but that’s not me. The creative team here is: • U.S.Avengers #1 by Al Ewing & Paco Medina

Marvel_NOW_catalog_16The next book is Ultimates – and … I hope the interior artist is better than the cover artist. I mean, the cover is better than anything I could draw – but Captain Marvel and the one standing next to her with the stars on their sleeves – I mean, come on? I only recognize Captain Marvel, Black Panther, and I think Blue Marvel – but I don’t know who the guy with the stars on his sleeve is. I may look through this first issue (if the interior art is better than the cover) and see if it snags my attention. I am not overly hopeful (granted that may be because of the cover art). But I am willing to see what they’re going to do (I’ve always enjoyed a good story that deals with the cosmos and space and all of that). The creative team here is: • Ultimates2 #1 by Al Ewing & Travel Foreman

Marvel_NOW_catalog_17I am not at all surprised to see The Great Lakes Avengers getting their own book. It seems that these days, Marvel’s go to is for the “over the top, break the 4th wall, strange comedic” books – after the success of Deadpool, then Squirrel Girl and the Great Lakes Avengers are right up in the same odd ball sense of humor. So Marvel dishing out a book about these unusual heroes is not at all surprising. Because of the odd comedic value of an entire team of losers; I can actually see this book doing well. (If Madcap wasn’t already a member of Deadpool’s Mercs, this would be the perfect book for him). I probably won’t pick up this book; but who knows, I may grab the first couple of issues and see where this goes. Creative team is: • Great Lakes Avengers #1 by Zac Gorman & Will Robson

Marvel_NOW_catalog_18Over in the pages of Squadron Supreme it looks like someone who died is coming back. I didn’t read the issue where Hyperion (I believe it was) killed Namor; but didn’t he rip Namor’s head off? Whatever the case may be, the cover at least seems to allude to the fact that Namor is coming back (it’s been one year, I think, since he was killed in the same title). Unfortunately, this isn’t the Squadron Supreme that I enjoyed; even though, as I understand it, Blur from DP7 is the new “Whizzer” in this book. But I’ve not been collecting this; and this cover doesn’t do anything for me (I mean, it’s a great cover, but not enough for me to jump on with issue #13). The creative team here is: • Squadron Supreme #13 by James Robinson & Leonard Kirk

Marvel_NOW_catalog_19The next book is Thunderbolts which I have been collecting. It’s a few issues in; and it’s enjoyable. The only problem I’ve had is with the artist. It’s the same artist who did one of the volumes of New Warriors I didn’t care for the art there (but the story was alright; similar situation). So I will continue picking this up, especially seeing that Songbird will be making an appearance in the book. I really enjoyed how they had developed her in the original series, and do not understand why she’s not been pushed to the front more to get the respect her character deserves. Anyway, curious where this title will go; so far, the story, as I said has been good. Creative team here is: • Thunderbolts #7 by Jim Zub & Jon Malin

Marvel_NOW_catalog_20So the next book we see that Tony Stark is – whatever or wherever he is – and now there’s a new Iron Man. But it’s woman. So Invincible Iron Man should actually be called Invincible Iron Woman. But, if they did that, they would have to reboot/rename the book for when Tony Stark comes back. So here’s another book – where we have seen a female take the lead of an existing character. And because Marvel is all about diversity to the point the entire Marvel Universe has been changed – we see it’s not only a woman, but an African American woman who now has the mantle of Iron Man. I enjoyed the original run of Iron Man (the really early issues like 60 through about 200) – but never collected any other Iron Man solo series beyond 200 or the many other Iron Man solo titles that ever followed. This is another one that I won’t be picking up, because I can’t help but feel it’s a gimmick and will all be undone eventually. And it doesn’t help who the creative team is (if you know anything about me), because it’s • Invincible Iron Man #1 by Brian Michael Bendis & Stefano Caselli

Marvel_NOW_catalog_21And to make sure there isn’t any confusion, there’s also an Infamous Iron Man who appears to be Doctor Doom, who has taken over the Iron Man mantle also. I mean, we have two Thors running around, two Captain Americas running around – why not have two Iron Mans (Men? Woman and Man?) running around. How the heck is that ever going to confuse anyone? And hey! Here’s an idea, take one of the most iconic villains of the Marvel Universe and make him Iron Man instead. Because… that makes sense. While I have always enjoyed Doctor Doom, this … this is something I just can’t get behind. So I will not be picking up this title. Again, I feel no loss because the creative team is: • Infamous Iron Man #1 by Brian Micheal Bendis & Alex Maleev

Marvel_NOW_catalog_24This one is pretty annoying – though Captain Marvel is barely a year or so into her current run – Marvel is “rebooting” her book back to a #1. I’ve collected just about anything that has to do with Carol (dating back to her original Ms. Marvel run, all throughout Avengers), but the last two runs of her book I’ve not picked up. Mostly because the cost of living and the cost of comics have both gone up; and I’ve been forced to be a lot more picky about what I pick up. And the most disappointing thing is that her current run has Alpha Flight (a favorite of mine) in the books (Sasquatch, Puck and Aurora). Why is Marvel rebooting the book back to a #1? I don’t know. I can’t even begin to guess why. Other than perhaps the focus of the book is going to change entirely from being space guardian type title; to more Earth bound. The creative team here is: • Captain Marvel #1 by Margaret Stohl & Ramon Rosanas

Marvel_NOW_catalog_25So it looks like – as I said earlier – there’s a Hawkeye title coming out that will focus on Kate Bishop, who at least isn’t a “new” character. She was created quite a few years ago and is once again taking the mantle of Hawkeye. Which begs the question in the Avengers 1.1 and the Occupy Avengers; is Clint going to go by the name of Hawkeye or something else? (He briefly adopted the name Ronin while Kate took on the name Hawkeye). Can’t say, despite my interest in the character a long time ago, that it’s enough to pull me in to pick up the book. This is another one I will probably flip through and see if it’s enough to grab my attention and my hard earned money. The creative team here is: • Hawkeye #1 (starring Kate Bishop) by Kelly Thompson & Leonardo Romero

Marvel_NOW_catalog_26Captain America: Sam Wilson is next. And it looks like he’s going to go after Captain America’s shield? I am guessing because Captain America is currently Mr. “Hail Hydra.” So this looks to be just a story line, of possibly Sam and Steve duking it out over the shield. I’ve not been picking up this book. (And I can’t imagine having Cap’s shield and flying as he has been, with the Captain America costume, will work out… oh, what am I saying! It’s comic book physics!) Anyway, the creative team on this book is: • Captain America: Sam Wilson #14 by Nick Spencer & Daniel Acuna

 

Marvel_NOW_catalog_27And moving right in line, next we have Captain America: Steve Rogers with a pretty cool cover, considering everything currently going on in this title (but there isn’t a single person, I hope, that thought that this Hail Hydra thing for Captain America was going to be true). I have not been picking up this title, but I have to give kudos to the artist that came up with this cover. It’s pretty cool. The creative team here is: • Captain America: Steve Rogers #7 by Nick Spencer & Jesus Saiz

 

Marvel_NOW_catalog_28The next book I want to cover is Silver Surfer. I used to collect the original run of Fantastic Four (way back in the day, issues #120 through about 200) – and I’ve always enjoyed the character Silver Surfer, especially in Defenders where I got to know the character the most. I’ve not collected this series, because I can’t get past the art. The art style is very similar to X-Statix (and it may even be the same artist), but I’ve never been a fan of that odd style of art. The creative team here is: • Silver Surfer #9 by Dan Slott & Mike Allred

 

Marvel_NOW_catalog_29In Black Panther we can see that apparently Storm also survives the Death of X event. She’s clearly seen here with Black Panther, Luke Cage and Misty Knight. I am not sure of Storm’s status in regards to Black Panther; didn’t she marry him at one point? So is she a Queen now? Would make sense why she’s in this title (especially since the month of October shows no X Books being published at all). So at least Storm has found a place to stay. Not been collecting this book. The creative team here is: • Black Panther #7 by Ta-Nehisi Coates & Chris Sprouse

 

Marvel_NOW_catalog_30The next book on the list is Jessica Jones. I know nothing (Jon Snow!) about this book, other than what’s been shown in the Netflix series. (Heck, for the longest time, for whatever reason; before the show was released, I was thinking Jessica Jones was actually Jessica Drew; like I thought the show was about Jessica Drew – but forgot her last name was Drew – not Jones), because Bendis has always liked Spider-Woman. Anyway, there’s no surprise that Jessica Jones is getting her own book, because of the Netflix series success; and the upcoming Second Season of the show on Netflix. Like I said, I know nothing about the character; and while I loved the show, I will not be picking up this book. The creative team is: • Jessica Jones #1 by Brian Michael Bendis, Michael Gaydos & David Mack

Marvel_NOW_catalog_31 Now… the next book, I am curious. I have no idea what Janet is; and I had hoped that when there was a Wasp book announced, that it might be Janet… But seeing this, and the caption of “Nothing’s more unstoppable than a teenage girl” – so… yet again, Marvel has replaced a well respected powerful female character with a brand new character. I am sure that they’re doing this book because of the upcoming Antman & Wasp movie; I am curious, I admit, who this new Wasp is. (I wonder if they’ve brought in Hope from the movie, to make her a comic book character, to sort of give that familiarity between the two). But that might be making too much sense; I don’t know if somewhere in the convoluted mess that is some semblance of “Marvel Continuity” if Pym and Janet ever did have a daughter in the last few years (who for whatever reason is now a teenager) – or if it’s a brand new character entirely. • The Unstoppable Wasp #1 by Jeremy Whitley & Elsa Charretier

The Marvel Cynic,
Tawmis L.

 

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Comic Catch Up!

DeadDeadpool_v_Gambit_Vol_1_2_Textlesspool v Gambit: The “V” is for “Versus” #1

Writer: Ben Blacker, Benjamin Acker

Penciller: Danilo Beyruth

The smoothest most handsomest mutant con man in the Marvel universe meets the ugliest mercenary on planet earth in a funny, quick witted series that reunites the on-again off-again X-Men; Gambit and Deadpool.

Story: B+

The story opens with the two ambiguous heroes both waiting in line at a coffee shop. Things tense up after they recognizing each other and try to remember if they left off on good terms of not. The story goes into a flashback as they recall when last they met.  The two were partnered up in a heist that ended up with them being triple crossed and at odds with each other. This first issue is packed with action, humor and ridiculousness. Acker and Blacker do a good job of pairing this odd couple quite well. Both so self-serving that they can’t even tell when they are being played by one another.

Art: D

I am not a fan of Danilo Beyruth’s art in this book. His faces are just… bad. It works well for the disfigured Wade Wilson, but Remy Lebeau looks like a wrinkly old man. Not as terrible when masks are worn but overall tough to look at. 

Overall: B-

Gambit is my all-time favorite character. Deadpool is up there as one of the most popular and interesting characters in comics. They would really have to screw this series up for me to not like it. I feel like as long as they keep the story small, personal, funny and action packed it’ll be fine. The art is terrible but not terrible enough to turn me off from a Gambit v Deadpool story. If you like either character, I recommend this book.

 

LAZARUS_TPBLazarus Vol. 1: Family

Writer: Greg Rucka

Artist: Michael Lark

Dystopian futures are a popular setting in comics. Post apocalyptic environments filled with warring tribes, famine, suffering and a few at the top controlling the masses. Lazarus fits right into this premise….. and you know what? It does the genre justice.

Story: A

The story is a cool mashup of a post apocalyptic world under a feudal governance. Families serve as governors of territories, they are the Kings and Queens of their land. Serfs work the land for the families and Knights,  in this case called “Lazarus’” protect the territories, the serfs and the family’s honor. The rest of the population are known as “the waste.” The waste are the overwhelming majority of the population with no lot in life. Poor wretches wandering the planet with no purpose.  

The Lazarus are bio-engineered family protectors trained in combat and programmed for loyalty. They also serve as judge, jury, executioner and representatives for the family.  Whatever dirty job or deed that needs to be done, they send the Lazarus.   Our story revolves around the Carlyle Family and their female Lazarus Forever.  Forever is the family’s female protector who is treated lovingly by the family patriarch and like a younger step sister by the biological adult children. Forever’s father has tasked her with investigating a recent attack on the family’s seed bank. She has a feeling that this attack may have been an inside job by a member of the Carlyle family in a push for power. Forever has to navigate the treacherous waters of a family feud to figure out who is the betrayer all while maintaining her undying loyalty to her father and family.

Art: A

Michael Lark is a great artist. You can quickly tell that Lark likes to draw settings and backgrounds. Not in an elaborate sort of amazing fantasy way but in a way where his scene transitions make you feel like you are watching a movie. The color tones and palettes change which each new location all while maintaining the feel of a post apocalyptic environment. Lots of flat brown, grays, reds and blues.

Overall: A

This is a great introductions to the Lazarus series. You get a feel for the layout of the land. Forever meets and interacts with other families and their Lazarus. You feel the tension and deceit as she serves as her families negotiator, enforcer and protector.  This book contains a ton action, family drama and character development. I highly recommend picking this one up.  

 

Maico Moreno

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