So, clearly I’m not the only one who does this. I’ll be sitting on the couch, watching one of Netflix’s superhero shows, and I imagine a teenage me time-jumped from the past, staring in awe at the screen. “Is this Daredevil? That’s Elektra! This. Is. Awesome.” Yeah, and wait until you see what’s playing at the theater down the block, kid. “Wait a minute… those photos? Did the Giants win… the World Series? Three times?!” Yup. And remember how bad the Warriors were when you come from? “Hang on. Are you going to work in a t-shirt?” Ties are for weddings and funerals, buddy. No matter what Dad said. “Did I… did we take over the world?”
Brian K. Vaughan (Y the Last Man, Saga) and Cliff Chiang (Wonder Woman, amazing album homages) are back with the start of a new storyline in the so-good-of-course-you’re-already-reading-it Paper Girls #6. And this time, we catch up with the titular young ladies as they step from the world of 1988 into 2016, and Erin Tieng comes face to face with her forty-year-old self.
Young Erin and her friends react just as I’d imagine I would, if I was twelve years old again, staring at what couldn’t possibly be a home television set. BKV has always had a knack for characters that, while presented with totally unique and impossible situations, come to life with perfect credulity. And as much as we find ourselves sympathizing and caring about his cast members, whether a trio of newspaper delivery girls or a wannabe escape artist and his pet monkey, it’s those impossible situations that really make his stories stand out. And the mystery that started to unfold in the first volume of Paper Girls looks like it’s just getting started.
Once upon a time, not too very long ago (a year, maybe two), I remarked that the time travel story was my favorite horse in the sci-fi stable. I should have qualified that with good time travel stories are my favorite… Because when you fuck up time travel, it’s unreadable, unwatchable, unforgivable. Don’t make my head hurt, and don’t worry about adherence to any kind of ever-evolving physical theories. Emphasize the what-ifs and concentrate on the gorgeous promise of the fiction, and less on the quantum quagmire of science. So, thank you, Vaughan and Chiang, for making this story about mutated teenagers from the future, armored time cops, dinosaurs invading the 80’s, and, yes, newspaper delivery girls, the most fun you can possibly have in a funnybook.
Marvel’s blockbuster summer event gets its formal “round 1” bout this week, as Civil War II #1 hits the stands, courtesy of Brian Michael Bendis and David Marquez, the team behind the excellent new Iron Man series. It’ll be tough to live up to Millar and McNiven’s original series, but, so far, we’re off to a promising start. After a newly empowered Inhuman named Ulysses reveals a power to predict future tragedies, the superpowered set is faced with a very challenging dilemma: use that insight to change the future; or avoid the temptation and protect the future. Captain Marvel, the tragic events of Civil War II #0 still fresh on her mind, has no qualms about preventing crises. Heck, it’s in the mission statement of her Ultimates team. Tony Stark, on the other hand, an unapologetic futurist, recognizes this for the slippery slope that it is, and isn’t prepared to start an Avengers-sanctioned “PreCrime” agency.
But when Carol Danvers and her Ultimates use the prophecy power to intercept Thanos on his way to investigate the existence of another Cosmic Cube on earth (you didn’t miss Civil War II: Free Comic Book Day, did you?), things go south, and Tony loses his best friend. Captain Marvel is resolute; she feels that she and her team did the right thing. Tony is beside himself, and goes so far as to accuse Danvers of murder. This is all the persuasion Iron Man needs to convince himself that there is no distinction between using and abusing this power. Now we get to find out who’s on which side. And, once again, which side are you on?
We can ignore both that the story borrows heavily from Philip K. Dick as well as the fact that other clairvoyant super-types in Marvel’s history haven’t ever caused this kind of furor. Because this is a great set-up for what promises to be a classic superhero event. Whereas the anti-registration side in the original Civil War always seemed a little too inspired – a little too right – this little Aristotelian dilemma should challenge both hero and reader alike with every successive chapter and tie-in. We’re in Week 35 of All New All Different Marvel, after all, and it’s well past time to start shaking shit up again. (When do we stop calling it ANAD? Maybe when that flagship Avengers title – also dropping a new issue this week – gets rid of that ridiculously long descriptor. Or never. We like counting.)
Not to be outdone this summer, DC is firing away with its own event/relaunch. In Week 2 of DC: Rebirth, we’re treated to four different one-shots. Batman: Rebirth, written by Tom King (of Vision fame) and Scott Snyder, serves as a jumping point for each of those writers’ new series, Batman and All-Star Batman respectively. Geoff Johns readies the Corps in Green Lanterns: Rebirth; Peter Tomasi handles the Man of Steel’s new lease on life in Superman: Rebirth; and Ben Percy continues mounting fan approval for the Emerald Archer in Green Arrow: Rebirth.