Jason Aaron’s time with the God of Thunder has given the character and his universe some of their best stories. He introduced Gorr, the God Butcher, a foil to Thor that made the son of Odin question his entire existence, an act of forced self-awareness that would ultimately cost Thor his mantle.
Next we got Lady Thor, Jane Foster, picking up the hammer and continuing to fight for the nine realms, even as doing so slowly killed her. These stories could not have been more different, and they were both certainly divisive, but they represent two extremes upon which Jason Aaron operates. Now the next major chapter in Aaron’s incredible saga begins but where on the Aaron spectrum it lies is still uncertain. We have a return to the muscled macho God of Thunder, but one who has been humbled by unworthiness, one whose job was held by a woman, his ex, while he was deemed a failure. Aaron has spent the bulk of his time on Thor so far breaking down the Son of Odin while building up the people around him. Finally Aaron is rebuilding the broken Thor, and it couldn’t be more beautiful.
Thor is a person, he is an Asgardian, he is the son of Odin, he is the future king. Thor is also a mantle, a gift given to the God of Thunder, a license to wield the hammer Mjolnir. Separating the man from the mantle has been Jason Aaron’s primary focus in his incredible run with Thor thus far. The Mighty Thor #700, the defining title from Marvel’s Legacy initiative, is also Aaron’s greatest Thor story yet. Featuring a huge cast of “Thors,” a cavalcade of artists of an astounding variety of styles, and a realm-sprawling story worthy of the Legacy name, the issue is such a success because of the way it blends the past and present of Thor, as well as hinting at some intriguing future tales of the God of Thunder.
Aaron’s continuing saga of The Mighty Thor (Jane Foster’s story) takes a backseat to give the real meat of the issue to the original Thor, now unworthy of Mjolnir due to Nick Fury’s revelation that the Odinson himself believes Gods unsuitable for such a gift. Odinson must fight a horde of Malekith’s diverse army at the sanctuary of the Norns, weavers of fate. His failure in the central story of the issue is what’s used as a jumping off point for several potential followup stories. Though the issue features layers of groundwork for the future, it does so by building upon the past. Aaron’s run began in Thor, God of Thunder with Thor being thrust into the God Butcher’s sick attempt at genocide, an intense encounter which would leave the Odinson with that very feeling of unworthiness in the back of his mind. Issue #700 furthers that story by showing how the remnants of the God Butcher found their way to Galactus and Ego, the Living Planet. In one of the most conceptually insane series of pages in modern comic book history, Ego eats the corrupted Galactus.
X-Men: Gold feels like an X-Men book. That should come as no surprise, but with Marvel’s current emphasis on huge crossovers and Inhuman conflicts, the X-Books have been left on the back burner. As a longtime fan of the most allegorical team in superhero history, it feels amazing to finally have some X-Men comics that feel like the stories of old. From page one, Marc Guggenheim is telling a classic mutant story. The team is in the middle of Manhattan, fighting Terrax, being judged by the crowd of onlookers even after saving their lives, usual X-Men stuff. That’s just it though, usual X-Men stuff has been so thoroughly disregarded that just having an issue begin like one would expect is actually a massive shock. The simplest way to explain why X-Men: Gold is so good is the last page of the first issue. The team is face to face with a mysterious threat, strange beings who reveal themselves with an immortal line, “We’re the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants.”
The Ultimates² is an incredible book. From writing, to art, ink, and colors, every single aspect of the book is working to tell an inventive, surprising, and gratifying superhero story. To really delve into what makes this new incarnation of Ultimates so great some words should be said about the several previous series with the same title. The original Ultimates was a fresh, edgy, and highly successful spin on a classic Avengers story. Its sequel was also quite good, and while the third series was a dud, the name Ultimates still carries weight. It implies a certain amount of shiny newness, a rejiggering of the status quo. While the original comic helped shift the Ultimate Marvel landscape into dark and gritty territory, this new book seems to be attempting something similar with the cosmic side of Marvel. While such an idea will likely turn some readers off, to those who are excited by the idea it feels like a return to the glory days of cosmic Marvel, when Annihilus invaded the Negative Zone, the Guardians of the Galaxy were just a plucky reboot, and Quasar still appeared in comic books.
Champions is one of the most exciting new books to come out of the current crop of Marvel NOW! releases. Writer Mark Waid assembles a team featuring many of the most promising young new heroes in comics. Ms. Marvel, Nova, Spider-Man, Cyclops, Vision, and Hulk in their original incarnations would be exactly the sort of temporary superhero team that would last a year and fizzle out. Luckily for readers, Marvel, and Waid, have put serious effort into developing these new young heroes, finally giving them a team of their own. Miles Morales has become a worthy successor to Peter Parker. Nova, in much the same way, functions as a softer version of Richard Ryder. Ms. Marvel, hot off a top spot in Civil War II and featured in far too many team-ups lately, actually feels like a crucial member of the Champions team. Hulk, in this case the “Totally Awesome” Amadeus Cho, is quite different from the original, serving as both brains and brawn. Lastly is Viv Vision, an excellent character whose presence also manages to save the amazing Vision family from total comic book extinction, is a welcome addition, acting as the team’s Jarvis and Kitty Pride combined. Each of these heroes brings something new to the table, each one representing a new direction for Marvel, while also being reminders of heroes past. Champions is a book filled with legacy, a reaction to the superhero teams of old. It aims to be to the youth of today what X-Men was to the youth of the 80’s.
The triangle is a mystical shape. It lies between the circle, representing woman, and the square, representing man. It is the shape of mages, wizards, and cults. It can be found hiding in the periphery of U.S. dollars, where it surrounds the Eye of the Beholder, containing its scopeless view. For ages man has used the triangle to advance science, from the theorem of Pythagoras to the inventions of Hipparchus, whose Trigonometry persists today as an essential mathematical study, triangles are a shape consistently at the forefront of discovery.
The triangle is also the strongest geometric shape. Stacked together, it forms diamonds. It is the shape of suspension bridges; the shape of towers, pyramids, and ziggurats. The triangle is also holy, it represents a coalition of benevolence, the father, the son, and the holy ghost.
A trinity though, is a triangle composed of people.
DC recognizes the timeless power of this shape, and wisely recognizes the timelessness of their three most prominent heroes. Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman are comics, their iconography synonymous with the artform, but they are more than symbols. Continue reading The Best of DC Rebirth #1: Trinity→
Chicago is the next city up for grabs in our 2016 Tune Tournament. Unlike the previous two cities, Chicago features one underdog and one veteran going head-to-head in a match to decide who moves on to the Final Four.
Edamame defeated Whitney in another upset, whose golden days have run out. Meanwhile, windy city post-rock veterans, Tortoise, have also managed to topple hip-hop up-and-comer Joey Purp in the Sweet Sixteen. Both groups have something to prove, but only one can be victorious.
The fourth round of the 2016 Tune Tournament moves on to London, where two underdogs have risen up to defeat their more established opponents.
The History of Apple Pie have been quiet for over two years. Are they on hiatus? Are they working on new material? No one really knows, but we do know that they’ve conquered every challenger they’ve faced thus far. Their next opponent has considerable momentum though, as Kero Kero Bonito bested James Blake in yet another stunning upset in the Sweet Sixteen. Both of these bands are on the rise, but one must fall.
Four artists from Chicago move on from Round 2 of our Tune Tournament to do battle in the Sweet Sixteen. All four are also included in our Mixcloud Mix just for making it this far. While triumph in the Windy City was a breeze for some, others missed their chance at victory. Here are the results of Round 2.
Edamame trounced Jim O’Rourke by a 4-1 margin, while Whitney was golden against Twin Peaks. Which group will move on in Matchup 1 of the Sweet Sixteen? Meanwhile, Tortoise stomped Andrew Bird, who just didn’t have the legs to beat the veteran Post-Rock outfit. Now they face off against Joey Purp, who narrowly defeated Chance The Rapper in Chicago’s biggest upset of Round 2.
Who moves on to the Elite Eight? Cast your votes and spread the word, as these eight matchups close on Saturday, December 10 at noon.
The four Londonites who survived Round 2 of our Tune Tournament now get the chance to face off. However, just for making it this far, each of these four artists are being rewarded with an appearance on our Sweet Sixteen Mixcloud, a prestigious honor to be sure. But let’s get down to the music shall we?
Kero Kero Bonito continues to upset, beating Jungle, whose luck apparently ran out. But can they graduate to a higher grade against the timely James Blake, who defeated Underworld in a triumph of youth over experience? Meanwhile, La Roux failed to dial in a victory against Factory Floor, who now do battle against the pallbearers of Burial, shoegaze outfit The History of Apple Pie.
Who moves on to the Elite Eight? Cast your votes and spread the word, as these matchups close on Thursday, December 8 at noon.
Matchup 1: Kero Kero Bonito – “Graduation” vs. James Blake – “My Willing Heart”