Tag Archives: Avengers

The Best of Marvel NOW! #1 – The Avengers

A little over five years ago, few people outside the comic book fan community knew who or what The Avengers were. Since then, the team has starred in one of the highest-grossing movies of all time, and the property is far and away the most profitable superhero film franchise going. I’ve got Black Widow on a Kleenex box. Hawkeye Nerf bows fly off Target shelves. Iron Man and Captain America bobbleheads are given out at Giants games. So when it came time to relaunch the flagship series for Marvel’s latest NOW! initiative, Mark Waid obviously assembled a team that no casual fan would recognize: the sole member with a recognizable movie counterpart is The Vision.

Before even reading a single page of Avengers #1, I applauded the direction. Too many editorial mandates – from both DC and Marvel – have muddied the waters in our monthly titles. I’ve always felt that the comics, the source material, should be informing the greater media output, and not the other way around. Movies and television shows should absolutely develop plots and characters as they see fit; I loved the humanoid Ego in Guardians 2, and I’m onboard for a revised origin story for Adam Warlock. But when an intrigued moviegoer wanders into a comic shop to gaze upon the four-color finery, let him or her marvel at a vast and varied superhero foundation, a tapestry of wonderment that stretches back decades, and not just to the most recent season of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Mark Waid gets it. This team, even moreso than the all-new all-different assemblage he debuted over a year ago, offers comic book fans both new and old something unique, while simultaneously resonating with historical familiarity. The result is one of the best superhero books on the shelf.


Continue reading The Best of Marvel NOW! #1 – The Avengers

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Marvel NOW! – Week 5

With yet another reboot of one of their flagship titles, this week’s Avengers #1 by Mark Waid and Mike Del Mundo nonetheless represents a return to the fundamental series name and identity. This isn’t “All-New All-Different,” or even “New” for that matter. They aren’t “Mighty” or part of an “Initiative.” There’s nothing “Secret” about them, much less “Uncanny.” These are the freaking Avengers, a team that resonates with historical familiarity, despite a roster unlike one we’ve ever seen.

Of course things can’t be completely the same, not after the events of Civil War II (whose full aftermath has been pieced together from clues and NOW! references, since the perpetually late series still hasn’t actually concluded). But the world still needs Avenging, and an interesting cast of superheroes has assembled to pick up the mantle. With founding member Tony Stark out of the picture (assumed to have died at the end of CW II), funding responsibilities fall to another scientific genius – Peter Parker – whose Parker Industries, in the All-New All-Different era, has the clout and wherewithal to not only bankroll a super-team, but to headquarter in the FF’s old Baxter Building as well. And Spider-Man, of course, was once a protege of Iron Man’s, during the first Civil War event. In fact, even though none of the founding members are part of this new team, the legacy of each of them has been cleverly honored.

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Instead of The Hulk (who we did see die in Civil War II #3), Hercules steps into the muscle role. This isn’t the first time that the Prince of Power has subbed in for Bruce’s angrier alter ego; Herc took over the Green Goliath’s comic as The Incredible Hercules after the events of World War Hulk. Replacing original member Janet Van Dyne, the Winsome Wasp, is the new Wasp, Nadia Pym, long-lost daughter of another founding member, Ant-Man. Then there are the three veteran carry-overs from the ANAD iteration: Jane Foster is the current Thor; Sam Wilson still has the shield and still goes by Captain America (Steve Rogers may not have been a founding member, but issue #4 is close enough); and The Vision connects back, once again, to Ant-Man, Hank Pym. So that’s all well and good and fun. But is the book going to be any good?

Mark Waid barely got a head of steam going before Marvel hit the reset button again, after a Kang dilemma, an Annihilus escapade, and a smattering of requisite CW II tie-ins. The kids have peeled off to become Champions and the shattering impact (just look at that NOW! logo) of Civil War II is (soon to be) in the rear-view mirror. Time to let the man get to work. In case you haven’t had enough Kang (who also dicked around with The Inhumans just last year), he’s back and he’s pissed. Makes sense, since The Vision recently abducted an infant Time Conqueror in a bizarre go-back-in-time-and-kill-Baby-Hitler maneuver (All-New All-Different Avengers #13). So Waid has some unfinished business to address.

But what really gets me excited for this newest volume of my favorite comic is the art. Mike Del Mundo wowed us on two volumes of Weirdworld before throwing in with Totally Awesome Hulk. His incredible painted style, luminescent and dynamic, is unlike anything on the stands right now. Not what you’d expect to see on a focal team book. Props to Marvel’s comic division for continuing to take the kind of chances that we’re not likely to see from Marvel Studios anytime soon, or ever from their counterparts at DC. The Avengers, despite being steeped in familiarity, is about as innovative and, really, weird as we’ve ever seen them.

Continue reading Marvel NOW! – Week 5

Free Comic Book Day 2016

This year marks the fifteenth anniversary of Free Comic Book Day, easily the best name for a very straightforward attempt at getting folks into comic shops and seeing what all the fuss is about. On the first Saturday of May, a variety of publishers, from big names like Marvel and DC to smaller outfits like Nobrow Press and Th3rd World Studios, partner with shops to offer a wide range of exclusive comics. Some books contain all new material, others are mixtape-style samplers of previously released work, and still others offer extended excerpts from new graphic novels. But the one thing that all these comics have in common is that they’re offered 100% free of charge.

one of the many All Ages titles, DC Super Hero Girls
one of the many All Ages titles, DC Super Hero Girls

While supplies last, obviously. And different stores have different policies limiting the number of giveaways. Check out the FCBD website for details on participating stores and, this Saturday, plan on visiting as many as you can! Most shops plan related events, contests, and other frivolity around FCBD. Drag along your uninitiated friend who loves Firefly but won’t pick up a funnybook and stick that Dark Horse freebie in her hands. Dress the kids up in their favorite superhero t-shirts and load them up with All-Ages books like Image’s Oddly Normal or DC’s Super Hero Girls. That guy in your office who won’t shut up about Enter the Dragon and wants to know if you caught this weekend’s UFC bloodfest? There’s a Bruce Lee treat for him as well.

Like music, movies, and ice cream flavors, there’s a comic book for everyone. Here are the FCBD offerings I’m most excited about, including the Previews solicitation information. Continue reading Free Comic Book Day 2016

New Comics: Micronauts

IDW Publishing announced, last October, that they would be adding two more beloved toy properties to their stable, pulling both Mego’s Micronauts and Parker Brothers’ ROM out of limbo and onto the comic book shelves. Or, to be fair, back onto the comic book shelves. Like IDW’s G.I. Joe and Transformers properties, both Micronauts and ROM: Spaceknight were fan-favorite Marvel comic books in the late 70’s and early 80’s. And, as opposed to some of the lesser-known action figure lines that earned shoddy cross-promotional series (think Sectaurs or Crystar), the Micronauts and ROM books were as fun, if not as successful, as their Hasbro brethren.

Marvel's Micronauts #1 (1979)
Marvel’s Micronauts #1 (1979)

I wasn’t lucky enough to have any of those sweet “plastic and die-cast metal” toys of my own, being a little too young when they were popular, but I loved the comic book, and especially loved when my favorite Marvel heroes crossed over into the Microverse and vice-versa. Some of those original comic book Micronauts, not under the toy license, have remained in Marvel’s ownership and have survived into modern continuity, like the Guardian of Galaxy, Bug. The rest of those stalwart defenders of the sub-atomic realm, as well as the tyrant Baron Karza and his evil minions, would need to wait years to see their adventures continue in a monthly series.

From reading the afterword, it’s clear that if anyone other than Cullen Bunn was tapped to write this series, we may have had a problem. His lifelong passion for the Micronauts will, we hope, save the IDW series from being the third stalled attempt at rekindling that Micromagic. Bunn’s words are paired with the crisp, vibrant art of David Baldeón, and the whole package is a characteristically beautiful IDW release. I can only imagine how excited the bloggers of the excellently named Blog for ROM Fans Who Aren’t Dicks are for the Free Comic Book Day premiere of that new book. Now if only they could get cracking on Shogun Warriors.

IMG_0690 Continue reading New Comics: Micronauts

Ranking the All New All Different Marvel: 20 – 11

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Uncanny X-Men

Cullen Bunn & Greg Land
An X-Book that is straight to business from the get-go. This is the classic X-Men premise of mutants protecting the world, and protecting themselves from the world. Except now Magneto is at the center, and he doesn’t seem as peaceful as he’s been in previous conversions. Once you get past the roll call in the first few pages, the real plot picks up, and I’m into the Inhumans/Mutants race war. The “Dark Riders” don’t seem to have a lot of allure outside of being mutant-hating Inhumans, but I’ll look forward to seeing this badass X-team go off on chumps. On a Greg Land note, outside of the cover, it seems he’s stepped back a little from his signature photo-realistic style, and I still think it looks crisp, but now it’s got grit. Also: What happened to Angel? Can we stick a mutant’s brain in there or something? – RF

First collection: Uncanny X-Men, Vol. 1: Survival of the Fittest (July)

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19
Squadron Supreme

James Robinson & Leonard Kirk
Awesome. Both James Robinson books are must-reads for me. Feels like one of the early Millar/Bendis Ultimate U books. Maybe it’s a bit confusing with all the references to the Incursions and the atrocities committed by Namor and The Cabal… but I think the shock value is intact. Plus, I freaking hate Namor. – MMDG

This is easily gonna be one of my favorite capes ‘n’ tights books of this ANADM. I have liked the alternate realities of Squadron Supreme that I’ve read, and seeing them combined permanently in the Marvel U (not just an Ultimates crossover) is exciting. I think Marvel is pretty excited too because they’re letting Ross do the covers. The Squadron I’m familiar with has always been about gritty interpretations of classic hero types (Superman, Batman, Flash Wonder Woman, etc.) and the less sentimental Squadron will easily clash with the moral stances of many classic Marvel heroes. I’m surprised this cover doesn’t advertise the Namor fight; that seems like kind of a huge deal. Next issue they face one of the oldest MU characters ever, as well as their newest, strangest Avengers team, and as long as this book can maintain it’s “MAX-line” quality, I think I’ll keep reading. – RF

First collection: Deadpool, Vol. 1: By Any Means Necessary! (June)

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Continue reading Ranking the All New All Different Marvel: 20 – 11

All New All Different Marvel – Week 21

We’re approaching the mid-year mark on Marvel’s All New All Different relaunch, and many of the initial storylines have wrapped and are being prepped for the first collected editions of the ANAD era, due late next month.

Although this week doesn’t give us any series premieres – other than the Max Bemis-penned Worst X-Man Ever limited series – the new release shelf of your local comic shop should be absolutely spilling forth with Mighty Marvel Mania. Among the new books is the sixth issue of Mark Waid’s ANAD Avengers book, which will hopefully provide an answer to why Vision seems to be reverting to his old, sinister ways. We also get the long-awaited second issue of Ellis and Zaffino’s Karnak. Everyone here at The Institute is overjoyed that this series has re-commenced, but the truly good news is that Warren Ellis, who experienced some health scares last year, seems to be back to his good ol’ cheeseburger & cocktail self, steering well clear of another “terrible neurological event that hospitalises you and leaves you with mysterious, frightening neurological and physical deficits that science cannot explain…”

Continuing and related titles
All New Inhumans #4
All New X-Men #5
All New All Different Avengers #6
Amazing Spider-Man #1.3
Angela, Queen of Hel #5
The Astonishing Ant-Man #5
Daredevil #4
Drax #4
Hercules #4
Howling Commandos of S.H.I.E.L.D. #5
Karnak #2
Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur #4
New Avengers #7
Patsy Walker AKA Hellcat #3
Silk #5
Spider-Man 2099 #7
The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #5
Venom: Space Knight #4
X-Men: Worst X-Man Ever #1 (of 5)
Continue reading All New All Different Marvel – Week 21

All New All Different Marvel – Week 6

Week six of Marvel’s All-New All-Different relaunch puts that mouthful of a moniker right smack on the cover of at least one flagship title. Waid and Kubert’s Avengers title isn’t New or Uncanny, or even Ultimate (also debuting this week), but it does feel like the focal book of the Avengers line. We got out first tease of this series back in May with a Free Comic Book Day edition, and now, in its full-length glory, Earth’s Mightiest kick-off a galactic romp that hearkens back to the pre-Disassembled Kurt Busiek days.

"Awesome: RTJ shirt. Not awesome: those poses" - RF
“Awesome: RTJ shirt. Not awesome: those poses” – RF

The seven new series hitting shelves this week brings the total up to an even thirty. X-23 takes up the Wolverine mantle. Team Hawkeye picks up from Perez and Lemire’s 5-issue run earlier in the year. A psychopathic super-villain gets top-billing. A cluster of Spider-people are the new Exiles. Heroes for Hire gets worked. And more! Including The Mandarin in a sweet suit.

All New All Different premieres
All-New All-Different Avengers #1
All-New Hawkeye #1
All-New Wolverine #1
Carnage #1
Illuminati #1
Ultimates #1
Web Warriors #1

Continuing titles
Spider-Gwen #2
Spider-Man 2099 #3
Uncanny Avengers #2
Continue reading All New All Different Marvel – Week 6

All New All Different Marvel – Week 4

Three more All-New All-Different titles debuted this week, alongside three number-two issues.

Marvel’s new Blade was meant to hit the shelves this week as well, but as reported by Bleeding Cool, the title has been delayed for an unspecified time, presumably to allow more time for the Marvel media engine to align its plans for the next Blade film. This could be another opportunity to bemoan the grand Hollywood takeover of Marvel characters and storylines, but we’ll instead try to focus on the positive.

This week, unfortunately, that means a pair of goofy premieres and one confusing tale that, based on the Idle Time focus group, is completely inaccessible to anyone unfamiliar with Angela’s (albeit brief) Marvel backstory (“what the hell did I just read?!” “rarely am I this confused by a Marvel book”).

All New All Different premieres
Angela, Queen of Hel #1
Howling Commandos of S.H.I.E.L.D. #1
Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #1

Continuing titles
Captain America: Sam Wilson #2
New Avengers #2
Spider-Man 2099 #2
Continue reading All New All Different Marvel – Week 4

All New All Different Marvel – Week 2

Six more All New All Different books hit shelves this week, bringing the total number of new series launches up to ten. Week 2 features two more books from the Spider-verse, and our first official full-length look at two of the Avengers teams.

All New All Different premieres
Captain America: Sam Wilson #1
Guardians of the Galaxy #1
New Avengers #1
Spider-Gwen #1
Spider-Man 2099 #1
Uncanny Avengers #1 Continue reading All New All Different Marvel – Week 2

First Obsessions: TMNT

A few weeks ago, it came to my attention that we were not properly celebrating a new “National Day” designation. Not to be confused with Free Comic Book Day, which happens the first Saturday of May each year, National Comic Book Day is one of those arbitrary days of observation that was seemingly birthed thanks to the Internet and the ability to generate buzz with a hashtag or flash sale. We should put a National Day of Idleness on the calendar. I think our pals at Idle Times SF would get behind that.

Regardless! Far be it from us to miss out on a chance to celebrate one of the key pillars supporting our clubhouse of frivolity. So I started asking various Idlers to share a comic or comics that stand out in their memory as personal game-changers, formative issues, or books that set them on a path of irrepressible obsession. We’re starting with RF’s recollections on TMNT. – MMDG

image1The first thing I ever obsessed over was Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I was only four or five, but I had already had strong, nerdy inclinations and everything in my life had to be TMNT, including birthday cakes, a sleeping bag, turtle pajamas (colored headband included), and my prized collection of action figures. Of course, the cartoon show was part of my fix, as I spent hours watching rented VHS tapes on a daily basis. Everything stemmed from this show, and if something had a picture of a ninja turtle on it, I had to be a part of it. And I suppose, that’s how I ended up possessing volumes three and four of the original Eastman and Laird comic book series. Continue reading First Obsessions: TMNT