Tag Archives: Captain America

Captain America #695

Marvel probably couldn’t have picked a better creative team to follow Nick Spencer’s subversive Captain America epic than Mark Waid and Chris Samnee. As great as the Hydra-Cap saga was (and despite mixed feelings regarding the conclusion of Secret Empire, it was great; don’t let the naysayers fool you), it was time for a fresh start. And in Captain America #695, his first issue under this season’s imprint, this new creative team perfectly captures everything that we’ve ever loved about the character, celebrating his past and paving the way for the future. These guys take their Legacy directives seriously.

The stellar team behind brilliant runs on Daredevil and, most recently, Black Widow, bring that same gorgeous storytelling to this Cap relaunch. Samnee’s elegant lines and fluid layouts are matched up with a vibrant color palette that manages to capture some genuine Golden Age nostalgia. And Waid’s first storyline doesn’t completely abandon the topical political bent of Spencer’s work. Cap goes undercover, returning to a town he had first helped when fresh out of the ice years ago, to intercept the plans of a supremacist organization. There’s some of that signature Marvel chronology compression that the continuity junkies will complain about, but just give us something to get excited about, is what I always say.

Waid and Samnee do just that. This issue is all about the core values of heroism and protecting those who can’t protect themselves. And just reading Waid’s afterward, a love letter from a talented writer to an iconic character, generates a good deal of excitement on its own. Waid has already made Avengers a monthly must-read, and his new take on Champions is almost as good. But with this title, returning to a character he explored in the late 90’s, he might be inspired to put together his best work to date.

I don’t recommend, as an adult, drawing all of your morality and ethics from super heroes. They are fortunate enough to live in a wonderful world where might always makes right, one sometimes absent the gray areas we struggle with as we mature. Nonetheless, I will share Steve Rogers’ core belief until the day I die. If you have the ability to help, then you have the responsibility, because everybody ultimately benefits. Life isn’t fair, but people can strive to be, and we are all better for it when we do. – Mark Waid

Continue reading Captain America #695

Falcon

Despite Marc Guggenheim’s comical abuse of the term “legacy” in recent issues of X-Men: Gold, there are two other corners of the Marvel Universe that I fully expected the publisher to focus on in this new initiative. And, appropriately, in Week 2 of Marvel Legacy, the camera pans wide to take in the scarred landscape of Captain America and The Fantastic Four. There may be no character dealing with more trauma from Secret Empire than Sam Wilson, and Falcon #1, by Rodney Barnes and Joshua Cassara, is an especially poignant opener to a series that refuses to stand up for the anthem, as it were.

Sam has given up the shield and mantle of Captain America, and he’s back in costume as the Falcon, patrolling the streets of Chicago with the new Patriot, Rayshaun Lucas. Their first order of business is an attempt at dealing with a simmering gang war, but their real mission statement seems much broader, and far more daunting. Nick Spencer did a fine job reflecting the sociopolitical turmoil in this country in the pages of his two Cap books, and deserves commendation for persevering despite backlash from racist retailers and closed-minded readers (I mean, fer crissakes, this just happened last weekend). But now he passes the torch to Barnes, and he’s not holding back, or sweeping anything under the rug. “Legacy” may be the operative term, but Marvel’s recent editorial shifts to diversify its character base and shake up generations of white male super-icons is not only admirable, it’s imperative.

Steve Rogers has his own shit to figure out; that’s not Sam’s problem any longer. He does, however, have to deal with the fact that the most trusted human being on the planet just committed the biggest act of betrayal, and, right now, disillusionment with the superpowered set is at an all-time high. Especially when you’re dodging bullets in the South Side.

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Jack Kirby’s 100th

Comic shops around the country have been abuzz celebrating Jack Kirby’s centennial this week. The undisputed King of Comics would have turned 100 this past Monday, August 28th. For a guy as influential as Walt Disney or George Lucas, it’s a shame how few people recognize his name or appreciate his contributions to comics, entertainment, and popular culture. Despite a #doodleforjack campaign, Google didn’t get it together in time to enlighten the masses with some Kirby crackle or dream machinery (we, did however, learn a little bit more about James Wong Howe on the 118th anniversary of the cinematographer’s birth).

But we know how important Kirby is, and each and every Idler, just like every one of you reading this blog, has his or her own favorite Kirby creation or a story about discovering his genius for the first time. And it’s up to us to spread the word. Take a friend to the comic shop this week, and act as a docent through the living museum of Kirby’s 2017 impact. Several one-shot specials are being released this month by DC and, this week from Mark Evanier and Scott Kolins, is the Darkseid Special. Be sure to point out the fact that the Justice League movie coming out in a few months looks to feature one of Jack’s most inventive concepts, as well as the Lord of Apokolips, one of the most insidious villains in comics. This oversized special also has a new OMAC story, and two classic Kirby reprints. And for more Fourth World fun, you could also pass along the new Black Racer and Shilo Norman special, by Reginald Hudlin and Ryan Benjamin, which also contains some great Kirby originals.

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Secret Empire #9

The penultimate chapter of Nick Spencer’s Secret Empire hits stands this week, and, as one would expect this close to a climactic final confrontation with Captain Hydra, the action ramps up at a frenetic pace. This has been one of Marvel’s most entertaining and original event books since House of M, and, as with the alternate reality of Bendis’s series, when the architecture of Steve Rogers’s empire starts to fail, it doesn’t take long for the structure to come crashing down. Across the board, the heroes have been tallying victories: the Darkforce dome sealing off Manhattan is down, as is the planetary defense shield that had stranded the other heavy hitters in the stratosphere. The Underground has rallied, and New Tian is in open revolt. Corrupted superheroes like Vision and Scarlet Witch are on the verge of restoration, and presumed defeated combatants Winter Soldier and Black Panther make dramatic returns to the battlefield. And, perhaps most importantly, the haze of mead and self-deprecation that had been clouding the mind of Odinson, AKA The Unworthy Thor, finally seems to have cleared. There’s a “BOOM” that translates roughly to, “The Hel was I thinking?!”

Hope you haven’t experienced mega-super-battle fatigue yet. Because this issue has a pretty fun romp. And despite all the momentum gathering on the side of the heroes, Steve has one major play left in his bag of tricks, and it involves Arnim Zola, some Stark technology, and an impressive handful of cosmic cube fragments. It all figures to play out in an even bigger mega-super-crazy series finale.

Continue reading Secret Empire #9

Ranking Marvel NOW! 25 – 16

25
Mighty Captain Marvel

Margaret Stohl and Ramon Rosanas

What I thought was an overt attempt at making Carol likeable again, with the forthcoming movie, may not have been necessary after all. The #CarolCorps? This is a thing? I’m fascinated. And I love space shit and bounty hunters and shapeshifters and explosions. Keep it coming! Also, don’t know where this artist came from, but he’s fantastic. – MMDG

Well, I guess I’m a Carol Danvers fan now. This book is a great introduction to the character and sells its concept exceptionally well. It has great art, the writing is slick and fun; this is just one of those solid books. – IP

First collection: Mighty Captain Marvel Vol. 1 (September)

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24
Star-Lord

Chip Zdarsky and Kris Anka

This is actually a very solid book. The action is smooth, the pacing is tight, and the art pops. These solo Guardians books have been very successful. – IP

The last few Star-Lord series have been abysmal to mediocre. I’m still waiting for the definitive version of this character. Maybe Zdarsky has that in mind, or maybe this is just a shelf-filler before the movie release, but I’m interested to hang out and discover what he can do. – MMDG

First collection: Star-Lord Vol. 1: Grounded (June)

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23
Spider-Woman

Dennis Hopeless and Veronica Fish
beginning with #13

I was a little worried that this series would suffer greatly when Rodriguez went over to the Sorcerers Supreme book, especially since some of the fill-in art had been so mediocre. But not only does Veronica Fish maintain that high level Darwyn Cooke-style storytelling, form & color and elegant linework, but Hopeless’s script is as polished as ever. My only complaint is that fucking Porcupine was really starting to grow on me… – MMDG

Collection: Spider-Woman Volume 3: Scare Tactics (June)

22
Sam Wilson: Captain America

Nick Spencer and Paul Renaud
beginning with #14

Very interesting book. Politicking is becoming more and more common in comics for obvious reasons, and this issue handles it in one of the best ways. Flag-Smasher makes good points, seems to have good intentions, but is also murderous and deranged. Of course this book also deals with a certain Captain being a part of a certain multi-headed organization, which I am still unsure of, but nevertheless it makes for a fun read, and the art is clear and well colored. Overall a good book. – IP

One of the best books of the ANAD era and still one of the best books in Marvel’s stable. The topical nature of Sam Wilson’s patriotism is more pertinent than the profiling in CWII, and isn’t as blatant as Netflix’s Luke Cage. – MMDG

Collection: Captain America: Sam Wilson, Vol. 4: #TakeBackTheShield

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21
Nova

Jeff Loveness and Ramon Perez

A really great surprise. Ramon Perez is a real talent, and this book looks ready to combine good Marvel cosmic drama with the kind of coming-of-age superhero stories that Marvel has been knocking out of the park in the pages of Spider-Man and Ms. Marvel. – MMDG

Nova is much more fun than I thought it would be. There’s a perfect amount of humor, the pacing is fast, and the art is lively. Overall an exceptional book. – IP

First collection: Nova Volume 1: Resurrection (August)

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20
Jessica Jones

Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Gaydos

The story is an intriguing mystery, and a few cameos from some great street-level heroes never hurts. Overall this feels like the exact kind of story JJ needs. I’m game. – IP

This is interesting. So Jones starts out in prison, hid her baby from Luke, and her first case involves a dimensionally displaced husband? Oh, and not even Bendis knows where the hell the FF are. – MMDG

First collection: Jessica Jones Volume 1: Uncaged! (May)

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19
Great Lakes Avengers

Zac Gorman and Will Robson

Really great comedy book here. The jokes are landing, the references, both dated and fresh, are working for me. The art is surprisingly good, and the coloring is excellent. If they can maintain the pace this first issue has then this has potential to be a fantastic series. – IP

Surprised how much I enjoyed this. A genuinely funny superhero book in the same family as Howard, Hellcat. Probably doesn’t have long-term staying power, but I’m onboard for now. – MMDG

Collection: Great Lakes Avengers: Same Old, Same Old (May)

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18
Hulk

Mariko Tamaki and Nico Leon

This is really good. Tamaki is a veteran tackling (I think?) her first superhero book with aplomb, and Leon’s style is perfectly suited for a graceful beauty with ugly rage and power simmering, on the verge of eruption. There’s intriguing untapped power and energy in that linework. – MMDG

Hulk is a great restart of the She-Hulk comics I loved as a kid. This book has great art, incredible color work, and a tight script that gets directly to the point while allowing a few moments of levity. Even though the story is pretty standard for an attorney/superhero, the execution works well. I’m excited to continue reading this one. – IP

First collection: Hulk Volume 1: Deconstructed (July)

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17
Captain America: Steve Rogers

Nick Spencer and Jesus Saiz
beginning with #7

Nick Spencer is the most politically savvy writer in mainstream comics. His two Cap books are some of the best things going for Marvel right now, and the social consciousness he imbues is far more significant than anything in Civil War II. – MMDG

The Steve Rogers as Hydra is rightly controversial, but I like the change of pace. This book has some good art, excellent coloring in spots, and reads like a political spy thriller. Not necessarily the best book in the Marvel NOW stable, but a very solid entry in a long line of great Captain America books. I will be reading more of this one. – IP

Collection: Captain America: Steve Rogers Volume 2: The Trial of Maria Hill

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16
Moon Girl & Devil Dinosaur

Brandon Montclare, Amy Reeder, and Natacha Bustos
beginning with #13

I’ll admit to dropping the ball on this book the first time around. After reading the first few issues in the NOW! initiative, I had to go back and see what I was missing out on. This is the comic that you give to your kids, little cousins, nephews and nieces; the superhero antics are entertaining without dumbing down to a younger audience. It’s the kind of book that made you fall in love with comics when you were a kid, and the first few issues of this new arc are replete with equally entertaining guest appearances from The Thing to Ironheart. Get onboard. – MMDG

Collection: Moon Girl & Devil Dinosaur Volume 3: The Smartest There Is (July)

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< 40 – 26 | Rankings | 15 – 6 >

New Comics: Hellblazer

The Hellblazer prologue issue that came out a few weeks ago was a passable effort at introducing the character, re-establishing him in London, and incorporating him, once again, into the capes n’ tights universe of DC superheroes. Captain Marvel and Wonder Woman felt squeezed in solely to reassure the masses that this was, indeed, a DC book. But in Rebirth Week 14, we get the formal first issue of Oliver and Moritat’s Hellblazer series and, thankfully, assurances that John Constantine will be doing a lot more than matching wits with a demon or road-tripping with his amazing magical pals.

The issue opens in Sarajevo on that very fateful day in the summer of 1914. Two brothers, clearly aware that a Serbian Nationalist is about to murder Archduke Franz Ferdinand, thus setting off “a hundred years of human brutality,” struggle with whether or not they should prevent the assassination.

A century later we catch up with the brothers in present-day Paris, and the mystery deepens. Who or what they are, and which divine pair of eyes they’re trying to hide from, remains to be seen. The stage is set for an intriguing opening storyline that weaves together history, celestial incarnations, and good old-fashioned Biblical-style fratricide. Should be fun.

Continue reading New Comics: Hellblazer

New Comics: Steve Rogers

At the conclusion of the recent Pleasant Hill event we learned that there was room in the Marvel Universe for three Captain Americas. The most recently anointed Cap, Sam Wilson (formerly known as The Falcon), still carries the shield (and the wings) and has been doing his damnedest to uphold the legacy. The Winter Soldier, Bucky Barnes, who had taken on the role subsequent to the first Civil War, is leading the new Thunderbolts. And Steve Rogers, youthful vigor restored by a sentient Cosmic Cube, has a new shield with a classic design, and a share of the responsibility that comes along with wielding it.

We’ve also learned that there’s room on the comic book shelf for multiple Captain America books. Week 34 of All New All Different Marvel debuts Captain America: Steve Rogers, in which Nick Spencer and Jesus Saiz tackle everything from the Pleasant Hill fallout to the underground swell of Red Skull’s Hydra resurgence. With this first issue, Spencer, who has also been writing the hell out of Captain America: Sam Wilson, may be establishing himself as the Captain America scribe for the 21st century. Sam isn’t the only one living up to a legacy.

An opening action sequence involving a suicide bomber on a train channels classic Joe Simon and Stan Lee bravado, while the goofball villainy of Baron Zemo’s latest recruits is a tip of the cap to Jack Kirby’s later work on Cap’s solo book. The social commentary of Mark Gruenwald and Steve Englehart resonates in Red Skull’s all-too-real rendition of Take Back America, and the final few pages offer up a jaw-dropping plot twist a la Ed Brubaker. No, I’m not spoiling it for you. I do as I’m told.

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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.

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The Best of All New All Different Marvel #7: Captain America: Sam Wilson

Captain America: Sam Wilson

Nick Spencer & Daniel Acuña

I love seeing a superhero handle problems that don’t involve the imminent destruction of the planet/universe. In a time where is seems like the norm is turn every superhero into a god, it’s refreshing to see a series go “small.” Add in a big middle finger to the establishment, and I’m. – SS

I was a little skeptical going in, but the political background totally drew me in. I love how the wonder of the super hero world is being weighed down by bureaucracy. Marvel has steered towards social commentary ever since Civil War, and I suppose Captain America is the bearer of those fruits. When those kids recognize Sam Wilson on the plane, they don’t make one wisecrack about him being the Falcon, but immediately recognize him as Captain America. It feels like this is Marvel’s first Black president. It’s interesting that some of the most persistent problems in this book will be navigating the figurative and literal American landscape. Also that joke about the minivan was great. “Pernicious stereotype…” – RF

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Acuña is a beast. Cannot get enough his art and I actually dig the vibe of this story. The supporting cast is great and I like the idea of a small scale Cap trying to help the people. Would definitely read more – BC

 

Continue reading The Best of All New All Different Marvel #7: Captain America: Sam Wilson

Top 5 Superhero Resurrections

It’s on everyone’s mind this time of year. Back from the grave, back to save humanity. In a long-overdue return of Four Color Top 5’s, here’s a TPB reading list of my favorite Superhero Resurrection stories.

A tale as old as time. Superhero dies valiantly; a world mourns. And, after the requisite grieving process has run its course, superhero comes back, typically in dramatic fashion. Sometimes the death story is more interesting than the actual return (sorry, Flash). Sometimes neither the death nor the resurrection seems particularly profound (looking at you, Psylocke), and the time spent on the Other Side amounts to little more than an extended sabbatical. But in certain special cases, we get epic yarns like the following.

IMG_0602Jonathan Hickman loves The End of Times. His parting shot to Marvel was to culminate a three-year “Everything Dies” Avengers storyline with the Secret Wars event, opening the doors for the All New All Different universe. Before he destroyed realities and made Dr. Doom a god, however, he was wrapping up a memorable run on Marvel’s First Family, The Fantastic Four.

In the “Three” storyline, Johnny Storm, who has long had a reputation as a self-centered, narcissistic attention whore, sacrifices himself to fend off a Negative Zone invasion from Annihilus and his scary-ass Annihilation Wave. Spider-Man joins the team, and they operate as “FF” for several months until The Human Torch makes his dramatic return.

All of Hickman’s Fantastic Four stories are worth checking out. His science-forward plots always seemed more appropriate to this title than The Avengers but, hell, he did some good stuff there too. But what really makes this particular pair of trades stand out is the way Hickman brings Johnny back to life. And this isn’t a thought-he-was-dead-but-he-really wasn’t scenario (we’ll see some of those below). The Torch was dead. Really dead. And not to spoil anything, but his resurrection tale involves bugs, Galactus, and Annihilus on a leash. It’s legitimately fantastic and might just wash away the bad taste left by yet another failed movie attempt.

5. The Human Torch

Fantastic Four by Jonathan Hickman Vol. 4 (2013)

For weeks leading up to his demise, we knew someone on the FF was going to bite it. The arc was called “Three,” after all. And the Internet was wild with speculation as to which one it was going to be (my money had been on Reed). Props to Hickman for making one-in-four odds so engaging and surprising.

Fantastic Four by Jonathan Hickman Vol. 5 (2013)

Just because this is “Volume 5” doesn’t mean Johnny was dead for only a few months. There’s a gap in between the two books, but the volumes read fluidly regardless. It’s the best run on Fantastic Four in – no kidding – about thirty years.

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