Tag Archives: Civil War


In the post-Civil War II era, which, unfortunately, continues to crazily coexist with the Civil War II era, the Marvel universe still has a need for a team of “awesome people working together to do awesome things.” Maybe more so now than ever. When Ewing and Rocafort’s ANAD Ultimates series wrapped with issue #12 last month, we were treated to yet another one of those g-d spoilers caused by ridiculous scheduling delays. Namely, that Civil War II would conclude with Black Panther switching sides, turning on Captain Marvel, and effectively shutting down their proactive problem-solving super-team of super-scientists. Say it ain’t so, T’Challa. This series was so good.

Of course, we were also given notice that the team would be back in Ultimates² #1. Al Ewing is joined by new series artist Travel Foreman and colorist Dan Brown for the highlight of Marvel NOW! Week 8, hitting stands the same day as the rather anti-climactic Civil War II #7 (which isn’t the last issue by the way). Not a moment too soon, either, because now that the Earth’s heroes have (apparently) finished their petty squabble over the merits of predictive justice, the Ultimates can get back to work taking care of the problems that really need solving. Enter Anti-Man, newly knighted by the transformed Galactus as the first Herald of Life. And if nobody was listening before (except Thanos, ironically), it’s time to pay attention. The universe is in chains, and the Cosmic Jailer seems to be a very pressing issue. Continue reading Ultimates²

Marvel NOW! – Week 7

No, seriously. How many Jeff Lemires are there? Does this one guy ever sleep? Does he take a day off? For the record, I’m okay with his insane output for the major monthly publishers (and incredibly okay to see him revisit his own super-origins in the icy, hockey-obsessed north of Essex County when Roughneck comes out next year), and will do anything in my power to help keep Jeff running. Can I stock your refrigerator for you? Howsabout the password to my Munchery account? I’m a Nespresso convert. I can hook you up.

Lemire was one of the anchors of last season’s All-New All-Different Marvel launch, captaining Extraordinary X-Men, scripting a poignant Hawkeye yarn, and making B-listers like Old Man Logan and Moon Knight monthly must-reads. And now, partnered with veteran artist Mike Deodato, he’s debuting Thanos #1, one of the early bright spots for Marvel’s 2016-2017 NOW! season.

This isn’t the first time during the Marvel Cinematic era that the company has turned to a high-profile writer to maintain rack presence for the malevolent Titan. In the previous Marvel NOW! season, back in 2013, Jason Aaron teamed up with Simone Bianchi to give us the beautiful Thanos Rising, and both of Jonathan Hickman’s major summer events, 2013’s Infinity and 2015’s Secret Wars, featured integral villainy from Purple Puss. Now it’s Lemire’s turn. After being brought back to life in All-New All-Different’s Ultimates, Thanos isn’t looking to waste any time reasserting his galactic dominance. His first stop is the Black Quadrant, home base for former minion Corvus Glaive’s band of mercenaries and pirates.

file_003-3While Thanos is no stranger to recent Marvel books, what makes this series particularly exciting is the rest of this book’s cast. It’s a true family affair, as both Thanos’s brother, the former Avenger Starfox, and Thanos’s son, Thane, have plots in motion to come into conflict with the despot. We also get to see the never-humble Champion of the Universe making some bold proclamations regarding Thanos’s fate. Deodato’s style, both in the gritty realization of his action sequences and the geometric wizardry of his layouts, taps into the great 70’s and 80’s Heavy Metal/Epic vibe of classic four-color science-fiction. The House of Ideas has some marvelously trippy characters in its cosmic catalog, and it’s a treat to read a book that looks to explore that roster.

Continue reading Marvel NOW! – Week 7

Marvel NOW! – Week 6

Marvel’s latest NOW! initiative may not have gotten off to the best start, particularly given the fact that so many of these new titles and storylines were meant to rise out of the ashes of the as-yet-to-be-concluded Civil War II event. This isn’t the first time scheduling delays have caused confusing overlaps between “seasons” of Marvel’s releases, and that hasn’t gone unnoticed among comic book readers, many of whom are expressing their rightful frustration by avoiding new series launches. We’re now in week 6 of the “shattered” NOW! initiative, but still two weeks away from the scheduled release of the final chapter of Civil War II. And delays aside, the series just hasn’t been very good. Whether or not it’s fair, much of the heat falls on Brian Michael Bendis. He’s Marvel’s chief architect, and, as the hardest working guy at The House of Ideas over the last decade-plus, it’s only natural to wonder if maybe he’s just feeling a little worn out. Superhero burnout is real, folks. And, the really scary thing is, history tells us it has a very low recovery rate.

file_000-11But here’s the thing. Bendis isn’t slowing down. On the contrary, he seems out to prove that his knack for telling some of the most compelling and entertaining capes n’ tights stories of our generation hasn’t cooled in the slightest. The continuing adventures of Miles Morales in Spider-Man; new titles Infamous Iron Man and Jessica Jones; and especially this week’s Invincible Iron Man #1, make the bloated and unwieldy Guardians of the Galaxy and Civil War II runs look like company mandates that steered the scribe too far from his home.
Continue reading Marvel NOW! – Week 6

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.

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

Marvel NOW! – Week 4

No surprise, with Marvel’s latest Hollywood blockbuster scheduled for wide release on November 4, that we’re getting a double dose of the good doctor this year. Not since the Defenders days of the 70’s and 80’s has Doctor Strange featured simultaneously in multiple ongoing titles. Doctor Strange and The Sorcerers Supreme #1, by Robbie Thompson and Javier Rodriguez, hits shelves for week 4 of Marvel’s latest NOW! initiative, which gives us one more reason to thank Marvel Studios for making the Master of the Mystic Arts pop-culturally relevant. Unlike Aaron & Bachalo’s outstanding Doctor Strange series, however, or even any of the iterations of The Defenders over the years, this book looks to pull the focus away from Stephen Strange while emphasizing a fun new magical ensemble.

file_001-2The story picks up after the events of The Last Days of Magic with Strange still trying to recover what magical energy he can in our universe. Merlin, of Arthurian lore, and no stranger to the Marvel universe, assembles a super-team of super-sorcerers to combat an entity known as The Forgotten, which was purportedly unleashed on the past during Strange’s battle with the Empirikul. It’s like a Web Warriors for the mystical set, except with more flowy capes and fewer anthropomorphic pigs. Suiting up for action is a Wiccan from a future in which he is Earth’s Sorcerer Supreme; a Sir Isaac Newton from a reality in which he commands a “Mindful One” (a creature that looks a lot like Dread Dormammu’s Mindless Ones); a brash, younger version of The Ancient One; and two new characters: Kushala, the Demon Rider, and a mysterious pistol-wielding, swashbuckling woman known only as “The Conjuror.”

Despite some solid building blocks in Strange’s main title and Scarlet Witch, three other failed attempts at cultivating an enchanted corner of the Marvel universe (Weirdworld was pretty good; Howling Commandos was not; Black Knight was just awful), have only hurt property values. But Thompson’s premise and team are encouraging. Moreover, what elevates Sorcerers above classic magician vs. monster fare is the art of Javier Rodriguez. Fresh off his great run on the ANAD Spider-Woman, Rodriquez gets to trade in the sci-fi for fantasy, adding beasties next to aliens in his creature portfolio. The design of the Forgotten’s cultists is particularly devilish. And the double-splash of Merlin guiding Strange on a temporal journey to the principal battlefield is a gorgeous piece of Jim Starlin-meets-Brendan McCarthy artistry that is worth the entire price of admission.

Continue reading Marvel NOW! – Week 4

Marvel NOW! – Week 3

Iron Man is dead. Long live Iron Man.

I’m guessing that the intended surprise reveal in Infamous Iron Man #1 was going to be that Tony Stark had transferred his “essence” into a computer program, right? Civil War II was supposed to have concluded by now and, with it, we were to discover the fate of Iron Man. Instead, we’re still piecing together the aftermath, but rather than riddling our way through various clues (like Von Doom holding the Iron Man mask in that promo poster), we get a flat-out spoiler straight from the Latverian’s mouth.

Okay, so… he IS dead?

This isn’t a complete surprise, of course, as we’d seen the solicits for this book months ago, and already knew that RiRi would also be donning armor as Ironheart. Tony Stark? No trace. But these Marvel scheduling missteps do have a way of detracting from the intended experience. Brian Michael Bendis has teamed up with his Daredevil partner-in-crime, Alex Maleev, to bring us a fresh take on the replacement-superhero storyline. But instead of Bucky Barnes picking up the shield for Steve Rogers, or Dick Grayson donning the cowl for Bruce Wayne, this is Doctor freaking Doom picking up Tony Stark’s mantle to do “what needs to be done.” And somewhere along the way, I suspect we’ll gain valuable insight into Doom’s motivations, explore his relationship with his mother, and finally learn how he fixed his face in the post-Secret Wars era. Sounds like a great series! I just wish I wasn’t so distracted by the casual Civil War II reveal.

Continue reading Marvel NOW! – Week 3

Marvel NOW! – Week 2

Marvel NOW commenced with a bang last week, and the House of Ideas follow suit with… a chuckle? Week 2 is a weird follow-up to a successful launch of the new publishing initiative, but one of the things we’ve loved about Marvel in recent years is that they’ve been willing to take chances – on creative teams, on concepts and styles, and, most importantly, on weird comic book characters. Created by comics legend John Byrne in the pages of West Coast Avengers in 1989, the Great Lakes Avengers were one of the first groups of heroes to feature more quirky, offbeat super-powers. They’ve bounced around, making various guest appearances in the interim decades, changing their name from the Avengers to the Champions to, even, the Great Lakes X-Men. But in this week’s Great Lakes Avengers #1, Doorman, Flatman, Big Bertha, and even Mr. Immortal, are re-uniting and re-establishing that trademarked name.

file_004Flatman, who has a mutant stretching ability (provided he maintains a near-two-dimensional shape), has just been informed that he, because of some legal loopholes and technicalities, owns the Avengers™ brand. Apparently this has more to do with Tony Stark’s as-yet-to-be-revealed post-Civil War II fate. Hints and innuendo are fun fuel for fanboy speculation, but with Victor von Doom queued up to don the armor in next week’s Infamous Iron Man, I’m ready for some legitimate answers.

Instead of selling back the name, Flatman gets what he really wants, and that’s permission to operate as legitimate Avengers once again. So he rallies the troops, and they set up shop in Detroit. Motor City obviously has its share of problems, super-villains included. And the worst thing about the bad guy with pitchforks for hands might be his persistent attempts at dropping shitty puns into his menacing banter.

Continue reading Marvel NOW! – Week 2

Marvel NOW! – Week 1

Marvel’s 2016-2017 publishing initiative kicked off this week: a new slate of books for a new era, albeit with old branding. I have less of a problem with the re-hashing of the Marvel NOW! label than I do with the name itself. Reminds me too much of a gawdawful series of pop music compilations. “NOW that’s what I call superheroes!” I also don’t mind that we’re starting the new cycle before the end of Civil War II. As we all remember, the same thing happened last year when the first All New All Different Marvel titles debuted before Secret Wars had a chance to wrap. There has been enough foreshadowing, as well as plenty of hints in press releases and solicitations, so that we have a general idea as to what the fallout looks like. Just, you know… let’s try to avoid any overt spoilers, yeah?

Week 1 slaps the NOWness on two new ongoing titles, one mini-series, and two continuing series. Foremost among these releases, with seeming significance for Marvel’s heroic youth movement, is Champions #1 by Mark Waid, Humberto Ramos, and Victor Olazaba. Casual comic book fans unfamiliar with the new Spider-Man, unaware of Kamala Khan, or confused by a Hulk with a faux-hawk, may let this one slip by. And that would be a huge mistake.

Continue reading Marvel NOW! – Week 1

New Comics: Frostbite

Don’t everybody give up on Vertigo just yet. While we’re all pretty excited about Doom Patrol and the launch of DC’s Young Animal line, DC hasn’t given away all the space on the creator-owned shelf to Image and Dark Horse just yet. Joshua Williamson, who is also currently writing DC’s rebirthed Flash , and veteran artist Jason Shawn Alexander debut Frostbite this week, and it’s a promising book for a once-great imprint sorely in need of a hit.

The series takes place in the post-apocalyptic throes of the New Ice Age, when folks are dealing not only with a scarcity of heat sources, but also a deadly new contagion. “Frostbite” isn’t just something that turns your toes black. Thanks to you meddling scientists, the precious few humans left on earth need to worry about catching a disease that freezes the body from the inside out. And the one woman who may have a cure is being hunted by the aptly named Fuego. Enter Keaton and her crew, hired to transport Victoria Bonham from Mexico City to a secret installation on Alcatraz.

Continue reading New Comics: Frostbite

DC: Rebirth – Week 18

Wow. I didn’t think this book was coming. Not that I wasn’t expecting a Trinity #1, but a DC superhero book that connects on a human level was a welcome surprise. These characters in capes and armor are manifestations of our fantasies, symbolic of the struggle between good and evil. But when written with care, they become as stirring a curiosity as the real people we encounter. Yes, I do like seeing Batman, Wonder Woman and Superman fight monsters and villains, but what an awesome feeling it is to feel like these characters have real humanity behind them. If universes collapsed, and people that were thought dead turned up alive, I’d expect someone to have some sort of existential crisis, but instead there’s been a lot of business as usual. To see DC’s big three sit down at a dinner table, to watch Bruce speak one way in front of everyone, yet wax sentimental in a moment with Clark, or seeing Wonder Woman confide in Lois because her sisters in Themyscira are lost to her –those are the kind of nuances that take these superhero books out of childish distractions and into the realm of thoughtful entertainment.

Continue reading DC: Rebirth – Week 18