Tag Archives: comics

Marvel’s ResurrXion Ranked

Fox’s The Gifted

Despite receiving considerably less fanfare than any of their regularly scheduled publishing initiatives, like All-New All-Different or the forthcoming Legacy, Marvel’s recent refresh on their mutant and Inhuman books has not only shown some sorely needed love to these teams and characters, but produced some wholly entertaining titles as well. The first few months of ResurrXion, rising out of the ashes of Death of X and Inhumans vs. X-Men, has given us thirteen new series or storyline kickoffs.

ABC’s Inhumans

It’s a good time to shine a spotlight on these two venerable Marvel properties. Fox’s X-movies are still popular as hell, with current buzz building for the Deadpool sequel. FX’s Legion series was fantastic, and their network mutant show, The Gifted, looks promising. Marvel Studios has been forcing Inhumanity down our throats for a few years now, but with the highly anticipated debut of ABC’s Inhumans show this fall, the royal family finally takes center stage. Nothing against Daisy Johnson or that creepy porcupine monster that Ruth Negga turned into, but we want to see Black Bolt and Lockjaw! Continue reading Marvel’s ResurrXion Ranked

Ranking Marvel NOW! 56 – 41

56
Slapstick

Fred Van Lente & Reilly Brown

There is a lengthy dinner table discussion where Slapstick talks to his entire family about how he lost his dingus. Also he lights his fart on fire. These things happen, and don’t even make me laugh. – MeanOldPig

I can’t think of a more appropriate title for the collected edition. – MMDG

First collection: Slapstick, Vol. 1: That’s Not Funny (August)

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55
Solo

Gerry Duggan, Geoffrey Thorne & Paco Diaz

This is really dumb. Why does Marvel like this Thorne guy so much? The writing is so juvenile, and I couldn’t possibly give a lesser shit about Solo. I think we’re going to see a steady decline on all the SHIELD/spy-type garbage over the next year. – MMDG

Did not enjoy this. One or two amusing puppy panels is all I can say were good about Solo. What is Marvel thinking with this one? – IP

Collection: Solo: The One-Man War on Terror (June)

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Continue reading Ranking Marvel NOW! 56 – 41

Marvel NOW! – The First Six Months

It didn’t take long following Marvel’s All-New All-Different relaunch for the company to tease information regarding another “things will never be the same again” initiative. There was bound to be some fallout from last summer’s major crossover event, and the new season of books and fresh storylines was geared for a Marvel NOW! branding. No, this wasn’t the same Marvel NOW! slate that followed 2012’s Avengers vs. X-Men event. This was an all-new, all-different Marvel NOW, if you will. I mean, look at that shattered and distressed NOW logo. Totally different.

In the same way that 2015’s Secret Wars set the stage for All-New All-Different universe, Civil War II was meant to segue into these Marvel NOW titles. And, in the same way that Secret Wars scheduling delays detracted from the initial ANAD offerings, major lags in CW2 meant that Marvel NOW! releases were rife with spoilers. And, sure, we Idlers bitched and moaned with the rest of the comic book community. But that didn’t mean we weren’t excited to read, rank, and review another stack of new books. In fact, the first month of this “shattered” NOW! initiative gave us some of the most promising superhero books in years.

Continue reading Marvel NOW! – The First Six Months

Marvel NOW! – Week 14

When MeanOldPig shared the cover image for U.S.Avengers #1 a few months back, I thought it was a joke – a goofy fanart pin-up at best or, at worst, an authentic cover, but for some tongue-in-cheek series along the lines of Vote Loki. But, no, this was really happening. So the questions were: how is this coming together… and why? At the time, Ewing’s off-kilter New Avengers book hadn’t really established its own direction, awkwardly caught between an attempt at picking up the pieces from Hickman’s Avengers World, and the goal of defining itself as a genuine, albeit disjointed, superhero team with a place in the All-New All-Different Marvel universe.

file_000-2By the time the series ended, a few weeks ago, storylines involving triple-agents, S.H.I.E.L.D. shenanigans, and the only version of Reed Richards that we’ve seen in print for more than a year – the evil sliced-up Maker from the Ultimate Universe – had been hurriedly concluded. Now, back to figuring out exactly what this Avengers squad is supposed to be, and who makes the roster.

Roberto da Costa, formely known as the mutant hero Sunspot, and now the latest hero to adopt the alter ego Citizen V, has taken his Avengers Idea Mechanics out from the shadows and boldly partnered with the U. S. of A. His new Avengers team is just as weird as it was in the last volume. In fact, maybe even more so. But somehow, this time I’m digging it.

Gone is the token recognizable Avenger; following Civil War II, Hawkeye has his own issues (and new issues of Occupy Avengers to dick around in). That’s not Iron Man, but a new Iron Patriot, this time captained by Dr. Toni Ho. Speaking of captains, that’s not Steve Rogers, Bucky Barnes, or even Sam Wilson wielding the shield. That’s Danielle Cage – Luke and Jessica’s kid – as a Captain America from an alternate future. That’s not any Hulk you’re used to seeing, either. Hell, it’s not even the Red Hulk any of us assumed it to be. Round it off with Squirrel Girl, Cannonball, and a repurposed Pod, and you’ve got maybe the oddest group calling themselves Avengers since that gang of goofballs from the Great Lakes.

Maybe it’s the means of introduction, or maybe it’s the table-setting with some equally oddball adventures looming, but for now, I’m buying what you’re selling, Ewing and Medina.
Continue reading Marvel NOW! – Week 14

Love Is Love

The most important book on the new releases shelf this week is a trade anthology published by IDW, in conjunction with DC Entertainment. Love Is Love, with dozens of stories, artistic tributes, and messages, is a collaboration organized by Marc Andreyko intended to honor those killed at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando earlier this year. From the book’s solicitation: “this oversize comic contains moving and heartfelt material from some of the greatest talents in comics — mourning the victims, supporting the survivors, celebrating the LGBTQ community, and examining love in today’s world. All material has been kindly donated by the writers, artists, and editors with all proceeds going to victims, survivors, and their families. Be a part of an historic comics event! It doesn’t matter who you love. All that matters is that you love.”

2016 has been a helluva year. The Idle Time clubhouse, for all its escapist frivolity and arguments about superpowers or cinematography, has not been immune to the disbelief and confusion brought on by real-world events over the last twelve months. I’m a little tired of being told that “we live in a bubble,” or that “we don’t understand what’s going on in the rest of the country.” What I do understand is that it’s almost 2017 and my nation is still beset with racism, bigotry, rampant misogyny, and hate. As a straight, white male I have a hard time accepting this. I can’t begin to imagine how my gay friends, my Muslim coworkers, or my own daughter feels when any one of them sees the news each day. When they’re told that they don’t understand what’s going on in the world.

I firmly believe that there are more of us that love than hate, more of us that celebrate than destroy. More of us who appreciate diversity than are frightened by things they don’t comprehend. And the more of us need to start affecting the rest of them. Seeing so many artists and writers who I admire come together for a project like Love Is Love exemplifies this. If it takes pinups of Superman waving a rainbow flag, or goofy exchanges between Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn, to drive the point home, so be it.


Continue reading Love Is Love

Marvel NOW! – Week 12

One of the most exciting things about this year’s Marvel NOW! initiative has been the rejuvenation of Marvel’s cosmic universe. Since the days of Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko, through the ascent of Jim Starlin and Chris Claremont, and even in recent work by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning, there has been something uniquely special about the characters, exploits, and themes explored in the company’s spacefaring titles. The All-New All-Different relaunch last year dropped the ball in that regards. Most of the books were mediocre (Venom: Space Knight, Rocket & Groot), phoned-in (Guardians of the Galaxy, Star-Lord), or downright lousy (Drax, Guardians of Infinity). The few saving graces were Slott & Allred’s Silver Surfer (which was a carryover from the pre-ANAD era) and Ewing & Rocafort’s Ultimates, whose NOW reinvention is spearheading the current resurgence.

Week 12 of Marvel NOW! adds two more books to a stellar recharge that already includes the aforementioned Ultimates², the fantastic Nova, and promising Thanos. While these other books offer tours of the Marvel cosmos, however, the first of this week’s space books features a Peter Quill who has been forced to leave the intergalactic escapades on pause. In Chip Zdarsky and Kris Anka’s Star-Lord #1, the Guardians’ leader, along with the rest of his team, is “Grounded,” following the events of Civil War II. And life on Earth, he soon discovers, is quickly complicated by evasive ex-girlfriends, unsympathetic ducks, and feisty dimensionally displaced Wolverines.


Continue reading Marvel NOW! – Week 12

Marvel NOW! – Week 11

It’s about time, really. One could argue that the prior few volumes of Hawkeye, both the Matt Fraction & David Aja series and the Jeff Lemire & Ramón Peréz version, were intentionally ambiguous regarding the titular hero. Which “Hawkeye” is given the top billing? Shouldn’t we really start calling the book Hawkeyes? But with this week’s Marvel NOW! debut of Kelly Thompson and Leonardo Romero’s Hawkeye #1, there is no room for debate. This is Kate Bishop’s comic book. She’s packing her bow & arrow, saying farewell to Clint, and heading for California.

file_002-9Bishop settles in Venice, where she’s opened a private investigation office. And she’s taking surveillance photos of surfers. Like all good modern crime narratives, we need to de-romanticize the hardboiled intrigue of the professional detective’s line of work… before completely diving into a flurry of mystery, mayhem, and action sequences. This is still a superhero book after all. And Thompson is already demonstrating a knack for fun capes n’ tights books that serve up the super with a heaping side of sass. The two-page spread of Kate explaining to one potential client after another that she’s not that Hawkeye is gold.

Her recent Marvel work included picking up G. Willow Wilson’s all-female Avengers team on A-Force, a book that, sadly, did not seem to be part of the company’s 2016-2017 plans. Which is a shame, really, because that had been one of the more entertaining ensembles in Marvel’s catalog. The developing dynamic in A-Force makes me excited for the potential of this series; thus far, Thompson & Romero seem to be sticking with what works, or what is familiar. The storytelling, plot construction, and even general aesthetic are very reminiscent of Fraction & Aja’s Hawkeye. Given time, however, I’m pretty excited to see this creative team carve their own path, and tell a unique story, in much the same way that Lemire and Peréz were able to do in their two arcs.

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Continue reading Marvel NOW! – Week 11

Marvel NOW! – Week 10

Something’s happening to the Marvel cosmic canon. It’s getting pretty freaking great again. Last year’s All-New All-Different Nova was a nice introduction to Sam Alexander; indeed, it earned high marks in our focus group ranking based on accessibility and, in the words of one Idler, “its existence in its own special comic book universe.” Over the course of the year, and into this season’s Marvel NOW!, young Nova has become ever more integrated into the capes n’ tights collective, from a turn with the Avengers through his current role as part of the Champions. This week’s Nova #1, by Jeff Loveness, Ramón Pérez, and Ian Herring, is a gorgeous relaunch of Alexander’s solo adventures, and sets up a promising return of some of those great space yarns that have been sorely missing from the House of Ideas in recent years.

The book opens with Nova helping everyone’s favorite giant talking head, Ego, The Living Planet, deal with an infestation of Sidri. And the book concludes with the mysterious resurrection of Richard Rider, dripping with some sinister ramifications from his time in the Cancerverse. But between the nods to Lee & Kirby, Claremont & Cockrum, and recent cosmic champions Abnett & Lanning, Sam Alexander is faced with his most difficult challenge to date: talking to a girl.

 

Continue reading Marvel NOW! – Week 10

Ranking DC’s Rebirth: 10 – 6

10
Red Hood & The Outlaws

Scott Lobdell & Dexter Soy
I wish Zack Snyder movies were more like this, although this may be more of a Guy Ritchie style. Sure, a lot of the character stuff is sped through, but there’s an economy to it. No one needs to be particularly deep except Red Hood, but I wouldn’t mind a little bit more time with the villain. Seeing as he’s already got a long history with Gotham, I think the symmetry of origin and theme between Black Mask and Red Hood makes the adversarial relationship work well enough. The binary pacing of action, background, action, background, works well, particuarly with the art. It’s not the most detailed comic artistically, but the character design and action panels hit every mark. The prologue issue promises Red Hood, Artemis, and I think Bizarro, so if they’re building an anti-hero Justice League, I’m all for that kind of fun. – tyrannoflores

I like Jason Todd a lot; for a Batfamily member he at least has the balls to go in for the kill on occasion. He does have a bad attitude, but it feels like it works in his new persona as the Red Hood. Another getting-the-team-together story too, which I love. – IP

First collection: Red Hood & The Outlaws Volume 1: Dark Trinity (May)

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9
Batman

Tom King, David Finch, & Mikel Janin
I’m into this. I think King is going to address the popular perception that the DCU is comprised of overpowered superheroes and villains, and the street-level heroics of folks like Batman and Green Arrow often get spun into what practically amounts to a separate universe. I don’t know if I’m sold on the new crime-fighting partnership, but I trust this creative team, and I appreciate the drama with which they open this arc. Who really needs saving? Gotham? Or Batman? – MMDG

I actually like where this story is going. It doesn’t feel all that original, but it is doing something with the city of Gotham, personifying it in a new way. I’m in. – IP

First collection: Batman Volume 1: I Am Gotham (January)

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Continue reading Ranking DC’s Rebirth: 10 – 6

Inhumans vs. X-Men

Somewhat lost amid the dragged-out Civil War II event, the ongoing Captain Hydra drama, various Marvel NOW! debuts, and even the fresh look at the cosmic catalog in the pages of books like Thanos and Ultimates², is the impending conflict between The Inhumans and the X-Men. This has been brewing for some time – indeed, for more than a year, since the opening weeks of Marvel’s All-New All-Different initiative. And in the pages of Charles Soule, Jeff Lemire, and Aaron Kuder’s tantalizing Death of X, we learned just exactly what Cyclops did all those months ago that served to both brand him as a despised mutant terrorist, as well as instigate the forthcoming Inhuman-Mutant war. In this week’s prologue book, Inhumans vs. X-Men #0, Soule and Kenneth Rocafort deftly summarize the mutants’ fight for survival, and set the stage for the big showdown.

file_002-7In the aftermath of the Infinity event, we learned that the Terrigen mists unleashed by Black Bolt, while transforming both Earth’s populace and the greater Marvel Universe by awakening the Inhuman potential in thousands of unsuspecting humans around the globe, also have a terrifying side effect. The Terrigen mists are deadly to mutants.

The threat to mutantkind felt real. If it was Marvel’s intention to make readers perceive the circulation longevity of the X-books running short, then props to editorial genius. Two new Inhumans series debuted. The “Unity Team” featured in Uncanny Avengers, first formed following Avengers vs. X-Men, now unified Avengers, mutants, and Inhumans. Wolverine was still dead, ostensibly replaced by X-23 and Old Man Logan. Professor X was still dead, seemingly replaced by the Inhuman Gorgon (he’s a wheelchair-bound mentor to new Inhumans!) Cyclops, apparently, is dead, and the entire world hates him. Conspiracy theorists were going nuts: was Marvel really replacing their beloved mutants with these Inhumans? Does Marvel Studios, supplanting their absent X-license with Inhumans on television and, purportedly, in movies, carry that much clout?
Continue reading Inhumans vs. X-Men