In recent years there has been some scholarly discussion regarding the real-life historical origins of Robin Hood and his Merry Men, including insight that suggests that it may have been Robert Godwinson’s sexual preference that led both to the outlaw’s exile as well as the naming of his band of brothers. Robin Hood and his Gay Guyfriends, or The Queer Quiver of Nottinghamshire, may have also been thrown around. I’m glad Merry Men stuck. It’s a helluva good band name. And a great title for the new Oni Press book from Robert Rodi, Jackie Lewis, and Marissa Louise.
The book is far more than just an opportunity to see burly dudes making out in the forest, however. It’s an interesting slice of history, showcasing Medieval England during the decades immediately following the Norman conquest. And in addition to challenging the conceptions regarding Robin’s orientation, the book also challenges the folkloric tradition that romanticizes these Merry Men as being nothing more than humble thieves, robbing from the rich and all that. This first issue features some arrows through throats, dastardly assassinations, and the tainted soul of the enigmatic is-she-a-she-or-isn’t-she Scarlet. You know, great comic book stuff.
It also totally has burly dudes making out in the forest.
Additionally, each issue promises historical profiles, delving into “The Queer History of England,” with an inaugural biography on Alcuin of York. And expect to learn more about Richard the Lionheart, the English king who has become something of a gay icon; the storyline suggests that Robin’s troubles may have begun in the royal bedchamber. Also, as great as Jackie Lewis’s standard cover is, for my money nothing beats that Ed Luce (Wuvable Oaf) variant. Little John, “master of the quarterstaves” indeed. Continue reading New Comics: Merry Men→
Charles Soule & James Asmus
I’m definitely disappointed that the Inhumans are basically the new X-Men. At least the Inhumans have pretty much the same back story now, which is still compelling, but I don’t know how much I’ll attach to the characters. Crystal seems to be heading in a different direction than she’s been before, and I like Gorgon’s complicated existence, but I hope the don’t run the wheelchair thing into the ground. Hopefully that Xavier comment punctuates it and he can have stories where people aren’t constantly pointing out that he’s semi-paralyzed. It’s a pretty-looking book; the elemental stuff in the riot scene is particularly cool. I will read more to see if the new direction these characters are going is as endearing as the X-books. – RF
First collection: All New Inhumans, Vol. 1: Global Outreach (May)
Gerry Duggan & Mike Hawthorne
I haven’t read much Deadpool; he always seemed very gimmicky, but I really enjoyed this book. It does seem weird that in order for current super heroes to be successful, they have to embrace capitalism and some form of bureaucracy, making them somewhat less super. But the concept of using Deadpool – a powered, ultraviolent gunman – to finance super-heroic operations is tasty irony. I’m a sucker for a good mystery plot, so I’ll definitely finish this first arc. – RF
First collection: Deadpool, Vol. 1: Millionaire with a Mouth (May)
This is arguably the most exciting week yet in Marvel’s All-New, All-Different era. Four continuing titles serve to illuminate more of the post-Secret Wars world. Seven premieres run the gamut from some of the worst books Marvel has produced in years (willing to bet Drax gets cancelled before we’re even able to round-table our rankings) and some of the most refreshing and entertaining takes on both classic and modern superheroes (Hercules and Vision). We also get a funnybook that is genuinely funny (Howard the Duck) and the first real look at how The X-Men figure into Marvel’s new world order.
This brings the running total of new titles in Marvel’s relaunch up to 23, of a rumored 60+ series.
All New All Different premieres Deadpool #1 Drax #1 The Extraordinary X-Men #1 Hercules #1 Howard the Duck #1 Nova #1 Vision #1