Tag Archives: Jim Starlin

Thanos: The Infinity Siblings

Like Chris Claremont returning to script a Nightcrawler series, or Frank Miller giving life to a third chapter of The Dark Knight, there’s something special about fellow Hall of Famer Jim Starlin making a new contribution to Marvel’s cosmic canon. This week Starlin and artist Alan Davis showcase the central nemesis of the next Hollywood blockbuster in the latest in a series of original graphic novels, Thanos: The Infinity Siblings. These books are particularly special for the author, as he clearly relishes the opportunity to return to a character he created in the pages of Iron Man in 1973 and brought to prominence in a series of Infinity events in the 80’s and 90’s.

This book is advertised as the first in a new trilogy of original Thanos graphic novels. Whereas the first trilogy focused on an alliance between the Mad Titan and another Starlin all-star, Adam Warlock, this new series of books partners up Thanos with his brother Eros, the former Avenger known as Starfox. More exciting, however (granted, it’s not terribly difficult to be more exciting than Starfox), is the partnership with Davis. The two recently wrapped up a Guardians of the Galaxy mini-series, Mother Entropy, and on this book, the veteran artist looks better than ever. No offense to the serviceable Ron Lim, who provided the art for the last graphic novel in the prior trilogy, but there’s something about this format that demands a higher caliber presentation. And in the absence of Starlin’s own art (he wrote and illustrated the first two books), Alan Davis might be the next best thing.

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Infinity Countdown: Adam Warlock

This week’s pick, rocketing to the top of my pull-list, is a book about Adam Warlock featuring art by Mike Allred. That, there, is all I needed to reaffirm (audibly, actually, and with a touch of embarrassment) that Wednesday is the best day of the week. Infinity Countdown: Adam Warlock by Gerry Duggan and illustrated by Allred and his wife Laura, is the kickoff to the anticipated comic book hype train charging ahead of this summer’s Infinity War blockbuster. As Marvel spring mini-events go (see: RessurXion, Avengers: Standoff, etc.), this is one of the more exciting initiatives.

As we know from recent developments in Guardians of the Galaxy and Captain Marvel, the universe re-set that happened in the aftermath of Secret Wars has altered the existence of the Infinity Stones. What hasn’t changed is how much certain folks want to get their hands on them. So as Guardians prepares to give way to the new Infinity Countdown series, this one-shot serves to catch folks up on possibly the most focal character in the Infinity drama, one Adam Warlock.

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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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Jim Starlin and Marvel’s Cosmic Infinite

Not only is today Jim Starlin’s 66th birthday, but this month also marks the 40th anniversary of the release of his game-changing Warlock #9, one of the books that cemented his legacy among some of comics’ all-time greatest creators, and made his name synonymous with Marvel’s cosmic universe.

Warlock #9, "The Infinity Effect"
Warlock #9, “The Infinity Effect”

“The Infinity Effect” became more than just a starting point for Adam Warlock’s adventures with his evil future self; it set the groundwork for arguably the grandest four-color space opera of all time. The saga of the Infinity Gems and the characters linked to those stones – including Thanos, Gamora, and, of course, Warlock – has spun into numerous universe-shattering events and limited series over the last few decades. And, more significantly for even the casual superhero fan, it has become a slowly building central plot point for Marvel’s Cinematic Universe. Seeing Thanos slide the Gauntlet onto his purple mitt in the final scene of Age of Ultron might have been the coolest big-screen teaser since seeing Thor’s hammer chilling in the desert.

So to celebrate Starlin’s birthday, and help prep the uninitiated for the coming Infinity blitz, here’s a Top 5 primer on his Marvel cosmic canon. Rather than rank these, they’re being presented chronologically, from the early 70’s right through the present day. Continue reading Jim Starlin and Marvel’s Cosmic Infinite