Weekly Comics for 1405.21
Obviously, I am happy with how comic books have become such a huge and important part of popular culture. As a young comic book reader (I am talking deep past here), I yearned for the time when comic books would achieve the kind of popularity when so much material would be shared via movies and TV shows as it is now. As wonderful as it all is, it has reached a point at which I cannot possibly watch let alone purchase for watching all the material being currently produced.
As of this writing, which is over THREE months past the date of the release of these comic books (it was two months old when I started writing this entry), I have not seen any of the Marvel superhero movies for this year, including Captain America: the Winter Soldier, Amazing Spider-Man 2, and X-Men: Days of Future Past. I am hoping to make time to catch The Guardians of the Galaxy. (When I originally wrote this, Guardians had not yet been released. This is no longer true, and I did see it a few days ago. More on that later.) I have nearly caught up on the TV show Marvel: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., but there's so much more in movies, TV shows, and direct to video special editions, such as DC's DARK KNIGHT RETURNS adaptations that I have barely scratched the surface of what there is to watch and enjoy. For instance, I have not yet seen one episode of Arrow, and I have left the last two seasons of Smallville as yet unwatched (though I am hoping to remedy this oversight soon).
But just as I catch up on some things to watch, more are due to arrive. The major networks will host three new superhero or comic book themed TV shows this fall including Gotham on Fox, Constantine on NBC, and The Flash on the CW. More on the NEW TV SHOWS can be found at this link. And not just for the awesome Joss Factor (as in Joss Whedon) Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. will return for a second season.
As I explained in my post for COMICS OF 1404.09, soon, as in 2016, Netflix will begin to air special shows, featuring the Iron Fist and Daredevil, leading up to a show dedicated To the Defenders. But even before that both Avengers: Age of Ultron in May of 2015 plus Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice in May of 2016.
So much to see; so little time. Sure, I am happy that comic books and comic book story content has such visibility and popularity. This is what I wanted. There's going to be a DOCTOR STRANGE movie, and I hope it will be good. Even amazing and fantastic.
So sure, this is all awesome. I get the fan boy jitters just hearing that a Metal Men movie is in the works. And yet, as cool as all this activity is, I just wish I had more time to take it all in.
Other standouts that will gets shouts in my quickie review section (or as quick as I can make it) include Hulk, The Amazing Spider-Man, Thor - God of Thunder, Uncanny X-Men, and Saga.
Original Sin #2 (of 8)
Forever Evil #7 (of 7)
Justice League #30
The New 52 - Futures End #3
The Amazing Spider-Man #002
Thor - God of Thunder #022
Uncanny X-Men #021
Justice League of America #14
Amazing X-Men #007
Buffy the Vampire Slayer - Season 10 - #3
Mind The Gap #17
Rocket Girl #5
Avengers World #006
Batman Eternal #7
Wonder Woman #31
Mind Mgmt -Volume Three - The Home Maker
SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS
SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS
RE: SPOILERS: I don't have to explain that you read at your own risk, right?
In part, Original Sin seems to be a series to renovate the original Nick Fury character and possibly allow for a full transition to the new, Samuel Jackson based Nick Fury character. Also, centering much of the story on Fury invokes the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. television program; I just finished watching the remaining episodes of the first season, so I am now caught up.
One of the strengths of the series is the usage of little used if not all but forgotten characters, such as Dr. Midas and the Orb. Deodato's moody, dark chiaroscuro suits this story perfectly. Also, there is an intriguing blend of disparate elements, such as the Mindless Ones of Dormammu's dimension, the Moloids in the center of the Earth, as well as a variety of characters including the Black Panther, Dr. Strange, Ant Man, and the Falcon among others.
Since I am writing this entry when seven of the eight issues have been released, I have found this to be an excellent series and much better than most of the summer crossovers of recent years.
Forever Evil #7 (of 7)
I have been clear about that SPOILERS thing, right? Because don't keep reading, if you don't want to know what happened in the conclusion of Forever EVIL.
This comic is a test case for why a company needs most if not all of a series in the can before it begins releasing it. This final issue was long overdue, so much so in fact that the rest of the DC universe had quite moved on from this story line, the after effects of it were being seen, and yet we still did not know everything about what had happened, which in terms of the time lines for these characters had already taken place.
From the time that the series began, and the evil Justice League captured Nightwing, I was concerned that the DC think tank had decided to kill off my favorite DC character, and one of my favorite comic book characters of all time.
For those not in the know, check out my blogs over on the T-shirt site:
NIGHTWING T-SHIRT BLOG
ROBIN - TIM DRAKE
Yes, I know that Tim Drake was Robin #3 (and #5), but anyway, there's lots of Dick Grayson content in that entry and a good collection of my Batman related content up to that point in my blogging year.
The good news is that they DID NOT kill Dick Grayson. Not exactly.
In this issue, Lex Luthor bring Dick Grayson back to life, but so only he, Batman, and Catwoman know. In the fallout later on, Batman shuffles Dick off the mainstage. Nightwing is gone, and Dick Grayson will star in a new comic, aptly titled Grayson, leading DC's cash-in on the sudden popularity of espionage comics, such as Velvet as seen on this page and Marvel's The Winter Soldier and The Black Widow.
Though it was a frustrating waiting for this comic, the payoff was worth it. The revelation that Alexander Luthor, with the evil world's SHAZAM power is the father of Superwoman's unborn child, and the ensuing battle that takes place between that world's Luthor and Ultraman (the Superman knock off) was worth the price of admission. As the issue progresses, many more characters get in on the fight to defeat Alexander Luthor, in the end, fittingly, it is our world's Lex Luthor, in the retro-armor of his 1980s incarnation that deals the final blow, and in a fitting way. As you can see in the images below: "but I am smarter." NICE.
Luthor's triumph sets up the next story arcs in the DC univrse as Lex Luthor makes himself part of the Justice League, in part, by blackmail, as he figures out that Bruce Wayne and Batman are one and the same.
In a fun little extra moment, Lex steps on and crushes Atomica, and though this may seem misogynistic, it's not.
She deserved that end.
As Man of the Hour, Luthor also saves our Superman by removing the Kryptonite shard embedded in him.
The issue also has a long denoument as it closes out some stories and sets up others. Captain Cold has a prominent role in the ending, establishing that Luthor will hire him as head of security and give him a place in the new look Justice League.
Batman warns Catwoman to be good but won't explore any kind of relationship with her, which will only last until the next time DC wants to boost sales. Ted Kord (Blue Beetle) was introduced as Luthor declines to buy Kord Industries.
The Syndicate is defeated but certain villains remain in custody or at large. Owlman is missing, Ultraman is broken, and Superwoman is smug about her pregnancy.
Meanwhile, Luthor figures out that "Bruce Wayne is Batman." Superman presages that Darkseid will return, and in the final page, the DC faithful are treated to a shot of the Anti-Monitor, the powerful entity that was part of the Crisis on Infinite Earths, which, to my knowledge, without cheating by looking it up, was the last time we saw the Syndicate before they were obliterated.
This makes for a confusing time with comic books as some history is honored and other history is erased.
I am not so much a purist that I want the stories to work together in a complex and fully integrated single history.
I just want to read good stories with great art and Forever Evil definitely qualifies.
VARIOUS LINKS AND RESOURCES
My REVIEW OF FOREVER EVIL #6
FOREVER EVIL PREVIEW
COMIC BOOK RESOURCES FOREVER EVIL #7 review
RETCON PUNCH review of Forever Evil #7
Far and away Velvet is one of my top ten favorite comic books right now. I have been a fan of Ed Brubaker's since he broke onto the scene years ago with his work on comics in the Vertigo line followed by the revamp of Catwoman and then Gotham Central, which is definitely one of my all time favorite DC comics. I know I write that a lot. But I mean it. Then later, after his jump to Marvel, his work with Captain America (he invented the Winter Soldier) and Daredevil proved his mettle and proved to be some of the best comic books of first decade of the 2000s.
Now with the a new take on the James Bond-style espionage tale with a female main character and teamed with an artist in Steve Epting whose style perfectly suits the jumps in time and the moody feel of certain scenes, like the one depicted below.
This issue fills in more of Velvet's past, with one panel that's very From Here to Eternity. The bulk of the issue jumps between Velvet's childhood in 1946 and her early years as a spy in 1956, until we jump forward eighteen years (1974) to the present time of the main story line.
Brubaker makes Velvet Templeton a real and somewhat tormented character, much like the real James Bond from the Fleming novels. This issue fills in the background for why the case Velvet has taken on is personal for her and how she had real feelings for someone who turned out to be an enemy.
If you are waiting for the collected edition, get into this comic or buy the single issues. This is fantastic stuff.
I have written on this blog and my T-shirt blog about the excellence of Daredevil both as a character and the recent series of comics written by Mark Waid and drawn by Chris Samnee.
Check out a detailed look at Daredevil the character and a close look at the recent series in
Also, I shared quite a bit about classic Daredevil in
I am rather proud of both of those entries.
I also reviewed the first issue of the yet again re-started (after a recent re-start) Daredevil comic in my weekly comics for 1403.19, which can be found as the first entry in my collected lists from the T-shirt blog at WEEKLY COMICS LIST FROM 365 T-SHIRTS.
I was not crazy about the idea of Daredevil moving to San Francisco, but I am always willing to keep with a comic to see how the story unfolds, especially one that has been as consistently excellent as Daredevil.
This issue continues Daredevil's conflict with the Shroud, the other "blind" vigilante in the Marvel universe. Meanwhile, a clever story technique reveals that Foggy Nelson, presumed dead at the beginning of this current re-start, is in fact alive. In the end, Daredevil switches to his other identity as Matt Murdock to confront the Owl and to defuse the situation with the Shroud, only to find himself the victim of an excellent cliff hanger, dropped into a pit of fire!
It is easy to make the argument that Daredevil is the best Marvel comic currently published.
I never dedicated a T-shirt blog to the Hulk. I found a shirt online that matched the first Hulk comic I owned, The Incredible Hulk#103 (seen above). The shirt was produced in Thailand where, apparently, EXTRA LARGE means something else than it does here in the USA. The shirt did not fit, thus spoiling my plans to feature the Incredible Hulk on my T-shirt blog (which will have more new entries yet this year). And so, here's the cover at least. I gave the shirt (and a cool Thor one) to Adam Kemp, who has become like a member of our family.
HULK on COMIC VINE
I have already reviewed the first two issues of the Waid/Bagley Hulk work on this blog in
WEEKLY FOR 1404.30 (HULK #2)
WEEKLY FOR 1404.16 (HULK #1)
You know I love the cross-referencing.
This issue continues the battle with the Abomination and Banner's recovering from what seemed like irreparable brain damage as the Avengers intercede to aid S.H.I.E.L.D. director Maria Hill in helping the Hulk.
I have reviewed the most recent Spider-Man comics multiple times on this blog. Instead of cross-referencing everything, I created more categories, so now there is a Spider-Man category for handy reviewing if you so desire. If anyone has dug this deeply into my blog, especially one three months old, I commend you.
Slott is doing a great job of keeping up with the remnants of Doctor Octupus' time as Spider-Man as Peter tries to reclaim his life, especially Anna Marie Marconi, Ock's girlfriend and now Parker's roommate.
Ramos has also toned down the goofier cartoony aspects of his art to make the art more realistic.
This comic coincides with the release of the Spider-Man movie and so features Electro. It's not mind-blowing work, and though good, comics like Future's End and Justice League, which I am not reviewing, beat it out this week in the stack.
After a I raved positively about Jason Aaron's writing for the Original Sin comic, it seems fitting to give him props for his work on Thor. He's telling very interesting and somewhat offbeat tales that get Thor back to his roots but also stretch how stories about the character are told. One very smart thing Aaron has been doing is moving around in time, even in one story treating us to three incarnations of the immortal and long living God of Thunder, a young Thor from the age of Vikings, our modern day Thor, and an older, King Thor from the future.
This story line resolves the debacle that was the bizarre idea to situate Asgard floating above the town of Broxton, Oklahoma. I never liked this idea as it violated the idea that Asgard is a fantastic other world in another dimension and shrunk the majesty and breadth of the realm eternal, as if it could fit on a hunk of rock that would float in the air.
Aaron wisely did not wish to simply dismiss the previous story lines, but instead chose to add the Roxxon corporation to the mix and do a good job with legal and environmental commentary. Meanwhile, the story charts a conflict in the far future as Thor fights Galactus one final time to save Midgard (Earth) even though the planet is essentially dead and the human race, apparently, is extinct (or at least has left the Earth behind).
The issue ends with future Thor retrieving the God Butcher's weapon to use against Galactus, tying in the first, long arc that Aaron created for this run of the series. Another very good cliff hanger ending for a comic from this week.
I also created an X-Men category. I reviewed an issue of Uncanny X-Men not long ago and discussed my deep affection for the art of Chris Bachalo.
This issue is only good if you like Chris Bachalo and you have been following the series. If you attempt to read this one out of sequence, you will be completely lost.
There is a great sequence in which Storm brings down some serious lightning, drawn beautifully by Bachalo. Of course, anyone could appreciate that kind of art and event.
There's a great pic of Emma Frost holding an umbrella. I love the way Bachalo draws Emma Frost, toning down her model-quality good looks and body, and here he puts her in a uniform that makes her look totally bad ass while de-emphasizing the usual eye candy elements in renditions of her, which in turn is sexy as Hell.
Meanwhile, Magneto rescues Dazzler, who has been held captive by Mystique and used to produce a special drug which she is selling out of Madripoor while also posing as Dazzler, who had supposedly signed on to work with S.H.I.E.L.D.
Would S.H.I.E.L.D. have shown up in so many comics if not for the TV show? Probably not, but I can't say I hate it.
Eventually, I will write more about Saga. I did buy a Lying Cat T-shirt, so I could devote an entire blog entry to this great comic book by Brian K Vaughan and Fiona Staples.
This comic is just another reason why Image is arguably producing the best comics in the business.
Though Saga does not yet appear on my
LIST OF COMIC BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS FOR NON-COMIC BOOK READERS,
it will surely find a place there once the story concludes, joining Y, the Last Man, another of Vaughan's creations.
This is the gem on this blog entry, especially for those not much interested in super heroes and even those not much interested in comic books. This is superb and wonderful comic, a love story, an adventure, science fiction, fantasy, and surrealism all rolled up with social commentary, pathos, and strength of character and storytelling. PLUS, Fiona Staples is an exceptional artist, as you can tell from the single image from the issue above, an image that tells you everything you need to know about the story without me having to even describe it (so I won't).
If you don't take my advice on any of these other comic books, treat yourself and as gifts to all of your loved ones, with this remarkable comic book.
Trust me. I like to think I am a doctor of trust.
COVER GALLERY - Including some of my other older Hulk comics.