The X-Journey: The Surprise of Rogue’s First Appearance in Avengers Annual #10

Welcome back to the X-Journey that dovetails into The Avengers with Rogue’s first appearance in Avengers Annual #10. The funny part of reading the origin for the first time is that it did surprise me. Oh, I knew that Rogue got her powers from Carol Danvers/Ms. Marvel/Captain Marvel but I forgot what period of time this was for Carol. See there’s a different setup for Rogue’s first appearance than you’d expect. I have much more to say on this than I did Gambit’s first appearance. Mostly because Rogue’s first appearance is stranger than you’d think. You’ll see what I mean as I go further into this. All I can say is, I had reactions to this that I didn’t expect to have. Read on my friends as we continue The X-Journey. This is seriously one of those where I truly say, I really do hope you survive the experience.

Note: Chris Claremont wrote this and it is well written and a great first appearance for Rogue. This happens to take place though in a severe low point for Carol Danvers. Wow was it ever a low point.

Avengers Annual #10 Cover Rogue

You know this is a first time because I had no idea Spider-Woman was part of the first Rogue story. It does make sense though considering he was writing Spider-Woman at this point in 1981. That was the first surprise out of all this, Spider-Woman played a fairly big role in this adventure. She’s the one that finds a woman being dumped over the Golden Gate Bridge, which turns out to be Carol Danvers after Spider-Woman/Jessica Drew takes her to the hospital. The fun fact with this is Chris Claremont also wrote Ms.Marvel at one point too before all this so both characters were a part of Claremont’s writing life by 1981. It’s wild to see how these all tie together by the end of this issue.

Maddy Pryor X-Men Rogue

(Chris Claremont you little scamp. You had to sneak in Maddy Pryor. I cracked up. Beautiful little hint for later on in the X-Men Universe.)

What I love about this too is how you can tell right off the bat Chris Claremont is a genuine fan of Carol Danvers. After a certain story that we’ll talk about later within the Avengers, Carol Danvers needed someone who wanted to work with her and by golly Claremont was up to the task. You know how great a character Carol is. The weird factor of the story is Rogue has already zapped Carol of her powers. She’s right now a shell of her former self. Yet Spider-Woman knows who to call to help Carol out, being Professor X and this gives us our X-Men cameo in the Avengers Annual. Oh and yes we will get to Rogue soon I promise but I had to give some extra backstory as it is necessary.

Carol Danvers Ms. Marvel Captain Marvel Rogue

(Seriously, Claremont tells the reader how great Carol is. It’s sort of his way of rehabbing Carol for events later on in the issue and giving added emphasis to what Rogue did to her.)

Now we are at the point where we get to Rogue. Thank you for patience here. We do get a sequence with the X-Men talking about stuff that went down with Kitty Pryde in the mansion and the X-Men rebuilding parts of it. I won’t dive into that much as the important part is this getting Professor X in the picture. He reveals that Rogue is the scourge that did this to Carol Danvers. Take note of the art here and see the level of detail to show how terrifying Rogue is at this point. This is our first introduction to her and that’s impressive. We know she’s powerful but we don’t know how she got to this point. That’s some strong build up right there. I like it.

Rogue X-Men First Appearance

(Give some love to Michael Golden’s art with Armando Gil’s inks, my goodness it’s gorgeous stuff. Even better? Golden colored all of this! Beautiful work all around.)

When we get our actual introduction to Rogue in action she is straight up beating the crap out of Captain America. Now that my friends is something no reader is going to forget anytime soon. Imagine reading this back in 1981 and seeing this for yourself, it would stick with you. Take note, at this stage Rogue has fully absorbed the powers of Ms. Marvel so she is a force like no other. She’s stil learning but she’s absorbing as much power as she can along the way. Her absorbing the powers of Ms. Marvel the way she did was more out of her inexperience with her abilities than anything else.

As this goes on, Mystique disables Iron Man and Rogue absorbs the energy from Captain America and Thor for reasons to be revealed later here. Now when Spider-Woman tells the Avengers all that goes on, you learn what happened to Ms. Marvel before she ended up in the hospital. That’s when you relive one of the creepiest Avengers stories ever. There’s a CBR article I’ll link here that explains it better but it involves a mysterious pregnancy of Ms. Marvel, mind manipulation, and so many more terrible things. A big part of this issue outside of Rogue’s first appearance is rebuilding Carol Danvers. This annual takes many upon many turns.

Avengers Rogue Ms. Marvel Annual

(This is the streamlined version of the story and it still made me cringe and say many “Ew’s”)

Ms. Marvel Avengers Marvel

(This is seriously the streamlined version. The CBR article I linked details it better but this gives you all of the awful no good very bad story you need to know.)

I really did mean this to be a Rogue focused piece but when I read it, the tale expanded quite a bit.

Anyway, after that detour we are back to the Rogue show. Which really means back to the Rogue and Mystique show. Now we get to see what the ultimate plan is with disabling Iron Man and getting the energies of Captain America and Thor. The plan is to get the rest of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants out of prison. Now here is the thing, from here on it’s a big ole splashy mega fight. There’s a clever bit of Mystique using her shapeshifting ability to impersonate Nick Fury and other cool uses of the Brotherhood’s abilities. Claremont had a lot of fun with Avalanche, Blob, Pyro, and Destiny in this fight with the Avengers and Spider-Woman and it showed.

Now I get to streamline this as the rest of the issue is straight up action and Mystique gets Rogue out of that battle. It’s a beautiful fight and a joy to behold so I highly recommend checking out this issue for that fight alone. After this though we go back to a mostly recovered Carol Danvers at the X-Mansion and it gets pretty wild from here. The last bit of this issue is Chris Claremont’s pipebomb on that awful Avengers storyline. Carol Danvers is his spokesperson to deal with his own feelings on that tale. I won’t link the entire pipebomb as the CBR article has it in full. Let’s just say though, it’s worth reading. I’ll link part of it here but the rest, check out the CBR article.

Carol Danvers Pipebomb Avengers Annual

I tell you all this much, The Avengers don’t look good at all by the end of this pipebomb. Rogue’s first appearance was only half the story here. I did not expect this comic to take me on the ride I went on but I went on it by golly.

Avengers Annual #10 was a shocking and surprising read. Rogue’s first apperance was only part of this whole adventure. This also set up Carol Danvers for a brand new adventure which may lead us into one Binary journey down the line. The Michael Golden and Armando Gil art makes this issue one amazing read in itself. Anyway, thank you all for reading this. I know I only looked into Rogue so much but Rogue only made so many appearances here and I’ll get to dive more into her in the X-series proper. Thanks for reading and as always I really am glad you survived this experience with me. Take care everyone and bye for now.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The X-Journey: My First Read of Gambit’s First Appearance: Uncanny X-Men #266

In honor of the release of Mr. and Mrs. X, I decided to dive into the first appearance of Gambit. See I realized that there is a lot of X-Men lore that I never experienced. Hence I am going to dive into the X-Universe in a big way now. I have Marvel Unlimited so let’s do this thing. Since Gambit was one of my favorites as a kid I figure why not start with the first appearance of him. See I have no context for the story that’s happening with Gambit’s first appearance but that’s okay. We’ll fill in those blanks later. Right now I’m ready to start my X-Journey. Take note, this is my frist time reading Gambit’s first appearance so this is a blind read too. Welcome to the X-Journey, hope you survive the experience.

Oh my goodness, this X-Journey is going to be fun. Mr. and Mrs. X prompted this one so thank you Mr. and Mrs. X. Let’s get acquainted with Gambit.

Uncanny X-Men #266 Gambit

As we start up the issue one thing I will note, Gambit doesn’t appear until about the half way point. The major part of the issue is Storm stuck as a teenager somehow and dealing with The Shadow King and his hounds. When I say I got thrown in the thick of it, I mean it. I got thrown into the thick of a storyline but it’s all good and worked my way through by golly. Of course in reading this first appearance it made me want to check out more of the story so down the line we’ll revisit this. There’s also a little bit of Nanny and Orphan-Maker that are tied into this tale too, which again intrigues me. No I’m not doing extra research on this right now, but we’ll stick a pin in this for later.

The interesting part is when in the midst of a chase with Shadow King and his hounds, that’s how we’re introduced to Gambit. He’s there at the place to steal some paintings that Storm brought back, but the plan isn’t quite working out the way he thought. He ends up showing that he’s a good guy at his core by saving Storm from the Shadow King and his nefarious hounds. I mean Chris Claremont showed that the guy is a hero at his core despite his shady nature. It is a fun chase too to see Gambit and Storm going through this crazy mansion getting away from the villains. I mean all in all it’s a great introduction to him. Especially for being introduced at the half way point of the comic.

Uncanny X-Men #266 First Appearance Gambit Storm

In before anyone says anything, yes I am skipping over plot points out the wazoo. If anyone wanted a thorough review of this or something, this will not be the place to look for now. This is Gambit Central right now.

Yes I probably should be diving more into plot points but truthfully, I really don’t know the background outside of what the issue gives me. I know Storm and Shadow King have history but that’s about it. It was also a clever idea to have Gambit be introduced with Storm as they both share a history of thievery. Heck I can see why people gravitated towards Gambit as he does have a cool design overall. You got the leather jacket, the cool staff, and a neat energy power, and you’re rocking and rolling baby. Sadly we didn’t get Jim Lee art in this issue but Mike Collins did a great job penciling this issue and Josef Rubinstein did a killer job inking Collins. A good start for Gambit in the Marvel Universe for sure.

Yeah I enjoyed this and I’ll have to revisit his second appearance after I do a piece on Rogue. I am interested in seeing where this story goes from here. This also made me realize just how much of Chris Claremont’s X-Men I haven’t read. Oh yeah, we’re revisiting this story for sure after the Rogue first appearance. Thank you Mr. and Mrs. X for inspiring this for sure. Bonus points for getting me a focus in my back issue reading. For now, this concludes the first part of my X-Journey. Thanks for reading and catch you all later as I read the first appearance of Rogue for the next one. Till then, I am glad you survived the experience.

 

 

 

The Surprise Robert Kirkman-tastic Comic Launch of Die!Die!Die!

You wake up one lazy day, it’s a quiet one indeed, and Robert Kirkman, Scott M. Gimple, and Chris Burnham unleashed a surprise onto comic shelves called Die!Die!Die! to shock us all. Now with Robert Kirkman co-creating the Walking Dead and Gimple being a showrunner and writer on the series, well that’s a powerhouse team right there. Then you have the powerhouse artist that is Chris Burnham on art duties, well that’s a big deal. Chris Burnham worked on freaking Batman Incorporated with Grant Morrison for goodness sake and multitudes of other projects along the way. How did this become the shock surprise comic on the shelves? It’s Robert Kirkman being cool and giving us a neat surprise. I think that’s cool, especially a new monthly comic. That’s astonishing. So I want to talk on this a bit and have a chat about how amazing this really is.

Now if you’re expecting a formal review here of Die!Die!Die! well you might be disappointed. I have thoughts on this Robert Kirkman-tastic jam though and you’ll get them along the way. I just want to talk on this unusual release a bit.

die!die!die! #1 cover Robert Kirkman

What Robert Kirkman and the gang pulled off here with this crazy stealth surprise is incredible. I know from one shop I talked to they got the books free and added on to the order. The store even had a one per customer set in stone for people buying it. I get the feeling once people learn about this I spy a second printing in the future for this comic. Heck for sheer curiosity, Die!Die!Die! is a comic that you can’t help but be wanting to at least read. Heck Nathan Fairbairn colors this book, which means it is going to be that much more wonderful to behold. Then you have Rus Wooton lettering it and Wooton is an awesome letterer. I mean this level of high quality unleashed on us as a surprise is unheard of and really cool. It’s just exciting to me.

In this day and age that you can have a comic book appear at your local comic store and on Comixology as a surprise is amazing! Though if people do it with music and so on, then why not comics yeah? Heck if anyone could pull this sort of craziness off, I guess it’s Robert Kirkman and his all powerful Sweet Zombie Money. Now many people also wondered as this was a total surprise comic launch, how good will it be? The simple version of all this is that it is really fun. The concept of assassins sent by the government to take care of who are truly evil is a wild one. It’s violent though so if you’re not into the ultra violence this may not be for you. Yet it’s a fun comic and sometimes that’s all you need.

Oh and yes as the people involved in the Sweet Zombie Money are making mega bucks off of TV, yes I can see Die!Die!Die! as a TV show too.

Kirkman and Gimple craft a crazy story though and it’s pure unfiltered comics mayhem. I mean the art team is perfection and it looks amazing with Chris Burnham, Nathan Fairbairn, and Rus Wooton rocking out everywhere on it. Like I said this really wasn’t as much a review but more I love seeing a crazy comic book surprise on the shelves. That it is this much fun is a bonus in itself. With a team like this involved I could say you’re either hyped or not that into it. For me this is something that piqued my interest so I had to give it a shot. Luckily Robert Kirkman and his crew delivered and delivered in spades. It’s pure comic energy and I love the heck out of that.

Yeah it’s worth reading, it’s worth giving a shot and the next issue is due out on August 22nd so I say get on the ground floor and enjoy. It isn’t for everyone but if Die!Die!Die! is for you, you are in for a treat. If you’re not into the ultra violence, then skip Die!Die!Die! simple as that. So yeah that’s my bit on Die!Die!Die! let me know what you thought about it and I’ll catch you later. Bye for now!

 

The Sequential Chronicles: Wesley vs. The Get Along Gang

Welcome to the second adventure into The Sequential Chronicles and yes you read the title right. This edition focuses on the Get Along Gang. I found an issue of it recently at a local convention and figured it would be perfect for this. Here’s fair warning, the story itself is fairly harmless. I mean it’s the Get Along Gang. For a lot of my younger readers though you may find it fascinating to learn a little more about this property. This was a show that aired all the time when I was a kid between syndication and cable stations. Nowadays no one airs this along with a lot of shows of the period. Enough of the intro and on with the adventure into the Get Along Gang #1 from Star/Marvel Comics. Where cartoon history and comic book history collide.

If you are a cartoon history fan you’re going to enjoy this look at the Get Along Gang. Even comic fans will enjoy this one as I will dive a little more into the Star Comics imprint Marvel had in the 80’s.

Let’s start with this, I had no idea the Get Along Gang was originally a series of greeting cards from American Greetings/Those Characters from Cleveland. My own experience with the Get Along Gang began with the animated series that aired initially on Nickelodeon for the pilot in 1984 and then from 1984-85 on CBS for 13 episodes. Now you may be wondering how I know of this show that aired in the mid 80’s and that is a valid question. Get Along Gang aired on The Family Channel/Freeform from 1990 to 1993 which was where I remember them from. They also later aired on Pax TV/Ion Television) from 1999 until 2001. Cable TV was wild in the 90’s and 00’s.

Oh and the original pilot on Nickelodeon for The Get Along Gang had songs by John Sebastian of The Lovin’ Spoonful and the theme song for Welcome Back, Kotter fame too. Which I shall link below.

Heck this aired along with all sorts of random programming on The Family Channel back in the day. Get Along Gang was just one of those shows on Cable TV for kids back in the day.

As for the Get Along Gang comic, it was a bi-monthly series from Marvel’s Star Comics imprint lasting six issues from 1985 to 1986. Now if you are unfamiliar with Star Comics, it was an imprint Marvel had from 1984 until 1988. Star focused on childrens comics that ranged from original properties to ones based off of animated series. If you are curious, yes I own more than a few comics from this line. Yes you will likely see them in future Sequential Chronicles. Animated series adaptations are a favorite of mine and I have lots of them hanging out in my collection.

As for my own story in owning this comic, I found it at a local record and comic expo. Needless to say this was the sort of comic that caught my eye because it has history to it. If a comic has some sort of history to it then it is something I will want to own. Considering during its height there were plushes, comic books, and more with the Get Along Gang and now it is rarely mentioned. Outside of oddball comic and animation nerds, like me, no one would ever think about the show. Which leads me to talk about this comic and after that talk about how it impacted pop culture, in some small way at least.

Get Along Gang #1 Cover

No I am not kidding, the Get Along Gang does have a weird place in pop culture. Stay tuned.

Now here’s the thing about the comic, it’s so harmless it’s not even funny. It is about the perfect kid friendly comic ever. I mean ever. Considering that Dave Manak, the writer went on to work at Archie Comics as the penciler for Sonic the Hedgehog comics amongst other things makes sense. As for the artist of this Carlos Garzon, he’s mostly done art for multitudes of companies, inks for DC and so on. That’s the one thing about these is a lot of these people have credits that aren’t as well known as say others out there. Yet I still feel knowing a little about these creators is good because in comics, everyone is important in their own way no matter how big or small. Even working on a comic like Get Along Gang, there’s still craft to it.

Now if you want to know a bit about the characters in the Get Along Gang, it’s not important but you’ll probably get a kick out of it anyway. I mean there’s a Moose named Montgomery “Good News” Moose who’s the leader of the gang and more characters, a dog, lamb, beaver, turtles, and more. This issue is about the gang having their own Winter Olympics. With the dastardly Catchum Crocodile and Leland Lizard trying to ruin their fun. Oh and control over their Clubhouse Caboose. This is the series my friends, this is how it rolls. It’s a kids show comic from the 80’s and it’s adorable and kind of silly. If any of you reading this are parents out there, you could show it to your kids and be fine.

I did think about writing a more detailed plot thing with the Get Along Gang but then I realized, it was the Get Along Gang.

It’s a well made comic for being a licensed comic based off a kids show meant to teach children valuable lessons in the 80’s. The goal of the show is to teach kids to go with the crowd and to get along. Which is also kind of horrible at the same time instead of you know compromising and talking things over, nope you make sure you get along with the crowd. It’s a strange series. If you’re wondering how the Winter Olympics ended for them, the boys and girls had a fight and over meddling from the villains. Then it ended in everyone getting along in the end and having a good time once more. Yeah there’s not much more to it but there is a reason why the Get Along Gang have a weird place in pop culture.

See now this is where I tie everything together. This is a big part why I did this article to begin with. I present to you The Buddy Bears from Garfield and Friends. They never disagree, they always get along, and if you complain you are just causing problems. They’re also hyper educational and are meant to be the safest characters ever. Mark Evanier created them as his way to parody The Ger Along Gang and also apparently Care Bears too. I’m going to post the theme they sing below and you’ll understand what I mean about The Buddy Bears. They were his stress valve dealing with all the cheesy cartoons and by golly it shows, it really does.

 

Prepare yourselves for this song to get as stuck in your head forever as it is in mine. Once you hear The Buddy Bears theme you never forget it. Ever. Never Ever.

It’s weird that I didn’t have more to say on the comic but there we are. Sometimes in The Sequential Chronicles you can only get so much out of something. I’m still figuring this all out as I go along anyway. I swear I wrote about this to talk about The Buddy Bears and Star Comics, I can own that. You will see many more Star Comics books in this too. Anyway, thank you all out there for reading this and I hope you all have a good one. Take care and I shall see you all next time for the next installment of The Sequential Chronicles.

Oh and I also managed to get over 1,200 words on the freaking Get Along Gang. I deserve a medal or a cookie. A cookie medal would work.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wes Reads 2/18/18: Catching up With Valiant, That’s the Issue, and More!

Now I’m on a schedule of sorts between That’s the Issue on Multiversity and Graphic Policy, time to get back into daily blogging.  I fell off the rails early on this year but now I’m back into things. Okay I fell off the rails most of 2017 but I feel like 2018 I’m in a major rebuilding process. I’m catching up on books I missed the first time around for example. I remember my running gag with Rhymes with Geek of I always fell behind on Valiant worst of all, by golly it remains true. I’m fixing though as I tore through Wrath of the Eternal Warrior and Faith’s limited and last ongoing series. Both series were delightful and I highly recommend both of them. Now if you’re wondering what exactly this post is about, nothing really. Just sit back, relax, catch up with me for a bit.

That's the Issue Logo

I truly believe having That’s the Issue as a part of my life has helped me out tremendously.

Odd enough to admit but That’s the Issue has gotten me feeling more like me again, strange to admit but true. It’s also the podcast that has stuck around the longest in my life. The neat thing is that this podcast has only just begun to grow.  Even as I rebuild my online presence and that still remains fairly solid. I’m amazed at how long I’ve managed to stay around in Comics Internet at times. I do admit though that dealing with the full blown toxicity that was Secret Empire burnt me out. Now would the burn out have happened either way? Maybe the burn out wouldn’t have been as bad but Secret Empire sped it up. Slowly but surely though I’ve regained my sense of love for this crazy comics world again. Which is pretty awesome.

Why I’m trying to get back into a daily blogging routine of sorts. Daily to semi daily routine at least. I enjoyed the Kick-Ass #1 review I did recently for example, so I’m finding writing and talking about comics fun again. Yes I’m candid about my burnt out and so forth but it’s better to admit than deny it. When you deny your issues and don’t confront them, that’s when the real bad stuff goes down in your life. If you’ve ever listened to the filter death episode of That’s the Issue, that was what I call therapy in a podcast. Again that’s hilarious to admit but it’s true, That’s the Issue is a therapeutic podcast in the best way at times. I guess it shows how comfortable I am in talking on that show. It doesn’t hurt that Matt is practically like my brother at this point.

Yes That’s the Issue is part therapy session on occasion. Not exactly hiding that aspect of the show.

I guess before I start rambling away hardcore on this blog of mine I’m going to jet off for now. I do have other ideas for this blog outside of just blogging but if you want unfiltered Wesley thoughts, this will be the place to find it. They may be a little disjointed at times but that’s how it rolls sometimes. I tore through an entire series today though and that shows that I am having fun again. Join me on this ride won’t you? Till next blog my friends, thanks for sticking with me and enjoy the adventure. To anyone reading this, have a good one.

Wes Reads Catch Up Edition 12/5/17: Sing Song Ladycastle

I’ve needed an informal blog format between the more serious reviews here and there. So hello Wes Reads Catch Up edition. As I am going through my backlog and just tearing through comics and books I haven’t read yet. I was tempted to put Ladycastle and Justice League of America into the same title but that would be a mess. I’m tempted to blog on more informal stuff too as Warren Ellis inspired me in his newsletter to do it. Heck if informal blogging makes a weird comeback in the coming year, rock and roll Wes Reads will be ready for it. I guess you can consider Wes Reads the great catch all of my site. My great experiment begins as I tell you what I’ve been reading in the Wes Reads Catch Up edition.

Yes I may have to tweak this as I catch up on reading but I am also always behind so Wes Reads works here.

Justice League of America Rebirth #1 DC Comics

If you’re wondering if these are going to be formal reviews, yeah these are not formal reviews. Just me telling you what I just read, so enjoy. The Justice League of America books I read were Justice League of America: Road to Rebirth and Justice League of America Vol. 1: The Extremists. When I recorded these on my Goodreads account I saw the reviews and I was baffled. These were both fun reads and some people were trashing them to pieces. I don’t get some comic fans at times. Then again in all of my adventures in Comics Internet I still have a tough time understanding some fans to this day. I had a blast reading both books though, I’ll detail into them a little as we go on here.

The Road to Rebirth collects all the Justice League of America one-shots with Rebirth #1. If you’re not sure about this series Road to Rebirth gives you a good idea as to what you’re in for. Steve Orlando writes all of the one-shots with Jody Houser co-writing the Vixen and Killer Frost stories. I think it helps to connect people to the series as you get to know these characters through the one-shots. This also came out of the Justice League vs. Suicide Squad series but if you haven’t read it yet, you will be fine as Killer Frost’s story fills you in. I can say that all the stories worked for me in one way or another. Definitely check it out if you haven’t yet.

I’m also trying to not make these 1,000+ word juggernaut posts but knowing me with Wes Reads, it’ll happen. I know me.

I’m also not mentioning all the artists but trust me when I say, the one-shots have rocking art in them. The same goes for Vol. 1 of Justice League of America, The Extremists. Ivan Reis is but one of the artists in the first arc. Now what’s weird about both Road to Rebirth and The Extremists is the Rebirth one-shot is collected in both trades. It’s weirder having the Rebirth one-shot in both trades reading them back to back, but I like that it is in both trades. The Extremists collects actually two story arcs too, the four issue Extremists story and a two issue mythological weapons arc. It’s interesting the arc that Orlando is taking with these characters as this is heavily character oriented and I like it. Great stuff all around.

Again, it was funny reading the Goodreads reviews of this as people were grouchy about this one too. It’s a cool take on a team, it’s diverse, it’s interesting, and there’s not one character I really dislike. If you haven’t read Justice League of America yet, I’d recommend getting on that. I may do a more formal review of all this down the line when I catch up with more of the series. For now though, still highly recommended. As I love good character work and some good world building in between. The world building here being how the characters operate and where the adventures take them, so I dig it. Go forth and read.

Now for the really fun part of Wes Reads, Ladycastle. I fully admit I love this comic. I really want more. You’ll see why as I type on.

Now Ladycastle I’d heard a lot of good things about over the past few months. I didn’t get the chance to read it until recently and now I’m clamoring for more. It’s got a musical element to it with riffs on just about any musical and theme song imaginable in there. There’s also a ton of heart to it and some genuinely endearing characters. The story of it is all the men except one Knight get eaten by a dragon, and now the women are in charge of the kingdom. I love how the concept comes together with the perfect balance of humor and drama. Delilah S. Dawson is great with these characters and I love how the artists Ashley A. Woods, Becca Farrow, and Rebecca Nalty gel this together.

See when all the men get killed, suddenly the Blacksmith’s Wife, Merinor becomes King of the former Mancastle now Ladycastle. Princess Aeve becomes the Captain of the Knights, with Sir Riddick teaching all the ladies how to fight. It’s a cool idea and it also gets deep within the four issues the series runs. You really do want more by the end as it does have a satisfying ending there’s so many more stories to do in this universe and I like what I see. It’s a beautifully written, well thought out, and wonderful world that I want more of. If you haven’t read this yet, fix that sooner rather than later.

Told you this would end up being a 1,000 word juggernaut of a casual Wes Reads piece. Like I said, I know me.

In closing, Justice League of America if you don’t know comes from DC Comics and Ladycastle comes your way from Boom! Studios. You can find these either at your local library or Hoopla Digital if your library is affiliated with it. If you want to own them outright, hit up your local comic shop or any other retailer out there. As likely you’re going to want to own these if you dig them as much as I do. All of these reads were fun, engaging, and above all absolutely delightful.

Anyway thanks for reading this and comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for reading and I hope you all are doing well out there in the universe. Take care everybody.

Pondering Guardians of Infinity and The Handling of The Collections

In surprise library finds, I saw Guardians of Infinity on the shelf and since I wanted to read it, I grabbed it. Then I saw another collection of Guardians of the Galaxy called, Tales of the Cosmos. I wondered what it was and noticed they were back-up stories from Guardians of Infinity. Now this was strange to me as I wondered why they weren’t collected together as one book. Since they were both there I decided to grab them both. Now this piece will be part review at points and a brain dump too. Consider this casual blog time. Enjoy my ramblings as it seems at times on That’s the Issue people enjoy it. Nothing fancy, nothing pretty, let’s get into it and see where it goes. Stay awhile and listen as I blog away on this bit of random.

Sometimes when you run your own site you remember that it is your site, you’re allowed random Guardians of Infinity ramblings.

Guardians of Infinity Marvel Comics Cover

Hilarious admission, I had no idea Guardians of Infinity even got a collection let alone two of them. I can see why it got collected as it is Guardians of the Galaxy related. Heck, Guardians of Infinity is Dan Abnett’s Guardians 3000 with Guardians of the Galaxy characters mixed in. The Tales of the Cosmos are off hours Guardians stories with a new Space Knights team introduced. Now the simple question, was this worth being collected in two trades? Now that’s a good question, yes indeed it is but let us dive into the books themselves first.

Or the Space Knights team might just be new to me as I am behind on some aspects of Guardians of the Galaxy.

The whole story of Guardians of Infinity is you have three different Guardians groups from different periods. Of course the story kicks off with the main Galaxy group of Rocket Raccoon, Groot, and Drax finding this huge mysterious ship. As they enter the ship that’s when they run into the Guardians 3000 with Major Victory, Charlie 27, Martinex, and Nikki Gold. Then after the usual misunderstanding they realize they need to team up. After more shenanigans with time traveling villains and whatnot, we get the Guardians 1000. Why? It’s time travel and all that fun stuff, roll with it.

My goodness if I had to try to do a formal review of Guardians of Infinity it would boil down to, yeah that’s alright. That’s it.

Yeah that’s alright fits Guardians of Infinity and that’s not a dig either. You get some fun interactions with characters, a neat villain, interesting ideas, and that’s it. Dan Abnett wrote a solid story weaving together three different teams, that’s impressive. When you look at the art, Carlo Barberi’s work is solid to wonderful, nothing wrong about that. Walden Wong with Craig Yeung on #4 did good work inking Barberi’s art. Israel Silva’s colors are bright and beautiful and that lends itself to this story. Then Cory Petit from my Punisher bit does poppy, bold, and exciting lettering. All in all, kudos all around art wise.

I guess if I had to say anything with the main Guardians of Infinity series is this, it’s worth reading. If you are curious, it’s not bad and you’ll find some fun in it. It’s why I wish that Tales of the Cosmos would have been in here, this would have had more meat to it. Mostly because the back-up stories that are collected in Tales are a bit of a mixed bag. None of them are bad, I know some Goodreads reviews were rough on them but to me none of them were bad. I’ve read my share of bad comics in my day and this, nah these weren’t bad at all.

Guardians of Infinity Team Shot

This is where we talk about the back-up stories in this Guardians of Infinity adventure.

Guardians of Infinity Tales of the Cosmos Book

I won’t cover all of the back-up stories but I will focus on one particular stand out. One that got a lot of attention in Wrestling Internet circles is Ben Grimm and Rocket Raccoon’s story written by Jason Latour. Outside of the fact that Jim Cheung to draws the story but that it is a lot of fun. It doesn’t hurt that Latour does a homage to the Dusty Rhodes ‘Hard Times’ promo. Latour’s story is about when Ben Grimm wrestled in Unlimited Class Wrestling and finds an alien society that’s hooked on it. It’s a clever story and plays out in a way that you don’t expect. Definitely worth reading.

The rest of them that deserve some attention are a cool riff on Aliens, called ‘The Ripley’ by Jen & Sylvia Soska. There’s also a cute story that by Darryl “DMC” McDaniels Edgardo Miranda-Rodriguez called ‘Guardians of the Lower East Side’ that’s cool too. There’s some good stories to be had in Tales of the Cosmos. Yet I still wish they were collected in one book. I get why they went the route they did but it would be nice to have it collected together. Since they aren’t in one book, I feel like some cool stories will get lost in the shuffle and that’s a shame.

Guardians of Infinity Hard Times The Thing

Why I have a tough time saying go buy the Guardians of Infinity collections and why I steer you into grabbing it from your local library.

That’s why I write this, I wish Guardians of Infinity wouldn’t have been cut into two collections. Just put the whole thing in one giant book and be done with it. I get that Marvel wants to have more than one book on the shelf for anything Guardians of the Galaxy, I get it. As I said, I just want people to read some cool stories and not let them get lost to time. I would have enjoyed Marvel putting the back-up stories after the main one if they didn’t want to interrupt story flow. I get what Marvel wanted to do though and I don’t fault them for it. Just wish they didn’t feel they had to do it, but I’m not the head of a major publishing operation.

Note: I’m not saying it was stupid to have two different collections but as I said, I’m not the head of a major publishing operation.

Both collections of Guardians of Infinity are worth reading for sure. None of them are a bad read either way and I can easily say you won’t be bored. I do seriously steer you towards grabbing them from your local library first. If you dig them then I say buy them and enjoy the experience. If you enjoyed this oddball rambling, review, blog experience feel free and fire me a line. Thanks for reading and joining me on this adventure.

 

 

 

 

 

The Punisher #218: Frank Castle with War Machine Armor, Oh Yeah

With The Punisher’s entry into Marvel Legacy the hook is Frank Castle now has War Machine armor. After seeing the preview covers, we get to see how The Punisher gets the armor. Now the responses to this have either been excitement or extreme unhappiness. It’s The Punisher and opinions about him are all over the map. Frank Castle is a polarizing figure at the best of times. Every writer has a different take on him with mixed to critically acclaimed results. There’s no ambiguity about Frank Castle, he is who he is and he believes what he believes. Now we all get to find out what direction this series goes in with a new creative team. Let’s see how this goes down as I dive into The Punisher #218.

Weirdly enough I had a feeling I’d want to say something on The Punisher as I saw him in the armor. The concept fascinates me.

The Punisher #218 Marvel Legacy Comics

I appreciate how Matthew Rosenberg started off the issue. It blurs the lines between a serious Frank Castle and a more humorous take on the character. Rosenberg is going for a Frank that conveys every aspect of The Punisher in one way or the other. He picks a bit of each column in the life of Frank Castle and goes from there. You get your over the top mega violence mixed in with Nick Fury explaining why Frank is the way he is to the reader. Balance with this character is not easy to find at all and this issue tries hard to find it and it succeeds. I admittedly have some Punisher blind spots but this I feel strikes a nice balance tone wise.

I also want to mention this as we go further into The Punisher #218, it is totally new reader friendly. Jump right on in and you will be fine.

There’s not much I don’t like here and because of the fact that it is fun. Rosenberg slows it down just enough to set up War Machine and then back to the business at hand. What’s cool is Rosenberg is making a point to say, this is Frank in the War Machine armor, but he’s not War Machine. The back matter that Rosenberg writes makes it clear that Frank is wearing the armor, but War Machine will always be James Rhodes. I will be curious what this story will end up leading to as Frank is now at another level wearing the War Machine armor. Whatever happens though, the stakes are higher than ever and Rosenberg is showing that it’s going to get crazier from here.

We’re going to get look at more of the story of Punisher #218 we get into the art as there are a lot of cool moments here.

The Punisher #218 Marvel Legacy Nick Fury and Frank Castle

Special note: I really would love to try this egg drop soup as I am a fan of a good egg drop soup.

There’s one piece in particular that I want to focus on for starters, the Nick Fury and Frank Castle chat. Guiu Vilanova captured Rosenberg’s words beautifully with the Fury and Castle chat. Every second of that conversation flowed well and felt as dynamic as any action scene. I particularly love the expressions on Fury’s face as it makes sense that he would be more expressive than Castle. Then as the camera so to speak was moving around making the place seem less static and adding energy to the chat. It also helps that Lee Loughridge’s coloring illuminated the piece, the shadows and light gave it such a cool atmosphere. An enlightening chat with excellent execution.

As for the rest of the stuff, this comic looks good without a doubt. As noted from the Fury and Castle chat, the action scenes give another of detail to the wonderful glory that is Frank Castle. Rosenberg’s script shows that in action, that is when The Punisher comes to life. Vilanova’s art captures the action here in brutal and gleeful detail. Especially in the expressions, the only time to really see Frank smile is when he’s in his element, which is when he’s in the midst of battle. It’s interesting to me how that’s handled. Now I also want to mention Cory Petit’s lettering as it really works for this script. The big and loud letters work to the explosive art and colors here. Beautiful work all around.

The Punisher #218 Marvel Legacy Box Smash

If you’re in the midst of binge watching The Punisher on Netflix, I highly recommend grabbing #218 as part of your adventure.

Now this is only the start of what Rosenberg and his team has in store for The Punisher. We know why Frank has the War Machine armor and what he’s going to be up to with it, now we see what happens from here. This issue was a lot of fun but I get the feeling the stakes are going to get higher from here. I like what I see and I can’t wait for what happens next. Good work all around from this new team. I am excited for what’s to come with this series.

 

 

 

 

Wes Reads Extreme: Bloodpool #1: Surprise Youngblood Spinoff!

In yet another comic from my collection I have never read, welcome to the Youngblood spinoff Bloodpool #1. All I initially knew of this comic was it was where Pat Lee got his start as a penciler and as a colorist too. Yes, that Pat Lee of Dreamwave Productions fame and the entire history that comes with it. I had no idea until reading it that this was a spinoff of Youngblood. Heck, I had no idea who the writer even was! Talk about your blind readthrough. Yet as I read it I found myself pleasantly surprised and also not entirely shocked as to what I got myself into. You’ll see what I mean as you read this piece. Let’s dive into this deep cut of the 90’s with Bloodpool #1. This is either going to be a magical experience or just a weird one, your mileage may vary.

Note the “your mileage may vary” bit at the start. It’s Youngblood related so already Bloodpool fits that phrase.

Bloodpool #1 Youngblood Pat Lee Extreme Studios

Weirdly enough I grew up in the 90’s but my experience with Extreme Studios is minimal at best. At the time of the rise of these studios and the 90’s comic boom and then bust, I was almost out of comics. Bloodpool was a series that slipped past me entirely, along with most of the Extreme Studios output. Bloodpool came out in August of 1995 so it is knee deep in 90’s land with all it entails. It focuses around the Youngblood training program to set up the next members of the team, until it all ends suddenly. Simple version, an event called Extreme Sacrifice happened and changed the entire framework of the program. Now you have all these young heroes set loose on the world and that’s the general idea of the story.

Now as for characters and how the story is given to us, that’s a different case entirely. Jo Duffy had a tall order back then to make this work and in some cases, it kind of does.  Now before you all go crazy here, I’m not saying it is perfect by any means. Gosh, not even the best thing I’ve read but I can own up to being entertained by it at certain points. Main reason why I had fun with it, Bloodpool doesn’t take itself that seriously. Duffy made me laugh a couple times as much as the actual structure of the story was weird, at least it was amusing.  I give props to someone making a seemingly strange crossover story work as well at does here.

Bloodpool #1 Liefeld Cover Youngblood Image Extreme

Yes this is the Rob Liefeld alternate cover. This is part of the Youngblood Universe so he did create this as part of the larger franchise. So here you go, Liefeld cover.

The dialogue in this is probably the saving grace of Bloodpool. As once it gets into Youngblood minutia it gets bogged down fast.

There’s not even a focal point character to focus your attention on. That camera floats around every which way as this was Pat Lee’s first story so the storytelling gets messy at times. Part of me wishes I could find critical thoughts on this from way back when. If my 2017 mind is having trouble figuring it out, I can only imagine what people at the time thought. Outside of Rubble, I could barely figure out any names of the characters until I went on Wikipedia. Oh yes there are names but they sure don’t stick with you that’s for sure. It’s a weird script to say the least.

I felt like Duffy had to shove in a ton of plot points and still try and make a new team have some impact. There’s also the possibility that it was the 90’s and sometimes certain 90’s books have a way of trying to tell too much at once. Bloodpool doesn’t have any cohesive feel to it until they leave the base, then it makes a little more sense. Of course as I learned from the back matter, Jo Duffy was writing Glory at the time which means there are Glory plot points too. I respect a cohesive universe but I am impressed to a degree that Duffy was able to get that much into one issue. There’s a level of respect to be had for that.

Bloodpool #1 Pat Lee Rubble Image Comics Extreme Youngblood

Even for the Youngblood Universe, Bloodpool is a little crazy. It’s kind of stupid, makes little sense, yet it’s fun in a weird way.

Now I know at least a few people reading this are salivating at what I’ll say about Pat Lee’s art here. There’s a level of nostalgia for me as one comic I liked at one point was Dark Minds. Pat Lee’s art had that anime aesthetic and it was my absolute jam at one point. Of course as this is early Pat Lee, it’s a different ball game. The characters that look best are Rubble, Shaft at times, and then the anatomy goes all over the place from there. No one is safe in the wonky anatomy adventures as male or female, the bodies are tilting this way and that at many points. I mean I know I’m being snarky to a point at an artist with his first gig, but it is Pat Lee so I don’t feel that bad.

Special note: If you’re not familiar with the history of Pat Lee and how he handled Dreamwave Productions, oh you’re in for one treat of a Google search.

Yes you all get to learn that I was once a big Pat Lee fan, which is part of why I wanted to read this in the first place. One compliment I will give, the coloring looked good so that’s a plus. Sheer curiosity though lead me to check out a comic I would not have looked twice at. Jo Duffy had some good dialogue but the story made little sense. Crazy part is that there’s four issues and a special out there for Bloodpool. Will I read more? Maybe if I find the rest of the series for cheap. Unless some lunatic wants to donate me issues of Bloodpool they have laying around.

Bloodpool #4 Pat Lee Image Comics Extreme Youngblood

Note: yes I know this is from #4 but I kind of wanted to give you all an extra idea of some of the oddball anatomy here. It’s a weird ride my friends.

I will totally take donations of Bloodpool though if anyone really wants to get rid of some random mid 90’s comics.

I mean the story ends pretty well as the team is now out on their own and doing their thing. Not sure how this will go from here but if the comic had even a tiny bit more of a connection I’d likely be curious for more. It’s insane and makes little sense at points but it can be funny so maybe there could be more down the line for me. There’s even a trade paperback out there for it that’s out of print. I guess Extreme Studios/Image Comics had big plans for Bloodpool at one point, who knew right? I sure didn’t until I read this.

Now do I recommend you all go hunt Bloodpool down? Nah, but hey if you are morbidly curious you will find it for cheap in any back issue bin across the land. This is another adventure into my comic collection and weird comics that I somehow haven’t read. Thanks for reading and hopefully enjoying this strange adventure. Take care and remember, yes the 90’s had a lot of comics with blood in the title. So many comics with blood in the title. Have a good one.

If you are seriously curious about owning Bloodpool for yourself I am an affiliate of mycomicshop.com so you can find it here.

 

 

Wes Reads: Adventures in the DC Universe #7: Hello Shazam Family!

Adventures in the DC Universe #7 is the perfect way to revive the Wes Reads series. Wes Reads is part random comic book reading and part whatever the heck I want it to be. I’d never read it before today but since Zachary Levi was cast as Captain Marvel/Shazam, the timing is great. If you’re not familiar with it, Adventures in the DC Universe was a series that was around from April of 1997 to October 1998.  In the 19 issues it was around it took characters from the DCU and adapted them into the DC animated style. This is before Justice League Unlimited happened so at this point, this was a taste of what was to come. Join me on my Wes Reads adventures with Adventures in the DC Universe #7. Let’s see how this pre-animated Shazam holds up to the rigors of time.

I’m also a sucker for Captain Marvel/Shazam stories anyway so this was a treat to find this in my collection.

(I also say that this story held up fairly well to the rigors of time.)

Adventures in the DC Universe #7 Shazam DC Comics

Here’s the thing, I’m not that familiar with this series. It was around the time when I was just getting back into comics. I’ve not read any of the other issues but this one for starters is self contained so you can get everything you need to know in one issue. The story is Captain Marvel/Shazam fighting against Black Adam and through shenanigans by Dr. Sivana, our hero gets knocked out of commission. Though as we lead up to this we get to see Mary Marvel and Captain Marvel Jr. in the process. It’s a solid tale and I want to deep dive a bit more as to why.

For one if you’re someone so new to Captain Marvel/Shazam, this works as an introduction. Steve Vance writes this as not just a superhero fight between the Marvel Family and Black Adam but explains origins and how the powers work. I’m sincerely impressed as to how well Vance writes this and doesn’t make it seem like an info dump. It’s fast, fun, and perfect to introduce a child to the world of Captain Marvel/Shazam. It’s even got a cute ending after it all ends with a nice Lois Lane and Clark Kent cameo.

Captain Marvel Shazam Family DC Comics

I’m not revealing that much as the story is pretty self explanatory. Marvel Family beats Black Adam and Dr. Sivana, The End.

(Dr. Sivana’s way of handling Captain Marvel/Shazam though is clever. Using Billy Batson’s recorded voice from the radio to say “Shazam!” is a cool idea. I like it.)

Clark Kent Lois Lane Cameo Shazam

The writer of this issue andfrom what I can tell series is Steve Vance and I’m actually not that familiar with him. Same with the art team on this, John Delaney on pencils, Ron Boyd on Inks, Tim Harkins on letters, and Bob LeRose on Colors. Vance’s story is fun and I’m actually going to make a point to read more of his stuff in the future. The art team does excellent work on this, it’s bright, engaging, and above all capital F on the fun. Heck any story that can handle a ton of origins and still make a compelling issue scores points with me. It’s definitely worthwhile reading.

On the page I have linked with John Delaney, it’s older but it has a lot of fun facts about this series so check it out. I really had no idea as to how this series even fit in until today. I may have more in my collection so if I find more you may see more issues of this pop up here. They’re fun to read and easy to dive right into so I’m down to write more on this. Engaging art, fun stories, and neat takes on DC characters, sign me up for more of this short lived series.

Yeah, I had fun. I had a lot of fun with this take on Captain Marvel/Shazam. I heard there is another issue with him in it so I am game for it.

Hopefully you all enjoyed this adventure into my collection. Goes to show you even I have no idea the depths as to what I have hanging out there. This will likely be the future of the Wes Reads columns here so I say, enjoy the ride. Thanks for reading and I hope you all are having a good one out there. Take care everyone.

(Note as I was typing this I saw the casting of Billy Batson for the upcoming Shazam film, so this is awesome! I can’t wait to see this movie.)