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.

 

 

 

 

Captain America #695: Getting Back to Basics in Marvel Legacy

How do you go forward with Captain America in the aftermath of Secret Empire? Well Marvel did it in the best way they could and for the most part it worked. Not saying as much about the event itself, that’s a story for another day, but it did work. Now we get to see Steve Rogers as Captain America re-establishing himself once more. Our Steve Rogers took out Hydra Cap and now he is taking it to the road. Mark Waid was the man who revitalized Captain America back in the 90’s and once more for Heroes Return, now he is back at it again for Legacy. Even going as far as to get Chris Samnee who is perfect for creating that old school vibe. Will lightning strike three times? Let’s find out on this wonderful little journey as I dive into Captain America #695.

It’s Bold, it’s Bright, it’s Colorful, and it’s excitement personified in Captain America #695.

Captain America #695 Cover Marvel Comics

Let’s begin our little adventure here simply, this is good. Captain America #695 is a good comic. I did not envy Mark Waid and Chris Samnee coming onto this series but my goodness were they up to the task at hand. You can see the name of the game was take Captain America back to basics and it works. It’s optimistic in the midst of everything that happened and is going on and you can’t help but smile at Captain America punching Nazis. Okay they’re a group called Rampart and they don’t openly say Nazis but dude, they’re Nazis, Captain America is punching Nazis, that’s awesome. You can’t help but dig that scene.

What’s also cool is the surroundings of the story, Captain America, Nebraska. They have a massive festival every year and you get a glimpse into how many people like the guy. You get classic Captain America fighting the bad guys, showing how good a person he is, and also showing that as Steve Rogers, he’s just a normal guy figuring things out. At his core Steve as Captain America is a hero of the people, so Waid emphasizes that a lot in this story which is wonderful. Waid reminds us that Captain America is someone that can rally the people at his core and that’s what Waid does in this first issue. It all clicks but what about the art? Oh the art deserves a focus of its own.

Captain America #695 Action Sequence

Chris Samnee and the art team on Captain America #695 went above and beyond the call of duty for this one.

Chris Samnee’s art is fluid, fast, crisp, and gorgeously clean. It’s the perfect fit for what Waid is up to with this story. Waid’s story reflects every bit of Captain America you could imagine and in turn Samnee’s art reflects it, heroic Cap, immensely likable Steve Rogers, and inspirational Cap, a lot of these pages could be posters as they are that iconic. It’s also nice to see Steve Rogers being the most Steve Rogers he can be. When he’s a little overwhelmed by a whole day dedicated to him, you can see in the art just how he feels. Samnee draws such a classic Cap that you can’t help but smile ear to ear. Waid hit the artist jackpot with Chris Samnee. Yet another feature for this comic is the coloring, my goodness gracious the coloring.

Matthew Wilson’s colors on this story are eye popping beauty. Outside of any scenes with fire or say intense action, these colors pop off the page. For everyone who’s been wanting a story where everything is clicking on all cylinders, congratulations this is it. The optimism within this comic is unreal. You get bright colors, exciting art, and Joe Caramagna’s letters have an old school, pop off the page energy to them as well. Truthfully, I think I’m as surprised as anyone as to how much this all came together so swimmingly. Great art all around to match Waid’s script the oozes with joy and a genuine love for our humble hero.

Happiness and Optimism rule the day in Captain America #695 and that my friends is a good thing.

Simply put, go buy this comic. If you’re a lapsed fan and want to give our hero another shot, this is it. Waid, Samnee and the rest of the team bring life back to this character and a sense of fun long missed in this series. Try it and see what you think, it may take time for some but for me, I’m a happy camper right now.

Cable #150: Marvel Legacy’s Nod to The 90’s with Newer Mutants

Take note of my title for Cable #150 here, the nod to the 90’s is not meant as an insult at all. As I was reading this one I was pondering how to explain my thoughts on this issue and 90’s aesthetic fits here. It’s a brand new creative team for Marvel Legacy and I haven’t read anything of the new Cable series yet. In this situation I am the perfect reader for this as I have no connection to this series. I like Ed Brisson’s writing and Jon Malin‘s art but outside of that I have no real expectations. I’ve been on a touch of an X-Men kick lately and I have plans for Mojo Worldwide later on here. Time to take an adventure into the world of Cable and see if this Marvel Legacy ride is rewarding for me. Let us venture onwards and begin this amazing journey.

I will admit this though with the character, I do have a fondness for Cable so I’ll own that at least.

Cable #150 Marvel Legacy

Now this is where I get to explain the title of this piece more. One thing I noticed with Ed Brisson’s writing is he’s channeling 90’s Cable hard, this is good. He’s using 90’s Cable influence and using it to his full advantage. I think it’s also in Jon Malin’s art as Malin’s style has a flair for 90’s action packed goodness. Malin has a dynamic, stylized, and overall fun art style that fits Cable like a glove. Considering how the issue goes down it makes sense that Malin is on this series. The title of the storyline is “The Newer Mutants” and part of this issue is Cable getting a team together. Now it involves a concept not used in a while, The Externals. Another 90’s concept, at least that I remember, and it fits well here.

Now as for the team I mentioned earlier, so far it’s Doop, Shatterstar, and Longshot, and I call those great choices for this team. It seems like there is more to come from the cover but I like how each character plays into this. If you are wondering how this reads for someone who’s out of the Cable loop, it’s better than you’d think. Ed Brisson got a blank slate to work with since the story takes place thirteen years ago. There is a good enough of an explanation here but I really wish I knew more as to why Cable is hopping about through time. Brisson mentions time anomalies but I’m not given much else to work with. It’s still fun but yeah, I wish I understood more of the actual story here.

Cable has a weird flow to it as even I missed in my initial read through the 13 years ago at the start of the comic.

Yes Cable #150 is fun, yet there are issues, a lot of issues as to how the story flows. Yet I do like Doop the Street Phoenix and Doop in a cool car is pretty nifty. Malin’s work with Doop’s expressions and also action scenes are top notch, I do like those a lot. Especially the final pages that really let Malin cut loose, say this for Brisson, he crafts a solid action comic. Jesus Aburtov’s coloring looks great though and really does let Malin’s artwork shine and it pops off the page well. It’s a story that’s fun and has a lot going for it but the construction is a little strange. Welcome to life with Cable #150 my friends, fun but a little messy.

Yeah I can say this easily with Cable #150, it’s messy but it is at least fun.

Not everyone is going to groove on Cable #150 but I think I’m willing to give this another issue to see how it goes. I can easily say I had fun and I like the ending so it has potential, I’m game for another issue. I would say, try it and see what you think. Your mileage may vary with this one. Give it a shot and see how it goes over with you. As for me, I’ll check back in with this next issue and see if the fun outweighs the messy. Hopefully things balance out for this series and we’ll see what happens in the months to come.

I’m adding another special note here, I am still wary as I think on this more. Yet I had fun so, we shall see what next month holds.

Giant Monsters Make Me Smile: Marvel’s Monsters Unleashed

Between all the mega crossovers Marvel has had they had one that got lost in the shuffle, Monsters Unleashed. It’s a comic that has the Marvel Universe vs. Giant Monsters/Kaiju and that’s all you need to know. Cullen Bunn cut loose on a massive monster fighting fest and it’s beautiful in its simplicity. Simplicity is not a knock on this as sometimes all you need is giant monsters and on with the show kids. Sometimes an event can be that simple to dive into. I was underwhelmed by the first issue of this but in reading the Monster-Size collection, I fell in love with this wonderful piece of madness. Yes I am playing my hand too early but this isn’t as much a review as more, heck yes Giant Monsters. Let’s get on with this fun as I tell you of my love of Monsters Unleashed.

Monsters Unleashed is sheer joy in a comic book. Yes I know the story is bonkers but I believe that is what makes it beautiful.

One major factor is why I dig Monsters Unleashed as much as I do is simple, it really is just a straight up monster slug fest. The collective Marvel Universe set in battle against multitudes of monsters and that’s perfect. Even more cool is it brought Elsa Bloodstone back to the Marvel Universe and gave Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur a neat role. Some people are mixed on this event I know but for me, it works. Kei Kawade and his connection to the Monsters is a nifty little addition to the story. I’m a sucker for art based powers so Kei’s ability to draw monsters and have them come to life is so slick. The way this series plays out is simple, the new heroes of the Marvel Universe are the solution. That’s cool.

Though before you know what Kei’s role is in this and even after, you get lots of giant monster fights. If you’re someone who’s in the mood for an event that gives you what’s advertised, this is it. You get a new character to the Marvel Universe and unleashed imagination in the monster designs, I love it. Bunn’s story works for this and even more so you get a great group of artists, Leinil Francis Yu, Steve McNiven, Salvador Larroca, Adam Kubert, and Greg Land, each working on an issue of this event. With Jay Leisten inks on McNiven and Land and Gerry Alanguilan and Michael Jason Paz inks on Leinil’s work, it all looks great. Add in some gorgeous coloring by David Curiel and Michael Garland and you get a complete package of beauty.

Did I mention a lot of these fights are done in double page spreads? It enhances the joy. So much joy. So much wonder.

Inhumans Monsters Unleashed Mega Battle

Art: Steve McNiven and Jay Leisten. Color Artist: David Curiel, Lettered by: VC’s Travis Lanham

Oh and check out the size of the Monsters Unleashed collection in Hardcover, the sheer size of this is glorious.

Monsters Unleashed Monster Sized Trade

Photo taken by me and I don’t think I can do the sheer scale of this book justice.

Even I’m surprised at how much of a nerd out I am having with this. Of course then again, I do love Kaiju.

Avengers Assemble Monsters Unleashed

Yeah I can see why Monsters Unleashed wouldn’t be to the taste of everyone. I get it as some people would be wanting more than what they got. The major goal of this from what I can tell from Cullen Bunn’s story is bringing a new character to life. We get a new character and a new world to explore within the Marvel Universe. Even more so we get the entire Marvel Universe fighting freaking giant monsters, which is awesome. Heck, in the aftermath of Secret Empire we would love for something that simple right now.  This is the kind of event that all you need is a simple premise to open up a new world. Now I’m curious in the Monsters Unleashed series that came out of this. I do like Kei and want to know more about him and his monster friends.

Not a major spoiler considering the series is out there but we do get new monsters into the Marvel Universe. Now we have Kei/Kid Kaiju figuring out his place in the Marvel Universe with his new friends with his parents along for the ride. Yeah I am game for more of this and I’ll have to check this series out down the line. I wish I wouldn’t have waited this long to read Monsters Unleashed but I have now at least. Sometimes a series finds you when you need it and Monsters Unleashed was well timed for me in my eyes. When you need a simple and fun event story that introduces new characters and has large scale battles, Monsters Unleashed is perfect. Just what the proverbial comics doctor ordered.

Like I said, not really a review, just a massive excuse to nerd out about giant monsters.

Always remember this in your days my friends, giant monsters no matter what will always rule. A simple idea out of Marvel turns into a fairly fun event that deserves more attention. It got lost in the midst of everything else but give this a shot. I think you’ll like it as much as I do by the end of the story. If nothing else, you’ll get some great and gorgeous double page spreads out of it all. If you look further though I think you’ll find a fun little story. Give it a go and take some time to hang out with some Kaiju, you’ll be glad you did.

 

The Great Social Media Battle of 2016: Marvel vs. DC Movies

DC Marvel Social Media Logos

Copyright: Logos from Marvel and DC Comics

Social Media was a unique place in 2016 within pop culture. There are many factors to dive into but one stood out, Marvel vs. DC Movies. You had MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) represented by Captain America: Civil War and Doctor Strange, both for the most part getting positive marks. With the DCEU (DC Extended Universe) you had Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad getting decidedly mixed reviews. Now the battleground with MCU and DCEU gets interesting with social media comes into play. We had an MCU backlash happen within the social media landscape and a battle with DCEU over their content as well. With both MCU and DCEU fans in a divisive and comical at points battle online, I’m going to explore this a bit. So let’s dive into the Great Social Media Battle of 2016, MCU vs. DCEU.

Let the Social Media Exploration Begin!

Now I debated writing a column like this for ages. You could see me on my own twitter debating this idea. Yet it’s been in me for months now to write about this. Possibly because I seem to be a rare voice of calm in the midst of the social media battles. What was so frustrating about the MCU and DCEU battles is these arguments would borderline on the ridiculous. Take note of this, the petition against Rotten Tomatoes. People got mad about Rotten Tomatoes and how MCU films scored higher than DCEU films. Among the many arguments, the Rotten Tomatoes battle on social media bordered on the hilarious. Simple version, people thought Disney/Marvel bought Critics to give Marvel movies good reviews and DC films bad ones. Yes, a petition was started over this and it is as silly as it sounds.

Now in my own personal perspective, I enjoyed the films of the MCU and DCEU alike. None of them were perfect but I had a good time at the theater watching them and ultimately that’s what counts. Same with other viewers who liked the films. Yet some, a mighty battle was in full swing over which company had the superior films. Arguments were varied from thoughtful to downright insane arguments. Usually, it boils down to if you like or dislike a film but some people then get into full-blown hysterics and war begins. Many of you out there reading this who are on any kind of social media, you have seen the threads and are likely getting flashbacks. I wasn’t immune to it either as everyone got dragged into these threads at one point.

From these Social Media arguments on MCU vs. DCEU, It boiled to another conversation, tone.

Now another argument that initiated a lot of quirky situations is the tone of the MCU vs. DCEU. MCU trends towards a lighter tone, brighter costumes, and overall a friendly atmosphere for the viewership. Now for DCEU it has trended darker with a more intense tone to the films. Yet a lot of people weren’t happy with the darker tone. Look at the MCU, they have a gameplan and they know where they’re going to go. DCEU saw the films making money, but not as much as Warner Bros. would have liked, especially with Batman v Superman. Now going forward DC is working towards a lighter tone in their films, as noted with Geoff Johns stating as much. Now the DCEU is forming a game plan and we’ll see how Wonder Woman and Justice League are received next year.

2016 was a divisive year on many fronts, so what does 2017 hold?

Now MCU wise we have Spider-Man: Homecoming, Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 2, and Thor: Ragnarok hitting in 2017. DCEU has their powerhouse lineup and Marvel has a powerful lineup too. Next year is going to be stacked and I can imagine that the arguments will be a wild ride come 2017. We’ll see what the lighter tone of DCEU will be and what will happen with that. With the MCU we’ll get to see if they can keep the money train rolling on into 2017. The fans on social media will keep the fire and hype for these movies throughout the year, good or bad.

Many arguments will be held over the coming months as the MCU and DCEU make announcements and as the films are released.  2016 was a weird year on many fronts. If you’re wondering, no one won the Marvel vs. DC argument with the films. At the end of it all, it’s all about what you like. There’s no big conspiracy from either Disney or Warner Bros. with these films and the critics. People like what they like and critics are like anyone else, they like what they like. A good or bad movie is in the eye of the person watching it. If someone likes or hates something, no massive tweet storm, facebook post, or whatever else, it won’t steer them to your way of thinking. It may give them a new perspective but won’t change their mind entirely.

No one ever wins in an Internet battle, it just gets weirder and more annoying as it goes along.

The arguments on social media with Marvel vs. DC movies will keep going and evolve in many strange directions. We won’t know the full scope of a DCEU tonal change until Justice League and maybe somewhat into Wonder Woman. Just as Marvel will have to keep on keeping on and we’ll see how things go for them in the new year.

If you take anything away from this, let people like what they like. In my own case, I want both the MCU and DCEU to have a great 2017 ahead. If you like both, that’s awesome and the best way to be in my opinion. If you prefer MCU over DCEU, that’s okay too just don’t be a jerk to the fans who prefer the DCEU. Same goes for the DCEU fans, don’t be jerks to the MCU fans, be nice to another in 2017 as 2016 has been weird enough.

Just be excellent to one another my friends.

It’s interesting how this became much more thoughtful as I wrote it. At this stage though I am tired of the battleground and want some kind of unity in this crazy universe. For 2017 give me this Internet, quit it. You can have debates about the films of the MCU and DCEU without it becoming a mega battle. Enjoy what films you want to enjoy and may 2017 be one with less ridiculous Internet fights.

 

 

Wes Reads Thunderbolts #1: A Good Surprise Gets You Everywhere

Thunderbolts #1 2016 Cover

Thunderbolts is a series that means a lot to me. It was one of the first books I got into when I started reading comics again. I have given every iteration of Thunderbolts a shot over the years. Every version of the team had a unique style to it that love or hate, you can never say that it didn’t take chances in one way or another. The original Thunderbolts was the Masters of Evil pretending to be heroes and along the way some of them realizing they like being heroes. This time around the Thunderbolts have sprouted out of the events of Avengers Standoff with Winter Soldier (James “Bucky” Barnes”) leading the team of Moonstone, Atlas, The Fixer, and Mach-X, so a good mix of old and new in this team. On paper this is one of the better ways to revive the team, especially after Standoff went over well with a lot of fans. The team has come together to clean up the mess left in the wake of S.H.I.E.L.D. and their experiment in imprisoning villains, Pleasant Hill. There’s much more than that in the mix too, but we’ll get into more of that as I talk more about my thoughts on this new Thunderbolts book. As this book while having similar touches to the classic Thunderbolts, there is a couple new ideas in the mix that surprised me.

To begin with if you haven’t read Avengers Standoff yet, you’re fine. Jim Zub sums up the event smoothly, Zub gives you everything you need to know within the first few pages. The team dynamic is easy to dive into for older readers of the series and if you’re new to it, the dynamics are made clear to you. It shows a team that knows how to work with one another yet Moonstone is still that wild card of the team.  I like how Zub captures the dynamic of the original team and working with Bucky, comfortable and exciting all at the same time. Bucky is the outsider and now leader of the Thunderbolts, making life interesting for this new team. It adds a new quirk outside of the major addition to the team which is Kobik, the energy of the cosmic cube brought to life as a four year old girl. I had no idea Kobik was involved in this series but it works and I am pleasantly surprised by that. Even if you haven’t read Standoff, you know what Kobik can do and why she means so much to the team. Kobik is so likable and you see how she fits in. Take note though, she is a kid yet she is pure cosmic cube energy so that can play out in many fun and surprising ways.

Thunderbolts #1 2016 Splash Page

The tone of the comic is a good mix of action, comedy, and a good dose of high end drama here and there. The blend of tones work well as it seems the revivals of Thunderbolts over the years have trended too dark and this has the right balance. I can tell Zub is already on his way to finding the right tone on this series. Which is where we dive into the one thing that I feel works but for some it may not, the art. Jon Malin was an artist I first discovered on his work in Youngblood and I liked it, quite a lot. That same energy that was within Youngblood that shines well here. In fact there’s more energy to it, the opening double page splash is filled with action, unabashed firepower, and pure excitement. A nice way to follow up the moody and strong opening page that shows the team preparing for the mission, enhanced by the strong coloring of Matt Yackey. Nice dark tones to set the mood and then a blast of color on that double page spread that is enough to knock your socks off. Malin and Yackey work well with the tone that Zub is aiming for, a classic action story but with humor and some dark twists to boot.

A big part of what caught my eye about Thunderbolts and my excitement for this new run is the final page. No spoilers here my friends as this final page is adding a nice amount of unpredictability to the proceedings. It’s why I did a tweet about it before this review, I had to let out that reaction fast. People are going to quibble about the art and I say give it a chance, this is some good storytelling here and a lot of fun, and that ending is going to blow your mind and have you begging for the next issue. Welcome back to my pull list Thunderbolts and to a new group of readers discovering the Thunderbolts in the process, this series is already rocking and rolling from the start.

The Bloggity Session for 4/22/16: Sorting Through the Back Issues

Welcome to my daily column idea, The Bloggity Session. This is my way of talking about whatever is popping into my mind and gives me a loose way to update you all on what I’m up to. Right now it has been sorting out further on my back issue adventures. I’m finally narrowing it down to what I want to write about here. Writing about series in long form is actually one of my bigger plans for this blog o’mine here. I like back issues, I love finding cool series that haven’t been collected, and also from time to time I just love hunting for back issues. You don’t get that as often nowadays depending on where you are but around here, I find I have ample opportunity to do my fair share of back issue hunting. Yet on some stuff I even have to do the grand internet wander of hitting up the stores and sellers to find stuff. I do love though when my local Half Price Books has issue packs collecting four or more books for usually between three to seven dollars, that is always a good time. Of course lately I’ve mostly found a strange bit of Lobo, Azrael, and other assorted random. Hence why I have a mycomicshop.com order on the way completing my Power Company run, and a couple more weird things I want to talk about as I didn’t know they existed until recently.

Recently I saw images of this odd What If? that Rob Liefeld did art for and it looked totally bonkers, which means I needed it in my life. Turns out it was What If? #7 from Vol. 2 of the series. As I was already making the Power Company part of my order I figure why not add the What If? to the haul right? Then I discovered this other book called the Nth Man, which I had never heard of until recently. It was released back in 1989 and written by Larry Hama and in the small bit I have heard about it, this sounds amazing. I won’t say too much as if this promises what I think it should, oh this is going to be something to look forward to experiencing first hand. I somehow have an Excalibur issue that has the Nth Man in it too, so I am surprised this didn’t hit my radar until now. As for The Power Company, it’s a DC series that I always meant to read more of but some how slipped past me somewhere along the way. I am a fan of Kurt Busiek so anything with him involved I am likely to be game to give a go.  I am looking forward to all of this immensely, the order is also supposed to be here on Monday so I am excited!

What if? Vol. 2 #7 Marvel Comics Cover

 

See that cover of What if? and realize why I could not wait to have this craziness in my life. I always like to say in my comic reading, I read everything and I just love comics by golly. I have all sorts of cool back issues on the way and this should be a great time. Now with this first edition of The Bloggity Session out of the way, let the daily adventures begin here. In between larger pieces I plot out, The Bloggity Sessions are my relaxed times just talking comics and whatever else pops into my mind. Put it this way, this is me chatting with you all a bit. Thanks for reading and to all of you who have been reading my blog thus far, thank you so much. The best is yet to come, take care and hope you all are doing well out there.

Wes Reads Totally Awesome Hulk #1-4: Giant Monsters are Radical!

Totally Awesome Hulk #1 Cover

Totally Awesome Hulk comes to us from the All-New All-Different Marvel launch late last year and just completed its first story arc, what a perfect time to check it out. I have been curious about this series and when Greg Pak put out the call on twitter for reviewers to review story arcs, I was totally game to do it. To fill in the story for you all, Greg Pak brings Amadeus Cho, the character he co-created with Takeshi Miyazawa, to the forefront as now he is the Totally Awesome Hulk. Yet you wonder what happened to Bruce Banner, why isn’t he The Hulk? What the heck happened between this book and Secret Wars? With an eight month gap, a lot of stuff happened in the Marvel Universe, Amadeus Cho’s transformation being one such thing. If I had only read one issue of this, I probably wouldn’t have gotten the full idea of what Pak was going for here. In reading the entire first story arc, there is a sense that Pak is taking the Amadeus Cho Hulk in directions that managed to surprise me. Totally Awesome Hulk is a different take on the character of The Hulk. Time to see more of what happens when the eighth smartest person in the Marvel Universe embraces the art of Hulk Smash in issues #1-4 of Totally Awesome Hulk!

Take note of the title of this Wes Reads, Giant Monsters are Radical. The entire first arc is Amadeus Cho our Totally Awesome Hulk, going after giant monsters, this has my heart from the start. Yet even more than that, Pak adds a great supporting cast with Amadeus Cho’s sister Maddy, short for Madame Curie, and her working with Amadeus as his Mission Control for his work as the Hulk. You even have Miles Morales Spider-Man and She-Hulk popping up in the rest of the arc too. You get a great supporting cast, strong characterization, and even non-stop action to boot. The major villain of this first arc are the giant monsters, specifically Fin Fang Foom who is my favorite thanks to Nextwave. I really do like Lady Hellbender, she’s after the Giant Monsters for her own reasons and she would be considered the villain yet she’s really not a bad person. She has her reasons and she also helps out too. It’s a unique idea to have your first story arc be about exploring the new status quo through a fun giant monster adventure and a powerful origin story, I dig what Pak did with this.

Spider-Man and She-Hulk with Totally Awesome Hulk

It’s also built for Frank Cho to cut loose, and Frank Cho cuts loose on this comic. This is loud splashy action at its finest. Amadeus Cho shows all his skills as the Totally Awesome Hulk in this comic. The giant monsters feel huge and powerful, the Fin Fang Foom fight and the giant monster battle near the end have to be seen to be believed. Though as you see lots of Hulk Smashing all over the place in these big bombastic action pieces, Frank Cho excels at those quiet moments where you get to know the characters a bit. Cho’s style is so expressive that even in the slow moments, it still has a sense of keeping the story moving forward. There’s a bit in the flashback sequences that thanks to Cho’s art that will break your heart in two, it’s touching and powerful all at once. Pak nails you with the emotional words then Cho knocks it out of the park with the emotions on each of the characters faces, it’s about as perfect a comic moment as you can get. I love Sonia Oback’s coloring on this, I note that in the present day there’s a brightness to the coloring then in the flashback there is a more muted tone, highlighting the more serious nature of the flashbacks. That nice subtle difference in coloring makes all the difference in making a comic like this work that much more.

Totally Awesome Hulk vs. Fin Fang Foom

I’m making this spoiler free too because Totally Awesome Hulk is a lot of fun and there’s touches that I won’t dare spoil for you all. Put it this way, Pak has another twist with the Amadeus Cho Hulk that Frank Cho has a lot of fun with that’s subtle and it works. I hadn’t gotten the chance to read anything of Totally Awesome Hulk and now I am planning on reading the next issue. There’s great characters developing here and I still feel like we’re only scratching the surface with the Totally Awesome Hulk. Right now the future of The Hulk looks bright and in the hands of this creative team, I have high hopes for the rest of the series to come.

Now to get your hands on the Totally Awesome Hulk for yourselves you can likely find it at your local comic shop and if you don’t know where your local store is just use the Comic Shop Locator to help find the comic store closest to you. If you prefer digital it is also available on ComiXology, and if you want to grab the upcoming trade of these issues you can even pre-order it off of Amazon.

Wes Reads: Marvel’s Avengers Standoff Stage One: The Event That is Actually Fun

Avengers Standoff Alpha #1 Cover

Avengers Standoff: Assault on Pleasant Hill has managed to surprise me. Heck if you read my Spoiler Filled Thoughts on Welcome to Pleasant Hill, I bought the first part of this on a whim and out of curiosity. Now I am finding myself into the idea of Pleasant Hill being a massive supervillain prison town populated by brainwashed supervillains thinking they’re someone else entirely. A massive S.H.I.E.L.D idea that has a level of brilliance that makes it great. For Stage one of this I’m reading Avengers Standoff: Assault on Pleasant Hill Alpha #1, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. #3, and Uncanny Avengers #7. I’ve been reading Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D and got Uncanny Avengers as it is part of this event. It’s not too insane so two tie-ins to an event like this isn’t too bad at all to deal with. This is Stage One of my Avengers Standoff journey. These are going to be loosely reviews, yet in general my shock that Avengers Standoff is a fun event so far. Yes my friends a Marvel and Comic Book Event in general that is a lot of fun, who could’ve thought that could happen right? Time to join me in the start of my Avengers Standoff adventures!

Avengers Standoff: Assault on Pleasant Hill Alpha #1 is doing stuff that back in the day likely would have been revealed near the end than at the beginning of the adventure. I’m going to try and keep this as spoiler free as possible too. One part of this being that without anything too spoiler crazy, this is going to be our set up for Steve Rogers becoming young again and being Captain America. No real shock there but the big set up is happening. Even more fun, I adore Maria Hill in this series as Nick Spencer writes a rocking Maria Hill and Steve Rogers conversation. I like the role the villains are playing in this too, especially love the fact of Baron Zemo being the leader of the whole crusade to deal with Maria Hill and S.H.I.E.L.D within Pleasant Hill. We even learn of a certain old favorite of the Marvel Universe in the mix too, which is a cool thing to see. We’re only starting to get more of the heroes in play too and it makes me wonder what the Thunderbolts series will be like after this is all said and done. It also helps that art wise, Jesus Saiz adds a level of rocking realism to the mix. Saiz adds depth and emotion to Spencer’s story. It’s a good way to continue the vibe that Avengers Standoff has so far.

(Seriously you all, this is not meaning to become a yay everything is awesome adventure here but this is giving me back Baron Zemo and more into the Marvel Universe, this makes me happy.)

Avengers Standoff Assault on Pleasant Hill Alpha #1 Football

It’s interesting with Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D #3 and Uncanny Avengers #7 as to how much they really tie into Avengers Standoff. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has a laser sharp focus with the story. Since it involves Maria Hill and S.H.I.E.L.D. the focus is going to be more cohesive and it is overall. Marc Guggenheim is doing great work on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. anyway and Phil Coulson and his team split up as they deal with different aspects of the Pleasant Hill situation. It works well overall and I thought about it in the aspect of a reader new to Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and it still reads well overall. Guggenheim does a good job in making this a story accessible for the Avengers Standoff readers. Perfect way to operate with a tie-in story like this. German Peralta’s art fluctuates but it does well in conveying the story and mood of what Guggenheim is going for, though Rachelle Rosenberg’s coloring makes this shine.  If you’re new to Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. stick around after Avengers Standoff, it’s a pretty cool comic either way.

I haven’t been reading Uncanny Avengers #7 but I figure with Avengers Standoff, why not give it a go again? Outside of one story with Brother Voodoo, it is new reader friendly too. Garry Duggan works with the Avengers Standoff story as seamlessly as Guggenheim does. It’s a little off kilter with some last bit strangeness near the end of the issue but it does work. The Wrecker is the one that fills in the Uncanny Avengers on what is happening with Pleasant Hill and their place in the Avengers Standoff. It has a ton of action in between the fun banter the team has with one another too. I like that Cable is part of the squad helping to train a newer hero Synapse in new ways of using her Inhuman abilities. Lots of action, good characterization and meshing with the event too. Ryan Stegman’s art is also on point looking as sharp as ever and Mark Morales and Guillermo Ortego, the two inkers on this issue, mesh well with Stegman’s art.  The coloring of this book looks just as great too, with Richard Isanove and Matt Yackey working together on it, really making the action packed festivities look even better. I may stick around with Uncanny Avengers after Avengers Standoff is over as overall it was fun.

Stage One of Avengers Standoff for me was a good time and I will probably make this a regular thing throughout Avengers Standoff. It would be fun to cover an entire event again as I haven’t done that since Trinity War back in my Comics Crux days. If you all like this quirky pellet review/overview of Avengers Standoff, let me know in the comments below or hit me up on my twitter too. Always love feedback, take care everyone and thanks for reading!