Joss Whedon Will Never Be Done With Superheroes

Despite the negative responses Age of Ultron resulted in, Joss Whedon is nowhere near done with superheroes. Last weekend at San Diego Comic Con he announced that he would be writing a new six issue comic book for Dark Horse Comics. Twist is described by Whedon as a “victorian female Batman” narrative. While the promo art for the comic was done by Julian Totino Tedesco, neither an official artist nor release date has been announced. In a recent interview with io9, Whedon detailed his vision and process for the upcoming story.

“I don’t think I’ll ever be done with superheroes, because I feel like I was writing about superheroes before I realized that I was. Everything sort of falls in that category. The new thing is called Twist, it’s Victorian story about a chambermaid who becomes a superhero, because I don’t get tired of that.

It’s a little dark and a little strange. I have license to sort of go to different places. I’m not beholden to the 40 years of this comic that existed before. But it is kind of classical in structure in the sense that it’s about women and men and power, culture and money and all the things I always like to nudge in.”

twist

Io9 also wondered whether Twist could possibly be made into a TV show or film to which Whedon responded simply “It’s a Dark Horse book, probably like six issues with the potential to be more. Unless I kill everyone, because you know me [laughs].” Given his reputation, it’ll be a surprise if he even makes it to six issues. Here’s hoping our feels are at least partially intact by the end of the comic’s run.

When asked about the outrage over AoU, Whedon expressed what he really thought. He said he was surprised by the response. “You know, ultimately everybody’s entitled to their opinion. Sending me pictures of nooses and things was maybe a little too entitled,” Whedon said referring to one of the major reasons he left Twitter. He went onto say that he thought putting Black Widow and Hawkeye together– despite many fans insisting they were more than friends– wasn’t right. He believes that the two superheroes just being friends is “a much more powerful and even much more romantic statement: that those people would die for each other, but they’re not trying to sleep with each other. That’s something about men and women that I wanted to say. So I’m not backing down on that one.”

Regardless of how fans might feel about AoU, Twist looks like an awesome new project and one that Whedon will really be able to sink his teeth into after the Black Widow controversy. He’s excited to “get back to something I loved very much, which is putting my hand to a comic book again.”

Photos from Geek Tyrant.

An Interview with Artist Zak Kinsella

meet zak
Ink and watercolor #MeetTheArtist piece

Fresh from Denver Comic Con, we met up with Denver comic book artist Zak Kinsella about his work, what inspired him as a kid, his views on how Denver is changing, and what’s next for him. Artist and writer on books like Midspace,” King Maul, and Outré Veil,  Kinsella’s wit, expression and honesty is what draws readers to his work. He has also worked for the Westword and The New York Times and has some exciting news about where he might be headed next.

Hush Comics: What made you want to be an artist?

Zak Kinsella: I think it really popped into me in junior high. I was always drawing beforehand. My mom’s an artist… Mostly it was just getting back into comics when I was in junior high, like X-Men. That really popped for me. I thought, “I’m going to start drawing these things. These comic books.”

HC: Did you start with drawing those characters?

ZK: Yeah. I had been used to drawing before so drawing outside in the real world, like life drawing, [I thought] “well, let’s try drawing some muscly dudes.” And then I realized I love it.

HC: How did you get started doing that professionally?

ZK: I decided I wanted to. I started putting out my own books and before I was an illustrator— a pretty successful one, too— and I’m a pretty successful one right now, too, but you get to a point in the road where you think, “Man, illustration’s really cool and I’ve done cool work but it’s still not comic books.” They have this really weird grasp on you. They’re really the road less taken and they’re way more fun than drawing for Men’s Health or something like that or even New York Times, which I’ve done before. I mean, that’s big name stuff but it’s still not [as] fun [as] comics. I didn’t want to be one of those people that was stuck in what they hated doing.

HC: What about comics inspires you most? What about X-Men inspired you as a kid?

ZK: I moved around a lot as a kid, but we grew up in Texas and I don’t like football, I don’t play sports [except for] swim team… so that’s kind of like the outcast. If you’re not playing football, you’re not accepted. [Reading] the X-Men as a kid it was like, “These guys are always getting crapped on while they’re trying to do a good job at something.” And that was like, “I’m on the swim team!” “Oh, great job. You don’t play football. Let’s punch you…” A lot of those themes are repeated throughout the X-Men, plus, with those comics they’re exciting because they’re not like a lot of the other mainstream comics. They deal with a lot of progressive feminism and acceptance and love and stuff that’s just really cool while all at the same time [there’s] dudes in tights punching each other. It made progressive-ism accessible to a young man. It’s not your typical power struggle fantasy. It straddles those boundaries but if you look at their best character Storm. I mean, she was punk rock Storm.

HC: Is she your favorite character?

ZK: No, I was actually more of a Nightcrawler [fan] and more than anything else I was a Cyclops fan. Everyone’s like, “Okaaaay,” but I love that guy. He gets the job done. Everyone thinks he’s a tool but tools get the job done.

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Zak Kinsella at Denver Comic Con

HC: You seem to illustrate for a lot of projects in the science fiction vein. What do you like most about that genre that keeps you coming back for more?

ZK: It’s what I grew up on. X-Files was a big thing for me, but also growing up as a kid I used to read these things called, Time Life’s Mysteries of the Unknown. They were just these dumb books about the outer limits. Twilight Zone was a big thing [for me and so was] In Search Of with Leonard Nimoy. All those things and then, a healthy dose of British science fiction on PBS. I lot of these things came from my mom, honestly. We’d watch Doctor Who thirty years before anyone followed it. [We thought,] “Oh, Doctor Who sounds pretty cool.” [I also liked] the obvious stuff like Star Wars. A lot of that stuff is influential. Science Fiction does such a great job of critiquing humanity while being like, “Hey, this takes places with robots in outer space.” It’s just cool.

I feel like [in my own work] I feel like I have much more of a creative license. I can make stuff up. “I have no idea what this planet would look like. Let’s just make it up. What the hell.” I also find space to be a very romantic backdrop. Like in The Final Frontier, there is so much space unexplored. You can’t even believe what we’re going to run into out there and that leaves infinite possibilities for storytelling.

HC: What’s it like working with a comic book writer? Can you explain that collaborative dynamic?

ZK: I’ve had a couple of good experiences and a couple of bad experiences. Sometimes their excitement can bleed into anxiousness and then they’re always bugging you…

HC: Kind of feels like they’re nagging you?

ZK: Yeah. I mean, it’s exciting and it’s something we’re both stoked to work on together, but I have to balance the book I’m working on right now with freelance work… But it has to be a collaboration or that sort of thing just sort of starts to grow like a cancer in a friendship and kills it. I had a really trying experience with that last year. I had to walk off a book, and I have no regrets about that. It was just too much for me.

HC: It’s a lot to deal with. You both are sort of demanding on each other.

ZK: Well, yeah because you want it to be the best and put your best foot forward, otherwise what’s the point? But, you have to set boundaries. I’ve left a couple of books like that where I’ve said, “Look, this isn’t working unless we figure this stuff out. We gotta put our big boy pants on and deal with this.” I generally like working with writers, but I’ve also come to realize that I’m pretty good at writing myself, so that’s why I’ve started branching out. I wouldn’t not recommend [working with a writer.] “Never work with a writer,” that’s dumb!

HC: What’s your favorite type of collaboration? What dynamic do you prefer?

ZK: Last year when I worked on King Maul I worked with a guy who used to be an editor for Marvel and it was a great experience because he knew when to lay off and when to put the pressure on… Someone who knows what they want to do and is free to let me experiment a little and find my own voice in the mix [is what I prefer] because I find that if it starts off as collaboration and then ends up with me just getting told what to do then it’s like, “Well this kind of sucks. I don’t have control over how the story’s going to look. I’m not trying to change plot parts of it really, but I like to have some sort of input into where it’s going.” That’s really the best part of it. If you’re just going to be a gun for hire, then I don’t see the point. You need to have room to spread your wings. I’ve known a lot of guys who get in there and do big books for big companies and it just leaves them emotionally drained and they’re like, ‘I want time to do my own book but I can’t afford that,’ so they kind of paint themselves into a corner. But it’s changing, so that’s good.

HC: How do you feel like it’s changing?

ZK: I can kind of trace it to Image [Comics], really. All that Walking Dead money? They’re like, “Yeah, let’s put out some cool stuff and get some real big creators in to do it.”

HC: They do a lot of indie stuff.

ZK: [Laughing] But not like “sad-bastard-depressed indie.” To put it subtly. That kind of indie is good too, but… They’re like a television station that’s not like Syfy… You’ve got a variety of things.

HC: There’s an Image comic for everyone.

ZK: I’d say so.

HC: You say on your website that you sketch and ink by hand and color digitally. Why do you prefer that method?

ZK: I like to make a mess. No Wacom stylus is ever going to give me the same feeling that a brush does. Really with art, whatever tool works for you, good, you know? If you’re going to use Manga Studios to make your comics, cool. That’s awesome. It’s just not for me… I use a lead holder and that helps give me brush lines with my pencil. My pencils aren’t too tight anymore, either. The brushes do the heavy lifting. I would have to change my pencil style if I ever got an inker. I just love the feel of the brush. That’s honestly all it is. With coloring digitally, I’ve been using a lot of watercolor lately and ink wash and graphite. You can manipulate those in different ways to get different types of texture with your digital coloring as well… Digital also allows me a physical piece I can sell to someone afterwards and I do sell a pretty decent amount of work at conventions and online.

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HC: I love your “Disappearing Denver” piece. What struck you personally about Five Points that inspired you to draw that?

ZK: When I first moved there a couple of years ago it was still pretty grim and gritty, if I can relate it to comic book terminology. But the thing about that place is it had so much class. A lot of the buildings are just beautiful. It reminded me a living in the South.

HC: How so?

ZK: Just the architecture style and the fact that’s it’s not all white washed [but] now it’s becoming gentrified.

HC: I really hate a lot of modern architecture.

ZK: I do as well. I find it to be absolutely ugly, lego, Chipotle architecture with only mutual colors. I think a bigger part of it is people come in and they don’t respect the culture of the area. I chose that neighborhood because the rent wasn’t too expensive at the time and… I used to go to a lot of warehouse shows and Larimer Lounge shows. Monkey Mania was over there. That place was cool. I was so sick of being in Highlands Ranch or Littleton and the only person of color you’d see if mowing a lawn, you know? It’s like, “Dude this place f***ing sucks, man.”

Now…it’s just a breeding ground for violence with people coming out of the Rockies games drunk… My neighbor’s been there since 1942. His family has been in that house next door and some of the stories he has of the neighborhood changing over the last 60 years is just gonzo. So, you start to lose that sense of history and love and culture. That’s what brought it around for me. I just thought it was sad… And that’s the cool part about comics is that I can make a comic about that and have it speak as loud as anything else out there… Art should be a pipe bomb… A lot of people who complimented that strip said, “Wow, this is what’s going on. This is exactly what’s going on.”

HC: I read an article in Westword that mentioned your involvement with a comedy show called “Picture This.” Can you talk a little bit about that collaboration?

ZK: It was really cool. They’re a touring comedy troupe. They’ll do a set of standup comedians and have an artist pair up with each of them and they animate their set live. I did really quick sketches. I had the opportunity to work with Adam Cayton-Holland… I love standup. It’s awesome. I think comic book artists and comedians share some of the same— not saying great qualities but— we love this and it doesn’t pay a lot… but it’s what we’re going to do… A comedian has a totally different set of tools [than I do] and they have to be up in front of people doing it, which is…[ He shakes his head, his eyes wide with faux fear.] Nope, nope, nope…. Adam did like ten minutes of standup while I was drawing right behind him to kind of mimic that. We were rifting off each other. It was pretty cool. We have very similar senses of humor and tastes…

HC: Was that nerve-racking to be in front of people?

ZK: No, I was off in the corner. He would point out to me and he’d ask me [something] and I’d draw in response. It’s so cool because [Holland] has a TV show on True TV now… and he’s from here. It’s freaking awesome… That was a lot of fun. I can’t wait to do it again, actually. It was a little nerve-racking but at the same time it was pretty cool. I just worked at Rock Comic Con drawing live in front of crowds so that doesn’t bother me anymore. [It’s the] same thing with conventions. I’ll do commissions while talking to people. I have no problem drawing anywhere at any time anymore.

HC: Why do you think most of your audience is female?

ZK: I’m not afraid to talk to people without that judgmental tone, like “You haven’t read Superman #238 where he rides a robot?” Like, who cares?

HC: I feel like a lot of nerds try to play gatekeeper. Like, “shut up. There was a time when you didn’t know anything about this, that or the other thing.”

ZK: Right, and that’s the thing with gatekeepers… [There was] that kid who had [a] Doctor Strange thing who was saying, ‘Oh man! They’re making a Doctor Strange movie! Awesome!’ and the dealer kicked him out of his booth because he didn’t know anything. Like, what kind of a short sighted dipshit are you to say [that?] Instead, “Oh, you want to know more about him? I’ve got 40,000 books about Doctor Strange. Dip in on this, bro.” [He said something like,] “Ugh. Get out of my booth you unworthy maggot!”… If I was at that convention I would have gone and taken a dump in that guy’s booth. “F*** your elitism.” Right? I won’t deal with it.

Outre veil

HC: I’ve been told you have some exciting news. What’s next for you?

ZK: [He hesitates.]

HC: Are you not allowed to give away any big news yet?

ZK: I guess I can talk about my experiences with what I’m working on right now. I went to Emerald City Comic Con and Vertigo was giving out appointment times. They were like, “Hey, come pitch to us. We’re looking for new people,” basically. I got one by the end of the show and at the end of the show I went there and I pitched something that I’m working on right now called Outré Veil… and they liked it a lot so they gave me their card to follow up with them. For the last three months you can go through a workshop process with the pitch. Ends up Vertigo decided not to do Science Fiction. They were like, “We’re going to pass on this. However, we might want to use you as an artist here soon, and we’re open to more ideas from you.” So I’m working on another one with them right now. But I’ve got some buddies who want to do some books for me as well, too so I’m working on a pitch for another company right now and that one I definitely can’t talk about. That one’s pretty exciting. It’s going to be really cool.

I just want to get Outré Veil done and I’m working on a book about my uncle, too… I had never done comics [that are] autobiographical because I was like, “This is a bunch of sad sack of shit.” I respect it, but it’s not for me. And then I went through- it wasn’t a bad breakup but it was really tough because it kind of came out of nowhere. I was like, “This sucks.” So, I started going to Denver Drink and Draw and one of my buddies there was like, “Why don’t you make a comic out of this?” and it just came out of [that.] I love that group because we challenge each other. And it’s always an open environment. There’s no real shaming [or] judging… So I put out a short comic just trying to work out my feelings and it went over really well. If you think putting your artwork out there that’s about chimpanzees in space… it’s nothing compared to putting something out about someone you have a breakup with… It was a huge, huge thing to do. But when I put it out, I got a lot of, “Wow, this is awesome. What’s next?”

And then it just kind of hit me, “Man, I should make a book about [my uncle] Dan.” You’re just trying to suss out your feelings about things. Growing up, he had a lot of issues like ADHD and drug addiction, you know? And finally, as he was cleaning up his life- spoiler alert- he dies in a motorcycle accident. He died instantly, which was kind of nice. I always decided to do it in a sketchbook format. It’s tiny. I come here [to City ‘o City] and I work with Noah Van Sciver a lot. He’s been doing all his comics that size so I thought, ‘Why don’t I do them like that?’ It’s been really good.

HC: I feel like creative non-fiction affords a lot to both the author and the reader.

ZK: Yeah. I’ve been thinking of doing more personal ones not so much about death as well but dating right now is such a shit show with all the apps and being broken up with over text and stuff like that. Are you all just devolving? What’s going on? I’m trying to make it so it’s not whiney and awful.

HC: Honest but not “Woe is me!”

ZK: Right, because you read so many comics that are like that on the alternative press. It would be nice to have something that’s indicative of the times right now that someone can look at 50 or 40 years back and think “Alright. That’s how it was.” Separating the ego from the artist can be an uphill battle. It’s like reading a Hemingway novel. It can be like walking through mud, reading that guy’s prose. It’s just tough.

HC: A lot of literature romanticizes pain. A lot of authors don’t have a bullshit detector. That’s why I like stuff like The Fault in Our Stars or Juno. It talks about heavy stuff but it doesn’t romanticize it.

ZK: There’s nothing romantic about this. It just kind of sucks. How do you make this point of “this is hurting. This sucks,” but also to be optimistic? To be like, “Look, it’s not always like this,” and I’m having a lot of fun [drawing about pain] but holy shit, this can be draining. And that’s how comics are. This is tough, man.

You can find out more about Zak Kinsella and his work on his website, Facebook page, tumblr and DeviantArt page.

All art and photos belong to Zak Kinsella.

Diggin’ Through the Crates: RZA “We Pop”

Song: “We Pop”

Artist: RZA Ft. Division & Ol’ Dirty Bastard

AlbumBirth of a Prince (2003)

Lyric: “I cock arm, pass the bomb, like Troy Aikman/Play the basement like Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson.”

 

Character Reference/Meaning:

Welcome back DTCers! Hope you all had a fantastic 4th of July. Over at Hush headquarters, we celebrated the great Red, White, and Nerd! Let’s keep it going, shall we? This week’s DTC features a repeat rapper, the one, the only, the RZA. This track comes off of his 3rd solo studio album and brings with it not only a powerful message, but some supreme nerdiness as well. Like all rap artists, RZA strives for success (he already found it if y’all didn’t know), and in order to be successful you have to make it happen. If you are to become one of the greats and have little boys and girls listening to your hits when you are long past, you have to do one thing. Work. If you don’t put in the work, and have no dedication to your craft, then no one will respect it. That is exactly what RZA expressed in this so skillfully executed nerdy comic reference.

Since 1989, or even before, RZA has been dedicated to his craft. He has put in the work from day one and look at all it has gotten him: multiple albums, countless soundtrack features, tons of features on albums and has been named one of the top music producers according to Vibe, NME, and The Source. RZA has also showed us his acting and directing chops in various films. If you people out there don’t think RZA is neither a star nor a nerd, just Google “RZA” and “Afro Samurai” together, and let all your doubts fade way with your embarrassment for being so foolish. It’s easy to see that RZA is a nerd simply based on this lyric. He doesn’t say “Batman and Robin;” he uses their secret identities. If you know secret identities, then you may be a nerd – congratulations.

RZA understands the importance of having a solid work ethic. Regardless of what you do, if you don’t do it with conviction and dedication, someone who is putting in the work will pass you any day now. Regardless if you are writing the next big comic book, or starting to write your first rhyme, you should strive to be hall of fame quality. You need to be Troy Aikman in a sense, and put everything you have into that one pass. Give your heart and soul into your work, and the work will speak for itself. As you all know RZA goes hard in the paint and truly shows off his craft by using a skillful comic book reference. Most rappers starting out, or even today find their basement to be the base of operations. With eggshell cartons lining the wall, and pantyhose over the microphone, the basement becomes a true recording studio. For aspiring artists on the come up, that basement is the Batcave. In Gotham, if there was no Batcave, would there be a Batman and Robin? If the answer is yes, would they be as effective as they are? Every person, despite the craft, needs a place to make the greatness happen. Batman and Robin have the Batcave, Superman has the Fortress of Solitude, Iron Man has the Stark Tower, and RZA has the recording studio. Similar to the Batcave, the infamous basement recording studio is both out of sight, and underground… I see what you did there RZA, I see it. If you aren’t working hard when you are out of sight and out of mind, then dedication isn’t part of your skill set. Because if you do work hard, who knows, you could be the next RZA, you could be the next Bruce Wayne, you could be the next Dick Grayson. Work hard, do what you do, and make the basement proud!

Diggin’ Through the Crates: Talib Kweli “Distractions”

Song: “Distractions”

Artist: Talib Kweli

AlbumPrisoners of Conscious (2013) 

Lyric: “How you keeping up with my rapping?/ You barely keeping up with Kardashians/You caught up in distraction/It’s the living proof-you try to make the truth elastic as Mr. Fantastic.”

Character Reference/Meaning:

What? What was that DTCers? You ready for another dope ass lyric that drops truth bombs and creates nerdy fallout? We got that! Our main man on the mic this week, Talib Kweli, is bringing it to your front door. If you are looking for some socially conscious rap that not only brings a message but an incredible rhyme scheme with it, then you not need look any further. In this 2013 hit, Talib Kwali dropped this song as a commentary on the “Occupy Wall Street” movement. What he is saying in this song is, “Who the hell is paying attention?” There are social issues happening all around us and none of them are going to change by sitting around waiting for the next big gossip. Who is sleeping with who? Who badmouthed which other idiot today? That is why when people stand up and take charge of their own lives, it is viewed as something special. Talib Kweli once said, “Anytime people are willing to take their future into their own hands and attempt something, I think it’s brave.” DARN TOOTIN’ IT’S BRAVE!! But the problem is, so many of us are still distracted, and Kweli notices it all. We may be willing to protest on our street corner for something local, but it seems that no one takes action for causes like the events in Darfur, or are even aware of the Arab Spring movement (Google it).

In this song alone, he tackles such subjects and even points out the flawed history and thinking of this country. From the very beginning with the treatment of Native American’s, we still have missiles (like kill people missiles. Like BOOM missiles) that are named “Tomahawks.” And then we dress up our mascots and name our sports teams after their culture for entertainment. Who’s paying attention and who’s distracted? He even touches on what I perceive to be politics in our chosen lyric of today. Now before I go on and say some possibly hurtful stuff about the Kardashians, congratulations to Kim and Kanye on their wedding. I didn’t get my invite but I’ll let that slide for now. One of the biggest phenomena of the past couple years has been societies infatuation with the Kardashian family. Now I can’t say much about it because I have never seen an episode, but it has consumed many lives and many attention spans. What some may classify as empty media or nonsense television has gained a bigger interest and a larger following than political failings, religious wars, and natural disaster relief efforts. And all the while politicians are out there spitting game at us and very few people check the facts. That is why so many of them can say elastic truths and make them stretch to fit who ever they have their eyes on next.

I know, I sound like I’m preaching and saying, “Yeah I’m good, I know whats up. While everybody else wondering what Ryan Gosling is thinking about, I’m about to go save some third world children.” That’s not the case; I am part of the masses too, but I want to be brave, I want to pay attention, I don’t want to be distracted by shiny objects and blush worthy gossip. Talib Kweli just wants us all to open our minds and see past the bullshit. Even at times when we think we are paying attention, it was just a fake out and we once again are distracted by something that doesn’t matter. Kweli says this perfectly when talking about President Obama addressing his whole “flag pin” issue back in 2008 (Google it). But the president responded by saying, “I have never said that I don’t wear flag pins or refuse to wear flag pins…This is the kind of manufactured issues that our politics has become obsessed with and, once again, distracts us from what should be my job when I’m commander-in-chief…” OH SNAP!! That’s exactly the point. We can so easily get caught up in things that don’t matter. Things that one way or another truly have no effect over our lives or anybodies lives. And the things we should be paying attention to slip right by us because we are distracted.

Alright, that was all pretty heavy. Let’s calm down and pay attention to some nerdy stuff briefly before I end this. Nerdy stuff like the Fantastic Four! In case you all haven’t heard, the Fantastic Four franchise will be getting a reboot that has been defined as “grounded, real, gritty.” According to Kinberg, this film has the same feelings as Batman, Iron Man, X-Men, and more. It will not be goofy like the first films, rather this will be a true drama sprinkled with bit of humor that come from character. Also we will officially be having an African-American Human Torch! I can hear all the critics heads exploding now. However I am very excited by this news especially because Michael B. Jordan will FLAME ON!!! “STRING, WHERE’S WALLACE? WHERE’S WALLACE STRING?” (Google it). Well Wallace is in the Marvel Universe doing badass things with badass powers. And for all you haters, know that Stan Lee is on board with the idea, Kinberg also said, “We knew casting an African-American Human Torch would be news, but I can tell you it’s something that Stan Lee loves, and I can tell you that having been on set and seeing Michael bring him to life, he’s really spectacular.” I don’t know how the story will change due to this, but I love the idea and I cannot wait. If you want more information on Michael B. Jordan being the Human Torch, Google it. If you want more information on Talib Kweli visit his website at http://www.talibkweli.com. So in closing, pay attentions, don’t get distracted so often, and FLAME ON!!!

Diggin’ Through the Crates: Laws “Dark and Twisted”

Song: “Dark and Twisted”

Artist: Laws

Album: (Non Album Freestyle)

Lyric: “Can we get much higher? So high oh/Doomsday-Doomsday went and killed your Superman/Hoes in his red cape, Lois Lane, red face/Around my hometown, so many people know how meth taste.”

Character Reference/Meaning:

Coming to the “DTC” stage this week is up and coming rapper, Laws, sampling Kanye Wests hit, “Dark Fantasy.” And what Laws brings to us today is not only awesomely nerdy, but it hits a serious note as well. DRUGS! WHAT IS DRUGS? Drugs are not only a crippling epidemic in reality, but they have played their part in comics as well. That are a copious amount of fictional drugs that run rampant through the comic book world which bring with them similar problems as they would in reality. Even some of our most beloved heroes such as Iron Man, Tony Stark, have had personal battles with drugs and alcohol, which has been apparent in the movies and comics. Particularly the nine issue story arc of Iron Man titled “Demon in a Bottle.” Green Lantern has also made drug culture front and center in Green Lantern Vol. 2 Issue #85-86, better known as the “Snowbirds Don’t Fly” arc. This was a anti-drug campaign meant to show people the harsh realities of drugs. This was done by Green Lantern and Green Arrow fighting drug dealers and dealing with Roy Harper’s addiction to drugs. This is prevalent seeing that the cover to issue #85 where the green duo walk in on Roy shooting himself up with drugs.

Drugs are a main theme within this Laws song and he presents it so elegantly with this comic book lyric. I viewed this lyric as one big metaphor. Just take a moment and try to come along this imaginative journey with me where “Doomsday” is actually drugs. Doesn’t matter the drug; meth, heroin, alcohol, cocaine, any will do. As many comic book fans out there know, back in 1992, DC released a comic titled, “The Death of Superman.” That’s right, one of, if not the most powerful superhero known to mankind was killed. And he was killed by none other than Doomsday. They fought, scrapped, rumbled, and exchanged blows until Superman lay unconscious in Lois Lanes arms. So what I would guess Laws is trying convey is that even though drugs have the potential to make you feel invincible and high flying like Superman in their peek, ultimately, drugs don’t truly end with anything other than death. So at the time you feel you can outrun death, and stop bullets, when it all catches up to you, it could be you slumped over in the streets with your loved ones around you (Lois Lane) sobbing, mourning your decisions (red face). Also it is not uncommon that many children view the adults in their life as being their “Superman,” and in the end it could be those children left read faced with their Superman completely broken by “Doomsday.” Oh snap, this lyric is so metaphorical.

So now that we went on our little journey, we can safely return back to reality where Superman is Superman, and Doomsday is Doomsday. And if you want to see more of that action you do not have to wait. Superman: Doomed #1 is set to release May 14, 2014 where we will get to see this infamous match-up once again between Superman and Doomsday. With Doomsday sporting some new abilities, this title has been one of the most anticipated stories to come out of the New 52 lineup. So if you are looking for an awesome battle between two powerful forces, than this comic needs to be in your face immediately. Basically if you want action pact panels, with some hit and miss dialog then Superman: Doomed is here to meet your needs. I would say that if you think this is a good place to get into Superman, probably not. This comic seems to be aimed more toward die hard Superman fans, who want that next thrill. However, as a jumping off point, there are many other options that would be much much better. Regardless, it is a comic book and it should be read by all to enjoy. And remember kids, say no to Doomsday…or drugs…just to be safe, say no to both.

Comic Book Reviews 04-23-14

Review Scale:

The mythical A+: Classic comic book material. Belongs next to your copy of The Notebook and The Joy of Cooking.

A: Would definitely recommend to all comic book readers. Even more so to fans of the genre or characters

B: Enjoyable read. Fans of the genre or characters will especially like.

C: Non-essential read. Can be enjoyable for fans of the genre or characters, but likely for only one or two events in the books.

D: Unenjoyable book. Read at your own risk. Might find satisfaction if major flaws are overlooked.

F: Please don’t buy this book. Donate your money to a local comic book writer’s workshop instead to inspire future generations to write something better than this trash.

Pick of the Week:

Elektra #1 – A-

This is dope. The debut of Elektra is good for so many different reasons. Number one, it’s not all action; the dialog and monologs are amazing. Number two, the way the panels flow, and the artistic approach from Michael Del Mundo is very unique. It’s elegant yet edgy and it makes me feel all tingly in my eyeballs. With Elektra coming to fate with who she thinks she is and always be, that assassin mentality is going to come up a lot as the story progresses, and I am looking forward to it. – E

Take that Jennifer Garner! Elektra #1 surpasses all my expectations and engages me throughout the book. As far as the premise of the book goes, there’s a textbook mysterious introduction and a set-up for Elektra’s next contract. Unlike the movie, I feel like this is the right time for an Elektra book, and that she won’t need to ride on the coattails of Daredevil to do so. To me, this is every bit the depth and beauty that we were supposed to see from the Black Widow series, right down to the comparison of gorgeous artwork. Definitely pick this book up! – S

I think the artwork on the first pages where she is dancing as a ballerina that slowly shifts to her killing members of the hand is probably one of the best ways to sum up Elektra as a character. She is a pretty awesome character, but I am left wondering where marvel is going with some of the decisions they’ve made regarding who to give their own series. I’m not saying that she isn’t worthy of her own book but I don’t see how she has enough content to keep a consistently good story going for very long. I would love to be proven wrong and the idea of a ninja chick that has no remorse sounds pretty awesome in theory. I just hope this doesn’t turn out like the movie. – R

Other Reviews:

BOOM! Studios:

Evil Empire #2 – B

You know that knot you get in your stomach when you know something terrible is about to happen? Reading this book is giving me those, but in a good way. I have no idea who is behind the mass chaos going on right now – hell, I’m not sure I want to find out. I really like that the story is staying grounded. Focusing on a singer with a political agenda keeps it tied to the big players, but isn’t too wrapped up in the details that we don’t see what the everyday person is going through. I can’t wait for them to burn it the f*** down! This is an independent book you gotta give a try. – S

Dark Horse Comics:

Tomb Raider #3 – B

It looks like we are headed back to Yamatai to continue the adventure of the video game. I think it will be interesting to see how they decide to depict the island now that Lara is a seasoned adventurer. It should also be interesting to see how the island has changed if at all. I am expecting there to be some sort of hallucinations of people that died during the game or since we are dealing with the supernatural, I expect to see the dead come back to life…… and promptly be killed again. Either way it’s Lara Croft and being the sucker that I am for all things Tomb Raider, I will continue to eat up everything they put out regarding her. – R

Star Wars: Legacy #14 – B

Somebody over at Dark Horse must be reading my reviews because Star Wars: Legacy is finally starting to feel like a true-blue Star Wars story.  As opposed to the first ten or so issues, Bechko (author) is taking time to highlight character qualities.  The main conflict has also shifted to reflect this.  Instead of Ania dealing with a galaxy scale issue, she’s now focused on saving her own skin against some very interesting adversity.  Now that the story’s been tempered I’m excited to keep reading Legacy. – T

DC/Vertigo:

Flash #30 – A-

Flash has gotten kind of a raw deal as a second-tier hero in the New 52, but a new creative team in Van Jensen (w), Norm Rapmund (a) & Brett Booth (a) has given me something to cheer on, for once. If you haven’t read Forever Evil, you might be a little confused by the fallout, but it probably won’t keep you from enjoying this issue. While Barry Allen is psychiatrically evaluating for PTSD, we get a deep look into not just his psyche, but how the entire city is recovering from the devastation the Syndicate wrought upon it. Oh, and the reveal at the end that DC has been teasing for months makes me extremely excited for the series going forward (blue speedster!). – S

Batman: Eternal #3 – B+

Shit is about to go down. With Gordan out of the picture, Carmine Falcone is slowly putting what seems to be years of planning into action. This will all of course lead to all-out war for Batman which I’m sure will lead to a long and awesome plot. I wouldn’t mind if they took a character that has been given a spotlight for a reason and made said person the next Robin. It was bound to happen sooner or later. At least until Damian finds a way to return. Things are starting to heat up for Batman and I am looking forward to seeing where they take this plot line, it has a sort of throwback feel to the time when Batman was just starting out and being chased by the police. – R

Things are getting exciting in Gotham City. With war on the horizon, and more corruption than not, things are going to get crazy. There is so much to this story that still warrants questions. What really happened to Commissioner Gordon? What is going on with Cluemaster and his posse? How can Batman possibly do this all by himself? This comic is exciting, and I can’t wait for the next issues. They should be jam-packed with action and make Gotham City a city from hell. Whooo! – E

If Gotham City were a High School, Eternal serves as it’s reunion party. In just three issues, we’ve seen a crazy plot twist, met a ensemble of villains and still have no idea how we end up at the flash-forward scene at the start of the series. Stephanie Brown (pre-New 52 Batgirl, Robin, Spoiler) makes an appearance and gets way over her head when she comes home to her criminal father, the Cluemaster, discussing schemes with his team of no-gooders. It made me realize just how awkward it would be to come home and find my dad in a mask and cape discussing dastardly deeds. This has quickly shed the label of weekly money-grab series and is becoming one of the best issues out each week. – S

Secret Origins #1 – B-

This entire issue felt like a copy and paste job, it must have been a slow month over at DC. The only reason I rated this so high was because of how much I enjoyed the dual perspectives of Superman’s story. I really felt that it was absolutely amazing. The other two were blatant copy and pastes of multiple panels and the only reason I am so sure is because I recently caught up on those two books in the last month so it is fresh in my mind. I hope they don’t do this with all the issues but I get the feeling that it might come down to that. This would make a great collection or a great way to introduce someone to multiple characters at once. This could make a very cool collector’s edition if they do it right in the future. – R

Superman #30 – C+

Honestly, I’ve been estranged to all the Super-books for almost two years. Without a solid identity behind the character or story arcs to help me get behind (the exception being Superman/Wonder Woman and Superman: Unchained), I really wasn’t sold on his New 52 incarnation. Issue #30 was actually a great jumping on point for me; it gave plenty of background information and alluded to a new, terrifying danger. It won’t sell you or I any harder on the Man of Steel, but it doesn’t make me want to stop reading either. – S

Red Lanterns #30 – C

The Red Lantern Corps have been little more than a gang of misfits in the DC Universe. Since their leader, Atrocitus, was over-thrown earlier in the series, the group that is now headed by ex-Green Lantern Guy Gardner and Supergirl have been floating around with no real direction. Well, that changes this issue when Atrocitus and Dex-Starr (that cat is one bad MF) resurface on a nearby planet. With all the other great books out, I’m not sure I would invest time in this one, but anything with a killer cat Red Lantern on the cover is worth a little investigation. – S

Justice League: United #0 – C-

Eh, I really didn’t find anything special about this comic at all. With the Justice League of Canada set out to solve the mystery of a disappearance, I would think this comic would make me more excited, but it simply didn’t. I can’t really say much about it besides that it has the potential to get better. Now that Hawkman and other characters have entered the mix hopefully this giant mystery will actually become interesting. – E

Allow DC to officially introduce you to the C team. The New 52 introduction to Adam Strange was really lame. Aliens are attacking, or something, and while Animal Man and Stargirl (seriously? She’s still around?) are signing autographs, a mysterious device transports them and Strange to an alien attack, or something. Overall, this prequel issue did nothing to make me want to keep reading anything right of the number line. Of course, there is the fact that Jeff Lemire is writing it, and patience always rewards Lemire readings, so I will give it another shot. – S

IDW Comics:

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #33 – B

A new issue for the turtles and a brand new story arc! Mateus Santolouco takes the reigns of art again and although I absolutely love the way he draws humans and the environment, his Turtles always seem a little bit off to me when compared to other artists in this series. This issue continues after the events of Northampton with the turtles finally back in New York and training up for the inevitable battle with the foot. This issue doesn’t focus on the turtles much though as we see Casey trying to feel welcome back into the city knowing his dad, Hun is still out being the usual jerk he is. Hun goes to confront Angel and try and find Casey and ends up starting a useless brawl at a bar and finding Angel only to have Casey show up and stop the fight. After the conversation between Casey and his dad, Casey decides to help his friends and Hun leaves crumpling up a picture of him and Casey starting off this new arc by showing that any hope that Hun would become a good dad is gone and the Foot are stronger with him and the turtles are stronger with Casey. – JR

Welcome to New York City! The turtles have regrouped after their retreat in Northampton, but their fight is far from over. Mateus Santolouco returns, as does the gritty New York cityscape. The city is overtaken by the Foot and the Heroes in a Half-shell regain their footing to prepare for the long road ahead of them. There isn’t a whole lot of umph, and I think that is partly because the new appeal of Northampton has worn off as we return to New York, a fairly familiar concept. This would be a great time to start reading Turtles if you haven’t already, but don’t expect it to knock your socks off immediately. – S

Danger Girl: Mayday #1 – B

I have to admit I was a little shocked when I saw this on the list for reading this week. I read Danger Girl as a kid and really liked the video game for the PSone. All I can really remember is that they were kind of Charlie’s Angels wannabes  or something. So many years later and all I can remember was they were animated chicks with big boobs and cleavage, what more was there really to remember as a teenage boy? This issue didn’t do a very good job of explaining anything and it didn’t actually introduce all of the main characters. That being said, the artwork is amazing and follows the original pretty well and If they authors do it right, this could shape up to be a pretty awesome book. – R

Whoa, this comic seems to be running a million miles a minute. I can honestly say there wasn’t a dull point in this comic. With badass pirates or weapons dealers, or whatever they are, and a war island that seems to be on fire, boring won’t be part of the tour. This comic intrigues me. There seems to be so much going on, all surrounding this one girl, who the world seems to fear. But who is she? Why was she in the water? I don’t know, but I do know one thing. If you want a non-stop action-packed book, this is for you. – E

7th Sword #1 – C

Here’s a little bit of information about me.  I live and breathe all things sci-fi.  Also, if I chose any era of history to have lived in it would be Feudal Era Japan so that I could learn the ways of Bushido.  Imagine my excitement when 7th Sword introduced a merging of my two greatest interests.  Imagine my disappointment when issue #1 delivers flat, cliché and boring content.  Maybe my bar was set to high (I’ll blame George Lucas for that one), but for a concept rarely explored in the entertainment realm I found 7th Sword to be completely unoriginal from the get go.  There was action, plot staging, character focus and all the other essentials… but nothing stood out.  Nothing really grabbed me.  I’ve learned it’s hard to judge a series by its first issue, so I’m not writing this series off just yet.  – T

Image Comics:

The Walking Dead #126 – C-

The twenty pages to issue 126, the conclusion to the twelve part series All Out War, will either completely bum you out or excite you about future issues. The war is over. Negan has been defeated, Dwight is now leader of The Saviors, and Rick has plans to rebuild society. In a Joe Clark-like speech he pronounces that, “We can remake the world we remember-we can make it better.” His optimism is reassuring, although I’m not sure if that’s why I read a comic titled, The Walking Dead. Spoiler Alert! I think the decision to leave Negan alive benefits the Kingdom as a whole, but leaves Carl and Maggie in limbo as Glen’s brutal murder will go unpunished. Negan as a prisoner will still be a threat, but he may yet serve a purpose to Rick Grimes. Whew, can we have our Zombies back now? – JS

WAR!! HUH!! What is it good for?!?! Absolutely NOTHING!…  That’s pretty much the feeling I have at the conclusion of The Walking Dead: All Out War arch.  Reflecting back on the genesis of Rick & team’s conquest against Negan I struggle in finding how the story has grown.  There were exciting moments, loved ones were lost and lessons were learned.  But ignoring all the events in-between Negan’s intro and issue #126, I can’t say anything pivotal occurred (excluding the death of you know who… sniff, sniff).  From the way I see things, TWD has peaked and is riding a steady plateau downhill.  Short of significant framework changes, I think this series will work its way to the bottom of comic fan’s reading pile.  All that said, I’m still interested to see what’s over the horizon.  The Walking Dead is my most read comic series – from issue #1 to today.  I have a soft spot in my heart for it.  My collection is sure to continue growing for a while. – T

Meh. I was waiting for the plunge, but The Walking Dead stays in the kiddie side of the pool, pissing itself over and over each issue. Playing it safe isn’t really what The Walking Dead is made out of, but I can try to see where the book is going with the move to end All Out War. I’m not angry by the lack of climax, but I suppose I’m just used to the disappointment. – S

Marvel:

Dexter Down Under  #3 – B+

Finally we get a little action outta this story. Things start to heat up for Dexter and its leading to a sort of hunter being the hunted scenario. This is an interesting situation to put Dexter in considering that he is in a foreign country and a foreign environment. I think it will be interesting to see how he is able to get outta this situation and still slab somebody up. Otherwise there isn’t much in the way of plot development, just a bit of filler leading to the major finale that is bound to happen. – R

Daredevil #2 – B

Oh yeah, I knew it wouldn’t take long for Matt Murdock to get his hands dirty again. After revealing his identity to the world and relocating to San Francisco, things are already off to a busy start. I’m really loving the writing; each arch feels like it progresses at its own pace, always fitting whatever length the story needs it to be (as opposed to wrapping the story up to fit the six-issue norm). Daredevil’s newest foe has the same handicap as he, but there’s a twist.  – S

Overall, a decent comic this week for Daredevil. I do like the introduction to the Shroud and how interesting his story already is. Being similar to Matt Murdock in several different ways, he could prove to be a true competitor for him. I’m really interested in learning more about the Shroud and his involvement with the city. It should make for some exciting stuff. – E

Original Sin #0 – B-

I like this comic for the sake that it focuses on two characters we don’t see a lot of, Nova and The Watcher. This comic is a great place to start if you are looking to pick up a new comic. The backstories are provided on both Nova and The Watcher and it is intriguing to see how it has shaped their future. I liked this comic and hope to see more out of it. I don’t know how the series will play out in the long run, but I do have hopes that it can become something great. – E

He/It speaks! Mark Waid (DaredevilIndestructible Hulk) uses one of Marvel’s most innocent superheroes, Nova, to bring a prelude to the next big thing, Original Sin. Nova’s charisma carries the issue and got me legitimately interested in the upcoming event. The Watcher, although very stoic, is well-intentioned, and the reasoning behind him watching over the Marvel U (all of them) seems genuine and not some galactic B.S. like they usually come up with. New readers shouldn’t be intimidated; there is plenty of background and there’s a fair chance it won’t make sense to anybody else, but it will be fun. – S

The prequel to the next big Marvel event is here in Original Sin #0! Not much is set up here in the grand scale of things that you can see other than The Watcher playing a big role in the happenings of the series. This issues shows us Nova and how he has dealt with his dad’s disappearance as well as how fascinated he is with the Watcher. We learn a little bit more of exactly why The Watcher does what he does and never involves himself in the actions of all the things that have happened in the Marvel Universe. After The Watcher shows Nova every possible Marvel Universe and why he watches each one constantly he reveals Nova’s dad is still alive and he fly’s off in excitement. All of this hints that the event that makes The Watcher watch everything is what is or will cause the original sin this series is titled after. – JR

This seems like it has the potential to tell an interesting story but it is definitely too early to tell. The prospect of an African-American Captain America and The Thing as Doctor Doom definitely has the potential to be pretty awesome. I just hope that they don’t go too crazy with the whole alternate universe thing. I’m not really sure where this story is going but if it has Nova in it then I definitely want to keep reading. – R

Guardians of the Galaxy #14 – B

Okay Guardians fans! Even though this issue seemed a little slow, a ton actually happened. Gamora faces her unknown assailant, and this bounty-hunter does not disappoint. His motivation has been sketchy until this point, but he has a reputation to uphold, and the Badoon want their revenge! Dun dun duuun. Star-lord has been taken into custody by his father and they have a Wonder Years parental moment on his prison bed. Peter is declared an enemy of the empire but there is help on the way! But my absolute favorite part of this issue came with Flash Thompson, as Venom, and Drax on an alien world. When entering a bar, Flash is refused service because of his “parasite.” The bartender says,  “I know what that is, I know where it came from.” Drax also hints to knowledge of the symboite’s origin. This information made me go nuts! As a McFarlane fan, anything concerning Venom folk-lore is a prized possession. Let’s hope this new twist is explored. – JS

Venom joins the Guardians in this latest adventure. Similar to the Trial of Jean Grey in All-New X-Men, somebody has paid handsomely to capture each of the Guardians and bring them to justice. Coincidentally, this is also the 100th issue ever printed of Guardians of the Galaxy, so there are two additional stories in the back of the book – one of them a Groot origin story (chock-full of dialog). The Guardians will be glad they picked up Venom and Captain Marvel, because I feel this will be a ridiculously awesome team-up. Unfortunately, the issue just felt a little thrown together and might not resonate with non-fans. – S

Superior Spider-Man Team Up #12 – C

Peter Parker is back in control of his body, and will return to Amazing Spider-Man #1 next week, after a 31 issue run of Otto Octavius at the helm. This final issue of Superior is an ode to Doc Ock and sacrifice to remove himself from the equation as Spider-Man to save the woman he loves. Comic book deaths never last forever, but this was a pretty classy way for Otto to bow out. As far as goodbyes, they lay the emotion on a little thick for an evil genius sociopath that screwed up pretty much every aspect of Peter’s life, but if you can take it at face value, it’s not so bad. – S

Iron Patriot #2 – C

Two issues in and we have somehow managed to already destroy the Iron Patriot armor? What the Hell? And I haven’t followed War Machine throughout the years so if the enemy at the very end of the book is supposed to be familiar in some way, I would have appreciated a name drop or something. I know it’s supposed to be the style, but something about the artwork feels sloppy to me. I’m guessing that being a government agent means he has more than one suit but this could be a cool opportunity to take the old War Machine armor and retool it to become the Iron Patriot. – R

The United States is under siege, the Washington monument is a smoldering heap, there is civil unrest from Dallas to New Orleans and James Rhodes is in danger. Drowning in his armor beneath the ocean’s surface he must find a way to save the country and rescue his kidnapped father and niece. Side note; I enjoy how Lili is written; let’s hope she matures in this title and gets her own book someday. The real threat is revealed to James in the last panel, hopefully the PLOT will be revealed next issue. – JS

ONI Press:

The Bunker #3 – B

This is one of the most exciting independent books on the shelves. A group of friends uncover the secret to their futures, and the part they play in the end of the world. That was just the first issue. Since then, we’ve been chipping away at each character’s past and how they intend to shape the future. What makes this even better is that everybody distrusts one another, and keeps secrets from each other to benefit themselves and/or the world from their friends. Bunker keeps me on my toes consistently, and while it won’t top your all-time list, I implore everybody to read it. – S

 

That about wraps it up for our reviews this week! Look for next week’s previews coming soon. Any comic books you didn’t see reviewed that you want reviewed? Any grades you didn’t agree on? Let us know in the comments!

All images taken from ComiXology app and the credit for them goes to the respective publishers; thanks to IDW Comics, image Comics, Dark Horse, Boom! Studios, Dynamite Entertainment, DC and Marvel for putting out great books.

Written by Sherif ElkhatibEvan LoweAdrian PuryearTaylor Lowe, Robert Michael, John Soweto and Jacob Robinson

Graphic Novel Review – Captain Marvel Volume 1: In Pursuit of Flight

Graphic Novel Review – Captain Marvel Volume One: In Pursuit of Flight

younerdlikeagirl

Collecting: Captain Marvel #1-6

Original Release Date: 2012

Publisher: Marvel Comics

Character: Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel

Writer: Kelly Sue Deconnick

Art: Dexter Soy, Emma Rios

SCORECARD (each category ranked on a 10-point scale):

Storyline – 9
Art – 9
Captivity and Length – 7
Identity – 10
Use of Medium – 8
Depth – 9
Fluidity – 9
Intrigue/Originality – 9
The Little Things – 8
Overall awesomeness – 9

hush_rating_87

When Adrian told me she wanted to celebrate Women’s History Month the same way we did Black History Month (see #AllBlackEverything) with “You Nerd Like A Girl,” the first graphic novel I wanted to review was the new Captain Marvel book. Written by Kelly Sue Deconnick, Captain Marvel has received acclaim for being not just a great female book, but a great book, period. Not to be confused with the new Ms. Marvel comic book (see our review for #1 here), a superb book in its own right – Captain Marvel follows Carol Danvers, who had been the original Ms. Marvel since 1977 until the first issue.

MsMarvel

Okay, I can see where this can be misleading. Let’s start by introducing the newly donned Captain Marvel to most of our readers. Carol Danvers first took flight in 1968 as an Air Force pilot, and her love for flight and exploration is one of the main focuses throughout In Pursuit of Flight. She meets a Kree (advanced technological race – don’t worry about it, really) named Captain Marvel. While dealing with Kree tech, there is an explosion, which somehow melds Kree DNA to Danvers, making her one tough cookie. There is more to her backstory, including her apparent death that results in Rogue gaining the ability to fly, but that’s neither here nor there.

Captain Marvel is a modern take on her origin story with a twist. The explosion that gave Danvers her powers also consequently killed the original Captain Marvel, or Mar-Vell; how snooty of him, “It’s not Marvel, its Mar-Vell.” No spoilers here, as Mar-Vell comes back from, and returns to, the dead as a sacrifice in order to try to stop the Phoenix Force in Avengers vs. X-Men, but that is a story for another day. In memory of Mar-Vell, Danvers has cut her hair and adorned herself with his uniform, and eventually his name.

cap outrank

Right off the bat, you could tell that Captain Marvel was going to be all about “girl power,” and I mean that in a good way. We open up with an exciting brawl between The Absorbing Man against Danvers and Captain America. While the Absorbing Man throws all he can at the duo, they are barely breaking a sweat. Not only is Danvers running circles around Absorbing Man, but she is coming up with the wittiest lines, and commanding Captain America around the fight. It immediately sets the tone that she is not only Rogers’ equal, but in some ways superior. It doesn’t feel preachy at all, either, as Captain Marvel backs up her words by beating Absorbing Man silly.

thwhshsh

This is just the tip of the iceberg, however. A majority of the story has absolutely nothing to do with Captain America, The Avengers, or even the current time. Marvel Comics has really been able to hit the nail on the head when it comes to humanizing their characters, cosmic super-powers be damned. After all, most Marvel characters were just normal people at one point, so why should their feelings and everyday life be ignored? By relating readers to a heroic “normal” person, it draws me in that much more to the super-strength and . Exploring Danvers’ past, before she was an accomplished pilot or superhero, Danvers’ hero growing up was Helen Cobb. Helen was cocky, with the skills to back up her claims. A “gift” from Helen somehow sends Danvers back in time – to WWII.

no offense

When Danvers wakes up in the middle of a battlefield. In the 1940s. Before we can wonder how or why, our hero is thrust into war. Who will save this damsel in distress? The answer lies in the Banshee Squad, a bad-ass group of Fly Girls. Based off women (and men) who volunteered as pilots in WWII, the Banshee Squad is every bit as brave and valorous as the men that media portrays. In fact, there is a ton of correlation between the Fly Girls and the Tuskegee Airmen; both were second-class citizen patriots who would put their lives on the line for their country. I don’t think it’s fair to say that Deconnick had an agenda, but she definitely did her homework.

banshees

Story-wise, a lot of the time travel and reasoning had me lost, as I just wanted more Carol, and more Helen. After reading the book the whole way through, I see why the story was arranged the way it was and reveals came at the points that they did, but I felt confused by the complex plot while I was reading and it detracted by the awe of what was happening. Aesthetically, Captain Marvel is pleasing. The art feels suave and appropriate, reminding me a bit of the new Street Fighter art style – very raw and engaging. Although, there is a point near the end of the book where we switch artists that it becomes an unfair distraction to the superb writing. I’m never a fan of switching creative teams in the middle of a story arc, and this didn’t make me change my stance on it at all.

This isn’t a book for women, and this isn’t a book for men. There are no boobs, and no sappy love stories. This is the story of a bad mamma jamma named Carol Danvers and her search for her own identity. She’s funny, determined and relatable. In a time where gender-swapping popular characters, the move to a female Captain Marvel proves valuable, not just for diversity’s sake, but because her character demands your attention.

All media credited to Marvel Comics

Written by Sherif Elkhatib