After immense success with putting Hip-Hop duo Run the Jewels on the cover of a few of their books, Marvel has expanded the idea to give each and every single book in their All-New All-Different line-up its own Hip-Hop variant. We’ve tracked down each cover, provided information about the album inspiring the variant cover, and given our two cents on whether it fits the subject. We’ll be doing this each month for as long as the All-New All-Different brand keeps putting out variants!
Amazing Spider-Man #1 Marvel Creative Team: Dan Slott (Writer), Giuseppe Camuncoli (Artist) Cover Artist: Mike Del Mundo Hip-Hop Album: A Tribe Called Quest’s Midnight Marauders (1993) Best Tracks off the Album: “Award Tour,” “Electric Relaxation,” “Oh My God” How well does it fit?: The cover to Midnight Marauders is legendary for the faces in its background, compiled of some of the most famous artists in the biz at the time. Amazing Spider-Man also seems to love this concept, and includes a bunch of famous Spider-faces new and old – even those who will not make appearances in the book.
Contest of Champions #1 Marvel Creative Team: Al Ewing (Writer), Paco Medina (Artist) Cover Artist: Denys Cowan/Bill Sienkiewicz Hip-Hop Album: GZA’s Liquid Swords (1995) Best Tracks off the Album: “Liquid Swords,” “Shadowboxin‘” How well does it fit?: This book is going to be full of the leftovers of everything enjoyable from Battleworld and smush it back together with pretty drawings and fight scenes in a shallow attempt to recapture the magic… hey! Just like this GZA album. MAJOR shout-out to Milestone Media co-founder Denys Cowan for working on this variant cover. Don’t know the name? Look it up!
Doctor Strange #1 Marvel Creative Team: Jason Aaron (Writer), Chris Bachalo (Artist) Cover Artist: Juan Doe Hip-Hop Album: Dr. Dre’s The Chronic (1992) Best Tracks off the Album: “Nuthin’ But A G Thang,” “Let Me Ride,” “F*ck With Dre Day (And Everybody’s Celebratin’)” How well does it fit?: Well, there’s the obvious name similarity. Like Doctor Dre, the good Doctor Stephen Strange seems to be all powerful and everybody respects him… but he doesn’t really seem to do anything specifically worth praising.
Invincible Iron-Man #1 Marvel Creative Team: Brian Michael Bendis (Writer), David Marquez (Artist) Cover Artist: Brian Stelfreeze Hip-Hop Album: 50 Cent’s Get Rich or Die Tryin’ (2003) Best Tracks off the Album: “In Da Club,” “21 Questions,” “If I Can’t,” “Life’s on the Line” How well does it fit?: The biggest difference between Tony Stark and Curtis Jackson isn’t a genius intellect or tendency to play superhero, it’s that 50 Cent is BROKE AS F*CK.
Extraordinary X-Men #1 Marvel Creative Team: Jeff Lemire (Writer), Humberto Ramos (Artist) Cover Artist: Sanford Greene Hip-Hop Album: De La Soul’s 3 Feet High and Rising (1989) Best Tracks off the Album: “Me, Myself and I,” “Buddy,” “Say No Go,” “Eye Know” How well does it fit?: De La Soul were on the front lines of the wacky, relatable, and socially responsible rhymes. With Lemire writing this new X-Men series, it’s about damn time the X-series got back to its roots.
Update: The release of Extraordinary X-Men #1 has been moved to November 4th.
Guardians of the Galaxy #1 Marvel Creative Team: Brian Michael Bendis (Writer), Valerio Schiti (Artist) Cover Artist: Shawn Crystal Hip-Hop Album: Pharcyde’s Bizarre Ride II the Pharcyde (1992) Best Tracks off the Album: “Passin’ Me By,” “Ya Mama,” “Officer” How well does it fit?: The Pharcyde have always been regarded as the “weirdos,” choosing a more melodic tone over gangster tales (which was huge for the early 90’s in LA). Likewise, the most recent Guardians seemed to overcome all odds to become a household name.
New Avengers #1 Marvel Creative Team: Al Ewing (Writer), Gerardo Sandoval (Artist) Cover Artist: Ed Piskor Hip-Hop Album: Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five’s The Message (1982) Best Tracks off the Album: “The Message,” “The Adventures of Grandmaster Flash on the Wheels of Steel” How well does it fit?: “The Message” is one of the most humble songs in the history of Hip-Hop, taking aim at social injustice and poverty in the black community. New Avengers? It has Kid Hulk… Yes, this book is going to have to depend on great dialog and humor. Not looking forward to this book.
Sam Wilson: Captain America #1 Marvel Creative Team: Nick Spencer (Writer), Daniel Acuna (Artist) Cover Artist: Mahmud Asrar Hip-Hop Album: A$AP Rocky’s Long.Live.A$AP (2013) Best Tracks off the Album: “Wild for the Night,” “F*ckin’ Problems,” “Golie” How well does it fit?: A$AP Rocky might be a wonderful artist, who knows? I’m not going to take the time to find out, and sadly, I feel the same way about Sam Wilson being the new Captain America. That being said, it’s a beautiful adaptation of the original cover.
Spider-Gwen #1 Marvel Creative Team: Jason Latour (Writer), Robbi Rodriguez (Artist) Cover Artist: Humberto Ramos Hip-Hop Album: Slick Rick’s The Great Adventures of Slick Rick (1988) Best Tracks off the Album: “Children’s Story,” “Hey Young World,” “Mona Lisa,” “Teenage Love” How well does it fit?: Slick Rick was the piece that fit the Hip-Hop scene so well that you almost overlooked the fact that he was a British pirate. Gwen Stacy, similarly, is a product of her multiverse – a damsel in distress that’s supposed to be dead, but instead is one of the hottest new superheroes in the Marvel U.
Uncanny Avengers #1 Marvel Creative Team: Gerry Duggan (Writer), Ryan Stegman (Artist) Cover Artist: Jason Pearson Hip-Hop Album: Public Enemy’s Yo! Bum Rush the Stage (1987) Best Tracks off the Album: “Public Enemy No. 1,” “Miuzi Weighs A Ton,” “You’re Gonna Get Yours,” “Sophisticated B*itch” How well does it fit?: Well, there’s Miles Morales, Ms. Marvel, Thor, Sam Wilson, and Iron Man… So I’m calling it now – Nova is going to be this book’s Flavor Flav. This is by far one of the most diverse teams in Marvel’s line-up, so if they have anything resembling the real talk that Mistachuck can spit, it’ll be a well-deserved homage.
Spider-Man 2099 #1 Marvel Creative Team: Peter David (Writer), William Silney (Artist) Cover Artist: Afu Chan Hip-Hop Album: G.O.O.D. Music’s Cruel Summer (2012) Best Tracks off the Album: “Mercy.1,” “New God Flow.1,” “Don’t Like.1,” “Clique” How well does it fit?: G.O.O.D. Music created enough momentum just using Kanye West’s name to get attention, but not enough to really make an impact. That’s pretty much exactly what’s been going on with Miguel O’Hara. Hopefully this new team can take him back into the realm of relevance.
Angela: Queen of Hel #1 Marvel Creative Team: Marguerite Bennett (Writer), Stephanie Hans (Artist) Cover Artist: Annie Wu Hip-Hop Album: Nicki Minaj’s Pink Friday (2010) Best Tracks off the Album: “Roman’s Revenge,” “SuperB ass,” “Moment 4 Life,” “Blazin” How well does it fit?: It’s a pretty bold statement to let Angela’s dopplegänger to be Nicki Minaj. They must really be desperate to sell some books for the Asgardian. However, Angela is just as insane and deadly as Nicki is with her lyrics.
Karnak #1 Marvel Creative Team: Warren Ellis (Writer), Gerardo Zaffino (Artist) Cover Artist: Kaare Andrews Hip-Hop Album: Schoolly D’s Saturday Night (1986) Best Tracks off the Album: “Saturday Night,” “We Get Ill” How well does it fit?: Karnak and Schoolly D have one district trait in common. I do not plan on picking anything up with their name on it anytime soon.
The Astonishing Ant-Man #1 Marvel Creative Team: Nick Spencer (Writer), Ramon Rosanas (Artist) Cover Artist: Mark Brooks Hip-Hop Album: The Notorious B.I.G.’s Ready to Die (199?) Best Tracks off the Album: “Juicy,” “Big Poppa,” “Suicidal Thoughts,” “Gimme the Loot,” “Machine Gun Funk,” “Warning,” “Who Shot Ya” How well does it fit?: The irony is overwhelming here. Really though, how does Scott Lang sit side by side with the legendary Notorious B.I.G.? Well, like Biggie, pretty much anything with the new Ant-Man on the cover is worth adding to your collection. Ready to Die was also Big’s first album and the platform he used to rocket to stardom.
Uncanny Inhumans #1 Marvel Creative Team: Charles Soule (Writer), Steve McNiven (Artist) Cover Artist: Damion Scott Hip-Hop Album: Outkast’s Aquemini (199?) Best Tracks off the Album: “Rosa Park,” “SpottieOttieDopalicious” How well does it fit?: Outkast is like other Atlanta Hip-Hop acts, except it’s not. They’re weird. They’re fascinating. They’re BETTER. Same goes for the super-race of Inhumans from Attilan(ta).
The Howling Commandos #1 Marvel Creative Team: Frank Barbiere (Writer), Brent Schoonover (Artist) Cover Artist: Wilfred Santiago Hip-Hop Album: Gravediggaz’s 6 Feet Deep ’06 (199?) Best Tracks off the Album: “Diary of a Madman,” “1-800-Suicide” How well does it fit?: What a better way to show that your book is full of crazy monsters than with a Gravediggaz album cover? One of the most manic groups in rap is a perfect fit for The Howling Commandos. That’s assuming the book isn’t a corny mess of horribleness.
The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #1 Marvel Creative Team: Ryan North (Writer), Erica Henderson (Artist) Cover Artist: Phil Noto Hip-Hop Album: Tyler the Creator’s Wolf (199?) Best Tracks off the Album: “Domo23,” “Tamale,” “Jamba” How well does it fit?: As childish as Tyler can be, he’s also pretty damn smart and resourceful. And with his group (former group?) standing behind him, Tyler is brazen enough to say and do some of the silliest things in all of Hip-Hop. Doreen is no different. With her misfit college friends and Tippy the Talking Squirrel, she kicks butt and takes names at the same time!
That about does it for Marvel’s new books and the Hip-Hop variants that come with them. Check back next month for a whole new set of entries.
You’ve met the A-Force, now Marvel is pulling out all the stops to introduce it’s “next big thing.” The line-up for Marvel’s All-New, All Different brand is going to be a mish-mash of some of your old favorites, and new characters you may have never seen before, so let’s dive in, shall we?
Here are a list of the characters, and which books you can find them in (that we know of). Clockwise, we have:
Agent Phil Coulson (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.): These people have to report to somebody. He’s the guy with a gun surrounded by people with super powers.
Spider-Gwen (Spider-Gwen): Gwen Stacy and her readers hit the jackpot when it was announced she would be a regular in the Marvel U.
Spider-Man (Amazing Spider-Man): Yep, Peter Parker is still around, doing Spider-stuff. No surprise here.
Iron Man (Superior Iron Man): Tony is on his way to becoming a total d-bag. Sorry, let me clarify – a totally unlikeable d-bag. The new suit suggests that he does not hold on to his symbiote-Extremis armor much longer.
Ultimate Spider-Man, Miles Morales (Miles Morales: Ultimate Spider-Man): The end of the Ultimate universe means that Miles will have a new home alongside the 616 Peter Parker and a slew of familiar Spideys.
Red Wolf (time travel back to 1972 for his 9-issue solo series): Not to use the “T” word, but I’m hoping this resurrected character isn’t a token move, just to sell books under the guise of diversity.
Ms. Marvel, Kamala Khan (Ms. Marvel): Ain’t no party like a Ms. Marvel party cuz a Ms. Marvel party don’t stop.
Thor, Jane Foster (Thor): After the recent reveal that the new Thor is Jane Foster, and that she is dying, what the heck will become of her going forward in the MU?
Ant-Man, Scott Lang (Ant-Man): He’s not your father’s Ant-Man, that’s for sure. Scott Lang is twice as hilarious, and hasn’t created a killer robot – so he’s already winning that debate, in my books.
Steve Rogers (Civil War): After passing on the mantle of Captain America, Steve Rogers is just an old man who knows how to do nothing but fight (I see you, Solid Snake!). Could he perhaps take over Nick Fury’s duties?
Black Panther, T’Challa (New Avengers, Avengers): Even if it’s just to hype him up for his solo film, give this man something to do, Marvel! This is the guy who just recently went to war with Namor. T’Challa is a fan favorite in need of some resurrection, and Marvel doesn’t have to do much work to make that happen; he’s not Aquaman, for crying out loud.
Spider-Woman, Jessica Drew (Spider-Woman): Another Spider-person carving a space of their own in the MU. She’s smart, sassy, and hopefully has a bigger role to play as an Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. going forward.
UPDATE: A second team was announced today.
Same thing, clockwise from the top left, here is the second team and where you can find them in comic books:
Doctor Spectrum (New Avengers): After being murdered by Black Bolt, she is making a comeback here.
Rocket Raccoon (Groot): It wouldn’t be the MU without him at this point.
Hyperion (Avengers): A new Hyperion joined the team with the Marvel NOW! reboot, one without the image of being a bootlegged Superman. I’m interested to see where he fits in the MU, but this new costume looks better than the previous ones.
Iron Man: Is him being the centerpiece of both images a sign of something? It seems unlikely that Marvel would do that incidentally; could this be indicative of a two-Tony dynamic like the one from Ultimate End. Who doesn’t want more Iron Man?
Daredevil (Daredevil): Oh. Em. Gee… Is that the Shadowlands version of Daredevil? I hope it’s not something lame, like just to emulate the homemade suit on the Netflix series. I would much like to see Matt Murdock back in control of the Hand.
Doctor Strange (Secret Wars): He’s currently serving as Doom’s bitch-boy in the Secret Wars series, but that doesn’t mean he’ll stay like that. He’s still one of the most powerful beings in the universe, and seems to be carrying an Asgardian axe – one used specifically for kicking ass, and then taking names.
Old Man Logan (Old Man Logan): Has Logan outgrown the X-Men? This very surly version of an already-very surly character is going to be an odd, but intriguing, fit in an MU with so many mutants and heroes in it. I’m thinking it will be like reading Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt with superheroes… if the role of Kimmy was played by Hugh Jackman.
X-23 (All-New X-Men): Doesn’t really matter your take on the situation, but X-23 looks BAD ASS as the new Wolverine. Kudos to Marvel for bringing back the original colorway. Total fangasm for her taking over the mantle.
Medusa (A-Force, Inhuman, Inhumans: Attilan Rising): This cutie with the long red hair is part of the A-Force, an all-new, all-female team of badass women, but more recognizable as part of the royal family of Attilan.
Human Torch, Johnny Storm (Uncanny Inhumans): Johnny has had a ridiculous journey the past couple years. He died. He was resurrected. His spot on the team was taken by Spider-Man. He lost his powers. In short, it sucked to be Johnny Storm. That is, until some Terrigen Mist helped Johnny find his powers, and a new team.
Karnak (New Avengers): Here’s a guy who doesn’t look like he belongs… You may remember this guy as the one who jumped out of a window and killed himself before the Terrigen Mist spread and created so many Inhumans.
The Thing : Whether he’s feeling self-conscious about his rock-hard abs or just trying out a new fashion style, Ben Grimm is back and rocking a Guardians of the Galaxy suit – one that matches Rocket, who is perched on his shoulders.
Citizen V: This guy (whomever it is taking up the mantle) is so flamboyantly patriotic, he’s like the Elton John of America. Even Steve Rogers is like, “dude, tone it down.” The concept of Citizen V (vee) has been around since World War II, and whose death led to the creation of super soldier Steve Rogers. His new iteration looks like the lovechild of Batman, Captain America and Spawn.
The mythical A+: Classic comic book material. Belongs next to your copy of The Notebookand 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:
Batman #36- A
(A) There needs to be a limit on how much of The Joker Scott Snyder is allowed to write. I cannot remember a version of The Man Who Laughs that terrified me as much as Snyder’s version does (aside from Brian Azzarello’s Joker, yeesh). Endgame is already shaping up to be able to stand next to Court of Owls, Zero Year and Death of the Family in terms of quality. The best way I can describe his writing is like a spider; he reels you in, thinking that you have it all figured out, until the story pulls the carpet from under you until you realize that you are trapped. Snyder’s horror background (The Wake, Wytches and American Vampire) makes him a perfect fit for the most terrifying villain in Batman’s history. This is all perfectly complemented by Greg Capullo’s pencil work. Having had the chance to interview Capullo, we know what a craftsman he is; his eery art style that worked so well on Spawn and Court of Owls fits perfectly with the Joker. The use of colors is dire to the issue’s success, as well, with FCO Plascencia really blending the brightly colored Superman scenes with the dreary Arkham moments. We cannot praise this book, this team enough. Right now is your chance to get in on history in the making, so go out and start reading Batman before the party is over. – Sherif
(A) The New52 Batmanis absolute genius. Yeah, it has been going for a few years now, but I feel the need to remind everyone, just in case they forgot. Endgame Part 2 continued to showcase the exceptional writing of Scott Snyder and mesmerizing art by Greg Capullo. The first panels of the issue start slowly with Batman talking about a specific sound he hears in his nightmares. It forces you to read everything about the page and to experience what Batman himself is experiencing. This is a rarity in comic book writing, in my opinion, and should be lauded. In this world without the rest of the Justice League, Gotham and beyond become scarier and scarier, but there was one panel in particular that terrified me to my core: a close up of The Joker’s deranged eyes. No one but Capullo could have pulled it off. If you are behind, or have yet to start in on this story arc, quit reading my review, and go pick it up at your local comic shop now! – Adrian
Deep State #1- C-
A government conspiracy between Russia and America when the moon landing really happened – the first thing that jumps out is the opening narration that is void of any comic cliche comic book writing: just describing the action in the panel, and then saying, “My name’s John Johnson, and I am Fly Guy.” It’s really nice and sets up the expectation that what you’re about to read is going to be creatively written, but then all the dialogue reads like this: “For instance, the question you want to know right now is how I could possibly expect you to believe a word I’m saying.” It’s the kind of writing that’s trying really hard to be intriguing, but points too vigorously to itself. The art is OK; it’s like someone simultaneously trying to do Hellboy and anime, which aren’t complimentary. Man, I want to love every comic I read so bad, and this one was right in my wheelhouse (government conspiracies, alien life, ancient astronaut, probably), but the dialogue was so clunky that it made 25 pages seem like infinity. Page 24 is definitely the most interesting to look at. – Cuyler
Dark Horse Comics:
Resurrectionists #1- B+
Resurrectionists was a fragmented story and there was a lot of content that was covered really quickly, but it’s done right. There are well formed characters to start, with some very interesting dynamics between them. The first part leaves you a little intrigued, but you have to hope that comes back around in a way that does it justice. Overall, though, I liked it a lot. It has a bit of everything: intelligence, action, intrigue, and what it does best is the interpersonal dynamics between the characters. I think some of my favorite books and comics always built that as their foundation, so it has me wanting more. I’ll definitely have to grab the next issue. – Zach
Prometheus: Fire and Stone #3 – C
This is my first review for the series though I’ve read every issue of it so far. The artwork is beautiful. Last issue had some truly beautiful panoramas of the planet. The biggest problem is the overstuffed staff. There are somewhere in the neighborhood of ten characters, and the story gives each one near-equal screen time, which means I have no idea who to root for. I assume the main character and captain simply because she’s a take-charge woman, and those are the only people to make it out alive in the Aliens/Prometheus universe, but it tries to be tense and mysterious, and hints at some fascinating ideas – monkeys, ants, and giraffe-ish looking animals that all developed as a result of the black goo from the movie, and an android that mutates as a result of exposure to the goo – but never gives anything real screen time. The best Aliens comics have always had some sort of philosophical answer to look for, and the worst were simple run-n-gun stories. I might be the only person on the planet who liked Prometheus, but this is a simple run-n-gun story with way too much trying to be accomplished at any given moment. – Cuyler
The Kitchen #1 – B–
(B) The Kitchen follows three women whose mobster husbands have been sent to prison. So basically, it’s Mob Wives, but instead of you feeling bad about watching trashy reality all day instead of organizing your garage, you can now read the same storyline in a comic in 15 minutes! And honestly, it was better than reality TV. Set in the 70’s, the story feels a little like Charlie’s Angels, with the blonde, brunette and redhead. But ya’know if they were in the Mob and didn’t give a single fuck. The three women must make do with their lives sans husbands, and by the end of the first issue, they have already gotten themselves into a mess. But oddly, I find myself rooting for them. – Adrian
(B-) I’m usually a big fan of crime books, but The Kitchen just doesn’t quite do it for me. I’m not saying it’s bad, just not really my cup of tea. The story of The Kitchen follows the lives of three mob wives learning how to live after their husbands are put away for five years. The three women handle it their mob lifestyle in different ways. Kathy, the toughest of the three does her best to pick up where he husband left off, even to the point of picking up protection money. The other two are a little more toned-down characters. The art isn’t bad but the lines around the faces of the women are a little too dark and age the characters I think more than they need to be. Perhaps that’s to better convey the hardened lifestyle they live.The Kitchen is good enough to keep up on it for now, but I hope that it picks up a little more. – Scott
Earth 2: World’s End #6 – C
Well, things are all over the place again, and like before, it’s not bad, it’s just a lot of information to cram into a couple dozen pages. The cliffhanger from the last issue is disappointing and I was definitely hoping that it was going to go in a different direction, but, who knows; things will probably still head to that end, anyway. – Cody
The New 52 – Future’s End #28 – F
I… Don’t… Care…Those three words perfectly sums up how I felt about this entire issue of Future’s End.Here’s the thing – the plot is so confusing and mutilated that when an issue drops and it focuses solely on this butchered storyline, all it makes me want to do eat a hamster.I know that doesn’t make any sense!!!That’s the point!!!!This issue COULD have been saved IF the faceoff between Terry McGinnis and Bruce Wayne would have been as epic as the cover art indicated, but noooo.All I got was a grappling hook to the foot and a broken window.Wasted time and effort on this one folks.Be warned. – Taylor
Django/Zorro #1 – C
This comic was probably my most highly anticipated release for this week.Django Unchained was my favorite movie of 2012.As a kid, I used to pretend I was Don Diego himself – swinging rapier like sticks in the backyard, carving “Z”s into the tree trunks.In fewer words: I was PUMPED!!Well, with great expectations comes the risk feeling great disappointment.Risk not adverted.Before I go further let me disclaim, I did enjoy this issue and I’m looking forward to the follow up issues very much.What irked me about this first issue was that it was far too much buildup.I know who Django is and how deadly he is with a pistol, andI’m acutely familiar with Zorro’s unmatched fighting ability and cunning; you don’t have to spend 70% of the issue building up to what we already know!!I guess the important thing is that these two badass vigilantes are finally together and are planning to stir it up big-time in Arizona.Not quite the BANG-SLASH intro I was hoping for, but an intro nonetheless. – Taylor
Alice Cooper #3 – C
The story for this series is dark and brooding, as expected, and offers the brand and style Alice Cooper has grown to be known and loved for. That is where the parallels end between the music career and the comic of Alice Cooper. As great as it is to see him in the limelight again, I wish it were in another capacity as these comics definitely leave something to be desired. The art is actually quite fantastic, but the story just seems rushed with not much focus and it is kind of just gliding by the seats of its pants. Not to say as a fan of Alice that I don’t enjoy it every month but only get this book if you are a big fan of Alice Cooper and his mythology; otherwise, this series offers nothing too incredible to entice you into caring. – Jacob
Star Trek #38 – B
Reeling after the surprise death of the last issue, we see the crew still separated, multiple threats appearing, alliances disappearing, Q being the scheming bastard he always is, and new allies and friendships forming. I have thoroughly enjoyed this crossover of every Star Trek property, but this issue it left me wanting a bit more as I felt they really grounded themselves with certain characters and wasted or not even used very good characters from the entire franchise. Instead, they choose to focus on characters that may seem minor to those that only really know TOS and TNG. I would still say that this series is a Star Trek fan’s dream no matter what series and Captain you follow; now, if only we could see Captain Janeway appear, this may have been a grade A issue. – Jacob
Black Dynamite #4 – C+
If you are looking for any sort of cohesive story, keep on keepin’ on; this is not the book for you. Black Dynamite books have been completely random, with no real direction. However, it is good for a laugh. In this issue, Dynamite takes on the shoe industry after a famous basketball player is murdered when attempting an alley-oop from half-court completed by Evel Knievel while jumping over three Ford Pintos – pretty standard stuff here. Either you love Black Dynamite, or you think he’s one of the most ridiculous things on paper. I will say that the writers have found a good medium to keep the book at without going overboard… just in time for this to be the final issue. If you like Black Dynamite, you might enjoy the animated series, which returned to adult swim on Saturday, 10/18. – Sherif
October Faction #2 – C-
(C) The first issue of October Faction started off strong (or maybe I told myself it did because of how much I adore Steve Niles) but sadly issue #2 did not take that momentum and run with it. In all honestly it fell a little flat. The most recent installment focused entirely on building the story, the only problem is that it was still a little too vague at times and not so compelling at others. Overall, it just moved a little slow. They introduced a few new beasts, a werewolf and what I can only assume is a killer robot, which I like because it at least hints that down the road we may get to witness some epic battles and meet some cool characters. The members of the hunting family were building to be interesting but I don’t feel like they are developed enough by this point that they are likable or not, they merely exist. I wish I could say more, I really do, because I am so rooting for this series to take off and be amazing, but for now it really is just kind of fell dead in its tracks. – Keriann
(D+) October Faction’s initial release had me intrigued. It’s first issue had style, timing, and all the hall markers of a good story building into something more. The second issue took all of that build up only to bring you right back down to earth, and not in that nice gentle way that generally comes to mind. Think sky diver without a parachute type of coming to earth. Like a bad second date, I finished reading October Faction’s second issue feeling as if I was staring at a beer in a restaurant, wondering why I even bothered. That’s a harsh review, I know, but this issue is almost all fluff. Filler and family drama that could have just as easily been squeezed from a bad sitcom or a teenage family lifetime movie. It has it’s twists and a new character that could lead to something very interesting down the line, but when it comes to this issue it’s too little too late. So let’s hope this is just a lull proceeding the storm because when it comes to issue #2, October Faction left me wanting in all the worst ways. – Zach
The Bigger Bang – D+
I went into this one intrigued by the idea of a second Big Bang. If you read the Origin Story on inside cover (which I didn’t at first), it explains the idea of a second Big Bang or Bigger Big Bang that destroyed the universe we live in and in the wreckage was left this new multiverse in which the comic takes place. This had so much potential. It’s too bad it was executed so poorly. The two biggest problems I have with this comic is the melodramatic tone and the dialogue. Honestly, it reads like the half-formed idea of a sad teenage boy. I’m TIRED of the atonement-seeking hero and while I understand that *SPOILER* the hero’s whole thing is survivor’s guilt, it doesn’t come across as such. The character has no reason to save the people he does. There’s nothing driving him forward, or at least nothing that is revealed to the reader. The dialogue tells us everything flat out. I know the cliche “show don’t tell” is getting old, but apparently the author of this comic has never heard of it. I didn’t need to be told flat out that Captain Wayne (who is arguably the only redeemable character in the comic) doesn’t understand why she’s being ordered to kill the hero. She doesn’t need to say that. I get it that she’s torn and if I didn’t, there would have been a better way to go about making that clear than saying “but he seems so kind!” The only reason I would recommend this to someone is if they were a studio artist, because the art is actually quite good, even though it seems a bit out of place set in space. – Charlotte
The Walking Dead #134 – B+
(A-) There’s finally some conflict and traction in The Walking Dead. After about a half-dozen issues of catching back up with current times, we have quite a situation on our hands. Carl and Sophia are finally the tag team we always knew they would be, and we get a better glimpse of who the heck these guys attacking travelers are. I love the concept of these meat sack guys (that’s what I’m calling them for now), and I cannot wait to see more of their background story. The best part of this issue, hands down, has to be the multiple pages of Adlard’s work that show Jesus going off on the meat sacks. Even though a team of people have had encounters with the meat sacks, I think only a couple of them know what they actually are – and bringing one back to camp is a good way to find out. – Sherif
(B) This series continues to be the best it’s ever been. Whatever these things are, it’s messed up. This issue has a couple big moments but the one that stands out to me the most happens between Carl and Sophia. This issue did a lot in terms of setting up a new B story and finally getting some hope that were going to find out what these things are that are attacking everyone. Seems pretty obvious, but, you never really know with this series. – Cody
Wytches #2 – B
Wytches lost some momentum this week, but overall it still held pretty strong as one of the best horror books out right now. Issue #2 was a little convoluted and it definitely lacked the cold brutality that made the first issue pop so much, but it was still a solid read with a good flow. There was more of a focus this time around on the Rooks family members and how they are each dealing, but there was still a healthy helping of super creepy and what the hell is that moments – especially at the end after Sailor hijacks a school bus and runs out to the woods to escape confront her demons. There was good sprinkling of exciting things are to come, so even though this month’s Wytches may have been a little tame, it was still the best book I read all week and I’m certainly looking forward to the next issue. – Keriann
Drifter #1 – C+
(A-) Drifter is a sci-fi with a little bit of post-apocalyptic flavor. A so far nameless man crash lands on a planet that doesn’t quite have a working society. He wakes up in a Mad Max style outpost town after his crash, and after being shot by the way. So far the characters are nameless, there is the crash landed pilot, a medic, and the man who shot him. One thing I did notice that I didn’t really care for was that some of the conversations don’t seem to make sense. More than once I felt like there were questions being answered before they were asked. What Drifter really has going for it is the art. Nic Klein does an outstanding job. The colors are particularly outstanding. Drifter is definitely one to pick up this week. I’m sure it will worth the read every issue. – Scott
(D) To be honest, I’m not sure what to make of this book. It started off kind of choppy and had a very Pitch Black feel to it, but the lead character has less charisma overall than Riddick has in his pinky finger. To be fair, he actually has less charisma than that girl who dressed as boy to be cool that nobody liked. But I’m getting carried away in the wrong direction; it’s just that remembering watching Pitch Black is more interesting to me than this book was. The dialogue is way too fragmented; no one speaks in complete sentences and that’s annoying to read over and over. The characters just use have thought out metaphors and what I think is supposed to be gritty just sounds like bad writing with no real flow to it. So far the plot does not seem well thought out, or at least it comes of that way. Drifter seems to really miss its own point, at least so far. The characters were without depth and they all spoke like Steven Segal, or the villains from his movies. The plot is too choppy and tries to be mysterious without revealing anything to actually give it a hook so why should I care? Short answer: I don’t. Long answer: See above. – Keriann
American Legends #2 – C
American Legends returns with its second issue and this time around I think it might actually be growing on me. I’ve come to accept that this story is basically going to be The Dukes of Hazzard featuring a handful of historic characters and now it’s easier for me to sit back and enjoy the ride. The book isn’t great; the writing is full of camp and, frankly, it’s not that clever or funny, but it is at least kind of enjoyable if you can just take it for what it is. Issue #2 progresses the story a bit more; although, it is still unclear of exactly what point they might be building to. It also introduces a few new historical characters into the mix. Unfortunately, Sacagawea is kind of lackluster considering she should be awesome and there is so much they could have done with her along the lines of historical embellishment intermingled with fantasy. At least the explanation of how the feud between the Hatfield’s and McCoy’s started is kind of funny. Other than that gem, Sally Thunder’s insanely giant boobs that pop out of her shirt in basically every panel and a few nearly unbearable “Duke Boys” moments between Crockett and Fink, American Legends #2 really didn’t have a whole lot to offer. – Keriann
Copperhead #3 – C
(C) The mostly dull sci-fi-western, Copperhead, continued this week.Being largely unimpressed and barely intrigued after the first two issues, I expected more of the same.In that regard – I was not let down.The story is progressing much too slowly to really keep me interested; this is one of the poorer uses of the comic book medium I’ve seen lately.A few dozen pages isn’t much to work with; it’s important to hit readers hard and fast to keep us interested!By this point I’m expecting twists, gadgets or anything new and different.The thing saving this review from a “D” grade is the twist (if you can call it that) revolving around Ishmael, the artificial-human dessert nomad, and his involvement with the mass murder of an alien-hillbilly family.While floating among pages of lackluster content, I was immediately sucked in at the last two pages of the issue.I hope issue #4 keeps me drawn in – I don’t know if I can take much more of this boring space adventure (if you can call it that either). – Taylor
(C) This series continues to be good, if not a little one dimensional. Things are panning out just as you’d expect in any cop drama and it’s unfortunate. I’d really like to see some cosmic cowboy justice but it just isn’t happening yet. The one thing that keeps me coming back is the art and how unique everything seems. – Cody
Spider-Verse #1 – A
Spider-Man is quickly becoming my favorite superhero.Mostly because there are an infinite number of him (and her, and ham).Even though Spider-Verse #1 did nothing to advance the plot-at-large that is the “Spider-Verse Event,” it did a great job of showcasing the many different ways one can enjoy Spidey.Comprised of three mini-stories and two even more-mini stories (all with different writers and authors) I found myself really enjoying the wide birth of Spider-Man experiences brought to life on the panel.My particular favorite was Steampunk Lady Spider!I don’t even understand Steampunk, but I really dig Lady Reilly and her gizmo-geared-spider-contraption suit!!At its core, this issue is just flat out fun.It’s refreshing to be able to take a step back from the epic epic about to take place and just enjoy a comic for the sake of it.The comic book community is having a lot of fun with this Spider-Verse event.You should definitely join in if you haven’t already. – Taylor
Avengers & X-Men: Axis #5 – A-
This week’s issue pretty much opened up the entire plot for what seems to be the rest of the series. Without spoiling too much, we see many people changing sides, unlikely team-ups, and Apocalypse is here – which is never a sign that thing will go well. So things are not looking so good here after the events of Red Onslaught as he is now free and hiding out somewhere for the time being while all the heroes kind of duke it between one another hoping something will be resolved. The art has been very consistent and enjoyable for this whole series and offers up some great iconic images along the way and the story is definitely the best of the major Marvel events so far this year. – Jacob
Superior Iron Man #1 – B+
I have to admit, I have not been an avid Iron Man reader, ever. In fact, aside from Extremis, this is the first Iron Man-titled book I have ever read. I quite enjoyed this. The Tony Stark we get here is very much a product of his bout with alcoholism, as well as his fatally narcissistic personality from the movies. This time, Stark has created the Extremis 3.0 app, which lets people experience perfection. However, the app was released as a free trial – and the cost to re-up is $100 a day. Superior will try to shed light on people’s addiction to physical flawlessness and technological enhancement – something I don’t doubt will be reflected back onto Stark himself, who insists on playing God to other humans. There is a ton of sarcastic humor in this, which is what makes Iron Man such an enjoyable character. There’s trouble to be had in San Francisco, and I certainly aim to be around when it happens. – Sherif
All-New Captain America #1 – B
Sam Wilson has finally put on the suit, and he looks damn good in it. While the former Falcon attempts a routine mission to save a kid hostage, he’s met by Batroc the Leaper. While the issue itself doesn’t really break any boundaries or set any new standards, it is really fun to read, and the cute comments about Sam getting acclimated to the shield give the issue a whimsical tone. I also loved Batroc’s attacks on American culture and addressing the adversity that Wilson will have to overcome to be respected by Cap’s enemies. It would have been nice to get a little more development out of the issue, but it was a strong start. – Sherif
Miles Morales: Ultimate Spider-Man #7 – B-
What the whaaa…!?!?!? I’m not sure what just happened… But I think it was awesome! I feel a little guilty about it, but I like this issue in spite of itself. There’s plenty of action, zero story, and a little bit of extra something(s) thrown in at the end for good measure. The art is as crisp as I’ve come to expect from this series, yet the action (not to mention the current storyline) is still a bit confusing to follow at times. Maybe this ties into Spider-Verse. Maybe we’re getting the Ultimate version of another mainstream character. Maybe this is all a dream… I don’t know, and I don’t think you will either. I’m thoroughly confused, but I’m still unabashedly along for the ride. – Jumoke
Thor #2 – C
(C+) This issue really didn’t do a whole lot for me and was kind of just filler it seems. I know they are not going to reveal everything right off the bat, but when you are dealing with a very short weekly story to try and entice fans I kind of hope that there is a little character progression past, the thoughts of ”I have the power of Thor now! Cool! I’ll just beat up this guy and this guy and oh, no I am not really Thor. I’m just a woman with his hammer who doesn’t know how to use it yet.” For someone who seems to have spent a lot of time around Thor and his friends and knows an awful lot about them, she should probably know a little more about Mjolnir than she seemed to have. Either way, it is just the intro to the whole grand scheme and intro are always difficult even for the best stories. Despite the little things that bugged me personally, the story and art are both wonderful and offer us something we never thought would happen. So I am sure this will improve in time and it is good to see more badass women in comics, albeit the Thor armor sure got a lot more revealing when a woman picked up the hammer… – Jacob
(C) While this issue of Thor was better than it’s 1st issue, it still feels off. We were finally able to see the female Thor in action, but the writers are making it very clear that she isn’t actually Thor. Then why title the book as such? Just to create controversy? I don’t think that is necessarily the best idea. This issue put female-Thor (they have yet to give her a name) on Earth to battle Ice Giants who have frozen the Avengers. While the idea is neat, it seems premature. We have yet to even know the lady’s name and she is forced to save the biggest names in Marvel. While some of the dialogue was clever, it was extremely exposition heavy. I think if Thor has been a favorite of yours, this book is up your alley, but if not, it may have already failed. – Adrian
Hawkeye vs. Deadpool #2 – B-
(B) Kate Bishop! Kate Bishop! Kate Bishop! This month’s Hawkeye vs Deadpool was a really enjoyable read. What I love about this comic is how relatable, funny, and well executed the characters are. Both Clint and Kate are awkward as all hell and it makes the comic all the greater. All the characters read not as high-class, 100% serious, “Get-out-of-my-way-I’ve-got-shit-to-do” heroes, but as real people who just happened to save the world frequently. While the comic has its serious parts and there’s a definite urgency to get the precious files on S.H.I.E.L.D. agents into the rightful hands, it is also largely funny. I was constantly laughing at the bickering interactions between Clint and Deadpool and the hilarious one-liners and general quirkiness of Kate. I also love how similar Clint and Kate are and the friendship between them is really enjoyable to read. One thing that I really appreciate in this story arc as a whole, is that they address the fact that Clint is deaf. They joke around with it (without being offensive) in scenes where Clint can’t read Deadpool’s lips because of his mask, which Deadpool comedically takes advantage of when he’s asking Clint for permission to do something but really doesn’t want an answer. This comic is definitely a must read for both Hawkeye and Deadpool fans alike – and if you’re a Kate Bishop fan, you’ll be happy with how present she is in this issue. I’m super-excited for what is to come in this story arc. – Charlotte
(C) From what started off as great chemistry between Hawkeye and Deadpool has turned into a slop of an adventure with no real direction or desire to find an endpoint in two more installments. There are still a lot of cute lines and subtle jokes made throughout the book, but it lacks any of the pop that sold me on the last couple issues. The inclusion of Kate Bishop is pretty helpful, as the banter between her an Deadpool is flat-out adorable, but the issue begins to drag on when all they do is talk about how Kate is better than Hawk guy. Even the twist at the end loses its impact when there is such a lack of cohesion throughout the rest of the book. – Sherif
Captain Marvel #9 – D
The only shred of anything that saved this week’s issue was the vague cliffhanger. Otherwise, I am so disappointed in how this series is shaping out. This week, Lila Cheney, mutant rockstar who can teleport, lands on Captain Marvel’s ship and takes Captain Marvel and Tic to a planet that only speaks in rhyme. Yeah, the whole book rhymes. The point of going to the planet is to stop Lila’s marriage to a boy she made a pact with as a kid. It seems really early to introduce a character like Lila, how has added little to no value to the Marvel Universe in the 30 years she’s been around. It could have waited until issue, I don’t know, never. It’s almost as if someone at Marvel was like, “Hey it’s cool that you wanted to write a story about Captain Marvel and have her be a bad ass woman and all, but this month, you must insert Lila Cheney, the story line must be inconsequential, and it must all rhyme!” Bleh. – Adrian
Death of Wolverine: The Logan Legacy #4 – D
I keep getting my hopes up that the next character covered in this series will have a better story to offer than the last, but yet again that is not the case here. Although, I am trying to read the entire Death of Wolverine series and spin offs, I am finding out that very few of the issues of this event whether the main story line or one of the one-shots offer anything substantial. This particular issue left me rather confused and made me question not only why I read it, but also why it was written in the first place. It does offer a good look into Lady Deathstrike, but by the end I was not sure of her intentions or her true feeling for Wolverine. I would say unless you are already invested in the series, or just a huge Wolverine fan, then this entire series will be a been a let down for what should have been quite a great look into how Wolverine’s closest connections handle his death. – Jacob
Panel with the Most Awesomeness:
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, Oni Press, Dynamite Entertainment, DC and Marvel for putting out great books.
Comicpalooza takes place in Houston, TX. This year, Hush Comics was given the honor of going as press, our first time for doing so. Read all of the accounts of what happened on our site!
In what seemed like a covert operation straight from the pages of Marvel, myself and Hush contributor Taylor Lowe were whisked out of the line we were standing in to see the legendary Stan Lee. A woman approached us in the line and grabbed our press badges, examined them closely, asked who we were with, and quietly said, “Come with me.” What else were we to do? Along the way, we were told to look for others like us. As we briskly walked past fans waiting in line, we were hoping to find other recruits who looked like us, or rather had the same badge we did. We were excited, but also a bit worried we had stepped out of line for nothing. As it turns out, we were led to the front row adjacent to the main stage, after passing security with a gruff “We’re press.” As we took our seats, our very own Nick Fury introduced herself as Rosario. Rosario Pena is the media relations director for Comicpalooza, and was able to set us up with a lot of cool opportunities over the weekend. So this whole story was really a way to say “Thanks Rosario, from Hush Comics!”
Stan Lee truly is “The Man.” He is 91 years old and still going strong. He is very good at not skipping a beat when asked questions many people ask. He is also a bit of a comedian. Lee started off by saying Houston, Texas has the greatest people in the world for bringing him here, but obviously everyone wants him.
Before his question and answer session, moderated by Fox 26’s Dave Morales, began, Lee joked, “Ask easy questions!… No, ask me whatever the hell you wanna ask me! It’s been a long trip; a man gets tired.” When asked about his origin story, he went into great detail. No, he did not expect his characters to become what they are today and have been for decades. Why did he get into comics? “I just wanted to keep my job and pay the rent.” He told the audience about hearing about a job at a Magazine Management. He ended up in the comic magazine department as the assistant of the other two employees, Jack Kirby and Joe Simon, legends in themselves. Lee’s job was to fill ink pots and edit. Over time he was given stories. Then suddenly Kirby and Simon were fired, leaving Stan the only person on his department at 17 years old. The magazine owner said, according to Stan, “Hey, kid. Can you run things until I hire a grown up?” Stan continued that as time passed the manager forgot about him, so he became the writer, the editor, the art director, the everything. He wasn’t necessarily proud of his work, though. In that time, “nobody had respect” for his genre and he was ashamed to tell people that he worked on them. He wanted a real job in the magazine. When asked what he did for a living, “I’d say, ‘I’m a writer’ and walk away. They would ask ‘Of?’ ‘Magazines’ and walk away. ‘What magazines?’ ‘Comics.’ And then HE would walk away.” Of course, he isn’t ashamed now and got over his humiliation once he started going to conventions and seeing the variety of fans who loved his work. Awww!
Stan spoke about being a child and what inspired him. Since comics weren’t exactly mainstream when he was a child, it was interesting to hear what did inspire him. He talked about reading a lot. He enjoyed Mark Twain, Arthur Conan Doyle, Edgar Rice Burroughs and Edgar Allan Poe. He also told the audience he can recite “The Raven”, the infamous Poe poem, by heart. If anyone has a video of Stan Lee reciting that poem, send it our way ASAP. Lee said that his goal in life, like all writers, was to write the great American novel. “I never got around to that.” I have to disagree. Lee has written canon for the most read characters and staples of American pop culture of all time. Stan also talked about his time in the military during the war. His job was to write training manuals that the troops could easily read. He also made training videos because their were so many troops, they couldn’t be trained fast enough. He also confirmed that it was during this time he got to work with Dr. Seuss and Frank Capra. He said he was the only one doing work because they were too busy talking about how great they were. Oh, Stan.
Lee touched several times on his acting dreams. He said many times that we may see his roles in the current Marvel movies as “cameos”, but he sees them as supporting roles. He joked that he is an enormous acting talent now. He also said that if he had to pick a career other than comics, he would be an actor. He idolized Errol Flynn. When asked what he would have done as an actor, he quipped, “I would have won an Oscar.” He also teased his next “supporting role” in Guardians of the Galaxy, cracking that his role has nothing to do with the movie and he thinks the director was drugged wen he decided to put Lee in that role.
Stan talked briefly about his beloved superheros, too. He talked about three in particular. Of course, one of them was Iron Man. He talked about how popular he is of late and credited Robert Downey Jr. with much of it. He spoke of the origins of Iron Man as a character. Lee took the chance of making him during the time of Woodstock. It was a challenge to make a man who was about money and weapons–everything hippie kids were against, and make them like him. The only thing about Iron Man he didn’t like was how his armor was drawn, but that was because nobody could take that much time on it. He, however, does like how it looks in the movies. Lee also admitted that if he were to cosplay, he would dress up as Iron Man, but mostly so he was protected. Otherwise, he would be Dr. Strange.
Another character on deck was Captain America. While Lee did not create the ‘Cap, he did bring him back. First, he changed the shape of his shield from a triangle to a circle. That was all Lee. Then he gave him a problem, something Stan is fond of doing to his characters. “I wanted to make him distinctive in some way, so I thought if he was brought back from having been frozen in the ice years ago, and 20 or 30 years of history had gone by that he was unaware of, and when I started writing him, it was when there were hippies and people hated the military, industrial complex, and all of that. And he didn’t understand that sort of thing because he grew up in a time when everybody was just patriotic and nobody rebelled or protested. So, I tried to make him seem like he was an anachronism; he felt he didn’t belong in the age he was living in.”
While Stan talked briefly about many of his heroes, he expounded upon Spider-Man, not only the character, but the inception of the book idea itself. He admitted that Spider-Man is his favorite creation. It was also the one he wrote where he could maybe say “I am Stan the Man,” as asked by an audience member. He then told an amazing origin story for how Spider-Man came into existence which you can hear here. He also said the hardest character to write was Green Goblin. It took a lot to “dream him up” but once he did, the writing was easy. Oh, and another tidbit? Stan Lee didn’t know Mary Jane, or MJ, was a nickname for pot. But because of the coincidence, everyone thought he was “so cool.”
Other amazing things that happened during Stan the Man’s panel included a fan saying “You’re my hero,” and Stan responding, “I would expect that.” His best advice for aspiring creators is that there are no tips. The only way to create it to “dream it up.” He also talked about how hard it is to name a character. He talked about wanting to name a character “The Destroyer.” When he looked up if that character existed, he got mad and wanted to know who did. Turned out, it was him, but he had forgotten. A little girl asked “Who is your favorite girl character?” Stan said She-Hulk, no doubt because of the recent controversy surrounding her. He also said he really liked Mary Jane. Stan is surprised any superhero is still around, but now is confident they will be around forever, crediting the movies for that. When asked about bad guys and their perpetual baldness, he was surprised. He wondered aloud why the good guys are always good looking and the bad guys are sinister. He said they should make the villain Brad Pitt and the good guy Boris Karloff. He then rejected Brad Pitt and put himself as the handsome one. Finally, would Stan change anything. “No, I can’t think of anything.”
As far as Stan and his future plans go, he has a lot more work than the average 91 year old. Being the chairman of Marvel, he is working on Guardians of the Galaxy, Antman, Black Panther, and Dr. Strange. They will make more Iron Man movies and more Captain America movies. He is also working on a Latino superhero. There is a script written and there will be an actor cast soon. With his other company, POW! Entertainment, Stan is working on a Chinese American hero called The Annihilator. He also has a character out in India called Shakra the Invincible, and we will be coming to the U.S.A. soon. How does Stan wrap it all up? With a giant “EXCELSIOR!”
“We Can Do It!: Women in Comics, Television and Beyond” is Hush Comics’ answer to what women in comics mean to the world and to us Visit our page every Monday to learn about a new super lady!
*Note: Yes this article is late. Yay for jet lag from ECCC and hey, I thought it would be cool to publish when Winter Soldier actually came out. Oopsies.
Natasha Romanoff AKA Black Widow
Black Widow, Natalia Romanova (ok that’s her given name for you aficionados), Czarina
Advanced combat skills and training, acrobat, ballerina, slowed aging due to Soviet experimentation, and a great knowledge of how to use a gun.
Like most Marvel heroes, Black Widow has been retconned. Either way, her history is way sketchy. I guess that is what happens when a girl is trained by Russia to be a spy and is genetically mutated. Yup, so that is basically her history. Her real name can either be Natasha Romanoff or Natalia Romanova. This just adds to her mystery. She was trained by Ivan Petrovich, and in her retcon, by the KGB. She has been experimented on to make her age slower and make her more agile. She has also had her memory altered so she doesn’t remember significant chunks of her life and is given the memory of being an esteemed ballerina. Originally, Natasha was sent to kill Iron Man. She wore an evening gown with a sweet cat-eye mask with a veil over her face. She was also raven haired before she had her fiery red mane. She met Hawkeye and convinced him to help her. After a failed mission, she was kidnapped by the KGB and brainwashed to kill the Avengers, of which Hawkeye was a member. Because she had fallen in love with him, she eventually found the light side and became good ole American. She also became the 16th Avenger. She has found herself in a romantic relationship with many Marvel characters, mainly being the main squeeze of Matt Murdock aka Daredevil, but she also has been with Iron Man, Captain America, and Bucky Barnes. In her current issues, she is an independent spy who sometimes takes jobs with Nick Fury’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Notably, Black Widow saved Wolverine from the HYDRA and was a leader of The Champions which included Hercules and Ghost Rider. She led them to battle with many baddies including The Stranger and The Crimson Dynamo. Yeah, she pretty much has done everything.
Why is she important?:
Let me count the ways as to why Natasha Romanoff is important. Ok, first, she currently is the female face of The Avengers. I mean she is carrying the entire female population in all the current movies. That’s a lot to handle. And all this is just my opinion of course, but I really think she is the inspiration for two of my other favorite women: La Femme Nikita and Echo from Dollhouse. As far as La Femme Nikita goes, she was also a Russian spy who was used as a tool for the government. And Echo? Well, Natasha was also brainwashed and supplied with false memories. She was made to be super strong and acrobatic. So were the Dolls. Pretty cool, I think. Not only that, but Natasha has kinda saved a lot of our favorite superheroes. Like, their lives. Oh, and she’s smart, witty and can kick a lot of ass. I’d say she is really important not only for the Marvel Universe, but to women ad little girls who go to the movies and read comics. Thank you, Miss Romanoff.
What she means to me:
Honestly, before The Avengers came out, I had limited knowledge of who Black Widow was. But considering my celebrity doppelgänger, Scarlett Johansson, played her, I needed to find out as much as I could. As a little girl, I used to play spy. Didn’t every little girl? Ok maybe about half of us. Anyway, Black Widow is the woman I think of when I wish I had a different life, except in my head, it is a more glamourous world without all that experimentation. Now that I know tons more about her, I think every girl should idolize her. She is a woman who has been through hell and back, is smart as a whip and can kick some serious ass. Yup, pretty much one tough as nails chick. And that’s why I love her.
Natasha Romanoff in the 1960’s
Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow
Me as Black widow a few Halloween’s ago!
The current Natasha in 2014’s Black Widow by Marvel
The money in our bank account is limited, so how unfair is it that there are endless gadgets, collectibles and toys out there that demand to be purchased? Let us help you sift through the crap, so you don’t can save that hard-earned cash for the things that deserve it. In other words, we give you the power to go to the counter and say, “Shut Up and Take My Money!”
Item: Avengers Iron Man MAGTITAN NEO LEGEND Bracelet (Carbon Fiber/Titanium)
What it is: For people who want to look like Tony Stark but don’t exactly have the funds of a billionaire, genius playboy, this item is for you. This bracelet isn’t just a replica of the band Tony Stark wore in the Avengers; it is the actual product itself. It is claimed that these are limited edition but I’d be willing to bet that a simple search of the internet will allow you to snag one from somewhere. This is constructed from Titanium, Carbon Fiber, and Stainless Steel which is held together by a high quality epoxy resin. This is constructed from only the best materials. The only thing that is missing is the Mark VII armor that it is supposed to control.
How much it costs: List price is $200 but there are varying discounts around the internet that can be taken advantage of to score one as low as $150. Some websites say that it is Limited Edition but it seems to be easy enough to get one if you really want one.
If it’s worth it or not: If you are the type of guy or gal that thinks it’s worth it to spend money on any type of fashion then I think this could make a nice addition to anyone’s wardrobe. It has nothing but positive reviews on varying sites, however, it does mention to measure you wrist first and to make sure you order the appropriate size. There is nothing like paying good money for something only to have it not fit appropriately. Returning through the internet is a pain in the butt so make sure to order the proper size. Measure twice buy once. I personally think it is worth it and I am seriously considering adding this to my collection; even if I don’t wear it often, it is still a cool piece of movie memorabilia.
photo courtesy of Amazon.com
The bottom line: If you aren’t into wearing jewelry or a big Iron Man fan, steer clear; however, if you are looking for a solid piece of jewelry to add to the collection, I would recommend giving this serious consideration. At this price point and these construction materials, you really can’t go wrong
Anything you feel this article is missing? Are you wondering whether or not a certain product is worth grabbing? Let us know!
After a great run in the Infinity arc, Avengers.NOW begins the Rogue Planet arc with this issue. Thoroughly entertaining and full of mystery, #24.NOW is a great jumping on point for Avenger fans. While Stark and Rogers talk shop in the lab of a potential expansion of Avengers members, are heroes on the balcony, throwing a BBQ, are paid a visit from the future. It’s a great issue to build towards the rest of the arc. I’ve always thought that Esad Ribic’s art was a bit too fantastical for an ensemble cast like The Avengers, but with the subtle humor and nerd talk to break up the talk about other-worldly threats and inter-galactic battles, I feel like I can really relate to the story.
Justice League #26 & Forever Evil #4 (DC Comics) – B
Knee-deep into the Forever Evil/Crime Syndicate story arc, we’re really starting to delve into these mysterious characters – an element missing from their canon material. Introducing the origins of Power Ring, Johhny Quick and Atomica to the readers give a great yin and yang comparison of these characters to their Justice League counterparts is very entertaining. Frighteningly so, Grid, who is the self-actualized machine part of Cyborg’s body, looks like he dropped in from the Terminator series. What really makes this arc great is that, through all the twists, turns and secrets, there is enough juice in the orange to squeeze out another entertaining issue while still keeping enough in the dark to make it suspenseful. It’s evident that DC is going to take their time with this story, and with Geoff Johns at the helm (and some great art by Ivan Reis), did you expect anything different?
Forever Evil #4 (DC Comics) – B
Meanwhile, in the Forever Evil arc (notably also written by Geoff Johns and penciled by the great David Finch), Batman has finally made it above ground. There’s not a lot of breathing time in the issue, which equates to some badass panels and reveals, but really doesn’t do much in terms of story. The tease of Batman wearing a Yellow Lantern ring in the variant cover was poorly realized, but the appearance of another ring bearer more than makes up for it – even though an epic panel by David Finch gave me an 80’s fist-pump moment. I’m also thoroughly enjoying the bromance form between Bizarro and Lex Luthor. It’s okay to let love in, Lex! This is shaping up to be an epic alien invasion, with the gravity of an “us vs. them” mentality amongst the Rogues.
Saviors #1 – C-
An alien invasion, lots of marijuana and a lizard that practices active listening – that’s what you will find in Saviors #1. Centered around a small-town pothead who is content with his mundane life, he accidentally stumbles upon the town sheriff and another man in stripes casually talking but with lizard faces. His friend tries to convince him that it is just paranoia, but it turns out that there is a much bigger conspiracy at work. The raw art of the book is something that has become a staple of image Comics. I find it endearing, but would like to see a little more detail in a series that can’t quite carry itself based off story alone. I’m interested enough to read the second issue, but not enough to recommend the book to anybody else.
Origin II #1 (Marvel Comics) – A-
After the enthralling first chapter of Wolverine’s origin through Joe Quesada and Andy Kubert’s Origin: The True Story of Wolverine, it’s evident that exploring the primal side of James Howlett is necessary to tell his tale. Fortunately for fans that read the original origin series, you can pick up Origin II and understand what is going on immediately. Wolverine has become an animal, and found his home with a pack of wolves. There is no dialogue, just a narrated internal monologue. The art is crisp and the colors are beautiful; most fans won’t even realize that it was penciled by Andy’s brother, Adam. I mean, the Kuberts are to comic book art what the Kennedys are to politics. The best aspect of this book is the thoughtful pace put into making you want to feel every moment that Logan is feeling, instead of rushing the natural progression. This is a must-read for any fan of Wolverine.
Funniest Panel of the Week:
Epic Panel of the Week:
Cover Art of the Week:
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, DC and Marvel for putting out great books.
Last summer at San Diego Comic Con there was such a big deal made about the suits. They had them all lined up in their glass boxes being ogled by all, even people who weren’t at the con. It was such a big deal to have all those suits there. And to have RDJ there promoting the third film in front of the suits was surreal. So it was a little disappointing that the suits weren’t in the majority of the film. The majority of the film was really a lot of Tony being a little cuckoo about the wormhole in NYC. It was a great way to tie in The Avengers plot into this Iron Man film, but the Tony Stark from the comics (yes I’m about to get comic book geeky) is a raging alcoholic. Having a few anxiety attacks anytime someone (mostly children) mentions New York or the wormhole seems to take away the serious aspect of Tony’s life. It also seems apropos to cast Robert Downey Jr. as the hero with a substance problem. I mean, isn’t that who Robert and Tony are? I would have given kudos to the writers had they entered that into the plot. Now that I’m done bashing, I actually did like the movie. The first scene in Switzerland is brilliant. Tony is rude, his girlfriend is smart, Guy Pearce is crazy and Jon Favreau is comedic. The song “Blue (Da Ba Dee)” fits the tone for the Iron Man franchise. Tony’s treatment of Aldrich Killian sets up the antagonist easily for the rest of the movie. The rest of the movie is mostly about how Stark is coping with what happened in New York and The Mandarin (Ben Kingsley) and how to keep Pepper happy. There is very little action, until the final scenes. The suits are only important because they are what stand between Pepper and Tony being as close as they had been. His “tinkering” is causing distance between the lovers. He uses them as his “hobby” but as Pepper says, they really are his “distraction.” The best part of the movie was the banter between Tony, now “The Mechanic” and the little boy Harley in Rose Hill. Their scenes were some of the funniest, but also is the time when Tony can come to peace with a lot of what he has been feeling. And when all is reconciled, who wouldn’t want the garage that Harley gets at the end? The best line is in the fight between Stark and Ellen Brandt. Ellen says, “Is that all you’ve got? A cheap trick and a cheesy one-liner?” To which Tony replies, “Sweetheart, ‘a cheap trick and a cheesy one-liner’ could be the name of my autobiography.” And really it could be the name of this film. They cheesy one-liners were really what made the film so good to me. Robert Downey Jr. has great comedic timing as Stark. And because Iron Man was stripped away from him for the majority of the film, he had to rely on his cheap tricks a lot. It is a good thing to see the hero be vulnerable. Ben Kingsley was spot on as The Mandarin. He was scary. He was full of theatrics. SPOILER! He actually was an actor, which I think was great. The Mandarin is really Trevor, just a junkie who wants to act. And then Guy Pearce. He is so good at being bad. The British Brad Pitt. Not as good looking and not as lovable. His Extremis project is really one of the few things that can stop Iron Man. It is smart and evil. Pepper calls it, saying it is “highly weaponizable.” It is hard to feel bad for Aldrich, even after he is snubbed in that elevator in Switzerland. He just has an evil aura about him and you always no he is up to no good. Those are some good acting chops on Pearce’s behalf. My last thought about the movie is how it ends. Pepper Potts saves the day. I am all for woman power and female strength. My favorite things in the world promote it. But those women are strong in every aspect and have always had a strength in their characters. Paltrow and the writers have always portrayed Potts as Stark’s business savvy, wide-eyed girlfriend. She has never been as smart, as funny, or as experienced. And yet she saves the day. It didn’t go with who she has always been. I think it is wonderful she didn’t need to be the damsel anymore. But after being utterly terrified to jump into her Superhero boyfriends arms and instead falling hundreds of feet into a pit of fire, it seems out of place to make her save Tony in the end. And then to turn wide-eyed and say, “That was really violent.” That’s the life you’ve been living, sweetheart. I just didn’t think it meshed. At the end, Iron Man is gone and we just have Tony Stark. What does that mean for the next installment of The Avengers? I would assume he will have to find a happy balance between being Iron Man and Pepper. He will have to deal with the wormhole. Or he may not be in it at all. But I find that hard to believe, but after all, he is Iron Man.