Category: Marvel

Chris Comics: The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #2

IMG_0109The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #2

Ryan North, Erica Henderson, Rico Renzi

Marvel $3.99

Time Travel was something that was bound to happen in The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl sooner or later. The signs were all there: Ryan North’s relationship with Back to the Future, Squirel Girl’s beef with Doctor Doom, who owns a time traveling platform, the fact that this comic was solicited as a time travel story. All subtle hints letting the reader know that a time travel arc would be happening sooner or later.

Time travel is something that can either make or break a comic for me. I love alternate time lines and futures, but when a time travel story gets caught up in own rules it and starts focusing on that instead of the plot, it can go downhill. Which explains my complex relationship with 90s X-men comics. Luckily, North and Erica Henderson inject a ton of humor into this time travel story, which sees our hero and her pal Tippy Toe dragged back in time to the year 1962. It appears someone is trying to wipe out Squirrel Girl from existence, and it’s up to Nancy Whitehead, whom seems to be the only person who remembers who Doreen is in the present, to figure out exactly what exactly the haps is.

IMG_0110Erica Henderson, who is reaching Zdarsky/Fraction number in terms of being mentioned on this blog, is absolutely wonderful on this issue, and on this book in general. With Rico Renzi handling the colors on TUSG,  we get art from Henderson that’s very animated and clean. She’s SO GOOD on capturing the fashion of the 60s, and the facial expressions she can give the characters are THE BEST out of anything coming from the Big 2. How she manages to work on 2 monthly books of excellent quality at the same time is beyond me, but I’m glad that I have them. Also Rico Renzi’s colors are prime time animation good, especially come the final page of this issue.

Aside from Ryan North being one of the funniest dudes currently working in comics, he’s also one of the smartest. Which means him tackling the concept of time travel is pretty great. While the concept of a hero being erased from the timeline isn’t the most original, North handles it in a way that feels fresh. Having Squirrel Girl remain calm and collected while dealing with the scenario makes the whole thing come across as ton of fun, with some genuinely great jokes and clever ideas be conceived how to solve the problem. It’s IMG_0111these details that really help the story feel original, even when it’s been done to death before.

Opening on an amazing running gag involving cat fan fiction and Iron Man on the Twitter-style recap page and ending on DOOM, The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #2 is a hilarious and really clever comic, which seems to be the norm for this book. It’s scary how consistently excellent this book has been, especially with the creative team never skipping an issue while working on multiple projects. If the North, Henderson and Renzi team are the future of Marvel Comics, then both the company and the medium are in very good hands.



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Thanksgiving Eve at Forbidden Planet NYC and, While I’m At It, Thanksgiving 2015

76194133395310101 Frank miller new Batman release Forbidden Planet NYC

It’s Tuesday November 24th and we’re at the shop preparing tomorrow’s new comics, graphic novels and toys, like we do on Tuesdays, with our hands plenty full. 

The hard work’s well-worth it though. Traditionally, Thanksgiving Eve is one of my favorite days of the year to be working at Forbidden Planet. Lots of familiar faces come back in through our doors and it’s a pleasure to catch up with old chums. People need little presents for family members or a board game or something similar to occupy the weekend and from my customer service perspective it’s always a treat to recommend stuff that’s going to be enjoyed in such a manner.

And, oh yeah!, comics publishers and many toy manufacturers usually release a crap-ton of great new reading material and toys the day before Thanksgiving in advance of Black Friday/Cyber Monday. This year’s no different.

Whether you’re braving the horrors of the NJ Transit or the long flight to Walla Walla or the constant chug of the Staten Island Ferry or the bus to Philly or the subway home to your tiny NYC apartment… Wherever you’re off to, here’s some of this week’s highlighted new releases to get you through the trip.

Have fun! We’re closed on Thanksgiving. Mebbe I’ll see ya tomorrow or Friday?

(Dark Knight 3 pictured above and available 11/25/15)

Saga #31 – New Story Arc! Picks up after trade paperback Volume 5. Don’t forget your coupons and receipt (wink, wink) if ya got ‘em!

Brian K. Vaughan, Fiona Staples, Saga #31, forbidden planet NYC


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Chris’ Comics: Spider-Woman #1

Spider-Woman-1-Cover-8769aSpider-Woman #1

Dennis Hopeless, Javier Rodriguez, Alvard Lopez

Marvel $3.99

When we last saw Spider-Woman, she was running off with Black Widow to go die in Secret Wars #1. Don’t worry, she got better, somehow. Better and apparently pregnant. COMICS, EVERYONE!

In case you somehow missed the hoopla, Jessica Drew is back and with child in this newest volume of Spider-Woman. Dennis Hopeless, Javier Rodriguez and Alvard Lopez fully embrace this whole 8 month post Secret Wars gap by putting J-Drew in a scenario no one saw coming. And by doing so, it sets the book off in an entirely new direction, in addition to adding a much beloved character to the cast of supporting characters. As much as I loved having the Porcupine and Phil Urich bounce off Jessica, having Captain Marvel play a larger role in the book give Jessica a chance to interact with her bestie, and makes for a perfect comedic foil to our hero. There’s also a hint that another Spider-lady will be popping up from time to time, but we have to see how this all plays out first.

I really like the way Jessica’s pregnancy is handled in this first issue. She’s upset that she’s being sidelined, but it’s a choice that she ultimately made, not wanting to risk the life of her Jess-and-her-motorcycle-e1447959748798yet to be born child. Seeing Jessica dealing with a maternity leave and an overly-concerned best friend is fun, but never makes the character the butt of the jokes. She’s struggling with the pregnancy, on her own mind you as there doesn’t seem to be an active father figure present, but she never comes off as weak. If anything it’s the opposite, as it shows Jessica rising to  the challenge to meet it head on (with some help from her friends).

Aside from the addition of her blonde BFF and some cameos from a bunch of prominent Marvel characters,  Jessica mostly interacts with Ben Urich,  who helping her adjust to an everyday normal person problem, and the Porcupine, who’s gone full amateur super hero. I really dig Jessica training Roger Cocking to be a better person, as its nice to see a petty crook being rehabilitated successfully. Hopeless and Rodriguez did wonders for the character, and seeing him as a full on hero is a nice path of progression for the character. Hopefully it will stick, because while I’m not expecting a Deadpool-level boost for the character, way too many reformed super villains have gone to the side of the angels, only to be written as a villain down the line with little to no explanation.

29cncyfAnd while a ton of things have changed for Jessica in terms of the status quo, the creators involved remain just as good as they were before the hiatus. I mean, that sort of thing should go without saying, because more writers and artists don’t suddenly regress in skills after a short hiatus. But we get to see a different side of Javier skills when he as to channel his inner Kirby/Byrne towards the end of the book. I absolutely love the way he draws a certain race of Marvel characters, as they look way creepier and in line with their silver age incarnations than the way they’ve been portrayed as of late. Plus being his own colorists give him a chance to do things with skin and lighting most artist don’t get to do with their own work. And I absolutely love Hopeless’ dialogue in this issue. He gets to focus on these heroes more human sides, which leads to a number of wonder scenes and interactions that are very enjoyable, and sound so natural.

This is the Spider-Woman #1 we deserved for the last year. It’s a fantastic soft reboot that does Jessica Drew, a wonderfully complex and compelling character, justice, while dealing with a subject matter that’s often mishandled by cape comics. Hopeless approaches pregnancy with the respect and sincerity it deserves, ensuring his critics that he’s going to do Spider-Woman right. It’s a great comic, and I can’t wait to see this story arc play out.



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Chris’ Comics: All New Hawkeye #1

All-New_Hawkeye_Vol_2_1All New Hawkeye #1

Jef Lemire, Ramon Perez, Ian Herring

Marvel $3.99


When I was reviewing the first volume of the Lemire/Perez Hawkeye run, there were several points where I felt bad for the creative team. I like both creators coming into the series, but they had the daunting task of following a run that I can honestly consider to be my favorite comic series to date. While I thought Perez was definitely a worthy successor to David Aja, I often found Jeff Lemire‘s scripts were too “safe”, reading more like fan fiction that then the next volume of one of Marvel‘s most acclaimed books. I know that’s a bit harsh, but I think the book was spinning it’s tires a bit, waiting for the previous incarnation of Hawkeye to wrap up, as well as Secret Wars. Also no, the irony that the later is still going on is not lost on me.

With that being said, the newest arc/volume of All New Hawkeye starts off on a much stronger foot. Making a Hawkeye book that ties-in closer to main Marvel U while maintaining its own identity is exactly what this run needed, as the book finally feels like it has some sort of direction. Granted I’m not exactly thrilled to see Team Hawkeye breaking up again so soon, the reasoning behind it is sound. And (spoilers?) having them reunite 20 years in the future is a neat plot hook, while expanding on the idea of Hawkeye as a legacy and a title.

Splitting the book between the present and the future not only helps the narrative, but it also allows artist Ramon Perez experiment with styles that result in some gorgeous art. The present art was always the strongest part of the visuals in volume 0 ( aka the fifth trade, because Marvel’s numbering system is dumb/complex), and I like how Perez is putting more of his own spin on the look established by Aja before him. And the sketchier, sharper and rougher art for the future scenes are rad as hell, and works better than the often muddled origin sequences in volume 0. Colorist Ian Herring experiments with his colors as well, maintaining a flat and bold look for the present, as well as some faux-70s inspire art for a panel or two. There’s also some really creative use of cover and lack there of to illustrate Clint’s hearing problems in the future  It’s great to see the artists experimenting like this, and it’s the best All New Hawkeye has looked to date.

What also helps the overall quality of this comic is Lemire’s dialgoue. While not quite reaching the heights of Fraction’s Hawkeye, the Clint and Kate interactions here feel much genuine and emotional then what Lemire has attempted before. Watching the Hawkeyes break up was painful in all the right ways, and made both characters feel incredibly sympathetic. I’m also a sucker for possible future story arcs, meaning Lemire’s future Clint and Kate stuff is right up my alley.

I was going to give up on this incarnation of Hawkeye, but after reading this new #1 I’m glad I did not. The creators feels much more confident and at home here, and the results make for a better comic. I’m hope Lemire, Perez and Herring can continue to maintain this level of quality, because this is arguably the most excited I’ve been for their run. If you weren’t feeling the current creative’s team take on the book, I urge you to give this issue a shot.


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Chris’ Comics: The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #1

SQGIRL2015B001_CoverThe Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #1

Ryan North, Erica Henderson, Rico Renzi

Marvel $3.99

DID YOU KNOW: You can prevent me from being disappointed by your book’s lack of CAT THOR by coming up with a food court filled with establishments that have hilarious super-hero related names.?! Keep that in mind all you non- Ryan North and Erica Henderson creators out there!


Now that Secret Wars is over, ALL NEW ALL DIFFERENT MARVEL has started, books that were on hiatus are back, and that’s great for anyone who was enjoying Unbeatable Squirrel Girl (AKA me). The book is back, and not much has changed, which is fine, because nothing was broken to begin with. Well that’s not exactly true, as our hero is now an Avenger (see here and here), which means she has a sweet teleporter which I’m sure will lead to hilarious mishaps sooner rather than later.  Oh and North and Henderson have used the editorial mandated 8 month gap to make Doreen Green a 2nd year college student, and move in her cat enthusiast BFF Nancy Whitehead, which is a nice way to please both the powers that be and fans of the book who don’t care about big event comics.

tumblr_nwxjdvM1A31qetjcco1_1280Those changes aside, it’s business as usual, and the business of kicking butts and eating nuts is booming. Ryan North is still writing genius scripts, and this month gives us such gems as a super obscure robots villain, more fun with computer science,  and the introduction of Squirrel Girl’s mom Maureen Green. Maureen (which rhythms with Dorren!) is a super likable character from the get go, and a bit of a rarity; she’s a mother well aware of her daughter’s life, is a fan of her life choices, loves her new bestie,  OH AND IS ACTUALLY ALIVE AND PROBABLY NOT IN DANGER OF GETTING KILLED OFF ANYTIME SOON. All of it is refreshing, and handled with the level of excellence-meet-insanity North has been known for from this series.


Equally as rad is the art team of Erica Henderson and Rico Renzi. While Henderson’s work on this title has always been solid, this issue feels clean and more expressive than previous ones. What she does with her character’s body language is superb, and the range of emotions she can put into the cast’s acting is impressive. Also she’s definitely on North’s level when it comes to making the book funny, as she inserts a number of gags all 4throughout the book. And the new costume she gives Squirrel Girl is super adorable, and I’m excited to see who cosplays it first next year. Colorist Rico Renzi colors are fantastic, starting the issues off with a cool moody intro that plays off the intensity of the flames quite well, and then switches it up for a bright, animated look for the rest of the book. I dig it, as it set the moods from ultra-heroics to slapstick humor well, and pairs well with Henderson’s pencils and inks.

With great cartoon-esque visuals and some really fun and intelligent writing, Unbreakable Squirrel’s second #1 of the year is as great as the one we got back in January. It’s a delightful romp that joins Ms Marvel as a book that truly feels like an all ages book without looking down the young readers. I’m glad it’s stuck around for this long, and kept it’s killer creative team, and I hope they have the chance to continue telling these types of stories.

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Chris’ Comics: New Avengers #2

NEWAVN2015002_DC11_LR_11New Avengers #2

Al Ewing,  Gerardo Sandoval, Dono Sancez Almara

Marvel $3.99

New Avengers #2 is a bit of difficult comic for me to discuss. On the one hand, it’s an incredibly well done comic; it’s fun, looks great, and you can tell writer Al Ewing is having a blast with this roster and concept. I appreciate the fact that the story went on only for 2 parts, as that’s just the right length this particular arc needed to be to establish the direction of this book. On the other hand, the book felt kind of shallow, focusing mostly on the evil Ultimate Reed Richards (aka The Maker), and not giving much development to our heroes.


In Al Ewing’s defense, he tries to do a lot with this book, which sadly may have contributed to some of the book’s undoing. The cast is huge, between the New Avengers, Dum Dum Duggan and Hawkeye, Sunspot’s staff, and the Maker and his cronies. It’s a lot to balance, and again, Ewing tries to do some cool stuff with the character, but never really hits the mark. Having White Tiger tumblr_nwxyb0mSg01sq4537o1_1280bounce off of Squirrel Girl is a neat idea, but Ewing’s Squirrel Girl doesn’t seem as clever as the one we’ve been getting over in the Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, which is disappointing to me as a fan. He finds much more success in Sunspot, the Maker, and Songbird, the later showing the most depth out of any of the on-site Avengers. I hate to harp on Ewing, who has some genuinely fun ideas like Sunspot having a Champagne Robot and SHIELD and the Maker trying to make sense of this Marvel universe,  but the highlight real is relatively short  for this issue.

Ewing also doesn’t get much help from artist  Gerardo Sandoval this time around, who’s art is all over the place. While I don’t mind his super stylized art for the most part, there a multiple scenes where the female character waists are insanely too thin, especially with the extremely large chests their given. Much like Ewing, he works best when it comes to the Maker material, or some of the fight scenes, but he stuffers when the action slows down, and character have to interact with each other through non-violent means. Case in point, there’s a panel where Hawkeye is saying something, and Sadoval didn’t even bother drawing the dude’s mouth (or eyebrows). Marvel deserves some of the blame, as Sandoval strikes me as an artist who would have benefited from having a single issue drop this month instead of two.

On the positive side of things, Dono Sancez Almara’s colors for this comic are absolutely stunning. He managed to nail everything Ewing and Sandoval throw at him, tumblr_nx25apIVM41r7hjkqo1_1280ranging from Lovecraft inspired madness to super heroes brawling in Paris. The colors he chooses for every scene are perfect, which helps make the art more enjoyable. Letterer Joe Caramagna also deserves praise, as he uses a ton of different fonts for this book, helping Ewing convey emotion through words. These two excel, giving the book a sense of fun and energy that may have not been present had other creators been assigned to it.

New Avengers #2 isn’t a bad comic, but I’m not sure it’s a comic I want to pay $4 a month for. It may flow better once it’s collected, so I’m willing to give it another once that trades drops, and swap it out for another book in the meantime.

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Chris’ Comics: New Avengers #1 and Ms Marvel #19

New-Avengers-1-Cover-06a5aNew Avengers #1

Al Ewing, Gerardo Sandoval, Dono Sanchez Almara

Marvel $3.99

Ever since Infinity, writer Al Ewing has been pumping out some damn fine Avengers comics for Marvel. Mighty Avengers has been constantly entertaining, and now that it’s kinda sorta post Secret Wars, he’s been given the chance to write not one but 2 Avengers series. The first of these debuted last Wednesday in the shape of New Avengers, with a fan favorite roster and a bold new direction.

New Avengers #1 kicks off with a number of fan favorite characters: Squirrel Girl, Wiccan, Hulking, Songbird and from Ewing’s Mighty Avengers run White Tiger and Powerman. They’re assembled by Sunspot, who now owns A.I.M. thanks to the events of Jonathan Hickman’s Avengers run. They’re operating by their own rules, which doesn’t sit well with SHIELD, so they have Hawkeye (the Clint Barton flavored one) join the roster as a spy, ensuring my spending money. It’s a fun line up, and Al brings in a number of his Might Avengers co-stars to act as the team’s supporting characters, and build a bridge between his sister book The Ultimates.

29addcd4d60c46f931da5afb255a89b7._SX640_QL80_TTD_Drawing New Avengers is Gerado Sandoval , whose work I’m familiar with from the absolutely insane Marvel Vs Attack on Titan. His style is very much in the mold of Joe Madueria, which explains why Wiccan looks straight up Naruto. He’s bombastic enough for the fight scenes, but struggles a bit when it comes to the talking head bits. I’m sure there’s a number of people who are turned off by Sandoval’s manga style, but I dug it for the most part. The coloring by Dono Sanchez Almara is a perfect fit for Sandoval’s, giving the book a bright, animated look, which perfectly matches the fun art and Ewing’s delightful dialogue.

New Avengers #1 hits the floor running, with some unique art, a solid premise, and some great dialogue. It’s an incredibly fun book with a lot to like, and I can’t recommend it enough if you’re a fan of these characters, or just want a fun, over the top Marvel team book

tumblr_nvxtooYwUq1t0cxrao1_1280Ms. Marvel #1


Marvel $2.99

RIP $3 Marvel comics.


And here I was thinking this would be a tears free weak, silly me.

The final issue of Ms. Marvel “Season One” is upon us, and man, it’s a fantastic read, but also an assault on my emotions. This arc wraps at where Secret Wars #1 ends, so the ending of this issue is a bit of a downer, despite the overall quality. Well sort of. We all know Kamala has a bright future as an Avenger starting in a few weeks, so the ending kinda loses some impact by being tied into the larger Marvel Universe. Not to mention the solicit for Ms Marvel volume 2, issue 3 going live today. Good timing there Marvel.

tumblr_nvxtooYwUq1t0cxrao5_1280Mad spoilers aside, G. Willow Wilson, Adrian Alphona, and Ian Herring craft one hell of an ending. The finale sees Kamala as Kamala, not her costumed alter ego, talk to her mother about her double life in an amazing scene, reunite her several of her peers and face the final incursion head on. Everything about this issue is incredible, as it blends a number of emotional beats with some expressive line work and gorgeous colosr. We really get a sense of how  Kamala has grown over the course of 19 issues, and how the evens of this arc has affected her. Wilson and Alphona have created something special with this character, and this issue serves of proof of that.

Ms Marvel 19 is a tear jerker of a finale. One with gorgeous, detailed art, that’s super expressive, with amazing acting, and a fantastic use of color during the final pages. In a world where super hero books are constantly relaunched and rebooted, this “final” issue gets is as perfect as it can be, technicalities aside. It”s a testament on how special a character like Ms. Marvel is in the marketplace, and how stellar this creative team is. I can’t wait for more.


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Chris’ Comics: Invincible Iron Man #1

New York Comic Con is a thing that happened, and a thing that made me grateful I have PTO at my day job, as I did not get out of bed until 10am this morning. It was a massive show that was super fun, I got to see a bunch of great folks, talk comics, and attend some neat panels. Now let us never speak of it again, unless it’s relevant to a comic book I’m discussing.

unnamed-138879Invincible Iron Man #1

Brian Michael Bendis, David Marquez, Justin Ponder

Marvel $3.99


Marvel’s made it no secret that they’re out to make Iron Man their flagship character these days, undoubtedly inspired by the success of the character on the big screen. A move I’m sure that will work, much like the Inhumans replacing the X-men-oh.

Snark and Bleeding Cool rumors aside, Marvel Comics has enlisted a team of top notch creators to make Iron Man their premiere super hero title; Brian Michael Bendis, who’s written the character numerous times in the past, David Marquez, a top talent who’s been a very good artist  for the last few years, and Justin Ponder, and excellent colorist in his own right. No disrespect to the previous creative teams, but this is by far the strongest group of creators Tony Stark has had since Matt Fraction was attached to the book several years ago.

IIM-Preview01-58c53Assigning David Marquez and Justin Ponder to this book was a brilliant move. Aside from already having a solid working relationship with Bendis, the pair of artists create a gorgeous looking book that says “This is an Iron Man comic for 2015″. Marquez’s style is perfect for a character like Tony Stark, blending Robert Downey Jr’s good looks with a new suit of armor that feels new and refreshing. I dug how detailed, not to mention how cool, his armoring up sequences where in this book, as well seeing the new suit flying around. Sadly most of the action scenes were limited to another long time Iron Man villainess who also gets a slight redesign, but I’m sure Bendis will give Marquez a chance to blow our minds somewhere down the line.  Justin Ponder’s colors are incredibly strong in the comic. Bendis and Marquez give Ponder a number of locations and characters to work with in this issue, and he absolutely nails the environments and lightening perfectly. These two creators have given us a great looking book, and I’m excited to see more from them on this title.

Invincible_Iron_Man_1_Preview_3I believe this comic marks the first time long time Marvel comics Brian Michael Bendis has tackled Tony Stark in a solo capacity, only writing him as a part of team or in crossovers. Bendis’ take on Stark is very much influenced by RDJ as well, which is good, because this book is suppose to be super accessible to new readers. That being said, his take on the character is still pretty faithful to the core of the character, so long time fans won’t be put off by it. Bendis does an excellent job creating a new status quo for Iron Man, and manages to craft a post-Secret Wars comic that doesn’t spoil the event much, if at all. The much hyped final page is cool, and definitely lets reader know that this is VERY much a Marvel Universe with Iron Man at the center of things. And I REALLY like the 2 new female characters introduced in this issue, and hope they stick around for the long haul My only compliant is that the book feels brief, which is more of a nitpick I guess, because it definitely has me wanting to read more.

Invincible Iron Man certainly has the potential to be one of the biggest Marvel books of the year in terms of sales and excitement. Will it dethrone Star Wars or the surprisingly wonderful new Amazing Spider-Man is yet to be seen, but also not a concern of mine. It’s a good comic that I dug, with a fantastic creative team who can hopefully give us the best run of solo Iron Man stories since the last incarnation of an Invincible Iron Man book.


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Chris’ Comics: X-Men ’92 #4

SHILL ALERT:  New York Comic Con is this week, and I’ll be there all 4 days as an attendee, which is the first time in forever. As usual, you can follow my nonsense on Twitter and Instagram, at @theanarchris. WARNING: I GET KINDA NSFW/ CURSE HAPPY WHEN I START DRINKING/GETT ANNOYED, SO HEAD’S UP THERE. Anywho on to #content

backgroundX-men ’92 #4 (of 4)

Chad Bowers, Chris Sims, Scott Koblish, Matt Milla

Marvel $4.99

For the record, if X-men ’92 wasn’t already confirmed for a returning on-going next year, I would have probably spent half this article pleading for people to go buy X-men ’92, because it was an incredibly fun book. Fun and X-men rarely go hand to hand these days (see the OTHER X-Men Secret Wars tie-ins, and the upcoming solicits for the All New Marvel Now stuff), making X-men ’92 a bit of a  rarity. A welcomed one at that, taking one of the most recognizable incarnations of the X-men, and setting them up in a world that loves and adores them for a change, all while injecting with a ton of humor and fan service into the story.


X-Men_92_4_2The final issue of the mini-series sees the X-men and their various allies fight the dreaded X-Sentinel, while Professor Xavier battles the Shadow King. Artist Scott Koblish does an incredible job drawing the massive fight scenes, having to draw and impressive amount of characters several times throughout the book, and never once dialing down the detail or the acting. The sense of scale and action he manages to portray is fantastic, and it’s cool to see him be able to switch up between action, comedy, and drama without skipping a beat. His character work is super expressive, and he manages to sneak in his fair amount of inside jokes and reference just as well as his writers, while perfecting capturing the excess of the nineties without going overboard.  Matt Milla, the book’s colorist is also as impressive, managing to set the scenes perfect with some excellent lighting and palette choices. While the books character designs are very much stuck in the 90s (because again, X-men 92), the coloring looks like a book from today.

Writers Chris Sims and Chad Bowers, do a fantastic job wrapping up this mini on a high note. The writing is superb in this issue, making sure every core character gets their moment to shine, and having some fun while doing so. The dialogue is especially strong XMEN92-004-01this issue, be it Gambit and Rogue being….well Gambit & Rogue (something 90s X-fans will get says Buzzfeed), an insanely hilarious scene featuring Wolverine, and a touching end bit with Storm and Cyclops being the personal highlights of this issue. As I’ve said in the past I love how the use some of the obscure and insane elements of X-men history, and play it straight. The final fight has not one, but 2 bonkers bits that had my cackling like a mad man as I read this book, and am I grateful for them.


X-men ’92 was a mini that was welcomed for a number of reasons; one of them being one of the few Secret Wars tie ins that shipped on time for the most part. It was also a legitimately fun read that looked great and celebrated the X-men at the peak of the popularity, while poking some fun at it without coming off as mean spirited. I encourage anyone who grew up on the 90s animated series and found the comics too daunting to give this book a shot, especially since it basically laid the groundwork for the new ongoing next year.

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Chris’ Comics: Ms Marvel #18

Just a head’s up everyone: After this review, expect some radio science for a week or two. You’re truly and his wife are taking a trip to the Pacific Northwest, and won’t be back until the last week of the month. We’ll be hitting up Rose City Comic Comic in Portland, and be taking in the sights in Seattle. You can follow my nonsense on Twitter and Instagram ( @theanarchris), and if you’re at RCC or a native or either city, let me know, I’m always up for saying hi and giving out fresh high fives!


4791321-18Ms Marvel #18

G. Willow Wilson, Adrian Alphona, Ian Herring

Marvel $2.99

I want to hug this comic.

Ms Marvel #17 is a surprisingly upbeat comic that takes place at the end of the world. We get to see the young Ms Marvel continue to work alongside her idol Carol Danvers (who is THE BEST in this issue) as the final Incursion (remember, SECRET WARS) draws near, all while dealing with the fact that she may not be the only Inhuman in her family. The creative team throws a lot of content at readers, but all of it is so good, it’s hard to mind so much info and drama to process.

This creative team has displayed the fact that their very talented a number of times throughout the book’s lifespan, but it’s the little things in that issue that really shined through to me. For example, there’s some fantastic facial expressions drawn by  Adrian Alphona in this issue. The slightly exaggerated look of frustration when Kamala is talked down to twice is hilarious to look at, which I included in this review (Source: Tumblr) And there’s a scene dealing with super powers (sort of) that’s a twist on Kamala’s origin story, but plays out in a completely different manner. Writer G Willow Wilson gives the scene some really intense and smart ms-marvel-18-2-carol-danversdialogue that fleshes out a supporting cast member in fascinating way, making the character all the more likable than they’ve been portrayed in the past. It give the chance to relate to Kamala and see this character in a whole new light, which I appreciate.  The bombshell cliffhanger ending, something the series has done a lot with this arc, is also pretty great, hitting a major emotional note and will definitely change how Kamala interacts with an important cast member in the future. And colorist’s Ian Herring muted colors give the book an nice dark look, reminding us that this whole thing is going down in the middle of the night. There’s really not much to complain about in this issue, aside from Alphona’s sort of lanky Captain Marvel. I like my Carol Danver looking she can lay out dinosaurs with a single bunch, sorry dude.

tumblr_nufpnxW26C1ufs2h7o1_r1_1280The next issue should wrap up this volume of Ms Marvel before a 1 month break that will see the book get a new number one and bump in price. I have zero problem with having to pay $4 for this book in the future, because issues like this are common for Wilson, Alphona and Herring. They’re arguably one of the most consistent teams in comics, let alone at Marvel, and they’ve make this new character super endearing and ultra-relatable in less than 2 years. Ms Marvel #18 may not be my favorite issue of the series to date, but it damn may be the best one.



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Chris’ Comics: Spider-Woman #10 & X-men ’92 #3

Spider-Woman_Vol_5_10Spider-Woman #10

Dennis Hopeless/ Natasha Bustos/Vero Gandini

Marvel $3.99

Going into this issue knowing regular series artist Javier Rodriguez would not be drawing it, I was expecting myself to enjoying this issue of Spider-Woman a little less than usual. Nothing against guest artist Natacha Bustos, but the shadow Rodriguez casts on this book is MASSIVE, and it’s a hard to follow.

However, most of my issues with #10 aren’t with Bustos. She kills it with this issue, channeling Rodriguez while giving the book a softer, more manga-influenced look. Natacha never gives us any crazy, hyperactive layouts we’ve gotten in the past, but she does a fine enough job with the issue. It’s a shame that Vero Gandinis color pallet is so pale, otherwise I would have zero complaints with the art. Sadly, aside from his beautiful night skies,  his use of light colors irk me, making the final product look cheaper. I was willing to chalk it up to a printing error, but after looking at the digital copy, it’s definitely the shade. The day scenes are well lite enough, but it takes away from the night time scene.

CNWcZSSW8AAR1_CMy other issue with this comic was it being forced into being a Secret Wars: Last Days tie-in. 1/4 of the book is spent setting up Jessica’s appearance in Secret War #1, and it feels so forced, with an overly aggressive Black Widow that’s incredibly unlikable. It’s rare to see writer Dennis Hopeless slip up like this, but given how poor the Spider-Verse stuff was handled, it doesn’t come as a surprise. The book is at it’s best when it’s dealing with the A plot, which involves such greatness as HULK CATTLE and the Porcupine going full O.M.A.C. (Happy birthday Jack Kirby!), and could have used five more pages of that then lining up the events of a 4 month old comic.

Spider-Woman #10 is the uneven conclusion to a pretty great run of Spider-Woman comics. The book will be back in November with the Javier Rodriguez, and Natcha Bustos will be off drawing the All New Devil Dinosaur series. I’m excited for both titles, and I hope this next volume of Spider-Woman will be free of crossovers. Hopeless and Jessica are best when they’re left to their own devices, despite the chance of boosted sales thanks to being a major event tie in

X-Men_'92_Vol_1_3_TextlessX-men ’92 #3

Chad Bowers/Chris Sims/ Scott Koblish 

Marvel $4.99

Nothing says 90s X-men like X-Force. The New Mutants went from being the 2nd X-men book to being a sales juggernauts, launching the careers of both Rob Liefield and Greg Capullo, and introducing Marvel icons like Cable and Deadpool. It comes as no surprise that Sims and Bowers decided to use these characters for this title, and the results of pretty great.

X-Men ’92 #3 collects the 5th and 6th installments of the digital version of X-Men ’92, which are both the best and worst chapters of this series so far. The first half of this book sees X-Force off to save the captive X-men, all while Casanova Nova finds herself struggling against the combined might of Cyclops and Jean Grey. The 2nd of the half explains Casanova’s end game, ties the book back to Secret Wars, and is kind of all over the place. You can tell writers Chad Bowers and Chris Sims are having a blast with this book when their focusing on the characters, which is where is when the book really shines. It’s an extremely fun fiction of sorts, and I wish these two could continue to have their fun instead of having to wrap this thing up so the 616 X-men can pal around with the Inhumans or whatever.

004085411ce2dfd3afbf59c707e7fe85Sadly the artist Scott Koblish‘s art isn’t as solid this time around. While he manages to draw some ridiculous guns and pouches this issue, some of the pages feel rush, and the art feels less parody and more cheap 90s licensed merchandise at times.

The good more than out weight the bad in X-men ’92 #3. Its an incredibly fun and exciting read that hits a few snags, but is worth the cover price. It’s been a while since we’ve had a light-hearted X-men book on the stands, and hopefully these creators will have a chance to work their magic again after Secret Wars.


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Chris’ Comics: Gotham Academy and The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl

4741279-09Gotham Academy #9

Becky Cloonan, Brenden Fletcher, Karl Kerschl, Serge Lapointe, Msassyk

DC $2.99

For the most part, Gotham Academy has been a delightful romp with some teen angst and a bunch of neat little shout outs to obscure Batman characters. Issue #9 is the first issue where I genuinely felt overwhelmed by a continuously growing cast, to the point where I wasn’t able to follow the plot. In this issue alone there’s our 5 members of the mystery team, 2 faculty members, a man-bat-boy, and at least 3-4 newer characters making cameos. That’s A LOT for a reader to follow, especially when there’s at least several different subplots going down in a 20 page book.

One thing the writers (Brenden Fletcher and Becky Cloonan) managed to keep a good handle on up to this issue was making the teenage characters sound like teenagers. This isn’t the case for this issue sadly, as some really dated pop culture references make the Gotham Academy kids sounds like tiny adults instead of #TEENS. I’m sure it was more of a fluke than anything else, as any creator is capable of making a misstep every so often.That being said, Gotham Academy continues to look superb, thanks to Karl Keschl‘s excellent art, and Sergio Lapointe & Msassyk’s equally excellent colors. Keschel’’s line work is always clean and dynamic, but the coloring really brings it to the next level, especially when it comes to effects such as fire, flashlight lighting and fog. The art makes up for the subpar writing, elevating the book to a decent read instead of something skippable.

While I applaud the writers for attempting to cram as much content into Gotham Academy as possible, issue nine ultimately feels bloated, while looking great. I’m sure it won’t happen again, it’s just disappointing to see it happen in a book I’ve been enjoying a lot as of late.


portrait_incredible (4)The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #8

Ryan North, Erica Henderson, Rico Renzi

Marvel $3.99

Once again, Secret Wars ends another book that was launched this calendar year. And much like the also concluded for now Howard the Duck, the 2nd arc of The Unbeatable Squirrel girl is absolutely wonderful. The book opens on arguably THE BEST note, involving a long mention running gag that actually ends up being incorporated into the plot in a major way. It’s absolutely ridiculous by the way, but Ryan North and Erica Henderson are so smart and talented make it work so well.

One of the things that I really like about USG is that it’s a book that seems like it wouldn’t fit in with the rest of Marvel’s publishing catalog, but North and Henderson skate along the thin line of ridiculous and high stakes so well, the character, her presence and her actions make perfect sense. North’s sense of humor and clever dialogue makes him a perfect fit for handling mythological characters from the Thor side of the tracks, and Erica Henderson’s art fares better with these characters than more traditional spandex folk like spider-Man. Rico Renzi‘s colors are back on track after last issue, giving me literally nothing to complain about.

The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #8 is the perfect ending for this chapter. The wait for October for this book’s return is going to be rough, but I’m fairly certain it will worth it.



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Chris’ Comics: Howard the Duck #5

4730614-howard2015005_dc11-page-001Howard the Duck #5

Chip Zdarsky, Joe Quinones, Joe and Paolo Rivera, Rico Renzi

Marvel $3.99

Oh Howard A Duck, you are a gift.

Chip Zdarsky, Joe Quinones and Rico Renzi’s first arc/volume (NEW HAT THOUGH!) wraps up with a massive super hero fight in Manhattan for the fate of the world, a concept Chip and Joe claim they were the first to come up with. In case you don’t know how #JOKES work, that is one and an example the A+ comedy one gets from a Chip Zdarsky penned comics.

tumblr_nt0y86mP6j1qeeerco2_1280There’s a lot to like in Howard the Duck #5. First and foremost is Joe Quinones drawing a massive amount of of Marvel’s NYC-based heroes, and them looking fantastic/amazing/marvelous/other puns. Quinones’ style is clean and detailed, and his takes on all these characters comes across as looking quite iconic. His commitment to to his craft results in some fine looking lay outs, mashing up some of Marvel most beloved, as well as some of their newer, heroes up against the ridiculous threats he and Chip Zdarsky have conceived. I like what Joe does with facial expressions, as several maskless character perfectly express the absurdity of the whole scenario, especially on the final page with has arguably the best drawing of the Human Torch and Spider-Man in some time. Assisting Quinones on art duties is the brilliant father and son inking team of Paolo & Joe Rivera, giving Quinones’ work the clean, thin lines it deserves. Rico Renzi’s colors pop off the page, completing the art package, and giving Howard a high quality look you wouldn’t expect coming from a comedic book.

Earlier this year writer Chip Zdarsky joked that he was cramming in a lot of content and guest appearances in Howard the Duck as he was expecting to be fire after every issue came out. Howard #5 won’t be Chip’s last ride with the character, but you’ll definitely get you 4 dollars worth from it. This issue wraps up the arch, reveals a supporting character’s secret, and makes several intriguing hints regarding the future of the this book. Oh and is absolutely hilarious as well. We get more “Inconsolable Spider-Man” jokes, editor notes for hilariously titled comics that never existed, several deep cut Marvel jokes and a subplot involving a rather obscure Marvel book that results in Howard freaking out. It’s not all jokes either, as Chip and Joe do some cool stuff with the Howard and Tracy relationship, injecting some heart warming material into the book. Again, a lot of stuff goes down in this book, but it never feels over crowded or bloated.

tumblr_nsznomBLdn1sajkn0o1_400Howard the Duck #5 is a great ending for a fantastic first arc. Howard is easily up there with Superior Foes of Spider-Man and The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl in terms of being some of the best modern Marvel humor books, and the star power behind it should hopefully ensure that it sticks around for quite awhile. You can tell Zdarsky & Quinones definitely love or at least heavily appreciate the classic Steve Gerber era Howard, and embrace it while pushing the character forward. Howard the Duck is book I’ll continue to buy when it returns later this year, especially if the creative teams continues to put out this level of quality comic month after month.


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Chris Comics: Ms Marvel #17

Last-Days-of-Ms.-MarvelMs Marvel #17

G. Willow Wilson, Adrian Alphona & Ian Herring

Marvel $2.99

On the left we have cover artist Kris Anka , who cover may qualify as the best thing. But while this gives us everything we ever wanted from Ms Marvel, it worth noting the content are not as happy.

Given who’s on the cover, and that this book is tied into Secret Wars, Ms. Marvel #17 can be best described as an issue that’s a bit of an emotional roller coaster. Captain Marvel’s presence is something the fans have been demanding since the book dropped, and Wilson, Alphona and Herring deliver when it comes to this team in spades. But it’s not exactly  the feel good issue I was hoping for, given the whole end of the world thing, but it is an incredibly smart comics that has some really good emotional moments as well.

3577e735844c9f972469b12814ecd674What  I like about this issue is that we get to see that Kamala has come a long way since issue once, but a lot of key characteristics are still intact for the character. Writer G Willow Wilson has Ms Marvel freak out when she meets Carol Danvers, which as a super fan, is something that makes a ton of sense, not to mention completely adorable. I enjoyed watching the two Marvels bounce off of each other, and I REALLY dug the brief mention of Kamala’s faith when Captain Marvel gives her a pep talk early in the book,( as well as Carol’s advice for our you lead when faced with a difficult kitten-related matter). I also dug Wilson’s take on Carol Danvers, who’s a lovable & playful badass who manages to also be a solid mentor to Ms. Khan when she’s not busting her chops. There’s also several moments that will tug at your heart, giving the book a sense of sadness and desperation. There’s plenty of high, lows and even a few laughs, which says a lot given the fact that this is only 20 pages of content.

On the art side of things, gosh I love Adrian Alphona and Ian Herring. Jersey City may be facing the apocalypse, but Alphona crazy detailed  panels manage to maintain this book’s excellent sense of humor. His backgrounds are chock full of MAD magazine-esque hidden jokes, and not to mention some bizarre and hilarious looking characters. His Kamala will have her facial expression exaggerated for humor’s sake, and he’s capable of drawing some extremely derpy looking animals, ramping up the book’s cute factor. That being said, he also manages to capture the more serious and emotional moments with the gravitas needed to sell the scene, and his Captain Marvel has just the right amount of swagger worthy of Carol Danvers. Colorists Ian Herring’s colors are perfect for every scene, giving the day scenes the proper sense of end of the world times, and using some interesting colors choices for the scene heavy on the super hero-type effects.

As someone who gave up on reading Secret Wars proper and already has a sense on how this will end thanks to upcoming solicits, it’s worth noting how good this creative teams on making this Incursion feel like a real threat. The sense of danger and emotional strain of Last Days is there and feels real, even though we’re due for a new Ms Marvel #1 come this fall. Ms Marvel continues to be the best thing coming out of Marvel these days, even when it’s tied into a massive crossover. This book is definitely worth your time if you’re a regular reader scared who’s not reading Secret Wars, or a Secret Wars fan looking for an amazing tie in.




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Chris’ Comics: X-men ’92 #2



BROTIP Forbidden Planet Faithful: Don’t get bedbugs. It is the worst thing. Also why yes, my apartment building does have them, however did you figure that out?


X-Men ’92 #2

Scott Koblish, Chris Sims, Chad Bowers

Marvel $4.99

It’s a good thing I’m not allowed to talk about books strictly with gifs and images (also known as the Tumblr method), otherwise my entire review for this comic would consist of the following image:








(( BONUS BROTIP:  If you’ve never read  Chris Onstad’s Achewood, you probably should go do so now))

X-Men ’92 #2 is a delight. Collecting the 3rd and 4th digital installment of the X-Men 92 Infinity Comics, the X-men find themselves at the mercy of Cassandra Nova, who’s been revised for this tie-in with a completely new origin that involves several classic characters. With the team at her mercy. Nova sets out to make the X-men more “Kids TV friendly”, which means making Wolverine hug it out, cleaning up Gambit and Rogue’s sexual tension and dealing with the likes of Storm and Beast as well, all while Jubilee and a few un-X-pected allies try to save them all. It sounds ridiculous, but it’s all played straight, which only makes the book all the funnier. Cassanova Nova as a literal stand in for US BS & P (That’s TV talk for Broadcast Standards and Practices) is a wonderful gag that’s effortlessly woven into the plot, not requiring the reader to know what sort of ridiculous TV rules the actual X-men 1992 animated series had to adhere to.

8dcc696bce064f1ebf5705823c76ca99Artist Scott Koblish is continues to mesh quite well with writers Chad Bowers and Chris Sims, but you definitely get the sense Koblish is trying to out X-geek Chad and Chris at times. While Bowers and Sims make all sort of obscure X-Men reference, Scott’s channeling some iconic moments from X-history, as well as the people behind those books. That being said, it’s also the book’s biggest flaw. Sometimes the book is a little too inside baseball for it’s own good, and casual readers are properly going to be slightly lost at some of the references. BUT, if you’ve been reading the X-books from 1991-roughly 2012, you’re going to be fine. If you’re hoping that this is the issue that ties the story closer to Secret Wars, you’re out of luck, as it only mentions the Thors in passing, and nothing else related to the mega-event.

4704979-xm922015002_int2-3Even with the book deep in in jokes and nostalgia, casual X-fans will find something to enjoy with this issue. Sims and Bowers Wolverine feels like the more iconic version of the character, which makes his fate all the most amusing. Their Storm is over the top, Beasts is a fun genius, Rogue smoldering in generic southern angst, and like I said last time, their Gambit is PEAK scumbag. If whoever is responsible for “It not you it Gambit” doesn’t win some sort of aware in 2016, comics award ceremonies have failed me. Koblish is equally as impressive, telling a fantastic story while sneaking in all sorts of in-jokes and visuals gags.


This book is tie in comics at it’s finest: creators who are fans of their source material celebrating it’s rich history, even the more ridiculous stuff. X-Men ’92 continues to be everything I wanted from this sort of book, if not more.




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