Tagged: Ms. Marvel

Creative Conversation With Matthew Rosenberg

Matthew Rosenberg has been a steadily rising star in comics for the last few years. After acclaimed run for his work on the gorgeous We Can Never Go Home, he broke down more doors over at Marvel with his Civil War II: Kingpin mini-series. The reception of which lead to the ongoing Kingpin series he’s currently got the fourth issue of coming out. He’s a creator who’s worked on almost every side of comics. He’s as versatile and knowledgeable a comics creator as there is and with the debuting Secret Warriors #1 coming out next week, Matthew Rosenberg will shock the world with his first team book amidst the turmoil of Secret Empire.

A former Forbidden Planet comics slinger like yours truly, we talk about the series he learned to read from, when he knew comics was going to be his way in the world, and what to expect from the mix of characters he’s getting to write in Secret Warriors!

MK: Welcome to another Creative Conversation. I am joined today by THE Matthew Rosenberg. Thanks for coming in and talking with me today, sir.

MR: Thanks for having me

MK: One of the questions that’s always fun to jump in with is, do you recall the first comic or run that stuck with you?

MR: Well the first comic I remember ever holding was an issue of Fantastic Four that my brother had. I remember carrying it around with me and just staring at the art, but having no idea what was actually going on. The first run I ever read was [Chris] Claremont’s X-Men. I basically learned to read with those books.

MK: Did you ever figure out what issue of Fantastic Four it was?

MR: No, actually. I’ve gone back and tried, but once I learned to read I was a big Fantastic Four fan, so all those blurred together in my adolescent brain.

MK: I’m in a similar boat with an issue of John Ostrander‘s Suicide Squad.

MR: Yeah. I am 99% sure it was John Byrne stuff. But who can say for sure.

MK: Well, no one can say it wasn’t John Byrne (laughs). You talked about Claremont’s X-Men run as what you learned to read on, is it safe to say that run is one that’s influenced you as a comics creator?

MR: Yeah. I think it’s safe to say that it heavily influenced me as a person. I feel like every issue I read of that book exposed me to new ideas and ways of thinking. A lot of my core beliefs go back to that run. And, obviously, my love of comics comes from there as well.

MK: That’s amazing to have that connection so early on. Did you have any other runs early on that helped you fall deeper in love with the medium?

MR: The Marvel Star Wars and GI Joe books were really important to me. I still have complete runs of both. The Mike Zeck Punisher stuff was major for me. Claremont and [Frank] Miller‘s Wolverine stuff felt insane to me in the best way. And the original TMNT was really mind blowing for me.

MK: Tell me you’ve been begging Marvel to work on a Star Wars book.

MR: Begging is a strong word. But yes. I am begging.

MK: I’d love to see you on a Boba Fett or Han Solo series.

MR: Those books have been amazing though, Jordan and Heather who edit the Marvel Star Wars line do a great job of curating it. They aren’t just letting any old riff-raff in the door, which hurts me as a creator, but makes me so happy as a fan. Yeah. There is so much I want to see. I always joke about how much I want to do a podracing comic with Daniel Warren Johnson on art. But I really want to do a podracing comic with Daniel Warren Johnson on art.

MK: I’d read it! Do you remember when you decided that you weren’t just going to be a fan anymore but that working in comics was what you wanted to do? And was writing always the path you saw for yourself?

MR: Yeah. I was working in music for a while and was just getting really burned out. I love music and hate the industry. At that point in my life, the only other thing I was really passionate about besides music was comics. They were a constant for me for almost my whole life.  So when I just couldn’t take doing music stuff anymore I started thinking more about making comics. I knew I couldn’t draw, but I wanted to be creative. My whole family are writers. My mom, my dad, my uncle, my brother. So, as much as it’s possible, writing is in my DNA. And I just sort of dove in from there, with no real idea what I was doing.

MK: You jumped in though! I mean one of the coolest things about your journey, knowing you as long as I do, is that you’ve seen a lot of different sides of comics that not every creator is familiar with. Can you talk a little bit about how you found your way in and the different aspects you’ve gotten to work on?

MR: Yeah. I’m sort of obsessive about stuff. I like to know how things work. So, I studied all aspects of comics I could. I was reading coloring guides and watching lettering tutorials, tracking down interviews with editors. But then I really wanted to know about things more hands on. I quit my day job and took a job at Forbidden Planet so I could really see how books were bought and sold. It’s so crucial for comic creators to understand their readers and their partners in retail. And it was eye opening. From there, I took a job at a few small publishers just doing whatever I could. Retail outreach. Publicity. Social media. Pre-production. Editing. I don’t ever like asking someone to do something for me, without really knowing what I am asking of them. So all of that was incredibly helpful. And it also helped me build relationships and open doors when I was ready to be making publishable work. Or semi-publishable work.

MK: I’d argue it’s all damn publishable! I mean you’ve been hitting home runs with characters like Kingpin and Rocket Raccoon, and now you’re getting your own team book in Secret Warriors, out on shelves May 10th! You’re really building a home at Marvel it feels like. How did this series come about? Did you go to Marvel with the idea for this team or was it a little more of meeting in the middle?

MR: Well thanks. I hope Marvel fans like what I’m doing. As for Secret Warriors, it’s a bit of a funny story. Wil Moss, who was my original editor on my Kingpin mini-series got put in charge of the Inhumans. I am a big Inhumans fan but a huge fan of Quake. I immediately emailed Wil to say that I had an idea for Quake that I wanted to pitch. I sent in the pitch and Wil was really enthusiastic, but he came back and said, “What if Quake was part of a team? We need a new team book.” And from there it all came together in bits and pieces. I feel really lucky because I love our cast. Ms. Marvel is bar none one of the best books at Marvel right now. Moon Girl & Devil Dinosaur has been a favorite of mine since it began. Inferno is a great part of Charles Soule‘s Inhumans run. And obviously Karnak is one of the great Marvel characters. So getting all of these wildly different together it just felt like we had a chance to do something really different and not what folks expect. I’m pretty proud of it.

MK: It’s a very cool mix of characters. What are you excited and hope readers will take away from the first issue on May 10th and from the rest of the first arc?

MR: I really hope people like what we do with the characters. I tried to be really faithful to who they are and what they are about, but we are putting some of them in very new and tough situations. I love them all, and really believe in them, but I want to see them tested. And I hope fans do, too. This book is a little darker and crazier than I think people are expecting. Things are really scary in the Marvel Universe right now, and our Secret Warriors are figuring out the best way to fight back. And that’s not always easy.

MK: Team books like this are always so compelling because of the relationships between teammates. Who do you think would butt heads the most, who might be the wild card, what makes these characters the best fit for this team? If they are.

MR: Well the first part is easy. Quake and Ms. Marvel butt heads the most. Ms. Marvel is a hero through and through. She wants to inspire. She wants to lead by example. And Quake was a spy and a weapon trained by Nick Fury. She knows that sometimes you have to do things that don’t sit right with you because they have to get done. I think Moon Girl is a real wild card. She’s not a team player, per se. She’s smarter than everyone else. And she is really just a kid. As for why they are each the best fit for the team? They aren’t. That’s sort of a real point in the book. They are six characters who are thrust together because of awful circumstances. They each have their own reasons for being there, their own agendas, and their own way of doing things. It’s a stretch to call them a team.

MK: That’s awesome.That’s just juicy to think about and see how they can coexist, if they can.

MR: Yeah. I think people will be surprised at where things end up. Or not.

MK: I love you bringing up Quake being Nick Fury’s apprentice. I remember it was you in fact who got me to read Jonathan Hickman‘s run on Secret Warriors where that relationship developed.

MR: Yeah. Hickman’s Secret Warriors is one of my all-time favorite comics. The way he has Quake and Fury working together, this troubled family dynamic, is so beautiful and heartbreaking.

MK: Totally agree and now she’s kind of in the Nick Fury role herself.

MR: It is something we are going to go into as the series goes on. Fury is gone and Quake is still very new to all of this. She’s tough and capable, but she never had the chance to grow into it. Fury dropped her in the deep end.

MK: To bring things back around a little as we head into the home stretch. you talked about how your whole family are writers. Why write comics? What is about comics versus say film or T.V. or the stage that sets it apart for you as a creator?

MR: I love all types of writing. People in my family have written novels, essays, movies, T.V. shows, plays, you name it. But for me, comics has always been my love. Everything about it from the worlds and characters, to the the tactile feel of a comic, to comic shops and culture. I find it all energizing and inspiring. That’s what attracted me.

MK: Thank you for that. If you could go back, what advice would you give the Matthew Rosenberg who was just starting out?

MR: Save more money. Sell more of your stuff you don’t need

MK: Fair. Totally fair. Which creators are on your personal Mount Rushmore of Comics?

MR: Oh man. Okay. Brian Michael Bendis. Frank Miller. Brian K. Vaughan, Chris Claremont. The Hernandez Bros., Osamu Tezuka, Charles Schulz. My Mount Rushmore is bigger than the other one. Wait! I want to change my answer

MK: Do you need a lifeline?

MR: I’d put Bill Watterson over Schulz. It’s blasphemy, I know

MK: I don’t know if it’s blasphemy. Calvin & Hobbes can be read at eight and twenty-eight and fifty-eight and mean something incredibly important and different at each age.

MR: True. I think Peanuts works on that level, too, in some ways. But Calvin & Hobbes always felt more like a narrative to me. Peanuts was much more of just moments in time. Oh, and Alan Moore. I’m bad at this

MK: You’re not bad at this, you just need a bigger mountain And last but not least, if you were working in  a shop and someone came up to you saying, “I’ve never read comics before, what should I read first?” What five books would you tell them to pick up?

MR: Y: The Last Man. V For Vendetta. American Splendor. Powers. Love & Rockets.

MK: It’s a good list…It’s a good list.  Well thank you, sir, for taking the time to talk with me today. I can’t wait to read the first issue of Secret Warriors!

MR: Thanks so much for having me.

Make sure you pick up your copy of Secret Warriors #1 coming out next Wednesday, May 10th!

 

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Chris’ Comics: Marvel Holiday Special

Gwenpool-Holiday-Special-001-(2016)-(Digital)-(Nahga-Empire)-001Marvel Holiday Special

Charles Soule, Langdon Foss, Megan Wilson, Margaret Stohl, Juan Gedeon, Gerry Dugan, Danilo D. Beyruth, Christopher Hasting, Gurihru and more

Marvel $5.99

While I’ve stated plenty of times that I do not paying more than $4 for a comic book, occasionally there’s an exception. Gwenpool, a character who’s presence has jacked up the cost of Howard the Duck to $5, is not one of those reasons. HOWEVER, if she happens to be in a book that also give me a follow up to the excellent Deadpool Vs Hawkeye  mini series, it certainly does work in the character’s favorite. It also helps that I’m a sucker for Holiday Specials, especially ones involving a bunch of my favorite Marvel characters.

The Gwenpool Marvel Holiday Special gives the readers 4 different stories, and all of them are excellent. There’s a 20 page She-Hulk story by Charles Soule and Langdon Foss that puts a nice little bow on that creative’s team run on the recently concluded series, and serves as as the center of the story. It’s not a must read for anyone who’s not previously a fan of the series, but if you enjoyed Soule and company’s run on the book, you’ll love this tumblr_nz58qsaHqu1sqep2mo1_1280story. Joining that story is a Ms Marvel story by Maraget Stohl and Juan Gedeon, which I think is the first time Kamala has been written in a solo story by someone other than co-creator G Willow Wilson!

The Ms Marvel story is also a hoot; Juan Gedeon‘s art isn’t the most eye popping, but he manages to capture all the proper emotions beats, making it more than serviceable. Stohl’s dialogue is terrific, leading a fun little story that casts Ms. Marvel as a Scrooge of sorts. Overall I’m a fan of the story, and glad to see the creative team do the character justice. From there it’s the 10 pages story I was most excited for, which reunites Hawkeyes Clint and Kate with their pal Deadpool. While reading the aforementioned mini series definitely makes the story more enjoyable, it’s not necessary. Much like Ms Marvel, it’s another fun holiday themed story, with that special brand of wacky only a character like Deadpool can bring. It’s also incredibly heart-warming, as Gerry Duggan blends emotions and humor quite while, while Danilo S. Beyruth absolutely kills it on the visuals. It’s obviously my favorite part of the book.

As for the Gwenpool story, it’s a tad tricky to get into. I sure as hell love the creative team involved, but not having read the 2 chapters in Howard the Duck take make the story tumblr_nz47iymTQI1sqep2mo1_1280crafted by Christopher Hasting and Gurihru a tad confusing. It also have very little to do with the holidays, so I’m not entirely sure why it was added to begin with, abd suspect that Marvel is just hoping that Gwenpool can carry a book much like how Spider-Gwen has. But it’s still a neat  story than ends on an incredibly cute note.

The weird little Gwenpool misstep aside, the Marvel Holiday Special is a fun little anthology that offers the reader a lot for 50 pages of content. Granted I am super bias towards this book for the Hawkeye related content, I still found the rest of the book enjoyable, and encourage you to pick it up if you already aren’t for  Hawk or Gwen-related reasons.

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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.

ALSO SECRET WARS AND MS MARVEL SPOILERS BELOW

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: 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: 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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Troy’s Toys But with Comics: First and Last Days Editions

Hey look, it’s  2 books that actually came out recently! Let me review them!

ms-marel-124127Ms. Marvel #16

G. Willow Wilson, Adrian Alphona, Ian Herring

Marvel $2.99

Let’s get this review started  by talking about how good Ms. Marvel and it’s creators are. Solicitations for this issue spoiled the last page of Ms Marvel 16 3-4 months ago, depending on what websites you read, especially if you saw what’s on the cover for 17. It’s something we’ve yet to get on this title yet, wanted forever, and have finally gotten a taste of it. Even knowing it was coming didn’t diminish the moment, and if anything, only made me hungry for more.

Ms Marvel 16 is the first issue of the “Last Days” arc, which ties into Secret Wars. G Willow Wilson, Adrian Alphona and Ian Herring has put Khamala Khan through a lot over these last 16 issues, but how does Ms Marvel stop the end of the world? Knowing what we know from Secret Wars, it seems impossible, even though that Free Comic Book Day let us know that she’ll be fine when all is said and done. Still, Wilson and Alphona make the stakes feel real, without having to sacrifice all of the charm and humor this book is known for.

Then we get to the last two pages. This is comics at it’s finest, and the opposite of the bad feels Kieron Gillen and BKV have given me in the previous weeks. We see our hero doubt herself, but refusing to give up and accept oblivion. It’s inspiring, and it’s hard not to get excited when you reach the previously mentioned final page of this book. It’s a super important moment for the character, and the creative team nail it on every level, from the layout, to the dialogue and choice of colors.

Ms Marvel continues to be stellar, and this issue is no different. It may be the best, which says a lot given the fact it’s a tie-in issue. It super hero comics at it’s finest, fully embracing the legacy set by Jack, Steve and Stan, and taking it to the next level.

 

black-canary-1-promo-121636Black Canary #1

Brenden Fletcher/Annie Wu/Lee Loughridge

DC $2.99

I’ve seen a few comic blogger types refer to this new DC You (#killme) initiative as “The Batgirl effect”, which I think is a fair description. The Fletcher/Stewart/Tarr/Wicks Batgirl got DC attention and praise it hadn’t seen in a while, and it was only a matter of time before would attempt to recapture that magic with some of their other properties. With Black Canary, we see a one of the Batgirl writers teamed with a fan favorite artist, resulting in another strong DC Debut.

Black Canary is a kung-fu rock and roll comic, which is all sorts of my type of premise. Dinah Lance was given a cool new direction in the pages of Batgirl, and now we get to see Black Canary on the road, wrecking venue after venue while keeping her past a secret from her bandmates. However, she’s not the only person in her crew with a secret or two, which leads to violent hitting times  . It’s a fun premise that feels like a natural and much needed  evolution of this incarnation of the character.

I’ve been a fan of artist Annie Wu since her run on the often mentioned Hawkeye. Her take on Black Canary is great, giving her a slick punk rock meets MMA make over. It’s a cool take of the character’s iconic look, giving it a much needed update. Wu’s line work a little harsher and simplistic than her work on Hawkeye, which is fitting for the new status quo. Lee Loughridge‘s colors and Steve Wands letters give the book a cool vibe that can be best described as Sex Pistol ‘Zine meets DC comics. The whole thing feels very Image esque is terms of design, which I’m sure to intentional as to draw in a larger audience. And even if it isn’t, it’s still cool as hell.

On the script side of things, we have Batgirl/Gotham Academy’s Brenden Fletcher, who’s quickly carved out his little corner of the DCU. This is the first exposure to Fletcher’s solo writing duties, and it’s solid. The issue quickly establishes Dinah current M.O. in a cool bit of exposition via a number of new age media. It’s a neat narrative device, and it’s a cool way to catch readers up on Dinah if they haven’t been reading Batgirl. His dialogue is solid, and while there’s nothing that particularly stand out, it’s more than serviceable.

Between this and Starfire, DC “You” is off to a strong start with this new slate of diverse female lead books. Black Canary is another fun and good looking book with a fun premise. DC is finally beginning to fight back after Marvel‘s barrage of great quirky hits from earlier in the year, and I’m curious to see what else the company can produce on this sort of level of quality.

 

 

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Troy’s Toys But with Comics: Date Night Edition

Uncanny_X-Men_Vol_3_33Uncanny X-men #33

Brian Michael Bendis/Kris Anka/ Antonio Fabela

Marvel $3.99

Note: Despite Kitty Pryde and Magik being the focus of the issues, there is zero actual dates in this issue.

This particular issue works on a number of levels. Brain Micahel Bendis uses Marvel continuity to his advantage. Uncanny X-men #33 focuses on Kitty Pryde and Illayana Rasputin’s friendship, while setting the issue on MONSTER ISLAND, which is the best island location in the Marvel Universe. Bendis expertly draws upon both the character’s pasts to tell a compelling story that’s been done a million times before in X-men comics, but everything’s so good the reader doesn’t notice. His voices for these characters ring true and natural, to the point that this may be the best done in one he’s done on Uncanny.

Art wise, the book couldn’t look better. Kris Anka returns to draw this issue, and he’s the perfect fit for it. His Kitty and Magik look great, thanks to Anka’s clean line work and Antonio Fabela‘s flawless colors. Anka’s super expressive faces also help with the emotional beats of Bendis’ scripts, making the whole thing feel so genuine and Chris Claremont-esque. MOST IMPORTANTLY, he channels some serious Wally Wood/Jack Kirby when it comes to drawing the massive residents of Monster Island. He’s a great enough talent that he can mix those gold and silver age era character designs with the modern age looks of Kitty and Magik  and have it look natural. Well as natural as you can get in an X-men comic.

This particular issue of Uncanny X-men rewards you based on how long you’ve been with the franchise. There’s some calls back to the book’s earlier days, and it definitely has that nice, Claremont era vibe to it, without feeling too much like fan fiction. It’s fun read that now only showcases some great art, but shows how good Bendis is when he focuses on a dense done in one issue.

Ms.-Marvel-14-CoverMs Marvel #14

G Willow Wilson/Takeshi Miyazawa/Ian Herring

Marvel $2.99

NOTE: This issue very much has dates and emotions, justifying the title of this article.

It’s been a few months since I’ve wrote about Ms Marvel, but it’s not like I stopped reading the book. It’s been consistently excellent, but much like Saga, it was getting to the point I was running out of ways to praise it. This month’s issue isn’t any less excellent that those non-reviewed issues, but there’s a particular scene I want to talk about.

Said scene is between Khamala’s older brother Aamir, and her bff/boy with a secret crush Bruno. SPOILERS, said moment involves both males discussing Bruno’s crush on Khamala, her new male friend who she’s clearly sweet on, and why it would never work between Ms Khan and her bestie. It’s scene we’ve seen before in all sorts of media, but writer G Willow Wilson brings a cultural spin on it that makes for a really compelling 2 pages. It gives a good reason for it to not happened, which in turn makes it all the most fascinating.

That is not to say Khamala is a no factor in this comic. Our spunky lead is dealing with her first crush, and it results in her being dragged closer to the shared Marvel Universe. Fill in artist Takeshi Miyazawa  (who ironically was also the back up artist on regular series artist Adrian Alphona’s run on Runways) line work is great, slightly more focused and manga-esque than Alphona’s but beautiful none the less. Ian Herring‘s superb colors helps Miyazawa’s art stay in constant with how the title looks normally, without taking away from his particular spin on Ms Marvel and her cast.

Ms Marvel #14 is another delightful issue from one of the best comics on the stand today. It’s a wonderful series that never disappoints and constantly entertains, and it will be interesting to see if this issue’s cliffhanger will play out next month.

 

 

 

 

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Petrie @ The Planet: Wonder Woman and Women in Comics

wonderwomanbolland

Wonder Woman saved my life. When I was young (I was not little, weighing in, at my lightest, about 30 pounds heavier than I am now) I was an adopted, multi-racial, overweight child. I was also, not to be politically incorrect, really gay. I thought there was something terribly wrong with me that I didn’t want to play sports or go fishing, but instead wanted to hang out with the girls, play with dolls and read.

Then along came a metal spinner rack at our local convenience store. There was a woman in a red, white, blue and yellow costume holding back a lightning bolt with a rope (“Hera help me stop this lighting before it splits this building in two!”).

I have no idea what drew me to her but, there she was, right in front of me. Back then comics cost .25 cents (Yes, .25 cents!! I’m showing my age, but no more than the crows feet) and fortunately she was there on Saturday mornings with her friends. Her Super Friends.

Then came Lynda Carter. I’ve made no secret of my love affair with Stephen Amell and the passion he and I share, but Lynda was my first crush. I had her poster. I had her puzzle. I had her doll. More importantly as I got a bit older and began to realize why there was a gulf between myself and other boys my age, I also began to realize that Wonder Woman was different as well.

Wonder Woman was a woman in a field of men. She wasn’t a girlfriend or a damsel in dstress. She did the rescuing. She wasn’t the same as me, but she knew what it was like to be different and I always got the feeling she was okay with it. I knew she’d say to me, “It’s okay to be different and I like you BECAUSE of that.”

Unlike Superman or Batman or, even, Captain America who I thought would like me “even though” I was different. To my six or seven year old self, the space between ‘because of’ and ‘in spite of’ meant the world to me. It meant I would have a friend who would help me through the teasing and bad times.

Now, not to be more maudlin, I say none of this to make anyone feel sorry for me. I say this as a lead in to why I love women in comics. From Wonder Woman (I call her Diana. Yeah, we’re on a first name basis. I’m that cool now.) I was lead to Batgirl, Hawkgirl, Wonder Girl, The Wasp, Scarlet Witch (She and Diana and I had coffee the other day. She’s not crazy about how she’s been written recently, but mostly, she’s NOT CRAZY.)

I love that comic book women are more than one trait.  I know in my heart of hearts that Natasha is the toughest Avenger out there, but she’s dying for human connection. Black Canary could take down Batman if needed but she loves life so much she’ll never be a dark knight. Helena Bertinelli is an angry, vengeful creation, but she never gives up trying to make Gotham and herself better. The Wasp is silly, and flighty and the best field leader the Avengers ever had, keeping an arrogant Hercules in check and giving orders to Thor and Iron Man.

I love that comic book women are bad-ass. Diana will give you her hand in peace, but she’ll make it a fist and take you out if you want to cause trouble. I cannot overstate how much you should read the Brian Azzarello/Cliff Chiang Wonder Woman. It’s an epic masterpiece, blessedly free of continuity. Azzarello makes Diana powerful and compassionate, two qualities which people seem to forget are NOT mutually exclusive. (Editor’s note: the Greg Rucka run is worth a look, too, if you can get your hands on it.)

I love that comic book women teach me how to have fun. Paul Dini’s BLACK CANARY/ZATANNA: BLOODSPORT graphic novel came out early last year and it’s fantastic! Two women who wear fishnets better than anyone on the planet (except our co-worker, Dany) and are friends. It’s a comic full of joy. And fisticuffs.

I love that comic book women teach me about the world. G. Willow Wilson’s MS. MARVEL is a revelation. This book is an addictive read. A teenage, Muslim fan-girl gets superpowers and succeeds in becoming like her idols. I look forward to this book every month. It’s fun and touching and beautifully written. It will make the hurt of losing SHE-HULK slightly less. I’m not sure how Charles Soule pitched SHe-Hulk. “She’s a big, green, super hero lawyer! We’ll make her as awesome as Gina Torres in ‘SUITS!’ And we’ll throw in Patsy Walker and a monkey named Hei Hei!!”  There is no way this book should work, but I fell in love with it. As has everyone else. Shulkie, we hope to see you soon.

You should know how awesome Kelly Sue DeConnick is, but in case you haven’t read her books yet, she’s simply an amazing writer who deserves the heaps of praise she’s gotten. If you want trippy, read PRETTY DEADLY. It’s drawn by Emma Rios and despite what some people say it’s not over-hyped. It’s Death’s Daughter as John Wayne in ROOSTER COGBURN written by H.P. Lovecraft. I’ll let that sink in. If you want a more super-hero piece, you’ve got CAPTAIN MARVEL. Whatever she’s writing, Kelly Sue hits it out of the park. If you haven’t read BITCH PLANET, please do. (Editor’s Note: Her run on GHOST is a solid, oft unsung winner, too.)

If I could have dinner with any working comic creators, I think it’d be Gail Simone and Nicola Scott. If you haven’t read EARTH 2, you should. James Robinson builds a world, and Nicola brings it to life. She not only draws beautiful pictures, she tells a story. and when she and Gail did the SECRET SIX? Well, it’s magic. Twisted, creepy, sick magic. And I loved every last second of it.

Babs Tarr on BATGIRL is genius. She does amazing things with this book, not the least of which she manages to dress a super heroine in casual clothes that a woman would actually wear. Gather around and listen to your new gay best friend, straight guys: when picking out clothes for your girlfriend as a present, stay away from using comics as a guideline; I guarantee, you’ll be wrong.

Marguerite Bennett is another writer that you should take notice of. If you didn’t read her recent spy series BUTTERFLY, then run back to the store and get the few autographed copies we have left. She’s about to start co-writing A-FORCE, an all female Avengers squad and the rumors are true, I did a little dance when I heard about this series.

There are a lot of books I want to tell you about with women who are strong and powerful and sexy and all those things in between, but mostly I want to tell you about women who are written as fully fleshed out characters. Grab Mark Waid’s SUPERMAN: BIRTHRIGHT and you’ll know in an instant why Supes fell in love with Lois Lane. Pick up some Marv Wolfman/George Perez NEW TEEN TITANS and you get the fiery Starfire, the reserved Raven and the glorious Donna Troy, or, as I call her, Julia’s wife and eternal love. Get Kurt Busiek’s ASTRO CITY: VICTORY to have the best comic book study of feminism and heroism, where Winged Victory fights to remain the inspiration she is. Grab some BIRDS OF PREY (honesty time: read any pre-New 52 BOP, but post-New 52, stop after the first trade. The first collection is an awesome take on modern-day paranoia in the information age, after that the book gets, well, not as great.)

Read HAWKEYE for Kate Bishop’s attitude. Read HARK A VAGRANT! for Kate Beaton’s humor. Read anything by Greg Rucka for a male writer who simply writes great characters regardless of gender. Read Ed Brubaker’s CATWOMAN for some moral ambiguity.

More than anything else though, I beg and implore and plead with modern dance for you to read some WONDER WOMAN. She’s a multitude of things but, more important than whether she’s a warrior or a diplomat or anything else, she’s the personification of love. And, more than anything else in the world, don’t we need more love? And that’s why I read comics by and about women. Love.

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Troy’s Toys but with Comics: Young and the Restless edition

This week’s unintentional theme for reviews is #Teens. It would have been #JamieMcKelviecovers, but Kris Anka did the cover to Ms Marvel, also, that hashtag would be crazy long.

STK655085Ms Marvel #10

G Willow Wilson/Adrian Alphona/Ian Herring

Marvel $2.99

After an unexpected hiatus, Ms. Marvel returns to deal with troubled teens and murderous robots via a mad scientist cockatiel. Also yes, I was giggling in delight as I typed those last 3 words, I am an adult.

With issue 9 revealing Ms Marvel’s roots (hint/spoiler: Inhuman), issue 10 is a return to form for the series, using the generational gap in America as a source of inspiration for the issue’s plot. It’s something I haven’t seen done as well since Brian K Vaughn and series artist Adrian Alphona were on Runaways,  mixing actual TEEN issues with comic book super villains. Is it a hoot.

G Willow Wilson was recently signed to an exclusive contract with Marvel, and the dialogue for this issue is all the proof why that was a smart movie. Everything that comes out of Kamala Khan’s mouth sounds genuine for a teenager in the Marvel universe, even when it’s calling for her teleporting pet doggie. Kamala as a  representation of the modern teenager works as well as Hawkeye as the 3o yr old uncomfortable in his own skin, cough cough me.

Alphona and colorist Ian Herring continue to be brilliant on this book. It’s trippy, colorful and so expressive, making it a unique looking book even in Marvel’s wonderfully diverse art styles. Each panel is crammed with details that contain fun little sight gags, Easter eggs or just some funny looking stuff.

Ms Marvel continues to be the best comics to debut from Marvel this year, with the most likable lead to be introduced into the MU in some time. Any and all the success and praise the title has received is warranted, and it’s well worth picking up, as per usual.

wickeddivine_06_2The Wicked + the Divine #6

Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie, Matthew Wilson, Clayton Cowles

Image $3.50

It’s weird to have an Image book go on hiatus for only a month, but it’s certainly welcomed.

I believe in the concept of a multiverse. Somewhere, I’m sure artist Jamie McKelvie didn’t get into comics, but fashion instead, and is brilliant. Luckily we live in the universe where McKelvie draws pretty people who are insanely well-dressed.

The Wicked+The Divine #6 takes place one month after the events of issue 5, and sees our lead still in mourning. I reminds me a lot of the beginning of the recently conclude Legend of Korra season, only with less bending and more…British? Anywho, Laura’s a hot mess, we’re introduced into a rad new character, and the subject of fandoms and conventions are woven into the narrative.

It’s hard to picture a creative team more “With it” then Mckelvie and Kieron Gillen. Despite WickedDivine being urban fantasy, everything feels so realistic and modern, from the dialogue to the use of certain technology. Even Laura’s cracked iphone will make you take notice and give you a sense of familiarity.

Matthew Wilson is arguably my favorite colorist in comics at the moment, and reading his stuff digitally is the best way to experience his talents. His work really makes McKelvie’s art look as good as it does, as his choice in colors ultimately unit McKelvie’s pictures and Gillen words, making for a beautiful package, not to mention a terrific looking book.

This volume of The Wicked + The Divine is off to a smart start, and I’m super curious as to how the subject of fandoms will tie into the story. Their gods murder mystery book is somehow the most human book on the market, and a testament of how talented this team is.

 

 

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Troy’s Toys but with Comics: Girls and their dogs

ms-marvel-8-cover1Ms. Marvel #8

G. Willow Wilson/Adrian Alphona/Ian Herring

Marvel $2.99

Look at that cover. It is a cover that is made of 100% pure joy, as well as paper and probably some chemicals.

Ms. Marvel has been a delight since day 1, but issue 8 may just be my favorite issue to date. As you can tell from the cover, Lockjaw of the Inhumans shows up, possibly in the most amazing and adorable fashion. Which I think is ultimately why I liked this issue so much, because it is the cutest thing to ever cute a cute. G Willow Wilson has done a lot to make Kamala not a stereotypical teenage girl character, so seeing the new Ms Marvel actually go head over feet for her new pet is more of a delight than it is insulting. Her Ms Marvel is a character that’s very 3 dimensional, so seeing her a different side of her every so often is fun.

Issue 8 also sees the return of artist Adrian Alphona, who absolutely owns his return. The book’s art certainly didn’t suffer during his break, especially with master colorist Ian Herring on colors but Alphona’s style is unique, so having him back just feels right. And we as readers are rewarded to some great art that’s beautifully weird, and packed full of small details and hidden jokes. It’s also great to see how Adrian illustrates the use of Ms Marvel’s powers, leading to some cool and hilarious visuals.

Ms Marvel continues to be one of the best books on the stands today, and it’s mostly due to the level of talent and dedication the creative team brings to this book. From cover to cover, the book is a refreshing alternative to most super hero books and is a ton of fun.

hawkeye-020-001Hawkeye #20

Matt Fraction/Annie Wu. Matt Hollingsworth

Marvel $3.99

🙁 🙁 🙁

With the release of issue 20, we only have 2 issues of Hawkeye left. I am the saddest of Chris’ over this fact. The 3 sad faces above prove that.

Issue 20 is artist Annie Wu‘s final issue on the series, and ultimately wraps up Kate Bishop’s California adventure. A lot of questions are resolved and a few reveals are had, making for a satisfying, but not necessarily the happiest of endings.

While the book is a bit of a downer at times, the creators do a fantastic job on this comic. Annie Wu’s art is super expressive, and the range of emotions she can put into her characters and environments is impressive. Poor Kate Bishop takes a beating in this issue, and Wu does a bang up job of showing it, with some nasty bruises, bandages and messed up hair. But her Hawkeye is a warrior, and the final 2 pages show how much of a bad ass Katie-Kate can be when push comes to shove. Matt Hollingsworth’s colors really do Annie Wu pencils justice, mixing a lot of bright colors you’d associate with California with the traditional Hawkeye purple. It’s the same flat coloring style you see when David Aja is drawing the book, but it’s different enough to compliment Annie Wu’s style in all the right ways.

Matt Fraction‘s script of course brings the entire package together. His dialogue is sharp,  the reveals he drops land and nothing feels out of place. It’s impressive to see how much he got out of Kate’s “new” supporting cast in such a brief period of time spent with them, but they all feel so fleshed out. And his Kate also remains a fun character that you can help but cheer for, especially when some of the shit hits the fans. He’s done wonders for the character, and I consider him the definitive voice of Kate, despite having nothing to do with her creation.

With this and Superior Foes of Spider-Man wrapping up soon, I’m really bummed to see 2 of my favorite books come to an end. However much like SUP FOES, Hawkeye’s ending seems like it’s coming to a natural ending point, and I’m sure the creators will stick the landing. The Kate Bishop California adventure does suffer a bit due to countless delays, but ultimately it does it’s job of ending one story and setting up the final story. I don’t want this book to end y’all, but I’m eager to see what Fraction, Hollingsworth and David Aja do with the final 2 issues after this issue.

 

 

 

 

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Troy’s Toys But with Comics: BERFday edition.

Hey today’s my birthday! Totally not relevant to anything we’re going to discuss tonight, except for like 1 gag, but you can wish me a happy birthday in the comments section if you dare!

portrait_incredibleSecret Avengers #7

Ales Kot/Michael Walsh/Matthew Wilson

Marvel $3.99

Deadpool and Hawkeye team-up time is exactly the type of birthday gift I wanted. Thank you team Secret Avengers.

Deadpool is a character that if not handled properly can ruin your story and bringing any momentum to a screeching halt. Luckily, that’s not the case for Secret Avengers #7, where Deadpool’s 4th Wall breaking and straight up insanity makes for a hell of a read. It also helps that Ales Kot’s version of the character is genuinely funny here, using himself to interact with Wade on the page.It’s not the first time we’ve gotten such, but it’s certainly the best execution of it in awile.

Michael Walsh, Matthew Wilson & VC’s Clayton Cowles also get in on the fun, providing some hilarious (and sometimes chicken-based) visual gags and sound effects. The book has been plenty funny in the past, but this issue really takes things to the next level all while advancing the plot. Walsh and co also do a lot of experimenting with layouts, using double spreads, pages with 10+ panels and some other interesting choices that I rather not spoil. It’s the title of art that deserves more praise than it’s getting.

Secret Avengers was a great book in a week that saw a lot of strong releases. It’s the type of Marvel Comic that justified the $4 price tag.

portrait_incredible (1)Ms Marvel #7

G. Willow Wilson/ Jacob Wyatt/ Ian Herring

Marvel $2.99

Jacob Wyatt‘s 2 issue guest stint on Ms Marvel returns this week with a delightful wrap of. Kamala’s team up with Wolverine has the pair fight a giant alligator and deal with a classic death trap while discussing  Ms. Marvel’s new career path. Under lesser creators, this book would risk being preachy, almost a “very special episode” type of book. Luckily for us, the readers, the creative team remains flawless, and the end result is a very good comic.

I’m the type of dude who doesn’t like Wolverine, as I’ve suffering from Wolverine exhaust ever since I got into comics. That being said, Wolverine hanging out with teen lady super heroes is something I like…..oh man, I just re-read that past sentence, I apologize how creepy it sounds. Sorry :/

Creepy-ass commentary is now over. And since G Willow Wilson is pretty much perfect on this issue, which ends on a super fun note, we’ll talk about Jacob Wyatt some more. I really loved his art during this arc, as he was just as expressive and animated as regular artist Adrian Alphona, but very much of his own style. His Khamala is adorable, which….nope, no more creepy as commentary, sorry.

But yeah, another enjoyable Ms Marvel, with some great art, fantastic dialogue and the set up for some really awesome guest stars. All under a highly amusing cover by Jamie McKelvie that dropped right during selfie-month in DC. Forbidden Planet’s best selling series is a best seller for a reason, and the quality seen in this issue is proof of that.

 

tumblr_n5xgrzsXkf1tuoa2wo1_500The Wicked + The Divine #3

Kieron Gillen/Jamie McKelvie Matthew Wilson/Clayton Cowles.

Image $3.50

Brilliant, simply brilliant.

Much like the first 2 issues, the Wicked + the Divine is a gorgeous books that has some of the best dialogue in comics. It’s also incredible smart, and isn’t afraid to challenge the readers, making you wanting to re-read it several time to pick up on everything.

Also the Stephanie Hans variant is gorgeous and continues my streak of buying variant covers for this series.

And it’s just not Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie doing some career defining stuff. Matthew Wilson (again) color’s are the realness, and Clayton Cowle‘s lettering is the type that you stand up and take notice off. It’s several creators coming together to make a fantastic comic.

Wicked/Divine is one of those books that makes picking out a favorite Image book difficult. While it may initally come across as collections of Gillen’s greatest hits (Music and Gods as themes), it’s definitely taken it’s own form and the results couldn’t be better. It’s an amazing comics, one that stands out among a week of fantastic releases.

 

 

 

 

 

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Troy’s Toys But With Comics: The Wicked + Doge

Before I start yakking about comics, I just wanted to say I also picked up Secret Avengers #5 this past week and dug it. But I’m saving the proper review for next week, as Saga’s the only book I’m picking up, and I would like to talk more than just one book.

 

detailMs. Marvel #6

G. Willow Wilson/Jacob Wyatt/Ian Herring

Marvel $2.99

Behold, the first use of the Doge meme in a Marvel Comic.

Jacob Wyatt swings by to lend a hand with the art this arc, where Ms. Marvel takes the fight to her new arch nemesis The Inventor. We get some answers as to WHY the Inventor is exactly is the way he is, and I could not be happier with the answers. Over the top super villains are my jam, and this is VERY much an over the top super villain which an insane origin.

Kamala also has her first big-time team up with a major Marvel hero, and responds in the most adorable fan girlish way possibly. For hints as to who this character is, buy the comic, or IDK, google the cover for issue #7. And without spoiling much, I like the reasons why said hero is here, and the chemistry written between the two of them is perfect. As is the such of said Doge meme, which is the most Reddit comment I could make.

Wyatt and series regulars G. Willow Wilson and Ian Herring continue this book’s hot streak, perfectly blending our heroes’ personal life with PUNCHING EVIL ALLIGATORS. Wyatt’s art is a little different from what we’re used to, but it’s still very expressive, with detailed backgrounds and very animated characters. It’s very much another indie/alt comic vibe that Marvel has been excelling at for the last couple of years. Herring’s color pallet keeps the book looking good as per usual, and Wilson’s script hits all the right notes, being equal parts charming, sincere and action packed.

I’m once again finding myself at a lose of words when it comes to finding new ways to praise Ms. Marvel and it’s creative team. It may end up surpassing Hawkeye and Superior Foes of Spider-Man as the best book Marvel puts out if it can continue to maintain this level of quality.

comics-the-wicked-and-the-divine-2-coverThe Wicked + the Divine #2

Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie, Matthew Wilson, Clayton Cowles

Image $3.50

WEEKLY CONFESSION: I was willing to wait for the first volume of Wic+Div to hit trade, as that’s what I did with Phonograms, but then Chip Zdarsky (Sex Criminals) went and did the variant covers for issue 2, so…..

And I’m glad I did! Issue 2 contains some AMAZING dialogue by Kieron Gillen that can’t help but make you fall in love with the cast. Luci (aka Lucifer) shines the brightest among the cast. There’s a scene in particular that takes place in a prison that contains some hilarious dialogue, and does a great job of fleshing out the character that’s justifies the $3.50. One of the reaosns it works so well is the fantastic art from Jamie McKelvie and Matthew Wilson, that’s up there with their Young Avengers stuff. There’s a few pages in the book where McKelive and Wlison experiment with colors and layout that are fresh and amazing looking, and I’m  glad to see them to continue to experiment and innovate with their styles.

But ultimately what wins me move over with this title is how refreshing and honest it is. It’s about people and gods in a terrible world doing things that they didn’t entirely think out, and will have to eventually answer for them. It’s fantastic, and the type of comics I’m not surprised is coming out from Image and this particular creative team.

uncx2013023-dc11-page-001-102321Uncanny X-men #23

Brian Michael Benid/Kris Anka

Marvel $3.99

This is going to sound harsh and a bit manchildish, but ugh, what a waste of Kris Anka.

Anyone who’s been reading this column for the last year can confirmed that I’m bee quite ‘BOUT Uncanny X-men as of late.  Brian Micahel Bendis and his art team have been  moving the story along quite nicely. But this issue man. Ugh.

And again, I place the blame entirely at Bendis’ feet. Anka’s art was great, especially the bit where Dazzler is having a mental breakdown in a bathroom. But this script is a mess. The cover implies that this is a Original Sin tie-in, and the solicit promises an earth shattering change to the X-men.

And despite Emma Frost actually appearing in the proper Original Sin book, there’s nothing that ties this is issue into it. And there’s no reveal of any sort regarding this will, except for a weak as hell cliffhanger. Instead we get the introduction of a new character complete with a cliche origin story, an extended She Hulk cameo and teasing some other mysteries without any resolve. It’s something that Bendis has been guilty of in the past and I find it quite irksome. I’m not saying the book has to be slavishly devoted to the solicitation, but c’mon, this was nearly a completely book than what we were promised.

So yeah, Uncanny looked better than it read. A shame, and hopefully something that will be fixed next issue.

 

 

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Troy’s Toys But With Comics: On time for a change

8435Outcast #1

Robert Kirkman/ Paul Azaceta

Image $2.99

Severe lack of Andre 3000 & Big Boi, despite being set in the dirty south. -11/10.

 

Now that my mandatory Outkast joke is made, I’ll attempt to be serious about Outcast, aka that new Robert Kirkman joint. I’ll be honest, despite KIRKMAN being arguably one, if not THE, most powerful man in comics, his books have done nothing for me as of late. The Walking Dead is misery porn, and Invincible, despite looking great, has hit Mark Millar levels of misogyny. That being said, artist Paul Azaceta is the dude who drew one of my favorite modern Spider-Man stories, $2.99 for 48 pages is a mega bargain, and worst comes to worse I can probably sell this book for double or triple digits once/if the TV adaption hits Showtime.

That being said, I dug Outcast #1. Despite it feeling KIRKMAN wrote this book straight for  a TV  adaption ( again, not unlike Millar), it’s a solid first issue. The script is fairly straight forward (our lead Kyle is an accidental exorcist, but there’s a twist!), and Azaceta draws the hell out of it. Paul, with Elizabeth Bretweiser‘s amazing colors, really do a great job setting up the book realistic yet creepy scenes well, doing  West Virginia proud. And when this book needs to be spooky and brutal, they really get the job done. There’s a bunch of stuff that may make more squeamish readers cringe,  pushing that Mature Only rating. It’s a gorgeous book, and I’m glad Kirkman’s level of success is giving another great artist some major exposure.

While Outcast is not my type of comic, it’s one that may appeal to you. And again, $3 for 48 pages is definitely worth it ( Oppose to Marvel’s bullshit $5 20 page comics). Hopefully the quality of the scripts match the quality of the art sooner than later.

 

download Saga #20

Brian K Vaughan, Fiona Staples

Image $2.99

 

Vaughn and Staples continues to twist that dagger they planted in their readers hearts after that last issue reveal. The book adds another tragedy to the current arc, and man, it’s bad times for everyone.

 

That being said, it’s misery handled well. Much like Sex Criminals #6 there’s some humor and general cuteness sprinkled throughout the book, which kinda cushions the blow when the bad times happen. And the half of dozen new characters BKV & Staples introduced last issue continue to get fleshed out, even though most of them are gonna lead to more BAD TIMES.christears in the near future.

So yeah, Saga continues to be a modern masterpiece despite destroying the emotions of its’ readers. Good job team Saga 🙁

 

portrait_incredible (3)Ms Marvel #5

G Willow Wilson, Adrian Alphona, Ian Herring

Marvel, $2.99

 

There’s a bit of dialogue in this issue that reminds me that Hurricane Sandy issue of Hawkeye. Since it was delivered by Kate Bishop, I now desperately want Lady Hawkguy & Ms Marvel to be BFFs and have awesome ward adventures.

 

Now that I’ve pitched my fan fiction, let me talk the actual issue. First off, holy crap, the final page of this issue may have just introduced my new favorite ridiculous Marvel villain. And I think this is the first Marvel comic of the last 5-10 years that actually had a training montage. Wilson, Alphonsa and Herring haven’t deliver a mediocre issue of Ms Marvel yet, and the streak Continues with issue 6. It’s a solid ending for the first major arc and it sets up the future of the book quite nicely.

And man, this book continues to look amazing. It’s bright, crazy expressive and just a fun comic. It’s perfect for both new readers and jaded Marvel readers looking for a lighter fun read. It’s literally the perfect all ages Marvel book that takes place in the main 616.

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Troy’s Toys, but with Comics: Mall Rabbit edition

Happy Day Before Left Over Easter Candy Goes on sale, FPNYC Faithful! May you not be struck with the diabetes until you deem your own life meaningless.

Jesus Christ, that was a dark intro.

Anywho, Awesomecon & Wondercon are currently going down in Washington DC and Somewhere, CA, and I’m just tired looking at other people’s photos. I am getting old, and am  possibly still winded from PAX East. I suggest that you never get old dear reader, it is the worst.

Happy Fun Comics Review Time:

 

Uncanny_X-Men_Vol_3_20Uncanny X-men #20

Brian Michael Bendis, Chris Bachalo, Tim Towsend and others.

Marvel, $3.99

Let’s start this discussion by pointing out how sharp that cover it!  Oh sure it’s vaguely reminiscent of 3 Marvel Universe hand guide images overlapping each other, but it’s simplistic enough to work. Good job by Chris Bachalo and Tim Townsend on it.

The interior is also pretty great. After a false start, the X-Men vs SHEILD throw down we’ve been promised begins, with Scott Summers and friends firing off the first few rounds. The “renegade” X-Men finally begin to live up to their rep, but not in a way that makes them undesirable leads (Unless you’re one of those weirdos who’ve never liked Cyke, shame on you).

And props to Brian Michael Bendis for being able to juggle so many plot lines in this issue without it becoming overbearing.  Seeds planted from earlier arc begins to blossom, and hopefully this is the arc where we finally get some answers.

I was kind of worried that the hot streak that Uncanny X-men has been one would come to an end once a multi-chapter arc started up, but I am happy to report that my concerns were for naught (so far). Chris Bachalo and his team of inkers continue to provide excellent art, much to the surprise of no one. And Bendis’ scripts continue to be the perfect blend of humor, action and drama. Ending this book on a Saga-worthy cliffhanger only makes this issue of Uncanny X-men more of a can’t miss, and I’m excited to see what’s in store for Cyclops and the others next month.

 

portrait_incredible (2)Ms. Marvel #3

G. Willow Wilson, Adrian Alphona, Ian Herring

Marvel, $2.99

Years of sub par events and multi-chapter storylines have left me burnt out on decompressed comics for the most parts. Especially when it comes to origins stories that could be told in 1 or 2 chapters. But like Bendis, Bagely and Ultimate Spider-Man before them, Team Ms Marvel continues to deliver with the 3rd chapter of this 5 part  origin story.

 

There’s a lot of similar story beats between Spider-Man and Ms Marvel, and I mean that in the best sort of way. G. Willow Wilson and  Adrian Alphona are doing an excellent job building up both Kamala Khan and the world around her. They’ve realized that giving the new Ms. Marvel a good supporting cast and dynamic locale to operate in is crucial to good story telling, and Ian Harring‘s color art make it a vibrant setting . Much like Manhattan and Spidey, Jersey City and Ms Marvel compliment each other, and the comic is stronger because of it.

The incredibly diverse supporting cast consisting of Kamala’s family, friends and peers is not unlike Spidey’s various colleagues, but are very much their own characters. They come across as fresh faces, opposed being the archetype that Stan Lee & Steve Dikto established back when they redefined super hero comics in the early 60s.

With Kelly Sue Deconnick doing wonderful things with Carol Danvers over the last few years, it seemed difficult to think Marvel would be able to strike oil twice with characters titled Ms Marvel. But after 3 issues, it seems that team Ms Marvel are willing to defy everyone’s expectations, possibly surpassing the book it spun out of it. Which is great for both the creators and readers in the end.

 

All-New_Ultimates_1_Nakayama_Cover-600x899All New Ultimates #1

Michel Fiffe, Amilca Pinna, Nolan Woodward

Marvel $3.99

With the ol’ pull list looking a little thin over the new few weeks ( all my Image books are on hiatus, Hawkeye’s been delayed a month), I decided to revisit the Ultimate Universe this week. I haven’t purchased a Ultimate title in forever ( I have been following Miles over in USM via the Marvel Digital Unlimited thingie though), but when I heard Michel Fiffe of COPRA fame was penning an Ultimates relaunch, I was more than willing to give this book a shot.

 

Fefe, along with Amilcar Pinna and Nolan Woodard don’t do anything ground breaking with their debut issue, but there’s a ton of interesting ideas and concepts dropped within 20 pages. For example, there’s exactly 0 white dudes on this team, which says a lot, given how Caucasian heavy the 616 Avengers roster issue is. And the Ultimatization of several more obscure Dwayne McDuffie/Mark Gruenwald -created characters is welcomed, as there’s some potential for cool things to be done with them.

The surprisingly dense script is accompanied by some good visuals. Pinna’s art’s good for the most part, but there’s some off-looking panels here and there (like the 2 pages Kitty Pryde shows up on). Fortunately, Nolan Woodard’s colors are exceptionally strong and do a lot for the penciled and ink art. It’s very neon for a lack of better word, but not in a 80s revival way, and works for the “Warriors meets Taiyo Matsumoto” vibe Fife is going for.

Minor art issues aside, I really dug this book. While I’m not expecting the 2nd coming of COPRA or anything, I have high hopes for this series, and am excited to see what the creators have in store.

 

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Troy’s Toys, but with Comics : Uncanny Sex Marvels

Once again, I am extremely too proud of that title.

Books what shipped this week that you may dig!:

Buffy the Vampire Slays Season 10 #1

Witcher #1

Animal Man #29

Superman Unchained #6

Wonder Woman #29

American Vampire Second Cycle #1

Bad Ass #3

Samurai Jack #6

Fuse #2

Lazarus #7

Rocket Girl #4

Daredevil Vol 4 #1

Iron Man #23.Now

Thor God of Thunder #20

Adventure Time #26

Sixth Gun #39

WWE Superstars #3

Shadowman #15

X-O Manowar #23

REVIEWS!

 

 

Uncanny_X-Men_Vol_3_19.NOW_TextlessUncanny X-Men 19.NOW

Brian Michael Bendis/ Chris Bachalo/ Tim Townsend

Marvel $3.99

FACT: That pet variant is both frightening and terrifying, stay the fresh hell away from it.

It’s UMX Vs. S.H.I.E.L.D. (part 1), despite the fact that neither group appear on panel together at any given point. THAT BENDIS DECOMPRESSION LYFE Y’ALL!

What we get is the reveal of Dazzler’s fate (it’s super icky!), S.H.I.E.L.D. grilling a former X-man, and Scott’s team versus a whole bunch of new Sentinels! Which is still a fun read, don’t get me wrong, but has nothing to do with that cover. Chris Bachalo and his army of inkers are all in fine form, with some really cool Sentinel redesigns, some sick looking spells from Magik, and what is probably an intentional horrible new costume for Goldballs. Yes he’s a thing. Yes, that name is definitely intentionally horrible.

Bendis and company don’t do anything ground-breaking with this issue, but they seem to be setting up a fun little story that will hopefully wrap up several yet to be addressed plot points the book has set up in it’s first year. It’s off to a good start, I just hope it delivers, as this book has been on a hot streak as of late and I’d hate to see it end with this arc.

Screen-shot-2014-03-18-at-10.09.55-PM-424x400Sex Criminals #5

Matt Fraction/Chip Zdarsky

Image, $3.50

This issue starts off with a MATURE READERS ONLY recap poem. And with that, I officially forgive Matt and Chip for the delays the book has been facing.

Issue 5 officially wraps up the first volume of Sex Crim, changing the book’s status quo a bit. Nothing too big though, as this book is called Sex Criminals for a reason after all.

Also the whole “pooping in the plant thing” is explained, which I was surprised that it would be at all. Had it pegged as a one-note gag at best, but there’s a deeper meaning behind it. “Deeper” is a relative term by the way.

Something I really like about Sex Crim is that is requires re-reads. These are due to Chip Zdarsky putting a ton of work into his panels, and hiding all sorts of disgusting and awesome jokes everywhere. Do they further the narrative? No. Did I laugh out loud several times reading this issue? Yes. Maus this book ain’t, and it never claimed to be. Issue 5 feels a little slow in terms of development, but it’s definitely a book worth buying. The hiatus until June may kill me (HYPERBOLE!)

portrait_incredible (1)Captain Marvel #2

G. Willow Wilson, Adrian Alphona, Ian Herring

Marvel $2.99

On paper, this opening pages of Ms Marvel sound like a horror book. A mysterious fog blows into Jersey City and a young girl becomes a shape shifting freak as black helicopters circle Manhattan. It’s not until a transformation gag kicks in 4 pages deep does the book remind us this is a spandex affair.

That’s not a bad thing by the way. After an incredibly strong debut issue, Wilson, Alphona and friends deliver a great follow up issue, as Kamala tries to figure out what exactly she’s turned into, and springs into action for the first time. Also family drama. It’s an fun read, with some really clever use of faith interwoven into the narrative. Plus some “be careful for what you wish for” type stuff, going back to my opening statement about how this book feels kind of feels like a horror title in the beginning.

With gorgeous visuals from Adrian Alphona and Ian Herring and some incredibly endearing dialogue from G. Willow Wilson (and a sharp cover by Jamie McKelve), Ms Marvel is shaping up to be a can’t miss title from the House of Ideas.  With Saga on hiatus on May, this may be THE book to be reading in 2014.

 

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