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Face Front, True Believers! A Marvel Comics Thread

Adrenaline

Post Reader
(He/Him)
The final issue of MacKay's Black Cat run popped up on Unlimited this week. A really fun series overall. It's basically a heist series set in the Marvel Universe, with her and her crew stealing artifacts from various heroes to set up a really big score. It ties into the Infinity Stone people story that's been going on at the end, but in a human way that doesn't get too overwrought.
 

Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
(He/Him)
IMG_0240.png
 

Positronic Brain

Out Of Warranty
(He/him)
It's a pity Hickman won't finish his X-Men run because I just read Inferno, the end of what was supposed to be the end of the first act but is now the end of his run, and, man, he did have a good plan. From the way the machines' motivation mirrors the mutants', down to the same speech and savior from the future to the (in hindsight) ridiculously obvious reasons why Moira doesn't want any precogs in Krakoa, the arc keep bringing twist after twist and everything just fitted. Hickman was building a very tight puzzle, and I hope Marvel doesn't mess up with the pieces he left behind.

(BTW, I love how in the end the whole mess that was Inferno was just character driven. Of course Emma would react the way she did and of course Doug Ramsey would distrust authority and build backdoors and kick ass, and of course Magneto and Xavier would do what they do best : trip on their hubris and screw up big time. Let's pour one for the best X-Men run since, dunno, Claremont and Byrne?)
 

Positronic Brain

Out Of Warranty
(He/him)
Oh, buddy...
I just want them not to screw up this so much that Hickman refuses the bajillion dollars offer to fix their whole mess and reset the universe to a place where he can launch something similar to the grand finale he had planned originally.
 

Adrenaline

Post Reader
(He/Him)
I think the writers they have picking up the slack are generally good ones. Gillen and Ewing both writing X-Men titles? Yes, I'll take that
 

gogglebob

The Goggles Do Nothing
(he/him)
I had a long flight, so I decided to reread Marvel: The End, the seminal Jim Starlin jaunt primarily about Thanos accidentally destroying/saving the universe. And, to be clear, I still enjoy the story/art/etc, and would recommend it to anyone that appreciates the Marvel Universe and Thanos/pre-Annihilation Cosmic Nonsense in said universe. That said, I forgot how incredibly dated this 2003 story happens to be, as there is an ongoing bit at the top of the tale about all the world's leaders being kidnapped, and it feels like entire pages are given over to "wow, President George W. Bush would be totally out of his depth in this situation". And I don't disagree! But man is it not something I want to think about when I could be seeing a purple dude punch a space magician until a pharaoh falls down. Good stuff, Starlin, but we need everyone to stop trying to be contemporary right now. Think of the trades!

ADDITIONAL EDIT: Oh yeah, the story comes up with a sort of "reason" for heroes/villains being seemingly randomly resurrected, and makes a point that in the "new" Marvel Universe, death will matter, and no one will come back from death. To which: lol. lmao. Nice hustle, guys.
 
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Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
(He/Him)
I’m still more hopeful than sold in the new She Hulk series (no complaints, it just hasn’t hooked me yet), but it’s definitely the kind of book I’d read just for the faces;

image.png
 

Johnny Unusual

(He/Him)
I finished reading Jack Kirby's The Eternals. It's a weird beast, and I went in expecting unused ideas from New Gods but it is different. New Gods is him mixing the cosmic with the Prisoner and is about his optimism of youth, while The Eternals, taking into account the old saw as "superhero as new mythology" brings back a sense of scale. Boy, does he.

Screenshot_20211108-202647_Marvel-Unlimited-1024x782.jpg

FYenHnDr_0807170839291sbpi.jpg

(why is there a Stan Lee signature on this?)

The Eternals instead is inspired by Chariot of the Gods mixed with a sense of breath-taking epic scale, and manages in a world of flying men constantly doing the impossible make the Celestials mind-boggling in scope and power. They are unknowable but there is a hope that one day mankind can evolve to do it. There's a sense that the Deviants are the recurring threat but they aren't necessarily the "villains". Kro is the most face-forward opponent but he does come up with plots but it's also implied they are the products of a broken culture and the Deviants have capacity for good. I feel like this is a series with antagonists but it isn't about the villains, the primary concern is meeting the worth of the unknowable gods and even the mystery of "what are we even supposed to do in this world." The Gods are real but can't provide answers, not out of evil but simply because it would be impossible for a human to explain stuff to an ant.

Most of the protagonists aren't interesting but there are some good ones. Thena is a watered down Big Barda but she gets two great sidekicks, the beautiful Reject, a deviant who looks human (and strikingly handsome) whose visage belies his barbarism while Karkas, another Deviant, is desperately trying to rip himself a way from his hateful culture. Sersi is also really great, a sorceress who calls people ding dongs and seems to enjoy her power instead of being boring and bloviating like most of them. And her bestie is an older stuffy but good-hearted dude who she either is interested in or at least enjoys watching his mind get absolutely blown with each revelation and enjoys seeing the world through his eyes. Kro is also great, a devil-looking guy who leads the Deviant armies but seems to have a philosophy beyond "WAR!" There's a lot of untapped potential in him and I worry that most other writers made him a regular baddie or at best Magneto for Deviants. It's a shame because I really like him as a co-lead but a messier anti-hero than the other characters. But Ikaris, Makkari, Zuras are damned snoozes, just boring white dudes flying around and saying Kirby stuff but without a real tangible identity (Makkari comes close but that's simply because he doesn't MIND having fun sometimes).

The Eternals never gets to where it is headed, but there are a lot of interesting promises made. It wants to be a little more mysterious and ponderous but after the "Uni-Mind" story, the series loses it's way. There's an interesting annual (where it isn't clear where it takes place in the timeline) and a one-off with an unnamed Eternal but then there's a bizarre two and a half-parter with a cosmic powered robot Hulk. It's clear this story is the result of editorial mandates for a Marvel character appearance and Kirby probably didn't want this to take place in Marvel continuity proper (it is implied that Marvel Comics are fictional in the Eternals) and the compromise of Hulk but Not Hulk made NO ONE happy. The action is actually pretty good and it's a source of unintentionally fun dumbness but it reduces the series to generic action rather than action that spices up the actual central narrative. Then the Hulk disappears (where) and a new, actually scary villain shows up but he and the villain following reduce the series to something more generic. the last 5 issues have great Kirby action pacing but everything else feels like a detour from the interesting stuff and considering it's cancelled, it never gets to right the ship.

Eternals is worth checking out but once they get out of the Uni-Mind, the giant life-form made up of most of the Eternals, this element seemingly designed to kick off act two with a stronger sense of direction for the Eternals mission (which is implied to be bringing humans, Eternals and Deviants together as one), instead, it's all just chucked to the winds. Shame, it could have been Kirby's true epic. But when Kirby makes plans, editorial laughs...
 

Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
(He/Him)
Finally took ClanDestine off my backlog and into my active log. First, as it’s an Alan Davis written and drawn book. It’s Absolutely Gorgeous and Weird as All Hell

image.png


ive read one issue and it’s already one of my favorite Marvel books of the 90s
 

Adrenaline

Post Reader
(He/Him)
Read Last Annihilation and finished Ewing's Guardians of the Galaxy and S.W.O.R.D. Everything he touches continues to turn to gold.
 

Falselogic

Techno-Threadcromancer
(they/them)
So, I'm playing the Guardians of the Galaxy video game. And it turns out that it has Adam Warlock and Magus in it. But, they seem very different from the Adam Warlock and Magus I recall from when I read comics (Infinity Gauntlet, War, Crusade) but I get the feeling this is not the same Adam Warlock and Magus as those are? Am I correct? Or are the same and they've just been through a lot since then. It feels like they have to be different because Drax should know Adam Warlock (Drax was given an infinity stone by Adam in War or Crusade I believe, and was part of the Squad that Adam assembled at the end of the Infinity sets.) Or is that a different Drax?
 

Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
(He/Him)
The game GotG characters are kind of a hybrid of the Movie and Comic interpretations, instead of being a straight adaptation of either
 

gogglebob

The Goggles Do Nothing
(he/him)
Anyone here ever get around to reading Avengers Forever? The '98 Busiek/Stern series featuring the Avengers fightin' through time? I read it for the first time recently. I was led to understand it was well received in its time, and, while it is "different" from modern comics, it was one of those "essential" pre-2000 Avengers stories.

But, oh man, it is practically unreadable at times. There is an entire issue where a disposable villain explains previous storylines going back to the (real life) 60's, and retcons them all for some greater purpose that still doesn't make all that much sense anyway. I don't know if this was an attempt to "solve" old continuity errors or... something? But it reads like... I guess... Like an Avengers Final Exam... and it is just about as fun...
 

Adrenaline

Post Reader
(He/Him)
Yeah, Forever ties into Busiek's run on the regular Avengers title, which I understand to be fairly continuity-heavy. I would be surprised to see it on a list of books for casual fans to check out.
 
I had the exact opposite experience with Avengers Forever. I'm not familiar with the continuity problems it references, but it was clear that Busiek was having a blast tying up decades of loose ends with an elaborate Kang the conquerer time travel story, and that translated to it being enjoyable for me as a reader as well. Also, I love 90s Carlos Pacheco art.

It's definitely a series that revels in Avengers history, but I appreciated it for what it was even without that background. There are definitely times when you can feel Busiek audibly sighing with relief as he resolves why there are multiple contradictory explanations of what happened to the original pre-Fantasic Four Human Torch after decades of being bothered by this, and personally seeing writers wrangle weird continuity is one of the joys of reading big two comics.

Of the Busiek Avengers titles, I would say that the Avengers Forever maxi-series is the continuity heavy one, while the main Avengers title running at the same time is much more back to basics and approachable while also clearly drawing on history. So, I'd recommend the normal Busiek Avengers ongoing for someone who doesn't get enjoyment out of an elaborate time travel story that's interested in the nooks and crannies of continuity.
 

Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
(He/Him)
Any time Busiek is able to just completely immerse himself in the fine details of comic book history and make all the connections he can is a good day for ol’ Kurt.
 

Positronic Brain

Out Of Warranty
(He/him)
I am still somewhat skeptical of the post-Hickman X-Men world but "Immortal X-Men" #1was a blast. Helps that Gillian's Sinister is the most interesting the character has ever been.
 
Any time Busiek is able to just completely immerse himself in the fine details of comic book history and make all the connections he can is a good day for ol’ Kurt.

Yeah. Thinking back on it, I definitely went into Busiek's Avengers comics from the perspective of having caught up with all of Astro City and looking for more Busiek playfulness with classic superhero history. And from that perspective, Avengers Forever in particular really delivered!

The main Busiek Avengers book is where to go for rock solid superhero fundamentals, though, instead of virtuoso continuity tightrope walking.
 

Peklo

Oh! Create!
(they/them, she/her)
The Busiek/Pérez run of Avengers was my gateway to the team when I was very young, and that it was integrated into continuity and conscientiously worked off it was exactly what hooked me since it gave off that legitimate sensation of an evolving world that I had not witnessed transpire but was made to believe that it existed beyond the borders of the page in my hands. It was only bolstered by Pérez's ridiculous aptitude in juggling dozens upon dozens of characters in a story, on the page, or in a panel--what a storyteller. Rest in peace.
 
Busiek and Pérez were honestly an inspired combination. They're both guys who think it would be a good idea for their relaunch to include every previous Avenger in the first issue, and they're talented enough to somehow make it feel like more than just easter eggs and fan service, although it's also obviously that too. Whenever I read an Avengers comic book my favorite part is when they have a meeting about who's going to be on the team, and this run starts with the biggest possible meeting about who's going to be on the team.

In general, the best part of Avengers to me is when it leans into being a bureaucracy that also features some action scenes. See also: When Janet Van Dyne decides to hold a recruitment drive to find more women for the team.

WzussN7.jpg
 

Peklo

Oh! Create!
(they/them, she/her)
I'm of the same mind. The first one hundred or so issues of Avengers are honestly just such a boring, workmanlike assemblage of journeyman comics-making, with all related creators's best ideas reserved for other books, so there's really only one singular issue and moment that stands out to me as individually inspired before the weirdness and experimentation of the '70s new generation sets in. That's issue #16, when the team founders all leave for their various reasons and Cap is left to take charge of a makeshift team of reformed villains in Hawkeye, Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver--the latter two joining by mailing a letter of application, in the charmingly mundane bureaucracy of these moments at their best. I don't associate public speaking, promotion and press conferences with any other superteam as fundamentally to the core concept, and this is where they first keyed in on that rotating door bread and circus spectacle that elevates the whole book beyond a mandated crossover.

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