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Face Front, True Believers! A Marvel Comics Thread

One of the hokiest elements of silver-bronze era Marvel are the nicknames that the characters give themselves.

"Subby" for Sub-Mariner is about the worst, but I also kind of hate "Shellhead" for Iron Man and "Goldilocks" for Thor.
 

Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
(He/Him)
I always liked Shellhead; it’s vaguely insulting and Tony always needs to be taken down a peg.

And why wouldn’t you call Reed “Stretch”?

“Slim” is a weird fit for Cyclops, I’ll grant you
 

Adrenaline

Post Reader
(He/Him)
I always liked Shellhead; it’s vaguely insulting and Tony always needs to be taken down a peg.

And why wouldn’t you call Reed “Stretch”?

“Slim” is a weird fit for Cyclops, I’ll grant you
I think his name was originally Slim and it was retconned into a nickname
 

gogglebob

The Goggles Do Nothing
(he/him)
I've always liked "Slim" for Cyclops, as it implies that, despite being one of Earth's mightiest mutants, he's often kind of the generic guy of the group.

"Look! It's the man made of ice! And his friend, the angel! That beast bounding across the battlefield, and that girl marvel that can command objects with her mind! And... uh... You know? That dude with... a visor? Is that his power? I think he's... uh... Slim? Yeah, Slim sounds right."
 

Positronic Brain

Out Of Warranty
(He/him)
I really like that Cyclops has such a non-impressive power because a) it highlights that what made him earn his place in the team was his tactical mind, not his powerset and b) he's really powerful anyway when he dials up his beam to 11.

Even if writers can't agree if his power is heat-based, concussive or neither.
 
I'm reading on Marvel Unlimited so I'm only halfway through, but I feel like X of Swords either needed to be a lot shorter or a lot longer. (I'm sure this is not a remotely original observation.)

On the other hand, one real bright spot is that I think the special event issues collaboratively written by Tini Howard and Jonathan Hickman are very strong though, better than the issues either of them write individually, I think. Even if the reality is just that they picked scenes and the issues are simply alternating between Howard and Hickman scenes (no idea), I think the end result of mashing their styles up is good. (Also the art for those is great, but those artists are always great so that's just normal.)
 

Nich

stuck in baby prison
(he/him)
I haven't been reading the Hickman X-books, but I do read Paul O'Brien's annotations and reviews of them, and it seems strange to me given the lead-in of HoX/PoX that Moira basically hasn't appeared in the line at all. I was hoping that X of Swords would be the thing that said "and now that all the exploratory world-building stuff is out of the way, here is the story I'm telling" but from what I gather it's all a tangent having to do with mysticism and parallel dimensions. If the Hickman line had actually followed through on what he set up with HoX/PoX, I'd be interested, but the impression I get is of a whole bunch of wheel-spinning until stuff starts happening.
 
My sense is that Moira becoming a central character is now basically on reserve until they need an "and now it's getting real" moment, or until Hickman wants off the book or has his contract come to an end, whichever comes first. There are a few issues that do feel like they're following through with HoX/PoX (if you read just one issue, read X-Men #6), but they're not the main focus.

Unfortunately yeah I think that because these are serialized super hero comics and the X-line is selling relatively well (or at least it was, now sure if it's reverted to the norm by now), they are going to be taking their sweet time with Krakoa as a status quo for a while. I agree that this is mostly to the detriment of paying off what was set up on HoX/PoX, even if I do enjoy some of the books a lot.

Again, I'm only halfway through, but I do think X of Swords is somewhat more relevant to the story of HoX/PoX than the average issue in that it is following up on the story of Apocalypse and Krakoa that was alluded to there, but I can also imagine an alternate reality where HoX/PoX and the Dawn of X titles sold poorly where this story was told in a 3 issue concluding arc in Excalibur immediately before its cancellation or whatever instead of a 22 part crossover event. (You don't need 11 issues where 9 chosen characters gather special swords to follow up on that plot thread...)
 

Adrenaline

Post Reader
(He/Him)
This is definitely different than Hickman's previous big Marvel stories which were more contained to themselves and not the launching point for a whole branch of the publishing line. I mean yeah the Infinity event was big and Secret Wars relaunched the whole line for a few months but I wouldn't say his Avengers was intended to support other titles the way they're doing it now.
 
Cable(1993) #28 has a structural gimmick that most of the issue takes place during the 60 second countdown to a nuclear explosion. This combines with 90s pre-decompression dialogue to pretty hilarious effect. These pages are sequential, so the second page here is supposed to take place in 0.2 seconds.




They must be talking . . . very fast.
 

Büge

Arm Candy
(she/her)
I think that's a comma. Like, these two pages take place over the span of the "ten, nine, eight" of a countdown.

Not that that makes it much better. Maybe it's happening in Inception time?
 
You're right, that's definitely a comma. I think if anything for me that makes it worse, because when I mis-read it as 9.8 it felt like maybe it was self-conscious parody (I definitely laughed out loud), but I think it's just playing it straight.

Maybe it's happening in Inception time?

My extremely niche theory is that they all did high school policy debate at some point.
 

Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
(He/Him)
If I had one complaint with Unlimited, it’s the way Major Events are laid out; with tie-ins and minis sequestered apart from the main story, rather than having everything laid out in chronological order.

It made sense for something like Secret Wars, where all the minis were basically unconnected to the main story. But I’m knee deep in War of the Realms now and there’s a lot here to juggle between.
 

Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
(He/Him)
Only about half of it has shown up on Unlimited so far, but Mark Waid and Neal Adams’ Fantastic Four: Antithesis definitely... is a thing. It almost feels like a lost silver age FF story, except for all the content that couldn’t have worked in the 60s (Johnny references hashtags, Sue turns her clothes invisible to entice Reed away from an experiment, that kind of thing).

Really get the impression that Waid is just there to temper down Adams, since, while little of it is as blatantly buckwild as his Batman and Superman work, you can definitely see it trying to lean in that direction. Also, really not loving how Neal draws Ben; he looks like a really unhealthy chimp with twice as much gum as he has tooth.

Gonna hold off on judgement until I can see if it sticks the landing, but if you were going to read one bugnuts Fantastic Four comic that works as a Silver Age pastiche, published in 2020, make it Grand Design

The penultimate issue just dropped in MU, in which Reed takes the Power Cosmic into himself and becomes a new Galactus, with the rest of the FF becoming his Heralds, so you can consider that landing stuck.

Also, the GotG arc that just started is basically Knives Out, but with an ornery space raccoon in place of Daniel Craig.
 
I read the Alan Davis created/written/drawn ClanDestine series from the mid-90s. I wasn't sure what to expect here, because I basically never hear anyone mention it and it was cancelled very early. I can see why it was cancelled because it was definitely out of step with its era, but it's very solid and in the context of the mid-90s "out of step with its era" is basically only a compliment in retrospect. I think anyone who enjoys Alan Davis' work on his Captain Britain stories or his run on Excalibur would enjoy this as well. It takes place mostly on the peripheries of the Marvel universe, focusing on the family dynamics of a super powered extended family who mostly want to just stay hidden.

I think it does a good job finding the right tonal balance of being self-aware without being . . . too self-aware.


Cameos from the broader Marvel universe are relatively rare but effectively employed:



Also, Alan Davis is just clearly having a lot of fun:


It's too bad this wasn't an Image series or something else creator owned, because I feel like this could have found a niche as a creator owned project that maybe could have been a long running if sporadic cult classic, if he could have come back to it more easily and more often. As it is, this series is only 8 issues long, so it's a fun and easy read. (Technically it's 12 issues, but the last 4 were by someone else and were retconned out of existence later. I have only read one of the non-Davis issues so far, but they really are shockingly bad. Everyone's characterization has no relationship the first 8 issues, and it dives head first into an incest plot that was not even suggested by Davis' issues???? I am going to keep reading them mostly in a "staring at a car wreck" sense.) There are only a few later issues where these characters appear, all by Alan Davis. I wonder how well he follows up on this or if he tries to conclude it in some sense.

There are definitely some pulp adventure tropes that don't age particularly well (the family's origin story is that during the crusades the now immortal head of the family got caught up in an orientalist fantasy that ended with him marrying a genie and there is stock evil albino villain), so I could see someone being turned off by those.
 
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There are a number of attempts to re-tell early issues of X-Men (1963), with Dennis Hopeless Hallum/James McKelvie's X-Men: Season One (2011) being widely regarded as one of the best. I have not read all of these, but I will be surprised if any of them could possibly be worse than Professor Xavier and the X-Men (extremely 1995).

Like X-Men: Season One does later, its first issue retells the story from Jean's perspective. Unlike X-Men: Season One, which uses this perspective switch to treat Jean as a real character with a distinct personality instead of The Token Girl, this retelling positions her as the viewpoint character while still mostly treating her as an object, and its attempt at writing hip teen dialogue ends up making the male characters' extended Tex Avery wolf-whistling at her come across as at times even sleazier than an issue from 1963.


Not every issue is as bad as the first, but basically there is no reason to read this series. There are two issues written by Fabian Nicieza that are better than the rest that are more radical reinventions of the source material. One covers the original appearance of The Blob in a somewhat more humanizing way and then another Nicieza issue focuses on Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch's recruitment by Magneto. Mostly though, it's straight retellings of the original issues, with art that draws teenagers as adult body builders, and with not much to add in terms of scripting other than adults doing awkward impressions of what they think 90s teen slang might be.

 
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