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Face Front, True Believers! A Marvel Comics Thread

Seeing commentary go around that Marvel finally allowed Fabian Niceiza to make it canonical that Adam-X is indeed a Summers brother, but huge nerds know he already did this in the opening arc of the almost immediately cancelled Captain Marvel (vol. 3, 1995) series that no one (and apparently especially no one involved in that whole Vulcan storyline) read or cared about.
 

Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
(He/Him)
Really gotta heap some praise on Dan Slotts Fantastic Four run; not that I’ve disliked any of his work before (dude doesn’t seem capable of making a comic that’s not incredibly fun), but his work on FF may be my favorite by far. Sky is one one of my favourite additions to the book in years.

More comics need to incorporate aliens who need to remind everyone that they’re are completely oblivious to any and all science fiction tropes.
 

Positronic Brain

Out Of Warranty
(He/him)
My experience with Dan Slott is that he's great at high concept ideas, so his arcs are usually great, but his panel to panel execution is lacking, particularly regarding characterization. A fellow tyrant once pointed out that his final Spider-Man issue is similar in tone to Chip Zdarsky's, yet Zdarky writes loops around Slott.

He's miles better than Nick Spencer.
 

Positronic Brain

Out Of Warranty
(He/him)
I find Spencer's Spider work, dunno, sloppy might be the word. He writes a ton of awesome scenes (like the thieves guild stealing every single weapon in the MU) without showing any work setting it up, and many times not following up with some obvious consequences. Which breaks my suspension of disbelief.

Yeah, it breaks my suspension of disbelief regarding a comic where a grown up man wears some tights, sticks to walls with his fingertips and sold his marriage to the devil to save his octogenarian aunt. Obviously YMMV.
 

Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
(He/Him)
Got Thor read up through to where Marvel Unlimited cuts off; about a dozen issues into the Cates run.

Starting from Jason Aaron’s stuff with Jane-Thor, that is.

I’ll admit I groaned when I realized they were bringing back Dr. Donald Blake. I was not expecting how that shook out.
 

Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
(He/Him)
Also resumed reading through the Secret Wars tie-ins. Kind of burned out on that project, despite liking a lot of them, because there are so very many of them.

Squadron Sinister takes one of the villain teams I was never that great a fan of (Squadron Supreme, which is the answer to the very frequently answered question nobody asked of “What if the Justice League was BAD?!?”, and then just... told a Crime Syndicate of America story. Someone has framed Hyperion for one of the few murders he did not do, nobody in the Squad trusts each other and eventually the everyone becomes a Starbrand and punches happen. Wasn’t bad, but the shines long come off the premise of “What if Every Hero Was a Jerk?”

E is for Extinction is basically a really condensed version of New X-Men, with the quickly dropped twist that Magneto has his own team of Cool Hip X-Men who have replaced the old stodgy X-Men. If you wanted to read New X-Men in a hurry and without needing to credit Joss Whedon, here ya go.
 

Johnny Unusual

(He/Him)
E is for Extinction is basically a really condensed version of New X-Men, with the quickly dropped twist that Magneto has his own team of Cool Hip X-Men who have replaced the old stodgy X-Men. If you wanted to read New X-Men in a hurry and without needing to credit Joss Whedon, here ya go.
I mean, if you've been crediting Whedon for New X-Men...


On the plus side, no Ethan Van Sciver in the new one, I guess.
 

Johnny Unusual

(He/Him)
You mean Astonishing X-Men? I mean, Whedon drew a lot from Morrison's run. At the time, I was happy because Marvel seemed intent on ignoring it despite it being very good (Chuck Austen Chuck Austening all over Xorn, for example) and Whedon wanting to bring it back. Now I'm like "Don't drag Morrison into this, pal."
 
It is with great confusion and reconsideration of priors that I must report that I finished reading the Onslaught crossover in my way too comprehensive X-books readthrough, and it was actually . . . a pretty good event? For the most part, each individual X-book did a good job leading up to it, so it felt like a long series of exciting climaxes to ongoing stories and not a derailment, and I think that's pretty much the most you can hope for from an editorially mandated crossover.

It's true that Onslaught is the kind of big, bloated event everyone hates for good reason, but among that category I think it's one of the more successful ones, both in its central issues and its tie-ins. It never really felt like it's a slog to me, which so many of these events do. I think it compares favorably both to other events from the late 90s era and also to many modern events. Compared to earlier but roughly contemporaneous line-wide crossovers (mostly contained in Annuals at this point) or line-wide crossovers a few years later (like Maximum Destruction, which I read while going through Busiek's Avengers), this does a good job maintaining a decent level of quality and consistency so that even the tie-in event issues don't just feel like spinning their wheels. I think this is also true compared to all the awful tie-in event comics I read while reading through various Young Avengers books. Also, having read Onslaught so soon after X of Swords finished on Marvel Unlimited, despite Onslaught's reputation for linewide bloat it felt like a much more focused and well planned event by comparison, even though Onslaught spanned basically every Marvel title and not just the X-line.

There are definitely problems! The conclusion is an extremely nonsensical way to explain the short lived Image creator driven reboots of Avengers/Fantastic Four, etc. It has a fairly strong start but then the stakes get muddled. I think Onslaught's endgame was supposed to be some kind of anime/JRPG villain style collective consciousness under his control to stop people from misbehaving, but they never quite say it explicitly so he just seems like a villain who wants to do Bad Things because he is angry with everyone.

In my memory I had this idea that I quit reading the X-books because Onslaught was so bad, but skimming forward a bit in Marvel Unlimited it looks like I kept on going for another year or two, and now I think I see why that's when I stopped. It seems like pretty soon a bunch of books are going to get cancelled, a bunch of creators are going to leave, and the entire line gets really directionless as it struggles to maintain core creative teams, leading to an era that was apparently mostly editorially driven with creators basically just doing what their bosses told them to do. I think that is probably actually what pushed me away at the time, not Onslaught.

(I think the nugget of truth to my memory is that I was disappointed with how predictable the WHO IS GABBO?-esque "Who is Onslaught?" reveal was, but looking forward this is definitely not when I stopped reading.)
 

Nich

stuck in baby prison
(he/him)
The worst part of Onslaught was probably how pointless it made some of the "setup" issues seem in retrospect. I recall them trying to set up Onslaughter's "herald," Post, as a big deal, but at the time Post was introduced no one had decided yet who Onslaught actually was.
 
The worst part of Onslaught was probably how pointless it made some of the "setup" issues seem in retrospect. I recall them trying to set up Onslaughter's "herald," Post, as a big deal, but at the time Post was introduced no one had decided yet who Onslaught actually was.

Yeah there was a big issue with both too many teases before they knew what the story would be and also reach exceeding grasp. There's a tie in comic that includes what I think was either a planning document or an outline or something like that, and the gap between their plans were and what happened is enormous. This is always an issue with a big project, but you can definitely feel a lot of plot threads that were dropped or repurposed. Even before the event, there were a few instances that were definitely supposed to be teases for Onslaught that were retroactively de-Onslaughtified when they figured out what they were doing.

re: Post

I have a very clear memory of being so excited to read that issue as a kid! It was so hyped up but basically ended up not being about anything. I think in the event they eventually discovered an origin story for him that was interesting, but also it looks like he only ever appeared around 10 or so issues after Onslaught, so I guess they probably never really did much with the character. (I'm assuming he dies?)
 
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I kinda thought Wolverine's brief bandana-mask look during Onslaught was kinda cool. Not great, but y'know.

Yeah, this was another area where my memory was off. I thought Wolverine's feral no-nose thing lasted forever and was terrible, but I think I just absorbed internet consensus. It's honestly pretty short lived and so far basically all the issues of that arc have been good. (I kind of think Larry Hama did the feral arc just because he wanted an excuse to write Elektra and Stick, because he's clearly having fun with them being around to re-instill his humanity. Kind of shocking how consistently high quality Hama's Wolverine run is, generally...)
 

Adrenaline

Post Reader
(He/Him)
I just finished G. Willow Wilson's Ms. Marvel run. Most of the comics I read are deep into decades of continuity and constantly reviving elements that have been seen a hundred times before, so it was nice to read a simple super hero origin story. Kamala gets her powers, struggles with responsibility, and learns to be a hero. There are a few different regular artists with fairly different styles, but they're all quite good. Just a really good, funny, and sweet book.
 

Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
(He/Him)
You know, I’ve read all of the current run of New Mutants; a relaunch that exists to let you become familiar with the characters, and have started reading the original Claremont run, written by a guy who had a pathological need to explain everyone’s deal at any given opportunity.

I still couldn’t tell you what Danni and Karmas powers are, if you put a gun to my head
 

Peklo

Oh! Create!
(they/them, she/her)
Danielle creates illusions based on the greatest fears and/or desires of her target; Xi'an has good old mental possession powers. Effectively they get written as telepaths with more narrative restrictions placed on their individual powersets and resulting particular niches--Mirage has cultural stereotyping and typecasting added on top of hers like general empathic rapport with animals which manifests with her telepathic link with Wolfsbane in her transformed state, as an example. Because the X-line of books and the genre in general is so inundated with assembly line telepaths to begin with, I believe it's been a factor in both characters being underused historically, as powersets really do matter in who gets to be featured in these stories and in what degree of prominence. Karma especially seems to have suffered for it, leading to her multiple long absences from the publishing line in general as writers deem her presence superfluous or hard to write around.
 

Jeanie

(Fem or Gender Neutral)
I still couldn’t tell you what Danni and Karmas powers are, if you put a gun to my head
Dani Moonstar is she manifests a person's innermost fears, and also she's a valkerie but that's a little more complicated.
Karma is a psychic with a talent in possession.
 

Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
(He/Him)
Ahh

“Karma” really feels like the more appropriate name for someone with Nightmare Vision powers.

Also, Mirage kind of has some overlap with Cosmare, but one is a MUCH more recent creation
 
Wait, I thought Dani just made... bows and arrows (ugh) like Psylocke does with daggers. What's her energy weapon deal?

In the 90s, a lot of Claremont or Simonson created characters with interesting or limited powers that required thoughtful plotting were converted into doing generic energy blasts that were easy to draw in a static splash page, with varying degrees of plot justification. New Mutants and X-Factor teens were big victims of this.

Richtor: earthquakes --> green energy blasts
Boom Boom: time bombs --> yellow or pink energy blasts
Dani Moonstar: illusions --> bow and arrow shaped energy blasts
Sunspot: can become super strong, but not invulnerable for limited periods of time --> black energy blasts

And weirdly, in one of the worst examples of this trope, it even happened with characters whose power was energy blasts!

Havok: energy blasts too dangerous to use without risking murdering someone, a major source of angst and why he hated being forced into superhero nonsense and was scared of his powers --> generic yellow energy blasts, can be so weak they don't break a practical joke can of mayonnaise

Some of these characters recovered (Boom Boom and Richtor basically have their original powers again now), but Dani was kind of a long-term casualty of this trend. It's really too bad, because she was a great character in Claremont/Simonson's New Mutants. She basically becomes the main character of the series for a while.

“Karma” really feels like the more appropriate name for someone with Nightmare Vision powers.

Karma's first appearance was in a Claremont/Frank Miller issue of Marvel Team-Up (#100) that is probably worth reading if you're going through the original New Mutants. Like their Wolverine series it's a fairly strong issue but also it's kind of a mish-mash of vaguely Asian tropes at points and her name is part of that.

You know, I’ve read all of the current run of New Mutants; a relaunch that exists to let you become familiar with the characters, and have started reading the original Claremont run, written by a guy who had a pathological need to explain everyone’s deal at any given opportunity.

I still couldn’t tell you what Danni and Karmas powers are, if you put a gun to my head

How far are you into that run? If you're not to issue #3 yet, keep going. What her powers are is really central to the first arc.
 
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Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
(He/Him)
2, in fact.

Also, last horse across the finish line here, but I started reading Ms. Marvel.

It is extremely good.

I like this comic about everyone’s friend, the rubber-teen
 

Olli

(he/him)
The biggest bummer from New Mutants for me was that they killed off Cypher for a loooong time. His power, being able to understand and translate languages, is far from being flashy, but good writers were able to get a lot of interesting mileage out of it. I haven't read anything of the stuff after his resurrection, but apparently, he's a superb fighter now? Sigh.
 
He can hardcorily understand body language. (I'm sure I like plenty of the new comics he's in, but yeah, they've made him more combat ready than intended...)

Someday I will start reading comics again...!
 

Olli

(he/him)
Looking into it, it seems that Cypher was dead for 22 years in real-world time. That's got to be pretty high up there on the "longest time a major superhero character has stayed dead before getting resurrected" list.
 

Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
(He/Him)
He can hardcorily understand body language. (I'm sure I like plenty of the new comics he's in, but yeah, they've made him more combat ready than intended...)

Someday I will start reading comics again...!

I was willing to accept that it was because Warlock was fully bonded to him, so that was giving him a bit of an upgrade
 
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