Tag Archives: Avengers

Marvel Comics March 2021: Great, Good, Decent

Introduction

Well, another week passed with limited content. I wrote a review of WandaVision last Sunday in the hopes that it might inspire me to get back on track because all I planned for last week was comic reviews. I suppose that school is more detrimental to the development of the page than I thought. So, Marvel Comics March 2021 arrives nearly a week late.

As the snail says, amirite? Image found here.

It took me a paragraph to get to the Chris and I texted portion of the article. I texted him to say that I might need to follow his lead and start looking at some indy comics because my DCBS order has been right around 50 dollars. For some context, before Covid, I regularly paid 75-100 a month for comics.

Books cancelled or delayed. Shipment problems. That one Chris mentioned during our text exchange. He mentioned having to supplement his books through Midtown. I said, yet again, that I wanted to stop at the comics store in Jaffrey to see if I can’t pick up some of the books I missed over the last year. Stay tuned. Perhaps in future installments, but for now, Marvel Comics March 2021 has only 5 books to review. As a result, I will revert back to the earlier format for reviews and give each book its own section.

Amazing Spider-Man 59 (Nick Spencer and Marcelo Ferreira)

The Great (Skeletons in the Closet): Both Harry and Norman returned for the latest “Spider-Man in Peril” story. I commend Spencer for mostly leaving the Goblins in the past and giving both Osborns a new purpose in this arc. Harry torments Spidey as the new character (spoiler alert) Kindred as Norman wrestles with the past and tries to repair the family legacy through his son and grandson. So far, his effort failed, but some headway is made in this issue, at least, with Normie. It remains to be seen how Harry’s story plays out this time.

The Good (Why Would They Ever Kill Aunt May?): Aunt May “died” once during issue 400. She also got mortally wounded during Civil War and that kicked off the One More Day storyline that some consider to be one of the worst stories in the history of Spider-Man. I hope they learned their lesson from that. Don’t ever kill off Aunt May. Her heroism during this story serves as a reminder of her selflessness and heroism. Aunt May is, and always will be, the real MVP of the Spiderverse.

The Decent (Mr. Negative needs to go away): I understand that Spencer brought back some 2nd and 3rd tier villains for this story. For the most part, I appreciate that choice. However, I have no use for the Mr. Negative story and would rather they release Kindred and give him another chance. I know it will happen eventually, but I have no patience right now. Only 5 books in my pull list, Marvel? They better be good.

Avengers 42 (Jason Aaron and Luca Maresca)

The Great (Wolvie’s reaction to the Phoenix Force): It came at the end of the issue and nearly saved the entire issue by itself. I say nearly because the rest of the issue is just so bland that not even Logan’s apprehension at being given control over nature’s most destructive force can drag it out of the doldrums.

The Good (The final reveal): Ever since the Legacy reboot, Avengers focused on the history of the group going all the way back to prehistoric times. The embodiment of the Phoenix Force featured prominently in that history. Now, this issue confirms (?) something long assumed. Again, the final interaction between the Force and Thor almost saved the issue. Almost.

The Decent (The rest of it): I have no use for this story. Given what I said about the end, perhaps that will change. In lieu of an actual review, allow me to give Aiden’s thoughts.

Aiden: “There’s this guy with a shield, but he’s not red, white, and blue. He’s orange?”

Me: “Yeah, that’s Captain America with the Phoenix Force.”

Aiden: “What’s up with Hulk?”

“That’s She Hulk.”

“Now, Logan has the Force?”

“Yeah, that’s my favorite part.”

“I just don’t get it.”

“This hasn’t been my favorite story lately. Not a good time to jump in.”

Fantastic Four 29 (Dan Slott and Ze’ Carlos)

The Great (The Previous Storyline Continues): As you see, this issue has tie ins with the Venom story, King in Black. Naturally, that warps the story some. However, our intrepid heroes still work to deal with the fallout of that previous story and Slott manages to work that in mostly seamlessly in spite of having to symbiotize the book.

The Good (About Those Symbiotes): I always like to see how they “Venomitize” heroes. A few years ago, they put out some of those Pop figures where they looked like they wore the symbiote costume. I planned on purchasing all of them. I actually purchased none of them. Through this non sequitur, I attempted to illustrate how excited it made me to see the heroes succumb to Knull.

The Decent (King in Black): With that being said, I have no use for King in Black. I admit that some of the lead in issues got me interested. However, like Death Metal and even Dark Knights before it, I didn’t collect the main series and I certainly didn’t buy in like with Civil War and even Secret Empire. Perhaps that’s my Marvel bias showing. Then again, I mostly ignored Empyre and can’t wait until King is Black is over so I can have my comics back.

The Immortal Hulk 43 (Al Ewing and Joe Bennett)

The Great (Joe Fixit): The Leader destroyed Devil Hulk. He also trapped Banner in Hell. Dumb Hulk looks like a puddle of melted Jell-O. That leaves Joe Fixit, stuck in Banner’s body and unable to change into Grey Hulk, to pick up the pieces. He does an admirable job for much of the issue until Jell-O Hulk needs to take over.

The Good (The Set Up): The reveal at the end of the previous issue got me excited for the show down between Hulk and Gamma Flight. A training montage only increased that excitement. Finally, they took a trip to the desert base of Hulk’s birth. Oh, man, this fight is going to be epid.

The Decent (The Lack of Pay Off): So, about that epic fight. It, uh, didn’t happen. All this gearing up and no fight. Unlike Avengers, which got me slightly more excited for the next issue, this one just annoyed me. Yes, we are closer to the fight. But, we still have to wait at least one more month. And, according to the math, we only have 7 issues left. Need to pick up the pace here.

Venom 33 (Donny Cates and Iban Coello)

The Great (Spider-Man’s talk with Dylan at the beginning): Clearly, the recent history with the Osborns has matured Mr. Peter Parker. He gives Eddie’s son Dylan one heck of a pep talk to jump into the fray and help in the fight against Knull.

The Good (Eddie and Flash reminisce and arrive at an agreement of sorts): The enemy of my enemy is my friend. Good to see all of the Spidey old heads coming back for a reunion to defeat the common menace. I just wish that I cared more about that menace that feels like it was cooked up in a fever dream and never quite reached maturity.

The Decent (I won’t say King in Black again, but I guess I just did): There is no connection for me in this story. I don’t care one bit about Knull or the fact that it represents the eventual end of the Marvel universe if it wins. I enjoyed the Venom arc before all of this happens and I hope that Cates can recapture that once this is all over and done.

The Verdict (Marvel Comics March 2021 represents several disappointments)

As I just said, I’m quite disappointed in the overall quantity and quality of the books I received in my Marvel Comics March 2021 shipment. Immortal Hulk and Amazing Spider-Man both continue their consistent great storylines. Fantastic Four and Venom are both tied into an event that I have no interest in, but they’ll hopefully be back. And, the Avengers are in the same boat with the Phoenix Force story. Add to the fact that I think there’s still something wrong with the supply chain. No Captain America? What about Thor? Where’s the X-Men?

Marvel Comics February 2021: Great, Good, Decent

Introduction

Well, football is finally over. We recovered from the emotional trauma of watching Tom Brady win another Super Bowl. Hell, that one event devastated me so much that I even forgot that Alabama won another national championship. January indeed represented a dark time in our page’s history. But, we can safely put all of that behind us. Welcome, fans of 2 Guys Gaming, to Marvel Comics February 2021.

No lame joke. I just realized how weirdly February is spelled.

My high on Marvel Comics dulled a bit last month. I still put all books in the Great and Good categories. However, all three good books took a turn for the worse last month. I know that every month can’t be a winner. However, add in the fact that Spawn dragged on for about 20 pages too long and it looks like we are in the winter doldrums for comic books.

I should have seen it coming. My pull list went from almost 100 dollars at times in the middle of last year to just over 50 dollars the last few month. I think there are only 7 titles in my Marvel list for February. Plus, Marvel scheduled Immortal Hulk to end in less than a year. Sure, DC made up for it by blitzing us with Future State, but I’m going in to this Marvel Comics February 2021 review less than enthused.

Thank goodness WandaVision and Falcon and Winter Soldier are here to save us from mediocrity.

The Great

Amazing Spiderman #55-58 (Nick Spencer, Mark Bagley, et al): I feared a bit of a let down with the end of Last Remains. I needn’t have worried. Spencer came through again. Good ending and now Petey has to deal with the fallout, which promises to be potentially deadly.

Immortal Hulk #42 (Al Ewing, Joe Bennett, et al): I didn’t care for the Jackie sequence. The Gamma Flight sequence was compelling, but ultimately unnecessary. This issue nearly bumped Hulk to “Good” for the month. However, the Leader “in The Below” and Utrecht starting to pull out the stops at the end sets up for a potential fun next few issues.

Thor #11 (Donny Cates and Nic Klein): Man, I love this Donald Blake story. Throw a little Jane Foster and some murderous tension for good measure. Also, we get to see what Thor’s been up to. The final reveal nearly made me put this in “Good”, but I will give Mr. Cates the benefit of the doubt because this story has been so great.

Venom #32 (Donny Cates and Iban Coello): Eddie’s dead? Flash is back in symbiote form? So many questions that perhaps will be answered when I finally pick up the King in Black main story. Perhaps not. But, unlike the previous issues, this one makes me want to check it out.

The Good

Fantastic Four #28 (Dan Slott and RB Silva): The story was interesting. I enjoyed seeing what the Griever had in store for some of our intrepid heroes. The main problem is that the issue wrapped up a bit too quickly.

X-Men #16 and 17 (Johnathon Hickman, Phil Noto, and Brett Booth): I feel like I’m missing something with this latest iteration of X-Men. Don’t get me wrong. I enjoy the story. I just honestly have no idea what is even happening half the time. Someone give me some issues I need to read to catch up.

The Decent

Avengers #40 and 41 (Jason Aaron and Javi Garron): Boy, this story went off the rails quickly. I remember writing during the introduction to this story that I looked forward to the eventual payoff. Now that it’s here, I feel 100% meh about the whole experience. What could have been great has just become another beat ’em up with the Phoenix Force as the prize.

The Verdict

Marvel Comics February 2021, like Spawn before them, took a bit of a step back this month. It appears as if much of their focus is going into King in Black right now and the quality of their other books is suffering as a result. Mind you, they’re not bad. They just don’t “do it for me” (I’m pretty sure that’s a movie or television quote, but I can’t find it right now)

No, he doesn't do it for me.
Of course, Spaceballs.

in the same way that the books of the past few months have. Maybe I’m just out of the Christmas spirit finally.

Marvel Comics January 2021: Great, Good, Decent

Introduction

When we last left Marvel Comics, I said only good things about them. None of the books ended up in the “Decent” section. I think at the time I attributed it to being in the Christmas spirit. I’m starting to think that there might be more to this story. What does that mean? Simply that I noticed an extension of that pattern into Marvel Comics January 2021.

That trail of bread crumbs doesn’t exactly take Sherlock to follow.

Just in case I didn’t make it obvious enough, I enjoyed Marvel Comics January 2021 greatly. I might have been in the Christmas spirit, because they weren’t as much fun as last month. Still, I don’t have a single book in the “Decent” section. Then again, the explanation might be more logical, to borrow a phrase from our old friend, Mr. Holmes.

I can’t say that this is true for Marvel Comics overall. However, this month I only received 7 books. That’s, I think, about half of the books I normally receive. So, it appears as if Marvel Comics might have reduced the number of books they are producing. As is often the result, that improves the quality of the books. Let’s see what makes Marvel Comics January 2021 so good.

The Great

Amazing Spider-Man 54 (Nick Spencer and Mark Bagley): As with most of the books from last year, ASM oscillated up and down. This story, however, has been mostly great. I think there might have been one issue that I felt lagged. Other than that, I’ve enjoyed this entire story. Now that we know the big bad is Harry, I can’t wait to see how it ends.

Avengers 39 (Jason Aaron and Dale Keown): Similar to Spider-Man, Avengers turned the corner during the Moon Knight story. Unlike Spider-Man, I wouldn’t call it as consistently great. Even so, I enjoyed the Moon Knight story and I can’t wait to see what they do with Phoenix.

Immortal Hulk 41 (Al Ewing and Joe Bennett): Of course, you all know I rate Immortal Hulk as probably the best Marvel book to come along in at least 5 years. Without doing research, that’s the best estimate I can make. Honestly, I’m having trouble naming another book I’ve enjoyed more. I will miss this book when it’s gone at the end of the year. At least I have the whole run and can reread it again and again.

Thor 10 (Donny Cates and Nic Klein): I kept collecting Thor mostly out of habit. Like Wonder Woman and Aquaman, I enjoyed the movie representation of the character and hoped for some of the same from the book. While not the exact same, I still liked the stories for the most part. I’m glad I didn’t give this book up. This Donald Blake story is insane and great and I don’t want it to ever end.

The Good

Captain America 26 (Ta-Nehisi Coates and Leonard Kirk): When I saw the cover, I exclaimed, “Red Hulk!” Then, I read the book. Red Hulk only appears in the last four pages of the book. Also, I was reminded that Red Hulk is General Thunderbolt Ross. Overall a weaker issue than some of the more recent ones, but still a fun story and ending.

Fantastic Four 27 (Dan Slott and RB Silva): I don’t think any title has disappointed me more than Fantastic Four. Maybe, disappointed is not the word. Frustrated. No title has frustrated me more than Fantastic Four. I want to like it because Dan Slott is writing. I do like it because Dan Slott is writing. I just don’t like it as much as I should. It’s weird.

Venom 31 (Donny Cates and Iban Coello): I can say for certain that no title disappointed me more than Venom over the last few months. Venom Beyond had such promise and it just fell flat. King in Black quickly felt like a pet project that went sideways too quickly. I liked this issue, but in a text conversation with Chris, he thinks that the main King in Black title is moving too slowly. Oh well, I’m sure he will bring it back around.

The Decent

None. Still in that Christmas spirit, I guess.

The Verdict

Marvel Comics January 2021 are still very good. Maybe not as good as I remember last months books being. But, still, when compared to the mess that is DC right now with the Bendis Superman experiment falling extremely short and the constant shuffling and reshuffling of creative teams, Marvel has all their ducks nicely in a row. Excelsior, True Believers and make mine Marvel.

Marvel Comics December 2020: Great, Good Decent

Introduction

I’ve given December the theme of a “Year of Gaming”. Over the next few weeks, I’m going to recap the last year in mobile, PC, and console. It’s actually the first year that I’ve been able to dabble in gaming in all three. But, first, it’s comics weeks. I already did Spawn. Now, it’s time for Marvel Comics December 2020.

I could kill two birds with one stone if I had been able to snag a PS5 before the arbitrageurs got them.

Marvel seems to have avoided the revolving door of creative teams that has plagued DC and, to an extent, Spawn. Granted, they haven’t gone unscathed. However, the only major disruption that I’ve noticed is that Black Panther has gone on hiatus. I think that many of you might disagree that is a major disruption, but I enjoyed the book. Coates has done a good job with Panther and Cap.

Even with T’Challa momentarily on the sidelines, there are plenty of good books coming from Marvel Comics December 2020. I’m still finalizing my rankings, but so far, I’m tempted to put more books in the great category than I think I ever have, especially for Marvel. Sure, there was the post Covid euphoria that lasted a couple of months. Perhaps this is just me being filled with the Christmas spirit. Whatever the reason, join me as I try to justify my glee.

The Great

Amazing Spider-Man 52 and 53 (Nick Spencer, Matthew Rosenberg, Patrick Gleason, Frederico Vicentini): First of all, forget what I said about the rotation of creative teams at Marvel. Apparently, it is just not as noticeable for some reason. Secondly, I’m missing parts of this story because they’ve done the “dot” issues (.LR for this) on Spider-Man again. I need to visit my LCS to pick up the missing issues. And, I will. Because this story has been awesome. I’m not usually one for “dark” Spider-Man stories, but Nick Spencer seems to have returned to the dark after a hiatus due to the abuse he suffered for Secret Empire. Completely unwarranted in my opinion. That’s neither here nor there. The bottom line is that Spider-Man is awesome right now.

Avengers 38 (Jason Aaron and Ed McGuinness): “Earth’s Mightiest Heroes” have quite possibly been Marvel’s most inconsistent team title this year. I can’t remember if I’ve pushed them into the great section before this month, but they have been trending that way for some time now. I loved the Moon Knight story and they payoff in this issue is worth it. Keep it going.

Immortal Hulk 40 (Al Ewing and Joe Bennett): I’ve sandbagged my review on this title for far too long. You could rightfully say, “Okay, it’s great. But, why?” Since it’s close to Christmas, I’ll oblige. Though the horror aspect of the comic has been toned down, the story has still been strong. Familiar faces from the past are popping up all over the place. They are affecting the story big time. The Immortal Hulk is both comfortable and surprising in a way that few stories do.

X-Men 14 and 15 (Jonathon Hickman, Leniel Francis Yu, Mahmud Asrar): Chris hyped this title for so long and then I got to sit down and finally read it and was a bit disappointed in the Empyre tie in. I know that I am missing big chunks of the story here because it is a true crossover. However, what I’ve seen of X of Swords has been fantastic. I might need to either pick up the trades (or to make Chris happy, fill in the missing issues). I’m one to roll my eyes at all of the events, but recently they’ve been exactly what books need to focus them and keep them on track.

The Good

Captain America 25 (Ta-Nehisi Coates and Leonard Kirk): It’s a mini anniversary issue! I suppose there are benefits to the every 5 year (or so) reboot. Like Hulk, Coates has old favorites returning to affect the story in quite positive ways. This book has been trending up with the most recent Daughters of Liberty/Red Skull story and I have given it the “pushing great” note.

Fantastic Four 26 (Dan Slott and RB Silva): This story was a bit of a mess at the beginning. Slott pulled it together after about the 5th or 6th page and it all went smoothly from there. Unlike X-Men, Empyre fit perfectly with this book and things got a bit sideways after that. Looks like from the teaser on the last page that big things are coming, so I have high hopes going forward.

Thor 9 (Donny Cates and Nic Klein): I’ve been down on Thor and Venom the last few months. Chris and I were texting and it just feels like Cates may have been taking on too much similar to Tynion with Batman and Justice League Dark. Well, if this issue is any indication, that fear was unfounded. All I have to say about this issue is “Wow.” Thor wakes up as Donald Blake to Hell on Earth. This one got the “pushing great” label, too.

Venom 30 (Donny Cates and Luke Ross): Venom Beyond did not live up to my expectations at all. It just felt like a mess and that they were filling space until the next event. This issue confirms that. This issue was good. I’m not sure about King in Black. However, as with other books, it looks like the event is focusing the book and driving it to be better. I will end up picking up the books at my LCS when I go to get the .LR issues of Spidey.

The Decent

There are no Marvel Comics December 2020 that are neither great nor good. Merry Christmas, Marvel!

The Verdict

I enjoyed Marvel Comics December 2020 very much. It might just be the Christmas spirit as I mentioned. However, I stand by my assessment that the books are good this month. For what it’s worth, I will say that I hope this continues into the new year. Please, please, don’t tell me that it is just the Christmas spirit from everyone at Marvel that made these books good this month. Marvel, make mine quality.

Great, Good, Decent: Marvel November 2020

Introduction

I’m a bit late with Marvel November 2020 reviews. I meant to have all of the comics reviews done last week, but the end of the week got away from me. I know that doesn’t come as much of a surprise. Deadlines are often ignored during the school year. Alas, I do have a plan to try to get back on track. We’ll see if it comes to fruition.

This feels more true than ever this year.

If I’m able to stick to the plan, it’s going to be busy on the page this week. It’s the middle of the NFL season. Hearthstone has a new set releasing and they’re also beta testing a new game mode. MTGA is releasing Kaladesh Remastered. Thankfully, if I want to do a Commander Legends review, it releases next week. I’m exhausted just thinking about this other stuff.

Before we get on to the Marvel November 2020 reviews, a short note. As I was reading Amazing Spider-Man 50, I noticed that they have these ridiculous .LR issues in the arc. Therefore, I’m saving Amazing Spider-Man 51 for until I’ve been able to go to the store to pick up the supporting issues. *sigh* Why are they always doing my boy Spidey with these “dot” issues. Oh well, on to the reviews.

The Great

Immortal Hulk #38 and 39 (Al Ewing and Joe Bennett): I’ve said it before and I will say it again. This is the most consistently entertaining Marvel Comics title in the last decade, possibly longer. I loved the original vision of the title as a horror book. It has since introduced The Leader. This has precipitated a slight shift in the focus. It is still horror, but it is more focused on psychological horror. I will never forgive Marvel for killing this title in 6 or so months. Okay, that’s not entirely true, but I will be salty for a while after the final issue.

Maestro 3 (Peter David and German Peralta): Hulk is having quite his day in the sun. In addition to being in the best title and She Hulk having guest spots in Avengers and Fantastic Four, Peter David came back to write another Maestro story for us all. This issue was a bit slow until the final panel reveal. All I will say is that Maestro is going to the dogs.

X-Men 13 (Johnathon Hickman and Mahmud Asrar): Okay, this must have been what Chris was talking about when he said that this title was very good. I wasn’t too impressed with the last few issues, especially the weird Kree/Skrull tie in. Also, it looks like the X of Swords story is a crossover and I am missing context by not reading all of the issues. But, Apocalypse is back in this issue and I’m excited for what that means going forward.

The Good

Amazing Spider-Man #50 (Nick Spencer and Patrick Gleason): After 850, I was excited for this arc. I should have known better than to have expected great. Spencer often takes some time to set up his stories. That’s where this issue is. It’s a fine set up with one hell of a reveal at the end. I’m also salty because of the .LR issues. Why? Just why?

Avengers 36 and 37 (Jason Aaron and Javi Garron): Chris and I were texting earlier and he said something about having dropped Justice League from his pull list. I replied that they need to read Avengers to see how to properly write an ensemble book. What’s weird is that when Venditti took over from Snyder, I listed that as one of his strengths. I just think Covid has run amok on some of these titles. Neither here nor there, the Moon Knight arc has been fantastic and this book is bordering on great.

Captain America 24 (Ta-Nehisi Coates and Daniel Acuna): I can’t think of a better writer to wrestle with the implications and aftermath of Captain America as a Nazi than Coates. Like Avengers, this books has flirted with greatness during his tenure. In this issue, Sharon Carter is back and so is the Red Skull. Bring it on.

Fantastic Four #24 and 25 (Dan Slott et al): I didn’t like Empyre as much as I thought I would. The aftermath has been fun, though. Thing and his girlfriend (wife?) adopted the two alien babies, leading to some hilarious interludes. I wouldn’t put it in the same tier as Avengers or Captain America, but it is definitely trending up recently.

Venom 29 (Donny Cates and Luke Ross): Like Hulk, I enjoyed the reimagining of this title as a horror book. This most recent arc has gotten away from that in favor of a future sci-fi vibe. In my opinion, it hasn’t been as successful. Supposedly something big is coming next issue and there’s some event starting, then. Sorry, Eddie, I already spent a stupid amount on Future State. I’ll catch you in the TPB.

The Decent

Thor 7 (Donny Cates and Aaron Kuder): Overall, I haven’t enjoyed the Thor titles since Legacy. I enjoyed the Odinson to All-Father story of the previous series. In my opinion, this one has struggled to find a proper footing. The Galactus story was fine. I stated in the last review that this arc would most likely just be a filler between the other two arcs. And, so it appears to be .

The Verdict

Marvel November 2020 is better than recent months have been. Hulk is still the best book I’ve read in decades. Maestro has proven to be a wonderful surprise. Avengers, Captain America, and Fantastic Four are all pushing great. I admit that my giddiness a few months ago was most likely due to having comics back after the Covid drought. This time, it is probably because of the holidays and recent news that has me giddy. Whatever the reason, I look forward to what the end of the year will bring.

Great, Good, Decent: Marvel Comics October 2020

Introduction

After a month, we’re back with Marvel Comics October 2020 review. I was just trying to organize my thoughts to see if I could get this thing back on track by the end of the year. I’ve been okay about updating over the last couple of weeks, so maybe I can keep that momentum going through the end of the year. That sounds familiar because I said the same thing at the end of last year.

Except he didn’t say half of the things he said, don’t you know?

As I organized, I noticed that I set October aside as horror month once again. And, once again, it passed without any discussion of horror games. Also, at the beginning of the summer, I started writing a series of horror short stories that got forgotten for another year. I mean, really, this whole October has just been lackluster. So, let’s try to forget with some Marvel Comics October 2020.

The Great

Captain America 21-23 (Ta-Nehisi Coates and Bob Quinn): I’ve made it abundantly clear in the past that I don’t like these “ripped from the headlines stories”, but this one has me hooked for some reason. Unlike some of the other books that have tried this, Coates layers on a much better metaphor that makes it entertaining instead of exhausting.

Immortal Hulk 36 and 37 (Al Ewing and Joe Bennett): I will be saying this for the next year or so, but I can’t believe they are killing this comic. It is the most consistently entertaining story of the current Marvel era. I hope they reverse this decision.

Maestro 2 (of 5) (Peter David and German Peralta with cover by Dale Keown): When I saw that my favorite Hulk writer was working with my favorite Hulk artist (even if it was only for covers), I knew that I had to have this book. There was the definite possibility that it could have not lived up to the hype. But, it very much did. Looking forward to the rest.

The Good

Amazing Spider-Man 46-49 (Nick Spencer and Marcelo Ferriera): Sin Eater story is fine, but it’s already getting a bit old. Gobby’s back and the Spider-Family is after Peter. Things are setting up nicely for a showdown in Legacy 850 next month.

Avengers 35 (Jason Aaron and Javi Garron): I have been liking the Khonshu story and the Tony and Carol “Raising Arizona” side story is entertaining as hell. Now, they’re setting up for an epic battle next issue between Khonshu and the Panther.

Venom 27 and 28 (Donny Cates and Juan Gedeon): When Chris and I talked a few months ago, he agreed that my giddiness about comics was only due to the fact that they were back after the Covid19 hiatus. I think that’s correct. I don’t see this being the fun story that I thought it was after reading issue 26.

The Decent

Fantastic Four 22 and 23 (Dan Slott and Paco Medina): More proof that the glow faded. I don’t think that Empyre is as exciting anymore. This is still a solid issue and I will buy Empyre later. Don’t tell Chris, but it will most likely be a trade.

Thor 6 and 7 (Donny Cates and Nic Klein): A let down for the end of the previous arc. It got progressively weirder and lost me when Thor ended up as the herald of Galactus. Now, Thanos is involved in the story somehow. The next arc is a 2 part interlude. Hopefully, whatever’s after that gives the king of thunder a good story. Otherwise, I might stop collecting this title.

X-Men 10-12 (Johnathon Hickman, Leinel Francis Yu, et al): Chris likes this title. I liked the previous title with Hickman in charge, too. These issues weren’t my favorite. Not sure why the X-Men are involved in Empyre. Now, another event looms on the horizon. Hopefully it captures some of the magic again.

The Verdict

Marvel Comics October 2020 are a decidedly mixed bag. Initially when I started to rank the books for this article, I found that I rated them too highly. So, Chris was right. Some of my joy a few months ago came because comics were back after being gone for so long. That’s not to say that the books are bad. Far from it. Overall, I enjoyed them. Just not as much as when they returned from the Covid19 break. Until next month, Excelsior!

Marvel Comics August 2020

Introduction

It’s time for Marvel Comics August 2020. So soon after Marvel Comics July 2020? Well, yes. We took last week off for our annual family trip to Cape Cod. During that trip, I was unable to play any games. All I could do was read comics. And, read comics I did. I finished my entire shipment in the first two day. Like I texted to Chris, “Either comics are really good right now or I just missed them.”

Cue musical interlude…

He leaned more in the direction of missing them. That’s fine. I respect his opinion. However, mine is that the books are very good right now. I have 3 “Great” Marvel books this month and (spoiler alert) 2 for DC. But, more on that on Wednesday. For now, let’s talk about what makes Marvel Comics August 2020 such a great month.

The Great

Fantastic Four 21 (Dan Slott and Paco Medina): As you can see by the banner, this is an Empyre tie in. I was going to skip this Super Summer Crossover event. Then, I saw that it was being written by Al Ewing. Plus, Dan Slott nails this issue. Gotta hit up Midtown for the main series.

Immortal Hulk 35 (Al Ewing and Michael Hawthorne): The last few issues of Hulk have been slower. This one focuses more on the psychological side of Hulk/Banner. My wife, trying to show interest in my hobbies, asked me why I liked this book so much. I love the psychological side and feel like books rely too much on Hulk Smash. This one has been a good balance. Plus, exploding Hulk (spoiler alert?) is a hell of a cliffhanger.

Venom 26 (Donny Cates and Iban Coello): It looks like at the end of the book, Eddie and his son are dropped into the Ultimate Marvel universe. I was late to the Ultimate Marvel party, but I enjoyed most of what they did. This could be interesting.

The Good

Amazing Spider-Man 44 (Nick Spencer and Kim Jacinto): I like the new villain. I also like that they are slow rolling it a bit. This issue had some of the old school Spidey/Peter dichotomy and also a bit of MJ drama. It was close to being great, but was missing just one small thing and I’m not sure what it is.

Avengers 34 (Jason Aaron and Javi Garron): This issue is a good pay off for the Khonshu/Moon Knight beat em up of last month. I also like the ending with the Tony/Carol babysitting scene. According to my notes, I considered putting this one in the great column, too. Okay, maybe some of it is because I missed comics.

The Verdict

What’s this? No decent? Nope, not this month. I enjoyed every one of these books and all of them bordered on great. Sure, I am an unabashed Marvel zombie and mark out for nearly everything they do. However, there have been times where I enjoyed DC more. So, I can be “objective”. I’m just really liking comics right now and I think you should give them a try! Start with Hulk and Venom in Marvel and then branch out from there. I promise you won’t be disappointed.

Marvel Comics June 2020

Introduction

Now, for Marvel Comics June 2020 Review. Before that, it’s time for honesty. This week was supposed to celebrate the release of Mortal Kombat: Aftermath. Instead, I celebrated staff meetings and report cards. I didn’t want to totally lose the momentum I had been building on the page, so I decided to shift to comics this week.

And, so, I reviewed the four DC comics that I received from DCBS yesterday. Likewise, I only got 3 Marvel comics in that shipment. But, as I emphasized in the previous article, it’s good that we are getting any comics. After a two month hiatus, any amount of books is good news. So, let’s talk Marvel Comics June 2020. Like my DC article, each book gets its own section.

The Amazing Spider-Man #43/Legacy #844 (Nick Spencer and Ryan Ottley)

The Great (Classic Spidey): Every since Nick Spencer took over writing for Spider-Man, I’ve loved the book. He is able to capture the fun of Spider-Man in a way that some others miss on a huge level. I understand that comics have grown with their audience. However, maybe Spider-Man is just supposed to stay the goofy guy we always knew and loved.

The Good (Bromance): I’ve been all in on the Spidey/Boomerang bromance since the beginning. There was less focus on it in this issue, but it was still fun to have in the book.

The Decent (Kingpin?): Look, I’m all for a good old fashioned Spidey/Kingpin showdown. I loved that part of Into the Spiderverse. However, it just didn’t feel like it fit very well in this particular story. It felt like a definite filler.

Avengers #33/Legacy #733 (Jason Aaron and Javier Garron)

The Great (Lesser Known Avengers): Instead of being reduced to cameos, Iron Fist, Doctor Strange and Ghost Rider take a headlining role. Later, Black Panther and Thor try to play hero, but nobody can take down the big bad, Moon Knight! Very cool to see these hereoes front and center.

The Good (Nothing but fights): This book was a good old fashioned (using that term a bit in this article) beat em up. Sure, there was dialogue. However, it was mostly in the service of getting to more punching. You may know that I’m not usually a fan of this, but every now and then, it’s fun.

The Decent (Why?): My notes say, “Where is this story from?” But, that seemed like a long subheading, so I just went from why. I feel like lately I’ve been missing a lot in comics and I don’t just mean literally missing them. I mean, a lot of this is going over my head. Why the heck is Khonshu pushing Moon Knight over the edge? Hopefully we find out.

Venom #25/Legacy #190 (Donny Cates and Marc Bagley)

The Great (Eddie’s Recap): I’m not normally a fan of Cates’ writing in some other books, but he has a feel for Venom. I like the voice he gives Eddie. He also brings and edge that the book needs. This one is Eddie telling the Avengers about his time on Venom island and I’m completely here for it.

The Good (Bonus Story): Being a “milestone issue” (latest new number 25), they have a bonus story at the end. It’s a fun little story and it has an Easter Egg. They give the name that Eddie and the symbiote might have chosen in a different Marvel Universe.

The Decent (Knull, etc): I’ve made no secret that I’m not a fan of the Knull storyline/retcon. It’s not that I don’t like it. I just don’t completely understand where it came from and why it exists. I’m not sure that it adds much to the overall lore.

The Verdict

Marvel Comics 2020 hasn’t quite picked up where they left off. However, other than the fact that they were planning another super summer crossover event, I was very excited about the direction that marvel was taking with their books. So, the Covid-19 sabbatical hit them harder than DC. As long as they find their momentum again, I’m excited that Marvel can get back to where they were and hopefully DC can join them.

Marvel Comics April 2020 Review

Introduction

Thanks for reading my Marvel Comics April 2020 review. I know that I’m a bit of a negative Nancy about this latest apocalypse, but this could be the last review of new comic books for a few months. The latest doom and gloom model says that it could be the last one ever. Chris doesn’t like digital anything and I can’t blame him. But, even Uncle Todd sees the writing on the wall.

I, obviously, hope that comics don’t die. How will I build my virtual empire as an entertainment writer without one of my favorite sources of entertainment? I mean, I like video, board, and card games, but how else can I entertain myself for a few hours each day without comics?

Keep that answer to yourselves, perverts.

Let’s hope that this isn’t the end, True Believers. Having already reviewed the batch of DC comics for the month, I found them greatly lacking. Sure, some of it is just the usual beginning of the year lull before the summer issues pick back up. But, I wasn’t overly impressed with their offering. Let’s dive into Marvel Comics April 2020.

The Decent

Jason Aaron and Ed McGuinness? Sign me up?

Avengers 32 (Jason Aaron and Ed McGuinness) – This is a dream team for comic book fans. This book should be better. I mean, it’s okay, which is why it’s in the decent pile, but it should be better. The ending was fun. It just took so long for the set up.

Cap is starting to go off the rails a bit.

Captain America 20 (Ta’Nehisi Coates and Robert Quinn) – Captain America vs. a Satanic Cult? I’m not entirely sure that’s what’s happening in this issue, but it is definitely weird. There’s a vicar who is sucking out the souls of people? It’s like some horror story that actually isn’t all that scary. I hope this story doesn’t last long.

This quarantine does seem to have saved us from yet another Marvel summer crossover spectacular event.

Fantastic Four 20 (Dan Slott and Paco Medina) – Not a lot happened in this issue. It’s definitely just designed to be a filler issue to lead into the Empyre event that was supposed to come this summer. And, now who knows? Marvel didn’t release Empyre digitally, so we may never see it. I’m kind of sick of crossovers, but man, that’s depressing.

Why can’t Asgardians count past 15?

Thor 4 (Donny Cates and Nic Klein) – I liked the story of the old Thor reboot before this Thor reboot, but the art was “unique”. I don’t know if I like Donny Cates writing for Thor. The All Father is the Herald of Galactus? Do I have that right? Or, am I missing something big here? Probably the latter.

The Good

I hope they continue along this story.

Black Panther 22 (Ta-Nehisi Coates and Daniel Acuna) – I wasn’t sure about the Intergalactic Empire of Wakanda. Overall, the story has been up and down. This issue bordered on great. It is a good story of T’challa reckoning with things in the memory plane. I hope they build on that.

Is that Wendingo?

Immortal Hulk 32 (Al Ewing and Joe Bennett) – Is that Wendingo on the cover? No, it’s Xemnu. Who the **** is Xemnu? And, why are people calling him the Hulk? This is all weird. Oh, okay, I think I get it by the end of the issue. But, that was confusing. Is it supposed to be or did I miss something in the interim? Again, probably the latter.

Apparently mutants can’t count past 20, either.

X-Men 8 and 9 (Johnathon Hickman, Mahmud Asrar, and Leniel Francis Yu) – Again, I liked Uncanny towards the end of the old reboot before this new reboot. This story is solid so far. Typical X-Men stuff. Perhaps being a jaded old comic book fan isn’t all it’s cracked up to be when publishers are pushing so hard for new fans.

The Great

Spidey is the hero we need right now.

Amazing Spider-Man 41 and 42 (Nick Spencer and Ryan Ottley) – It’s good to see the Boomerang bromance alive and well. In a time like this where I feel like I’m living every minute on edge, the silliness of the old school Spider-Man is much appreciated. I couldn’t take gritty and angry Spider-Man right now.

Thank you, Hulk, for being reliably great.

Immortal Hulk 33 (750) (Al Ewing and Joe Bennett) – Now, this is more like it. I’m glad that they didn’t go the DC Comics route and have a bunch of short vignettes written by an all-star cast. Ewing masterfully filled the extra pages with a great psychological study of the Hulk. Again, sometimes you just gotta play the classics.

This story is insane!

Venom 24 (Donny Cates and Mark Bagley) – I didn’t really care for Cates’ version of Thor, but I love his Venom. This, along with Hulk, has been my favorite Marvel book since the reboot. And, funny enough, neither of them has been rebooted again. Eddie is Carnage? V-Rex? I need to go back and read the rest of this insane story.

The Verdict (Marvel Comics April 2020 is pretty dang good, I tell you what)

The books that were bad weren’t all that bad. Unlike a couple of the DC books, I didn’t completely skip them for the most part. The good books were bordering on great in some cases and the great books were just fantastic this time around. I may not be looking forward to yet another event (with the uninspired name “Empyre” no less) this summer, but I’m glad to have been able to read these books. Here’s hoping that comics survive the epidemic because I’m excited!

Marvel Comics November 2019 Review

Introduction

Marvel Comics November 2019 saw a downturn in both quantity and quality. There are only two books anymore that consistently get a “great” rating and I actually gave my first Immortal Hulk book a “good” rating. Plus, my DCBS order was under 80 dollars for the first time. I know that Chris and I are doom and gloom. However, I think that this really might be the beginning of the end for comics.

I mean, like a stopped Nostradamus, we have to be right one of these times. Let’s look at the evidence. Comics have been in a slump since the 1990s. There have been some fake outs that have looked like actual comebacks. Those have just turned out to be mirages.

Marvel movies that didn’t suck came along. They started to take on more of the personality and narrative style of the comics. Disney bought them and mass produced the films at a breakneck speed. They are now being downloaded into people’s brains through Disney Plus. Who wants to pay 5 bucks a book when you can get unlimited comic book entertainment for 7 bucks a month? So, who’s hyped for some comic reviews?

The Forgettable

I think I started this section last month. I’m not entirely sure. All I know is that I have no use for The Punisher now or in the near future. Unless I hear otherwise, let’s just assume that I’m collecting The Punisher because I’ve forgotten to remove it from my pull list.

The Decent

Where is this story going?

Captain America 15 (Ta-Nehisi Coates and Jason Masters) – I was excited to see the Daughters of Liberty in the last issue. They are back in this one. But, I have to be honest. I only skimmed this issue. It feels like the narrative is being lost a bit.

Thank goodness this story is done.

Avengers 25 (Jason Aaron and Stefano Caselli) – I didn’t enjoy this story at all. However, the book is still fun and I like Aaron’s take on the Avengers. The message about family at the end made me say, “Awww”. Also, I wrote something about getting back on track, so the last reveal must have been something. I just don’t remember what.

No longer a misnomer

Doctor Strange 19 and 20 (Mark Waid and Jesus Saiz) – I used to get nerd cred for being a Doctor Strange fan. He was one of the second or third tier heroes, but he was always one of my favorites. Then Benjamin Cucumber came along and made him the true MVP of the Marvel cinema universe. None of that is relevant to these books necessarily. I mean, it’s cool that the doc is a doc again, but they’re relaunching as a new title. Speaking of forgetting to update my pull list…

The Good

This book is getting very good.

Fantastic Four 15 (Dan Slott and Paco Medina) – I’m loving the retro feel of this book. I like that it reads very much like the original Marvel comics. Like Spidey, the retro feel is heartwarming. I didn’t know who the hell the new people were, but it was a nice way of telling a fun story. Keep it up.

Gonna go back in time…to go forward in time…

Amazing Spider-Man 32 (Nick Spencer and Patrick Gleason) – I got very excited to see the ad earlier in the year for the new 2099. I know now that it is just a miniseries that is also interspersed among a couple of other titles. That’s probably for the best, but it does leave me wanting more. This serves as a nice intro to the 2099 story and I can’t wait for the rest of it.

Even when it isn’t as good, it’s still good.

Immortal Hulk 24 (Al Ewing et al) – I gave this one a “kind of me” initially. They’re back in hell with Bruce’s dad, which is my least favorite storyline in the book right now. But, the hulks are merging and the end was pretty awesome. Long live Worldbreaker.

The Great

The kids asked what Spidey was doing to Sandman? Not quite, kids….

Amazing Spider-Man 31 (Nick Spencer and Cliff Rathburn) – Chris kept telling me how good Absolute Carnage was, but I never bit. I should have because the tie in issues have been fun. This one focused on Norman and his time as Carnage, reckoning with the past as Spidey had to a couple of issue ago. This new villain is behind all of it, but why is Gwen here again?

Just wow!

Immortal Hulk 25 (Al Ewing et al) – We were promised a Hulk comic unlike any other. That’s for sure. This is Ewing’s take on the Worldbreaker mythos and it was just awesome to read. The big reveal of Leader at the end was a nice touch, too. I love this comic.

The Verdict

I suppose I was too harsh on Marvel Comics November 2019. Sure, there weren’t many “great” books, but the good ones were just below great. It was a fun month of comics and looking back made me smile more than once. I’m still not sure that the end of comics isn’t extremely f***ing nigh as the sign in 28 Days Later read, but I will continue to enjoy them as long as they are being made. Happy Thanksgiving and I’ll be back on Friday with my DC review.