Tag Archives: Comic Books

How Has Spawn Endured?

TLDR

Video coming soon.

Introduction

Others have come and gone. Marvel and DC have rebooted and rebirthed numerous times. Heck, there have been 3 different Spider-Mans (but truly only one real one) and Batmans in movies alone. Yet, through it all, Spawn has endured.

Sure, he’s been killed once or twice (I think, I’m still catching up on issues between 150 and 250) and has had a different identity. But, 300 is 300, so you don’t need a silly Legacy calculator to figure out which issue number you’re reading.

Spawn is still Spawn. And, he’s still here. The question I had is why? Or, maybe how?

My Top 5 Reasons Spawn Is Still Here

Honorable Mention (Crossover Appeal): Spawn doesn’t have the name recognition of other comic book characters. Heck, he might not even be as well known as other “independent” characters. Still, he has starred in a couple of animated series, a movie (and another on the way), and most recently in MK 11. Trying to grab fans from other media will always be a good idea to keep your name in the funny papers.

5. Consistency: When I come back to Spawn, I know there are things that I can count on always being there. Like I said numerous times during Mortal Kombat week, you just know what you’re going to get with Spawn. You’re going to get powerful (and powerfully endowed) women, demonic enemies, ultraviolence, and an often sardonic attitude from Spawn about all of it.

And, of course, we can’t forget this Uncle Todd specialty.

4. Adaptability: Even though you are consistent, you can’t be stagnant. You have to change with the times. Spawn has been able to do that, as well. It can be a horror comic as evidenced by the “Dark Horror” story line. It can be a political one (though not as subtle as some other books) when it wants to be. And, it can just be a fight between Heaven and Hell.

What do you mean this isn’t a documentary?

3. Nostalgia: I’m not usually much of a nostalgia guy, but I have to admit that this definitely plays a role in my continued support of Spawn. If this wasn’t one of the first comic books that I was able to get “Issue #1” legitimately as a starter issue, I’d probably not keep coming back.

I’ve bought the first 50 issues three times at this point to replace missing ones.

2. Talent: The roster for Spawn through the years reads like a “Who’s Who” of comic book talent. Snyder, Capullo, Tan, Daniel, Hine, Larsen, Portacio, Medina, Miki, Kudranski. Just the first two alone would be enough to make this book a force.

Without Spawn, do we even have the epic Snyder/Capullo Batman books? An argument can be made.
  1. Uncle Todd: Honestly, this is probably the only reason I needed on the list. However, I probably couldn’t have gotten a 10 minute video out of just repeating the name Todd McFarlane. So, I beefed up the list with the other reasons that are ultimately just Uncle Todd being a true force in the industry. He, along with others, believed in their talents so much they told the big 2 to go eff themselves. He is the only one who has stayed around to prove the idea correct.

The Verdict (How Has Spawn Endured?)

Those are my reasons for why Spawn endured. As with anything these days, I’m sure that others have their own reasons and would be willing to share them, either here or on YouTube. Do you agree? Disagree? Have a declaration of mutiny and wish to run 2 Generations Gaming yourself? Be sure to leave a like and a comment. I’m always up for some friendly debate.

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!

DC Comics April 2020 Review

Introduction

We keep on keepin on here at 2 Generations Gaming. Welcome to my DC Comics April 2020 review. It’s been a while since we’ve checked in with the good folks at DC Comics and quite a few things have changed. Tom King is no longer writing Batman. It’s now James Tynion. More on that in a bit. As a result, Tynion is working with Ram V on Justice League Dark. Heck, even Scott Snyder is not on the main JL title anymore.

And, yet, Bendis remains stubbornly on both Superman titles.

Some of these changes have been good. Some have been not so good. I don’t say this to be Captain Obvious. I was just surprised that one change I was actually looking forward to ended up not working out as well as I hoped. Be careful what you wish for, I suppose. In any case, let’s take a look at the books.

The Decent (The Usual Suspects)

Action Comics 1021 (Brian Michael Bendis and John Romita Jr.) – I already touched upon this in the introduction and I’m not going to say what I haven’t already said in numerous previous reviews. I guess I’ll just wonder why I’m even reading this book anymore. This particular issue was the culmination of a story line, but it felt too quick and clean to reach it’s conclusion.

Justice League 42 and 43 (Robert Venditti et al) – I also mentioned that Snyder isn’t doing Justice League anymore. That’s good because there’s no more Source Wall nonsense. But, every single issue is a fight where someone says they need to “win or lose everything”. When the stakes are always that high, it loses some of the gravitas.

Superman 21 (Brian Michael Bendis and Ivan Reis) – See above. At least Reis is doing the art for this one, so it is pretty and dumb.

Wonder Woman 753 (Steve Orlando and Max Raynor) – Maybe I just picked a bad time to get back into comics. Seems like all of the books are wrapping up arcs right now. Even so, in the past, that’s made me want to go back to read the stories. None of these issues are making me want to do that.

The Good (Batman makes an appearance here for the firs time in a while)

Aquaman 57 and 58 (Kelly Sue Deconnick and Robson Rocha) – I was very much enjoying Aquaman when we last left off on Noob’s comic reviews. I still like the book and this story is interesting. Maybe it has been too long and I just have to warm to the books again.

Batman 90 and 91 (James Tynion IV and Jorge Jimenez) – This is the one that I found really surprising. After I learned that Tom King was being taken off the Batman title, I asked Chris who was taking over. He informed me that it would be James Tynion IV. I love everything that Tynion does, but I don’t love this. I just can’t figure out this nonsense with the Designer. Is this a retcon? Or, is a retelling of an old story? I could look it up, but I just don’t care that much.

Wonder Woman 754 (Steve Orlando and Kenneth Marion) – This one was good. I almost put it in the great section, but it wasn’t that good. It’s just one of those good old fashioned one shot (?) stories they put in between arcs. Good story and good set up for what comes next.

The Great (Thank goodness for Justice League Dark)

Catwoman 21 (Joelle Jones and Fernando Blanco) – When Joelle is writing this book, it’s fantastic. I love her take on the character and am always excited when I see her name on the marquee. This issue was no different. Cover to cover entertainment.

Detective Comics 1021 (Peter J Tomasi and Brad Walker) – It took me a while to warm to Tomasi’s take on the book. I think part of that was just following Tynion IV. But, I very much enjoyed this issue. It is a well told Two Face story that actually had me sympathizing with the character.

Justice League Dark 21 (James Tynion IV, Ram V, and Kyle Hotz) – Tynion is listed as a cowriter on this one, but I wonder if he is focusing more on this title than Batman right now. Because, all of the things that have been true about this in the past are still true. This is just a solid and fun title.

The Verdict (DC Comics April 2020 are surprisingly weak)

Other than the old standards of Joelle’s Catwoman and Tynions Justice League Dark and the surprise appearance of Tomasi’s Detective comics, this batch of books wasn’t very good. Perhaps that’s to be expected because it’s still early in the year. Still, it is disappointing. It’s even more so due to the fact that the virus lockdown or quarantine or whatever we’re calling this has halted production and maybe even shipping until who knows when. DC Comics April 2020 might be the last time we get to read them until the summer.

Spawn 306 Review

Introduction

Spawn 306. Seems like only 6 months ago we were celebrating the “record breaking” Spawn 300. As usually happens with Spawn and Uncle Todd, that celebration was marked by controversy. Some pointed out that since Cerberus ran 300 issues, Spawn would have to get to 301 in order to hold the record alone.

As a result, Uncle Todd has put a banner on the top of the latest book that says “World Record Breaking Comic!” I mean, troll and get trolled, fellas. It works both ways. I wouldn’t say that he’s a master of trolling. But, this one is pretty good.

The exclamation point at the end is the coup de grace, for sure.

So, here I am. Reading Spawn comics. Listening to Korn. Playing Mortal Kombat. It’s like I’m a teenager all over again. Sure, Korn came after my teenage years, but I also have Megadeth, Metallica, Danzing, Suicidal Tendencies, and others from that time on my workout playlist. So, yeah, I’m basically a teenager again. Now, let’s get to that Spawn 306 review.

The Great

Uncle Todd – I already eschewed the virtues of Uncle Todd as a troll. Now, it’s time to do the same for him as a creative force. I have said numerous times in the past that I’m honestly surprised that the comic has been able to still be this fresh over 30 years later. That’s a testament to both him as a writer and being able to realize when things need to be switched up to keep it fresh.

Exhibit A: Bringing back Philip Tan

Philip Tan: Philip Tan was involved during one of my favorite periods during Spawn. In fact, when I saw that Uncle Todd was bringing back fan favorites for the 300th issue, I was surprised not to see Mr. Tan’s name on the list. I even texted Chris that. But, now he’s here and I’m a happy Spawn fan.

The Good

New Story: I’m not entirely sure that this is a brand new story. Something tells me that we’ve visited this future at some point in Spawn’s past. However, it is new to me and it is refreshing. It was no secret that I didn’t enjoy the “politics” storyline from a couple of arcs ago. I did mostly like the Hell Hunt story and will go back to finish that one soon. This one, though, is looking like one I can definitely enjoy.

I don’t care for Raptor or whatever the dudes name is, but I like Claudiaz and she’s made the switch in tone more bearable.

New Character: With this new story line has come new characters. I don’t care for the main protagonist. He just seems like another recycled tortured soul type. However, his sidekick/lover/whatever she is, Claudiaz is interesting. Even though it looks like she was mortally wounded towards the end of the book (spoiler alert), I hope she makes it because I think their relationship is worth exploring more.

The Decent

Answers Next Issue: I might not care much about spoilers, but I absolutely abhor cliffhangers. Unfortunately, nearly all entertainment has become rife with them. The end of every single episode of series television and nearly every single comic (unless it’s the end of an arc) has a cliffhanger to keep you “guessing” until the next issue/episode. It’s overkill in my opinion.

Missing Something?: This is typical since I’ve not read comics in a few months, but I feel like I’m missing something here. I will have to go back and read to see if there was any indication that this particular “timeline” was going to happen.

The Forgettable

This little bastard can go straight to hell.

Eff This Virus – I know that comic books are at the bottom of a very long list of priorities. However, that’s what this article is about, so it’s what I’m focusing on right now. I’m going to miss comics for the next couple of months. Chris said something about them being ahead of schedule because of shipping times, but I wonder if DCBS will continue to ship. I do have an idea to keep the review articles going in case they don’t. Still, I really like comic books and they’d help to keep me sane and occupied during this.

The Verdict (Spawn 306 is different. Is that a good thing?)

Well, things have certainly gone in a new direction with Spawn 306. To answer the question in the title, I’m not sure yet if it’s a good thing or not. I know that’s a cop out. But, that’s honestly how I feel. I didn’t really get into this issue as I had been for ones previous. I don’t know who these characters are. Worse, I don’t care about them. Sure, I’d like to see where the whole things goes, but if Claudiaz ends up dying, so be it. I will keep reading just to see if it all pays off, though. Join me. Seems like a good time to jump back into Spawn!

Mortal Kombat X Komix Review

Introduction

Wait, now it is a Mortal Kombat X komix review? You’re just trolling at this point, aren’t you? Honestly, no. If I was really trolling, I’d give you another one of those erroneously numbered lists. But, I won’t. I will just continue writing my article. You have the choice of whether or not to continue reading.

The reason that it is MKX is that there are no MK 11 komix. Notice how I am intentionally misspelling komix? The “k” is for Kombat. The x is because we are x-treme (in a 1990s way, yougins) here at 2GG. The reason for komix is that I am reviewing what might be my last full DCBS order for a few months at least. This will serve as a nice bridge.

I got the idea for reviewing the komix when I started to put together the plan to relaunch the web page a couple of weeks ago. I saw that Comixology had a good deal on the entire series. I texted Chris the other day, “I’ve been so desperate for comics that I bought the MKX digital series.” He mentioned his DCBS order. As I mentioned, I’m saving those for next week. Now, on to the review.

The Royal Family of the MK series decrees it.

The Great

The Stories – I’ve only made it a third of the way through the series, but so far there are some great stories in the comic. Specifically, the ones that I’m enjoying so far are Scorpion’s and Kotal Khan’s. The first one isn’t a surprise. Scorpion has been one of my favorite characters since the first game. But, Kotal Khan? A reject smurf looking dude with daddy issues? Okay, I guess so.

All he wants is his Papa Smurf to be alive again.

Writer: Remember when I said earlier that there is no MK 11 comic? The main reason for that is that they hired the guy who wrote the MKX comics to do the story for MK 11. So, those of you us thought that the MKX story was lacking and the MK 11 story is so much better, that’s the main reason. Like I say, if you have me caring about a guy like Kotal Khan, you are a damn good writer.

The Good

The Stories – No, this isn’t becoming one of my running jokes. There won’t be a The Stories in “The Decent” section. Some of the stories have just left me flat. The Cassie/Jacqui cage fighting story has been less than stellar. Also, I just don’t like Raiden. I thought I did and I’ve tried, but before MK 11, Raiden has just been a mess of a character.

He should be cool, right? I dunno. I just can only think of the guy in Big Trouble and Little China and it makes it tough to respect him. Also, his story line is a disaster. Thankfully, they finally fixed that.

No Liu Kang? – Like I said, I’ve only made it through about a third of the book, but how are you going to do my boy Liu Kang like that? The protector of Earthrealm deserves better. Free Liu Kang! Watch, he’ll be in the next book I read and every one after that. I guess that means that my complaining helped. Right?

The Decent

Beginning is a bit confusing – This might just be me. I was reading the books while my kids were playing Minecraft in the background, so I wasn’t paying full attention maybe. It’s tough to do so when your youngest keeps saying, “Dad, check out this thing.” or “Look at this, Dad.” Mind you, I’m not complaining. It just made focusing on the story much more difficult.

Short? – It isn’t all of the issues, but a few of them felt really short. I haven’t verified if they actually are or if it is just a product of digital comics not having advertisements, so they are only the 20 or 22 pages of actual content. Maybe they were just books without a lot of writing, so it didn’t take long to read. Perhaps I’m just reaching because I usually have two ideas per section and the books are so much fun that I’m having trouble finding something wrong.

Though, no Liu Kang is really irritating me. Seriously, D’Vorah gets a cover and not him? C’mon, Man.

The Verdict

Thanks for reading my Mortal Kombat X komix review. Honestly, I wasn’t expecting much going in. Usually these cross promotion things like video game comics or movies or movie video games or comics don’t turn out too well. But, the source material (as damaged as it is in places) is treated well and I don’t feel like the writer is trying too hard to make it Mortal Kombat.

I mean, sure, there are references like “Finish Him!” and the occasional dismemberment that doesn’t entirely make sense in context. However, those are few and far between. I half expected the thing to be like the old comics that my sons would write when they were younger or something like Yu Gi Oh cartoon, where it is literally just the game on the screen. But, it’s not. The story is compelling. The art is decent. I’m just now noticing that it is DC comics, so now it makes sense. They actually have a reputation to uphold. If you find yourself bored, drop the 30 bucks over at Comixology and grab the series.

Spawn 301 Review – Road to 400

Introduction

After the insanity of 300, is Spawn 301 any good? We made it to 300 and survived. Barely, but here we are on the other side. Is it too early to start the countdown to 400? Well, if it’s wrong, I don’t want to be right. Chris and I have texted a few times over the past few months about how fresh the book still feels after over 20 years under more or less strictly Uncle Todd’s control.

I’m not sure that last sentence is grammatically correct. Or, even proper English. But, it does get to my next point quite nicely. Spawn 300 promises a new beginning for the character. I haven’t read all of the intervening books, but I imagine that after so much time and so many issues, there have been other “new beginnings” for our Hellspawn. I’m pretty sure that Al wasn’t Spawn for a while in the 100s or 200s, but I’m not positive.

What makes this one different is (a) I’m here to witness it and (b) I’m all in for it. I loved the story that they started in 300. 301 picks up where that one leaves off and sets the stage for the future quite nicely. Let’s start that countdown and talk some about Spawn 301.

The Decent (Who is this ninja and JSA’s art is improving)

Who the heck is this ninja? The final pages in both 300 and 301 have told the story of a Ninja or Shinobi (does that just mean ninja?) or Samurai or something. I’m not sure of the official title of the character, but it has been an intriguing little vignette. Can’t wait to see how it fits into the greater story.

Jason Shawn Alexander I’ve been critical of his art for much of his run. I did enjoy the aesthetic for the Dark Horror storyline as it added to the overall creep factor. However, as Chris said, getting to have Greg Capullo back on the title for a limited run has shown just how starkly JSA differs from that. It’s just not the art that I grew up with. With that being said, it’s still not the same, but it has been getting better in these issues. I hope that continues.

The Good (Spawn has an army and that cover is sweet)

That Cover Tho The actual cover of the issue is pretty nice. What makes it more so is in the background is a shadow of the first issue’s cover. I thought that was a nice touch since they seem to be bringing back what makes Spawn great.

The Spawn Army This new Spawn looks an awful like the old Spawn. He’s raiding military installations for the weapons. He’s converting old villains into allies. It’s good that somethings might change, but what’s old is always going to end up being new again eventually.

The Great (Capullo! and the new story!)

Greg Capullo Chris texted me that he was ruined for any other artist on Spawn after seeing Greg Capullo’s art in Spawn 300. While I’m just as much a fan as anyone, I’m going to take the optimists approach on the art as you read earlier. It’s not the exact same, but as long as the story is strong, I will tolerate the art. Still good to see Greg Capullo back on the book I discovered him.

Here for this story I’ve already talked a little bit about how the story is being rebooted (or reimagined (or reinvented( or whatever))) starting with issue 300. Also, as I just insinuated in the last section, it looks an awful lot like the old Spawn. One thing that I wrote here is that it is reminiscent of Buffy, too. I forgot what I meant, but it is just that Spawn sacrificed himself and it looks like he unleashed his power into others similar to how Buffy woke up all the slayers. This is going to be fun.

The Verdict

Just like the other things from my youth that have come back in slightly newer variations, Spawn 300 and Spawn 301 are a welcome and comforting presence in a sometimes scary world. I can’t wait to see how things progress going forward and we only have 99 more issues until #400! See you in 10 years!

Marvel Comics October 2019 Review

Introduction

Welcome to my review of Marvel Comics October 2019. Please remember that these are only the comics that I am able to purchase for the month. In addition, the shipping schedule from DCBS seems to have changed. As a result, I only have 10 books to review this month.

For the past few months, I’ve been much higher on Marvel comics than DC Comics. I haven’t read or reviewed DC Comics yet this month, but that tide might be turning. The Marvel comics just didn’t blow me away this month like they have been. On that note, let’s dive into Marvel Comics October 2019.

The Forgettable

Look at that cover! This book should be good!

Punisher #15 (Matt Rosenberg and Szymon Kudranski)

Thunderbolts are in this book! Moon Knight, too! Plus Ghost Rider and Black Widow! Many of my favorites and some that are like old friends. This book should be great! Why, then is it the inaugural book in my “forgettable” bucket? I’m not entirely sure. I think I’ve just outgrown the Punisher. I can’t get into this book at all. It might end up on the chopping block for something else.

The Decent (Avengers and Black Panther)

Cosmic Ghost Rider? *sigh*

Avengers #24 (Jason Aaron and Stefano Caselli)

So far, I’ve enjoyed Jason Aaron’s run on Avengers. Even though it didn’t sucker me into the War of the Realms event, I still liked the issues in this series for that event. Ever since the end of that, the issues have been less interesting. The only note I have written for this one is “What the hell is this issue?”

I just can’t get into this story.

Black Panther 16 (Ta-Nehisi Coates and Daniel Acuna)

I’ve said many times that I appreciate that they are trying something new with this title. I also understand that not all stories are meant for me. This might be one of them. Because, this story just feels too science fiction for Black Panther. Maybe that sounds weird for a book about a futuristic nation built on a fictional metal. Even so, that’s just the feeling I have as I read. I do like the inclusion of Storm, so maybe things will change soon.

The Good (One Spidey with Carnage, Tony Stark, Venom, and Cap is almost great!)

Glad that this one is getting good again.

Tony Stark Iron Man #16 (Dan Slott, Jim Zub and Valerio Schiti)

I had been considering cutting this one from my pull list. At least, I was going to take it off of my reading list. I didn’t enjoy the Tony relapsing story and the whole virtual world was kind of lame, too. But, Ultron’s back after having fused with Pym and he’s spreading the disease. The main reason I didn’t like this was this version of Tony was insufferable. That’s changed a bit and I like it.

Chris has enjoyed Maximum Carnage. I have passed so far.

Amazing Spider-Man #30 (Nick Spencer and Humberto Ramos)

Of the two issues this month, I enjoyed this one slightly less. It is part of the Maximum Carnage event, so maybe it’s just because I don’t know what is happening there that I didn’t get as much into this issue. It was okay. I just liked #29 better.

Another Maximum Carnage Tie In

Venom #18 (Donny Cates and Iban Coello)

I don’t think the issue with ASM #30 was the Absolute Carnage story. Maybe Nick Spencer just isn’t the writer for this kind of story. Whatever the reason, I liked this issue of Venom better than that book. Another caveat is that I didn’t like this issue of Venom as much as the rest of the series so far. Got all that? Probably not, it’s a bit confusing. In any case, where’s Eddie? Also, where’s the horror? This book is starting to feel more like traditional Venom. Oh well, that Symbiote-tron was pretty frightening.

This book is very close to great.

Captain America #14 (Ta-Nehisi Coates and Niko Walter)

This book is so close to being great. This issue nearly knocked it out of the part. Admittedly, I’m one of the minority who liked the way that Secret Empire ended. I have also liked watching Captain America reckon with a country that he barely recognizes. This is most evident in the voice over throughout the book as Cap reminisces about the “good old days”. Also, Nick Fury is back and I’m enjoying the “Daughters of Liberty”. Can’t wait for next month.

The Great (Two New Books and Hulk is slipping?)

World’s Greatest Comic again?

Fantastic Four 14 (Dan Slott and Paco Medina)

At first, I rolled my eyes at the Fantastic Four coming back…again…after having been canceled…again. It’s predictable. Like Flash Point in DC, you know when things are getting slow, it’s going to happen. I hadn’t even read any of them until a couple of months ago. I’m glad I read this one. It felt like Stan the Man’s Fantastic Four with updates. I especially enjoyed the flashbacks to lead into the future. Very well done.

This book is 100% Spidey!

Amazing Spider-Man #29 (Nick Spencer and Francesco Manna)

This issue is 100 % Spidey. It starts with a voice over similar to Captain America. This one is a tongue in cheek look back at how these things keep happening to Spidey over and over. Then, it goes into a scene of Peter and MJ fighting? Oh boy. No, they are just performing a scene. Well played. Aunt May is her strong and silent self. The only indication that this isn’t old Spidey is his sister. Heck, it even ends with a missed chance at a proposal for Peter. Great issue.

Gearing up for 25?

Immortal Hulk #23 (Al Ewing et al)

The story is starting to take shape between the doctor and Hulk. Also, there are some faces from the past that have been nice to see. Even so, the story is dragging a bit. I found myself skimming this issue instead of actually reading it. It might just be because they are setting the stage for #25, which I recently saw is going to be a landmark issue for the title.

The Verdict (Marvel Comics October 2019 are solid)

Overall, the books were strong this month. The only book that I didn’t enjoy at all was The Punisher. Otherwise, I’m excited where Fantastic Four is headed, Spider-Man is solid, Hulk keeps entertaining me, Captain America gets better and better with every month, and Venom and Iron Man are decent titles. I just hope they can keep the momentum with the new books recently announced.

Marvel Comics August 2019

Introduction

I think I wrote in my last article that it was going to be the final one written in that format. So, i present to you my review of Marvel Comics for August 2019. The comics are actually from last month, but that’s more recent than the first reviews. So, as I’ve said a few times, unless I get famous and they start sending me reviewer copies, this is as recent as I get.

I’ve also reconfigured “The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly”. I still have 3 categories, but I’ve renamed them. If you’ve been reading this whole time, you know why. If not, allow me to explain quickly. I’m sure this will be a standard note at the top of future articles.

I’m a reviewer who tries to find the good in creative things. You might think this is dishonest. Sometimes people think that positive reviews are simply to get in good with companies for free stuff. While I wouldn’t turn down free stuff, that’s not my motive. I’m a frustrated self-published writer, so I try to encourage creativity whenever possible.

The Great (I Have a Feeling These May Not Change Much)

Amazing Spider-Man #25 and 26 (Zeb Wells, Keaton Patti, Nick Spencer, Kev Walker, Humberto Ramos, Ryan Ottley, Todd Nauck): I was worried that the book might suffer after what was a really good story in “Hunted”. However, the follow up story has been excellent, as well. I wasn’t too sure about Mysterio because it felt like cross promotion in the worst way. I’m glad to be wrong. The Mysterio story has been interesting. Also, they are introducing (? They’re new to me) the Sinister She Six and MJ’s and Spidey’s relationship are no longer on the rocks. All in all, a solid book.

Venom#16 (Donnie Cates and Juan Gedeon): This has probably been my second favorite ongoing Marvel book behind the new Hulk. They have done a slight retcon on the origin of the suit. Again, I’m not positive about that. However, that retcon has added a bit of a horror element to the book that is appealing. Plus, the “new” Venom with the dichotomy of Lethal Protector is awesome as far as I’m concerned.

The Immortal Hulk #20 and 21 (Al Ewing and Joe Bennett): Truth be told, this book is the main reason that I decided to rework the format of reviews for the page. I couldn’t ever think of a bad thing to say about the book, let alone ugly. Like I texted to Chris, this and Justice League Dark have just been solid books since the relaunches and I don’t think there has been a bad issue with these teams. Keep up the great work.

The Good (Avengers and Dead Mutants)

Uncanny X-Men 21 and 22 (Matthew Rosenberg and Salvador Larroca): Chris and I were texting about books that we have been enjoying lately and I mentioned this one was getting good again. He replied, “I might be wrong, but I thought they killed it.” FFS, sure enough, he’s right. Well, add this one to the pile with Weapon X of books that died right as they were getting good.

Avengers #21 (Jason Aaron and Jason Masters): I haven’t enjoyed the Avengers comic book as much as I have the movies. I will say that I’ve enjoyed Tony Stark in the Avengers book more than his solo book. But, more on that later. This issue was some clean up from War of the Realms. This is the first “event” that I didn’t read in quite some time, but Chris said it wasn’t that good, so I’m glad I missed it. With that being said, this issue was a bit slow, but it was a nice set up for what’s to come.

The Decent (This Would Make for an Odd Team Up Issue)

The Punisher #13 (Matthew Rosenberg and Szymon Kudranski): I have never been a huge fan of the Punisher. Oh, sure, when I was a teenager, he and Deadpool were the anti heroes that I needed. Now, however, it’s just more of the same. I will say that I enjoyed the part where the Punisher took it to the cops that thought he was doing right. An interesting take on current events.

Thor #15 (Jason Aaron and Mike Del Mundo): I texted Chris after reading this issue to say that War of Realms seemed like an overly complicated way to get Mjolnir back to Thor. Sure, that’s a big deal and all, but did they really need to do a whole event? I got the idea just from this issue. Oh well, what’s done is done.

Tony Stark, Iron Man #14 (Dan Slott, Jim Zub, Valerio Schiti): Tony Stark by himself is insufferable. I don’t mind him in the Avengers book, but I just can’t stand this version of Tony Stark. I do like the story of him not being sure if he’s real or not, but I don’t know how long they can keep it going.

Doctor Strange #16 (Mark Waid, Barry Kitson, and Scott Koblish): Normally I am a fan of both Doctor Strange and Mark Waid. However, this issue just fell a bit flat for me. It revolves around a Pyrrhic victory. Or, is it a Faustian bargain? Either way, the issue was fine, but doesn’t make me want to keep reading.

The Verdict (Overall Marvel Comics August 2019 was a good month)

I was going to do a “Forgettables” section, too, with Absolute Carnage. I obviously haven’t read it yet, but I’m not a fan of just retelling the same stories over and over again. That’s why I’m glad that recent reboots have gone out of their way to not have origin stories. Also, hopefully the reboots are done for a while.

But, I digress. I then learned that the Venom team was going to work on Absolute Carnage and that changed my mind. As mentioned above, I enjoy the Venom book very much. So, I will at least give Absolute Carnage the old 2 issue try to see if they can capture that same magic.

As far as Marvel Comics August 2019, these books overall were entertaining. The last four in the decent category have been uneven overall, but I have enjoyed them all on some level. Many of the books I’m reading seem to be getting cut from the lineup, so what i fear is that I’m no longer the target audience. Don’t ever grow up, kids. It’s a trap.

Marvel Comics Week of 7/28/19 Review

Introduction

Hello, and welcome to my review of Marvel comics for the week of 7/28/19. As you already know if you’ve read any of the other articles I’ve posted recently, these aren’t actually comics from that week. In fact, I’m also renegging on the promise that I wasn’t reviewing old books since one of the comics is Weapon X, which has been discontinued.

Oh well, best laid plans an all that. I will say that this is probably going to be the last of the articles with this format. I’m more or less caught up on all of the books at this point. Therefore, I want to start writing articles that take better advantage of the “Good, Bad, and Ugly” schtick that I refuse to let die. I’m confident that I will not break this promise.

Black Panther #12 and 13 by Ta-Nehisi Coates, Jen Bartel, and Kris Anka

Black Panther….IN SPAAAAACE! Meh.

The Good (I enjoy Coates as a writer)

I’ve probably mentioned on the page in the past that Black Panther was one of my favorite Marvel heroes growing up. I was very excited for the movie and it ranks in my top 5 Marvel movies right now. When I heard that Ta-Nehisi Coates was going to be writing for the book a few years ago, I made it my mission to read it because I think he’s a smart and engaging speaker. Like many of my missions, I failed. I did not fail when they rebooted as part of Legacy.

The Bad (This story feels disjointed)

I must be missing something here. Because, I have no idea what is even happening in this book right now. Somehow, Black Panther and the other characters are in space. I know it was explained, but I still don’t understand it.

The Ugly (I don’t like this story)

As if that last entry wasn’t enough of a hint, not only is it disjointed, but I just don’t like this story very much. It might not be a story for me and that’s okay. I mean, it’s not like I’m going to stop reading the comic because of it, but I really wish they’d stop it with the space stuff already.

Amazing Spider-Man #24 by Nick Spencer, Clay Chapman, Gerardo Sandoval, and Ryan Ottley

Surprisingly, this was a scary issue.

The Good (Still Rolling after Hunted)

I worried that there might be a drop off in quality after such a good story as Hunted. However, this follow up story has started off with a bang. I like that they’re bringing everyone back from the semi-disaster that was “One Last Day” or whatever that story was called. Spidey isn’t my favorite Marvel book like it once was, but it is definitely climbing the charts.

The Bad (Mysterio and the Far From Home Elephant)

This might have been planned. It might have been happenstance. Either way, it feels a bit icky. Mysterio is in the new Spider-Man movie. He’s in this book, too, which released around the same time as the movie. I get that Marvel is a company and cross promotion is a thing, but I don’t have to be happy about it.

The Ugly (Mysterio’s End)

There were two books (maybe three because I didn’t finish all of Weapon X) that saw some very violent deaths for their characters. The Mysterio one is possibly not a true death and the other most likely is not either, but they were both shocking.

Weapon X (#22-27 RIP) by Greg Pak, Fred Van Lente, and Luca Pizzari

Why must all of Greg Pak’s book come to such an abrupt end?

The Good (Greg Pak is one of my favorite writers)

I have liked Greg Pak since the original Planet Hulk series. I’ve tried to read everything he’s written. Unlike some other fans, I even liked when he took over for Hulk and wrote Totally Awesome Hulk. It feels like fans might be holding that against him because his other titles since have met untimely ends. He’s also an unabashed librul on Twitter and neckbeards often aren’t.

The Bad (Deadpool)

While this was a more subdued version of Deadpool, I prefer the Ryan Reynolds version the best. A close second was the Merc with a Mouth from Secret Empire. The wisecracking, 4th wall breaking nonsense is just too much for me.

The Ugly (Too Real)

I feel like I’m saying this more and more about comics lately. I get that they are art and supposed to reflect the times, but it’s too much for me to handle sometimes. Maybe I’m just not a fan of reality right now. As if that isn’t the understatement of the year.

Immortal Hulk #17-19 by All Ewing and Joe Bennett

That is one ugly Abomination.

The Good (Abomination)

I don’t remember the specifics of each individual issue. However, I do remember that Abomination was introduced in this run and he is living up to his name in this title. I mean, just look at that mug in that cover up there. This continues to be the best Marvel book beyond a shadow of a doubt and this character helps cement that legacy.

The Good (Joe Fixit and Multiple Personality Disorder)

I always liked Hulk because of the MPD angle. I don’t suffer myself and I’m skeptical that it is actually as prevalent as it is made out to be. However, I’m fascinated by human psychology and this book is again proving itself to be a master class in that study.

The Good (Betty vs. Hulk)

So, a few episodes ago, Betty turned into a Hulk. She looks like a harpy almost, which could be read as slightly sexist, but I just now thought of that, so it’s probably a stretch. Evidently, she’s been hunting Hulk and she caught up to him. As I texted to Chris, simply “brutal”. Can’t wait to see where this book takes us.

The Verdict (Marvel Comics Week of 7/28/19 Entertained Me)

Hulk is probably the best comic book (that I’m reading). I’m sure there are others that you indy guys can point to that are better. However, I can’t wait to read the new Hulk every month. Spidey is very good, Black Panther is uneven and Weapon X is dead. I say again, because the more I say it, but Marvel Comics Week of 7/28/19 will be the last of this particular format, so look for the new format in a couple of weeks. Until then, make mine Marvel!

DC COmics Week of 7/21/19 Review

Introduction

I think I said in one of my previous articles that it would be the last time that I would include older comics in the review. So this isn’t technically DC Comics Week of 7/21/19. There might be some older books in here, but I am at the point where I’m caught up on the books that I read and it is the most recent books as of last month. Progress! If I’m going to get any more current, I have to get famous and have the companies send me preview books.

Superman #9, 11, 12 (“Unity Saga” by Brian Michael Bendis, Joe Prado and Ivan Reis)

My heavens, what has the House of El ever done to deserve all this hate?

The Good (This book is better than Action Comics right now)

As you probably know since you are all fans of comic books, DC Comics handed control of their most famous hero to Brian Michael Bendis last year. What you may not know if you aren’t a fan of this page is that I’m not a huge fan of Bendis. I’m not against him necessarily, I just don’t like his propensity for long exposition and the standard that he set for serializing comics into 6 part stories. With that being said, I have liked this book more than Action Comics lately.

The Bad (Why the Retcon?)

I’m not much of a fan of Superman, either. Again, I don’t actively dislike the character. I mean, how can you? He’s a boy scout who champions the virtues of America. However, the character is kind of lame and Zack Snyder kind of ruined Superman and DC for me and it is taking some time to purge myself of those very painful memories. Granted, I was always a bit biased against DC, but they have been doing good things with their comic books the past few years, so I was missing out.

The Ugly (Everyone Hates the House of El)

Now, I know I just spend a couple of paragraphs talking about the negatives of this book in the good and the bad section. I’m not a hater, though. I did enjoy this story as I read it. So, you can’t count me in the headline for this section. However, the Evil Justice League, Rogol, and Zod most definitely do not like Superman’s family and they will stop at nothing to destroy them.

Wonder Woman #73 (“Prisoner of a Dark Dimension” by Various)

Why is Wonder Woman always tied up? Uh, don’t Google that unless you want your preconceived notions about comics and kids utterly destroyed.

The Good (This is an interesting story)

I’m pretty sure this is a rehash of a story that has been told over and over in Wonder Woman. However, not being a DC fan as much as a Marvel fan, I haven’t read many of these stories in the past. With that being said, this was a good story that I enjoyed reading, even it it wasn’t Greg Rucka writing it. There’s your obligatory Rucka reference for 2GG Bingo.

The Bad (This is only a one shot)

This issue was obviously filler for some reason or another. That’s why I say that it is most likely a story that has already been told. Even so, I’d have liked to have explored this story more. Oh well, maybe in the future.

The Ugly (I like this creative team)

What, what? You liked the story. You liked the creative team. How is that ugly? Well, this team filled in for this one shot. Therefore, chances are they won’t be back next issue. I wish they were. Hear that, DC? If these guys don’t have a regular book, give them one!

Catwoman 11 and 12 (Joelle Jones and Fernando Blanco)

I think I like Catwoman more than either Batman title now. That’s saying a bit.

The Good (Joelle is Back!)

The last time I reviewed Catwoman, there was a one shot fill in issue not involving Joelle. That made me sad. Joelle is back writing for Catwoman again. That makes me happy. I like her writing style for this book and if she leaves, it will almost be a Rucka-like adjustment for me to get used to a new writer.

The Bad (Not Quite Deus Ex Machina)

One problem I have with the book is that while there is an ongoing story, each book has it’s own specific narrative. It’s not quite Deus ex Machina that she utilizes to accomplish these feats of daring and do-baddery, but it’s close. Things just wrap up entirely too quickly for my tastes. I wouldn’t mind a cliffhanger or two.

The Ugly (Movie Premiere)

Part of the narrative of issue 11 was a movie premiere. I’m sure that it has some bearing on the book or the character, but damned if I was able to find it. Just felt completely random and not related to the story one bit. Maybe those pages could have been used for more set up for the eventual heist.

Justice League Dark #11 and 12 (James Tynion IV and Alvaro Martinez)

This might be my favorite DC book right now.

The Good (This is better than Justice League)

I’m not a fan of whatever Scott Snyder is doing with Justice League right now. It’s a fine title, but it just doesn’t feel cohesive or well executed. I will keep reading in hopes that things change. I would much rather be reading this book, though.

The Bad (Nothing)

That’s not an exaggeration. I love everything about this book. As I wrote in my caption, it might be my favorite DC book right now.

The Ugly (Justice League Dark Chaos?)

Is that a double negative? Are they now the real Justice League and the other Justice League is what then? Yes, this is a reach. But, as I said, this book is very good and you should be reading it.

The Verdict (DC Comics Week of 7/21/19)

Overall, the comics that I read for this week are strong. DC is having a bit of a wobble since it is mostly a comics venture at this point and it can’t quite figure out how to make movies. That being said, I did like Aquaman and Shazam was quite a bit of fun. But, I digress.

Back to DC Comics Week of 7/21/19, it isn’t as strong as some previous weeks. But, it wasn’t bad, either. At this point, I’m not sure who I like more, DC or Marvel. Maybe neither, and I’m just becoming a fan of individual books instead of either company.