Tag Archives: Marvel Comics

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.

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 September 2019 Review

Introduction

Welcome to my Marvel Comics September 2019 Review article. I mentioned in my previous article about DC Comics last month that it looks like Chris and I finally are on to something when it comes to predicting the doom and gloom of comic books. We have both been talking about it for at least 3 years. I will talk about it more in a couple of weeks when I finally get caught up with this month’s comics, but it is affecting my Marvel books more than my DC, it seems.

That’s a true shame. As you will see soon, I am almost 100% back to my Marvel zombie roots. I have 5 books in the “Great” column and 6 in the “good” and “decent” column combined. So, you can safely call me a mark or stan or just a zombie like I called myself and I will have no valid argument against it. I don’t care. I just think that Marvel is doing a great job with their books.

The Great (Too Many to List Individually/Marvel Comics September 2019 lineup is so strong)

I get that this is being a Doctor Strange fan, but I’m gonna miss you again Doc.

Doctor Strange 17 and 18 (Mark Waid, Barry Kitson, and Jesus Saiz)

I’m pretty sure this is probably the most controversial pick of my greats. People hate Mark Waid. I can’t blame them. He’s said some stupid things in his own defense. However, none of them are relevant to me because I’m not one of these Comicsgate (or whatever the hell that stupid thing is/was called) dingbats. I like how he writes and he has mostly done a good job with Strange. Stay mad, nerds.

The new Ghost Rider is fantastic.

Avengers 22 and 23 (Jason Aaron and Stefano Caselli)

Like Doctor Strange with the previous story, things got a little slow in Avengers when Jason Aaron was presenting the War of the Realms. However, the epilogue issue and these two have been as strong as the issues right after the Legacy reboot. This is an Avengers team that I hope lasts at least a couple of more years.

So glad we are back to old fashioned Spidey.

Amazing Spider-Man 27 and 28 (Nick Spencer and Kev Walker)

Okay, maybe this is the one “great” choice that would be considered most controversial. After all, this one contains two things that Comicsgate nerds hate, Nick Spencer and women. Yeah, I’m intentionally starting crap with a potentially dead “controversy”. Hey, I’m not above a little manufactured beef to goose readership. With all that being said, I love the all female Sinister Six (or whatever they’re calling themselves) and Spidey is the Spidey I remember.

Wasn’t sure about Absolute Carnage, but Chris assures me it’s good, so I’ll have to grab the trade.

Venom 17 (Donny Cates and Iban Coello)

Venom has consistently been my second favorite book behind Immortal Hulk. I’ve enjoyed the horror vibe that Donny Cates has brought. I wasn’t sure about the retcon (if that’s what it is) of the symbiote, but it has been an okay storyline. Also, the introduction of Eddie’s kid has helped to explain some of his back story. Overall, a solid book.

Simply amazing…

Immortal Hulk 22 (Al Ewing and Joe Bennett)

I’ve said it before and I will say it again, but there are two books that have been consistently great since both companies rebooted a couple of years ago. Justice League Dark for DC Comics and this one for Marvel. I’m running out of ways to praise this book. All comic books should be like this one.

The Good (Black Panther, Captain America, and Tony Stark, oh my?)

I am Iron Man?

Tony Stark Iron Man 15 (Dan Slott and Jim Zub)

This book is written by one of my favorite writer’s and drawn by one of my favorite artists. It’s just been too inconsistent. I don’ t like Tony by himself. Because I like the Tony Stark in Avengers so much more because there’s a buffer. I didn’t like the Tony as alcoholic storyline even if it was only virtual. But, this book does have potential. I hope they find it.

Gorgeous. I love Alex Ross covers.

Captain America 12 and 13 (Ta-Nehisi Coates and Adam Kubert)

I don’t know if it was intended, but putting Ta-Nehisis Coates on Captain America was a perfect troll move by Marvel. The story of America reckoning with Captain America after Hydra has mirrored reality, sometimes a bit too much for my tastes. That’s the only thing keeping this book from being great. I just can’t handle how real it is sometimes.

Maybe I need to be more open minded about this one.

Black Panther 14 and 15 (Ta Nehisi Coates and Daniel Acuna)

I waited quite a while to finally experience Ta-Nehisi Coates on Black Panther. I like the things he has to say. Black Panther has always been one of my favorite characters. However, this storyline of the Intergalactic Empire of Wakanda just doesn’t speak to me. Maybe it isn’t for me. Even so, I do enjoy the book.

The Decent (World’s Greatest?, Too old for an anti-hero?, and The God of Thunder)

A cool call back to the original #12…

Fantastic Four 12 and 13 (Dan Slott and Sean Izaakse)

I got excited for the Fantastic Four to be coming back in their original form. However, as many of these comics have shown, be careful what you wish for. That’s not to say that the book is bad. Far from it. It has just suffered from the curse of high expectations. I do like that they called back to the original books with this cover, so maybe things will turn around. Hey, like I said, I’m not above shameless cross promotion.

Oh, poor Frank Castle. First his family is gunned down. Now, I might just be abandoning him.

The Punisher 14 (Matthew Rosenberg and Szymon Kudranski)

Like most disaffected teenage boys, I found solace in the story of Frank Castle. It was dark, gritty, angry, and full of guns going “pew, pew”. Like most disaffected teenage boys who grow up, I think I might be outgrowing Mr. Frank Castle. I just can’t get into his methods and his anger no longer resonates. Like Deadpool, he might need to grow up a bit for me to jump back on board.

God of Thunder and All-Father? Mjolnir’s Back? Should be good stuff. Well….

Thor 16 (Jason Aaron and Mike Del Mundo)

First, at the risk of sounding like a broken record, I don’t like the art of this book. It just doesn’t work for me. Usually, I like Jason Aaron. I do like his Avengers. But, this book just doesn’t do it for me. I’m not sure entirely what it is missing, but Mjolnir wasn’t it. Like I said in a previous article, War of the Realms just seemed like an overly complicated way for him to get the hammer back. Maybe I was just bitter because I liked what Endgame did with the story.

The Verdict (Marvel Comics September 2019 is in good shape)

I can’t repeat how much I enjoyed the Marvel books for this month. Even the books that I didn’t enjoy that much were fun. Any one of the books can easily make the jump from decent to good or even to great with some TLC. Thanks for reading my Marvel Comics September 2019 review and come back in a couple of weeks for October!

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!

Marvel Comics Reviews (Week of 5/19/19)

Introduction

I mentioned in my previous article that I’m catching up on comics from the last six months. I think I might have said that I hadn’t read a comic in that time. That’s not entirely true. I read The Immortal Hulk and a few of the DC Giants that are available at Wal*Mart.

Now, I can also say that I’ve read some Marvel titles. X-23, Doctor Strange, Avengers, and The Immortal Hulk are all included in this review. I’ve been planning this relaunch of the web page again for a few months and I’m finally out of school again. In addition, I didn’t get a class first summer session. I should be able to get some momentum going before summer 2 starts. As always, no promises, but hopefully things get rolling.

X-23 (Issues 7, 9, 10)

You may notice that Issue 8 is not among the ones read for this review. I’ve had some…difficulty…in keeping up with my pull list.

The Good (Mariko Tamaki is one of my favorite writers)

I don’t remember when I was introduced to Mariko Tamaki. I think it might have been during her run on She-Hulk (which was just Hulk at the time because Bruce was “dead”) and the book was amazing. It dealt with death, mourning, and PTSD. When Marvel reshuffled the deck again and killed the newly-minted She Hulk title, I thought Tamaki was out of my life. A random search while sorting titles showed that she was, in fact, still writing. I have been a fan of the X-23 character since her appearance in Logan. While this isn’t quite that, I will read anything that Tamaki writes.

The Bad (That missing Issue 8 is haunting me)

This isn’t the only issue that I’m missing. It might not even be the most important. As I said, I’ve missed a couple of months of my DCBS pull list, so the Midtown order to fill all of them is going to be huge. But, this is the most relevant to this particular discussion.

The Ugly (Where’s the Pew Pew?)

Mariko Tamaki does it all. She writes complex characters around simple and easy to follow, but still compelling, plots. One thing that this book hadn’t had was the old punchy, punchy. I don’t demand a lot of that from my comics, but I was missing it in this series until she delivered in issue 10.

Doctor Strange (Issues 6-11 “The Two Doctors”)

I really wanted to like this story. But, I just don’t.

The Good (Mark Waid is still writing it)

This is going to sound weird with what I’m about to say, but I do like Mark Waid as a writer. I think there has been some Comicsgate nonsense surrounding him, but I don’t care about that. In my experience, he does a good job. Also, I enjoyed the first story in the rebooted Doctor Strange book about him losing his magic and trying to find it again.

The Bad (This Story Just Isn’t All That Compelling)

With all of that being said, I’m not into this story at all. I was initially interested in the “2 Doctors” story, but that resolved too quickly. I don’t care about who the second doctor turned out being. I’m not all that bothered by the fate of the doc’s demon friend. I just didn’t care enough to even finish these issues.

The Ugly (The Story is Also Confusing)

I mean, they can’t all be winners. On top of not being all that interesting, this story is confusing. Generally speaking, you should be able to drop into a new story and more or less know what is happening. That wasn’t the case here. Admittedly, I did skip the first issue. Even so, I went back and read them in order and stopped after the second reading of the second issue.

Avengers (14-17 “Something Something Dracula”)

The Good (When Good, this book is great)

There have been some panels in this book that have made me want to applaud. When Tony and T’Challa are both trying to deal with their vampire massacre in their own way. New Ghost Rider dealing with the aftermath of his freak out. The big reveal at the end of Issue 17, even though I saw it coming a mile away. Marvel is treating one of their marquee books very well.

The Bad (What is this Story?)

It has been interesting and fun. Also, it’s nice to see Blade and New Ghost Rider get some love in the book. But, I have no idea where this story came from. Sure, I’ve missed the lead in issues, so maybe there was some build up, but it seems completely random.

The Ugly (Everyone Sounds Like Tony)

When I started reading the rebooted Avengers book, I said to Chris that I liked Tony more in this book than his standalone book. I do like Tony Stark, Iron Man, but too much Tony is too much. I don’t exactly get that feeling here, but his snark is rubbing off on the other characters every now and then.

Amazing Spider Man (The Hunted)

Starting here on recommendation by Chris.

The Good (Nick Spencer is writing)

Noticing a theme here? I enjoy the art of comics, but I’m a frustrated writer myself. I associate more with them than the artists. Again, I think that some comic fans might be off Nick Spencer since Secret Empire. I understand why they did what they did there, but I can also understand why people feel cheated by it. Even so, I still like Spencer and was excited to see him writing Spider-Man.

The Bad (Kraven Clones?)

Now, this wasn’t a huge plot point. Okay, that’s not true. It is a big plot point. However, it didn’t take long to resolve. Even so, as soon as I saw clones in a Spider-Man book, I rolled my eyes.

The Ugly (Showdown)

Kraven was dead (spoiler alert). He’s not any more (spoiler alert?) He’s very mad about not being dead. And, he seems to be coming for Spidey (Spoiler Alert!) I, for one, hope that this is a big one.

The Immortal Hulk (The Entire Series)

Drop everything and read this book. Seriously, don’t even read this review. Just read the book.

The Good (Everything)

Okay, you’re still reading the review instead of reading the book. I guess that means that I need to explain myself and why I’m breaking the routine to only talk about how good the book is. Perhaps you read that I wrote in my Spawn review this week that this book is probably the only perfect book right now. So, let me explain why.

I seriously cannot find anything wrong with this book. And, I was a skeptic. Chris will text me periodically that some book or another in the series is starting to spike in price. So, it’s understood if I was skeptical. It would seem that Marvel wasn’t sure what they had with this book and have produced low print runs as a result.

The story has tinkered with some of Hulk’s most basic mythology. Even now, I do cringe a bit when I read that headline. So far, though, it has only added to the appeal of the character for me. The horror element of the comic fits well with the Hulk character and the Jekyll and Hyde dynamic that makes Hulk so endearing is there in prime form.

The art is varied and fits the theme. In one of my favorite issues, they had 3 or 4 different pencillers working on different parts of the story based on who was telling that part of the story. It was a nice touch and kept things fresh for what ultimately was just a “we’ve seen the Hulk, why don’t you believe us” type issue.

Now, we are getting into some more familiar Hulk themes, which is welcome, as well. Loss, trauma, mourning, etc. It hasn’t been handled with the deft hand of She Hulk from a few years ago yet, but there is time to grow into that. Even so, I hope they keep the horror element of the book as they go forward.

The Verdict (Marvel is in an okay place right now)

Marvel was hurting for a while there. It seemed like they had no idea what they wanted to do after Secret Empire. They rebooted (but didn’t reboot) with Legacy after they had just rebooted not that long ago. Then, there was talk of another potential reboot. I suggested at the time that they just take the tact of DC and let it ride for a while. Even though they are releasing far too many books a month (and seemingly increasing that monthly), their core of heroes is in good hands. They just need to keep on keeping on and hopefully the lull in movies for a bit will allow them to focus on the books.

Marvel Comics in 2018

Introduction

Marvel Comics in 2018 have been a bit of a mixed bag. Perhaps that is being too kind to them. I have made no secret of my status as a Marvel zombie for life. Marvel properties, namely the animated Spider-Man and Friends cartoon and the live action Incredible Hulk television show, introduced me to those heroes. When I then started to collect comics, Marvel books were the first ones that I bought. In fact, until Image started as a company, Marvel were the only books that I bought.

I have since branched out from that narrow focus. As my wife can attest, I collect a variety of comic books from all three of the bigger publishers. Perhaps it is this branching out. Maybe I am just getting older. Hey, it could even just be that DC has focused more on comics. For whatever reason, this is the first time in my life that my top 5 comics are not Marvel books.

Though, they have been killing it with the movies.

DC Comics famously rebooted their universe from the mess that was New 52 a few years ago. Marvel has tried the same a few times over the years, including their own version of the New 52. As a collector, this has caused some confusion with the sequence and numbering of their titles. They responded with their Legacy “not quite a reboot” reboot which also offered consistent and official numbering for their more recognizable books. Even this was met with some internet side eye as their numbering schemes were brought into question.

The Good (Marvel Comics in 2018 is back to basics)

We are on to the good section of the article, so let’s keep it positive. There has been some good to come out of this mess. I mentioned in the previous section that Marvel books might not have cracked my Top 5 last year. That’s a bit harsh. There are at least two books from Marvel that are near the top of my read list every month. Before I talk about them, I’ll mention the other books that I’ve been enjoying.

Dr. Strange is one of my favorite Marvel characters and the latest story of him losing his magic has been a fun story. The Extermination story grabbed and kept my interest. X-23 is written by one of my favorite writers. Captain America post Secret Empire is a cool exploration of the soul of the character and, to an extent, our country. Iron Man and Avengers are both decent. On to my two favorite Marvel books.

Another name and theme change for Hulk?

I was skeptical when I heard the announcement about The Immortal Hulk. A horror book? Starring Hulk? Okay, I’ll give it a shot. I’m glad that it did. The tone of the book is completely different, but it is back to the Jekyll and Hyde roots of the character. Highly recommended.

Speaking of horror vibes…

I am not as much of a Venom fan as Hulk, so I wasn’t sure what to expect out of this title. I had enjoyed the pre-Legacy story line of the symbiote being sick and Eddie needing to cure it. They have continued with that thread while also adding some of the same horror as in the Hulk title. I also recommend this book if you are just getting into comics.

The Bad (Marvel Comics in 2018 is inconsistent)

Intergalactic Empire? Again, okay…

Perhaps the epitome of this inconsistency is Black Panther. While many have only discovered the character because of the mega blockbuster movie that came out last year, I have been a fan of Black Panther since the beginning of my comic collecting. After starting with the big boys, I moved on to some of the secondary characters and enjoyed their stories more. I can’t quite put my finger on why I’m not enjoying this book more, but it just has not felt as fun or interesting as some of the others. Admittedly, I haven’t read it in a few months, so maybe it has fleshed out the concept better in the meantime.

Hot off the presses. That actually makes sense, but I meant to invoke the movie, so hot off the reels? That sounds dumb. Speaking of dumb, let’s move on.

If you know me at all, you know that I will give any creative outlet a chance. I’m a frustrated writer myself (imagine that, a failed novelist as blogger), so I understand all too well the crushing defeat of something you spent 10 years of your life on failing completely. Sorry, fell into therapy mode there.

With all of that being said, I didn’t like Infinity Wars. I really wanted to. I liked the first comic series and I loved the movie. I collected all of this title and even got the connecting covers. Then, I started to read it and it is a confusing mess. I don’t understand any of the motivation of the characters or reason for the plot. It was so bad, that I reconsidered my collection of the Infinity Warps offshoot books. I still have yet to buy any of them. Maybe Marvel needs to take a break from events.

The Ugly (Marvel Comics in 2018 is frustrating)

Worst year ever…

While I don’t want to sound like one of those internet guys who hates on everything, I’m going to do exactly that. This also probably is not entirely the fault of 2018. Marvel Comics has felt like a rudderless ship for several years now. They introduce new heroes, build them up for years, and then cave to the whims of those internet grumps and kill off those heroes. I get it. Sales drive industry. Perhaps I’m more frustrated with the grumps who won’t give something new a chance than with Marvel.

Comic books need to grow and change from their lonely nerd boy roots if they are going to continue. Perhaps the New 52 was the worst thing to happen to DC. Maybe Totally Awesome Hulk and Miles Morales Spider-Man were an anathema in the Marvel Universe. Spoiler Alert: I read both titles. They weren’t. Even so, comic sales have not kept up with the reality. Comic books are very popular except for the comics themselves. Maybe that is the reality. People that don’t buy comics never will. But, I commend the companies for continuing to try to find a new audience.

The Verdict (Marvel Comics in 2018 is in transition)

It’s been no secret that Marvel’s focus is more on its cinematic and television properties over the last decade. They have been building an integrated storyline over that time that they used to invest in their comics. Chris and I have had the conversation numerous times and I was under the impression that comics had become more or less a loss leader for the company under their Disney overlords. While that might be true to some extent, Marvel Comics still considers itself an integral part of the family.

It remains to be seen if that is actually true. When I go to comic shows, I do see people younger than me there. My kids are all into comics and read at least one title a month that I buy. Aiden likes Flash. Liam reads Batman. Quinn’s favorite is Teen Titans. I don’t know if they are going to continue to read comics past childhood. Maybe they’ll be like me and go into comics hibernation for a time until nostalgia brings them back.

Overall, I’m happy with what Marvel is doing with their comic books. If they can sustain this for a few years like DC has done with their Rebirth line, which has become the new DC universe, then I think they’ll be able to build their audience a little bit more. So far, so good. Quite an unsatisfying conclusion perhaps, but that’s the state of comics in 2018.

Marvel Comics in the 2000s

Introduction

Promised for a week or so and finally recorded, Chris and I talked about 1990s comics. I already did three articles on Marvel, DC, and Image comics in the 1990s. But, I like to make sure that the articles match what is on the podcast for that week. Therefore, I have to keep writing about comic books this week. In keeping with my previous theme of reminiscing about my time in Magic the Gathering, I figured I can keep talking about my recent history with comic books.

The 1990s are when I discovered comics. The 2000s are when I rediscovered comics. I found a local comic store in the neighboring town of Athol. Due to rent concerns and low profit margins on comics, he moved the store to Orange. It was right down the street from my house. Instead of having to drive 5 minutes, I only had to walk 5 minutes. It didn’t hurt that the guy was friendly and would talk to me every time I was in the store. Also, it was just a great time to get back into comic books.

It was wonderful. Then, of course, my backwards town somehow screwed it up and the guy closed shop permanently.

Marvel Comics Pop Culture in the 2000s

I went into great detail in my Marvel Comics in the 1990s article about how pop culture was instrumental in shaping my comic book interests. While my interests were mostly cemented by the time I rediscovered comics in the 2000s, it was the time that comic book movies started to grow up. We were still a couple of years away from the birth of the current golden age of the MCU, but something big happened in the early 2000s.

Marvel Comics took a bit of a risk. They released a new Spider-Man movie. Even though it doesn’t seem like it now, I say that they took a risk. Historically comic book movies were terrible. Even as they figured things out in those early days, there was still a clunker every now and then.

While I didn’t mind it, the first Hulk got mostly negative reception and it took them a while to find a Hulk that worked on the big screen.

Spider-Man was the first comic movie experience that was positive. Somehow, I convinced my wife (who is not a comic book fan at all) to come see the movie with me. I also convinced her to see the re-released Star Wars movie. While it took her until Episode 7 and Rey to truly embrace Star Wars, she was on board with Spider-Man from the beginning. Granted, things got weird at the end when they tried to do Spider-Man No More and Venom in the same movie, but I think we can all agree that they’ve figured things out.

Marvel Comics (Not Civil War or Hulk) in the 2000s

You are probably wondering why I’m not including Civil War in my discussion. It is the defining event of the decade and it might be (since the movie) one of the most recognizable crossover events in comics. Sure, Infinity War has recently surpassed it. When Captain America Civil War released into the theaters, though, it got my formerly comics deficient friend to start talking about comics and he is willing to discuss the movies with me if not the books.

He’s a history guy, though, so this might have been his idea of comic book civil war.

Because it was so influential, I’m going to give it a separate section for discussion. Why Planet Hulk? Even though it isn’t as influential outside of the comic book world, I prefer Planet Hulk to Civil War. Therefore, it gets its own section.

Other than those two events, Marvel had a pretty good run during the decade. Books that I continued to collect after the events were over include Cable and Deadpool and Thunderbolts. Warren Ellis wrote Thunderbolts. He gained a fan for life with his depiction of the dysfunctional super villain team. In fact, I started my Warren Ellis collection with his series New Universal.

Perhaps the most interesting thing Marvel comics did during the decade was the Ultimate line. It reinvented the Marvel comics universe to possibly new fans. Familiar faces acted in unfamiliar ways. It didn’t always work. Weirdly, Hulk was a cannibal. Often, it did. Ultimate Fantastic Four introduced the Marvel zombies. Sometimes it reminded me of the “good old days”. I experienced one of the most frustrating release delays since the days of Image.

I’m looking at you Ultimate Wolverine vs. Hulk. You don’t rip a man in half and then delay the next issue indefinitely.

Planet Hulk

I don’t know what the reaction to Planet Hulk was from most comic book fans. I do know that it hasn’t been turned into a movie. Oh, sure, there was the animated movie. Also, it was given a minor treatment in Thor: Ragnarok. We have yet to see Planet Hulk staring Mark Ruffalo. It’s too bad, too, because the Hulk in Ragnarok was so much fun and I’d love to see a movie starring him.

My only request is that Greg Pak is consulted if the movie is green lit. Initially, I didn’t pay attention to writers and artists. I knew names from my previous experience with comic books. But, the fallout from the creation of Image comics brought an influx of new talent. One of the new writers that I would come to enjoy (and ultimately admire due to his Twitter feed) is Greg Pak.

Planet Hulk is pretty much the whole reason I’m a Greg Pak fan.

I’ve always been a fan of the Hulk. I enjoy the Jeckyll and Hyde nature of the character. It intrigues me that Marvel made their heroes more human with potential human issues. Hulk explores the psychological terror of multiple personalities with respect. Sure, as with all comics, they lose their way and go off the rails sometimes. Mostly, though, the Hulk struggle is one worth following.

This story dealt less with that because Hulk was the dominant personality. But, seeing Hulk finally get his wish of “wanting to be alone” initially. Then, he became the leader of the rag tag group of gladiators. Finally, he fulfilled his destiny as the Worldbreaker. It is probably one of the most fun Hulk stories ever.

Marvel Civil War

When I was in the comic book store looking for books, I noticed a banner in the corner of the Marvel comics. It said, “Whose side are you on?” There might have even been the Civil War logo. But, there was definitely a date when the event was scheduled to start. Instead of guessing, I just went searching through my books for an example, but I can’t find one.

I hope this isn’t one of those Mandela effect things.

In any case, I went home to research Marvel Civil War. I learned that it was going to be a huge crossover event that was going to sucker me into buying 25-30 books a month for the duration. Okay, maybe I’m exaggerating a bit. Some of them even became a part of my regular collection. Most of the titles, though, I just bought for the event. Even so, it was all worth it.

I wasn’t around for Inifinity War. I do understand that it was probably the most ambitious crossover event of the time and maybe in history at that time. So, I can understand the nostalgia that people have for the event and why all others are compared to it. I might go back and read it sometime to see if it lives up to the hype.

As Civil War was my first mega crossover event, I will compare all future events to that one. If you look back on my Secret Empire review articles, I mention Civil War more than once. It was a well crafted story that dealt with current events. Some people have recently decried the inclusion of politics into their comics, but that’s usually just a deflection because they don’t agree with the politics. While Secret Empire felt a bit too real for me and I had to take a break, I never had that problem with Civil War. Probably just too young and dumb.

The Verdict

I discovered comics during the 1990s. I fell in love with them during the 2000s. Marvel went a long way to making sure that love stayed true. I will talk about my experiences with DC and Image, of course, but what kept me going back to the comic book store (that was only a 5 minute walk away, I stress) were Civil War and Planet Hulk.

Marvel Zombies were cool for a while, too. I’m not sure why I wasn’t on board with them beyond the first title. Zombie fatigue, probably.

So, when I say that I’m a lifelong Marvel zombie, that’s not entirely true. Traditionally, I do like the Marvel characters better than the DC characters. Also, the last two times that I’ve gotten back into comics have been because of Marvel events. My sentiment is changing some recently because I prefer DC to Marvel right now. However, in the 1990s and 2000s, you could make mine Marvel.

Marvel Comics in the 1990s

Introduction

Chris and I are going to record the second episode of Comic Hunters this week. We might even be in the same room for the first time since the relaunch of the podcasts. We are going to the local comics superstore, That’s Entertainment, a trip that has now been a month in planning. After, we will most likely record the show.

Update: As often happens, our plans have changed. We are not going to That’s Entertainment. We are still recording. However, we won’t be in the same room.

Our topic for this show is going to be our affinity for 90s comics. We touched upon this topic in the first show. I was so excited and inspired by the unexpected revelation that we may have met before we met (listen to the show and it will make sense) that I wanted to travel back in time to revisit that era of comics that means so much to the both of us.

And we don’t even have to negotiate with Libyan terrorists to make the trip.

Marvel Comics in the 1990s and Me

It’s been a while since I’ve had to take the nerd walk of shame. I believe in being open and honest, though, so it has to be said. First, some background. Anyone who knows me knows that I am an unabashed Marvel zombie. My favorite heroes are often from Marvel, I’ve been enjoying Marvel movies since the original Spider-Man franchise (yes, even number 3), and it is most often a Marvel event that gets me back into collecting comics.

You can probably guess where I’m going.  In case you don’t, let me explain. Everything I said in the previous paragraph is true. I’m not lying about being a huge fan of Marvel properties. What isn’t 100% accurate is that comics sparked my interest. In fact, the reason that I liked Spider-Man was because of the Saturday morning cartoon and my original Hulk was Lou Ferrigno. That doesn’t make me unique, but it isn’t quite the lifelong fandom that I’ve portrayed in the past.

I had no idea darkness awaited me in those funny pages once Kevin finally got me into a comic book store.

Once I got a taste of comics, I was hooked. That all happened when I was in high school and a store opened up a quick bike ride from my house. Kevin and I rode up there weekly to buy new books. In just a short period of time, I amassed quite the collection of comics. I’d be lying again if I said they were mostly Marvel books. You will see in the other two articles that I have planned for this week that I was much more into the DC and Image titles at the time. Still, there were some Marvel books that made it into my rotation.

Obscure Marvel Heroes and Me

Sure, I knew about Spider-Man and Hulk. I also quickly learned about Captain America, Iron Man and The Punisher. I collected none of those books. That’s not to say that I was a total comics hipster. After playing the X-Men arcade game, I started collecting most of the mutant books. I’m not sure how obscure it was at the time, but I was also a fan of Ghost Rider due to Mark Texeira’s art. That led to me collecting the Rise of the Midnight Sons mini series and the books that followed. I suppose that this isn’t doing much to bolster my non-hipster cred.

Especially since most people probably think of the Capcom fighter Darkstalkers when you mention Nightstalkers.

My true loyalty was to the unsung heroes of the Marvel Universe. The ones who show up every now and then to provide background color in epic two page spreads. They are the the heroes that are sometimes called the “B” or “C” or sometimes even the “Z” team. If you thought that Nightstalkers was a deep cut (and honestly, that might be the deepest cut of the ones I’m about to mention) then we aren’t going to get much shallower. Luke Cage, Black Panther, and Doctor Strange were my must collect books after the X-Men titles. Sure, those guys are all superstars now, but that’s mostly due to changing demographics and a conscious attempt by Marvel to play to those changes. Back then, they were fringe characters at best but certainly not the headliners that they are today.

Marvel 2099

Aside from that, the best part of Marvel in the 90s actually happened one hundred years in the future. Not to be outdone by the launch of Image comics, Marvel experimented with their 2099 lineup. By this time, I was very much a collector and understood the potential value of the number “1” on a cover of a comic book. Honestly, that’s the only reason that I started collecting the 2099 books.

Okay, the covers were another incentive, but that has more to do with me being easily distracted by shiny objects.

As it turned out, I really enjoyed the books. Very much. It went from getting the first issues (which you’ll learn later in the week I also did with the Image books) to buying them on a weekly basis to really enjoying the writing and the art. I’m finding that, unlike many nerds, I’m not as married to tradition as they might be. I liked that the 2099 heroes all had their own world in which to play. It was enough like our own to lend it plausibility, but different enough to give it a different feel and history.

When I got back into collecting, one of the first things I did was attempt to replace as much of my 2099 collection as possible. I thought I did a good job, which I have since filled in more. That’s it. I’m done. I’ve got all of the 2099 books. Spider-Man, Ravage, Doom, X-Men, limited Hulk series, and the 2099 Unlimited. Nope, I quickly learned. There were at least Fantastic Four and Ghost Rider books, too. When I learned about Ghost Rider, I remembered it from the original collection. Oh well, a collection is never complete.

The Verdict

For my money, if only the 2099 books came from the 1990s, I’d be a happy person. The world was so well realized and spoke directly to my teenage self. Of course, there are other stories, characters, writer, and artists that have come from the period, too. As I wasn’t as much of a fan of Marvel comic books then, I have been a little late to the party and it always surprises me how much great talent came from that time.

Chris and I will talk more about the actual artists and writers that came from this often overlooked period in the history of comics. We will touch on the issues that may lend to its status as one of the more underrated eras in comic books. People laugh and sometimes cringe when you bring up the 90s as the period that killed the industry. That might be true. But, from those ashes, we stand on the cusp of a potentially new golden age.