Tag Archives: Thor

Marvel Comics February 2021: Great, Good, Decent

Introduction

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

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

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

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

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

The Great

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

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

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

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

The Good

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

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

The Decent

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

The Verdict

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

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

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

Marvel Comics January 2021: Great, Good, Decent

Introduction

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

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

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

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

The Great

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

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

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

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

The Good

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

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

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

The Decent

None. Still in that Christmas spirit, I guess.

The Verdict

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

Marvel Comics December 2020: Great, Good Decent

Introduction

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

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

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

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

The Great

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

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

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

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

The Good

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

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

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

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

The Decent

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

The Verdict

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

Great, Good, Decent: Marvel November 2020

Introduction

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

This feels more true than ever this year.

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

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

The Great

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

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

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

The Good

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

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

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

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

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

The Decent

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

The Verdict

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

Great, Good, Decent: Marvel Comics October 2020

Introduction

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

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

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

The Great

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

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

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

The Good

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

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

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

The Decent

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

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

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

The Verdict

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

Marvel Comics July 2020

Introduction

Marvel Comics July 2020 felt like a cruel joke. I mentioned in my previous article that I was overjoyed to have Spawn back. I don’t mean to imply that I wasn’t equally joyous that Marvel comics were in my box. However, there were only two. Granted, two is better than zero. I mean, that’s just math.

Then again, a random YouTube video I found while searching says that 2 = 0, so I don’t know what to believe anymore.

Nevertheless, I was disappointed that there were only two books in the shipment. But, when life gives you lemons, I guess you have to make lemonade. Well, you don’t have to make lemonade. You could make lemon meringue. That actually sounds better. Why would anyone make lemonade? Easier perhaps. But, taking shortcuts is the path to the dark side, right? Okay, I’ve drifted too far. Let’s talk about Marvel Comics July 2020.

Immortal Hulk #34

The Great

Solid Story: The Leader (what? who said anything about The Leader?) is such a dynamic and unique villain. I won’t say that there aren’t any other comic book villains out there like him. I haven’t read all of the comics, so I will just say that there aren’t many like him. Mr. Ewing takes advantage of this and crafts a story that fits the character. I’m going to miss this book. Wait, what? More cryptic references to the future?

The Leader!: I already touched on this in the previous section. But, I’ve always liked The Leader as a Hulk villain. Too often, the book concentrates on the Hulk’s strength and tries to make villains to match that strength. Rarely is the intelligence of Banner considered. The Leader does that. Bravo for introducing him into this iteration of the Hulk before it goes away. Wait, what?

The Good

Disjointed: I had this same complaint about Spawn this month, so maybe it’s me. Perhaps I just can’t stay focused enough on the story to enjoy it as much as I should. I guess we’ll see in future articles if I have to change my reading habits to get a better grasp of the books.

Just a Set Up: The story was good, even if I just said it was a bit disjointed. Even so, it is just a set up issue for (hopefully) the next few. I’d like to see The Leader stick around for a couple of issues. Okay, I feel better. Peeked at the next couple of issues and it looks like The Leader will be around at least through 36. So, that’s fun. Can’t wait to see where this story goes.

The Decent

#50 🙁 I heard rumors a few months ago that the book might be ending at 50, but they were quickly squashed by all involved. Then, out the blue, Chris texted me that they were, in fact, planning on killing the book after issue #50. I find that personally offensive and wish to speak to the manager of Marvel. This book is the most fun I’ve had reading comics in a long time. It’s definitely the best that Hulk has been since the original Planet Hulk. To kill it, even if it’s a year away, is a travesty.

I might need to unleash Darth Karen on them.

Thor #5

The Great

The Story is Picking Up: I wasn’t a huge fan of the Thor before this Thor. I liked the story, but I didn’t enjoy the art. Then, I wasn’t really a fan of the story of this new Thor even if the art was better. That all seems to be coalescing and the story in this particular issue is definitely picking up and starting to make more sense.

Conclusion?: With that being said, this looks like the conclusion of this particular arc. It’s either this issue or the next one. I know they need to open it up for their latest Super Summer Crossover Spectacular, but still. It’s kind of a bummer that it’s ending right as it’s getting good. Leave on a high note, I suppose.

The Good

Galactus Twist: The twist at the end of (spoiler alert?) Galactus as the herald for the Dark Winter or whatever it’s called was unexpected, at least by me. Thor as the new herald of Galactus confused me, but it makes a bit more sense now that the (whatever, I know it’s literally on the cover up there, but it scrolled out of view) Winter pulled the strings, it makes more sense.

The Decent

Beta Ray Bill: I gather that Beta Ray Bill is a popular character. They’ve used him to sell various events in video games that I’ve played. Maybe it’s just a meme. I mean, I’m not an obscure Marvel character aficionado by any stretch. I do admit to liking Tier B and C characters. But, I don’t get the Beta Ray Bill thing.

The Verdict

Marvel Comics July 2020, as limited as they are, are very good. Immortal Hulk continues to chug along as the best comic book that I’ve read in the past few years. Thor picked up steam and I’m looking forward to the next few issues. Hopefully they can keep the momentum going and build another good title. Thanks, as always, for reading and until next time, Excelsior!

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 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.