Tag Archives: Marvel Comics

March 2024 Marvel Comics

Introduction

Missed another deadline in March. Unsure why this happens every year around this time. I heard that trauma can resurface as a memory even if you can’t remember the event or events. I mean, that’s as likely as anything. Then again, maybe it’s just hangover from winter hibernation. Either way, March 2024 Marvel Comics comes two days late.

I skipped a couple of books again this month. Two, you know. I want to get the entire run of “Gang War” since I accidentally skipped a month in DCBS. Likewise, I’m so far behind in X-Men I don’t think I’ll ever catch up. Finally, Dr. Strange #12 didn’t fit with #13 and Venom #31 paired with Carnage #5 (which I didn’t order) for a two part story.

Decent

Black Panther 9

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Writer: Eve L. Ewing, Art: Chris Allen and Mack Chater

Black Panther fell off a bit this month. I can’t explain why. But it just didn’t hit as well as it had been. As I read, I noticed that Punisher isn’t a legacy numbered title. I know that it’s a “new Punisher”, but that still surprised me. Also, I forgot how wordy J. Michael can be, probably from his time on television and movies. His Cap hits all the right notes, but lacks the edge of some of my other favorite Cap writers.

Great

Avengers 10 and 11

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Writer: Jed McKay with various artists

Avengers 10 ended the previous story with a bang. The only reason I moved them to good is because 11 followed up a little stale. Doctor Strange assembles the Secret Defenders (an odd ball group, but necessary) to battle a role playing game that actually draws from the occult. Fun story so far. Everything I said about Hulk last month holds this month, especially the art. Goodness, Marvel, take better care of my boys Spidey and Hulk. I saw Al Ewing came back for an issue of Venom. I think they did it to give Gronbekk time to focus on the Venom/Carnage crossover. Ewing writes a decent story, but nothing on the level of his actual run. Speaking of Ewing, his Thor is starting to take shape and I think will soon get up to great.

Great

Writer: Ryan North, Art: Carlos Gomez
Writer: Rainbow Rowell, Art: Andres Genolet

Last month, no She-Hulk. This month two issues and no Guardians. Not sure if it’s Marvel shipping schedule, DCBS, or my screw up. Oh well, There’s not much more that I can say about She-Hulk at this point. They just found the perfect writer for the character and I enjoy everything about the title. Fantastic Four leads with a shocking discovery and crafts a great narrative around that discovery. Also, just a fun title right now.

The Verdict

Unlike DC and Spawn/TMNT, March 2024 Marvel Comics takes a bit of a step back. None of them are bad, but most of them are just solid stories with good art. I suppose we could have worse problems in our comics reading lives. Until next time, Zombies, Excelsior!

Images taken from the mothership.

February 2024 Marvel Comics

Introduction

The end of the week got busy. We went to the Botanical Garden with Mom and then I drove her back to the train station. We spent yesterday painting the front room and dining room. And, so, in true 2 Generations Gaming fashion, February 2024 Marvel Comics article comes two days too late. Such is life. I also have no plans for the coming week as far as articles, so the page might go slightly dormant. I do have notes finally for the next episode of Noob’s Book Club, so maybe I will take this week to get back in the habit with that and the YouTube page.

Incomplete (Spider-Man Gang War)

Previously in these articles, I said I was out on Spider-Man until Wells stopped writing it. Seriously, I hated his stories that much. But, I heard good things about Gang War. I was willing to give it a chance, but my hiatus from DCBS ordering put a 3 issue hole in the run, so it will have to wait until I can make it down to That’s Entertainment or order from Midtown.

Decent (Cap and Punisher)

I want to enjoy J. Michael Stracynski’s Captain America. I loved his Spider-Man. So far, though, I want more from this Captain America story. I liked the start of it, but the set up is now going on too long. He writes so much. I think I’m just getting more impatient in old age. Speaking of old age, it hasn’t been kind to my opinion of The Punisher.

Good (Some bordering on great, others hurt by their art)

The Immortal Thor 6

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Writer: Al Ewing, Artist Martin Coccolo

The Avengers is one of the titles that oscillates between good and great. This one sets up for a new story, which looks like it might be great, but we have to wait to see. I never got into the previous Black Panther story, but I like what Ewing has done with the character and story. This one might push up into great soon. I loved Al Ewing on Immortal Hulk and I think this one might eventually get there, too. For now, I will just say that I liked the vibe of this issue and hope it continues. Speaking of Al Ewing, they are trying to keep the horror theme of his Hulk. PKJ isn’t quite on his level. And, the art is just not great. Gronbekk is making me enjoy Venom again. She writes the title with some joy and that is infectious.

Great (Where’s She Hulk?!)

Writer: Ryan North with various artists
Writers: Collin Kelly and Jackson Lanzing, Artist: Kev Walker

Without She-Hulk for some reason this month, only these two stand up as outstanding stories right now. Fantastic Four just brings that old school flavor from the beginnings of the title. Fun, fresh, and (dare I say it) fantastic! It looks like they want to capture a similar theme for the movie, so now I can’t wait to see that. The Grootfall story took some time to grow on me, but overall Guardians of the Galaxy also reminds me of the family that I know and love.

The Verdict

The February 2024 Marvel Comics line up, overall, was enjoyable. I want to read Spider-Man, because I miss the friendly neighborhood wall crawler. I also still need to catch up on X-Men so I can start reviewing that one. Then again, I read something like a dozen books, so do I really need more right now? In any case, see you in March!

X-Men Arcade (1992): Noob’s Way Back

Introduction

After I planned X-Men for this week to make up for my lack of planning when I missed the monthly order on DCBS for this month, I wondered how to fit a single title into a week’s worth of articles? Then, I came up with a brilliant idea. What better way to promote “New Decade, New Games” than with a discussion of decades old games? And, so, to start this week of X-Men, I bring you the 1992 classic X-Men arcade game.

Luckily, what’s old is new again and my generation gets to call the shots on retro. Therefore, arcades are back (mostly in the form of barcades, but kids are welcome at the one around here) and I don’t have to explain to kids these days what it means to wait your turn in a crowded and sweaty mass of people for your turn to get your ass kicked by the local Mortal Kombat II expert.

Even Grandpa Joe says, “Finish Them” to the kids these days.

About the Game

This game came out the same time as other games like it. You take a popular IP like X-Men, The Simpsons, or Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, slap a few of the characters on to a cabinet with 4 controllers, make it look like the cartoon of that same IP, and people played it for hours. My personal shame is I spent my future kid’s inheritance one quarter at a time and this game swallowed many of those quarters.

I have no idea even what genre they called it. Simply based on the mechanics, I’d call it a side scrolling beat ’em up because that’s what happens on the screen. You walk sideways, beat ’em up, then walk sideways some more, then beat ’em up, etc. Eventually, you arrive at a boss that takes more coordination (and often more quarters), and guess what. Yep, you beat ’em up, too. Take a look at my expert game play in the video below.

*insert video*

Sorry for the poor quality. Was testing out the streaming set up. Future videos will be better, I promise.

So What’s Fun About That?

Honestly, not much. Playing the game by yourself takes away most of the joy of these games. You want to play with at least one other person. Preferably, you find 3 other friends to play, but the magic of the arcade is that you can meet people and make friends very easily around these arcade cabinets. Because you are there face to face, it makes it much more difficult to throw random insults about the guy’s mother without getting your ass kicked.

Yes, I’m Gran Torinoing it again.

The Verdict

Playing the game again verified what I remember. While fun solo, playing X-Men Arcade with friends is the way to go. I wonder if anyone has figured out a way to play over network on MAME. If so, reach out and we can beat up some baddies as the X-Men!

Marvel Comics December 2023: Great, Good, Decent

Introduction

Well, I made one deadline so far this month. Admittedly, I amended it because I missed it the first time. But, as promised a couple of days ago, I present Marvel Comics December 2023. Recently, I think Marvel Comics brings the strongest line up out of the publishers. I wrote in my DC article that they’re getting stronger.

This month, especially, I enjoyed the DC books that I ordered. Obviously, I hope these trends continue. Additionally, one trend I hope reverses (and quick) is the Amazing Spider-Man being terrible. True to my word, I put it in the pile to be shelved without even taking it out of the bag. Please, can someone save ol’ Web-Head?

Avengers #7 (Legacy 773)

Writer: Jed McKay, Artist: CF Villa. After reading this one, I texted Chris, “I enjoy the new Avengers book. He’s doing a good job.” To which he responded, “I’ve been liking it, too.” After the fun and interesting Planet Eaters story, this one starts with the defeat and death of the Avengers. Excellent start. My verdict: Very good.

Black Panther #6 (Legacy 218)

Writer: Eve L. Ewing, Artist: Matt Horak with Mack Chater. Tells the story of a former Black Panther and Wakandan king. Apparently, to save the nation in the present, they must look back to the past. I like this one more and more with each passing month. My verdict: Good.

Doctor Strange #9 (Legacy 435)

Writer: Jed McKay, Artist: Pasqual Ferry. Strange still battles in his personal war. He gets an upper hand and he and Clea are reunited. This has been a wild story with all kinds of twists and turns. I can’t wait to see where it goes next. My verdict: Good.

Fantastic Four 13 (Legacy 706)

Writer: Ryan North, Artist: Iban Coello. Two universes threaten to destroy one another; one human and the other dinosaur. If that sounds like a ton of fun, well you’re not wrong. The dinosaur four against the Avengers. Doom teams with Doomasaur. Thing and his dino self save the day. Just goofy fun. My verdict: Great.

Guardians of the Galaxy 8 (Legacy 188)

Writers: Collin Kelly and Jackson Lanzing, Artist: Kev Walker. They are Groot. The Guardians world to protect Grootspace and allow it to come to life. Then, they lived happily ever after. Just kidding. Some nutter is coming to burn Grootspace and the Guardians. My verdict: Great.

The Immortal Thor 4 (Legacy 765)

Writer: Al Ewing, Artist: Martin Coccolo. Thor summons Storm. He hands over the mantle of Thor to her so that she can help fight off a threat of epic proportions. Beta Ray Bill, Loki, and others join. Thor introduces the “Thor Corps”. The issue ends with a weird zombie cow thing talking about merchandising. My verdict: Good.

The Incredible Hulk 6 (Legacy 787)

Writer: Phillip Kennedy Johnson, Artist: Nic Klein. I like that they’re continuing with the horror theme from Al Ewing’s run. This one also gives us a taste of Banner on the road. At the end, we finally get the payoff of the cover with Ghost Rider confronting the Hulk. Next issue, Hulk gets his judgement. My verdict: Good.

Punisher 1

Writer: David Pepose, Artist: Dave Wachter. An adequate introduction to the new Punisher. I like the idea of the Punisher, but I generally don’t like the actual books. It looks like this one gives me just enough of what I want the Punisher to be without going overboard. I will give this one a chance. My verdict: Decent.

The Sensational She-Hulk 2 (Legacy 180)

Note: A few weeks ago, I saw an article. I texted Chris, after saying the same to Aiden, “I wish I knew how to market myself better. Someone wrote an article saying what I’ve been saying for the last year or so. She-Hulk is probably the best book on the market right now. If only someone saw this Marvel Comics December 2023 article and shared it to one of the aggregators.

Writer: Rainbow Rowell, Artist: Andres Genolet. You get a Hulk. And, you get a Hulk. Everyone gets a Hulk! Classic Hulk beat em up gets the She-Hulk treatment and I’m here for it. Fun and funny issue that sets up for more in the next issue. My verdict: Great.

Venom 27 (Legacy 227)

Writer: Torunn Gronbekk, Artist: Julius Ohta with Rafael Pimentel. I like the story in Venom right now. I think it is compelling and moving at a decent pace. The new symbiotes fill in nicely and I couldn’t help but think about the Scorched team during their scenes. But, something feels missing or off right now in the book. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but the whole isn’t greater than the sum of its parts right now. My verdict: Decent.

The Verdict

Marvel Comics December 2023 gives me more of the same. In most cases, that’s great. I must say, again, that right now I think I’m enjoying comics as much as I did when I first started reading them 30 years ago. They’re figuring things out and writing for us oldbies. I think I forgot to order the books for next month, so look for an in depth analysis of the latest run of X-Men instead.

Head on over to Marvel for all your comics needs.

Marvel SNAP December 2023: Hellfire Gala

Introduction

The first week of the month generally means time for comic reviews. I promise that they’re coming. The comics arrived in the mail. I sorted them. I need to read them and review them. Before the end of the week. Besides, when I logged in earlier, the game reminded me of the Marvel SNAP December 2023 update.

They went with the Hellfire Gala this time. Without a major TV or movie release, I suppose they decided to take a cue from the comics this time. Though, I think the Hellfire Gala was a couple of months ago because right now they’re doing the “Fall of X” story line in the books. I forgot to order my comics for December, so maybe next month I finally get caught up on X-Men then.

New Locations

Neither of these locations wows me a ton. I like the idea of extra energy but rarely feel like I get to use it regularly. Perhaps by exploiting that imbalance each turn, I can play cards a turn earlier. Feels like a “win more” strategy. The white palace gives you a copy of an expensive card. Big deal.

New Cards

Selene

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On Reveal: Afflict the lowest-Power card in each player’s hand with -3 Power.

None of these cards speaks to me like the ones from the previous month. I generally don’t play buff decks, so Shaw and Havok won’t see much play from me. I like the idea of Blob as a troll card at the end of the game. I see no utility in Selene at all. She just feels really underpowered. Maybe late game if you haven’t played either of your Gobbys and you hit one of their bigger cards with it. So, some utility, I suppose.

The Verdict

The previous month interested me more than Marvel SNAP December 2023. I will still spend cash on the rewards track because I always finish it and it feels like good value. But, I doubt that I’ll play any of the cards other that to complete the special quests that they give you monthly to entice you to play the cards. Hey, I don’t mind the treadmill.

Pictures SNAPed from Marvel SNAP Zone.

Marvel Comics October 2023: Great, Good, Decent

Introduction

Last month saw Amazing Spider-Man rise from the depths to enter “Decent” territory. Spoiler alert: No chance of that happening in Marvel Comics October 2023 or ever again, I think, as long as Zeb Wells writes this title. I can’t take the extreme step that Chris did and remove this from my pull list.

Two Reasons. 1. I discovered a couple of months ago that I own a third of all of the Amazing Spider-Man issues ever printed. B. I worked to put together an uninterrupted run back to at least issue 800. I need to look at my inventory spreadsheet because I went to a couple of stores an a flea market to fill in more issues.

Returning Category: Can We Don’t?

Amazing Spider-Man: (Writer: Does it even matter at this point?, Artist: Patrick Gleason and Ed McGuinnes). I gave Wells a chance. You can’t say that I didn’t. I lasted longer than I ever thought possible with this mess of a title. I intend to keep collecting, but I will not read another Spider-Man story until Wells name is not associated with it. I blacked out during the mention of Paul in 35 and then threw 36 in disgust when I saw Rek-rap. I’m out. My verdict: How dare you?

Decent

Incredible Hulk 6 (Legacy 786, Writer: Phillip Kennedy Johnson, Artist: Travel Foreman). I wrote Chris about a variant upcoming by one of our favorite artists. He said, “Oh, thank God.” then mentioned how bad the art looked this time. Yikes. I like the story, but this one gets demoted because of that art and also the story is too gory for me. I don’t want my Hulk with a blood lust.

Venom 26 (Legacy 226, Writer: Torunn Grønbekk, Artist: Julius Ohta): Torunn Grønbekk is finding her voice in Venom, but it’s still a bit inconsistent. To be fair, I think it might be just where this hero is right now. Ewing tried to clean up the mess left by Cates and did an admirable job. But, there’s just too much happening there right now. I like what I see and have faith. It will take time.

Good

Black Panther 8 (Legacy 217, Writer: Eve Ewing, Artist: Mack Chater): It took me a while to figure out this book. He, like I say, sometimes it just isn’t for you. But I stayed with it because I saw something there. This issue starts to pay off that patience. I enjoyed this issue and I can see this one bumping up to “Great” in the near future.

Captain America (Legacy 752, Writer: J. Michael Straczynski, Artist: Jesus Saiz): I make no secret that, other than Spencer, I think JMS wrote the best Spider-Man of the last 20 years. He gives us a Cap/Spidey team up that soothes the soul from the main title disaster right now. If he keeps this up, he might join Spencer and Brubaker in the Captain America pantheon, too.

Doctor Strange 8 (Legacy 434, Writer: Jed McKay, Pasqual Ferry): I struggled with this one for a bit. I went back and forth between “Good” and “Great”. The title kind of oscillates between those two itself right now. I just couldn’t quite push it to the great this time around. Besides that category is a bit busy right now.

Great

Sensational She-Hulk 1 (Legacy 179)

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Writer: Rainbow Rowell, Artist: Andres Genolet

We finally get the pay off in the Avegners to the Planet Eaters or whatever. Each of the Avengers uses their unique strengths to finally best their particular villain. And, now Viz gets a featured story in the next issue (arc?) What more can I ask for?

I can’t believe how closely this title resembles all the great things from the old Lee/Kirby run of Fantastic Four. Ryan North absolutely understood the assignment and continues to deliver fun stories. This time we get the FF (and a prominent villain) as dinosaurs. I mean, come on, if you can’t find fun in that, you have no soul.

We got a payoff for Grootfall in the last issue. Now, we are all Groot. I loved GotG since their introduction in the mid 90s. I think I like this story better even than anything James Gunn did with his movies. They just know these characters and treat this whole thing with such tenderness and, dare I say, love that I want them to write this comic forever.

What can I say about Thor? Al Ewing brings his magic to another title and gives me a reason to enjoy this book again. I forgot he was writing it and missed the first two issues. I’ll fill them in on my next Midtown order. I want this to be a full run like his Immortal Hulk.

I’ve run out of compliments for Rainbow Rowell’s She-Hulk. It is the most fun I have reading comics right now. If you’re not reading this book, you’re doing life all wrong right now.

The Verdict

I’m so mad that comics will probably die in the next few months. Hey, Chris and I have a track record. We need to say this every few months or it might actually happen. Seriously, both companies figured out how to make books fun and entertaining. Marvel Comics October 2023 (other than ASM) gave me so much joy that I don’t even care that much that Amazing Spider-Man is quite possibly the worst it’s ever been.

Higher Further Faster: Marvel SNAP

Introduction

Just like the new Marvels movie, Marvel SNAP challenges us to go “Higher Further Faster”. Somehow I missed the last two updates for the game. But, I remember in time for this one. The update releases in a couple of days. I must say. It looks fun.

In one of my previous updates, I said that X-23 might alone bring me back to the game. While I played enough over the last two months to finish the rewards track and get her card, I have yet to play her in any one of my decks. Oh well, however it happened, I came back to the game.

New Locations

The Djinn also gives you +2 energy next turn.

This feels like a location that people will rush. Me, a filthy casual, already have the idea of Quicksilver and Domino and you’re off to the races. I have a hunch that we might see some sort of nerf on this one in the first few days. Maybe you only get a Djinn the first time you play a card or something along those lines.

I’m sure there’s some utility to this location that I’m missing. But, it just feels like one of those annoying locations that will reward my opponent and punish me. Yes, I’m one of those players who sees conspiracy in these types of games. 200 cards in your Magic deck and you still draw every removal and your stupid Agony whatever. FOH.

New Cards

Martyr

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At the end of the game, move to a location that LOSES you the game (if possible)

Wow.

Seriously. I see only utility and almost no draw back for all of these cards. I’m putting Martyr in my “Ones” deck. I fill all of my locations with that deck regularly, so there’s no place for it to move. Annihilus is perfect tech against the goblins and also The Hood and that stupid location that takes one power away each turn. Ms. Marvel belongs in my “Ongoing” deck. The only one that will probably end up screwing with me is Gladiator. With my luck, he’s guaranteed to pull their highest power card every time.

The Verdict

This update lives up to its “Higher Further Faster” motto. I love every one of the new cards introduced. I’m not sure about the location that transforms, but the other one seems very exploitable. See you in a couple of days, SNAPers!

Marvel Comics August 2023: Great, Good, Decent

Introduction

I moved comics to this week because the package came this week and, frankly, with the start of school I am in no position to talk about Roll Player Adventures or Baldur’s Gate as I originally planned. Even with that business, I kept more or less on schedule with DC (though only the Manga sampler) and independent comics. I recorded the 4th episode of Noob’s Book Club today. In it, I talked about how busy Thursday was and how yesterday just sort of got away from me. So, Marvel Comics August 2023 comes later than anticipated.

Ugh

I texted Chris, “They’re killing me boy.” I said more than that, but in the interest of “can’t say anything nice” and all, I will refrain from repeating them here. A few months ago, when I restarted this column, ASM got his own section. This issue so offended me that I can say no more than, “Ugh.” Chris said he might stop collecting the book altogether. I have the entire run back until 700 now, so I’ll keep collecting. But nothing says I have to keep reading.

Decent

Amazing Spider-Man #32 (Writer: Zeb Wells, Artist: Patrick Geleason) Last night, Chris texted to say that he didn’t like Gleason’s art on this book. I agree that it looks weird in parts. But, honestly, that’s the least of my worries with Webhead lately. I actually like the current storyline and I think I said last time that it might find it’s way out of the dumpster. But, then, they tossed it right back in. This issue was actually pretty good and I considered putting it there, but not until they stop it with the nonsense.

Good

Fantastic Four 10

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Writer: Ryan North, Artist: Leandro Fernandez

All of these titles are either trending up or treading water right now. Fantastic Four ventured into “Great” territory a couple of times recently. This one only takes a step back because I don’t understand the story or the reason for it. I’m sure they’ll explain in the next couple of issues. For now, I’m just confused. Doctor Strange, likewise, tells a seemingly unrelated story, but has a promising ending.

Black Panther lost me with the first two issues and I started to wonder if maybe I just lost the thread of the book. This issue brought me back in and I want to see what they do next with the story. The one that excites me, most, though, is the Avengers. I wanted to see what they did with this lineup. The first issues mostly set up them and the villains. This one brought a conflict between the heroes and the villains that I enjoyed very much. Depending on how the next issue goes, I see this one moving up to “Great” next month.

Great

Venom 24 (Writer: Al Ewing, Artist: Sergio Davila) Chris wrote me to tell me that he is on the outs with Venom. While I obviously don’t agree 100%, I have to agree when he said it’s just symbiote after symbiote. Like, I had to take a pause and remember how Eddie became the new Red Venom. After that, though, the showdown with Dr. Doom delivered everything I could have hoped. I think Ewing put the Lethal Protector in a good place and hope that Grønbekk can keep the momentum going.

Guardians of the Galaxy 5: (Writers: Collin Kelly and Jackson Lanzing, Artist: Kev Walker). The gang is back together and, as always, the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. They go after the galaxy spanning threat, Grootfall finally. Realizing that they are out of their league, they retreat and try to come up with another plan. At the end, I finally get a promise that they’ll explain the Grootfall story. I don’t see this one leaving “Great” territory for a while.

The Verdct

Other than the assault on my favorite comic book character, Marvel Comics August 2023 does alright. All of the books are telling some really good stories and many of them remind me of the books of my wasted teenage years. Growing older does things to our brains. I, as I believe many of you, welcome the diversion that takes me back.

Note: Most images taken from the mothership.

Marvel Comics July 2023: Great, Good, Decent

Introduction

I wrote in my independent comics article on Sunday that this month (and maybe next month) comic reviews will look different. DC released their Knight Terrors 2-month event. I ordered all of the books for July, but forgot to order them for August. So, if I want to review all of the books, I need to go to an LCS to pick them up. Additionally, they sent almost 50 DC titles this month. With school starting soon, I don’t know if I’ll have the time to review them all. But, for now, I have Marvel Comics July 2023.

I think I wrote about last month’s books that I like the place that comics are in right now. Other than the Spider-Man “Paul” story, I enjoyed all of the books since starting reviews again a couple of months ago. I hope that momentum continues. Mind you, I hold no delusions that comics ever again reach the heights of the 1990s. Especially since my wife and I went into a comic store the other day and she recoiled in horror at the state of cleanliness. But, at least, those of us who never let go can still enjoy the art form.

Decent

Amazing Spider Man 29 and 30: Writer: Zeb Wells, Artist: Ed McGuinness. Someone at Marvel realized what a mistake the “Paul” story was. Either that, or this story is a complete coincidence. However, I give them the benefit of the doubt. Because, this return to a simpler time when Doc Ock kidnaps Norman Osborne to try to release the goblin administers the perfect antidote to whatever that mess was. If they keep this up, Wells may yet find himself in Good or even Great territory.

Black Panther 2: Writer: Eve L. Ewing, Artist: Chris Allen. I wrote in the previous Marvel article that I understand that some things aren’t for me and maybe Black Panther just isn’t for me. I like this issue better than the last and, again, I hope they continue this trend forward.

The Avengers #3: Writer: Jed McKay. Artist: C. F. Villa. On the other hand, The Avengers trend is definitely down. The cover evokes the big fight from Age of Ultron. And, that’s kind of how I feel about this book right now. Full of promise that it’s not quite reaching just yet. However, in my short time reading Jed McKay, I am confident that he can turn it around and build this into a good story and book.

Good

Dr. Strange 5: Writer: Jed MacKay, Artist: Pasqual Ferry. Speaking of MacKay, he handles Dr. Strange and company quite well. This issue steps back a bit from the action of the last few for the wedding of the century of the year. I still liked reading the book and watching the story advance even if it feels less exciting than recent issues.

Venom 22 and 23: Writers: Al Ewing and Torunn GrØnbekk, Artists: Ramón F. Bachs and Ken Lashley. I made no secret about not liking GrØnbekk’s Thor. But, I think Al Ewing left Lethal Protector in a good place and the subject matter might fit GrØnbekk’s writing style more. With Ewing taking over Thor, I think that might be a good switch.

Great

Fantastic Four 9: Writer: Ryan North, Artist: Ivan Fiorelli. Along with She Hulk and Guardians of the Galaxy, this is my favorite comic on the market right now. They found writers for all three books who understand the characters on a fundamental level and write stories geared to the overall style of the book. This one weaves two stories together, one about the blind history of comics and the fight with the monster that took over a town. Both classic FF stories well told.

Guardians of the Galaxy 4: Writers: Collin Kelly and Jackson Lanzing, Artist: Kev Walker. As they reintroduce the Guardians after Grootfall, it took until this issue to finally tell some of Rocket’s story. Poor Rocket. This guy constantly gets the shaft and watches his loved ones ripped from his life time and time again. He is not adjusting well to losing the one constant companion ever since striking out on his own. But, still, a great GotG story and hits all the notes.

She-Hulk 15: Writer: Rainbow Rowell, Artist: Andrés Genolet. I’ve run out of words of praise for this book. It’s fun. It’s light hearted. It’s serious. irreverant. It tells a great story. Okay, so I haven’t run out of words just yet. But, none of the words I use give justice to how great She-Hulk is right now. If you like the character, read this book. If you don’t, read the book to see why people do.

The Verdict (Marvel Comics July 2023)

Many of the Marvel books I read are on an upward trajectory. I wrote earlier that I like the place that comics are right now. Marvel Comics July 2023 brings everything that I enjoy about comic books. Some of the temas change, but like I said with Venom, I think they can be good changes.

Note: All images taken from Marvel.com

Marvel Comics June 2023: Great, Good, Decent

Introduction

If we thought recent developments in DC Comics surprised us, Marvel one upped them in a big way. Last month, I needed to create a whole new category for the Amazing Spider-Man. Spoiler Alert: In spite of the name of the book, it wasn’t better than “Great”. They remedied that some with Marvel Comics June 2023, but I still hesitate to move the book any higher than I did for fear that they hurt me again.

Other than that, most of the books follow a recent status quo. The good remain good (with one teetering on great) and the great stay on top (with some, other than one suprising exception, tettering on good) of the comics heap. For a while there, DC threatened my status as a Marvel zombie, but Marvel went a long way to finding their roots and bringing the fun back to many of their books.

Note: Images taken from Marvel.

Incomplete

I started this section for X-Men because I saved the books for after I get caught up with the most current story. See, after years of listening to Chris tell me how good the book was, I finally invested in finishing my run of the main title books and buying trades of the supporting books. I intend to read the main title, probably before September, to rescue them from this section.

As far as Punisher, I either (a) grew out of my Punisher phase, (b) got tired of Jason Aaron, or (c) possibly both. Evidence points to the second very strongly. So, I skimmed the book in search of anthing interesting and found nothing. Without reading, I reserve judgement.

Decent

Thor 35

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Amazing Spider-Man 26, 27,28: Writer: Zeb Wells, Artist: JRJR and Ed McGuinness. First things first. Thank god that abyssmal Paul storyline is over. It pushed the book into territory never before seen on the page. When it ended and Ms. Marvel died, the death barely even registered. I recently learned about women in refrigerators and this one qualifies. Wells went to some old standards with the follow up story, bringing Doc Ock into the mix. I liked that much more. But, I reserve judgement in case he loses his mind again.

Black Panther 1: Writer: Eve L. Ewing, Artist: Chris Allen. I started reading Black Panther during the Ta-Nehisis Coates era. I kept reading it through the John Ridley era. To be fair, I’m probably being too tough on this book because of the tagline on the cover. Seems like every book lately represents the “most exciting” part of Panther’s life. Even though I know that things just sometimes aren’t for us and maybe this book goes there now for me, I’ll keep giving it a chance.

Thor 35: Writer: Torunn Grønbekk, Artist: Serio Dávila and Juan Gedeon. Speaking of Jason Aaron, he kind of killed Thor for me. I think during his entire run, the only story that I genuinely liked (well actually, there are two) were Thor working to get Mjolnir back and the Donald Blake one. I’m glad this one is ending and they’re bringing Al Ewing in for Immortal Thor in a few months.

Good

Doctor Strange 3

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Avengers 2: Writer: Jed McKay, Artist: C.F. Villa. I wrote last time, “another month, another Avengers 1”. While that might seem like I damned the book with faint praise, I suppose you’re partially right. I meant what I said, though. This book follows in the footsteps of that one and gives each character some screen time to show how they fit in the new team.

Doctor Strange 3 and 4: Writer: Jed McKay, Artist: Pasqual Ferry and Andy MacDonald. I wrote earlier about Marvel getting back to its roots in the introduction. Among others, this book shows that big time. In number 3, Strange faces off against Dormammu for the soul of a mortal. In 4, Wong and his allies work to put together a new version of W.A.N.D. Both stories are entertaining.

Great

Fantastic Four 8

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Note: At the risk of sounding like a broken record, insert this at the beginning of each of these reviews, “Speaking of Marvel taking us back to their roots, Marvel Comics June 2023 does just that.”

Fantastic Four 8: Writer: Ryan North, Artist: Ivan Fiorelli. A relaxing time on the farm turns into a mystery that leads to a super villain enslaving the entire town. Stop me when this sounds familiar. An excellent entry into the genre.

Guardians of the Galaxy 3: Writer: Colin Kelly and Jackson Lanzing, Artist: Kev Walker. An issue that focuses on Star Lord and reckoning with his past. Can’t go wrong with that, ever. Except, it always does and then he has to spend the rest of the issue fixing it. Also, we get some more clues about Grootfall. I really need to read that story.

She-Hulk 14: Writer: Rainbow Rowell, Artist: Andrés Genolet. Again, at the risk of sounding like a broken record, She-Hulk reigns supreme among all comics right now. So, instead, a story. I saw they are resetting the issues for She-Hulk. Not a new writer. Maybe a new story. I asked why. Someone commented that it makes it easier to read and collect. I don’t know if that’s true. Without legacy numbering, I get confused.

Okay, Grandpa, let’s get you back to bed.

Venom 20 and 21: Writer: Al Ewing, Artist: Cafu. I worried previously that Mr. Ewing strayed a bit too far from the horror angle that I enjoyed so much from his Immortal Hulk run. Yes, I know that different books are different, but I think that Venom works best with that undercurrent of horror. Well, he brings the horror in both of these issues and I’m going to miss him when they mix things up in a couple of months.

The Verdict

Marvel Comics June 2023 continues the upward trend of the books from the last couple of months. I gave no “Decent” in DC Comics this month and the ones that are “Decent” this month actually look promising going forward. Chris and I keep claiming the medium dead. Like the titual Marvel zombies, though, they keep coming back stronger.