avengers

Fashion Decision

With the upcoming Iron Fist TV Show on Neflix (can you believe this is happening?), his costume will be something to consider. For most of his existence, Danny Rand has been in a green costume with yellow highlights which included his yellow “booties’. He was a product of his times. The 70s popularized martial-arts in cinema in a craze dubbed “Kung-Fusploitation”. His look took elements of many characters from that time and what we got was a costume that transcended that fad and was kept more or less the same up until he went into another dimension emerging with a white costume with gold highlights. Marvel does a great job giving you a rundown of all his costumes here - Earth’s Mightiest Costumes: Iron Fist

So you choose. Which should he wear in the show?

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infinity_1_variantdjdurdjevic_0I’m going to say it right up front, like a lot of you I have a pretty love-hate relationship with so-called “event books”.  And let’s be honest, as much as I love Marvel comics right now and the direction most of the series have taken under the NOW initiative, Marvel is…shall we say fond of the event book format.  I think its safe to say that the average reader is suffering from bouts of event fatigue.  But, what does that really even mean?  We all complain about events at one time or another.  You’ve done it, I’ve done it.  But at the end of the day we still buy the issues, don’t we?  Event books can be amazing.  Look no further than House of M, the Sinestro Corps War, or Infinite Crisis for examples of event books done right.  Even Avengers v. X-men had some exceptionally good bits, it just wasn’t consistent.  And that, in a round-a-bout sort of way, is actually a pretty good segue into why I was, and am, looking forward to Infinity.  Specifically, Jonathan Hickman at the helm.

I’ve thought that Hickman would an excellent choice for an event book for 3 reasons: 1) He’s a meticulous plotter, planning even the most minute details of a story from the very beginning; 2) He has a style that lends itself well to epic storylines; 3) His issues in AvX were the best of the series.  So, this obviously begs the question…how was Infinity #1?  Well, I would say it’s about as good as can be expected.  There are a lot of moving parts and a large, diverse cast.  Thankfully, with a hefty 64 page count there is space for everyone to breathe.

What sets infinity apart from your average event book is that, contrary to the usual formula, its not particularly friendly to new readers or those who haven’t been following at least Avengers and New Avengers.  Thankfully, if you’ve followed both, Inifinity #1 is a natural and intriguingly plotted continuation of threads started from issue #1 of the Avengers under the Marvel NOW banner.

Infinity #1 is very much a setup issue, but thankfully does not suffer for the fact.  Hickman begins moving a lot of seemingly disparate parts from his Avengers titles into place and setting up the board.  There a number of plot threads that move closer to fruition.  We finally get a glimpse of the Builders first referenced in Avengers #1 and the devastating scale of their power.  The larger effects of the incursion events in the New Avengers title become a little more apparent.  And as advertised Thanos makes himself and his intentions known building off of themes carried in both the Avengers and Guardians of Galaxy.  Perhaps, most interestingly (or perhaps sadly depending on your perspective) Infinity #1 adds a relevance and stake to Age of Ultron that that series sorely lacked during its 10 issue run.

In short, there are a lot of moving parts and a lot of characters to keep track of, but if you’re willing to put in the effort and follow Hickman down the rabbit hole he’s conjuring then the first issue is a definite success.  Jonathan Hickman is a writer well known for the intricacies and complexities of his stories and Infinity at this stage is falling right in line.

8.5/10

Promo Vs. Spoiler

Marvel-Now-teaserI have to start this off by saying I’m one of the most positive people when it comes to comics. I’m probably one of the least harsh critics of DC and Marvel. That said, the past few big crossovers for Marvel have been very anti-climactic. The reason for this is that they abandon promotion of the upcoming or current crossover in favor of the “next big thing” that follow almost immediately.

Once the first few months worth of comics have been ordered, they just start plugging away at the marketing for the next thing. That marketing push often gives away the story they are in the middle of telling. Marvel Now details gave away plot points from AvX and Angela’s appearance at the end of Age of Ultron was given away months before Age of Ultron ended (this might be because someone leaked it but Marvel jumped all over it).

angelaSara+Pichelligog6That all said, the Geoff Johns narrated Trinity War video teaser is the WORST spoiler I’ve seen yet! The timing couldn’t be more suspect either. All the orders for Trinity War are in and the Forever Evil and Villains month orders can still be made.

This “teaser” is essentially the synopsis for the entire Trinity War story and lets you know that someone is going to die and what the eventual ending will be. Reading this story will feel like just going through the motions. Here’s the video. Tell me what you think.

 

* UPDATE - I’ve since read the first part of this story (Justice League #22). I have to say, it was a really enjoyable issue. It felt big and large in scale. The Shazam/Superman fight reminded me of classic super hero meeting then getting into a misunderstanding and then fighting stories that silver age Marvel stories told so well. That fight also reminded me of the Shazam (then Captain Marvel) fight with Superman in Justice League Unlimited.

Any way…the ending would have had a MUCH bigger impact if I didn’t already know going into the story that villains are behind everything. I also find my expectations lessened by knowing that the villains ultimately win this. One issue in and I am still behind my original thought…DC and Geoff Johns hurt the experience of this crossover with the teaser video.

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Marvel Now has been out for a few months now and has proven it’s proven itself as more than a gimmick. New titles, reinvented characters, and new rosters make Marvel Now the most talked about initiative in comics in the last 6 months. Adam and Nick go through each title and break down what’s been going on.

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Panels That Stuck In My Head

Many of the best panels of the month came from the Batman family books. (check those out here), but there were others that were full of bad-assery. Check out some of my recent favorites here:

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Kate Bishop steals every panel of Marvel’s Hawkeye. This is one of the best comics I’ve read in years.

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Panel composition alone should have you picking up Hawkeye.

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I didn’t see this coming! The ending of Uncanny Avengers #4 was a jaw dropper.

star wars comics

Luke lets him know how hardcore Leia is.

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When Buddy Baker’s daughter got turned by The Rot in Animal Man it was shocking.

massacre death killing

Is killing killers “superior” behavior? What do you think?

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I think this is Doc Ock’s biggest win. He figured out J. Jonah and tricked him to be on his side. Genius!

wolverine avengers doc ock

It took the Superior Spider-Man to show Wolverine just how tough he is.

geoff johns dc comics

B’DG everybody!

thunderbolts marvel now

US Agent once again has arms and legs due to medical techniques in another dimension. Anyone else still reading Dark Avengers?

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Ever since the Marvel Now teaser came out, we wanted to know what this robot following Hulk was. Now we know.

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Cap is really in a bad place these days.

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Cyclops had to ask this before he blasted Wolverine. At least this younger version of him is polite.

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Uh…things just got real!

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Kyle’s destiny is to be a White Lantern. I think they should keep him as one.

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My jaw dropped when I saw this panel in Star Trek Countdown to Darkness but…I doubt many others had the same reaction unless they are mega fans. My first though was…is he canon now??

I have tons more panels at ComicBookPanels.com

It’s our BEST of 2012 Podcast!

That’s right, it’s the first annual Boxies! We pick:

  • Best Comic of the Year
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  • Best Super Hero Movie of the Year
  • Best Writer of the Year
  • Best Animated Show of the Year
  • Best Genre TV Show of the Year
  • Best Artist of the Year
  • Best Fight of the Year

marvel dc batman avengers x-men podcast

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Doing this really helps us move up in the rankings which means more people will find this show! We, obviously, don’t make any money on this. We are just doing it for the pats on the backs and power…MAN do we love the POWER

Have something you’d like us to discuss? Please email us question at info@shortboxpodcast.com with “Listener Topic” in the subject line and make sure to let us know if we can use your name on the podcast. Thanks for listening!

Well, guys, it’s looking like an oddly light week for my pull list.  Here are the top three books I’m looking forward to…

 

Hawkeye #7

Publisher: Marvel Comics

Writer: Matt Fraction

Artist: David Aja

It’s a great series and Matt Fraction is donating his royalties to Hurricane Sandy Victims.  ’Nuff Said.

 

 

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Avengers #4

Publisher: Marvel Comics

Writer: Jonathan Hickman

Artist: Adam Kubert

Hickman is a big ideas guy and its clear he’s got a lot of ambition for the flagship Avengers title.  This issue promises the secret origin of Hyperion.  It’s almost a guarantee that Hickman will find some way to work the various multiverse versions of Hyperion in and odds are this will have a huge impact on the series in later issues.

 

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Superior Spiderman #2

Publisher: Marvel Comics

Writer: Dan Slott

Artist: Ryan Stegman

*SPOILER ALERT*

I’m curious to see where Slott is going with this series.  I’m definitely concerned that he’s overplayed his hand with the introduction of Ghost Pete at the end of #1.  We all knew Peter Parker would be coming back, I just figured Slott would let all of us Spidey-fans squirm for awhile.  But, Dan Slott has done an outstanding job with Spiderman since Big Time so he gets some leeway here (not to mention that Spidey-Ock has potential for some good stories).  I should also mention that I’ve had a fairly serious geek crush on Steve Wacker since his work at DC and I definitely rank him as one of the best editors in the business (just look at the stable of books he’s worked on…)

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Alright, those are the issues that I think are worth your time and cash.

If you’ve got a book this week you think deserves some attention, let us know.

Sound off below!

Avengers #3 is a curious book.  It’s solid read to be sure, but despite the overall strong writing and plotting it has a flaw or two that could go either way.  That is to say, these flaws could either prove to be early cracks in an otherwise stellar book or simply the unavoidable result of reading a long-form narrative in a serialized format.  At the moment, and given what I know of Jonathan Hickman, I lean pretty heavily toward the latter.

Let’s get the problems out of the way first.  First of all, an issue that is meant to be the concluding issue of the initial arc really reads as more a transition to the larger story.  On some levels this is to be expected, particularly with a writer like Hickman who’s known for meticulous plotting and an eye for the long game.  On an issue to issue basis however, it can give off an anti-climactic feeling that this issue just barely skirt.

Secondly, and potentially more problematic, there has been very little, if any characterization of the larger cast. On one hand, this is unfortunate because Hickman has shown an incredibly deft and economical hand in his characterization of the major players (i.e. Captain American, Iron Man, Wolverine and Spiderman, Thor in particular).  On the other hand, there has been zero characterization for characters like Hyperion, Shang-Chi, and Smasher.  Now again, it’s entirely plausible, even probable, that Hickman will rectify this in later issues.  For this particular entry though, it does add to the anticlimactic vibe this issue flirts with because we have no reason to care about most of the players.

So, those maybe-not-so-minor blemishes aside, how does this issue stack up? As well as you’d expect if you’ve been reading series.

We pick up right where #2 left off.  Cap and the newly expanded Avengers are heading to Mars to take down Ex Nihilo and Aleph.  Oddly, it’s never exactly explained how Cap, Shang-Chi, Falcon and all the other non-god, non-Iron Suit wearing Avengers are breathing.  I guess we should assume Ex Nihilo has terraformed?  Anyway…the expected battle ensues with great moments all around (I particularly enjoyed Shang-Chi kung fu-ing Aleph’s leg off).  Perhaps most interesting is the introduction of the current Captain Universe and a little taste of the scale of power we could be dealing with here.  Hickman always works on an epic scale, but if terraforming Mars, flexing the muscles of a cosmic entity, and creating a new form of life is where he’s starting?  Well, you can’t help but be intrigued about where the man intends to end up…

Hickman is bringing a truly grand feel and a majesty to the Avengers mythos.  Three issues in, and this already feels like the kind of epic run we’re going to be debating and talking about for a long time to come.  This feels like a benchmark.  In fact, for the first time that I can recall, Marvel, to paraphrase Cap, is starting to feel like an Avengers world and that’s a good thing.

“It was the Spark that started the Fire — A Legend that grew in the telling.”  Indeed.

8/10

 

Keith’s List O’ Awesome!

Well, here we are.  Another week means another Wednesday and another Wednesday means a new batch comics for us intrepid readers.  So, without any further ado…here’s a short list of the books I think merit your cash this week:

Cobra Vol. 2 #21 

IDW Publishing

Writer: Mike Costa

Artist: Antonio Fuso

Oktober Ends!  The final confrontation between the Joes and the Oktober Guard hits its sure to be brutal conclusion as COBRA bears down on both teams.  This issue is sure to have far reaching consequences for the Joe’s black ops unit.  _________________________________________________________

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Secret History of the Foot Clan #2(of 4)

IDW Publishing

Writer: Erik Burnham

Artist: Mateus Santolouco

Issue #2 of this promising look into the history of the Foot Clan in IDW’s revamp of the TMNT franchise.  Readers of the main TMNT book will know that IDW, Kevin Eastman and Tom Waltz have added some pretty intriguing wrinkles to the TMNT origin and this series, by longtime Ghostbusters scribe Erik Burnham, leads us further into history of the Foot Clan and the ultimate corruption of Oruku Saki.  A must read for TMNT fans.

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Harbinger # 8 

Valiant Entertainment

Writer: Joshua D.M. Dysart

Valiant keeps moving us towards the Harbinger Wars and pulling together Peter Stanchek’s Renegades.  This series has been powerful so far and Dysart definitely isn’t afraid to pull punches.  This week the recruitment drive kicks it up a notch with the introduction of Torque.

 

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Young Avengers #1

Marvel Comics 

Writer: Keiron Gillen

Artist: Jamie McKelvie

Thank Odin, Keiron Gillen will still be giving the world a healthy dose of everyone’s favorite mischievous ne’er-do-well, Kid Loki.  For those of you who missed out on Gillen’s excruciatingly awesome run on Journey Into Mystery, this is your chance to jump in and right that particular wrong.  Pulling together characters from the previous Young Avengers, as well as a new face or two from Vengeance, this is a book that should merit a spot on everbody’s pull list.  After all, as the solicitation put it, “It’s the book that knows Hyperbole is the BEST! THING! EVER!”

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Avengers #3 

Marvel Comics 

Writer: Jonathan Hickman

Artist: Jerome Opena

Occasionally, you pick up a book and you just know from the opening pages that you’re reading something special.  That’s  the case with Hickman’s opening salvo on the Avengers.  Hickman has brought a majestic, mythological feel that this book has been sorely lacking in recent years.  Do yourself a favor and grab this comic.  It’s grand, high concept storytelling as only a select few can provide.  We may not always know where Jonathan Hickman is taking us, but it’s always a hell of a ride.

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Winter Soldier #3

Marvel Comics

Writer: Ed Brubaker

Artist: Butch Guice

Ed Brubaker officially ends his incredible tenure at Marvel Comics and his absolutely brilliant redefinition of the Captain America mythos, and perhaps most importantly of Bucky Barnes.   Brubaker was one of the most consistent and talented writers in Marvel’s stable over the last decade and it’s a sad day to see him move on.  On the upside, it’s a guarantee that he’ll finish strong.

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Uncanny Avengers #3

Marvel Comics

Writer: Rick Remender

Artist: John Cassaday

It’s a Rick Remender book drawn by John Cassaday.  ’Nuff said.

 

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So, there you go.  If you think we missed anything or if you just agree with the picks or something cool happened today…sound off below.

I’ll come clean up front…I’ve never been a fan of the Hulk. There I said it.

Maybe I should clarify and say that I’ve never been a fan of the Hulk in practice.  That is to say, I’ve never been able to maintain interest in an ongoing Hulk series.  I mean, I’ve tried.  Seriously, I have.  I like the concept of the Hulk, I like the Hulk in movies and cartoons (I still guffaw when I think of the infamous “Puny God.” Scene in Avengers).  But, the comics – well, they’ve just never done it for me.

And then Marvel NOW!

You ask me what about Marvel NOW! brought my attention to the big green guy?  Well, five words actually.  Five words in one of Marvel’s teasers caught my eye – Mark Waid and Leinil Yu.  The way I figured, if Mark Waid – he of Daredevil fame and the man I would argue wrote one of the most perfectly crafted 12 issue arcs in all of comics with his reboot of the Legion of Superheroes – if that guy couldn’t put a spin on the Hulk that got my attention?  Well, odds were that it was never going to happen.  And Leinil Yu was simply icing on the cake.

And you know what, Mr. Waid pulled it off.  I’m hooked and thus, here we are at Indestructible Hulk #3.

So, a quick recap for those of you who haven’t read the series to this point.  Bruce Banner has finally come to terms with the distinct possibility that he cannot, at present time at least, rid himself of the Hulk.  Moreover, he’s wasted his Tony Stark-Reed Richards-T’Challa level intellect for YEARS trying to do just that.  So to make a long story short, Banner approaches SHIELD and says “Listen, guys, you give me a lab and some world class geeks and I’ll have you rolling in cool, world changing stuff.  And as an added bonus, when I Hulk out you just point me at the bad guys like a great big green WMD, then come in and get me once the clean-up starts.  It’s a win-win.”  SHIELD eventually says “A-Ok” with a few caveats and our series is off.

Issue #3 picks up with Mariah Hill finishing up the interviews for Banner’s geek squad, which seems to be a pretty eclectic bunch to say the least.  Meanwhile, SHIELD agents elsewhere are setting the Hulk loose on AIM compound through a pretty clever bait and switch.  The proceeding pages are filled with panel to panel wanton destruction as the Hulk clears the AIM facility.  The opening represents a great setup for things to come as each of prospective character for Banner’s lab team is given just enough space and eccentricity to intrigue the reader.  Be it the mad scientistish type, the ones who want to learn from Banner, or the one who seems to have a potential Hulk fetish – it should be an interesting mix.

But, thanks in no small part to the art of Leinil Yu and the coloring Sunny Cho, it’s the Hulk pages that really shine.  I’m going out on a limb and saying right now that no one has ever the drawn the Hulk better than Leinil Yu is right now.  Yu’s Hulk is dynamic and appears astonishingly powerful.  Moreover, this Hulk looks positively menacing, his face often a growl draped in shadow with sinew, vein, and muscle seemingly ready to burst.   I feel like one thing that artists and writers often overlook is the devastating speed the Hulk is capable of.  Yu plays with perspective and blurs and muddles his usually tight lines to give a sense of acceleration and burst in the Hulks movements.  And, of course, Yu’s pencils are perfectly accentuated by the palette Sunny Cho has put together for the series.  This is the most powerful creature on Earth and the physics behind his movement should be terrifying and awesome to behold.  Yu makes that so.  Hulk is a force of nature – here we believe that.

Hulk Smash…

So far, for me, the books only downside is Banner himself who was engaging in his appearance in the first issue but ever since seems fairly unlikable.  Perhaps he doesn’t need to be.  We’ll see.

On a final note, this issue had the funniest final page of the week in my opinion with the introduction of “R.O.B” SHIELD’s “Recording Observation Bot”.  Banner wasn’t particularly pleased with good ol’ R.O.B. and apparently neither is the Hulk.  The last two panels literally made me laugh out loud.

Sound off below…

9/10