February Comics To Pick Up

death of the family

Adam & Nick discuss the Diamond Comics Previews for February 2013. The wrap-up of the big Batman crossover, Death of the Family, the last few new Marvel Now books, and the new Justice League America line-up are just a few items discussed on this podcast.

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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.


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.



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!”


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.


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.


Uncanny Avengers #3

Marvel Comics

Writer: Rick Remender

Artist: John Cassaday

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



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.

Issue #22 marks the end of volume 2 of IDW’s GI Joe: Ongoing (not to be confused with IDW’s GI Joe: Real American Heroes).  Sadly, also issue #22 marks the end of Chuck Dixon’s work on the series.  On the plus side this was a solid standalone issue and lead in to February’s relaunch under the direction of Fred Van Lente.  As a child of the 80’s and longtime Joe fan, I’m cautiously optimistic for what Fred Van Lente has in store, but that’s fodder for another article.

How does issue #22 stack up on it’s own?  Like the series itself, it provides great action, spot on characterization and leads the charge for IDW’s Joe revamp nicely.

The issue focuses on Cobra’s attempt to kidnap ousted Joe commander General Hawk.  For those of you new to the series, Hawk was ousted from his command of the classified anti-terror force, GI Joe, after a failed effort to stop Cobra’s invasion of the South Asian nation of Nanzhao.  The current and far more brutal incarnation of Cobra Commander, recognizing the now retired Hawk as valuable intelligence asset, deployed a squad of cobra soldiers to bring him in.  And thus our story begins.

The hallmark of this series, and what I’ve enjoyed most, are the ways Chuck Dixon has managed to integrate the spirit of the Joe franchise into a more quasi-realistic setting – taking even some of the more admittedly ridiculous Joe concepts and giving them a plausible edge of realism without going too far into the grim and gritty excess that all too often punctuates these types of revamps.

Perhaps the most intriguing aspect of the issue is the presentation of Hawk as more than simply a behind scenes commander with an eye for talent.  It becomes blatantly clear  in this issue that Hawk is, himself, a highly capable operator who can more than hold his own when needed.  The obvious intent of this issue is to bring Hawk back into the fold of the soon to be public Joe team.  After seeing Hawk in action in this issue, I’m looking forward to his return.

Yo Joe!




What Makes Watchmen The Best?

podcast review dave gibbons

We continue our discussion on Alan Moore and Dave Gibbon’s Watchmen.

Watchmen is often called the best comic book of all-time. We agree. Adam and Nick talk about why exactly this book is just so good. We get into the history, controversial, and central themes.

Part 2 Discusses:

  • Books Structure
  • End of the book – Who is right?
  • Movie comparison

Listen to the Episode Directly.

Listen to the Episode on iTunes.

iTunes listeners: HELP US OUT! We ask for no money…we just want you to help us grow this bigger.

  • Rate Us
  • Leave a Review
  • Subscribe

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 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!

What’s Your Universe?

Immortalized by the Adam Warrock song “Marvel vs. DC”, it’s a question a lot of us have asked each other for most of our lives. Which universe is better the 616 Marvel or the contemporary DCU (they tend to have reboots)?

The DC Universe is often sited as being a modern day version of Greek Mythology. Whereas the Marvel Universe prides itself on being more human and real. Superman lives in Metropolis while Spider-Man lives in New York City. Mutants are hated and feared in the Marvel Universe where metahumans of the DCU are often loved and admired. The differences are bountiful so we have to ask you: Which do YOU like better? Comment Below.

Gift Cards? Let’s Spend’em!

Did you get gift cards or cash for Christmas? Great! Have some extra money left over after the holidays? Perfect! Here’s a few cool things to spend that hard earned money you get from suffering through your aunt’s kisses.

Vintage Style Minimalist Movie Posters by Team Welser

These are just a taste of dozens of awesome one of a kind posters.

Check them out here.

End of an Era

For over a decade, the Justice League Unlimited line has produced some of the coolest DC toys of all time. For a very limited time only, these last three figures are available ONLY at Get them here NOW!

Jayne Cobb Replica Knit Cap

Browncoats take heed! It’s the winter and your head needs to be both warm and geek elite.

I bought mine here.

Sonic Screwdriver TV Remote

Gesture-based universal remote fit enough for a Lord of Time.

Get it on ThinkGeek.

Camera Lense for your iPhone

3 different lenses in one! Two tips from me: 1. The wide angle is the most useful. 2. Keep an eye on it, it’s easy to lose.

More info on the Olloclip here.

Deluxe Edition

Scott Pillgrim gets an ultimate collection! These color oversized editions of the popular indie comic (that spawned an equally awesome big budget movie) are now available. Pick up the first two now on Amazon or your Local Comic Shop.

Happy Birthday to The Man

It’s not hyperbolic to say that there would not still be comic books without Stan Lee. Who else can you say almost single-handedly saved an entertainment medium?  That’s not to say his artistic co-creators weren’t instrumental in the success Stan had. Stan had a little luck (nephew of the publisher) and put in the hard work and creativity that made Marvel Comics what it’s been for over 50 years. When every other publisher did it one way, Stan would go the other. Stan had heroes without masks, heroes with money problems, romance, racial diversity, and dealt with real issues like drugs. His characters were at least one more dimension than the characters created before him. Elevating the medium he loved will be his greatest legacy.

facebook marvel comicsStan’s comics would not have been as popular or long lasting without his artist collaborators, without a doubt. The medium, however, owes Stan a debt of gratitude for expanding what was possible, growing their audience beyond children, and acting as the ambassador of comics. He has lived through 90 years of American history and his life mirrors much of what the country has gone through. He had an active role in World War II, the Civil Rights Movement, Corporate Expansion, and exporting American culture abroad. There will never be another Stan Lee. Not because his accomplishments could never be eclipsed (which I could argue won’t ever be) but his personality is just as engaging as any character he has created.

Here’s a few Stan Stories from Short Box contributors:

Updates & New Podcasts

holidays podcast comics website

We’ve been busy elves this holiday season! Our Facebook LIKES are up over 1,500, with over 1,200 followers on Twitter, and tons of great new podcasts. We’ve also designed a brand new website design that makes it easier to navigate to the articles you want to read.

We’re currently searching for new contributors! Read more about what we are looking for here. Tell the world what you love and why.

We’d love to know what you think about the podcast, site design, and articles! Help us get better.

Send us a Tweet

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The first half year has been great and we’ve got more to come. Stay tuned!

Agent Phil Coulson

shield marvel avengers comicsRemember what you thought of Agent Coulson in the first Iron Man? We were so overwhelmed with all the cool parts of this movie that this character didn’t pop on his own. That’s not to say he wasn’t memorable, he was just over shadowed by the idea that S.H.I.E.L.D made it’s movie debut. He just represented what S.H.I.E.L.D. agents could be but he didn’t exactly define himself as the character we would come to know until his next appearance. Iron Man 2 better defined Phil and let you see him as capable as well as good humored. His later and more prominent appearance in Thor and a few short films (available on DVDs) made us really fall for this character.

movie shield agentWhat makes Phil the breakout character of 2012 was his appearance in the Avengers movie this year. How does a once nameless agent in a suit have the largest emotional impact in a movie starring Captain America, Thor, Iron Man, and The Hulk? The answer is humanity. Phil is just like us. He’s an enthusiastic fanboy with a mancrush on Captain America. That aspect of his humanity gets us to really root for him but it’s his bravery that makes him a hero.

Phil is totally incorruptible making him the only one to stand against Loki. Loki’s plan physiologically takes down every threat he expected had a chance to stop him but he totally underestimated Phil. Coulson almost takes down a god one on one but Loki gets in a killing blow. As he is dieing, he tells Loki that he is fated to fail because he “lacks conviction”. This act of defiance, even at his end, is the most powerful moment in the film. In a movie filled with CGI, explosions, and a seemingly random alien invasion, Phil Coulson was the much needed human element in a movie almost devoid of anything you can emotionally connect with.

shield marvel avengers comicsClark Gregg brings so much to this role. His smile is disarming and he exudes patience and intelligence. He never comes off smug, cynical, or negative. His performance is all heart. Gregg can also pull off the role of an action hero on top of his emotional performance. I believe that a lesser actor would not have secured another appearance of this character after his initial role.

shield agent avengers stan leeA tribute to this character is the response fans have had since his movie death this summer. In a rare move, this movie universe character has come over to the comic book universe in the Battle Scars mini-series. He will premiere as a member of the Secret Avengers Marvel Now relaunch less than a year after his debut. This would be impressive enough but he has a very big role in the Ultimate Spider-Man cartoon on Disney XD. Proving that this character is more than a plot device, he works in comics, cartoon, and movies surrounded by a three very different casts. That is a really significant test for a character that leaves him with only once place to go…live action TV! The announcement that Clark Gregg will be reprising his role in the upcoming ABC show for S.H.I.E.L.D.

From an unknown agent to the lynchpin to the formation of The Avengers – Here’s to the most human hero in the Marvel Universe: Phil Coulson!

Marvel’s Newest Chapter

avengers arena hickman

Marvel Now keeps rolling out

Marvel Now started in October 2012 and looks to continue creating new titles through at least March 2013. Books are being re-touched, relaunched, and made more approachable.

Not a reboot, but a jumping on point for new and lapsed readers to pick up these books. New number one issues, new costumes, and new status quo these comics should be approachable and get you hooked.

When grading these books, I needed criteria. The best criteria would be Marve’s own, in my opinion. I’m using a 1 to 5 star rating with 5 being the best. Here is what I am looking for:

1. Approachable to a new reader. Could anyone who liked the recent Marvel Movies pick this book up as their first comic and enjoy it?

2. New status quo. Is this new enough to warrant this new labeling and reboot?

3. New cover designs. Covers will be less dogmatic (logos always on the top) and look more like movie posters.

4. New looks. We have been promised new costumes for established characters.

Round 3

Avengers #1

thor captain america

So this book is set up to be BIG. Which it should be. The tone of this book feels like Morrison’s JLA. Hickman is taking his time with this story for that “Epic” feel but it’s not a bunch of loose plot threats like his FF run.

The similarities to Morrison’s JLA run are in the the scale of the threat as well as the make-up of the team. After Morrison’s initial storyline on the book he went about growing the team’s ranks beyond the big seven with some unlikely members in order to take on threats Biblically big! This massive line-up feels like an assembly of the world’s greatest heroes. The lineup is diverse in every sense of the word. Men and women of difference races and creeds, established top-tier characters, B and C Level characters brought up from the “minor leagues”, and all-new characters in legacy roles…this is an impressive team.

Just look at Jerome Opena’s art! This book has the feel of an event story because of just how detailed and kinetic his art is in this series. This is very much a movie style story and the art is a big part of that. The two page spread for the title and credits really drives that movie feeling into my head. The story starts off with a premise similar to the team-building story of Giant Sized X-Men #1 and grows from there because this antagonist is more mysterious and interesting than an angry living island.

This team also seems to have more raw power than any line-up that comes to mind (with possible exception to the Initiative Era Mighty Avengers team with Ares and Sentry). Iron Man and Cap are the creators of this team with Iron Man as the visionary and Cap as the leader and inspiration to the team. That part came through and really worked for me.

This book is what I am looking for in a Marvel Now #1. It was approachable because it didn’t really get too into any of the new characters and instead spent it’s time defining the threat and need for this type of team. This is a book I think someone who saw The Avengers movie would appreciate as well as long-time Marvel fans. No easy task.


This book doesn’t give Captain America and Iron Man’s origin but…does it need to? You don’t need to read any specific storylines to understand this new status-que and that makes this very easy to pick up. You don’t need to know much about these characters (yet) to enjoy this story other than Cap and Iron Man. This feels like it was designed for the movie fan to pick up without being boring.

New Status-Que:

This is the next stage of evolution for the Avengers. Sure, it’s a traditional team building issue but with nontraditional choices for members. The diversity of the line-up again reminds me of how Giant Sized X-Men #1 changed the team forever.

New Cover Designs:

Dustin Weaver’s interlocking covers are a perfect way to define this series. A wide screen shot of this new team emerging from light lets you know that this is a massive team ready to take on anything. If Marvel now covers are trying to look like movie posters, they nailed it.

New Looks:

The last page has some, I suppose. This book takes characters from many other books and puts them together for threats deemed big enough to warrant Avenger involvement. I don’t think a uniform look that changes what they already have going would have made sense.

Avengers Arena #1

battle royale arena

This is probably the most drastic relaunch of any title Marvel now put together. Many of the characters from Avengers Academy appear in this book and it seems like this is the new teen hero book for Marvel. The comic borrow HEAVILY from the Japanese movie “Battle Royale” to the degree that it even pays homage to the films poster art with the cover. Making it more meta, the antagonist even admits to stealing the idea for this new status-que from the movie (in so many words). Let’s get into what this is about…

Heroes pitted against heroes? New characters with mysterious pasts? B Level characters thrust in the spotlight? Yes! This book has the make-up for a memorable series. The idea that classic X-Men villain, Arcade, has somehow REALLY upped his game to this level in order to prove that he’s a significant threat is very appealing to a fan who enjoys those types of stories. The premise is wonderfully simple. Like Battle Royale and The Hunger games, teens are put on an island where they are monitored and must kill all other contestants until there is only one remaining. Friendships are broken, alliances made, and even lovers are torn apart because of the game’s rules.

marvel now comics reviews

I have so many questions that have me eagerly awaiting the next issue. How did Arcade pull this off, obtain a new level of power, and access to these heroes? Have other heroes noticed theses teens are missing? Who are these new characters anyway? All of these and more are why this is possibly the best book for brand new readers to pick up. I haven’t even got into the point of view of the first issue that will have both new readers and (especially) Avengers Academy fans with jaws on the floor. The stakes are big and the story is in a bubble (not to be crossed over with other books) which are two criteria for a breakout hit.

Kev Walker really gets what makes young super heroes look cool for years and he adds a new level of darkness to that aesthetic this time around. It’s clean action-oriented art that also guts you at the right moments. These characters look like traditional Marvel super heroes but the setting is alien and that juxtaposition is great.

So far, this is the ONLY Marvel Now book I would really recommend first time comic readers to pick up. That’s impressive.


Everything you need to know is in this issue but long time fans will appreciate the impact of this book on another level (especially Avengers Academy fans…trust me). What it lacks in an original concept, it makes up for by being very easy to pick up.

New Status Quo:

This is a modern Secret War! Heroes against heroes for the amusement of a evil with god-like powers…it’s all there. These characters have not been through anything like this so this book is very different from others on the market right now. How long this can go for, however, is up for debate.

New Cover Designs: 

This one is tough! Although this is only an homage, it tells you everything you need to know just by the cover! It’s Battle Royale with super heroes. Nailed it. The fact that it is patterned after an actual movie poster makes it easy to live up to the mandate set forth by Marvel to do just that.

New Looks:

Costumes aren’t a big part of this series because of the lack of any real super heroics taking place here. That said, there are some cool new character designs that premiere here.