Monday, October 19, 2015

Comics and other Marvelous things (Marvel Comics edition)

I will be the first to admit that i haven't exactly kept up on comics, but given the new changes I've decided to make for this blog, i started looking at comics again.  So let me start off with a couple of things.

No I haven't read secret wars, at all (the new one, i think i have the old one hanging around somewhere)

I like change, so Sam Wilson as Cap, Jane Foster as Thor are all kosher, i like to see things differently, and i am hoping that these new titles tell exciting new stories that we haven't seen before

I will probably focus on two or three issues each time i write this, so expect a weekly write up

This week I'll be looking at four Issue #1s

Guardians of The Galaxy #1

I like the Guardians of the Galaxy, and this issue #1 picks up with some new characters and some of the same old problems.

First, the team rundown

Drax the Destroyer
Groot (I am Groot!)
Rocket Raccoon
Agent Venom
Star Lord (Kitty Pride, which is kind of a fun change of pace)
The Ever-loving Blue-Eyed Thing

I like the Thing as an addition to this team of heroes, because he has a perspective that can get lost around the FF, and he has some excellent thinking out loud moments.  His quandry on the existence of the Infinity Armor does a pretty good job of stopping the conversation around him, and he continues to add some color to the group.

I kind of like Flash as Venom, in that he plays a role that's needed in a comic universe as wide as the Marvel one.  He asks the questions that we as outsiders would ask, "Who's that, what's that thing over they, why are they shooting at us?"  This does two things, one it fill dialogue that informs new readers on the universe, and secondly, it lets other people show off their expertise.

The story moves quickly from the initial fight sequence where Kitty blows up a Chitauri ship that was attempted to crunch the thing, and in a fairly traditional trope for the Guardians, they have a space gizmo.  None of them have any idea how the damn things works, and there's an argument about opening the device.  Eventually, the team decides to track down experts who they can trust  to identify the gizmo.

We shift scenes (i realize i skipped a scene, but i feel like telling these scenes this way makes a little more sense.)  to Spartax and are reunited with our dear friend Peter Quill, the new king of Spartax.  Rulership does not sit well with the young king, and he's attempting to shirk his duties as both a monarch and a host (which does have a cute scene with a bright pink, non humanoid alien creature that is attempting to woo him).  This does not sit well with the young king's fiance, (Good for Kitty Pride, by the way) who gives him a bit of cold shoulder grief.

This issue ends with a major uh oh moment.  The Guardians have come to Spartax to borrow some of Quill's technological experts, and they as a group witness what looks like a meteor strike.  The meteor in question is a badly beaten Gamora who's been throw into the planet by an awesome looking alien lady named Hala.

I hope that the next issue continues with the pace of this one, and that this comic takes a look at the relationship dynamic between all of these characters.  I would hope that this doesn't turn into a Peter Quill has to decide between being a responsible adult and a goofball, because i've seen goofball Peter Quill a lot, and i want to see what he looks like in a different light.

Captain America #1

I like Sam Wilson.  This book looked like it could have gone a couple of different crazy ways, but the story that they're trying to tell with Cap is a direction that we haven't seen in a while, but that is very much in the heart of Captain America.

Sam Wilson, as Captain America, sees something terribly wrong with the way that his country is running, and decides to speak up about it.  He takes a stand against the "intolerance and fear that are drowning the common sense out" and he suffers in the court of public opinion for it.  He's on very thin ice with SHIELD, the country doesn't like him, and he has a wonderful several pages where he flies coach to get back from a mission (which has a wonderful scene where he puts the Shield through an airport metal detector).

On the plus side, He's got Misty Knight (a character i am not very familiar with, but i do love the cut of her Afro), and a character from the way back machine, D-Man.  Sam and Misty have a wonderful interplay and a banter that has the right mix of good humor and sexual tension to keep the partnership functioning.  She's very capable of taking care of herself and keeping the situations around her under control.

I think my favorite thing about this book is this banter.  It's everywhere, from the multi-panel interaction between Crossbones and Cap, to the tiny bits of it between Cap and Maria Hill, to the flight home.   Nick Spencer keeps the dialogue hopping, and the wit of it is refreshing to me.

This still feels like Captain America to me, and i like that when i see something touted as "All New, All Different."  It may look different, but it feels right.  It looks fun, and i like the idea that Sam Wilson set up a hotline for people to report injustice in America.  I hope the writing keeps up this way, but it feels like this could turn into a blaxploitation story arc with a couple of steps the wrong way.

New Avengers #1

I'll review this book, because the other new Avengers title (Uncanny Avengers #1) is basically a running Deadpool riff.  I like deadpool in short doses, but in that comic he manages to aggravate spider man to the point where he quits Steve Rogers superhuman hug box.

New Avengers team roster

White Tiger
Power Man
Songbird (Who's operating as a team leader)
Squirrel Girl (and Tippy-Toe)

The team is also supported by Robert De Costa (the mutant Sunspot) financially, and by a variety of support staff to maintain their equipment and allow them to operate as super heroes.

First, i like that this team looks and feels very young.  I think youthful enthusiasm is a necessary part of story telling, and these kids have it in spades.  The team is responding to a crisis in Paris, where something is killing people off and replacing their heads/bodies/souls with shiny looking crystals.
The team quickly comes to the realization that these people are suffering from an unknown affliction that has turned them into the "life minus" that they have become, and try to disable these affected people without serious harm.

The Mastermind behind this nefarious caper is a Reed Richards from a parallel universe that has some sort of nefariosity in mind and is playing very tradtional villain tropes (lives in big scary dark labs, threatens underlings, monologues).

The subplot going on at Avengers home base is that SHIELD, (being the universal fun police) have decided that the New Avengers are going to have to prove themselves to SHIELD before SHIELD will let them be heroic types without intervention or hostility.

There's a reasonably funny joke about Hawkeye (Clint Barton) being assigned to the team by SHIELD, and the response from De Costa is basically that they want the other Hawkeye a lot more (Kate Bishop).

Overall its a fun read, and i am curious to see what it looks like.

Those are my three for this week, so i'll probably put something up on Friday about our friends from DC

Happy Reading, enjoy your comic stories, and Excelsior, I guess?

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