Warning: full episode spoilers follow.
Picking up from the fallout of last week's "Code Red," this week's installment of Earth's Mightiest Heroes continued the focus on Captain America, Winter Soldier, and Red Skull. With the addition of the long-absent Nick Fury into the mix, "Winter Soldier" explored the darker, more espionage-influenced portion of the Marvel Universe. At least until Red Skull's giant super-mech shows up to stomp all over the US Capitol.
The writers offered no further explanation than the previous episode did as far as why Bucky was suddenly able to shake off his decades of brain-washing. Instead, this episode dived right into his current mission, which we eventually learned was trying to dispose of Red Skull's Hydra drones before his fail-safe activated. This was another area where the plot felt a little flimsy. If Red Skull had these gigantic, nearly indestructible drones lying in storage, why did he waste years infiltrating the US government when he could have caused more immediate and significant damage with these?
Frank J. Barbiere and Chris Mooneyham will be at table BB7 at NYCC to debut their new comic, a 32 page story, oversized, printed on vintage newsprint with extras for $4.99.
After a tragic encounter with an artifact known as “the Dreamstone,” infamous treasure hunter Fabian Gray was possessed by five literary ghosts and has been granted access to their unique abilities.
This magazine contains part one of the serialized storyline THE HAUNTING OF FABIAN GRAY in which our hero returns home to confer with his closest ally; a new adventure is set into motion; dark forces begin to gather; and unexpected opponents are encountered in the jungles of Africa.
This is what we have so far. Through Diamond Comic Distributors…
Coipel Sketch Cover
Sara Pichelli Cover
Young Baby Variant
Cassaday Sketch Variant
Call Me Maybe Deadpool Variant
And now we also have;
Neal Adams Lair Variant
Neal Adams Lair Sketch Variant
J Scott Campbell Midtown Variant
Detroit Fanfare Variant
NYCC Retailer Exclusive Variant
Seventeen I’ve counted so far… any more to make it an even twenty?
Also, Midtown is linking three J Scott Campbell variants together for Uncanny Avengers #1, All New X-Men #1 and Avengers #1…
Andrea Di Vito
Bein’ as it’s nearly October, the movie channels are filled with horror and suspense films great and small, one of the quiet pleasures of my autumn season. Of course, given the depth and breadth of movies made in the last … Continue reading
Marvel needs to start paying better attention to themselves, especially when they’re doing everything right. The big Marvel media blitz of the moment (amid the din of screaming Avengers bluray ads) is the MARVEL NOW “Don’t Call It A Reboot” Re-Launch. It’s definitely something to get excited about, Marvel has a really smart collection of creators and titles about to arrive. John Cassaday on an ongoing? Allred on an ongoing by Fraction? Gillen & McKelvie together again? Oh god I’ve died, haven’t I? I thought it would be a lot warmer…
What’s not being talked about nearly enough is Jonathan Hickman’s come down from one of the greatest runs in Marvel history. Not just talking Fantastic Four books but across the line, Hickman’s time on the title(s) will be considered a new high water mark in modern superhero storytelling. They’ll talk about Busiek’s Avengers, Greg Pak’s Hulk, Bendis’ Daredevil, Grant Morrison’s New X-Men, Dan Slott’s Amazing Spiderman, Mike Carey’s X-Men Legacy and they’ll talk about Hickman’s Fantastic Four books. It’s something Marvel has always been brilliant at, leaving a talented writer (or writer and artist) alone, long enough to unfurl a big, crazy vision. Peter David on X-Factor or Ed Brubaker on Cap. DC hasn’t done so well in that department, I mean, it’s hard to let a vision take place when every 12 issues you throw out the baby, the bathwater, the towels, the floorboards, etc…
It’s amazing when times like these line up. Ennis is finishing up on The Boys and it’s like that moment that so many of us had when we realized that we were about to go through a Christmas without a new Lord of the Rings movie. When pieces of pop culture come to define eras in our lives. Maybe not define, but definitely highlight and enhance and help us make it through each era and on to the next one. More people should be talking about The Boys and more people should be talking about Hickman’s FF family of books.
When Marvel does it right, they do it right so well. Peter Milligan and Mike Allred’s X-force/X-Statix run was during a time when editorial was taking chances on new, different stories. That run remains one of the most interesting and intelligent superhero deconstructions of all time, up there with Veitch’s Maximortal and Morrison’s Doom Patrol. It wasn’t a CIVIL WAR tie-in and didn’t have anything to do with Avengers Versus X-men. (Oh…wait) It was a creative team getting to explore a concept or follow an idea. Marvel seems on the verge of inspired comic greatness, made almost more impressive in light of the new corporate influence behind the scenes. With all those suits you expect the comics to look more like, well, I don’t have to point, do I?
Which brings us to this month’s issue of FF by Jonathan Hickman and Andre Araujo. If you’re like me, which of course you are, after finishing the issue you probably thought, “Who the hell is Andre Araujo?” My next thought was “Well judging from his accomplished comic style, he’s probably some huge underground comic artist that I’ve never heard of.” Was it yours as well? Write that down in your copybook now. Then I began to hunt around the internet trying to find the guy and it takes me like twenty minutes (which is crazy, I’m really good at internet) and when I finally do, he’s only got like 100 twitter followers. This is madness. This comic is that good. Art wise, story wise, every wise.
Maybe we’re in the golden age of team comics, maybe it just happened and no one noticed, but thinking about the books that consistently remain the most fun or the most rewarding for the audience are the titles with large casts, sharing the spotlight and allowing the creative team a thousand different avenues to tell a million stories. So we find ourselves in #22, the penultimate Hickman FF, drawn by out of nowhere, crazy talented Andre Araujo, spending our final moments with Val and Bentley, as the series that would stop at nothing to make you think about your dad, makes you totally think about your dad.
The name of the story is “You Are Whatever You Want To Be” and if there’s a better way of summing up one of the major themes of Hickman’s fantastic tenure, I haven’t thought of it yet. The story unfolds with this perfect balance of humor and action and real emotional resonance as Araujo’s pencils perfectly capture the joy of adventure and the horror of the emotional reality of our families. But we don’t stay there, we remember what the name of the story is and we keep going.
In the time since Bentley joined the Foundation, he’s been a bad ass force for good, though he tries to hide it. (Also what is it with bad ass young heroes these days? Future Foundation, Avengers Academy, Generation Hope, the kids are alright indeed) At the same time Bentley (like you know, most people, everywhere) has felt the weight of where he comes from more intensely than others. It’s not like it’s just his dad who’s a crazy, evil super-villain. Being a clone has to carry with it a unique set of existential terrors, but we finally get to see Bentley really moving out from under that terrifying, twisted shadow of his own possible future.
For people who’ve felt that Hickman could only work in long, drawn out, insanely complex story arcs, he’s been doing these quiet one-shots now that the rising action has ceased. Quiet, beautiful little one-shots that highlight just another area of Hickman’s FF world that we’re going to miss. The strength of a writer, to be able to work with huge, enormous ideas or simple, little moments with the same expert attention to detail and deep understanding of the human experience.
Hickman has been winding down his books so elegantly, like a slow dance through an empty house, it’s moving day and the lights are getting shut off, room by room. Hickman has been letting go of the characters that he’s worked so hard on and wrapping things up. Every time a series gets axed prematurely and the small group of fans who followed it begin to wail, this is what they’re wailing about. The missed chances at endings like this. The reward you feel as a comic fan as you follow the storytellers to the last panel. Letting creators tell their stories, get the point?
Vertigo hasn’t had the greatest reputation for sci-fi comics. V For Vendetta was, Transmetropolitan had to be inherited from another imprint, Helix, and the rather wonderful DMZ and Spaceman have been and gone. And right now they have no sci-fi book on their… books.
That will change next year. Bleeding Cool writer Colin O’ Mahoney reporting from Dublin comic convention D.I.C.E tells us that Vertigo editor Mark Doyle said that sci-fi “has been missing from Vertigo”, and that this is something they intend to fix.
Already announced is Collider from Exterminators writer Simon Oliver, and artist Robbi Rodriguez (Uncanny X-Force) Mark Doyle described the series as “An FBI physics team in a world where physics is breaking down.” Basically, if you have a wormhole in your sink, these guys will fix it. And of course, there’s a new sci-fi series from Scott Snyder and Sean Murphy that I mentioned last year.
Speaking to Mark after the panel, he confirmed that “there are more sci-fi books coming from Vertigo”, and while he was tight-lipped regarding details we can expect at least two big announcements at NYCC.
2013 is the twentieth anniversary for Vertigo, and they intend to make it as big an event at the imprint as the New 52 was for DC. As well as some welcome new sci-fi, we can expect “Vertigo books from creators old and new (to Vertigo)”. Mark Doyle indicated that on books he is editing, there are some ‘fan favourites that are really gonna blow people away’. All this and a new Sandman from Neil Gaiman…
UPDATE: Jeff Lemire tweets;
— Jeff Lemire (@JeffLemire) September 30, 2012
Space: Punisher #3 by Mark Texeira
I don’t know about the rest of you, but this cover screams “Absolute 90’s” to me; the excess of muscles, the fierce-looking battle cry, and the giant guns blazing at no one in particular. Hell, Frank even has a ponytail! And yet, I love everything about this cover. It’s so wacky, so intense, and it even has a murdered Galactus front and center. I heard a rumor that this cover was going to double as the album cover for the next Dethklok record, it’s so metal. Texeira’s style here is like the love-child of Esad Ribic and Mike Zeck, and that’s the highest compliment I feel like I can bestow upon this piece.
Every time I see the Spider, I just imagine in some alternate universe Peter Parker and Lamont Cranston were playing Frankenstein, creating a monster of their own beings. Moving on, I’m loving the shadowing Francavilla accomplishes with the cape, for it makes the red webbing pop that much more on the equally red background. Also, how about those cool little strands of purple about? Love it! Zombies inbound? No problem, time to use his cool webbing gun, a must-have for every Johnny this holiday season. Beautiful stuff, and as always, nice and pulpy for such a noir character.
My favorite cover of the week, hands down. If you’re not familiar with Brandon Graham, shame on you! The man has been producing tons of great stories these past few years, and equally amazing art as well. This is a great example of Graham’s feeling and style in a nutshell, and what better comic to pair with for a cover than Elephantmen? That’s a setting right up Graham’s alley, and the result (as you can see) is truly mesmerizing. There’s so much to study with this illustration, that it’s an added bonus that you get both back and front covers here. Brandon Graham is one of those creators I will gladly support if I see his name or art attached. Do yourself a favor and go pick-up King City today!
Kissing a girl who had a snake’s tongue would be pretty disturbing, but to kiss a girl with a snake as a tongue would be even more disturbing. It’s at that point in the relationship you calmly suggest the two of you should see other reptiles. Moore knows how to use color to his advantage with these covers to his black and white comic series. The barf-ilicious background stained with drops of blood make the viewer feel queasy, and the cherry on top are her murderous eyes. Oh, and the snake head emerging from her mouth. But we already covered that aspect, didn’t we? 2/10 WOULD NOT BANG.
Francavilla double feature! You know what the best part about being a test tube baby is? You get a womb with a view.
Shawn Demumbrum writes from Bleeding Cool;
Last night, I started to write “MorrisonCon is rock n’ roll (not the pedestrian rock and roll). It’s as Ralphie from The Christmas Story says ‘The soft light of electric sex’.
After spending half a day at the convention and being asked to describe what it was to my curious creator friends at Las Vegas Comic Expo, I’ve come to a different conclusion. MorrisonCon is like Jazz. It has structure, but it flows in and out of improvisation. They have a panel schedule, but if you walk into the hallway you can get sketches from Frank Quietly or talk to Robert Kirkman for more than a San Diego overstayed 30 seconds.
It’s a convention where Dan Didio fades into the furniture instead of shining in the spotlight.
You can pop into the MorrisonCon Theater and watch the cinematic equivalent of Grant Morrison’s visual Itunes playlist. In the art gallery, you can see artwork that isn’t for sale because they need to scan it to send to DC for an upcoming issue.
All of this is happening at the same time..
At Las Vegas Comic Expo, I talked to a fan who said he was staying at the Hard Rock. ”Are you going to MorrisonCon?” a creator asked. ”No, I couldn’t afford that. I thought I would pop in to see what it was about.” Last night he had stopped by Body English to see what the buzz was about. He was told by staff that they were only allowing badged attendees in, but….if he stopped by after 9pm he could get in. Off to the poker tables and back an hour later, there was no one at the door and with the cost of a $12 Long Island Ice Tea he got to view the Grant Morrison/Gerard Way spoken word performance that was part of the MorrisonCon program. After reflecting on his revealation, a printed plastic ID card handing from a lanyard probably would pass for the con badges if they checked ids at all. There are only about a dozen staff and once you are in you would probably blend into the panels.
Night Two, there were two security at the door to go down to the club and they were definitely checking for badges.
After the Writer’s Panel at MorrisonCon, Robert Kirkman was hanging out in the hallway talking to fans. I took the opportunity to introduce him to Robert the Laptop. You see right before the Amazing Arizona Comicon in January last year, I dug up my copies of Walking Dead #1-10 that I had bought off the shelf at Samurai Comics back when they came out years ago. They had sat in my short boxes untouched. I had Robert sign them and had the CGC Signature Series Graded and decided to sell them while the Walking Dead bubble was inflated. The books netted enough to purchase a brand new Apple MacBook Pro 15” with the retina display. I told him that story in the hallway and Robert was gracious enough to take a picture with Robert the Laptop. He said that he is always happy when fans are able to do that. He also related that his stash of Walking Dead #1 is down to 15 copies from the 400 copies he got as comps back in 2003. Many of those Walking Dead #1 issues sold for cover at comic conventions.
When asked if he had anything to say to Bleeding Cool, he said “I love Bleeding Cool” and the secret to a successfully MorrisonCon is “staying away from the slots”.