Archive for Captain Marvel (Marvel)

Here’s to Fun Superheroes


Batgirl #35

Well, people, it’s the Batgirl everyone was waiting for — much hipper, much less grim-and-gritty, and almost certainly much more likely to make Dan DiDio and Jim Lee overdose on Rolaids. She’s got a redesigned costume, cool art, and a new creator team that isn’t beholden to stupid editors to make everything unpleasant and sad. (Gail Simone really should be allowed to make a fun Batgirl comic someday. You know it’d be keen, and she deserves to have some fun.)

Anyway, Barbara Gordon is moving into a new apartment in the trendy Burnside area of Gotham. After a hard-partying first night with the new roomies, she heads out to grab some coffee and ends up chasing down a computer thief. She comes home to find Dinah “Black Canary” Lance on her doorstep because her apartment burned down — and because Babs was storing some of her stuff there, she’s lost almost everything, too. And she and her roommates are all missing computers and phones. Can Barbara track down the thief? And can she somehow stop the mastermind, the scuzzy cyber-blackmailer Riot Black?

Verdict: Thumbs up. I get the impression that DC was a bit freaked out by Marvel’s success at appealing to markets beyond the stale old manchild gang — and it’s nice that they’ve managed to break out of their own old stereotypes so well. Cameron Stewart and Brenden Fletcher are writing a Batgirl who’s less angsty, more realistic, and more interesting, and Babs Tarr’s artwork is definitely unlike anything else you’ll see with the DC bullet on the cover. I really do wish DC had given Gail Simone a chance to write this new more-fun Batgirl, but the new creative team has turned in a fantastic debut issue.


Astro City #16

Super-keen gimmick here and on other Vertigo covers this month — the story actually starts on the cover of the magazine.

This issue focuses on a couple high-school supers — good-hearted energy-projecting hero Starbright and bitter hyper-genius Simon Says. Simon calls Starbright out and offers him a truce — Simon will help the hero capture criminals for 24 hours, and in exchange, Starbright has to bring him the school’s outcasts for… a birthday party? What sort of scheme is Simon Says up to?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Fantastic characters, dialogue, plot — and a really nice twist long before the end that makes the whole story a lot more resonant and effective.


Captain Marvel #8

Well, it turns out that Carol’s cat Chewie actually is an alien called a flerken. And she’s just laid a ton of eggs with even more flerkens inside. And aliens are attacking the ship to either cat-nap them or kill them. Can Captain Marvel, Rocket Raccoon, and Tic stop the invaders, save the kitties, and get to safety?

Verdict: Thumbs up. It’s a fairly straightforward story — mostly fighting and lasers and rocketships flying around — but it’s told well, and there’s something about weird alien cats with tentacles and pocket dimensions inside of them that really helps push a fun story all the way over the top.

Today’s Cool Links:

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Eye of the Hawk


Hawkeye #20

Kate Bishop is trying to figure out who killed her friend — with one of her own arrows, no less — bouncing in and out of jail, raiding Madame Masque’s hidout, brawling with Masque’s goons — and she finds out that what’s running Masque’s criminal empire isn’t just common crime, but cloning and immortality — and the results hit uncomfortably close to her. Can Kate stop Madame Masque, get out of jail, avoid another beating, and get out of Los Angeles?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Gorgeous art and an engaging story — lots of humor, great dialogue, outstanding action. I gotta admit, I really enjoy Kate Bishop’s storyarcs more than Clint Barton’s — she’s more pro-active, funnier, less mopey.


Velvet #7

Our focus in this issue is on two men in the agency searching for Velvet — Colt and Roberts. Colt is a superspy, traveling around the world, blowing up bad guys, and finding his clues by blowing up more bad guys. Roberts is more of an investigator — less contact with the bad guys, more digging in records. Both of them feel Velvet is leading them on a wild goose chase, always feeling surprised that the woman they thought was a common secretary was so difficult to get hold of.

Verdict: Thumbs up. A breather issue from the main storyline, with great art and action and storytelling. My quibble this issue is that both Colt and Roberts are very generic handsome white guys, which doesn’t really make it easy to tell them apart. Of course, that’s a standard trope for the British superspy genre — but maybe it shouldn’t be.


Captain Marvel #7

Carol and Tic are returning to pick up her spaceship and her cat, which have both been looked after by Rocket Raccoon. That’s a potential problem, because he believes Carol’s cat is actually a terrible egg-laying creature called a flerken, which can travel to other dimensions. Carol is less than pleased with how Chewie has been treated (Not really that badly — stuffed in a crate, true, but not abused), but before she can have it out with Rocket, aliens clamp onto the ship and start drilling their way in. What’s behind this new attack?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Lots of fun and humor, great characterization, and a little drama, too. The plot twist is fairly predictable, but still fun.

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Rumble Robots


Astro City #14

Our story focuses on an older lady living in the desert and running a makeshift museum of hundreds of robots built by mad scientists and taken down by superheroes. But in fact, Ellie is some sort of mechanical genius, and she’s managed to rebuild and reprogram all of them. Her hard-luck nephew Fred comes to visit and tries to make the museum profitable — and he’s willing to use less-than-legal methods to do so. But what is the strange secret Ellie is hiding inside her age-addled mind?

Verdict: Thumbs up. It’s an intriguing mystery, with several interesting characters. We also meet some new superheroes from an obscure superteam. And so many robots! Robots are always a good thing.


Captain Marvel #6

J’Son, the despotic ruler of the Spartax Empire, plans to kill everyone on the planet Torfa to cover up the vibranium he’s mining there, and the vibranium toxicity that’s poisoning everyone who lives there. Captain Marvel fights off his fleet while the rest of the refugees on the planet below work on a plan to save everyone. Can they keep J’Son from wiping everyone out? Can they expose what he’s done to the rest of his empire?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Great art and a great story — it reads like the last reel of a really fun action movie, and there aren’t that many comics that can pull that off nearly as well as this one does it.

Today’s Cool Links:

  • Not in the mood for a lot of funny stuff lately, mostly because of the crap that went down in Ferguson, Missouri. If we were a truly civilized nation, most of the police officers in that city would be in jail right now. (Though, in fairness, things are already getting less horrible in Ferguson.)
  • On a related note, America has been a very racist nation for a long time, and seeing so many people embrace that like it’s a good thing is intensely frustrating.
  • And on a similarly related note, the depressing secret they never teach you in history class is that the South actually won the Civil War, and the news refuses to talk about the fact that the Tea Party is ultimately an anti-American movement.
  • The roleplaying game industry and GenCon have their own problems with race and diversity.
  • Okay, fine, one funny link for you: 100 actual titles of real 18th-century novels.

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Scouts’ Honor


Lumberjanes #4

The Lumberjane Scouts are enjoying a nature hike in the weird spooky woods around their camp and trying to figure out a way to slip away from their cabin leader, Jen, so they can explore the mysterious tower in the distance. Then they run into a yeti. No, no mere yeti — judging from that handlebar mustache and doofus tattoo, this is a hipster yeti. He scares the whole bunch of them into running down a slope and straight into a huge patch of poison ivy.

Luckily, they meet up with the very wholesome and very orderly Scouting Lads from the exceptionally clean Mr. Theodore Tarquin Reginald Lancelot Herman Crumpet Camp for Boys. They have skin ointment for the girls, as well as freshly baked cookies. The girls are a bit disturbed by the Scouting Lads, but they agree to distract Jen while the Lumberjanes go explore the tower. Will the girls be able to get past the hipster yeti guards? Will they learn the tower’s secrets? And what horrible secrets are the Scouting Lads hiding?

Verdict: Thumbs up. This is so wonderfully funny and weird. Probably the single funniest thing in this whole issue is the Scouting Lads’ camp director, who is so overflowing with machismo (and cookie-hatred, which is how you know he’s evil) that when he leaves, he shouts that he’s “going to catch a fish by wrestling it away from a bear.” But the rest of it is also remarkably and creepily weird, particularly the odd artifact in the tower and the terrifying tranformation of the Scouting Lads. This series is getting more and more interesting the more I read it.


Captain Marvel #5

Carol discovers that the Spartax Empire is secretly mining Vibranium from the planet Torfa, and the symptoms so many of the residents are suffering are caused by Vibranium poisoning. And the Empire is prepared to invade and wipe out or imprison everyone on Torfa as soon as possible. Can Captain Marvel save everyone? With no backup? Against a full alien fleet?

Verdict: Thumbs up. The Vibranium discovery was a nice surprise, and what really sells the issue is the interplay between all the species on Torfa, as they try to work out how much of this disaster is their own fault, and try to figure out whether they can resist against the imperial forces. And the art remains just plain dandy.

Today’s Cool Links:

  • I do really love the look they’re planning for Batgirl — but I’m still not planning on reading it. Can’t trust DC Comics anymore…
  • If you read and love “Mouse Guard,” you may be interested in this Kickstarter for the strategy game the mice play in the comic.
  • The horrible Rick Perry continues to be horrible, but at least this time, we get the chance to laugh at his buffoonery.

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Lord of the Dance


Astro City #13

It’s an extra weird issue of this comic — each page covers one hour of a single day, and all the pages are out of order. You can read ’em straight through, and the story’s just fine, or you can try to read ’em in linear order, and it’s just fine then, too. But it’s still extra weird.

Our basic story is this: some sort of scientific experiment has brought to our world a being called the Dancing Master. He’s generally benign, but also extremely chaotic, as his presence spurs everyone around him to romance — not necessarily sex, just romance — people seek out their true loves or find new true loves. They often find themselves getting out of their cars to dance. Not that bad, but very disruptive. While all this is happening, a supervillain called Gundog is robbing a bank, despite interference from Jack-in-the-Box. Will Gundog be captured? Will the Dancing Master be corralled?

Verdict: Thumbs up. It’s an extra weird issue, so you’ll have to be a little patient while reading it. Some of the stuff that makes no sense at the beginning will make perfect sense by the end. And I love the shifting art style whenever Brent Anderson draws the Dancing Master — he’s not a corporeal being, so he always looks weird and abstract. I do hope we get to see both the Dancing Master and Gundog in the future.


Captain Marvel #4

Carol Danvers is trying to help out a bunch of aliens trapped on Torfa, a toxic planet. Some of them want desperately to flee, some of them don’t want to split their people up, some of them want the healthy individuals to take off and leave the poisoned ones to their fate. Carol and a few of the aliens start raiding their oppressors for spare parts to rebuild their fleet, allowing all of them to escape, but the Spartax Emperor J’Son is plotting against everyone on Torfa…

Verdict: Thumbs up. Very nice story, with schemes inside schemes and fantastic action. And I really love the art by David Lopez and Lee Loughridge.


Lumberjanes #3

The Lumberjane Scouts are trapped deep underground facing a variety of dire threats, including talking statues, trap doors, collapsing walkways, and secret messages. Will they make it back to camp?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Nice Indiana-Jones-style adventure, with some of the challenges being solved physically (who knew lovable April had what it took to out-match a giant stone statue?) and some puzzled out with very clever mental solutions. This is the first issue of this one that I thought really rose above the pack.

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The Wolf at the Door


Astro City #12

Our full focus in this issue is Ned Carroway, a man addicted to fine clothing and armed robbery. He manages to combine his passions into a career as a costumed criminal, usually as a member of a gang of similarly dressed crooks. Besides his solo career as the Gentleman Bandit, he’s been a member of the Sweet Adelines, the Menagerie Gang, the Gatsbys, and more. But can Ned ever find true happiness? Or does happiness for him really extend no further than expensive Italian shoes and a crisply ironed shirt?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Wow, it’s the first Astro City comic that doesn’t have Brent Anderson on pencils. Graham Nolan does a fine job, though, and I’ve got no complaints about his art. The story itself is exceptionally grand, even with minimal use of superheroes. Ned is a great character, and it’s especially cool to get a look into the world of the themed bank robbers who populated Silver Age comics.


Captain Marvel #3

After Captain Marvel recovers her spaceship from the alien Tic, she agrees to accompany her back to the planet her race has adopted as their new home — a planet that appears to be poisonous. But Tic’s people place some of the blame for their predicament on the Avengers, and they don’t have a lot of faith in human superheroes who show up insisting they know what’s right for everyone. Can Cap win them over?

Verdict: Thumbs up. A lot of it is really kinda by-the-numbers, but Carol’s conversation with Eleanides, the leader of Tic’s people, is really very grand. She’s calm, wise, charismatic, compassionate, but also quite furious — and probably justifiably so — at Earthlings’ insistence on meddling in things they have no business meddling in.


Lumberjanes #2

The Lumberjane Scouts are going to enjoy a canoe trip down the river. Some of them are eagerly anticipating it — some of them are maybe a little too terrified of the possibility of lake monsters. Everything’s going perfectly well — until there’s a waterfall where no one knew there was going to be one. And then there’s the seriously fer-sher giant three-eyed lake monster that comes up out of nowhere. After some gloriously demented exclamations of surprise and terror (“WHAT THE JUNK IS THAT?” and “HOLY MAE JAMISON!” were my favorites), the girls wind up on land, but far from camp — and their only food is stolen by a mysterious three-eyed eagle. And then there’s the ominous tunnel deep underground…

Verdict: Thumbs up. Still not real into this “Adventure Time” style of art, but the story really is fun, goofy, and scary, and that’s a very good thing.

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Oh, Come on! It’s Blade! Everyone Knows It’s Blade!


Mighty Avengers #9

There’s a short bit at the beginning and the very end where we learn who Ronin really is — but there’s absolutely no suspense or surprise about this because Marvel leaked that he was Blade months and months ago.

But the bulk of our story focuses on the Blue Marvel, whose son Max Brashear has become a supervillain called Dr. Positron, hoping to open the Neutral Zone to rescue his long-lost brother. But exposure to the energies of the Neutral Zone has turned Kevin Brashear into a gargantuan extra-dimensional monstrosity whose emergence into our reality could end up blowing up the entire solar system. And he’s composed of energy that could kill the Blue Marvel if he’s exposed to it. Can She-Hulk and Monica Rambeau manage to team up to resolve the situation?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Yes, even with Greg Land back doing his tracework. The whole story is pretty good, but maybe the most fun is seeing what adventures the Marvel and his son Kevin were up to over the years. (Although it’s plenty weird that according to this comic, the Fantastic Four fought Galactus for the first time sometime after 1999. Maybe that little tidbit should’ve been kept vague or just omitted, don’tcha think, Marvel?)


Astro City #11

Raitha McCann has a very nice job as the personal assistant for a busy executive — namely, the Silver Adept, Astro City’s version of the Sorcerer Supreme. The Silver Adept is maybe a bit of a flake, but she’s very good at her job. But there’s so much work to do when it comes to stopping magical disasters across multiple planes of reality, and she really needs Raitha’s help getting everything coordinated. But when the Adept is unavoidably off-planet when a trio of mystical bigwigs called the Nightflying Lord, the Queen of Dust and Decay, and Tumorr show up on the doorstep. Can Raitha keep them happy before they decide to wage war on our corner of reality?

Verdict: Thumbs up. The story is alright, but not particularly outstanding. It’s really a couple excellent character studies — overworked but hyper-competent Raitha, trying to keep up with the impossible tasks she has to deal with, and the wonderfully non-serious Silver Adept, who I’d love to see in as many other stories as possible.


Captain Marvel #2

Carol meets up with the Guardians of the Galaxy. Hijinks ensue.

Verdict: Thumbs up. I know, it’s not much of a plot, but the hijinks are great, the art is great, and it’s great to have an all-fun issue, especially with future movie stars.

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Captain Marvel is Back


Captain Marvel #1

The good news is we got new Captain Marvel comics! The bad news is it’s a pointless new #1 issue when we could’ve been enjoying a few months of comics about Carol Danvers between the end of the previous series and the beginning of this one.

Anyway, we start out with Carol on a distant alien world, hanging out with a bunch of aliens, all on a secret mission to find some trinket. Then we flash back to a mere six weeks ago, when Carol was still on Earth. She and Iron Patriot (better known as James “War Machine” Rhodes) intercept an apparent missile that actually contains an unconscious alien life form. Later, Carol visits with her young friend Kit — who is living, with her mother, inside Carol’s apartment inside the Statue of Liberty — which has really gotta be a nice crash pad. She and Tony Stark bust some muggers while discussing assigning her or Rhodey as temporary Avengers reps with the Guardians of the Galaxy. We learn that Carol and Rhodey have actually been an item for a while before Carol finally decides to take her trip into outer space.

Verdict: Thumbs up. It’s great to see a new series starring this character — even though the original series never should’ve been cancelled in the first place. It’s also fantastic to see that Marvel has finally put a competent artist on the book — the previous series had gorgeous covers and inept interior artwork, and I hope they keep more A-list artistic talent on the book. The writing, dialogue, and plotting are all outstanding. My only real quibble is that we completely missed out on the Carol-Rhodey romance — but I also always think Earth-based stories are more interesting than stories set in space.


Astro City #10

Winged Victory, Samaritan, and the Confessor are working to track Karnazon and the missing women from Winged Victory’s shelters. She returns to be judged by the Council of Nike, which is debating whether to remove her powers for good. But in the midst of their interrogation, one of her signal devices activates — a teenager who’d sneaked into Karnazon’s hideout triggers it when the villain’s troops attack him. The heroes rout the bad guys, and W.V. returns to the Council, which is unhappy that she associates with male superheroes instead of serving as a symbol of female empowerment. She rejects their judgement, saying it’s wrong to insist that women can only be strong by standing alone, and that there are times to stand alone and times to join with like-minded allies. Will it be enough for the Council?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Though it’s probably not the strongest ending possible, but the entire storyarc was making it clear that this wasn’t going to be something that ended with a perfect moment of awesomeness and triumph. It’s more of a mixed victory, ’cause that’s more how the world works. Still, great art, dialogue, and everything else we’ve come to expect from Astro City.


Mighty Avengers #8

The Blue Marvel, Spectrum, and She-Hulk head out after they receive an alert about someone in the Pacific Ocean trying to open up a portal to somewhere called the Neutral Zone, an interdimensional plane where positive and negative matter coexists. Meanwhile, the White Tiger makes peace with the tiger god that gives her superpowers — and by “make peace,” I mean “taunts it into giving up and giving her all of its powers.” And back in the Pacific, our heroes run up against a supervillain calling himself Dr. Positron — and he has a serious surprise in store for the Blue Marvel.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Lots of nice action and surprises. Excellent dialogue. Great art. Just an all-around fun issue.

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Marvel’s Many Marvels


Captain Marvel #17

Here’s how weird comics are. They’ve got this one right here. It’s fairly popular, it’s well-regarded, the fans are vocal about how much they like the character, the costume redesign, etc. So Marvel is cancelling it. But just long enough to give it a relaunch and another #1 next March. Why doesn’t Marvel just label every issue of every comic with a “#1” on the cover, if they’re so convinced that’s the only thing that sells comics?

Anyway, this is the last issue of this particular volume of “Captain Marvel.” A lot of it is devoted to wrapping things up with the current supporting cast and discussing Carol Danvers’ ongoing memory problems. There’s also a new villain introduced — Grace Valentine, an electronic tycoon with a towering ego who so hates being upstaged that she learns that a magazine has decided to put Captain Marvel on a cover instead of her, so she launches missile attacks on New York. Can Carol keep the Big Apple from getting cancelled?

Verdict: Thumbs up, for the most part. It’s a good story, fun characterization, nice humor. The motivation for Grace Valentine is a little iffy, but I guess that makes her a typical supervillain.

You wanna know what’s not so good? The art. They’ve got that awful Filipe Andrade doing the art again. So if you want to see people who look like they got their faces run over with a steamroller and their bodies stretched out on pulleys, then this is all for you, man.

That’s really been an ongoing problem with this comic. Excellent writing, amazing covers — and absolutely What-the-Fuuuunzilla art inside the comics. It almost makes it look like Marvel’s been trying to sabotage the comic. Maybe Andrade has kidnapped Joe Quesada’s kids or something.


Mighty Avengers #3

Ladies and gentlemen, Shuma-Gorath his own damn self is invading New York City. Luckily, the Blue Marvel is hear to blow him up! But wait, that was just one physical manifestation of the Void Made Flesh, and he’s going to start dragging himself into reality through the faces of ordinary New Yorkers. The Marvel has already managed to cure Monica Rambeau of her antimatter infection, which gives her a chance to use her powers to create an anti-magic forcefield, while “Spider-Hero” (the big non-spoiler nowadays is that he’s Blade, although they’re going to dress him up as Ronin, for some durn reason) shows off his magical knowledge. Can the entire team work together to dispose of Shuma-Gorath before he fully manifests?

Verdict: Thumbs up, for the most part. The story is pretty good, and the characters are good fun. Again, the problem here is the art. There is just no good excuse for Marvel to continue giving Greg Land any work at all.


Ghosted #5

Jackson Winters’ planned heist of a ghost from the infamous Trask Mansion is falling all to pieces. Two members of the team are dead, one is possessed, and one has betrayed the whole group. And they’re all trapped in the mansion after sundown, when all the ghosts come out to play. What’s the mansion’s secret? What’s Markus Schenker’s secret? And what’s Jackson Winters’ secret? And will anyone get out alive?

Verdict: Thumbs up. It’s a good ending to the first storyarc — and I’m even more happy that the series will continue, as I was expecting this to be the final ish. I don’t know if any of the surviving characters other than Winters will be back, but I guess we’ll see if Jackson can pull together another team for his next heist…

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Joke’s on You


Batman ’66 #3

The Joker has a new enemy in Gotham City — a mysterious gangster called the Red Hood who is demanding the Clown Prince of Crime be turned over to him or he’ll unleash a deadly gas attack against the city. Batman and Robin persuade the doctors at Arkham Asylum to let them escort the Joker to the Red Hood’s meeting place, but the new villain and his minions kidnap the Joker and give the Dynamic Duo the slip. But all is not as it seems — the Red Hood is one of Arkham’s doctors, accidentally hypnotized by the Joker during therapy. And in our second story, Egghead has captured Batman and Robin and plans to drop them to their deaths from a blimp. Can they escape this deathtrap?

Verdict: Thumbs up, at least partly because we get introduced to the Batman ’66 version of Harley Quinn:


I think it would be really cool to see this sort of thing happen more often. Sixties versions of Harley Quinn, Poison Ivy, Bane, Two-Face, Killer Croc, Clayface, and Professor Pyg? That’d be pretty cool.


Captain Marvel #16

Oh no, it’s another crossover!

Captain Marvel somehow has her Binary energy powers again, just in time to save a lot of superheroes from the alien Builders, but she and a bunch of other heroes still get captured. And then there’s a lot of fighting and nonsense that might make sense if you’ve been following this “Infinity” crap.

Verdict: Thumbs down. I hate these stupid crossovers. They make everything idiotic.

Today’s Cool Links:

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