Manolis V writes the internet's most opinionated (and Greek) comics column.
A major personal announcement, Hickman's Avengers roster, the new Thunderbolts, the death of the "Cyclops Was Right" movement and Aunt May's naughty little secret.
This week in panels:
One "Dr Manolis Vamvounis" is co-writing the scripts for YOUNGBLOOD #75 and 76, helping out regular series writer John McLaughlin with the monster-sized anniversary issue and its follow-up.
This is my first professional gig in comics and I couldn't be prouder of how it all came together. You can check out a 6 page preview of the book over at CBR. Long-time fans of this column should be able to spot a variety of easter eggs on each of these preview pages.
In ALL-NEW X-MEN #3, Magneto and Cyclops settle into their new Brotherhood (you know that's what they are now) headquarters – the "abandoned" albeit lately very popular former Weapon X base (see Loeb's recent Wolverine run) – and have a revealing argument that gives all "CyclopsWasRight" proud t-shirt holders (like myself) a bit of pause while also finally bridging Magneto's many conflicting characterizations through the years.
THE AVENGERS #1 RANT
Hey I dug it. It was… epic enough. Full of Hickman-isms, keeping with his obsession with large-scale plot architecture, infographics and crazy concepts, yet…
[NERD-RANT] Well, the epicness of it all rather hinges on this "awesome, groundbreaking idea" that comes to Cap in a dream: to open up Avengers membership to more than the six Avengers in the current roster (=the movie roster). But wait. Aren't there like 7 other Avengers books? Wasn't the membership at the last count about 20-30 heroes? Hickman's 18-person roster could probably be seen as scaling back, after the chaos of the Bendis era. [NERD-RANT]
Make no mistake, the new roster looks and feels like a step in the right direction (harking back to the days of the original Korvac Saga in terms of diversity and fan-gasminess), but I wish we didn't have to sacrifice continuity and common sense to drum up suspense, introducing the necessity for something that has already been in place for decades.
I BLAME MARK MILLAR
The Punisher is already an… aberration in the inner workings of the Marvel U, without forcing him to operate so openly and interact so organically with the rest of the spandex set. THUNDERBOLTS #1 uses General Ross' recruitment plea to Castle as its narrative skeleton for introducing the rest of the book's new cast through a series of flashbacks (and forwards?), but it's really mostly Thaddeus repeatedly hanging around chatting leisurely like an "unphasable mutha***ah who jus' don' care" while all hell erupts around him. We get it, he's suddenly cool now.
The rest of the week, faster than you can roll your mouse wheel:
YOU GO GIRL TROUBLE
Seriously troubled girl tries to escape her humdrum life, finds herself on a crashing plane, discovers she has magic teleporting powers, saves herself and then goes on to become an art thief trying to repay her debts to the mob. I LOVE TROUBLE #1 from Image moves a bit too fast and often plays too loose with the working rules of comics storytelling (like that pesky left-to-right thing). U-Go Girl, this girl is not.
Philip Bond drawing the Eleventh and his companions in DOCTOR WHO #3! Philip. BOND! Plus, space, shenanigans, the LaBrea Pits and "lots of beer". Channeling a nice bit of Carl Barks in all of this.
Dan Slott WENT THERE in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #699. I can't believe for a second that he didn't have filth on his mind when he was plotting this. Aunt May IS "virginal" but even she wouldn't be making such a fuss out of a pre-marital "kiss". Peter probably didn't "relive" the entire event, but it's shock enough to see his Aunt in this light. Cruel yet funny.
In HAWKEYE #5, Matt Fraction is writing the best damn Madame Masque – and also, the god-awful worst Viper we've seen in years. It all balances out in the end.
DEVIL DINOSAUR VERSUS "DEMON DINOSAUR"
AVENGING SPIDER-MAN #15 is very much a Cullen Bunn comic now.
ULTIMATE CAP: THE WORST U.S. PRESIDENT SINCE YOU-KNOW-WHO
Look at the whole mess he's made of the mutant issue, and now in ULTIMATE COMICS ULTIMATES #18.1 he prefers to risk his life to get people out of a fire (were the actual super-powered soldiers and agents of the Ultimates too busy playing Angry Birds) than be a President for his country in the middle of its worst crisis.
SEDUCTION OF THE GOODY-TWO-SHOES
Morrison's Superman is still trapped between youthful rebelliousness and adult complacency, unable to fit into the square peg of moral superiority that is being forced on him (or rather expected of him). The new origin of Mxyptlk and the 5th dimension in ACTION COMICS #15 is a grandiose drama, pulling together all the disparate threads from the past year of stories.
NO MORE GOOGLY EYES
Milligan has been consistently building up the Apollo-Midnighter romance (as we have documented extensively in this column) and now in STORMWATCH #15 he throws a bit of a predictable wrench in things. It's still refreshing to see a gay relationship used in the same storytelling ways as any other instead of being pushed for purely marketing reasons.
DIAL HERO OF THE MONTH
His power is flowery super-prose. A close contest this time in DIAL H #7 with an actual plankton-based superhero and the effed-up super-power that comes with the villainous "Centipede".
A SENSE OF KARMA
After the dramatic turn of events regarding Karma's evil half-sister and dad, the mutant amputee closes ASTONISHING X-MEN #58 in a very intimate humanising scene of the sort I've been waiting to see her in since that stunning Dustin Weaver cover from a few months ago.
Twilight and Cabbott are trying to bring a brain-washed Suprema out of her stupor in BLOODSTRIKE #33, while sharing some very intimate details of their time with the chaste super-princess, in one of the best and most heart-felt instances of this story device (No, i'm not referring to the above panel in particular).
MIND THE SPOILERS
Not anything major, but still. Consider yourselves warned!
Peter David has saddled Pip the Troll inside Monet's body in X-FACTOR #248, in a fine case of the "Freaky Fridays". You can probably guess what happens next.
In FAIREST #10, Rapunzel reveals the raunchy unknown side of her fairytale, including her teenage pregnancy, the fate of her twin girls and her possible connection to a certain ludicrous Japanese horror franchise. Huh?
LONG LIVE THE EMPEROR
A few months ago, I had written this short piece for the column about the new character, Penguin's henchman "Ogilvy", being so exciting and how I was seeing the potential for a great villain in him. I deleted that for space, but now look at him in DETECTIVE COMICS #15, all villained-up and ready to be the Nu Penguin!
You're preordering YOUNGBLOOD #75, right?
Is Bendis really writing the most intricately characterized, profoundly realized and intimate X-Men book we have seen? Here I thought Christos Gage and Jason Aaron were impressive character writers on their books (well, they are) but the stuff in ALL-NEW X-MEN just continues to blow me away.
AVENGERS #1 may have had its issues, but I'm really excited about Hickman's plans for the book and his roster choices. Could Cannonball and Sunspot really (finally) make it to the big-leagues? Is Shang-Chi the next Luke Cage?
As for THUNDERBOLTS, Although I still remain unconvinced about Castle ever volunteering or letting himself be blackmailed into this sort of outfit, I'm actually excited about the high calibre of the new cast (Elektra! Red Hulk! Deadpool! Flash Thompson!) and especially for the inclusion of one of my childhood favourite obscure Hulk villains: Mercy.
It's an exciting week to be a Marvel nerd.
And hey, what about that Aunt May, huh? What a trollop!
My top ten picks from the week:
- ALL-NEW X-MEN #3
- ACTION COMICS #15
- HAWKEYE #5
- AVENGERS #1
- DIAL H #7
- THUNDERBOLTS #1
- X-FACTOR #248
- AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #699
- STORMWATCH #15
- ASTONISHING X-MEN #58