Hello, and welcome to the first of what could be the greatest weekly column in the history of comics "journalism," or what could fizzle out by next week if I don't feel like doing it again. Welcome to The Week in Comics. No commitment required.
The Week in Comics News
These are the stories that comics stories that captured our attention this week.
Heroes Reborn Reborn
In the latest side effect of millennials getting older and increasingly more nostalgic for their childhoods, Marvel is reviving the late-90s super-mega-crossover event Heroes Reborn. That event saw Marvel let Jim Lee, Rob Liefeld, and others reboot a large portion of the Marvel Universe with modern (for the nineties) origins following the events of Onslaught. This lasted for about a year before the heroes returned to the regular Marvel universe in the subsequent super-mega-crossover event, Heroes Return. The whole saga is probably most famous for bringing us the legendary promotional drawing Cap Boobs, the infamous picture of Captain America with gigantic breasts that epitomizes the excess of the 90s. But, thanks to the burgeoning mid-life crises of millennial comic book readers, Cap Boobs is cool now. Deal with it.
Of course I'm #teamcap. I didn't give him those big tits for nuthin….
— robliefeld (@robertliefeld) April 12, 2016
Fico Ossio is Drawing a Mister Miracle Series
X-Men Election Results Delayed
In a move sure to stoke tensions in an already divided fandom, Marvel announced it would delay revealing the results of the X-Men election until something called "The Hellfire Gala," presumably a crossover event that will require a minimum investment of $80 to enjoy fully.
Who's Your Mommy, Thor?
In comics' most oedipal storyline this week, The Avengers are vying to become the next host of the Phoenix Force, prompting a jealous response from Wolverine, who is both in love with the Phoenix Force's main host, Jean Grey, and also becomes the Phoenix in the far-flung future. We haven't done the math yet, but we're pretty sure it means he's f**king himself at some point in this messed-up timeline. But that wasn't even the weird part.
Making matters even grosser, The Phoenix was revealed to be Thor's mommy. But Bleeding Cool is speculating it will be Jane Foster who ultimately becomes the next Phoenix host, which means that Thor will have f**ked his own mother. And that wasn't even the worst thing hinted at in a Marvel comic book this week…
Immortal Hulk artist Joe Bennett found himself in the internet hot seat after the latest issue of Immortal Hulk featured a Jewelry store window with a Star of David on it and the word "Jewelry" misspelled "Jewery." Bennett and Marvel quickly responded to the brewing controversy by claiming it was a mistake. Bennett claimed not to be familiar with the anti-Semitic stereotypes at play in the drawing and promised to be more careful in the future. However, many pointed out that while "Jewery" or the Star of David alone might be more plausible as a mistake, both together make a compelling case for purposeful intent. Soon after, Marvel decided to recall and pulp the remaining copies.
For Marvel, the best bet was to hope some other controversy would go viral to make people forget about this. Well, Marvel is one lucky publisher, isn't it?
To Shazadam or Not to Shazadam?
For the first time in nearly half a year, we were compelled to reset the Has DC Done Something Stupid Today? Counter when Bleeding Cool Rumourmonger-in-Chief Rich Johnston scooped the news that DC plans to rename the villain Black Adam to "Shazadam" after he makes a babyface turn in Infinite Frontier #0. DC had previously gone a record 178 days without triggering a reset of the counter, based largely on goodwill for their unexpectedly forward-looking decision to stop propping up the doomed comic book retail direct market in 2020 and instead focus on alternate, mainstream methods of distribution.
DC comics fans immediately reacted with the appropriate level of disgust and mockery for such a ridiculous change, but it wasn't long before DC Comics reacted to Johnston's leak. The company's PR department turned to compliant media partners IGN and CBR to "debunk" the rumor and then took to Twitter to make passive-aggressive jokes about Bleeding Cool's elaborate system of obnoxious pop-up advertisements. The joke's on you, DC. We're proud of our invasive pop-up ads. Nobody destroys the user's reading experience with popup ads like Bleeding Cool does. We're number one, bitch!
In a measure of revenge, Johnston fired back on Saturday by posting panels from as-yet-unreleased comic showing characters calling Black Adam "Shazadam," which, to be fair, isn't necessarily an official "renaming," but also demonstrates that CBR and IGN were simply repeating what DC told them as opposed to doing any actual investigation before declaring the rumors fake news. Asked for comment, Johnston would only reply, "Pip pip."
Michael Davis: Milestone Founder No More?!
DC Followed up the Shazadam mess by publishing an article celebrating Milestone's founding but leaving out one of its founders, Michael Davis. Asked for comment, a DC Comics representative said, "look over there, it's Shazadam!" We turned to look, and when we turned back around, there was nothing left but a publicist-shaped puff of smoke slowly wafting away.
X-ual Healing – The Week in X-Men Comics
Sworn to sell comics for Marvel executives who feared and hated the fact that Fox owned their movie rights, The Uncanny X-Men suffered great indignities. Still, thanks to a corporate merger, a line-wide relaunch, and Jonathan Hickman's giant ego, the X-Men can finally get back to doing what they do best: being objectively the best franchise in all of comics for lovers of soap opera drama.
King in Black: Marauders #1
Apparently, the world has been Venomized as part of the stupid King in Black super-mega-crossover event, including some X-Men. How is this different than when Cullen Bunn did the same Venom storyline a couple of years ago? Well, for one thing, Bunn was writing both X-Men: Blue and Venom, so the crossover was more coherent. It was still bad, though, because crossovers are bad and venoms are bad, and when you put them together, it's doubly bad.
Anyway, in this comic, the Marauders have to rescue the Venomized X-Men from New York City but get distracted rescuing a boat of civilians from some dragons first. But the civilians turn out to be human traffickers with a bunch of cargo in the ship. Kate Pryde is none-too-pleased by this.
As punishment, the Marauders leave the traffickers in the middle of a desert with nothing but Iceman's frozen urine to drink. In a twist, the refugees rescued from the ship refuse to be dropped off in America because it sucks so bad, so they get to stay on Island M for a while instead. Also, Bishop was secretly sent to kill Cyclops and Storm if they can't be de-Venomized, but that will happen in a different book I don't plan on reading if I don't have to.
In the opening scene, Mastermind poisons Mister Sinister. We then see some slice of life stuff with the Hellions team. Nanny gives Orphan-Maker the armor she retrieved last issue, but he's too big for, and so he's in constant pain. Also, he's grown a bad attitude post-resurrection. Wild Child is revealed to be an incel. When Sage tells the team that Sinister is missing, they all laugh, but she sends them off to New York to rescue him anyway. Or maybe not. It turns out they're all under the spell of Mastermind's illusions. Sinister is captured, the Hellions are defeated, and Mastermind is apparently working with Arcade.
X-Factor takes the idea of a character-focused book to the extreme. Very light on action in favor of developing the relationships between the characters. I'm not saying that's a bad thing, just calling it like it is. So here's the character developments from this issue of X-Factor:
- Prodigy isn't sure when he died before his latest resurrection, and, in fact, it's possible he didn't die at all, and there's another copy of him out there somewhere.
- Daken explained to Aurora that his pheromone powers are only slightly rapey, not totally rapey, so she can trust that she really does like him.
- Northstar gives Daken his blessing to have sex with his sister.
- Prodigy introduces Speed to Northstar and Speed fanboys out.
In the issue's main storyline, X-Factor learns that The Morrigan is actually masquerading as Siyrn after Prestige removes the mental block Siryn placed on Polaris. But Siryn/Morrigan impales Daken, who was tracking her and leaves him to freeze to death. Northstar finds him after a few days, and Daken makes out with Aurora in a hot tub.
But in a shocking twist in the final scene, set later that night, someone (Morrigan?) is stalking X-Factor inside their phallic headquarters and has already killed Polaris, Northstar, Aurora, and Prestige.
Wolverine's Wiener X-Pick of the Week
This week, the X-Book that gave me the feeling most akin to a belly full of tubed meat is X-Factor #7. Congratulations to the creative team on this honor.
And that's all for this week. Will this column be back next week? We make no promises, but we'll leave you with the only appropriate exclamation for a week like this: SHAZA–