Welcome Back to Astro City!

Very happy to see Kurt Busiek’s writing back on store shelves. Just read Issue #1, “Through Open Doors”, which was a lukewarm re-introduction to the City but I understand that new readers need an in. I’m definitely in for this entire run. That said, I have to say that I read Astro City on the strength of the Kurt Busiek’s writing. Brent Anderson’s art has never done it for me. He as a lot of trouble drawing children and females in general–their features often look pinched and a bit masculine.

Mr. Busiek declares in his afterword that he’s got 10 issues in the can, so I’m looking forward to a nice long run of an old favorite.

One little nit to pick–17 years have passed in the City–a wonderful old story is revisited and two girls that were young in that story are now in college (one) and out of college & working (the other); Crackerjack is looking a bit spry for 17 years swinging at the end of a rope is all I can say.

Welcome Back to Astro City!! Strongly recommend you put this title on top of the Pile.

Absolutely CELESTIAL Cover Art from Alex Ross!

Absolutely CELESTIAL Cover Art from Alex Ross!

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The Invincible Iron Mullet

Picked up Iron Man Vol. 1 Issue 225  in the 50¢ box at The Annex the other day. What a great issue–a jam-packed 40 pages of Iron-Espionage as Tony tracks down the thieves who took his tech–Bob Layton and David Micheline on script duty and a job well done. The story takes place during the bulky Silver & Red armor phase–not so great, but you know–it was what it was.

The book was published in 1987, and is a really great reflection of the decade. Submitted for your approval, a mullet-sporting Tony Stark accompanied by his very best bud, Flat-Top Rhodey. In the panel on the left, note how the strap of Rhodey’s headphones conforms to the shape of his hair–not his head. Classic. This whole issue is so “Eighties” from start to finish that it made me want to put on a skinny tie just to fit in.

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Lastly, a picture of Tony’s house from this same issue–did the Cinematic Universe get it right or didn’t they. Fantastic!

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Avengers Vol.5 Issue 11: Avengers Out of Uniform!

A.I.M. is selling the bioweapon S7…or are they? This issue features Black Widow, Captain Marvel, Spider Woman, Cannonball, Sunspot and Shang Chi. It’s nice to see a few B-Listers getting some love, but what really grabbed me about this story was that our heroes spend the entire issue out of uniform. No costumes, no masks. Civvies and a (not-so) secret mission for S.H.I.E.L.D. with a gripping plot. I want more of this–great story with just an occasional glimpse of the fantastic.

That, and A.I.M. guys partying their asses off in their tuxes & bucket helmets. You absolutely cannot have too much of that, ever.

Sunspot, Cannonball and a couple of hard-partying A.I.M. dudes.

Sunspot, Cannonball and a couple of hard-partying Beekeepers.

Dyson Sphere, Assemble! ~or~ ‘How Stark’s Sphere became Sol’s Hammer’.

I’ll keep this short. When I read Avengers #9, I was underwhelmed with the way this arc wrapped up. Back in the day, entire issues would be dedicated to a good old fashioned donnybrook, and while I’m not terribly excited by the way today’s writers are penning the pugilistics, that is not the focus of this post. Underwhelmed, remember?

~SPOILERS~

The current Star Brand and  Nightmask chosen after the most recent White Event were battling it out with Earth’s Mightiest, and then…it was over, and Manifold whooshed them away to…where? I didn’t know. Some weird honey-combed habitat. What? That’s it? WEAK!!

Flash forward a couple of days and I drop by Annex Comics in Newport ostensibly to treat my daughter to a couple of Archies, in reality to grab the latest issue of New Avengers, the only book I’m currently reading to which I do not subscribe. Got home and put it on the pile to read after dinner. When I got around to reading it, it did not take long to impress. I was happy just seeing Tony Stark, Reed Richards and T’Challa in the same Engineering Lab. That’s some serious brain-power, tell you what. Then Stark takes the other two on a virtual tour of his latest invention. Turn the page and…

BA-BAM!! Tony Stark is building a damn Dyson Sphere, with the help of “the best Shi’ar contractors precious metals can buy.” WOW. Better yet, recognize those honeycombs? Yep, that’s where Manifold tucked away the Star Brand and the Nightmask. Dang that is sweet. I have no idea what the significance is, but I think it is totally freakin’ cool. I’m very glad that I happened to read those books in the sequence that I did. My jaw doesn’t often drop…but page 4 of New Avengers #4 did exactly that. Well played, Mr. Hickman, well played indeed.

T’Challa: You’re going to weaponize a star?
Stark: I figure if our situation is forcing me back into the arms business…why not get exotic?

"Well, I like 'Stark Sphere'  but apparently the company is already using that for something else."

“Well, I like ‘Stark Sphere’ but apparently the company is already using that for something else.”

Uncanny X-Men #3: A Preponderance of Pouches.

Ah, the life of a Subscriber. 2 Days ago, I received Uncanny X-Men #2 in the mail. Today, #3. Nevertheless.

Today we indulge in a study of..pouches. Let’s begin.

Genuine 1940 Leather. One does not question Cap's need for pouches.

Genuine 1940 Leather. One does not question Cap’s need for pouches.

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Clint Barton is a man of many facets. And many pouches. Secret Avengers use Dark Pouches.

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Cyclops, aka Slim Pouch-body, uses his pouches for spare Ruby Quartz Lenses, Snapshots of Jean Grey, tampons, etc.

Magneto: Master of Pouches.

And Magneto’s Pouches? Spare Change, obviously.

Avengers #6 and 1986. What Do they Have in Common? ~SPOILERS~

Dude…The Marvel Now! Avengers title has been good from the start. The first arc wrapped up nicely but with sinister little eggs laid for future hatching. Issue #5 gave us the origin of Earth’s first Smasher, and that was fine. I figured on more of the same when I saw Captain Universe on the cover of #6…and for the most part that’s what I got, apart from the rather….odd squabbling between Spiderman, Cannonball and Sunspot.

And then ol’ Captain Universe drops a FREAKIN’ RETRO BOMB, reprogramming Tony Stark‘s workstation to correctly translate “Blackveil’s” name.

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Nightmask. The White Event. The New Universe. Remember the Summer of 1986? Nightmask, D.P. 7, Star Brand, Psi Force…did I leave any out? Probably, because I write this crap from memory. It’s the New Universe! This doesn’t seem to be some one-off re-hash circa 2006. This is pretty mainstream stuff! Super neato.

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1986 Ad for the New Universe, scanned from the back cover of Thor #371

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Scan from the cover of Nightmask #1, 1986

So this is a New White Event? Apparently. Nightmask is reborn from Ex Nihilo‘s Adam…I don’t know how that works at all (Builder’s Machine Code notwithstanding), but it’s cool. It’s really cool! Bring it on, Mr. Hickman!!

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The New White Event, apparently heading for Earth in Avengers #7!

Guardians of the Galaxy 0.1: Worth the Wait! ~SPOILERS~

Sure, you read it on February 13th, but my copy just came in today’s mail. Ah…Guardians of the Galaxy 0.1: The complete tale of Star Lord’s origin  is the topic the premiere issue and it’s a tale superbly told by Brian Bendis. Steve McNiven’s pencils are likewise top drawer.

We’re taken back 30 years to witness the interplanetary bop-fest that squired our hero, Peter Quill. We’re shown how a young Star Lord-to-be dealt with bullies pickin’ on little girls. Oh yeah.

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We learn why he’s got such a chip on his shoulder about his father. I don’t know if we can really blame J’son for crimes committed by the Badoon, but Peter definitely has some issues with the death of his mother Meredith.

Ouchies!

Ouchies!

In the final pages, we learn that Peter has been telling the story of his Guardianship to Tony Stark, who left Earth at the end of Iron Man #5 in the ugliest armor ever to seek his space-fortune. If you read Avengers Assemble as well, then you knew this was coming way back in AA # 8 .

From Avengers Assemble! Issue 8

From Avengers Assemble! Issue 8

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Guardians of the Galaxy has restored some of my faith in Marvel that Iron Man #6 took away. So, in closing I’ll take a line from the Golden Avenger himself regarding Guardians of the Galaxy: “I’m all in.”