But if it’s Only Been 30 Minutes, Sharon….

Then what is up with the BEARD? HMMMM?

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Infinity #3: That, My Friends, is Why You Call Him Captain. SPOILERS

Infinity #3 did not spend much time atop the pile. As soon as the kid was in bed, I crept off to my reading chair to dig in. Wow. The Alliance of Galactic Badasses is licking its wounds and they are  ready: some are ready  to surrender and others are ready to die.  The Avengers don’t like those options, and Cap has a plan. Of course he does. He’s Captain America.

The Kree and the Spartax are a bunch of weenies. The Skrull and Gladiator-led Shi’ar are ready to die. Cap is ready to win. He lays out a plan, and it doesn’t go strictly by the numbers, but “Surrender” isn’t in the man’s vocabulary, except in its imperative form. Here’s my favorite panel from the book:

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And that, my friends, is why you call the man “Captain.” Shortly hereafter he hands the Builders their first serious Ass-Whupping, probably, well, ever.

Here’s my second favorite frame from Infinity #3:
Screenshot 2013-09-19 at 9.33.01 AMLook! It’s the Kymellians! From Power Pack! Yay! Is Hickman pulling out all the stops or isn’t he? Too much awesome. Here’s a refresher for you…Lord Kofi Whitemane himself from, oh it’s gotta be around 1986 or 87. I’m too lazy to go downstairs in and look in the box right now. 

kofi

Love it. Leave a Comment. Later.

Infinity #2: Is there a King Here?

Infinity #2 hit the shelves and my pile this week.  We get to see the Attilan Throne Room!  Here sits in quiet counsel the mighty Black Bolt, King of the Inhumans. I like Black Bolt’s decorative style, as exemplified by the large, illuminated arrow pointing to his throne, as if to say, “King Sits Here.” You know, just in case you weren’t sure where the King sits. It’s definitely here, by the arrow. So you know.

King Sits Here.

King Sits Here.

Battle of the Atom #1: A Frank Cho Homage to John Byrne

Didja catch it? X-Men ‘Battle of the Atom’ #1 came out this week, and despite my facebook assertion that I was “Giving This One a Pass” it somehow ended up on top of the Pile last night. As I read through the compelling story, I scanned down the page and actually gasped–not loudly, or in an overly dramatic way, but I definitely gasped…at the wonderful frame at the bottom of page 22. Here it is:

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As ’60s’ Scott is nearly taken out by a not-quite-destroyed Sentinel, Jean calls his name. Now, let’s jump in the Wayback Machine to Uncanny X-Men #137, which I read with baited breath and wide eyes back in the day:

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Here of course, is the epic moment when Jean/Dark Phoenix took her own life after the Battle in the Blue Area of the Moon against the Imperial Guard. Knowing that her power was roiling out of control, Jean sacrificed herself that a Universe might live. A beautiful, powerful and touching homage’ to X-Men Canon. Thank you, Mr. Cho.

Infinite Howard the Duck

“Greetings, culture lovers.” Have you been reading the Infinity Event? I have, and it’s shaping up to be the biggest interdimensional cross rip since the Tunguska blast of 1909! I’m digging Mr. HIckman’s Opus, to say the least. I just finished reading Avengers #18, which made its way to the top of the pile via my Avengers subscription. New Avengers #9, which I picked up at Annex Comics,  is waiting downstairs, but there were just a couple of things I wanted to point out about the first Avengers full-on installment in Infinity.

1. Still the worst Iron Man mask ever. 

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2. Shang Chi has a mini-statue of Howard the Duck on his dashboard.

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There’s a lot more going on with this issue (like Cannonball hitting on Smasher), but it’s not my job to spoil the read for you.

OK, I’ve Got a Beef with Avengers Assemble #16. And 15, sorta, but not as much.

OK, so, if you read a few of Marvel’s titles, it’s pretty clear that continuity is….spread pretty thin. For example, Captain America is in Dimension Z in his own mag, Avengers, New Avengers, Avengers Assemble, Uncanny X Men…..and doing different things at different times in all of ’em.

I’m OK with that.

There are a lot of crossovers and “big picture” stories that will perhaps enrich your experience of the Marvel Universe if you read them all. Age of Ultron, I’m looking at you.

But I’m OK with that too.

What I’m not OK with is making a single Title impossible to follow by requiring that crossover issues of other titles be read. If somebody wants to read only one title per month, they should be able to do that with a reasonable expectation of not getting “lost” or having story-critical information be missed because it happened in another title.

Captain Marvel’s Brain Lesion, I’m looking at you.

~SPOILERS~

In Avengers Assemble 15, Captain Marvel battled alongside the heroes of Britain against the Ultrons. She mentions the brain lesion that makes flying a health risk for her. As I’m reading, I’m thinking, “OK, that didn’t happen in Avengers Assemble. That’s slightly douche, but I’ll give them a pass.” At the end of #15, Captain Marvel is inside Ultron Brittania’s HQ when it explodes. Nice cliffhanger! Neato-Keen! Can’t wait for the next issue!

In #16, Captain Marvel is in her apartment. In New York. Yes, still with a brain lesion, but dude…what if the only title you read was Avengers Assemble? I still don’t know why, when or how Captain Marvel got the lesion, or escaped the exploding building or GOT FROM LONDON TO NEW YORK. I’m assuming the answers are in Age of Ultron, or Captain Marvel, or Avengers Enemy Within, but story arcs shouldn’t be crafted such that one MUST read other issues to “get it”. Reading other arcs/titles should enhance the experience, but not be required just for a basic understanding of the story.

Not cool, Marvel. A fan of 35 years and change has lost a lot of respect for you with this tactic.

Avengers Assemble was put out to capitalize on the fever-pitched excitement surrounding the Avengers Film–it’s “Avengers Light”. Suppose some young fan collects that title, and only that title–which, at $3.99 a whack is completely feasible. You have done this young reader a great disservice with the complete discontinuity between issues 15 and 16 of Avengers Assemble.

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.

mully

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

hhh

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.