New Comics Wednesday is upon us again, and some of us here at Outright Geekery are running down the top pick on our comic stacks for this week. What are you looking forward to reading this week? Continue reading Geeks’ Picks for New Comics: January 21st, 2015
We continue our review of the year that was 2014, and I wanted to cap off my series of articles covering the awesome of 2014 by highlighting this year’s comics that will persist into 2015 and beyond. Ongoing comics are one of my favorite aspects of the medium because they are there each and every month, provide an opportunity to tell elaborate stories with epic scope, and there’s nothing quite like a 50 issue investment paying off in spades. But, being a comic Nowist (coined term; trademark pending) I’m all about the new comics, and the freshness and excitement that comes along with them. Here’s my top new ongoing comic books of 2014.
This year I took a huge step away from Marvel Comics, dropping almost all of the publisher’s titles from my pull-list and adding almost none. One title that WAS added to that list, however, was Superior Iron Man, a twisted take on Tony Stark that I just could not bring myself to skip. As I said in my review of ish #1, I simply adore douchebag Iron Man. Issue #3 of Superior not only took everything that’s been established up a notch or two, but I’m certain that the creators read my ish #1 review, because every problem I had with the series in that earlier issue was addressed to perfection. In a title that is all about taking a risk with a dramatic character change, Taylor and Cinar are (finally) taking huge creative risks, and the result is a wildly rewarding payoff for readers. (NOTE: There will be spoilers!) Continue reading Review: Superior Iron Man #3
Marvel’s AXIS is in full effect, and the heroes are villainous, the villains are heroic, with topsy-turvy being the staus quo du jour over at the House of Ideas. Although AXIS is still technically going on, we’re already getting a glimpse of some of the fallout in the aftermath of the event, and that’s pretty much where Superior Iron Man picks up. While there’s a bit of out-of-sequence spoilers that pretty much gives away the end of AXIS, I’m a huge fan of douche-bag Iron Man, and Tony is at his dickish best. There will be spoilers, but here’s our preview if you missed it.
Avengers NOW! is bringing a ton of changes to the Marvel U. While your Captains America and Thors may be interesting, changes to Iron Man are just plain old fun, and this one looks to be no different. Here’s the skinny.
By now you have heard the news that Marvel Comics is shaking things up quite a bit later this year with a few of their A-Listers, and I for one cannot wait to see the new directions the publisher takes these venerable characters. The internet almost cracked in half as irate fanboys took to the Facebooks and Forums to express their disgust over the changes, and for the life of me, I can’t understand why anyone would be upset about new ideas. However, I also found a large part of the comic book community suggesting that all of these changes amount to an upcoming, universe-wide reboot at Marvel comics, and this confuses me even more. Here’s a rundown of the upcoming changes, and some thoughts on both the hatred of anything different, and the desire for something completely different.
First off we have Thor Odinson losing his worthiness and a female Thor taking up the mantle. Here’s a great write-up if you missed the news. An idea devised by longtime Thor scribe and all around lover of different and new concepts, Jason Aaron’s run on Thor: God of Thunder has been one of the best in years, and that story has been building to Thor losing his aforementioned worthiness. Anyone who has been keeping up with Aaron’s run understands that this can be a terrific title, and the idea of a brand new character becoming Thor is intriguing, but a female Thor adds a whole new layer.
Captain America will soon have his super-soldier serum sucked out of him, rendering him geriatric 90-something, incapable of wielding the shield any longer. So, Steve Rogers is passing on the mantle of Captain America to his best bud and fellow Avenger Falcon. Yes, we’re getting a brand new Captain America! The book will be written by the current Cap writer Rick Remender, and if you’ve been keeping up with that run you know everything has been leading up to this, but the news announced by Joe Quesada on The Colbert Report earlier this week cemented the already pretty much spoiled news. Falcon has never been more popular thanks to his appearance in Captain America: The Winter Soldier and it’s a good time to to take advantage of that popularity. This stuff isn’t going to be contained to single titles either, as seen in this cover of Avenger #35, as Thor without his hammer, Falcon with his shield, and Steve with his cane all appearing.
I have to be honest, I haven’t read an Iron Man comic since the Extremis story arc. Tony just hasn’t been a very compelling character. Although, with the upcoming Superior Iron Man dropping in November, I may be changing that before year’s end. Helmed by writer Tom Taylor and artist Yildiray Cinar, this new take on the old Shell head will take Tony to San Fransisco, where he changes the Extremis into an iPhone app, and makes it available to everyone in the metro area, in an attempt to create a utopia. I love a hard to root for good guy, and this sounds like it’s right up that alley. The changes aren’t that out of character, actually, as Tony has always been kind of a rebellious loner, and the things he’s done in the pages of New Avengers fits nicely.
Most of the griping I heard about these changes fell into two categories. The first group hated these changes because they thought it was nothing new.
“Captain America has been a different guy before, and he was black.”
“Thor’s been Beta Ray Bill, a frog, and has been unworthy a ton of times. This is nothing new.”
They all said it differently and with different levels of seething, but it was all so illogical. Certainly there IS something quite different between making Thor a frog or an alien and making the character a completely new female persona. To say otherwise is not only demeaning to women, but shuts down just about ANY story that ANY creator could devise. It’s 75 years or so of contained superhero story-telling; you’re not going to get anything “newer” than that. Of course making Falcon the new Captain America is new; it’s never happened before (officially), and despite there already being a black Captain America, and there being several character to hold the title and wield the shield, if the only reason to not tell a story where Falcon is Cap is that other people have also been Cap, well, that’s not much of a reason. Those old stories where Steve is not Cap are still out there; go read those! Nothing new can take away from those old stories. But suggesting that something that is clearly new is not new is just silly.
The other outstanding group of naysayers I encountered decried the entire change for the equally illogical reason that these changes were not going to be permanent. Really?! Well, of course they aren’t going to be permanent. Weren’t you listening to the people who hate these changes because they’ve already happened before? Thor was a frog, and then he wasn’t a frog. Beta Ray Bill wielded Mjolnir, and then he didn’t. Bucky was Captain America, and then he wasn’t. Marvel’s storytelling is a cyclical thing, and anyone who has read comics for longer than a decade can tell you. A character dies, we see characters deal with the death, the character comes back from the dead, repeat with new character. Now simply replace a character death with any other life-altering event; like losing worthiness, having super-soldier serum sucked out, becoming a disillusioned douchebag, moving across the country, or taking a trip into space; and you have what Marvel does each and every year. This is nothing but business as usual at the House of Ideas.
There Is No Reboot Only Drool
While I did find a lot of geeks that loved these changes, there was another rumor that constantly crept into the discussion. Many people suggested that all of these dramatic changes were leading up to a universe-wide reboot at Marvel Comics, and I’m not sure these folks are paying attention.
First off, where would Marvel reboot to? Would they begin by selling all new #1 issues retelling those same old origin stories the entire world already knows? I’m not sure where else they COULD begin that would be any different than the changes we’re already seeing occur, and nothing has ever stopped Marvel from releasing a new #1. Next, is anyone else reading All-New Ghost Rider? How about the new Ms. Marvel book? Or the Inhuman title? Why is Marvel creating all sorts of intriguing and new characters just this year, if they are planning on rebooting the entire thing the next year? It just doesn’t jive. Last, I think Marvel DOES reboot, but they do it in a style that is all their own. Soft reboots abound in just recent history of Marvel Comics. Hickman’s run of Fantastic Four, Hickman’s run on Avengers, changes to the X-Men, Black Widow, Captain Marvel, Venom, Superior Spider-Man, Amazing Spider-Man, Hulk, and many other titles have balanced the fence between pulling off dramatic changes to keep things interesting and keeping to some sort of established continuity. It’s often difficult to figure out which side of that balance any single title leans toward, but the attempt to find the balance is definitely apparent. And Marvel’s method of constantly revamping plots, titles, and characters to find a solid story despite hurdles that continuity may represent continues to keep them at the top of the sales charts, and the changes highlighted above are a strong example of this.