Lockjaw and the Pet Avengers #1, which was really good ("There will be no eating of teammates."), and G.I. Joe: Cobra #1-3. People who know me know that I don't just pick up and read a G.I. Joe comic. I've never been into them, and I was never even into the toys, really. But the guys on iFanboy really recommended this book, saying it doesn't feel like a Joe book at all. And it really doesn't. It's a lot more like a Queen and Country story. One of the guys (in the Hawaiian shirt) goes undercover, and it's an extremely good spy story so far. Cobra nor G.I. Joe (I believe) have never been mentioned in this book, but some of the characters have. VERY highly recommended!

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I read the first two issues of the new Marvel Two-In-One series starring the Thing and the Human Torch and they were really good. Ben and Johnny play off each other well as can be expected. Here we see two Marvel legends at a crossroads, trying to figure out their place in a FF-less MU, besides just joining whatever team is available.

Another pivotal character is Doctor Doom or the Infamous Iron Man, if you like. He still has contempt for these two but is trying to overcome it. Or is he?

The second issue has Googam, Son of Goom in it so that's a plus! Put him in a book regularly!

What I liked most is the portrayal of Reed Richards, once in a holographic message then in a flashback. It's the most human Reed we've seen in awhile. Strangely there's little mention of Sue.

Now that Disney bought Fox films, we should see the Fantastic Four together again soon but this book is a neat placeholder until that time.

SWAMP THING WINTER SPECIAL #1: If you’ve been reading my recent posts to this thread you known I am in the midst of a lengthy Swamp Thing reading project. That has really put me in the mood to read this special, featuring, as it does, Len Wein’s final work on the character he co-created. The Tom King/Jason Fabok story was nothing to sneeze at, either. Speaking of which, I enjoyed the moodiness of it, but I’m not sure I fully understood it.

The unfinished Wein/Jones collaboration was their ninth (including two “Convergence” issues and a recent six-issue mini-series) and was intended to be the start of an ongoing. Isn’t Kelly Jones the most appropriate artist for Swamp Thing short of Berni Wrightson? He finished illustrating Wein’s story but Wein died before he could script it, so it is presented her as is… along with the plot itself. I usually am not too interested in reading writer’s plot, but in this case it’s interesting to compare the visuals Wein called for with what Jones delivered.

If nothing else, it has put me in the mood to read the other six (or eight) Wein/Jones Swamp Things. Such a shame that we’ll never get to read what Wein had planned next.

INFINITY COUNTDOWN: ADAM WARLOCK #1: See “Infinity Countdown Begins” discussion for my comments.

The Walking Dead Vol. 27: The Whisperer War 

The inevitable war with the Whisperers. They attack in a way that is consistent with how they operate, so it's not the overt battle we've seen before in the series. Strategy points to Dwight for figuring out a way to use that against them.

So, I bought and read the Multiversity Trade.

Pretty much what I expected it to be considering it's a Grant Morrison book. I DID really like the Pax Americana issue and that's probably because it featured the Charlton characters, which I love!

Not crazy about the ending, though. Just overall a weird reading experience and it felt incomplete.

The Fuse Vol. 3: Perihelion
Antony Johnston, writer; Justin Greenwood, artist; Shari Chankhamma, colorist; Ryan Ferrier, letterer
Image Comics, 2016

Perihelion is the day when the Fuse space station is closest to the Sun, a huge celebration (think Carnival) traditionally celebrated by most of the population. So it's "all hands on deck" for the police, and Ristovych and Dietrich find themselves on the run all day long. They catch two homicides--their usual beat--plus crowd control and a hostage situation. They manage to catch a serial killer, and save his latest victim while they're at it. At the very end we are reminded that Dietrich is still working on his own agenda, to find Yvonne Dietrich. The collection also includes Tabloid: A Tale From Fuse, which was originally published in one-page installments as a back-up story in issues #7-12 of The Fuse.

First the new comics…

AVENGERS #679 – “No Surrender” Pt. 5: Part of this story takes place in Rome, part in Peru, part elsewhere but it’s all murky. There is no sense of a shared universe anymore. People used to quip that, under Shooter, it was so tight that if Captain America sneezed in Avengers that Mr. Fantastic would say “gesundheit” in Fantastic Four. But the Beast looks nothing like he does in the X-titles, and there’s no sense of how Johnny Storm’s adventures here fit with his concurrent stories in Marvel-Two-In-One. Early on, the Human Torch, I don’t know… explodes? (it’s pretty murky)… and later he’s shown “frozen in amber” with some other monster or something frozen in a different color “amber” behind him.

This issue reinvents the Elders of the Universe, particularly the Grandmaster and the Champion. The most entertaining thing this issue was an essay by Mark Waid concerning whether or not the Metal Master can affect Thor’s hammer. The best thing about this series so far has been the covers. If there is someone who is enjoying this more than I am I’d be curious to hear what you see in it.

PAPER GIRLS #20: This is one of my favorite (dare I say one of the best?) current non-superhero series on the market. If you’re reading it, you already know that; if you’re not, chances are you’re not reading these comments, either.

STAR TREK: NEW VISIONS: ISOLATION: Did I mention before how sometimes it seems as if John Byrne writes a story about what can be done using digital manipulation? At first blush, that seems to be the case here. (Edith Keeler is featured on the cover.) But the story is really much more than that. It is reminiscent of the TV episode “The Mark of Gideon” except the entire bridge crew are alone on their own separate versions of the Enterprise.

When I look back to all the comic book creators I used to follow decades ago, John Byrne is the only who not only is still “in the trenches” month in and month out, he has been in the trenches continuously for all these years. Frank Miller? Gone. Alan Moore? Gone. I will say I miss his art, though.

THREE STOOGES SHEMPTASTIC SHEMPTACULAR SPECIAL: At its best, this series of one-shots does an excellent job of transporting the Stooges intact to the present day. This story is one of the best. It features Shemp, but includes Curly, Larry and Moe as well. The art, by Brendan and Brian Frain, is reminiscent of Kevin Mcguire’s. This issue also has two reprints from 1953.

X-MEN RED #1: Jean Gray last appeared in 2004. I have read some X-comics since then, but not many. I read the (extremely decompressed) Resurrection mini-series and was hoping to use Jean Gray in this series as my point of view character to introduce me to today’s team. No such luck, though. I had hoped to see scenes of Jean meeting the “new mutants” and acclimating to the world today, but this issue dispenses with that and proceeds as if she hasn’t been missing from the scene for 14 years (real time). Her team includes Nightcrawler, Namor (I’ve never been real wild about the idea of Sub-Mariner as a mutant), the female Wolverine, a female named Trinary, a female named Honey Badger, and a big dude named Gentle. A bout half way in, the story sets the tone for the series going forward. It a good direction that sets it apart from the other X-titles, but it’s not exactly what I’m looking for.

Then the old comics…

SWAMP THING #1-6 (2016): Motivated by last week’s Swamp Thing Winter Special (already reviewed above), I read the six-issue mini-series it follows. Which is also by Len wein and Kelly Jones. [SPOLERS] I the first issue, a zombie gets the better of him. In the second, he defeats the zombie and Matt Cable arrives. Then Zatanna performs a rite which transfers Alec’s curse (unbeknownst to Alec) to Matt. Matt becomes the Swamp Thing and is apparently corrupted by the power, but it turns out that that was his plan all along. The Phantom Stanger intervenes, then they seek out Deadman and the Spectre. It turns out that “Matt Cable” was actually Anton Arcane all along. By the end, Abigail has returned.[END SPOILERS]

I haven’t read much Swamp Thing since the Alan Moore run, but I know Matt Cable died at one point. I’m not sure which continuity this reflect, pre- or post-Nu52, or how much Nu52 has affected Swamp Thing. I also read the two Swamp Thing issues of Convergence. Issue #2 brings him into conflict with the vampire Batman of the Red Rain” universe, a reality I am not overly fond of.

SUPERMAN: SECRET ORIGIN: I have been in the mood to read some Legion of Superheroes lately, but the question was where to start? I decide to start here, although the LSH are featured only in issue #2. DC has retold Superman’s origin so many times… too many times… but this version by Geoff Johns and Gary frank is my favorite since John Byrne’s Man of Steel. Although not tied to a specific “event” (such as Man of Steel was tied to Crisis on Infinite Earths, it reverses several aspects of the post-Crisis origin. For one thing, Lex Luthor’s Smallville origin has been restored to the mythos. More importantly, Clark Kent’s career as Superboy has been restored as well. Retained is the conceit that Lana Lang, not Pete Ross, knows Clark’s secret.

X-MEN FOREVER 2: In issue #1 the Avengers of the day confront the team and Professor Xavier’s mansion is blown up. In the next issue we learn that the explosion (and the crater it left) are illusions created and maintained by Jean Gray. The X-Men’s SHIELD liaison, Nick Fury, is also presumed dead. Sigrid “Ziggy” Trask is the new head of SHIELD. SHIELD agent Daisy Dugan (Dum Dum’s granddaughter) is developing romantic feelings toward Sabretooth. An apparently reformed Mystique joins to team to make amends with Rogue and Kurt.

I didn’t read any Sky Masters or Pogo or Alan Moore Swamp Thing over the weekend, but I plan to resume those projects shortly.

If you haven't seen it, you might enjoy the unpublished "Finders" story Byrne placed online here.

Thanks, Luke, I haven't seen it. That site is blocked from work, but I'll check it from home later.

When you do, Jeff, also check the commissions gallery.

Jeff of Earth-J said:

I haven’t read much Swamp Thing since the Alan Moore run, but I know Matt Cable died at one point.

It was revealed in Neal Gaiman's Sandman that Matthew the Raven was Matt Cable post-death.

ACTION COMICS #858-863 (“Superman & The Legion of Super-Heroes):

The continuity is tight between this story and Superman: Secret Origins (which was released later), both by Geoff Johns and Gary Frank. The Legion travel to the present, apparently for the first time since the “Crisis”, to enlist Superman’s help in the year 3008. Superman’s memory of his time with the Legion has been suppressed, but when he is reunited with them it all comes flooding back. With this story, all of those old Adventure Comics stories are now back in continuity, and the “Pocket Universe” is out.

The threat to the future is Earth Man and his ersatz “Justice League or Earth” who have re-written Superman’s history as a human being from Earth in order to implement their anti-alien agenda. Superman returns with the Legion but they neglected to tell him Earth’s Sun has turned red and he is powerless. With all of the immigration debate in the news today, this story delivers a message that is timely still.

This is the original Legion, last seen in Legion of Super-Heroes (1984 "offset" series) #63. (The "Five Years Later" series is rendered "out of continuity" by this story, too.) 

I'll tackle a few of these...

At my LCS I read the first 5 parts of the "No Surrender" story line, and overall I liked it. It wasn't the best thing ever, but I enjoy it  from a big brawl point of view. I have no idea how Beast looks in other books, as I haven't paid attention...like in years. I've mostly enjoyed the large cast of characters, and the introduction of the new characters. I was more annoyed with other parts, like the whole Jarvis sub-plot, I just learned that Sunspot now goes by Citizen V (which is a terrible name, and doesn't make a lick of sense for him.) 

I do agree Mark Waid's email about Metal Master and Thor's hammer was awesome, I got another guy from the shop to read. As to the covers, for me, the lenticular cover for #675 may be one one of the best lenticular covers I've ever seen.

Paper Girls - I was reading it, but I recently dropped it, so I guess I disagree about it being one of the best non-super hero comics. Brian K Vaughn is very hit-or-miss with me. I dug it at the beginning, but its taking too long to get where it needs to be going and it is hurt by its publication schedule. IE the nest issue isn't scheduled to come out until June. Which I just can't hang with anymore. If it ever gets finished, I might pick the rest of it up, and binge read it.

I read the first issue of X-Men: Red #1, at the shop as well. I haven't been a regular reader of a mainstream mutant title in decades (I did read X-Statix  and Mutant X but those were pretty much their own thing). I will pick up a few issues of a series every once in awhile, and I never stick with it. Like the others this didn't jazz me enough to continue on. Plus, naming a character Honey Badger years after that viral video just seemed so lame.



Jeff of Earth-J said:

First the new comics…

AVENGERS #679 – “No Surrender” Pt. 5: Part of this story takes place in Rome, part in Peru, part elsewhere but it’s all murky. There is no sense of a shared universe anymore. People used to quip that, under Shooter, it was so tight that if Captain America sneezed in Avengers that Mr. Fantastic would say “gesundheit” in Fantastic Four. But the Beast looks nothing like he does in the X-titles, and there’s no sense of how Johnny Storm’s adventures here fit with his concurrent stories in Marvel-Two-In-One. Early on, the Human Torch, I don’t know… explodes? (it’s pretty murky)… and later he’s shown “frozen in amber” with some other monster or something frozen in a different color “amber” behind him.

This issue reinvents the Elders of the Universe, particularly the Grandmaster and the Champion. The most entertaining thing this issue was an essay by Mark Waid concerning whether or not the Metal Master can affect Thor’s hammer. The best thing about this series so far has been the covers. If there is someone who is enjoying this more than I am I’d be curious to hear what you see in it.

PAPER GIRLS #20: This is one of my favorite (dare I say one of the best?) current non-superhero series on the market. If you’re reading it, you already know that; if you’re not, chances are you’re not reading these comments, either.

STAR TREK: NEW VISIONS: ISOLATION: Did I mention before how sometimes it seems as if John Byrne writes a story about what can be done using digital manipulation? At first blush, that seems to be the case here. (Edith Keeler is featured on the cover.) But the story is really much more than that. It is reminiscent of the TV episode “The Mark of Gideon” except the entire bridge crew are alone on their own separate versions of the Enterprise.

When I look back to all the comic book creators I used to follow decades ago, John Byrne is the only who not only is still “in the trenches” month in and month out, he has been in the trenches continuously for all these years. Frank Miller? Gone. Alan Moore? Gone. I will say I miss his art, though.

THREE STOOGES SHEMPTASTIC SHEMPTACULAR SPECIAL: At its best, this series of one-shots does an excellent job of transporting the Stooges intact to the present day. This story is one of the best. It features Shemp, but includes Curly, Larry and Moe as well. The art, by Brendan and Brian Frain, is reminiscent of Kevin Mcguire’s. This issue also has two reprints from 1953.

X-MEN RED #1: Jean Gray last appeared in 2004. I have read some X-comics since then, but not many. I read the (extremely decompressed) Resurrection mini-series and was hoping to use Jean Gray in this series as my point of view character to introduce me to today’s team. No such luck, though. I had hoped to see scenes of Jean meeting the “new mutants” and acclimating to the world today, but this issue dispenses with that and proceeds as if she hasn’t been missing from the scene for 14 years (real time). Her team includes Nightcrawler, Namor (I’ve never been real wild about the idea of Sub-Mariner as a mutant), the female Wolverine, a female named Trinary, a female named Honey Badger, and a big dude named Gentle. A bout half way in, the story sets the tone for the series going forward. It a good direction that sets it apart from the other X-titles, but it’s not exactly what I’m looking for.

Then the old comics…

SWAMP THING #1-6 (2016): Motivated by last week’s Swamp Thing Winter Special (already reviewed above), I read the six-issue mini-series it follows. Which is also by Len wein and Kelly Jones. [SPOLERS] I the first issue, a zombie gets the better of him. In the second, he defeats the zombie and Matt Cable arrives. Then Zatanna performs a rite which transfers Alec’s curse (unbeknownst to Alec) to Matt. Matt becomes the Swamp Thing and is apparently corrupted by the power, but it turns out that that was his plan all along. The Phantom Stanger intervenes, then they seek out Deadman and the Spectre. It turns out that “Matt Cable” was actually Anton Arcane all along. By the end, Abigail has returned.[END SPOILERS]

I haven’t read much Swamp Thing since the Alan Moore run, but I know Matt Cable died at one point. I’m not sure which continuity this reflect, pre- or post-Nu52, or how much Nu52 has affected Swamp Thing. I also read the two Swamp Thing issues of Convergence. Issue #2 brings him into conflict with the vampire Batman of the Red Rain” universe, a reality I am not overly fond of.

SUPERMAN: SECRET ORIGIN: I have been in the mood to read some Legion of Superheroes lately, but the question was where to start? I decide to start here, although the LSH are featured only in issue #2. DC has retold Superman’s origin so many times… too many times… but this version by Geoff Johns and Gary frank is my favorite since John Byrne’s Man of Steel. Although not tied to a specific “event” (such as Man of Steel was tied to Crisis on Infinite Earths, it reverses several aspects of the post-Crisis origin. For one thing, Lex Luthor’s Smallville origin has been restored to the mythos. More importantly, Clark Kent’s career as Superboy has been restored as well. Retained is the conceit that Lana Lang, not Pete Ross, knows Clark’s secret.

X-MEN FOREVER 2: In issue #1 the Avengers of the day confront the team and Professor Xavier’s mansion is blown up. In the next issue we learn that the explosion (and the crater it left) are illusions created and maintained by Jean Gray. The X-Men’s SHIELD liaison, Nick Fury, is also presumed dead. Sigrid “Ziggy” Trask is the new head of SHIELD. SHIELD agent Daisy Dugan (Dum Dum’s granddaughter) is developing romantic feelings toward Sabretooth. An apparently reformed Mystique joins to team to make amends with Rogue and Kurt.

I didn’t read any Sky Masters or Pogo or Alan Moore Swamp Thing over the weekend, but I plan to resume those projects shortly.

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