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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Can I give a quick shout out to IMHO the best of the relaunched X series?

Weapon X is basically an X-Force-like grouping of X-characters but the writing hits just the right tone of drama, humour and plot with some pretty great artwork. 

The crossover with Cho-Hulk and the Weapons of Mutant Destruction is much much better than I feared it weouild be and even if anyone is not much convinced by the rest of the current X-camp I would recommend you try this series out 

AVENGERS #683: This chapter represents a definite uptick in quality in comparison to the last few issues.

In the best bit of pseudo-science since ST:TNG’s “Heisenberg Compensators,” Hank McCoy notes that humans reduced to microscopic size are not sustained by food ro oxygen but by Pym particles, then adds, “Best not to dwell on the how of it.”

Voyager’s secret is revealed. I am perfectly satisfied with the explanation, but it never one I would have expected from Marvel.

The art is retro in places, proving the art has been murky (subjective interpretation; you might like it) only because the artist and/or editor wants it to be.

CAPTAIN AMERICA #699: Here’s a question: would Liang even know what a “bomb pop” is? Do they still make those anymore? Curious to see how they’re going to push the “reset” button on this one.

FIGHTING AMERICAN #1: This is the first issue of the second limited series (although, for all intents and purposes, it's just as well a continuation of the “previous” series). Child welfare people approach FA about child endangerment issues, starting with a pretty basic question: what is Speedboy’s real name. I never noticed it before, but he was never given one. It makes for a pretty funny situation when Fighting American must admit he doesn;’t even know it.

STRANGERS IN PARADISE XXV #2: Issue #1 was all action. This issue is action-oriented, too, but it’s more of an illustrated internal narration from Katchoo’s point of view. It’s text heavy, but it’s more than a mere information dump. Long-time readers (of all Terry Moore’s series) will be delighted that he’s pulling in narrative threads from Rachael Rising and elsewhere; new readers will simply be sucked in by the fast-moving plot. I would recommend this issue as a jumping on point even more tha issue #1 (but as soon as you finish you’re going to want to read #1 as well).

Descender Vol. 4: Orbital Mechanics
Jeff Lemire, writer; Dustin Nguyen, artist
Image Comics, 2017

The previous collection ended with a cliffhanger, the two Tims engaged in mortal combat on the Machine Moon (the hidden asteroid headquarters of the Robot Resistance). At the same time Andy and Effie are on the planet Sampson trying to reconcile. And Telsa and Quon are trying to escape from the Machine Moon, which becomes even more urgent when they discover a huge cache of war-bots. The first issue uses an innovative three-panel grid to present the stories simultaneously. The rogue Tim pulls a fast one by pretending to be Tim-21 (the good one), which allows him to infiltrate Telsa and Quon's mission. Andy's scrapper team is closing in on their target Tim-21 when Driller admits to being the cause of all the human deaths on Sampson (including Andy's mother) and asks to be ejected into space from the cargo hatch. Telsa has warned the UGC about the war-bot army--but bad Tim has warned his father that the fleet is on its way, so the Hardwire are ready. Telsa's group heads to the watery planet MATA seeking a key scientist...then Telsa finds herself ejected into the water by Tim. This is a really exciting installment in the series, full of revelations and high stakes.

Paper Girls Vol. 3

Brian K. Vaughan, writer; Cliff Chiang, artist; Matt Wilson, colors; Jared K. Fletcher, letters

Image Comics, 2017

This collection opens with KJ awakening from a vivid nightmare, only to realize that she is still stuck in the prehistoric time period where we last saw the girls. The group rapidly meets a young native woman, then a huge furry predator, and finally a group of native men. But not before Doctor Qanta Braunstein (recently arrived in a time machine) meets them first. The time traveler doesn't know anything about what is happening to the girls. But after they save her from the men, she sends them back to her time capsule before it automatically returns to the future. They're too late--the capsule has already closed--but after getting sucked into the time stream of the capsule Tiffany finds herself on the night of Jan.1, 2000. But it's not our time stream, because the dreaded Y2K shutdown actually happened. There has been a blackout, and giant robots are walking just in the background.

FIGHTING AMERICAN #1: Insired by last week’s new Fighting American #1, I re-read the Simon/Kirby original.

POGO, Animal Comics #28-30: I finished volume one, which completes Pogo’s appearances in Animal Comics. Walt Kelly himself writes a letter (within t #28’s story) to the animals in an effort to stimulate reader letters.

SKY MASTERS: I finally finished the last story in this volume of dailies, “The Young Astronaut.” I had been dragging it out in anticipation of the collection of Sundays (from another publisher) solicited for release January 31st. The “young astronaut” is question has the exact same plan to unite humanity Ozymandias would have two decades later in Watchmen, and he was brought down in a similar fashion as well.

SWAMP THING #29-31, ANNUAL #2 “Down Among the Dead Men”: This story achieved a bit of notoriety in its time because it came back from the CCA with requested changes (I can’t imagine why; Swamp Thing travels to Hell to rescue Abby’s soul). Making the changes would have caused it to miss the deadline and go off schedule, so DC decided to publish the book without code approval. It is this story specifically that lead DC the line that would eventually become Vertigo, a line not subject to CCA approval.

SUPERBOY-PRIME: My LSH reading has led me to seek out the few remaining appearances of Superboy-Prime. A quick internet search pointed me to five comics, of which I found three locally. Green Lantern: Sinestro Corps Special #1 has little to do with Superboy-Prime, but he is cover-featured on the fourth print. Teen Titans (v3) #98-99 begins in medias res (making me wonder if I should seek out #97), and contains the character’s last story prior to Flashpoint. those are the three I found. The two I’m still seeking are Tales of the Sinestro Coprs: Superman-Prime (yes, Superman due to a dispute with the Shuster family) and Teen Titans #100, the final issue of that series.

THE BRAVE & THE BOLD #34-35 (2010): With the first part of the recent “Milk Wars” still fresh in my brain, I decided to re-read how a quirky team-up should be done. Part one features the Legion of Super-Heroes and the Doom Patrol, part two features the Legion of Substitute Heroes and the Inferior Five.

BATMAN ’66 & THE LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES: Still in the mood to read stories (even new stories) of the Legion’s early years, I re-read this delightful one-shot from late last year, which posits that Robin, the Boy Wonder, and not Superboy was, in fact, the inspiration for the Legion’s founding.

SUPERGIRL ANNUAL #2 (2010): Still in the mood for “early” Legion stories (stories of the early Legion), I read this one, which features Supergirl’s first meeting with the “real” Legion, not the one she spent quite some time with (the Legion of Earth-Prime) some months prior.

Can't remember off hand if I asked this before, but does anyone know whether or not issue 36 (the last issue?) of The Brave and the Bold (2010) was ever published? Let alone whether or not it still did the Lois Lane-Adam Strange team up teased at the end of #35?

The last issue listed on Mile High Comics' web-site is #35, so I'm going to say no.

ADVENTURE COMICS #306-312 (and Jimmy Olsen #72):

Ever since I started reading the 2010 LSH series recently, it had been my intention to finish the recent series, then go back to the beginning (or close to it, anyway). I still plan to finish reading the newer stuff, but I couldn’t wait to begin reading the old stuff any longer. Back in 2005 I was in the midst of a massive LSH re-reading project, but my interest waned at some point and abandoned it. I do remember where I left off, but rather than picking up there, I thought I’d go back a bit because it’s been so long. I didn’t want to go back to the very beginning, though, because I’ve re-read those comics so often. I decided to resume with the second volume of the archive series, which begins with Adventure Comics #306 and the first appearance of the Legion of Substitute Heroes.

This is a good place to begin because it provides a “good jumping on point” from the point of view of several characters from this and subsequent issues. #306 is the first appearance of the Subs, as I mentioned; #307 introduces Element Lad; #308 introduces Lightning Lass (and Proty). The villain of #309 is Monster Master, #310 features the first appearance of Superboy in this series of issues, as well as the villain with the uninspired name of “Mask Man”. (The reveal of “Mask Man” was recently used as the culmination of a multipart story in Action Comics and Superman from just last year.) #311 brings back the Subs, #312 revives Lightning Lad, and in Jimmy Olsen #72, Jimmy becomes an honorary member.

These stories were published in 1963, written by Edmond Hamilton and drawn by John Forte. It’s hard to believe these comics came out the same year as Marvel’s Avengers, the two series are so very different. Then again, they were produced with different audiences in mind. If I had been ten years old in 1963, I know which of these series I would have gravitated toward. That statement is not intended as a condemnation of either series.

“ALL AGES”: I am not a big fan of the term “All Ages,” whether it is being applied to comic books or movies or anything else. Invariably, the term “All Ages” means “Intended For Children.” Most “All Ages” super-hero comics these days are drawn in that “animation style,” which is fine (for animation), but if you’re publishing a comic book, it should look like a comic book. What makes publishers think that children don’t want to look at more realistic depictions of superheroes? Among the artists of some of the first comics I ever saw as a preschooler were Curt Swan, John Romita, Al Williamson, Gene Colan and Jim Aparo. Those comics weren’t for kids. At least they weren’t drawn with children as the sole audience in mind.

But (I contend) the earliest of the Legion of Super-Heroes’ stories in Adventure Comics were written for children. That’s why Edmond Hamilton used words such as “super thought casting” rather than “telepathy” or “rocky planet” rather than asteroid. There were elements to appeal to older readers as well (the continuity is tighter than many of today’s comics, for example), but I think the younger a reader was when first exposed to the LSH the better.

I'm very much with you. There was a lot of silliness in the Super-titles. I think older children are put off by that: they want to be able to take the fantasies seriously. I would say the Julie Schwartz titles were written older; perhaps the war comics, too, but I'm not very familiar with them.

I find it amazing how quickly Marvel's style changed. Fantastic Four had a non-DC flavour from the beginning, but several of the follow-up features were pretty DC-ish their first year. When The Avengers #1 came out Marvel was leaving that approach behind, but hadn't done so completely: that month's Thor story was the Merlin the Mad one. Fantastic Four had acquired a slapstick element it didn't have right at the start.

I think the late 60s Marvel style fully crystalised in Fantastic Four with the start of the first Inhumans story, when Joe Sinnott took over the inks. The art now had a realistic look, the stories took themselves seriously, they used melodrama and soap opera, they were multi-issue serials, there was cross-story continuity, the action was exciting.

Deadly Class Vol. 6: This Is Not The End

Rick Remender, writer; Wes Craig, artist; Jordan Boyd, colorist

Image Comics, 2017

This collection opens with an issue devoted to Saya, last seen thrown off a rooftop and presumed dead. Turns out she survived, but the jury is out on whether that is a good thing. We finally get details about her twisted family history, and the reason her brother has been hunting her. She is in the care of her mother, who is not on her side. The scene shifts to Mexico in the next issue, which begins with Marcus and Maria enjoying themselves on the beach, thinking they have escaped the influence of the King's Dominion school for assassins. Then we see Saya's mom phoning Quan, who has been working for her and the family against Saya (there was a brief foreshadowing of this relationship in the last volume). The scene finally shifts back to King's Dominion and the freshman class who were the main focus of the previous volume. There is considerable friction among Shabnam's ruling council. Next thing we know, two groups of KD students are converging on Mexico--one by accident, the other sent to kill Marcus and Maria. As the last issue closes, Marcus has gotten the drop on Brandy and Victor. Lots of revelations here, as well as disparate story lines brought together. The collection also includes cover images, including several alternate covers.

Jeff of Earth-J said:

SWAMP THING #29-31, ANNUAL #2 “Down Among the Dead Men”: This story achieved a bit of notoriety in its time because it came back from the CCA with requested changes (I can’t imagine why; Swamp Thing travels to Hell to rescue Abby’s soul). Making the changes would have caused it to miss the deadline and go off schedule, so DC decided to publish the book without code approval. It is this story specifically that lead DC the line that would eventually become Vertigo, a line not subject to CCA approval.

Interesting that they dropped the Code seal in 1984. When I returned to comics in 1989 after a ten-year absence my first purchase was Legends of the Dark Knight #1. I believe that title went without Code approval for its entire run.

A lot of the early “Marvel Age” Marvels were like DC comics, true, and a lot of them were like the monster titles they had been doing throughout most of the ‘50s, too. That 1965-1966 era is when Marvel comics really took off. Hthe Inhumans were introduced in Fantastic Four, as you mention, and soon they would meet Galactus; Thor met Hercules, lost a battle but then helped him get out of his pact with Pluto (and was about to get really cosmic); Ditko was finishing up his run on Spider-Man and the title was about to move into my personal favorite run; Tales to Astonish and Strange Tales replaced Ant-Man and the Torch (respectively) with Sub-Mariner and Nick Fury.

As you put it, Luke, older children wanted to be able to take their fantasy seriously. That is exactly my point.

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