Howdy Ho loyal readers and Malaysian spam robots. It’s been awhile — practically the whole summer, it seems — since I hollered at ya. Sorry, things got real. I helped open a restaurant and music venue. I took a 3,000 mile road trip around the midwest and southwest (shout out to the great state of Colorado :) :) :) ). And oh yeah, I got married!
Now things are settling back into something of a rhythm around Casa Disastercouch, and there’s just so much to write about. I’m watching The Flash, Gotham, Arrow and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., obvy, and eagerly awaiting the premiere of Constantine, so even if all I did was recap trash tv I’d have plenty to write about. Oscar-bait season is also about to start, and since I now live down the way from a movie theater, I might catch a movie or two this year. I haven’t talked about rap music on here in forever, even though I absolutely need to lay the hate down on Riff Raff and Iggy Azalea, and take a moment to big-up The Underachievers and YG. And of course, the last time we checked in with Heavy Metal Survey it was only like, 1982.
But first, always first, there’s comics. I just went to my LCS and cleaned out my pull box after a five week absence. That cost me a cool 135 bucks. My priorities as an adult man are pretty garbage, I know. But here are my thoughts on what I had been missing in comics for the last month-plus:
The Frost Giants of Jotunheim attack underwater mining operations in the North Sea
Thor #1 by Jason Aaron and Russell Dauterman with Matthew Wilson. Marvel (Disney), 2014.
The basic conceit of this series is that “Thor Odinson” is a specific Asgardian, but “Thor” is more like an office or title. After all, it says right on Mjolnir, anyone who is worthy to lift the hammer will wield the power of Thor. Plenty of Marvel Universe residents have proved themselves Worthy in the past: Eric Masterson (Thunderstrike), who was and then wasn’t and then was again Thor’s human alter-ego (the ’90s were confusing); Beta Ray Bill, who is an alien horse (the ’70s were confusing); Captain America (that part isn’t confusing); and Storm (Thorm! Weather-themed Heroes Unite! Yeah, the ’80s were confusing).
The most fun part is watching Thor, Odin, and the Warriors Three all engaged in a bro-off about lifting Mjolnir. None of them can, and the hammer is left embedded deep in the surface of the Moon until an unnamed woman lifts it in the issue’s final panel. As the next chapter in Aaron’s strong Thor run, this will be essential reading, at least until the resolution of two big mysteries: what did Nick Fury reveal to Thor at the end of Original Sin that suddenly made Thor unworthy? And who is the new female Thor? Is it the All-Mother Freyja? The legally-embattled battle angel Angela? Some character that ties more directly into another Marvel Studios blockbuster movie? Only time — like three or four issues time, most likely — will tell. And if you miss ‘ol Thor Odinson, he’s been repurposed as Savage Thor, missing his hammer, his ability to fly, and any semblance of a shirt in Avengers/X-Men: Axis: Book One: The Red Supremacy.
Whatever else I thought about the comic, this spread ensured that I’ll be following this title and artist for a bit. Buttons pushed.
Gotham Academy #1 by Becky Cloonan, Brenden Fletcher and Karl Kerschl with Geyser and Dave McCaig. DC (Time-Warner), 2014.
Part of me is like “what is this? WHY DOES THIS EXIST?” by part of me is like “Gotham Central was pretty baller, give it a chance.”
The idea of getting a lot of granular Gotham/Bat-verse background detail is intriguing. For example, the first issue features a short segment of a class on the history of Gotham — a chalkboard outlines some of the relationship between Gotham’s three great families of the Arkhams, the Waynes, and the Cobblepots. Not that there’s not already enough Bat-material out there for someone to write a six-volume historical analysis of Gotham society…but no one has yet, as far as I know, so I’ll settle for a little nod to continuity here and there.
The art is kind of amazing, in that it’s richly colored and finely detailed, and looks like cells captured from a really high budget Studio Ghibli or Disney film. It’s also kind of plastic and unengaging, because it looks like a high-budget animated film.
Oh no! Not the….Mini-Mall! I would just about die if I walked into an actual mall and saw a store called the Fandom Zone that specializes in “comic books and paperbacks.” Every once in awhile you’ll see a Games Workshop or a BAM! or something that has a few comics, but a full-fleged comic shop in between the Journeyz 2: Electric Boogaloo and the Express Men Junior Plus? Not in this crazy modern ebola world, my friend.
New Mutants Classic Vol. One by Chris Claremont and Bob McLeod. Marvel (Disney), 2006. Collects Marvel Graphic Novel #4 (1982), New Mutants #1-7 (1982), and Uncanny X-Men #167 (1982).
I love the X-Men, but when I think X-Men, my vision pretty much stops at characters that were included in the 1990s cartoon series: Cyclops, Jean Grey, Wolverine, Colossus, Storm, Rogue, Nightcrawler, Beast, Archangel, and Iceman. I never got into X-Factor, or X-Terminators, or X-Force, or X-this-or-X-that. Maybe a little Generation X, because they were kind of like Gen 13, who were my fave.
But you get the gist. Core X-Men only!
But I started listening every once in awhile to this podcast where maybe the nerdiest, most sickeningly adorable couple ever talk in detail about the X-Men. And they recently got to the point in X-Men history when Chris Claremon’ts Uncanny first branched off into another title: the New Mutants, introduced in Marvel Graphic Novel #4 in 1982.
I love a good yarn set at the School for Gifted Youngsters, and the international cast of characters sounded pretty bonkers; very CW. It turns out it is pretty bonkers, at times a little-lot racist, and extremely hokey, but superfun. Bob McLeod draws a little like the 2000 AD gang and a little like George Perez, and basically epitomizes Marvel’s House Style circa Flock of Seagulls, so if you’re into that sort of thing (and I am, with bells on), you’ll love it.
And if you don’t know how you feel about Claremont’s hypernarrative, way over-the-top super-soap style writing by now well…it’s not for everyone. This is a book that I may return to for some more sophisticated analysis down the line, as there is a lot to unpack when you’re talking Mutants and Metaphors. But suffice to say it is waaaay fun and features a ton of wolf attacks. Cannonball!
Avengers & X-Men: Axis #1 by Rick Remender and Adam Kubert with Laura Martin and Matt Milla. Marvel (Disney), 2014.
Spinning out of the pages of Uncanny Avengers, and Magneto, and for some reason Loki has his own series…and also spinning out of the pages of A vs. X, and Civil War, and Inhuman, and Original Sin…and copying pretty explicitly from DC’s Forever Evil event which had totally the same premise minus the Nazis…and taking nine issues to tell a story that Steve Ditko could probably have knocked out in six pages…
…for the twelfth time this decade, every marketable character that Marvel still holds the rights to faces the total and complete destruction of the entire multiverse…against the “most powerful” and “deadliest” threat they have ever faced…again…
Wait, what? That says Axis? So…to be clear, the full title of this comic book is Avengers/X-Men: AXIS (spelled liked Sixis) : Book One: The Red Supremacy?
I give up.
Well Kids, I want to finish up this whole stack of comics-to-review before I head off to work today, but I somehow hit 1,300 words already, I need to leave in about an hour, and something tells me this:
is going to take a bit longer to wade through. Oh well, more fuel for the blogging furnace next week! Dont’ forget to spay and neuter your pets.