Civil War II – Thoughts

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While fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe are gearing up for Captain America: Civil War, us nerds in comic book land are prepping for Civil War II. We are just that cutting edge (and fickle). Today, thanks to New York Daily News we have got our first snippets of info in a surprisingly open look at the famed Marvel Creator Summit story building process:

“Civil War 2” writer Brian Michael Bendis and Marvel editor-in-chief Axel Alonso break down the premise.

“A mysterious new Marvel character comes to the attention of the world, one who has the power to calculate the outcome of future events with a high degree of accuracy,” according to the synopsis. “This predictive power divides the Marvel heroes on how best to capitalize on this aggregated information, with Captain Marvel leading the charge to profile future crimes and attacks before they occur, and Iron Man adopting the position that the punishment cannot come before the crime.”

That’s the surface level pitch but just like the original Civil War there are ties to the real world and how we live our lives,

“People’s personal accountability is the theme of this one,” Bendis explains to his peers of his project with artist David Marquez. “From the way cops are acting on camera, to the way people talk to each other online.”

So I am expecting a lot of reflection and viewpoints on how we collectively represent ourselves as a society. The original Civil War was all about the responsibility of power and should we let our governments control our freedoms even if it meant giving some of them up. This feels like it could be a response to the growing toxicity in our general discourse and how we are in general, very quick to jump on people, things and situations in terms of being “right” or “wrong.”

If you are interested in Marvel’s think-tank writing process the piece is really worth a look. It gives a lot of insight into the dynamics that come into play when Marvel’s top talent have to sit in a room and come up with the next “big thing.” Plus it is worth it just to see in black and white that nothing too bad will happen to Spider-Man this time around! (Although that could be Dan Slott being Dan Slott and prepping us Spidey fans for another fall!)

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Super Crazy Ultimate Spider-Man Sale!

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ComiXology and Marvel decided in the run up to the 200th issue of Ultimate Spider-Man to put on a massive sale of all 199 issues of the series. You can get the entirety of Ultimate Spider-Man, (that’s 199 comics!) digitally for $99.99 (£60.10) through ComiXology’s website in celebration of the series approaching it’s 200th issue.

As ever, you can also link your ComiXology account with the ComiXology and Marvel comics app/websites to read them anywhere and on any supported device.

USM is one of the best ongoing comic book series ever put together and it is all written by one man, Brian Bendis with a host of truly brilliant artists working on the book for long runs too. It is the book that has the most influence on the current Andrew Garfield starring Spider-Man films and is also a comic book series that has brought me to tears multiple times.

The series on a whole is also discounted down to $0.99/£0.69 per issue through the various comics apps on iOS/Android if you need to play catchup or fill in the gaps in your collection.

Seriously go buy it and thank me later!

Link to the ComiXology $99.99 bundle pack.

DC Comics Classics Reviews

Superman Exile

Superman Exile (Dan Jurgens, Jerry Ordway, George Pérez & Roger Stern with Kerry Gammill, Dan Jurgens, Mike Mignola, Jerry Ordway, George Perez & Curt Swan)

Superman Exile has been on my to read list for a long time and thankfully I received a copy of the trade as a stocking filler type Christmas present! I finally got around to reading it the past couple of weeks and it did not disappoint! It is also oddly a very topical read in light of a recent movie that came out to do with the Man of Steel. So yes that does mean I will be talking about that particular film so there will be,

SPOILERS!!!!

You have been warned!

Spoilers to blockbuster films to one side this is a very good read in itself. It is the first major post Byrne-era Superman story, so it is full of the trappings and humanism that John Byrne added to the character with his run on the various Superman titles at the time. So while I may not like the way Byrne handled Superman’s origins for his reboot I did like a lot of other aspects that he changed and introduced. This is a Superman who is actually a person; he has thoughts, feelings, a sense of self and doubts. Y’know just like most people in the world super or not. So if you are not a fan of Superman being a three dimensional character and prefer him on a holier than you pedestal that he can never live up to then this is not the book for you. But if you are a fan of Superman behaving like an actual person in extraordinary circumstances while going through a genuine crisis of faith about himself and his mission then yes, read this book! Read it ASAP!

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The Story Behind Trinity War

I was going to throw up an embed/link to this video on Tuesday but life got in the way (this time it is epic car problems!). Still here it is, a look at Trinity War narrated by writer, Geoff Johns. It is a sort of trailer/story catchup. It is quite interesting really and it gives you a good look at what Geoff has been building up to with Justice League and Justice League of America the past year or so. Personally I’m looking forward to seeing how Trinity War plays out and the first issue of the crossover did not disappoint. (Hint: stuff went down and people on the internet got angry!)

So check it out and if you like the look of it pick up Justice League #22 which came out on Wednesday!

Marvel Infinity Trailer

UPDATE: Marvel UK have released an easily embed-able YouTube version of the trailer!

Original Story:

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I have a soft spot for trailers for comic book events and story lines. They are always cheesy and always exciting. They wet my appetite nicely and it is so infrequent/random as to which books get trailers that it is always a surprise when one comes along.

Infinity is an event that I have been watching the build up to closely. With the advent of Marvel NOW! I decided to give the cosmic side of Marvel’s output a go. I instantly fell in love with the characters and sheer epicness of the cosmic Marvel Universe so this big event bringing the cosmic and the normal together is a big deal for me. It is what Jonathan Hickman has been steadily building towards with his run on Avengers and New Avengers too so the payoff promises to be a big one.

However the most recent Marvel event, Age of Ultron left me a bit cold as it promised so much but failed to deliver on multiple levels. So I am hoping that Infinity sides on the good event book end of the scale rather than the pit reserved for things like Fear Itself among others.

Head to Comic Book Resources to view the trailer!

Awesomeness of the Week

This past week was a light (number wise) but great (content wise) week for comic books, especially of the Batman variety!

Marvel Ultimate Graphic Novel Collection Reviews

Avengers Forever Part 2

Avengers Forever Part 2 (Kurt Busiek & Carlos Pacheco)

Despite finding the first part of Avengers Forever quite enjoyable I found myself struggling with the story’s second half. Like the first part on the whole I enjoyed it. It is just those niggling problems I had with it Part 1 coming to the surface in a big way during the entire length of Part 2. The continuation of the time warping and mind bending tale of a mix’n’match of Avengers from various points in time is a hard thing to take in at the best of times but when I had such a big gap between reading Part 1 and 2 even with the recap at the start of the volume, it became a confusing mess. It still had that big stupid action feel to it but around a third of the way through I had given up on caring about both the overall story and the characters.

For me to not care about either the story or characters when reading a comic is pretty big deal. I find ways to attach myself to even the most despicable characters but in Avengers Forever Part 2 it felt like a pointless endeavour. I knew nothing happening here would matter and I knew that there would not be any real ramifications for the story long term once it finished. I guess that is the problem with these big time travel stories, they always undo themselves right at the end.

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DC Comics Classics Reviews

Kingdom Come

Kingdom Come (Mark Waid & Alex Ross) 

Boy have I been looking forward to re-reading and reviewing this book for your pleasure!

Kingdom Come is one of my all time favourite comics and it is one that has stood the test of time. It goes to some dark places and explores some rather heady subject matter but at the end of the day a sense of hope and a dream of a brighter tomorrow shines throughout the dark. It is a must read for any comics fan, let alone DC Comics fan and it is the perfect book to get non-comic readers engaged in the medium!

This is because it is one of those “grim future” tales where the heroes of your childhood are no longer the same as they once were. The world has lost it innocence and the figures we once held up on pedestals have crumbled and fallen down. Essentially all you need to know to understand this book is who Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman and their associated characters and a couple of other members of the Justice League are. Everything else is there for the hardcore fan to pick out in the background and secondary and tertiary characters are usually introduced with just enough information as to understand who they are and what they stand for. It plays on the power of the DC brand and how well everyone knows their main characters. Everyone knows who Supes, Bats and Wondie are. Everyone who does not read comics has some vague idea of who they are informed from seeing them in other media. Everyone has their “they all do good, all the time” view and expectations of them. This book plays on those expectations to brilliant effect while showing you what is at the core of each of the characters even in this post-crime fighting time period.

It is a main stay in any comic book reader’s collection and it is a joy to read every time I pick it up.

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Awesomeness of the Week

Marvel Ultimate Graphic Novel Collection Reviews

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Secret War (Brian Michael Bendis & Gabriele Dell’Otto)

I have always thought Secret War was an odd event/mini series. A lot and I mean A LOT of important things happen over its five issue run that shaped the Marvel Universe for the foreseeable future. It introduces a host of new SHIELD characters that play huge roles further down the line and as a whole it is an entertaining spy story that just happens to have superheroes in it. Make no mistake though, this book has one purpose, take Nick Fury off the table. Moving Fury off the chess board allows things like Civil War, Secret Invasion and eventually Dark Reign to take place. This is because we all know that if Nick Fury got even a whiff of the Superhuman Registration Act happening he would stop it well before Cap and Iron Man started beating each other up.

It is also an odd book because due to its name you would think it would somehow be tied to the older and more cosmic Secret Wars and Secret Wars II books. Apparently the lack of an “s” makes all the difference. So if you are expecting gods, monsters and battles of cosmic proportions move along. Still apart from standing separately from pretty much everything Marvel was publishing at the time it is interesting because it is all apparently loosely based on the details of highly classified and top secret intelligence operations told to Brian Bendis, the writer, by a un-named high ranking officer during Brian’s childhood. So make of that what you will. Just swap Latveria providing super villains with enhanced technology with anti-American governments arming terrorists and you get the general idea.

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