Monday, July 27, 2015

Toaster's Ramblings - The Convergance of the Secret Wars (or How Marvel and DC Had the Same Summer Event)

It seems that Marvel and DC both have pretty much run the same storyline event for the summer. Both Secret Wars and Convergence deal with time and reality getting smashed together into a jumbled mess of different characters from different worlds, where they all fight and eventually everything gets (sort of but not really) rebooted. I do find it amusing that DC has had the New 52 around less than five years and already needs to do a "soft" reboot. (A soft reboot, by the way, is when some parts of a universe get a fresh start while others continue on as normal.) Now maybe it was just a coincidence that both comic companies ran similar events, but I doubt it. Marvel has apparently been working on Secret Wars for five years, while reviews suggest that Convergence felt rushed in many ways. DC probably got wind of what Marvel was planning and set out to do their own version and release it a few months early (Convergence started this past Spring and is already over. Secret Wars is currently ongoing.)

Honestly, I haven't been following either event. Five dollars an issue for Secret Wars is too much, I would rather wait for a trade edition. As for DC, I'm pretty much done with them. Not only have I grown to hate the New 52, but DC decided to implement a new way of placing advertising into their comic books...

DC You? More like DC... You Suck!

Yeah, so as long as that ridiculous shit is going on, I'm out. If Marvel does it too, I'll be done with them as well. I don't mind a page add, or even a two-page add, but I will not share comic book art and storyline on the same page as an advertisement. That's bullshit. Not only does it take you out of the story, but it is disrespectful to the very medium of comic book art. Imagine if instead of specific commercial breaks on television, commercials randomly play in the middle of your show. Let's say you're watching CW's Arrow and Ollie is about to fight Deathstroke and just as the first punch is thrown, we cut to a Clearasil commercial, then go back to the punch in mid-swing. It would kind of piss you off, now wouldn't it? Well, split-page ads piss me off just the same way.

I don't really know what the post-Convergence DC universe looks like, but the Marvel one is interesting. First of all, much of the pre-Secret Wars developments remain intact. Falcon is still the new Captain America and Steve Rogers is still old. Thor is still a woman (Jane Foster). Wolverine is still dead. The Fantastic Four, as a team, is also dead with Human Torch hanging out with the Inhumans and Thing the new pilot for the Guardians of the Galaxy. I'm not really sure where Mr. Fantastic and Invisible Woman will end up, though the latter was an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. before the event.

The list of the post-Secret Wars title launches has been released and while some really don't interest me at all, others are quite intriguing. Here are my thoughts on the upcoming books:

A-Force #1 - AKA the "female Avengers." Seems a little on the nose to me. "You want more gender diversity? Have an entire book of woman Avengers!" It almost borderlines on gimmicky to me. I will say that there seem to be far more women Avengers than their were in the 90's when most seemed to be female versions of popular male heroes (She-Hulk, Spider-woman), but that may just be due to the fact that in the last 10 years, EVERYONE seems to be an Avenger. I also wonder, who will a team of female Avengers fight? Will they face female villains? How many female villains does Marvel have that are an Avengers level threat? I might thumb through the first issue to see what this book is like, but I don't expect much.

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. #1 - I don't watch the show, why would I read the comic?

All-New All-Different Avengers #1 - I might actually get a subscription to this one. I like the younger line-up of Nova (Sam Alexander), Ms. Marvel and Spider-man (Miles Morales) contrasted with veterans like "Falcon America," Jane Foster Thor, Iron Man and Vision. It has a Young Justice vibe to it.

All-New Wolverine #1 - While it's interesting that X-23 is the new Wolverine, I doubt I will buy the book.

All-New X-Men #1-  So are they still the original X-men from the 60's (or whenever they're supposed to come from, something tells me the present Cyclops isn't in his mid-50's)? I don't know. I didn't read the book before and I'm pretty sure I won't read it now. It seems like the novelty of young versions running around with their older counterparts would have worn off by now.

Amazing Spider-Man #1 - I'm guessing this is the Peter Parker Spider-man since Miles Morales has the non-adjective Spider-man book. I don't know... I might look at it. Maybe it will be unique. I doubt I will buy it, though.

Angela: Asgard’s Assassin #1 - I liked when Angela was time-displaced and hung out with the Guardians of the Galaxy, having a friendly rivalry with Gamora. Then for some reason it was revealed she was Asgardian... which is weird. I guess Marvel wanted to start over with her back-story, but I would have preferred that she is the same character from Spawn that now is stuck in the 616 universe... and occasionally alludes to her former life. I'm just not sure I care about her as Asgard's assassin... the Asgardians already have Sif and the Jane Foster Thor... I might flip through the book, but I doubt I will be impressed.

Ant-Man #1 - Never been much of an Ant-man fan. The whole shrinking thing never seemed that useful unless you are evil (like Atomica in Forever Evil). Then you can scramble people's brains or enter their body and grow to normal size so your victim pops like a balloon. But commanding an army of ants? Um... I guess you could get them to bring you all the loose change on the ground for miles around. I guess there are actual uses in espionage, but I never really cared. I doubt I will pick up this book.

Captain Marvel #1 - I'm glad that Carol Danvers is getting her due as Marvel's elite super heroine. However, I haven't read any of her books so far. Not sure if I will start here, either.

Carnage #1 - I don't get the point of this one. Is Carnage still a serial killing monster or are they trying to make him a hero now? Either way, I'm not sure it will work as an ongoing series.

Contest of Champions #1 - Place your bets now about how long this book will last! If the writer's are smart, there will be an end point, like with Avengers Arena. This is not a premise that will last long.

Daredevil #1 - I might flip through this book. I loved the Netflix series (who didn't?) and am curious if Marvel will try to make the comic more like the show. I think Daredevil is in serious need of new villains, good new villains. Most of his villains are lame. They can't just keep going back to Kingpin and Bullseye. Like I said, I will give it a once over, but I'm not expecting much.

Deadpool #1 - I like Deadpool and as such will probably get this book. The writers, however, have big shoes to fill. The previous volume's writing team, including comedian Brian Posehn, made a really good run full of hilarity, some genius moments (the various "lost" throwback issues of Daredevil from decades past), and a great supporting crew including ghost Ben Franklin.

Doctor Strange #1 - Maybe the film will give me new appreciation for the Sorceror Supreme, but it won't be in time for me to start reading this book.
Drax #1 - I will check this book out for one reason... former WWE star CM Punk is co-writing. It doesn't guarantee that the book will be any good, but like with any celebrity writer, it's worth a look.

Extraordinary X-Men #1 - Good news... in addition to being Uncanny, All-New, All-Different, Extreme and Astonishing, the X-men are also Extraordinary. It has an interesting line-up with Colossus, Iceman, Jean Grey (from the past), Nightcrawler (whom I thought was dead), Magik, Storm and Old Man Logan... because Marvel is really serious about Wolverine staying dead. Will Jean Grey discuss with the Iceman of the present about how his past version is gay? Only time will tell. I might glance at this book, but I'm not expecting anything "extraordinary." (see what I did there? I'm clever.)

Guardians of the Galaxy #1 - I was reading the previous run and loved the Abnett/Lanning run that has inspired a new age for Marvel's space universe and renewed love for many forgotten characters. (Ten years ago, did you think you would see a movie starring Star-Lord? Did you even know who the hell Star-Lord was? My point exactly.) Brian Michael Bendis is still writing this new volume, but I guess now Rocket Raccoon is the leader and Thing is the new pilot. And Star-Lord is a woman. I'm game, why not?

Hawkeye #1 - The only time I ever read a Hawkeye book was when he led The Thunderbolts way back when. I'm okay with leaving it that way. If I need my bow and arrow fix, CW's got me covered.

Howard the Duck #1 - Um... no.

Howling Commandos of S.H.I.E.L.D. #1 - This one will be among the first wave of cancellations, mark my words. Unless they go back in time to fight Nazis with the real Howling Commandos... that I would check out.

Illuminati #1 - What is the purpose of a book about the elitist secret club of Marvel? Do they fight as a team? Are they a team? Do I care? I can answer one of those questions.

Invincible Iron Man #1 - I might glance at this book. Here's the thing, I love the movie version of Tony Stark, because Robert Downey Jr. gives the character a great deal of wit and fast comedic timing, because if not for those, let's be honest, we would all think Tony Stark was a self-righteous prick. Well, the Tony Stark of the comics, even after the debut of the first Iron Man movie, is a self-righteous prick. However, I did enjoy Tony Stark during his brief tenure with the Guardians of the Galaxy. Why? Because Brian Michael Bendis writes Tony as witty and fun. So, since he's writing this book, I will give it a look.

Karnak #1 - The only reason I'm going to check out this book is because Warren Ellis is the writer. I expect I'm not the only one who shares that sentiment.

The Mighty Thor #1 - Is this still Jane Foster Thor? That's cool. I didn't read her book before Secret Wars, why mess with success?

Ms. Marvel #1 - I missed the boat on this book. I've heard great things and will probably check out trades of the previous volume. As such, I might thumb through this new volume.

New Avengers #1 - Not sure why they didn't just call this A.I.M.: Avengers Idea Mechanics. This line-up is crazy. The team is led by Sunspot and features Wiccan, Hulkling, Squirrel-girl, Hawkeye, Power Man, White Tiger and Songbird. I may have to check this book out based on the line-up alone. However, I am not confident on this book's success.

Nova #1 - I love Nova. I was a fan of Richard Ryder. I came to love Sam Alexander was well. The cover of this new book shows Sam in his Black Nova get-up with an adult dressed in classic Nova Corp attire. My question is... is that adult Sam's dad or Ryder back from the dead? (Really hoping for the latter.) This is one book I will be picking up.

Old Man Logan #1 - So what, is Old Man Logan now in the 616 Marvel universe? Do I care? Not really.

Sam Wilson, Captain America #1 - I'll be honest, the only time I ever gave a shit about Falcon was in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. I don't really get why he is Captain America. Does he have the Super Soldier Serum? Otherwise he's Falcon with a shield. I'm still not really giving a shit.

Silk #1 - I know nothing about this character except she is somehow connected to the "Spider-verse" which I guess is a thing now. Is their also a Hawkeye-verse and a Paste-Pot Pete-verse?

Scarlet Witch #1 - I've never been a big Scarlet Witch fan, so... yeah.

Spider-Gwen #1 - She's got a following, but I've never read anything about the alternate reality Gwen that got powers. It's still part of the Spider-verse. I want to read a book about the Groot-verse!

Spider-Man #1 - I think it's cool that Miles Morales will be the main Spider-man after Secret Wars. He's a great character that allows Marvel to explore Spider-man in high school again without resorting to deals with Mephisto or de-aging Peter Parker. Best of all, Miles' creator, Brain Michael Bendis, is writing the book. I might check this book out... partly to know how Miles came to be in the 616 universe when Parker is still alive (unless he's the same from the Ultimate universe and just "displaced"). I'm not always on board with Bendis, but he does to Spider-man really well.

Spider-Man 2099 #1 - Way back in the day I actually had a subscription of Spider-man 2099 mailed to my house (the town I was raised in was without a comic shop of it's own). The book was only okay, primarily for a lack of great, memorable villains. I mean, Spider-man has the best rogues gallery of any hero in the Marvel universe, yet his counter-part from a hundred years in the future really didn't have many to speak of. I'm actually having a tough time remembering any beyond 2099 versions of Vulture and Venom. There was a cyborg bounty hunter whose name escapes me and some guy named Thanatos that looked like a Roman gladiator (no, his skin wasn't purple, I don't think he had anything to do with that Thanos). I think the new book takes place in the 616 universe, so I guess he can borrow current Spider-man villains. I doubt I'll read the book... I might flip through it out of curiosity. I like his costume at least.

Spider-Woman #1 - Never cared for Spider-woman. I'll pass.

Squadron Supreme #1 - I might check this one out. It could be interesting... or it could be a waste of time. It's a real toss-up.

Star-Lord #1 - Why is Star-Lord a woman? I thought I saw cover art that showed the character with a feminine body. But then I saw another where he was wearing his trademark mask while wearing an astronaut outfit and a "Quill" name badge... so I have no idea what is going on. I might flip through the book to see if they answer it, but I doubt I'll care enough to buy the comic.

The Totally Awesome Hulk #1 - Is the Hulk "totally awesome" now? He has been Incredible and Invincible and... red. Why is he awesome? I guess he may be someone other than Bruce Banner. After Red Hulk, Skaar, A-Bomb, She-Hulk and Red She-Hulk, that's just what we needed. As long as he's "totally awesome."

Web Warriors #1 - So it's another book based on the Spider-verse, but this time loosely affiliated with a cartoon? I don't get it.

Ultimates #1 - So it's a book with nothing to do with the Ultimate universe. It's just an Avengers book under a different name. It has Black Panther, the current Captain Marvel, the past Captain Marvel (Monica Rambeau) as Spectrum, and Blue Marvel... a character that a month ago I had never heard of. Might glance at it, but I am doubtful I'll buy it. 

Uncanny Avengers #1 - So this book is kind of odd for me. Initially, I loved the book. It fulfilled that craving I had for super teams fighting massive threats, first with the Red Skull, then against the Apocalypse Twins. Then, the book got weird. Havok, one of my favorite X-men, got disfigured... like on a Two-Face level. Wolverine lost his healing factor and would soon be dead, Steve Rogers was old, Rogue had absorbed Wonder Man... then after the Red Onslaught storyline, the entire line-up changed (save for Scarlet Witch and Rogue). I wanted to like the new line-up. It had Quicksilver, whom I haven't read in a book since X-Factor and there was Sabretooth, seeking redemption. However, the team focused all of it's time fighting the High Evolutionary... a character I've never really cared for. Plus, we were treated to the old Avengers soap opera from back in the day that led to my hating the book and team... the bizarre love triangle (obligatory New Order reference) of Scarlet Witch, Vision and Wonder Man. Ugh... so stupid. This new book once again has a new line-up adding Spider-man, Human Torch, some new chick named Synapse and Deadpool. I will give the book another shot.

Uncanny Inhumans #1 - I've never been huge on the Inhumans. I like them as part of the overall Marvel universe, but not for their own stories and drama. I doubt I will get this book.

Uncanny X-Men #1- This is a book that intrigues me. It has Magneto leading a team with Psylocke, Mystique, Fantomex and Sabretooth... with some other as yet to be revealed mutants. It's like a Brotherhood of Mutants team under the X-men banner. I will definitely check this one out.

Venom: Spaceknight #1 - I doubt this book will last. Despite the popularity of the character, a Venom-centric book has never been a big hit. I do like the reinvention of the character with host Flash Thompson. Instead of a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent, this is apparently continuing his space adventures since joining the Guardians of the Galaxy. But what's this "spacknight" thing? Is that like Rom the Spaceknight? It might be interesting, but I have my doubts about the book's future. I will give it a once-over however.

The Vision #1 - Remember how I said I was never a Scarlet Witch fan? The same applies to Vision. The two of them made an awful soap opera storyline for so long... I hated the Avengers for years because of them. 

So yeah. I will have some new Marvel comics to check out and will avoid DC like the plague.  Time will tell whether this will improve the Marvel Universe, or make it more convoluted, or have no effect at all. I'm just glad they haven't gone the New 52 route and rebooted everything. I think at that point I just would have been done with comics... except indies. Come to think of it, I should check out indie books more often. Valiant's been looking pretty good lately. 

Until next time, Stay Strange!

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