The Uncanny Avengers, known officially as the Avengers Unity Squad, are trying to bring humans and mutants together in the wake of the big AvX event last year, a war between the Avengers and the X-Men. So far, they are not off to a great start. The Red Skull is trying to mind control a race war into happening, Kang the Conqueror is manipulating things from beyond time itself, a Celestial is dead in Earth orbit, and some very powerful new villains are responsible - if we ever needed the Avengers, it's now!
Now we've talked about Uncanny Avengers before, I reviewed its first issue right here, and in the six intervening issues, it has only gotten better. Writer Rick Remender and artist Daniel Acuna know what makes an Avengers title tick, and make no mistake, this is an Avengers title. Despite the 'Uncanny' before the name, half the membership being X-Men, and having Havok as the team leader - this is the Avengers. I might even go so far as to say that if you're an old school Avengers reader and fan, this is the one book in the franchise that may appeal to you most.
Great superhero action, sinister manipulative villains, intriguing character interaction, together in a comic with Silver Age attitude and a Modern Age vibe - that's what Uncanny Avengers is all about. Issue #7 is on the shelves at All Things Fun! this week, pick up your copy now!
You might know writer Grant Morrison from his recent amazing runs on Action Comics and Batman, or perhaps from Animal Man, JLA, or his bestselling book on comics, Supergods: Our World in the Age of the Superhero. Or you might know his more esoteric work like The Invisibles, Doom Patrol, SeaGuy and We3, or his upcoming DC magnum opus Multiversity. Any way you cut it, you know the name. Grant Morrison is one of the creative movers and shakers in the world of comics. But did you know he doesn't just do superheroes?
Happy! is the deeply noir tale of Nick Sax, an ex-cop turned hit man whose life is in a state of quickly changing and ever-endangering flux. When a hit goes wrong, he's on the run from both the mob and a psycho killer in a Santa Claus suit. And then there's that tiny flying blue horse named Happy that only Nick can see…
Morrison's partner on Happy! is artist Darrick Robertson who most folks might know from The Boys. Like that series, Happy! is mature readers only because of excessive violent, sexual, and language content, so be warned. That said, this is a really terrific collection. This trade from Image Comics collects the first four-issue mini-series and lists at $12.99, and is available at All Things Fun! this week, check it out!
Over at the All Things Fun! New Comics Vidcast, we try to do the best we can, but sometimes we make some mistakes. One such mistake came in our last regular show - we forgot all about the trades of the week, and one of them was a biggie, or at least to me it was a biggie - Guardians of the Galaxy: Tomorrow's Avengers. This trade comes in two volumes, and they are both on sale at, where else, All Things Fun!.
Now, for most of you out there, when I say 'Guardians of the Galaxy,' you're thinking, oh cool, Star-Lord, Rocket Racoon, Groot, the new Brian Michael Bendis comic, and big budget Marvel movie next summer, right? Well, this ain't them. Those are the characters who took the name and ran with it. I'm talking about the originals.
In 1969 Doom Patrol and Deadman creator Arnold Drake, along with noted Silver Age artist Gene Colon, himself famous for his Daredevil, Iron Man, and Tomb of Dracula work, took a look at the Marvel Comics Universe in the 30th century. If that time sounds familiar, yeah, it was a direct shot to counter DC Comics' success with the Legion of Super-Heroes, also set one thousand years in the future.
Introduced in Marvel Super Heroes #18, we were introduced to a new superhero team, one composed of humans who had evolved for survival on different planets that Earth had colonized in the last hundred years. Led by thousand year old astronaut Vance Astro, who along with telekinetic powers and the inspiration of the heroes of today's world, leads this team against the alien Badoon, who have conquered the Earth.
The original members included Charlie-27 of Jupiter, made bigger and stronger by that planet's oppressive size and gravity. There was also Martinex, a crystalline being from Pluto, and Yondu, and weapons master from Alpha Centauri. They were quickly joined by flame-haired Nikki from Mercury, and the mysterious cosmic being Starhawk.
The team fought the Badoon across the backdrop of more than a few Marvel titles before defeating them and freeing the Earth with the help of the time-tossed Defenders. Saving the Earth was easy however, compared to what came next…
A new foe rose from the ashes to take over the 31st century Earth after that. He was part-man and part-machine, named Michael Korvac, a collaborator in the Badoon invasion. Korvac was really nobody until he fled to the twentieth century. There, he tried to download some of Galactus' technology, a stunt that embued him with the Power Cosmic. Now he was somebody. Korvac became one of the most powerful beings in the universe, calling himself alternately Korvac, Michael, and The Enemy.
His master plan originally was to erase the Guardians of the Galaxy from the timeline by killing Vance Astro as a child. The Guardians followed him back in time, and enlisted the Avengers to protect the young boy. Long story short, he decided that universal conquest was a better goal, and when the Avengers and Guardians tried to stop him, he killed them. Yeah, he was that powerful. You can read that story in The Korvac Saga, also available from All Things Fun!.
These are some of the tales that are included in volumes one and two of Guardians of the Galaxy: Tomorrow's Avengers. It is a whole new world of Marvel Comics action and adventure, and one that eventually inspired the latest incarnation of the team, the one that will be featured in next summer's sure-to-be-hit movie.
That movie, it should be noted, might have more to do with the original Guardians of the Galaxy than we thought. Michael Rooker, of "The Walking Dead" fame, just got cast …as Yondu. I guess we'll just have to wait and see!
Yeah, it's a kids book. Usually this kind of stuff Allison handles, and I get the scary mature readers only comics. But when this comic dropped into my lap, it was just too much fun to resist. Batman: Li'l Gotham is great!
Written by Dustin Nguyen and Derek Fridolfs, with moody but kid-friendly cartoonish art by Nguyen, Batman: Li'l Gotham is the perfect counterpoint and companion to DC's other kids favorite Superman Family Adventures by Franco and Art Baltazar (who also brought us Tiny Titans). Nguyen and Fridolfs brings us two relatively in-continuity tales of autumn holidays, Halloween and Thanksgiving.
There is lots of fun stuff here for both adults and kids of all ages. Batman teaches Damian about Halloween and the Penguin attacks the Thanksgiving Day Parade. It's almost a wonderful throwback to the good old days when heroes didn't have to die and world was always in peril - just fun adventure.
And I loved the Halloween full page with the Golden and Silver Age Flashes holding hands, Darkseid chilling with a Slurpee, and Hush and a mummy checking each other out. Didn't I tell you this was fun?
Batman: Li'l Gotham #1 is on sale this week at All Things Fun!, make sure you get down there and pick up your copy today. Originally only available digital, here's your chance to have a copy of your very own, to hold in your hands, and share with your family.
The newest jewel in the Marvel NOW! crown is the new series of Guardians of the Galaxy by the power duo of writer Brian Michael Bendis and artist Steve McNiven. Bendis is coming off of a decade plus old run on the Avengers franchise, as well as Ultimate Spider-Man and Marvel NOW!'s All-New X-Men, and McNiven is the artist who dazzled us on New Avengers, and the legendary Civil War. And they aren't the only reasons Guardians of the Galaxy is so hot.
For those not in the know, Guardians of the Galaxy is headed to the big screen in 2014 with a cast that already includes Chris Pratt and Dave Bautista. Here's your chance to get in on the excitement early with a number one issue that is a terrific jumping-on point for new readers. Marvel Comics superstar Iron Man joins the Guardians just as the Earth has been made a target for invaders from space. And it only gets better from there.
For more adventures of these classic Marvel cosmic characters including Star-Lord, Drax the Destroyer, Gamora, Groot, Iron Man, and of course, Rocket Racoon - get on down to All Things Fun! and pick up Guardians of the Galaxy #1, on sale this week!
Dark Horse Comics has had the license to make comics based on Star Wars for over two decades, but I have to confess it's flown over or under my radar for the most part. That's not because I'm not a Star Wars fan, no, not at all, it's because I'm an original Star Wars fan.
Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Darth Vader in armor and breathing mask, Princess Leia, Chewbacca, and even Boba Fett - that's what Star Wars is to me. If it's not those first three movies, I'm sorry, I just don't get it. The majority of the Dark Horse SW books have seemed to be new characters, stuff from other movies or media, or just barely on the fringes of the universe I know. Nothing personal, DH, it just didn't grab me.
That said, a recent offering has gotten my attention, my full attention. A title called Star Wars, no subtitles, no adjectives, and solely about the characters I knew, debuted three months ago. Star Wars #3, written by Brian Wood with art by Carlos D'Anda, brings us to a SW universe shortly after the events of that first classic movie A New Hope.
From the first few pages, this old school Star Wars fan was hooked. Princess Leia and Luke Skywalker are at odds over a new squadron of X-Wings and finding a traitor in their ranks. Meanwhile, Han Solo and Chewie are off on their next big adventure, and it starts with a bang!
Great story and art, not to mention full-on nostalgic excitement, highlight this great jumping on point for new readers. Star Wars #3 from Dark Horse Comics is on sale this week at All Things Fun!, just look for the fantastic Alex Ross cover!
You've heard me ramble on about Ultron before, mostly here and here, and even a little bit here. Really, when you're talking about the Avengers, there's no getting around the topic of Ultron. With Ultron, it's not just about eliminating mankind to usher in a machine age - with Ultron, it's personal… because he's family.
Ultron was created by one of the original Avengers, Hank Pym, whom he calls 'father,' and he is in love with another, the Wasp, whom he calls 'mother,' and finally, he himself (itself?) created the Avenger known as the Vision, whom he calls 'son.' Oh yeah, it's a messed little Oedipus complex he has going there. And he pretty much wants them all, and the Avengers, and mankind exterminated.
In Age of Ultron #1, the first issue of the maxi-series crossover event by writer Brian Michael Bendis and artist Bryan Hitch, the worst thing that could possibly happen, happens. Ultron wins. He gets what he's been after. Let's let that sink in a little bit. Ultron wins.
In a world where Ultron rules the planet, where are the Avengers? On the run, and in hiding. Who will stop Ultron now? Find out in Age of Ultron: Book One, now on sale at All Things Fun!. Be sure to get in on the ground floor of what is sure to be the comics event of 2013, and watch your back, Ultron is everywhere!
Unless you're a comics fan who's been living under a rock for a month or two, you know the status quo for Spider-Man. Peter Parker is dead, and Doctor Otto Octavius, his mind in Peter's body, is Spider-Man. But he's a new Spidey, a superior Spider-Man. Doc Ock is finding ways of doing things more efficiently, and folks like it. Last issue he trashed the new Sinister Six soundly, and this issue, well, I'll let you read it and find out.
The good news is that Doc Ock is actually doing a fairly good job. He has found good use for his and Peter's scientific talents, and his motivations, as Spider-Man at least, are thoughtful and for the better good. There's further good news that Peter Parker is still in there in his head, just unable to do anything - sort of a living hell for him. Because of the bad news.
The bad news is that old Otto has set his sights on Mary Jane Watson, in a less than chivalrous or romantic way. In Superior Spider-Man #2, writer Dan Slott and artist Ryan Stegman have turned the book into a horror comic. We watch as Peter must watch date after date. It's torture for our hero, and torture for the reader who knows who is really who. Poor Mary Jane!
Dan Slott, on the last few years on this character has spun some of the best stories of his career, and it continues here. Do not miss Superior Spider-Man #2, available at All Things Fun!.
By Allison Eckel
The Young Avengers is getting another chance to assemble as their new book, part of the Marvel Now! initiative and written by Kieron Gillen, hits shelves this week. Gillen offers this insight into one of his goals with this series:
"Young Avengers in its first incarnation was about being sixteen. This Young Avengers is about being eighteen. The difference is telling and profound. At sixteen, it's still about wanting to be in the adult world. At eighteen, it's about being in the adult world whether you want to or not."
Rather than lengthy introductions to the six main characters (Loki, Wiccan, Hulkling, Kate Bishop/Hawkeye, Noh-Varr, and Miss America) or any exposition on why they should team up, the issue drops us into their day, from "morning after" confessions to Loki skipping out on his diner tab. This way, we get a sense of who they are, but are left wanting more from issue #2.
I enjoy books about teen-aged teams, and I suspect I will enjoy this one too. The challenge, I think, is navigating the teammate romance plot lines. Issue #1 sets up two of them, one causal and new, the other long-established. The new one is kept light and fun. The established romance, was given an inordinate amount of weight to set up a story arc. As long as Wiccan and Hulkling are not always sappy and cloying, this will be a great book.
This issue also includes Marvel Comic's new Augmented Reality feature for readers with cameras on their phones.
Look for Young Avengers #1 on the top shelf of All Things Fun, in the Avengers section.
By Allison Eckel
Finding Gossamyr from Th3rd World Studios is a a great all-ages, high fantasy comic, now on issue three. This is the story of siblings Jenna and Denny and how Denny's special abilities get them trapped in the fantastic land of Gossamyr, where math is magic.
When I read the Free Comic Book Day premier of this title, I was nervous. "Denny's special abilities" are similar to Autism, though that is not directly stated. But his scary smart ability in math is treated a little like a super power. I was ready to discount this book as another "Autism Bandwagon" project, like so many recent books and T.V. shows.
To his credit, writer David Rodriquez does not dwell on Denny's condition, other than to use it as both plot and character device. Denny solves the most difficult math problem in the world, which opens a portal to Gossamyr, where complex algorithms and mathematical theorems carry magical powers. Jenna never wanted to be Denny's caretaker, but stepped up anyway and now finds herself trying to keep them both alive amid strange creatures and alien cultures.
Finding Gossamyr succeeds in telling an exciting high-fantasy story that is still all-ages-friendly. And I love Sarah Ellerton's beautiful artwork. Chapter 4 is expected in March, and the company is developing a math game app called The Magic Number. Very exciting.