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!
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!
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!
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!
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 Glenn Walker
Remember that time, way back in the Avengers Bendis-verse when the most powerful beings on Marvel Earth got together and decided they needed to stand in the shadows and run things for everyone else? You had Reed (Mr. Fantastic) Richards, Professor X, Tony (Iron Man) Stark, Prince Namor the Sub-Mariner, Black Bolt, Doctor Strange, and the Black Panther - and they called themselves, ominously enough, the Illuminati. It was a step in what they considered the right direction, a way to prevent misunderstandings between various super-teams, between nations, and to unify forces when Earth itself was attacked.
As shown on the first page of the brand new New Avengers #1, part of the Marvel NOW! initiative, by writer Jonathan Hickman and artist Steve Epting, the Black Panther immediately thought it was a bad idea, and he bailed on the first meeting. Turns out the Panther was right, as this Illuminati failed to function during the Skrull Secret Invasion, and it certainly didn't stop this past year's battle to end all battles, Avengers Vs. X-Men. Now, however, in this issue, the Black Panther needs them.
Hickman and Epting produce, in New Avengers #1 (the third first issue of this title in a decade, I think), one of the best Black Panther stories I've read in a while. Now I'm a sucker for the Black Panther, and I love him in the Avengers, because there he embodies the perfect melding of Batman-like fighting prowess, scientific know-how, superhero pro-activity, and that classy regal-ness that running one of the world's most highly advanced civilizations brings with it. Gotta love the Panther. Usually will get one or two of these qualities, but Hickman gets it. This is the Black Panther done right.
Artist Steve Epting is also a star here. As an old school Avengers fan, I loved his art on the title back in the 1990s, and when I next saw his work, it was much tighter and smoother as he worked with Ed Brubaker on the now legendary Captain America series of the last decade. A peek back a year or so at Fantastic Four proves how well he works with Hickman as well. Here in New Avengers, he delivers his best work so far in my opinion.
Together the two spin a tale of the Black Panther and his Wakandan scientists as they discover a gateway to another planet, where dangerous forces seek to destroy the Earth, and possibly all Earths. Hey, who you gonna call? The Illuminati, of course. This is an awesome comic, and one of my picks for the week. Special bonus, there are even clues here to the origins of one of the new members over in Hickman's Marvel NOW! Avengers. New Avengers #1, on the shelves at All Things Fun!, and other comic shops (but ATF! is the best!). Do not miss!
By Glenn Walker
Christmas decorations are everywhere, Christmas music is on the radio, everyone is running from store to store to get all the good bargains. Yes, it's that time of year again - it's time to spend time with the family, whether you like it or not.
The holiday season is here, and the holidays are all about family. The Avengers is my favorite superhero team, and in a way, they are a family of sorts. In my opinion, the Avengers has always worked better as soap opera in superhero trappings, after all, superhero comics are the bastard stepchild of mythology and soap opera. The problem is, when you get right down to the roots, the Avengers family tree is rather twisted and dysfunctional. What better time to explore this nest of incest and insanity than the holidays, right?
Let's start with the team's inaugural couple, and while they are no longer officially or romantically still together (depending on the writer), Dr. Henry Pym (known alternately as Ant-Man, Giant-Man, Goliath, Yellowjacket, Doctor Pym, or the Wasp) and Janet Van Dyne, the original and best known Wasp, have had no children, and yet they leave quite a family legacy.
Pym created an artificial intelligence called Ultron, soon to be the big bad in the next big Marvel crossover event, who would become the Earth's Mightiest Heroes' deadliest foe. This machine menace wanted only two things, the complete and total eradication of the human race… and daddy's love. Hank was not forthcoming, leading to an Oedipal complex of catastrophic proportions. I'm being vague, and sarcastic, but trust me, this covers it.
Ultron considered Pym his father, and in a twisted way, that made the Wasp his mother. Since it's likely Ultron was programmed with Pym's brain patterns, he wanted his mother, and eventually, rather than 'have' her, he created a bride of his own - the aptly named Jocasta, a machine woman programmed with Janet's brain patterns. Jocasta would eventually turn against her master, join the Avengers, and creepily become enamored with Hank Pym. Ew.
It gets worse. In an attempt to be more like his own 'father,' Ultron endeavored to become a father himself, and created the Vision. While more of a reactivation than a creation, Ultron still would call the Vision his 'son' for decades.
Of course, that's not the machine monster's only son. Each time Ultron rebuilt himself, he gave himself a number designation. The Ultron Mark 12 seemed to have gained some form of evolution and wanted to be a good son to Pym. Unfortunately (or unfortunately, depending on your outlook), this model sacrificed itself to save the Avengers from a resurrected Ultron-11.
Speaking of the Vision, he is another source of incest and conflict in the Avengers family. I've talked before on this blog about his romance with the Scarlet Witch, their marriage, their children, her breakdown, and then how she tried to destroy the whole team.
If that's not enough to make things uncomfortable at holiday dinner, there's also Wonder Man. His brain patterns were originally used to program the Vision, he fell for the Scarlet Witch, and his first and last encounters with the team have involved trying to destroy them. I'm sensing a theme here…
The Vision isn't innocent here either when it comes to relationships outside of Wanda either. He's also been involved with Mantis, Stature, and the aforementioned Jocasta as well. If that's not difficult enough, imagine the Vision sitting at the same table with Wonder Man, with whom he has shared a mind, and the original Human Torch, with whom he has shared an android body. Go ahead, just imagine the small talk.
Let's talk about the Scarlet Witch's family a little bit now. There are her two children, Young Avengers Wiccan and Speed, whose continuity are better left untouched, especially if you're running low on Tylenol. There's also her brother, fellow Avenger Quicksilver, and of course her dear old dad, arch-foe and sometimes ally of the X-Men, Magneto. Mags notably enslaved Wanda and her brother as members of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, and has also battled the Avengers more times than this vast storehouse of useless comics knowledge can count.
Quicksilver eventually left the Avengers for a time because he resented his sister's love for the Vision, because he was a machine. Imagine that, a racist mutant. He then fell for Crystal of the Inhumans. Hmmm… sounds like someone could use an attitude adjustment. It's okay though, karma is a bitch, just like his wife Crystal, herself a jilted romance of the Human Torch, she eventually found solace in the arms of fellow Avenger, the Black Knight.
If you want to talk about relationship hopping, no one does it like the Black Widow. She was originally one of Iron Man's enemies, who reformed along with erstwhile romance Hawkeye, to join the team. When she was later briefly rejected by Daredevil, she finally joined the Avengers before going back to him. Notably, her ex-husband, the Red Guardian fought the Avengers on occasion. She's had close relationships with Captain America, Hercules, and is currently with Winter Soldier. Is your scorecard filled up yet? Turn it over, there's more.
Speaking of villains who have reformed, especially after fighting the Avengers, there's the original Thunderbolts, who were also the same Masters of Evil team who attacked the Mansion and nearly beat Jarvis and Hercules to death. Just sayin'. Hawkeye later led that team. There's also the Swordsman, who spent most of his career as an enemy of the Avengers before joining the team. Just for the record, he trained Hawkeye, and also brought Mantis onto the team.
And then there's Kang. Like the other Avengers greatest foe, Ultron, Kang the Conqueror is also family, although we're not sure exactly how. Kang is many people, due to the vagaries of time travel and the paradoxes involved, he's also Rama Tut, Immortus, the Scarlet Centurion, possibly even the Justice League of America foe the Lord of Time, and many, many alternate versions of himself. But the arguing point is who was he originally?
For decades the conventional wisdom at Marvel Comics suggested that Kang was Nathaniel Richards, but that might not be completely or even still correct. You know how comic book continuity changes every other day. Since the brilliant and award winning Young Avengers series by Allan Heinberg, there is much speculation that he may in fact be Iron Man or a descendent of Tony Stark. I bet that makes Hank Pym feel better about his sins.
Kang has other more sinister relationships with Avengers though. In the infamous Avengers #200, Immortus, a version of Kang, kidnapped Carol Danvers - then known as Ms. Marvel, now known as Captain Marvel - and took her to his home in Limbo, brainwashed her, impregnated her, returned her to Earth, and then she (I'm not making this up) gave birth to him, whereupon he swept her off her feet and returned with her to Limbo to supposedly live happily ever after. And for the most part, the Avengers let him get away with it. This dark point in comics history is known as The Rape of Ms. Marvel.
You think it's rough with your family, be glad you're not having a holiday dinner with the Avengers family. Yeah, imagine what's going on at that holiday dinner table. Ya gotta admit, the conversation is going to be interesting… at least before combat breaks out. As I said, I love the Avengers, but man, they are soooo not the kind of family I would want to sit down with for the holidays...
By Glenn Walker
How do you follow up a blockbuster maxi-series like AvsX where the Avengers fight the X-Men? How about a title where they be nice to each other? It may sound like I'm kidding here, but that's exactly what Marvel Comics is doing with this two huge franchises.
In A+X, Marvel has created a fun team-up book seemingly in the spirit of the successful Avenging Spider-Man. In each issue of A+X, we'll see an Avenger and an X-Man teamed together fighting a common foe. It is sort of like the complete opposite of AvsX's companion title Vs. that featured them fighting each other.
A+X #1 starts with a bang, with two stories and Avengers and X-Men teaming up, both by creative superstars of the moment. The first story has the World War II vintage Captain America and Bucky working together with the time-traveling Cable by writer Dan Slott from Amazing Spider-Man and artist Ron Garney, who has done his share of Cap tales in the past.
The second story turns a Marvel classic on its head. In Wolverine's first comics appearance, he fought the Hulk, now the two must team up and work together to defeat… future versions of themselves! This one's by writer Jeph Loeb and an artist whose well known for his work on the green goliath, Dale Keown!
Don't miss this great double-shot of time travelling goodness featuring Avengers and X-Men on the same side for a change. A+X #1 from Marvel Comics is on sale this week from All Things Fun! Get your copy today!
By Glenn Walker
Those of you who don't know might be asking, What is nerdcore? The phenomenon probably dates back to filking at science fiction conventions back in the sixties and seventies, and it probably caught real fire with the wizard rock that accompanied the Harry Potter books and movies this century, but nerdcore is a music trend not likely to go away any time soon. Now nerdcore bands and performers sometimes headline comics and scifi conventions.
What is it though? It's music for nerds by nerds. It is usually hip-hop, rap and/or rock, with lyrics that would be meaningless to most folks, but genre relevant to fanboys and fangirls alike. What follows is just a sampling of some of my favorites, as well the leaders in the nerdcore field.
One of the originals on the scene was MC Frontalot. His first album from 2005 pretty much coined the term nerdcore with its title, Nerdcore Rising, and he's been the official rapper of the Penny Arcade webcomic website since 2002. Here's my favorite Frontalot tune, "Spoiler Alert."
Oh, and this video, as well as the other videos and songs in this blog entry, is probably not work or family safe. You've been warned.
Schaffer The Dark Lord is another favorite of mine. He performed at the New York Comic Con last week, hope you got to see him if you were there. My favorite STD tunes are "Supervillain" and "Nerd Lust," but there are no videos for them, so here is his "The Rappist."
And just don't you think that all nerdcore is about rap and hip hop, there's nerd rockers Kirby Krackle. Here's "Ring Capacity," which I think if it was included in a certain movie from a couple years ago, that flick would've been a huge hit.
My absolute favorite nerdcore artist I saved for last. Adam WarRock is the man. I first discovered him a couple years back when he was giving tracks away free on his blog/website (which he still does from time to time). He put out a free EP about the West Coast Avengers, and from that moment, I was irrevocably hooked. He's done songs about Chew, "Game of Thrones," "Doctor Who," the whole Marvel Universe, and even entire EPs about "Firefly," "The New Warriors," and X-Factor. His output is incredible, here follows just a sampling…
"When the Winter Comes..."
"F.451," a tribute to Ray Bradbury...
...and his first official music video, "This Song."
Welcome to the Nerdcore.
By Glenn Walker
In the wake of the cataclysmic conclusion of AvsX, to continue Professor Xavier's dream and protect the new mutants of Earth, Captain America forms a new team of Avengers, including X-Men - the Uncanny Avengers. Among the potential members are Thor, Havok, Wolverine, Rogue, and the Scarlet Witch.
This exciting new dynamic by writer Rick Remender and artist John Cassaday starts with a boom this week. See Avalanche's rampage, Professor Xavier's funeral, former Dark Phoenix Cyclops in his ruby quartz prison, Rogue vs. the Scarlet Witch, and a dangerous new team of super-villains. And that's not all, all this and more is in this spectacular first issue.
You've all heard about the previews, you've all heard about what most have assumed is Cyclops' lobotomy, but... Let me warn you, it's not what you think, and it is so much worse, so much more frightening, and so much cooler. It's the return of a classic Marvel super-villain with a diabolical new plan. This Avengers fan is excited about Avengers again, even with the X-Men along for the ride. Do not miss Uncanny Avengers #1, available at All Things Fun!.