Comics

Comic books and graphic novels

Mon
24
Apr

One Man's Nazi... Marvel's Marketing Misstep

Captain America Hydra Agent

So here's where the situation stands in the Marvel Comics Universe, vis a vis their crossover event, Secret Empire:

Captain America is the bad guy and, for all intents and purposes, has always been the bad guy since his origin. He's an agent of Hydra, the outfit that has ever been looking to dominate the world because dominating the world is a cool job to have.

Of course, Captain America has not always been the bad guy. You weren't reading about the adventures of a secret double agent doing deep cover for a villainous entity while he stood up for the Red, White, and Blue. The Marvel Universe reality was rewritten (I won't delve into the *cough* technical details; it's a cosmic entity that can rewrite history/reality on a whim. Let's just call it "magic" and move on) such that Steve Rogers' past was changed, aligning events to have him brought up the Hydra Way. Nurture beats Nature in this scenario. So, presto: Captain Hydra.

Fri
21
Apr

Is Secret Empire the Door to a Much Needed Marvel Reset?

Secret Empire #0

Remember how upset the world got when it was revealed that Captain America had always been a Manchurian Avenger in the employ of Hydra? That quickly subsided when it was revealed that Kobik, a being created from pieces of the Cosmic Cube, had rewritten reality to make America's beloved Steve Rogers into a traitor from childhood. She'd basically done a "Red Son" on old winghead even as she helped Maria Hill create the idyllic village / supervillain prison known as Pleasant Hill, where villains had their realities changed to become law-abiding Mayberry citizens.

Having bided his time until this moment, Captain America puts all his tactical skills to bear in SECRET EMPIRE, organizing a three-pronged attack that is designed to allow him to take over.

Thu
20
Apr

Stranger Worlds: DC and IDW's Continuing Mission with Star Trek and Green Lantern

Star Trek Green Lantern Stranger Worlds #5

DC Comics and IDW Publishing have had their share of property marriages in the past. I was particularly fond of the Star Trek / Legion of Super-Heroes crossover, as it seemed a natural given that both teams were future-oriented, making it easier to breach dimensions and meet.

It's a little trickier with the pairing of Star Trek and the Green Lantern Corps, but writer Mike Johnson is making it work.

STRANGER WORLDS continues the story begun with THE SPECTRUM WAR, which found Hal Jordan and a handful of other ring-bearers (not all of them green) lose the fight against Nekron and get ejected from their reality just before it collapsed entirely to destruction. They emerged in the STAR TREK universe, which means they didn't just swap realities, but they time-traveled into the future. However, without a power battery, all the ring bearers soon find their energy waning, and there's no way to recharge their rings.

Or is there?

Wed
19
Apr

Button, Button: What is The Button? Batman #21

Animated GIF

Climb in and buckle up, boys and girls. This is the event we've been waiting to kick off ever since DC kicked off their Rebirth line with REBIRTH #1. That ended with Batman finding a yellow smiley-face button with a blood streak that was immediately familiar to comics fans as the iconic badge (and plot driver device) of WATCHMEN.

For months now (years, it seems) that plot has been left out there, supplemented in drips and drabs in various titles. But now, the team of Tom King and Jason Fabok have honed in on the main mystery, and it's a fun ride!

Yeah, I'm going to be walking smack through spoiler territory here, so you've been warned.

Tue
18
Apr

The Longbox Short-List - Week of April 19, 2017

Welcome back to Critical Blast’s weekly look at what new comics you should check out each week.   Just a warning, I make these picks pretty much a week BEFORE I actually get to read any of these comics, so if something is a stinker, I take no blame on that.  Let's get to it!

Comics shipping this week

Fri
14
Apr

Supergirl #8: I Hate Magic

Supergirl Rebirth 8

So if you've been paying attention to S.J. Mitchell's coverage of the SUPERMAN:REBIRTH storyline, you should have had all your questions answered as to how Clark Kent and Suerpman can both be running around together -- particularly after the Superman we've been reading about lo these past several years just died!

And since that Superman died, you'd think Supergirl would be more than a little suspicious about this Superman, whom she welcomes with open arms, begs to speak in Kryptonian with (because Kryptonian doesn't have contractions, except it totally does every time they speak it), and spends family time with like a good cousin-once-removed with Superman's son, Jon. You'd think she would, but yet she's not.

Conveniently, today happens to be a Kryptonian holiday (Kal must have had a copy of Poor Rich-Ard's Almanac tucked into that rocket of his), the "Day of Truth," and so he's vowed to tell Supergirl the truth about what happened to him.

Wed
12
Apr

Ready, Set, Squint! Draw Spider-Man Characters the Dot-to-Dot Way

Marvel Spider-Man 1000 Dot to Dot

Thomas Pavitte's MARVEL: SPIDER-MAN 1000 DOT-TO-DOT BOOK makes anyone able to render drawings of their favorite Spider-man characters. Featuring twenty scenes -- including a double-sized spread pull-out -- and printed on heavy stock, single-sided pages, each of these pages will keep you busily entertained for hours.

Yes, hours. Did I fail to mention there are 1000 connections in each drawing?

Now, any kid who's done dot-to-dots before can tell you -- the more dots you have, the more detailed your finished drawing will be. So you can imagine the kind of results you'll get with 1000 dots! The good news is that the pages are huge -- 9 1/2" by 14" -- so there's a large canvass to work on. The bad news is that, well, there are 1000 dots! And since some of the lines trace back over themselves, there's a handy color-coding in place so that you don't get lost.

Tue
11
Apr

The Longbox Short-List - Week of April 12, 2017

Welcome back to Critical Blast’s weekly look at what new comics you should check out each week.   Just a warning, I make these picks pretty much a week BEFORE I actually get to read any of these comics, so if something is a stinker, I take no blame on that.  Let's get to it!

Comics shipping this week

Tue
11
Apr

Teen Titans: The Judas Contract Adapts Classic Comic into Current DCAU Continuity

Teen Titans: The Judas Contract

Marv Wolfman and George Perez's NEW TEEN TITANS: THE JUDAS CONTRACT is one of the seminal stories in comics history. Not just a four-part tale, the story served as an endcap to a long-running plot, revealing that one of the Teen Titans had actually been operating undercover as a spy for Deathstroke, the Terminator.

While this story couldn't be captured accurately in the DC Animated Universe, writer Ernie Altbacker and director Sam Liu came as darn close as they could to the feel of that story and its touchstones, while also staying true to the established DCAU continuity.

The film opens with a vignette of the original Teen Titans: Robin (the Dick Grayson incarnation), Speedy and Kid Flash, with Beast Boy and Bumblebee taking the places of Aqualad and Wonder Girl. The scene details their first encounter with Starfire as they find her in battle with aliens. It's also the first kiss between Robin and Starfire, since Tamaranians absorb language through kissing.

Fri
07
Apr

Superman #20: Family, A Dark Knight and Deadly Dairy

Now that the Superman: Reborn story is behind us, things begin to settle down at the Kent farm in Hamilton County. Until Batman and Robin show up.

***WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD***

Clark Kent is enjoying his family life as he pauses from his chores to watch Jonathan and Lois go about their day. When a storm begins to brew, Mr. Cobb (a local dairy farmer), asks Lois if she'd send his grandaughter home. He kindly suggests that she get Jonathan inside to take shelter as well. Lois clearly wants to talk about what just occurred but Clark cuts her off and says even though things have changed, they'll figure things out as a family.

Thu
06
Apr

Hell Week Comes to Riverdale with First Issue of TV-Based Comic

Here's the problem I have with comic books that are based on an ongoing television show: you can pretty much rest assured that nothing dramatic is going to happen, because that would shake up the television series -- and no television series is going to let their fans get confused because of an event that happened extra-canonically in a funny book. Which tends to suck all the suspense out of things.

RIVERDALE takes a slightly different approach, telling not just stories that happen in the same universe as the television show, but which happen in-between episodes, acknowledging directly things scenes that we've watched and then expanding on them. Think of it as "the stuff that happened during the commercial breaks."

Tue
28
Mar

The Longbox Short-List - Week of March 29, 2017

Welcome back to Critical Blast’s weekly look at what new comics you should check out each week.   Just a warning, I make these picks pretty much a week BEFORE I actually get to read any of these comics, so if something is a stinker, I take no blame on that.  Let's get to it!

Comics shipping this week

Sat
25
Mar

Marvel announced "Generations" series teaming old and new versions of their characters

From ABC News:

Last month, Marvel set the internet ablaze after sharing a tweet with just four simple words.

"GENERATIONS – coming Summer 2017," was posted on Feb. 16, along with a picture that led to far more questions than answers.

An Alex Ross art piece had the likes of Steve Rogers and Sam Wilson both sporting Captain America garb, Peter Parker and Miles Morales wearing Spider-Man gear, and Logan and X-23 in the classic Wolverine yellow and blue -- wait, what?! Wolverine died in 2014!

Wed
22
Mar

Superman #19: "Deja New-52"

As we continue coverage of the SUPERMAN: REBORN storyline that has been occuring in the pages of SUPERMAN and ACTION COMICS, the story heats up in the third act by resurrecting a lost hero.

SUPERMAN #19 takes us back to the first few moments when Jonathan was taken by Mxyzptlk. It's sort of what you'd see on a CW show where they give an intro such as 'previously on (insert show title here)'. While this is sort of irritating for those of us who HAVE been following along, this helps readers who are jumping in understand what's happening. However, when panel real estate is so limited in comic books these days...there's nothing more frustrating that having that space wasted on story you've already read.

WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD

Tue
21
Mar

The Longbox Short-List - Week of March 22, 2017

Welcome back to Critical Blast’s weekly look at what new comics you should check out each week.   Just a warning, I make these picks pretty much a week BEFORE I actually get to read any of these comics, so if something is a stinker, I take no blame on that.  Let's get to it!

Comics shipping this week

Tue
14
Mar

The Longbox Short-List - Week of March 15, 2017

Batwoman 1

Welcome back to Critical Blast’s weekly look at what new comics you should check out each week.   Just a warning, I make these picks pretty much a week BEFORE I actually get to read any of these comics, so if something is a stinker, I take no blame on that.  Let's get to it!

Comics shipping this week

Mon
13
Mar

Action Comics #975: "Tell Me Where He Is!"

The first week of March kicked off the Superman Reborn storyline that crosses over between SUPERMAN and ACTION COMICS. If you're looking to get up to speed, make sure you take a look at our Superman #18 coverage before reading on.

Caution: MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD

ACTION COMICS #975 starts off with Superman and Lois Lane frantically looking for their son, Jonathan, who has recently disappeared. Flying off to Metropolis to investigate the apartment of Clark Kent for clues they discover the place is empty, with the exception of the refrigerator and cupboards. Strangely they're stocked full of junk food.

Wed
08
Mar

X-O Manowar returns in a terrific first issue!

Valiant seems to be promising to get back to basics in 2017.  We got a tease called Icons which promised “A NEW DAWN FOR VALIANT'S GREATEST HEROES:”

Tue
07
Mar

The Longbox Short-List - Week of March 8, 2017

Welcome back to Critical Blast’s weekly look at what new comics you should check out each week.   Just a warning, I make these picks pretty much a week BEFORE I actually get to read any of these comics, so if something is a stinker, I take no blame on that.  Let's get to it!

Comics shipping this week

Wed
01
Mar

Superman #18 "We've Lost the Only Thing That Mattered..."

The secret behind Rebirth Superman existing alongside Clark Kent, while posing as Clark White, is the focus of SUPERMAN and ACTION COMICS crossover story titled: REBORN.

Caution: MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD

The book opens to Dr. Oz discovering that one of his prisoners has escaped. "Superman please save me" has been scrawled in stone as a plea to the man of steel. A distraught Dr. Oz is heckled by his other prisoners as they cheer over the escapee's success.

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