Open Mike Night - Uncanny Avengers (2015) #1 & Good As Lily

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By Gina and Mike Maillaro

Mike: We have a special guest this week!  My wife agreed to help create "fill-in" issues for if Open Mike Night was running behind schedule..  This was actually written a few weeks ago in case of emergencies.  And this week, I was out of town for most of the week and then Weaver's internet was down.  Our regularly scheduled column should be up early next week. 

My wife is an OG comic geek.  Her first comic was Kingdom Come.  She hasn’t read comics in a while, but she’s still got a lot to say.  Hi, honey!

Gina:  Hello!  And technically speaking I did read Archie Comics before Kingdom Come.

Mike: Fair enough.  I think that goes without saying...pretty much EVERYONE’s first comic is Archie...I was reading Archie before TMNT Adventures, and eventually I got into superhero stuff with Amazing Spider-Man, X-Force, and Peter David’s X-Factor run.

Gina:  But enough about you, I am the guest here!

Mike: Good call.  Let’s talk comics!

Uncanny Avengers (2015) #1

Written by: Rick Remender
Art by:  Daniel Acunar
Cover by: Daniel Acunar
Lettered by: VC’s Clayton Cowles

Published by: Marvel
Cover Price: $3.99

Gina: OK, stop the train, I want to get on… I think.  Mike talks a lot about comics (as if you didn’t already know that), so before reading this I has some idea of what was going on in the Marvel Universe (Axis and all that).  So fair warning, if you are using this as a jumping on point, you might want to catch the next train.

Mike: Yeah, Marvel seems to have forgotten how to create a first issue.  Sadly, this one was actually FAR better than some of the issue 1’s lately.  Captain America and the Mighty Avengers and Superior Iron Man both actually started DURING Axis.  Uncanny Avengers’ new volume gave you a quick little summary and just throws the readers in the deep end. The other big problem is they throw a lot of ideas and characters out here that most casual readers probably wouldn’t recognize.  Counter Earth and High Evolutionary for example.  

The one thing I really liked about this book was the blend of characters.  I’m always happy to see Brother Voodoo.  Oh sorry, Doctor Voodoo now.  I also loved how they showed how his magic worked.  That really helped the character stand out for me here.

Gina:   I can ignore the casual introduction of the secondary players (Animal Planet), but the half-assed explanation about where we are in the primary characters’ lives… that just annoys me.  Take Vision’s animosity toward his ex. They’ve been divorced for like 20 years, worked together the whole time, and NOW android’s pissy?   What gives?  And given how often history gets written and rewritten, I feel like I jumped into the middle of a telenovella in Klingon.  Luckily, I sort of speak the language, and I happen to have an affinity for these second string players.  

Mike: Yeah, Vision’s catty attitude felt really odd.  I think someone at Marvel just really hates Scarlet Witch.  The last ten years has been an exercise in how unlikeable can you make someone.  Leading on Wonder Man, getting rid of all mutants, and basically being responsible for Cassie Lang’s death.  Throughout the first volume of Uncanny Avengers, everyone seemed to hate her too, especially Rogue.  I think that Scarlet Witch represents all the hot redheads that turned down Marvel writers and editors over the years.

And then you have inverted Sabretooth.  I actually kind of think it’s a good change for the character, but let’s face it, he’s just bargain basement Wolverine now.  I can’t imagine Rogue ever working with Sabretooth no matter how heroic he might be acting.  The X-Men have tried that before and it never ends well. 

Gina:   Who knew that ginger discrimination could cross the pond.  I am also not clear on who got “inverted,”  so as far as I am concerned, they are all acting a little wacky.

Mike: At the end of Axis, Iron Man basically shielded himself, Havok, and Sabretooth from turning back to their normal self.  Sabretooth became Wolvie.  Havok was taken in by his whackjob brother Cyclops.  And Iron Man has decided to run the world’s biggest Freemium scam in San Francisco.  Everyone else is back to normal...though Marvel has basically been all screwed up the last few years anyway.  

Gina:  All that being said, I wonder if the point of #1’s are more to get readers from other books to buy into Marvel, rather than get new readers in.  I stopped reading comics when you had to follow the thread through 50 books to get through one plot.  This doesn’t only seem to lead you through a labyrinth, but I feel like I need to hijack a TARDIS to figure out how I got here.  It’s not that I don't think the plot is interesting, but I am not sure I want to put in the work to see where its going… if it ever actually gets somewhere.

Mike: The real odd part about all this is that this book might not even exist in three months when Secret Wars smushes all the Marvel universes together.  Fun fact: this is twice I got to use the word smush in a column in two days.  

So, scores?

Gina: For the writing, I can’t go higher than a 3.  Typical rescue the person hell bent on something stupid plot.  I like the character choices, but to be fair, who else is going to rescue someone doing something stupid… Captain America!!!!  The art, I liked, particularly the use of light and dark tones on the various characters.  Makes me wonder if there is something the artist knows that I don’t.  It helps drive my interest in the series.  I give it a 4.

Mike: I think the 4 for the art is fair.  I will go a little higher with the story.  I do think this was another bad first issue, but I like the story and the characters they used.  And I’ve always thought Counter Earth was a pretty cool concept.  So, I’m going a pair of 4’s for the scores.  

Alright, now that I made you read Uncanny Avengers, your turn to pick a book...what do you have for us?

Good as Lily (2007)

Written by: Derick Kirk Kim
Art by:  Jesse Hamm
Lettered by: Jared K. Fletcher

Published by: Minx
Cover Price: $9.99

Mike: Good as Lily was a book that DC put out in 2007 under their Minx line.  Minx was an attempt to try and draw in new readers who might already be buying manga.  I actually thought it was a really good idea, and they did put out some great digest sized graphic novels, but they never really seemed to promote the books all that well.  The line lasted just about a year and a half.

Good as Lily tells the story of a young Korean girl named Grace in her last year of high school.  Her best friend has a crush on her.   She has a crush on her teacher.  She’s heading to Stanford next year.   On the day of her 18th birthday, Grace ends up with three strange guests.  Her 7 year old self, her 29 year old self, and her 70 year old self show up.  These versions of Grace help her realize the mistakes she’s destined to make and help guide her towards some important changes.

Gina: So for those of you who don’t know me, I am a Disney-phile.  That said, I feel like this book runs the lines of a Freaky Friday… which I happen to like.  I truly enjoy the banter and competition between Grace and her other “selves.”  The title is a bit obtuse given her sister is vaguely mentioned during the course of the book, and I wonder if the title had been different would her sister have even been a plot point?  I think the intention was to have her parents seem more focused on Lily, but really she seemed like an after-thought.

Mike: I felt the same way about Lily.  Grace was able to shed her younger self by accepting that her parents  didn’t wish that Grace had died instead of Lily...but this is only really introduced three pages before it actually happens.  It felt very awkwardly constructed.  Lily is mentioned in passing earlier in the book, but at that point, I actually thought the writer had made a mistake and was called Grace by the name Lily.

BUT, I will say that is my only real complaint about the writing in this book.

Gina: I wouldn’t even think to really complain about it.  Truthfully, I didn’t really notice the Lily thing until I thought about the title (which I tend not to do).  My complaint about the book is more from the art.  There are a lot of inside jokes about Korean families, so maybe that was the drive behind it, but there is one seen with Jeremy and Grace’s father, and I thought, “Does this guy really think all Koreans look alike?”

Mike: This book was a little stereotype heavy, but since the writer was Korean, I was willing to give it a little more leeway.  I am not sure if that makes it right, but it didn’t bother me. Even old Grace really felt like she belonged as the crazy neighbor in a sitcom.  But I still thought she was very entertaining.  She even made attempted suicide look fun.

Gina: As if you are a PC kind of person.  I really enjoyed this book more the second time I read it.  I think I missed some of the nuance the first time.  And even though they each came to the typical realization that you can’t go back and change your past to make the future you want, it was the acceptance that they didn’t have to in order to move forward. Totally cliche, but I did say I was a Disney-phile.

Mike: I actually am not sure I read this book before.  I definitely didn’t remember it.  I did enjoy it though.  It was different from most things on the comic shelves and had some great heart to it.  And it was pretty funny throughout.  It really makes me wish the MINX line had been more successful.  Marvel and DC both should be investing more in these types of stories.  You had said above that Uncanny Avengers wasn’t going to bring in new readers.  Don’t you think books like As Good as Lily could do that?

Gina:  Actually, what I said is that I don’t feel like Marvel, or DC for that matter, are looking for new readers.  I am not sure what their marketing plan is, but I am pretty sure my kids and I aren’t on it, at least not for the long term.  I also look at the nonsense that goes on with the cartoon lines and airing episodes randomly, so kids couldn’t follow it if they wanted to.  I am not sure new blood is in their sights.  Don’t get me wrong, I would love to see more books for people outside of their normal crowd, but when you are owned by a box, its hard to think outside of it.  I maybe a Disney-phile, but I am still ticked about W.I.T.C.H., and why the hell did Disney/Marvel buy CrossGen if they had no intention of doing anything with it!

Mike: You’re just sad that your WITCH bag finally gave up...and it’s not like I can buy you another one.  So, scores.  I think the writing deserves a 5.  The Lily subplot sort of bugs me, but I suspect it was killed because of limited page count.  The art...I did think it could have been a little tighter.  They seemed to be going for a very loose, manga style here, and that’s definitely not my preference.  I’ll go a 3.

Gina: Interesting that the Lily thing didn’t bug me as much as you, but given it was the title, I have to knock the writing down a peg.  Its hard to tell if it hit the cutting room floor, or if the writer actually thought Lily was more important than she came off.  I give it a 4.  We agree on the art though, definitely a 3.

Mike: See, this wasn’t nearly as painful as you expected it to be.  Thank you so much for helping out this week.  I had a lot of fun writing with you. 

Gina:  You’re welcome.  And no, it wasn’t bad at all.  After 19 years, I still like talking to you about comics…  what does that say about me???

Mike: Glutton for punishment…

Final Scores


Gina – Story (out of 5)

Mike – Story (out of 5)

Gina  – Art (out of 5)

Mike – Art (out of 5)

Uncanny Avengers (2015) #1





Good As Lily (2007)