ALL-NEW, ALL-SUMTHIN’ ELSE

KC Carlson, the real Purple Man

KC Carlson, the real Purple Man


a KC Column by KC Carlson

First of all, Marvel, it’s NOT All-New All-Different (hereafter ANAD, for the purposes of this column). There were a number of of great new-ish series being developed just before Secret Wars (and then, rudely interrupted by it). Series like Ms. Marvel, Ant-Man, Hawkeye, Squirrel Girl, Howard the Duck, and what seemed like a wave of Spider-related titles spinning out of the Spider-Verse mini-event (Silk, Spider-Gwen, Spider-Man 2099, Spider-Woman, and Spider-Verse itself, now re-packaged and tweaked as Web Warriors) all have returned in substantially the same form. I’m glad to see a lot of them back, since I enjoyed reading them before, and I would hate to lose good comics for a marketing stunt. I just bristle a little bit at them being called All-New All-Different, because they kinda aren’t. But then “Slightly Different but Still Published” isn’t much of a tag-line, is it? (I studied Marketing in school, can’t ‘cha tell?)

I’m enjoying a number of the new relaunches, so I thought I’d tell you about a few of them. Interested? Read on! And sing along!

IRON MAN, IRON MAN… DOES WHATEVER A TRASH CAN CAN…

Invincible Iron Man

Invincible Iron Man


Considering all the promotion Marvel is doing for it, Invincible Iron Man appears to be the current “flagship” title for the ANAD Marvel, and it’s a good choice. The creative team of Brian Michael Bendis and David Marquez have already worked together on the Miles Morales-starring Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man (and other related titles), and both have been great there. Bendis is also one of the original famed Marvel Architects, which means he’s been instrumental in taking other Marvel franchises (like The Avengers, X-Men, and Guardians of the Galaxy) and re-working them into major (mostly) critical and financial successes. I haven’t been interested in the solo Iron Man title in years, but the first three issues of Invincible have been great in comparison. (Of course, Madame Masque/Whitney Frost being my favorite Iron Man villain, and her appearing in all three issues, hasn’t hurt.)

I like the idea that Tony has designed a new female holographic helper named Friday, and she seems to be smarter than he is. Of course, there’s new IM Armor, and there seems to be a “new” Dr. Doom, which probably can’t even be explained until Secret Wars is over. (Assuming it actually does end at some point in my lifetime — which seems unlikely since it’s been running now for over 30 years if you start counting from the original 1984 crossover. Why am I reading superhero comics again?) Oh, and one other thing — let’s not have any more multiple panel sequences of Iron Man trying to get Doctor Strange to high-five over being “Awesome Facial Hair Bros!” Really? That just seemed desperate to appeal to the Tumblr audience.

Although… Mary Jane Watson joining the IM cast in issue #4: Bring it on!

DOC-TOR STRANGE, PESTERED BY DEMONOIDS, TURNS THINGS INTO MUCK! (MUCK! MUCK!)

Doctor Strange #1

Doctor Strange #1


Speaking of Doctor Strange, I mentioned last week how that was my favorite new ANAD title, and the second issue did not let me down. In issue #2, we get a tour of 177A Bleeker Street, Greenwich Village (aka: the Sanctum Sanctorum) which leads to all kinds of additional weirdness (including jokes about books and how they are stored). Plus, we get to re-meet Wong for the first time in this new series, and he’s more than the usual voice of reason in Doctor Strange stories. Which is a good thing because everybody knows two Wongs don’t always make it right. (Oh, I am so, so sorry for that…) Also, Miss Zelma Stanton of the Bronx Stantons — a librarian (who knows about storing books) — is still around from the first issue and may end up being Strange’s new love interest. (The first one ever not to wear spandex or something weirder or other-dimensional?) Hmmm…

It’s by Jason Aaron and Chris Bachalo. Take a bow, you sick, sick geniuses.

Doctor Strange #2 published cover

Doctor Strange #2 published cover


Oh, and here’s a fun story about the Doctor Strange #2 cover. Go take a another look at the cover illo that ran in last week’s column, and then look at this one right here. (Look closely at the fridge magnets.) Somewhere along the way “I SEE DEAD PEOPLE” turned into “I SEE DTKO” on the actual printed cover. I blame Wong, because two Wongs… yeah, yeah, sorry…. I wonder what “DTKO” means?… First one who tells me the right answer gets a tour of 177A Bleeker Street, so you can mess around with Doc’s magnets yourself!

(INSTRUMENTAL)

Contest of Champions #1

Contest of Champions #1


There’s also a couple of new books that I didn’t care for. I was intrigued about Contest of Champions based on the framing sequence from this years’s Marvel: Point One anthology. Or at least intrigued enough to try the first issue, which was okay — until I got to the last page and realized that I was reading a comic that ties into a video game. Specifically, a video game that I had absolutely no interest investing in. It’s not playing fair that I wasn’t pre-warned of the true origins of the comic. So I’m done with this book already. To hear about it from some of the folks at the Westfield retail stores, they’re not crazy about it either, and a few were predicting an early cancellation. Gosh, I hope the gamers like it and buy lots of extra copies.

WHEN CAPTAIN AMERICA THROWS HIS MIGHTY WORD BALLOONS…

Captain America: Sam Wilson #1

Captain America: Sam Wilson #1


I really love the idea of Sam Wilson as Captain America and very much enjoyed the set-up for this new status quo in the pre-Secret Wars issues. I also usually enjoy Nick Spencer’s work a lot. So, why am I not liking this new series so much? One word. Politics. This is not the year to have an overly political comic book out there, when most “real” politics (on both sides) are currently at a frustrating level. This book (issue #2 specifically) is so dense with overly packed word balloons (check out story pages 2-4) that it pulled me completely out of the story just to count how many balloons and captions there were on each page. Also, I’ve never been a big fan of Daniel Acuña’s interior artwork. (Love his covers, however!) Here, with limited space for artwork on some pages, balloons and art are fighting each other. Not good. It would be nice if they could work out a better balance, but will they have time if the sales aren’t there?

INVASION OF THE PAD PEOPLE

Spider-Man 2099 #1

Spider-Man 2099 #1


One old/new comic that I’m surprised I do enjoy is Spider-Man 2099. Which is odd for me since I SO dislike the whole concept of Marvel 2099. I’ll attribute that to the writer, Peter David, whose comics work I’ve been enjoying for over (mumble mumble*) years. The thing I love best about PAD’s Marvel work (specifically) is that each series that he writes (including great past runs like The Hulk, X-Factor, and Captain Marvel) somehow manages to be unique unto itself, only tangentially (but firmly) connected to the larger Marvel Universe. He literarily stakes out his own little corners of the greater MCU. A lot of other writers attempt this yet fall too far to one side or the other — either too connected or not connected enough. It sometimes seems only Peter knows how to use that comics protractor for just the right angle. Pretty cool for a “writer of stuff”.

(* a long time)

QUICK TAKES

The Vision #1

The Vision #1


The Vision is the weirdest superhero book I’ve read in a long time. It’s one of those that can’t really be fully explained without giving away too much, but suffice it to say that the Vision decides to quit super-heroing, start a family (?), and move to the Beltway to become a consultant to the President of the United States. That’s pretty weird right there, and that’s only the first few pages. Catch it now… I have a feeling it’s too weird to last long, but people who get in now will be talking about it for a long time.

Guardians of the Galaxy #1

Guardians of the Galaxy #1


Guardians of the Galaxy has been rebooted with Kitty Pryde replacing the missing Star-Lord (Peter Quill). Gamora is gone, too, and the Thing has joined. Apparently one of the new “games” of ANAD is to find the FF. Similar to “Where’s Waldo?”, the various ex-Fantastic Four members now pop up in the oddest places in ANAD titles. GotG is still written by Bendis, so not much has changed beyond the cast shake-up.

Nova #1

Nova #1


Nova also seems to be the same cool young boy adventure book it was before the break, except the boy now shares his adventures with his long-missing father. Unfortunately, the father seems to be not what he seems. I can say no more.

Howling Commandos of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Howling Commandos of S.H.I.E.L.D.


I really wanted Howling Commandos of S.H.I.E.L.D. to be super-cool, mostly because of the really odd cast of monsters: Man-Thing, Orrgo (a Kirby Monster from 1961), Manphibian (what a great name!), Hit-Monkey, Teen Abomination, Vampire by Night, and Zombie Jasper Sitwell (aw, poor Jasper), all led by a Dum Dum Dugan LMD. Unfortunately, the first issue was kinda not-quite there yet. I hope it gets better soon.

There are a lot more ANAD books to cover (some of them aren’t even debuting until next year!), so if you enjoyed this run-down, let me know. Maybe I’ll do it again soon. Thanks for reading!

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KC CARLSON also just reviewed the new Stan Lee illustrated biography Amazing Fantastic Incredible, co-written by Peter David and illustrated by Colleen Doran, over at Comics Worth Reading. Why not check it out?

WESTFIELD COMICS is not responsible for the stupid things that KC says. Especially that thing that really irritated you. Huckstering like Stan is fun!

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