It hasn’t been easy hoping for better days. In general, I’m a pretty optimistic person. Until 2020, I was genuinely hopeful that the world would continue to steadily improve with each passing year. Much of those hopes were stabbed, crushed, and spit on throughout 2020. For a while, my spirits were totally crushed.
Now, I’m trying to rebuild that spirit. It’s not nearly whole again, but it’s a process.
Part of that process involves clinging to the things that taught me to have hope in the first place. That’s where comics come in. Since I was a kid, comics helped inspire me to hope for something greater. They taught me to look to the future and dare to think that greater things were possible. I know it’s corny, but it really did resonate with me.
I miss that feeling. I hope it returns at some point this year. Every morning, I check my newsfeed and the headlines are still bleak, dire, and depressing. They’re not quite as terrible as things were late last year, but overall progress has been slow.
I understand that such progress takes patience. That’s not easy when there’s still a pandemic raging across the world. A lot of areas near where I live are still in a state of lockdown. I want to get through it, but I also want to keep my spirit intact. That’s still difficult, but a weekly dose of new comics goes a long way.
This week, there’s a bit more than usual. Honestly, it’s exactly what I need at a time like this. I hope others get just as much out of it. To that end, here is my pull list and pick for the week. Enjoy!
It’s almost over, people. We’re almost out of 2020 and the end of this global pandemic that has hurt so many is finally in sight. For that reason, it’s okay to start looking forward to 2021. As long as this year doesn’t bring us a new pandemic or an alien invasion, it should be better by default.
We should all be excited at the prospect of the world getting back to some sense of pre-pandemic normalcy. It’ll never be the same, but it’ll be nice to sit in a movie theater or go to a restaurant without having to wear a mask. The world will recover and many are looking to ride onto that wave of recovery.
Chief among them is our Disney overlords. It’s no secret that the pandemic has hit Disney harder than most. Once the envy of the entertainment world, this pandemic hit it with a gut punch that would down the Hulk.
However, those predicting the fall of Disney are exceedingly premature. This is a company that has navigated dark times before. They have too many resources and incentives to just give in, even in the face of a once-in-a-century pandemic.
They’re already making the effort. A while back, Disney had their big Investors Day presentation in which they pitched their future plans to investors and the public. Among those plans were a host of movies and TV shows from.
It was ambitious, even by Disney’s lofty standards. I even dared to let myself get excited again. There was so much to take in, but for the best possible reasons. It made surviving 2020 that much more paramount.
Of the many announcements made during the call, a few stuck out to me. Here are just a few of the shows and movies that have invigorated my spirit once more. For that, I thank our Disney overlords.
If this had been the only thing Disney announced, I would’ve been excited. Kamala Khan is exactly what Marvel Studios, their Disney overlords, and the world needs right now. We already got confirmation of the casting of Iman Vellani for the titular role. This time, we also got a teaser trailer for what we can expect from her and from this show.
I’m not going to lie. I watched this trailer at least 10 times and I couldn’t stop smiling.
This is a character who endeared herself in the comics with just one issue. This is also someone who channels the same spirit of the fans who love all things Marvel. She’s young and idealistic. She sees superheroes through the same lens as us, the fans. Now, we get to see her navigate the MCU in a world where the Avengers assembled, saved the day, and Tony Stark made the ultimate sacrifice.
There’s so much to explore and so much to embrace. I think this show will do for Marvel Studios what “The Mandalorian” did for Star Wars. After a year like 2020, we need that.
Even though she has never appeared in any Star Wars movies, she has still found a way to endear herself to so many, myself included. That’s an accomplishment worthy of her own show and the timing couldn’t be better.
Most recently, she made her live-action debut in Season 2 of “The Mandalorian.” Played by Rosario Dawson, she’s made her presence known in the emerging Star Wars canon that’s unfolding on Disney Plus. This show will give her a chance to shine like never before.
She’s no longer someone’s Padawan.
She’s no longer some shadowy agent for the Rebellion.
She’s just Ahsoka being Ahsoka. Sign me up!
Fantastic Four (By Marvel Studios)
When it comes to movies from Marvel Studios, I’m in the same boat as most lifelong Marvel fans. No matter what they put out, I’ll likely be first in line to see it, whether it opens out in theaters or debuts on streaming. While we don’t know what the movie theater scene will be like in 2021, we can be certain that studios will keep making movies and those movies will find an audience.
Now, I’m tempted to recount all the ways the Fantastic Four have been butchered by previous movies. Believe me, I could spend hours talking about how 2015’s “Fant4stic” was botched at every turn. However, I prefer to look to the future rather than the past.
Finally, Marvel’s first family will be in the hands of Marvel Studios and Kevin Feige. They’ve shown time and again that they know what they’re doing. They love these characters every bit as much as the fans. They will do them justice.
With John Watts from “Spider-Man: Homecoming” set to direct, the stage is set for the Fantastic Four to arrive in the MCU. It took a long time and a huge media acquisition, but the wait is almost over. Fantastic things are worth waiting for and I hope this is one of them.
Since the somewhat forgettable “Incredible Hulk” movie with Edward Norton, the jolly green rage giant has been relegated to a supporting character in pretty much every subsequent story. When he’s not teaming up with Thor or providing muscle for the Avengers, he’s basically just there.
In the comics, Hulk has his own world of sorts and She-Hulk has always been a big part of that. I believe this show can start building that world and with Tatiana Maslany in the starring role, I think this show could be special.
Plus, it’s a show with a beautiful woman smashing things. How can I not be excited about that?
Star Wars: Rogue Squadron
This announcement was an unexpected treat. Among many other Star Wars announcement, this one stood out to me almost as much as the Ahsoka show. Those who didn’t own a Nintendo 64 in the late 90s and early 2000s may not understand, but trust me. Those who did were very intrigued.
There was a time when Star Wars: Rogue Squadron was the pinnacle of Star Wars gaming. This video game essentially ditched the light sabre duels in favor of X-Wings, Y-Wings, and plenty of other exotic spaceships. It involved plenty of space battles, secret missions, and blowing stuff up on alien planets.
Good times, indeed.
Now, we find out Disney is making it into a movie. On top of that, they tapped Patty Jenkins, the woman who brought “Wonder Woman” to the big screen, to do it. I love everything about this. The same woman who tapped Wonder Woman’s wonder is now in charge of a fleet of X-wings. What’s not to love?
Besides, we’ve already had plenty of Star Wars content involving light sabers. Why not focus on elaborate space battles? I know my excitement for all this still assumes that 2021 will be less chaotic and more functional than 2020. At this point, assumptions like that are risky. However, I’m choosing to embrace hope and optimism once more. This past year has left my spirit broken, but I’m ready to start putting the pieces back together. These movies and shows can only help in that process.
I’m simple man. I like waking up early on Wednesday mornings, brewing a cup of coffee, and reading new comics on my iPad via Comixology. If I can, I try to do all this naked. For much of the spring and summer, this isn’t an issue. This morning, it might be a little challenging.
That’s because for the past couple of days, it’s been downright cold in my part of the world. I know that’s not major news for some people, who have already felt the shifting seasons. However, this is somewhat jarring to me.
It’s still September. Historically, September mornings have been relatively cool, but never cold. In some years, I could lounge around naked reading comics into October. I honestly don’t think I can do that today. That doesn’t bode well for the coming winter, but I’ll manage. I have comics, coffee, and sweat pants to keep me warm.
Don’t get me wrong. I still enjoy reading comics naked on Wednesday mornings. I will not ever apologize for that. I just may have to start wearing pants sooner than usual this fall. To those living in warmer climates, I hope you take advantage of that on New Comic Book day. It’s a wonderful feeling.
To assist in that effort, here is my pull list and pick of the week. Enjoy!
What do you do when you’ve had a lousy week? How do you make it bearable or, at the very least, somewhat less awful? These are questions I’m sure many people have been asking throughout 2020. There have been many lousy weeks thus far for reasons I hope are obvious. This past week certainly threw in a few more gut punches with the death of Chadwick Boseman.
As objectively awful as that is, we still move forward. We still try to make the following days less shitty. For me, enjoying a stack of new comics is part of that process. I’ve had many bad weeks throughout my life. Between puberty, high school, and graduating college during a recession, there was never a shortage of misery.
However, every Wednesday morning brought a ray of hope. Thanks to Comixology, the prospect of New Comic Book Day has always offered a boost to my dampened spirits. After this past week, I need that. I think we all need that. We find that boost wherever we can. For me, it’s new comics on Wednesday morning.
I’ve got my iPad, a fresh cup of coffee, and a wounded spirit. I’m ready to feel slightly less awful about the world now. I hope my other fellow comic fans can do the same. As always, here is my pull list and pick of the week. Enjoy!
There are people who go out of their way to avoid the news, politics, and anything that might trigger a digital fist fight. I respect these people. At times, I’m one of them. However, avoiding the news and politics is one thing. Avoiding the effects is something else. You can avoid the constant whining and outrage surrounding an election or hashtag. You can’t avoid the reality of a global pandemic.
I’ve come to accept this in recent months. I don’t deny that, at one point, I tried to avoid any mention of it online or in person. That’s just not possible when entire parts of society are shut down and major events get cancelled. It’s sad, if not maddening. However, it need not be completely dire. Even if you can’t ignore these awful things, you can still find ways to cope.
For me, comics have been a preferred coping mechanism for years. Going back to previous crisis, including those of the personal kind, comics have given men some much-needed escapism from the harsh, unforgiving nature of the real world. During those times, New Comic Book Day takes on an even greater meaning.
I know it’s easy to take for granted, given how much upheaval the industry is in right now. For that reason, I cannot thank the writers, editors, and artists working tirelessly in the industry to give fans like me an escape. Their work may not be on the same level as doctors and nurses, but they still hold a special place in those fighting to endure this crisis.
To those wonderful individuals, I thank you on behalf of comic fans everywhere. Once again, here is my pull list and pick for the week. Enjoy and stay safe, everyone!
In the age-old debate of quality versus quantity, comics occupy a strange middle ground. There have been times when I’ve left a comic shop with a big stack of comics and feel like I just went on an epic bender with an 1980s heavy metal band. There have also been times when I’ve left a shop with only a few books in hand, but I feel just as satisfied because those few books were just that awesome.
I spent a lot of money in comic shops. I hope I made that clear. I’m pretty sure I put some comic shop owners kids through college.
That said, there are times when quantity doesn’t always make that trip satisfying. Sometimes, that big stack of comics that looks so appealing has a lot of duds in it. Like so many other things, from music to gem stones to whiskey, quality will often determine the success of any New Comic Book Day.
Over the years, I’ve gotten pretty good at sifting through the countless pages of comics and finding which ones offer the most quality. I admit there are times I stumble across it by complete accident, but like fine wine or cars, there’s an art to it. I don’t claim to be an expert, but to all those who love comics as much as I do, I offer my insights so that those who celebrate New Comic Book Day get plenty of bang for their buck.
To that end, here’s my weekly pull list and pick for New Comic Book Day, complete with links to Comixology. It may seem like a lot, but I can attest that in the world of comics, quantity and quality need not be mutually exclusive. Enjoy!
For lifelong comic book fans, like myself, there’s usually one Wednesday in every month where all the major comic publishers drop a glut of high-profile comics. It’s not always predictable. You rarely know when a week like that will drop. Sometimes, you’ll just have weeks that dump a large amount of comics on the market. Those are fun, but like many things, quality counts more than quantity.
Without going too deep into spoilers on this beautiful Wednesday morning, I can safely say that this is one of those weeks. It’s a week where quality, and quantity in terms of new titles, achieves a harmonious balance that would make Thanos himself smile. There’s no need for an Infinity Gauntlet or a snap that wipes out half of all life in the universe. It just happened, thanks to the tireless work of this colorful industry.
It’s another sign that the comics industry, as a whole, is emerging from the many delays and cancellations caused by the global pandemic over the past several months. There will still be effects here and there. I doubt we’ll know the full extent of those effects for another year. For now, though, the comic book world is hitting its first grand slam in months.
We all need good, encouraging news more than usual these days. For comic fans, this might as well be a trip back to the middle of 2019 before we heard of N95 masks and social distancing. I encourage everyone to savor this rare, yet precious iteration New Comic Book Days. We don’t know whether the world will go to shit again before we get another.
As always, here is my pull list and pick of the week.
I’ve been reading comics long enough to both appreciate and dread big time comic events. Big events in comics are often framed like big blockbuster movies. Major publishers treat them as this must-see event that will knock your socks off, get your heart racing, and maybe even make love to your soul if you’re lucky.
Most events fail to deliver. I’ll just say that outright because it needs to be said. Most comic fans find that out the hard way.
That said, I still look forward to these events because those that do deliver are truly special. They’re the kinds of stories that make you glad to be a comic fan. It helps that comics, as a medium, can do a lot more than movies, TV shows, and cartoons can do. They don’t need spend millions on special effects, stunt doubles, or catering. They just need artists and writers who have a damn good story to tell.
This year, like many others, had a handful of big events planned. Like everything else in 2020, the pandemic undermined those plans. Now, after a steady reopening of the larger comics industry, some of those events are set to begin. The next couple of months promise to be eventful for reasons that don’t require masks or social distancing.
At this point, I don’t care how the events pan out. I’m just glad to see the comics world getting bolder. We need that in this world right now. As such, here is my pull list and pick of the week. Enjoy!
If you’re a football fan, this week is one of the most bittersweet times of the year. The Super Bowl is over. Even though it was an awesome game with an incredible halftime show that pissed off the right snowflakes, there’s no getting around the truth.
Football season is over.
Assuming you’re not willing to give the XFL a chance, we’re officially in the dead zone of sports. Until March Madness rolls around, there isn’t much to get excited about. If, however, you happen to be a comic fan as well as a sports fan, then you’re perfectly equipped to endure this distressing stretch.
For comic fans, there is no off-season. Every Wednesday is basically game day for us. Not every Wednesday is the Super Bowl, but some are more eventful than others. They may not include an incredible halftime show, but they include Wonder Woman, She-Hulk, Jean Grey, and Supergirl fighting armies of monsters and looking good doing it. To me, that’s the next best thing.
These next few months will be difficult for fellow football fans. For my fellow comic fans, though, it’s business as usual. Another week has come and another batch of comics have arrived. As always, and with the help of the fine folks at Comixology, I’m sharing my pull list and my pick of the week.
A new football season may be months away, but new comics are never more than a week. Nuff said!
As the great modern philosopher, William Smith, once said, parents just don’t understand. When we’re little kids, we’re often at the mercy of our parents understanding. When your parents happen to be Reed and Sue Richards of the Fantastic Four, that is compounded exponentially. Then, you become a teenager and other things become exponentially complicated.
I’m not just talking about hormones and body hair. Kids clashing with parents is a theme older than any superhero comic and while “X-Men/Fantastic Four #1” doesn’t reinvent the concept, it manages to do something uncanny with it.
This book brings to a head an issue that was teased back in “House of X.” Mutants all over the world are gathering on their new homeland, Krakoa. One of those mutants, however, happens to be Franklin Richards. While he’s best known for being Reed and Sue’s first child, he’s also a mutant and an insanely powerful one at that. This is a kid who creates entire universes with the same ease as most kids pop pimples.
While he’s been on the X-Men’s radar, they haven’t really forced the issue. That changes in “X-Men/Fantastic Four #1” in a major way. Initially, writer Chip Zdarsky and artist Terry Dodson has it play out as anyone might expect. A group of mutants come to convince a child’s parents that their child should come with them. Their parents aren’t having it.
When the book begins, you think you know who you should root for in this. However, Zdarsky and Dodson complicate things when they reveal that parents, for all their love and nurturing, don’t always understand. They think they’re doing what they feel is best for their family, but sometimes that becomes an excuse to do questionable things behind their child’s back.
It’s an age-old clash between wanting to protect your child at the risk of driving them away. It’s a clash that plays out in dramatic fashion in “X-Men/Fantastic Four #1.” By the end, it’s hard to know who to root for.
In the end, this is Franklin’s story. The X-Men and the Fantastic Four are just along for the ride and it’s already a hell of a ride. Whether you’re a parent or a child, you can find something in “X-Men/Fantastic Four #1” that resonates. It’s one of the most clear-cut picks of 2020 thus far. I’m not sure whether to call it fantastic or uncanny just yet, but so far, it has plenty of both.
Death has always been a running joke of sorts in superhero comics. Characters die all the time, but rarely stay dead. That includes important, iconic characters whose deaths resonate beyond the pages of comics. Sometimes, these deaths are incredibly dramatic, showing just how great these characters can be when everything is on the line. Regardless of how heroic their deaths might be, however, it rarely sticks.
That’s why it’s often more interesting when major villains die. While they rarely stay dead as well, their postmortem journey is often more arduous. If ever there was a villain who constantly skews the concept of death, it’s Victor Von Doom. If anyone needs proof, then look no further than “Dr. Doom #3.”
These are not good times for Victor Von Doom. The Fantastic Four are back. His brief stint as the new Iron Man ended before he had a chance to show up Tony Stark. He has also been deposed from Latveria, exiled from the country, and thrown into a world with a target on his back for every superhero and SHIELD agent. It is the most vulnerable Doom has been since he was stranded butt naked on Counter Earth.
In short, he’s vulnerable, pissed off, and under constant attack. It’s precisely the situation that brings out the best and worst in Dr. Doom. While the events of “Dr. Doom #2” ended with him “dying” at the hands of Taskmaster, death only gives him a chance to remind everyone why no afterlife can hold him.
It makes for a battle full of hellfire. Artist Salvador Larroca brings beautiful depictions of the hellscape that is Mephisto’s domain and writer Christopher Cantwell captures their less-than-heavenly egos every step of the way.
Mephisto tries to torment Doom with what he has sacrificed in the past to achieve his goals. Doom tries torment Mephisto by reminding him that he has beaten damnation before and only got stronger because of it. Neither one of them comes off as heroic, but that’s exactly what makes Doom’s defiance of death’s grip so unique.
Dr. Doom is not the kind of man who makes heroic sacrifices, but he’s also not a man who does what he does for no reason. As I’ve noted before and as other comics have highlighted, Doom doesn’t terrorize innocent people, heroes, and even other villains for no reason. He does what he does because he truly believes that the only future in which people are free from want and suffering is a future in which he rules.
It’s a sentiment that the late Stan Lee himself echoed. The first two issues of this series effectively double down on this vision, but “Dr. Doom #3” presents it with a major challenge. There are obstacles in his way aside from the Fantastic Four and the Avengers. Death and damnation only compound those obstacles, but as is often the case, Doom raises to the challenge.
There are times when Mephisto tries to poke at Dr. Doom’s very few, but very real vulnerabilities. He tempts him with challenges and deals that test even his unshakable will. Cantwell never lets Doom come off as pure evil or pure ego, but he never comes off as a hero, either.
Heroes don’t beat death, Hell, and the Devil like this. At the same time, villains don’t prevail in ways that makes us want to cheer them on. That’s what Dr. Doom does in “Dr. Doom #3” and he’s somehow more menacing because of it.
There are only a handful of characters in comics that can truly die and stay dead, even if some of them do find roles in alternate universes. There are also certain characters who can die in any number of ways, but will never stay dead for long. Dr. Doom is definitely on that list, if not at the very top.
“Dr. Doom #3” might very well be Doom’s darkest hour in the sense that his destiny to rule the world in a Utopian future seemed most distant. He has been dethroned, killed off, and sent to Hell to be tormented by a devil with plenty of motivation to see him suffer. For once, Doom has to beat the odds when they’re not stacked in his favor.
It’s a test of his will and resolve, but one we expect him to pass because he’s Dr. Doom. This is what he does. It doesn’t matter how many times every hero, villain, angel, or demon takes him down. Doom always finds a way to claw his way back. It’s not always easy to root for Dr. Doom, but when he’s beating the devil himself, it’s hard not to cheer him on.