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New Comic Book Day June 16, 2021: My Pull List And Pick Of The Week

I’ve always been an early riser. However, that’s not necessarily a habit by choice. When I was a teenager, I had to be up at 5:00 a.m. just to catch the bus to school. I lived on one of the worst bus routes in the district in that we were the first to get picked up. That meant it was often still dark out.

Waking up that early sucked for the most part. I was already an angsty teenager prone to misery and being so groggy in the morning didn’t help. That said, getting into that habit did have some perks. It certainly helped me later on in life when I began working. However, it really showed its value when comics started coming out digitally every Wednesday morning.

Suddenly, I wasn’t getting up that early out of habit. I had a damn good reason to be up at 5:00 a.m. That incentive definitely grew once I got an iPad. Now, I could just slip out of bed, grab my iPad, and indulge in a stack of digital comics before putting on any underwear. It’s a magical feeling.

That feeling is only more magical during weeks like this. Sometimes, just by sheer luck of release schedules, there’s a glut of awesome new comics, including some major event books and one-shots. There’s Heroes Reborn, the Hellfire Gala, and the wedding of Dr. Doom. That’s a lot to take in, especially in the early morning hours. Since I’m an early riser, I like to think I’m more equipped than most take it all in.

I know not everyone is up this early. I honestly envy the ability to just sleep in on a whim. If you’re a comic fan, though, some things are worth getting up this early for. When you see some of the books that came out this week, you’ll understand. Here’s my pull list and pick. After some of these books, I doubt you’ll be groggy. Enjoy!


My Pull List

BRZRKR #3

Catwoman #32

Fantastic Four #33

The Flash #771

Heroes Reborn #7

Heroes Reborn: Weapon X & Final Flight #1

The Mighty Valkyries #3

Miles Morales: Spider-Man #27

New Mutants #19

Nightwing #81

Planet-Sized X-Men #1

Star Wars #12

Supergirl: Woman of Tomorrow #1

Venom #200

Static: Season One #1

X-Corp #2


My Pick Of The Week
Planet-Sized X-Men #1

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New Comic Book Day April 28, 2021: My Pull List And Pick Of The Week

I’m a morning person, by nature. I know that makes me a freak to some people and I totally get that. I’ve met people who just can’t function properly before eight in the morning. I’m just not one of them. Ever since high school, I’ve been wired to get up before six and start doing whatever I need to do for my day.

That hasn’t just helped me with school, work, hobbies, and what not. It has nicely supplemented my love of comics, especially since Comixology entered the picture. I’ve lamented before how agonizing it was in ancient times before the internet. Back then, if you couldn’t get to a comic shop, which rarely opened before ten in the morning, you had to wait for your comics to arrive in the mail.

Except, they almost never arrived on time. In fact, a comic arriving on a Wednesday afternoon was something to be celebrated.

I don’t miss those days. Being a morning person, New Comic Book Day was less an event and more a test in frustration. That’s why Comixology has been such a godsend. Now, when I wake up early like I always do, I have my new comics waiting for me on my iPad. It’s a beautiful thing and I just love starting my Wednesday mornings with coffee and comics while watching the sun rise.

Even if you’re not a morning person, these are good times to be a comic fan. It has never been easier to get into. If you have an internet connection or a smartphone, you can immerse yourself in the world of comics. You don’t have to take in everything all at once. It can start with one Wednesday morning. Why not make it this one?

To assist, here is my pull list and pick of the week. Enjoy!


My Pull List

Action Comics #1030

Batman Black & White #5

Batman/Superman #17

Black Widow #6

BRZRKR #2

Cable #10

Detective Comics #1035

Fantastic Four #31

Miles Morales: Spider-Man #25

New Mutants #17

Savage Avengers #20

Silk #2

Star Wars: Darth Vader #11

X-Men Legends #3


My Pick Of The Week
X-Men Legends #3

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Five Reasons Why Joss Whedon Should Direct The First X-Men Movie In The Marvel Cinematic Universe

x-men-mcu-disney

These are exciting times for X-Men fans. The Fox era of X-Men movies is over. With Disney’s purchase of Fox, a new era is set to begin. There are no more divergent timelines or soft reboots. The X-Men are coming to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It may not happen for a while, but the process has already begun. It’s only a matter of time.

As a lifelong X-Men fan, I’ve discussed both the possibilities and the immense potential of this development. I’m sure I’ll discuss it plenty more as news, rumors, and what not emerge over the next few years. Until then, there isn’t much to go on.

While there are plenty of details to explore, in terms of story, there’s one logistical issue that I feel is worth addressing. It has to do with who will help guide the X-Men into the MCU. Now, it’s a given that Kevin Feige will be the mastermind behind it all. He is, after all, the alpha and omega of all things Marvel Studios. He’ll be the one with the vision, but he’ll still need someone to turn that vision into a tangible product.

That’s not going to be easy for the X-Men. This isn’t the same as making “Ant Man” a viable franchise. The scope and scale of the X-Men franchise is immense. There’s a reason why it lasted 19 years with Fox. It has a wealth of characters, iconic stories, and endearing themes that are as relevant as ever.

Bringing X-Men to the MCU will be a massive undertaking. With that in mind, I’d like to make the case that there’s one director who is uniquely qualified to take on this challenge. Most already know his name and he has already left his mark on the MCU. I think he’ll leave an even bigger mark by taking this on. That name, of course, is Joss Whedon.

Hold your applause/outrage, please.

Now, I know Whedon’s name doesn’t carry the weight it once does. His success really peaked with the first “Avengers” movie, but since then, he’s somewhat faltered. It hasn’t helped that he suffered some bad press, some of which I’ve touched on. Even with these setbacks, and even because of them, I believe he’s the best choice for leading the X-Men into this new era.

As always, I know there will be those who vehemently disagree. I understand that and even welcome those counterarguments in the comments. That said, I’d like to offer five reasons to make my case that Mr. Whedon is the man for the job.


Reason #1: He Has (Successful) Past Experience With X-Men

Joss Whedon is no stranger to the X-Men. In fact, he probably has more experience with this franchise than he did with the Avengers. He did script work on the first X-Men movie. He was also on the short-list to direct multiple X-Men movies at one point. He’s gone on record as saying that he’s an X-Men fan.

Outside the movies, Whedon’s credentials run even deeper. In the early-to-mid-2000s, he penned an acclaimed run for the Astonishing X-Men comic. If you were to talk to any X-Men fan during that time, myself included, they would’ve said the same thing. Whedon’s run on Astonishing X-Men was one of the best of its era.

Through that run, he demonstrated a strong appreciation of these character. It wasn’t just the female characters either, although they definitely shined. He understood the personalities, dynamics, and quirks with characters like Cyclops, Emma Frost, Wolverine, and Kitty Pryde. He gave them all a chance to demonstrate why they’re so iconic.

While the Fox era of X-Men movies did plenty for Wolverine, Charles Xavier, and Magneto, they rarely succeeded for other major characters. Some, like Cyclops and Rogue, were outright butchered. While Whedon has mishandled characters in the past, his experience with X-Men should help avoid that.

Given the size and scope of the MCU, the margin for error will be small. Having a director who knows, understands, and cares about these characters will go a long way compared to one who is unfamiliar with them. Just ask Josh Trank.


Reason #2: His Style Will Give The X-Men The Right Tone For The MCU

Whether it’s a movie or TV show, Joss Whedon’s work has a distinct tone and style to it. There’s often a tight blend of light-hearted character moments mixed with serious drama. There are also plenty of jokes and quips, but not nearly on the level of an Aaron Sorkin script. For the most part, Whedon works to humanize his characters while making them lovable and relatable in their own way.

That kind of approach is exactly what the X-Men need in the MCU. It’s an approach that has already been proven with the first “Avengers” movie, as well as “Avengers: Age of Ultron.” In each case, both the heroes and the villains had moments where they could joke around, but still have heated arguments when necessary. It was a big part of what made these movies so entertaining and memorable.

The X-Men have had their share of funny moments during the Fox era. Unfortunately, most of them came from Deadpool and the always-charming Ryan Reynolds. By the standards of modern superhero movies, the original X-Men trilogy was very serious and even a little dark. Granted, that was necessary, if only to distance itself from the excessive camp in “Batman and Robin.” Things are different now.

The X-Men franchise has had plenty of bleak, serious moments in recent years. As great as “Logan” was, the franchise could benefit from something more uplifting and Joss Whedon’s style fits that perfectly.


Reason #3: He Knows How To Balance Action, Character Development, And Melodrama

This is something else that’s readily apparent to anyone who read Joss Whedon’s run on Astonishing X-Men or seen at least one season of “Buffy: The Vampire Slayer.” Say what you will about his feminist credentials. The man knows how to strike that critical balance between action, character development, and melodrama.

He did plenty of balancing with action and character development in “Avengers,” but X-Men will need a lot more melodrama to succeed. That’s because all those soap-opera elements that tends to complicate other action franchises are a core part of the X-Men’s DNA. They have been since the heyday of Chris Claremont’s run on the comics.

I’m not just talking about romantic sub-plots and love triangles, which have been a detriment to previous X-Men movies. Being an X-Men and a mutant is full of both personal and interpersonal drama. It’s part of what makes these characters relatable and iconic. People might not be able to relate to the Asgardian God of Thunder, but they can relate to someone who is born different and struggles to cope with those differences.

Add clashes with killer robots and murderous bigots to the mix and you’ve got plenty to work with. In the MCU, where superheroes and super-powers already exist, these are exactly the kinds of complications that can keep things interesting and Whedon has experience doing just that.


Reason #4: He Has Something To Prove (And So Does The X-Men Franchise)

As I noted earlier, Joss Whedon’s career and personal life have taken quite a downturn in recent years. In addition to his divorce, his creative decisions during “Avengers: Age of Ultron” were subject to controversy. Some may argue the extent of that controversy, especially given the box office of that movie, it’s still telling that Whedon hasn’t been involved with the MCU ever since.

On top of that, Whedon name has been unfairly linked to the massive commercial failure of “Justice League.” Now, there’s a lot to be said about the problems with “Justice League,” but I think it’s wrong to lump them on Whedon. He came into a movie that was radically different from his usual style and was already grossly overbudget and behind schedule.

Fair or not, Whedon’s credibility has taken hits on multiple fronts. By spearheading the X-Men’s arrival into the MCU, he has a chance to rebuild it. His career is far from over. Even with the upheavals in his personal life, he hasn’t burned too many bridges or completely lost the trust of fans.

If he has any kind of ego, and most people in Hollywood do, he’ll be more motivated than most to succeed with the X-Men in the MCU. At the same time, the X-Men franchise has just as much to prove. Even with the success of “Logan” and “Deadpool,” not one X-Men movie has ever topped a billion dollars.

As a franchise, the X-Men have fallen behind in the superhero hierarchy. Entering the MCU is their chance to show that they deserve to be in the same world as these multi-billion dollar success stories. To some extent, both Joss Whedon and the X-Men franchise need each other.


Reason #5: He Knows How To Balance New Ideas With Classic Elements

The X-Men that show up in the MCU will be different from the X-Men we saw in the 19 years of movies. That’s a given. It’s only a question of how different they’ll be. That will likely be a key consideration because while the X-Men movies had their share of flaws, they did a number of things that worked exceptionally well, Deadpool being the most notable.

While it’s likely that Marvel Studios won’t do much to change Deadpool, there will definitely need to be some fresh nuance to the X-Men. As it just so happens, Joss Whedon is better than most when it comes to balancing new ideas with classic themes. He did that with Astonishing X-Men in the comics. He did that in both “Avengers” movies, as well.

While some elements worked better than others, they still came together in a polished product that made billions. The X-Men will need that balance as they enter the MCU. Unlike other characters and teams that have been introduced, the X-Men come in with 19 years of cinematic baggage. It must distinguish itself in this new era.

That’s not going to be easy. Depending on when they show up, the MCU could be very different from the one that just culminated with “Avengers Endgame.” Whedon, given his experience, is certainly up for that challenge.


There’s little doubt that mutants coming to the MCU will be a huge upheaval. How Marvel Studios and Disney go about it could determine whether the MCU continues to dominate at the box office or finally runs out of steam. This incredible cinematic world has delivered time and again, overcoming immense challenges and breaking box office records along the way. They’ve earned the benefit of the doubt.

Joss Whedon may or may not be the one to lead the MCU into this new era. I think he has what it takes. I hope he gets a chance. There’s a lot of uncertainty with the X-Men franchise right now, but this is a franchise that has overcome major struggles before. With the Disney machine and the MCU behind it, I don’t doubt for a second that it can become uncanny once more.

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The following is a review I wrote for PopMatters for X-men Blue #35. Enjoy!

Time (Inevitably) Runs Out in ‘X-men Blue #35’

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September 13, 2018 · 6:01 pm