Once upon a time, I put forth the crazy idea of having comic book characters age in real time. I decided that it was time to re-visit that concept with a group of characters that are a cornerstone of the Marvel Universe, The Avengers. With the Marvel Cinematic Universe, we have a sense of this, although we see actors leaving not because they're too old, but because their contracts are expiring. Marvel is also exploring this concept with Spider-Man: Life Story. The rules, as I have done before, is that characters join in the year that the issue they joined was published. I'm also making an adjustment that any deaths in the pages of the Avengers will be permanent.
It looks like the comic that's really making waves with the speculators this week is Captain Marvel #8. Seriously, it looks like if you want to read it, you'll need to do so digitally. It's the first appearance of a new hero named Star, but it also really captures the political climate we're currently in. It's not planned that way, because it's impossible to make happen. Sometimes synchronicity just happens.
One of the comics that came out this week from Marvel was a preview of Jonathan Hickman's House Of X and Powers Of X. While it could be argued that any major shift in direction is technically a reboot, it isn't an entire relaunch, ignoring the history, especially with what led to this point in X-Men history.
I always want to use this feature to highlight some really great comics that I remember from my childhood. We are fortunate to live in an age where so many great comics are available to read for a small fee. Of course, I paid for the annual subscription to Marvel Unlimited, which is no small fee, but came with some bonuses every year. DC Unlimited is also a really good value, but I'm off on a tangent. I recall getting this issue when I was eleven years old, and I was instantly assaulted by the art of Alan Weiss. Don't take that as something bad. Alan Weiss was something so different from what I used to. I had to be exposed to Michael Golden's fantastic art on Micronauts, so there was nothing that I could equate to this very naturalistic style. This is probably where I fell in love with a more naturalistic type of art. Of course, since then, I have come to appreciate a variety of styles, especially those that make use of the wise and proliferous use of black ink.
It was announced this week, through Twitter and an interview at comicbook.com that this summer, Marvel would cancel all X-Men titles and relaunch starting with two series.
This week, I was all set to write a review of Uncanny X-Men #17 when the news broke that there was controversy around it. The issue depicts the death of Wolfsbane in flashback as Wolverine goes to exact his preferred form of vengeance and justice on her killers. Unfortunately, Rosenberg apparently made several mistakes that likened the attack to violence against trans women.I'm a little late to the party on this topic, but I feel like I need to go over it, given my support of Matthew Rosenberg in the past. I hope I haven't stepped all over this topic in exploring it.
I don't use my digital memberships for these articles as much as I should. In the past couple of weeks, I've been taking advantage of my DC Universe and Marvel Unlimited subscriptions. I have been on the lookout for issues to review here. It was the latest episode of the Legion of Substitute Heroes podcast that I was reminded of Paul Smith's great run on Uncanny X-Men. Some might view this time as a period where the title began to drop in story quality, but I think that part came shortly afterwards. Here we saw the development of the team after Cyclops leaves for good, but still get to see his path twist back around into his old team's lives. We also got the introduction to the Morlocks, the addition of Rogue, and huge developments for Wolverine. These are some great issues and I chose to review the issue that has one of the best splash pages in X-Men history.
Matthew Rosenberg's writing works on a level that I find relatable. Based on coverage I see, I'm not the only one. He's also demonstrated that he's not afraid to throw in those "Oh, Damn," moments. Of course, he's also getting known for picking up dropped plot threads and making them work. His X-Men team is practically a collection of mutants left behind from the big event, and he works it extremely well. Of course, I'm getting ahead of myself.
In the 1980s, Marvel Comics published a comic that was entirely filled with puzzle and games for younger readers. It was appropriately titled Fun And Games. There would be mazes, puzzles, word searches, pretty much all of the things your parents now do after they retire. Kids developing their cognitive skills also get a thrill out of these, as I'm discovering again with my youngest daughter.
Every once in a while, you just find yourself reading a book that's trying to be silly. In the late 1980s, that comic was often Excalibur. While Uncanny X-Men, New Mutants and X-Factor were playing up the drama very heavy, Chris Claremont and Alan Davis were playing up the humor of a mutant team in the U.K.. There were some serious parts, but the book found its niche in the fact that it was just fun. For comparison with this week's book, Excalibur #14, let's look at the other mutant titles on the stands. Uncanny X-Men had three issues that featured the aftermath of a devastated team, now missing. Wolverine was tortured by the Reavers, but escaped with the aid of Jubilee. In Wolverine, he had fought vampires in Madripoor. X-Factor is involved in the "Judgement War" on another planet with the Celestials. In New Mutants, the team was journeying through the Asgardian underworld. Excalibur was hopping from one weird dimension to another, and this one was a doozy.
I'm bound and determined to get the most out of my Marvel Unlimited membership. When looking for something to review, I looked at the 1980s Defenders that got rid of the "non-team" status of the membership. I also looked at the Marvel magazines of the early 1980s. I took a look at the full list of Marvel titles available on Marvel Unlimited and saw Legion of Monsters catch my eye. That's where I got to here. I didn't know that there was a Legion of Monsters comic. The only memory that I have of the "group" was in a single issue of Marvel Premiere. Actually, it was Marvel Premiere #28 that featured the Legion of Monsters. That sparked me to try and give some of the horror characters that the title gave tryouts. It turns out that aside from the Legion of Monsters, Satana was the only original horror-themed character that got a chance in Marvel Premiere. However, looking at the issues available, the first couple featuring Adam Warlock came to my attention, due to the cover obviously by Gil Kane.
I'm trying something new for wrapping up 2018. Rather than try to cram in one article near the end of the year, I'm going to put them out little by little over the next few weeks. Some of these will not surprise you, especially if you've been following along. Some of these may be a huge surprise because they may cover things I haven't had the opportunity to write about. Nevertheless, in an effort to give the best of 2018 the attention that they truly deserve, each will get it's own article and attention, rather than a bullet point in a longer article that will be lost in a few months.