It's a TWO-FER! For my first Review of Old Comics for the year, I'm going with two comics my wife gave me this last Christmas. To be honest, I got the comics about a month ago in a special sale at Heroes Aren't To Find, a shop that we've talked about here before. She forbade me from even ripping the tape on the bag and board, and instead wrapped them up and put them under the tree. I read them today, and was reminded of the time John Byrne used a Marvel comic to parody another creator for a wacky set of beliefs. More on that later.
I wanted to write another review of an old comic tonight. Going through my list of comics, I came across Squadron Supreme and remembered it taking the concept of a team meant to mirror the Justice League and running with it.
I've been a huge proponent of the potential Dazzler has a character. The success of Jem and the Holograms in portraying a music group, complete with performances, shows that it can be done and done well.
Let's try to get these Reviews of Old Comics going again, shall we? As if our Spider-Man: Homecoming Banner wasn't a giveaway, this is Marvel Month at Needless Essentials Online. It seemed fitting to start with a Spider-Man comic. Wanting to pull from the run that featured the art of Ron Frenz, my first instinct was to do a review of the return of his original costume, but that issue featured the "origin" of Mary Jane Watson, and feeling rather disappointed after reading it for probably the first time since I was a teenager, opted instead for the previous issue, which revealed the black costume he sported after Secret Wars as an alien symbiote, which would later become the villain Venom. This series set the stage for a character that has become almost as popular as the one that spawned him.
Occasionally, I just trip across a cover while browsing the Internet, and I remember it vaguely from my childhood. Magik, the Storm and Illyana Rasputin mini-series from 1984, fills in the space between panels of Uncanny X-Men #160. In that issue, the X-Men, and Colossus's little sister Illyana are transported to the other-dimensional domain of Belasco, a one-armed sorcerer that had previously faced off against Ka-Zar and Shanna, the She-Devil. Near the end, as the X-Men are escaping, Belasco takes Illyana from their grasp. For a brief second, Kitty Pryde loses her grip on Illyana, but regains it, only to pull her through after she's been in Belasco's realm for several years. Later on, Illyana would exhibit mutant abilities to travel through space and time using "discs" similar to those that randomly appeared in Belasco's realm. She also began using magical abilities and summoning a "soul-sword" that went from looking like a lightsaber to a traditional, albeit glowing sword. This series explained what happened in that span of time.
It seems like Marvel Cinematic speculation is falling towards Infinity War, the third Avengers film where all of the MCU heroes will be brought together against the plans of Thanos. It all builds on the story that started over a quarter century ago. Recently, I revisited the event that started this journey that the Marvel Cinematic Universe is building itself around.
With Luke Cage now available on Netflix, I thought it would be nice to look at some of the character's comic book past. Instead of going with one of the issues that everyone refers to in looking at the character's past, such as his first appearance or the time that he to collect payment from Doctor Doom, I went with the first issue that Power Man officially shared with his long time partner, Iron Fist. For two issues, Iron Fist was a guest star, but this was the first time the cover logo changed to reflect a partnership. Legally, the title wouldn't officially change for a few issues thanks to way these things would happen in the 1970s, but this is the issue where the logo changed, making this the first issue of Power Man and Iron Fist.
It's time for another edition of me reviewing old comics, this time with the first appearance of the New Mutants. I know that the last Marvel comic I reviewed three weeks ago was another New Mutants comic, but I have a fondness for the concept that Xavier's School should have actual students at it. In 1982, Marvel felt the same way, introducing five new youngsters to become students of Charles Xavier, even wearing the original X-Men uniforms that Kitty Pryde had eschewed in the pages of Uncanny X-Men.
New Mutants #98 marks a departure from me in writing these reviews. My golden rule in writing any review is not to write a negative review. I also try not to go into a comic that I actually haven't read with no pre-conceived notions. That's usually hard for me to do, but given that this book features a character that I don't really care for, although his movie was really good and an artist that I consider one of the worst artists of my generation. It's hard not going into this comic with the expectation that it will be bad.
So with Captain America: Civil War in theaters, I wanted to tie an Avengers review into it. Combine that with the guilt of running four consecutive DC Reviews, and it's time to review an issue of something by Marvel. Fans of the Indy titles should stick around for next time, because I haven't tackled one of those in months. If you have a suggestion, just contact me and I'll see what I can work in.
This week, we re-visit Marvel Comics in the 1980s once again with the Uncanny X-Men. This is one of those pivotal issues in the title's history. As is the case with most pivotal X-Men issues, it involves Wolverine. This issue marked the point where Sabretooth became one of Wolverine's primary foes, and by extension, a major foe for the X-Men.
Let’s revisit the early 1980s this week with a review of Iron Man #152, which featured one of the first specialized suits of armor, his all-black Stealth Armor. The first was his Space Armor ten issues earlier, and at this time it seemed that Bob Layton and David Michelinie were using the logic behind Tony Stark custom