Category: Marvel Comics


Our culture fetishizes moral ambiguity.

As much as it’s become a dead horse trope, our storytelling conventions still rely on a black and white framework. Too often, like adolescents testing limits, we obsess over the ways we can complicate this simple dichotomy of good and evil. An entire age of comics was defined by our love affair with violent anti-heroes, ‘good’ characters who engage in ‘evil’ behavior.

Nonetheless, it’s rare that we latch on to a character who truly inhabits a moral shade of gray, rather than some attractive paradoxical commingling of good and evil. Magneto is one of these characters.

Part of what makes Magneto special is the inherent presence of a greater evil in his story. As limitedly as it factors in to some stories, Magneto inherently allows us to grapple with the problem of evil and to sort out our feelings about hatred, intolerance, and genocide.

Magneto: Testament is the rare comic that tackles these issues head on and the result is stunning. Written and drawn in collaboration with the Simon Wiesenthal Center, Magneto: Testament examines and reveals, for the first time, the early life of the boy who would become Magneto. Continue reading

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Review: Cyclops #1

 

Cyclops 1

Quick poll: how many of you fought to be Blue Ranger when you were a kid? Doesn’t matter which one, really. How competitive was the race to play Donatello? If you’re older, were kids desperate to be Bones if you played Star Trek?

Whether justified or not, there’s a natural tendency in our society towards the glorification of the leader. Generally speaking, the team leader, if not the outright commander, is our protagonist. That’s part of why it’s so interesting that this is the first ever issue of a Cyclops ongoing. Admittedly there’s been a single mini-series (rather unimpressive for an X-Man) and The Adventures of Cyclops and Phoenix, but in his fifty years of existence, Scott Summers has never held more than four issues of his own series.

Scott is an interesting character, debatably if only due to how uninteresting many find him. Despite actually being the original X-Men’s precursor to Wolverine – a military-minded boy wracked with worry over his powers’ ability to hurt someone – Scott has come to be defined by his stick in the mud nature and an atrocious retcon which saw him abandon his wife and son at the drop of a hat. Some writers, like Joss Whedon, have tried to rehabilitate Scott’s image and recent events have finally moved him beyond his simple ‘leader’ persona, at the cost of his heroic image, but nothing has fully pulled him out of the popularity quicksand that is apparently Cyclops. Continue reading

Review: All-New X-Men #15

All-New X-Men 15

When Stan Lee put out the first issue of X-Men in 1963, the fledgling series bore the subtitle: the strangest super-heroes of all! Issue four took things one step further, declaring them “the most unusual teenagers of all time” and before long the two were hybridized, making the X-Men “the strangest teens of all!”

Brian Michael Bendis’ ode to those long-ago days has certainly earned the strange and the recent run-ins with Mystique and HYDRA have proven these time-warped mutants’ worth as a superhero team, but this week, Bendis turn his attention to their teenaged struggles. It’s a historically risky tactic but Bendis takes it on with gusto. Does he succeed? Read on, Marvel faithful, read on and find out. Continue reading

Review: Wolverine #7

Wolverine 7

Wolverine, that immortal Canadian badass, has become a staple of comic books. Ever since he first appeared, and especially since X-Men opened the doors to the modern waves of comic book movies, he’s become one of the most identifiable heroes in Marvel’s stable. But while the superhero story has nearly become its own genre, the X-Men are still science-fiction. Accordingly, Paul Cornell has decided to follow in the tradition of SF writers before him and write a story based on a single question. It’s a simple thought experiment: what would Wolverine do without his healing factor? Continue reading

Love and War

Do you enjoy comics that look and read like some amazing fever dream? Fan of stories about dysfunctional relationships and deeply disturbed individuals? Are you tired of all those pesky superheroes in your superhero comics? Well do I have a book for you!

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Superior Foes of Spider-Man

We nerds aren’t so different from so-called ‘normal people’*. We like to feel connected. We want the security to pursue our ambitions without sacrificing the freedom to enjoy them. We want a place we can nest.

For most people, these concerns arise when you’re looking for a home. But for the comic-nerd, it’s just another Wednesday. Well, my choosy connoisseur of images sequential, look no further, The Superior Foes of Spider-Man is a comic that makes you feel at home, and it’s an interesting addition to Marvel’s lineup, to boot. Continue reading

Blacklisted

Bound and Gagged

THE DEFENDANT: The Amazing Spider-man, Vol. 2: Revelations, J. Michael Straczynski, artwork by John Romita Jr. and Scott Hanna, Marvel Comics

THE VERDICT: This trade contains the infamous “The Amazing Spider-man #36”, which dealt directly with the events of 9/11 within the Marvel Universe. This garnered a great deal of attention, praise, and controversy. In addition, the trade itself was challenged at one school for reasons unrelated to the 9/11 issue.

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Review: X-Men #1

X-Men 1

How does Marvel keep convincing me to buy more X-Men titles? And how does this new addition to the family compare with its older brothers? Read on to find out.

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Superior Spiderman 9

Do you ever get nostalgic? That feeling of longing for a time gone by? Do you ever yearn to return to the good old days when you knew who your heroes were and Dan Slott was verbally assaulted on a regular basis – you know, this January?

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Superior Spiderman 6

Things have taken a decidedly dark turn in the story of our less than friendly neighborhood Spiderman. Last issue we saw the superior Spiderman execute a criminal at point-blank range. Despite the real Peter Parker’s earlier successes in controlling Otto, it seems that the influence of Peter’s memories has only made this Spiderman more driven to wipe out crime, by any means necessary. This week, old Parktopus takes on Youtube. Continue reading