Tag Archives: comic book wednesday

MattyLovesComics 05.10.2017: “The Return of Renato Jones”

madripoor

Why, hello friends! I feel like the past months and a half flew by. Maybe it did. (It did.) I’m staying busy down here in sunny Orlando. The weather is starting to heat up. Last week, I planned on dropping a blog but I stayed out by the pool way too long. So long, in fact, that I had not seen that hue of red upon my skin in years. Seriously, I was afraid I really overdid it. Fortunately, the discomfort has subsided and I am now less “ah-peeling.”

[EDITOR’S NOTE:] Oh, you reached for that quip. 

Sit tight, “Ed.” There’s plenty more where that came from.

As some of you may have noticed, articles I’ve written are popping up on the site. These stories are part of my work toward my journalism Master’s degree. (I graduate in Oct.) Expect to see more in the months to come. I’m now in the middle of figuring out my “thesis,” more-or-less. Wish me luck. Surprisingly enough, it’ll revolve around comic books. Somehow.

8-1989-buscema-patchAnd speaking of comics, boy, have I been reading a lot. I often speak of my love for famed X-Men scribe, Chris Claremont. Up until a few weeks ago, I owned, but never read, Claremont’s introduction to Madripoor in the first Wolverine on-going volume (second, technically). Following The Fall of The Mutants, the X-Men were considered dead to everyone on Earth. A TV news station (maybe CNN, I can’t remember, look it up) broadcasted the “death” of the X-Men. The world witnessed it—in reality, the X-Men traveled through the Siege Perilous with help from Roma. The “dead” X-Men scattered all over the world (like Dragon Balls after a wish). Some of them couldn’t remember how they arrived in their new settings (See: Colossus and Callisto). Wolverine, however, was aware of where he’d been.

In Madripoor, to help conceal his identity—no thanks to an encounter with a few nasties including the likes of Roughhouse—Wolverine adopted an eye patch. The locals gave him the nickname “Patch,” so, Logan naturally went with it. I know you’re asking yourself, “How could they NOT tell that “Patch” is actually Wolverine.” Simple. Back then (1988), Wolverine still wasn’t a household name. Not a lot of characters outside of the X-Men universe saw Wolverine without his mask. Besides, the X-Men always used their psychics to create a blur when photographed or videotaped. Trust me, it works.

Since the book’s release, Madripoor Nights had been on my radar. This collection consists of Marvel Comics Presents #1-10, Marvel Age Annual #4, and Wolverine (1988) #1-16. I loved MCP as a kid. That title, as well as Marvel Tales, were essential to me getting a grasp on the Marvel Universe as a kid. MCP usually consisted of three to four 6-10 page stories featuring characters that were: popular, but not enough for their own book, or, unknown characters that needed fleshing out (like Devil-Slayer). Claremont’s Save The Tiger was the set-up for Wolverine’s first ongoing series. In a way, MCP became Wolverine’s “2nd” ongoing series. After the Save The Tiger run, Wolverine would return to the book around issue #39—which is in and around the time I started flipping through comic books in general.

Madripoor is my favorite “fake” city in all of comic books. I find it unfortunate that none of the Wolverine films take place in the most dangerous city in all of Marvel—yes, worse than Hell’s Kitchen. For a better glimpse of “Lowtown,” check out Madripoor Nights. It’s essential Wolverine reading, and no one writes Wolverine better than Claremont—well, Morrison’s is good, but y’know what I mean. It’s not the definitive Wolverine—but it’s a great story.

x-men-gold-and-blue-214018-1280x0

Since I’m on the subject of X-Men, I’ve been super-happy with X-Men Gold and X-Men Blue. I had my druthers about ResurreXionI’m still not sure if it’s an event, or—yeah, I dunno. Gold already made waves within the comic book community for all of the wrong reasons, but the story itself is excellent. It’s basically a three-part ruse. Kitty Pryde is well-established as the leader. “Old Man Logan” doesn’t evoke eye rolls. Mesmero returns. It’s fun! For my money, this first story feels like a filler story from Uncanny X-Men’s heyday in the early 80’s.

X-Men Blue is pretty neat as well. The out-of-time, “All-New X-Men” are working out of (where else?) Madripoor. Jean Grey is running the show—not sure how I feel about that with Cyclops playing second fiddle. Cyclops should be the leader. That’s like making Duke from G.I. Joe a grunt. It wouldn’t work. So, I’m interested how long Cyclops will play the wall before he either steps up, or dies. Another interesting caveat to this title is Magneto playing the role of “Professor X” once again. That usually doesn’t end well.

I’ve also read Jean Grey #1, which came out last Wednesday. After one issue, I see what Dennis Hopeless is doing with the character. Hey, it’s tough to be Jean. The previews of the next few solicits see characters like Prestige (Rachel Summers), Hope Summers, and Quentin Quire appearing in the book. It’s no secret what ties all these characters together. With the recent goings on in books like Mighty Thor and Thanos, the Phoenix is soon returning to the forefront of the Marvel Universe. I hope whomever it is that decides the Phoenix’s fate knows that the entity isn’t about “Death and Destruction.” The Phoenix is all about “Birth and Rebirth.” With Marvel Legacy rumored to be Marvel’s “DC Rebirth,” it would make sense if the Phoenix is partially responsible for reshaping the entirety of the Marvel comic book universe.

Ah, with all of this talk about some of the things I’ve read recently, let’s take a look ahead at what’s on the docket for today.

renatojonesseasontwo_01-1PULL LIST FOR 5/10/2017

ACTION COMICS 979

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 27

RENATO JONES SEASON TWO 1

STAR WARS THE SCREAMING CITADEL 1

X-MEN BLUE 3

When I visited Star Wars Celebration weekend, I attended the Marvel Comics panel which featured Charles Soule and Phil Noto. One of the comics they introduced was Star Wars: The Screaming Citadel. They sold it to the crowd as a Star Wars horror comic—an interesting concept. I’m also excited to read this series because it crosses over the Star Wars ongoing title written by Jason Aaron and the Doctor Aphra series written by Kieron Gillen—who writes the Screaming Citadel one-shot. This is the second time Marvel has given the Star Wars comics a crossover event (see: Vader Down). I thought the first one was a successful adventure. Let’s hope Screaming Citadel is a freak show.

Oh, man. Renato Jones: The One% is my favorite series from 2016. Season Two begins today and I’m super-stoked. If you’re a rich scumbag doing stereotypical “rich scumbag” things, Renato Jones will find you at the worst possible time, and then he’ll likely kill you with his sick knife-gun thing. Kaare Andrews’s landscape is a perfect fit for this style of storytelling. The world of Renato Jones is not nice. He’s not necessarily a “good guy.” There are no white hats worn. He’s like the Punisher—but he starts “inside” because, in reality, Jones is a one-percenter much like his victims, and not a war-torn psycho hell bent on seeking vengeance for everything. Check it out.

Two of the steadiest comics in the game currently are Action Comics/all Supes titles and Amazing Spider-Man. Dan Slott’s run on Amazing is like retaining a Netflix/Amazon Prime/WWE Network/CHIKARAtopia subscription. It just rolls over. You don’t think about it, but every month, there it is. No questions asked. These services are a part of life for people in 2017. Slott’s Spidey is the definitive Spider-Man, and thus, a part of my life. He’s taken all of the stories from the past and managed to find a place for them in this age of comics. Sure, some people aren’t a fan of Slott personally, but that shouldn’t discredit the thread, or, web he’s weaved over all of these years.

[ED:] Zing. 

7780485_the-mystery-of-marvels-dead-no-more-solved_t172f9f29The current state of Amazing is as good as it has ever been, in my opinion. I love the Green Goblin. Since the Dark Reign/Siege storyline, we haven’t seen a lot of “Normie” for several years. Leave it to Slott to build up to Osborn returning to make Spidey’s life miserable. Where’s Norman Osborn been? Oh, just leading an Eastern European nation. Where else? Like we really know how many countries have popped up in Eastern Europe for the past 20 years. Silver Sable also just recently returned for the “dead.” I’m usually cool with a “dead is dead” policy, but if a character is returning that I like, I don’t have a problem with it.

Let’s hope Wolverine gets the same treatment. Soon. Please.

Write to you soon.

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MattyLovesComics 04.05.2017: “New Comics and Pro-Wrestling Hangovers”

Gang. What is happening? How was your weekend? Mine? Oh, not too shabby. A little CHIKARA Pro weekend that I wasn’t at all excited about.

[EDITOR’S NOTE:] You know, at times, the readers can’t sense your sarcasm.

Oh boy, “Ed.” Can I at least say “hello again” for the first time in two weeks? Besides, there were no grammatical errors in my greeting.

[ED:] You wrote “shaggy,” not “shabby.” Fixed that. Technically, your last sentence about CHIKARA is not one. 

You done? I write how I talk. My verbage butchers the English language.

[ED:] It’s “verbiage,” not “verbage.” Please, continue. 

You left that in, didn’t you?

[ED:] Italicized, too. 

c8xlrmguwaaudlUgh. Anyway, I got to attend CHIKARA Pro’s Turn Left and Bad Wolf. Fantastic stuff. I will likely get together with Kevin Ford soon to discuss the awesomeness we both witnessed live. If you live under a rock, Wrestlemania took place Sunday from “The Citrus Bowl” in Orlando, FL. A $15 Uber fare from my home. Getting back from ‘Mania was a different, boring, and sad story of two guys who just should’ve gotten a ride from the other guy who ended up coming back downtown to pick up the stranded duo. But I digress. WWE never disappoints… Okay, let me rephrase that—Wrestlemania 33 was, in my opinion, the best Wrestlemania in maybe ten years. It was great time.

But let’s back it up. The highlight of my weekend came at Friday night’s Turn Left. A while back I bought Debbie Gibson’s 1987 chart-topper, Out of the Blue, on vinyl. For one, spinning it took me back to racing around a roller-rink after a tough day as a 2nd grader. Also: Altered Beastwhich, now that I think about it, is associated with the roller-skating.

The point of the album purchase was for last Friday night. As soon as I walked into the building with Kevin and Heeltown USA’s Jerrelle Hamilton, there stood my target: CHIKARA’s Senior Official (ref), Bryce Remsberg. He and CHIKARA Director of Fun, Mike Quackenbush, host a bi/tri-weekly CHIKARA-centric podcast entitled #DeepBlueSomething. Now, I’d have to go back and listen to the first episodes. Can’t remember how the title came to be. In my brain, the “one-hit wonder” band, Deep Blue Something—responsible for 1995’s “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.”—is where the name of the show came from.

[ED:] Indeed. Listen to the intro.

Well, okay, you’re right, Ed. I originally thought, Pete and Pete?” But now that I think about it, when “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” was spinning on the FM radio every 30 minutes in 1995, I thought the song sounded like the theme song to Nickelodeon’s The Adventures of Pete & Pete.  

avatars-000234191459-cv9a8a-t500x500So, yeah, #DeepBlueSomething is set by a standard of rules (which I love). In each episode, Mike and Bryce discuss: 1. Something old (about CHIKARA Pro), 2. Something new, 3. Something borrowed, and 4. Something blue—like the things a bride has to have as a part of her wedding ensemble.  In one of the first episodes, Bryce tells a story of his childhood obsession with Debbie Gibson. Out of the Blue was the album that put Gibson on the map. The duo decided early on that “Debbies” is the moniker for the #DeepBlueSomething listeners. As a podcast host myself, it’s one of my favorites. The overall structure and flow makes it easy to listen to. Plus, if you’re fan of CHIKARA Pro—or pro-wrestling in general—it’s worth the spin.

Now let’s get back to entering the arena floor at the OLE. I walked up to Bryce with my album and blue Sharpie. He stood behind a merch table, selling his 8 x 10’s. I asked him if he could sign something for me. Bryce is nice. It’s his thing, so, of course he obliged. I pulled the album out of the parcel in which it was originally delivered. Bryce immediately said that signing Debbie Gibson’s Out of the Blue made his weekend. It was a super-nice thing to say and exactly the reaction I wanted to get out of him at the start of a busy weekend. But, I wanted Mike to sign it as well. Like a Mutant telepath, Bryce asked if I wanted Mike’s autograph before I could. A few minutes later, I was graced with an album cover even more beautiful than it was before. I think both of them got a real kick out it—my favorite referee and one of pro-wrestling’s true superheroes. Last weekend ruled.

What else, what else? Oh yeah, comics! Last week was rather hectic. Not a lot of quiet time to read many titles. I did manage to get through the X-Men Prime one-shot that reset the X-Men (again.)

[ED:] Wait for it. 

No, Ed. I’m not going to take a dump on the story. Reading this book “reset” some of my feelings and analysis.

[ED:] I thought the X-Men were a lost cause? Your favorite heroes were no longer your favorite heroes. Boo hoo. 

Shut your mouth with your mouth. Did you read it?

[ED:] I’m your editor. That’s literally all I do. 

471503-_sx1280_ql80_ttd_2028129Okay, then. Shush it up because the events in this quick story about Kitty Pryde’s return to the X-Men may have a glimmer of hope for the future. Look, you can go back to the past few weeks and read about my feelings on where the X-Men stood within the Marvel Universe during and following Inhumans vs. X-Men. Marc Guggenheim and Collen Bunn may be on their way to slowly but surely making X-titles readable again for long time readers and new ones as well. I emphasize the word “slowly” because that’s the only way to “Rebirth” the X-Men. The aforementioned Kitty Pryde is now “Cyclops.” Storm is now “Professor X.” Old Man Logan is… ugh. I just can’t dig it. Bring back the real one. It’s weird and, I don’t know? Unnecessary, maybe? Oh yeah, and the real Scott Summers should be on his way back soon too (while they’re at it). They don’t elude to that in any way during Prime, but wishful thinking helps.

Spoiler: The Jean Grey School for Higher Learning is now set dead in the middle of Central Park. Magik teleports it from Limbo to New York, but they don’t show it. I’ve been taught to “show, not tell” for so long I want to eat the Sun. I wasn’t a big fan of the reveal, but I like the X-Men back in New York. What I’m curious to see is if editorial explain how the subbasement that stretches for acres teleported inside the ground with grass and the terrain totally unaffected.

[ED:] It’s comic books, you fool. Let it happen. 

This is coming from someone who has never read a comic book.

[ED:] I’ve read your sad attempts. That’s enough, yo-yo boy. 

Ouch. Well, maybe I’m being a little too nitpicky, but I still thought that the final pages of an important new beginning weren’t fully presented to the reader.

Outside of learning of the new X-Men status quo, I didn’t get around to Infamous Iron Man last week, but I am surely catching up soon. The one book that surprised me when I saw it on the shelf was none other than the second volume of Alex Ziritt and Fabian Rangel Jr.’s Space Riders entitled: Galaxy of Brutality. I know this is one of the most kickass titles I’m reading when it names a volume after a Misfits compilation album. The first volume of Space Riders was a fever dream set in outer space. I’m about to run back through the first four issues again before reading the newest volume’s opening chapter. Stoked. 

Let’s take a look at this week’s choice selections, shall we?

gold_customPULL LIST FOR 4/5

PAPER GIRLS 13

STAR WARS 30

SUPERMAN 20

X-MEN GOLD 1

Sometimes when I look through the weekly solicits, I fear that highlighting only four issues on my pull list is an error on my part and that Wednesday will hold a surprise or two. I don’t think that’s the case anymore. I’ve scaled my weekly pulls way back. It seems that only one or two weeks a month provide me 5+ comic books. I can live with that.

X-Men Gold should prove interesting, if anything. Why Marvel isn’t making this the newest volume of Uncanny X-Menfor years, the main title—beats me in the brain. I will treat it as such, as will Marvel. I think.

Star Wars is so steady-Eddie. We’re picking back up with Luke this week, fresh of traversing the stars with his head buried in Obi-Wan Kenobi’s book of memoirs and tales of Jedi’s past. The Yoda story he/we just read about may end up presenting parallel events Luke is about to face. Jason Aaron and Salvador Larroca do work.

paper-girls-2-headerPaper Girls is a title where I am currently four issues behind, all the time. Like, I’ll binge read books like this because so much is happening—a time-displaced adventures such as this. Reading’s easier that way because you have a better sense of “when” you are within the story. Plus, it’s an indie title. Sometimes there can be delays, but Brian K. Vaughn rarely seems to miss a deadline. Cliff Chang provides beautiful art. I first noticed his work on Wonder Woman during Brian Azzarello’s run six years ago.

And, of course, after taking a week off, Superman comics are back for the next four weeks! This week in Superman #20, we come fresh of the hinges of “Superman Reborn,” which reset the Superman continuity. Our Superman now is the same Superman we’ve always known and “New-52 Supes” is also the Superman we’ve always known. They’re one in the same, much like Lois Lane and “New-52 Lois,” and also Jonathan Kent, who has now always been a part of the DC canon. It was well-executed. Super-excited to read the beginning of a new arc.

Well, that’s my time this week. Off to read some comics. Hope everyone has a wonderful week and I’ll catch you later!

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MattyLovesComics 03.22.2017: “Kong and Comics”

Hey, gang! This week’s entry will be a rather short one. It’s been a busy couple of weeks. However, it’s no excuse to not keep up a discipline. I’ve enjoyed my return to the “Blog-o-sphere.” It also serves as a nice companion to my podcast, which is about to drop more pro-wrestling content as the “big week” steadily approaches. Speaking of, I’m looking at a nice, long weekend of cleaning my home as guests start to arrive this Monday for Wrestlemania weekend, next weekend. Good thing I got some needed entertainment out of the way last week. I’m going to be stressed for the next few days.

picture-703037-1489418110I finally watched Kong: Skull Island. To my pleasant surprise–at the film’s core—Kong’s a monster movie. The only reason I was surprised at how much of the film was a monster mash is solely based on previous attempts to reignite the fire of movie monsters. They all kind of sucked respectfully. The unfortunate aspect of KSI that I found similar to the crappy monster movies of years’ past was the A-list cast, working off a script an ambitious, 12-year old cinephile could write in the midst of his or her “monster film phase.” But what do I know? Did it work? Yes. That’s probably the most important thing to take away here. Kong: Skull Island is pretty cool.

The Kong fights are awesome. I’m not spoiling anything by revealing that Kong doesn’t interact with humans often, but when he does, it impacts the story on an emotional level. Oh yeah, and the post-credits scene. I’m sure a lot of people know by now what goes down. Fortunately, I was able to tune out anything “spoiler-rific,” although I had suspicions based on recent rumblings from Legendary Pictures. Not sure about you readers, but I’m not a fan on sitting through a film with a post-credit scene where nothing happens. The only exception: Marvel’s Avengers. If you’ve not yet seen Kong, think of the post-credits scene as the real story at the end of the day. Can you watch the last 30 minutes and figure out what’s happening? Most definitely. The ride is worth it, though. So is John C. Reilly. He’s hilarious.

At the conclusion of Kong, I realized that I’ve still yet to see Logan. Know me better than, you know, you, I don’t think I’m going to frustrate myself. I was totally not into X-Men Origins: Wolverine. It took me a second to remember that The Wolverine was the previous Wolvie picture, not Logan. (Which I didn’t see because of [see: prev link].) The X-Men: Origins franchise-to-be never got off the ground because (I think) the Wolverine movie pissed so many readers (me) and fans (also me) off. X-Men/X2-Wolverine works. I’m not getting into the other X-Men films—not directed by Matthew Vaughn—that have since graced us with their, um, “wonder?” Short answer: I’ve witnessed Wolverine do so much bad ass shit in the comics, I don’t want to see him take another one onscreen. 

c28ecaef6a048f1935dd52f64825ca16Admittedly, kids of my generation that first started reading comics in the late 80’s were enamored with Wolverine. I was eleven when first introduced to Lobo by some older kids at church who read comics. Even then I knew he was a poor man’s Wolvie. They disagreed. If Wolverine, The Punisher, The Comedian, and Rocket Raccoon were thrown in a blender, Lobo would be the gnarly result—by some weird, biological miracle. A “biker gang Superman,” essentially. Of course, I didn’t say that to those kids. Again, I was eleven. Anyway, you go back and read any Chris Claremont stories from the 80’s, “devil-horns” fly. Jason Aaron really got Logan as well. I dig that Wolverine as a character. I love the X-Men. Enjoy the films, readers. I’ll stick to the old stories instead. (Most certainly not the more recent ones.)

[EDITOR’S NOTE:] Oh, please. Not another riff on the apparent travesty that are X-Men comics of the last decade. It’s the same with fans of the Montreal Canadiens. Once, their franchise was unmatched in the NHL, but outside of a few flashes of greatness, they’ve been mediocre bordering on failures since the late 80’s. Sound familiar? 

“Ed,” you just made a sound analogy referencing the National Hockey League. I didn’t know you watched hockey. I thought cricket was your game.

[ED:] Well that was racist. 

I just thought that since you were from “Londonbury,” or “Oxlandshire,” that–

[ED:] You’re an imbecile. This is me taking my leave. Copy-edit your commentary regarding the “funny pages.” What’s on your pull list this week? 

Sometimes it’s just too easy with that guy. Let’s press on, shall we? Last week was a hefty week of reading. It was a good week, but there was a lot of stories to dig through. This week is totally manageable to remain on-track.

action-comics-976-218572PULL LIST FOR 3/22:

ACTION COMICS 976

DESCENDER 20

EXTRAORDINARY X-MEN 20

INVINCIBLE IRON MAN 5

REBORN 5

STAR WARS DARTH MAUL 2

UNWORTHY THOR 5

As you all know, Superman Reborn is at the top of my weekly stack. That’s pretty much the way it’s been since my first pull list back in 2000. I don’t know if I’ve ever read Superman series during a period of time where they were unquestionably the best comic books in the game. With Action and Superman each coming out every other week, the story has to be tight. I’ve stated before that Peter Tomasi and Dan Jurgens are killing it. I must also give props to Patrick Gleason, the artist on Superman, who is doing an awesome job visually introducing Jonathan Kent and his massive personality. But, yo, the rotation of artists (Patrick Zircher, Stephen Segovia, Jaime Mendoza, and Doug Mahnke) on Action Comics since Rebirth began has been most impressive. All styles work well in secession. You see this not work in some comics that switch artists like musical chairs.

Sort of like Extraordinary X-Men. It would’ve been nice if Humberto Ramos stayed on the title for a lengthy stay similar to Chris Bachalo’s art on Uncanny X-Men Vol. 3. Bachalo didn’t draw every arc, but a majority of the 30 or so issues contained his pencils. As soon as Ramos left the book’s interiors, so did my interest. Besides, as I’ve previously said, this doesn’t read like a Jeff Lemire comic. However, I am a completest. So, here’s to Extraordinary X-Men: another X-series I’ve wasted my money to complete.

4029623-whisperUnworthy Thor is just the opposite. This series could be some of the best money I’ve spent on entertainment in years. Why? Because this companion series to Mighty Thor answers questions that the main ongoing series cannot. Odinson is sick of the notion and rational that he’s no longer worthy to wield Mjolnir. At first, I thought Jason Aaron was just going to have Thor/Odinson accept this and we would see only one Thor in the form of Jane Foster fight the Thor-fights. Oh no. This week, readers discover what it was that the true-blue Nick Fury whispered to Odinson on the moon way back during Original Sin.

That’s going to wrap up this week’s entry. Cannot wait to crack into this week’s stack. Here’s to happy reading, gang! See you next week, hopefully!

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