It’s been too long. For some time now I haven’t officially submitted anything from my brain onto this domain I pay for, and for that, I’m sorry. It’s not that there were no words to hammer out on a keyboard. It’s not like I haven’t had a little time to update my life for you and whoever else that cares for my radical and wild existence. I have. There’s work and school and… Ah, who am I kidding, website? I’ll admit got away from the usual exuberance I usually get from comic books. The holidays weren’t a drag so much as an excuse to take it easy. Sure, there’s the weekly, late night, Frisbee golf tournaments in the parking lot of my workplace. I guess I could be home—with you, website—adding more words for more reading eyes. But to be honest with you, I was spending a lot of time with my eyes on a computer screen and not on the “life-management screen.” I’m healthy. I’m happy, but I need a little bit of humanity and culture outside of my stories, YouTube channels, and comic books.
I missed you, too. Look, I know you’ve seen the moves I’ve been making over at iTunes and SoundCloud. I’ve dug down into the depths of empty pockets to find enough scratch to finally give the world no reason not to listen to MattyLovesPodcast. After working on uploading old content from the YouTube archives, I’ve just about re-released most of the content I deemed the best of the best of the best. Now that I’m just about finished with that process, I can start recording shows again. That way, I can uber-compile content and then be faced with the “AH! WHAT DO I DO?!” situation. Totally fine with that, website. However, I must complete the uploads before the reloads, if you catch my little play off the word “load” there.
No. That wasn’t meant to sound sexual. I’m talking about reloading my computer with more freshly recorded episodes of MLP. Anyway…
The real reason I’m reconvening with you today is because of the new content I’ve experienced in the forms of film, television, and comic books. Especially comics! You stoked up, website? I just dropped $6.99 on trade paperbacks of Grant Morrison’s New X-Men: Assault on Weapon Plus and Planet X. Trades, website! I didn’t pull the bonehead mistake of spending $7 each on New X-Men issues 130 through whatever. I’m growing up! (Plus, I think I might have most of Morrison’s X-Men run in longboxes safely housed at my resort-getaway-chateau in Blue Ridge, Virginia.)
[EDITOR’S NOTE: Oh, please. It’s your parents’ home. Or your parents’ dog’s home, I should say, dear boy.]
Yeah, website. I don’t like him either. He thinks I don’t catch the edits before I re-edit.
Well, why would I erase his “notes?” I think it adds to the hysteria of my history.
Yes, I need a girlfriend. I knew I could come back to you for some sort of scant reminder. Good ol’ website.
Pressing on—before the interruptions—I’m reading a lot. The daily reads haven’t been this frantic in quite a while. There is so many great ideas going for Marvel, DC, and Image Comics. Even IDW is making a solid effort to reestablish some of the characters from my generation’s favorite syndicated cartoons. I’ve trimmed the fat of my weekly pull list—which I usually post each Wednesday via my Twitter account. I’m back to bare essentials: read what you like. Sure, there are some books that pique my interest, but those books often pop up on Rob Jeffereson’s Comics Explained series. For real, website, this guy is who I tell people to go to if they don’t have time to read the “major” titles in comics past and present.
Say you ask me: “What’s good right now, Matty? Like, what is a game-changing book in the current realm of canon within the ‘Big Two?’”
No, not “you” meaning you, website. Those “reading eyes,” remember?
People of Earth. Viewers of MattyLoves. I’m now speaking to you.
Let’s start with DC Comics. Do you know how long I’ve wanted to hop on the internets and type up a gushing salute to whatever genius managed to (for the time being) right the wrecked ship that were the Superman titles? Folks, you can go back on my blog and see my torrid history with giving the creators telling “Big Blue” stories a chance. The only guy who swung for the fences and came away with a decent average was Dan Jurgens. If you know the history of Superman’s writers, Jurgens basically gave Superman depth, story, and a more robust catalog of imposing threats—namely, Doomsday.
Jurgens is now joined by Peter Tomasi (holy geez, read his run on Green Lantern Corps). Together, they’ve brought Superman back to, arguably, the best character to get to know in 2017. New 52 turned out to be a disaster across all the titles for the standpoint of overall story. ‘Member Convergence? Yeah, pretty confusing. But the one saving grace from that comic event was the Superman who existed before the New 52 is now the Superman of this “Rebirth” era for DC Comics. Superman and Action Comics are currently exploring Superman in this new world, but also looking into the fallout from the death “Prime Earth” Superman of DC’s New 52.
The best part about this new direction for “our” Superman is during the goings on in Convergence, pre-New 52 (or “New Earth”) Lois Lane got pregnant. She and Clark Kent welcomed their baby son, Jonathan, into this new world. (The one miracle from that “event.”) So, now Superman has to raise his son—who is, of course, developing powers—alongside Lois, who is trying to get acclimated to this new world herself. It’s going to get interesting once the major cosmic villains want to take over Earth, and then find out Superman has a son. Can we say: leverage? Abduction? Possibilities galore. Then there is the issue of—who we think is—the New 52 Clark Kent, who is alive and still around preventing the current Superman from dawning the Clark Kent persona. This Clark looks exactly like, but is definitely not Superman. No powers, but has a disgusting sugar habit. I love the sweets, but this Kent probably eats fruit candy like Starburst and Twizzlers, which I deem disgusting and a plague on society. This Kent is bordering on creepy. “I drive an ice cream truck”-creepy.
Confused? That’s why you guys should be reading Superman books! Not just these, but there are a few other related titles rocking it out. China’s got a New Super-Man, Lana Lang is “Red Electric” Superman, and you know DC had to put together a Super Sons team-up book featuring “Jonn-o” Kent and Damian Wayne. I highly suggest Superman titles to anyone right now trying to find their first comic to read, or those finding their way back.
I told you, website. I got that fevah again.
Some other DC titles to possibly flip through are:
He-Man/Thundercats—because why the eff not? If you read comics, are in and around the ages of 30-40, and also read this blog, I hope you’re up to speed on this title and the previous volumes of Masters of the Universe stories from DC.
Wonder Woman—hey, despite DC editorial taking Brian Azzerello’s character-altering saga and swiftly burning the story and the New 52 WW to the ground, who better to bring her back up than Greg Rucka? He’s got solid chops for Diana Prince. It shows. Now that titles like Superman, Action, Batman, and Detective—to name a few—are solicited twice a month, it gives creators many options structurally speaking. The main options being: 1. Does the creator make the title a concurrent arc with possible crossovers and one-shot, character development stories? 2. Or does the creator take advantage of the two books per month and stagger stories? Rucka chose option #2 and I feel it has paid off so far. He’s telling stories of Diana’s past and present that intertwine in their respective plots despite not taking place concurrently. To my knowledge, this is the only title of the “Rebirth” line that is utilizing this brand of storytelling.
Warren Ellis’ Wild Storm—I’ve mentioned in previous posts and podcasts that I love the old WildStorm stuff from Image Comics during the mid to late 90’s. If there is a chunk of comic book knowledge I possess that will get me nowhere in most comic book discussions, it entails the history of the WildStorm U and “Project: Genesis.” One of my comic book idols, Jim Lee, founded the original studio then sold it to DC back in the early 2000’s. After a not-so-successful relaunch, the WildStorm U “dissolved” into the pre-New 52 DCU. Not a lot survived. The New-52 campaign saw the return of some familiar WildStorm faces like Grifter, a weird semblance of Team 7, and I think Voodoo had a title. I liked what they did with Grifter during Flashpoint, but he didn’t get a lot of play beyond his 18-19 issue series that was a part of the second run of New 52 cancellations. Anyway, all that said, Warren Ellis—who wrote a good bit of what I consider to be classic WildStorm gold—has been hired by Lee to relaunch a batch of these old characters who get their own universe within the DC Multiversity. To this point of publication, there has only been one issue. Maybe I’ve been hankering for WildStorm content to return, but I think this line of books will be awesome as long as they hang on to Ellis.
Still with me, website? I guess I could finish up here with what I plan on scooping Wednesday, but I promised the readers other suggestions from Marvel and the indies. So, let’s move on.
WARNING: The following rant isn’t telling you to not read the soon-to-be addressed line of books. See for yourself. Marvel’s X-Men comics have become comparable to DC’s Superman comics during the New 52 era. The only difference is that it is hard to write about Superman without really shaking up his character/family dynamic. With the X-Men, it seems all Marvel’s editorial staff wants to do is constantly change everyone’s character dynamic. Nothing has stuck since Brian Michael Bendis’ run on his X-Men titles. I love Jeff Lemire’s stuff. We’ll get to that later, but there is no way I believe he should be held minutely responsible for the mail-in job Marvel’s done leading up to the end of all this Inhumans vs. X-Men nonsense. Marvel wanted us to care about the Inhumans. Some do. Some did. (I did, see: War of Kings.) Some are still sore with the fact that Marvel may have lost full rights to the X-Men forever. I’m proud to say I’m a part of the latter clan. Once we, the fans, discovered Marvel is, yet again, reshaping the X-Men universe with ResurreXion, books like Cullen Bunn’s Uncanny X-Men and Lemire’s Extraordinary X-Men went full-on “autopilot.” (I had such high hopes.) Maybe I’ll take a moment to discuss my thoughts on the new line of books down the line.
[EDITOR’S NOTE: I should’ve just thrown this bit out all together. The X-Men are long gone. It’s Marvel’s ultimate loss from the comic bust of the late 1990’s. Move on, Matty.]
But enough of the bad, let’s get to all of the awesomeness. I’ll start with Iron Man. Admittedly, I didn’t read a lick of the Civil War II mini-series. “Secret Wars redux” burnt me good in “201$” with the delays, weak tie-ins, etc. (Loved the main story!) I didn’t want to go near CWII once I found out the aforementioned Inhumans played a big part. Fortunately, reading books like Invincible Iron Man and Amazing Spider-Man kept me up to speed on the Civil War II stuff. One thing that I’ve noticed with both Marvel and DC are how they’re taking these longtime, wretched villains and turning them into genuinely good guys. Doctor Doom is a prime example. Now the details are hazy, but I do believe that Tony Stark/Iron Man was “killed” during the events of Civil War II—the reason I say this is because I’ve only read the first of the four or five issues of Bendis’ new volume of Invincible Iron Man starring the adorable Riri Williams that currently lay in a stack on my coffee table of recent titles I need to run through. I’m sure I’ll soon find out Stark’s fate. Anyway, Doom is now one of the new “Iron Men” traversing the globe bashing baddies—and also The Thing because, well, you think Thing’s going to believe Doom’s a good guy? After Secret Wars culminating with Doom’s realization of genuine fear (a first), he’s now reformed and wants to reshape the world to be a better place rather than Doom’s selfish “vision” of a better place. Or, at least that’s what Bendis wants us to generalize. Much like Lex Luthor in Action Comics, I am looking forward to these villains realizing they’re never going to change. They’re not good men. They’re nature is evil. It’s coming. I’ve read too many comics.
I mentioned Amazing Spider-Man. This blog has often been home to rave reviews of Dan Slott’s run on Amazing. It’s undeniably fantastic. The Clone Conspiracy wraps up Wednesday with a classic Marvel “Omega” event. Knowing Slott’s storytelling style, nothing is ever settled. I’m sure more questions will be raised. Clone Conspiracy was basically Slott bringing back The Jackal yet again, only he’s not who he seems. It’s someone else claiming to be the new Jackal. The story’s still fresh. I don’t want to give much away. In the past, if you saw the word “clone” in a Spider-Man title, it was not promising. Slott does an excellent job of erasing most of the anguish of the Spidey-clone events of days gone by. Call me “Wrong Guy Randy,” but I want to say Slott has written close to 200 issues of Amazing Spider-Man. If you’ve never read his stories, oh man, good luck catching up. Clone Conspiracy is a good jumping on point, though. Check it out.
A few other Marvel titles to consider:
Jeff Lemire’s Moon Knight—I’m positive this is the only title I’ve ever blogged about that I have yet to read. Based on his X-Men stuff, I wasn’t clamoring for this book despite my love for Moon Knight. Above, I posted the link for the Comics Explained YouTube channel. From those videos, I realized that this series would have to be added to my weekly pull list. The only problem is that Lemire’s Moon Knight run ends soon. As some of you know, most current Marvel titles don’t go past issues #15 or #16 before getting relaunched as a new volume. And that’s so stupid. Issue numbers are so meaningless nowadays.
[EDITOR’S NOTE: Oh, boo hoo.]
But I digress. For anyone who doesn’t read weekly titles and choose to pick up the occasional collected editions, this plan works out. My patience for Lemire’s collected Moon Knight run will be worth it despite knowing most of what happens. However, because I haven’t read it, I’m not going to explain or speculate anything. I’ll just say that if you watch Rob’s videos explaining the plot—holy crap. I guess I should also recommend Lemire’s Thanos miniseries currently on the shelves. It’s three issues deep and I’m definitely reading this series at the moment. Not missing out on this one. It’s Thanos. I need even more reason to take a crap on the movie version presented in Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2, hopefully.
Any Marvel title written by Jason Aaron—Creators like Lemire and Jason Aaron are who I consider to be top-notch as far as not only telling great stories, but consistently releasing their Marvel titles on time. Aaron currently writes Doctor Strange, The Mighty Thor, The Unworthy Thor miniseries (soon to end), and Marvel’s Star Wars ongoing series, which Aaron has penned since issue one. Everything about these titles project a portrait of consistency and care. When you read each of these books you can tell how much Aaron cares about all of his characters. This extends to his independent work as well. Thor has been one of the best heroes in the Marvel U since the release of Thor: God of Thunder during the initial release of the “Marvel NOW!” line. From there, Aaron has grown a tree of beauty and reason. The motivations of his Thor, Strange, Luke, and Yoda are always clear. Never as a reader do I ask myself, “What’s happening here?” (See: X-Men, or Invincible—don’t get me started on that one.) Much like the newest volume of Invincible Iron Man, I’m about five issues behind on Doctor Strange. The first two arcs story paired with Chris Bachalo’s and Kevin Nowlan’s art were dynamite. I love all the new characters. The same goes for Star Wars. A lot went on in between A New Hope and Empire. Aaron delivers on the “what” every month “…in a galaxy far, far away.”
Almost through this, website. Should I break it up into parts? No? Just give the readers a good read? Okay. I think I agree with you.
With that, I guess I should address the indies. Although I could seriously go in on the travesty that is the conclusion to Robert Kirkman’s Invincible, I’ll table that for another time and place.
Jeff Lemire’s Descender has made appearances on the blog. The book is still kicking ass. There’s a robot war coming. I’m so ready for it. This event what I believe the book has headed for from the start.
Kaare Andrews’s Renato Jones: The ONE % was probably my favorite series of 2016 from any publisher. It’s so good. I’m not even a guy who gives a crap about class or social status. If I did, this would still be my favorite book from 2016, obviously. Some big-time bankers are sleazeballs. Renato shoots those guys in the face with a knife-gun. Need I say more?
Last but not least is Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips’s Kill or be Killed. I’m telling you that these guys touch on just about every nerve in my brain-factory with not only the way Dylan’s story plays out by also with the layouts, colors, and images in the title. Dylan is guy who doesn’t know where he is in life, but he’s not making good decisions to help himself out. These decisions hinder his ability to get a grip on what he needs in order to be happy. Instead, he tries to kill himself. Doesn’t work. The consequences of failing the attempt on his life may prove worse than suicide. That sounds crazy enough, right? What if I told you Dylan becomes a vigilante killer? What I won’t tell you is the “why.” The first trade is out now. It’s a bargain. Five issues will suck you in. Trust me. “It’s not what you think” type of stuff
Alright, website. Let’s see: Life status, reading lots of comics… Oh! I guess I should conclude with what I’m picking up Wednesday, March 1.
What’s that? “What about ‘forms of film and television?'” Crapbags! I forgot to talk about FX’s Legion, CW’s Riverdale, and John Wick! Looks like I’ll have to shelf that commentary for a later time. It’ll give the readers something to look forward in the near future. Plus, it leaves this entry unfinished, according to me. Let’s get on with the list for this week, website.
PULL LIST for 3/1/2017
CLONE CONSPIRACY OMEGA 1
DOCTOR STRANGE 18
PAPER GIRLS 12
STAR WARS 29
Whoa. See, this is a case-and-point example of how I’ve “trimmed the fat.” After compiling my books, I noticed there are about five other titles released Wednesday that I started to read, but lost interest. These comics won’t even run me $20 this week. Of course, there could be an oversight or two. You never know with Image. Either way, this used to be considered a light week but I guess now it’s becoming the norm. And wouldn’t you know it? All of these books I previously mentioned. This actually makes the close of this recent entry easier than I thought, website.
It was good to hand this over to you. I haven’t kicked out 3000 words dedicated to my interests in quite a while. Say, website, don’t get too lonely. I’m not far away. I’ll be back soon and hopefully have more to tell you and the reading eyes. Until then. I’m going to crack into these Invincible Iron Man issues I’ve backlogged. Catch you later!
Matt de Simone is a freelance writer who is currently stationed in the outskirts of Orlando, Florida, fighting the never-ending battle to find his place in this wacky world.