Monthly Archives: November 2013

Thanksgiving Comic Rewind – The Best Thanksgiving Comic Book Issue Ever Published

When I got the (admittedly last minute) idea to write about the best Thanksgiving issue of any comic book in the history of time and space, there was no contest. That would be issue #4 of “Into the Void”.

But, since that hasn’t been written yet, here’s the VERY close second-place issue, Vision and the Scarlet Witch #6, “No Strings Attached” (per the splash page in the book).

Since it’s Thanksgiving, I’m going to give thanks for my ADHD and allow myself to tackle things a bit “stream of consciousness”. Or “wibbly-wobbly”, whichever you prefer. Read the rest of this entry

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Dragon’s Lair’s Picks: Hot Comics of the Week (November 27, 2013)

It’s that time of the week again. And here’s what the Dragon’s Lair staff tells me comic fans should be thankful for this week:

Polar Came from the Cold (Hardcover) Read the rest of this entry

Casual Comics Rewind Review –Vision and the Scarlet Witch #1

So, as followers of the blog may remember, I still harbor massive affection for the Marvel characters, Vision and the Scarlet Witch, based on their classic adventures from the 80s. With Scarlet Witch confirmed for Joss Wheedon’s “Avengers 2”, I thought it might be a good time to revisit the classic mini-series that cemented my love for these two.

(For those not in the know, Elizabeth Olsen has been confirmed as the Scarlet Witch in the upcoming Avengers 2 film)

Elizabeth Olsen? OK, I buy it.

I picked up the original 4-issue mini-series (along with the follow-up 12-issue series) when I was at San Diego Comic Con this past July. How did the series hold up against my memories after all these years?

It’s simultaneously more corny, yet more fun than I recall.

Issue#1: “Trick or Treat”

Before we get started, I should give a shout out (more commonly known as “listing credits”) to the creative staff:

Scripter: Bill Mantlo

Penciler: Rick Leonardi

Inkers: Ian Akin & Brian Garvey

Colorist: Bob Sharen

And, of course… Editor in Chief: Jim Shooter

Page one, a splash page, illustrates everything I love about this series. Vision is wearing dungarees and a windbreaker that bears his trademark high collar. Scarlet Witch is dressed in a pantsuit, but still has her iconic cape and headdress. They’re just chilling and having a stroll on Halloween night in front of a giant mansion in a New Jersey suburb, while a kid in a Spiderman mask is the only one to notice they look out of place.

At the outset of the issue, it’s clear that the couple has quit the Avengers in order to settle down and have a “normal” life. So why are they still wearing at least 33.33% of their normal costumes. A worse disguise even Clark Kent couldn’t wrangle.

But I love the clunky romance and awkward exposition that informs the reader just who this Marvel Universe power-couple is. Good old Jarvis even shows up. Why would the butler employed by the Avengers drive hours to help straighten out the newly purchased home of a couple of quitters? Did Stark pay him time-and-a-half?

Or maybe he sent Jarvis to their house in a moment where he wasn’t thinking straight.

The issue mostly serves to inform casual readers of the time exactly who Vision and Scarlet Witch are. For the uninformed, here you go:

Scarlet Witch – Wanda Maximoff started as a member of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants with her brother, Quicksilver. Both were revealed to be the children of Magneto. They quit the Brotherhood and were asked to join the Avengers. Eventually, Wanda learned to harness her mutant probability powers by Agatha Harkness, a real witch.

That synopsis comes from the actual comic. If you’re like me, you might be surprised that they joined the Avengers, not the X-men, and that there’s no mention of Professor X in her education.

 

 

Vision – He’s a synthozoid. So apparently that’s a thing. His body was created by Ultron and his mind was created from the mental patterns of Simon Williams (aka Wonder Man). Also… his body was mostly made of the original Human Torch (who was an android, not Johnny Storm).

Put it all together and you have two characters with convoluted backstories – both the “children” of two of the biggest baddies in the Marvel Universe.

Confusing? Sure. But, who wouldn’t root for these crazy kids to make it?

Each issue in the series features a small crisis that actually serves as a springboard to dive more into the history of each character.

In this issue, the couple is attacked by trick-or-treaters that have been transformed into real-life ghouls. The bulk of the issue is spent introducing (reintroducing?) the Vision and Scarlet Witch, their life and family situation and a gloss-over on their origins. There’s a very interesting bit where Vision tries to phase through a ghost. The effect on each of them is unexpected, to say the least.

In retrospect, much of the dialog may seem a bit trite, but the story is well-told. Artistically, the book still holds up very well. Several sequences are epically innovative, twisting supernatural planes and a hero who can become intangible into a visual treat.

Overall, Vision and Scarlet Witch #1 lives up to my recollection and, in fact, clued me back into many parts of the Scarlet Witch’s back story I had previously forgotten.

And, since it’s not really that “in demand”, I got it for a buck. You could find way worse ways to spend a dollar.

This comic is certified “Casually Awesome”!

–          CCG

Coming soon… Casual Comics Rewind of Vision and Scarlet Witch #2-4

Dragon’s Lair’s Picks: Hot Comics of the Week (November 20, 2013)

Thanks to the good folks at Dragon’s Lair Comics and Games in Omaha, I’ve finally got legitimate recommendations for you comics fans. In this (hopefully) weekly column, you’ll find the experts’ picks on the hottest comics hitting the shelves on new comic day.

Also, probably some confused commentary from me on many of the issues.

And away we go – Hot Comic Picks for November 20, 2013

Harley Quinn #0

 

I didn’t know starting comic book series’ numbering with #0 was a thing now.

Worlds Finest Trade Paperback Volume 2

“I’ll wait for the Trade Paperback” is the mantra of many casual comics fans. From the title, I was expecting Batman/Superman, but it looks like this volume is Huntress/Power Girl, which is still OK in my book.

Daredevil #33

 

Ol’ Hornhead has his own TV show coming up, and now his comic is a Hot Pick of the Week. The guy’s on a roll. He appears to be fighting all the Universal Classic monsters, so I’m holing out hope for an Abbot & Costello cameo.

Nowhere Men Trade Paperback Vol 1. – Fates Worse than Death

I’ll admit, I have no idea… Looks cool, though.

Afterlife with Archie #2

OK – When CJ sent over the Hot Picks list, this was the one I was most curious about. I did a little research and wasn’t disappointed. Here’s the description I found online:

“New Ongoing Series! The horror continues as a zombified Jughead goes on a relentless hunt for brains in this shocking new series by Harvey Award-winning comic/screenwriter Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa (Stephen King’s Carrie, Archie Meets Glee) and Eisner-winning artist Francesco Francavilla (Batman, Black Beetle). When he performs a despicable and frightening act in front of everyone at the Halloween dance, tensions start to rise and fears begin to mount-who will be next to join Jughead in the Afterlife? And what about those who are already infected? Be warned, kiddies, this one’s not for the faint of heart!”

You had me at “zombified Jughead”. This one is automatically the Casual Comics Guy Pick of the Week. Expect a review soon.

All these titles (and so much more) are available at Dragon’s Lair in Omaha (84th and Blondo or 156th and Q). Support your local comic shops, people.

Cheers!

– CCG

Marvel/Netflix “Jessica Jones” – A Casual Comics perspective

Jessica Jones is the “x” factor  in the Marvel/Netflix deal.

No, not that X-Factor.

As the least recognizable name in the line-up announced by Marvel and Netflix, “Jessica Jones” has a lot of casual fans scratching their heads.

A series starring Jessica Jones has actually been in the works longer than the Daredevil, Iron Fist, or Luke Cage TV series. Way back in 2010, ABC was talking about a TV series called “AKA Jessica Jones”, but her show never got off the ground until now.

But just who is Jessica Jones? Read the rest of this entry

The Day of the Doctor – Another Preview for the Doctor Who 50th

During the BBC’s annual “Children in Need” fundraiser, they premiered another two minute clip from “The Day of the Doctor”. Just when I thought it was not possible to get more jazzed for this special, we’ve got Ten and Eleven and Fezzes and GERONIMO! On with the clippy:

See you there (November 25 in Omaha, to be precise.)

– CCG

Luke Cage and Iron Fist Netflix Original Series – CCG First Look

When Marvel announced their Netflix deal for four original series (Daredevil, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, and Jessica Jones), I wasn’t the only confused fan. Because of the history of the “Heroes for Hire”, the natural assumption was that Luke Cage (Power Man) and Iron Fist (Danny Rand) were going to kick it (and by “it, I mean “crotches”) old school from the streets of Marvel’s Hell’s Kitchen.

Like this. FOOM!

Read the rest of this entry

The Night of the Doctor

Wow! Here’s a new mini-sode that serves as an interlude setting up The Day of the Doctor.

Fantastic! This preview has me dying (and hopefully regenerating) for the 25th.

The Day of the Doctor broadcasts 11/23 and is in theaters around the country on 11/25. Get your tickets while you can.

Marvel/Netflix “Daredevil” – A Casual Comics perspective

Daredevil’s got a new series coming to your TV screens. If you have Netflix, that is. Should you be excited?

Daredevil is a guy with an odd name for what he actually does. The name would suggest an Evel Kenevel-type, motorcycle-jumping, shark-defying… well… daredevil. Read the rest of this entry

Marvel and Netflix Team-Up

Hot on the heels of the success of “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”, comes news that Netflix is producing four (or five, depending on the way you count ‘em) series featuring the street-level Marvel heroes. Full season orders are completed for “Daredevil”, “Jessica Jones”, “Iron Fist”, and “Luke Cage”.

So, how does a casual fan react to the news? It sounds like just what I needed. Read the rest of this entry