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The Official Casual Best Comic Book Duos of All Time

So, it’s not a comic book. It’s my blog and I’ll put up photos of Doctor Who if I feel like it.

I’ve showered a heap of love on one particular comic book couple since I started casually commenting on comics. In the week leading up to Valentine’s Day, I spent a bit of time (OK, way too much time) thinking about my favorite comic book duos. As always, additional comments or suggestions are welcome.

Here’s my frame of reference for defining the greatest twosomes to grace the pages of comic books:

  1. I’m looking almost exclusively at guy/girl duos in comic books. Like I said, Valentine’s Day got me thinking about the topic. Whichever way the wind blows for you, it’s all good. That’s just my frame of reference.
  2. I’m thinking mostly of duos that functioned as a self-contained team, or at least teamed up regularly enough that they’re linked in my mind.
  3. Romance not required, but the possibility of romance certainly helped some duos jump up in the rankings.

Let me start with some also-rans that fell off the list for various reasons:

Sue Storm / Reed Richards

In my youth, these two were the “first couple” of the Marvel Universe.

Way to dress up for the occasion, Reed.

They lost too many points for the following: Read the rest of this entry

Casual List-a-mania: Top 10 X-Men of all Time

I’ve been sitting on this info for a while, but back in October, Marvel released the results of their “official” list of the top 50 X-Men of all time. Their “panel of experts” made some interesting choices for the best-of list.

The list seems a bit focused on getting the superfans excited, which makes sense. I don’t know that casual comic fans can even name 25 X-Men, let alone 50. So, I’ll briefly touch on Marvel’s rankings of  41-50 before giving you my own, “Official Top-10 X-Men of All Time (for casual readers).

Marvel’s Official Top 50 X-Men (#41-50)

#50 Sabretooth – Nope. Not an X-Man. I asked Hugh Jackman.

#49 – Joseph – Did he have an amazing technicolor dreamcoat? Read the rest of this entry

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

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

SDCC Recap: Friday Afternoon and Evening

Friday was a dilly of a day. If you’ve read the Friday morning update, you already know I was riding a wave of triumph, having bested Hall H and its mammoth line. Read the rest of this entry

Mutant Rights – The real world implications for mutants of Marvel’s legal actions

The real world is colliding head-on with the Marvel Universe. You should really hear this podcast on “Mutant Rights”. Read the rest of this entry

Casual Comic Review: New Avengers #1

Marvel, you are drunk.


The last time I checked in with the New Avengers was when the New Avengers was new. Back in the days of “Civil War”, when Luke Cage and Jessica Jones had a baby. She was on the run because of the Civil War. Whatever happened to that baby? Read the rest of this entry