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The Sandman gets a new trailer and release date!

There is another world that waits for all of us when we close our eyes and sleep — a place called the Dreaming, where The Sandman, Master of Dreams (Tom Sturridge), gives shape to all of our deepest fears and fantasies. But when Dream is unexpectedly captured and held prisoner for a century, his absence sets off a series of events that will change both the dreaming and waking worlds forever. To restore order, Dream must journey across different worlds and timelines to mend the mistakes he’s made during his vast existence, revisiting old friends and foes, and meeting new entities — both cosmic and human — along the way.

Based on the beloved award-winning DC comic series written by Neil Gaiman, The Sandman is a rich, character-driven blend of myth and dark fantasy woven together over the course of ten epic chapters following Dream’s many adventures. Developed and executive produced by Gaiman, showrunner Allan Heinberg, and David S. Goyer.

The Sandman comes to Netflix on August 5.

Review: Marvel Voices Pride #1

Marvel Voices Pride #1

In honor of Pride Month, Marvel Comics dropped a big 84 pages one-shot celebrating both its LGBTQ+ creators and characters. Beginning with a story from Luciano Vecchio that’s not sure if it’s telling the story of queer characters in the Marvel Universe from an in-universe or more of a real-world documentary perspective, Marvel Voices Pride #1 sputters with a story that basically says aliens and shapeshifters brought the idea of being non-binary, genderqueer, or gender nonconforming to this world followed by a text-heavy Allan Heinberg/Jim Cheung Young Avengers reunion. However, it catches its footing with a cute Karolina Dean/Nico Minoru story, and for the most part, it provides a wide spectrum of LGBTQ+ representation with a special focus on the mutant/X-Men side of the Marvel Universe, who have acted as a mostly metaphorical representation to queer fans like myself. However, it’s nice to see characters like Anole, Prodigy, Destiny, Karma, and Jessie Drake get the spotlight along with more prominently featured cis male gay characters like Northstar (His coming out story in Alpha Flight #106 is reprinted at the end) and Iceman. But fans of non-mutant/Runaways/Wiccan and Hulkling characters may be disappointed as characters like Angela, Sera, Hercules, and America Chavez don’t appear except in small cameo roles.

Marvel Voices Pride #1 kicks off with a journey through the LGBTQ+ history of the Marvel Universe from writer/artist Luciano Vecchio. Even though many of his adult characters look like teens, Vecchio has a beautiful art style and color palette. However, my issue with this first story isn’t the form, but the content. As mentioned earlier, this introductory story isn’t sure if it’s being told from the perspective of the real world or Earth-616 even though it’s narrated by Prodigy. It also has a very self-congratulatory, back-patting tone, especially for a company that recently cancelled a book starring many of its queer characters (X-Factor) and mentions characters like Angela and Sera that haven’t been barely heard or seen from since getting their own title in 2015. Even though Vecchio is a queer creator, there’s big “ally” energy in this first story with a heterosexual character, Captain America getting the spotlight, and the implication that non-binary identities came from aliens and shapeshifters. He does successfully lay out what ended up being a thesis for the anthology, which is the connection between mutants and queer identity.

This story is followed by a one page Young Avengers creator reunion as Allan Heinberg, Jim Cheung, and Marcelo Maiolo chronicle Hulking and Wiccan’s wedding vows. Heinberg’s writing is tender, but this feels like more of a prose piece than a comic. Heinberg and Cheung’s inclusion seems like more stunt-casting to get older queer Marvel fans interested in the one-shot rather than being any kind of substantial addition to their work on Young Avengers. However, Marvel Voices: Pride rights the ship (Pun fully intended.) in its next story featuring two members of Marvel’s other prominent 2000s teen superhero team, the Runaways. Mariko Tamaki, Kris Anka, and Tamra Bonvillain turns in three pages of sweet glances, chatter, and a super adorable kiss as Nico Minoru and Karolina Dean think about what they would tell people if they asked how they met. The long line out of the venue reminded me of the pre-pandemic days when I would wait in line for hours to get a good spot to see artists like Carly Rae Jepsen and Robyn with my fellow queer folks, and Bonvillain’s summery color palette matches Anka’s skill with facial expressions. This story is like the cherry on top of the sundae that he helped build when he was the artist on Runaways and finally put Karolina and Nico in a relationship together.

The next story in Marvel Voices Pride is the first one to feature a trans protagonist, Dr. Charlene McGowan from Immortal Hulk. The plot of Lilah Sturges, Derek Charm, and Brittany Peer is about some “hilarious” misunderstandings when Lady Daredevil aka the artist formerly known as Elektra Natchios and some Z-list, rapping supervillains raid McGowan’s lab when they think she’s producing mutant growth hormone when when she’s actually working on a way to get trans women’s bodies to produce progesterone without taking pills. What follows is Trans 101 with a little bit of ass kicking courtesy Charm, who is in his Bronze Age element with the cheesy costumes and dark shadows. However, other than the fact that’s she a scientist who sometimes makes jokes, we don’t learn anything about Dr. McGowan except that she’s surprisingly cool with microaggressions from A-List Marvel heroes. Kudos to Marvel Voices‘ editorial for getting a trans writer in Sturges to pen this story, but the whole thing feels reductive and geared towards fanboys who know every member of Daredevil or Hulk’s rogues gallery and have never interacted with a transgender person.

Marvel Voices Pride #1

In contrast, Leah Williams, Jan Bazaldua, and Erick Arciniega re-introduce Marvel’s first transgender character, the mutant Jessie Drake in a thrilling manner as she appears in her first comic in 27 years. However, Black Cat is the protagonist of this story and is tracking down Steel Raven, a villain who’s been impersonating her, pulling some sloppy heists, and ruining her reputation. Williams’ quippy writing style works well for the fast-paced short story as Black Cat and Jessie meet, flirt, and figure out their next move in catching Steel Raven. Bazaldua plays with space and transforms what would normally be your run of the mill villain warehouse into something more surreal. She and Williams do succeed in building a connection between Jessie and Black Cat as well as showing off Jesse’s empathy-based abilities, but this is just a teaser for a bigger cat and mouse game. Hopefully, there’s room for more batting of eyes, power showcasing, and insight into the character of Jessie Drake, both in her own series or in Black Cat’s current ongoing, which has been a sneaky good read.

Continuing this positive trend is Crystal Frasier, Jethro Morales, and Rachelle Rosenberg telling a wonderful She-Hulk and Titania. But there’s a twist as Jennifer Walters doesn’t appear, but Jennifer Harris, who was inspired by her to come out as trans and cosplay her at a copyright friendly version of New York Comic Con. As someone who came out as bi around the same time Prodigy did in Young Avengers or when Iceman came out as gay in All-New X-Men, I can definitely connect to the inspirational power of fictional characters like Jennifer did with She-Hulk. She and Titania also have some nice banter, and Frasier and Morales also remind readers that She-Hulk was the original fourth wall breaker with some jokes and exploding layouts.

After the She-Hulk story is probably my favorite story of Marvel Voices Pride #1, which is a Prodigy and Speed one from Kieron Gillen, Jen Hickman, and Brittany Peer as Gillen returns to both the X-Men and Young Avengers franchises. The dialogue between Speed and Prodigy sparkles, and Hickman shows off their chops as a storyteller working in eating pizza, stealing glances at Colossus, and empathizing with Kitty Pryde as Prodigy basically tells his bisexual origin story. His story also acts as a critique of how the mutant books have been good about metaphorical queer representation, but not actual queer representation. This is timely because the book that Prodigy was a main cast member in is getting cancelled. However, this is really a lovely story full of hilarious and insightful writing from Kieron Gillen and pitch-perfect images and comedic timing from Hickman as Speed teases Prodigy for having a crush on Colossus when he ran with the New Mutants. Prodigy is true overthinking, chaos bisexual representation, and I’m personally glad to see him get a spotlight in this story even if it’s only a few pages long.

The anthology takes a break from comics for a bit and features an interview with Christian Cooper, one of the first queer editors at Marvel, and he talks about his experiences at the company and the impact comics have had on his life. After this, there’s a timeline of big LGBTQ+ moments in Marvel Comics. It’s followed up with a cute Anole story from Terry Blas, the wonderful Paulina Ganucheau, and Kendall Goode. Blas connects the idea of Krakoa being a mutant utopia to things like Pride, and the ability to unwind at the Green Lagoon with folks who understand your struggles being the goal of all this hard work and fighting. However, it’s not all big metaphors as he and Ganucheau probe into Anole’s body issues leading to him not wanting to date along with his friendship with Jonas Graymalkin. It all ends on a fabulous final page, and this story is worth checking out for Ganucheau and Goode’s soft, colorful takes on the different mutants.

Sticking with the mutant theme, Anthony Oliveira, Javier Garron, and David Curiel go all in with the mutant as gay metaphor in an Iceman story set during the time period of the original five X-Men. They play on the fact that Magneto was played by a gay man in four of the X-Men films and find a real connection between Bobby and Magneto, who takes a break from the missiles to provide a listening ear to this young man struggling with his identity. Oliveira writes Iceman as having a crush on Angel, and Garron nails the longing glances that he throws at the majestic mutant that turn into words when Magneto sits down to chat with him. They take the subtext (For example, Bobby not being interested in Jean Grey when she joins the team.) of these Silver Age text and transform them into glorious text while also showing off the sweeter side of Magneto, a man who would one day break down when he realized that his crusade almost led to the death of an innocent child, Kitty Pryde.

This story is followed up by one focusing on the relationship between Northstar and his husband, Kyle Jinadu from writer/artist J.J. Kirby. It’s touching to see what Northstar is like away from the cameras and public, and what Kyle loves about them. However, Kirby’s 1990s-style artwork with modern, digital coloring is a mismatch for the story, and I spent most of the time wondering why Northstar looked like a vampire or a block of ice instead of the events of the story. Luckily, the misstep is remedied by a thrilling riff on Sherlock Holmes vs. Professor Moriarty from Tini Howard, Samantha Dodge, and Brittany Peer featuring Mystique and Destiny. The story is adventurous filled with wits matching, chess games, and lover’s embraces and shows how iconic a couple these two are while also showing what a big deal it was for them to be open with their love in a time period where being queer got you thrown in jail. Plus it’s a reminder that queer people have always existed in history. (Or fiction.)

Vita Ayala, Joanna Estep, Brittney Williams, and Brittany Peer continue the theme of both mutants and queer women in a Karma story set during the Hellfire Gala after party where Magik gives her a pep talk to dance (and maybe even smooch) Elle, who as far as I can tell is a new, queer mutant created for this anthology. Karma truly gets the spotlight this story and gets to work out some of her issues with her powers and emotions as she’s afraid that if she asks Elle out that she’ll use her abilities to mess with her free will. However, this doesn’t happen, and we get to see a mutant who has been screwed over so many times be happy for once and get the girl in a beautiful sequence from Ayala, Estep, Williams, and Peer.

Marvel Voices Pride #1

The final story in Marvel Voices Pride #1 again shows that Steve Orlando is perfect for writing violent, queer characters with a sensitive side as he and Claudia Aguirre tell the story of Daken and Somnus, a new character who can make one night seem like a life time together. He used this power on Daken back in the day during a one night stand and then ended up living a long life without him even though he didn’t divulge his oneiromantic mutant abilities to everyone. However, Krakoa and its resurrection protocols are all about second chances, and Daken gives him one in this story. As well as digging deep into Daken’s emotions, Orlando and Aguirre also use this story to remind readers of queer elders, who because of society’s hate, never came out or came out later in life, and this is what makes Somnus’ second chance so special. Also, his abilities are pretty cool and bring a little Vertigo into the X-Books.

Marvel Voices Pride #1 is definitely an up and down ride. Some of the stories mishandle nonbinary and gender nonconforming identities (Also, there are no nonbinary lead characters in this anthology.) or seem to pander heavily to allies while others have issues with their art or storytelling style. (Northstar/Kyle, Wiccan/Hulkling) But, for the most part, it’s nice to see queer creators and queer characters get the spotlight for once instead of being hidden behind things like the mutant metaphor, which is usually Marvel editorial’s approach. Time will tell if we see them beyond this anthology, but most of the creators in Marvel Voices Pride work on books in Marvel’s main line or have had consistent success at other companies or even television in Allan Heinberg’s case so, at least, that’s something they have going for them.

Story: Luciano Vecchio, Allan Heinberg, Mariko Tamaki, Lilah Sturges, Leah Williams,
Crystal Frasier, Kieron Gillen, Terry Blas, Anthony Oliveira, J.J. Kirby, Tini Howard, Vita Ayala, Steve Orlando
Art: Luciano Vecchio, Jim Cheung, Kris Anka, Derek Charm, Jan Bazaldua,
Jethro Morales, Jen Hickman, Paulina Ganucheau, Javier Garron, J.J. Kirby, Samantha Dodge, Joanna Estep with Brittney Williams, Claudia Aguirre, Jacopo Camagni
Colors: Marcelo Maiolo, Tamra Bonvillain, Brittany Peer,
Erick Arciniega, Rachelle Rosenberg, Kendall Goode, David Curiel
Letters: Ariana Maher
Story: 8.0 Art: 8.6 Overall: 8.3 Recommendation: Buy

Marvel Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


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Preview: Marvel’s Voices: Pride #1

Marvel’s Voices: Pride #1

(W) Kieron Gillen, More (A) Javi Garron, More (CA) Luciano Vecchio
88 pages/ONE-SHOT/Rated T+
In Shops: Jun 23, 2021
SRP: $9.99

MARVEL CELEBRATES LGBTQ+ CHARACTERS & CREATORS WITH A RAINBOW-POWERED SPECIAL!
Marvel Comics is proud to present its first ever queer-centered anthology! Ring in Pride Month with an amazing assembly of writers and artists from all walks of life. Wiccan and Hulkling! Iceman! Mystique and Destiny! Karma! Akihiro! Nico Minoru and Karolina Dean! Celebrate these and so many more legendary characters from across the Marvel archive! New and fan-favorite creators tell their Pride stories – stories of inspiration and empowerment, stories that illustrate “the world outside your window” in full color. Plus, some of Marvel’s biggest LGBTQ+ moments get a special reprinting. Don’t miss an extraordinary new chapter in Marvel history!

Marvel's Voices: Pride #1

The New Mutant Hero Somnus Debuts in Marvel’s Voices: Pride #1

Last week, fans got their first glimpse at a brand-new hero set to debut this June: Somnus! Fans eager to learn more about this mysterious character will have to pick up Marvel’s Voices: Pride #1 where his fascinating backstory will be told by critically acclaimed writer Steve Orlando and, in her Marvel Comics debut, Eisner-nominated artist Claudia Aguirre.

A mutant who had an extraordinary impact on an X-Man long ago, Somnus’ powers give him total control of people’s dreams, but he was never able to follow his own. Now, Somnus is given a second chance at life, and he’s determined to make the most out of it on the thriving mutant nation of Krakoa! With a mesmerizing costume design by artist Luciano Vecchio and unique mutant gifts, it’s time for Somnus to step up in a big way and become the hero he was always destined to be.

Somnus will also be the star of Luciano Vecchio’s celebratory Marvel’s Voices: Pride #1 Frame Variant cover! An homage to the iconic Marvel 25th Anniversary covers released in 1985, Somnus takes the spotlight surrounded by some of Marvel’s brightest LGBTQ+ heroes. Check out the fully revealed cover below and don’t miss this uplifting Marvel story when Somnus makes his first appearance in Marvel’s Voices: Pride #1 on June 23rd!

Luciano Vecchio Celebrates Marvel’s LGBTQ+ Heroes in a Voices: Pride #1 Variant Cover

This June 23rd, Marvel Comics will honor Pride Month with a historic celebration of LGBTQ+ characters and creators in Marvel’s Voices: Pride #1. Marvel’s first-ever queer-centered special will get a special Frame Variant cover by artist Luciano Vecchio. An homage to the iconic Marvel 25th Anniversary covers released in 1985, this cover spotlights Marvel’s tapestry of LGBTQ+ characters and will reveal a brand-new hero who is set to make their debut within the upcoming one-shot. Check out this incredible cover below!

Written by KIERON GILLEN, ALLAN HEINBERG, ANTHONY OLIVEIRA, STEVE ORLANDO, TINI HOWARD, LEAH WILLIAMS, MARIKO TAMAKI, TERRY BLAS, CRYSTAL FRASIER, VITA AYALA, J.J. KIRBY, LUCIANO VECCHIO & MORE! 
Art by JAVIER GARRÓN, JIM CHEUNG, KRIS ANKA, JEN HICKMAN, PAULINA GANUCHEAU, JETHRO MORALES, BRITNEY WILLIAMS, J.J. KIRBY, LUCIANO VECCHIO, JAN BAZALDUA & MORE!

Marvel's Voices: Pride #1

Marvel Celebrates Pride Month with Marvel’s Voices: Pride #1

This June, Marvel honors Pride Month with a historic celebration of LGBTQ+ characters and creators in Marvel’s Voices: Pride #1. Following in the footsteps of the mega-popular Marvel’s Voices: Indigenous Voices and Marvel’s Voices: Legacy, Marvel’s Voices: Pride #1 will be Marvel’s first-ever queer-centered special spotlighting Marvel’s growing tapestry of LGBTQ+ characters. These stories of inspiration and empowerment will be brought to life by an assembly of writers and artists from all walks of life including Kieron Gillen, Olivier Coipel, Steve Orlando, Anthony Oliveira, Tini Howard, Vita Ayala, Kris Anka, Javier Garrón, and many more!

Since 1992’s revolutionary Alpha Flight #106 proudly confirmed Northstar’s sexuality, Marvel has represented LGBTQ+ identities with a wide array of characters and stories. Marvel’s Voices: Pride #1 will continue this legacy with thrilling adventures starring Mystique and Destiny, Nico Minoru and Karolina Dean, Iceman, Daken, Karma, and more. Plus, writer Allan Heinberg and artist Jim Cheung make their long-awaited return to Marvel Comics with a new chapter in the love story of their hit creations: Wiccan and Hulkling! Marvel’s Voices: Pride #1 will also revisit some of Marvel’s groundbreaking moments and explore the history of LGBTQ+ inclusion and storytelling at Marvel Comics.

Marvel’s Voices: Pride #1 features writers Kieron Gillen, Allan Heinberg, Anthony Oliveira, Steve Orlando, Tini Howard, Leah Williams, Mariko Tamaki, Terry Blas, Crystal Frasier, Vita Ayala, J. J. Kirby, Luciano Vecchio, and more and art by Javier Garrón, Jim Cheung, Kris Anka, Jen Hickman, Paulina Ganucheau, Jethro Morales, Britney Williams, J. J. Kirby, Luciano Vecchio, Jan Bazaldua, and more. It features a cover by Luciano Vecchio.

Stay tuned for announcements on the other ways Marvel Comics will be spotlighting LGBTQ+ heroes during Pride Month and be sure to pick this up this extraordinary one-shot when Marvel’s Voices: Pride #1 hits stands on June 23rd

Marvel's Voices: Pride #1

Wonder Woman, Titans, Swamp Thing, and The Flash Get Giant at Walmart

DC announced today that it’s expanding its line of comics currently exclusive to Walmart. The publisher is increasing the slate of 100-Page Giant comics from four to six. In addition, two titles from the original lineup will be re-titled and renumbered as #1 issues. All titles, including the Superman 100-Page Giant featuring Tom King with Andy Kubert and the Batman 100-Page Giant featuring Brian Michael Bendis and Nick Derington, will arrive in participating U.S. Walmart retail stores by Sunday, February 17.

Additions to the lineup include the Swamp Thing 100-Page Giant #1 and The Flash 100-Page Giant #1. As with the other Walmart titles, each book will retail at $4.99 and combine new original stories with “flashback” content from popular DC story eras such as DC Rebirth, the New Age of Heroes and the New 52.

The debut issue of the Swamp Thing 100-Page Giant includes an original story, “Desert of Ash,” written by Tim Seeley, with art by Mike Perkins. This 12-page tale features Swamp Thing and his witch companion Briar as they face the pyromaniac Char Man, who possesses the ability to control flames, a power granted by the elemental spirits of fire itself. Issues #2 and #3 feature “Bog of Blood,” a two-parter by Seeley with art by Joëlle Jones, which introduces a terrifying and potentially supernatural slasher stalking the swamps of Louisiana.

This 100-page spectacular also includes fan-favorite stories from DC’s New 52 period, including Jeff Lemire, Travel Foreman, and Dan Green’s “The Hunt,” from Animal Man, in addition to “Raise Dem Bones,” from the New 52 Swamp Thing by writer Scott Snyder and Yanick Paquette, plus “Death in a Small Town,” featuring Detective Chimp and Shadowpact.

Swamp Thing 100-Page Giant

The Flash 100-Page Giant #1 features an all-new tale of the Scarlet Speedster, written by Gail Simone with art by Clayton Henry. In the 12-part arc “Glass Houses,” Barry Allen is dedicated to keeping the streets of Central City safe as the Fastest Man Alive. But when his old foe Mirror Master shows up looking to cause trouble, it’s up to the Flash to stop him. This book also debuts classic tales of the New 52 version of the Flash by Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato, in addition to the spacefaring adventures of Adam Strange from 2004 by Andy Diggle and Pasqual Ferry, plus the classic New 52 “rebirth” of the World’s Mightiest Mortal, Shazam, from Geoff Johns and Gary Frank.

The Flash 100-Page Giant #1

Both the Justice League of America and Teen Titans Giants will retain their same contents but continue with new cover titles and will be renumbered with #1 issues. The Justice League of America 100-Page Giant becomes Wonder Woman 100-Page Giant #1, continuing the original Wonder Woman story by Amanda Conner, Jimmy Palmiotti ,Tom Derenick, and Chad Hardin, with “flashback” stories from Geoff Johns’ New 52 Justice League and Aquaman, plus 2006’s “Who Is Wonder Woman?” by Allan Heinberg, Rachel Dodson, and Terry Dodson.

Wonder Woman 100-Page Giant #1

The Teen Titans 100-Page Giant continues as Titans 100-Page Giant #1, with writer Dan Jurgens continuing his original story with art by Scot Eaton and Wayne Faucher. In addition, the book will continue the ongoing reprint stories from Geoff Johns and Tom Grummett’s Teen Titans from 2004, Peter Tomasi’s Super Sons from 2017’s DC Rebirth and Kenneth Rocafort, Dan DiDio, and Max Raynor’s Sideways from the New Age of Heroes.

Titans 100-Page Giant #1

Each 100-page comic sells for $4.99 and are available in more than 3,000 participating Walmart retailers in the United States.

Multiple Man Courtesy of James Franco, Simon Kinberg, and Allan Heinberg

Deadline is reporting that James Franco is looking to play Jamie Maddrox, Multiple Man in a movie from Fox. The script is being written by Allan Heinberg, and Simon Kinberg and Genre Films are producing it along with Franco and Ramona Films.

Multiple Man is a part of Marvel Comics‘ X-Men universe and is a character who has the ability to create copies of himself with the first appearing when the doctor slapped him to breathe when he was born.

The character has ranged in numerous types of stories from superhero adventures to detective noir and thus the movie could cover a wide range of genres.

This is the latest spin-off for the “X” Universe for Fox which has included Deadpool and its sequel, The New Mutants, the upcoming Gambit, and a new X-film X-Men: Dark Phoenix.

23rd Annual GLAAD Media Awards Comics Nominations Announced

The comic book nominees for the 23rd Annual GLAAD Media Awards have been announced.  The award is for series that portray LGBT characters in a positive way.  This years nominees are:

Outstanding Comic Book
• Avengers: The Children’s Crusade by Allan Heinberg, Marvel
• Batwoman by J.H. Williams III and W. Haden Blackman, DC Comics
• Secret Six by Gail Simone, DC Comics
• Veronica Presents: Kevin Keller by Dan Parent, Archie Comics
• X-Factor by Peter David, Marvel Comics

All are great examples of the progressive nature of comics and how this is being portrayed in mainstream comics.  I do also encourage folks to check out Prism Comics and Northwest Press (two examples of many) that primarily produce LGBT comics.  Congrats to all the nominees, all of which I’d be happy to win.

Catching Up on Reviews, Part 2 — Avengers & Avengers Children’s Crusade (quinnelk)

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Avengers: The Children’s Crusade – Young Avengers (Marvel) – This is a very well-drawn comic book. I’m always a fan of Alan Davis’s work and this is some of the best stuff he’s done. The story is good as well, and ends with a good cliffhanger that draws you into the too-long delayed Children’s Crusade story.

Story: 8.5 Art: 10 Overall: 9.25

Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #5 (Marvel) – Jim Cheung’s art is pretty amazing in this issue and the series is one of the most important things Marvel is doing right now in terms of their continuity and history. A bit of this story is deus ex machina-like and the delays on this series are mind-numbing, but they are delivering quality material when they get around to it.

Story: 9 Art: 9.5 Overall: 9.25

Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #6 (Marvel) – Cheung’s art continues to be amongst the best that Marvel is putting out these days and Allan Heinberg deftly delivers a story that is years in the making and, with the character of Richter, gives us one of the best payoffs in recent Marvel history. I would love it if this series were delivered more frequently, but if the quality continues to be this good, they can deliver it whenever they want.

Story: 9.75 Art: 9.75 Overall: 9.75

The Avengers #10 (Marvel) – John Romita Jr. and Brian Michael Bendis are amongst the best ever at what they do and issues like this are the proof. Every panel is beautiful and the story is even better. The Avengers series seems to be the only comic that really lived up to the concept of “The Heroic Age,” offering great heroes vs. villains storylines wherein the action is epic, the stories are straightforward and it’s easy to figure out who to root for. This issue is particularly amazing because Bendis changes storytelling styles multiple times throughout the issue without losing coherence and while still having room for cool pop culture references, a deft handling of a massive cast and a knowledge of and reverence to comics history while still adding something to the conversation. This is why I read comics.

Story: 10 Art: 10 Overall: 10

The Avengers #11 (Marvel) – This is a battle-heavy issue and that means the story and the art suffer a little, but it’s still among the best comics being published these days.

Story: 9.75 Art: 9.75 Overall: 9.75

The Avengers #12 (Marvel) – Massive Marvel action with cosmic implications and good twists and references to the last half-decade of Marvel chronology and a clear growth of the characters involved. Also, the panel of Red Hulk punching the Hood is one of my favorite panels in recent years and I’d definitely buy that poster.

Story: 10 Art: 10 Overall: 10

The Avengers #12.1 (Marvel) – Brian Hitch is a pretty good artist, but he’s no John Romita Jr. That being said, he does have a few great panels here to go along with continuing great writing by Bendis that pulls more nuggets out of continuity and adds good stuff for the long-time fans.

Story: 9.5 Art: 8.5 Overall: 9

The Avengers #13 (Marvel) – Chris Bachalo brings a completely different style to the art for this issue and it works very, very well with Bendis’s different style of storytelling here, that is much more based on a collective narrative of the various Avengers. Both approaches work and the compliment each other well.

Story: 10 Art: 9.5 Overall: 9.75

The Avengers #14 (Marvel) – This is almost certainly the best Fear Itself tie-in issue from any series. Romita Jr. is back and he seems to have a particular knack, these days, of drawing Red Hulk hitting people and getting hit and making it look amazing. Bendis does his alternating style here, where some sequences are completely devoid of dialog and others are incredibly dialog-heavy and based on a collective narrative. It’s a great sign of his talent that both are equally effective at achieving different aspects of storytelling.

Story: 10 Art: 10 Overall: 10

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