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Marvel’s Pull List Reveals Gwen Stacy, Falcon & Winter Soldier, X-Men/Fantastic Four, Wolverine, and more!

Marvel has released its special edition of The Pull List, unveiling exclusive information for titles coming to comic shops this February! Check out below for some of what you can soon read!

GWEN STACY #1 (OF 5)

Written by CHRISTOS GAGE
Art by TODD NAUCK
Cover by ADAM HUGHES

The First of Gwen Stacy’s AMAZING Adventures!

Gwen and Peter may not have met until AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #31, but that doesn’t mean Gwen’s life began on that page. Learn the never-before told origin of Gwen Stacy, top of her class, daughter of the Police Captain and, as her friend Harry Osborn calls her, “The Beauty Queen of Standard High.”  But she’s way more that you even know! Gwen’s got a science brain, a nose for trouble and a no-quit attitude that always gets her in trouble. In the early Marvel Universe, that’s a recipe for disaster. Don’t miss Gwen, Captain Stacy, Harry and Norman Osborn, Crimemaster, Wilson Fisk, Jean DeWolff, Yuri Wantanabe and even Spider-Man!

GWEN STACY #1 (OF 5)

FALCON & WINTER SOLDIER #1 (OF 5)

Written by DEREK LANDY
Art by FEDERICO VICENTINI
Cover by DAN MORA

An office of dead government agents. A gifted new killer. Two ex-Captain Americas…

When a dramatic attempt on the life of Bucky Barnes reunites him with Sam Wilson, the two old friends are plunged headlong into a race to uncover the new leader of Hydra before a mass casualty event announces the terror group’s resurgence to the world. The clock is ticking…

Derek Landy (BLACK ORDER, SECRET EMPIRE: UPRISING) and Federico Vicentini (ABSOLUTE CARNAGE: MILES MORALES) team up for a pulse-pounding action spectacular!

FALCON & WINTER SOLDIER #1 (OF 5)

X-MEN/FANTASTIC FOUR #1 (OF 4)

Written by CHIP ZDARSKY
Art and Cover by TERRY DODSON

THE SEEDS WERE PLANTED IN HOUSE OF X….

THE LINE IN THE SAND!

KRAKOA. Every mutant on Earth lives there … except for one. But now it’s time for FRANKLIN RICHARDS to come home.

It’s the X-MEN VS. the FANTASTIC FOUR and nothing will ever be the same.

X-MEN/FANTASTIC FOUR #1 (OF 4)

CONAN THE BARBARIAN #13

Written by JIM ZUB
Art by ROGÊ ANTÔNIO
Cover by E.M. GIST

A NEW ARC BY JIM ZUB & ROGÊ ANTÔNIO

INTO THE CRUCIBLE AS THE MARCH TO KHITAI BEGINS!

Conan has faced many foes since leaving Cimmeria, but the greatest challenge lies ahead!  A perfect jumping-on point for new readers as Conan finds himself in a city in the mystical Uttara Kuru, further on the eastern border than the young barbarian has ever traveled.  And with the new city comes new dangers!  Unfamiliar with the language, Conan inadvertently agrees to be the latest entrant to the Great Crucible.  The people of the city support their foreign champion…but what deadly traps does the Crucible hold, and what will Conan sacrifice to overcome his ordeal?

Writer JIM ZUB (SAVAGE SWORD OF CONAN, AVENGERS: NO ROAD HOME) and artist ROGÊ ANTÔNIO (CONAN 2099, X-MEN RED) lead Conan on an all-new journey, as we begin a new era for CONAN THE BARBARIAN into undiscovered country!

CONAN THE BARBARIAN #13

ANT-MAN #1 (OF 5)

Written by ZEB WELLS
Art by DYLAN BURNETT
Cover by EDUARD PETROVICH

SWARM APPROACHES!

Scott Lang is back and doing better than ever! Er, at least according to him, but his daughter, Stinger, and the anthill he’s living in say otherwise. Desperate to raise his daughter’s opinion of him, Scott takes a job from local beekeepers only to uncover a global conspiracy that could topple the world order! No time to call the Avengers, this sounds like a job for – ANT-MAN?! Join the explosive creative team of Zeb Wells (NOVA) and Dylan Burnett (X-FORCE, COSMIC GHOST RIDER) as they take Ant-Man to all-new heights in this epic adventure!

ANT-MAN #1 (OF 5)

WOLVERINE #1

Written by BENJAMIN PERCY
Art by ADAM KUBERT & VIKTOR BOGDANOVIC
Cover by ADAM KUBERT

THE BEST IS BACK!

Wolverine been through a lot. He’s been a loner. He’s been a killer. He’s been a hero. He’s been an Avenger. He’s been to hell and back. Now, as the nation of Krakoa brings together all Mutantkind, he can finally be… happy? With his family all together and safe, Wolverine has everything he ever wanted… and everything to lose. Writer Benjamin Percy (X-FORCE, WOLVERINE: THE LONG NIGHT) and legendary artist Adam Kubert (X-MEN, AVENGERS) bring the best there is to his new home! PLUS: The return of OMEGA RED!

WOLVERINE #1

Review: The Amazing Spider-Man: Red Goblin

The Amazing Spider-Man: Red Goblin collects the end of writer Dan Slott‘s run on Spider-Man and features the showdown between Spider-Man and Red Goblin!

The collection features Amazing Spider-Man #794-801

Story: Dan Slott, Christos Gage
Art: Stuart Immonen, Mike Hawthorne, Nick Bradshaw, Humberto Ramos, Giuseppe Camuncoli, Marcos Martin
Ink: Wade Von Grawbadger, Terry Pallot, Cam Smith, Nick Bradshaw, Victor Olazaba, Cam Smith, Marcos Martin
Color: Marte Gracia, Erick Arciniega, Edgar Delgado, Java Tartaglia, Muntsa Vincente
Letterer: Joe Caramagna

Get your copy in comic shops now and book stores on November 12! To find a comic shop near you, visit http://www.comicshoplocator.com or call 1-888-comicbook or digitally and online with the links below.

Amazon Hardcover
Amazon Paperback
Kindle/comiXology
TFAW

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review
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Preview: Tony Stark: Iron Man #17

Tony Stark: Iron Man #17

(W) Dan Slott, Christos N. Gage (A) Francesco Manna (CA) Alexander Lozano
Rated T+
In Shops: Oct 23, 2019
SRP: $3.99

“THE ULTRON AGENDA” continues! Chapter 2: Compatible Parts

Is Tony Stark dead? Is he alive? Who can tell? Whatever he is, he IS Iron Man. And he’s all that’s standing in the way of Ultron Pym and everyone that Tony Stark loves. Or loved. Because Tony might be dead.

2020 is coming. The robot revolution has begun. So suit up, fleshbags. Suit up or die.

Tony Stark: Iron Man #17

Marvel Reveals Hawkeye: Freefall, Tarot, Ruins of Ravencroft and More for January

Marvel has released its special edition of The Pull List, unveiling exclusive information for titles coming to comic shops this January! The episode recapped all the exciting news from New York Comic Con 2019 like Iron Man 2020 and Ravencroft as well as the new launches of Thor, Guardians of the Galaxy, and Star Wars! In addition, The Pull List revealed never-before-seen titles: Hawkeye: Freefall, a brand new solo series by Matthew Rosenberg, and Tarot #1, an all-new adventure featuring the Avengers and Defenders by comic legends Alan Davis and Paul Renaud.

HAWKEYE: FREEFALL  #1

Written by MATTHEW ROSENBERG
Art by OTTO SCHMIDT
Cover by KIM JACINTO

HAWKEYE RETURNS IN A BRAND NEW SERIES!

When a mysterious and ruthless new Ronin starts tearing a destructive path through the city, suspicion immediately falls on Hawkeye, but Clint has more to worry about than who’s wearing his old costume. After a clash with the Hood ends badly, Hawkeye gives himself a new mission that will place him in the crosshairs of one of New York’s most dangerous villains.

Hawkeye’s mission and Ronin’s secret plans will set them on a collision course that only one of them will walk away from.

HAWKEYE: FREEFALL  #1

TAROT #1

Written by ALAN DAVIS
Art and Cover by PAUL RENAUD

An all-new epic adventure teaming the classic Earth’s Mightiest Heroes with Marvel’s premiere Non-Team by Alan Davis and Paul Renaud!

A strange and impossible lost memory from his days in World War II draws Namor the Sub-Mariner to his one-time compatriot Captain America—but the two heroes and their respective allies find themselves pulled into a labyrinth of pain, destruction and madness courtesy of the Infernal Ichor of Ish’lzog!

TAROT #1

IRON MAN 2020 #1

Written by DAN SLOTT & CHRISTOS GAGE
Art and Cover by PETE WOODS

In IRON MAN 2020, the future has arrived, and Artificial Intelligences present a clear and present danger to humanity and must be brought to heel! As the Robot Rebellion battles for the establishment of robot rights, someone new will don the Iron Man suit: Arno Stark, the long-lost brother of Tony Stark.

But Arno Stark won’t be alone: War Machine, Rescue, Ironheart will all have roles to play in the new series. The Robot Rebellion will also feature some familiar robots from the Marvel Universe including Machine Man AKA Aaron Stack, Jocasta, the Vision, Albert (the robotic Wolverine character), Elsie-Dee, Machinesmith, Nick Fury LMDs, Death’s Head, the Mad Thinker and his Awesome Android, Quasimodo, H.E.R.B.I.E., the Dreadnaughts, Brynocki, Alkhema, and M-11.

Iron Man 2020

RAVENCROFT #1

Written by FRANK TIERI
Art by ANGEL UNZUETA
Cover by KYLE HOTZ

RAVENCROFT REOPENED!

After the hellish horrors of ABSOLUTE CARNAGE, the Ravencroft Institute has received a much-needed facelift and is open for business with a new staff, including JOHN JAMESON, looking to atone for the part he played in ABSOLUTE CARNAGE. But will Ravencroft return the mentally unstable villains of the Marvel Universe to upstanding citizens and give John the redemption he’s looking for, or will they fall prey to the hospital’s seemingly sinister nature?

RAVENCROFT #1

RUINS OF RAVENCROFT: CARNAGE #1

Written by FRANK TIERI
Art by GUIU VILLANOVA
Cover by GERARDO SANDOVAL

CARNAGE, USA!

In the aftermath of ABSOLUTE CARNAGE, the Marvel Universe still needs a place to treat and rehabilitate the criminally insane, and efforts to reconstruct RAVENCROFT are well underway. But Ravencroft is no ordinary facility, and untold secrets may yet be waiting to be unearthed in the destruction Carnage left after his attack on the facility.

RUINS OF RAVENCROFT: CARNAGE #1

RUINS OF RAVENCROFT: SABRETOOTH #1

Written by FRANK TIERI
Art by GUILLERMO SANNA
Cover by GERARDO SANDOVAL

The history of the Ravencroft Institute for the Criminally Insane has been shrouded in mystery for years. NO LONGER! In the wake of ABSOLUTE CARNAGE, the facility’s past has started to unravel, and in doing so has revealed hidden chapters in the lives of some of the Marvel Universe’s most recognizable heroes and villains!

RUINS OF RAVENCROFT: SABRETOOTH #1

RUINS OF RAVENCROFT: DRACULA #1

Written by FRANK TIERI
Art by STEFANO LANDINI
Cover by GERARDO SANDOVAL

To the men and women of the Marvel Universe, Ravencroft Institute for the Criminally Insane appeared to be a hospital devoted to the rehabilitation of society’s most violent offenders. But appearances can be deceptive, and—as Captain America learned the hard way—some secrets have teeth.

RUINS OF RAVENCROFT: DRACULA #1

THOR #1

Written by DONNY CATES
Art by NIC KLEIN
Cover by OLIVIER COIPEL  

The prince is now a king. All Asgard lies before Thor, the God of Thunder. And after many months of war, the Ten Realms are finally at peace. But the skies above the Realm Eternal are never clear for long… The Black Winter is coming. And the God of the Storm will be powerless before it.

THOR #1

GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY #1

Written by AL EWING
Art and Cover by JUANN CABAL

Once, the Guardians of the Galaxy were a team of misfits. Now they’re a family, and they’ve earned their peace. But the universe is not a peaceful place — and it’s only getting worse. The Great Empires are in turmoil. The rule of law is dead. And amidst the chaos, the Gods of Olympus have returned — harbingers of a new age of war, reborn to burn their mark on the stars themselves. Someone has to guard the galaxy — but who will accept the mission? And will they survive it?

GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY #1

STAR WARS #1

Written by CHARLES SOULE
Art by JESÚS SAIZ
Cover by R.B. SILVA  

In the wake of The Empire Strikes Back, it is a dark time for the heroes of the Rebellion. The Rebel fleet…scattered following a disastrous defeat at the Battle of Hoth. Han Solo…lost to the bounty hunter, Boba Fett, after being frozen in carbonite. And after being lured into a trap on Cloud City and bested in a vicious lightsaber duel against the evil Darth Vader, Luke Skywalker…learned the horrible truth about his noble Jedi lineage.

Now, after narrowly escaping the Dark Lord’s clutches, wounded and reeling from the revelation, Luke joins Princess Leia, Lando Calrissian, Chewbacca, and the droids C-3PO and R2-D2 to fight their way back to the Rebel Alliance. But what Leia, Luke, and their ragtag band of freedom fighters don’t realize…is that they have only traded one Imperial trap for another! Enter the cunning and vengeful Imperial Commander Zahra, at the helm of the Tarkin’s Will!

The greatest space adventure of all time continues this January!

STAR WARS #1

NYCC 2019: Iron Man 2020 Descends on the Marvel Universe from Dan Slott, Christos Gage, and Pete Woods

In 1984, the Iron Man of 2020 visited from the future in Machine Man #2. Now, decades later, that future has arrived! Announced at the Marvel Comics: Next Big Thing Panel at New York Comic-Con, Iron Man 2020 kicks off in January and begins an event that will redefine one of Marvel’s most iconic heroes!

Recent teasers have hinted at the tragic fate of Tony Stark, and now readers will see his long-lost brother, Arno Stark, take over as Iron Man. How he tackles the responsibilities that come with being the armored Avenger will have monumental effects on the Marvel Universe. Dan Slott and Christos Gage, a superstar duo of longtime Marvel writers, have crafted an Iron Man saga for the ages, and with art by the incomparable Pete Woods, this is an event that was worth waiting decades for!

This 6-issue series will also continue to raise thought-provoking questions about what it means to be an artificial intelligence. As the story unfolds, expect to see your favorite Marvel robotic characters from Vision and Jocasta to Albert and Elsie-Dee in what’s shaping up to be a true “Robot Revolution.” Also keep an eye out for upcoming announcements about the exciting tie-ins that will accompany this epic event featuring some of your favorite armored characters!

IT’S A NEW IRON MAN FOR A NEW YEAR!

The future is now! Artificial Intelligences present a clear and present danger to humanity and must be brought to heel!

The Robot Rebellion battles for the establishment of robot rights!

And Arno Stark IS Iron Man!

Iron Man 2020

Preview: Superior Spider-Man #11

Superior Spider-Man #11

(W) Christos Gage (A/CA) Mike Hawthorne
Rated T+
In Shops: Sep 25, 2019
SRP: $3.99

• Otto Octavius, the Superior Spider-Man, saved San Francisco several times, defeated Terrax and Master Pandemonium and has built quite a life for himself.
• Sadly, the Spider-Powered Norman Osborn from SPIDER-GEDDON has arrived to destroy it all.
• Does Otto stand a chance of stopping him? Does he stand a chance at LIVING THROUGH this?!

Superior Spider-Man #11

Preview: Superior Spider-Man #10

Superior Spider-Man #10

(W) Christos Gage (A/CA) Mike Hawthorne
Rated T+
In Shops: Aug 21, 2019
SRP: $3.99

• Otto Octavius is the Superior Spider-Man, yes?
• Norman Osborn, the Spider-Man of Earth-44145 you met in SPIDER-GEDDON, begs to differ…and has some very creative ways to prove his superiority.
• The least predictable comic on the stands finds even more ways to surprise you AND Otto.

Superior Spider-Man #10

Preview: Ninja-K Deluxe Edition HC

NINJA-K DELUXE EDITION HC

Written by CHRISTOS GAGE
Art by TOMÁS GIORELLO, JUAN JOSÉ RYP, ROBERTO DE LA TORRE, ARIEL OLIVETTI, LARRY STROMAN, RYAN WINN
Colors by DIEGO RODRIGUEZ, ANDREW DALHOUSE, JORDIE BELLAIRE, JOSÉ VILLARRUBIA
Letters by A LARGER WORLD STUDIOS 
Cover by TOMÁS GIORELLO with DIEGO RODRIGUEZ
$49.99 | 320 pgs. | T+ | On sale AUGUST 14th | HARDCOVER | ISBN: 978-1-68215-322-2

One by one, the operatives of MI-6’s covert “Ninja Programme” are being murdered by an unseen threat. Ninjak must confront the bloodstained legacy that spawned him…before his own name gets crossed off the list… The circle around Valiant’s deadliest superspy closes in the complete deluxe edition hardcover of the series Nerdist calls, “one hell of a ride”! Collecting NINJA-K #1–14, “Prelude to Ninja-K” from NINJAK #0, and more than 20+ pages of rarely seen process art, designs and extras!

NINJA-K DELUXE EDITION HC

Preview: Superior Spider-Man #9

Superior Spider-Man #9

(W) Christos Gage (A/CA) Mike Hawthorne
Rated T+
In Shops: Jul 17, 2019
SRP: $3.99

After saving the citizens of San Francisco from the worst of THE WAR OF THE REALMS, the Superior Spider-Man is the toast of the town! The key to the city! A ticker-tape parade! Adoration of the masses! That should make him feel good, right? Whatever he’s feeling, he should treasure it, because someone very dangerous is coming for him…

Superior Spider-Man #9

Messages from Midgard #13- The Four Thors

This week marks the end of both “War of the Realms” and the Messages from Midgard column. There are a few straggler tie-ins like Unbeatable Squirrel Girl and an Omega issue, which I will cover in its own review, but the core miniseries plus three ancillary tie-in minis and Jason Aaron’s arcs on Thor and Avengers wrap up this week. Plus there’s a fun Superior Spider-Man story where Peter Parker and, of all people, Gwenpool, teaching Doc Ock that heroism is about saving individuals and not just trying to glory hog the whole event. That privilege is reserved for Thor, of which there are four, because its their event.


War of the Realms #6

In War of the Realms #6, Jason Aaron, Russell Dauterman, and Matthew Wilson knuckle down to give both this event and basically Aaron’s seven year run on Thor one hell of a conclusion. It’s centered around a simple premise. If only Thor can break the magic circle and confront a Knull-infused Malekith, then why not bring four of them: Odinson, King Thor, Young Thor, and Jane Foster’s Thor, who now wields Mjolnir from the Ultimate Universe. What follows is an exercise in fighting, bickering, and true heroism while the rest of the heroes confront Laufey on Midgard.

Before digging into the fantastic things that Aaron does with both Thor and Jane Foster’s arcs, I would like to praise the visuals of Dauterman and Wilson, who really outdo themselves in issue six. Wilson’s palette is majestic and varied ranging from the eye of the storm to the clash of lightning on symbiote ooze and a snowstorm to end all snowstorms. Like the different hammers and weapons used by the Thors, Dauterman switches up his inking style to fit the scene from looser work when Malekith does anything symbiote-y to more clean polished art when Odinson forges Mjolnir anew in the eye of a storm. His attention to detail is uncanny, and he draws many epic moments like when Odinson punches his own hammer and memorable small ones like Screwbeard and Ivory Honeyshot doing their best Gimli and Legolas imitation at the end of the world.

One word that can be used to describe War of the Realms #6 is “satisfying”. Odinson has gone on a painful heroic journey that draws comparisons to the one his own father, Odin, went on to become All-Father sacrificing body parts to gain the wisdom and power to rule Asgard. There are also parallels to the journeys of Dionysus and Jesus Christ in his story as he humbles himself and suffers to save the whole world. But, lofty comparisons aside, this is really the story of a man who becomes a hero and “worthy” in spite of his flaws, which is a metaphor for most of the Marvel heroes, who have fantastic abilities and feet of clay. It is a rare sight to see such an iconic character, like Thor, grow and change over a run, and Jason Aaron has pulled this off with War of the Realms #6 being the finishing touch and earning an Overall Verdict of Buy.


War of the Realms: New Agents of Atlas #4

In New Agents of Atlas #4, this new pan-Asian superhero team finally gets their act together to assemble and prevent Sindr, the Fire Goblin queen from melting the polar ice caps. Greg Pak and artists Gang Hyuk Lim, Moy R, and Pop Mhan take their cues from third act of the 2012 Avengers film from Jimmy Woo playing the Nick Fury role and lying about Pele’s true nature to get the team to work together and lots of big epic splash pages of heroes doing team-up moves. However, with the exception of Brawn, Shang Chi, and the Filipina heroine Wave, I feel like I barely know these heroes so the big fight scenes look pretty, but feel like action figures in position, not characters reaching the end of their journey.

Pak, Lim, Federico Blee and the guest artists and colorists had a tall order introducing new characters and ones who had only appeared in Korean and Chinese comics as well as mobile games to a new audience. Having four issues and a big, yet underdeveloped baddie helped, but in the end, the cast of New Agents of Atlas was simply too large to get to know the new folks. Hopefully, the upcoming miniseries will take its time to develop their personalities as well as show off their cool costumes and powers. Unfortunately, New Agents of Atlas #4 earns an Overall Verdict of Pass despite its one genuinely memorable twist.


War of the Realms: Punisher #3

War of the Realms Punisher #3 features the same fantasy baddies as the rest of “War of the Realm’s” tie-ins, but Gerry Duggan, Marcelo Ferreira, Roberto Poggi, and Rachelle Rosenberg take a grittier, more violent, and at times, fatalistic approach to their story beginning with Frank Castle having guns pointed to his head by former mobsters. He gets out of this pickle pretty easily by swearing on the souls of dead wife and kids that he’ll spare the criminals once they get the civilians to safety. Most of them don’t have to worry about living as they’re immediately set upon by a squad of trolls; one of which Frank tortures in a chilling scene that makes the criminals realize that they’re not getting out of this alive too.

Duggan and Ferreira portray Frank Castle as a hardened soldier in War of the Realms Punisher #3, and his enemy is the criminal element, both mortal and otherworldly. Sure, he’ll get the civilians to safety in New Jersey, but he’ll also gun down the last criminal standing with him while the doctor he was assisting shrieks in terror. This is because Castle is as much of a monster and a force of nature as the trolls and Fire Goblins that he was gunning down or blowing up tanker trucks to stop. Duggan’s understanding of Frank Castle’s character, and that we can cheer for him to take out the bad guys and recoil at killing one in cold blood as well as the hellish visuals of Ferreira, Poggi, and Rosenberg earns War of the Realms Punisher #3 an Overall Verdict of Buy and definitely has me interested in Duggan’s upcoming Punisher Kill Krew series.


War of the Realms: Uncanny X-Men #3

Even though it’s nice to see Cyclops, Multiple Man, and your favorite former New Mutants defending Citi Field from Frost Giants, Matthew Rosenberg, Pere Perez, and Rachelle Rosenberg’s War of the Realms: Uncanny X-Men has been the weak link of the tie-in minis. Issue three is no exception with the pointless killing off of Sunspot, the repetitive dialogue of (dead in the main series) Wolfsbane’s lover Hrimhari, and a tacked on sequence with Dani Moonstar and the Valkyries even though this plot point was only touched upon at the end of issue one. It could have been a good hook for the miniseries and a through-line to the main action, but in the end, it’s too little, too late.

War of the Realms: Uncanny X-Men #3 does have a few cool moments like Multiple Man’s dupes luring the Frost Giants into a Limbo portal, a visceral claw on claw fight between Sabretooth and Wolfsbane, and Cyclops precision sniping Frost Giants. However, these are few and far between, and after three issues, this miniseries has really done nothing to justify its existence and earns an Overall Verdict of Pass. But the silver lining is that Jonathan Hickman is coming in a month and probably all these events/pointless character deaths will be retconned.


Thor #14

Jason Aaron, Scott Hepburn, and Matthew Wilson’s story in Thor #14 covers much of the same ground as War of the Realms #6, but from the POV of Young Thor as the Fantastic Four summon him from brooding and trying to lift Mjolnir to a fight for all ten realms. I read this almost directly after War of the Realms #6, and there are obvious re-draws of Russell Dauterman’s art although Hepburn has an earthier take on the material to match the boisterous, shit-talking Young Thor. The issue also has more direct connections to the last adventure of the three Thors in Aaron’s Thor, God of Thunder series and a similar art style although Hepburn is no Simon Bisley. There’s a lot of gruffness, talk about hammers, and an indirect reference to Back to the Future along the way.

However, compared to the standalone issues about Loki, Cul Borson, and even Gorilla-Man in Aaron’s tie-in issues of Thor and Avengers, Thor #14 seems less essential because Jason Aaron and Russell Dauterman portrayed Young Thor’s carelessness, brashness, and adventurous nature so well in War of the Realms #6. He does get a cool action sequence against a gnarly Hepburn-drawn Venom symbiote and  lifts Mjolnir in a moment that again proves that “worthiness” and heroism is not something bestowed externally, but internally. Most of the material in Thor #14 is covered in Realms #6, but that scene and the sheer joy that Aaron gets at writing Young Thor earns the issue an Overall Verdict of Read.


Avengers #20

Avengers #20 is yet another standalone success from Jason Aaron, Ed McGuinness, Mark Morales, and Jason Keith and is a metafictional look at She-Hulk, and how she’s changed as a character in the past few years. The opening sequence is brilliant and set in side a Wakandan therapy simulation where She-Hulk looks at a pinup of the John Byrne version of her and beats up a version of her that looks like it was drawn by Javier Pulido. The comic is a narration about how she likes embracing the monster and getting to beat up enemies with her new powers instead of being sexually harassed while in costume. Unlike Bruce Banner, she enjoys the freedom of being Hulk, and McGuinness and Morales use wide panels to show the swath of destruction she causes with her bulging forearms.

Using the character of She-Hulk as a case study, Avengers #20 is also a bigger commentary about how women have to fit pre-conceived roles in the workforce (Even if that means the Avengers.) and society and get pushback whenever they’re assertive or show anger. Deadpool asking She-Hulk why she doesn’t crack jokes or break the fourth wall any more is the metafictional version of a male co-worker asking a woman why she doesn’t smile. And, on a more a geeky level, this issue also has some foreshadowing of Aaron’s future plans for the Avengers title with the help of omniscient Daredevil showing Aaron can work on both a micro and macro level. Avengers #20 is a fantastic, holistic character study of She-Hulk and her recent developments and easily earns an Overall Verdict of Buy with a side dish of allusions to Immortal Hulk.


Superior Spider-Man #8

Superior Spider-Man continues to be an underrated delight and study in ego from Christos Gage, Lan Medina, Cam Smith, and Andy Troy. Doc Ock continues to be terrible at reading the room, er, event and wants to take out Malekith all by himself with the help of the Fantastic Four and West Coast Avengers. He doesn’t want to protect New York City, but basically hack America Chavez’s portal abilities to get to what he thinks is the real action. This ends up backfiring, and he gets one hell of a dressing down from Spider-Man in the nature of heroism while Spider-Man is wearing his helmet from the Land of Giants one-shot and is immediately abandoned by his “minions” aka the West Coast Avengers.

Gage and Medina use the wide scope of “War of Realms” to tell an entertaining and at times fourth wall breaking (Thanks to Gwenpool.) story about how heroism isn’t just about defeating the final boss, but saving one person from death and danger. Having Spider-Man deliver the lecture about this topic makes sense because for the most part, he has focused on protecting his neighborhood instead of mixing it up with gods and monsters. Gage’s script is self-aware, and Medina and Smith have a classic, illustrator style approach where it is easy to follow the action even in a Southern California blizzard. For commenting on the nature of heroism, being funny as hell, and having plentiful America Chavez side eye, Superior Spider-Man #8 earns an Overall Verdict of Buy.


War of the Realms #6 was the best ending to a summer Marvel event since Jonathan Hickman and Esad Ribic’s Secret Wars, and it shipped on time too. One thing that these two events shared in common is that they were a culmination of two macro-stories, namely, Jason Aaron’s Thor run and Hickman’s Fantastic Four-Ultimates-Avengers/New Avengers project. The War of the Realms has been foreshadowed for years, and the early battles were fought in the pages of Mighty Thor and Thor so the event was really just icing on the cake. Sometimes, the montage of the different battles were a little insufferable, but when Aaron, Dauterman, and Wilson grabbed onto the character journeys of Odinson and Jane Foster, the book really sung. Nowhere was this more evident than in War of the Realms #6, and the spinoff I’m most excited for is Valkyrie even if I’m little disappointed that Tessa Thompson’s take on the character is nowhere in sight although Al Ewing may pluck her from somewhere in the multiverse.


Panel of the Week

Young Thor and King Thor bonding over craft beer is the cutest thing. (From War of the Realms #6, Art by Russell Dauterman and Matthew Wilson)
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