Tag Archives: Comics

Those Two Geeks Episode Fifty Nine: Diamond’s Aren’t A Nerd’s Best Friend

Alex and Joe talk about Diamond no longer shipping to comic stores, and what that means for publishers and comic shops.

As always, Alex and Joe can be found on twitter respectively @karcossa and @jcb_smark if you feel the need to tell them they’re wrong individually, or @those2geeks if you want to yell at them together on twitter, or by email at ItsThose2Geeks@gmail.com.

Marvel Giveth and Marvel Taketh Digital Away

Marvel logo

The will they or won’t they drama of new comic releases has been something that I’m sure would make an interesting story of the behind the scenes drama. Some publishers quickly planted flags saying no digital releases without physical releases. Others are doing limited releases, while others are sticking with their plans.

Marvel finally has made a decision and won’t currently be releasing digital comics.

The publisher had earlier last week listed a full slate of releases on their website and comiXology’s new release page. Then, Marvel pulled back their releases to just two comics on their own website but the full list remained on comiXology. Then on Monday, Marvel returned their full release list to their website leaving us to speculate they may indeed release everything digitally. Now, almost everything is pulled from the comiXology website while the main website hasn’t been updated yet.

As we’ve made it clear from discussions with numerous individuals that plans at publishers have been fluid as they scramble to get back to some form of normal. While digital comics aren’t being released this week, it doesn’t mean they won’t be next week.

Marvel released a message as well from President Dan Buckley:

To all our partners in the retailer community,

Thank you for all your notes, discussions, and the absolute resolve we have heard and seen from you over the past weeks. This situation has been challenging for everyone, and the safety and well-being of you, your families, and your communities continue to be at the front of our minds.

As you know, unfortunately there will not be any new print titles available at your shops this week. Marvel will also not be releasing any new comic book titles digitally on April 1. This is a fluid situation with details changing every day, so we appreciate your patience and understanding as we all navigate our way through this. As soon as more information is available, we will outline our longer-term plans and opportunities to support you and the industry.

If you have any questions in the meantime, please continue to reach out and share your feedback. Revised release dates for our April 1 titles will be shared in the coming weeks.

Please stay safe and well.

Dan Buckley

President, Marvel Entertainment

Hold Fast: The Marauders and the Anti-Fascist Model

Pyro in the Marauders
Marauders #6, January 22, 2020, by Gerry Duggan, Matteo Lolli, Mario Del Pennino, & Erick Arciniega

Resistance, Reclamation, and the Red-Queen of Anti-fascism

What does it mean for marginalized communities to resist oppression and protect themselves and their kin when the governments of the world leave them behind? [A totally theoretical question, in no way relevant to the world we live in] Marauders asks this question, consistently expanding on the complexities of Krakoa’s role on the world’s political stage.

Having spent years working in multiple above and below ground anti-fascist/anti-racist organizations and affinity-groups, I love X-Books like Marauders, that acknowledge the complexities of revolutionary struggle, telling a story of an autonomous cell of mutants, using tactical violence and property damage, to carry out direct-action operations to defend their community. For this reason, Marauders can help readers approach the stigmatized political ethos of anti-fascism. I don’t expect you to walk away with a full understanding of the history and strategies of anti-fascism. For a more holistic account of the history and political validity of anti-fascism, I suggest Mark Bray’s, Antifa: The Anti-Fascist and Robert Paxton’s Anatomy of Fascism.

Anti-fascism or autonomous anti-fascism [as it’s known outside the US, where political discourse can sustain a multifaceted definition of anti-fascism] is an illiberal politics of cultural self-defense, necessitated by the inaction of a corrupt state-apparatus, utilizing historic & emergent methods of protest and direct-action. It’s a single aspect of larger strategies of resistance to white supremacy, not a discrete political ideology. Anti-fascists organize in autonomous cells, collectives, or affinity groups without traceable ties to larger organizations of the left. They reject the liberal formula for opposing fascism; debating fascists in the “marketplace of ideas” or trusting the police to counteract fascist violence. History shows that parliamentary government is not a barrier to fascism, in fact, it’s historically a red carpet. Police, who historically began as slave-patrollers, often share membership with white-supremacist groups and have given birth to reactionary movements like “Blue Lives Matter”. Not to mention they are constantly emboldened by our president’s calls for increased levels of violence.

The series/team’s title is a reference to a group of mercenaries, who Sinister hired to wipe out the Morlocks. Kate chose this name to distance what they’re doing from the X-Men but It’s also an act of reclamation, as Callisto herself notes in Marauders #7. They take a name tied to their own pain and use it in the fight against their oppressors. There are numerous leftist organizations whose names are reclamations, like Trigger Warning, Philly’s Dyke March, the SHARPs, and Redneck Revolt come to mind. This is also seen in revolutionary aesthetics like the pink/purple triangle, used by Nazis to identify queer people, which was reclaimed in the 1980s & 90s by many organizations working in AIDS & HIV advocacy and is used by queer anti-fascist affinity groups to this day. It’s worth noting, that there is a meta-complexity in “reclamation” in comic books. Because these characters are not autonomous and self-aware, they themselves can’t reclaim certain things in the way we in the real world can [ which is still an intense and complex path to navigate]. What I think works here, is that everything is textual. Kate isn’t reclaiming a slur from our world, like naming a non-binary character Snowflake and their twin Safe-Space. Kate is a character, within a constructed world, reclaiming a term specifically located within the confines and context of that constructed world.

X-Men #4, January 01, 2020, by Jonathan Hickman, Leinil Francis Yu, Gerry Alanguilan, & Sunny Gho

The Marauders play a vital role in the safety of mutants of the 616, providing an alternate model of resistance to anti-mutant oppression, a model of resistance that larger structures of mutant governance cannot engage in. In X-Men #4 we see what happens when the X-Men do participate in larger institutions of economic and political governance, specifically the Davos World Economic Forum; the theme, “Globalization for a New Age: How to Secure and Maintain a Cohesive & Sustainable World.” It’s important to remember that by this time, there’s already been one successful attempt on Xavier’s life. Although they toast to peace, yet another assassination attempt unfolds. It’s easily dealt with, but one of the first attempts Krakoa made to participate in global politics is still met with violence. It’s clear that Krakoa cannot trust human structures of governance to achieve justice and equity.

Marauders #1 establishes the team’s two objectives. The first, to bring Krakoan drugs to countries without “legitimate” trade agreements with Krakoa, prioritizing Nations who need it most. In Marauders #2 we see Kate liberating a shipment that Shaw diverted from a nation in Africa who can’t take Krakoa’s deal publicly as it may start a civil war. The second objective is to liberate mutants being held against their will.

To an extent, the Marauders travel by sea because Kate Pryde can’t use Krakoa’s gates, but as Emma Frost states in Marauders #1 this is “…an opportunity”. In House of X, it’s observed that Krakoa’s gates have a military capability to move forces any distance instantaneously. Humanity implicitly sees the gates as a threat. This is why in some places they’re policed, making it difficult to utilize them to support mutants refugees. That’s where the Marauders come in, operating within the gaps between larger Krakoa’s politics and the rest of the world, through which the most vulnerable of mutants will fall. Revolutionary struggle is complex; at times necessitating open conflict, such as the ongoing Hong Kong Protests, the Ferguson Riots, the J20 Protests, the Warsaw rebellion, the Battle of Cable Street. Revolutionary struggle can also be immensely complex though, requiring less overt forms of resistance. In the new paradigm, mutants have the upper hand, but only the mutants living there and on the world’s political stage, Krakoa can only do so much to help them.

Building Power in the Gaps

There’s certainly a complexity to the various political parallels to navigate on Krakoa. X-Force, a covert-ops/CIA analog, establishes its own surveillance state within Krakoa. We’re spoon-fed that reading by the text itself and marketing. In X-Force #7 we learn Beast is investigating methods of surveillance with Forge, using sound-absorbent stone and placing objects made of this substance around the globe. This is certainly one way to read their actions. Although it’s easy to pass judgment on some of Beast’s recent actions, I would politely challenge that interpretation along with anti-fascist framing. Sometimes resistance is ugly; sometimes when they go low and you go high, they take out your legs from beneath you. Beast’s actions throughout X-Force, have been in the grey, but that is much of what it feels like to be involved in anti-fascist organizing. Sometimes protecting your community isn’t squeaky clean. While this is not me condoning some of Beast’s more questionable choices, this is me saying it should take much more for us to condemn them.

onepeoplesproject.com

But surveillance doesn’t always just serve the state. Surveillance & data-collection can be used to protect marginalized communities. In my years of “organizing”, I’ve encountered and partnered with multiple organizations that did just that, dedicated to observation, surveillance, and consolidation of data regarding the personnel, operations, and whereabouts of known fascists, neo-nazis, and abusers. Sometimes organizations come along, like the One People’s Project, [ founded in 2000 ] by Daryl Lamont Jenkins, whose sole mission is to prove “ hate has consequences”. Through OPP’s “Community Watch” project, they’ve created regional databases of known fascist organizations and personalities, to ensure they cannot use anonymity or opacity as tools in their rampage against marginalized communities. Countless times the information provided by these groups is used to make split-second safety decisions regarding the presence of known instigators and agitators, violent abusers within the community, and to anticipate and intervene in potentially dangerous fascist actions.

Krakoa itself is a unique composite of various modes of social-governance. On the one hand, there’s a radicality of Krakoa that stretches beyond a socialist model, leaning into an almost anarcho-syndicalist model. I see this mostly in the way that Krakoa’s exports of various drugs become a foothold for further economic and political power. These drugs become economic leverage on the global scale, much in the way that anarcho-syndicalist models utilize the power of the worker. There are also parallels to the way that mutant identity itself, rooted in Krakoa, becomes surrogate for the role of the union as a sort of consolidation and point of focus for work-power. Krakoan also represents a semi-liberal state apparatus, though without even a symbolic democratic element given the nature of the Quiet Council’s structure and formation. Krakoa is best understood as a combination of Monarchy and Oligarchy. The Monarch [Charles] establishes a puppet Oligarchy [The Quiet Council], which he assumes a major role on. Charles often makes major choices unilaterally, without consulting the council. This council was not elected and contains members such as Sinister, responsible for the genocide of the Morlocks and Sebastian Shaw a serial abuser.

Marauders #1, October 23, 2020 by Gerry Duggan, Matteo Lolli, & Federico Blee

The Marauders embody the anti-fascist slogan “outside and within”; both a part of these larger structures of power and yet operating entirely outside of them at times, both with and without the blessing of Krakoa’s elites. Anti-fascism isn’t all about bandanas and brick-throwing, so I’d like to return to the first mission of The Marauders, to distribute Krakoan drugs to vulnerable communities. This idea of “outside and within” is not just how The Marauders engage in acts of resistance, it also impacts how they provide radical forms of aid to others.

When it comes to providing much-needed material aid to vulnerable communities, there many examples of such work within anti-fascist organizing for us to turn to. And this aspect of anti-fascist organizing is very similar to the first objective of the Marauders that we’ve discussed, and that is to provide Krakoan medications to vulnerable communities. An example that many on the left may already be familiar with is the “Food not Bombs” movement, popularized by many anarchist and anti-fascist communities. The goal of which is to consistently host soup kitchens, food drives, and community potlucks within under-resourced communities. While not all members of FnB also do anti-fascist work, there is a significant overlap between the two. There are many other organizations dedicated to this type of work. Much like the Marauders, anti-fascists serve as both swords and shields to the communities they place themselves within.

Marauders #6, January 22, 2020, by Gerry Duggan, Matteo Lolli, Mario Del Pennino, & Erick Arciniega

In issues #5, #6, & #7 it becomes clear that Sebastian Shaw has formed alliances with Verendi. Like many anti-fascist organizations, the Marauders deal with the never-ending struggle of sectarian in-fighting. While it never gets as heated as Democratic-Socialists drowning members of anarcho-communist affinity groups in the ocean, a sizeable amount of time and energy is spent vying for new footholds of power when the focus should be on fighting oppression. Shaw’s plot to kill Kate, his choices of who he appoints as Black Bishop and Black Knights, and his constant attempts to undermine Emma, are all very similar to how some organizations on the left squabble and feud over things like, membership, titles, and power.

From  Jackboots to Pinstripes

We’re introduced to a group named “Homines Verendi”. “Homines” translates from Latin into “ people/mankind”, in this context, it means human. “Verendi” is the masculine, vocative & nominative conjugation of the Latin, “verendum”, meaning “awe-inspiring”. The title alone paints Verendi as a human-supremacist organization, evocative of many “pinstripe fascist” white-supremacist groups, like the Proud Boys. The Proud Boys have over time made them the darlings of the established right, unlike many groups of the alt-right. In fact, the Proud Boys’ notable assault [2018] on counter-protestors in Manhattan, happened at all because of an invitation of members of the Metropolitan Republican Club, a mainstream Republican organization.

Marauders #6, January 22, 2020, by Gerry Duggan, Matteo Lolli, Mario Del Pennino, & Erick Arciniega

Verendi and Proud Boys share aesthetics of class, building a “legitimate” image that contrasts the “messy” aesthetics of the left. Like famously punchable Nazi, Richard Spencer they present themselves as well-groomed, and well-dressed “intellectuals”, endearing themselves to far-right elites. As Emily Gorcenski states in her profile on the fascist group,Compared to the white supremacists they march alongside, Proud Boys enjoy comfortable proximity to the Conservative Mainstream”. Even at protests, they appear in collared shirts, cufflinks, and styled hair. They fit right in, rubbing shoulders with politicians and billionaires, masking their continued reactionary violence. According to their own official publications, two of four spokes of membership to the group require acts of violence. Their founder Gavin McInnes has openly referred to his group as “gang” on multiple occasions, defending members’ senseless violence. In March 2017, Proud Boy Kyle Chapman was photographed beating a counter-protester over the head with a 2×4, earning him a role in the alt-right mythology, “Based Stickman”. He went on to form the “Fraternal Order of Alt-Knights”, which McInnes refers to as the “military wing” of the Proud Boys on his twitter.

Gavin McInnes and members of the Proud Boys, Photo Credit: Stephanie Keith, Getty Images

More recently, fascists like the Proud Boys, Richard Spencer, Baked Alaska, Gavin McInnes, Jason Kessler, and their ilk have attempted to rebrand referring to themselves as the “alt-right“. It’s a clever bit of branding for sure, “violence fringe fascists” doesn’t quite seem too palatable. The alt-right, on the other hand, sounds like a contingent of principled youngsters who land a little further to the right of most party republicans. It’s a name that washes over their hate, their violence, and the overtly fascist goals they hold.

A common misunderstanding of fascism, as Robert Paxton points out, is the neo-liberal Western interpretation of fascism as a form of extreme “evil”, forced onto societies by a single evil individual. Fascist power comes from their ability to co-opt, manipulate, and navigate established institutions of power, while still assaulting marginalized communities at the street-level. Respectability politics allows them to systematically acquire and consolidate power, through entirely “legitimate” means. Mussolini’s march on Rome was a mere spectacle legitimizing his prior invitation to form a government. Hitler’s Beer Hall Putsch of 1923 failed miserably; it was only when President Hindenburg appointed him chancellor that he was able to seize and consolidate power, along with parliaments Enabling Act that granted him complete power. The US elected flavor-blasted garbage pile Donald Trump, and we may do it again.

“Wear a sheet get beat!”

Black Lives Matter Organizer in ” black bloc”, Photo Credit: It’s Going Down

The Marauders’ first mission is reactionary, much like a lot of anti-fascist organizing. This is not to say that anti-fascist politics are reactionary, but that they quite literally react to fascists. When a threat emerges, they rise to meet it, popularized in the Antifa slogan “ Anywhere they go, we go!”. In issue #1 Iceman discovers that on the other side of a less active gate, the Russian military has established a blockade around the gateway, which may be evocative of continued travel bans instated by the flavor-blasted bowl of bird shit, Donald Trump. Kate, Iceman, and Storm see vulnerable mutant refugees being policed and their rights denied, so they intervene. Their violence is never an escalation, but always proportionate. They fight to disarm and de-escalate. The Russian military is the one who escalates. The Marauders’ use of violence is tactical, measured, and defensive. We see a mission like this again in Marauders #4, when the team liberates a group of younger mutants trapped by their country’s naval forces. By issue #5, the Marauders have brought many dozens of mutants refugees home to Krakoa. Have real-world anti-fascists ever gone to bat for refugees?

The Syrian Civil War [2011] catalyzed the largest influx of refugees that Europe has seen since the displacement caused by WW II. In 2015, 1.3 million refugees from Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, and elsewhere fled to Europe, in 2016, another 350,000. At least 4,812 people died attempting to cross the Mediterranean in 2016 alone. With this influx came a rise in nationalism & xenophobia. Despite the fact that economic experts stated firmly that the refugees had not caused a notable increase in poverty or crime, nationalism fomented into violence. As Georg Pazderski of the far-right Alternative fur Deutschland himself admitted, “perception is reality,…our citizens feel unwell and insecure“. This is another way that fascism solidifies power, providing easy answers to the anxieties of the middle and lower classes, jettisoning their explicitly racist trappings for dog-whistles about “scarcity” and “security”. 

In the following October, nationalists attempted to burn down a refugee camp near Bostock. By July 2015, matters escalated further forcing anti-fascists mobilized to defend a refugee tent city from neo-nazi attacks in Dresden. One month later, the conflict reached a breaking point. On the evening of August 20, 2015, an attempt was made to burn down the refugee center. The next day, buses carrying 250 refugees into Heidenau (outside of Dresden ) were blocked by a thousand members of the neo-nazi National Democratic Party and anti-immigrant locals. Several hundred anti-fascists responded to a call to defend the refugees in what had quickly become a matter of life and death. Dressed in black and black bloc, they waited out in front of the tent city to defend the refugee populations from “nationalists” with bricks, bottles, firecrackers. A large number of refugees even join the black-bloc to defend the encampment.

In issues #5 & #6, a major clash plays out between Verendi and the Marauders, which reveals the synergy between various fascist organizations & mobilizations. Verendi has conspired to incite violence in the streets of Madripoor. Verendi has invaded “legitimate” political structures and demonstrated their flexibility to work outside of them. In issue #6, we learn that the Russian ambassador from House of X has a deal with Verendi, to exchange the intel gathered by the “yellowjacket” probe, for her supply of power-dampening technology, both in the suits that we saw in earlier issues and future generations of weapons. In issue #6, we also learn that they’ve made an arrangement made with the ambassador of Madripoor, Donald Pierce while simultaneously working outside of governmental structures, hiring fringe fascists like the Hate-Monger and the X-Cutioner to kill Kate and the Marauders, characters with long histories of ant-mutant violence. Their designs alone evoke explicitly fascist images like Klu Klux Klan hoods, which is even more vile when you consider the origin of Hate-Monger as a clone of Hitler himself. X-Cutioner, on the other hand, is a “former fed”, drawing on the familiar trend of ranking government officials having ties to the Klan and other white-supremacist organizations.

Marauders #6, January 22, 2020, by Gerry Duggan, Matteo Lolli, Mario Del Pennino, & Erick Arciniega

For a bisexual, Jewish woman to face these two is an intense challenge, one many anti-fascists and activists from marginalized groups face; putting your body on the line, in direct opposition with those who wish you harm. In the context of the comic, they’ve been hired to kill Kate. In real life, it gets much blurrier, but at times members of marginalized groups have been injured and killed during protests or actions where they stand against their oppressors. This is why even though Donald Pierce and Chen Zhao claim diplomatic immunity, Kate doesn’t get hung up on bureaucratic international diplomacy. Kate recognizes them as oppressors, intending to harm her and her community. She doesn’t take this to the floor of the UN or try to beat Hate-Monger in the “marketplace of ideas”. She fights them where they can’t hide behind the shield of civility politics, and that’s exactly what anti-fascists do.

On the night of February 1, 2017, former Breitbart editor Milo Yiannopolous, was set to speak at UC Berkeley. He’d become a major celebrity of the `alt-right, using his identity as a gay immigrant to mitigate his racism, misogyny, Islamophobia, transphobia, and promotion of rape culture. Students demanded the lecture be canceled when Berkeley officials announced that Yiannopoulos planned to “publicly name undocumented students,” much as he outed trans students at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, who were then harassed and assaulted. Shortly before Yiannopoulos’s speech, anti-fascists arrived at the demonstration and launched a quick but intense escalation effort. What weeks of advocacy, petitions, and “reasoned debate” couldn’t accomplish was achieved in 15 minutes. The event was canceled. Undocumented students stated that lives had been saved, as far-right students had made threats on social media regarding the students to be exposed.

Clashes like this catapulted Antifa into the spotlight. Despite a complete lack of historical or theoretical knowledge or awareness, pundits incorrectly concluded that anti-fascism was a greater threat to free speech than fascism itself because they refuse to provide an unchallenged platform for hate-speech. Pinstripe fascists leverage “free speech” to appeal to a mainstream sense of decorum—which they capitalize on to spread their hate. That position incorrectly asserts that anti-fascism is the only threat to an otherwise pristine state of free speech, safe-guarded by the government. The government already restricts speech. It restricts false advertisements, libel, and advertisements for tobacco products and alcohol. The government prosecutes incitement of violence, protects copyrights, and limits where pornographic images can be shown.

Journalists are regularly arrested and assault by police at protests. Trump’s White House restricts access to oppositional reporters. This is why the US only ranked #43 on the World Press Freedom Ranking in 2017 and fell to #48 in 2019. It’s why witnesses in critical trials against the police end up dead, an improbable distance from their home for some weed. It’s why the man who filmed police murder Eric Garner was the one who ended up in jail, while the killer cops remained free. In the 1960-70s J. Edgar Hoover and the FBI created COINTELPRO (Counter Intelligence Program) to shut down social movements through the spread of disinformation, bad-jacketing, infiltration, and even killing prominent members of the Black Panther Party, such as Fred Hampton. Which you can read about in the appropriately titled Assassination of Fred Hampton: How the FBI and Chicago Police Murdered a Black Panther. 

Is Marvel Showing Signs It’s Going Digital This Week

What Marvel‘s going to do with this week’s releases is up in the air with no confirmed plans announced but it looks like they’ll still be releasing comics at least digitally.

When you went to their calendar release page on their website it had shown the complete releases a week ago, was whittled down to two issues late last week until Sunday, and now is back to the full list of releases.

Marvel’s releases are still listed on comiXology’s calendar as well and have been throughout the week.

Is this a sign we’ll be seeing a digital Wednesday? We’ll find out soon enough.

Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 3/28

Sometimes, the staff at Graphic Policy read more comics than we’re able to get reviewed. When that happens you’ll see a weekly feature compiling short reviews from the staff of the comics, or graphic novels, we just didn’t get a chance to write a full review for.

These are Graphic Policy’s Mini Reviews.


Logan

Once and Future #7 (BOOM!)– Kieron Gillen, Dan Mora, and Tamra Bonvillain provide some more thrills and delve into other parts of British legends/folklore in Once and Future #7. The tension between Duncan and his grandmother continues to be the big elephant in the room, but Mora and Bonvillain still have the opportunity to draw some badass fight scenes set in the picturesque British Museum. Duncan is still in that middle area between total nerd and action hero so it’s fun to watch him check out the exhibits and then caught in a fight against a skeleton knight that he’s totally unprepared for. But the final few pages are where Gillen and Mora truly shift this comic’s status quo, widen its mythical scopes, and provide a bit of fanservice for anyone who took a History of the English Language course. Once and Future continues to be the gold standard as far as old school-style adventures stories go. Overall: 8.7 Verdict: Buy

Amethyst #2 (DC/Wonder Comics)– Amethyst #2 is all about our perception of things as a kid not being reality beginning with a hazily colored flashback from Amy Reeder showing Gemworld as a utopia before a jarring cut into the present where Lord Sapphire scoffs at Amethyst and basically saying it’s a realm of nothingness. As far as form goes, Reeder continues to play with space and draws on cartoon physics to craft a wonderful chase and escape scene. She also uses this issue to deepen the lore of the series and make Amethyst’s quest a little bit more on the epic side. But there’s also time for fun interactions and comedy too like Amethyst and Phoss roasting Earth for using electricity for everything and being unable to harness the crystals. (Except for the New Agers.) I love how Reeder never forgets that Amethyst is an awkward teenager even while raising the stakes of the series and doing visually inventive things like showing the world from the inside of a crystal. Overall: 8.5 Verdict: Buy

Eve Stranger #5 (IDW/Black Crown)– David Barnett and Philip Bond close the door on the Black Crown print in the big reveal-filled Eve Stranger #5. The central plot point is Eve finding a cure for her amnesia, and there’s lots of running around and flashbacks. Bond’s art is sublime as usual, especially in the action scenes and dramatic reaction shots. And Barnett even adds a little sweetness to the proceedings with Eve basically having a found family at the end. Because it has to wrap up so many plot threads, Eve Stranger isn’t as clean or elegant as previous issues, but it’s still a lot of fun. Overall: 8 Verdict: Buy

Fantastic Four: Marvels Snapshot #1 (Marvel)– Evan Dorkin, Sarah Dyer, Benjamin Dewey, and Jordie Bellaire serve up an homage to the Human Torch’s solo days as defender of Glenville, New York in Fantastic Four: Marvels Snapshot #1. They tell the story from the POV of Johnny’s first girlfriend, Dorrie, and it’s a sweet meditation on celebrity, growing up in a small town, and the idiosyncrasies of Silver Age comics. (Whatever happened to Asbestos Man?) Dorkin and Dewey flesh out Johnny Storm and reveal that he’s really a good guy, and the whole hothead celebrity thing is just an act so he can basically hang out with his old friends incognito. Benjamin Dewey’s art is photorealistic without being stiff, and the flashback scenes are Jack Kirby meets old yearbook photographs. With this tale of Johnny Storm looking back and not forgetting his roots, the Marvel Snapshots series is 2 for 2. Overall: 9.0 Verdict: Buy

X-Men/Fantastic Four #3 (Marvel)– I think the greatest part of this crossover is that it casts the X-Men’s activities and the founding of Krakoa in the light of a third party. Chip Zdarsky and the Dodsons cast the Invisible Woman and Dr. Doom of all people as moral arbiters with Sue telling Magneto that she helps people because it’s the right thing to do and not just because they’re mutants before they attempt to rescue Latverian mutants being held against their will. X-Men/Fantastic Four #3 has a loud/soft, action/science structure. For example, we get a Cyclops vs. Ben Grimm dog fight, and then we get a heart rending conversation between Doom and Reed Richards that he’s failed his son by not actively looking for a cure for his dwindling powers. Zdarsky understands these character’s voices, puts them in an increasingly stressful situation, and lets the magic work. I like his take on Dr. Doom and how it organically flows from his criminally underrated Marvel Two-in-One run, and how he treats him as a character who plays both sides instead of just being a heavy for the X-Men and FF to team up and fight. That might still end up happening as the concluding events of issue 3 come across as a classic crossover comic fake out, but the ride has been enjoyable so far. Overall: 8.2 Verdict: Buy

Giant-Size X-Men: Nightcrawler #1 (Marvel)– Giant-Size X-Men: Nightcrawler #1 is less a Nightcrawler and more of an Alan Davis showcase as from what I can tell, he plotted out the story and drew it while Jonathan Hickman added dialogue. He basically answers a burning question for some fans: what has the X-Mansion been up to since Krakoa? And the answer includes alien bounty hunter hordes, telepathic manipulation, and a surprise guest star. But, fanservice aside, this comic functions as an entertaining haunted house story with marvelous layouts from Davis and some trippy art once things get extraterrestrial. It’s also a bit of a deconstruction of the old X-Men standby, the mansion blows up, with Kurt, Magik, Cypher, and Eye-Boy sometimes accepting that the past’s past, and it’s time to move on from old ways and try something new. And all this is happening while Davis draws in an very “old school” art style. But, honestly, I’d argue it’s timeless like the techniques and layouts he uses to tell this story. Lockheed going all flame-on on aliens, Nightcrawler teleporting between the gutters while his friends watch, and Magik swinging a big sword will always be cool. Overall: 8.8 Verdict: Buy

Hellions #1 (Marvel)– With X-Force as basically the CIA, there’s room for some black ops activity on Krakoa, and that lot has fallen to the Hellions. Zeb Wells and Stephen Segovia create a team of B-list X-Villains plus Havok, Psylocke, and Mr. Sinister, who are allowed to take a violent approach to various missions. Most of Hellions #1 is vignettes introducing readers to the team from Empathy creating chaos with his X-gene induced sociopathy to Havok taking things a little too far going after anti-mutant activists and even Scalphunter viciously defending himself from Morlocks, who are out to avenge the Mutant Massacre. Wells makes sure that these are mutants, who really have no place in a society like Krakoa, and uses the Hellions team as an outlet for them to be themselves. But with Mr. Sinister involved, is this really a good idea? Segovia’s art is nothing unique, but he’s upped the violence showing that maybe these characters really do need to be on the Krakoan suicide squad. The idea is a little derivative, but Hellions #1 does a good job highlighting underutilized mutant characters and their personalities. Overall: 7.6 Verdict: Read

Wolverine #2 (Marvel)-Benjamin Percy’s captions and dialogue and Adam Kubert’s artwork sing in Wolverine #2 as they explorer the animalistic side of Logan’s psyche. He’s chasing an enemy that can’t really be caught, but can seriously fuck with both mutants and humanity’s mind. And bodies are starting to pile up. Percy and Kubert have effectively whittled down Wolverine’s list of allies with both X-Force and Marauders being taken out as well as his unlikely FBI team-up. The brutality of the raging ocean wave backdrop that Kubert draws in the narrative matches the starkness and matter of fact nature of Percy’s prose, and both creators have done a good job ramping up the ol’ threat level in issue two. And this is all while not going to the Resurrection protocols bag for once. Overall: 8.4 Verdict: Buy

X-Men #9 (Marvel)-Jonathan Hickman and Leinil Yu have turned enemies that originated as a ripoff of the Xenomorphs in Alien into the centerpiece of a damn good space saga in X-Men #9. (They’re also a metaphor for predatory capitalism too.) They go full Prometheus in the prologue of the issue and cast the Brood as yet another weapon in the Kree’s goal to overpower their rivals and rule the galaxy. This hubris gets some immediate comeuppance later in the issue as Hickman is in full Infinity/New Mutants form with Gladiator punching things to impress his son, who he is sadly distant from. Fathers and sons are present in the both the foreground and background of this comic with the conflict between the Kree, Shi’ar, and mutants smashing together with a Summers family reunion. This issue nicely balances the space opera politics and action with Yu and colorist Sunny Gho providing a cascade of colorful explosions, parasite-eaten space whales, and an ending featuring one of the most underrated X-Men supporting characters that turns this book on 180. As a title, Hickman and company’s X-Men has been either super entertaining and thought provoking or high on concept, low on entertainment value, but luckily issue nine is the first! Overall: 9.0 Verdict: Buy


Well, there you have it, folks. The reviews we didn’t quite get a chance to write. See you next week!

Please note that with some of the above comics, Graphic Policy was provided FREE copies for review. Where we purchased the comics, you’ll see an asterisk (*). If you don’t see that, you can infer the comic was a review copy. In cases where we were provided a review copy and we also purchased the comic you’ll see two asterisks (**).

Those Two Geeks Episode Fifty Eight: Comics For Quarantine

Alex and Joe talk about the elephant in the room again, but then start talking about comic book stories that they think you should read that have been released in the last 80 odd years. The recording ends abruptly because we may have talked too long…. which is why there’s no ending.

As always, Alex and Joe can be found on twitter respectively @karcossa and @jcb_smark if you feel the need to tell them they’re wrong individually, or @those2geeks if you want to yell at them together on twitter, or by email at ItsThose2Geeks@gmail.com.

Preview: Marvel Action: Avengers #1

Marvel Action: Avengers #1

(W) Katie Cook (A/CA) Butch K. Mapa
In Shops: Mar 25, 2020
SRP: $3.99

Year two of Marvel Action: Avengers begins here! Grab your favorite teammate and strap in for adventure, Avengers-style! Every issue of this humorous, fun-filled series will find an Avenger paired up with an unlikely fellow super hero to thwart the plans of outrageous villains! First up, Thor and Ant-Man go…antiquing? Anything to stop Loki’s newest scheme!

Marvel Action: Avengers #1

Preview: Scream: Curse of Carnage #5

Scream: Curse of Carnage #5

(W) Clay McLeod Chapman (A) Chris Mooneyham, Garry Brown (CA) Ryan Stegman
Rated T+
In Shops: Mar 25, 2020
SRP: $3.99

SPINNING OUT OF ABSOLUTE CARNAGE!

• With Eddie Brock nowhere to be found, Andi Benton – the new SCREAM – will have to tangle with a monstrous creature at the bottom of the bay all on her own!
• But what exactly IS that monster? Where is it from? And what is its connection to KNULL, THE GOD OF THE SYMBIOTES?!

Scream: Curse of Carnage #5

Preview: Revenge of the Cosmic Ghost Rider #4 (of 5)

Revenge of the Cosmic Ghost Rider #4 (of 5)

(W) Dennis “Hopeless” Hallum (A/CA) Scott Hepburn
Parental Advisory
In Shops: Mar 25, 2020
SRP: $3.99

• Cosmic Ghost Rider’s soul hangs in the balance!
• Lost to the ravages of space, will Cammi be able to claw her way back to Cosmic Ghost Rider in time to keep him from making a deal with the devil?
• Or will Cosmic Ghost Rider damn the whole galaxy to hell to get what he wants?

Revenge of the Cosmic Ghost Rider #4 (of 5)
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