Tag Archives: hercules

Super-Articulate: We’re in the Endgame Now

Today’s the day, Earthlings. The surviving Avengers and their allies gather for their last stand against the Mad Titan, Thanos! And we celebrate with… extremely well-made action figures! The fine folks at Hasbro have provided us (for free, and for the purposes of review) the new assortment of Avengers Endgame Marvel Legends. Thank you, Hasbro, for sending these along! While I often break up full assortments, we’re going to dive right in with all seven figures and the very imposing armored Thanos build-a-figure.

Captain America: The sole figure without a BAF piece in the assortment, Cap comes with the most obvious accessory for Cap, his shield. The shield is a new take, however; the past few Cap figures have come with similar, if not the same, shields, while this one has a slightly different color palette and a raised texture. It’s a nice bit of detail. Also nicely detailed is Cap’s outfit, which should be familiar to viewers of the various Endgame trailers. The head sculpt here uses Cap’s mask, but I think that it’s also a good likeness of the Evans jawline as the same time. I was kind of lukewarm on the idea of the various Avengers in this outfit, but seeing this one out of the package kind of makes me want to pick up that Target exclusive two-pack of Hawkeye and Black Widow in these costumes with the extra heads (Ant-Man, Nebula, Iron Man). It’s well-done.

Ronin: The team kind of outdid themselves with this one. Ronin is an obsessively detailed figure with a number of cool touches. The outer hood is removable, but the figure looks good either way. The head looks great, with the paint apps on the eyes being particularly effective. There are lots of subtleties in the overall sculpt, and details from the comics, like the flourishes on the boots, are in evidence here. A functional scabbard is attached to the figure’s back. Additionally, the figure includes three more accessories: a longer katana, a smaller ninjatō, and a hand throwing shuriken. These are all well-made, with the two blades easily fitting into the figure’s hands. In the pictures, I sheathed the katana and swapped the left hand for the shuriken-throwing model to give you an idea of the effect. I really like what Hasbro did here. I have a feeling that, among individual sellers, this is going to be a really popular selection from this assortment.

Citizen V: I’ll drop all chill here: I’ve wanted a Citizen V figure since the first issue of Thunderbolts by Busiek and Bagley dropped in the ‘90s. And now that it’s here, it’s awesome. It feels like someone peeled Bagley’s art from the page and shook it until expanded into 3D. The cape in particular is super-cool; the design and sculpt have real weight to it. The saber is another in a seemingly endless line of cool accessories from Hasbro; it’s totally appropriate and looks great. It’s interested how the creative team was able to give the figure personality in spite of it not really have a face (due to the nature of the mask). But everything is there in the sculpt. I was shocked and delighted when the figure was announced, but seeing it out of the package? Still delighted.

Nighthawk: Here’s another from my long-time list. I was a big fan of the classic Defenders, so I’ve been waiting on the ML version of this guy for quite some time. I loved Citizen V’s cape, but Nighthawk’s cape/wing structure is the MVP of this assortment. The figure has so much presence. The claw details on both hands are really good as well. I know that he might seem a bit more obscure today, but Nighthawk was a mainstay of the Defenders of my youth, and I’m really glad that Hasbro saw their way to include the character. I haven’t figured out shelf-space for him yet exactly, but I take a picture of his future home of the Defenders shelf. Nice one, Hasbro.

Ebony Maw: Rejoice, because Hasbro has given to you this child of Thanos! That’s right; Thanos’s hype man, the telekinetic Ebony Maw, makes it into figure form a year after his Black Order siblings Cull Obsidian and Proxima Midnight. The Maw was a crucial part of Infinity War and turned out to be a much-requested character; apparently, he was always up the design team’s sleeve. Straight out? Ebony Maw is cool as hell. He’s much taller than I expected, and solid. The facial sculpt is excellent, as are the fingers; the left hand is made in a such a way that it actually allows the “hush” pose immortalized in the trailers. The costume details are exacting, as usual. When I open Corvus Glaive for next week’s column, I’ll do a shot of the Black Order and Thanos all together. For now, just now that this is a particularly strong entry in an already strong assortment.

Living Laser: First off, I’m always happy to see new villains added to the mix. Secondly, I’m glad that the Living Laser finally made it to the 6” scale, after being introduced to figure-life in the 3.75” expression. I have a bit of soft disappointment that he’s not in the original costume (or, at least the one he wore in Avengers #164 to #166, which is one of my all-time favorite Avengers stories; speaking on which, can we get THAT version of Count Nefaria?). Regardless of my personal preferences, I can say with some satisfaction that this is a good, solid figure. The paint ops are cool, and I like how the electric design elements into the arms sort of segue into the attachable energy accessories. Also, the color on this figure isn’t quite like the color of any other figure, which is sure to make it stand out on the shelf. Not my favorite of the group, but rather good, nonetheless.

Hercules: Damn, kids. This Hercules figure is GREAT. That expression is terrific. It’s the perfect combination of bemused self-satisfaction, mirth, and arrogance that you’d expect from the Lion of Olympus; additionally, the blue of the eyes just leaps off the sculpt. This is another figure with some heft to it, and that lends some extra dynamism to the posing. The accessories are another home run, with great mace and sword interpretations packed alongside an extra pair of hands (two open, two closed fists). The costume is the more modern version that Herc has sported for some time, notably recently in the Waid/Zub/Ewing sagas No Surrender and No Road Home. It’s a quantum leap from the Hercules released in 2007 (and that one wasn’t bad).

Thanos BAF: I should have saved that “damn.” This armored Thanos BAF is a wicked new version of the character. It’s pretty massive, and that face is ANGRY. Look how pissed this guy is! Contrast that with the borderline happy face from last year’s Infinity War BAF. That guy looked amused at his own villainy; this guy looks like he’s ready to kill heroes while stomping on puppies. The detail work is super-impressive, from the Infinity Gauntlet itself to the various notes on the armor. I’m not sure what the name of Thanos’s weapon is, but Good Lord, it’s huge. There was some question initially as to why you’d do another BAF Thanos already; the answer is that because they could make one that looks like this. THIS is an epic villain.

Listen up, all. Hasbro gave us all a very, very strong offering with this set. There is dynamic character work across the board, the accessories are on-point, and the BAF is just badass. It also has four characters with no prior Marvel Legends representation at all  (Living Laser, Citizen V, Nighthawk, Ebony Maw), updates of two characters that received figures over a decade ago (Ronin and Hercules), one fan favorite in a different costume (Cap), and a hugely popular BAF villain, which is, of course, perfectly balanced. This is really great work, and I’m sure it’s going to go over really well with fans.

SNEAK PEEK: Next week, I’m taking a look at the Wal-Mart Exclusive Marvel Legends Loki and Corvus Glaive two-pack! Here’s a quick picture of that to get you ready. Come on, readers; let’s talk. Post your comments and get in the conversation.

Review: Iceman #6

Writer Sina Grace, new series artist Robert Gill (Who ups the beefcake level considerably), and colorist Rachelle Rosenberg give Bobby Drake a fresh start on the West Coast in Iceman #6 as he reunites with his former Champions teammates: Angel, Hercules, Darkstar, and Ghost Rider (The Johnny Blaze version) in L.A. They start by sharing memories about their fallen friend Black Widow (Who was brutally fridged in Secret Empire by HYDRA Cap.), but the story gets much lighter. The banter between the short-lived superhero teammates is pretty fun, and best of all, Iceman finally gets to go on a date and do gay things with a cute guy out West.

Iceman #6 is a little short on action with the bad guy being a Hollywood effects wannabe/single mom, who decides to make her big mark by building a Sentinel and wrecking the city for some reason or another. Her motivation is pretty weak, and she’s basically just there to set up a superhero team-up in the next issue and set up a funny joke mixing Iceman up with the Silver Surfer. (Because they both wear trunks and nothing else sometimes, I guess.) But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Grace and Gill spend most of the issue establishing the bond between the once and future Champions and having Bobby flirt, dance, and yes, even make out with a guy he meets while waiting in line for a new pair of cool shoes. Judah uses even more ,and it’s nice to see someone finally show Bobby the ropes of being an out gay man with the painful coming out to his parents arc out of the way.

He does doing anything crazy or innovative with panel layouts, but Robert Gill brings a real energy and sexiness to his artwork in Iceman #6. My main problem with his art is that his civilian designs for Johnny Blaze and Angel are a little too similar, and I had to use context/comics backstory clues to realize that Bobby and Warren were having a heart to heart on the Hollywood sign, not Iceman and Ghost Rider. However, he more than redeems himself in the sequence where Bobby and Judah cut a rug on the dance floor that has a swirling energy and a blue from Rachelle Rosenberg that is part romantic, part “in da club”. Gill uses a couple inset panels to show off Bobby and Judah’s moves and flirting before zooming out for a big damn Hollywood kiss. He captures the fashion, fun, and friendship of my favorite gay bars and clubs, and some highlights are Hercules’ deep V and Ghost Rider trying to find parking for his bike next to some leather daddies. Grace’s writing digs into a nice vein of awkwardness, self-realization, and adrenaline that I definitely felt the first time I kissed a man  Yay for stubble on cheeks!

With the return of the Champions combined with Bobby going on its first date, Iceman #6 hits a nice sweet spot between Bronze Age era nostalgia and modern slice of life. Sina Grace writes the interactions between Bobby and the Champions like a college reunion (He even studied accounting in grad school during the original series.) with the memories of the past being the main conversation topic except for when he chats with Angel, who is like the good college friend you’ve stayed in touch with over the years. It’s also nice to see him go on a date and use his superhero buddies to impress his date while Robert Gill’s art is definitely more aesthetically pleasing than some of the previous visuals on Iceman.

Finally, the Iceman smooching in this issue is a great belated National Boyfriend Day present.

 Story: Sina Grace Art: Robert Gill Colors: Rachelle Rosenberg
Story: 8 Art: 8 Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

Marvel Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Hercules: Wrath Of The Heavens To Debut With Walter Simonson Cover!

Multi-award winning writer, JDMorvan and artists Looky and Olivier Thill will release a stunningly illustrated science fiction re-telling of the legend of Hercules this August, with a cover by the legendary comics creator, Walter Simonson!

A bold new take of the Twelve Labors of Hercules, Hercules: Wrath of the Heavens will serialize the story in English for the first time, starting with the labor of the “Nemean Lion.”

War rages across the galactic frontier. Hercules, half-human, half-god super-soldier, faces his greatest enemy – his own demons – in a bid for truth and redemption.

Debuting August 16 at all good comic stores and on digital devices, Hercules: Wrath of the Heavens #1 will be available to pre-order from the June edition of Diamond PREVIEWS catalogue.

Sell-Outs and New Printing Roundup

The Marvel Universe is charging forward with bold new status quos and blockbuster new stories. Don’t get left behind as your favorite characters and creators explode on to the scene with some of the hottest new titles in the industry! Marvel has announced over 15 Marvel titles will return to local comic shops in January for second printings!

Sorcerers supreme, teenage wallcrawlers, a young girl & her prehistoric pal, a brand new day for Earth’s Mightiest Heroes and so much more await you in the recharged Marvel Universe.  Be there when All-New, All-Different Avengers #2, All-New Inhumans #1, All-New X-Men #1, All-New Wolverine #2, Carnage #2, Daredevil #1, Doctor Strange #3, Extraordinary X-Men #3, Hercules #2, Howard the Duck #2, Invincible Iron Man #4, Moon Girl And Devil Dinosaur #1, Nova #2, Spider-Woman #1, Spidey #1, Star Wars #13, Totally Awesome Hulk #1 all return to comic shops in early 2016!

ALL-NEW ALL-DIFFERENT AVENGERS #2 SEC PRINT (OCT158851)
ALL-NEW INHUMANS #1 SEC PRINT (OCT158850)
HERCULES #2 SEC PRINT (OCT158852)
MOON GIRL AND DEVIL DINOSAUR #1 SEC PRINT (OCT158853)
SPIDER-WOMAN #1 SEC PRINT (OCT158854)
TOTALLY AWESOME HULK #1 SEC PRINT (OCT158855)
FOC – 12/14/15, On-Sale – 1/13/16

 

ALL-NEW X-MEN #1 SEC PRINT (OCT158856)
DAREDEVIL #1 SEC PRINT (OCT158857)
DOCTOR STRANGE #3 SEC PRINT (OCT158858)
HOWARD THE DUCK #2 SEC PRINT (OCT158859)
HOWARD THE DUCK #2 GWENPOOL SEC PRINT (OCT158860)
INVINCIBLE IRON MAN #4 SEC PRINT (OCT158861)
FOC – 12/21/15, On-Sale – 1/20/16

 

ALL-NEW WOLVERINE #2 SEC PRINT (OCT158862)
CARNAGE #2 SEC PRINT (OCT158863)
EXTRAORDINARY X-MEN #3 SEC PRINT (OCT158864)
NOVA #2 SEC PRINT (OCT158865)
SPIDEY #1 SEC PRINT (OCT158866)
STAR WARS #13 VDWN SEC PRINT (OCT158867)
FOC – 12/21/15, On-Sale – 1/27/16

Sunday Roundtable: All-New, All-Different Marvel…. Is it?

JLA Roundtable marvel anadOn Sunday, talking heads circle tables and pontificate on television about the hottest topics pressing our nation. We bring that tradition to our site as the Graphic Policy team gives our thoughts in each week’s Sunday Roundtable.

On tap this week?

We’re a little bit over a month into All-New, All-Different Marvel with lots of new series debuting. So far, do you think it’s really all-new and all-different?

Alex: I’ve really only read two or three comics from Marvel’s ANAD phase – Howard The Duck, Hercules and Extraordinary X-Men – and honestly? Howard was as good as it was before, I enjoyed Hercules quite a bit, but Extraordinary felt like a big prologue to the rest of the series. I don’t know if I’ll pick it up next month. From what I’ve read and seen, the reviews have been pretty hit and miss from Marvel the last month or so.

That said, some of the comics coming down the pipeline look very interesting to me (but they’re just relaunches of the series I was already reading…)

Elana: I won’t read Herc on principal. Why would Marvel editorial make one of their only bi characters straight. In Greek myths Hercules has romances with men and women. And in the comics in the past he was written explicitly as bi. Former writer Greg Pak has confirmed that about his run as well. It was a real step backwards from marvel to do this.

Amazing_Spider-Man_1_PromoMr. H: So far Amazing Spider-Man is gold! I’m not that taken with Avengers or Invincible Iron Man though. I haven’t read my copy of Extraordinary X-Men yet. I shall soon.

Brett: For what you’ve read so far? Does it feel like it’s all that different? To me, it’s pretty much the same.

Paul: I have read Extraordinary X-Men, The New Avengers, Uncanny Avengers, Hercules, Uncanny Inhumans and The Vision. X-Men feels ‘been there, done that’ with mutants facing yet another extinction level threat; it would be nice if something new could be explored instead of falling back on old formulas; new team, same reason for it. The Avengers titles, so far, have really disappointed me. I do not like how a lot of characters are being presented, which is a shame because so many great characters were added to the new line ups. Uncanny has lost its way with the many relaunches so close together, and The New Avengers just feels very juvenile and a waste of so much potential. Inhumans and Vision are the two stand out titles for me so far. Great characters, story and they really grabbed me with their first issues. I agree with Alex, some of the new ones coming up look good, but they are relaunches of what I’ve been enjoying already (hoping I still enjoy them with the new start). Overall, with only a couple exceptions, this does not feel All New or All Different. Sure we have some characters coming over from Secret Wars (Singularity and Old Man Logan, for example) but they are coming into stories and situations that feel rehashed (though A-Force hasn’t dropped yet, not sure of their mission). I’m hopeful, as always, to see what’s coming..but no, this does no feel new or different to me…so far at least. Come on and wow me Marvel!

2015-11-06-visionMr. H: Other than Amazing Spider-Man it all feels the same to me.

Of course I am going to read Doctor Strange #1 and #2 today and get a mini review up of #2 along with Secret Wars #7.

Brett: How were folks expectations going in? Anyone excited/interested in what was announced?

Mr. H: I was very excited with all new avengers and Extraordinary X-Men but not wowed yet

Alex: Not really, to be honest. I actually picked up an older Eternal Warrior comic today rather than one of the All-New, All-Different comics I could have picked up, which speaks volumes as to my interest level in what has already been released.

Brett: So far I’ve been underwhelmed, with some exceptions (The Vision being the standout). But, I can’t figure out what the new comics are missing for me. I’d outright say there’s some soul missing, but not even sure I know what that means.

What’s missing for you all?

Elana: What’s missing is diverse creative teams.

Paul: Originality is missing for me. From what I’ve read, it all feels familiar. New faces, but same stories/missions. Or in the case of New Avengers, they’ve gone in a really odd direction…feels like a bad kids cartoon show (thinking Avengers: United they Stand). I agree that Vision has been a pleasant surprise, and I really like Uncanny Inhumans. And there is more to still come and too soon for me to call this All-New, All-Different a wash, but so far it’s been ‘meh’.

Alex: Some soul?

I think you nailed it, honestly, Brett. Howard the Duck aside, there seems to be something missing, and soul (which, although an Image comic, is exactly what Limbo has in spades) is a great descriptor.

The All-New, All-Different seems underwhelming so far, but there’s still much more to come.

Brett: Yeah that’s the one word that keeps coming to me. The comics I’ve read are going through motion but missing that spark.

All-New_Wolverine_1_CoverAlex: Yeah – that’s one of the reasons I didn’t pick up All-New Wolverine today, and instead I picked up an older back issue I was looking for.

Brett: I’ve also noticed a lot of the comics riff off of other successful things. All-New Wolverine feels like Orphan Black a bit. X-Men is redone earlier plots. It’s weird.

Alex: It’s almost like they didn’t have a solid idea of where to take some comics.

Elana: Right now I think that Marvel has a lot of good books but very few outstanding ones. I know that the audiences for Squirrel Girl, Ms. Marvel and Captain Marvel are huge. I presume that Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur will be too. I liked the new issue of Howard the Duck more then the previous ones. But the title that has excited me the most has been All-New Wolverine. That wasn’t even a book I was looking out for! It just came and bowled me over.

Alex: I picked up All-New Wolverine today, largely on your recommendation, but I haven’t had a chance to read it yet.

Elana: Looking forward to getting your thoughts. I feel like the longer I think about it the more I like it.

Alex: I enjoyed it. Nothing can top Howard for me from the ANAD Marvel offerings, but All-New Wolverine was far better than I expected it to be. I think the best thing about the issue was that it felt like an organic next step for the character (I know very little about her, honestly), with forcing a female Wolverine on us because they could.

My one complaint? Drop the All-New from the title. If she’s Wolverine, title the comic as such. All-New implies that there will be a return of the old Wolverine (and I don’t mean Old Man Logan).

Elana: If Marvel really wanted all new all different they would have diversified their creative teams. Moon Girl is great but the only titles coming with black creators are still a ways off. Black Panther and Luke Cage / Iron Fist are going to be fantastic I’m sure. But it’s still a ways off.

I wasn’t particularly interested in any of the coming X titles but when the X-Plain the X-Men podcast had Dennis Hopeless on they totally sold me on his upcoming All-New X-Men teen roadtrip book. Diverse cast, cool concept.

Alex: Uncanny looks interesting to me because I want to see how they handle Sabretooth, but that’s because I enjoy seeing villains reform (however temporary it may be). Other than that I’ve found I’m more interested by books like Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur. As well as the ones I’ll be reading anyway (Moon Knight, Howard).

Brett: And there you have it folks! The Graphic Policy team has weighed in with their thoughts. What are yours? Sound off in the comments.

Mini Reviews

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.


Alex

Hercules_1_CoverDead Vengeance #2, is set during the 1940’s and reads, in the very best of ways, as if it was a Golden Age comic that has been produced today. The concept of a reanimated corpse who may have been murdered solving their own murder is strangely compelling, and is presented here with a fresh take and enough humour to make it worth adding to your pull list. Overall Rating: 8 Recommendation: Buy

We Stand On Guard #5. The lines continue to blur in the thought provoking miniseries that asks some tough questions about the nature of war. Overall Rating: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Hercules #1* – There’s something really fun about this comic, with Hercules trying to move past his drunken reputation and revive the heroic reputation he used to have, by using less conventional mythological means. The comic is fun, and I’m a fan of the direction ol’ Herc is headed in. Overall Rating: 8 Recommendation Buy

Extraordinary X-Men #1* was …okay. The entire issue felt like a giant prologue for the rest of the trade, so based on this comic I’d probably wait for that. Or pick it up next month depending on how the second issue rates. Art is great, though. Overall Rating: 6.75 Recommendation: Wait To Read

Brett

Atomic Robo and the Ring of Fire #3 – It feels a bit like Pacific Rim for kids, but that’s not a bad thing as I’m still having fun reading the series. Giant robots and giant monsters + Atomic Robo! What’s not to love. Overall Rating: 8 Recommendation: Read

Axcend #2 – On the surface the comic might seem like a goofy video games and comic mashup, but it’s JohnnyRed1really an examination of gamer stereotypes and personalities. It’s getting interesting. Overall Rating: 7.25 Recommendation: Read

Black Science #17 – I just love this series and it’s many realities and complete crazy ideas. This issue kicks off a newish arc and could be a good starting point and it’s ideas somehow get even more out there. And that ending! Overall Rating: 8.25 Recommendation: Buy

Deadpool # 1 – I didn’t enjoy last volume, and I didn’t enjoy this first issue of this volume either. The story doesn’t interest me. The humor doesn’t get me to laugh. And the character feels like he’s beyond over saturated. No thanks! Overall Rating: 5 Recommendation: Pass

Exit Generation #2 – The series is shaping up to be a fun read. Just one of those comics you can pick up and have fun. I’m liking how the characters are shaping out, including a female Han Solo-ish character this issue. Fun is the key word. Overall Rating: 7 Recommendation: Read

Johnny Red #1 – I went in not expecting a whole lot, but writer Garth Ennis does do some solid war comics. I was blown away by this first issue which not only has a great story (and way to tell it), but also solid art too. A fantastic surprise. Overall Rating: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Klaus #1 – I’m not the biggest Morrison fan, but this series’ first issue surprised me. It’s a combination of Conan with a bit of holiday magic. But the art by Dan Mora really stands out, outshining the story. Overall Rating: 8 Recommendation: Read

Lazarus #20 – The comic continues the political and military maneuvering as it’s all out war. The series is never disappointing. Overall Rating: 8 Recommendation: Read

Nailbiter #17 – I seriously love this serious about serial killers all from a small town. This issue kicks off a new story arc which isn’t quite new reader friendly, but a good starting point. One of the first comics I read each time I get ahold of it. Overall Rating: 8.25 Recommendation: Read

Rasputin #10 – We’re given lots of insight in how Rasputin is still alive and working as an American political adviser. While I wish the mystery was played out a bit more, it’s all very interesting and somewhat what I expected. A series that’s such a great idea, and really entertaining. Overall Rating: 7.75 Recommendation: Read

Transformers: More Than Meets the Eye #46 – What always surprises me about IDW’s Transformers is how it gives so much depth to the characters that’s lacked at times elsewhere. This issue is all about confronting stereotypes post war and if a Decepticon can change his stripe. Overall Rating: 8.40 Recommendation: Read

Velvet #12 – Fuck Bond, give me Velvet. Overall Rating: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Elana

PaperGirls02_CoverPaper Girls #2 – Top notch creative team has a huge hit on their hands. Issue 1 was super accessible but issue 2 is super emotionally charged. I love the realistic female characters and dialogue . The strong sense of time and place as a Cleveland suburb in 1988 is outstanding. It’s one of the most solidly rooted pieces of fiction around. This cliff hanger though has got me on edge and I genuinely don’t know what’s next. Overall Rating: 9.5 Recommendation: Buy

Monstress #1: It’s beautiful & terrifying & a necessary fantasy book. In terms of unique world building and feminist sensibility plus accessibility to non comics readers I think Image has a new Saga sized hit on their hands. Overall Rating: 9.5 Recommendation: Buy

The Humans #9 – The series has been getting more nihilist as things go downhill for our protagonist biker-chimp-Vietnam-vet. He cannot leave his ghosts behind and immersing himself in a world of greater violence sure ain’t helping. It gets hard to read at times but it’s true to the character and the world he inhabits. The art is tight as ever. A few particularly haunting panels this issue.

I did enjoy getting to watch Queenie , Cha Cha, Snacks and the other biker chicks (but really mostly Queenie) throw down and fight and beat up the fuzz. Overall Rating: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Fight Club 2 # 6 – This is a great comic that lives up to its premise: an examination of the modern construct of masculinity. Smart, twisty with extremely brutal humor. It’s utterly fearless and a lot of fun. If you liked the book or the movie you need to drop everything and pick this up. Overall Rating: 8.75 Recommendation: Buy

Mr. H

Amazing Spider-Man #3* – This run just keeps getting more fun and we are treated to the best issue yet. Anytime you get Spidey and Johnny Storm under the same roof it’s high tide hijinx. Slott really nails the dynamic between these two. He understands their brotherly bond quite well. It was cool to see the new home of Parker Industries is the former Baxter Building. Watching Spidey and Torch argue and fight throughout the issue was very entertaining and the art by Giuseppe Camuncoli was stellar. Really liked the touching scene at the end as well as a great cliffhanger. Another W for this title. Overall Rating: 9 Recommendation: Buy


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

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 (**).

Graphic Policy’s Top Comic Picks this Week!

Klaus_001_A_MainWednesdays are new comic book day! Each week hundreds of comics are released, and that can be pretty daunting to go over and choose what to buy. That’s where we come in!

We’re bringing back something we haven’t done for a while, what the team thinks. Our contributors are choosing up to five books each week and why they’re choosing the books.

Find out what folks think below, and what comics you should be looking out for this Wednesday.

Alex

Top Pick: We Stand On Guard #5 (Image Comics) – The six issue series is heading to it’s conclusion, and it’s been one hell of ride so far. I’ve had this on my top picks ever since it  debuted back in July.

Extraordinary X-Men #1 (Marvel) – It’s been a LONG time since I read an X-Men book, and I really enjoyed seeing Old Man Logan interact with the characters during his Secret Wars mini series.

Hercules #1 (Marvel) – The whole idea that Hercules is trying to remind people who he is seems so very meta to me, as I think that’s what Marvel are doing, too.  I wouldn’t be surprised if he turns up in the MCU at some point.

Howard The Duck # 1 (Marvel) – This was one of my favourite comics before Secret Wars launched, the off beat humour was right up my alley, and I can’t wait to see where Mr. T Duck ends up now.

Johnny Red #1 (Titan Comics) – I was fortunate enough to have already read and reviewed this comic, but what I’m most looking forward too is getting my hands on this comic and seeing those double page spreads.

Klaus #1 (BOOM! Studios) – Grant Morrison reinvents Santa Claus. ’nuff said.

 

Brett

Top Pick: Citizen Jack #1 (Image Comics) – Wow is there a lot of great comics this week. This horror-comedy for anyone who hates politics! This Presidential candidate worships the devil. Hopefully this is as smart satire as it can be.

James Bond #1 (Dynamite Entertainment) – I’m a huge James Bond fan and so excited for this new series.

Klaus #1 (BOOM! Studios) – A new take on Santa Claus which is a bit more Conan, and the art is amazing. Such a great first issue.

Monstress #1 (Image Comics) – Marjorie Liu’s new series that’s a beautiful fantasy series and a fantastic story.

Unfollow #1 (Vertigo) – A new series from Vertigo? That alone will get me to check out the series.

 

Elana

Top Pick: Papergirls #2 (Image Comics) – Stand By Me meet’s Repo Man to paraphrase J9’s review of issue 1 which see also described as “an admirable pack of sharp young women who are actively trying to integrate their school smarts with street smarts.” Issue 1 was incredibly good. a compelling cast of girls standing up to bullies like cops, and teenagers, and aliens (?!). The art and dialog both nail the 80s setting.

Top Pick: Monstress #1 (Image Comics) – Marjorie Liu’s new creator owned fantasy series is “a dark fantastic adventure set in an alternate 1900s Asia.” This is a series concept that is all new and much needed from an excellent writer (her Black Widow series was The Best) and the art looks pitch perfect and stunning.

Howard the Duck #1 (Marvel) – The relaunch looks funny (it’s by one of the funniest writers in the business) and Howard’s scene with Doctor Strange in the park seems oddly touching. Give the new series a shot!

The Humans #9 (Image Comics) – EVERYBODY DIES! I mean, clearly, from the stakes established in the last issue of the world’s best apesploitation-biker-gang-historical-fiction comic, that is on the table.

Niobe #1 (Stranger Comics) – The actress who played Rue in The Hunger Games and who did a masterful takedown on cultural appropriation in her web video is cowriting a new fantasy series with a black elf girl in the lead. It looks good!

Velvet #12 (Image Comics) – Brubaker writes the best noir mystery thrillers. period. This one has an awesome older woman in the lead and you need it.
Kenny

Top Pick: Klaus #1 (BOOM! Studios) – I had no idea I ever wanted to know Santa Claus’ origin until I saw this comic. The fact its based on ideas of Viking lore also speaks to the inner history buff in me. Oh, and Grant Morrison. I cannot wait to read this just to see how strange it gets.

Drax #1 (Marvel) – Honestly, this pick is more out of curiosity than pure excitement. Former WWE wrestler CM Punk makes his big debut at Marvel with my favorite character from the Guardians of the Galaxy. This could be a fun action packed adventure or pure disappointment. Either way, I have to know how it turns out.

Uncanny X-Men #600 (Marvel) – I’m a sucker for milestone issues. I’ve been a fan of Brian Michael Bendis for a long time too. So, anytime one of his great runs ends, I am always excited to check it out.

 

Mr. H

Amazing Spider-Man #3 (Marvel Comics) – Seeing Peter Parker take his friendly neighborhood crusade on a grand scale has been an absolute joy to watch. I didn’t think Slott and Co. could go higher after Superior Spider-Man but they did. It’s a new and exciting take on Peter Parker and having Hobie Brown and his cast join Parker Industries has been awesome. Plus how can you not be excited about Spidey and the Human Torch meeting again! One of the longstanding great on again off again friendships in comics, gets another chapter. No doubt things will be heated. Flame on!

Green Lantern #46 (DC Comics) – Hal teaming with the Black Hand? Color me interested. A must see for me for sure!

Justice League Darkseid War: Superman #1 (DC Comics) – I absolutely enjoyed the Batman tie in last week and I’m anxious to see what they can pull off with Big Blue. The design looks great and anytime Lex Luthor is the voice of reason, you get a fun tale out of it. Hopefully the momentum continues here.

 

Paul

Top Pick: Extraordinary X-Men #1 (Marvel) – I am excited that the X-Men are back!  I am excited for this team line up (Colossus and Magik together?  Yes please!)  However, I am not excited with the prospect of the mutants facing yet another extinction level threat.  Haven’t they been through enough?  Just when the world was seeing new mutants again, a new threat wants to wipe them out; and now they will be pitted against the Inhumans.  Very curious to see how this plays out..but a little leary about another extinction looming over our merry mutants.

Uncanny X-Men #600 (Marvel) – This series started out with such an interesting premise….Cyclops, leading a revolution for mutants, ushering in a new era.  To be honest, we haven’t seen that pan out…all the fanfare, but nothing to show for it.  Nor have I been a huge fan of Bendis’ work on this book *coughresearchyourcharacterscough*.  I have liked the new mutants assembled at Cyclops’ school; Emma Frost is always reason enough for me to read a book she’s in and there have been a few bright points in this book that kept me coming back (Eva Bell and Dazzler especially).  So yes, I will include this as a ‘top pick’…at least to see how it concludes..and hope Bendis doesn’t muck it up.

 

Troy

Uncanny X-Men #600 (Marvel) – Well we’ve gotten a tributary re-numbering, marking the end of an era. Whether you loved or hated Bendis’ run on the core x-titles this issue is bound to be essential reading for any X-Fan moving forward. For myself personally I am itching to see how the transition to the new status quo for the X-Men is undertaken, and I am really dying to see the final verdict on Scott Summers “Revolution” It will also be nice to see Hank McCoy held to account for his actions as well.

Unfollow #1 (DC Comics) – When I first read the plot for this story, it sounded to me like an experiment put together by Arcade from Marvel, with Phillip Zimbardo and Stanley Milgram.  I really enjoy a good social commentary and what better social commentary than our Faustian addiction to social media? This dark and hunger games-esque story detailing what happens when a network of random strangers must kill each other to procure a cash prize is sure to be water-cooler talk for some time. I’m here for it.

Ancient Hero Meets Modern World – A First Look at Hercules #1

He’s gone by many names and accomplished many heroic deeds. But now, it’s time for the world’s first super hero to get back in the game! Marvel has released a first look at Hercules #1 – the new series from Dan Abnett and Luke Ross!

Time to show the world why he set the bar for heroism in the first place. Whether its street crime or cosmic level threats, not labor is too big or small for the greatest son of Olympus. But a new evil has awoken – one that will push the demi-god to the limit and test his mighty resolve. Witness the Marvel Universe through the eyes of one of its most powerful warriors, and the heart of a true champion. A modern world, an age-old hero and non-stop action await you!

HERCULES #1 (SEP150711)
Written by DAN ABNETT
Art by LUKE ROSS
Cover by CLAY MANN
Variant Covers by SKOTTIE YOUNG (SEP150715) & JAY ANACLETO (SEP150712)
Action Figure Variant by JOHN TYLER CHRISTOPHER (SEP150714)
Hip-Hop Variant by THEOTIS JONES (SEP150713)
FOC – 10/12/15, On-Sale – 11/04/15

Hercules_1_Cover

What Could Be Expected in Phase 4 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe

After its initial success with Iron Man, the Hulk, Captain America and Thor, Marvel Studios quickly realized that it had a formula for success on its hands and seemed ready to take advantage of it.  To do so though required a plan, and studio head Kevin Feige soon had broken down the movies into various phases, with the most recent Ant-Man signaling the end of phase 2.  Aside from the developments inside the movies, there have been some developments outside the movies which have affected the universe as well, chief among those the partial reversion of the rights to Spider-Man back to Marvel, or at least the use of Spider-Man inside the shared universe in a collaboration with Sony.

At the moment, we kn ow the entire lineup for phase 3, starting with Captain America: Civil War and continuing through two new Avengers movies and the Inhumans.  What might be expected in the next phase of the Marvel Cinematic Universe?  The release of the newest Fantastic Four might signal some of the changes which we can anticipate ahead (there are some spoilers below).

Ant-Man and Wasp

waspMany expected Ant-Man to be one of the bigger disappointments thus far in the MCU, due to its ongoing problems with the direction, after it passed from Edgar Wright to Peyton Reed.  It seemed as though the studio was not going to take any risks with the character as they could not even confirm his role in any future movies.  This presumably will all change now that the movie has been released.  Although it can’t compare to the financial success of the year’s other Marvel movie, Avengers: Age of Ultron, it also is noteworthy as being a better critical success, with a better rating at Rotten Tomatoes than Avengers.  With both financial and critical success it seems as though there will be more to come from these characters.  As was hinted at the end of the movie, there is still a lot of story left to tell as well, as the end hinted that Janet van Dyne might not be truly lost.  Furthermore Hope van Dyne was presented with a Wasp suit by her father.  There could be a lot of places to take the story of the two heroes, though one in particular might make the most sense …

Micronauts

micronautsThe Micronauts are a bit of an oddity in comics.  They started out as a line of toys, who were written into comics after in the 1970s after Marvel writer Bill Mantlo saw his son open a box of the toys.  The series started as somewhat of a standalone, but slowly was incorporated into the Marvel Universe, with appearances by some other mainstream characters.  While the rights for the characters do not presently rest with Marvel, there is a long publication history with the characters and as the rights rest with other smaller comic companies, it would likely not be too difficult to reacquire the rights.  Furthermore for the film studio that might try to replicate the runaway success of Guardians of the Galaxy, they might look smaller instead of bigger and find their next surprise hit there.  There would be some hurdles, but also there might be a few benefits, as Janet van Dyne disappeared into the smallest dimension, the Microverse.  This small universe is not in itself small, but the pathways to enter it are, and could give an explanation as to where the character disappeared.  They might find Janet in the Microverse, but they might also be able to find some other heroes there as well…

Fantastic Four

fantastic fourThe Fantastic Four is one of the best known Marvel properties that does not lie within the company’s grasp at the moment, instead being controlled by Fox.  While Fox has managed to control the X-Men franchise strongly enough with some decent movies, the Fantastic Four has mostly been a sequence of failures.  The first of the series was good enough to warrant a sequel, but this was before the wake of Marvel movies changed how fans expected superhero movies to turn out.  Marvel Studios was looking to be innovative, not just rehash generic action/sci-fi plots with superheroes thrown in.  The most recent attempt by Fox to revamp the Fantastic Four might have been an attempt to do the same, to get some new excitement into the mix, but it evidently did not turn out that way.  Critical response (and probably financial) will mean that the characters will have to be shelved for a while before the public has forgotten enough about them.  Using the Sony/Spider-Man approach, lending the characters back to Marvel Studios might be a wiser choice, one that would probably make more money for both, and one which would keep the fans happy.  By this point though, with two origin movies behind them, it might make sense to jump straight into the Fantastic Four with them already established as heroes.  They could exist in a similar sense to Hank Pym in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, unknown but still present.  More so, one of the places that is visited by the Fantastic Four is the Microverse, and if they were stuck there then it would be an easy bridge between Ant-Man and the return of Marvel’s first family.

Namor

namorIt is not entirely clear where the rights to Namor presently rest.  Kevin Feige has indicated that Marvel, if they desired, could make a Namor movie, but that there would be some “entanglements”.  Rights to the movie have rested with Universal, but seem to have at least partially lapsed.  What remains is speculated to be the same arrangement with 2008’s The Incredible Hulk, that Marvel creates but Universal distributes.  While it was not a problem when the Marvel Cinematic Universe was still nascent, it seems moving forward that Marvel likes to create and distribute, and to get rewarded financially at 100% for its efforts.  It might make exceptions for Spider-Man and the Fantastic Four but maybe less so for Namor.  Another factor to consider is what DC Comics will manage to do with its own movies.  The other of the big two comic companies is playing catchup, but also has the benefit of controlling the movie rights to nearly all of its characters.  They have already greenlit an Aquaman movie, but it remains to be seen just how well it will do.  Aquaman is after all a hero that is taken not so seriously in pop culture, but if DC can make it work, maybe it will give Marvel second thoughts about its own underwater hero.

Thunderbolts

thunderboltsThe fact that DC Comics is playing catchup in the movie game can also be to the advantage of Marvel.  Marvel has already taken its gambles and seen those pay off, as with Guardians of the Galaxy.  DC Comics, who are eager to catch up, are also taking their own gambles, and chief among those is the Suicide Squad.  Featuring a group of villains forced into a heroic role, it might catch on, or it might flop.  Fans certainly will not be very familiar with the concept, and the concept in itself is strange enough that it might not work.  On the other hand, it might work, and if yes then it could serve as a gamble that Marvel gets to witness the results of without gambling anything itself.  If popular it could use its own villain-turned-heroes team the Thunderbolts and catch the wave of people wanting more Suicide Squad before a sequel to the DC movie comes out.  If played right as well it could help quieten those that think that the MCU’s villains are the weakest part of the movies.

Defenders

defendersMarvel is already a long way along in its development of the Doctor Strange movie, and holds the exclusive rights to the Hulk as long as he is not the featured character in a movie.  A Namor movie could be forthcoming depending on the success of Aquaman, and if Fox sees the benefits of doing so, a collaboration might be in the works to return the Fantastic Four and associated characters to the MCU, which would include the Silver Surfer.  Those four make up the original four members of the Defenders.  For those that are getting a bit tired of seeing the Avengers over and over again on the big screen, it might be an excuse to feature this other Marvel team (although Marvel is working on a street level Defenders television show as well.)  One interesting aspect about this team is that as opposed to the Avengers that the original team is made up of all non-street level characters, meaning that the stakes could be higher and that bigger things might happen as a result, such as …

World War Hulk

wwhThis has been a long rumored development in the MCU, but also not one that has not yet come to fruition.  Marvel has been careful to include in story arcs from the comics, and it has made for some great connections for fans of both mediums.  Although World War Hulk is not necessarily the best all time Hulk story, it is up there, and would be a better vehicle for putting a new spin on the Hulk stories, more so than what we are seeing at the movies, with both Hulk movies fitting the same general pattern of the Hulk being hunted by the government after smashing up a bunch of stuff.  It would also allow the character to move beyond the Avengers, which is a connection that is not as strong in the comics.  Also if all the pieces fell into place, it would mean that a lot of the major players from the crossover might be able to make it into the movie, save for the X-Men.

Hawkeye

kateRumors abound that another major character will die in the upcoming Captain America: Civil War (especially that there are pictures from the set of a funeral sequence), and without any other way to verify this other than by seeing a movie that will not be released until 2016, it still seems likely that one of the characters that might be easiest to kill off would be Hawkeye.  He is among the less popular of the main characters in the MCU, and has been almost a footnote to the movies series, appearing to provide fans with another superhero, but also one that doesn’t really do much.  Even if he does not die in the movie, it is also worth noting that the character is one which is on the verge of retirement, being somewhat older than the other heroes and with responsibilities to his family.  This could leave open the possibility for a Hawkeye movie except not as we might expect.  As the movies expand in popularity it makes sense to be closer to four quadrant movies, and one way to do this is to introduce more female characters.  If Clint Barton were to retire on screen, it could open the door for Kate Bishop to step up, providing the MCU with another superheroine, and one with a lot more of an edge than Clint.

She-Hulk and Spider-Woman

shehulkOn that same note, if Marvel is looking to keep its female fans happy it might look to develop these characters as well.  Most of the main Marvel superheroines would be tied up elsewhere, with most of the major heroines being members of the X-Men, and other such as Sue Storm or Medusa mostly only operating as parts of teams.  Others such as Elektra and even Hellcat are tied to the television series, which mean that only a few major female characters would be left to get the big screen treatment.  She-Hulk and Spider-Woman could both be strong contenders to hold down their own movie, especially if Marvel did something unexpected and went off the script with the Spider-Gwen version of Spider-Woman.  It would also help to fill the ranks of the Avengers, a team which needs to be mixed up a bit from time to time to keep the roster fresh and the fans intrigued.

Ka-Zar

tigraKa-Zar is one of the longest running Marvel characters, but also one that has not had a very solid fanbase in modern years, although unquestionably popular among many.  Although Marvel is keen on taking risks, could it make the Savage Land work the same as it made Guardians of the Galaxy work?  The Savage Land is the source of many stories within the Marvel Universe, though most of them with the X-Men.  Why might the MCU be interested in the Savage Land?  It is a fantasy setting, and while it does not match up with other heroes, could still serve as an explanation for the re-appearance of some characters who also happen to be Avengers – Hercules, Tigra or even the Black Knight.  It might be a stretch, but Marvel will be looking for new blood for its Avengers as it moves forward, as is evident from the new roster after Age of Ultron.  Tigra especially might be interesting, as she not only is her own character, but is also indirectly responsible for the development of Hellcat, whose non-superpowered version is already set to be introduced in the Marvel television show Jessica Jones.

Iron Man 4

iron manThis is perhaps the biggest question to solve in phase 4.  A big part of what made the MCU so popular is that it based its hopes on the initial movie, Iron Man.  If this movie had failed so too would the plans for the shared universe.  Success would probably have still come the way of the studio, but it would have been a longer road.  Part of the runaway success of the original Iron Man was that Robert Downey Jr. was perfectly cast as Tony Stark, what some might say is not even really acting as he seems to be mostly playing himself.  That having been said, superheroes never really age but actors and actresses do.  While the studio can get a few more years out of Chris Hemsworth, Chris Evans and Scarlett Johansson (all in their early to mid 30s), and even a lot more out of Paul Bettany (whose character the Vision wears so much makeup as to be ageless) and Elizabeth Olsen (who is in her mid 20s), it can probably expect less out of Robert Downey Jr, who is now 50.  They might push him for a couple more movies, but eventually he will need to be replaced, and the biggest question would then be by who, as the character is one that is of highest importance to the MCU.  There might be no bigger question heading forward in the MCU than who will fill this role.

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