Whether it’s hunting Skrulls or taking down H.Y.D.R.A., Spider-Woman’s adventures have made her a favorite of readers for decades, and in March 2020, she’ll be embarking on a brand-new one in Spider-Woman #1! The enigmatic Avenger has always been as mysterious as she is fearless, and her latest series opens with her not feeling quite herself… Looking for fresh thrills, Spider-Woman takes on a job that puts her in the crosshairs of an all-new enemy! She soon finds herself caught in a web of intrigue, surrounded by unknown forces bent on her destruction. With danger on all sides and her deadly past coming to haunt her, Spider-Woman is in for an action-packed ride, and she wouldn’t have it any other way!
This high-stakes mission comes courtesy of all-star creative team Karla Pacheco and Pere Perez.
What’s wrong with Jessica? Just how DID she get this job? And who are these violent lunatics who keep trying to blow her up? You’ll have to wait and see, but in the meantime, check out the stunning cover by Junggeun Yoon, showing Jessica doing what she does best in her iconic costume! Strap in because Spider-Woman #1 is on sale this March in comic shops, on the Marvel Comics App, and on Marvel.com!
(W) Ryan North (A) Pere Perez (CA) Dave Rapoza Rated T In Shops: Nov 20, 2019 SRP: $3.99
• The entire SPIDER-VERSE is in trouble including a world where Aunt May got the Spider-Powers (like you saw in SPIDER-GEDDON). • But don’t think that this is just a cute and charming story as it introduces some of the scariest villains in Marvel History!!! • All this, AND several lucky Spider-Fans bring their Spider-Sonas to the Marvel Multi-Verse!!!X
(W) Vita Ayala (A) Pere Perez (CA) Emanuela Lupacchino Rated T In Shops: Sep 04, 2019 SRP: $4.99
GHOST-SPIDER BATTLES FOR HER LIFE IN MURDERWORLD!
• Gwen Stacy is trying to balance her social life with her hero life in the 616…but what will she do when she comes face-to-face with Arcade’s Murderworld?! • It’s a tower of terror as Gwen takes on some of the most classic – and DEADLY – villains of the Marvel Universe! • VITA AYALA (SHURI, PRISONER X) and PERE PEREZ (UNCANNY X-MEN, ROGUE & GAMBIT) bring the Ghost-Spider action in the Mighty Marvel Manner!
We’re going back to early 2018 to revisit an old column this week, because I recently reread the book and forgot just how much I liked it.
This is a column that focuses on something or some things from the comic book sphere of influence that may not get the credit and recognition it deserves. Whether that’s a list of comic book movies, ongoing comics, or a set of stories featuring a certain character. The columns may take the form of a bullet pointed list, or a slightly longer thinkpiece – there’s really no formula for this other than whether the things being covered are Underrated in some way. This week: Ivar, Timewalker
My comic shop recently got the deluxe hardcover edition of Valiant’s Ivar, Timewalker in on a special order for yours truly, which collects the entire twelve issue run in one place for $40. You can also pick up the series in three softcover trade paperbacks, if you’re so inclined, but I’ve become partial to the oversized hardcovers (especially because of the bonus material in the back, but then I love that stuff). I had already read the final four issues of the series long before I started reading the hardcover, which some would think would be foolish, but when you’re reading a book about time travel then it suddenly becomes less foolish.
In order to give you a bit of context, you’ll find the preview text for the series below.
“At this very moment in Geneva, Switzerland, history is being made. A thousand meters underground inside the Large Hadron Collider, researcher Neela Sethi is about to discover time travel – and jeopardize her life in the process. But she doesn’t know that yet. Ten minutes from now, every deadbeat chrononaut, wannabe conqueror, and misguided protector of the timestream will be banging down her door. Good thing that the legendary Ivar, Timewalker, got there first…right? Now it’s down to history’s most jaded, most tempestuous time traveler to stop the worst of everything that is, was, and will be…before time runs out!“
The series was written by Fred Van Lente, who was joined by Pere Perez, Francis Portella and Clayton Henry with Robert Gill, the first issue being released in January 2015, with the final issue coming in December of that year. The twelve issue series is one of the more underrated offerings from Valiant Entertainment, as many people don’t tend to think about Ivar, Timewalker when talking about the great comics to have come from this publisher – myself included.
As a story about time travel, Ivar, Timewalker is a series that rewards multiple readings – indeed, you could reasonably start at the beginning of any of the three arcs within the series, though this is admittedly more difficult to do with the deluxe edition than the single issues or the trades. Van Lente put together a story that will leave you with as many questions as it will provide answers with an intelligent script that effortlessly blends a heartbreaking story of loss, hope and determination with a sly wit that will have you laughing out loud more often than you would expect in a series that, technically, isn’t a comedy.
Time travel, and effects travelers can have on history are touched on, and often provide some interesting flashes to a story that at its heart is a tale of two incredibly different people; Ivar himself, and Neela Sethi – the scientist who will invent time travel. For as fantastical as the scenery is in this series (and thanks to the artists, it truly is phenomenal), the true draw is the relationship between the two leads.
And that relationship is why you need to read this wonderful story at least twice. I didn’t realize how good this book was when I first read it, and I dare say it’ll only get better with time. Pardon the pun.
Time travel has never been so wonderful.
Join us next week where there will doubtless be another movie, series, comic or comic related thing discussed that is, for whatever reason, Underrated.
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’sWar 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.
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 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
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
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.
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.
The melee is on as “Acts of Evil” enters its final round! Modeled after the 1989-90 fan-favorite storyline “Acts of Vengeance,” “Acts of Evil” pits Marvel mainstays against mismatched and unexpected foes, and this September, Ghost-Spider, Wolverine, and Moon Knight will be the ones battling for their lives!
Spanning eight Annuals across three months, “Acts of Evil” kicks off this July, with Venom: Eddie Brock, Ms. Marvel and The Punisher squaring off against extraterrestrial power players Lady Hellbender, the Super-Skrull and the Brood Queen! And it’s Deadpool Vs. Nightmare, plus She-Hulk Vs. Bullseye the following month!
This September, the opposition’s just as strange! Ghost-Spider: Gwen Stacy scrambles through Arcade’s Murderworld, facing a tower of terror as she takes on some of the deadliest Marvel villains! Then, Moon Knight’s up to bat against Avengers menace Kang the Conqueror! And Khonshu’s avatar must find a way to fix the time stream before Kang fulfills an ancient grudge! Finally, it’s berserker strength vs. magical mayhem, as Wolverine takes on sorceress Morgan le Fay…in 1930s Hollywood!
GHOST-SPIDER ANNUAL #1
Written by VITA AYALA Art by PERE PEREZ Cover by EMA LUPACCHINO
MOON KNIGHT ANNUAL #1
Written by CULLEN BUNN Art by IBRAHIM MOUSTAFA Cover by PHILIP TAN
WOLVERINE ANNUAL #1
Written by JODY HOUSER Art by GERALDO BORGES Cover by DAVID YARDIN
Last month, Marvel announced the debut of Acts of Evil – where Marvel’s most iconic heroes meet their match against some of Marvel’s most vicious villains! From Ms. Marvel to Venom, epic encounters will ensue as Marvel’s greatest heroes battle against enemies they have never faced before – leading to an outcome that no one will expect!
This month, Marvel is excited to debut the creative teams and stories for the titles debuting in August and September, along with new covers and a handy checklist to track all your favorite stories!
DEADPOOL ANNUAL #1: DEADPOOL VS. NIGHTMARE Written by DANA SCHWARTZ Art by REILLY BROWN Cover by AARON KUDER
SHE-HULK ANNUAL #1: SHE-HULK VS. BULLSEYE Written by ALEXANDRA PETRI Art by ANDY MACDONALD Cover by MIRKA ANDOLFO
GHOST SPIDER ANNUAL #1: GHOST-SPIDER VS. ARCADE Written by VITA AYALA Art by PERE PEREZ
MOON KNIGHT ANNUAL #1: MOON KNIGHT VS. KANG Written by CULLEN BUNN Art by IBRAHIM MOUSTAFA
WOLVERINE ANNUAL #1: WOLVERINE VS. MORGAN LE FAY Written by JODY HOUSER Art by TBD