Tag Archives: the avengers

Super-Articulate: To Haslab or Hasnot?

Hasbro logo

Greetings, campers. As you know, Hasbro embarked on a couple of ambitious fundraisers this year with the Jabba’s Sail Barge and Unicron on their Haslab crowdfunding platform. Both succeeded, which is no surprise. However, the Marvel collectors out there have begun to discuss in earnest the idea of what Marvel Legends thing a Haslab project might try to bring to life. Let’s look at some potential suspects.

1. The Blackbird

X-Men Blackbird

Obviously, a Marvel Legends vehicle would be a rather large thing. If you wanted to put together a Blackbird that had seating to accommodate multiple figures, you’re likely talking three feet in length at least, not to mention wingspan, etc. However, this is sort of in line with the Sail Barge. The problem with a vehicle devoted to one specific team is that you have to bank on enough people wanting to back it to make it happen. Of course, the X-Men have that fanbase, so it’s a distinct possibility.

2. A Quinjet

See above. The real question here would be if they attempted an MCU-style vehicle or the classic comic-style Quinjet. The comic style might be a little easier to pull off; it’s not as wide as the film version and has more of a basic, compact shape. The advantage of the Blackbird is that it looks very similar in comics, animation, and film, partially due to being based on the real SR-71. With the Quinjet, it’s had a couple of different looks that are fairly divergent. It would be cool, but a lot of it depends on the style.

3. Master Mold

There have been a few versions of Master Mold, and they come down to “really big ass Sentinel” in some cases. However, the Master Mold is the Sentinel that produces OTHER Sentinels, so the idea of a Master Mold with the open chest cavity that you can pull BAF Sentinel parts from sounds awesome. In the recent House of X/Powers of X run, we saw a new iteration, Mother Mold, which is a giant head as part of another machine/satellite. While that’s wildly cool, it might not be the thing.

4. The Danger Room

I see this as pretty viable. A Danger Room could be part diorama, part series of traps/accessories that you can plug into a mostly featureless room. An exemplary version would include a control room as well. But I really like the idea of a customizable Danger Room bristling with flames, buzzsaws, spikes, and more.

X-Men Danger Room

5. Asgard

I’d see this as a playset combination of the Throne Room, Yggdrasil, and a Bifrost component. It would make a great display area for the rather large number of Asgardians we’ve gotten in the past few years (but still no Warriors Three or Balder. For to shame, Hasbro).

6. Stark Tower (or Hall of Armors)

There have been a lot of calls for some variation of Stark Tower, Avengers Tower, or even Avengers Mansion (I think that the class Buffy Library playset could even be a good inspiration for how to execute the Mansion). That said, I think that an actual Hall of Armors would kill in the fundraising stage. Both the miniatures and the Lego versions were popular. Picture a Hall of Armors/Tony’s workshop with the first-ever Marvel Legends version of Dum-E included. It would also be a cool place to include a couple of offbeat armors that haven’t been made previously as exclusive ML figures, like Mark XXXVIII (aka Igor).

7. Four Freedoms/Reed’s Lab

This one speaks for itself. A room with crazy Kirbyesque machines and a Negative Zone portal. What’s not to love?

8. Krakoa

When I say Krakoa, I’m NOT saying the current island home of the mutants, although I would advocate for the inclusion of a Krakoa Gate. I’m talking about Giant-Sized X-Men #1 Krakoa in all of its huge Lovecraftian glory. Picture setting that up and covering that sumbitch in X-Men. Glorious.

Giant Size X-Men Krakoa

What about you, readers? Do you have your own Haslab ideas? What do you think of Haslab in the first place? Did you back the Sail Barge or Unicron? Sound off, and let’s talk.

Preview: The Avengers #24

The Avengers #24

(W) Jason Aaron (A/CA) Stefano Caselli
Rated T+
In Shops: Sep 25, 2019
SRP: $3.99

THE CHALLENGE OF THE GHOST RIDERS!

If the Avengers thought one Ghost Rider was tough to deal with, wait’ll they see how many Spirits of Vengeance have just been unleashed by the King of Hell, Johnny Blaze! Including the craziest, most powerful Rider of them all…That’s right, it’s the Avengers vs. Cosmic Ghost Rider!

The Avengers #24

Preview: Avengers #23

Avengers #23

(W) Jason Aaron (A/CA) Stefano Caselli
Rated T+
In Shops: Aug 28, 2019
SRP: $3.99

AVENGERS MOUNTAIN: POSSESSED as CHALLENGE OF THE GHOST RIDERS continues!

It’s Ghost Rider vs. Ghost Rider in a wild race through hell, while the Avengers have to fight for their lives against their own Celestial headquarters, which is now possessed by a rather shocking, rather murderous hell-damned soul!

Avengers #23

Review: The Avengers #22

Avengers #22

“Challenge of the Ghost Riders” begins in The Avengers #22 which shifts the focus on Robbie Reyes. In Avengers #16 we saw current Ghost Rider Robbie Reye stuck in traffic in the depths of hell. A mysterious character was talking to him and teasing the difficulty he’d be facing. The last page of the issue featured Blaze sitting on his bike and leaving Reyes with a warning their story would intertwine once more.

You’ll be back. And the King of Hell will be here waiting. And next time I see you, Ghost Rider, you and me… we’re gonna do a bit more than just talk. We’re gonna have us a little ride.

– Johnny Blaze aka Ghost Rider – Avengers #16

Avengers #22 kicks things off with Robbie’s car making threats to his brother and leaving him in a tough spot. Reyes wants the Ghost Rider gone and the car out of his life. In steps the Avengers who attempt to figure out how to help him. In come the help of Blade and a special guest and the combo adds in some humor to a horror focused comic.

Writer Jason Aaron does a fantastic job of keeping the issue light mixing what should be a straight-up horror comic with some humorous moments. There’s a transition of action, to a bit of seriousness, and then there’s the humor. It flows nicely and keeps things entertaining without getting too heavy.

The art by Stefano Caselli helps with that. With color by Jason Keith and lettering by Cory Petit, the art again is able to balance the various tones of the comic. The art of Avengers #22 moves between the various worlds of the characters and aspects of the comic and with each the art style nails it.

Avengers #22 kicks off a new story arc and it’s a solid point to hop on to the series. The story seems like it’ll reveal more about the history of Ghost Rider and bring back some classic characters too. It’s a solid mix of new and old moving things ahead in a flaming car.

Story: Jason Aaron Art: Stefano Caselli
Color: Jason Keith Letterer: Cory Petit
Story: 8.0 Art: 8.0 Overall: 8.0 Recommendation: Buy

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Preview: Avengers #22

Avengers #22

(W) Jason Aaron (A) Alberto Alburquerque (A/CA) Stefano Caselli
Rated T+
In Shops: Jul 31, 2019
SRP: $3.99

THE CHALLENGE OF THE GHOST RIDERS STARTS HERE! Robbie Reyes wants to get rid of the flame-headed monster inside him. So it’s time to do the common sense thing: perform an exorcism on his car. Only problem is, Johnny Blaze, the king of Hell, has some plans of his own for the newest Ghost Rider and his Avengers friends.

Avengers #22

Preview: The Avengers #21

The Avengers #21

(W) Jason Aaron (A) Jason Masters (CA) Stefano Caselli
Rated T+
In Shops: Jul 10, 2019
SRP: $3.99

The war is over, and Earth’s Mightiest Heroes are looking to celebrate. That’s right, there’s a party at Avengers Mountain! But who invited the Squadron Supreme of America?

The Avengers #21

Messages from Midgard Finale: The Good and Bad of War of the Realms

Just when you thought you’d seen the last of me, here’s another installment of “Messages from Midgard“. This isn’t a column length analysis of Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #46, which was the final “War of the Realms” tie-in to come out although I will mention Ryan North, Derek Charm, and Rico Renzi‘s hilarious and clever work with Doreen Green and the Norse squirrel god of chaos Ratatoskr later. No, I have come to survey the wreckage of “War of the Realms” and sift out what worked and what didn’t as well as the memorable moments and the comics that will gather dust in the quarter/dollar/whatever currency inflates to bin at the comic cons and stores of the future.

Without further ado, here’s “War of the Realms: The Good and the Bad“.


The Good

1. Thor’s Character Arc

The core War of the Realms series was at its finest when Jason Aaron remembers that he and Thor have been on a seven year journey together, and this event is the climax. Sure, the montages of Fire Goblin and Frost Giant destruction, superheroes making inane Tolkien and DnD quips, and Punisher shooting Elves are fun. However, the series clicks when it focuses on Thor feeling guilt for the death of the Valkyries and Loki, going on a berserker rage, returning with one arm, and then making sacrifices to not just become a hero, but the All-Father of Asgard. Tom Taylor does a good job enhancing this main narrative in his Land of the Giants tie-in where Wolverine tells his teammates to let Thor let his berserker rage burn out and kill Giants before he is ready begin the next step of his journey.

Despite the continent and realm spanning tie-ins and some issues in the middle, which feel like trailers for more interesting comics with cool battles, Jason Aaron and Russell Dauterman craft a robust arc for Thor. They also make a great one for Jane Foster too as she evacuates New York, takes on the role of All-Mother in Freyja’s absence, wields War Thor’s helmet, and finally becomes the new Valkyrie. Superhero comics are all about the illusion of change, but it’s cool to look back and see a damsel-in-distress nurse battle cancer, become the goddess of Thunder, revoke that mantle, and find new ways to be heroic in War of the Realms. Basically, people who started reading comics in the 2010s will only see Jane Foster as a hero thanks to the work of Aaron, Dauterman, and Matthew Wilson.


Image result for russell dauterman war of the realms

2. Russell Dauterman and Matthew Wilson’s Visuals

All my high-falutin’ words about responsibility, heroic journeys, and mythology aside, at its core, War of the Realms is a no holds barred good guys vs bad guys superhero throwdown except with fantasy baddies instead of the usual costumed villains. And this is all thanks to the art of Russell Dauterman and the colors of Matthew Wilson. Dauterman is like a modern day Art Adams (Who did the covers for War of the Realms) or George Perez and possesses a singular gift for splash pages with multiple characters and making them compositions that tell a story instead of glorified pinups. He excels at both layouts and character designs using the newly omniscient Daredevil as the reader’s POV on the action of the War of the Realms while coming up with cool riffs on characters like Odin’s Iron Man armor, Malekith becoming engorged by the Venom symbiote, or Freyja going full Vanir witch on Malekith and his minions.

Matthew Wilson really is the secret weapon throughout the “War of the Realms” event with his work on the core miniseries as well as issues of Thor and the Daredevil serial in War Scrolls. His colors are the ingredient that put the Frost in Frost Giants, the Fire in Fire Goblins, and the effects he uses in War of the Realms #6 make the storm caused by the four Thors truly cataclysmic. But his work isn’t all chaos and Kirby krackle, and there’s delightful minimalism to the big scenes like the reforging of Mjolnir or Daredevil gazing from above that cause one’s eye to linger on the panel and reread the issues that he has colored and that Russell Dauterman has drawn again.


3. Humor-Driven Tie-Ins

The “War of the Realms” tie-ins aren’t at their best when they’re trying to make serious points about the effects of war, like Dennis Hallum and Kim Jacinto did in War of the Realms Strikeforce: The War Avengers. They do work when they lean into the fun and lore of superhero comics and events. For example, in Superior Spider-Man, Gwenpool comments on the well-worn structure of event comics and how a B-Lister like Doc Ock doesn’t get to strike the final blow against Malekith, and in Skottie Young and Nic Klein’s Deadpool, the titular character fights trolls with the help of Australian stereotypes and the event’s single funny Lord of the Rings joke. There is also a great short story in War Scrolls #2 by Anthony Oliveira and Nick Robles where Loki (in disguise as Kate Bishop) and Wiccan go to drag brunch.

However, the two tie-ins that take the cake in the comedy department and are also fun road stories are The McElroys and Andre Araujo‘s Journey into Mystery and the aforementioned Unbeatable Squirrel Girl. Most of the humor in Journey into Mystery comes from character idiosyncrasies, like Miles Morales not knowing what to do in a casino because he’s never left Brooklyn or Death Locket’s obsession with Westerns because those were the only movies her Life Model Decoy “uncle” had programmed. The jokes also come out of the wacky situations that the ensemble cast finds them in from a Skrull trailer park to a literal Western ghost town and a henchman convention.

In Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, Ryan North, Derek Charm, and Rico Renzi send the titular character on a mission from Loki to take out the Frost Giants’ secret base in Canada. On the way, she gets a cute new costume from her mom, sees two Frost Giants make out, reads Robert Frost poetry on her own, and builds an unlikely friendship and alliance with Ratatoskr, a Norse squirrel deity that is tricksy even for Loki. North’s script continues to be joke-dense and full of fun facts about science and the world around us while insightfully showing Squirrel Girl at her conflict-avoiding and problem-solving finest. Her actions even have an effect on the larger event, and Derek Charm’s art continues to be heckin’ cute.


4. Standalone Character Studies

Jason Aaron plays some good 3D chess by using War of the Realms to tell the big, loud story of Malekith’s invasion and Thor finding confidence in himself again and his other titles Thor and Avengers to tell quieter (Sometimes) character studies and hint at big plans after the War. So, we get stories like Loki being visited by his past and future selves while being digested in his father’s stomach, a tale of Gorilla-Man’s day to day role at the Avengers HQ during a crisis situation, and She-Hulk dealing with people’s (and by extension readers’) perceptions of her and how she really wants to be. They provide a fresh outlook on the events of the War of the Realms that isn’t just omniscient narration or Thor’s quest.

Avengers #18-#20 end up pulling double duty by introducing the Squadron Supreme of America as well as fleshing out the aforementioned Gorilla-Man and She-Hulk and setting up future plans for Aaron’s works in the Marvel Universe. The Squadron is a great satire of nationalism with a bit of trolling towards the DC Universe, and Aaron wisely puts them in an ancillary book to not detract from “War of the Realms”. The same goes with Gorilla-Man, who is in cahoots with the imprisoned Dracula meaning that the King of the Damned still has a role to play in this book’s events. And none of this is mentioned in the core War of the Realms mini, who only spends a solitary panel setting up Marvel’s next event “Absolute Carnage” as Venom slithers away from Malekith’s Necrosword. It’s nice to enjoy the ride/event you’re on before thinking about the next one.


The Bad

5. Mediocre Minis

Most Big Two events have three to six issue miniseries to add depth to major supporting characters, give B-list heroes a showcase, or just to make money. Sadly, most of “War of the Realms'” minis were more miss than hit with the exception of Journey into Mystery and the anthology series War Scrolls. I also personally liked the end of War of the Realms: Punisher and its portrayal of Frank Castle as a defender of innocents and unrelenting executioner of criminals even if it didn’t connect to his portrayal in the event possible.

However, the rest of “War of the Realms'” minis were either untapped potential or just plain stinkers. New Agents of Atlas introduced a new team of Pan-Asian superheroes, but became overwhelmed by its ensemble cast and its intriguing character designs didn’t translate well to its interior art. Giant-Man had a madcap concept of Marvel’s size-changing heroes taking out the “source” of the Frost Giants, Ymir. But it went off the rails by its third issue with a villain who was shoehorned in and an artist that was really bad at staging and establishing scenes.

Spider-Man and the League of Realms had a cool concept of Spider-Man leading representatives from the other nine realms into battle, but it constantly changed settings, switched bad guy/threat on the fly, and like New Agents of Atlas, didn’t make me care enough about its ensemble cast. The worst tie-in of all was War of the Realms: Uncanny X-Men which had a decent premise of the X-Men defending New York, but shoehorned in awkward connections to Norse mythology, killed off Sunspot for no reason and had no focus even though Sabretooth would have made a great villain. Thankfully, it will probably be all retconned when Jonathan Hickman begins his X-Men run.

If you stick to the core miniseries plus the Thor, Avengers, War Scrolls, Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, and Journey into Mystery tie-ins (I can also vouch for Cullen Bunn’s work on Asgardians of the Galaxy and Venom.), “War of the Realms” is a good time. First and foremost, it works as an event because it’s a culmination of seven years of work that Jason Aaron has done with Thor, Jane Foster, Odin, Freyja, Asgard, and the non-Midgard Realms instead of trying to tie into an MCU movie. In fact, much of the current MCU Thor’s arc seems inspired by the work that Aaron has done throughout his run.

Preview: The Avengers #20

The Avengers #20

(W) Jason Aaron (A/CA) Ed McGuinness
Rated T+
In Shops: Jun 26, 2019
SRP: $3.99

WAR OF THE REALMS TIE-IN!

The final battle for Midgard! Captain Marvel leads the War Avengers! Hulk battles Ulik! Blade takes on the Black Berserkers of Roxxon! Plus: Daredevil the God Without Fear has a cryptic message that will decide the future of the team.

The Avengers #20

Exclusive: It’s the “The Challenge of the Ghost Riders” in Avengers #24 this September!

While the status of Dracula the vampire nation might have been the focus of the “War of the Vampires” storyline that ran in Avengers #13-17, there was something else that stood out. The return of Johnny Blaze, aka Ghost Rider! Blaze is still reigning as the King of Hell, who took over in Damnation, and we’ll see more of this role in “The Challenge of the Ghost Riders” this September.

In Avengers #16 we saw current Ghost Rider Robbie Reye stuck in traffic in the depths of hell. A mysterious character was talking to him and teasing the difficulty he’d be facing. The last page of the issue featured Blaze sitting on his bike and leaving Reyes with a warning their story would intertwine once more.

You’ll be back. And the King of Hell will be here waiting. And next time I see you, Ghost Rider, you and me… we’re gonna do a bit more than just talk. We’re gonna have us a little ride.

– Johnny Blaze aka Ghost Rider – Avengers #16

The next chapter for Johnny Blaze and Ghost Rider begins this September. Find “The Challenge of the Ghost Riders” in Avengers #24.

Check out the full solicitation below and cover artwork (which is not the final trade dress).

AVENGERS #24

JASON AARON (W) • STEFANO CASELLI (A/C)

THE CHALLENGE OF THE GHOST RIDERS!

If the Avengers thought one Ghost Rider was tough to deal with, wait’ll they see how many Spirits of Vengeance have just been unleashed by the King of Hell, Johnny Blaze! Including the craziest, most powerful Rider of them all…That’s right, it’s the Avengers vs. Cosmic Ghost Rider!

32 PGS./RATED T+ …$3.99

The Avengers #24 "The Challenge of the Ghost Riders"
Avengers #24 (not the final trade dress)

Super-Articulate: MVMP (Most Valuable Missing Person)

Today I’m digging back into my ongoing theme of team completion, but with a bit of a twist. We’re going to try to narrow it down to the ONE most valuable missing component from pre-existing Marvel Legends teams. Granted, it’s going to be a little tougher with X-Force, but play along.

Annihilators: Sure, they may be a bit more obscure than other Marvel teams, but the Annihilators had two big mini-series after Annihilation: Conquest. Additionally, team member Beta Ray Bill gets a new figure in the forthcoming second Avengers: Endgame wave, and both he and Quasar are rumored to appear in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. The core line-up consists of Quasar, Beta Ray Bill, Ronan, Silver Surfer, Gladiator, Cosmo, and Ikon the Spaceknight. As you can tell from the photo, most of that group is represented. And while I’d love to get Cosmo in ML scale, we’re going to vote that Quasar is our MVMP. He also checks a box for a MVMP candidate in terms of ‘80s Avengers, but I’d actually give that award to Monica Rambeau Captain Marvel in her original outfit.

Guardians of the Galaxy: On a related note, if you consider the comic GOTG, we’re actually missing A LOT of characters. There’s most of the original team. There’s the aforementioned Cosmo. But there’s also Bug, a comic-accurate Mantis, Phyla-Vell, Moondragon, and Jack Flag from the DnA (and current) era. If we split it between classic and current, I’d say that a classic Yondu is the obvious choice (and easy, you’d think, considering they did a 3.75” version). For the current, I’m going with Phyla-Vell, despite the fact that I do indeed want the rest. (Frankly, I’d like a classic Mantis and Moondragon as well for the Avengers shelves).

Avengers: I’m only going with one here, and it’s a familiar one. Swordsman remains the only Avenger that joined in the ‘60s that hasn’t gotten a figure. He needs to happen.

For ‘70s members, there’s the aforementioned Mantis and Moondragon, but I’m going to go ahead and shout out Two-Gun Kid because a) it’s weird, and b) there aren’t any Marvel Legends cowboys.

I already mentioned my ‘80s pick, but there’s still a lack of Doctor Druid and Starfox to contend with. I feel like Starfox will get some love when The Eternals film hits, as will Sersi.

X-Force: X-Force has gotten its roster bolstered with some seriousness in the last year or two, and we still have Boom-Boom this summer. The first big absence I’d note is Feral, as she’s the last member of the original seven to not have a figure. Of course, that team will never be finished without Siryn, Rictor, and Sunspot, but Feral rounds out the originals.

X-Men: Fine. I’m breaking my own rule. Thunderbird and Mimic. Mimic and Thunderbird. Let’s see ‘em.

Masters of Evil: Look at that empty space longing for Melter. He was on the original team and Ultron’s “Crimson Cowl” line-up. He’s a classic Marvel villain, and he should get some Legends love.

What have you got, kids? Who are your missing MVMPs?

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