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Preview: Avengers #685

Avengers #685

Story: Mark Waid, Al Ewing, Jim Zub Art: Paco Medina
Ink: Juan Vlasco Color: Jesus Aburtov
Letterer: VC’s Cory Petit
Cover: Mark Brooks
Variant Cover: Terry Dodson, Rachel Dodson
Graphic Design: Carlos Lao
Editor: Tom Brevoort Assistant Editor: Alanna Smith
Rated T+
In Shops: Mar 21, 2018
SRP: $3.99

NO SURRENDER Part 11
THE AVENGERS WEEKLY EPIC CONTINUES!
The Avengers are in the fight of their lives trying to end the Hulk’s rampage, but nothing can stop the unstoppable. And when an Avenger betrays the team, can the rest of the heroes hope to survive?

Review: Avengers #683

Jarvis’ life hangs by a thread. Only by voyaging into Jarvis’ mind can the Beast save him – but what terrible secret is lurking inside the memory of the Avengers’ loyal butler?

If you haven’t been reading “No Surrender,” you’ve been missing out on one of the best Avengers stories in year. The action has been excellent, the art amazing, and character interaction top notch. Writers Mark Waid, Al Ewing, and Jim Zub have been balancing that action with some great character moments packing in so much into the series.

Avengers #683 focuses on one of the plot threads, Jarvis’ battle with the strange disease that’s attacking him. Beast and the Wasp do what they can to save him and there’s some fantastic moments, especially from the new Wasp, Nadia, who stands up in a way that’s beyond heroic and what being a superhero is all about.

Again, the writers shift the story up a bit taking us away from the titanic battles elsewhere to give us this more focused issues. Instead of dozens of character we get a half dozen. Instead of wide open battlefields, we get the confines of a hospital (and Jarvis’ brain). It’s this shift of the narrative that has prevented this event from being one giant fight scene.

The issue too has a big reveal that I’ve been waiting for and has been hinted at, especially in this issue… no spoilers here!

That reveal is first hinted at the art and for those paying attention, they’ll pick up on the twist towards the end of the issue. The art by Paco Madina, with ink by Juan Vlasco, color by Jesus Aburtov, and lettering from Cory Petit, helps deliver the excitement of the issue. The issue really is a build up to that reveal and the art is a big driver of that. There’s so many hints there and for the eagle eyed, they’ll pick up on what’s been hinted at for a few issues now.

That reveal too throws into questions some of the statements from previous issues. Who’s the mysterious game piece that’s been off the board? Is it the Hulk who know is returning? Or, is it the twist at this issue’s end? We’ll find out soon (yay weekly!) but this series has been a fantastic ride that has kept readers on their toes and is constantly playing with expectations. This is a perfect example of what events should strive to be.

Story: Mark Waid, Al Ewing, Jim Zub Art: Paco Medina Cover: Mark Brooks
Ink: Juan Vlasco Color: Jesus Aburtov Letterer: VC’s Cory Petit
Graphic Design: Carlos Lao Editor: Tom Brevoort Assistant Editor: Alanna Smith
Story: 8.75 Art: 8.75 Overall: 8.75 Recommendation: Buy

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Preview: Avengers #683

Avengers #683

Story: Mark Waid, Al Ewing, Jim Zub Art: Paco Medina Cover: Mark Brooks
Ink: Juan Vlasco Color: Jesus Aburtov Letterer: VC’s Cory Petit
Graphic Design: Carlos Lao Editor: Tom Brevoort Assistant Editor: Alanna Smith
Rated T+
In Shops: Mar 07, 2018
SRP: $3.99

NO SURRENDER Part 9
THE AVENGERS WEEKLY EPIC CONTINUES!
Jarvis’ life hangs by a thread. Only by voyaging into Jarvis’ mind can the Beast save him – but what terrible secret is lurking inside the memory of the Avengers’ loyal butler?

Review: The Adventures of Captain America

It’s Wednesday which means it’s new comic book day with new releases hitting shelves, both physical and digital, all across the world. This week we’ve got Captain America!

The Adventures of Captain America collects issues #1-4 and Captain America: The 1940s Newspaper Strips #1-3 by Fabian Nicieza, Kevin Maguire, Kevin West, Steve Carr, Josef Rubenstein, Terry Austin, Tom Christopher, Paul Mounts, Richard Starkings, Barry Dutter, Mike Rockwitz, Karl Kesel, Ben Dimagmaliw, Jared K. Fletcher, Butch Guice, Rachel Pinnelas, Lauren Sankovitch, Bill Rosemann, Tom Brevoort, Tim Smith 3, Harry Go, and John Cerilli.

Get your copy in comic shops today and in book stores March 13. To find a comic shop near you, visit www.comicshoplocator.com or call 1-888-comicbook or digitally and online with the links below.

Amazon/Kindle/comiXology or TFW

 

Marvel​ provided Graphic Policy with FREE copies for review
This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links and make a purchase, we’ll receive a percentage of the sale. Graphic Policy does purchase items from this site. Making purchases through these links helps support the site

Review: The Unstoppable Wasp Vol. 2 Agents of G.I.R.L.

It’s Wednesday which means it’s new comic book day with new releases hitting shelves, both physical and digital, all across the world. This week we’ve got Nadia!

The Unstoppable Wasp Vol. 2 Agents of G.I.R.L. collects issues #5-8 and Tales to Astonish #44 by Jeremy Whitley, Elsa Charretier, Veronica Fish, Ro Stein, Ted Brandt, Megan Wilson, VC’s Joe Caramagna, Alanna Smith, and Tom Brevoort.

Get your copy in comic shops today and in book stores March 13. To find a comic shop near you, visit www.comicshoplocator.com or call 1-888-comicbook or digitally and online with the links below.

Amazon/Kindle/comiXology or TFW

Marvel​ provided Graphic Policy with FREE copies for review
This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links and make a purchase, we’ll receive a percentage of the sale. Graphic Policy does purchase items from this site. Making purchases through these links helps support the site

Review: Avengers #682

One Avenger will gamble everything to save thousands – and the odds aren’t in his favor! The Challenger reveals his ace in the hole, and Jarvis awakens from a mysterious coma long enough to cry four chilling words: “It’s all a lie!”

At the end of last issue the Avengers received some help in the form of Hawkeye (rocking his classic costume) and Red Wolf. The battle rages in Avengers #682, the latest entry in “No Surrender,” the Marvel event that brings together the various Avengers teams.

Writers Al Ewing, Jim Zub, and Mark Waid continue the action and don’t disappoint as the action flys around. What’s interesting though is the issue’s focus on Red Wolf. A lot of the issue is from his perspective as he attempts to figure out the situation and what the best steps are to take. While everyone else uses their abilities and muscles, Red Wolf uses his brains to figure out the next steps and the logic he works through is so much a “no duh.” In fact, Red Wolf’s action and reasoning for it is so simple it really makes the rest of the Avengers seem kind of idiotic in how they’re going about things.

The art by Sean Izaakse, color by David Curiel, and lettering by Cory Petit is fantastic as usual. There’s so much packed in on every page and there’s some interesting page layouts within. But, what’s really great is throughout all of the chaos, the issue really focuses on Red Wolf. Bouncing between his past and the present his figuring things out is laid out as much through the images as it is the dialogue and captions. The art adds so much to that character in depth, it’s impressive. The lettering too also creates the vibe of the scenes and emphasizes the chaos of it all.

Another fantastic entry in the series. One that again changes the narrative style a bit focusing in on one character despite all of the chaos. This event has been delivering and is keeping us excited to see what’s next!

Story: Al Ewing, Jim Zub, Mark Waid Art: Sean Izaakse
Color: David Curiel Letterer: VC’s Cory Petit Graphic Design: Carlos Lao
Editor: Tom Brevoort Assistant Editor: Alanna Smith
Story: 8.5 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Preview: Invincible Iron Man #597

Invincible Iron Man #597

Story: Brian Michael Bendis Art: Stefano Caselli, Alex Maleev Cover: R. B. Silva, Ian Herring
Color: Marte Gracia, Alex Maleev Letterer: VC’s Clayton Cowles
Editor: Tom Brevoort Assistant Editor: Alanna Smith
Rated T+
In Shops: Feb 28, 2018
SRP: $3.99

THE SEARCH FOR TONY STARK Part 5
• Ironheart rises, Doom falls and Tony Stark emerges from the shadows!

Why Marvel Made Cap Hydra in Two Graphs

Did you hear that Captain America is really a Hydra sleeper agent? If you’re new to it all here’s an article and another as to what the shitstorm is all about.

The twist has lit up social networks, both good and bad, and launched dozens of “think pieces,” and Marvel is likely laughing to the bank over it all. The stunt, and the date of its launch, was Marvel’s latest effort to one-up their rival DC Comics, and take the wind out of their sales. Along with the launch of Captain America: Steve Rogers #1, yesterday also saw the launch of DC Comics’ DC Universe: Rebirth #1, an over-sized issue launching the publishers next big shake up of the DCU. It was supposed to be a big deal, and at least online it was eclipsed according to Google Trends.

In the first graph below it compares “DC Comics” (blue), “DC Rebirth” (red), “Captain America” (yellow), “Captain America Hydra” (green), and “Marvel Comics” (purple) for the last 7 days.

While we see generally that Marvel and Captain America outrank DC Comics when it comes to interest, what’s interesting are the boost of interest in everything in the far right. That’s May 25 when each comic launched, and we can see “Captain America Hydra” leap frogs over either DC term. Interest in Cap being Hydra just stole the limelight and let the wind out of the sails.

cap_google_1I’d expect a press announcement by Marvel of Captain America: Steve Rogers #1 selling out and getting a second printing any moment, and with that, more news coverage.

But the trends get more interesting when you look at the profile of some of the creators involved. In DC’s corner is Geoff Johns (blue) the architect behind the publisher’s new direction. In Marvel’s corner is writer Nick Spencer (red) and editor Tom Brevoort (yellow), the writer of the comic and editor who made the news rounds talking about the change.

While Johns beats both handily, we see interest in Spencer begin to perk up when purposely leaked news rumors cropped up something would be happening in Captain America: Steve Rogers. Spencer leapfrogs Johns in interest according to trends and Brevoort too sees a boost as the mainstream media roll-out occurs.

cap_google_2In other words, Marvel played this one as far as press attention perfectly. They stole the news cycle from DC and we’ll find out next month how the actual sales went.

On Nazi Captain America and My Jewlessness

Captain America Steve RogersI’m Jewish. I don’t look it and I don’t practice much, but I was raised Jewish. I had my Bar Mitzvah. I was even Confirmed. Yet if you met me, or even knew me for some time, you probably wouldn’t know it. That’s because I learned to hide it due to Antisemitism I experienced growing up. This was the 1990s, not some long time ago. Living in a suburb of Buffalo I was called “tacky” due to my religion (I still can’t figure that insult out 30 years later), or blamed for ruining Christmas because of changes to the school’s holiday program, or had pennies thrown at me and told to go fetch. You can understand why I exchanged my Jewishness with Jewlessness after a regular barrage of what can be only summed up as abuse by my “peers.”

And being a Jewish kid, I found my connection with comics, an industry built my the hard work of Jews (and women and African-Americans) who couldn’t find work elsewhere due to antisemitic (and racist and misogynistic) quotas. You can read the history here and here, and there are dozens of books that can walk you through even more. The industry’s original greats such as Will Eisner, Bill Finger, Max Gaines, Bob Kane (born Robert Kahn), Jack Kirby (born Jacob Kurtzberg), Stan Lee (born Stanley Lieber), Joe Shuster, Jerry Siegel, Joe Simon (born Hymie Simon), and so many more were Jewish. And that Jewish tradition continues today with Neal Adams, Brian Michael Bendis, Roz Chast, Howard Chaykin, Peter David, the Kuberts, Jeph Loeb, Marv Wolfman, and seriously too many creators to name. Comics are not just an American art form, but also a Jewish one. Consciously, or unconsciously, I found my connection and community.

And then yesterday I received a punch to the gut that took me right back to the 90s.

cap retcon 1In Captain America: Steve Rogers #1 written by Nick Spencer it’s revealed that Steve Rogers may in fact be a deep cover Hydra operative/sleeper agent when at the end of the comic he proclaims “Hail Hydra” after he throws an ally of his to his apparent death (Superman and Batman doesn’t kill, but Captain America certainly does). This is juxtaposed with Steve growing up and it turning out he and his mother were recruited by Hydra in the 1930s.

Hydra is Marvel’s version of the Nazis, having worked with them in World War II, and much like real world Neo-Nazi’s are doing today, the Red Skull and today’s Hydra are stoking fears of refugees and immigrants to bolster their numbers. While in the Marvel Cinematic Universe they’ve been shifted to an Inhuman worshiping cult, in comics they are more along the line of real Neo-Nazis and white supremacists mixed in with a bit of ISIS for good measure.

I’m not naive. This won’t last forever. In a year or two an out will be found, or if sales tank, even quicker. Comics are built on the shock value of cliffhanger endings, bait and switch, and fake out deaths. Superhero comics are soap operas in spandex. Executive Editor Tom Brevoort hints at this in an interview with Time where Marvel spoils their clickbait gimmick:

But I certainly believe it’s not a gimmick. It’s a story that we spent a long time on, that’s compelling and captures the zeitgeist of the world. It will make readers wonder how the heck we’ll get out of this.

We’ve been assured this isn’t mind control or some sort of clone, this is in fact the real Steve Rogers. We can, and should, absolutely debate if this is the best way to “capture the zeitgeist.” I’ll admit I’m intrigued by the twist, but I’m also disgusted by it too. I’m disgusted by how it craps on the legacy of the character and his creators Joe Simon and Jack Kirby and those Jewish creators who found refuge in comics.

captainamericacomics01Captain America was created in 1940 and debuted in Captain America Comics #1 on December 20, 1940 (the cover date is March 1941). To understand his creation, one has to understand the time.

World War II began September 1, 1939 with the United States not entering the war until December 7, 1941 when Pearl Harbor was bombed. Opposition to the United States entering the war existed and war high. There are many arguments and beliefs as to why the United States stayed neutral, but one can’t deny the support of the Nazi party in the United States at the time. In 1936 The Bund was founded in the United States (ironically in Buffalo) to help promote Germany and the Nazi party with their most well-known activity being a 1939 pro-Nazi rally held at Madison Square Garden which around 22,000 individuals attended. They rallied against “Frank D. Rosenfeld” and his New Deal which they dubbed “the Jew Deal.” It wasn’t until after the United States entered the war was the Bund clamped down with arrests for everything from “subversive activities” to violating the 1940 Selective Service Act. It wasn’t the antisemitism they spewed that got them in trouble with the law, it’s the fact they supported someone we were at war with that was the problem.

Enter Kirby and Simon. Simon has said the creation of Captain America was a consciously political one spurred by their repulsion to the actions of Nazi Germany in the lead up to the United States entering World War II. They felt that war was inevitable. In Comic Book Nation: The Transformation of Youth Culture in America, Simon is quoted as saying:

The opponents to the war were all quite well organized. We wanted to have our say too.

Captain America famously debuted with his punching Hitler a year before the United States entered the war. And while the comic sold nearly one million copies and most responded favorably to it, some objected. It was provocative. In Was Superman a Spy?: And Other Comic Book Legends Revealed, Simon is quoted as saying:

When the first issue came out we got a lot of … threatening letters and hate mail. Some people really opposed what Cap stood for.

People protested and loitered outside their office. The threats proved so serious that police protection was ordered and New York Mayor Fiorello La Guardia personally contacted Simon and Kirby to voice his support.

As recounted by friends and family in Marvel’s Captain America 75 Heroic Years Special, Kirby and Simon specifically created Steve Rogers/Captain America as a response to the bullying they themselves experienced growing up, he was a direct response to the atrocities, the genocide, being committed to the Jewish people and others an ocean away. This was their way of taking on the Nazi empire and they received real threats for that stance. Simon and Kirby are the definition of heroes, standing up for what they believe and standing against injustice. They believed in this so much, they signed up to fight in the war. They saw combat, they were Steve Rogers in many ways.

But, to boost sales, to up chatter Marvel has decided to stomp on that history, even if it’s just one issue (though comments by Spencer and Brevoort indicate it’ll be much longer). They have made this symbol of justice that fought the Nazis into everything he stood against, siding and in league with xenophobic racists. He is tainted now and forever just by the fact we can now utter “remember that time Cap was a Nazi?” By making something “new and unexpected” Brevoort, Spencer, and Marvel have insulted his real world origin and made light that he was in fact created in response to genocide. A genocide perpetrated by those he is now in cahoots with, and apparently has always been.

This is clickbait as a story. It’s devoid of any moral obligation. It’s devoid of any sense of history. It’s an empty corporate decision that shows Marvel is only chasing dollars and begs me to question “progressive” moves and decisions they’ve done as just that, a sense of dollars instead of what’s right when it comes to history or the industry. My cynical nature should have known better.

This is an insult to Simon and Kirby, this is an insult to every Jewish creator who found refuge in the comic industry. And all of it to sell some comics, make some short-term money, and get articles like this written to “advertise it” even more.

Baltimore Comic Con 2014: Join Denny O’Neil, Tom Brevoort, and Al Milgrom

ORIGINAL_SIN_ELEMENTSCome to Baltimore‘s Inner Harbor this September 5th, 6th, and 7th for the 14th annual Baltimore Comic-Con at the Baltimore Convention Center! Joining our already-overwhelming list of comic book superstars, we are proud to announce Tom Brevoort and, courtesy of Hero InitiativeAl Milgrom and Denny O’Neil!

While still an illustration student at the University of Delaware, Tom Brevoort began his career with Marvel Comics as an unpaid intern back in 1989. Since then, he has been a writer, an assistant editor, an editor, and Executive Editor. He is also the Senior Vice President of Publishing. His fingerprints can be found throughout the Marvel Universe, from individual titles to major events like Civil War, Original Sin, and AXIS.

gotg power of starhawkAppearing courtesy of the Hero Initiative, Al Migrom has served as a writer, artist, and editor throughout his career. Beginning as an assistant inker back in 1972, Milgrom worked for numerous publishers, including Charlton Comics, Star*Reach, Warren Publishing, Atlas/Seaboard, and Continuity Comics. He served as an editor at DC Comics, where he co-created Ronnie Raymond, the original Firestar. However, he is probably best known for his extensive work with Marvel Comics. There, he penciled Captain Marvel and the original Guardians of the Galaxy in Marvel Presents, and had extensive runs as penciller on The Avengers, West Coast AvengersKitty Pryde and WolverineSecret Wars II, and Memphisto vs… in addition to editing the entire 10-year run of Marvel Fanfare. As an inker, his runs include stints on X-FactorThor, and  Thunderstrike. As a combined artist and writer, Milgrom worked on The Spectacular Spider-ManThe Incredible Hulk, and Deadly Foes of Spider-Man.

batman legends of the dark knightA board member of Hero Initiative, retired writer and editor Denny O’Neil spent much of his career making an indelible mark at Marvel Comics and DC Comics. Initially brought on as a writer at Marvel, he had a hand in writing or scripting diverse titles including Strange Tales, X-Men, Millie the Model, and Rawhide Kid. After a year at Charlton Comics, he followed editor Dick Giordano to DC Comics, where he assumed writing duties for Beware the Creeper, Wonder Woman, Justice League of America, Green Lantern/Green Arrow, and, perhaps most notably, Batman. On that title, he embraced the dark roots of the character, creating numerous characters and defining the tone for the series’ characters. He returned to Marvel in the 1980s, assuming writing chores on Amazing Spider-Man, Daredevil, and Iron Man where he once again created numerous recurring characters in the respective titles’ mythos. He also served as an editor during his Marvel stint on numerous titles and runs before returning as Batman Group editor at DC, where he also wrote The Question, Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight, and Batman: Sword of Azrael.

The Baltimore Comic-Con will be held Friday, September 5 through Sunday, September 7, 2014, at the Baltimore Convention Center, which is located immediately across the street from the historic Camden Yards sports complex (which includes Oriole Park and Geppi’s Entertainment Museum). Tickets, a full guest roster, and additional information is available on the convention’s website.

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