Marvel Comics Final Thoughts – Avengers vs. X-Men

With Marvel’s popular and successful foray into films with the Marvel Cinematic Universe, I’ve finally decided to get back into comics. I grew up a big fan of X-Men and other superheroes but haven’t really kept up since the 90s. Thus begins my grand catching-up of the last ten years of Marvel comics, events and stories.

Thanks in large part to trade paperbacks and the digital convenience of Marvel Unlimited I can make relatively quick progress, and I’ll write down my Final Thoughts for each collection here on my blog. Like my gaming Final Thoughts, this will be full of spoilers. You’ve been warned!

marvelWriters: Brian Michael Bendis, Ed Brubaker, Matt Fraction, Jason Aaron, Jonathan Hickman

Artists: John Romita Jr., Adam Kubert, Olivier Coipel

Issues: Avengers vs X-Men #0-12

I also read the following tie-ins: Avengers: X-Sanction #1-4, Avengers #25-30, Avengers Academy #29-33, New Avengers #24-30, Secret Avengers #26-28, Uncanny X-Men #11-20, Wolverine & The X-Men #9-18, X-Men Legacy #266-270, Avengers Vs. X-Men: Versus #1-6, Avengers Vs. X-Men: Consequences #1-5

 

Avengers Vs. X-Men was a massive event. Most Marvel events are big, but they tend to balance smaller events with a few tie-ins with larger, world-spanning events that completely take over all the comics. AvX was definitely the latter in 2012.

It’s also very gimmicky, and staged almost like an empty-headed Summer blockbuster. Even the title doesn’t exactly evoke a lot of mystery. Yet it gradually evolves from a vapid smackdown into a dramatic story that deconstructs Cyclops’ recent worldviews and mutants’ place in the world.

The plot boils down to the return of the Phoenix – that cosmic firebird that has caused the X-Men many headaches in the past. Continue reading “Marvel Comics Final Thoughts – Avengers vs. X-Men”

Image Comics Final Thoughts – The Walking Dead: Compendium Three

With Marvel’s popular and successful foray into films with the Marvel Cinematic Universe, I’ve finally decided to get back into comics. I grew up a big fan of X-Men and other superheroes but haven’t really kept up since the 90s. Thus begins my grand catching-up of the last ten years of Marvel comics, events and stories.

Of course, occasionally I may even explore comics outside of Marvel if they come highly recommended or simply peak my interest. Like my gaming Final Thoughts, this will be full of spoilers. You’ve been warned!

the walking deadWriter: Robert Kirkman

Artist: Charlie Adlard

Issues: The Walking Dead #97-144

 

I did it. I finally caught up to The Walking Dead show. And quite a bit beyond with this third massive compendium of comics.

The Walking Dead: Compendium Three covers a major transition in the style and story-telling of the comic. The war with Negan is the culmination of several volumes worth of stories, providing a very satisfying conclusion.

But the series doesn’t end there. Instead we get a big two-year time jump for society to rebuild and deal with the more mundane problems that entails. Near the end of the compendium an exciting new threat emerges that threatens everything they’ve built. Overall it feels like a much different comic than the previous 96 issues. Continue reading “Image Comics Final Thoughts – The Walking Dead: Compendium Three”

Marvel Comics Final Thoughts – Wolverine and The X-Men (2011), Vol. 1-2

With Marvel’s popular and successful foray into films with the Marvel Cinematic Universe, I’ve finally decided to get back into comics. I grew up a big fan of X-Men and other superheroes but haven’t really kept up since the 90s. Thus begins my grand catching-up of the last ten years of Marvel comics, events and stories.

Thanks in large part to trade paperbacks and the digital convenience of Marvel Unlimited I can make relatively quick progress, and I’ll write down my Final Thoughts for each collection here on my blog. Like my gaming Final Thoughts, this will be full of spoilers. You’ve been warned!

marvelWriter: Jason Aaron

Artist: Chris Bachalo, Nick Bradshaw

Issues: Wolverine and the X-Men (2011), #1-8

Hey, it’s been awhile! Rest assured that despite my recent gap in Marvel Comics Final Thoughts, I’m still reading them. Much of my comic reading time is taken up by my massive read-through of all The Walking Dead comics. But I do sneak some Marvel in.

Currently I’ve been blazing through the timeline circa 2011-12, catching everything up to the big 2012 event, Avengers Vs. X-Men. Most of the stuff hasn’t really been worth writing about. But then we’ve got Wolverine and the X-Men.

Following the divisive events laid out in X-Men: Schism, Wolverine left Utopia to return to the East Coast and re-open Professor X’s School for Gifted Mutants. He takes a number of mutants with him, including Kitty Pryde, Iceman, Rachel Grey, and Beast (who’d basically quit the X-Men after he found out about X-Force). Continue reading “Marvel Comics Final Thoughts – Wolverine and The X-Men (2011), Vol. 1-2”

Image Comics Final Thoughts – The Walking Dead: Compendium Two

With Marvel’s popular and successful foray into films with the Marvel Cinematic Universe, I’ve finally decided to get back into comics. I grew up a big fan of X-Men and other superheroes but haven’t really kept up since the 90s. Thus begins my grand catching-up of the last ten years of Marvel comics, events and stories.

Of course, occasionally I may even explore comics outside of Marvel if they come highly recommended or simply peak my interest. Like my gaming Final Thoughts, this will be full of spoilers. You’ve been warned!

the walking deadWriter: Robert Kirkman

Artist: Charlie Adlard

Issues: The Walking Dead #49-96

 

The second 48-issue, eight volume chunk of The Walking Dead comic brings some major changes to the series. Compendium Two covers Volumes 9 through 16. Our survivors resume life on the road after the prison attack, meet new friends and enemies, and make a new home in Alexandria while their world expands and we start moving into post-post-apocalypse territory.

It’s an interesting direction and a lens through which Robert Kirkman wanted to explore – what if the zombie movie never ended but just kept going. Where would we go? What would society eventually look like?

The volumes here represent the bridge that begins to expand their world. They’re a great read, even if the initial Alexandria drama is a little hackneyed and boring compared to the prison.

In terms of the show, this Compendium covers events from the middle of season four right after the final prison attack (S4E9) to about 2/3 through season six (S6E11) when they meet Jesus and the Hilltop. Continue reading “Image Comics Final Thoughts – The Walking Dead: Compendium Two”

Image Comics Final Thoughts – The Walking Dead: Compendium One

With Marvel’s popular and successful foray into films with the Marvel Cinematic Universe, I’ve finally decided to get back into comics. I grew up a big fan of X-Men and other superheroes but haven’t really kept up since the 90s. Thus begins my grand catching-up of the last ten years of Marvel comics, events and stories.

Of course, occasionally I may even explore comics outside of Marvel if they come highly recommended or simply peak my interest. Like my gaming Final Thoughts, this will be full of spoilers. You’ve been warned!

imageWriter: Robert Kirkman

Artists: Tony Moore, Charlie Adlard

Issues: The Walking Dead #1-48

 

So I’m finally reading The Walking Dead. It’s been a long time coming, obviously. I did read the very first six-issue Volume, “Days Gone Bye,” several years ago. But I’ve been so wrapped in my Marvel comics and others that I hadn’t found the time.

Well in light of recent events, it’s time to tackle the whole damn thing. Or at least the first three 48-issue compendiums.

Trying to really analyze 48 issues in one post is impossible. It’s also impossible for me to separate the comic from the show, which is now seven years deep. My thoughts will be entirely pulled as someone who’s enjoyed the show, but wary of diving into such a gruesome, violent comic.

The Compendiums, like the collected trade paperbacks are organized like one giant story. Only the Volume act breaks serve as chapters. This means no cover art at all, and makes reading the massive tome in short bursts a lot more difficult as you try to figure out where the single issue breaks are (hint: look for the full page spreads).

Despite my annoyance of the organization, the continuous story is well-served by this method. It pretty much forces you to start at the beginning. For a comic that has over 150 issues, that is a damn daunting task. Continue reading “Image Comics Final Thoughts – The Walking Dead: Compendium One”

Marvel Comics Final Thoughts – Avengers: The Children’s Crusade

The Young Avengers go on a hunt to find the Scarlet Witch, who hadn’t been seen since the devastating events of Avengers: Disassembled and House of M.

With Marvel’s popular and successful foray into films with the Marvel Cinematic Universe, I’ve finally decided to get back into comics. I grew up a big fan of X-Men and other superheroes but haven’t really kept up since the 90s. Thus begins my grand catching-up of the last ten years of Marvel comics, events and stories.

Thanks in large part to trade paperbacks and the digital convenience of Marvel Unlimited I can make relatively quick progress, and I’ll write down my Final Thoughts for each collection here on my blog. Like my gaming Final Thoughts, this will be full of spoilers. You’ve been warned!

marvelWriter: Allan Heinberg 

Artist: Jim Cheung

Issues: Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #1-9

 

Avengers: Disassembled in 2004, followed by House of M in ’05, kicked off the modern Marvel era of story-telling. Big events, major character deaths (which were never permanent but hey), and years-long fallout and regime changes became the norm.

I dig it quite a bit, despite lots of missteps. But Avengers: The Children’s Crusade represents a lot of what annoys me with Marvel comics – time-travel, retcons, and do-overs that let them “fix” any formerly awesome scenes and situations that had years-long revelations. In this case, the sobering saga of the Scarlet Witch.

I’ll give credit to Marvel for at least not doing this story like a year or two after House of M. Instead we were treated to a whirlwind of cascading events, and the Scarlet Witch was mostly forgotten about, though her “No More Mutants” legacy forever altered the X-Men.

In this special nine-issue limited series that ran from 2010 to 2012, Allan Heinberg and Jim Cheung brought Scarlet Witch back to the forefront using the Young Avengers. Continue reading “Marvel Comics Final Thoughts – Avengers: The Children’s Crusade”

Marvel Comics Final Thoughts – Generation Hope

Hope Summers, the Mutant Messiah, leads a team of the first generation of new mutants since M-Day.

With Marvel’s popular and successful foray into films with the Marvel Cinematic Universe, I’ve finally decided to get back into comics. I grew up a big fan of X-Men and other superheroes but haven’t really kept up since the 90s. Thus begins my grand catching-up of the last ten years of Marvel comics, events and stories.

Thanks in large part to trade paperbacks and the digital convenience of Marvel Unlimited I can make relatively quick progress, and I’ll write down my Final Thoughts for each collection here on my blog. Like my gaming Final Thoughts, this will be full of spoilers. You’ve been warned!

marvelWriters: Kieron Gillen, James Asmus

Artists: Salvador Espin, Ibraim Roberson

Issues: Generation Hope #1-17

 

Hope Summers, AKA the Mutant Messiah, had been the focal point of the X-Men saga for years. The first new mutant born since M-Day was first shown in X-Men: Messiah Complex. She was then raised by Cable by jumping through time in Cable (2008), and finally returned to our world in X-Men: Second Coming.

You don’t necessarily need to read all that to understand Generation Hope, but it certainly helps. After Second Coming, Hope officially joins the X-Men. Well, sort of. She’s a badass future-soldier in her own right, and her fellow mutants both love and fear her. She’s also a young woman who had just lost her the only person she cared about.

So Cyclops lets her build her own team after they discover her purpose – saving and recruiting newly awakened mutants. These new teenage mutants, the first five of which are dubbed “the Five Lights,” manifest their mutations in violent, dangerous ways.

Hope’s touch works as a magical cure that calms them. She is both the spark for mutation and its salve.

Hope is sent to save and recruit them during Uncanny X-Men #526-529, which should definitely be required reading for Generation Hope (for that matter, the following story in Uncanny X-Men with Emma Frost and Sebastian Shaw is also referenced heavily in a later story in Generation Hope).

So Generation Hope is all about this new team of teenage mutants, which has really been done to death by now. While most superhero teams are delightfully dysfunctional, Hope’s is downright violent and unstable. Their actions sow the seeds for the X-Men’s eventual schism in 2011, and in 2012’s epic Marvel event Avengers vs X-Men. Continue reading “Marvel Comics Final Thoughts – Generation Hope”