Turn Back the Pages: Young Avengers

Turn Back the Pages is a biweekly feature where I spotlight a comic that is not fresh and new. It may have come out a few months ago or even a few years ago. Maybe it was hyped and popular, or maybe it was an underappreciated gem. Whatever the case, it’ll be a great comic that’s well worth a read.

Young Avengers Cover

Superheroes save the world. Thanks goodness they’re around, or we’d all be dead, right? But the thing is, sometimes superheroes save us from a threat they created in the first place, and if it weren’t for the hero, we’d all be fine.

Think Avengers: Age of Ultron. Nice job inventing a killer robot, Iron Man.

This is what kicks off the plot in Young Avengers: Style > Substance. Billy Kaplan, formerly the teen hero Wiccan, uses his incredibly strong yet untrained magical powers to bring his boyfriend Teddy’s mother back from the dead, and he pulls it off with no negative consequences whatsoever.

Just kidding. There are awful, horrifying consequences. As Kid Loki puts it, it’s “terribad.” Continue reading Turn Back the Pages: Young Avengers

Turn Back the Pages: Marvel Holiday Special 2005

Happy holidays, everyone! I hope you’ve all been good little girls and boys this year, because Santa Claus Santron is coming to town, and he’s got neural disruptors and a thirst to kill all humans.

Santron Image

Ultron is Santa Claus, and the Avengers are on his naughty list.

Really, that’s all I should have to say about this comic. If that premise doesn’t get you excited, then your heart is three sizes too small. But why stop there? Let’s get into all the delightfully absurd detail of why “Yes Virginia, There is a Santron” is the comic you need to read this Christmas.

It all starts with Virginia Hanlon, a young woman who got bullied for believing in Santa Claus as a kid (which, yeah, is pretty relatable). So as an adult, she builds a robot Santa to make the world a happier place (which is…less relatable). Unfortunately, some of the robot parts she used belonged to an old Ultron model, so when Robot Santa comes online, the first thing he does is fly off to kill the Avengers. Continue reading Turn Back the Pages: Marvel Holiday Special 2005

Turn Back the Pages: New Avengers

Turn Back the Pages is a biweekly feature where I spotlight a comic that is not fresh and new. It may have come out a few months ago or even a few years ago. Maybe it was hyped and popular, or maybe it was an underappreciated gem. Whatever the case, it’ll be a great comic that’s well worth a read.

 New Avengers Cover

Stop me if you’ve heard this before: a new threat arises, forcing a group of otherwise unrelated heroes to band together to stop it. Afterward, they decide it might not be such a bad idea to form a team to protect the world from similar dangers.

It’s a tried and true superhero story, but dang, I’ve rarely if ever seen it done better than in “New Avengers: Breakout.”

The premise is fantastic. The supervillain Electro is paid by an unknown client to break a specific person out of a top-secret, ridiculously secured prison full of super-powered criminals. Electro shorts out the prison’s power, releasing the person he was paid to, but he also frees every single other supervillain that was locked up in the place.

A Ragtag Group of Heroes

Seven superheroes respond to the mass breakout:

  1. Luke Cage was working as a bodyguard for lawyers Matt Murdock and Foggy Nelson, who were visiting one of the inmates.
  2. Daredevil, whose secret identity is definitely not Matt Murdock, was nowhere near the prison. Really.
  3. Spider-Woman was on a hiatus from superheroics and working as a SHIELD agent on assignment to escort Murdock, Nelson, and Cage.
  4. The Sentry was the inmate Nelson was visiting.
  5. Captain America was in a helicopter, which he redirected to the prison. (It crashes.)
  6. Spider-Man hitched a ride on said helicopter when he saw the massive fricking lightning bolt that knocked out the prison’s power. (He also crashes.)
  7. Iron Man was…just flying by, I guess? He shows up halfway through.

Continue reading Turn Back the Pages: New Avengers

Turn Back the Pages: Thor The Mighty Avenger

Turn Back the Pages is a biweekly feature where I spotlight a comic that is not fresh and new. It may have come out a few months ago or even a few years ago. Maybe it was hyped and popular, or maybe it was an underappreciated gem. Whatever the case, it’ll be a great comic that’s well worth a read.

Thor Cover

I can’t wait to see Thor: Ragnarok.

The trailers have been fantastic, and every time I see a new clip or image, I’m like:

Thor Gif

If I feel any more hype for this movie, I’m going to explode, and if you feel the same way, you’re probably looking for some good Thor stuff to keep you occupied until the movie comes out. Well, I’ve got a recommendation.

Thor: The Mighty Avenger is a complete collection set in its own self-contained world outside the normal Marvel Comics universe. You don’t have to know 60 years of Thor and Avengers comics history to understand what’s happening. It’s great for new readers, but long-time comics fans will appreciate the distillation of Thor’s story. Continue reading Turn Back the Pages: Thor The Mighty Avenger

Turn Back the Pages: Batgirl Rising

Turn Back the Pages is a biweekly feature where I spotlight a comic that is not fresh and new. It may have come out a few months ago or even a few years ago. Maybe it was hyped and popular, or maybe it was an underappreciated gem. Whatever the case, it’ll be a great comic that’s well worth a read.

Batgirl Rising Cover

I don’t know which Batgirl is more underappreciated—Cassandra Cain or Stephanie Brown.

In my review of Cass’s run as Batgirl, I said that I’d be getting to Steph one day, and friends, that day is today. So get ready for the fun Batgirl! (Sorry, Cass, you’ll always be my favorite, but Steph just looks like she’s having the best time ever when she’s fighting crime.)

Who the heck is Stephanie Brown?

If you’ve never heard of her before, Steph is the daughter of a supervillain and Riddler-wannabe by the name of Cluemaster (who’s a jerk). She turned vigilante in her teenage years (as one does), and took on the hard job of being a non-Batman-affiliated crimefighter in Gotham City.

She called herself Spoiler, because she spoiled crime, I guess? In any case, it leads to her appearing in some fun“Spoiler Alert” gifs and images in real life, which is a cool claim to fame.

Her costume can only be described as the color eggplant.

Spoiler Costume ImageShe was Tim Drake’s love interest during his time as Robin, and though she didn’t have his training and experience, she made up for it in determination and resourcefulness. What I liked about her character was that—in contrast to Tim—she was from the wrong side of the tracks. While he got access to all of Batman’s cool, high-tech toys, Steph had to work a crummy part-time job in fast food delivery to afford crime-fighting equipment. Continue reading Turn Back the Pages: Batgirl Rising

Turn Back the Pages: Runaways

Turn Back the Pages is a biweekly feature where I spotlight a comic that is not fresh and new. It may have come out a few months ago or even a few years ago. Maybe it was hyped and popular, or maybe it was an underappreciated gem. Whatever the case, it’ll be a great comic that’s well worth a read.

Runaways Cover

With a TV series in the works and Marvel relaunching a new monthly comic written by Rainbow Rowell, now seems like a good time to talk about Runaways.

The comic’s premise is simple and fantastic: six kids learn their parents are in a supervillain cabal after spying them murder a girl in an occult sacrifice. The kids then make the very reasonable decision to run away from home.

Run Away Gif

It’s definitely a high-concept premise, but what made the series so great was it’s relatable, complex characters. The six original Runaways are:

  • Alex Wilder: geeky gamer and teen genius, he’s the leader of the Runaways and the son of two mafia bosses.
  • Nico Minoru: goth girl and the daughter of two evil sorcerers. She comes to wield a magic staff that allows her to cast any spell, but only once.
  • Gertrude Yorkes: sarcastic, cynical daughter of sinister time travelers. Rocks purple hair and gets a pet raptor.
  • Karolina Dean: free-spirited vegetarian and lesbian who learns she’s an alien composed of rainbow light. Daughter of two other rainbow light aliens who are evil invaders.
  • Chase Stein: rule-breaking jock whose bad grades disappoint his mad scientist parents. Steals the Fistigons, a high-tech gauntlet, from his dad.
  • Molly Hayes: adorable preteen with super-strength and invulnerability, daughter of evil mutants. She wears cute hats and totally punched Wolverine through a wall once.

Continue reading Turn Back the Pages: Runaways

Turn Back the Pages: The Death of Captain America

Turn Back the Pages is a biweekly feature where I spotlight a comic that is not fresh and new. It may have come out a few months ago or even a few years ago. Maybe it was hyped and popular, or maybe it was an underappreciated gem. Whatever the case, it’ll be a great comic that’s well worth a read.

Death of Captain America Cover

Rumor has it that Captain America is going to die in the next Avengers movie.

If that happens, I’m going to bawl my eyes out in the theater, but it’s not the first time Cap has kicked the bucket (or even the fourth). Let’s take a look at one of the best stories to come out of the Star-Spangled Avenger’s tragic demise: The Death of Captain America: The Burden of Dreams by Ed Brubaker.

Our Story So Far

The book starts with a handy recap: Cap is dead. His girlfriend, Agent 13, has been brainwashed by evil psychiatrist Dr. Faustus. Bucky was captured by Red Skull while trying to get revenge, and Iron Man, the Black Widow, and Falcon are attempting to launch a rescue mission.

Did I mention this happens right after Civil War? Half the superhero community is unregistered and on the run, and tensions are high. Bucky blames Iron Man for Cap’s death, and Falcon isn’t exactly thrilled with him, either. Black Widow is nominally on the side of registration, but predictably, it’s complicated.

The Next Captain America

Bucky attacks Iron Man in anger over Steve’s death, but after an emotional confrontation, Tony talks him into taking up the shield. Red Skull, Dr. Faustus, Arnim Zola, and a whole slew of other bad guys have set in motion a plot to destroy the US government, and the world needs Captain America.

With Black Widow for backup, Bucky Cap leaps into action to stop their plot. But Steve Roger’s shoes are hard to fill, and there’s a steep learning curve when it comes to being Captain America. Unfortunately, Bucky doesn’t have a lot of time to figure it out before Red Skull’s master plan destabilizes the entire country. Continue reading Turn Back the Pages: The Death of Captain America