Note: I had initially assumed this would be a relatively tight piece, reflecting the pace of blockbuster action. Hah! There’s a lot going on in HOX 4. But for you, dear reader, I’ve uncovered inchoate revelations and tantalizing doubts that will surely sustain your anxieties well into the Dawn of X and beyond. Don’t forget to stay hydrated!
In the early 1990s, John Byrne took over the Avengers. The franchise has never recovered. The run’s negative effects were even more pronounced immediately afterwards, as the franchise couldn’t string 10 good issues together for years. This all culminated in “Onslaught,” a story that served to take the Avengers away from the Marvel Universe and toss them into the much-rather-forgotten Heroes Reborn universe. For a lot of reasons, this entire era of Avengers feels like the franchise is circling the drain, until finally, mercifully, they’re put to rest. I don’t think anyone could have expected what ended up happening next.
After “Onslaught,” pretty much all the premiere heroes of the Marvel Universe were gone. The X-Men and Spider-Man were still around, obviously, but in-story they were far from being beloved like the Avengers or Fantastic Four. Obviously, in this clear vacuum of superheroism, some new blood will get the chance to shine. And that’s what happened with the New Warriors – with the Avengers and Fantastic Four gone, the New Warriors became a premiere team in their own right in-universe. But the more interesting group of newcomers, the one that really felt new, were the Thunderbolts. All-new heroes, banding together to fill the void left by the Avengers, saving people in the face of threats greater than any one hero can fight – it’s almost too good to be true!
That’s because it is.
It’s almost impossible to talk about Thunderbolts as a property, especially early Thunderbolts, without spoiling the twist, so I’m going to issue a big official warning here – if you don’t know the big revelation that happens fairly early on in Thunderbolts, and if you would rather remain unspoiled, stop reading here. We’re about to get into it. [Read more…] about Thunderbolts by Kurt Busiek and Mark Bagley Omnibus Review!
Apart from various special projects like X-Men Legends, or the Giant-Size X-Men Artist Special, the five issue Juggernaut miniseries by Fabian Nicieza and Ron Garney is the lone X-Office comic series that doesn’t *totally* fit into the Hickman era of X-Men, in the Dawn of X and now the Reign of X. It’s a series outside the core Krakoan X-Men era. Nonetheless, the focus on the non-mutant Cain Marko, Juggernaut does address the longtime X-Men antagonist, and sometime member’s status in the Krakoa era, including some interesting observations about the mutant nation. [Read more…] about Krakoa Stops The Juggernaut | Juggernaut (2020) Full Story Review! | Krakin’ Krakoa #170
For generations, Steve Rogers, and several others, have stood as an example of an American ideal, charging into battle decked out in the red, white, and blue.
And when Joe Simon and Jack Kirby created Captain America in 1941, it was to be as a symbol of America’s best qualities in the face of Hitler’s expanding Nazi empire, even before the United States became officially involved in World War II. But to have a character draped in the colors of a nation is to permanently tie that hero to the real world. In a time when the United States fought against true evil, it was easy for the morals and message of Captain America to be clear cut and inspirational. But what happens when that character is pulled into the modern era and a time of grey morality and murky politics? [Read more…] about When Captain America Quits: The History and Meaning of a Super Soldier’s Protest
Kieron Gillen (Author), Simon Spurrier (Author), Jason Aaron (Author), Kev Walker (Illustrator), Salvador Larroca (Illustrator), Andrea Broccardo (Illustrator), Emilio Laiso (Illustrator), Wilton Santos (Illustrator), Caspar Wjingaard (Illustrator), Elsa Charretier (Illustrator), Mike Deodato Jr. (Illustrator), Leinil Francis Yu (Illustrator), Marco Checchetto (Illustrator)
Doctor Aphra is a rogue archaeologist traveling the galaxy with a pair of homicidal droids and an unhinged Wookie named Black Krrsantan. This collection details her early days as a freelancer for Darth Vader to her present-day rabble rousing around the galaxy. Aphra is not a hero and she doesn’t claim to be one. If anything, she represents the autonomous galaxy traveler, not unlike pre-resistance Han Solo. She knows what her purpose is and she sticks to it, not attaching herself to a glorified hero stance as so many canon characters have. Aphra is also one of the first openly queer characters within the Star Wars canon. Sarcastic and full of zingers, Aphra is one of the best Star Wars characters, and the Star Wars: Doctor Aphra omnibus is a great place to get to know the inner workings of the Star Wars universe.
Collects: Star Wars: Doctor Aphra (2016) 1-40; Star Wars: Doctor Aphra Annual (2017) 1-3; Darth Vader (2015) 3-4, 8, 21, 25; Star Wars (2015) 13, 19, 31-32; Star Wars: The Screaming Citadel (2017) 1; material from Star Wars: Empire Ascendant (2020) 1 [Read more…] about To Harm Or To Not Harm: The Doctor Aphra Omnibus Review!