I’ve been saying it here literally for years, the MCU is missing the boat on one of their most outrageously hilarious superhero teams: The Great Lakes Avengers! Since the Avengers are still all the rage and essentially dismantled at the moment, it’d be the perfect time for the comedic gold of Wisconsin’s very own superhero team to get a series of their own on Disney Plus. The team was created way back in 1989 by none other than comic icon writer and artist John Byrne and their introduction back then meant a lot to me at the time being a Wisconsinite myself. Essentially a band of misfit z-grade superheroes who decide to start an Avengers team of their own to rep the Midwest, only problem is their crime fighting skills aren’t exactly “Avenger’s level”. Nope the team’s got A LOT of work to do-but none of that’s gonna stop em’ from tryin’ dammit!
Even at one point Hawkeye and Mockingbird attempt to train them, which of course proves to be quite challenging in itself. The team went on to later appear alongside Deadpool and also had a great 4-issue miniseries by Dan Slott that’s a must read. They more recently tried to give them their own monthly book, but it really lost the dark comedy angle and edge of their previous appearances and was cancelled. This great cover by John Byrne shows once again how effective simplicity can be as we got our very first look at the mighty Great Lakes Avengers!~
This week’s comic book cover hits home here as the planet faces the Coronavirus head on. Well back in 1981 The Thing was affected heavily by a deadly one himself called “Virus X”!! Created by the evil giant headed mastermind MODOK it was designed to be hyper-contagious and deadly to the population.
Virus X was so damn deadly, in Marvel Two-in-One #82 the story’s called “The Fatal Effects of Virus X!” MODOK first tested it on group of homeless people he snatched from the streets, and soon set his sights on The Thing to see exactly what it’s effects would be on a superhuman being. As if the Thing hadn’t been through enough already dealing with his monstrous appearance MODOK’S virus mutated him even further! The Thing almost loses his life but luckily his friends Goliath & Captain America are there to give him comfort and kick MODOK’s tiny little ass located on the back of his head!!
So it seems that the Marvel Netflix shows have run into some problems recently with the cancelation of the Iron Fist and Luke Cage shows as well as the low viewership of the third season of Daredevil. The prospect of a second season of ‘The Defenders’ is certainly not in the cards anymore either. So with that being said could it be possible we just might get the classic comic book incarnation of the iconic team sometime in the near future? This new Netflix version of the team kinda bothered me, using the name when indeed, these characters never banded together in the comics (a couple briefly joined the ranks in the comics at different points in time) at least before this series was announced. It seems possible that a movie version of the team could indeed happen as Marvel Comics is reviving the original characters as The Defenders once again next month! A couple of the characters to complete one of the most classic versions of the team already exist in the Marvel cinematic universe, so banding the Defenders for the big screen would be pretty easy and thrilling as well while being able to add some awesome never before seen characters from to Marvel Cinematic Universe onscreen to the team.
We’ve already got some of the classic members in the movies, Doctor Strange & The Hulk/Banner are all ready to go cinematically. The pairing of these two existing core members for an insane cosmic/multi-dimensional adventure would be most excellent to see materialize on the big screen.
So the news just dropped that the Netflix Iron Fist series has officially been axed. I can’t say I’m sad about the news, but what I can say I’m sad about’s how badly they dropped the ball on what should have been a live action series that set a new bar for hyperactive kung fu mayhem. Not only did the series NOT deliver the impressive kung fu choreography I’d hoped for, but it was actually some of the most uninspired melee combat I’ve seen put to screen in quite some damn time. As I’ve said before, this show had the potential to feature Danny Rand as one of the best superhuman combatants (Let’s not forget about Shang Chi too) the world has ever seen. Rand should’ve been doing crazy ass stunts, breaking bones left n’ right and flexing his Iron Fist power on the bad guys like it was nobody’s goddamn business!
Instead we got a seriously weak ass plot, an annoying, whiny version of the character and some pretty pathetic action sequences. We never even got Iron Fist in his actual costume either, which in the end is a good thing cuz I don’t wanna watch some craptastic kung fu being performed by a dude wearing the classic IF duds. Add in some utterly forgettable villains and the supporting character of Colleen Wing being more bad ass and like-able than the series’ lead and you’ve got a major problem that finally caught up to leading to it’s ultimate demise. It actually blows my mind that some of these comic book adaptations can have such a hard time coming up with something fans would dig, Iron Fist should have been an easy sell. Somehow out of touch people in the industry always seem to think they know better than the fans? What gives with that these days?!
Anyway the good thing about the show being cancelled is that we don’t have to endure the torture of watching an epic character like Iron Fist being drug through the mud any more. Though it was a true utter failure, this actually frees things up somewhat for the superhero. Though it’s likely that we won’t see another season of the character, as reported we’ll maybe see Danny Rand making cameos in other Marvel Netflix shows, I think that it might eventually lead to a new Iron Fist altogether. Look how fast other properties get the reboot treatment-Spider-man, Fantastic Four, Hulk and most recently Joaquin Phoenix as The Joker. So why not Danny Rand?!
A reboot in this case, in the form of a movie would be exactly what I’d love to come to fruition, one that takes an entirely new approach. I’d love to see Iron Fist portrayed by someone who’s got the real skills and choreographed by someone who’s ready to knock kung fu fan’s socks off. I’d posted before how the Iron Fist action sequences should have been something more like Tony Jaa’s stunning performance in “The Protector”, for one second imagine Tony had a cool Iron Fist costume on in this scene:
So Yeah I’m glad Iron Fist is over for now, bummed they fucked it up so bad, but hey eventually someone who knows how to make excellent kung fu action on screen AND provide a compelling story for the character WILL indeed come along to give Rand some redemption, at least for now we can hope for that. Now at least I don’t have to sit through another 10 hours of mediocre / subpar Netflix “superhero” programming…..
Oh how I love me some 1980’s Mike Zeck comic book covers!! He did a ton of rad covers in the 80’s for G.I. Joe and here is easily in my opinion one of his best. Issue number 38 from 1985’s cover proves that often times keeping things simple is the best recipe for something memorable. Here we’ve got an excellent depiction of big baddie Destro as he’s facing off with Cobra’s most popular ninja badass Storm Shadow! This one is a total classic and you can feel the tension between these two iconic villains, one of my fave ‘Joe covers by one of the best comic book artists ever…
It’s October and we’re getting closer every day to Halloween 2017! That means “all things creepy” are totally on the table! Today I thought I’d post one of my favorite creepy comic covers from waaay back in my childhood (1983 to be exact), another awesome cover from the master Mike Zeck! I always loved this cover as it really resembles something straight out of an 80’s horror flick. Captain America is seen here totally defenseless, broken, chained up & being ravaged by angry crows while the legendary villain ‘The Scarecrow’ approaches! Not to mention being chained in some sort of “Freddy Kruger” type boiler room. This is such a great era of Cap, Zeck never lets down with his stunning classic cover artwork and interior penciling. This one is a great blast from the past and a perfect addition to October’s Creepy Comic Book Cover of the week! They just don’t make em’ like this anymore…
Here’s a cool cover I’ve always been a big fan of that’s more relevant today than ever! Yeah it seems all we’re hearing about is how bad the Russians are and it’s looking like a conflict in the real world with the russians is closer than ever before. Well it just so happens in the Marvel Comics universe the Russians have their own awesome version of the Avengers by way of the Soviet Super Soldiers! I’ve always thought this was one bad ass super team and back in 1992 Marvel did indeed try to give them their own series. Today though that seems like the last thing Marvel would want to do, they just might revive them if things keep heating up and have them square off with The Avengers, let’s hope it doesn’t come to that though in the real world. Anyway issue #258 of The Incredible Hulk was their first appearance way back in 1981. The epic cover was epically drawn by the legend Al Milgrom a truly awesome battle for the Hulk!
Ok after all of my recent Marvel Comics bashing I had to take a minute here to mention that I’m actually pretty pumped about the upcoming Great Lakes Avengers ongoing series! Since 1989 when John Byrne (one of my top comic book idols) introduced the underdog team to the Marvel Universe in West Coast Avengers #46, I’ve been a big fan. In fact I listed them as one of the obscure Marvel teams I thought would make a great movie or better yet a comedic Netflix series after the success of the D-listers The Guardians of the Galaxy. Of course I have my bias as well, growing up in Wisconsin, that’s where this team is from. If you ask me the Midwest just doesn’t get enough love in the comic books. So the fact that these guys are still representin’ means a great deal to me.
I highly suggest checking out some of their earlier appearances, the classic Byrne West Coast Avengers is a great place to start but back in 2005 Dan Slott gave us an excellent 4 issue series as well. Most notable from the series today was the inclusion of Squirrel Girl to the team in that series, who we all know now is one of Marvel’s hottest titles.
That’s a great place to start and you get a chance to see in ‘Misassembled’ the origins of the team as they take on some serious Marvel Villains who arrive in their neck of the woods to raise some hell. The team finds themselves in serious trouble as they face a real threat for the first time. It’s cool little story with some great humor.
This new series finds the original core group back together in smaller numbers this time as Squirrel Girl has left the team and original member Dinah Soar died in battle over a decade ago. The team consists of Mr. Immortal, a mutant with a superhuman healing factor and the ability to survive the most gruesome deaths, Big Bertha who’s the most popular fashion icon in Milwaukee WI & has the ability to bulk up like the Blob, Doorman a mutant who can create doorways using alternate universes to pass through solid objects and finally Flatman, the openly gay two dimensional version of Reed Richards.
In the new series the team have been anointed official Avengers and are stationed in Detroit to keep the region safe. The team on the cover of the first issue appear to be milking the fact that Squirrel Girl was part of the team and are seen carrying around a cardboard cutout of her. I’m hoping that they can convince Squirrel Girl to join the ranks again, it’d be a selling point for the book but more so she was a perfect addition to the team.
It’s clear we’ll be getting quite a humorous depiction of the team once again and I can’t wait to see what kind of mischief they get into. The new series comes out this fall by Matt Gorman & Will Robson.
I have been pretty open about the fact that I really don’t read any Marvel Comics anymore these days and part of the problem for me is that they just don’t intrigue me the way they used to even a decade ago. I guess I was inspired to write my thoughts here as a bit of a response to the recent news that now Tony Stark will be retired as Iron Man soon. That’s fine by me but It seems that Marvel just can’t stop changing their classic characters races and genders. Now don’t get me wrong, I do think it’s always been an interesting concept to take a character like Iron Man even back in the 1980’s & have James Rhodes take over the suit or Bucky & The Falcon taking over the mantle of Captain America. However more recently it appears that Marvel is on a mission to change up nearly every classic character’s identity in some way shape or form. I mean the Fucking Hulk has even changed into The Totally Awesome Hulk with Amadeus Cho as the alter ego.
I totally understand that Marvel is trying go a long with current social issues by trying to incorporate more diversity into their comic books. I really do commend them for the effort but after numerous changes to the gender, race and identities of Captain America, The Incredible Hulk, Thor, Wolverine and now Iron Man (there are likely more) it’s beginning to seem like Marvel has just run out of good stories for their classics. Or perhaps people indeed are really fucking bored with the traditional Marvel universe? Marvel these days seems more worried about what race and gender their classic character’s are than giving people truly intriguing stories.
I don’t mind a little change up here and there, in fact I totally dig it (heck I loved when Heather Hudson took on the role of Vindicator and lead Alpha Flight-it was a smooth, intelligent totally righteous transition) but it seems that Marvel has largely forgotten that they could simply bring more existing characters into the limelight rather than giving all of their classics a brand new identity? I think it’d be equally exciting to get some some brand new superheroes on the shelf rather than constantly changing the classics. I know times have changed and more people than ever read comics, it’s not just the stereotypical geeky men of yesteryear buying them up, so naturally they may want to rethink their strategy. I get it.
It’s actually become somewhat of a predictable move for Marvel in 2016, deciding to ditch Tony Stark and reboot a new series with a female Iron Man but (a bit odd to still call the book “The Invincible Iron Man” with a female lead, it must be because they don’t want to risk losing any money ditching the name?). I don’t think it’s really that odd of an idea for a woman to design her own Iron Man armor and start kicking ass. Though it seems like Marvel might trying a tad too hard to be relevant in 2016. We all know controversy does sell quite well…
For me there has always been a lot of pleasure in picking up a comic book and reading stories that take me away from our daily routines, media trends, political ideals, online debates and reality in general. I want as much diversity in comics as possible but it’s not feeling real genuine to me these days from the big Marvel cash machine doing anything it can to make a quick buck. I’ve heard as well the debates now heating up about the race and gender of the writers and that they’ve got to match the characters of the comic book they are writing…At some point I think all of this becomes a bit of a drag.
We’re talking about characters that were intended for kids that now have become somewhat of hot button for everyone and their mother & father to get all up in arms about. The landscape of comic books has changed quite a bit over the years and at least Marvel’s approach feels like they’re desperately trying to fit in. Perhaps it’s true people are tired of the old gang of Tony Starks and Bruce Banners. Perhaps their story has already been told and feels tired but I’m hoping Marvel will at some point settle on “who’s who” and let us all just get on with some incredible superhero stories. What do you think? Are you bored with the classic characters? Is Marvel setting bold new trends? Let me know what you think!
One of my favorite comic books of the 1980’s was “The Official Handbook of The Marvel Universe” (Deluxe Edition)! Yeah it wasn’t a real comic book per say but damn was it amazing! Back in 1985 all the way through 1988 Marvel released this 20 issue deluxe edition which featured EVERYTHING you could ever want to know about pretty much EVERY character in Marvel comics. This included their real names, specific powers, how much they could bench press, their history, their hometown, yeah I mean EVERYTHING. I spent hours and hours of my time reading these and brushing up on my favorite characters history. This must have taken some serious time to document as it listed the main life events of the heroes and villains that took place in the pages of the comic books. A complete history up until that point. This was a time when Marvel was truly an amazing company…
Each character was drawn by a different comic book artist and it included pictures of the characters in action taken from panels in the comics they’d appeared in. But my whole point here was to talk about the covers which the majority of them were drawn by my personal favorite John Byrne! The cool thing about the covers was that they could all be connected as one super duper long cover of the characters running. So Byrne pretty much tried to include all the characters from each alphabetical issue!! I’d love to see a video montage that follows each issue until it’s end! But until then I’ll include as many of these covers I can find right here! Check this out!