I just got done reading the ‘ALPHA FLIGHT: True North’ Marvel Comics one shot and it got me a bit excited about the possibility of an ongoing series. Yeah Alpha Flight has been a favorite of mine since I was a kid in 80’s and after the first John Byrne series it’s never been quite the same, so hearing that a new one shot was coming out made me decide to head up to ‘Cosmic Monkey‘, (Portland Oregon’s best comic book shop), to grab a copy and see for myself. It’s been a few years since I bought new comic books, I quit a while back cold turkey, as their just too damn expensive and many of them don’t grab me like they used to honestly. However, Alpha Flight always gets another chance!
So ‘True North’ was a pretty decent little dive back into the lives of the diverse Canadian superhero team, it features three short stories with various members of the team. The first featuring classic Alphans Talisman & Snowbird as they travel to a remote area of in the Arctic Circle to investigate a supernatural presence. It’s an intriguing little tale that could have really spanned the whole issue. I definitely enjoyed the artwork in this one by Max Dunbar as well.
The next story is a small slice of life featuring everyone’s favorite little person badass ‘Puck’ and the fish woman ‘Marina’ as they walk a lonely beach on a sunny day. Puck shares a story from his past and the two of them spend some time bonding. A neat little short overall but I wasn’t a real big fan of the artists depictions of Puck and Marina, who basically just made them look like a short guy and a green woman devoid of most of her fish like qualities. The last story features Heather Hudson aka ‘Vindicator’ as she hides from the Canadian government for crimes committed while under the mental control of long time Alpha Flight villain ‘The Master of the World’. It’s a pretty interesting short story too and also features her husband James ‘Guardian’ Hudson with plenty of underlying relationship drama bubbling below the surface. Overall this one was nice refresher of just what an Alpha Flight ongoing series could feel like in 2019.
The other members were missed though, classics like Sasquatch & Shaman weren’t even in it at all and Northstar and Aurora only spoke a couple lines. I was hoping for a cool one shot with the whole team showing their current relationship as a team, but regardless it was still a pretty good teaser, even if it was priced at whoppin’ 5 bucks! DAMN!! I’ve always thought the team under the right writer again could be developed into a great modern series. The team’s super diverse cast has a lot of rich history to explore. ‘True North’ strikes some good chords but I’m not sure it was really quite compelling enough to drum up the magic needed to push Alpha Flight into a new ongoing series. I’d like to see Wolverine return to the team and maybe bring some drama into Heather and James’ rocky relationship. It’s always been softly suggested he might have some feelings for Heather. You never know! I’m also still hoping for an Alpha Flight movie as well, I think they’d be an instant hit in the MCU!
I’ve been super pumped for the new Great Lakes Avengers ongoing series for quite a while now and this weekend I picked up a stack of new comics and this was one of them. I’ve been a big fan of the team from way back when they were introduced in 1989 for a few reasons. First they were created by the legendary John Byrne, who’s been my favorite comic book artist since I was a kid, second The Great Lakes Avengers are from my home state of Wisconsin (a place where superhero stories rarely take place) and finally I love the pure oddity of these misfit, underdog, d-list characters. I always thought they could be a hit if they were given the proper chance and I STILL think Marvel could make an amazing movie/tv series with this team. So anyway was this debut issue worth the wait for a die hard fan like myself?
I’ve gotta be honest here, I was a bit underwhelmed with issue #1. One reason being perhaps that I recently decided to reread the Dan Slott GLA mini series from 2005, which I think was fantastic. Here we have in 2016 a bit of a more of a lighter playful take on the team rather than the dark comedy that Slott brought us. This new series is obviously trying reeeeaaallly hard to funny and personally I don’t think many of the jokes really land. It can be hard to make pure comedic gold in comic book form and I’ll say I think Slott & Byrne accomplished this more much more solidly. Continue reading
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.
The Badger has definitely returned to form in the latest second issue from Devil’s Due / 1First Comics! It’s always nice to read a solid debut these days but it means a lot when the second issue in many cases is better than the first and this is the case in the latest reboot of the legendary Badger series from creator Mike Baron. You can read my review of issue #1 right here.
Anyway the second issue brings back a more familiar feel to the cult 80’s indie icon. We’re really seeing more of a modern retelling of the origin story of Norbert Sykes, which is thus far packed with the perfect amount of that familiar Baron style of quirky comedy and a degree of realism that make this comic thus far one of my favorite recent monthly titles. I actually think the current writers of Deadpool could learn a thing or two from Baron’s tasty recipe on this title.
So what do we get this issue? Well Norbert and his buddy Ham are mysteriously released from the mental ward, partly due to Ham’s “magical” abilities as an ancient druid. Ham also purchases an old castle on the outskirts of Madison Wisconsin where the two of them plan to live. Ham however reveals he’s got a a serious problem with a powerful wizard rival none other than Russia’s Vladimir Putin. Or could Ham just be batshit cray?!
Well things get worse when a Russian enforcer breaks into the castle ready to kill, good thing Norbert Sykes has got multiple personalities, one of which is the Kung Fu ass kicker The Badger! Lastly we get a glimpse of Putin himself as he and his crew of scientists are thawing out a prehistoric mammoth in a glacier. Yeah it’s crazy shit and also a ton of fun.
I’m really happy this character is being given a chance in 2016, so far the series has great potential, I’m not a huge fan of the artwork in issue two, I personally think Badger deserves better. It looked a bit rushed, I wish they could land someone like Paul Pope or old schooler Mike Zeck as a regular on the series. Aside from that I totally dig it as a whole and will definitely be back for issue #2. Ask your local shop to carry Badger as I don’t think this series is getting enough attention!
It’s no secret here – I love Alpha Flight! I love John Byrne too who’s the man behind the Canadian supergroup, heck I’d go as far as to say that he’s my favorite comic book artist of all time! So today I’m showcasing his amazing cover from Alpha Flight #5 way back from 1983. This one features a cool solo story with none other than Puck the coolest little superhero of all time and quite possibly hairier than Wolverine!! I’m so bummed that Marvel can’t seem to come up with a good ongoing series for the team. If you want a great run of comics to read check out John Byrnes run on the book (issues 1-28) you get great art and lots of drama and then some. This rad cover proves sometimes simplicity is the best approach!! I love how he’s jumping out of the price box-brilliant!
Hey anything is possible these days in the way of TV and movies now that we have fans demanding what they want to see via social media, blogs ect. It’s been proven that us fans aren’t as dense as Hollywood would like to believe we are, we enjoy intelligent well crafted television show and movies dammit-we really do! The announcement of David Lynch’s new upcoming season of Twin Peaks is proof of fans interest in shows that may have, at one point, been too bizarre for television at the time. So recently I’ve decided to watch “Carnivale” again, which is one of my favorite HBO shows of all time! Unfortunately this show only got two seasons despite being nominated and winning five Emmy awards, the show was deemed too inaccessible for the average viewer.
This is one of the reasons the show was so great, it clearly didn’t fit the mold of the average television show. I believe if the show was broadcast today (it originally aired in 2003) it would have much stronger audience. The show’s complex story and rich history never was given enough of a chance to unfold onscreen, the cast had barely a traditional pretty Hollywood face anywhere in sight. The show was dark, epic, gritty, extremely creepy, exploring the darker sides of religion good and evil. It’s sets and styling were perfect period, every episode was eye candy. It at the time had quite a high cost of 2 million per episode and a large ensemble cast. The show ended far too soon and for years fans have attempted to get petitions going to get it back on air with no luck.
However as I watch these two seasons again in 2014 they actually feel like they were made now and not over ten years ago. I’m not sure how the show might pick up this many years later, but I’d certainly love to catch what might be the case with Ben Hawkins, Samson and the crew. It’d be a great reason for Nick Stahl to clean up his act. This a show that has many questions left, and it’s plot, symbolism and themes to this day still have people debating. So let’s continue the journey with this traveling Carnivale, I guarantee it’s a far more compelling trip than American Horror Story “Freak Show” could ever be!!!
December can’t come quick enough! The new series from Dark Horse called Hellboy & The B.P.R.D. is on the top of my list for comic books I’m totally pumped about! It’s cool already to know that Hellboy’s early adventures with the B.P.R.D. will finally be told in detail, it’s great news to know John Arcudi will be joining Mignola as writer on the series, but what’s got me even more pumped is Alex Maleev joining as the series artist! Maleev has been a favorite of mine ever since the amazing Bendis run on Daredevil-if you’ve never read that stuff you are missing out bigtime. I love the current run of B.P.R.D. but I often wish for the return of Hellboy & Abe Sapien to the team. It looks like my wish is coming true, here’s a few pic’s that have me excited about this book!
Here’s some panels from the only other Maleev Hellboy, a short story called “Still Born”
And the synopsis for the new series first arc sounds top notch…
“A bizarre series of murders and rumors of something worse lead Professor Bruttenholm to send a young Hellboy to a Brazilian village on his first mission. Hellboy and a small group of agents uncover something terrible in the shadows of a sixteenth-century Portuguese fortress . . .”
You all must know how disappointed I have been with the Incredible Hulk in the comics for the last few years, the Red Hulk, A-Bomb, The Incredible Hulks….Uggh! I just couldn’t stand it! So naturally I was pumped to have all of that bull shit wrapped up with the mess that was made of the Hulk over the years when I heard that Hulk was going to get a new writer and start over again at number one with Jason Aaron and Mark Silvestri on board. Now here we are at issue number four and I have got to say my attention is seriously faltering.
The concept seemed interesting enough, well sorta, Hulk and Banner have split into two different entities and are at odds with each other. Well too bad John Byrne already did this in his short but brilliant stint / story arc way back in the 80’s. But well we all know how original ideas are hard to come by now days…anyway what we have ended up with is a long haired bearded Hulk who lives in the crust of the earth with the mole men and a psychotic dick of man, Bruce Banner who lives on an the gamma Island of Doctor Moreau. Seriously borrowing a bit TOO much there from Moreau-it’s almost sickening. But hey what the hell right it’s the Hulk?
Well for some reason Banner is trying to turn into the Hulk again but it ain’t working and he’s become a mad man, sending his Doc Moreau clones after the real Hulk and pissing him off. So the Hulk decides to go after Banner once and for all…oh yeah the Hulk is intelligent again. How the hell is it determined these days if he’s a mindless monster, a child like brute or an intelligent bad ass? I have been confused for years about this all. Anyway Amanda Von Doom (no relation to Doctor Doom, apparently that’s a common last name?!) has gotten the Hulk to help her destroy Banner because her group of assassins takes down mad scientists exclusively. How convenient huh?
Now they head toward Gamma Banner Moreau island and get attacked by Hulk Sharks, Hulk bats, Hulk Tiger men ect. It’s a pretty weak story if you ask me…I almost prefer Abomb to this really. Then there’s a question of the art, I used to like Silvestri, but today his sketchy art reminds me more of slightly talented Rob Liefeld, I also don’t really dig the long haired handsome bearded “hunk” Hulk that is portrayed here-or for that matter the “old Hulk” they for some reason draw on the cover with his “foot ball player / meat head high top” bowl cut. To make matters worse they have got Whilce Portacio stepping in on issue #4 for some seriously crap-tas-tic artwork that’d make Liefield cringe in his Levi’s 501’s & Doc Martens. I think I just have to say it-the Hulk sucks again!!! How is that possible? Am I crazy Hulk fans?! Have I gone mad and this shit is actually brilliant?! I am hoping this story ends soon and a new writer and artist take it over….hey Mantlo, Stern, David, Jones, Byrne and Buscema rescue me from this ongoing Hulk Nightmare!!
I have got to say being a HUGE Incredible Hulk fan I have been missing him a in a big way the past couple years. Greg Pak who has spent a half decade on ol’ jade jaws is finally on his way out from the series….and I couldn’t be more thrilled! I was a big fan of his early Hulk stories like Planet Hulk and World War Hulk-awesome stuff! But the past couple years have been horrible, I have tried several times to get into The Incredible Hulks & Hulk (launched by Jeph Loeb) and I just could not do it folks. I am sooooo done with The Red Hulk, The Red She-Hulk, The Incredible Herc, A-bomb and the rest of those lame ass characters that these two titles have produced.
I just wanted the plain old green Hulk back!! Continue reading