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    Secret Empire #1: Hail Captain America!

    Secret Empire #1

    Never have the words “Hail Hydra” packed more of a wallop than when they are uttered by that star-spangled Avenger, Captain America, in Secret Empire #1. However, that’s now the situation facing the Marvel universe in the publisher’s latest event.
    Secret Empire #1
    As seen in Secret Empire #0, Cap has engineered the rise of Hydra by trapping most of the heroes in space or in the Darkforce. The book opens with a time skip, showing that Cap’s coalition of Hydra forces now control the United States – and have their sights trained on the rest of the world. Only a handful of good guys remain, led by Hawkeye and Black Widow.

    Secret Empire #1 Raises the Stakes

    In the hands of writer Nick Spencer, this doesn’t feel like a typical Marvel event. The rules have changed, and the stakes are higher. The bad guy isn’t a bonafide villain like Ultron, Thanos or the shapeshifting Skrulls: it’s Captain America. The icon. Our unblemished hero.

    Spencer shows his knack for capturing the many characters’ essences without reducing them to caricatures. Cap shows his steely resolve, remaining Boy Scout-like even while approving pumping mind-altering drugs into the water supply. Carol Danvers’ Captain Marvel displays her bravery in the face of impossible odds. Even Tony Stark’s AI self gets into the act, appropriately sarcastic, drunken, womanizing, and even unshaven.
    Secret Empire #1 Variant
    Artist Steve McNiven has his hands full with depicting the new resistance, which includes members such as Viv Vision, Ironheart and the Hulk, battling the forces of Baron Zemo, Dr. Faustus and Arnim Zola.

    To cap off the compelling first chapter of this nine-issue series, Spencer hands us a shocking – no, really, it’s completely shocking – surprise that will leave fans divided but will compel readers to come back for more.

    Long live the Secret Empire!

    Secret Empire #1 Is Off To A Strong Start — Make Sure To Order The Remaining Issues!

    Secret Empire #1: Marvel Comics, Released May 3, 2017, Written by Nick Spencer; Pencils by Steve McNiven; Inks by Jay Leisten; Colors by Matthew Wilson; Lettering by VC’s Travis Lanham; $4.99.

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    The Best Marvel Sidekicks

    Sidekicks are an integral part of comic books, serving alongside superheroes as they save the day time and time again. These characters have become icons in their own right. But they often lack the recognition that their hero counterparts get. So, it’s time to give these characters the credit they deserve.

    Last week, we brought you a rundown of the best sidekicks in the DC Universe. This week it’s time to highlight comic giant Marvel’s best sidekicks.

    HYDRA Bob

    HYDRA Bob

    Bob is a fan favorite character. He appears in the Marvel Universe as Deadpool’s sometimes sidekick. Deadpool’s feelings toward Bob vacillate depending on the specific series. Bob’s contribution to Deadpool’s well-being (well, whatever passes for well-being for Deadpool) can’t be ignored. Bob defected from HYDRA when Deadpool broke into the organization’s headquarters in order to save Agent X. Bob supplied the Merc with valuable insight into HYDRA’s inner workings. Since then, HYDRA Bob has been present for many of the antihero’s greatest antics–getting a nod in the 2016 movie.

    Dum Dum Dugan

    Dum Dum Dugan
    Dum Dum Dugan

    A member of S.H.I.E.L.D. and the Howling Commandos, Dum Dum Dugan is best known as Nick Fury’s sidekick. And he has a great deal of page time in his own right. But he got his start helping Fury out after he saved the S.H.I.E.L.D. leader from Nazi’s in World War 2. Fury relies so much on Dugan he had his personality uploaded into an android (a “life model decoy”) to keep him going after the original Dugan was killed in a mission in the 50’s.

    Bucky Barnes

    Bucky Barnes
    Bucky Barnes

    Some might argue that Bucky doesn’t really count as a sidekick because he’s now a hero in his own right. But we disagree. Bucky got his start as a member of Captain America’s team. He even joined Rogers on his first mission against Red Skull. During World War 2, Bucky was a constant companion of the good Captain. Like many other Marvel sidekicks, Bucky was soon molded into a hero in his own right. He first took a long detour as the villain version of the Winter Soldier. Then eventually took over the Captain America mantel. Currently a hero, the Winter Soldier would never have become the crime fighter he is had it not been for Roger’s tutelage.

    Jubilee

    Jubilee
    Jubilee

    We could make a strong argument that all of the X-Men are Charles Xavier’s sidekicks, but we’ll save that for another time. Instead, let’s highlight one of the best hero sidekick relationships in the long history of the X-Men franchise–Wolverine and Jubilee. Jubilee was first inducted into the X-Men after saving Wolverine from Reavers. After that, she joins the man on several missions, illustrating first hand how useful she is by saving Wolverine time and time again. Their relationship immediately takes on a father/daughter dynamic. Jubilee is constantly prodding at the older X-Men member and Wolverine doing everything he can to protect her.

    Jim Rhodes

    Jim Rhodes
    Jim Rhodes

    Jim Rhodes has evolved from his sidekick beginning, becoming a superhero in his own right. For decades, Rhodes (Rhodey to Tony Stark) has piloted a version of the Iron Man suit known as War Machine. A former military commander and pilot, he met Tony Stark when his plane was shot down over enemy territory. After they successfully teamed up to escape, Rhodes and Stark forged a lasting friendship that developed into partnership. Stark trusted Rhodes to back him up in any crises. Rhodes even took over the Iron Man mantle when Stark was unable to safely fill the roll, However, the suit hadn’t been properly calibrated to Rhodes’s brain.

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    10 of the Greatest Black Superheroes

    The history of black characters in comic books has often been controversial and exploitative, However, the legacy of some has helped to define the public consciousness of race and culture. Black representation is still an uphill fight. But comic books are at the forefront of this fight, bringing characters of color to the forefront of the media.

    There is still a great deal of work to be done. But creators and fans alike can unite through the fantastic characters that have come onto the scene in recent decades. These characters of color celebrate black lives in all forms. In honor of Black History month, here’s a countdown of some of our favorite black heroes.

    War Machine Alias: James Rupert Rhodes

    War Machine
    War Machine

    Rhodes is best known for his inclusion in Iron Man’s arsenal of suited support, However, War Machine is a hero in his own right. He’s taken on such evil-doers as Obediah Stane and Hydra. He’s not just a part of Iron Man’s shadow, but a leader and a hero. Not only does he kick badie-butt, but he’s also a brilliant aviation engineer and a Marine in the US military. Rhodes also served as Iron Man for a stint filling in for Tony Stark when he was too inebriated to fly. War Machine single-handedly saving Stark Tower from the villain Magma. That’s just the beginning of Jimmy Rhodes road to super herodom. He later became the director of Worldwatch and the CEO of Stark Industries. Check War Machine out in Marvel’s War Machine Classic trade paperback by Scott Benson for a taste of what he has to offer.

    Blade Alias: Eric Brooks

    Blade
    Blade

    Maybe you know him best as played by Wesley Snipes in his millennium-spanning movie series about vampire hunting. But this unlikely superhero got his start in Marvel comics as a side character in the lesser-known title Tomb of Dracula. While his story got its start there, he’s had a much longer and more popular run as a leading man. His origin story alone sets him apart from your average comic character.

    Born in a brothel, Blade’s mother was killed by a vampire (Deacon Frost) who had disguised himself as a doctor brought in to help assist with his birth. Frost feasted on Blade’s mother, in so doing passing on vampiric enzymes to the newborn Brooks and effectively infecting him with a modified version of the vampirism. He gained super strength, a lengthened lifespan, the ability to sense other supernatural beings and an immunity to other vampiric effects. After training for several years with vampire hunter Jamal Afari, Blade put these powers into action by traveling around the world to kill evil beings wherever he can find them. You can find Blade in the eponymous series, as a member or the Avengers, and in Blade: Black and White.

    Ironheart Alias: Riri Williams

    Ironheart
    Ironheart

    If you are unfamiliar with Ironheart, you need to get yourself acquainted with her comics as quickly possible. Williams is currently the protege to Tony Stark. She started out as a fifteen year-old super genius attending M.I.T. Haunted by the memory of a violent incident that left both her stepfather and best friend dead, Riri built her own version of the Iron Man Armor suit using materials she stole from her campus. After catching wind of Riri, Stark officially took her under his wing and helped her to become a full blown superhero–Ironheart. After the second superhero civil war, Riri even built an A.I. version of Stark to help guide her heroing when the real billionaire was put into a coma. Ironheart’s story is still unfolding in the Invincible Iron Man comic series.

    Spider-Man Alias: Miles Morales

    Spider-Man
    Spider-Man

    Miles Morales is probably the best known of a new generation of superheroes, having taken up the mantle of Spider-Man. Like Peter Parker, Morales was bitten by a mutated Oz Corporation spider. As a result, he has superpowers similar to the original Spider-Man’s, but with a few twists. Morales, like Parker, is also driven by a similar motivation to do good for his city. He is Black Hispanic and grew up in New York,. His experience is a perfect starting point for conversations about race in the realm of comic books. And writers of the series are not afraid to approach that subject. While his story isn’t as expansive as his mentor Peter Parker’s is yet, there are enough comics out there to be a little intimidating. So, a good place to start is the Ultimate Comics Spider-Man.

    Luke Cage (Power Man) Alias: Carl Lucas

    Luke Cage
    Luke Cage

    Luke Cage was the very first black hero to have his own title. Debuting in 1972, Luke Cage, Hero for Hire came out at the height of Blaxploitation. Despite this, he’s become a particularly powerful representative for the black experience in the superhero genre. He’s imbued with super-strength, and unbreakable after being forced into involuntary medical experimentation. Cage has had a storied history. He’s gone from working as a mercenary “hero for hire” to partnering up with The Fantastic Four to fight off Doctor Doom. He’s used his powers to defend the people of his Harlem home. Find Luke Cage in his own title trade Luke Cage: Avenger or the ongoing Power Man and Iron Fist series.

    Storm Alias: Ororo Monroe

    Storm
    Storm

    Storm is best known for affiliation with the Marvel comics team X-Men. Before being part of the X-Men, she was tragically orphaned when her parents were killed by an airplane crashing into their Cairo home. Left alone, Orora sought out her mother’s ancestral home in the Serengeti desert. There she was trained to respect and hone her powers, which had been passed through several generations of her family. After meeting with the X-Men, she learned the true nature of her magic (a mutant gene just like the rest of the team) and set  about using them to better the world around her. Orora has seen a great deal of action in other titles like Marvel Team-Up and Black Panther. The best Storm story has to go to  X-Men: Worlds Apart. Otherwise, you can find her story continuing to unfold in the Uncanny X-Men series.

    Green Lantern Alias: John Stewart

    Green Lantern
    Green Lantern

    John Stewart became DC’s first African American superhero when he took up the mantle of the Green Lantern in 1971. Since then, his story has helped to define a generation of DC comics. Originally selected by the Green Lantern Corps as a backup for Hal Jordan, Stewart has served as a Lantern several times. He eventually became the first Guardian of the Universe- the Master Builder- during the Green Lantern Mosaic arc. Stewart’s incredibly keen intellect and preternatural will power makes him not only one of the most dynamic Green Lanterns, but one of the most remarkable characters in the DC universe. While you can find Stewart throughout most of the Green Lantern arcs after the early seventies, we recommend checking out Blackest Night or Green Lantern Corps: The Lost Army.   

    Spawn Alias: Al Simmons

    Spawn
    Spawn

    Al Simmons was a highly skilled Marine who learned too much about the nature of the CIA. In death, Simmons is Spawn, a demonic assassin with supernatural abilities and a huge agenda. Charged with battling both the forces of heaven and hell in order to hold a balance in the universe, Spawn is the anti-hero to end them all. Spawn’s long crusade has pitted him against street criminals, gods and everything in between. While originally conceived of by Todd MacFarlan, Spawn stories have been written by a number of other comics luminaries such as Alan Moore and Brian Michael Bendis. The best place to pick up the Spawn series is in its very beginning with Spawn Origins.

    Falcon Alias: Sam Wilson

    Falcon
    Falcon

    Sam Wilson was originally a social worker and former soldier. He was kidnapped by Red Skull after his plane crashed.  Villain Red Skull used a Cosmic Cube to give Wilson the power to communicate telepathically with birds. While Red Skull was attempting to craft Wilson into a minion of Hydra, he was rescued by Captain America. The two quickly became friends and Steve Rogers helped to hone Wilson into the superhero Falcon.

    After rescuing Black Panther, the Wakandan king gifted Wilson with a suit that would enable him to fly. He uses his ability to communicate with birds, his suit, and his will to do right by the world. Sam Wilson is a shaping force behind the Avengers team and the entire Marvel Universe. While best known for his service as Falcon, Sam Wilson was also selected by Steve Rogers as his official replacement as Captain America when he had aged out of the role. Find Sam’s origins in Captain America Epic Collection: Coming of Falcon or follow his current series Captain America Sam Wilson.

    Black Panther Alias: T’Challa

    Black Panther
    Black Panther

    King T’Challa Wakanda is without doubt one of the most powerful superheroes both on the page and outside of it. Widely considered the first true black superhero, Black Panther is fan favorite. His power and influence makes him fight against injustice and racism throughout the world. Black Panther is powerful in all senses of the word. He’s got physical strength and political pull as the king of technologically advanced African country Wakanda. He uses his power to unite people across the world. Black Panther’s story has spanned decades. He’s teamed up with just about everyone imaginable in the Marvel Universe from the Avengers to the X-Men. If you’re new to Black Panther, check out the incredible new series by Ta-Nehisi Coates and Brian Stelfreeze.

     

     

    Who else would you include on the list? And, which black heroes do you wish would get more attention in the future? Leave your answers in the comments below.  

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    Captain America’s lies continue

    NCBD 2/22/17

    This week’s NCBD reviews include Greg Rucka’s new series, Captain America’s lies, and Serenity. As always theses are only a few books that came out this week. Check out our other blog articles so see our thoughts on other books. Be sure to comment or share our post on Facebook or Twitter if you like our articles!

    SPOILER ALERT — We try to keep from posting spoilers, but one may sneak through to our reviews now and again. Read with caution, true believers.

    Captain America Steve Rogers #12
    By: Nick Spencer, Jesus Saiz, Javier Pina, Paul Renaud

    Man, do I need to go back and re-read these past 12 issues. THere is a lot coming out of this. Like the cover says Taskmaster knows Steve’s secret, and he wants to cash in with S.H.I.E.L.D.

    This series has been pretty controversial, and it’s easy to see why. But man, is it a compelling story. If you haven’t been reading Nick Spenser’s Captain America: Steve Rogers because of that HUGE drop in the first issue, I can tell you that this will be a story arc told for ages!

    My favorite part of this issue was reading Steve’s memories during WWII. It really puts a spin on what we’ve known and what he believes happened. [Martin M. at TFAW.com]

    GET CAUGHT UP ON CAPTAIN AMERICA: STEVE ROGERS

    The Old Guard #1
    By: Greg Rucka, Leandro Ferndez

    A brand new series of Greg Rucka, The Old Guard tells the tale of a small team of men and women who cannot die. Set in our time they seem to be coping in their own way. In this issue, our protagonist is Andy, a hard-headed leader who ok’s a mission to save school girls who were kidnapped. Of course, this is issue 1, and things are never so simple.

    In a world of technology, it will be hard for Andy and her team to keep their secret hidden.

    Greg Rucka again pulls out all the stops for this new series. He proves again why he is on my top 5 writers list. In this short time with these characters, I’ve already grown attached to them and can’t wait to see where this goes.

    Leandro Frenández does a fantastic design job with fading panels to emanate lighting, and even how Andy’s axe is stored, it’s the only panel but it looks so cool. Daniela Miwa’s colors fit it so well. Do yourself a favor and don’t miss this series! [Martin M. at TFAW.com]

    CHECK OUT GREG RUCKA’S OTHER SERIES LAZARUS FOR ANOTHER STRONG READ

    Serenity: No Power in the ‘Verse #5
    By: Chris Roberson, Georges Jeanty, Karl Story, Wes Dzioba, Dan Dos Santos

    River and Iris are being held captive by Operative Kalista, who is ready to turn them back into Agents of the Alliance. This reader doesn’t reckon that Mal will take to kindly to losing these girls once again to who knows where. I’m sure Mal has a plan, it ain’t likely to be a good one but it will likely get the job done – messy like. Check out Issue #5 of No Power in the ‘Verse. [Angela G. at TFAW.com]

    GET ALL YOUR FIREFLY NEEDS HERE

    What did you think of these books? What should we review next week? Let us know below!

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    Batman and TMNT Join Forces

    New Comic Book Day Nov 9 2016

    It’s Wednesday, and that means there are new comic book releases to talk about! Check out our other New Comic Book Day blog articles to see our thoughts on previous new releases. Be sure to comment or share our post on Facebook or Twitter if you like our articles!

    SPOILER ALERT — We try to keep from posting spoilers, but one may sneak through to our reviews now and again. Read with caution, true believers.

    Batman Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures #1
    By: Matthew K. Manning, Jon Sommariva

    Combining my favorite iteration of Batman with the most fun version of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures gives us the ’90s Batman Animated Series combined with the current Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles animated series. What we get is a great sense of nostalgia, combined with the upbeat sensibilities the Turtles are known for. So basically, a good time.

    Matthew K. Manning weaves a plot that sets our two worlds of heroes onto the same case in a way that respects Batman’s detective skills and the turtle’s penchant for always getting themselves into trouble. Jon Sommariva’s art does a great job of combining the very distinctive art styles from both worlds into one that makes it feel like they belong together. Where IDW and DC had these two comic book versions of the characters recently crossover, having the light-hearted and more commercially known versions of these two classic franchises join forces is a great breath of fresh air for the kid at heart. [Mikey N. at TFAW.com]

    PICK UP THE COMIC INSPIRED BY YOUR TOY BATTLES
    VISIT OUR SPECIAL BATMAN PAGE
    VISIT OUR SPECIAL TMNT PAGE

    Flash #10
    By: Joshua Williamson, Felipe Watanabe, Oclair Albert, Chris Sotomayor, Steve Wands, Carmine Di Giandomencio

    Heroics are hard. Having fantastic powers is great, but it doesn’t make one a hero. Barry Allen has been training Wally West how to use his powers, but The Flash #7 shows us that there’s more to heroics than simply running fast.

    Over the decades, The Flash has learned valuable lessons on how to save the people of Central City; he’s now using those years of experience and imparting wisdom upon Kid Flash. It’s as if Joshua Williamson is distilling decades worth of comics into digestible pieces for a new generation of comics fans.

    Williamson introduces two new Rogues, and this story promises to take us to places we’ve never gone before. I am excited to keep reading. [Josh C. at TFAW.com]

    PICK UP THIS ISSUE OF THE FLASH & DISCOVER OTHER GREAT FLASH BOOKS

    Archer & Armstrong #9
    By: Rafer Roberts, Mike Norton, Brian Level

    A&A #9 serves as a jump on point for new readers. “Andromeda Estranged” kicks off a new arc that sets our heroes in a history lesson. You see, Earth and humans, they’re a strange anomaly within the universe. The “creators,” as we learn, didn’t mean for us to be created. They tried to steer us in the right direction but greed and power (as it always seems to) corrupted us.

    Valiant is known for creating good jumping-on points for new readers and this issue is no exception. Rafer Roberts has been doing an excellent job with this series. Issue #9 is no exception. Penciler Mike Norton and Colorist Allen Passalaqua within the first few pages have a visually striking style that works with the context, (thanks to Ryan Lee) a James Stokoe grit if you will. Once we’re back in our world, however, they go to a more familiar style that Archer & Armstrong fans are used to. [Martin M. at TFAW.com]

    GRAB THIS BUDDY COP COMEDY FROM VALIANT ENTERTAINMENT!

    WWE Then Now Forever #1
    By: Dennis Hopeless, Dan Mora, Ross Thibodeaux, Rob Guillory, Rob Shamberger, Derek Fridolfs, Daniel Bayliss

    As a fan of professional wrestling growing up, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on this issue from BOOM! Studios new WWE series. WWE: Then. Now. Forever #1. This is a reader’s first introduction to the new comic world that weaves in and out of actual stories from the WWE. This compilation issue collects a story by Dennis Hopeless about Seth Rollins’ rise and fall with his team, The Shield. Along with short stories featuring The New Day, Sasha Banks, and Tugboat. This issue also collects the San Diego Comic Con exclusive one-page stories featuring Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Rock, Triple H, John Cena, The New Day, Sasha Banks, The Undertaker, and Dusty Rhodes.

    Headed up by a huge list of creators, this book takes the fandom seriously in some stories, has a whole lot of fun in others, and finds itself incredibly inspirational. The heroes, the heels, the over the top performances, and the drama that fans of professional wrestling have come to love and crave are all found here. If you’ve ever been a fan of any era of the WWE, WWE: Then. Now. Forever is a book for you. [Mikey N. at TFAW.com]

    DON’T TAP OUT GRAB WWE: THEN. NOW. FOREVER TODAY!

    Captain America Steve Rogers #7
    By: Nick Spencer, Jesus Saiz, Joe Caramagna, Stephanie Hans

    Steve Rogers’ reality has been secretly rewritten by a sentient Cosmic Cube known as Kobik. He is now an agent of HYDRA.

    That’s all the background you need to jump aboard Nick Spencer and Jesus Saiz’s Steve Rogers Captain America. Cap is no longer the bastion of freedom and morality; he’s been corrupted, and this allows Spencer to explore some important themes that his predecessors never have. Steve Rogers Captain America #7 is the start to a new arc, so now’s a good time to join along.

    Saiz’s art is expressive and emotional, particularly when it comes to depicting the book’s tyrants–the Red Skull and the bullies of 1935 that were a part of the machine that gave rise to his HYDRA regime.

    I can’t help but have optimism about the future of this comic and really, really look forward to getting our Steve Rogers back in the saddle again. [Josh C. at TFAW.com]

    VISIT OUR CAPTAIN AMERICA PAGE

    What did you think of these books? What should we review next week? Let us know below!

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    Review: Uncanny Avengers #12 – Pymtron vs. Hulkbuster

    Review of Uncanny Avengers #12

    uncanny avengers #12 coverThe Avengers erroneously believed that Hank Pym, the original Ant-Man, was lost forever, killed by his diabolical creation, Ultron. After Hank returned to Earth, claiming that he and Ultron had merged peacefully, it didn’t take long for the sinister Pymtron to attack the Avengers. The Unity Squad called on the original Wasp, Janet Van Dyne, and Vision for backup and initiated the mysterious Project Icarus, which begins by summoning a massive Hulkbuster Iron Man to join the battle.

    The Uncanny Avengers #12 opens right where the last chapter left off, with Hulkbuster Iron Man and Pymtron squaring off. After Pymtron loses the scuffle and is contained in the Hulkbuster armor, half the team jumps into a spaceship with their oddly restrained captive.

    It doesn’t take long before Pymtron begins busting out of the improvised prison. Whatever Project Icarus is (there’s a huge hint in the name), it doesn’t stand a chance of working if the Avengers can’t keep Pymtron neutralized long enough to reach their destination.

    This issue wraps up The Man Who Fell to Earth. While the story hit all the major points, I feel like the arc could have been drawn out over several more issues. It only took until the cover of the second chapter in the story for the nature of Pymtron to be revealed. The only explanation I can think of for the rushed development of high spots in this story is the inclusion of The Uncanny Avengers in the Marvel Summer crossover event. The Uncanny Avengers #13 will see the team take on Captain America Steve Rogers in Civil War II.

    The Uncanny Avengers #12, Marvel Comics, Rated T, released August 17, 2016, written by Gerry Duggan, art by Pepe Larraz, colors by David Curiel, Letters by VC’s Clayton Cowles, cover art by Ryan Stegman and Richard Isanove, variant cover by Alanna Smith, $3.59

    Review by Brendan Allen

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    Review: Captain America: Steve Rogers #3

    Review of Captain America - Steve Rogers #3

    Captain America #3The Captain America: Steve Rogers title had made a lot of news lately with the seemingly impossible revelation that Cap has been a sleeper agent for the evil Hydra organization. Having learned the reason for this improbable transition previously – that ended with Cap pushing an ally out of a plane while declaring, “Hail Hydra” – this issue picks up with the Captain reporting in to Red Skull, the founder of the evil empire.

    Cap goes so far as to draw a multi-armed hydra on his ripped chest and kneels before the crimson baddie to show his dedication. It’s disturbing for this symbol of America to bow before what’s essentially a Nazi, and to have him taking order from his arch enemy.

    The artwork from Jesus Saiz is straightforward and doesn’t distract with extraneous details. But its colorist Rachelle Rosenberg who brings the issue to life. When we flash back to young Steve and his mother being indoctrinated into Hydra in the 1930s, we’re haunted by a shade of red. From a red sky to a crimson scarf to blood-red water, the specter of the Red Skull constantly casts a shadow across the family’s history.

    It’s a remarkable storyline that writer Nick Spencer is taking us
    through. Cap has been through a lot over the years (suspended hibernation, the death of multiple colleagues, rapid aging, his own death) but never has he had to fight the evil within himself.

    That’s a fight worth watching.

    Captain America: Steve Rogers #3, Marvel Comics, Released July 27, 2016, Written by Nick Spencer, Art by Jesus Saiz, Color by Rachelle Rosenberg, Lettering by VC’s Joe Caramagna; $3.99.

    Review by Tom Smithyman

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    Review: Civil War HC

    civil war hcMark Millar and Steve McNiven collaborated back in 2006 to bring us the Marvel Event, Civil War. This title has been getting a lot of attention recently due to the upcoming release of the Captain America: Civil War movie, based loosely on this story arc. Notice, I said “loosely.” Don’t expect your movie experience to match your comic experience. Every storyline, hero, and villain from a year long comic crossover simply can’t be shown in two hours on a movie screen.

    This hardcover edition collects Civil War (2006) #1-7 and Marvel Spotlight: Mark Millar/Steve McNiven. Included are some spectacular extras, including concept art, variant covers, pencil sketches, interviews with Millar and McNiven, and an 11 page Daily Bugle, Civil War Special Edition newspaper.

    Mark Millar did an amazing job telling both sides of the story of two leaders who both have vastly different views on how to solve a common issue. As Doctor Strange so aptly describes the situation, “There is no right or wrong in this debate. It is simply a matter of perspective.”

    The artwork is stunning. This edition features Steve McNiven’s strong style throughout the pages, but also on the dust jacket and the cover itself. The battles are epic, involving just about all of the Marvel Universe’s major players.

    In the opening sequence, we see that heroes and villains are out of control. As part of a setup for filming a reality show, The New Warriors are taking on Cobalt Man, Coldheart, Nitro, and Speedfreak. We quickly learn these villains are way out of the youngsters’ league. The fight ends with a massive explosion that kills innocent bystanders, including a whole elementary school filled with children. The blowback has ordinary citizens calling for the blood of all super humans, faces and heels, A-list , B-list and C-list.

    One of the student victim’s parents appeals to Tony Stark, and he is so guilt ridden that he agrees to help lead the movement for the Registration Act, a bill that would see every human with super abilities registered, trained, employed, and monitored by S.H.I.E.L.D. Captain America, by contrast, believes that superheroes should be able to keep their identities secret, and that being controlled by the government had massive potential for misuse of the almost unlimited combined power of every super human on the planet.

    The leaders both gain strong initial support. There are surprise appearances on both sides of the fence, and a few heel turns and face turns. Not a lot of cheap pops to be found in the story. The characters felt genuine and the finish, while it made perfect sense, left me in shock.

    Civil War, HC McNiven Cover, new printing, April 6, 2016, Writer: Mark Millar, Artist: Steve McNiven, $31.49 at tfaw.com.

    Review by Brendan Allen.

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    Free Comic Book Day – Review of Captain America

    free comic book day - captain america / spider-manEveryone’s favorite earnest WWII superhero Steve Rogers (aka Captain America) is coming back to comics and what better opportunity to highlight that than with New Comic Book Day? Marvel’s released a terrific issue that’s focused front and center on Rogers, starting with him attending a Senate Intelligence hearing about the renewed threat of Hydra to peace loving Americans around the world.

    Commander Sharon Carter of SHIELD is in the hot seat, defending the agency for its failure to prevent a Hydra attack in Brussels the previous week. In a sophisticated story turn, SHIELD did stop the Hydra terrorists from blowing up the Chrysler building in New York City, but that wasn’t the only thing the nefarious Hydra was planning. Lack of perfection, fallout from their battles to defend innocent people, it’s very much the story that propels the splendid new Captain America: Civil War movie, and that’s no accident, of course!

    Falcon and Eagle show up as part of the SHIELD team, with a great sequence where they try to stop a renegade Hydra driver, and finally there’s a surprise appearance at the Intelligence hearing too, as most of the action in the story is told in flashbacks, a very cinematic technique that helps propel this story along at a brisk pace.

    The second half of the book is a Spider-Man story called Dead No More, which resurrects Oksana and The Rhino as part of a shadowy plot by, well, someone who doesn’t have our best interests at heart, nor those of business owner Peter Parker. It’s a fun second story to this free issue and together they’re a great pair, well worth picking up!

    Oh, and I’m definitely #TeamCap when it comes to the movie too.

    Steve Rogers, Captain America: Written by Nick Spencer, art by Jesus Saiz, and The Amazing Spider-Man: Written by Dan Slott, art by Javier Garron.

    Review by Dave Taylor.

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    Marvel Relaunches Comic Book Series With Marvel NOW!

    Marvel Now Point One at TFAW.comDon’t know where to start when it comes to the Marvel Universe? You’re in luck, friend. The House of Ideas has taken a cue from DC and will be rebooting much of their line with #1 issues in the coming months. They’re calling this reboot Marvel NOW! Featured in the image here is the Marvel NOW Point One issue. It’ll get you up to speed on what’s going on.

    Check out our TFAW Newsletter to learn more about other Marvel NOW! titles like Uncanny Avengers, Fantastic Four, All-New X-Men, and many more. We recently added the new series to the website, so search for “marvel now” (without the quotes) or drop by our special Marvel NOW! page at TFAW to see ’em all–seriously, you gotta check it out.

    There’s never been a better time to start reading these Marvel books!

    VISIT OUR MARVEL NOW! PAGE

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    Unbelievable Products Now Available at TFAW.com

    Two years ago, we made headlines when we were able to locate and procure Tauntaun Steaks. Sure, we sold out in a matter of minutes, but we’re told those steaks were out of this world.

    This year, we challenged the TFAW Buyers to search for similarly hard-to-find products. They’ve answered the call, putting in massive amounts of overtime these past few months–traveling to exotic locales to find products that will completely change your life. Click on the images or links below to read more about these amazing finds!

    You’ll Marvel at our Super Soldier Serum or Indestructible Adamantium Metal Alloy! (See what we did there?)

    You’ll find inner peace when you schedule your next Anger Management Session with The Hulk!

    Travel to distant planets with the use of our Certified Pre-Owned Tardis or inspire fear throughout the galaxy with the Yellow Lantern Ring!

    Help give a rescued Direwolf Cub a good home!

    Certified Pre-Owned TardisAnger Management Session with The HulkDirewolf CubSuper Soldier SerumYellow Lantern Ring with Yellow BatteryIndestructible Adamantium Metal Alloy

    These products are only available while supplies last, so make sure you order yours today! Be sure to use the facebook and twitter buttons above to prove to your friends that you’re so much cooler than they are. 😉

    Happy April Fool’s Day!

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    February Product Review Contest

    As part of our monthly Product Review Contest, we’ve picked three reviews and are awarding $25 gift certificates to the people who posted them.

    Peter from Stockholm is the first of this month’s winners. He wrote several really great reviews this month, one of which was his three-star review for Y The Last Man Deluxe Edition HC Vol. 5, and gives it a strong recommendation for comics fans and gamers alike:

    Sadly, the last volume is also the least fulfilling with a weak ending to an otherwise great story.

    Not exactly a ringing endorsement of the volume, but these types of reviews can be really helpful to people.

    Irene from California let fellow Mass Effect fans know what they’re getting into when they order the Art of the Mass Effect Universe HC:

    This is a very beautiful book and I would recommend it to hardcore Mass Effect fans who love collect. It’s very high quality, the cover, the pages, the artwork printed inside. There are various sketches showing the different stages of the characters/weapons/etc which artists will find very interesting. If you’ve seen character lithographs from the BioWare store some of them are reprinted into the book. If you are trying to avoid any spoilers stay away from from the Mass Effect 3 section in the back.

    Finally, Sean from Ohio dropped by for a couple reviews, one of which was for the Captain America Road to Reborn N&D TPB. Here’s what he had to say:

    The best thing about Ed Brubaker writing Captain America is his absolute love for the character, history, and mythos. Brubaker somehow killed Steve Rogers, replaced him with the impossible, and is still able to make unbelievable stories month in and month out. Here we get to read an amazing look at how so many different individuals are one year after Cap’s assassination. Add to that some fantastic looks back into Bucky’s past. The art was almost an A+ across the board with only a few missteps. I thoroughly enjoyed this collection and agree that Brubaker is one of comics’ finest writers.

    We want to thank everyone again for sharing their product reviews last month. You guys really do a lot to help other customers each time you submit a review. Thanks for your efforts! You don’t have to like the product to snag a winning review, so feel free to rant or gush.

    So submit your reviews and help your fellow collectors, and us, sort out the “HOT” from the “NOT”! Who knows, you may be one of next month’s winners.

    HOW TO SUBMIT A PRODUCT REVIEW:
    It’s simple! Just visit any product page and look for this:

    Click on it and our product review form will appear in a popup. Just fill out the pertinent information and submit your review, and you’re done! We’ll take a look at your review and get it up on the product page soon thereafter!

    There’s also a really easy way for you to call up everything you’ve ever ordered from us and review it. Simply log in to your account and go into the Order History Section. Next to each item, you’ll see a “Review it!” link.

    Questions? Comments? Let us know below!

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