Tag: Mark Waid

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    Avengers #1: (Some of) The Gang’s All Here

    Avengers #1

    Once again Marvel has relaunched its flagship Avengers title to chart new territory after its most recent superhero civil war. The names are largely the same, but the faces look a little different.

    In Avengers #1, Thor is here, but it’s Jane Foster, not Odinson. Wasp is in the lineup, but it’s Nadia Pym, not Janet Van Dyne. And, of course, Sam Wilson now wields Captain America’s shield.

    Kang’s Revenge

    Writer Mark Waid wisely chose time-traveler Kang as the villain for this initial story arc. Kang, introduced via the original Avengers title, has proven himself to be a worthy adversary over the years. Kang is seeking revenge on Vision and his teammates in the most fundamental way–by stopping them from ever existing in the first place.

    Marvel’s editors wisely gave artist Mike del Mundo free reign to use splash pages and even two-page spreads to showcase his eye-popping battles. He’s a worthy successor to icon Alex Ross, who drew the issue’s magnificent cover.

    As with many of the recent Marvel Now titles, the issue teases the end of Civil War II, without giving away the goods. We know that Tony Stark is out of the picture. Self-described gazillionaire, Peter Parker is funding the team and providing their headquarters and a new stealth quinjet.

    CATCH UP ON CIVIL WAR II

    Will Stark return to the team he helped to found? Will Team Kang will ensure he’s even born? Waid’s solid foundation will provide the answers.

    Avengers #1, Marvel Comics, Released November 2, 2016, Written by Mark Waid, Art by Mike del Mundo, Cover by Alex Ross, $4.99.

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    Review: Champions #1: Forging a New Age of Heroes

    Sometimes when the adults aren’t acting their age, it’s time to turn to youth for wisdom. That’s the premise for Marvel’s newest and youngest team of heroes called Champions.

    Disenchanted with the way their idols are acting in the wake of the second superhero civil war, the youngest Avengers quit the team and form their own team of idealistic do-gooders. They recruit a multicultural lineup with an android (Viv Vision), a Muslim (Ms. Marvel), an Asian (Amadeus Cho’s Hulk) and an African-American/Hispanic (Miles Morales’ Spider-Man).

    Writer Mark Waid throws in a nod to the original ’70s Champions team -– which included Hercules, Ghost Rider, and Black Widow. At one point, Ms. Marvel sarcastically asks, “Sorry, am I Hercules?” during a particularly harrowing situation.

    Waid does a good job of navigating readers through the as-of-yet untold end of Marvel’s Civil War II, by showing the youngsters’ frustration without spoiling how the war ends. At the same time, he crafts a compelling conundrum for the heroes who, like today’s police, are being constantly scrutinized thanks to the ubiquity of mobile phone videos. As the character Nova says, “It’s like everyone’s got me on video waiting for me to screw up.” By the end of the first installment, it’s that same scrutiny — as well as a stirring speech from the title’s emotional leader Ms. Marvel — that gives the group legitimacy as well as its name.

    As usual artist Humberto Ramos‘ angular drawings, particular of Ms. Marvel, are stunning. Ramos is a master of facial expressions as well, even conveying anger, fear and frustration on a masked character.

    It’s easy to see why Marvel chose to push this title first as part of its revised Marvel Now lineup. It feels relevant in every way. Hopefully Waid and team can keep up the youthful exuberance.

    JOIN THE NEW CHAMPIONS SERIES
    SEE OTHER NEW SERIES FROM MARVEL COMICS

    Champions #1, Marvel, Released October 5, 2016, Written by Mark Waid, Art by Humberto Ramos, Inks by Victor Olazaba, Color by Edgar Delgado, Lettering by Clayton Cowles; $4.99

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    Review: All New All Different Avengers #14 — It’s Just Quantum Science!

    all new all different avengers #14 review

    all new all different avengers #14 coverThe ANAD Avengers / Civil War II tie-ins (both of them, anyway) have thus far stayed in the peripheral of the main conflict of the crossover. All New All Different Avengers #13 was a character study on The Vision. All New All Different Avengers #14 turns a spotlight on The New Wasp.

    Nadia Pym was introduced as The New Wasp in Free Comic Book Day 2016’s Civil War II. In All New All Different Avengers #9, Nadia arrives at the dilapidated airplane hangar that now serves as the Avengers’ home base. The New Wasp quickly gains the trust of the Avengers by helping to stabilize The Vision, who is suffering lingering effects of Kang’s manipulation from a few issues back. The Avengers head into space to help Nova rescue his father, leaving Jarvis and Nadia behind to go get the original Wasp, Janet Van Dyne’s blessing. When we last see Nadia, Janet, and Jarvis in All New All Different Avengers #12, there is a team of very large men from the Russian Consulate on Janet’s doorstep asking for Nadia.

    In the opening panels of ANAD Avengers #14, the men on Janet Van Dyne’s doorstep who claim to be from the Russian Immigration Bureau turn out to actually be goons from an organization called W.H.I.S.P.E.R. The Wasps team up and are able to quickly dispatch the men before moving on to the conflict at hand, what to do about Inhuman Ulysses’ unreliable visions of the future. Nadia’s naiveté and altruistic nature are exposed as she attempts to apply a purely scientific solution to a problem of human emotion. Science and logic can fix anything, right?

    When I was reading All New All Different Avengers Family Business (issues #9-12), I didn’t understand the timing of Nadia’s introduction. The rest of the team was off in the Negative Zone fighting Annihilus, and the new girl was off on a road trip with the butler. This is the issue I was waiting for. Now it all makes sense. All New All Different Avengers #14 didn’t require much narrative exposition because Mark Waid had already served it up in previous chapters.

    Chapter 14 also serves as a jumping off point for co-author Jeremy Whitely’s upcoming series with artist Elsa Charretier. The Unstoppable Wasp, Nadia Pym’s solo series will debut in early 2017.

    All New All Different Avengers #14, Marvel Comics, Rated T+, released September 7, 2016, written by Mark Waid and Jeremy Whitley, art by Adam Kubert, colors by Sonia Oback, letters by VC’s Cory Petit, cover by Alex Ross, variant cover by Mike McKone and David McCaig, $3.59

    Review by Brendan Allen.

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    Review: Captain Kid #1 — Wait? I’m a Superhero?

    Review of Captain Kid #1

    captain kid #1We’re accustomed to superheroes with secret identities that are kinda cool, if a bit banal. Peter Parker is a newspaper photographer. Clark Kent is a reporter. Bruce Wayne is a super-rich philanthropist. Bruce Banner is a scientist. Tony Stark is a rich philanthropist and scientist. And then there’s Chris Vargas, dull middle-aged reporter for a dying newspaper with a secret. His secret identity not only improves his physique and powers, it also sheds years off his age and improves his health too. He’s Captain Kid.

    In Captain Kid #1 we’re introduced to Vargas in a bar where he’s celebrating his birthday with such a hacking cough that he barely manages to blow out the candles on his cake. He’s out of shape and doesn’t even have aspirations of anything bigger in his life. He works for a jerk of a managing editor, he drinks with a few friends, and he takes care of his elderly father. Not much of a life, really.

    But when he’s Captain Kid, he’s super. He can pick up cars and float them to safety, he can sense electronics and the presence of weapons on others, and even detects what he slyly refers to as a “Jack Kirby machine” hidden in Supreme Lawn & Garden Supply. Turns out it’s just the tip of a bad iceberg, an evil empire that is plotting to subjugate all humans. Luckily the mysterious Helea shows up to help him and teach him a bit more about his superpowers. Yes, another superhero, but this time she’s wearing a “RELAX” t-shirt and looks like she just got out of an aerobics class.

    Are they enough to stop the Mysterious Serpent? We’ll find out in subsequent issues.

    This is a snarky, profanity-laced comic that definitely earns its “Mature Readers” rating. Is it a good story? So far it’s too soon to tell, but hopefully Mark Waid and Tom Peyer can turn a funny concept into a good story. Time will tell. Or perhaps Captain Kid will tell.

    Captain Kid #1, written by Mark Waid and Tom Peyer, art by Wilfredo Torres, color by Kelly Fitzpatrick, letters by A Larger World. Published July 2016 by Aftershock Comics.

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    Review: All New, All Different Avengers #12

    Review of All New All Different Avengers #12

    All New All Different Avengers #12Nova recently discovered that the man he thought was his father was actually an alien shape-shifter and that his real father was still lost in space. Jarvis took the New Wasp (Nadia, daughter of Hank Pym and his first wife) to meet the Original Wasp, Janet Van Dyne, while the rest of the Avengers left Earth in a busted down, second hand spaceship to assist in Nova’s search for his father. The team was shot down over a desolate planet by a lighthouse powered by a Nega-band.

    On the planet, they discovered other shipwrecked survivors who were being dragged into the Negative Zone by Annihilus, using the Nega-band’s twin to keep a portal open between Planet Shipwreck and the Negative Zone. The Avengers stole Annihilus’ band and were able to escape, but in the chaos didn’t realize they had left Spider-man behind in the Negative Zone.

    In All New All Different Avengers #12, the Avengers face two major problems. Spider-Man is still stranded fighting Annihilus in the Negative Zone, and Annihilus’ Blackstar weapon is near completion and almost ready to rip a hole between the Negative Zone and the Marvel Universe.

    Using the stolen Nega-bands to swap fresh heroes into the fray, the team is able to keep Annihilus at bay while they attempt to destroy the Blackstar. When Thor tries to use Mjolnir to nullify the Blackstar, it bounces harmlessly off the side of the giant positron ray. Brute force isn’t going to destroy the threat. The Avengers will have to come up with a fresh idea, and soon. Tagging in and out isn’t going to work much longer. Fatigue will set in eventually.

    Family Business wraps up with another strong entry. I still feel like the introduction of the New Wasp could have waited for another arc, or she could have been included more in this story. The sidebar sequences of Nadia and Jarvis driving, arriving at Janet Van Dyne’s home, getting on a helicopter… were distracting and didn’t add much to the rest of the story.

    In All New All Different Avengers #13, the team will join the fray in Civil War II.

    All New All Different Avengers #12, Marvel Comics, released July 27, 2016, written by Mark Waid, art by Mahmud Assar, color by Dave McCaig, letters by VC’s Cory Petit, cover by Alex Ross, $3.59

    Review by Brendan Allen

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    Review: All New All Different Avengers #11

    all new all different avengers #11Quick recap: Nova’s dad who was killed turned out to be an alien imposter. Nova wanted time off from his Avengers duties to go search in space for his real dad, but Tony Stark would have none of it. Stark committed the resources of the whole team to go with Nova into space on a rescue mission. The team followed a distress signal to a desolate planet where their junked out, second hand, engineless spaceship was shot down.

    Also, Jarvis and Nadia went on a road trip.

    All New All Different Avengers #11 apparently takes place some time after the end of the last chapter, where we saw the whole team dive into a mystery cloud portal that transported them to the Negative Zone. The kids have since been captured and are being forced to mine…green stuff. All the grown folk have eluded capture.

    Sam Wilson, Iron Man, and Vision are wandering in the Negative Zone wilderness, and Vision doesn’t look so hot. Solar-powered synthezoids don’t do well in antimatter sunlight. Thor is locked in battle with Annihilus, ruler of the Negative Zone, and the pair appear to be evenly matched, causing a stalemate and a lot of questionably necessary banter between the two.

    Mark Waid set this chapter up nicely to highlight the kids’ team and veterans’ team in their individual shining moments, but the two teams will ultimately have to come together as Avengers in order to defeat Annihilus, escape the Negative Zone, and get home. Of course there’s a hitch in the plan. Counting heads in the middle of an epic battle and escape isn’t so easy, it turns out.

    I hope we get back to Earth soon. I really want to know how Jarvis and Nadia’s road trip turned out.

    All New All Different Avengers #11, Marvel Comics, released June 29, 2016, written by Mark Waid, art by Mahmud A. Asrar, colors by Dave McCaig, letters by VC’s Cory Petit, cover by Alex Ross, $3.59

    Review by Brendan Allen

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    Review: All New All Different Avengers #10

    all new all different avengers #10All New All Different Avengers #9 introduced us to a new potential member of the team, the New Wasp, Nadia, daughter of Hank Pym and his first wife Maria Trovaya. Nadia was trained in the Soviet Red Room, and her earliest memories are of a man with a red star on his arm (the Winter Soldier). After discovering that her father, Hank Pym, had apparently sacrificed himself to defeat his creation, Ultron, Nadia went to join the Avengers. So, we have a new Wasp.

    In the second epilogue of All New All Different Avengers #9, we also learn that Nova’s father isn’t really dead. The deceased man Nova thought was his father was actually a shape-shifting alien. His actual father is alive, trapped somewhere in space. Nova asks Iron Man for time off to try to locate and rescue his father, but Iron Man refuses, committing the whole team to assist in the rescue.

    In the opening pages of All New All Different Avengers #10, we find the team aboard a spacecraft that Tony Stark has purchased second hand from Reed Richards, which apparently has no engine and is being propelled through space by Mjölnir. The plan is to use Nova’s helmet to match frequencies with any distress signal that may come from Jesse Alexander’s Nova helmet. The team almost immediately receives a ping.

    Following the signal, The Avengers find themselves marooned on an alien planet, their ship destroyed by a blast of electromagnetic energy coming from a distant tower. Having fallen headlong into a trap, they discover hundreds of other space travelers who followed the similar distress signals to the same fate. The team quickly decides they must travel through a strange portal into certain peril in order to save themselves and the rest of the marooned travelers.

    Meanwhile, back on Earth, Jarvis is taking Nadia to meet her stepmother, Janet van Dyne, the original Wasp. This part seems a little distant from the rest of the action. The Avengers are off planet on a mission. Jarvis and Nadia go on a road trip.

    Issue #10 serves as another solid chapter in this series. Mark Waid’s writing continues to showcase the individual characters’ strengths and abilities, while shoring up the team dynamic. There are plenty of humorous nods in the script, like having Tony Stark, one of the richest guys on the planet, buy a junked out spacecraft with a missing engine for the team to travel in.

    Another tip of the hat goes to Mahmud Asrar and Dave McCaig. The action sequences are amazingly detailed, but somehow the art team keeps the spreads clean and uncluttered. I said it in review of the last issue, that’s an awful lot of bodies (and a heck of a lot of red spandex) to keep separate and distinct.

    All New All Different Avengers #10, Marvel Comics, released June 1, 2016, written by Mark Waid, art by Mahmud Asrar, colors by Dave McCaig, letters by VC’s Cory Petit, cover by Alex Ross, $3.59

    Review by Brendan Allen

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    Review: All New All Different Avengers #9

    all new all different avengers #9All New All Different Avengers #9 introduces the “All New All Different” Wasp in a brand new story arc titled Family Business. The chapter is narrated mostly from the perspective of butler Edwin Jarvis, who is more than a little disgruntled by the downgrade of the Avengers’ home base from a luxurious mansion to the dirty dilapidated hangar they are currently using.

    First appearing in Free Comic Book Day Civil War II #1, the new Wasp’s arrival at the Avengers’ hangar coincides with a brutal attack from an unseen and unknown foe. New Wasp is quickly put to the test as the Avengers try to discern if her origin story adds up when she claims to have familial connections with a founding member (or two) of the Avengers.

    Mark Waid has a habit of putting readers on their heels. Every time the reader starts to get comfortable, Waid turns the table and completely upsets the status quo. The diversity in ages, backgrounds, and personalities of the characters works really nicely in this chaotic environment. All New All Different Avengers #9 mostly serves to solidify the relationships between the current Avengers, but also does a nice job introducing and validating a new character.

    The artwork by Mahmud Asrar is classic and clean. With so many unique and recognizable characters sharing every frame, none lose their individual look or get lost in the action. Dave McCaig does an equally impressive job keeping the characteristic reds of the principal characters’ uniforms and armor from blending together in a crimson mess.

    This post-Secret Wars team only has one hero whose identity and likeness isn’t passed down from a previous incarnation. I haven’t been a huge fan of this “legacy” concept in the past, but it is working well here. The All New versions of the classic heroes retain enough traits of the original character to appeal to old school fans, while packaging them in a way that draws in new readers.

    All New All Different Avengers #9, Marvel Comics, released May 11, 2016, written by Mark Waid, art by Mahmud Asrar, colors by Dave McCaig, letters by VC’s Cory Petit, $3.59

    Review by Brendan Allen

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    Review: Kingdom Come 20th Anniversary Deluxe Edition

    kingdom come 20th anniversary deluxe editionIn June 1996, Alex Ross and Mark Waid gave us Kingdom Come, an Elseworlds four issue comic book miniseries. Ross had the idea for a story that included most of the DC pantheon while he was working on Marvels in 1994. He pitched the story to DC and then teamed with Waid to flesh out the story with Waid’s extensive knowledge of DC’s heroes and their history. Ross envisioned the final product as an allegory for the ethics he saw disappearing in the hero comic stories that were being published in the 1990’s.

    The story takes place many years after Superman has retired from the hero business. We learn in flashback sequences that, years earlier, The Joker had massacred everyone at The Daily Planet, including Lois Lane. The Clown Prince of Crime was then publicly executed by a superhero called Magog. Superman went into exile, unable to wrap his head around the outpouring of public support Magog was receiving for murdering a criminal who was already in custody. With their leader gone, most of the old guard of superheroes also faded into retirement, leaving a void to be filled by a new generation of heroes, led by Magog.

    In the storyline present, with The Man of Tomorrow no longer available to enforce the “no kill” rule, there is little distinction left between superheroes and the villains they face. An overzealous attack led by Magog on the Parasite ends in a catastrophic event that leaves most of the American Midwest in ruins. Millions have died and the food production for much of the United States has been crippled.

    Wonder Woman finds Superman and enlists him to return to Metropolis and re-form the Justice League to reign in the new generation and restore order. Three major factions of supers emerge: The Justice League, many of the old guard superheroes led by Superman; The Outsiders, mostly second and third generation supers led by Batman; and the Mankind Liberation Front, a group of villains led by Lex Luthor. While these super factions are sorting things out amongst themselves through violent means, the ordinary humans are also trying to sort out a solution that will work in their own favor and will end the tyranny suffered under super humans.

    Ross’ artwork is nothing short of breathtaking. Using models and photo reference, he accurately captures the subtlety of a wide range of emotion. Each panel is meticulously hand painted with watercolors. The technique lends itself nicely to a classic and timeless feel. Every panel and gutter is filled with amazing detail.

    Waid’s script weaves seamlessly in and out of multiple layers of storyline and subplot. The dialogue is realistic and genuine. There is a little bit of over explanation of the Biblical undertone by directly quoting the book of Revelation, but overall, Waid does an excellent job bringing the reader along for the ride. For the complexity of the story, you would expect there to be at least a few small “lost” moments, but there are no such moments to be found.

    This edition collects Kingdom Come #1-4 and has 130 pages of extras. The original pencil artwork for every character is shown with an explanation, backstory, and reason for inclusion in the work. There’s also a nice feature called Keys To The Kingdom which details every visual Easter Egg laid by Ross, by page and panel and a chart that shows the Genealogy of Kingdom Come.

    I would easily include this title in my top 10 comic stories of all time, if not my top 3. If you don’t own a copy, you should.

    Kingdom Come 20th Anniversary Deluxe Ed HC: released May 11, 2016, Writer: Mark Waid, Artist: Alex Ross, Colors: Alex Ross, Letters: Todd Klein, $35.99.

    Review by Brendan Allen.

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    Free Comic Book Day – Review of Archie

    archie #1 for free new comic book dayArchie and the Gang are back for New Comic Book Day, but should you care?

    Imagine an average high school, only there are no vampires to kill, no witches learning spells in the gym, no alien in disguise posing as a History teacher, and no, a serial killer hasn’t just moved in next door… it’s just Archie, Jughead, Betty and Veronica.

    Archie comics was founded in 1939, and while this reboot by Mark Waid and Fiona Staples doesn’t contain a superhero of that same era, Archie proves to have as much relevance in today’s hypercritical and jaded world as Batman, maybe more.

    The Archie reboot works beautifully and is a nice palate cleanser from all the darkness and dread that has seeped into everything. The books contain beautiful art and ink work and a surprisingly compelling story.

    You’ll be amazed at how the very real risk these characters face (learning to be comfortable in their own skin, finding their strengths, making peace with their weaknesses, navigating the complexity of dating, and endearing nature of friendships) can be engaging on a level that superheroes and villains can’t reach.

    The story has been updated and Archie’s Riverdale High is very much set in the present time, but all the angst that we’d expect from a postmodern take on high school (murder, suicide, sex scandals involving teachers, drugs, etc.) have been stripped away.

    What remains is a wonderful story about identity, attraction and dating, and friendship.

    Seemingly simple stuff, but the simple in Archie is surprisingly filling.

    Archie #1 for Free Comic Book Day, story by Mark Waid, art by Fiona Staples.

    Review by Matt Morava.

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    New Comic Book Day — Reviews for MMPR #1, Green Lantern #50, Black Widow #1 & Predator #1

    We’re back again with reviews of a few books that we really enjoyed from this week’s new releases. Check out our other New Comic Book Day blog articles to see our thoughts on other books. Be sure to comment below or share our post on Facebook or Twitter if you want us to do more of these types of reviews!

    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.

     	
Predator Life & Death comics at TFAW.com Predator: Life & Death #1
    By: Dan Abnett, Brian Thies, Rain Beredo, David Palumbo

    The next Predator/Alien/Prometheus event begins and stirs up some blood in Predator: Life & Death #1. This issue gives us a basic set we need. Where are they, why are they, and the hunt itself.

    Looks like the Wayland-Yutani Corp wants to start some more terraforming of planets but before they send their people down, they send the USMC to make sure there are no pirates already taking the planets resources (yeah, pirates–guess they learned from LV-426).

    It’s a good setup to what could be a fantastic Predator story. The pacing is good with strong characters. Brian Albert Thies’ art works very well, accompanied by Rain Beredo’s colors. I look forward to finding out more about this planet, its secrets, and why this mysterious ship is there. [Martin M. at Milwaukie TFAW]

    Black Widow #1
    By: Chris Samnee, Mark Waid

    This is one of the best hooks for a series I have read in awhile. Black Widow #1 is packed with action and so many questions that you just have to read the rest of the series. I fell in love with the art and color scheme as how well it matches the tone of the first issue. Mark Waid is back at it again, and has ceased to disappoint me every series he creates.

    Natasha is not a character that will disappoint you in any way, shape or form. She plays by her rules, no matter what those might be. If you love espionage, action, and one of the best female spies in the Marvel universe, I highly recommend picking up this issue immediately! [Darcey M. at Universal TFAW]

     	
Green Lantern #50 comic book review at TFAW.com Green Lantern #50
    By: Robert Venditti, Billy Tan, Juan Gimenez

    Everyone has differing ideas of when their life took a turn, and when they were their best version of themselves–able to overcome adversity despite the odds. This experience of inner conflict is regularly explored in the DCU. Hal Jordan faces himself at one of his lowest points in Green Lantern #50. This all happens because of the magic of the DC Multiverse and the return of Hal’s previous incarnation as Parallax.

    Hal has other plans and this Multiversal bleed appears to be leading him to some strange new Rebirth along with the rest of the DC Universe! If the rest of the DC titles begin to experience this change, shifting them towards something familiar yet new, the entire Rebirth initiative will be something quite tremendous to witness. [Casey D. at TFAW.com]

    Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #1
    By: Kyle Higgins, Hendry Prasetya, Matt Herms

    It’s been about two months since issue MMPR #0 first hit the shelves and after reading Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #1, I can tell you that it’s still really good. Kyle Higgens does a great job developing the characters we grew up with in a way that feels the same as they ever were but, updated so that new readers won’t get lost in mythology.

    I really, really enjoy Hendry Prasetya’s character designs and Matt Herms’ colors. Even the small glimpse of a past foe was a really cool nod to the show. If you’re a Power Rangers fan–old or new–this is a great comic for you!

    PS: Be sure to pick up the MMPR #1 TFAW Exclusive Variant (pictured here); only 500 were produced, and they’re going fast! We teamed up with one of our Sean “Cheeks” Galloway (Hellboy Junior, WoW: Pandaria, Teen Titans Go, Wednesday Comics) for what we think is a pretty incredible cover. [Martin M. at Milwaukie TFAW]

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

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    The Best Comics of 2015 – Part 2 of 5 – Marvel

    –UPDATE: YOU CAN VOTE FOR YOUR FAVORITE ONCE PER DAY NOW THROUGH 1/14/16!–

    As we look forward to the new year, we want to stop and remember the great books that were released in 2015. What follows is the second in a series of five Best Comics of 2015 pieces we’ll be posting through January 6. Missed Part 1? Check it out here. Starting January 7, you’ll have the opportunity to weigh in and help us crown the Best Comic of 2015!

    Marvel Comics is home to Jessica Jones, the Hulk, Spider-Man, Captain Marvel, and a host of other amazing characters. With millions of fans worldwide and decades of quality storytelling under its belt, the publisher is the largest comic book company in the United States.

    The Best of Marvel Comics (in no particular order):

    Silver Surfer
    By: Dan Slott, Michael Allred, Laura Allred, Joe Sabino

    The new Silver Surfer series by Dan Slott, Michael Allred, and Laura Allred has been a complete delight. I’ve been in love with this series from day one. You tell me that the Allreds are working on an ongoing story and I’m on board, but add in Dan Slott’s characteristic wit and you know you’re in for a great ride.

    The aspect of this series that really shines is that Slott grounds the cosmos-spanning series by pairing Norrin Radd with a loveable companion, Earth’s Dawn Greenwood. We get to discover the universe alongside Dawn, and marvel at the enormous power of the Surfer. Slott gives us exactly what we want in the form of Galactus, and as tensions rise, we see the greatness of his storytelling — but you’ll have to read the book to find out what I’m talking about.

    Like I said, the Allreds are tremendously talented, and I couldn’t think of a better artistic pairing that would result in a light-hearted, fun series. If you’re a fan of Doctor Who, trust me when I say you’ll LOVE this series. Lucky for us, a new story begins in January when Slott, Allred & Allred take us on a new/continuing journey. [Josh C.]

    Daredevil
    By: Mark Waid & Chris Samnee, Charles Soule & Ron Garney

    This was a big year for Daredevil, what with the series debut back in April, and the end of Mark Waid & Chris Samnee’s amazing 58 issue run. Then to top it off we had the return of Daredevil just last month after Marvel’s Secret Wars crossover event with Charles Soule and Ron Garney as the new creative team.

    I started reading Daredevil on a regular basis with Mark Waid’s run. It’s got that great edgy darkness in the writing that is just enough to please Miller fans. Yet, tied with Samnee’s pulp style visuals, it keeps the story from being all dark all the time. Charles Soule’ comics hint at the darkness found in the Daredevil television show and nods Brubaker/Benids runs. We’re only 2 issues in so far but it’s still got me begging for more. Ron Garney’s art is definitely more in line with the Alex Maleev/Micheal Lark style, and I dig it. [Martin M.]

    Star Wars comics at TFAW.com Star Wars and Vader
    By: Jason Aaron, John Cassaday, Stuart Immonen, Simone Bianchi, Kieron Gillen, Salvador Larroca

    2015 saw the beginning of a new era for Star Wars comics and Marvel exploded out of the gates with superstar talents Jason Aaron and John Cassaday. This ongoing series follows the exploits of Luke Skywalker in the aftermath of his destruction of the Death Star. The whole gang joins him as the Rebel Alliance continues to fight against the Galactic Empire! With a classic mix of action and lighthearted moments, this story feels like Star Wars in every way.

    As the year went on, the hits kept coming with A-list artists Stuart Immonen and Simone Bianchi going the book. Bringing Mike Mayhew and Leinil Francis Yu on deck for 2016 (and it doesn’t look like Jason Aaron is going anywhere!) make it clear that Marvel is keeping Star Wars filled with top talent for the foreseeable future!

    There are two sides to every story. And fans have always wanted to see the story from Darth Vader’s perspective. Well, Marvel’s got them covered with a story line from the Sith Lord’s viewpoint in the ongoing Darth Vader comic book series. It’s the entire galaxy against Vader until he makes some unlikely allies who absolutely steal the show: Doctor Aphra and her droids! These are the sadistic yet charming villains that Kieron Gillen was born to write and one look at Salvador Larroca’s art will have you rooting for the bad guys! [Jeff B.]

    Mighty Thor comics at TFAW.com

    Thor
    By: Jason Aaron, Russell Dauterman, Jorge Molina, Joe Sabino

    You’d be hard-pressed to find a better comic book than Jason Aaron & Russell Dauterman’s Thor and Mighty Thor. Talk about heroics–Aaron expertly weaves the story of Jane Foster (Thor’s ex-girlfriend) as the new Mighty Thor.

    She’s been in the hero business ever since Marvel’s Original Sin, but the team really dialed things up this year. Foster’s cancer has gotten worse, and Thor’s old enemies have started attacking in earnest. In the face of all of this, her grace and bravery shines through.

    I’m really excited to see Russell Dauterman’s art each month. He’s a relative newcomer on the comics scene, but it feels like he and Aaron have been working together for decades. If you’re like me, you’ll find yourself enamored with Dauterman’s depiction of facial expressions, the flow of lightning, and little pieces of Earth and flesh flying through the air. A truly magical series. [Josh C.]

    Spider-Gwen comics at TFAW.com Spider-Gwen
    By: Jason Latour, Robbi Rodriguez

    One of the hottest new characters actually spun out of Marvel’s Spider-Verse crossover (see what we did there?). When you get down to it, Spider-Gwen is a retelling of Spider-Man. Except that Gwen Stacy, got bit by the radioactive spider.

    What I really enjoy and connect with here is that it’s the same Parker-humor that we all love but coming from someone that we’ve all missed. I instantly connect with the character due to her strong ties in Spider-Man lore, while still being curious about her Earth (Earth-65 if you follow that sort of thing).

    One of my favorite moments came during Spider-Verse when Spider-Gwen and Spider-Man (Peter Parker of Earth-616) meet, there is this quick but very emotional panel that really pulled on my heart strings.

    This alternate Earth is one that is rich with past Marvel lore and new events that you’ve just got to discover. If you’re looking something old, new, but maybe not red and blue, you’ll want to pick this book up. [Martin M.]

    Honorable Mentions:

    Stay tuned to the TFAW Blog in the coming days as we’ll be posting four more Best Comics of 2015 lists. At the end, YOU will decide which one will be crowned as the Best Comic of 2015!

    –UPDATE: YOU CAN VOTE FOR YOUR FAVORITE ONCE PER DAY NOW THROUGH 1/14/16!–

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