Umm . . . Comics!

So, I took it upon myself to write the comics post this week. Probably not the best idea, but we must evolve if we are to persist.

  • Melissa published us an awesome Ant Man post yesterday. It got comments. Obviously I couldn’t ask her for another post the very next day. Melissa’s time and attention are too valuable for me to do that.
  • David offered to put something together early in the day yesterday, but I decided it was time for me to just say “I’ve got it,” and do a goshdarn Wednesday post myself. Because David and Holly have la Geek Baby to mind, and they also have an awesome blog that needs to keep publishing.
  • Diana, just so you know, is reading a lot of comics lately. She has ideas and stuff. But she’s in the process of re-designing her blog and we all know how trying that is.
  • Luther, OMG. Has offered to do sci-fi comics posts for the asking here, given adequate notice.  But he’s busy busy busy right now. I’ll not dare ask a man for a sci-fi comics post when he’s just discovered hardwood flooring that isn’t up to code in his domicile. (Is “domicile” not one of the coolest words ever?)
  • Of course we’ll have more Ms. Marvel from Hannah — I probably need to go ahead and give Ms. Marvel a category if I haven’t already.

Anyhoo, we’re having a #DramaticSummer, and while I was supposed to be writing this post last night, I was getting up to some mischief on the other social media instead. Have a tweet.

Here is what we are left with. Today I tell you where I am with the comics. And I give you a list of five comics things I could write by the end of the year, if you are interested. No matter how you feel about all this, if you are still reading, you’re stuck with me today. I’m your substitute teacher.

I’m also the ringmaster of this particular circus. That means: It’s not my role to do the trapeze act nor tame the tigers. It’s my job to keep a few of you interested until the high-wire walkers are ready to take the stage again.

Go ahead and click “More.”

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Ms. Marvel #16 Review

If you’re into comics at all, you may have heard of Kamala Khan by now. She’s the new Ms. Marvel who’s running around breaking sales records and embiggening her way into our hearts. Up until now I’ve reviewed every issue on Things Matter, but as of today, I’m pleased to bring Ms. Marvel reviews straight to you, Sourcerer readers!

Ms. Marvel #1 coverOf course, if you’re new to Ms. Marvel or comics in general, welcome! Kamala Khan is a Pakistani-American Muslim girl living in New Jersey, who receives shape- and size-changing powers in a Terrigen Mist incident. That means she’s an Inhuman, which is sort of like being an X-Man, but you’ll get all those details as you go. Her third collected volume was just released last week and goes all the way up to #15, so with those three volumes it’s super-duper easy to catch up to this point! The series is written by G. Willow Wilson.

Here’s a quick recap, spoilers for stuff up to now: Volume 1: No Normal establishes the character, her world, her conflict with herself but ultimate confidence, and awesome villain The Inventor (a cockatiel-cyborg clone of Thomas Edison). Volume 2: Generation Why is the main Inventor story arc, and introduces the Inhumans. Vol. 3: Crushed goes deeper into the Inhumans using Kamala’s short-lived relationship with a fellow Inhuman named Kamran who turns out to be a terrorist against the Inhuman royalty.

Most of these reviews won’t be this long, but now we’re ready for today’s issue!

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Ms. Marvel #16 cover

Kamala is, understandably, pretty broken up about how Kamran turned out to be a villain. He was a hot nerd who shared not only her Middle Eastern heritage but also her superpowered secrets… Of course she’s upset. When the story opens she’s drowning her sorrows in hot dogs.

Ms. Marvel #16 Kamala

But then there’s a random planet looming over Manhattan! Crowds are fleeing into New Jersey, so Kamala jumps into action to help shelter her friends and family in her school and protect the place from looters. Once that’s done, she turns her attention to the threat at hand. We get a really lovely moment of doubt, though.

Ms. Marvel #16 Kamala

An experience like Kamala’s with Kamran can be so demoralizing, and then this strange planet thing is thrown at her, totally unexplained. She’s not sure she can handle it… by herself. I love that! She doesn’t doubt she can be a superhero, I don’t think she ever has, but over the course of this series she’s also learned about the value of team-ups with Wolverine and Lockjaw and her own supporting characters like best-friend Bruno.

Who’s the latest guest? The blurb promises the team-up we’ve all been waiting for, and I had no idea, but I bet you can guess, so I’m not gonna tell you! Find it in the big reveal, and I think I can promise next month will be amaaaaazing!

Finally, Adrian Alphona is back on art this month! He’d been away for a while, but Ms. Marvel achieves peak awesomeness when he’s drawing, because he includes so many hilarious sight gags and background jokes. This one’s my favorite from this issue:

Ms. Marvel #16

See you next month!

Secret Wars (1984) – A Comic Classic Review

Cover to Secret Wars (1984) #1!

Cover to Secret Wars (1984) #1!

Alright, maybe I use the term “classic” loosely but it certainly counts as something if, 30 years later, it’s still floating around in the Marvel Comics consciousness. This was Marvel’s first big “event,” where heroes and villains from across their titles ended up together in the same place dealing with the same situation.

And it shows – there are a lot of moments with people introducing themselves and clearly meeting for the first time. By today in the comics, the X-Men have fought Avengers numerous times, and half of everyone has been a member of the Avengers, there have been team-ups, and other big events have happened… there’s a whole lot less of the characters not knowing each other!

So quick synopsis: what the heck was a “Secret War?” Well, a handful of Marvel heroes (like most of the Avengers and X-Men, Spider-Man, most of the Fantastic Four… oh, and Magneto) and villains (like Dr. Doom, Ultron, the Wrecking Crew, Absorbing Man, Doctor Octopus… oh, and Galactus) find themselves whisked away across the cosmos to separate space stations. Down below, they watch as a new planet is formed – formed with pieces of other planets, a patchwork planet that comes to be called “Battleworld.”

Oh yeah and a galaxy is destroyed. Don't worry - I think it gets better.

Oh yeah and a galaxy is destroyed. Don’t worry – I think it gets better.

Then, after showing off its power, a voice speaks to them all: battle to the death, and they will be rewarded with their greatest wish. To top off the show of power, Galactus – his greatest desire being to stop wanting to eat planets – just goes straight for the voice and the glowy spot in space that is its source (the Beyonder). And Galactus is struck down.

What follows is 12 issues (a year) of the villains selfishly – and then following Doom’s orders – working to win the battles, and the heroes not quite getting along to fully stop the baddies. There are civilians, alien technology, and all sorts of things on the different patchwork pieces of the planet. So each fight is different, with new stakes or toys at their disposal. Galactus tries to eat the planet, Doom comes up with a scheme and gets the Beyonder power and loses it… and yeah, end result, not too much happens.

Although for a while, Doom has a face again. Cover to Secret Wars #11

Although for a while, Doom has a face again. Cover to Secret Wars #11

Okay, there are a few results. Some of the people summoned sound like they were dead in the comics and come back. Some new heroes and villains are created. I would say the biggest result was really Spider-Man finding the Symbiote suit, which would come to be known as Venom…

Dat headline...

Dat headline…

This was Marvel just getting started with events. Part of the idea is that “relevant” things should happen, character resurrections or deaths, suit changes, stuff like that. Big stakes, and seeing how the characters deal with them. And then usually a big reset button to return almost everything to normal. Marvel would get better at this, and one of the best is probably still the Infinity Gauntlet for stand-alone all-powerful-villain events, or else the Age of Apocalypse for alternate-reality-creating impact.

The creation of Battleworld!

The creation of Battleworld!

So why am I talking about Secret Wars? Well, more than anything, because they’re returned to Secret Wars in the comics. The first Secret Wars was the result of a single, all-powerful Beyonder having a whim to be entertained. The current Secret Wars is so much bigger than that – it’s the result of every Beyonder working together. Instead of a Battleworld built out of a few scraps of planets, the new Battleworld is built out of the last scraps of the entire multiverse – of all of the Marvel alternate universes. It’s an event which is seemingly taking apart the entire Marvel Comics universe, with the idea that it will for real and true never be the same again.

So how did they get there? That’s a post for another day – so I’ll be back soon with Time Runs Out!

Images copyright Marvel, and captured from the Marvel Unlimited service.