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Author Topic: Superhero Comics!  (Read 275 times)

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Offline SkynetTopic starter

Superhero Comics!
« on: July 27, 2020, 03:23:16 AM »

There's already a thread about superhero movies, so I figured to make a general-purpose thread about the medium that started it all!

Although I’m not the type to collect and read every single issue, superheroes are a genre which I love, and my tastes tend to run a bit mainstream: Batman, Spider-Man, and Ms. Marvel are my favorite heroes, and I have a slight preference for Marvel over DC. Some of my favorite runs include Batman: Hush, Grant Morrison’s Multiversity, and All-Star Superman. All-Star Superman in particular really captured the essence of the character in my opinion; with Superman’s power level it’s rather inevitable that he could win via sheer strength, and he’s often known for being “as strong as the plot demands.” The comic instead takes a look at a Superman who is poisoned by radiation from flying too close to the sun to save some astronauts, and he sets out to make the world as good as it can be with the time he has. All in the hopeful goal of making a world that can live on without him.

As for more recent comics within the past few years, I enjoyed the Magnificent Ms. Marvel by Saladin Ahmed which is still ongoing. Kamala Khan fits the role of the “down to earth teenage heroine” character who still has to juggle family, school, and regular responsibilities along with crime-fighting, although her stories strike a good balance between that and the larger than life events. Even when there are alien abductions, a seeming zombie apocalypse, and stranger things, the comic doesn’t treat these things as happening in a vacuum. It, along with the initial 2014 run under G Willow Wilson, manages to show the implications of having to live in such a world for the ‘normal people’ in Kamala’s life without going grimdark.

I’m also reading Spider-Gwen’s Ghost-Spider run. The overall pitch is an alternate reality where Gwen Stacy got bitten by a radioactive spider instead, and Peter Parker ends up becoming a mutant lizard after using an experimental serum to take revenge on school bullies. The series is a bit more melancholic and serious than regular Spider-Man, which may not be for everyone. But I’m fond of alternate universe “What Ifs?” that take a look at how differently things could’ve gone if some dramatic event didn’t happen or happened differently.

Right now I’m currently reading Runaways. It’s a much older series (beginning in 2005) but it’s one I see referenced here and there, so I decided to take the plunge.

Here are some websites and communities which may be of use to people:

Comixology, a digital comics seller subsidiary of Amazon.

r/comicbooks subreddit

Digital Comics Museum, a compilation of scanned public domain comics.

PS Although it’s a rather notable event in recent comics history, discussion of Comicsgate would best be a thread of its own in PROC. It’s also a movement with hateful origins and advocates who I’d rather not see promoted in posts here.

Offline Beorning

Re: Superhero Comics!
« Reply #1 on: July 27, 2020, 06:08:09 AM »
Ah, superhero comics :)

I love superheroes - I started reading Marvel's stuff at the age of 10 and it stuck with me... At some later point (in my 20s, I think) I started to learn more about DC's characters. Eventually, there came a point I tried following both of these universes - even though I still thought of Marvel as the universe I identified with the most.

Currently, I'm in a weird phase, because I feel like my emotional connection to these two universes kind of... broke, at least when it comes to the current versions of them. I have this feeling that DC made at least one reboot too many for me to be invested emotionally - ever since Flashpoint / New 52 I kept looking at that universe and feeling that it wasn't real to me anymore. As for Marvel, too much weird stuff happened: Spider-Man retconning out his marriage with Mephisto's help? Avengers becoming so big that, basically, everyone is an Avenger these days? Cyclops killing Charles Xavier? At some point, I realized that I don't recognize these characters anymore...

On the other hand, I'm kind of considering trying to go back right now... and here's my question: what's currently happening at Marvel? Any important storylines or events? What's the state of the X-Men?

Another question: last year's DC and the Year of the Villain event / storyline / whatever. Is it good? From what I've read, it consists mainly of Justice / Doom War (along with other stuff related to Lex Luthor) and The Infected storyline with Batman Who Laughs. And then, it all culminates in Hell Arisen. So... is this stuff good or not? Worth paying about 100 EUR to get on Comixology?

Offline SkynetTopic starter

Re: Superhero Comics!
« Reply #2 on: July 28, 2020, 12:46:25 PM »
Quote
Currently, I'm in a weird phase, because I feel like my emotional connection to these two universes kind of... broke, at least when it comes to the current versions of them. I have this feeling that DC made at least one reboot too many for me to be invested emotionally - ever since Flashpoint / New 52 I kept looking at that universe and feeling that it wasn't real to me anymore. As for Marvel, too much weird stuff happened: Spider-Man retconning out his marriage with Mephisto's help? Avengers becoming so big that, basically, everyone is an Avenger these days? Cyclops killing Charles Xavier? At some point, I realized that I don't recognize these characters anymore...

I agree, DC in particular has revamped its own universe a surprising number of times in the last 5-6 years. Multiversity was an expansion in filling in the uncovered worlds of the New 52, and then things got softly rebooted again with DC Rebirth. we got the Dark Multiverse which is a series of edgy "what if these events went wrong?" worlds that are so grimdark they'll inevitably collapse in on themselves. And then there's the Doomsday CLock crossover with Watchmen whose finale "spelled major changes to the DCU (near article's bottom)."

Doomsday Clock Spoilers
Long story short, it makes Superman the cosmic lynchpin of the Multiverse's reality, where all major realities change massively according to the events within his life.

Here's an IGN article on it.

Quote
On the other hand, I'm kind of considering trying to go back right now... and here's my question: what's currently happening at Marvel? Any important storylines or events? What's the state of the X-Men?

In 2018 there was a relaunch known as Fresh Start which saw the return of classic iterations of superheroes, who before were recently replaced by younger heroes taking on their legacies.

In 2019 there was Spider-Man Life Story which retold said superhero albeit with him aging in real-time since his debut in the 60s and incorporating major events from the various comic book eras into his life (the Clone Saga, Civil War, etc). I read it and enjoyed it.

I haven't read it yet, but the Immortal Hulk is currently running and getting lots of positive press. It seems to be more a psychological thriller than a traditional superhero adventure.

For the X-Men, I'm afraid that I cannot be more specific about the team in particular, as I haven't gotten around to reading their more recent stories.

House of X looks to be the major event of 2019, which retells the past decades' worth of comics. I haven't read this one either, but Vox has an article on it.

Additionally as of July 2020 Magneto's getting his own series.

Last but not least, there's another Civil War-esque event primed to start called Outlawed, which bans people under 21 from being superhero vigilantes. Its law was named after Ms. Marvel was put into a coma during a battle. Only one issue released so far for it and it was meant to have crossover implications reaching out into other comics series, but due to COVID19 it's digital-only so far.
« Last Edit: July 28, 2020, 12:54:44 PM by Skynet »

Offline TFcommando

Re: Superhero Comics!
« Reply #3 on: July 29, 2020, 02:48:59 AM »
House of X and Powers of X were the initial big X-Men relaunch headed by Jonathan Hickman (Who did the Avengers and New Avengers "Time Runs Out" plot with the reality collapse and the Illuminati, then the Secret Wars reality-bending crossover).  It's taking the idea of a mutant homeland and nation and running with it in a big way.  The new nation is on Krakoa, whose biotechnology powers are being used to put gateways all over the world so any mutant can come there (and only mutants).  It is also producing several life and quality of life extending drugs for export as a carrot approach for the other nations of the world.  Even evil mutants are working together on this project, including more of the Hellfire Club than just Emma and even Apocalypse.  A big reveal is that Moira MacTaggart is a mutant with the ability to reincarnate and live her life over again, which she has done a number of times, doing different things to support Prof. X or Magneto, trying to get a better outcome for everyone.  Also, a lot of dead mutants have been resurrected on Krakoa.  He likes to plot long and deep, so it should be quite a ride. 

I will wholeheartedly recommend Empowered, https://www.empoweredcomic.com/comic/volume-1-page-1 by Adam Warren (Dirty Pair, Gen13), a sexy superhero comedy about an often literally struggling super heroine whose powers are linked to her thin and fragile super-suit, and when its torn, she often gets tied up.  But despite that, she works hard to overcome her personal and professional issues and is all the more heroic for it, the most heroic character in her world.  There's also a lot of exploration of superheroes in pop culture in the world, with "cape radio" and fantasy superhero leagues, superhero medicine and hospitals and even award shows.  It's an 11 volume OGN series now, with guest artist spinoffs and one shots, and about half of it has been put up in webcomics form since.

Offline SkynetTopic starter

Re: Superhero Comics!
« Reply #4 on: August 01, 2020, 12:20:37 AM »
I take it that using Genosha as a "mutant nation" got too predictable or old hat over time? Or maybe a desire for one that isn't ruled by Magneto? :P

Offline Orval Wintermute

Re: Superhero Comics!
« Reply #5 on: August 02, 2020, 01:04:19 PM »
I'm an accidental DC fanboy, mostly because I can't afford to keep up with both Marvel & DC's main story lines.

But I think DC have been a bit more miss than hit since they let Scott Synder loose on Batman and Justice League. For me at least, he's a decent enough writer but he  never seems to stick the landing with the end of his stories, they just seem to fizzle out. On the upside it's saved me a chunk of cash because ignoring the big summer crossovers like Metal has been easy to do, thankfully after Death Metal, Synder isn't writing main DC titles anymore.

The Heroes in Crisis series looked like it had the potential to be really interesting, delving into the psychological effects of being a hero. But editorial demands\interference turned it into a bit of a train wreck. And although I haven't read it, the follow on series Flash Forward is meant to be much better.

Something else I recently stumbled across was DCeased, which I'd initially ignore because (pardon the pun) zombies have been done to death. But I was surprised about how much I enjoyed it. It only being 6 issues probably helped, because they covered a lot of ground in not that many pages. Although it did have my perennial gripe; why do Harley Quinn and John Constantine have to feature in every damn story? I get that they are popular characters but just for once could they sit out world shattering stories?

Offline TFcommando

Re: Superhero Comics!
« Reply #6 on: August 02, 2020, 09:44:58 PM »
I take it that using Genosha as a "mutant nation" got too predictable or old hat over time? Or maybe a desire for one that isn't ruled by Magneto? :P

Genosha started as an anti-mutant South Africa, was attacked by revenge-seeking mutants after the previous government was overthrown, was then ceded to Magneto, who wanted to use is and its millions off mutants to take over the world.  It was then leveled and its population slain by the Sentinels.   Professor X and Magneto teamed up to rebuild it, which went poorly.  Later, it was turned into a mutant concentration camp by the Red Skull, and after that, Magneto destroyed the entire island with a bomb.

So it might be hard to get people to emigrate there!

Offline LunarSage

Re: Superhero Comics!
« Reply #7 on: August 02, 2020, 11:19:57 PM »
I loved Marvel until around 2000.  All but a handful of the post 2000 stories have been in my opinion utter crap.  Maybe it's because I got older, I don't know.  I don't think so though, because I still love the stories from the 80s and 90s.

Offline Beorning

Re: Superhero Comics!
« Reply #8 on: August 03, 2020, 04:58:01 PM »
I'll admit something: I gave in and purchased Marvel Unlimited subscription. $70 a year, but now I can catch up with 10 last years of Marvel - and older stuff, too! Tens of thousands of digital Marvel comics! Coooooool...

Two quick observations I'd like to get off my chest, after reading X-Men books up to Second Coming and Avengers books up to Siege:

1. Is it me, or is Sentry an utter failure of a character? Zero interesting personality, at least three versions of his origin given across a few years - and that annoying thing with him being somehow central to the backstories of every other character at MU? Whatever else you say about Bendis' Avengers, Sentry was one atrocious idea...

2. Greg Land. Oh dear, I can't stand his art! Is he capable of drawing anything without using photo references? Every character he's drawn in the X-books I've read seemed to have a face of some absurdly pretty model... Seriously, he gave faces of youthful models even to characters that should be drawn as being in their sixties - as well as to various teenage characters. Even X-23 had a face of a twenty-something model! And don't get me started on his facial expressions... Ugh. Awful stuff...

Anyway, I keep reading! I only wish there was an equivalent option for DC stuff, because there's a ton of their stuff I'd like to read, too...

On another note: any good superhero comic other dealing with supervillains and superhero - supervillain relations?
« Last Edit: August 03, 2020, 05:06:59 PM by Beorning »

Offline LunarSage

Re: Superhero Comics!
« Reply #9 on: August 03, 2020, 05:37:21 PM »
Anyway, I keep reading! I only wish there was an equivalent option for DC stuff, because there's a ton of their stuff I'd like to read, too...

There is.

https://www.dcuniverse.com/comics

Offline Beorning

Re: Superhero Comics!
« Reply #10 on: August 03, 2020, 06:32:22 PM »
There is.

https://www.dcuniverse.com/comics

True. Unfortunately, not available outside of US...

Offline LunarSage

Re: Superhero Comics!
« Reply #11 on: August 03, 2020, 06:57:19 PM »
True. Unfortunately, not available outside of US...

Ah, sorry.  I was not aware that it wasn't offered outside the US.

Online Avernale

Re: Superhero Comics!
« Reply #12 on: August 04, 2020, 12:04:00 AM »
2. Greg Land. Oh dear, I can't stand his art! Is he capable of drawing anything without using photo references?

It's not that he's using references.  Even the best artists use them.  What Greg Land does is trace the photos directly, but it's not just that.  Tracing is a shortcut professionals use occasionally.  Greg Land's problem is that it's extremely obvious, as he will reuse the exact same image multiple times in the same book, sometimes even in the same panel.

Offline Kadigan

Re: Superhero Comics!
« Reply #13 on: August 05, 2020, 12:38:19 PM »
Is it me, or is Sentry an utter failure of a character? Zero interesting personality, at least three versions of his origin given across a few years - and that annoying thing with him being somehow central to the backstories of every other character at MU? Whatever else you say about Bendis' Avengers, Sentry was one atrocious idea...


I think Sentry's a better read character if you read him as a villain from front to back. The "There was a hero with us the whole time and we forgot..." angle never works out super great to me (though I have a soft spot for DC's Moon Maiden). But if you go back with the idea that he's a villain (Remender made him super creepy, and the ending of his mini series sort of makes him seem this way) and always was it reads much better to me. Personally it's still better then his inclusion of Ares, the hero they have to threaten to have the **** beat out of him to join the Avengers, that they have to restrain every five seconds, who doesn't have the excuse of being mentally ill to side with a lunatic, and who doesn't act any different as a "hero" then a "villain." I can think of a dozen "on the fence between good and evil" characters I'd rather have a heroic arc then that waste.

I also have Marvel Unlimited and have been enjoying old reads. Battlin' Jack Murdock was a fun read and a terrific ending. I reread a lot of the Ultimate series too. DC Universe has had a lot of fun stuff. I absolutely loved The Wild Storm, a more “realistic” take on The Authority, WildCats, DV8, etc. Every time I logged onto DCU and issue 24 wasn’t up I had a little fit about it.

For me thought, hands down the best one I’ve read in a long time is Invincible. Maybe because people grow? It starts as a Superman/Spider-Man mash up rip off almost, but the consequences are real. No one comes back from the dead, tragedies happen, so on and so forth. People grow, have families, and Kirkman's writing is astounding. I wish a comic streaming svc had that entire run. ImageUnlimited or something.

Offline LunarSage

Re: Superhero Comics!
« Reply #14 on: August 05, 2020, 01:42:41 PM »
I think Sentry's a better read character if you read him as a villain from front to back. The "There was a hero with us the whole time and we forgot..." angle never works out super great to me (though I have a soft spot for DC's Moon Maiden). But if you go back with the idea that he's a villain (Remender made him super creepy, and the ending of his mini series sort of makes him seem this way) and always was it reads much better to me. Personally it's still better then his inclusion of Ares, the hero they have to threaten to have the **** beat out of him to join the Avengers, that they have to restrain every five seconds, who doesn't have the excuse of being mentally ill to side with a lunatic, and who doesn't act any different as a "hero" then a "villain." I can think of a dozen "on the fence between good and evil" characters I'd rather have a heroic arc then that waste.
Quote

Didn't they do the same retcon type thing with Blue Marvel?

Offline Kadigan

Re: Superhero Comics!
« Reply #15 on: August 05, 2020, 06:33:23 PM »
Yes. Blue Marvel is probably the least offensive to me in this regard, because instead of Sentry, Triumph, etc, they didn't say "oh you knew him all along!". It was more, he did his thing and went away, now he's back. I enjoyed it when they sort of poked at this with Voyager in the Avengers No Surrender Limited.

Offline LunarSage

Re: Superhero Comics!
« Reply #16 on: August 05, 2020, 06:56:17 PM »
In my opinion though, characters like Sentry, Superman, Dr Strange and Blue Marvel tend to be more DEM devices than true characters.  They kind of did the same thing to the Hulk during World War Hulk in my opinion.  A character gets too powerful and they become less interesting to me.

Offline Orval Wintermute

Re: Superhero Comics!
« Reply #17 on: August 06, 2020, 06:34:51 AM »
In my opinion though, characters like Sentry, Superman, Dr Strange and Blue Marvel tend to be more DEM devices than true characters.  They kind of did the same thing to the Hulk during World War Hulk in my opinion.  A character gets too powerful and they become less interesting to me.

It depends on the writer. I've never been a fan of Superman, the whole indestructible boy scout never really ticked any boxes for me, but since Bendis has taken over writing duties I've enjoyed reading Superman for the first time. Laying the ground work for the Legion of Superheroes to be established in 1000 years time, uncovering Leviathan, going public with his secret identity. They've all worked and none of them rely on Superman reversing time by flying backwards around the planet.

Offline Beorning

Re: Superhero Comics!
« Reply #18 on: August 07, 2020, 04:00:27 PM »
I think Sentry's a better read character if you read him as a villain from front to back. The "There was a hero with us the whole time and we forgot..." angle never works out super great to me (though I have a soft spot for DC's Moon Maiden). But if you go back with the idea that he's a villain (Remender made him super creepy, and the ending of his mini series sort of makes him seem this way) and always was it reads much better to me. Personally it's still better then his inclusion of Ares, the hero they have to threaten to have the **** beat out of him to join the Avengers, that they have to restrain every five seconds, who doesn't have the excuse of being mentally ill to side with a lunatic, and who doesn't act any different as a "hero" then a "villain." I can think of a dozen "on the fence between good and evil" characters I'd rather have a heroic arc then that waste.

Really? Personally, I think that the inclusion of Ares was one of the better ideas from Bendis. Of course, it wouldn't have worked if Mike Oeming didn't rework the character first - but I'm glad Bendis took this ball and ran with it. Ares in Avengers worked for me: he was violent, he had a really dirty mind, but he also seemed to some personal code and could be reasonable (the issue where he confronted Fury was surprisingly good). And him joining Osborn's Avengers made sense: Ares was a guy who wanted to have the right stuff done, regardless of finer ethical considerations. When he realized that Osborn was in the wrong, he immediately turned on him - and paid the price. Overall, I found him interesting. Not to mention, the idea of a Thor-level hyper-berserker is a bit of guilty pleasure for me...

Meanwhile, Sentry didn't work for me at all. His return was initially promoted as an important thing, he was supposed to be this new amazing Marvel character... but nothing came out of it. All his appearances were about him moping about, trying to deal with his own insanity etc. Also, they kept changing his origin constantly (seriously, compare how the initial "New Avengers" issues explained him with Jenkins' mini that was published shortly after - they just didn't fit together at all) and his inclusion into the Marvel universe was at the expense of other characters (did we really need to learn that Spider-Man needed to have a mentor in his yout or that Rogue lost her virginity behind the scenes?). Overall, I think that this was an idea that really didn't work out at all - and when they killed Sentry off in Siege, it was a bit of a mercy-killing by Bendis and / or Marvel editorial...

On another note: any comic books out there about female cyborgs? I'm currently finishining Mike Carey's X-Men run and I've fallen in love with Karima. :) And I'd really like to read a comic book that would really dig into the issue of a person being turned into a machine or of sentient machines overall...

Offline Kadigan

Re: Superhero Comics!
« Reply #19 on: August 07, 2020, 04:21:19 PM »
That anyone ever considers Ares a "hero" or an Avenger is baffling to me.

As far as female cyborgs, there's a run on DC's latest attempt to give Cyborg a solo series that introduces Variant, who is basically lady-borg. She's featured in an arc, then sort of swept away. The Wild Storm has a reimagined Engineer, but that's more like an Iron Man / Nanite Armor kind of situation. Astounding Wolf-Man features Mecha-Maid as a supporting character, whose a sentient machine. and The Visions solo series from a bit ago that introduced Viv was very well written.

Offline LunarSage

Re: Superhero Comics!
« Reply #20 on: August 07, 2020, 04:24:56 PM »
Lady Deathstrike is a female cyborg.  A villain to be sure, but she counts.

Offline Beorning

Re: Superhero Comics!
« Reply #21 on: August 08, 2020, 08:32:55 PM »
Thanks for all the cyborg suggestions!

That anyone ever considers Ares a "hero" or an Avenger is baffling to me.

Well, it kind of touches on whether we assume there is some sort of high standard the members of the Avengers need to fit... The group used to be a kind of elite group with an old-school code of conduct etc. - but, for better or worse, that idea got thrown out when Dissambled happened and Bendis created New Avengers. Once you open that door and allow Wolverine to be an Avenger, there's not much argument for not allowing Ares in...

Personally, I'm not saying that Ares was necessarily a good choice for an Avenger in general... I'm just saying that I liked reading about him in a team setting. He was a good character and liked seeing him interacting with more traditional heroes. He also kind of worked as an Avenger for that particular moment in their story, when half of Marvel heroes went to the ground due to Civil War. And he definitely worked in Dark Avengers.

Also, I'm not saying I consider him a hero :) More a anti-hero, I guess. I can tell you that he was a fine portrayal of the mythological figure - he was much more accurate than Marvel's versions of Thor or Herc. Marvel's Ares was a relatively good portrayal of what one of the ancient god would like if transplanted into a superhero setting. I keep thinking what would happen if an accurate version of Inanna appeared in Marvel universe... she was a goddess that tended to cause trouble :)