Free Comics!

/dusts off cobwebs

Been a while huh guys! Sorry about that. I got a job! And classes started up again. I've still been reading a shittone of comics but haven't really had the energy or motivation to review any :(

Today I'm here to get YOU in to comics with the amazing news that until March 12 (Tuesday) over 700 individual digital issues will be freely available, both via the Marvel site and Comixology. You can then read the comics in a web browser or on your tablet device, which is pretty neato!

The Comixology app seems to be running again after getting bombarded earlier today by presumably a bunch of eager comics fans looking to discover or rediscover some of the deliciously free #1s on offer. There are over 700 titles available for free and it can be a bit overwhelming but here are a few (ha ha haaa) of my recommendations.


Captain Britain and MI:13 (2008)

Captain Britain and MI:13, written by Paul Cornell, with art by Leonard Kirk revolves around the British government agency known as MI:13, dedicated to protecting the UK from supernatural threats.



Alias (2003)

Alias was published as part of Marvel's MAX imprint for mature readers, allowing a more graphic story to unfold, which is perfect for the character of Jessica Jones. A former costumed heroine turned private investigator, driven by a fundamental urge to protect and help people in need but battling traumatic memories and damaging self-loathing.

It's written by Brian Michael Bendis and the majority of the art was done by Michael Gaydos, with covers by David Mack.


Pull List Dec 19

SO MANY THINGS came out this week, graaargh.

X-Men: Schism, WatX

Following the events of House of M and the Messiah trilogy (all but a handful of mutants are depowered, and then the first mutant baby is born and there's a huge race to secure her by various 'interested parties') Scott Summers (Cyclops) goes to give a speech at the UN asking for the world's governments to shut down their various Sentinel programs. He takes Logan (Wolverine) with him as a "one man security team" which turns out to be a great idea...

X-Men: the Messiah trilogy

Like a lot of people my earliest significant exposure to the world of X-Men and mutants came in the form of the 90s X-Men cartoon. When the film X-Men: First Class came out I briefly flirted with the notion of reading the comics, and began in what I thought was the logical place: the 60s comics by writer Stan Lee and artist Jack Kirby.

That...didn't go so well.

For a lot of reasons.


Pull List Dec 12 (sort of)

This week was not very exciting in terms of new releases, so I took the opportunity to rip through some of my backlog. Feels good, man!

Phonogram (2006)

First up I did a little bit of background reading in preparation for the upcoming new volume of Young Avengers from writer Kieron Gillen with art by Jamie McKelvie. An obvious starting point is a book they already worked together on, the Image Comics title Phonogram.


Avengers Academy

Avengers Academy (2010-2012) recently wrapped up and since we'll be seeing some of the team in the new NOW! title Avengers Arena (the first issue of which leaked online today and officially comes out later this week), I recently read the Christos Cage-penned book featuring powered kids at risk of becoming villains after suffering at the hands of Norman Osborn.


The Pull List: Dec 5th

This week's pull list includes:

  • All New X-Men #3
  • Avengers #1
  • Hawkeye #5
  • Iron Man #3
  • X-Factor #248

I enjoyed this bit of random redshirt banter:

The Pull List: Nov 28th

Last week I was cramming for exams, so while I still had time to read everything I didn't really have time to put together a recap, so I'll hit last week's pull list and then jump into this week. Let's start with last week.
  • A+X #2
  • All New X-Men #2
  • FF #1
  • Gambit #6
  • New Avengers #34
  • Thor: God of Thunder #2
  • Uncanny Avengers #2
  • X-Men Legacy #2

A+X is a new Marvel NOW! book featuring two different stories and two different team ups between an X-Man and an Avenger. This week we had Rogue and Black Widow taking down a rogue sentinel on their day off, and Iron Man trying to recruit Kitty Pryde to bring her genius on board for his company.

In the first story, Black Widow injured her hand and had to share her knowledge with Rogue so she could take a killshot, and Natasha chose an interesting way to let Rogue absorb her power.

Can you hear the fanboy squeals from here? I can.


The Pull List: Nov 21st

This week on the pull list:
  • Astonishing X-Men (2004) #56
  • Avengers (2010) #34
  • Captain America (2012) #1
  • Captain Marvel (2012) #7
  • Deadpool (2012) #2
  • Hawkeye (2012) #4
  • Iron Man (2012) #2
  • Journey into Mystery (2011) #646
  • X-Factor (2005) #247

Astonishing X-Men #56

I started Joss Whedon's critically acclaimed run on Astonishing X-Men but never finished it. I KNOW GASP I AM A TERRIBLE FAN. Anyway I caught the last seven or so issues because WEDDING ISSUE. After gay marriage passed in New York they wrote a storyline where Jean Paul Beaubier (Northstar) proposed to long time partner Kyle Jinadu. And then they got married and it was adorable but Wolverine had a bomb inside him and exploded. Later, the X-Men fight the bad guys and then afterwards Jean Paul takes his husband out for a bridgetop fast food date, because he knows how to woo his man right, y'all.



The Pull List: Nov 14th

New releases I give a shit about this week:

  • All New X-Men (2012) #1
  • Avengers Assemble (2011) #9
  • Fantastic Four (2012) #1
  • Gambit (2012) #5
  • New Avengers (2010) #33
  • Red She-Hulk (2008) #59
  • Thor: God of Thunder (2012) #1
  • Wolverine & the X-Men (2011) #20
  • X-Men Legacy (2012) #1

Avengers Assemble (2011) #9

Alrighty then. I'm just going to start this week's pull list by calmly informing you that Avengers Assemble #9 is the kind of quality, awesome comic that will get you in to comics if you are not already reading them, because it is hilarious and amazing from the first page. First up, amongst the regular character descriptions, you get this summation of Carol 'Captain Marvel' Danvers' powers:

Flies, zaps, punches.

Then the issue begins in earnest, comparing two very different men with a very special science bond. Tony Stark (Iron Man) is all "blah blah flashy futurism" and Bruce Banner (Hulk) is all "except no, hurricanes and crippling reliance on fossil fuels and oh god everything is terrible but no one cares". Superficially I need to take a moment here and point out that everyone is a stone cold fox in this issue and Stefano Caselli is my new favouritest comic artist of all time. LOOK AT THIS BABE:

Dr Banner is all "ladies, please".



New Avengers (2005)

After a rough day the Avengers call it quits, but a few months later there's a prison break and so they get the band back together. I'm reading the 2005 issues.

You know you're reading a Brian Michael Bendis story when there's so many freakin' speech bubbles you can't focus on anything except how much goddamn text you have to read.

Steve Rogers (Captain America) asks Matt Murdock (Daredevil) to join the team because they need his help to tackle the Japanese underworld. Matt says he can't join the team because doesn't want to drag them under with his bad name, but he'll send a friend of his (Ronin) to help.

So they go to Japan and fight ninjas, and it's all pretty stock standard. Madam Hydra is attempting to arrange some kind of villainous power share with the Silver Samurai, Luke Cage gets thrown off a 30-storey building and has to get the elevator back up in order to rejoin the fight, and on the way back home Peter Parker (Spider-Man) bugs Ronin about their secret identity.

He asks if Ronin is secretly the Iron Fist, Luke's long time boyfriend partner, but Luke says he'd know if it was Danny.


The only other bit that made me take the time to take a screen cap is this scene where Tony Stark (Iron Man) calls up SHIELD and speaks to Maria Hill who is acting as Director now that Nick Fury is missing. Hill chews him out for announcing the New Avengers to the media before okaying it with SHIELD, and wants to know whatever he knows about the events of M-Day.

Tony is his regular charming self, in that he blocks all their lie detecting and facial recognition software and essentially tells her to go fuck herself. I took a screenshot because now that Greg Land is drawing the new Marvel NOW! Iron Man title, it's probably going to be pretty rare to get him looking all handsome and shit like this again.

He's always at his best when he's bitching and hasn't slept for two days.
Siiiiigh. Bye handsome!Tony, I will miss you.

Couple other little things for your reading pleasure. Firstly: a few years ago writer Peter David (or PAD  as he's known) brought back a little known character called Shatterstar, created by writer Fabian Nicieza and 'artist' Rob Liefeld. He then ended decades of speculation about the character's sexuality by having him share an on-panel smooch with long time team buddy and often-speculated lover, Julio Richter (Rictor). Given the lack of diversity in mainstream comics many people saw this move as positive, however Liefeld was not happy with the direction David had taken with the formally asexual alien who found human emotion complex and difficult to understand. You can read a hilarious chain of messageboard comments from Liefeld himself, as well as  Peter David and fans on the issue here.

Liefeld is quoted as saying “Shatterstar is akin to Maximus in Gladiator. He’s a warrior, a Spartan, and not a gay one.” and Peter David points out that when informed their children are homosexual, many parents find it difficult to believe at first. Later on, the following scene appeared in PAD's title X-Factor:

Guido: Tell me Shatterstar: do you like Gladiator movies?
'Star: Apparently so.
Guido: Figures. 
I'm just insanely amused by the portrayal of Rob as a conservative father who can't bring himself to accept the sexuality of his child, and the respectful but articulate responses from PAD about why it's offensive to imply that 'Star can't be gay because he's badass warriors (what? gay people can't be badasses? Are we not currently living in an age without Don't Ask Don't Tell?) are just further proof that X-Factor is in capable and sensitive hands with PAD.

And finally, Marvel announced this week the upcoming ALL FEMALE team book called the Fearless Defenders. I promptly lost my shit. A few weeks ago they teased a cover with just the word "Fearless" and I assumed they were talking about maybe a new NOW! Daredevil title, but this is so much better. The full line-up hasn't been announced yet, but the two co-leaders have: Misty Knight and Valkyrie. One's a street level ass-kicker and the other is a goddess. Writer Cullen Bunn explains the set up for the book is that Val has been charged with choosing a new team of Valkyrior, but this time from the women of Earth instead of from Asgard. You can bet your butts I'll be pre-ordering this title, it's so rare we get a female-led team let alone an all lady one. I just hope that Marvel gives this book the support it needs to get going, as they have a bit of a reputation for killing titles that don't sell well immediately.

So to get ready for the Fearless Defenders I'm going to read Bunn's spiritual precursor story, Fear Itself: The Fearless. Are you guys excited? I'm excited. Smooches!


The Pull List Nov 7th Part II

"Humorous" recaps of the week in Marvel (at least the Marvel books I read, anyway), continuing on from this post.

New Avengers (2010) #32

The New Avengers (current line-up: Luke Cage, Jessica Jones, Captain Marvel, Mockingbird, Daredevil, Spider-Man, Dr. Strange, Wolverine, Iron Fist and The Thing) get a visit from a lady from the FBI who has like, a demon possessing her? Last issue she fainted and the demon? went into Carol (Captain Marvel) but no one knows that yet. So Strange is trying to tend to the FBI lady, since, you know, the "Dr." in Dr. Strange is because he's an actual medical doctor. But the New Avengers, like any Marvel team, are a bunch of bickering children so he needs to lay the Strange smackdown.

Complete with spittle! For once y'all should have listened to Spidey, guys.


New Weekly(?) Feature: The Pull List 7 Nov

Do you kind of like comics? Are you almost curious about what goes on in them from time to time? Congratulations, friend, you're officially the target demographic of this new weekly feature I am maybe going to instigate around here: The Pull List.

I read like, I dunno, 20 or so comics a week? Something like that. I figure why not share the happenings with you all, since I'm sure you can't live without my witty insights into the Marvel Universe. It'll be awesome, seriously, like that episode of the IT Crowd where Moss gets an app that gives him a few knowledgeable-sounding phrases in the attempts to sound like he knows the fuck what he's talking about in relation to sports, except I promise this won't result in you accidentally becoming getaway drivers for petty thieves or having to make out with a person of the gender you're not attracted to in order to avoid police suspicion.

Not directly, anyway. You can't prove nothin'.

Spoilers ahoy.


Meet Shatterstar and Rictor

Tumblr is down for maintenance tonight and I promised I'd write a thing about RicStar, so here it is. Kind of an illustrated guide to what happens when you put the homoromantic dramas of two side characters in a book with an already amazing storyline: they become my fucking favourites.

So! Background info time. Taken straight from the Marvel wiki.

Julio Esteban Richter (Rictor) was one of the mutants depowered after the House of M storyline, and losing his seismic powers and his connection with the earth was devastating for him, so much so that he considered taking his own life.

Literally trying to talk him off the edge.

His father was a gun-smuggler and Ric witnessed his death at the hands of Stryfe, a clone of Cable, the time-travelling son of Scott Summers (Cyclops). Naturally, this made working for Cable's X-Force team a bit awkward (I only mention this because I know how much y'all enjoy this kind of convoluted  time travelly storylines. I haven't actually read anything before Peter David's 2005 resurrection of X-Factor). Ric was created by writer Louise Simonson and artist Walt Simonson and first appeared in X-Factor vol.1 #17 (June 1987).

Gaveedra Seven (Shatterstar) is an alien from a planet called Mojoworld who is sent back in time and to Earth, where he joins X-Force and develops a close friendship with Ric that eventually turns into a secret romance. Shatterstar was genetically engineered for brutal gladiatorial combat and has strong notions of a warrior's pride and honour. He first appeared in The New Mutants vol. 1 #99 (March 1991) and used to look like this because he was created by Rob Liefeld (artist*) and Fabian Nicieza (writer):



Avengers Annual 2012

Look, I don't know how comics work. I assume that "annuals" are just one-off stories that get released every so often in order to entice new readers into a main series?

My first thoughts: I really like Steve's new outfit.


The Avengers (2012)

I went to the midnight premiere of the Avengers movie in Sydney but for a lot of places the movie doesn't come out until May 4th. I'll be writing an essay for uni until then, so I went ahead and just wrote my recap now. If you don't want to get spoiled, don't fucking click on the "read more" thing, because under there I just straight up tell you what happens.

I mean it! From here on out you are in the spoiler zone! Don't go beyond this jump break if you don't wanna know what happens!


Civil War

I read Civil War! It hurt my soul and now I'm dead inside. I didn't do a full recap because hello, hundred-plus issues no thank you it was exhausting enough just reading the damn thing. I did take notes though, so here they are.

Already miserable? Try reading Civil War for extra feels.

Gosh, this is a long one! Go get a sandwich or something before you start, guys.


New Avengers Vol. 1: Breakout [issues #1-6]

So I just finished up Disassembled and House of M, and am moving on to New Avengers, Vol. 1: Breakout. Recaps ahoy!

Writer: Brian Michael Bendis, Editor: Tom Brevoort, Art: David Finch


The Children's Crusade #9

This week, I'm recapping the Young Avengers: The Children's Crusade, a nine issue story that just wrapped up this month. You can start with my commentary of the first issue, here. 

When we last saw our heroes, Victor Von Doom had tricked Wanda, the Scarlet Witch, into giving him the power to change reality as he saw fit. He reveals that he is the one actually responsible for destroying the Avengers and mutantkind, and he has apparently killed Cassie, aka Stature.

Oh my fucking god. Any time you want to wake up and be fine, Cassie, that would be great.


The Children's Crusade #8

This week, I'm recapping the Young Avengers: The Children's Crusade, a nine issue story that just wrapped up this month. You can start with my commentary of the first issue, here. 

My predictions for Victor Von Doom's reaction to absorbing the "life force" (aka the power to shape reality as he sees fit) were scarily accurate. He plans a benevolent dictatorship, where all the world's inhabitants will have everything they desire, and he is the supreme ruler of mankind, and also, he still wants Wanda to be his bride.

I don't know why Doom is always looking for a bride. It seems to be his primary goal in life. Maybe you should set up a Latverian OkCupid, Vic!


The Children's Crusade #7

This week, I'm recapping the Young Avengers: The Children's Crusade, a nine issue story that just wrapped up this month. You can start with my commentary of the first issue, here.

Last issue Wanda got her powers and her memory back, and started restoring the powers of mutants. This issue begins with me wondering if maybe the Scarlet Witch wouldn't have been so cranky if she didn't have a permanent wedgie.

That can't be comfortable! Anyway moving on.


The Children's Crusade #6

This week, I'm recapping the Young Avengers: The Children's Crusade, a nine issue story that just wrapped up this month. You can start with my commentary of the first issue, here.

Nate takes Wanda Maximoff and the Young Avengers back in time to observe the day that destroyed the Avengers: when Jack of Harts returned from the dead and killed his former teammate Scott Lang, AKA Ant Man. Except they don't just observe.

Cassie is able to get her father to a safe distance before the explosion kills him, and the whole incident seems to have returned not only Wanda's memories, but also her powers. She remembers being the Scarlet Witch, and now everyone is witnessing that day once again, even Clint Barton, the original Hawkeye, another Avenger who died that day.

All you need to know about Clint Barton is that he has fucked everything that moved.

Jessica Jones: Oh, my god, Clint! You had sex with her!
Beast: What?!?
Hawkeye: Can we focus on the impending catastrophe, here?

The Children's Crusade #5

This week, I'm recapping the Young Avengers: The Children's Crusade, a nine issue story that just wrapped up this month. You can start with my commentary of the first issue, here.

Um. So if you guys recall, Billy snuck off from Avengers HQ to rescue his mother, the Scarlet Witch, who Wolverine and many others believe should die for her role in the mutant genocide. Billy is promptly caught by Doctor Doom, and the Avengers, Young Avengers, Magneto and Doom's army of killer robots are all doing battle in Latveria. Cap sums up the situation while very distinctly not telling Eli "I told you so."

Heh. Hehehehehe. "Out-bad-guy each other to death". Captain America has a sense of humour!


The Children's Crusade #4.5

This week, I'm recapping the Young Avengers: The Children's Crusade, a nine issue story that just wrapped up this month. You can start with my commentary of the first issue, here.

Um. So the cover for this issue claims that it is a Fear Itself one-shot, but still part of the Children's Crusade storyline. The cover seems to depict grown up versions of the Young Avengers? Some of them, anyway. There is definitely a Kate Hawkeye, an Eli Patriot, and what I think is an adult Tommy as Speed:

I sense fuckery in our futures, dear reader.


The Children's Crusade #4

This week, I'm recapping the Young Avengers: The Children's Crusade, a nine issue story that just wrapped up this month. You can start with my commentary of the first issue, here.

Discovering his spirit mama Wanda is being held captive by Dr Doom, Billy travels to Latveria to scout out the situation. There, he discovers that she seemingly has no recollection of her true identity or her past actions, and that she intends to marry Doom the next day.

As Billy tries to explain, Doom himself arrives and incapacitates the teen witch. Meanwhile, Magneto and the Young Avengers plan their search and rescue mission, only to be distracted by the sight of Wonder Man showing up to rescue Wanda.

mmm, gratuitous Simon. I'd be distracted too.


The Children's Crusade #3

This week, I'm recapping the Young Avengers: The Children's Crusade, a nine issue story that just wrapped up this month. You can start with my commentary of the first issue, here.

While attempting to kill his father Magneto, Quicksilver accidentally stabs a woman who the group initially believe to be Wanda, the Scarlet Witch. However, she has a serious case of Terminator-face, and so now they believe that Wanda is being held captive by Doctor Doom.

This issue begins with a helpful recap of the character of Victor Von Doom, who, listen, I'm sure when these comics came out in the 60s seemed really deep and interesting and a compelling villain, but who now is just super dumb.

His thing is that he mixed science and magic, and got burned. It literally burned him, and so he made himself a face out of metal? And I guess if you're walking around looking like this:

and your name is literally "doom", then your only choice is to become a super villain.


The Children's Crusade #2

This week, I'm recapping the Young Avengers: The Children's Crusade, a nine issue story that just wrapped up this month. You can start with my commentary of the first issue, here.

So the team have just busted Billy and Teddy out of Avengers HQ when Magneto shows up and claims that they are Wanda's "spiritual heirs", and this will somehow help him find her.

When they do close-ups like that, I seriously cannot tell if it is Erik, Pietro, or Tommy. Welp. Talk about a family resemblance.