Sunday, June 28, 2015

Review: Lady Killer #1-5



Lady Killer 1-5
Writer:  Jamie S. Rich and Joelle Jones
Artist: Joelle Jones
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics

Set in the 60s, at a time when men worked at the office and women stayed home to take care of the household and raise the children, we meet Josie Schuller.  On the outside, Josie is the stereotypical housewife and homemaker.  But what most of the suburbanites around her don’t see is that she’s moonlighting on her housewife duties--she’s a trained assassin.  She’s not just a run-of-the-mill assassin, she’s good at her job, very good!

The cast of characters surrounding Josie are wonderful.  We have her husband, a loving husband, but completely oblivious to this double life she leads.  A mother in law that lives with the family who’s deeply suspicious of Josie’s actions.  She doesn’t suspect that she’s a killer, but is being unfaithful to her son.  Her handler, Peck, is a total womanizer but he knows that she’s among the best of the best at what she does.  And finally, the director of the organization that she works for.  He’s growing suspicious that she’s not capable of doing her job to the best of her abilities.  He feels that her having a family and a double life hampers her ability to do her job and sees her maternal instincts as a liability.  

Rich and Jones have collaborated in the past on two other projects: “12 Reasons Why I Love Her” and “You Have Killed Me”.  After reading this series, I very much want to check out their previous work.  This story was fast paced and very well told.  I never felt like it was dragging on at any point.  Through all five issues, the story flows at a fast, frenetic pace and just keeps you turning the pages as quickly as possible.

The art was equally fantastic.  My co-collaborator on the site, Ted, has been exposed to her work previously in the pages of Helheim.  But this is my first real exposure to her art.  All I could think of while reading the first issue was “why is this Joelle Jones not an absolute superstar right now?”.  Her art has a cartoony style that stays close to realism.  Her lines are clean and wonderful.  I’d love to see her move up to a bigger publisher so that her work could get the exposure it truly deserves.  I’d very much like to see her do some Danger Girl work as her style is very much evocative of J Scott Campbell’s art and she’d be a wonderful fit on that title, in my opinion.

The verdict:  Highly recommended.  If you’re looking for a story that’s quick, self-contained, and is just plain fun--read this!  All issues are available right now Dark Horse’s website and a trade will be available in September.

The score:  4.5 out of 5 stars.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Books I Would Like To See Get Relaunched

Books I Would Like To See Get A Relaunch


With the big two “Not Rebooting” their universes after their respective events I wanted to put together a list of  books I would like to see get reboots.   I mean let's face it books come and go pretty quick sometimes.  And it seems that a lot of the books I really like are the ones that go the quickest.  Often because the publishers don’t give them enough time to let them develop and grow an audience.  So here are the books I would like to see get relaunched for new readers to experience.

Team 7 (1994-95)-



I know that DC did a really weak job during the New 52.  So it wasn’t a surprise that it was cancelled after a pretty short run.  But in it’s original run under the Wildstorm banner Team 7 had three great 3-4 issue mini’s.  Not to mention that the events of the Team 7 books were the foundation of the entire Wildstorm Universe.  


I would like to see DC let Wildstorm have it’s own separate universe again.  And a new run of Team 7 with updated takes on all of the original members is the perfect way to restart it all.  Make the formation of the team be based in Desert Storm or some other more recent conflict and during a mission that they aren’t fully briefed on they get either experimented on or accidentally exposed to the alien technology that will change their lives forever and lay the groundwork for other books like Wildcats to get relaunched as well.


It would be great to see Chuck Dixon return to write the series that he wrote in it’s original incarnation.  But I would also really like to see a writer like Nathan Edmonson get a real chance with the title.  Edmonson’s work on The Activity shows that he has a real talent for doing espionage books that are grounded in reality with aspects of sci-fi/fantasy weaved into them.  As for art Mitch Gerads works really well with Edmonson and his style really brings the hard-boiled side of war out nicely.  But it could be interesting to see a new up and coming artist get the chance to run with what I see as the flagship book for the rebooted Wildstorm universe.

Gen 13 (1995)-



Gen 13 is another great book to come out of the Wildstorm Universe.  The members of Gen 13 have made appearances in the New 52 separately, but the closest the team came to being together was when DC launched Ravagers coming out of The Culling event.  However just like with Team 7 the characters were mishandled and the book was quickly cancelled.


A book about a group of teenagers who are not only going through the most awkward moment in their lives because they are teenagers, but are suddenly uprooted from their normal lives to be put isolated and watched by a secret government agency.  All because they are descendants of the members of Team 7.  Gen 13 could find a great success among younger readers, which is a market that is really getting forgotten recently.  Because Teen Titans seems like a lost cause and New Mutants has been on the shelf for a couple of years now comics needs a teenage team that can deliver to that market to bring in more new readers.


If I were to get to put together the creative team for a relaunch of Gen 13 I would want to see Dennis Hopeless of Avengers Arena fame get the nod to write it.  Hopeless knows how to write teenage characters struggling with the choices involved in being a metahuman and a teenager.  And with the strength of a writer like Hopeless that knows how to handle the subject matter Gen 13 could be a strong addition to the current comic landscape.

Red She-Hulk (2012-2013)



I agree it’s a little ridiculous that Betty Ross became a Hulk.  But when Jeff Parker’s run on Hulk that focussed on Thunderbolt Ross as the Red Hulk got repackaged as Red She-Hulk he made her into a strong character.  And what’s even more surprising is that Parker made me not so bothered by the fact that Betty was experimented on by her father and made into a Hulk.  The real tragedy is at the end of his run Parker set up the groundwork for a team being put together that I really wanted to see more of.


If Marvel were to resurrect Red She-Hulk I would want Jeff Parker to continue what he started and see what he had planned for Betty and her group of allies.  I feel there was a lot of potential in the team he put together and I would love to see it met.  As for who should accompany Parker on this adventure and bring it to life I really like the way that Gabe Hardman and Jeff Parker collaborate to make the books they work on even better.


Marvel Adventures-



I know that Marvel Adventures is a line of comics, not a single title.  But the Marvel Adventures line was a high quality all ages line that was also the launching pad for writers like Jeff Parker.  And it could be once again.  Relaunch the line and bring on some writers and artists that are still trying to break into the industry and allow them work on some of the top characters in out of continuity storylines.  

Generation X/ New Mutants-




Either one of these titles would work for what I would like to see Marvel try.  There is a large group of teen superheroes floating around the 616 that aren’t getting used.  I would like to see either of the names used to start a new team lead by Jubilee, Danni Moonstar, and Nathan Grey.  I think these three former teen heroes could teach a new batch of kids a lot about balancing being a hero with being a teenager.  


As for the team they would lead.  I would like to see characters like Quentin Quire, Edi, Anachronism (preferably with a new name), and characters of that kind get their chances at being on an official team.  And with the right writing team it could really shine.

Those are some of the titles that I would like to see dusted off and given another chance.  But I know there are probably a lot more of books out there that deserve another shot.  I look forward to hearing what books you want to see again.

Thanks for reading my article.  If you have any comments, questions, or suggestions please leave them in the comment section.  And as always…. Keep Reading Comics Fans!!!!

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

My Dream Avengers Team

There was another great team building episode of Geek History Lesson recently.  The problem was I didn't really agree with the teams they decided to put together so I wanted to “Assemble” my own dream team of Avengers.  I will be using the same team format as Ashley and Jason from GHL to keep it accurate with their guidelines.  And if you want to hear the podcast for yourself here is a link to it http://geekhistorylesson.libsyn.com/ it is episode #63 and I highly suggest the podcast it is a really fun listen week after week.

My Dream Avengers Team

Team Leader- 



Bucky Barnes as Captain America.  I made this decision because I really like Bucky bearing the Captain America title.  He is also a great leader for the team in the field.  Which frees up Steve to be the liaison for the Avengers to the government, or the head of S.H.I.E.L.D. if they aren’t disassembled at the time.  His robotic arm allows Bucky to control the shield just as good if not better than Steve, and Bucky has a natural fighter’s instinct.  Plus Bucky isn’t afraid to go a little farther into the grey area to stop a villain.  Another aspect to Bucky as Captain America is the internal struggle he faces with what he had become as the Winter Soldier.  And it is that struggle that makes him strive to atone for what he was forced to do.


Muscle/ Immortal-


Thor/Odinson.  I make no secret that I am a huge fan of Thor.  But I also feel that Thor brings a good balance to the Avengers team.  When there is a rift in the team (usually caused by Stark and Rogers) Thor is the member who strikes a truce between the two by helping them see the other’s side of the situation.  Thors godlike powers also serve as great tool for the Avengers when facing their more powerful enemies.  Plus how much fun is it to see Thor decide that it is time to just smash something with his hammer.


Tech-


Tony Stark/Iron Man.  Contrary to the way most people feel recently, I don’t feel every Avengers team needs Tony Stark.  In fact in most of the best Avengers stories I have read he is pretty much just a background character with no major bearings on the story itself.   That said Tony Stark can be a valuable asset to the team that I am putting together.  Stark can serve as the supplier of all tech for the team as well as bring an interesting point of view to the team.  The version of Iron Man that I would probably use though is the Fraction version.  Either just before he wiped his mind to protect the registration list, but most likely just after he is rebooted and discovers what he did during Civil War.  I would use this particular version because of the vow he makes to never become the man he was when Cap was killed.

Rebel-


Black Widow.  When she is really well written Black Widow can be a valuable member of the Avengers.  She has a strength that most other female Avengers don’t seem to possess.   Like Bucky, Natasha has an internal battle with who she was before becoming an Avenger.  I see her as a trusted advisor to Bucky and possibly a love interest for him too.  And her time as a spy/assassin gives her a lot of knowledge of the dark side of governments that she can use to help the team as well.

Magic-


Doctor Strange.  The Sorcerer Supreme is the only choice in my eyes for the spot of magician for the Avengers team I am putting together.  He has the power and the proper respect for it that makes him one of, if not the best magic user in Marvel.  Don’t get me wrong I liked the way Kurt Busiek wrote Scarlet Witch in his run on Avengers.  But I feel over the years she has become nothing more than a plot device.  Her powers always seem to vary on how powerful the writer wants to make her.  Given, Stephen Strange has some major character flaws.  He was part of the Illuminati who sent Bruce Banner/Hulk into space and in Hickman’s New Avengers run he helps conspire to destroy whole worlds to protect his world.  But his will to protect the world at any cost also gives him an edge to work in the darker side of the Marvel universe.  And his part allows for a little drama in the team, as most of the members won’t necessarily agree with how he handles things, but will recognize that his methods are necessary.   

Outsider-


Melissa Joan Gold/Songbird.  I am not going to deny that I only put her on this team because I really like the character and want to see her get some more attention in more recent comics.  Songbird was a great member of the Thunderbolts from the beginning.  And she was one of the first to want to go legit.  And in later volumes she was a great second in command to Luke Cage while he was leading the team out of the Raft.  Her powers are unique and useful.  And I think she could bring an interesting dynamic to the team.

Wildcard-


Bruce Banner/The Hulk.  The ultimate wild card.  You never know what will happen when Banner gets angry.  He would be valuable as Banner when they are on downtime.  And then when they are in a tight situation they can call in a “Code Green” ala Age of Ultron.  And lets face it when is Hulk not a great tool to have in your arsenal.  The threat of Hulk is a powerful negotiation tool, and letting him loose will always turn the tide.  But Banner wouldn’t have a lot of trust for other members of the team.  Like the aforementioned Doctor Strange.

Rookie-


Nico Minoru.  I chose Nico because of her unique power set and the personality she brings.  I see Nico as being a Scarlet Witch analog, but with a way more defined power set.  The limits to Nico’s blood magic are clearly defined throughout all of the books I have read that she has been a part of.  Then you have the fact that the last time she was seen was Avengers Undercover and after the events that take place in that series leave her in need of some redemption.  Within this Avengers team I feel she could learn how to better control her powers and at the same time get the chance to fight for her own personal piece of redemption.

Extras-


Luke Cage.  Sure Luke Cage is a great leader of his own team, but I see him as the perfect man to be a second squad leader if the Avengers need to split up to handle a battle on more than one front.  And when the team is unified he can play a strong part of the team as a second in command.  The only problem I see with Cage being on the Avengers is that he left them to be with his family.  But at the same time I think even Jessica recognizes that the team needs him sometimes.

I know that I made some pretty controversial choices in my team, but I have my reasons.  Mainly I just feel there needs to be some newer blood on the Avengers.  But these are just my thoughts, and I look forward to hearing yours.

Thanks for reading my article.  If you have any questions comments or suggestions please leave them in the comments section.  And as always…. Keep Reading Comics Fans!!!

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Iconic Covers In Comics

Iconic Covers In Comics

There are some covers that transcend the story contained within the book.  Some so much so that the cover will be redone later by another book.  For example Todd McFarlane has reused many of his own iconic covers for Spawn when he started working on the book again. I got the idea for this article while doing research for some of my previous articles.




Crisis On Infinite Earths #7 (1985)
Cover Image By George Perez

The image of Superman holding the dead body of his cousin Kara while he screams in agony about her death.  This cover image made by the legendary George Perez always stands out to me as being one of the best.  The emotion of Superman’s loss comes across brilliantly.  And it has been referenced many times since it’s release in 1985.  X-Factor #100 for example which has Havok holding the body of Multiple Man.



Amazing Fantasy #15 (1962)
Cover Image By Jack Kirby
 
The famous first appearance of Spider-Man, one of the most popular characters in the Marvel Universe.  So it goes without saying that it has a pretty recognizable image on the cover.  The image of Spider-Man swinging through the city carrying a person in one arm while declaring “Though the world may mock Peter Parker the timid teenager…  It will soon marvel at the might of Spider-Man.”  And it is an image that has been duplicated and parodied on many covers since its 1962 release.  







Marvels 1-4 (1994)
Cover Art By Alex Ross

I couldn’t make up my mind as to which of the covers to the four issue miniseries Marvels was more iconic.  Throughout the series Alex Ross recreated some of the most iconic moments in the Marvel Universe in his beautiful hand painted style.  Whether it is the first issue of the series which depicts the original Human Torch breaking free of his cage, or the third issue which has a close up of the Silver Surfer with the reflection of Human Torch in his face and chest.  None of these covers could ever be recreated by another artist and do it justice, but doesn’t that make it a little more iconic.





Action Comics #1 (1938)
Cover Art By Joe Shuster

Another great image with references to Greek Mythology.  The cover of Action Comics #1 features the debuting character of Superman holding a car over his head and crushing it into a giant rock.  The image is instantly recognizable.  Whether it is just because the image means you are looking at one of the most expensive books in comics to a collector, or because it is the first image of Superman ever seen I don’t know.  But whenever a book does an homage to the famous image you instantly know what it is referring to.




Incredible Hulk #340 (1988)
Cover Art By Todd McFarlane

This cover has always stood out to me as being one of the best composed covers that McFarlane ever put out.  Wolverine with his claws out looking exceptionally pissed off, with the reflection of an even angrier looking Hulk in Wolverine’s claws.  While not the best image that McFarlane has ever done, it does standout as his most iconic image to me.  And apparently McFarlane himself liked it a lot because he payed tribute to it in a later Spawn cover.




Batman #404 (1987)
Cover Art By David Mazzucchelli

The first part to the now highly acclaimed arc Batman: Year One by Frank Miller.  The cover features a young Bruce Wayne sitting on the ground between his dead parents.  Mazzucchelli brought so much pain and sadness into such a simple image.  The shadow play involved is brilliantly done, with the Batman shadow casting from just out of the image across the title of the book.  I haven’t seen any tributes to this cover used since.  But it is one of those covers that can be recognized from across a room, and always catches the eye.


These are just some of the covers that are iconic throughout the history of comics.  But they are the ones that standout the most to me.  What are some of your favorite cover images that you think deserve the Iconic label?

Thank you for reading my article.  If you have any comments, questions, or suggestions for future articles.  Please leave them in the comments section.  And as always… Keep Reading Comics Fans!!!

Sunday, June 14, 2015

My Favorite Events In Comics

My Favorite Events In The History Of Comics


Since the eighties DC and Marvel have used line wide events to boost their sales and bring in new readers.  And in the modern comics world there is definitely no shortage of events.  In fact it seems like the big two have a new event happening every other month.  And the truth is most of them aren’t very good.  But I want to focus on the events that have truly worked, and had a lasting effect on the books in the aftermath of the event.  But keep in mind these are events that worked for me, and I fully understand that mileage may vary.


DC Crisis On Infinite Earths (1986-1987)-


Going into this event the continuity of the DC universe was a mess.  There were characters that had major inconsistencies whether it be the power set of Superman or the age of a characters that had been around for upwards of fifty years and hadn’t aged a day.  Sure, these are problems that occur in comics on a regular basis.  But it was getting exceptionally bad.  So the higher ups at DC put together a 12 issue event to simplify and retcon everything.

I have not read this event personally but the effects of Crisis lasted for years. And it is often credited as being one of, if not the best event ever put together.  Some of the biggest events that occurred in Crisis were Barry Allen sacrificing his life to save the universe and the death of Kara El.  The latter of which made for one of the most iconic covers.  Superman holding the dead body of his cousin while he screams to the heavens in sadness.   Whether it was actually the best or not is subject to debate, but you can’t argue that it was the catalyst for all of the events that came after it.   


Marvel’s House Of M (2005)

House of M is one of the best Marvel events that I have read myself.  The story revolves around Wanda Maximoff suffering from a mental break and rebuilding reality to bring back her dead children and her marriage with The Vision.  The problem is when she makes the alteration, it affects the entire universe around her.  And her alterations are so deep that none of the former heroes even remember who and what they used to be.   The only person that remembers is a small girl named Layla Miller.

What made this event so great to me was the chance to see what could have been for some of the greatest heroes.  For example in the new world that Wanda creates Peter Parker is a professional wrestler who is married to Gwen Stacy and they have kids.  And mutants as a race are living in peace with the rest of mankind due to Magneto and his family ruling over both races as the royal family.  So it makes you wonder.  Why anyone would want the old world back even if they could remember it?  There is a worldwide peace.  So as Layla starts to spread her knowledge and they slowly start to remember who they really are the reader gets to see characters who have suffered for years with the death of loved ones and other pains, have to make the decision if they want their old world back.  But could they forget the truth now even if they want to?  And this event also ended with Wanda in the height of her mental break uttering the phrase “No More Mutants”.  And with those three words she depowers most of the mutant population and stops any new mutants from being born for a long time.

Of course the fact that it was written by Brian Michael Bendis, with art by one of my favorite artists Olivier Coipel, definitely added to my enjoyment of this series.


Marvel’s Siege (2010)-

In 2010 Marvel was in the middle of Dark Reign.  Norman Osborn was the head of H.A.M.M.E.R, which was his version of S.H.I.E.L.D.  He was running two evil versions of famous teams in the Dark Avengers and the Dark X-Men, as well as running the Thunderbolts who were his own personal hit squad.  All of the major heroes were either in hiding or leading small teams against Osborn’s administration.  

But Norman Osborn wasn’t content with ruling only earth, he wanted everything.  So with the support of his fellow Kabal member Loki, Norman staged a very public battle with Volstagg that caused a lot of damage.  The resulting backlash gave him fuel to lead his teams and army against Asgard.  Which was a floating city over Broxton, Oklahoma at the time.  But it really appeared that Osborn’s eyes were bigger than his stomach on this one.  He also didn’t account for the instabilities of The Sentry leading to the death of another one of the Dark Avengers.  Because when Sentry snaps and gives into his alter ego The Void there is nothing anyone can do about it.  But Loki makes the ultimate sacrifice in an attempt to put an end to Sentry’s crazed rampage.  A choice that brings about Kid Loki later in comics.  

Marvel’s Civil War (2006-2007)-

There was a lot happening in America when Marvel released Civil War.  And the event was designed to be an analogy for everything that was going on at the time.  

Civil War focused on the government starting the Superhuman Registration Act which required anybody with powers to reveal their true identity and what they can do with their powers.  Tony Stark and Reed Richards are firmly on the side of the Registration Act.    Where Captain America goes against the government to protect the rights of the American people.  What followed split the Marvel Universe down the middle.  

Civil War is very much an event for it’s time.  I don’t know whether it would read the same for a person who didn’t live through the state of the world that Civil War was making a statement against.  But the consequences of Civil War were felt for years to follow.

But these are just the events that worked for me.  And there are no shortage of events in comics so I look forward to hearing what events you really enjoyed.

Thank you for reading my article.  If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions.  Please leave them in the comments section.  And as always… Keep Reading Comic Fans!!!    
      

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Top Character Or Team Defining Runs

  There are a lot of comic characters that have been around for several decades.  And most of them could never have survived the changing times without being slightly updated throughout the years by great writers.  I feel it is time that the characters and the writers that helped them to stay relevant through the changing times get the praise they deserve.

Character Or Team Defining Comics

Walt Simonson and J. Michael Straczynski on Thor-

I have been a huge fan of Thor for most of my time reading comics.  I have read some good, some bad, and some I wish I could wipe from my memory permanently.  But these two runs are truly great.  Both Simonson and Straczynski found different ways to make the character relevant in their particular era of comics.  

Simonson took over Thor in 1983.  He first came on to the book as the artist, but after only three issues he then took over on both art and writing duties.  Eventually Simonson handed over the art duties to other artists like Sal Buscema, but he would continue to write Thor until 1987.  His run on Thor introduced several major characters that are now mainstays to the Asgardian universe, such as Frog Thor and Beta Ray Bill.  But the character that Simonson introduced that has the most effect on the current Marvel comics and even the MCU to a smaller extent is Malekith the Accursed.  A character who has had appearances in the current run of Thor by Jason Aaron and even a small arc of the pre-All New Marvel Now Iron Man series.

When Straczynski took over Civil War was almost over and Thor had been missing for a couple of years.  But Straczynski brings Thor back from the void and returns Donald Blake to the Marvel Universe.  At the beginning of his run Straczynski has Thor learn that even though Asgard was destroyed and all of the Asgardians were killed, Odin placed their souls into mortal bodies much like his connection to Blake.  This run also introduces Asgard as a city floating over Broxton, Oklahoma.  Straczynski’s run only lasted for 16 issues, but in those issues he made Thor into a great character again.  And his time on Thor set the stage for some really good stories from other writers.


Ed Brubaker Era of Captain America-

In 2004 Brubaker took over on Captain America.  And quickly established that he was going to reinvent Steve Rogers as strong character with convictions that he refuses to be bent or broken.  But Cap wasn’t the only character that he made a new image for.  Brubaker made the Bucky/Cap dynamic all his own by making Bucky the member of the duo who was willing to kill so that Steve could keep his hands clean.  Brubaker is also the reason the Winter Soldier exists.  See the reason Bucky was chosen to become Winter Soldier after his “death” was because he was trained to be an assassin from an early age.  The real beauty in this run though is that Brubaker also made the character of Bucky a much better character.  

When Steve Rogers died in Civil War Brubaker had the fortunate honor of getting to write Bucky stepping up to take the mantle of Captain America.  I haven’t read much of the series with Bucky donning the Shield, but I have heard that when Bucky takes over is when Brubaker really shines.  But I can say that from the little I have read.  I would have been okay if Steve Rogers never picked up the shield again.

Brubaker’s run lasted through a lot of the biggest events in the Marvel Universe.  From Civil War all the way up till when Marvel relaunched all of their books with Marvel Now.  


Jason Aaron Takes On Punisher Max-


In 2009 Jason Aaron took the reins of Punisher Max, a series that until that point was being written by Garth Ennis.  Ennis’ run is of course legendary, but I feel that what Aaron does is the better run.   Because with Aaron stepping up it took on the direction of an aged Punisher.  Frank Castle is losing his edge, so he decides it is time to bring down what is left of the mob before he calls it quits.

But on the mob side of the story you have a top level enforcer who has the perfect plan to lure Castle in so they can permanently remove that particular thorn from their paw.  His plan put all funding in control under a single man who is only a figurehead for the whole plot.  That enforcer’s name is Wilson Fisk.  The problem is, Fisk gets the money and control then betrays the other families and keeps all that comes with it.   Thus setting up a great story of two men on opposite sides of the same battlefield who are racing towards the inevitable bloody confrontation like freight trains.   Then you throw in the most deranged version of Bullseye that I have ever read and you’ve got a lot of really great stories.  

But Jason Aaron’s run on Punisher Max also really pulled on every emotion at one point or another.  For example in the third arc of the series called “Frank”, Jason Aaron explores Frank Castle’s life after he returns from Vietnam till the day his family died and made him the man he is today.  All together this is one of the best Punisher runs I have read.  


Kieron Gillen Makes Kid Loki A Standout Character In The Marvel Universe-

In 2011 Marvel relaunched Journey Into Mystery with the writing talents of Kieron Gillen and an amazing stable of artists.  The book focused on the adventures of Kid Loki and his quest to redeem himself from the sins of his previous incarnation.  

As the series began Fear Itself was just starting and Loki was working behind the scenes of the main story.  It was by far the best part of Fear Itself, and in the end actually made even the main arc of the event way better.  Loki’s backroom dealings during Fear Itself had major repercussions on the rest of the series as well as Matt Fraction’s run on Mighty Thor that was going on at the same time.

Throughout Gillen’s time on Journey Into Mystery he introduced Leah, a teenage version of Hela.  And Thori, who is a hellhound pup with a very violent temperament and serious rage issues.  As well as having Loki cross paths with many Thor regulars like Hela, Tyr and Surtur.  But Gillen made it clear with his writing that Loki was the only star of this tale.  

Gillen would continue to write Loki in his Young Avengers run with regular collaborator Jamie McKelvie, and it was a great continuation.  But Journey Into Mystery was truly the shining moment in the saga of Loki to me.


Jeff Parker Brings The Thunderbolts Out Of Creative Prison-

When Jeff Parker took over Thunderbolts in 2009 the team was a private hitsquad for Norman Osborn in Dark Reign and Siege.  But what followed Siege was where the book finally got back on track for the first time since Kurt Busiek left the book.

Following the fall of the Osborn regime after the failed siege of Asgard.  Steve Rogers hands over the Thunderbolts name to Luke Cage and gives him a team of criminals from the high security prison called the Raft.  The deal is that the team takes missions from S.H.I.E.L.D. under Cage’s command and if they survive they earn time off of their sentences.  Sure it is a borrowed premise from DC’s Suicide Squad, but for some reason Thunderbolt’s seemed to work a lot better with it than all of the Suicide Squad I ad read up until that point.  

The team was run by Luke Cage with former members of the founding team Mach V and Songbird as team leaders in the field.  The rest of the team was made up of Juggernaut, Ghost, Satanna, Crossbones, veterans of the team Moonstone and Fixer, and then Man-Thing who was their mode of transportation.  The team took part in trying to take down Daredevil in Shadowland.  And at the conclusion a secondary team is put together and deployed under the leadership of Mach V to europe.  But when Fear Itself happens and Juggernaut is possessed by an Asgardian god and Man-Thing is over run by the huge amounts of fear to the point that he needs to be destroyed.  The secondary team of Mr. Hyde, Troll, Boomerang, Shocker, Satanna, and Centurius highjack the tower with the remains of Man-Thing.  But the team ends up trapped in the past because Man-Thing is a little harder to control  due to his recent madness.

The book would later get a name change to Dark Avengers, as well as getting a new team in the present day stories.  But with the name change the book lost a little of what made it great.  Whether it was that Parker was being forced to use the members of the new team or just the darker feel to the book, it just never recovered to me.  So when the story of the team trapped in time finally wrapped up I dropped the book.  But I have gone back and read Jeff Parker’s run on Thunderbolts a couple of times and it still has all of the same fun with each time I revisited it.

These are just the runs that standout to me for the ability to redefine a character or team.  But there are many others that are out there.  And I look forward to hearing some of the ones that standout to you guys.  Thanks for reading my article.  If you have any comments, questions, or suggestions for future articles.  Please leave them in the comments section.  And as always.  Keep Reading Comic Fans!!!