Posted in Comic Book Roundup

Weekly Comic Book Roundup #12

Batman: White Knight

(Batman: White Knight #1-8)

by Sean Gordon Murphy (Writer/Illustrator), Matt Hollingsworth (Colorist)

The Synopsis

He’s been called a maniac, a killer and the “Clown Prince of Crime” but “white knight”? Never. Until now…

Set in a world where the Joker is cured of his insanity and homicidal tendencies, The Joker, now known as “Jack,” sets about trying to right his wrongs. First, he plans to reconcile with Harley Quinn, and then he’ll try to save the city from the one person who he thinks is truly Gotham City’s greatest villain: Batman!

Superstar writer and artist Sean Murphy (PUNK ROCK JESUS, THE WAKE) presents a seven-issue miniseries of a twisted Gotham City with a massive cast of heroes and villains that, at its heart, is a tragic story of a hero and a villain: Batman and The Joker. But which is the hero—and which the villain?

COLLECTING: Batman: White Knight 1-8

The Verdict

A truly unique Elseworld style story that sees the struggle between criminal reform and mental health come to life, Batman fans get to see a world where Jack Napier takes control of his life again, banishing the Joker persona and showing off Batman’s brutal tactics as a hero that have evolved during their war against one another. However is the Joker ever truly gone? Or is he lingering in Jack’s mind, waiting to take control once more. Getting to see the struggle of these two men and those caught in the middle is a great character study, and really gives an even more complex edge to the character of the Joker. 

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Super Sons, Volume 1: When I Grow Up

(Super Sons (Collected Editions) #1)

by Peter J. Tomasi (Contributor), Jorge Jimenez

The Synopsis

A part of DC Universe Rebirth!

Superboy (aka Jonathan Kent) and Robin (aka Damian Wayne) make their super hero duo debut in this all-new series SUPER SONS, part of DC Rebirth.

This debut series looks at the lives of Robin and Superboy and their destiny to follow in their fathers’ footsteps, while we meet a new villain whose ascension parallels the boys’ own understanding of their powers-except that he believes it’s his right to rule over every being on the planet!

Collects SUPER SONS #1-5

The Verdict

A brilliant new era of superheroes rises in this new series. Not only is it a treat to see the sons and family of Batman and Superman living on and enduring the trials that come with being in a superhero family, but it is great to see the sons mimicking the trials and tribulations that came with Batman and Superman’s first forays into uneasy friendship. Fun, action packed and great storytelling abound in this great collection of stories!

Legion: Trauma

(Legion #1-5)

by Peter Milligan (Text), Wilfredo Torres (Illustrations)

The Synopsis

A mind-bending X-Men tale from the brains of Peter Milligan (X-STATIX, Shade the Changing Man) and Wilfredo Torres (MOON KNIGHT, BLACK PANTHER)! David Haller, the son of Professor Charles Xavier, has always had trouble containing the multiple personalities in his mind. And with each personality, comes a wild and dangerous mutant power. But now, a terrifying new personality is threatening to absorb these powers and take over David’s mind and body. In a desperate attempt to save himself, David seeks out the help of renowned young psychotherapist Hannah Jones to delve into his fractured mind and fight back this dark personality. But unknown to Legion…Dr. Jones brings her own demons with her…

COLLECTING: LEGION 1-5 

The Verdict

A truly fascinating look into the world of mental health struggles and how not only the outside world deals with those suffering from it but how those suffering from it deal with the world around them and within them. Adding this into the world of the X-Men, a group of people already facing judgment, hatred, and violence on an everyday occurrence, makes this read even more powerful as Legion seeks out help in stopping one of his alters from taking over completely. A masterful story in the larger world of the X-Men.

Hunt for Wolverine

(Hunt for Wolverine (Collected Editions) #1-4)

by Charles Soule (Goodreads Author) (Text)

The Synopsis

Wolverine is back – but where is he? Just as the X-Men have finally come to terms with Logan’s death, a terrible secret means old wounds are reopened, truths are questioned, and an epic quest begins across the Marvel Universe. But who will solve the puzzle first? Will it be Daredevil and his crack squad of investigators, including Misty Knight? Or Logan’s former fellow New Avengers, Iron Man, Spider-Man, Jessica Jones and Luke Cage? Or perhaps Sabretooth, Lady Deathstrike and Daken will be the ones to track him down! With mystery in Madripoor and around the globe, the return of Wolverine will keep you guessing! COLLECTING: HUNT FOR WOLVERINE 1, HUNT FOR WOLVERINE: WEAPON LOST 1-4, HUNT FOR WOLVERINE: ADAMANTIUM AGENDA 1-4, HUNT FOR WOLVERINE: CLAWS OF A KILLER 1-4, HUNT FOR WOLVERINE: MYSTERY IN MADRIPOOR 1-4, WHERE’S WOLVERINE PAGES

The Verdict

A great way to really cement Wolverine’s importance to the entire Marvel universe. Not only did he affect the X-Men, but his many enemies, the Avengers and the world as a whole. Getting to see the various perspectives of each team of investigators as they approached the search for Wolverine from so many different angles made this a truly one of a kind read. It’s a must-read for all Wolverine fans out there leading into the Modern Marvel age. 

Return of Wolverine

(Return of Wolverine #1-5)

by Charles Soule (Goodreads Author), Steve McNiven (Illustrator), Declan Shalvey (Illustrator)

The Synopsis

Wolverine’s body has been missing. The entire Marvel Universe has been looking for him, because he’s a very important part of the Super Hero puzzle. And at long last, he will be found.

COLLECTING: RETURN OF WOLVERINE 1-5

The Verdict

One of Logan’s worst nightmares realized, the man known as Wolverine awakens with his memories hazy, and discovers he has been used as a weapon. As the mysterious new enemy slowly reveals themselves, Wolverine struggles as he is pitted against former allies, and before he can realize his full memories he is imprisoned and fighting to save the world from a deadly new threat once more. That’s why he’s the best at what he does. 

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Wolverine: Infinity Watch

(Wolverine: Infinity Watch #1-5)

by Gerry Duggan (Goodreads Author), Andy MacDonald (Illustrations)

The Synopsis

Logan goes cosmic! Wolverine has returned, alive and well. But hang on — didn’t he have an Infinity Stone? How did that happen?! And wasn’t he popping up all over the place for a little while? The answers are finally revealed as Logan joined forces with everyone’s favorite god of mischief, Loki Laufeyson! Wolverine is the best there is at what he does. But how good is he at protecting the universe from cosmic disaster? Will he be better or worse than Loki, the admitted lord of lies? We’re about to learn! But one thing’s for sure: Logan’s claws will come in handy against the notorious, unstoppable killing machines known as the Fraternity of Raptors!

Collects Wolverine: Infinity Watch 1-5

The Verdict

After returning back to the land of the living, Wolverine finds his return home is nothing he was expecting. Confronted by the events spiraling out of Infinity Wars, Logan finds himself presented with a mission by his future self from the end of time, and must protect one of the Infinity gems that has become a living human being imbued with its cosmic power. Faced with the merciless power of the cosmic enemies the Raptors, a destroyed X-Mansion and missing friends, Logan truly shines both as his own character and a force of nature in the Marvel universe once more.

Wolverine: Exit Wounds #1

(Wolverine: One-Shots)

by Chris ClaremontLarry HamaSam KiethRyan Stegman (Cover Art), Salvador Larroca (Artist), Scot Eaton (Artist)

The Synopsis

WOLVERINE LEGENDS, CHRIS CLAREMONT, LARRY HAMA & SAM KEITH REUNITE! He goes by many names… Patch…Weapon X…Logan…but most just call him THE WOLVERINE. Join Marvel’s greatest storytellers for three brand-new untold tales of the X-Men’s deadliest member. Blood, broads, and blades… you asked for it, bub!

The Verdict

A great look into Logan as a character more than just the weapon he was made to be. These unique stories never before seen showcase the hero’s complex, painful and emotional story from being forced to become Weapon X to his hidden past and so much more. A truly great read for Wolverine fans who can’t get enough of the character. 

Wolverine Vs. Blade Special (2019) #1

(Wolverine: One-Shots)

by Marc GuggenheimDave Wilkins (Cover Art)

The Synopsis

Two of the deadliest hunters ever to have stalked the night face off! Wolverine vs. Blade — ’nuff said!

The Verdict

Getting to see these two powerful forces of nature within the Marvel Universe not only interact, but battling one another is a Marvel fan’s dream! The action is intense, the new vampiric prophecy that brings them together is interesting and the new foe that comes into the mix heightens the intense bloodshed and intensity of these two characters. A truly wonderful and gritty read!

X-Men Red, Vol. 1: The Hate Machine

(X-Men Red #1)

by Tom Taylor (Goodreads Author), Mahmud Asrar (Illustrator), Pascal Alixe (Illustrator)

The Synopsis

Jean Grey is back – with her own team of X-Men! Reborn into a world she doesn’t recognize, Jean gathers allies old and new – including Nightcrawler, Namor and the All-New Wolverine – to face an evil that threatens to tear down Xavier’s dream by any means necessary! The red squad must infiltrate a top-secret compound in order to save a mutant they’ve never met. They’ll have to avoid guards armed with high-tech guns, protestors armed with burning hate, and Sentinels armed with…even bigger and more dangerous guns than the guards. All in a day’s work for the X-Men! But as battle rages in India, the newest recruit may be the key to the whole team’s survival! Gambit finds himself caught up the intensifying global frenzy of mutant hate – but could one of Jean’s oldest friends turn foe?

COLLECTING: X-MEN RED 1-5, X-MEN RED ANNUAL 1

The Verdict

A one of a kind story that showcases the powerful character that is Jean Grey. For so long her complex nature has shown her as a powerful mutant, a founding member of the X-Men, a complex character overtaken by a powerful cosmic force, and a time-displaced hero trying to find redemption for her future self. Now the true Jean Grey is returned, and getting to see her become not only a new X-Men leader but the visionary behind a brighter mutant future is great to see. Having a new and powerful villain to match Jean’s own skill makes this an even greater read, and speaks volumes to the current climate in our world that sees too much violence and hatred towards specific groups of people. A must-read for X-Men fans!

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Star Wars: Darth Vader – Dark Lord of the Sith, Vol. 1: Imperial Machine

(Star Wars: Darth Vader – Dark Lord of the Sith #1)

by Charles Soule (Goodreads Author), Giuseppe Camuncoli (Illustrator)

The Synopsis

Picking up where Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith ends, follow Darth Vader as he receives his legendary red lightsaber and begins his ruthless rise! Anakin Skywalker is now more machine than man. Having lost everything once dear to him, he must forge a new future–as a Dark Lord of the Sith! Join Darth Vader as he learns the way of Darth Sidious and his newly formed Empire–the way of the dark side. And on his first mission, Vader sets his sights on a Jedi who avoided Order 66, a Master who’s long lived in seclusion–one more powerful than any he has faced before! Nobody said the path to power was going to be easy.

COLLECTING: STAR WARS: DARTH VADER 1-6

The Verdict

A great exploration of the very early days of Anakin Skywalker’s rise into the role of Darth Vader. Taking place shortly after the events that saw the Jedi Order destroyed and Anakin nearly killed at the hands of Obi Wan Kenobi, Vader becomes the frightening villain so many Star Wars fans grew up knowing him to be. The complex nature of this character’s struggles mixed with his descent into villainy shine through here, as do the early days of the Inquisitors and their training at Vader’s brutal hands. A true must-read narrative for Star Wars fans!

Posted in Comic Book Roundup

Weekly Comic Book Roundup #10

Iceman, Vol. 1: Thawing Out

(Iceman (2017/18) (Collected Editions) #1)

by Sina Grace (Goodreads Author), Alessandro Vitti (Illustrator), Edgar Salazar (Illustrator)

Synopsis

Bobby Drake has been in the super hero game longer than most – but what has he left behind besides a few good one-liners and a string of failed relationships? And now a younger version of himself has emerged from the timestream – and he’s more put together than Bobby ever was. He grapples with his gay identity and his family and how to build a life and legacy he can be proud of…and become the best Iceman he can be! But, whether it’s seeking his ex-girlfriend Kitty Pryde’s advice on meeting guys, or delivering his latest news to his folks, it won’t be easy – and that’s before a gang of revenge-seeking Purifiers comes calling! And, still learning to be comfortable in his own skin, Bobby will meet someone who’s perhaps too comfortable in his – the son of Wolverine himself, Daken!

COLLECTING: ICEMAN (2017) 1-5

Verdict

Great story that delves into one of the original X-Men members, and fully explores the struggles of the LGBTQ community. Bobby is a fantastic protagonist and getting to see this new side of him makes for wonderful storytelling. The blend of Bobby’s humor with his personal struggles not only coming out to his friends and family, but learning to live his life to the fullest, make this a must read X-Men tie-in title. 

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Jean Grey, Vol. 1: Nightmare Fuel

(Jean Grey (2017))

by Dennis Hopeless (Text), Víctor Ibáñez (Artist)

Synopsis

When the teenage Marvel Girl traveled through time and arrived in the present, she learned the terrible fate that befell her adult counterpart. Possessed by a cosmic entity called the Phoenix, that Jean Grey was trapped in an endless cycle of life and death. Now, determined to escape that future, young Jean sets out to write her own destiny. But when she has a premonition that the Phoenix is coming for her, she’ll have to fight tooth and nail not to become its next victim! Jean enlists the help of some of its previous hosts – but will the ultimate brain trust of Rachel Grey, Quentin Quire and Hope Summers have the answers she’s searching for? COLLECTING: JEAN GREY 1-6

Verdict

A fantastic story! Getting to see Jean coming face to face with the threat of her future repeating itself makes for a unique experience. The threat looming over her of the Phoenix coming for her brings her to the larger Marvel universe, searching for a way to prepare and fight the coming of the cosmic threat. A wonderful deep dive into a complex and beloved character. 

Phoenix Resurrection: The Return of Jean Grey

(Phoenix Resurrection: The Return of Jean Grey #1-5)

by Matthew RosenbergLeinil Francis Yu (Illustrator), Carlos Pacheco (Illustrator), Ramon Rosanas (Illustrator)

Synopsis

Like a Phoenix from the ashes, she will rise! Years ago, Jean Grey died at the hands of a villainous mutant – and the X-Men mourned her. But that was then – and in the years that have passed since that shocking loss, the world has changed. Jean’s teammates have lived without her, and some have died without her. But now, when strange and mysterious events start happening all over the world, an unmistakable pattern forms, and Jean’s friends and loved ones can only come to one startling conclusion. Impossible as it seems – the one true Jean Grey is back from the dead! COLLECTING: PHOENIX RESURRECTION: THE RETURN OF JEAN GREY 1-5

Verdict

Returning one of the X-Men’s greatest characters and storylines to the modern era was a brilliant move. The story of the older Jean Grey returning to the Marvel Universe thanks to the cosmic power of rebirth from the Phoenix Force and the complex battle between Jean’s humanity and the lure of the Phoenix itself brought a powerful storyline to the forefront, one that had been teased and shown for months in the Marvel universe. A must read for X-Men fans! 

X-Men Gold, Vol. 1: Back to the Basics

(X-Men Gold (Collected Editions) #1)

by Marc GuggenheimArdian Syaf (Penciler), Cullen Bunn (Goodreads Author), Jay Leisten (Inker), Kelly Thompson (Goodreads Author), Ken Lashley (Illustrator), Chris ClaremontMike Mayhew (Illustrator) , Craig Yeung (Inker), Frank Martin (Colorist), Leah Williams (Goodreads Author), Jürgen Petz (Translator), Monty NeroAndrew Crossley (Colorist), R.B. Silva (Penciler), Cory Petit (Letterer), Adriano Di Benedetto (Inker), Various (Illustrator), Jorge Molina (Illustrator), Diego Bernard (Illustrator), Arthur Adams (Illustrator), Lan Medina (Illustrator), Thony Silas (Illustrator), Ryan Stegman (Illustrator), Michele Bandini (Illustrator), Geraldo Borges (Illustrator), David Marquez (Illustrator), Greg Land (Illustrator), Marika Cresta (Illustrator), Todd Nauck (Illustrator), Phil Noto (Illustrator), Pere Pérez (Illustrator), Alitha Martinez (Illustrator), Djibril Morissette-Phan (Illustrator)

Synopsis

In the wake of their war with the Inhumans, the X-Men are at a crossroads – where do they go from here? Luckily, one beloved X-Man has the answer to that question! Now, Xavier’s dream comes full circle as Kitty Pryde returns to lead the team into a golden future! Storm, Colossus, Nightcrawler, Rachel Grey and Old Man Logan will renew their mission to protect a world that hates and fears them, as the next chapter in the saga of the X-Men begins! But even as the new team rises out of the ashes of IVX, a new Brotherhood of Evil Mutants isn’t far behind. And when their rampage through New York City begins, there will be some surprisingly familiar faces in their ranks! Who has turned their backs on the X-Men…and why?

COLLECTING: X-MEN: GOLD 1-6, X-MEN PRIME 1

Verdict

A phenomenal new era of the X-Men begins here! The fight for equality begins anew after the devastation caused by the war between the mutants and the Inhumans. With anti-mutant sentiment on the rise, Kitty Pryde leads a new lineup of classic X-Men to fight the good fight and promote unity in a time of division. A must-read book in times where division is on the rise in our own world and unity is much needed. 

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Justice League of America, Vol. 1: The Extremists

(Justice League of America (2017) #1)

by Steve Orlando (Writer), Ivan Reis (Penciler), Joe Prado (Inker)

Synopsis

Written by rising star Steve Orlando (BATMAN, MIDNIGHTER) and illustrated by a league of superstar artists including Ivan Reis (GREEN LANTERN) and Andy MacDonald (DETECTIVE COMICS), this JUSTICE LEAGUE VS. SUICIDE SQUAD spin-off is a JLA for a whole new era–exploding from the pages of the blockbuster DC Rebirth event!

The Justice League and the Suicide Squad—the World’s Greatest Heroes and its worst—went to war. A team unlike any other rose from the ashes.

Batman. Black Canary. Vixen. The Atom. The Ray. Killer Frost. Lobo. Some are heroes, some are villains and some exist in the gray area in between. But the Caped Crusader sees the potential in all of them to show everyday people that their superhuman guardians are just like them: capable of fighting for justice despite their flaws.

Batman had better be right, because Earth is about to be invaded by a threat from beyond our universe. The tyrant called Lord Havok and his army of Extremists are out to make the planet safe again—by destroying the free will of all its inhabitants.

Can this untested new Justice League help America fend off the Extremists’ agenda? And can the Dark Knight contain the Main Man—the living weapon of mass destruction known as Lobo?

Discover the answers in JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA VOL. 1: THE EXTREMISTS! Collects issues #1-6 and JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA: REBIRTH #1.

Verdict

A fantastic new era of the JLA begins as Batman and Vixen build a team in the hopes of uniting the public with the superhero community. Yet the question of heroism and the limits the superhuman community need come into question when superpowered beings from another world bring dominance and violence in order to preserve peace on Earth, in the hopes they can stop the mistakes made on their own world from repeating themselves. It introduces a great new series of foes while showcasing the unique lineup of heroes that the team brings together. 

Moon Knight, Vol. 1: Lunatic

(Moon Knight (2016) #1)

by Jeff Lemire (Writer), Greg Smallwood (Illustrations)

Synopsis

Marc Spector (a.k.a. Moon Knight/Jake Lockley/Steven Grant) has been fighting criminals and keeping New York City safe for years… or has he? When he wakes up in an insane asylum with no powers and a lifetime’s worth of medical records, his whole identity (identities) are called into question. Something is wrong, but is that something Marc Spector himself? Jeff Lemire (Extraordinary X-Men) and rising star Greg Smallwood are calling everything you know about Moon Knight into question.

CollectingMoon Knight 1-5

Verdict

Expertly dives into the complex nature of the mental health system and how not only those affected by mental health struggles get the help they need, but the changes that need to be made to the mental health care system as a whole to help protect those who can’t protect themselves. In that message comes the action-fueled, mythological story of Marc Spector and Moon Knight. A brilliant read, especially with Moon Knight set to make his debut in the MCU in the coming years. 

Deadpool: Last Days of Magic #1

(Deadpool: One-Shots)

by Gerry Duggan (Goodreads Author), Scott Koblish (Illustrator), Humberto Ramos (Illustrator)

Synopsis

From the pages of Doctor Strange…the Empirikul are waging a war on magic with the goal of wiping the fantastical from the pages of existence. This concerns Deadpool, because some of his best friends are magic. As the Empirikul forces batter the defenses of the Monster Metropolis ruled by his demonic wife, Deadpool wades into battle alongside his most spell-casting-est friends. And you know the old saying “Nothing ever goes wrong in a war.” That’s a saying, right?

Verdict

Whenever Marvel fans see Deadpool, typically the storyline involves his mercenary work or collaborating with another hero and bringing his unique brand of humor and destruction along with him. Yet things always get a bit more interesting when Deadpool and the supernatural mix together. This is what this story does, bringing the world of Deadpool into the fight to preserve magic in the Marvel Universe as a new and powerful threat emerges, leading to an action packed fight for the ages that fans of Deadpool will not want to miss. 

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Suicide Squad: Rebirth Deluxe Edition Book 1

(Suicide Squad (2016) #1-2)

by Rob WilliamsJim Lee (Illustrations)

Synopsis

The Rebirth Era SUICIDE SQUAD tales are collected in hardcover for the first time ever here in SUICIDE SQUAD: THE REBIRTH DELUXE EDITION BOOK 1!

Harley Quinn. Deadshot. Killer Croc. Captain Boomerang. Enchantress. Katana.

Separately, they’re an FBI “most wanted” list come to life. Together–under the command of the iron-willed Colonel Rick Flag and the indomitable Amanda Waller–they’re one of the world’s most effective fighting forces, ideally suited for the brutal but necessary jobs that are too dirty for regular superheroes. They are the top-secret operatives of Task Force X–the Suicide Squad. And they’re about to welcome a brand-new member.

When Waller orders her team to recover an object known as the Black Vault from enemy hands, the Squad has no idea that within its opaque depths lurks the genocidal Kryptonian madman whose power and rage nearly took down Superman himself–General Zod.

Beyond the challenge of subduing its newly acquired captive, however, Task Force X faces even greater dangers from the sinister sphere that once contained him. As its dark energies begin to wreak havoc on the team’s sanity, only its craziest member, Harley Quinn, is able to resist its insidious influence. But can one newly sane psychologist single-handedly stop the madness of the Black Vault, defeat Zod and keep the Suicide Squad from living up to its name?

Red-hot writer Rob Williams and legendary artist Jim Lee unleash the insanity in SUICIDE SQUAD: REBIRTH DELUXE EDITION BOOK #1, starring the characters you love and hate from the smash-hit movie! Exploding from DC’s blockbuster Rebirth event, this deluxe hardcover collects SUICIDE SQUAD #1-8 and the one-shots SUICIDE SQUAD: REBIRTH and HARLEY QUINN AND THE SUICIDE SQUAD APRIL FOOLS’ SPECIAL, and features stories illustrated by a murderers’ row of superstar artists including Philip Tan, Jason Fabok, Ivan Reis, Gary Frank, Stephen Byrne, Carlos D’Anda, Christian Ward, Giuseppe Camuncoli and Sean “Cheeks” Galloway.

Verdict

A gritty, bloody deep dive into the world of Suicide Squad for the Rebirth era. Visceral and intense in its delivery and artistic approach, the story does a great job of introducing a powerful threat that challenges the new Squad in ways they could never have imagined, and immediately highlights the real danger and ease for which this team could rotate in its roster as the story moves forward. A fantastic introduction to the Suicide Squad in DC’s Rebirth era. 

Cosmic Ghost Rider Destroys Marvel History

(Cosmic Ghost Rider Destroys Marvel History #1-6)

by Paul ScheerNick Giovannetti (Artist), Gerardo Sandoval (Artist)

Synopsis

Frank Castle’s future self, once the Punisher and now the twisted Cosmic Ghost Rider, is stuck in the past! So he might as well have some fun with the origins of the Marvel Universe, right?! After going back in time once already and trying to kill Thanos as a baby, Castle has sworn off trying to alter history. But when he arrives in Earth’s past at the birth of the Fantastic Four, how can he resist jumping in on the fun? And will Cosmic Ghost Rider take up the mantle once he derails Spider-Man’s origin? With great power, there must also come total irresponsibility! Plus more drastic interventions on events you thought you knew. Take a seat and prepare to have your childhood memories destroyed!

COLLECTING: COSMIC GHOST RIDER DESTROYS MARVEL HISTORY #1-6 

Verdict

A great retelling of the history of the Marvel Universe, the story expertly brings one of Marvel’s best new characters in recent years into the grander picture of the Marvel Universe. Readers are treated to artwork and style that speaks to the eras that the Cosmic Ghost Rider becomes a part of, while changing the way events occurred that defined some characters throughout their history. Ultimately, Cosmic Ghost Rider becomes far more important to the universe than anyone could have ever guessed. A must read for all Marvel fans. 

Mockingbird, Vol. 1: I Can Explain

(Mockingbird (2016) #1)

by Chelsea Cain (Goodreads Author), Kate Niemczyk (Illustrations)

Synopsis

Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. Bobbi Morse, the former Avenger known as Mockingbird, goes solo in her own incredible adventures! With a scientific mind and a lethal mastery of martial arts, she’s one of the most versatile, in-demand assets at Maria Hill’s disposal – that makes her ideal for investigating strange goings-on in S.H.I.E.L.D.’s own medical and recovery network. And when Lance Hunter’s undercover gig at the London Hellfire Club goes south, Mockingbird sets off, battle staves at the ready, to save him – and the Queen of England! From helping out a teen driven bonkers by her own new powers, to doing a little dog-sitting, Bobbi shows that she’s a woman of many talents as bestselling author Chelsea Cain and artist Kate Niemczyk make Mockingbird sing!

COLLECTING: MOCKINGBIRD: S.H.I.E.L.D. 50TH ANNIVERSARY 1, MOCKINGBIRD 1-5

Verdict

A fun and adventurous deep dive into one of Marvel’s more underutilized heroes, Mockingbird is a brilliant hero and spy who’s sense of humor and hold nothing back attitude make her an unstoppable force in the Marvel Universe. Fantastic artwork and brilliant storytelling make this limited series a wonderful storyline that could be expanded upon in more series in the future. A great series overall from Marvel. 

Posted in Comic Book Roundup

Weekly Comic Book Roundup #8

DC Nuclear Winter Special #1

(DC One-Shot Anthologies)

by Dave WielgoszSteve OrlandoCollin KellyJackson LanzingPaul DiniPhil HesterMark Russell (Goodreads Author), Mairghread Scott (Goodreads Author) , Jeff LovenessTom TaylorCecil Castellucci (Goodreads Author), Tomeu Morey (Illustrator), Nathan Fairbairn (Illustrator), Trish Mulvihill (Illustrator), Dave McCaig (Illustrator), Veronica Gandini (Illustrator), Hi-Fi (Illustrator), Romulo Fajardo Jr. (Illustrator), Luis Guerrero (Illustrator), Brian Buccellato (Illustrator), John Kalisz (Illustrator), Yasmine Putri (Illustrator), Yanick Paquette (Illustrator), Cam Smith (Illustrator), Jerry Ordway (Illustrator), Andrew Hennessy (Illustrator), Ande Parks (Illustrator), Dexter Soy (Illustrator), Mike Norton (Illustrator), Christian Duce (Illustrator), Amancay Nahuelpan (Illustrator), Scott Kolins (Illustrator), Giuseppe Camuncoli (Illustrator), Brad Walker (Illustrator)

Synopsis

The holidays are tough enough as it is, but when you’re living in a post-apocalyptic wasteland (or, you know, 2018) the world can seem bleaker than ever. So do yourself a favor this holiday season, break out your best eggnog and enjoy 10 all-new stories featuring the World’s Greatest Heroes, including looks at the futures of Batman, Superman and the Flash, as well as many more denizens of the DC Universe.

Verdict

An expertly told, gritty tale with a glint of hope on the horizon as the post apocalyptic nature of these stories take on a holiday twist. Exploring the holidays throughout the DC Multiverse and how each character adapts to the holidays in these gruesome worlds was an inspired creative choice, and combined with the gritty artwork this is the perfect read for fans of the DC Universe during the holidays. 


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Harley Quinn Holiday Special #1

by Amanda ConnerJimmy PalmiottiDarwyn Cooke (Illustrator), Mauricet (Illustrator), Brandt Peters (Illustrator), Dave McCaig (Colorist), Paul Mounts (Cover Designer)

Synopsis

A gut-busting collection of short stories featuring Harley and her special brand of holiday cheer! Can she get through Christmas dinner without blowing something up? Who will survive the war of the department-store Santas? Don’t miss this one—after all, you can’t spell “holidays” without “Harley!” (give or take a couple letters).

Verdict

A wonderful blend of humor and fun that only Harley Quinn could provide. A brilliant collection of Harley exploring the many sides of the holidays, and the way her unique mind processes the life lessons the holidays can teach us. A fun read for any comic fan during the holidays. 


Wonder Woman: Rebirth Deluxe Edition Book 1

(Wonder Woman (2016) (Single Issues) -1, 1-14)

by Greg RuckaLiam Sharp (Illustrator), Nicola Scott (Illustrator), Bilquis Evely (Illustrator)

Synopsis

The first two volumes of the NEW YORK TIMES best-selling author Greg Rucka’s return to WONDER WOMAN as a part of DC Universe Rebirth are collected here in hardcover for the first time ever!

After suffering an unimaginable loss, Diana must rebuild her mission as Earth’s ultimate protector and champion. However, in the midst of her grief, her Lasso of Truth stopped working! Start down the rabbit hole as dark secrets from Wonder Woman’s past unravel her present!

Flashing back between Year One and the current day, Greg Rucka and illustrators Liam Sharp and Nicola Scott weave together an epic of the Amazon Warrior, the likes of which have never been seen! This new deluxe edition collects WONDER WOMAN #1-14 and the WONDER WOMAN: REBIRTH one-shot.

Verdict

A brilliant new chapter in the long running history of Wonder Woman. Introducing the hero in the Rebirth era, the story focuses on two aspects of Diana’s history. The moment she joined man’s world and her impact on the world at large, and her understanding of her multiple origin stories and her mission to rescue an old friend from herself and in the process regain her true history. The artwork is reminiscent of iconic legends of Greek mythology and the story really draws the reader in, making for a great deluxe collection of issues of Wonder Woman’s Rebirth era. 


Marvel Universe vs. the Punisher

(Marvel Universe Vs. #1)

by Jonathan Maberry (Goodreads Author) (Writer), Goran Parlov (Artist)

Synopsis

The creative team of Jonathan Maberry and Goran Parlov take you on a journey into the darkest territory in this Marvel Knights series. A terrible plague has swept the Earth, turning everyone – human, hero, villain, god and monster — into sadistic cannibal predators. As Spider-Man, the Hulk, the Thing and other infected start a feeding frenzy, the world falls in a wave of insatiable violence. Now, five years later, one man hunts the wasteland that was New York City. One man stands against the hordes of monsters who hunt the night. He is the Punisher, the Last Gun on Earth. And he has an endless supply of ammunition. This oversized hardcover also comes packed with cover sketches and other choice extras. Collecting MARVEL UNIVERSE VS. THE PUNISHER #1-4.

Verdict

A powerful, gritty and surreal new chapter in the Marvel Multiverse. A universe in which most of the most noble heroes of Earth are drastically transformed into primitive, monstrous versions of their former selves, and the one man who unleashes his own monster in order to stop them. Exploring the downward spiral a virus taking Earth’s heroes would take, the volume explores the aftermath of this scenario more so than anything else, and the fight for survival for the few who didn’t get the disease. A great read for anyone who loves alternative Marvel histories. 


Marvel Universe vs. Wolverine

(Marvel Universe vs. Wolverine #1-4)

by Jonathan Maberry (Goodreads Author) (Text), Goran ParlovLaurence Campbell (Illustrations)

Synopsis

Last year The Marvel Universe vs the Punisher showed you the ruins of our world. Now witness the fall. NY Times bestseller Jonathan Maberry reveals the dark and terrible events that take us from the outbreak of a deadly plague to the beginning of the last war for planet earth. A dreadful disease begins transforming everyone -human and superhuman-into savage, nearly mindless cannibal predators. Who will protect humanity? Who will make a stand against the endless slaughter? Who has the courage to make the hardest of hard choices? One word: SNIKT!

Verdict

A fantastic continuation of this dark and gritty world. Getting the perspective of a hero who has faced death time and time again, surviving each time, as he faces a virus that not only destroys the body but the mind, transforming his friends into living monsters, is a wildly unique story. The fight for the survival of humanity and the battle against former friends and heroes who have become the enemy overnight makes this a one of a kind read, with visceral artwork that depicts the brutal new Marvel Universe in the perfect way. 


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Marvel Universe vs. the Avengers

(Marvel Universe Vs. #3)

by Jonathan Maberry (Goodreads Author) (Text), Leandro Fernández (Illustrations)

Synopsis

In “Marvel Universe vs. the Punisher” we journeyed through the ruins of our world. In the Bram Stoker Award-nominated “Marvel Universe vs. Wolverine” we witnessed the fall. Now, Marvel presents the war. Some worlds can’t be saved…but all worlds can be avenged. Doctor Doom says that he can cure the cannibal plague that is consuming the Marvel Universe – but his price is to become Emperor of Earth. How far would you go to save the world? That’s the question the Avengers must answer! COLLECTING: Marvel Universe Vs . The Avengers 1-4

Verdict

The final stand of the Avengers in a world slowly destroying itself, this final chapter in the story of a Marvel universe ravaged by an unstoppable virus and the changes it makes in the heroes of Earth is one of a kind. The unique story of Hawkeye and his interactions with Doctor Doom as the surviving Avengers are forced to listen to the madman’s demands or face total annihilation is a fantastic concluding story to this tale. A must read for all Marvel fans! 

Posted in Comic Book Roundup, reviews

Weekly Comic Book Roundup #7

Batgirl, Volume 1: Beyond Burnside

(Batgirl (2016) #1)

by Hope Larson (Writer), Raphael Albuquerque (Artist), Dave McCaig (Colourist), Deron Bennett (Letterer)

Synopsis

A part of DC Universe: Rebirth!

Barbara Gordon looks to add a new bullet point to her already impressive Batgirl resume: travel agent. Having just (barely!) survived the Battle of Burnside and verging on an Arkham-worthy breakdown, the star pulls a Kerouac and gets on the road to find herself.

Follow Babs on her worldwide quest in Batgirl, Volume 1: Beyond Burnside, with New York Times best-selling author Hope Larson and award-winning artist Raphael Albuquerque leading the way!

CollectingBatgirl 1-6

Verdict

A strong, gripping return of everyone’s favorite tech expert and crime-fighting hero! Barbara Gordon combines the humor and wit of her day to day personality perfectly with the expert crime fighter and brilliant technical mind to create a fully rounded character fans can rally behind. Showcasing Batgirl on a journey of self-discovery leads to a run-in with an old friend and soon leads into a long road of training, romance and self-realization that is somewhat reminiscent of the journey Batman himself took in the years before he returned to become the dark knight of Gotham. It is a fantastic start to Batgirl’s Rebirth era storylines. 

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Dead Man Logan, Vol. 1: Sins of the Father

(Old Man Logan (Collected Editions) #11)

by Ed BrissonMike Henderson (Contributor)

Synopsis

The writing’s been on the wall for months now…Old Man Logan is dying. And he ain’t going to get better this time. Sick from the Adamantium coating his skeleton, Logan’s search for a cure has led to nothing but dead ends. But for once, he’s actually trying to leave this world with some unfinished business. Can Logan take his last breath without slaughtering the X-Men again? Not if Mysterio has anything to say about it! The villain means to set in motion the mutant massacre at the crux of Old Man Logan’s apocalyptic future timeline. But is someone pulling Mysterio’s strings? The master of illusion’s newest benefactors will surprise you…and Logan!

COLLECTING: Dead Man Logan 1-6

Verdict

One of Marvel’s greatest characters developed over the last decade, Old Man Logan’s final chapter in his long life is a great story to be told. The story of a hero facing the final end he’s waited for for so long is beautifully written and executed, showcasing not only his mission to prevent the war he lived through from ever happening again, but the long road of acceptance that comes to those facing the end of their lives. A powerful hero like Logan deserves a final story worthy of the person behind the hero, and this first story arc in that final chapter is incredibly well written and engaging. A must read for any die-hard Marvel and specially X-Men fans out there! 

Iron Fist, Vol. 1: The Trial of the Seven Masters

(Iron Fist (2017) (Collected Editions) #1)

by Ed Brisson (Writer), Mike Perkins (Illustrator), Jeff Dekal (Illustrator)

Synopsis

The mystical city of K’un-Lun lies in ruins. The chi that fuels Danny Rand’s power is wavering. Can there be any future for the Iron Fist? Danny must push himself to the breaking point, finding rivals against whom he can prove his worth. But a bigger battle than he can handle may have just found him: On a mysterious island stand seven deadly kung fu masters. Can Danny run a gauntlet through all of them and regain his place in the world? As the game of death begins, the Iron Fist is in for the fights of his life – against the Serpent, the Wolf and more! As a dark history is revealed, the war for the chi of K’un-Lun is about to get very bloody!

COLLECTING: IRON FIST 1-5

Verdict

Visually stunning and amazingly written, this chapter in Danny Rand’s story is fantastic to see unfold. The artwork reminds readers of a gritty, classic martial arts film playing out on the pages before them, while the story expertly showcases Danny’s introduction to a whole new story in the K’un-Lun mythology, as well as the Iron Fist, as he tries to regain his power and return to the city he failed to protect when they needed him most. A blend of Danny’s humor in battle with his inner power and resolve make this a phenomenal chapter in the Iron Fist saga. 

Mera: Queen of Atlantis

(Mera: Queen of Atlantis #1-6)

by Dan Abnett (Goodreads Author), Lan Medina (Illustrations), Veronica Gandini (Illustrator), Nicola Scott (Illustrator), Romulo Fajardo Jr. (Illustrator), Richard Friend (Illustrator), Norm Rapmund (Illustrator)

Synopsis

From the pages of Aquaman comes a brand-new adventure starring Mera, in her own title for the first time ever!

As the brutal Atlantean Civil War rages, Mera must keep the peace between the surface world and Atlantis as its newly anointed queen in exile. But when Aquaman’s brother Orm, a.k.a. Ocean Master, learns of his homeland’s fate, he feels he must return to Atlantis as its king and savior! But Orm is now torn between his duty to Atlantis and his love for his new surface family–and both he and Mera will clash over the futures they choose to fight for!

From the critically acclaimed author Dan Abnett (Aquaman) and Eisner Award-winning artist Lan Medina (Fables), Atlantis gets a new ruler in Mera: Queen of Atlantis! Collects #1-6.

Verdict

One of the best Mera-driven stories in DC Comics, this series does an amazing job of exploring the life, history and power of one of DC Comics most underrated heroes, Mera, Queen of Atlantis. Her blend of strength and resolve for her people and her limitless love for Arthur make her such a well rounded character and hero, and her journey to reclaim her power and her throne are amazing to see unfold. Even more, the complex nature of Ocean Master, aka Orm, and his interactions not only with Mera but the family he began to make on the surface world are great to see unfold, making for some amazing character development. A fantastic new chapter in the Atlantis history of DC Comics. 

Aquaman: Rebirth Deluxe Edition Book 1

(Aquaman (2016) (Single Issues) -1, 1-12)

by Dan Abnett (Goodreads Author) (Writer), Brad Walker (Artist), Phillipe Briones (Artist), Scot Eaton (Artist)

Synopsis

The first two volumes of Aquaman as a part of DC UniverseRebirth are collected here in hardcover for the first time ever!

Aquaman, the King of Atlantis, has never found a true home in either of the worlds that he was born of. In his undersea realm, Aquaman is both king and outsider. And on the surface world, he’s a hero and an outcast.

In this brand new series by fan-favorite writer Dan Abnett (Titans Hunt) and all-star pencillers Brad Walker (Sinestro), Phillipe Briones and Scot Eaton, the King of Atlantis attempts to broker a peace between Atlantis and the surface. But this noble quest might force Aquaman to finally choose whether to live his life above the waves, or below them. Plus, Black Manta makes his bloody return and seeks to destroy everything and everyone Aquaman loves!

CollectingAquaman 1-12, Rebirth

Verdict

This deluxe, double volume chapter in Aquaman’s Rebirth era is a great addition to the DC Universe in the Rebirth era. Not only does the story do a great job of exploring the rich mythology, culture and political intrigue of both Atlantis and it’s association with the surface world, but the story itself reflects the political upheaval that comes from nations like the United States interacting with a relatively unknown or mysterious nation that has yet to immerse itself into the United Nations. The fear and mistrust that comes from a nation of great power interacting with the larger world is a great concept, especially when that nation is the mythological Atlantis with a Justice Leaguer for a King and untold power at their fingertips. This is a wonderful start to Aquaman’s Rebirth storyline. 

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Wolverine: Old Man Logan, Vol. 1: Berzerker

(Old Man Logan (Collected Editions) #1)

by Jeff Lemire (Writer), Andrea Sorrentino (Illustrations)

Synopsis

Fifty years from now, Logan – the man who no longer calls himself Wolverine – will have endured many atrocities: The Marvel Universe’s villains will have banded together and rid the world of its heroes. Logan’s closest friend, Hawkeye, will have been murdered in cold blood right before his eyes. And driven mad by the same radiation that gave him his superhuman strength, Bruce Banner will have fathered a family of hillbilly Hulks…that eventually went on to slaughter Logan’s wife and two children. But now, in the present, Old Man Logan wakes up to discover himself in a world before these atrocities, before the Wasteland. And he’s going to seize this opportunity and change history to ensure that his future never comes to pass…

CollectingOld Man Logan 1-4, Giant-Size

Verdict

A fantastic new chapter in the life of one of Marvel’s oldest, most complex heroes and mutants to ever live, Wolverine. Now known as Old Man Logan, this man from an alternate world and future where he lost everything and the world was destroyed by the villains of the Marvel Universe, this story does an excellent job of shifting back and forth between Logan’s history and past with the present day 616 Marvel Universe. The struggle for a former hero desperate to change the past and save those he loves takes an interesting turn as Logan slowly discovers not everything is the same as it was in his future, and the heroes of the Marvel Universe discover a man broken by the past and fighting to save the future. It’s a wonderful character study of Logan and his mindset after enduring more pain than any Marvel hero thought possible, making this a must read Marvel comic. 

Batman: Detective Comics, Volume 1: Rise of the Batmen

(Detective Comics (2016) #1)

by James Tynion IV (Writer), Eddy Barrows (Artist), Alvaro Martinez (Penciler), Raúl Fernandez (Inker), Brad Anderson (Colourist), Marilyn Patrizio (Letterer)

Synopsis

A part of DC Universe: Rebirth!

Detective Comics is back! Follow the adventures of Batman, the world’s greatest…teacher?!

The Dark Knight and series co-star Batwoman team up to take new protégés Red Robin, Spoiler and the villainous Clayface under their leathery wings! The only problem is, neither new super-instructor knows exactly what they’re in for as the attempt to train these would-be heroes before a mysterious army takes Gotham for themselves.

From the new creative team of writer James Tynion (Batman/TMNT) and artist Eddy Barrows (Martian Manhunter), Detective Comics brings back the characters you know and love and thrusts them into dangerous, new adventures!

CollectingDetective Comics 934-940

Verdict

A fantastic new chapter in the Batman saga. The biggest draw of this story is the character developments and interactions between the team Batman and Batwoman are creating. Getting to see each character introduced and fleshed out is amazing to see. One of the biggest shocks was seeing the beginning of the redemption arc for Clayface, and how each of these heroes interacts with one another. From Batman and Batwoman’s heart to heart and the beginning of their partnership, to the evolution of Tim Drake’s Red Robin and the shocking conclusion that left fans and the team reeling emotionally, this was a brilliant first chapter in the new Batman Rebirth era. 

Green Lanterns, Vol. 1: Rage Planet

(Green Lanterns #1)

by Sam Humphries (Writer), Ethan Van Sciver (Artist), Jason Wright (Colourist), Travis Lanham (Letterer), Dave Sharpe (Letterer), Ed Benes (Artist), Tom Derenick (Penciler), Robson Rocha (Penciler) , Jack Herbert (Artist), Neil Edwards (Penciler), Tom Palmer (Inker), Jay Leisten (Inker), Keith Champagne (Inker), Rob Hunter (Inker), Mark Irwin (Inker), Vincente Cifuentes (Inker), Marc Deering (Inker), Blond (Colourist), Geoff Johns (Writer)

Synopsis

A part of DC Universe: Rebirth!

New Green Lanterns Jessica Cruz and Simon Baz debut a new era of emerald greatness, tackling the universe’s toughest beat: Earth. These rookie Lanterns promised to protect others in brightest day or blackest night, but as the “Red Planet” begins to rise, the duo finds themselves confronted with an unimaginable threat from Bleez and the Red Lanterns!

Rising star writer Sam Humphries (Planet HulkStarlord) and artist Robson Rocha (Earth 2: Worlds EndBirds of Prey) put on the rings with Green Lanterns, Volume 1: Rage Planet!

CollectingGreen Lanterns 1-6, Rebirth

Verdict

A fantastic new chapter in the Green Lantern saga, especially moving into the Rebirth era. Giving Hal Jordan his own comic series to run gives room for the two newest and perhaps most diverse and engaging Green Lanterns to make a name for themselves. Simon Baz and Jessica Cruz being partnered together to patrol Earth and the sector it resides in is a brilliant move storytelling wise. Each character is relatable in this modern age, between the cruel reality of Baz’s culture making him a target in modern day America to Jessica’s anxiety and internal struggles conflicting with her heroic nature as a Green Lantern make for amazing storytelling and character arcs in this series. Then making the Red Lantern Corps the hero’s first major foe as their partnership is just beginning was amazing to see, as was the shocking powers Simon Baz unleashed in the first chapter, making this a must read for any longtime Green Lantern fans. 

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Avengers: No Road Home

(Avengers (2018) (Collected Editions) #3.5)

by Mark WaidAl EwingJim Zub (Goodreads Author), Paco Medina (Illustrations), Sean Izaakse (Illustrations)

Synopsis

The team that brought you AVENGERS: NO SURRENDER re-unite for an all-new weekly AVENGERS adventure! Night has fallen across the universe. Now seven Avengers – and one new addition – journey forth to bring back the light. But when the threat they face has destroyed even the Gods…will anyone make it home?

COLLECTING: AVENGERS: NO ROAD HOME 1-10

Verdict

A fantastic story! One of the more unusual, fun and engaging heroic teams in Marvel Comics, this group of heroes are bought together to battle a threat unlike anything they’d ever seen. Traveling between worlds, times and events, getting to see heroes like Scarlet Witch, Hercules and Vision shine brightly as they are pushed to their limits of loss and must fight to keep the world and the light of the universe from being snuffed out. A great character study and deep dive into the mythology of the hero Hercules and the gods themselves, this is a fun, exhilarating and engaging read for Marvel fans! 

Posted in Interviews

Interview with Travis Smith

1) Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get into writing?

I got into writing about superheroes and philosophy after reading an article by Adam Barkman published in Comment magazine. I could give that a try, I thought. Why not? Barkman looked at superheroes from a “mythological” point of view; I would prefer to look at them from a somewhat more human perspective. When I discovered an article by Jonathan V. Last in The Weekly Standard that I disagreed with I took it as an opportunity to respond. Last argued for the timeliness of the Christopher Nolan trilogy of Batman films; I argued that Spider-Man was a better hero for our times, in commemoration of what was then the fiftieth anniversary of Spider-Man’s first appearance. Little did I know that this one article would lead to an entire book on the subject.

2) What inspired you to write your book?

University professors are asked to find ways to engage in the public dissemination of knowledge. Most of our research is written for an academic audience. How does someone like myself take what I study and teach in the history of political philosophy and make it relevant for a wider audience? Well, if Plato can discuss the popular heroes of his time, whose adventures are depicted in the epic poems of Homer, then why can’t I look into superheroes, whose stories have become popularized lately in so many feature films? I look at them to find out what they might teach us about ourselves and our ideals—who we imagine ourselves to be at our best, or who we would become if only we could be better than we are?

3) What theme or message do you hope readers will take away from your book?

I’d point to the value of thinking critically about the things we happen to enjoy, and the possibility of thinking critically about ourselves in the process. This is something we can do even with respect to our amusements—the music we like, the TV shows we binge on, the athletes we admire, the vloggers we subscribe to. Focusing on questions of ethics when doing so leads us to wonder: How does thinking about the character of this or that person, whether real or fictional, help me to better understand the worldview and motivations of people similar to them—whether that’s someone I’ve encountered in my private life, or public figures like politicians, leading professionals, or outspoken celebrities? What answers to life’s problems do they represent, and should we heed them? What does whether I like or dislike some particular person or character tell me about myself?

4) What drew you into this particular genre?

In the classroom, I draw on a lot of examples from popular culture in order to make old ideas and arguments seem relevant and familiar to my students. With respect to superhero stories in particular, I’ve read plenty of comic books over the years and re-watched the movies based on them more than enough. I put that hobby to use in Superhero Ethics.

5) If you could sit down with any character in your book, what would you ask them and why?

I would like to know why Tony Stark doesn’t share his most advanced technologies with everyone—whether they want him to or not. Why not save people from ever needing saving again through upgrades and alterations to the human condition? Not that I would want him to—but I don’t really understand why he doesn’t. That said, I’d be concerned that by pushing him on it I might inadvertently convince him to give it a try, or else stop playing the hero entirely. Either way, better to keep my mouth shut, really. The most interesting line of dialogue to me in Avengers: Infinity War occurs when Thanos tells Iron Man, “You are not the only one cursed with knowledge.” In Superhero Ethics I argue that Tony Stark willfully refrains from drawing the furthermost consequences of his views regarding human nature and our place in the cosmos—including, ultimately, that he himself is insignificant. He struggles with a nagging suspicion that his pride—which is substantial—is vanity, and all of his efforts and sacrifices are offered in vain.

I’d also like to hear Wolverine explain his fascination with Japan. I think it’s because culturally, feudal Japan is practically the exact opposite of present-day Canada. We can be glad that imperial Japan at its worst was ended non-fictionally and still romanticize traditional Japanese society in fiction as representing honor-based society at its best. Still, I’d like to hear Logan’s perspective on it over a few bottles of beer, hoping he’ll call me “bub” at least once—and that I’ll be able to sneak out the back door of the dive bar before the inevitable brawl gets underway.

6) What social media site has been the most helpful in developing your readership?

Personally, I avoid using social media. I worry that it’s an engine of incivility.

7) What advice would you give to aspiring or just starting authors out there?

Read. A lot. Read a lot of good books. Even books you imagine you’ll dislike by authors you expect to disagree with. For starters, read about Achilles sulking in his tent in the Iliad if you haven’t already. Also, learn to take criticism well, and be your own harshest critic. Reread everything you write, out loud, and ask yourself if it actually says what you want it to say in the best possible way. Always be revising but recognize that your words will never be perfect. Nothing that you decide today is good enough for now will seem good enough later in retrospect—and that’s okay.

8) What does the future hold in store for you? Any new books/projects on the horizon?

Some people have asked me whether I’ll write about Superheroine Ethics next. Or perhaps Supervillain Ethics. What about something fandom-adjacent, like Pro Wrestling Ethics? Within this genre, I haven’t decided yet. As a professor of political theory, I intend to publish more on the philosophy of Thomas Hobbes, including pieces informed by my analyses of superhero stories, on subjects such as bravery, magic, and the imagination. I’m convinced that Thomas Hobbes himself thinks he’s like a superhero or something.

Bonus/Fun Questions:

Who was your favorite superhero growing up?

On Saturday morning cartoons, I liked Green Lantern best, mainly because of Sinestro. As a teen, I connected most with Rogue. For over a dozen years now though, Ms./Captain Marvel (Carol Danvers) has been my favorite. I await her feature film debut in 2019 with great anticipation.

Do you prefer Marvel or DC? Or do you find them to be on equal footing overall?

When I wrote Superhero Ethics, I didn’t just focus on my favorite characters. I wanted the book to be accessible to casual fans and a general readership. I didn’t want it to be accessible only to those of us who have read a hundred thousand comic books. My book might give the impression that I prefer Marvel, but my analyses weren’t decided by my subjective preferences. I tried to give more generous readings to characters who interest me less and be tougher on characters I like most. Speaking personally, I am a fan of both universe’s characters. I started reading comic books as a pre-teen at the time of Crisis on Infinite Earths, and DC successfully persuaded me to disregard the pre-Crisis multiverse as no longer relevant and too confusing and supposedly unsophisticated. As I have gotten older, however, I have discovered how fantastic Silver Age Superman, Flash, Legion, and Earth-Two stories are. I have also enjoyed exploring DC’s western and war genre comics, too, such as Jonah Hex and Haunted Tank.

Which non-Marvel or -DC hero do you think would fit into the ethical discussion of superheroes? 

Sailor Moon and The Tick were favorites of mine when I was young. Captain Planet probably deserves some critical analysis, too, but I don’t think I could sit through enough episodes to assess the character fully.

If you were to create your own hero based on the ethical discussions raised in your book, what would that hero’s name be, what powers would they have (if any), and what villain/threat would they face to mirror the challenges of our world?

I already have a hero in my wife. [Awwww!] Putting up with me and my hobbies has got to be challenge enough. And who knows what kind of villainy I’d be up to if she wasn’t always asking me, “What are you doing?!?” I try to keep in mind how Aristotle would have told Ajax to listen to Tecmessa.

Thank you, Anthony, for the opportunity to discuss Superhero Ethics with you. I’m glad that you enjoyed the book!

About the Author:
Smith_Travis
Travis Smith is the author of Superhero Ethics (Templeton Press). He received his PhD from Harvard University and is associate professor of political science at Concordia University. He has been collecting comic books since he bought Uncanny X-Men #207 with his allowance in 1986. His writing has appeared in the Weekly Standard and Convivium Magazine. For more information, please visit https://www.templetonpress.org/books/superhero-ethics

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Posted in reviews

Superhero Ethics: 10 Comic Book Heroes; 10 Ways to Save The World; Which One Do We Need Most Now? By Travis Smith | REVIEW

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

Superheroes are one of the biggest money grabbers of the twenty-first century. Fans around the world love flocking to the world’s of Marvel, DC and other comic book publishers who make the most popular comic books, films, television programs and more. Yet there has been one question that has always been on fans minds since the comic book industry began: who is the best of all the heroes? While this has always been a matter of popularity, but author Travis Smith has done something truly spectacular by focusing not on their popularity, but the ethics of each character and comparing it to our society today and what we truly need in a hero. That’s what makes Superhero Ethics: 10 Comic Book Heroes; 10 Ways to Save The World; Which One Do We Need Most Now? such an incredible read. Here’s the synopsis:

Whether in comic books or on movie screens, superhero stories are where many people first encounter questions about how they should conduct their lives.

Although these outlandish figures—in their capes, masks, and tights, with their unbelievable origins and preternatural powers—are often dismissed as juvenile amusements, they really are profound metaphors for different approaches to shaping one’s character and facing the challenges of life.

But, given the choice, which superhero should we follow today? Who is most worthy of our admiration? Whose goals are most noble? Whose ethics should we strive to emulate?

To decide, Travis Smith takes ten top superheroes and pits them one against another, chapter by chapter. The hero who better exemplifies how we ought to live advances to the final round. By the end of the book, a single superhero emerges victorious and is crowned most exemplary for our times.

How, then, shall we live?

How can we overcome our beastly nature and preserve our humanity? (The Hulk vs. Wolverine)

How far can we rely on our willpower and imagination to improve the human condition? (Iron Man vs. Green Lantern)

What limits must we observe when protecting our neighborhood from crime and corruption? (Batman vs. Spider-Man)

Will the pursuit of an active life or a contemplative life bring us true fulfillment? (Captain America vs. Mr. Fantastic)

Should we put our faith in proven tradition or in modern progress to achieve a harmonious society? (Thor vs. Superman)

Using superheroes to bring into focus these timeless themes of the human condition, Smith takes us on an adventure as fantastic as any you’ll find on a splash page or the silver screen—an intellectual adventure filled with surprising insights, unexpected twists and turns, and a daring climax you’ll be thinking about long after it’s over. 

This is truly one of the most unique books I’ve read this year. The deep analysis of each of these well known heroes and the complexities of each character’s heroic actions and their motivations is something that’s always fascinated me. Yet never before has someone so articulately brought these issues to the forefront of the comic book industry and given audiences a deeper connection to these heroes as Travis Smith has done.

The book allows audiences to really analyze the motivations these characters have for taking on the mantle of hero, and whether or not their actions are completely selfless or not. It also compares these heroes and their ethics to our current political climate and gives historical context to these hero’s actions as well. It’s a really interesting and wonderfully different perspective that allows a wider audience as well as die hard comic book fans an opportunity to really understand the heroes they love in a whole new way.

Overall I loved this book. It was entertaining yet educational all at once, delving into political, intellectual, philosophical and of course ethical questions no one usually bothers to ask about the superhero community. Yet the author does a superb job of bringing these issues to light and giving us a chance to look deep within ourselves and determine which hero represents our best, brightest and most ethical hero in the twenty-first century. If you haven’t yet be sure to pick up your copy of Superhero Ethics by Travis Smith today!

Rating: 10/10

About the Author:

Smith_Travis

Travis Smith is the author of Superhero Ethics (Templeton Press). He received his PhD from Harvard University and is associate professor of political science at Concordia University. He has been collecting comic books since he bought Uncanny X-Men #207 with his allowance in 1986. His writing has appeared in the Weekly Standard and Convivium Magazine. For more information, please visit https://www.templetonpress.org/books/superhero-ethics