I’m back today with a highly-specific guide for “pledgeonaut” Patrons of CK. This one also spun out of last week’s update to my Guide to She-Hulk, because it’s also a Guide to She-Hulk! No, not that She-Hulk, the other She-Hulk – it’s a Guide to Red She-Hulk!
Be warned: Even though the guide itself is careful not to spoil details of Red She-Hulk’s secret identity while covering pre-reveal issues, I’m talking about it openly in this post.
Honestly, it was only a secret for nine months 12 years ago! But, I think it was a fun secret executed well, so I try not to ruin it for people who might be coming to the run for the first time.
Marvel was going through an interesting period from 2005-2012 where at first they were revitalizing lines and characters purely out of the business instinct to stay alive, but then they started adjusting them even more due to the popularity of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
To me, this began with the period of Bendis launching New Avengers through the death of Captain America at the end of Civil War, with House of M sandwiched between them. Despite Marvel using the “All-New, All-Different” tagline since the Bronze Age, this was the first time in a while that the main 616-Marvel Universe felt like a truly new and different place.
(A lot of that was down to the sales and popularity pressure from the Ultimate Universe, which at that point was threatening to subsume the main one.)
One result of that period was character lines that felt larger than they used to. Marvel’s major Silver Age characters feel encouraged to reinvent their casts and build their own huge events. That was certainly true for Hulk, which went from a Marvel also-ran to one of their hottest titles on the strength of Greg Pak’s “Planet Hulk” storyline, which spun into the line-wide “World War Hulk” event.
In the wake of that, Pak and Jeph Loeb had more leeway than ever to expand the scope of Hulk comics. Suddenly, there were a lot of Hulks and Gamma-powered characters. We had Bruce Banner as Hulk, Jennifer Walters as She-Hulk, Doc Samson, Rick Jones as A-Bomb, the newly-birthed Skaar, and even Lyra – Hulk’s daughter from a potential future!
(Spoilers begin here.) [Read more…] about New for Patrons: Red She-Hulk AKA Harpy
Today in my best-of-Marvel retrospective, we’re looking at ten mega-sized runs from Secret Invasion in 2008 to Avengers vs. X-Men in 2012 that really ought to be omnibuses.
If you want to see any of them in that mega format, perhaps they ought to be your vote in the Most-Wanted Marvel Omnibus Secret Ballot – choices are due this Sunday!
However, even sans a mighty omnibus edition, all of Marvel’s modern runs are easily collected in hardcovers and trade paperbacks listed in Crushing Comics’s Guide to Collecting Marvel Comic Books, and 100% of the issues are available on Marvel Unlimited, a $10/month Netflix-for-Marvel-comics.
Whether you’re a new comics fan or a grizzled vet, read with this in mind: These potential mappings are just my own shot, and the may include errors, omissions, or choices that could be improved. That’s part of the fun, for me – it’s like playing “Fantasy Corrections Department”! If you see something fishy or have a vociferous disagreement, I’d love to know what that is via the comments, below.
Each year, a mysterious and intrepid comic book fan known only as Tigereyes reaches out to some of the biggest collected editions communities on the web to ask them a single question: What are the top 10 Marvel Omnibuses you’d most like to buy?
Thus, the Most-Wanted Marvel Omnibus Secret Ballot was born.
While we only get to see the top 50 or so results of the survey each year, based on the number of voters it’s entirely possible that there are over ten times that many omnibuses nominated by voters. The long tail of the survey would make not only for interesting analysis, but terrific rainy-day reading.
To help inspire that long tail as well as your own rainy day reads, I’m covering dozens of Marvel runs that would make for terrific omnibuses. For the past four days I highlighted every potential missing X-Men omnibus from 1963 to 2015. Now, I’m going to stroll backwards through time to look at the rest of Marvel, starting with their newest comic runs released from 2012 to present.
The fact that these books aren’t currently omnibuses (and may never be) doesn’t have to stop you from sampling them – even if you’ve never read a comic before in your life! Each one is a terrific self-contained comic experience that can be enjoyed without any crossovers or companion series.
You can either pick up existing collections as outlined by Crushing Comics’s Guide to Collecting Marvel Comic Books, or just sign up for Marvel Unlimited, a Netflix-for-comics where 100% of the issues from today’s post are available to read on any device.
Today, Marvel and writer Brian Bendis broke the news via Time Magazine that at the end of the currently-running event “Civil War II” the mantle of Iron Man will be taken over by a 15-year old black MIT student named Riri Williams
(This is a major shocker, because the vast majority of fans assumed Riri’s introduction in the pages of Invincible Iron Man (visit the guide) – where she was reverse-engineering Tony Stark’s armor – was a set-up for her to take over the mantle of War Machine. Rhodey has become unavailable to carry that title due to the events of Civil War.)
Riri Williams as Iron Man is a very good thing. We do not have enough female heroes or heroes of color, and to see a that in a character who is both as she takes over the mantle of ostensibly Marvel’s most popular single hero outside of Spider-Man is a huge, visible step not only for Marvel comic readers, but for their film fans who this news will surely reach. To have Williams also be a female super-scientist when Marvel generally boasts only a handful is even more wonderful.
(The most prominent female geniuses of Marvel are Kitty Pryde, who is frequently shown to be nearly as genius as Beast; Valeria Richards, whose preternatural intelligence is partially attributed to super powers; the new Moon Girl; and Mockingbird, an oft-forgotten PhD) .
So Riri Williams as Iron Man is a good thing, right?
On the face of it, yes. Inclusion means representation. I love reading books about heroes that are women, and so does my daughter – also a girl of color.
However, there are some aspects of this character choice that have given some fans and critics pause, which I’d like to discuss here – three in particular. I’m very interested in your input. (Edited to add: Here is a post with similar critique from black writer Son of Baldwin, Here is another from black female nerd BlerdGurl.)
1. Minority legacy heroes are only useful until the original makes their return; then their marginalization can be worse than the average minority hero.
“Legacy Heroes” is a term applied to heroes that are the replacement or junior version to their original heroes. They are sometimes used by creators as an opportunity to change the gender or race of the character bearing the main mantle.. The easiest examples to give are from DC comics (Superboy, Batgirl, Wondergirl, etc), because Marvel simply isn’t known for this practice outside the past few years.
Let’s stick with Marvel, for the moment. For a brief time in the 1980s, Tony Stark could not serve as Iron Man and Rhodey Rhodes took over the title. Rhodey is the best possible example of a Legacy Hero – he was a dynamic, well-developed character long before he became Iron Man, and that means that he was able to continue to be featured even when Tony Stark returned.
As War Machine, he’s lead his own title on many occasions (though they are usually short-lived) and he’s and been a significant character in both comics and now films (though he’s frequently sacrificed as a narrative reason to make Stark feel bad, as has happened twice this year alone).
His time as a Legacy Hero made him more visible, but after being Iron Man he didn’t stay an A-level hero. The white guy bumped him.
Another terrific example is the relatively new Ms. Marvel, the Pakastani-American Kamala Khan (visit the guide). Kamala is a wonderful analog to the original Spider-Man as a new, unsure hero, and Carol Danvers is very unlikely to ever retake her “Ms.” hero mantle now that she is officially Captain Marvel.
Her books sell ridiculous amounts of copies and have been nominated for Eisners. She’s now an Avenger. Things are going well … but we’re only in year two.
There are examples that don’t go as well. At the end of the comics version of the original Civil War, Captain America appears to die, and Bucky takes over the mantle as Cap (visit the guide). His days as Cap are amazing – great, layered storytelling. When Cap came back they shared the mantle for a while before Bucky was spun back to being Winter Soldier, at which point he began to sink back into obscurity – and he’s a white guy who stars in movies.
As with War Machine, he’s now a character Marvel needs to periodically kickstart into a new title or team only to watch him sink again.
Despite those concerns, check out the amazing list of Legacy Heroes Marvel is currently fielding: [Read more…] about Marvel introduced a black female Iron Man – is that a good thing? (Yes.)