[The Vision #1 cover]

This is what you need to know:

THE VISION is a synthezoid – an android composed of synthetic human blood and organs. He was created by Ultron to destroy The Avengers, but instead he turned on his “father”, and he’s been a member of the superhero team ever since.

Recently, Vision purged the emotions associated with his memories from his hard drive in order to keep his processing system running smoothly. But the consequences of this action have yet to be fully realized…

In the first issue of Marvel’s ongoing comic THE VISION, we find out that Vision doesn’t dream. His family doesn’t dream. They lie alone at night, processing the day’s events. Deciding what to keep and what to forget.

All in the quest to become more human. Normal.

A synthetic man builds a synthetic family and moves to the suburbs. They have the same skin, the same powers. The same curiosity about the world and humanity. What does it mean to be normal and ordinary when they are so clearly not?

THE VISION is a story of ever-increasing tragedy. There will be death. Synthetics will act like humans. But humans are capable of doing monstrous things in the name of love. What has been unleashed upon the world?

[Nextwave gun chair]

I want to like Nextwave: Agents of H.A.T.E. Maybe I do. You take several unused Marvel characters to form a corporate-sponsored team called Highest Anti-Terrorism Effort to fight the bad guys. Only the team discovers that the company are actually the remnants of a terrorist cell and that their marketing plan involves destroying parts of America with Bizarre Weapons of Mass Destruction. So Nextwave goes rogue in order to be Big Damn Heroes.

It’s classic comic book but with modern sensibilities. Rather, with Warren Ellis’ kind of modern sensibilities. The bad guy’s got some wonky sexual proclivities, the British member is very British, the bad guys come from some kind of inventive fever dream.

[Nextwave is love]

I should love this page, it’s the type of thing I go for. I loved Ellis’ Transmetropolitan, with its bizarre yet believable vision of the future. Nextwave is amusing and imaginative, but it didn’t grab me. I don’t think it’s the comic’s fault. I read The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, I’m fine with fun. Sometimes it doesn’t completely click.

[Nextwave: Dance, critters]

I mean, look at that. These are extra-dimensional mindless monsters in the service of some ancient, magical being. They’ve been commanded to take over some small town in Colorado and they’re doing it with musical style. (Can we also talk about Ellis’ use of Tabitha “Boom Boom” Smith? The way she keeps saying, “Tick, tick, tick, BOOM!”? And this panel? And it’s a stretch to compare it to the “1, 2, 3, 4” or the “klik, klik, klik, KLIK” of The Wicked + The Divine but it’s still super evocative here? Ok? Thanks.) Why do I appreciate this but I don’t luuuurrrrve it?

[Nextwave: the shamans hated Hawking for 5000 years]

I was torn between buying Nextwave and Superman: Secret Identity. The comic guy told me both were considered classics in the own way. “And they’re both drawn by Stuart Immonen, so you really can’t go wrong.” I can’t believe I thought Immonen’s art felt restrained in the first half of the overall arc. After all, he’s drawing plant-based robots and a ginormous dragon with purple underpants in the first issue alone. But by issue six, he’s drawing skeleton ninja samurai and plant-based ninjas in pterodactyl flying costumes and koalas with killer teeth and the various ways Monica Rambeau can use the electromagnetic spectrum. And the above image? That’s one of the tamer two-page images in the penultimate issue. He goes into various comic styles in issue ten and it’s truly a glorious sight.

But it’s not enough for me. Perhaps I am broken inside.

[a page from Black Widow: Last Days]

Black Widow: Last Days is the third and final graphic novel of the Nathan Edmondson/Phil Noto series. I was caught by surprise – Black Widow is incredibly popular and I really enjoyed the first volume. Every time I was at a bookstore or a comic book store, I could never find the 2nd volume, so I had no idea the third volume had come out. The things sacrificed to crossover events.

I still don’t have A Tightly Tangled Web, which makes enjoying this volume a little harder. The art is still stellar. Natasha is an intoxicating blend of extreme competency, determination, pragmatism, and ruthlessness. Last Days mostly wraps up an overarching storyline against an unpredictable organization and while Black Widow is impressive, it wasn’t because of the story. This is partly due to not having prior context and possibly a printing error since some pages were missing dialogue. Not having dialogue made some of Natasha’s actions appear more merciless, which may not have been a bad thing. But the story resolves itself perhaps too neatly.

However, the last two issues provide a wonderful coda to this version of Natasha Romanov. It begins with Black Widow knowing she cannot save everyone but trying to save as many as possible before taking us to her past. Particularly, her first mission in Cuba. To witness the first of her sins against the last of her actions before Secret Wars, it’s a testament to the complexity of Natasha. 

[Astro City: Private Lives cover]

Astro City: Private Lives is the latest graphic novel in the Astro City anthology comic series. Kurt Busiek takes common themes and ideas about comics and somehow turns them into incredibly engaging stories. One of the things I love about Astro City is that we get perspectives that don’t involve major heroes in-universe. This collection is about “a sorcerer’s personal assistant. A costumed criminal struggling with normal life. A godly visitation to the mortal world. A roadside museum of killer robots. And a teenaged mad scientist’s fateful birthday party.” These stories are tied up in an overarching meta-plot, but they’re little stories in a rich universe.

[Reading Without Walls graphic]

As an author, I’m from the world of books. My job is similar to Wonder Woman’s. I’m supposed to help people understand the world of books.

But here’s the thing. Books themselves are ambassadors. Let me explain to you what I mean.

Source: Boing Boing

secret love secret wars

Marvel’s crossover for 2015 was Secret Wars where superheroes of various dimensions came together to 1) figure out what the hell happened and 2) fix it. Secret Love is a tie-in romance anthology comic which collects five short stories about various pairings in the crossover universe.

My favorite is “Misty and Danny Forever” by Jeremy Whitley and drawn by Gurihuru. Not only does the comic look adorable (they have a kid, Lucy! She is adorable! She is carrying a doll of her daddy, just like Danielle is carrying a Luke Cage doll!) but it also touches on some realistic views of marriage. I think it’s great that the comic shows some fears and feelings of disconnect as well as how easy it is to reconnect and re-establish that intimacy.



  • The Wicked + The Divine
  • Unbeatable Squirrel Girl
  • Velvet
  • Peter Panzerfaust
  • Saga volume 5