Streaky The Supercat Part I: Action Comics 261

Action Comics 261 - Cover

A couple of years ago my wonderful wife qcait bought me three old issues of Action Comics featuring Streaky the Supercat for my birthday.  So I decided to write about them in here!  This will be the first of my three part series going through each of these comics.  The first issue we will look at is Action Comics 261 which is the first appearance, and origin of Streaky the Supercat.  If you are wondering why Streaky doesn’t have top billing on the cover, this comic is old enough that they used to have multiple non-Superman stores in each issue of Action Comics.  “Supergirl’s Super Pet!” is actually the third story in this comic along with “Superman’s Fortresses of Solitude!” and “Congorilla’s Last Stand!”.  I actually didn’t read the other two stories as this comic is pretty old and I didn’t want to be handling it too much.

Action Comics 261 Front

Streaky’s origin begins with Linda Lee aka Kara Zor-El aka Supergirl hanging out at her home, an orphanage.  Her super vision spots a small piece of kryptonite falling from the sky.  She quickly changes into Supergirl to go retrieve the small rock.  Kara takes it back to her orphanage chemistry lab and begins experimenting with it to try find a way to reverse its effects.  After believing her attempts have failed she tosses the Kryptonite out a window.  Just then her new pet kitten happens to find the rock which, through her experiments, has become the new element x-kryptonite.  The x-kryptonite gives Streaky superpowers which he immediately goes out on the town to show off.  Supergirl hears Streaky’s distinct meow magnified over 50x so she goes to investigate and finds her new pet has super powers.  The two go into space to play when suddenly Streaky’s powers are lost and he starts dropping back to earth.  Kara quickly swoops him up and takes him safely back to the orphanage.

Action Comics 261 Chem Lab

Here are my stray thoughts and observations.  I was surprised to find out that Streaky was not actually from Krypton.  I had always assumed with his stripe that he had somehow gotten to earth similar to Krypto the Superdog.  I also did not know that Supergirl had an alter ego named Linda Lee.  I’ve seen the Supergirl movie in which she uses that name, but like most people I immediately blocked the film out of my memory.  I was also surprised that Supergirl wears a brown wig when she is her alter ego Linda Lee.  I mean it makes sense, Superman’s glasses have to be the worse disguise of all time.  I did laugh out loud when it said, “Next day, in a small chemical laboratory in the orphanage”.  You know the small chemical labs that orphanages are all famous for having.

Overall I really liked the story.  It was short (only 8 pages) but tells a nice little complete story.  It also was corny (as the golden / silver age tend to be) but not so corny that it was unreadable.  The art was fantastic, very detailed and able to emote a lot of action.

I don’t really collect a lot of high dollar comics so this is by far the oldest and most valuable comic I own.  So I was a little afraid to handle it and in order to read it winded up scanning the complete Streaky story.  Since I already went to the trouble of scanning the whole thing I figured I mine as well share the whole thing with you guys, so here it is the complete origin of Streaky the Supercat!


Marvel Unlimited Plus 2015 Unboxing

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I’ve spoken about Marvel Unlimited before on my Reading Digital Comics post.  But for the uninitiated Marvel Unlimited is a streaming comics service which is basically the Netflix of Marvel Comics.  It has over 17,000 comics spanning the entire back catalog of Marvel’s history.

Marvel Unlimited has three tiers of service.  You can pay monthly for $9.99 per month, yearly for $69.99, or a plus membership for $99.99.  I’d go through the details of which membership gets what but Marvel has already put together the following chart.

Marvel Unlimited Breakdown

I’ve been a member of Marvel Unlimited for the past two years and this year I decided to upgrade from the normal subscription to the Marvel Unlimited Plus subscription.  First let’s start with what came in the box:

  • Welcome Letter and Membership Card
  • Invincible Iron Man 1 Marvel Unlimited Exclusive Variant
  • Agent Carter 1 Marvel Unlimited Exclusive Variant
  • Captain America White 1 Marvel Unlimited Exclusive Variant
  • SHIELD and SSR Pin
  • Marvel Legends Marvel Unlimited Exclusive RESCUE Figure

Here are some full unboxing shots.

Marvel Unlimited Plus - Unboxing 4

Marvel Unlimited Plus - Unboxing 3

Marvel Unlimited Plus - Unboxing 2

Marvel Unlimited Plus - Unboxing 1

Here are close ups of each of the comic books along with a composite of all tree.

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Marvel Unlimited Plus Composite

Here is a look at the letter / membership card, Rescue Figure and Pins.

Marvel Unlimited Plus - Membership Letter Skitch

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Marvel Unlimited Plus - Rescue

So far I feel pretty good about getting the plus subscription over the normal annual subscription.  In the past the Marvel Unlimited Variant Comics resale for 20 dollars each and last year’s Rocket figure goes for 25 on ebay.  So the three comics and figure alone are worth 85 dollars.  If you were to do well on selling off your Unlimited Plus items you could reasonably pay for your entire Unlimited subscription.


DC All Access: Top 5 Spectacular Supergirl Moments

In honor of the premiere of Supergirl tonight here is a video that DC All Access put together on some of her best moments from the comics.


Comic Block September 2015

Comic Block Web Clipping

I am aware that we are half way through October before I am getting this up but I as George Washington famously said, “shit happens”.

Comic Block September - Unboxing 3

First lets get the run down of all the goodies in this months box:

  • Deadpool Vs. Thanos 1 from Marvel Comics
  • Dangergirl 1 Exclusive Comic Block Variant from IDW
  • Mirror’s Edge: Exordium 1 from Dark Horse
  • Mad Max: Fury Road 1 Exclusive Nerd Block Variant from Veritgo
  • Saga T-Shirt with Prince Robot
  • Green Lantern light up ring

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Solid box top to bottom.  Not only did we get a Green Lantern Ring and awesome Saga T-shirt but we got four comics this month instead of our normal three!  I’ve mentioned this before but part of the promise of the Comic Block has been that we will occasionally get exclusive variant covers and graphic novels.  While we have gotten variant covers o’ plenty there has yet to be a single graphic novel.  Perhaps next month?  I did read all the comics in the box and below are is my rundown of each issue.

Mad Max: Fury Road 1

Comic Block September - Mad Max Fury Road 1 Nerd Block Exclusive Variant Stitch

Witness!  From the best I can bet this comic book takes place between Mad Max: Beyond the Thunderdome and Mad Max: Fury Road.  It starts with a couple page run down summarizing the events of the first three Mad Max movies which feels like way more information then we actually need.  It then has Max go to Gastown to participate in a Battle Royal style Thunderdome situation in hopes to win a V8 engine.  Max is victorious however killing of one of the members of the Buzzards gang attracts their attention.  The Buzzards find where Max has been hiding, steal his engine, stab him, and tie him to the ground to be left for dead.  Max passes out and a mysterious woman frees Max and bandages his wounds.  The comic ends when Max wakes up.  The mysterious woman enlists Max’s service for an unknown job in exchange for saving his life.

The comic was so-so.  It spends too much time recapping the old Mad Max movies and not enough time moving the plot forward.  Very little actually happens.  The art is really inconsistent.  At times it looks great and extremely detailed, but at other times the faces of people look like mushy blobs.  They also go to great links to make Max not look like Mel Gibson or Tom Hardy which is a weird choice and distracting.  This is only an issue 1 so it’s job is really just to set things up but I wished we had gotten a little more.  With so little happening I wasn’t able to form any strong ties to anyone or anything so don’t have a lot of motivation to find out what happens next.

Deadpool Vs. Thanos 1

Comic Block September - Deadpool vs. Thanos 1

Deadpool has been up against a lot.  He’s been up against X-Force, Hawkeye, Carnage, and now Thanos.  I’m a little unsure on the actual plot of what happened in this comic, there were a lot of moving parts.  There was some stuff about Death being kidnapped and so the dead on earth were unable to actually die.  There was a fight between Deadpool and Thanos for the affection of Death.  Thanos kind of killed Deadpool and then brought him back to life so they could team up and find Death.  It was a little confusing, but there were a lot of jokes, breaking the fourth wall and talking about tacos.

I have real mixed feelings about Deadpool.  I like him in theory but I find most of the fourth wall breaking and jokes to be more gimmicky than actually funny.  The comics I have read with Deadpool up to this point have been ok but because of all the jokes and such there never really feels like there are any stakes.  There were some genuinely funny parts in this comic but not funny enough to get me to buy more issues.

Mirror’s Edge: Exordium 1

Comic Block September - Mirror's Edge Exordium 1

If you don’t already know Mirror’s Edge is based on a video game for PS3/Xbox360/PC that came out in 2007.  It was fairly groundbreaking at the time for being a first person shooter that involved little to no actual shooting.  It is based in a futuristic society which “runners” use parkour moves to navigate around the city delivering messages.  If I remember correctly the game sold ok but not stellar.  Everyone loved the aesthetic of the world but the game itself was painfully short (4-6 hours long) so people didn’t want to shell out 60 dollars for it.  I played it back in the day and remember liking it but also it giving me head aches from moving around so fast.  Also, if I can bitch for a moment I really hate when games allow you to have weapons but actively do things to discourage you from using them.  Either take the weapons out or make them usable don’t half ass it.

Anyway, they are finally making a sequel next year after being in some form of development over the last 7 years so this comic is most likely a tie-in or prequel.

The comic begins with Faith (our protagonist) on a mission.  She gets two guards to chase her in order to allow her team access into a building in order to steal data.  While running from the guards she accidentally interrupts some sort of deal between rival gangs and gun fire erupts.  Faith tries to get away but is captured by the gang working for the crime lord Dogen.  She is taken to Dogen who is impressed by her work and offers her a job.  She declines and leaves, trying to steal some of Dogens art on the way out.  Faith returns to her base of operations and their leader Noah is mad at her for the risk she took going on a rogue mission in the first place.  The comic ends with Faith going back to Dogen and accepting his employment.

This was a really great first issue of a comic.  A lot of things happen but they are presented in a controlled manner in which the reader can actually follow along.  They keep talking about this beatlink thing which apparently most of the advanced runners have and Faith does not.  Not having a beatlink is a slight to Faith and a cause of animosity between Noah and Faith.  Call me old, but I actually side with Noah in this when he is angry at Faith for her risky behavior.  He seems fairly reasonable and Faith just seems like a brat for not wanting to listen to him.  Overall I really liked the comic and will probably pick up more of the issues as they come in.  While I didn’t love the original Mirror’s Edge game, I did always like the world it created and liked revisiting it in this comic.

Sidenote I really liked that Dark Horse didn’t have any ads in this comic until the very end.  It was a real pleasant reading experience to be able to go through the story and not be distracted by ads every other page.

Danger Girl: Renegade 1

Comic Block September - Dangergirl 1 Comic Block Exclusive Variant

I don’t know about you but I find this comic is best read while playing Mystikal’s Danger (Been so Long).  So I know nothing about Danger Girl, and as if the comic was reading my mind, it was filled with exposition.  It even took a pause halfway through to explain exactly what the Danger Girls are.

Comic Block September - Dangergirl 1 Comic Block Exclusive Variant Pic 2

It starts off with Danger Girl Abbey Chase at age 12 running through the streets of Egypt.  This scene was amazingly over the top.  At one point she’s literally climbing a stack of woven baskets filled with snakes.

Comic Block September - Dangergirl 1 Comic Block Exclusive Variant Pic 1

Abbey and her handler David move to Norway where there some more exposition about her Dad being on some super secret mission.  The two are ambushed and David dies in the struggle.  Abbey manages to escape and the comic jumps 13 years to a 26 year old Abbey in the Amazon jungle.  Abbey is once again being Chased (see what I did there) and narrowly escapes a villainous woman with a snake eye (literally).  The comic ends with Abbey giving  more exposition and a glimpse of the weird emerald the Snake Lady was trying to steal from Abbey.

This comic was all well and good but nothing in it really grabbed my attention enough to want to read more.  The over the top villains and ominous dark family history was just so typical that it almost felt like a parody.  On the plus side the art was at least good and like Mirror’s Edge there weren’t ads in the interior of the book.


The Quips of A-Force Issue 5

If you aren’t reading the Secret Wars Tie-In, A-Force, you really should.  It’s worth for the banter in issue 5 alone (A-Force Issue 5 on Comixology).

A-Force 5 Quips


Comic Review: The Colonel of Two Worlds

I love me some weird promotional tie in items.  I am always fascinated and amazed when TV shows or movies have weird promotional tie-in’s or product placements that they force feed into scenes.  Most of the time these are just subtle scenes of people drinking a Coke at a restaurant.  But sometimes we get a gift when subtlety is thrown to the wind and we get an insane commercial / propaganda piece  detached from all reality.  One of my favorite examples of late is the music video for the song Pretty Girls by the Legendary Ms. Britney Spears and Iggy Azalea.

Obviously Samsung is paying for this video by the amount of camera time is spent on the Galaxy S6 phones but at the 2:17 mark the music pauses and it literally becomes a commercial for the phone.  Even for a video where the two leads are playing as aliens this is the most jarring and unrealistic thing that happens in the video.

 Comic Review

This brings us to KFC Presents: The Colonel of Two Worlds Starring the Flash and Colonel Sanders, which I will refer to as KFCP: TCOTW (STFACS) for short.  KFCP: TCOTW (STFACS) is the perfect storm of every thing I love about weird promotional tie ins.  Does it have a fourth wall breaking moment where it simply becomes a commercial? Check.  Does it misunderstand how people fundamentally view their product? Check.  Is it unashamed at how ridiculous it is? Check.  True believers this comic is fantastic and available for free at Comixology right here.

KFC Colonel of Two Worlds 2

Let’s start by breaking down the plot of this bad boy.  It starts with the Mirror Master and Captain Cold teaming up with the evil Earth 3 version of Colonel Sanders, Colonel Sunders.  They then become fast food employees at Colonel Sunders “Easy Fried Chicken”, which is suppose to be the opposite of KFC.  The next step It is unclear but I assume Colonel Sunders used his Easy Fried Chicken money to hire henchmen in order to start committing bank robberies and other larger money making crimes.  The Flash and Green Lantern discover a spike in crime occurs whenever an Easy Fried Chicken opens.  The real Colonel Sanders is super pissed off that this imposter is using his likeness to sell below par chicken and steps in.  A fight ensues and a victorious Colonel Sanders sends the imposter Colonel Sunder back to Earth 3.  The comic ends with the Cononel convincing the Flash to allow him hire Captain Cold and Mirror Master at KFC rather than throwing them back in jail.

KFC pic 3

Let’s start with one of my favorite parts of these weird product tie-ins and that is when it jarringly switches to commercial mode.  The whole thing is a commercial in and of it self and does it’s job simply through brand recognition alone.  But KFC just can’t trust us the reader to simply pick that up and has to break the 4th wall to talk about the 11 secret herbs and spices.  Dear KFC, we get it.  You are a major brand, every one knows who you are and generally what you serve.  Breaking the fourth wall doesn’t convey that, all it does it show how insecure you are about your product.

KFC pic 4

KFC Pic 5

Another favorite of mine is when companies fundamentally don’t understand how consumers see their products.  A great example of this is the Bank of America “One Bank” song it created when it merged with MBNA (here is a cover of that by David Cross).  While this was probably a huge deal for Bank of America it’s customers could really give two shits.  Their accounts stayed the same, their cards stayed the same, it was just a shuffling around of management.  But because it so big internally Bank of America couldn’t see outside the bubble that the outside world really didn’t care.  This occurred in KFCP: TCOTW (STFACS) with the concept of “Easy Fried Chicken”.  I’m sure the marketing department thought, “Hey what do people love about our chicken? Oh I know, it’s how we make it the hard way”.  This is in fact is not what people think about KFC.  We are buying your food because its easy, pretty good, and cheap.  If anything the bizarro KFC of “Easy Fried Chicken” is actually what we think of when we think of KFC.

KFC 7

I’m not here to shit talk KFCP: TCOTW (STFACS) though.  I actually quite enjoyed KFCP: TCOTW (STFACS) and found my self laughing out loud when Colonel Sunder used a pink slime gun to fight Colonel Sanders.

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The art throughout the comic was actually top quality which not the norm for projects like this.  The shot of the Flash coming into frame could have easily been mistaken from a shot from the ongoing Justice League or Flash solo comic.  In general KFCP: TCOTW (STFACS) was fun, actually funny, and free.  Hopefully we get some more weird stuff like this in the future (I’m looking at you Old Spice).


Comic Bento Unboxing: October 2015

This is my first month using Comic Bento which brings you a box full of graphic novels every month.  This months theme is Fight the Fight so all the comics had a fight related theme to them (which what comic doesn’t fit that description?).  The first thing I noticed was that this box weighed a lot, over four pounds to be exact, they are not kidding around when they say a box full of comics.

Comic Bento Unboxing 1

The comics themselves came wrapped together in a thick plastic bag with a bubble wrap insert.  Being the thing weighed 4 pounds I don’t think the bubble wrap would really save it.  However, the comics were, in fact, completely undamaged, so I do have to give Comic Bento props for going the extra mile to make sure that the comics make it here in one piece.

Comic Bento Unboxing 2

Comic Bento Unboxing 5

Comic Bento Unboxing 5

There is a paper insert inside that describes the theme (this month is Fight the Fight!) and gives a break down of everything in the box.

Comic Bento Insert Front Comic Bento Insert Back

So now that I’ve shown you the outside and packaging its time to find out what is in the box (insert Brad Pitt from Seven gif here).  I’ll also note that this would be where I would normally put in a small review of said comic.  However, because these are all graphic novels (and 5 at that!) I haven’t had a chance to read them yet.  So like Harry Potter, Twilight, and Infinity War, this blog post is going to be a two parter and I’ll post my review later when I get a chance to read them all.

Comic Bento Unboxing 8

First up is Daredevil Season 1 written by Anthony Johnston and art by Willington Alves and Nelson Pereira.

Comic Bento - Daredevil - Season 1

Next is Superman/Batman Vol. 4: Vengeance written by Jeph Loeb and art by Ed McGuinness and Dexter Vines.

Comic Bento - Superman Batman Vengeance (Vol. 4)

Next is Executive Assistants: Hit List Agenda written by Vince Hernandez and art by Oliver Nome.

Comic Bento - Executive Assistant - The Hitlist Agenda (Vol. 1)

Finally there is X-O Manowar Vol. 2: Enter Ninjak written by Robert Venditti and art by Lee Garbett.

Comic Bento - X-O Manowar - Enter Ninjak (Vol. 2)

But wait, there’s more!  This month there was a bonus comic with none other than the Highlander.  You’re welcome in advanced for this getting this song stuck in your head.

Highlander Vol. 3: Armageddon written by Brandon Jerwa and art by Carlos Rafael

Comic Bento - Highlander (Vol. 3)

Now that we have unboxed here are some initial impressions.  First I was very impressed and happy with the care that was taken in the packaging.  Like I had said before everything was in perfect condition and brand new.  Second I was a little disappointed that the novels seem to be a mix / match of different volumes instead of all being the first volume of each series.  All and all this isn’t that big of a deal.  Each of these should contain their own story arc and be self contained, so they will still be enjoyable.  However it would have been nice to have the first volume in each.

The Comic Beno is probably the best deal I have seen in these subscription boxes.  The monthly cost is $20 dollars per month (which can drop to $17.50 if you choose a 6 month subscription) plus $5 dollars for shipping.  I did a calculation of the combined cover price of everything in the box and it came out to $84.95.  So with shipping, and the 20 dollar plan, you are still saving $59.95 which equates to 76.5% off cover price.  Now I know that this is the “suggested” MSRP and that you can likely find them all cheaper than that but even so it’s still a great deal.

Lastly the quality of the books in this box is very good.  Not only were the big two represented by there was a good showing of smaller publishers and nothing in the box that felt like filler.  It would have been real easy to have just had this filled with things from the clearance rack but Comic Bento did a great job of putting in characters I already know along with characters I am soon to know.

So the bottom line is if you are in the market for a comic subscription box that gives you a massive amount of comics to read each month this is the box for you!

Disclaimer: I was provided my Comic Bento box as a promotion for writing this piece (Thanks Comic Bento!).  However all the thoughts and opinions about this are my own.


Marvel’s Ultimate Universe is Awesome

Ultimates Splash
When I first started really getting into comic books back in 2011 I was picking up a lot of titles but had pretty much written off the Ultimate Universe entirely.  The idea that this whole universe of comics was non-canon and thus “didn’t count” made me feel like it was a waste of time and something I shouldn’t bother with.  Now 2015, years wiser and stacks of comics later I realize just how wrong I was.

Ultimate Thor

If you are completely unfamiliar with the Ultimate Universe lets get into its history briefly.  Back in 2000 Marvel realized they had a problem on their hands.  The vast majority of their comics were turning 40 years old and so the origins of their most popular heroes were vastly out of date and touch with the modern world.  Marvel can do tricks with de-aging its heroes and condensing history but the fact remained that you can only really tell an origin once.  Marvel was stuck with two choices.  Reboot their lines so their stars have clean histories and relatable origins, or create all new characters to replace fan favorites.

The Marvel New Universe

This isn’t a problem that was new to Marvel.  Since the 80’s they had been trying to find a way to simplify the years of incoherent back story and clean the slate with its most popular characters.  In the 80’s Editor in Chief Jim Shooter tried to do just that with the launch of the New Universe.  Rather than reboot characters like Spider-man, the Fantastic Four, and the X-Men he decided to create a slew of new characters with the hopes they would replace the old characters and become the new foundation of Marvel.  The fact that kids don’t dress up like Mark Hazzard or Star Brand for Halloween can clue you in that this idea was a spectacular failure.  The lesson learned from the New Universe was that while fans want new and interesting stories fans also are also unwilling to abandon the characters they love.

So creating a world of new characters was out.  But how does Marvel reboot their comics?  If you throw out 40 years of canon you piss off and alienate fans who have spent their lives following these characters.  If you keep in 40 years of canon the characters become an incoherent mess and the story telling suffers and you lose fans.  Marvel was stuck in a real catch-22 which no answer that would please everyone.

Ultimate End

Their solution was a compromise and the creation of the Ultimate Universe.  The Ultimate Universe would be a complete reboot and have separate continuity of the main Marvel Universe.  Fans of Spider-man could continue reading Amazing Spider-man which contained the 40 years of history.  However, if fans wanted a new take on the character they could pick up Ultimate Spider-man and read it instead.

The big selling point on the Ultimate Universe was that the stories would have teeth.  If someone dies in Amazing Spider-man they would generally find their way to being alive again within 5 years.  In fact it became such a joke that the saying was “No one stays dead in comics except Bucky and Jason Todd” (who ironically have both been brought back to life in the last 10 years).  The promise was that if someone died in the Ultimate Universe they would stay dead.

Ultimate Comics Ultimates 1 Cover

The Ultimate Universe kicked off with Ultimate Spider-man in October of 2000 written by Brian Michael Bendis in October of 2000 which remains the only Ultimate title that was still ongoing prior to 2015 Secret Wars (which has temporarily suspended all titles for Marvel).  The next titles were Ultimate X-Men written by Mark Millar, The Ultimates (the ultimate universe version of the avengers) written by Mark Millar, and Ultimate Fantastic Four also written by Mark Millar.  There were more limited series, one shots, and ongoing series that came and went but these four are what I consider the pillars of the original Ultimate Universe.  These four titles represent the characters that were some of Marvel’s oldest and were most in need of a updated origin.

The Ultimates 1

I started my dip into the Ultimate Comics pool with reading Mark Millar’s Ultimates 1 and 2.  These are both limited series runs with Ultimates 1 having 13 issues and Ultimates 2 having 15 issues.  I have a subscription to Marvel Digital Unlimited so I figured what the hell, it doesn’t have a ton of issues I’ll give it a shot.  After reading the first arc (issues 1-6) I was hooked and finished out the series.

I don’t know if I can place my finger on what I like most about Millar’s Ultimates but overall its just a fun read.  It’s got some truly shocking moments (Ant-Man and Wasp) and just plain crazy stuff in there as well (Hulk).  Millar makes bold choices are gives a version of these characters that I have truly never seen before.  I never imagined a Hippie version of Thor, psycho version of Hulk, or a Black Widow / Iron Man romance but somehow Millar makes this work.  I really liked that Millar decided to take so many of these characters in different directions because if you are going to do something as big as create a whole new universe of Marvel characters you really should do something interesting with it.

Once I got hooked on the Ultimates I started looking for more titles under the Ultimate Comic brand to read.

Ultimate Spider-man

My next read was Ultimate Spider-man.  So far I’ve only read the Volume 1: Power and Responsibility which is a retelling of Spider-man’s origin.  Out of all the Ultimate stories I’ve read so far Bendis’s Spider-man is the most straightforward adaptation.  There aren’t a lot of frills here, just a update of the classic story.  The Ultimate Peter Parker is still bitten by a now “genetically enhanced” spider, uncle Ben still dies, Power and responsibility are learned.  I don’t want this to sound like Ultimate Spider-man is not a great read, because it really is.  If someone wants to read Spider-man and start from the beginning this is where they need to go.  It is a well told update of a classic story.  If anything Ultimate Spider-man proved that Stan Lee really nailed it with this story, in this case we don’t need a gimmick, just a little update.

Ultimate Comics Spider-Man 1

These days if you hear the word Ultimate Spider-man it isn’t associated with Peter Parker at all but the new Ultimate Spider-Man Miles Morales.  In 2011 after 160 Ultimate Spider-man ended with the Death of Peter Parker and the introduction of Miles Morales in a new on going series Ultimate Comics Spider-man.

Ultimate X-Men 1

Next I read Ultimate X-Men.  Ultimate X-Men is much more liberal take on the origin of the X-Men.  It throws us right into the mix where the original X-Men are already at the Xavier Institute for Gifted Youngsters.  There is the establishment of Magneto and the Brotherhood of Evil mutants and the first arc is centered around that clash.  The series also distances it self from the regular Marvel universe and establishes complete different back stories for many of the characters.  Wolverine starts as an spy for Magneto and immediately begins a relationship with Jean Grey (who has not been in a relationship with Scott Summers).  Beast and Storm begin a relationship early on and Weapon X is a program started by SHIELD.

Ultimate X-Men

I enjoyed reading the first volume of Ultimate X-Men and continued reading it through the first 30 or so issues.  The downside to Ultimate X-men is that while it is an “update” of the X-Men origin story it is already beginning to feel aged being 15 years old now.  The first issue cover alone has a very “Lisa Frank” feel to it and the style of the whole thing screams early 2000’s.  If someone wanted to get into the X-Men with no prior history I would probably point them toward 2012’s All-New X-Men instead of Ultimate X-Men.  That being said I would definitely recommend the series to anyone.

Ultimate Fantastic Four

Most recently I have started reading Ultimate Fantastic Four.  This is actually the first Fantastic Four comic book series I’ve ever read.  Like most of the country I just don’t find the Fantastic Four appealing at all, and out of all the big Marvel properties it feels the most out of date.  If any series could use a fresh coat of paint and an updated origin it is Fantastic Four.  I started just reading Volume 1: The Fantastic and to my genuine surprise I loved it.  Changing the Baxter building to a sort of Hogwarts for super genius kids was a great change.  I thought the re-imagining of their origin made sense and was much more relatable than the original Stan Lee origin.  In fact I was actually really stoked to go see the new Fantastic Four film knowing they pulled a lot of the source material from the Ultimate universe.  That was of course, until the reviews starting coming in…  This is definitely a book I would recommend to anyone especially if they are new to the Fantastic Four.

Ultimate End Vol 1 1

Having this renewed interest in the Ultimate Universe it’s sad that the current Secret Wars mini-series currently in production is actually ending the Ultimate Universe altogether.  Fantastic Four and X-Men had a decent run but started falling off in the late 2000’s (both Ending in 2009).  Marvel tried to revive the line in 2011 with the new Ultimate Comics line with a new Ultimates, X-Men, and Spider-man but they winded up canceling most the titles by 2014.  Prior to Secret Wars the only ongoing Ultimate title left in production was Spider-man.  At the end of the day Spider-man has been the real break out title of the entire Ultimate line and the only title to continually release since it’s inception in 2001.  Miles Morales has been an extremely popular character and will be folded into the All-New All-Different Avengers main team following Secret Wars.

For the time being it looks like there will no longer be an Ultimate Universe and only one main Marvel Universe.  My thought is that in the next 5 years we will reach the 20th anniversary of the launch of the Ultimate Universe and that Marvel will look at it as a good time to reboot the franchise.  Until then I still have a decade worth of Ultimate material to keep my occupied.

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Now that I have you chomping at the bit to read some Ultimate Comics where can you buy them?  If print is your preferred method you can pick up trade paperbacks pretty much anywhere comics are sold.  You will also likely have good luck finding copies of these trade paper backs at used book stores or for cheap online.  If digital is your method you can get the majority of the Ultimate universe on kindle, comixology, google play, itunes, or where ever you buy digital books.  However, if you really want to dig into the Ultimate Universe I would suggest looking into getting a subscription to Marvel Digital Unlimited.  It is an all you can read Netflix style comic book service for Marvel Comics and they have literally every issue of every Marvel Ultimate comic for you to read until your eyes bleed.


Elseworlds Finest: Supergirl & Batgirl

Elseworlds Finest - Cover

Today’s installment of Elseworlds we’ll be discussing 1998’s Elseworlds Finest: Supergirl & Batgirl.  If you would like to read along at home you might be able to find a copy at your local comic book shop but the easiest option would just be to get it from Comixology here for 1.99.

Elseworlds Finest - Image 6

While this is definitely an Elseworlds story the main two characters, Supergirl and Batgirl, have their normal identities of Kara Zor-El and Barbara Gordon.  In this world there is no Superman and Kara Zor-El is the true last daughter of Krypton.  Bruce Wayne exists in this world but rather than his parents getting killed, Barbara’s parents were killed and she was raised by the Waynes.

Elseworlds Finest - Image 2

This is an interesting twist.  Barbara and Bruce are roughly the same age in this universe and have a Brother/Sister relationship.  Bruce acts in a support role similar to Alfred, while Barbara is Batgirl.  Barbara is still a computer genius and uses her “Oracle” computer program to protect and isolate the entire city of Gotham.  No one is above Batgirl’s reach and neither the Justice League or anyone with powers is allowed to enter Gotham.  Barbara keeps Gotham in a police state and while it may be safer it is clear there is mixed feelings from the citizens.

Elseworlds Finest - Image 7

In this world Lex Luthor is not a villain but instead a benefactor of the Justice League.  The story kicks off with Luthor receiving an award from Barbara Gordon (and the city of Gotham) for his work in renewable energy.  A super buff Joker who has been taking Bane’s venom uses the opportunity to kidnap Luthor.  This super buff Joker of this world is obsessed with Batgirl and uses the kidnapping as an excuse to gain her attention.

Lex Luthor was the one who found Supergirl when she landed on Earth and represents a father figure to her.  She becomes distressed learning he has been kidnapped and, despite knowing Gotham is off limits, enters the city anyway to rescue him.  Batgirl is immediately alerted and confronts Supergirl.  Once seeing how distressed Supergirl is, and possibly realizing that she is overpowered, Batgirl invites Supergirl to assist her in finding Luthor.

Meanwhile Luthor cuts a deal with Joker and gets Joker to work with him in exchange for an unlimited supply of venom.

Batgirl takes Supergirl to a secret underground lab of Lexcorp where we learn the true nature of Lex Luthor.  Superman had in fact come to Earth but Lex got to him first and used the Kryptonite from the crash to kill Kal-El while he was still a baby.  Lex has since been using Kryptonian technology and Kal-El’s own corpse to further Lexcorp.

Elseworlds Finest - Image 4

Supergirl naturally goes into a blind rage and is set on killing Luthor for the horrible acts he has committed.  Batgirl manages to stop Supergirl from killing Luthor and we then learn Batgirls backstory.  An aging Joe Chill winded up getting a commuted sentence for killing her father in exchange for naming names.  One of the people he named was Luthor as the man responsible for contracting the murder that killed her father.  Jim Gordon was never the target that night, Joe was suppose to kill the Waynes but when Jim Gordon intervened he was killed instead.

The award was a set up from the start.  Batgirl planned it to get Luthor out of Metropolis long enough for her to gather evidence against Luthor.  Luthor plays it off that it doesn’t matter anyway because he is beloved and no one will believe their story against him.  However Batgirl had been live streaming the entire encounter which Luthor had confessed all.

Elseworlds Finest - Image 5

The comic ends with Supergirl burying Kal-El’s body and that start of a friendship between Supergirl and Batgirl.  Barbara however hides away a kryptonite ring stolen from Luthor “just in case”.

Overall I really enjoyed the comic.  I think it was a fresh take on both of the characters.  Rather than just being side characters or part of a bigger bat or super family this had Batgirl and Supergirl front and center as the leaders of their world.  I did think it was odd that they didn’t go by Superwoman and Batwoman seeing as they were the main forces in this world.  This isn’t a huge deal but would have helped to separate this world from the typical DC Universe.

I liked the different take on Batman’s origin in which it is the Gordon’s that died instead of the Waynes.  I liked that Bruce Wayne takes on the role of Alfred and helps assist Batgirl while she’s out in the field.  They appear to have a romantic relationship in the public eye but seem to be truly platonic while in private.

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My only real complaint is that I would have liked to see more of the rest of the world this comic takes place in.  We got to see some bits and pieces on how things are different such as Abin Sur as this worlds Green Lantern but it never really goes into any depth.  This is just a one shot comic so they are limited on what they can tell in this story but it would have been nice to see more.  Part of what I really love about these elseworlds comics is the details and smaller changes.

Anyway if you like Elseworlds and are a fan of Supergirl and Batgirl this is definitely a book you should check out.


Comic Block August 2015 Unboxing

Comic Block Web Clipping

August’s Comic Block came with the following items:

  • Bombshells 1 from DC Comics
  • X-Files Season 11 Issue 1 from IDW (Comic Block Exclusive Variant)
  • Red Sonja / Conan 1 from Dark Horse (Comic Block Exclusive Variant)
  • Heart and Brain Comic Block Exclusive Print
  • Spider-Gwendom T-Shirt

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First let’s take a look at the art print that came in the box.  This is the second time that a box has include a art print, the very first box had a cool Batman Print.  This month came with a print that was a Web Comic that was ok, but not particularly funny.  I’m not familiar with the web comic and it had the level of humor of a Bazooka Joe wrapper.  Regardless I would rather there be an art print than some of the random extra items that some of the other boxes have had.

Comic Block August 15 - Comic Print

Next was the Spider-Gwendom T-Shirt.  It is a White shirt with the following print in the middle.  While I’m happy to now have my first Spider-Gwen T-shirt, it is kinda of creepy.

Comic Block August 15 - Gwenom T-Shirt

Bombshells Issue 1

Comic Block August 15 - Bombshells 1

If you have been following my blog than you already know I am a big fan of the DC Bombshells.  I picked up quite a few of the variant covers of the initial set back in August of last year, and have picked up even more of this years set.  I was actually planning on picking up this issue myself at my local comic shop until I went online and spoiled myself that it would be included in this month’s comic block.

The first thing to know about Bombshells is that it is a Digital first comic.  This means that it is released weekly on ComiXology with every 3 issues collected and released for print each month.  So then it makes sense that this issue is split up into three parts.

Comic Block August 15 - Bombshells 1 Image (2)

The first part introduces Batwoman.  Batwoman is the star player of the Gotham Knights and does vigilate work on the side.  For reasons not really explained the players on the Gotham Knights all where disguises and keep their identity secret.

Comic Block August 15 - Bombshells 1 Image (3)

Batwoman breaks up a robbery at the Ballpark (which we won’t go into how ridiculous it would be to rob a ballpark), and we see her romance with Police Captain Maggie Sawyer.

Comic Block August 15 - Bombshells 1 Image (4)

It ends with a cliffhanger with Amanda Waller recruiting Batwoman to help stop the war.

Comic Block August 15 - Bombshells 1 Image (5)

The second part introduces Steve Trevor whose squadron is shot down by Amazonians as they unknowingly fly into their airspace.  This is a much shorter section so not much else happens in it other than he is brought to Wonder Woman for questioning.

Comic Block August 15 - Bombshells 1 Image (6)

The last part takes place in Russia with Kara and Kortni Duginovana aka Supergirl and Stargirl.  I’m not sure if both have powers but Kara definitely does.  They are fighter pilots for Russia and during their first mission Kortni’s plane malfunctions and Kara must reveal her powers to save her.

I enjoyed this comic enough that I’ll start picking up the other issues as they are released.

X-Files Season 11 Issue 1

Comic Block August 15 - X-Files Season 11 Issue 1 Comic Block Exclusive

I did not like this comic much at all.  I was in the process of giving up until I realized I only had 4 more pages to read.  If you are into the X-Files this will probably be your jam but it has been since the late 90’s since I’ve seen an episode so I was more than a little confused.

Comic Block August 15 - X-Files Season 11 Issue 1 Comic Block Exclusive Image (7)

For reasons unexplained Mulder and Scully are not together and the FBI is looking for Mulder who is on the Lam.  We don’t know what he did or why the FBI is after him.  Mulder finds the debris of satellite and there are some wolves.  I don’t know.  It’s a confusing mess and honestly I just didn’t care.

Red Sonja / Conan Issue 1

Comic Block August 15 - Red Sonja Conan 1 Comic Block Exclusive

This is my first time to read either a Conan or Red Sonja comic so going in I am unfamiliar with the characters.

Comic Block August 15 - Red Sonja Conan 1 Comic Block Exclusive Image (8)

The story centers around Red Sonja and Conan preparing for a war in Kush.  There are several smaller mercenary forces that are going to team up for this attack and it has been decided that the leader of each fraction will fight to the death until only one remains.  Red Sonja and Conan decide that rather than fight each other that they will lead together.  This upsets the remaining warlords so the pair make quick work killing them off.  While this is happening a wizard named Kal’ang is in the final stages of making some sort of super potion that will give him immense power.  He gives a couple of his men a taste of his unfinished potion that, while not giving them full strength as the completed potion will, still greatly increases their strength.  The superpowered troops try to surprise Conan and Red Sonja and are quickly killed.

Comic Block August 15 - Red Sonja Conan 1 Comic Block Exclusive Image (10)

After the attack Red Sonja and Conan decide to immediately go to war instead of waiting until the morning.

Overall it was pretty good.  I thought the art was great, it was a cartoonish style but not so much that the people stopped looking real.  The level of violence felt inconsistent.  It’s not that I even minded it but it seemed like it just jumped from being extremely mild to cutting off heads pretty quickly.  It was just jarring because the level of sexuality and language was extremely tame so I just assumed that this book would be for younger audiences.  I don’t think I’ll pick up the series but I liked it well enough and might keep an eye out if it falls in dollar bins.

Well that’s it folks.  I’ll probably keep doing these posts monthly as I’ve been enjoying writing them and it encourages me to really read all the comics I get in the box.


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