Tags Matching: nova

Top 100 Summer Comics #33

Rarely are first issues a smooth ride. There’s generally a formula followed, and 22 pages is not many when you need to introduce characters, bring them together, somehow make it gel, and convince the reader to jump on for the next issue.

An interesting fact is how often the print run of issue #2 is dramatically smaller than that of the first issue – based on historic drop off as well as the fear that the series will just fall apart. This is true for everything from X-Men to Avengers to Superman to Justice League/s.

But for brand new super hero teams, damn. It almost never sticks. This one did, if even for a little while.

#33 – New Warriors #1

I have to wonder what kind of concept they had with this team… was it the old “something old (Nova), something new (Night Thrasher), something borrowed (hrmm.. Namorita, from her then regular appearances in Namor? It’s a stretch I know), and something blue (Marvel Boy? Speedball was always a downer too)? Maybe.

Whatever it was, it worked. And mostly because the writing was sharp, and the attempt to be a hip teen book wasn’t shoved in the readers face. That’s often the way to kill any interest in a book. As a young reader, I wanted to shove an ice pick through my skull anytime a comic book tried to be hip. Stop. The other factor was Mark Bagley absolutely killing it, his art was really refreshing at the time. He never pandered to the Liefeld / McFarlane / Lee camp, keeping his own style when it seemed everyone was moving in one direction.  The opening with a dejected Richard Rider standing on a ledge is still a keeper scene.

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100 Days of Summer Comics… #99

#99 – Avengers #303

Let me set this up. The Avengers are essentially Gilgamesh, Captain America, Thor, the Invisible Woman and Mr. Fantastic. Huh? Weird right? Well by the end of this issue, the Avengers are back on the good foot.

If you can’t tell, this issue has three things I’m a sucker for. One – the West Coast Avengers. Two – Nova and the Nova Corps. Three – Quasar. I kind of know both things are pretty wack. But I like them anyways, like that one lame friend who still makes fart jokes in front of girls in high school – sometimes you can’t believe you hang out with him, but you still do. This issue has all of those things and the kitchen sink. The Thing in full cragrock mode? Boom. Mr. Fantastic getting persnickety about being told what to do? Boom. A reenactment of David and Goliath starring Hawkeye and a giant SuperNova? BOOM!

All in all a romping good time and I am DYING for a collection of this era of the Avengers. Get this for $2 or less and enjoy.

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Lights out…

A funny thing happened last night, as I was preparing to do a couple of comicnoize posts.

The power went out.

Okay, no big deal. It’s 8 o’clock. Give it an hour, tops, I’ll be back in business. NOPE.

Power came back today at noon. So in honor of CPS for taking their sweet time to get my energy back on, my favorite D-grade villain of all time, BLACKOUT.

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The New Warriors.

A decade before he was one half of one of the longest running creative teams in modern comics on Ultimate Spider Man, Mark Bagley was one half of a not quite as long running creative team on one of the greatest comics of the 90s:

The New Warriors.

For 25 issues, Bagley and writer Fabian Nicieza were the perfect combination of art and script. Nicieza’s writing made made even Speedball cool. And no one drew a better Namorita than Bagley (except for maybe that one time Joe Jusko drew her for a Marvel Masterpieces card*). The bikini/short hair combo… ’nuff said.

On the surface, the New Warriors were a teenage Marvel version of Batman and the Outsiders, with new guy Night Thrasher serving as Batman, if Batman had had a bulletproof, razor tipped, rocket powered skateboard (it may seem cheesy now, but it actually was pretty awesome). Recruiting second tier favorites like Nova (who for some reason took a step back from being the Man Called Nova to Kid Nova) and Firestar, Night Thrasher’s team was joined by Namorita and Speedball in the pages of The Mighty Thor, getting a fluke win over ex-Galactus herald Terrax.

From there the group went straight into their own series, which despite what recent incarnations of the title and the description of the team put forth in comics like Civil War, was AWESOME. Particularly of note were the 3 issue Hard Choices storyline, with Thrasher handling the (extraordinarily well done) requisite 90s Punisher guest spot and the rest of the team trying to get Speedball’s mom out of an exo-terrorist group, and the alternate reality storyline of Forever Yesterday, where old Nova foe the Sphinx’s wife creates a whole new reality where she and her husband rule the world. All sorts of Egyptian versions of normally Caucasian heroes pop up to enforce the status quo, as the lower caste mutant population rebels against the reverse racist rule of Mrs. Sphinx and the alternate world versions of the Warriors find themselves being drawn together to fix everything.

Other storylines of note included the return of Terrax, who this time hands the Warriors and villains turned allies Psionex their ass (we’re talking breaking bones and snapping necks) and pretty much creates a full blown apocalypse before the remaining Warriors get a clue and bring in the Fantastic Four and Silver Surfer, and the Nothing But The Truth storyline, in which Night Thrasher takes some serious steps away from being a Bat-copy courtesy of his Alfred analogue (an ancient Oriental woman named Tai) turns out to be a total crazy, super powered maniacal mastermind who has been manipulating him his whole life (that storyline’s sub plot was no less intense, with Marvel Boy going on trial for killing his abusive step father).

After Bagley left to take over art chores on the Amazing Spiderman (was the success of New Warriors a direct cause of a young, relatively inexperienced artist getting a shot at one of Marvel’s main books? You can bet your bippy), Nicieza kept going with new artist Darick Robertson. It was still good, with the Poison Memories storyline being a high point, but Bagley was really THE New Warriors artist for me.

By the time Nicieza left somewhere in the mid-50’s, the book was pretty much done. It trucked on until issue 75, but after that it’s greatness was forgotten, and subsequent attempts at a revival were either bad jokes about reality tv or an entirely different series all together. Things ended well for Nova, as he ended up getting a major power boost and once again stars in his own ongoing series, but he was a character who had been around since the 70s and thus had probably the biggest fanbase. And I’m not going to complain, since he was on my favorite cover from that first 25 issues:

So bad ass.

It seems like the higher ups at Marvel just had no respect for the rest of the original team; Namorita and Night Thrasher were blown up to kick off Civil War, Marvel Boy (who changed his name to Justice) and Firestar were Avengers for awhile but then were unceremoniously retired (Justice actually returned and was a major character in Avengers:Initiative, originally serving as an instructor, and then going AWOL to team up with Rage and other late period Warriors as an anti-Initiative resistance, so I guess someone out there still likes him). And we won’t talk about what Warren Ellis did to Speedball…

I’ll just stick with my New Warriors Classic trade paperback (volume 2 out this month!).

Better days. Better days.

*-


Avengers, transitioning…

Changes are good. Sometimes watching changes occur, however, can be awkward.

Seeing sports teams go through rebuilding processes, not fun. 

Watching television series add new characters… not always great. 

Reading comics as they transition through creative teams and rosters… sometimes is awful. 

But sometimes, the rare occasions, it can be great. This segment of Avengers history is brought to you by the “change is good committee for a better America”.

 

The Avengers had a really strong run in the Mid-80’s. Not the most popular or critically acclaimed, but there’s a moment in Roger Stern’s epic run that can almost bring a tear to my eye. Stern and Buscema had a titanic run that was the defining series for me as far as what the Avengers were – huge, dynamic, heroic, but ultimately flawed.  There was some editorial conflict that led to Stern leaving but Buscema and inker Tom Palmer stayed on, and thank god. Loved this team, so much depth and dimension to their interpretation of the Avengers.

So on the creative side, there was a lot of movement as well. The characters had been through the ringer and by issues 298,299… there was virtually no Avengers. So , bam… Cap (then The Captain, which is a great future post) pulls together some strings and you have the most unlikely and weird Avengers team of all time: Cap, Mr. Fantastic, the Invisible Woman, Gilgamesh, and Thor. This lineup doesn’t make it 4 issues before they put the kibosh on that, considering two members were being called back to active duty with the Fantastic Four.


So I could ramble on about these issues for days, but I’ll leave it at this – great issues, Super-Novas, lead-in to John Byrne’s “strange” run on Avengers, and some absolutely great art and stories. Lava-Men, Atlantis Attacks. There’s probably not a good chance that these issues will be collected, so getting them here is a great deal.

What’s good?

I was about to write about how this would be something on my list of “to check out” for anyone who’s been away from comics for a minute.

Then I remembered what I’m about to dive into. 

So rather, I’d like to say this is a great series for people either into comics now, or who have at some point been knee deep in comics, because the ANNIHILATION series isn’t really a starter kit to hand to your little brother.

For the casual fan, I’d say this is STILL a great read. You need to really read up to follow however. This is a definite sci-fi space adventure that while light on continuity is heavy on characters, from obscure to uber-obscure. Let’s be real – when Adam Warlock, Nova, Ronan the Accuser, and the Super Skrull are your big names, you might go over the heads of some weekend readers. (Okay, okay… this guy named the SILVER SURFER shows up for a minute too…) However I would plead that this is a well paced, nicely developed cosmic story that has a great flow – particularly the first part of this epic, the “ANNIHILATION” proper section.

 

Keith Giffen gets and deserves the credit for crafting the story the redefined the Marvel cosmic universe, and eventually passing that torch along to the creative team of Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning, who are the architects of all things cosmic at this point it seems. 

As a long time science fiction fan on top of the whole comic obsession, Marvel has rarely done a top notch job with their journeys into space. They’ve developed some excellent characters but outside of a really solid run of Silver Surfer from Jim Starlin and Ron Lim, there has never been a concise nook for this realm in the Marvel U. Even admirable attempts such as Operation Galactic Storm, an early 90’s Avengers crossover, failed to hit the mark. I have a lot to say about the Infinity Gauntlet, War, and Crusade, but that’s for a later post. Up until here, if you wanted a solid space odyssey, you’ll have to pull out some Chris Claremont X-Men with a solid Shi’ar appearance. 

While “CONQUEST” doesn’t really have the same power as the original series, it still a worthwhile read. I felt as though the appearance of Ultron weakened the series, but at the end of the day it still worked. I mentioned the plethora of obscure characters who appear – on top of that any number of quality new characters pop up, and that’s always a fresh breath of air to long time readers.

While each of these collections will cost you over $25 off the shelf, you can save about $10 a pop by scooping them up here. Hey, while we’re at here’s ALL of the posted books for $35. Wow.

Highly recommended. Great mix of artists work on over 1500 pages of cosmic action, with a great and mutlifaceted storyline. 

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