Mars Rocks

There’s nothing like receiving a missive in the mail from Mars Will Send No More to spice up my day here at Longbox Graveyard Secret Headquarters!
Mars Rocks!

I see that Mars has been busy with the pen and marker!

(Touch down on Mars for details about this piece)

And on the reverse:

Postcard From Mars

We live in an age of wonders, where a postcard can travel all the way from Mars to California for the price of a single stamp!

And even more wondrous … a pending comic convention outing for the enigmatic Mastermind of Mars! I’m guessing this is the Amazing Arizona Con — let us know how it goes, Mars! And thanks for the postcard!

(My reviews of the All-New All-Different Marvel Now will resume at the end of this week … but be sure to check back here Wednesday for the most special announcement in the history of Longbox Graveyard!)

 

Squadron Supreme #1

SQUADRON SUPREME #1

Capsule Review

Mark Gruenwald’s Squadron Supreme did the whole superheroes-as-fascist-enforcers thing a year before Watchmen hit the stands (though not as well), and James Robinson cuts right to the core of that idea in this re-launched Squadron Supreme title. This team is composed of the sole survivors of a score of worlds that got wiped out in the run-up to Secret Wars, and all of them have a bone to pick with Prince Namor, the Sub-Mariner. That part isn’t so unusual — Namor is the resident superhero asshole of the Marvel Universe, and the line-up to punch him in the nose stretches around the block. What sets this Squadron apart is that they aren’t interested in half-measures like knocking Namor through a building or ridiculing his bathing trunks. Nope, they want to kill the guy, and they want to destroy Atlantis, too. This taking-life-and-death into their own hands business is what most harkens back to that Gruenwald series, but this book hots up much quicker than that 1980s mini-series, and it definitely goes to eleven. When a talking-head-on-the-street lauds the team for “doin’ what The Avengers are too scared to admit needs doin,” we are clearly signaled that the Squadron Supreme might be the team today’s world deserves, and that moral ambiguity looms ahead! Leonard Kirk’s art was dynamic and broad-shouldered, but I could have done without the two-page spread of Atlantis thrust up from the sea, looking like a basket of pink sex toys. No matter, I’m in!

Approachability For New Readers

The heroes-from-multiple-worlds thing is confusing … and newcomers will be left to wonder about everyone’s beef with Namor … but the book otherwise does a decent job of introducing the heroes and the premise.

Read #2?

Absolutely.

Sales Rank

#46 December

Read more capsule reviews of Marvel’s All-New All-Different rolling reboot.

 

Squadron Supreme #1

Rocket Raccoon And Groot #1

ROCKET RACCOON AND GROOT #1

Capsule Review

I love Groot and Rocket, but I didn’t much like this book. Skottie Young’s script is strong enough, but we would have been better served if he had illustrated the book, as well — Filipe Andrade’s broad-stroke and abstract style didn’t do enough to bring to life the weird characters and vistas of the story’s outer space setting for me. The story also suffered for pushing our very likeable heroes into the margins for most of the page count. And not to lay the body solely on this book’s doorstep … but what the heck is going on with the Guardians of the Galaxy anyway? This Marvel re-launch has a fist-fill of Guardians books (Guardians of the Galaxy, Guardians of Infinity, Drax, Star-Lord, Venom Space Knight), and I’ve read them all, and liked most of them, but I’m having a bugger of a time figuring which book comes when, or how they all fit together. That seems a missed opportunity. Cross-overs with earthbound Marvel continuity seem limited — at least so far — so why not knit the Guardians book into their own tight little sphere? Right now, I can’t tell what’s happening without a score card … and Marvel hasn’t given me a score card!

Approachability For New Readers

It’s fine, so long as you aren’t trying to make sense of the Guardians-verse as a whole.

Read #2?

No.

Sales Rank

(N/A)

Read more about The Guardians of the Galaxy at Longbox Graveyard

Read more capsule reviews of Marvel’s All-New All-Different rolling reboot.

Rocket Raccoon And Groot #1

 

Uncanny X-Men #1

UNCANNY X-MEN #1

Capsule Review

Marvel’s latest X-Men title is all about the hardcases. If the other X-Men books are about heroes the public thinks are bad guys, then what does that say about an X-Men book that really is about the bad guys? With the fallen-hero-as-villain trope so central to all things X-Men, there’s no limit to the characters who might stock this book, but writer Cullen Bunn and artist Greg Land stick with the usual suspects, to generally good effect. We get Magneto being melodramatic and hardcore, Sabertooth holding himself in check, Psylocke flashing her swords around, and Monet (who I don’t know at all) smiling all the time and delivering dialogue that felt just a bit too stagey. There’s also a brain-dead Angel who is more drone than superhero. The plot is clever and centers on Magneto’s typically slash-and-burn approach to solving the Inhuman-spawned Terrigen mist crisis that is threatening mutant-kind. The book hits a bad-guys-as-heroes tone that completely eluded the Illuminati reboot. The action is strong and the faces are full of expression. I was especially taken with Greg Land’s panel introducing Sabertooth, with the villain (hero?) crouched on the hood of a truck, and the driver’s panicked expression communicated through the frightened eyes framed in the truck’s rear-view mirror. This is the kind of book that has big panels and lots of action (and a two-page center-spread) which means you can read it in about five minutes … but it’s a pretty good five minutes.

Approachability For New Readers

No more or less clear than any other X-Men book.

Read #2?

You bet.

Sales Rank

(N/A)

Read more about the X-Men at Longbox Graveyard

Read more capsule reviews of Marvel’s All-New All-Different rolling reboot.

 

Uncanny X-Men #1

A-Force #1

A-FORCE #1

Capsule Review

A super-team limited to Marvel’s female heroes? OK, I like it. The team’s charter may seem arbitrary, but in a Marvel Universe with three X-Men teams, three Avengers teams, two Inhumans teams, and no (!) Fantastic Four, basing your team on having two “X” chromosomes makes as much sense as anything else. Presumably there is an Avengers connection, given that stylistic “A” in the logo, but no mention is made of it in this book — maybe it was better explained in the Secret Wars series that birthed this series. No matter, I still like it. The roster page tells me that Medusa, She-Hulk, Singularity, Captain Marvel, Nico Minoru, and Dazzler are all on this team, although only about half of them appear in this issue, which sees the child-like cosmic being Singularity coming into our world, fully possessing the memory of working with these women in her old world, while the others have no memory of her at all. Her abrupt manifestation is detected by Captain Marvel, on the bridge of the “Alpha Flight Space Station” (hmm … maybe that’s what the A is for?), and while there is some confusion about whether this new character might be a threat, the ladies solve things with reason, rather than punching each other’s lights out. Now, in the Silver Age, Marvel’s heroes never missed the chance to drop the gloves and pound the crap out of one another, usually on the slimmest of justifications and in total disregard for their past histories. These ladies are different, and I think I like that. I think I like a lot of things about this book, especially the a two-page spread that uses Singularity’s memories both to set the scene and to define the characteristics of each hero — Nico: love; She-Hulk: bravery, strength, fairness; Dazzler: humor and free-thinking; Captain Marvel: team player; Medusa: leadership and sacrifice. Those sure sound like heroes to me! I’ll stick around to see what writer G. Willow Wilson and artist Jorge Molina do with this cast.

Approachability For New Readers

I had to guess at way too many fundamental things for a first issue, but that’s been the case in most of these Marvel re-launches. So it goes.

Read #2?

Absolutely.

Sales Rank

(N/A)

Read more capsule reviews of Marvel’s All-New All-Different rolling reboot.

A-Force #1

 

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