• February 2020
    S M T W T F S
    « Jan    
     1
    2345678
    9101112131415
    16171819202122
    23242526272829
  • On Facebook

  • Archives

  • Categories

  • Comic Blog Elite

    Comic Blogs - BlogCatalog Blog Directory

The ’90s Revisited: Silver Surfer #45

90srevisited

silversurfer045Thanos vs. Mephisto

Writer: Jim Starlin
Penciler: Ron Lim
Inker: Tom Christopher
Letterer: Ken Bruzenak
Colorist: Tom Vincent
Cover: Ron Lim, Tom Christopher
Editor: Craig Anderson
Published by: Marvel Comics
Cover Date: January 1991
Cover Price: $1.00

This is an issue of Silver Surfer. That’s the series, the title, that’s the logo on the cover. But…the cover belongs to Thanos and Mephisto…there’s no attempt whatsoever to have the title character–the Surfer himself–worked into the cover image. There’s a square box that has no pretension of some callout or "burst" hyping something: it states simply The Boys are Back! and we see a stoic, confident Thanos "posed" for the image with a sorta creepy, up-to-no-good Mephisto putting an arm around him. This image alone evokes plenty of thoughts and depth…surface stuff and far deeper, should one wish to hyperanalyze.

The cover belongs to these two…as does the interior. The Surfer has fallen (in the previous issue, I’d assume…it’s been well over a decade since I last would have read this run) and he and the Destroyer (Drax) lay lifeless at Thanos’ feet–their souls having been sucked into the Soul Gem. Other than the opening full-page shot and barely a reference in a subsequent panel and then a small panel at the very end of the issue reminding us of their existence–we don’t see Surfer or the Destroyer in the rest of the issue. And while this is a Silver Surfer issue…that does not bother me in the slightest, particularly having bought this for a quarter, because of the cover…and TRULY getting exactly what I wanted, what I expected out of the issue: Thanos and Mephisto. That’s what the cover promised, and that’s what was delivered.

Thanos has assembled his Infinity Gauntlet, having completed his quest to gather the Infinity Stones. The two beings who sought to stop him–the Silver Surfer and Drax, the Destroyer–have been defeated. Mephisto takes this opportunity to step him, pledging himself to Thanos, master of all. Along with doing so, he goads Thanos on, suggesting the greatness he can yet attain, if he reaches out with his infinite power to touch every living/sentient mind in the Universe. Thanos does so, and Mephisto’s ulterior motive is revealed: to steal the Gauntlet for himself. Of course, it turns out that Thanos was prepared for this, and puts Mephisto in his place, wherein the two come to an agreement about How Things Will Be…and we again see the lifeless forms of Surfer and Drax as Thanos considers the notion of there remaining any who could possibly be a threat to his plans.

This issue falls right in the midst of all the lead-up to The Infinity Gauntlet (1991), though unfortunately it does not seem to be part of the Silver Surfer: The Rebirth of Thanos collected volume. (I’m actually not sure if this has been collected anywhere at the moment?) And the cover–basic though it is (a simple greenish turquoise background with the two characters and then the usual cover dress)–just hit the right nostalgia button for me.

Starlin‘s writing here is spot-on for me; I so associate him with this material–this run on Silver Surfer, all his stuff on Thanos heading into and then during the core Infinity Gauntlet and so on–that this is essentially a "perfect" comic. This is Thanos as I appreciate the character, like the character, and simply reading this issue leaves me anxious to re-read this whole run of the title. As Thanos’ creator, Starlin gets a "pass" from me: what he says goes, and if he’s writing Thanos, then to me…that IS Thanos.

Lim‘s art is absolutely fantastic and iconic in itself to me…as depicted in this issue, this simply IS Thanos. The costume, the shadowed eyes, the star-flare in the eyes, whatever details I notice just works for me and seems perfect.

I already "know" this period of the comics; I know stuff before, after, and am certain I’ve read this before, so reading this is a true revisiting for me; like taking a cherished, favorite book and spending a few minutes re-reading a short selection. That’s probably why despite this chunk of story being right in the middle of the lead-up to Infinity Gauntlet, I so thoroughly enjoyed it as a single issue.

This issue is well worth grabbing, particularly as a bargain-bin issue…and especially if it’s truly not reprinted anywhere as yet. It’s a great middle piece between what you’ll find in Silver Surfer: The Rebirth of Thanos tpb and the Infinity Gauntlet.

The Infinity Gauntlet (2015) #1 [Review]

secretwars_infinitygauntlet001Story: Gerry Duggan & Dustin Weaver
Artist: Dustin Weaver
Script: Gerry DUggan
Letterer: Comicraft’s Albert Deschesne
Cover Artist: Dustin Weaver
Production Designer: Idette Winecoor
Assistant Editor: Devin Lewis
Editor: Nick Lowe
Published by: Marvel Comics
Cover Date: July 2015
Cover Price: $3.99

Particularly given my "Thanos kick" this year, and the nostalgia for me of the original The Infinity Gauntlet series from 1991 (and its followups and the evolution/devolution of Thanos across the 24 years since), this one–as a first issue, at least–was a no-brainer for me on picking up.

I was put off a bit by the Novas on the cover, which I mistakenly saw as a couple generic Novas and the new "Kid Nova" character that replaced the one I knew growing up. Turns out from the interior that I actually would like to see these Novas. I’m also rather put off by what has become an extremely nitpicky sticking-point: the Infinity Gauntlet itself, as I’m most familiar with it, as it was in the ’90s was a left-handed device. Not a right-handed piece, despite recent (the last few years and the Marvel Cinematic Universe) having it as a right-hand thing. I’m not passionate enough on the point to research when the chance actually happened or if it was intentional…I just don’t like it and it bugs me.

The interior, the story of the issue follows a young girl and her family surviving in a dystopian environment. The matriarch of the family disappeared ages earlier, choosing to attempt to protect the world and thus her family by fighting an alien threat before it could hit home. The fact it did leads most of the family to assume the woman’s death, and it’s a point of contention between several characters. While a bit of "hope" is found despite horrific developments, the end of the issue indicates things are about to get much worse.

That this is titled The Infinity Gauntlet and does not "star" Thanos is a huge disappointment for me. I also don’t like that the comics are now following the cinematic universe in referring to Infinity STONES rather than Infinity GEMS. I appreciate this is a different take on stuff, and that we’ll likely HAVE a quest to assemble the Gauntlet by series’ end, but as a first issue I am not overly thrilled.

Visually, this is a solid enough issue, though something about it–for something I went into expecting superheroics and such–seems just a bit "off" for a super-hero comic, and thus my reading experience. There is a slight Runaways vibe for me flipping back through the issue, though, so it’s not entirely out of place for me.

While I am not a fan of losing content in favor of huge one or two page "splash" sequences, this issue’s double-paged title sequence worked very well for me, generic as it is. Basically just the title, credits, and representations of the six Infinity objects (Stones/Gems/whatever) on a starfield. But having that amidst the story itself, as actual story pages instead of a textual title page opening the issue, and being two pages instead of one…reminds me of the title pages of the original 1991 series, and I just enjoy its presence.

I’m not entirely certain what to make of this, but I’m interested in seeing where things go. Rather than just a reimagining of Thanos or the Infinity Gauntlet conflict, this seems like it actually could be the start of something new and truly ongoing, and well worth my having checked this out. I do expect to pick up the next issue, and really hope to enjoy this series in general.

The Weekly Haul – Week of May 27th, 2015

I haven’t done one of these posts in awhile, but here we go again.

This was a big Secret Wars (2015) week for me, snagging four first issues to try the series:

weekly_haul_20150527a

As Secret Wars is just kicking into gear and I’m living so many of its notions, DC‘s counterpart–Convergence–comes to a close. I jumped straight to Convergence #8, and now having read the end find I’m not at all eager to bother reading Booster Gold or Blue Beetle…and I can’t even remember what happened in Blue Beetle‘s first issue!

weekly_haul_20150527b

And finally to the pull-list stuff: TMNT and Valiant. The latest TMNT issue as well as the “Director’s Cut” TMNT/Ghostbusters #1. Which I thought was a one-shot meant to address the entire mini-series…but turns out to be a prestige format edition of the first issue with “commentary” and script and such thrown in…making this a total double-purchase thing, but one I’m glad to for the format and (presumably) only one-issue-per-month thing. And Valiant‘s Divinity concludes, and the second arc of Timewalker begins.

weekly_haul_20150527c

Along with all these issues I also had to dig deep into the wallet as I found quite a score in quarter bins. Back in 2005/2006, I used DC‘s One Year Later stunt as a jumping-OFF point for the Teen Titans series that I’d followed–at that point–from its first issue. This week, I found a complete run from that point into the #90s as well as a couple Annuals and such, and several of the pre-One Year Later issues so if I delve into reading before I unify these with the nearly-decade-old issues hidden away in a longbox somewhere, I can refresh slightly before jumping into all-new stuff I’ve never read.

I also found several interesting-looking random issues, along with a beat-up but perfectly readable copy of the Uncanny X-Men/New Teen Titans #1 from back in 1982.

All in all, a HUGE week I hope not to repeat in a single week again anytime soon…but LOADS of reading.

Adding to the Thanos Collection

infinity_gauntlet_number1

I’ve been on quite the Thanos (and Warlock) kick lately, finally "pulling the trigger" on gathering up a number of the collected volumes associated with the characters, with my favorite stories involving them…or at least ones that I’ve known of but not yet read, and want to (and anticipate their becoming favorites).

On Free Comic Book Day 2015, while out with friends, I spotted a simple but extremely effective display in which a copy of the Infinity Gauntlet paperback was propped up next to a giant coin bank of Thanos’ infamous gauntlet sporting some pretty, shiny Infinity Gems (aka "shiny plastic," in this case). I’d seen this before and I’d passed on it…but Free Comic Book Day tends to be an "extra" thing where I’m more likely to try new stuff than usual, or to buy stuff I don’t normally buy in the course of visiting comic shops. Unfortunately, someone a dozen-or-more people ahead of me in line picked it up and claimed it, so I wasn’t able to buy it there and then.

thanos_bank

At another shop I did spot a Thanos bust bank, and while it wasn’t what I’d decided I wanted, I decided to make do with what I could get and bought it. Still Thanos, and he IS sporting the gauntlet…but it’s hardly a "life-size" piece.

After parting ways with my friends, I went to visit my parents and help out with some stuff…and fortuitously put me in range of two other comic shops. The first one did not have the Gauntlet bank…but the second one did.

infinity_gauntlet_bank

And of course, since it had become my most-coveted item for the day and was the entire reason I went to the fourth shop, I bought it.

I don’t specifically collect banks or busts…but they ARE functionally plastic statues, and since I’m not going to pay hundreds of dollars for a single item, I’m quite content with the plastic variety.

thanos_and_infinity_gauntlet_banks

Sadly, I only later realized that whoever OKed the Gauntlet screwed up–THE Infinity Gauntlet was on Thanos’ LEFT hand…while this bank is clearly a right-handed piece. The Thanos bust has it correct.

I actually looked online for some images to see if I was just misremembering or such, and found more recent pieces that DO show Thanos with a right-handed gauntlet…so I’m just gonna go with it on the notion that it’s Starlin‘s Thanos, and that depiction of the character that wields the left-handed one…and a more generic Thanos that uses the right.

As such, the bank isn’t entirely inaccurate, but it does bother me a bit, in that I-didn’t-think-this-sort-of-continuity-detail-WOULD kind of way. But that sort of continuity thing is a discussion for some other post, some other time.

Suffice it to say these are a couple of cool items for my collection, and their coolness to me IS entirely based on Thanos appearing in the Marvel Studios films…and nostalgia for the ’90s Thanos stuff. (Other than the FCBD Infinity issue a couple years ago, I have yet to actually read Infinity and don’t presently have any great intent to seek it out).

Thanos Annual #1 [Review]

thanosannual001Damnation and Redemption

Writer: Jim Starlin
Penciler: Ron Lim
Inker: Andy Smith
Colorist: Val Staples
Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Cover: Dale Keown & Ive Svorcina
Assistant Editor: Jon Moisan
Editor: Wil Moss
Published by: Marvel Comics
Cover Price: $4.99

It’s safe to say that Thanos is one of my favorite Marvel characters. However, perhaps that’s something to be further quantified: Thanos as written by Jim Starlin is one of my favorite Marvel characters.

While I have yet to read the entirety of Annihilation or Annihilation Conquest; or the Thanos Imperative, or even the more recent Infinity, I’ve been loosely aware of the character’s recent appearance and involvement in Marvel stuff. I’ve been sucked into buying various issues solely on the appearance of Thanos on the cover, the promise of the character within.

So it was the almost random “notice” of Jim Starlin writing and Infinity Gauntlet artist Ron Lim on art that prompted my purchase of this issue.

Despite the aforementioned favoriteness, it’s been a long time since I’ve read most of what I vaguely recall having once read–maybe 15 years since the original Infinity ____ volumes, a decade since the shortlived “ongoing” series…a fact that’s rather “idealized” Thanos for me, and coated things with that sweet nostalgia of childhood memories that so often props something up IN memory but leads to disappointment upon revisitation.

As such, I was prepared to be quite disappointed in this issue.

I’m not a fan of the standard cover…however, I opted to purchase it over any of the variants I saw. In the short term gratification sense, I probably would have preferred the Ron Lim cover…but I feel strongly enough on the “issue” of variants that I would have been quite disappointed having something LABELLED as a variant rather than the “real” cover. Particularly given the “core” creative team of this issue being Starlin and Lim, it’s truly beyond me why neither of their covers were “the” cover and instead shuffled off as variants. Starlin‘s own cover actually fits the interior story, and Lim‘s is equally as fitting visually…whereas Keown‘s cover is a generic (and not even particularly “iconic” to me) image far more suited as an interior “pin-up” page if not a variant cover instead of being the standard cover.

This issue is essentially a prologue, setup, for the forthcoming graphic novel Thanos: The Infinity Revelation. We open on Thanos upon his first major defeat in Marvel continuity–having lost the Cosmic Cube. Dealing with the massive failure, he is approached by Mephisto, but the intervention of an Infinity Gauntleted avatar of Thanos appears and takes this Thanos on a journey through time and space, as it processes various events and how they play into the younger, defeated Thanos’ future. We’re ultimately given setup for a new event in Thanos’ life, which presumably will be chronicled in the OGN this Fall.

I recall being pleasantly surprised at the ease with which Starlin brushed off several years of less-than-ideal characterization and use of Thanos in Infinity Abyss–that the appearances of Thanos in Ka-Zar, a Hulk Annual, and even a Thor-versus-Thanos arc in Thor’s own title proved to be duplicates of the ACTUAL Thanos; less than perfect at that. So this issue referencing multiple “avatars” of the Infinity Gauntlet Thanos fits right in with past precedent and gave me no pause at all, where it may have with other characters.

As a fairly simple one-off story, this worked well for me, giving me a chance to dip back in with Thanos without feeling like I actually missed anything from Infinity or anything else I didn’t feel lost, and actually quite enjoyed the touches on continuity that I recognized.

Visually, this entire issue was quite a treat. It had a feel of the familiar that I appreciated–and EXPECTED. While familiar, the coloring and such certainly showed through as “modern,” keeping this from feeling entirely like some ’90s throwback. I don’t much like Thanos’ appearance without his headgear, but having seen imagery of him without it before, everything fit. In the various detailing other than noticing how ugly he looks without the headgear, nothing of the art itself jumped out as a distraction. 

I enjoyed seeing familiar scenes and characters, and the only one I really didn’t recognize offhand was what I believe to be a “current” version of Adam Warlock that I’ve not actually read in-continuity yet.

The $4.99 price of this issue is a bit steep; I read the thing cover to cover in under 20 minutes…but then, these days, that’s par for the course to me with a Marvel issue. Steep price point for a quick read, whether it’s good or not.

To best of my knowledge, this is not a follow-up to Infinity, and that story seems to be solely referenced by the “previously” page, so you need not have read any of that to enjoy this. Similarly, if you’re looking FOR Infinity follow-up, this isn’t really gonna meet that expectation. 

However, if you’ve read or are familiar with the Thanos stories from the late-’70s and 1990s to early 2000s, and you’re a fan of Starlin‘s work in general and Thanos in particular, this should be a pretty enjoyable read and whet your appetite for an original graphic novel apparently due out in August this year.

Interest vs. Price

ultimateinfinitythumbScanning through my Facebook newsfeed last night, a posted image caught my eye.

Diamond/Previews had posted a cover image for Ultimate Comics Ultimates #25, which seems to show Ultimate Cap, Ultimate Thor, and Ultimate Iron Patriot (?) fighting from the grip of an Infinity Gauntlet.

Now, I definitely think Thanos is getting a bit over-exposed years now UNTIL the next Avengers film. And there’s that part of me with fond memories of the original Infinity Gauntlet story; that part of me that recalls Infinity War #1 that summer before the Death of Superman, and even the more recent Infinity Abyss (was that really over 10 years ago now???).

I also quite enjoyed Avengers & the Infinity Gauntlet by Brian Clevinger, from a few years back.

But the more recent stuff involving the Infinity Gems–and Marvel‘s Illuminati–just hasn’t sat right with that kid in me, so I’ve mostly tried to avoid it. Contemporary writers are welcome to do as they will–but if I don’t like the new stuff, I’ll just revisit the old. My wallet, my choice.

That said…I often enjoy some of the “twists” or “re-imagingings” of stuff from the Ultimate line, and since the Ultimate stuff is not in-continuity with the “main” Marvel universe, I’m far more open to changes/etc. there.

So, back to the cover image. Ultimates (“Avengers”?) facing the Infinity Gauntlet or its Ultimate Comics counterpart. I could really enjoy this. It’s got my interest, my curiosity. Something that’s gotta be on a fairly grand scale, right?

If I knew the Ultimate Comics to be priced at, say, $2.99…the image alone would do more than any generic/mysterious “teaser” has done and I’d email my comic shop to request the issue be ordered/pulled for me.

But I know–like what seems the vast majority of Marvel‘s comics these days–these are at least $3.99. So, since I’m not currently following ANY of the Ultimate Comics titles and I am so sick of $3.99, right now I have no intention of buying in on this.

Sounds like a new creative team, probably a decent one-shot issue or jumping-on point…but the price, that extra dollar that Marvel just HAS TO HAVE serves once again to be an anti-sale for me. Had they “stepped” their pricing and perhaps spent at least a couple years at $3.25 or $3.50 BEFORE going whole-hog to $3.99…maybe I wouldn’t be so vocally bitter.

Sorry, Marvel. I’m intrigued, interested, and I’d be all over this at the $2.99 price point…but at $3.99/issue, I intend to pass on this.

ultimateinfinity

Two decades since ‘Infinity Gauntlet’…

Well…2011 IS the 20-year mark since the original Infinity Gauntlet event. I’ve been wondering what (if anything) would be done to ‘celebrate’. Lo ‘n behold, I look at the Marvel solicits for March and find a solicit for Avengers #11 and a story involving it.

I just wish the title wasn’t $3.99/issue. I’ll keep an eye out for the inevitable collected edition, though.


AVENGERS #11

Written by BRIAN MICHAEL BENDIS
Pencils & Cover by JOHN ROMITA JR.
Captain America 70th Anniversary
Variant Cover by ALAN DAVIS

The Infinity Gauntlet is in the hands of the most dangerous human being on the planet. But what can the Avengers do against a power greater than anything known on Earth? Another explosive chapter in this epic Avengers event by Bendis and Romita Jr. featuring the debut of a brand-new cosmic character that you won’t want to miss!! Plus: another illustrated chapter of the oral history of the Avengers!

32 PGS./Rated A…$3.99

via Newsarama.com : Marvel Comics’ MARCH 2011 SOLICITATIONS.

%d bloggers like this: