The Gold Standard: Thanks, A Top Five List, And A Weekly Roundup

No real formal column for me today (or images after that banner), it was a long weekend of uneasy illness pain, bad football, and lots and lots of editing. The Nexus is alive, and I am proud of my boys for being so damn productive!

So this was a big editing weekend, and a week in general of me just gushing over Marvel NOW!, which I’ll still say isn’t as major as the DC Relaunch, but Marvel is absolutely kicking ass in their approach. A lot of the creators I was getting burned out on are showing after just one issue that they just needed some new material to get their minds spinning again, and it’s a good time to be a fan.

Especially of the X-Men, as Brian Bendis is doing his best to show us that the post AVX status quo is the right one for right now, and while I’m not sure I’ll be forgiving over how horrendously that event played out, I am really liking where it’s left the world of the X-Men.

The thing about Marvel and DC, really, it’s funny. Rarely do I feel like both are opening their doors at the same time, as generally one feels inviting while the other feels like brick walls are up around everything. Right now….right now is the rare time when I feel both have the doors wide open to invite in readers old, new, and lapsed. Sure, there are still books at both companies I wouldn’t recommend to my worst enemy, but for the first time in a long time there is an abundance of books I’m excited about at both of the big two.

Not to discount the rest of the industry, as I truly have lived up to my New Years Resolution to read outside of the big two. Image has become a haven for creators to go and stretch their legs and create without the shackles of editorial, IDW and Dark Horse have a ton of great original material to stand alongside all of their licensed properties, and Monkeybrain? I buy almost everything they put out instantly.

Really, it’s just a great time to be a comic book fan, and that is what I’m thankful for right now. That I truly love my favorite hobby right now.

What I read this week:

  • Batman #14
  • Green Lantern Corps #14
  • Phantom Stranger #2
  • Suicide Squad #14
  • Superboy #14
  • Team 7 #2
  • Hack/Slash #20
  • Invincible #97
  • Saga #7
  • All-New X-Men #1
  • Amazing Spider-Man #697
  • Avengers Assemble #9
  • Fantastic Four #1
  • Thor: God of Thunder #1
  • Wolverine and the X-Men #20
  • X-Men Legacy #1
  • X-Treme X-Men #6
  • The Boys #72
  • Arrow #6
  • Batman: L’il Gotham #2
  • Legends of the Dark Knight #22
  • Justice League Beyond #15
  • Smallville Season 11 #22

Comixology Sales of the Week:

  • The Age of Ultron sale from Marvel got me Ultron Unlimited and the opening arc of Mighty Avengers. Both are in my physical collection, but I haven’t read either in a while and didn’t feel like digging either out.

Top Five Books of the Week:

5. Thor: God of Thunder #1
4. Batman #14
3. Avengers Assemble #9
2. All New X-Men #1
1. The Boys #72

What I Watched This Week:

  • Arrow
  • Thursday Night Football
  • Parks and Rec
  • 30 Rock
  • The League
  • Last Resort
  • Shark Tank
  • College Gameday
  • Young Justice (wait, that’s right, no I didn’t….)
  • Sunday Afternoon Football
  • Sunday Night Football
  • Simpsons
  • Family Guy
  • American Dad
  • Walking Dead
  • Monday Night Football
  • How I Met Your Mother
  • Revolution
  • WWE Raw
  • Raising Hope
  • New Girl

The Worst Things I Saw On Shelves:

I dropped Grifter and Legion Lost, but kept Superboy on my pull list. What the hell is wrong with me?

The Best Things I Saw This Week:

Man, this was like, the week of Marvel. I don’t think there was a single Marvel NOW! book that I wouldn’t recommend to someone.

All-New X-Men is the best Bendis book I’ve picked up in years. Period. I love the way he’s handling Scott (even though I hated AVX), I love the core team of X-Men from the present that he’s going with, and I love that the book debuted with an issue that didn’t feel like it was over before it began. Just a total home run from Marvel’s Golden Boy.

Speaking of home runs, I bought Thor: God of Thunder just to give it the off chance. I’ve liked Jason Aaron on Wolverine and the X-Men, but I still wasn’t sold on him. This book came with a weird concept, using Thor in three different eras to tell one story, and I really didn’t think it would work. So glad I was wrong, as this book wound up just kicking ass. Aaron nails the voice of all three versions (young, modern, and old) and creates a really fantastic read.

Speaking of Fantastic, my favorite Marvel team is back in the saddle, and Matt Fraction has a great hook to go with them. A field trip across time and space, while Reed has motives that relate to the entire family, but that he isn’t sharing with them. It’s very classic Fantastic Four, and in just one issue Fraction shows us that he’s more than familiar with the characters. I think we’re in for a Fantastic ride.

Avengers Assemble is a breath of fresh air to open up the new post-Bendis era. Kelly Sue DeConnick makes her big screen debut, hot off the success of Captain Marvel, and is now helming a headlining book. She brings comedy that makes me laugh, and characters that I actually believe are working together. It’s a book I’m glad I picked up over the weekend, and one where I was actually swayed by reviews (shocking to say as a reviewer), as it wasn’t even something I realized was out this week. In KSD I trust.

Alright Robert Kirkman, you just wrote the darkest telling of a dark origin story that I have ever read in a superhero book. You win this round.

X-Treme X-Men is what I’ve needed in my life ever since Marvel screwed the pooch on Exiles. They’ve got a vast and infinite multiverse that should be used to its fullest. In the same note, they should bring back an unthemed What If?! book and I would be a happy man.

ORACLE SIGHTING! Babs was in her wheelchair for L’il Gotham! No Steph this issue, sob, but I still got to see Babs the way she’s supposed to be!

The Boys is over, and I am going to miss it. One of my favorite books month in and month out over the past several years, it went out just the way it started. Garth Ennis is not a writer I would expect any sort of happy or uplifting ending out of, especially given the nature of everything he has done in this book, but he still managed to carve one. The Boys always was Hughie’s story, and while saying goodbye to him and the others is tough….I’m going to miss those cunts. Thanks for all the memories Garth, it was one hell of a ride.

My Pissed Off Moment of the Week:

Last week they took one of the best run defenses in the league to the limit when they just kept pounding the ball on the 49ers, but this week the Rams game plan against one of the worst run defenses is to not run the ball? Was Jeff Fisher studying the Steve Spagnuolo playbook of how to shoot yourself in the foot and lose easy games? I mean, yes, you don’t run when you’re behind…in the fourth. When it’s a one score game you don’t abandon what is actually working in favor of what isn’t.

Top Five Characters I Wish Would Die And Never Come Back

5. Spawn – So a few weeks back I went to wikipedia and looked up Spawn, figuring that I could read over the write up and see what exactly happened with the character that was the face of so much of the 90’s. You know what I found? About three paragraphs. Maybe four. The shortest entry of all of the characters. So I went and found a better wiki, and the end result was that I spent a long time scratching my head and asking myself aloud what the hell I was reading. And apparently Al goes evil for a miniseries that the most notoriously late artists ever decided to not have completely in the can before attempting a release? And there’s a new guy? Fuck it, just put a fork in it and I bet nobody will even notice.

4.Hawkman – King of the relaunches, Hawkman is a character that I always get really into the first issue of, and then I quit caring after the second. The only time I’ve ever really enjoyed his presence was when he was with the JSA under Geoff Johns, and since then…he’s annoyed me. I hated his part of Brightest Day, and while I tried the first issue of the New 52 book, and the first Liefeld issue…and liked them both, I hated the following issues. He’s a complicated character that, even when you simplify him, still creates a headache. On top of that, he’s a barbarian with wings in a world of Super Gods. He had a time and a place, but it has long since passed and it almost seems like a mercy killing to put him down without trying to try yet again to find a way to make him seem cool.

3. Angel – Warren Worthington is what happens when you keep changing a character’s status quo in an attempt to keep them edgy/interesting. The original version couldn’t really do anything except for fly, and he was super rich, and handsome, and more or less completely awesome. So they ripped off his wings, blew him up, and brought him back with blue skin, evil metal wings (that had an evil personality), and severe anger issues. Eventually they muted the anger issues and made him happy in his blue skin, despite the evil wings that fired razor blades at people, and even got rid of those wings in favor of the real deal…so Psylocke dumped him for Neal fucking Shaara. He randomly gets turned white again, gets a healing factor, hooks up with uber jailbait Husk (because Chuck Austen is a terrible person), and then….what? He loses his wings again, turns back into Archangel, this time in a Hulk like back and forth manner, and then turns into Apocalypse. X-Force defeats him, but rather than just kill him they reboot him as a person. End result? White skinned Warren with metal wings and ENERGY BLASTS with a blank slate personality. If he went to limbo and never came back, I quite possibly would not notice. I have no idea how he didn’t make my worst X-Man list.

2. Nick Fury – Don’t get me wrong, I love me some Nick Fury, but he has to go. Marvel already fired the opening salvo with the debut of Marcus Johnson, and subsequently changing his name to Nick Fury Jr., so we already have the Fury that they want. The one that appeals to a crowd introduced to the comics by the movies, who might be confused that the one eyed SHIELD commander is a white guy who doesn’t run SHIELD. So now we have two Nick Fury’s running around, one prominently (Junior), and one who backed into limbo to make room for him (Classic). Well, if you really want to pull the trigger and show fans you mean business, you kill off Classic and you make it count. You’ve got the young gun up and running, and the new generation knows Nick Fury and Phil Coulson a lot better than they do Nick Fury and Dum Dum Dugan, so just do it already. I have a complete run of Secret Warriors, I’ll be just fine.

1. John Stewart – There was a time and a place where I was a fan of John, and it wasn’t that long ago. There was a time when he was a flawed man with a ring and an ego who did what he could to atone for his mistakes. A guy who kept the peace on the Mosaic world, and who led the Darkstars after the Green Lantern Corps was destroyed. The guy who mentored a young Kyle Rayner in what it meant to be a hero, and who kept helping his friend all the way until Kyle gave him a new ring and told him to mind the shop. At some point after that move, which put John in the Justice League, the character…..morphed. He went from being an architect to a marine overnight (thanks to the cartoon show, really), and pretty soon his history was jettisoned in favor of a streamlined version that would play better with Hal. A jettisoning that was confirmed during the late days before the New 52, when Kyle and John had to team up and weren’t overly familiar with each other. John turned into a character I wasn’t a fan of as soon as they tried to turn him into his animated self, but he died to me when he was removed from Kyle Rayner’s origin, leaving yet another black hole in a backstory that would make a New 52 Wally West make sense.

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The Gold Standard

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