Been thinking about doing a recurring thing about comics lately.  I still get my newstands mailed to me every month, so might as well do some review type stuff.  Right now I’m collecting the following titles:

Marvel: Thor, Avengers, Uncanny Avengers, Hulk, Star Wars, Star Wars: Poe Dameron, and Star Wars: Doctor Aphra.  I’ve been cutting back on the Marvel a bit, mostly keeping the Star Wars titles.  I’ve really liked what Thor is doing lately and the first issue of Hulk was actually pretty decent.

DC: Batman, Aquaman, Wonder Woman, Scooby: Apocalypse, All-Star Batman, Batgirl, Batgirl and the Birds of Prey, and the Flash.   I’d collect more DC titles like Action Comics, Detective Comics, and Superman, but there have been some need to keep to a budget.  Scooby: Apocalypse is fascinating if only for the reimagining of the gang in a post-apocalyptic hell-scape.

Others (Image, Dynamite, IDW, Titan, etc.):  East of West, Sex Criminals, Doctor Who (4th, 9th, 10th, 11th and 12th Doctors), My Little Pony, My Little Pony: Friends Forever, Insexts, and James Bond.  Kinda kicking myself for not collecting the Torchwood series, but probably should cut back the number of books.  A lot of these are just odd ball series I collect because I’m intrigued by the creative teams, etc.  I used to get the MLP stuff for my ex, but I actually do like reading them and it is one of better all ages books out there.  Might try to complete the run and collect the series at some point.

 

I’ve collected others but there have been a few cuts of late.  Some were series that just came to their own conclusions–Darth Vader, Han Solo, A-Force, etc.–and others that just have lost me or had to be dropped for budget reasons.

The biggest one that’s lost me is Captain America.  I collected that book for a long time.  First there was Ed Brubakers run with the character and his spin-off work with the Winter Soldier, which was fantastic.  He did an amazing job of bringing the spy noir quality back to the character and much of his influence has been felt in the Winter Soldier and Civil War movies.  After that, the title was followed up with Rick Remender taking over as writer.  He brought it more to a traditional superhero story and played a lot more with the “Man Out of Time” aspect of the character.  That period also featured Sam Wilson becoming Captain America and a more team dynamic.

Which brings us to the present.  After the “Secret Wars” event, Remender concluded his work at Marvel and the Captain America title was turned over to a new writer, Nick Spencer.  Sam Wilson was still Cap, as Steve Rogers had been aged after his encounter with a supervillain called the Nail.  This led to a more interesting take on the character that started out with Sam Wilson trying to take a more socially aware approach.  This involved intervening when a number of illegal immigrants were being abducted by members of a terrorist group called Sons of Serpent.  His actions put him at odds with Steve Rogers who is a high ranking member of SHIELD and he finds himself a bit more on his own.  Then the events of Avengers: Standoff! unfold and Steve Rogers is restored to his younger self and we go straight into the secret agent of Hydra nonsense.

The basic premise of Avengers: Standoff! was that somebody leaked the existence of a SHIELD black site, called Pleasant Hill.  At work there was a sentient cosmic cube in the form of a little girl calling itself Kobik who is essentially brainwashing and altering villains to live peacefully in the idyllic little town.  When all the heroes go to investigate she loses control and the villains revolt, led by Baron Zemo.  As events unfold, elderly Steve Rogers finds himself face to face with Crossbones who begins to beat him to death.  At this point Kobik intervenes and restores Rogers’ youth and strength.  Later it is revealed that the Red Skull has made contact with Kobik and when she restored his youth, he is altered to believe he has always been a Hydra operative in service of the Red Skull.

Even before the obnoxius Deus Ex Machina aspects of Kobik and the Red Skull having Professor X’s mental abilities–a completely different storyline that annoys me–the storyline has fallen off the rails.  Steve Rogers would trust Sam Wilson.  He would trust his friend.  This is before Kobik and the Red Skull did their thing.  Rogers would trust the judgement of his friend.  He would not come down on his friend in the ways he did.  Not even Old Man Rogers would do that.  If he was not going to trust his friend and back him up, why give him the Shield?

So yeah, that’s why I stopped reading Captain America.  For something trying to be socially conscious in its own way, it does not seem will to push things like it should.

Also got my second round of CGC signature series books back  They are as follows:

Fantastic Four #46: signed by Stan Lee, graded at a 5.0.  Came back a bit higher of a grade than I thought it would.  First appearance of Black Bolt, King of the Inhumans.

Fantastic Four #66: signed by Stan Lee, graded at a 7.5.  Hoped for a wee bit higher.  First part of the two part story that Adam Warlock appears in.  Gives his origin.

Fantastic Four #67: Signed by Stan Lee, graded at a 6.5.  Hoped for a bit higher here too, but still a nice book.  Second part of the first Adam Warlock story and his first brief appearance.

Thor #165:  signed by Stan Lee, graded at a 7.0.  First full appearance of Adam Warlock.

Thor #193:  I had gotten this signed at NYCC in 2015, by Gerry Conway and John Romita Sr.  Last issue of Thor that Stan Lee worked on in his original run on the character.  In 2016, I got Stan Lee to sign it.  Came back at a 9.4.

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Star Wars Theories

June 23, 2016

I’ve been watching all kinds of Star Wars theories on Youtube.  Rey’s parents… What happens to the cast of Rebels… Rogue One… Darth Maul… Ahsoka Tano…  Darth Jar Jar… Snoke… Going to break down a few of them, going in chronological order from earliest to latest.

The Darth Jar Jar theory was an interesting one.  Basically it was that Jar Jar was the secret Sith mastermind behind everything.  Or at least intended to be until Episode I came out.  George Lucas fed this theory a bit when he talked about introducing Yoda, where if he had gone a whole movie without any indication of Yoda’s true nature, the character would never have been taken seriously.  And so Jar Jar became an annoying joke.  An interesting idea anyway.  If that had been the original plan, I do think his early antics would have negated the effectiveness of that plot.

At the end of season two of Star Wars: Rebels, Ahsoka is battling Vader when the Sith temple on Malachor collapses around them and Vader is seen walking away, while the ghostly silhouette of Ahsoka is seen fading in the doorway.  My gut response was to assume she was a force ghost, either killed in the collapse of the temple or by Vader himself.  Whether or not she continues to guide Kanaan and Ezra remains to be seen, but my inclination is to think she will not be seen living.

As for the rest of the Rebels, I have heard their primary antagonist for the third–final?–season will be Darth Maul.  Given that Maul has been a prominent part of both the Clone Wars and the Rebels television series, I suspect he will be a driving force as the series builds up to the events of Rogue One, though there is no indication whether he will appear in Rogue One.  He has not appeared in the new Star Wars comics being printed by Marvel as of yet–beyond a force vision Leia has on Naboo–so I suspect his story will come to a close soon.

The Rebels… it is very telling that Kanaan and/or Ezra have not been indicated to have had contact with Luke Skywalker after he joins the Rebellion–I’m thinking of the comics, where Luke has spent a considerable amount of time looking for information about Jedi teachings.  There are any number of possible explanations for that, but I do think if there was someone within the Alliance that could have trained Luke, they would have connected before Obi-Wan guided him to Yoda.  So what happens?  I would say Maul or Vader, but I read the recent issue of the Star Wars comic and the last page featured a lightsaber wielding Stormtrooper.  I suspect that could be Ezra–or Snoke, more on that later–but there isn’t necessarily enough to go on there.  See where Rebels and Rogue One goes.  Maybe that’s the next story for the comics, tying into the new season of Rebels?

Rogue One sets up so much.  This could be a lot more than just setting up Episode IV.  I’ve heard speculation that the team in this movie could be the Knights of Ren, although I’m a bit skeptical because I don’t think there’s any indication that they are force sensitive yet–I think the Inquisitors from Rebels would have dealt with them anyway.  Also, given the theory I saw about Rey’s heritage, wouldn’t it be possible that Jyn Erso is a descendent of Palpatine?  Given hints about his powers and capabilities–specifically the Darth Plagueis story–it is possible there is a whole family of his we don’t know about.  I remember seeing the trailer with her in the Imperial Uniform and I have to wonder if that is a hint at her heritage, where she was drawn to the Imperials first based on her family.

Snoke is one of the mysteries from The Force Awakens.  Never actually seen beyond a projection and all we know is that he’s a force user who has control of the First Order.  I have suspected that Snoke will turn out to be Ezra, aged and scarred after the events of Rebels.  Or the lightsaber wielding stormtrooper?  Or Vader’s agent on the Smuggler’s moon?

Rey’s parents… Skywalker, Kenobi, Palpatine, Doctor Aphra, Jyn Erso… Those are the big ones.  The Skywalker connection was given a lot of time to set up, is too obvious–though I have noted a number of similarities in the theme music between “Rey’s Theme” and “Binary Sunset” on the respective soundtracks, so I might still buy it.  “Binary Sunset” was Luke’s theme in a way.  I suspect she might be a combination.  Like Palpatine’s daughter married a relative of Obi-Wan’s or something like that.  Remember we still have decades where characters were in hiding or their activities were not accounted for, so there are numerous events that could have unfolded.  Also, one of the key components of the Prequels was the Prophesy where Anakin was supposed to be the chosen one and bring balance to the force.  What if that meant a descendent of light and dark families?  The granddaughter of Palpatine and Kenobi?  Or a Skywalker and a Palpatine?  There’s a lot of time for things to happen that hasn’t been accounted for yet.

Of course this is all guess work.  For all we know, Rey could be Yoda’s great, great, great, great, granddaughter.  Her ears did look a bit pointy.

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