As They Became Movie Stars: Brian Michael Bendis’s Guardians Of The Galaxy

Reading Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning’s Guardians Of The Galaxy a few weeks ago yielded an epiphany of sorts.  I realized, or rather remembered, I shouldn’t look for comics that feel like James Gunn’s oh-so-perfect film.  Rather, I should embrace the Guardians as they are in the comics which will always be a different animal.  That’s how it works.  The comics inspire the films but each is unique unto itself, shaped by the vision of its creators.  I’d never went backwards before, from the movie to the comics, and I guess I wasn’t ready for the differences when encountered from this direction.  But I fell in love with Abnett and Lanning’s Guardians, no matter how different they were from Gunn’s, because they were great characters involved in exceptional stories.  Naturally I couldn’t wait to meet their next incarnation, Brian Michael Bendis’s take on the team! Continue reading

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A Question of Redemption: Doctor Doom the Infamous Iron Man

I’ve been thinking a lot about evil and redemption lately.  The first principle of Catholic Social Teaching affirms every human being is deserving of life and dignity because they are made in the image and likeness of God.  Nothing can take that right away, not even their own destructive actions.  So there is always a line, theologically, between sinner and sin.  While the idea of redemption is theologically vital, we often struggle with it in the face of real world evil.  At least I know I do.  This cognitive dissonance begs the question is there a line, an evil act or actions we can’t return from?  Doctor Doom is a character uniquely suited to explore this question.  For decades he was the most evil villain in the Marvel Universe.  But over the last few years, in both Invincible Iron Man and Infamous Iron Man, Brian Michael Bendis put a newly reformed Victor Von Doom inside Tony Stark’s armor in an attempt to atone for all he’s done.  Now Fantastic Four has returned to the comic shelves and Doom’s future is a question mark once again.  Can someone like Doctor Doom ever truly be redeemed? Continue reading

From Tony to Riri and Back Again: Considering Iron Man’s Return

This week’s New Comic Book Day brings two major Marvel milestones.  The first, Tony Stark returns to active duty as the Armored Avenger, shaking off the coma that’s sidelined him since the end of Civil War II.  The second, The Invincible Iron Man #600 marks Brian Michael Bendis’s final Marvel comic.  There’s lots to reflect on with Bendis’s move to DC, to be sure.  However, as someone who writes often of the vital importance of Legacy Characters on this site, I’d rather discuss something else.  What does it mean for Riri Williams – for Ironheart – to have Tony return? Continue reading

Suit Up Riri, We Need You!

Wednesday saw the release of the first issue of Brian Michael Bendis and Stefano Caselli’s new Invincible Iron Man run.  In the book, Riri Williams officially takes over for Tony Stark as the Marvel Universe’s Iron Avenger, taking up the mantle of Ironheart.  The book blew me away…and now has me scratching my head trying to figure out how to make room for it on my pull list.  This short, not-quite-a-review piece is my warm welcome to both Riri Williams and the necessity of Ironheart in the Marvel Universe and in our daily lives. Continue reading

We (Still) Don’t Need Your Civil War

As I was re-reading some recent issues of Spider-Man and Ms. Marvel this afternoon I had an odd experience.  Each comic left the Guns ‘n’ Roses song “Civil War” playing louder and louder on repeat in my mind.  As I read (or re-read) Kamala and Miles’ solo adventures each month I find myself wondering where the story could be if it didn’t have to tie into a massive crossover.  And as I let my thoughts wander I found myself continuously singing, “I don’t need your civil war…” Continue reading

A Conscientious Objector to Civil War II

So this week Civil War II officially begins in the Marvel Universe.  I struggled with this post.  I almost deleted it a few times.  I’ve wrestled with my thoughts about all this for months, ever since I came back into the world of comic collecting.  I knew Civil War II was coming.  I knew it would probably touch just about every Marvel title, as did the first.  And I wanted nothing to do with it.  Now the time has come and my thoughts haven’t changed.  I’ve no desire to write something needlessly critical or negative (and I hope I haven’t).  But as someone who loves comics, as someone who’s excited to be back in the world of comic collecting, all of this has been bothering me.  So I need to get this off my chest.  Continue reading