Off The Rack #98

Monday, July 9, 2018

Steve Ditko passed away on June 29. His early issues of Spider-Man made me a life long reader of comic books. I felt deeply connected to Peter Parker and his fictional life because I too felt like a shy science nerd in high school. Steve drew Aunt May looking like an eighty-year-old granny so it’s funny how Marisa Tomei plays Aunt May in the movies now. I guess Helen Mirren passed on the part. It’s like Aunt May is related to Dorian Gray. Out of the thousands of comic books that I have read, my all time number one comic book is The Amazing Spider-Man #33 where Spidey is trapped under heavy debris and has to free himself in order to save Aunt May. Steve Ditko and Jack Kirby will never be forgotten as long as there are comic books being published.



Doctor Strange #3/393 – Mark Waid (writer) Jesus Saiz (art) VC’s Joe Sabino (letters). Sorcerer Supreme of the Galaxy part 3. Stephen and Kanna continue their wanderings of the spaceways accumulating magic. When they run into a Skrull with an Infinity Stone the Doctor has to do some serious sorcery. I like how Mark is using this adventure in space to build up the Doc’s powers. Meanwhile back at the old Sanctum Sanctorum a surprise guest checks in.



Captain America #1/705 – Ta-Nehisi Coates (writer) Leinil Francis Yu (pencils) Gerry Alanguilan (inks) Sunny Gho (colours) VC’s Joe Caramagna (letters). I didn’t finish reading the story about Cap’s descendants fighting for freedom leading into this relaunch but it looks like I didn’t miss much. We find ourselves in a world where Hydra runs rampant and Captain America doesn’t know what he represents anymore since his government doesn’t want his help fighting the bad guys. Meanwhile over in Russia, two women have easily defeated Hydra. I don’t know where this is going but it reminds me of what happened in Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. TV show and I lost interest in that. The rah-rah patriotism is a nice message and the art is terrific but maybe it’s the “pissed off at America” Canadian in me that is making me not care about what happens next.



Batman #50 – Tom King (writer) Mikel Janin (art) June Chung (colours) Clayton Cowles (letters). It’s taken awhile but here we are on the wedding day. There was a very inconsiderate article posted earlier that spoiled the end of this extra-sized issue but it was still worth reading even if you found out what happens. One of the changes in comic books that I appreciate is how stories are being told now. It used to be straightforward six panel pages with dialogue, captions and art telling you what’s going on. Now we have excellent writing and interesting layouts being used to convey more emotional content. Tom interspersed scenes of the run up to the wedding ceremony beautifully drawn by Mikel with parts of letters that Selina and Bruce wrote to each other. These letter pages are drawn by various artists and they are too numerous to list here. Their art is reason enough to collect this issue. What I don’t understand is the very last panel. I’m going to keep reading to see if it’s significant.



Cosmic Ghost Rider #1 – Donny Cates (writer) Dylan Burnett (art) Antonio Fabela (colours) VC’s Clayton Cowles (letters). There was buzz around this version of Ghost Rider when he first appeared but I didn’t look into it much so was I ever surprised to see this character’s origin. The first two words I read at the top of the title page was “Frank Castle”. I had a WTF moment. Giving the Punisher the power of the Spirit of Vengeance is kind of cool. Plopping him in a time when Thanos is still a baby means that his adventures won’t mess up current continuity. The one thing I didn’t like about this comic book was that Donny makes him talk like Jonah Hex. We’ll see if I can get past that annoyance as I read the next issue. I’m still shaking my head. Frank Castle is the Ghost Rider.



Catwoman #1 – Joelle Jones (story & art) Laura Allred (colours) Josh Reed (letters). Copycats part 1. I was so happy to see the promos for this. Joelle did not disappoint with this first story following the events in Batman #50. I love her art. Some panels with Selina even made me sigh. The last page explains the ads you’ve been seeing in the DC books recently. I look forward to seeing this mystery solved. This gets added to my “must read” list.



Ant-Man and the Wasp #3 – Mark Waid (writer) Javier Garron (art) Israel Silva (colours) VC’s Joe Caramagna (letters). You would need a degree in quantum physics to truly understand how Scott and Nadia escape the Microverse but it’s still fun watching them do it. Their problems don’t totally end once they’re back though. Plenty of reason to read the next issue.



Man of Steel #6 – Brian Michael Bendis (writer) Jason Fabok (art) Alex Sinclair (colours) Josh Reed (letters). See? Now that’s more like it. The first 5 issues read like they were written by somebody else but this one is classic Brian Michael Bendis. It’s the way he and the artist get the emotions to come across the pages. The way Lois, Clark and Jon come to their decision about what to do with Jor-El felt true and believable. I’m even excited about mom and son’s adventures and wonder if we’ll get to see them. Now I’m stoked to see what Superman and Action Comics have in store for the Man of Steel. I didn’t think that Brian would come through in the end but he did. Oh ye of little faith.



Hunt for Wolverine: Weapon Lost #3 – Charles Soule (writer) Matteo Buffagni (art) Jim Charalampidis (colours) VC’s Joe Sabino (letters). I think this is my favourite Hunt for Wolverine mini because of my love for hard boiled detective stories. Daredevil, P.I. Misty Knight, Cypher, and Inhuman Detective Frank McGee solve the murder mystery in Saskatchewan and head back to Chicago hot on the heals of their next lead. This is when things go boom. I can’t wait to read next issue’s conclusion.



Avengers #4/694 – Jason Aaron (writer) Paco Medina & Ed McGuinness (pencils) Juan Vlasco with Mark Morales (inks) David Curiel (colours) VC’s Cory Petit (letters). Odin tells the story of how the Ancient Avengers fought the Celestials before showing Thor and She-Hulk a weapon to use against the Final Host. Meanwhile Doctor Strange and Iron Man, Captain Marvel and the Black Panther, Captain America and Loki, and the Latino Ghost Rider scramble to figure out how to save Earth. There’s plenty of action to go around.



Immortal Hulk #2/719 – Al Ewing (writer) Joe Bennett (pencils) Ruy Jose (inks) Paul Mounts (colours) VC’s Cory Petit & Travis Lanham (letters). This new version of the Hulk is really growing on me. Bruce finds himself in a town where there have been a rash of mysterious deaths. He and the big green galoot figure out what’s wrong and fix the problem. The story progresses like the slow effects of radiation poisoning.



Astonishing X-Men #13 – Matthew Rosenberg (writer) Greg Land (pencils) Jay Leisten (inks) Frank D’Armata (colours) VC’s Clayton Cowles (letters). Until Our Hearts Stop part 1. It’s the start of a new story arc with Alex Summers/Havok trying to put together a new X-team. Last I remember he lead an X-team that crashed and burned. I groaned audibly when the old “a world where humans hate and fear mutants” line was uttered. Judging from the cover, there is no one on this new team that I care too much about so they will have to astonish other fans but not me.



All-New Weapon X #20 – Greg Pak & Fred Van Lente (writers) Ricardo Lopez Ortiz (art) Frank D’Armata (colours) VC’s Joe Caramagna (letters). If He Dies, He Dies part 1. The writing team on this book hasn’t changed so the all-new must refer to the art. Ricardo’s art might work for Deadpool but I don’t like it for this team, especially for the women. The Manga look might attract new fans but it turned me right off.


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