Category: Comics & Books


WandaVision Hardback Cover WandaVision_Newsstand_Cover

Review by C.J. Bunce

It’s a surprising and unique story in Phase IV of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  It’s WandaVision, the almost hallucinogenic, time-tripping story of the aftermath of Avengers: Endgame through the eyes of Wanda Maximoff.  Now fans have their first look inside the making of the series in Marvel’s WandaVision: The Official Marvel Studios Collector Special, a full color, hardcover, souvenir guide to the characters, creators, and development of the Disney+ series.  It’s being released in three editions, one via newsstands, one via comic shops (add it to your pull list at Elite Comics now), and a hardcover version you can pick up here at Amazon and at brick and mortar bookstores (it’s currently an Amazon #1 Best Seller!).  Enjoy a preview for borg readers below from Titan.

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What If…? is a range of comic book series featuring more than 200 stories that allowed creators to jump outside the usual and let their imagination take over.  What if Jane Foster (or Loki? or Rogue?) had found the hammer of Thor?  What if Doctor Strange was a disciple of Dormammu?  What if Phoenix had not died?  What if Vision had destroyed the Avengers?  What if Venom had possessed the Punisher?  What if Silver Surfer (or the Green Goblin) took the Infinity Gauntlet?  What if Legion had killed Magneto?  What if Jessica Jones joined the Avengers?  What if Hank Pym replaced Stark?  What if Disney hadn’t purchased Marvel?  Almost all of these questions have been answered in the pages of the comics.

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Phase IV of the Marvel Cinematic Universe continues with an animated anthology series based on the classic comic.  Jeffrey Wright stars as The Watcher, your guide through all ten episodes, who MCU audiences saw at the end of Guardians of the Galaxy 2–in a Stan Lee cameo.  Chadwick Boseman’s last performances as T’Challa appear in four episodes.  Hayley Atwell returns as a different version of Peggy Carter.  Samuel L. Jackson is back as Fury.  Sebastian Stan is Bucky Barnes.  Dominic Cooper returns as Howard Stark.  Djimon Housou is back as Korath.  And Michael Rooker’s Yondu returns from the dead.  Plus lots of superheroes you know with other actors substituting voices for those you know from the MCU.  And it all begins tomorrow, August 11, on Disney+.  A few more trailers/features have been released in the past week, and we’ve bundled them with the previous trailers:

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Eisner and Harvey Award winner Frank Cho, one of the best cover artists and known for his fantastic renderings of women as well as his humor and storytelling (and borg′s pick for best comic book artist of 2021), brings his entire latest series into a collected, trade paperback release next month.  The amped-up, Hunger Games-inspired series Fight Girls series features strong women competing to the last in the ultimate contest for survival.  Fight Girls is a mix of Cho’s Skybourne and Jungle Girl, and it has what every comic book reader could want: Cho created the covers, and the interior art, and scripted the story for a brand new group of action heroines.  Get ready for big action, gorgeous artwork, and plenty of fun.  At 144 pages, this collected edition has plenty of room for all the covers and other Cho artwork.  Take a look inside Frank Cho’s Fight Girls below.

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Review by C.J. Bunce

With Avengers: Endgame still in theaters, another adaptation of the same source material that inspired that movie and Avengers: Infinity War is now available.  It’s James A. Moore′s Infinity, a novelized adaptation of the Infinity comic book event from 2013.  Moore adapts the key story details from Jonathan Hickman and Nick Spencer’s story across an array of comic book titles, drawn by several artists.  In most ways Infinity will seem completely foreign to fans who are only aware of the movies.  When people speak of the cosmic side of the Marvel universe they’re referring to the kinds of elements that form the backbone of this story.  The Inhumans, known many by the short-lived television series, are a major component of the story.  Like the graphic novel, the novel follows the Avengers and other superheroes of Earth trying to fight off ancient creators called the Builders, who believe that Earth would be better terraformed–leveled, destroyed, and rebuilt–than left as it is.  At the same time Thanos is looking for his son.  One of his loyal Children of Thanos (the Black Order in the novel), which consists of the same henchmen in the films plus a few others, ultimately finds him–his son, Thane–on Earth.

Fans of 1980s brief New Universe will recognize Star Brand and Nighthawk as major characters in this story.  Missing characters seen in the graphic novel that don’t end up here are Luke Cage, Power Man, She-Hulk, Silver Surfer, Wasp, the Guardians of the Galaxy, Hank Pym, S.H.I.E.L.D., and Falcon.  New characters for movie audiences include Manifold, Captain Universe, and the Atlantean Namor, the Sub-Mariner.  Black Panther and Doctor Strange are still key to the story, but in different ways.  Alien races include the Kree and the Skrulls, with Ronan the Accuser as a major player.  The novel adaptation is spread thinly across universes as was the comics version.  Keeping track of the characters without the benefit of seeing their unique costumes may be difficult for anyone not familiar with all the comics.

If you’re bothered by corporate guru Tony Stark as always the smartest guy in the room, which seems to be the thing in more recent years, especially with the popularity of the character from the movies, you’ll find some relief here.  Fortunately Moore also uses Fantastic Four’s Reed Richards, Hulk Bruce Banner, and X-Men’s Hank McCoy aka The Beast–the three actual smartest legacy superhero characters–to work the moving parts of the problem.  Ultimately what the reader brings to the book will determine the level of enjoyment.  For anyone new to hundreds of tangent characters of the Marvel Comics, keeping track of Who’s Who is nearly impossible.  Moore takes strides to bring background characters to the fore, including a romantic sub-plot, but who they are and why they should be important isn’t tapped into enough.

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It was seven years ago that we first revealed Agent Coulson Lives! here at borg, as fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe discovered there was more to Clark Gregg’s Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D., among other things, the biggest fan of Captain America In the marathon opening night for The Avengers, Agent Coulson served as our guide, speaking directly to viewers as he introduced Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Thor, Iron Man 2, and Captain America: The First Avenger.  And in The Avengers, we saw one of the most emotional scenes of the franchise as Coulson was killed by Loki, although his biggest appearance wouldn’t arrive until last year, with his co-starring role in Captain Marvel (the MCU does like to bounce us around).  When this coming season wraps this August, Gregg will have put in 136 hours of television with the character, even if in decoy form, and the first Phases of the MCU come full circle–with one more big element remaining this year–another character back from the dead–in Black Widow, coming to theaters in November.

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FCBD 2021 Judge Dredd  FCBD 2021 School Extra Girls

A long time from now in a galaxy far, far away–actually at your local comic book shop–Free Comic Book Day is returning for 2021.  Often overlapping with the annual Star Wars Day–May the Fourth–this year it’s being pushed out a few months to Saturday, August 14.  A good excuse to visit your local comic book shop and get re-introduced to some series you may have missed, the annual FCBD is also a way to check out some titles you may otherwise have overlooked.  This week comic book retailers revealed the results of the FCBD committee’s selections for this year’s freebies.  What made the cut?  It seems plenty early, but now you have no excuse to know what you want when you get to the front of the line.  Below, check out some of the covers and titles coming your way for FCBD 2021 this August!

FCBD 2021 Sonic  FCBD 2021 Star Wars

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This Saturday, May 5, 2018, is Free Comic Book Day at comic book stores nationwide.  Marvel Comics has several titles available, each setting the groundwork for a new direction in the Marvel Universe.  One of those featured issues is The Avengers, a story written by Jason Aaron with artwork by Sara Pichelli.  That comic book leads into a new series beginning today with the arrival of the first issue of a brand-new monthly, also titled The Avengers.  Written by Aaron with artwork by Ed McGuinness, along with Mark Morales and David Curiel, it’s a great jumping-on point for new readers, and the arrival is well-timed for fans clamoring for more Marvel superhero action after last weekend’s release of Avengers: Infinity War. 

Thor, Captain America, and Iron Man are back together, this time to protect the world from a new menace: the giant space-gods called the Celestials.  And the Big Three will be joined by Doctor Strange, Black Panther, She-Hulk, Ghost Rider, and Captain Marvel.  The first issue of the monthly series will arrive with several cover options, a standard cover by Ed McGuinness, two variant versions of that cover, variant covers by Esad Ribic, Greg Land, and Aaron Kuder, and a blank sketch cover.

   

And you can get your copies signed this weekend by the writer himself.  Jason Aaron will be signing The Avengers, Issue #1, and the Free Comic Book Day issue this Saturday at the Free Comic Book Day celebration at Elite Comics in Overland Park, Kansas.  Check out the Elite Comics Facebook page here for more information on the event.

Here is a preview of the cover art for The Avengers, Issue #1 (above and below), a preview of the first pages of Issue #1, and a preview of the cover for Issue #2:

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Review by C.J. Bunce

Writer Stuart Moore returns this month with a solid follow-up to his multiple superhero-spanning novel Civil War, reviewed here at borg Titan Books has released the tenth book in its Marvel Comics-based series of prose paperback novels, Moore’s Thanos: Death Sentence Originally published in 2017, this is its first paperback release.  If you’re after a story about Thanos, if you love the character and want to know what makes him tick, and the circumstances around wielding that kind of power during the events of Avengers: Infinity War, then Thanos: Death Sentence is for you.  Those familiar with the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Avengers: Infinity War will find no spoilers for the film in this story, and it may just get you excited for the release of Avengers: Endgame in theaters next week.

It’s probably better knowing something about this story before jumping into the dense 336-page novel.  Exciting, brilliant detailed superhero crossover events highlight the novel’s first 100 pages.  In a parallel but different take on Infinity War, readers see Thanos kill off nearly every major superhero in the Marvel universe.  It’s quite fun to read how Moore has Thanos do it, not with a single snap and turn to dust for everyone, but a specific, tailored death sentence for each hero.  Wielding the Soul Stone Spider-Man gets relegated to re-live the death of his uncle through his own inaction, for infinity.  Ben Grimm gets separated into his component stones and dispersed throughout the cosmos.  With the Space Stone Thanos strands Captain Marvel beyond the solar system.  The Silver Surfer, Doctor Strange, Vision, Prince Namor, Black Panther, all snuffed out.  And then it’s all undone.  And that’s only where this story begins.  The method of the undoing is not something that seems remotely possible for the movies–with far more characters introduced than we’re met on the big screen (since the entirety of the films were made before the merger with Fox to wrap in the rest of the Marvel characters).

Once the deaths are undone, Thanos the Mad Titan is forced to fight his way back to power by Mistress Death using the Infinity Wardrobe, pressed into the bodies of tangent characters in the lives of the famed Children of Thanos–his minions seen in Avengers: Infinity War: Proxima Midnight, Ebony Maw, Corvus Glaive, plus his adopted daughter Gamora.

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Following on the heels of 2014’s Kingsman: The Secret Service and 2017’s Kingsman: The Golden Circle comes a prequel film, The King’s Man, and the second movie trailer has just arrived from 20th Century Fox (we previewed the first trailer here at borg last July).  Delayed for re-shoots and because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the studio now has its sights set on a September premiere in theaters (we’re not holding our breath).  Stepping into an early Kingsman of the type perfected by Colin Firth is the actor who should have played a Bond (but ended up as another M), the BAFTA-winning, twice Academy Award-nominated actor Ralph Fiennes.  The young recruit that looks to mimic that series hero Eggsy played by Taron Egerton in the first two films this time goes to Harris Dickinson (Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance).

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Just as Tom Holland’s Spider-Man has been a great relief to fans of the character after so many years of just not getting it right, moving upward to replace Tony Stark as leader of the new Avengers, Sony Pictures seems to be bringing it all crashing back down to earth.  Earth of the past.  Or that’s how it looks in the latest trailer for Spider-Man: No Way Home, with the full pantheon of villains–ghosts of Spider-Men past–make their way into the Multiverse of Madness, revealing the true leader of the Avengers is probably Benedict Cumberbatch’s Doctor Strange.

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