Friday, July 27, 2012


Just out from TwoMorrows is Marie Severin: The Mirthful Mistress of
by Dewey Cassell with Aaron Sultan [$24.95].  I haven’t had
a chance to read it yet, but this tribute to the great artist and
lady looks like big fun.  It’s a chronological journey through her
career with a whole lot of art, interviews, and photographs.  There
are rare and even unpublished pieces, not to mention a brief chat
with yours truly.  I look forward to reading and reviewing it very
soon, but you don’t have to wait for my review to order this book.
Just flipping through will convince you.

In other Marvel matters...

I’m a mere two weeks behind in my reading of all those Avengers and
X-Men titles.  I’d be caught up, but the friend who loans me comic
books has been out of town for a few weeks.  In any case, here are
my current thoughts on these titles...

Astonishing X-Men #44-47 was yet another alternate reality story.
How many of these do we need in any given year?

Astonishing X-Men #48-51 had a contingent of X-Men battling mind-
controlled Marauders in New York City, but the heart of the story
arc was Northstar proposing and marrying his beloved Kyle.  It was
good stuff.  Not great stuff, but good stuff, with a fine emotional
payoff that made me proud that comic books can and will do stories,
uplifting stories, that challenge bigotry and ignorance.  For all
the complaints that can legitimately be directed against Marvel’s
multiplicity of titles, the confusion they engender, and the huge
events that overshadow the possibility of more meaningful stories,
we can still get this development, a positive message that reaches
more people in an X-Men title than it would in most.  My kudos and
thanks to writer Marjorie Liu, artist Mike Perkins, and everybody
who worked on these issues.

Avengers #22-24 reprinted the classic battle between the Avengers
and Norman Osborn’s Dark Avengers.  What?  That wasn’t a reprint?
Could have fooled me.

Avengers #24.1 has a repaired Vision who is major pissed off at how
things went with his life, marriage and other matters.  This take
on the character interests me, so thumbs up to writer Brian Michael
Bendis and artist Brandon Peterson.

Avengers #25-27 are tied in with the Avengers Versus X-Men event.
Good comics by Bendis and artist Walter Simonson.

Avengers Academy by Christos Gage remains my favorite Marvel Comics
series and one of my favorite super-hero comics.  I like how these
young characters have their own minds and must make their own very
tough decisions.  I like that their adult mentors recognize this,
even if it sometimes takes them a while to get there.  I love that
there is always a core of heroism, hope and humanity to this title.
Of all the titles connected to “Avengers Versus X-Men,” this is the
title that most does so on its own terms and, if you can only read
one Marvel title, this is the title you should read.

Avengers Assemble by Bendis and artist Mark Bagley is a perfectly
readable super-team comic book, but it never manages to rise above
that level.  Indeed, it strikes me as a combination attempt to cash
in on Marvel movies - such as the blockbuster Avengers and the in-
the-works Guardians of the Galaxy - and advance promotion for those
movies.  Readable super-team comics are a rare enough commodity in
the current marketplace that I’m delighted Marvel’s publishing this
one.  It’s worth checking out.

Marvel events are hit and more miss with me.  Sometimes they start
with great ideas.  I’d include “Civil War” and “Secret Invasion” in
that category.  Other times, they blow chunks.  That would be “Dark
Reign” and “Fear Itself.”  Most of the time, these events run too
long and involve too many titles.  Some of the time, even the blow
chunks events manage some decent issues and spin-offs.  Either way,
any way, my preference for stories that reflect individual writers
over group plotting will never be a concern for Marvel.  Clearly,
their readers like these big events because they keep buying them.
The free market has spoken. 

Avengers Vs. X-Men is a great idea.  The stakes are high for each
of the opposing forces and the positions each side has taken make
logical sense to me.  The Avengers have seen the harm that usually
follows the acquisition of too great power.  The X-Men have faced
the virtual extinction of their species.  I can’t say either side
is overreacting to this crisis.  Heck, it’s only been in the most
recent issues, as the Phoenix Five (Cyclops, Magik, Colossus, Emma
Frost and Namor) have drifted away from the humanity they used to
share with the Avengers and even their fellow mutants, that I have
been able to chose a side.  True to traditional Marvel event style,
I think the story is going on too long, but I continue to find it
exciting and thought-provoking.

Some related notes:

Something I don’t like is that many of the most noble of Marvel’s
heroes have become raging dicks.  Captain America used to stand for
America at its best and now he’s a combination of Nick Fury at his
worst and “Civil War” Tony Stark at his worst.  I mourn the loss of
yet another of my favorite heroes, Batman having left the room a
long time ago.  Now the Steve Rogers I admired is all but gone from
the pages of Marvel Comics.  Tragic.

Cyclops has become a new Magneto.  Oddly enough, that development
intrigues me.  Scott Summers, the best of the X-Men, has become a
rigid and tyrannical leader.  He has created/sanctioned mutant hit
squads in “ends justify the means” fashion.  He’s become a monster
and he doesn’t even realize it.  Damn, that’s practically a mutant
Shakespearean tragedy.  Well played, writers.  Well played.

I’ll be back on Monday with more stuff.
© 2012 Tony Isabella


  1. So you'd recommend the TPBs of Avengers vs. X-Men when that eventually comes out? I think the first collection is first coming out as a hardcover.

    [The first security posting thing had a photo of something I couldn't identify which I was supposed to type it. I wish we didn't have to run around in circles to do so many things.]

  2. Back in my NYC days, the Friends of Lulu was lucky enough to have Marie attend several of our functions. What a charming lady and what great stories she used to tell about the Bullpen days.

    She deserves all the recognition she gets from fans and other pros who appreciate what she does.

  3. would be a qualified recommendation. I suspect some of what I liked best about the event didn't happen in the main book. If you can get it from your library, that might be a better way to go.