The not-so-elusive queer female comics reader

A mystery character turns up in Avengers #31 who it looks like is going to drive at least part of the plot of the last arc of the book.  I have a theory of who it might be, and I really hope I’m right.

Read the rest of this entry »


Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie are launching a new Young Avengers book as part of Marvel NOW!!!!

I am BEYOND thrilled.

I love Gillen’s writing, and I’ve particularly loved the way he’s written younger characters in Generation Hope and Journey Into Mystery.

I’ve been crossing my fingers that their new project would turn out to be  Young Avengers ever since Marvel released the one-word teaser that just said “Amateurs”.

It’s a somewhat revamped team, which I expected. After all, almost 1/3 of the team didn’t survive Avengers: The Children’s Crusade (*cries*). And so far I’m really liking the announced new team:

Billy Kaplan (Wiccan), Teddy Altman (Hulkling), Kate Bishop (Hawkeye), kid Loki, Noh-Varr (now apparently back to being called Marvel Boy), and Miss America Chavez, who’s the only character who I know nothing about.

I do wonder where Tommy is, considering the fact that of all the Young Avengers he was the one who least wanted to quit heroing at the end of Children’s Crusade. And I miss Eli too, and hope that the implied traveling nature of the book means he’ll make an appearance at some point.

I think keeping only three of the original Young Avengers was a good plan. I actually wouldn’t want the new incarnation of the book to read like the original team plus a couple characters. I love the original team passionately, but I think their arc together is done. And I want a book that gives them new places to go, rather than dwelling on the past and particularly the tragic end of Children’s Crusade. Also, I think the strength of Marvel team books has always been in the shifting memberships. Stories about characters with conflicting world-views and personalities who are forced by circumstances to learn to work as a team are my favorite type of superhero stories.

Honestly, this is kind of my dream book. Billy and Teddy are my favorite adorable queer superheroes. I have an enormous crush on Kate Bishop and think she needs to be in every book EVER. I don’t know what I’d do without my monthly dose of kid Loki, and I was so worried he’d disappear entirely at the end of the current Thor/Journey Into Mystery crossover event. Noh-Varr’s a character I didn’t expect to like, but completely fell in love with during his run in Avengers. His time with the Avengers ended quite badly, and I was really concerned that he’d been written out of the main continuity for a while.

Also, I really like some of what Gillen and McKelvie said in their interview over at Comic Book Resources

“Young Avengers” came up. I thought, “If I’m going to to do this book I want to do it with Jamie and Mike Norton.” And I wanted Matt Wilson on colors. I wanted Clayton Cowles who was our letterer on “Journey Into Mystery.” I wanted to make something that was completely beautiful and bespoke.

I looked at something like “Daredevil” and how aesthetically coherent it is. I don’t think I’ve ever done anything like that for Marvel.

The series I’m most loving right now all have very coherent and unique looks to them: Matt Fraction and David Aja’s Hawkeye, Kelly Sue DeConnick and Dexter Soy’s Captain Marvel and Kieron Gillen and a variety of artists on Journey Into Mystery. I’ve fallen out of love with the current storyline in Daredevil, but keep reading it because it’s just such a gorgeous book.

In this world the Avengers are almost civil servants or firemen or police. They work for the government and they’re this enormous organization. But at the core? The real core of the Avengers? It’s saving the world, because someone has got to, and that’s what “Young Avengers” is about. They’re called “Young Avengers” even though they’re not Avengers. This is fundamentally about the ideal. It’s about being a super hero. It’s about saving the world because somebody has got to do it.

Which, really, is what brought the original Young Avengers together in the first place.

After that “Young Avengers” will be set up as a device where you can go to any of the Marvel Universe locales where teen heroes live and work like the West Coast with the Runaways or the Jean Grey School. It’s a very wide ranging book in that way. For me it’s super heroism as a metaphor for talent and deciding what you want to do with it. There’s a line in my original proposal for this that the original “Young Avengers” book was kind of about being 16. This book is about being 18.

Seriously. DREAM. BOOK.

I started a blog and then promptly developed a pinched nerve in my neck that made typing for any length of time unadvisable.  Because that’s just how my life goes.

Now that Avengers vs. X-Men #12 is out, I want to try to organize some of my thoughts on the event.

First of all: I have read most of the related canon for the Avengers and the X-Men since House of M.  There are some gaps in my reading, things I had no interest in reading or bounced off of rather strongly, but in general this is the era of Marvel canon I am most obsessively familiar with.  And, as a bookend to House of M — as closure on a distinct chapter in Marvel continuity — I think Avengers vs. X-Men works well.

As a self-contained story though it’s rather sloppy and there are a lot of trailing and dropped threads that are never clarified. In particular, there were a number of characters who played a large part in the lead-up to A vs. X, but then were almost or completely absent during the event, or whose plotlines seem to have just fizzled out part of the way through the event.

Maybe some of my questions will be answered in some of the A vs. X Aftermath comics, but currently they’ve all been left unacknowledged and unresolved.

1) The Young Avengers.  In Avengers: The Children’s Crusade, the Young Avengers are responsible for bringing back Wanda Maximoff, a key player in all of A vs. X.  At the end of Children’s Crusade the Young Avengers break up and are seen sitting out many of the big events that have taken place in the Marvel Universe in the last year.  But then some of them are shown back in costume being honored by the Avengers.

We know that Kate Bishop (Hawkeye) has already returned to heroing in the new Hawkeye ongoing, and Billy Kaplan (Wiccan) is prominent in some of the Marvel Now teaser imagery.  (His role is currently unclear, but it seems likely he’ll be appearing Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie’s as yet unrevealed title teased with the image “Amateurs” today.)  Given their key part leading up to A vs. X, it really jumped out to me that none of the Young Avengers ever appear or are even mentioned in A vs. X.

2) Cable.  In Avengers: X-Sanction, Cable returns from the future to try and kill the Avengers because he believes they will be responsible for the death of his adopted daughter, Hope Summers.  Given his major role there, his absence in A vs. X is quite striking.  We last see him at the end of Avengers: X-Sanction, where Hope manifests some of the Phoenix power and  cures him of the techno-organic virus that has plagued him most of his life.  On the last pages of the mini we see him still unconscious in the Utopia med-bay discussing Hope with Cyclops on the astral plane.

So, where is he during A vs. X?  The Avengers do in fact come for Hope and her father is nowhere to be found.  Hope defies and goes up against Scott Summers, but her father – Scott’s son — is nowhere to be found.  Cable tells his father that he will “be there for you when you need me”, but when Scott is being gradually corrupted and then fully taken over by the Phoenix force his son is not even referenced.

According to this interview with Dennis Hopeless about his new series “Cable and X-Force”, Cable doesn’t awaken from his coma until after Avengers vs. X-Men is over, but that doesn’t answer the question of where his body physically is and why there’s no reference to him that I can recall anywhere in A vs. X.

3) The remaining Four Lights.  Generation Hope was a great book, and the connection between Hope and the “Five Lights” — the first five new mutants since M-Day — is made quite explicit in it.  We know that Hope has a psychic connection to the Lights and can both intentionally and unintentionally influence their actions.

In Uncanny X-Men #13 their memory is tampered with by Unit, but it’s unclear how much of their memory he changes.  Certainly he cannot have erased their connection to Hope or their memories of their experiences with her, without it being glaringly obvious to anyone around them, but nevertheless in the rest of A vs. X they only appear as background characters, and always on the side of the mutants.  Even when Hope leaves Utopia with Wanda Maximoff and the Avengers there is no indication of the Lights desiring to follow her, even though Transonic is actually present when the Avengers come for Hope.

Before Unit changes their memories, he tells the Lights that Hope may need them with her to successfully channel the Phoenix, but there is never any follow-up on this.  Hope successfully channels the Phoenix with the help of her Iron Fist training and Wanda Maximoff’s chaos powers.  It’s unclear if the Avengers even know the Lights exist at all, let alone that they might be useful in balancing Hope’s powers.

4) Unit.  Speaking of dropped plot-lines.  What the hell is up with Unit?  This incredibly powerful android character is shown to have gained control of Danger and to be meddling with events surrounding the Phoenix from his place in the X-Brig, but he only ever appears in Uncanny X-Men and his meddling and its potential consequences never show up or are acknowledged in the main series.  There’s only one issue of this run of Uncanny X-Men left and with all that happened in A vs. X it seems unlikely that the Unit plotline will be resolved before the series ends.

Also, if the Phoenix Five were all powerful and able to easily read the thoughts and intentions of everyone on Utopia — as is shown several times — how is it possible that they remained completely oblivious to Unit’s duplicity and secret agenda on Utopia.

I realize that even with an event as lengthy as A vs. X not everything can be addressed, but these particular absences and the lack of explanation for them really weakened the story in my eyes.


Last week I said there were only four comics I’m currently reading that aren’t changing under Marvel Now!

As of today, make that three.  Ed Brubaker is leaving Winter Soldier in February, and being replaced with Jason Latour, who I know absolutely nothing about.

I’m…not sure what I think about that.  Nothing that Latour says in that interview makes me think OMG NO!, but there’s nothing there that jumped out at me as really exciting either.  And I love Brubaker’s writing so much.  I was resigned to him leaving Captain America in part because I knew he’d still be writing Bucky, now I have twice the nervousness.  Steve and Bucky were the characters who got me into the Avengers side of Marvel Comics.  Previously, I was an X-Men girl, through and through and I’d carefully avoided getting attached to any non-mutant characters, because comics are expensive, both in time and money.

(Now, as you can see in my Subscription List, I’m reading more Avengers-related titles than X-Men titles.  Comics, they’re a dangerous, dangerous slippery slope.)

Also, I’ve been nervous about where the current Winter Soldier arc is taking Bucky and Natasha’s relationship, and considering how much such things often change when new writers take over a book, I’m now even more frightened that something awful is going to happen to split them up long-term.  And I am SO not okay with that.  I love them together.  They make each other stronger, and they make each other gentler.  It’s an incredibly grown up and complicated relationship of the sort that doesn’t show up enough in any media, let alone comics, and I really prize that.

Marvel Maybe!

Marvel Now! is about to completely overhaul my subscription list.  I’m excited about some changes, nervous but cautiously optimistic about a few others and deeply dubious of a few more.

Right now my (too-long) subscription list is:

  • Avengers
  • New Avengers
  • Captain America
  • Captain America and…
  • Captain Marvel
  • Daredevil
  • Defenders
  • Hawkeye
  • Journey Into Mystery
  • Iron Man
  • New Mutants
  • Uncanny X-Men
  • Winter Soldier

The only titles I’m reading that aren’t changing are Captain Marvel, Daredevil, Hawkeye and Winter Soldier.  Captain Marvel, Hawkeye and Winter Soldier are my top three favorite books right now, so it’s nice to know that whatever else happens with Marvel Now I’ll have some guaranteed favorites still around.

Everything else is ending and rebooting, getting a new writer and/or shifting focus to different characters.  And several titles I’m not currently reading are rebooting or changing in ways that make me think I may start picking them up.

Books I’m going to miss:

New Mutants – The New Mutants are, and forever will be, the superhero team of my heart.  The relaunched New Mutants title is actually what got me back into reading comics after a lengthy absence, and I’ve quite enjoyed Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning’s run.  Marvel has a bad track-record with using the New Mutants characters when they don’t have their own book.  I’m excited to see Sam and Bobby showing up on the first covers being released for the new Avengers title — especially Sam, who has always been a favorite of mine — but I really don’t want to see Dani Moonstar slip back into supporting-character obscurity.

Defenders – I’ve been loving Defenders, but with Matt Fraction writing the new Hawkeye title and picking up the Fantastic Four books I’m not surprised to see it go.  At least it looks like it’s going to end as a short, but complete and self-contained run.

Captain America and… – The art on Captain America and… has been inconsistent, but the story is just great fun, and I’m enjoying the conceit of having a through-plot, but different characters teaming up with Cap for different segments of the story.  I quite like Cullen Bunn’s writing, but he tends to end up on a lot of books that otherwise hold no interest for me, so I was enjoying having a monthly title from him starring a character I love.

Uncanny X-Men – I love Kieron Gillen’s writing, but his run on Uncanny X-Men has not held my attention like I hoped it would.  That said, I’m incredibly dubious about the planned reboot and change of the title.  The X-Men were my first comics love, and it feels odd to think I might end up with a list that doesn’t include any X-Men titles.

Books I am excited about:

Journey Into Mystery – I love Kid Loki, and I’ll miss seeing him in Journey Into Mystery every month, but I’m super-excited to be getting a title focused on Sif, written by Kathryn Immonen.  My friend Elizabeth and I were recently discussing how disappointed we were in how Sif has been underutilized recently in both Thor and Journey Into Mystery.  She’s a complicated and interesting character who more than deserves to be the center of the story for once, and it’s nice to see Marvel adding another book with a female lead by a female writer.

Avengers Assemble – I picked up the first few issues of Avengers Assemble, but the plot just didn’t engage me at all.  The stand-alone, divorced from continuity format, and the restriction to the movie-characters just doesn’t play to Brian Michael Bendis’ strengths as a writer.  However, the upcoming switch to a more rotating cast as written by Kelly Sue DeConnick has moved the title back onto my list.  I love DeConnick’s writing.  Her Captain Marvel is currently my favorite ongoing, and I think she’s well-suited to taking on the Avengers cast.

Red She-Hulk – I usually avoid all the Hulk-related books as just not to my tastes, but I’ll definitely make an exception for Betty Ross.  I love Betty and with Defenders ending it’s nice to know I’ll still have my monthly dose of Betty Ross awesomeness.  With Red She-Hulk and Journey Into Mystery, Marvel will now have three solo titles led by female heroes, which is still pitiful compared to the number of male-led solo titles, but is at least the start of an improvement.

Books I’m nervous about:

Avengers & New Avengers – I’ve not read a lot of Jonathan Hickman’s writing previously.  I’ve dabbled in his Fantastic Four run a bit, but while I’ve enjoyed some individual issues it never engaged me enough to become a regular thing.  The conceit of a large Avengers cast with rotating characters depending on mission is one that appeals to me, and a couple of the more unexpected characters on the interlocking covers for the first three issues really excite me (Cannonball!  Falcon!)  but I’m disappointed by how few female characters are there.  The biggest complaint I have about Bendis’ run is his tendency to have one or at most two token women on a team, and I was really hoping to see that change.

Uncanny Avengers – Rick Remender’s writing is really hit or miss for me.  I’ve been unimpressed and frankly bored by his run on Secret Avengers, and in fact dropped the book from my subscription list shortly after he took it over.  Reading previews and skimming issues in the store has not lead me to regret this decision.  On the other hand, I’m excited to see Havok get a higher-profile gig and I think there’s a potential for a great friendship between Wanda and Rogue.  On the third hand, Wolverine.  God, I am so over Wolverine right now.

Captain America – Again Rick Remender’s writing and I don’t always hit it off, and I’ve loved Ed Brubaker’s run on Cap so much that I know I’m going to have trouble transitioning to any different writer on the title.  It sounds from interviews like Remender is taking the title in a completely different direction and I think that’s a good thing.  Trying to replicate or copy Brubaker’s run would be a mistake, but I worry that his new direction will be one I’m not interested in following.  However, I really like some of the stuff he’s said in interviews, especially when he said that there would “be a lot of flashbacks to a young Steve Rogers growing up in Depression-era Lower East Side”, because that’s a part of Steve’s history I’m personally quite interested in.  That plus the promise of John Romita Jr.’s art is a guarantee that I’ll at least be giving this one a shot.

Iron Man – If you’d asked me when the news first came out, I would have said I couldn’t think of anyone better suited than Kieron Gillen to follow Matt Fraction on Iron Man, and that still may be the case.  But the stuff he’s talking about in interviews is just not sparking my interest as much as I’d expected.  Hopefully that will change when the book’s actually in front of me, but for now I’ve moved this title from “excited” to “nervous”.

Books I’m dubious about:

All-New X-Men – I’m just having real trouble seeing how this premise will work-out long-term.  Brian Michael Bendis is a great writer, and I adore Stuart Immonen’s art, so I’ll probably at least pick up the first issue, but I’m just not sure this is going to be my X-book.

X-Men Legacy – X-Men Legacy is getting rebooted to focus on David Haller, aka Legion.  Like all stories about a character whose mutant power is a tied to his dissociative identity disorder this has the potential to be a really spectacular pile of Fail.  Starting with Mike Carey’s Age of X storyline Marvel has finally started treating Legion like a fully formed character with his own agency and choices, rather than the helpless child-victim trapped in his head that he was portrayed as for years, and the description of the new series implies they’re continuing in that vein, which is a step in the right direction.  The only thing I’ve read by Simon Spurrier previously is the X-Club mini-series which I quite loved and which handled a cast of rather mentally interesting characters quite well, so I’m counting that as another point in favor of the book not being entirely faily from the start.  But there’s just so much potential for this one to go wrong, especially as an ongoing series.

Books you couldn’t pay me to read:

Avengers Arena – WOW am I NOT the audience for this book.  The whole premise makes me viscerally recoil, and I’m really unhappy to see a couple of the Runaways kids in the mix.