This was supposed to say, This Month in Comics, but I ended up not finishing it until sometime this morning. I also thought about adding some issue from my December pull list, but I ended up only referencing them. I did do November, but I was unable to pull them from Twitter the way that I wanted them to. So there’s that.
In any case, I’ve decided to categorize this months comics by their publishers, with the exception of the mini-series that have concluded. I put those at the end. I will also not cover any of the issues that made up the Robin War, simply because I gave that event a whole post. Go read it.
I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating: I’ve been a big Archie fan for years. I’ve even talked about how much I love Mark Waid’s current Archie run because its somehow managing to be a much more relatable, and updated, take on the Riverdale gang without losing any of it’s nostalgia. I also appreciate that every new issue has about 3 variant covers. I’m convinced that my comic book store only buys one set for every issue after the first, and I love it.
In Archie #5, Jughead and Betty team up with Reggie Mantle to breakup Archie and Veronica. Considering the way Veronica tends to use and misuse Archie, it’s understandable why Riverdale’s favorite redhead’s two best friends would want him far away from Ms. Lodge. However, their objections might be just a little bit misplaced.
Ever since I’ve been reading Archie Comics, Betty vs. Veronica has been a time-honored tradition, but I’ve never actually bothered to take a side. That being said, the recent issues of Archie have caused to me to rethink my stance.
I like Betty; she’s a wonderful gal. I like that she was the girl next door, and seemed very relatable, but she was always losing Archie to Veronica. Always. And this wasn’t just in the ’90s. As early as 1965, Betty Cooper was being heavily passed over, and Archie was not catching any of her signals. It was actually quite painful to read, but Mark Waid was sure to add it to the end of Archie #4.
As much as I liked Betty, though, I can’t pretend that there wasn’t something about Veronica. Ronnie was stuck up, spoiled, and, at times, an absolute bitch, but I won’t pretend that I didn’t admire the hell out of her. Her fashion sense was always on point, and her penchant for adding “-kins” to the names of her admirers was something that rubbed off on me.
Honestly, I love both of these broads, as they were, but it wasn’t until now that I really realized that I needed to pick a side.
And I’m going to hold off on saying who that is, because I feel like that’s a post in and of itself.
In Jughead #3, Jughead is forced to find something to fill his time after being expelled (see Jughead #2). During a visit to Pops’ Diner, Jughead and Pops are almost killed by a drone. Jughead then joins the Men from R.I.V.E.R.D.A.L.E. to save the students of Riverdale High from Principal Stanger’s evil clutches.
Chip Zdarsky, the guy writing the new Jughead run, is a freaking godsend. I’ve always loved Juggie, but I’ve also always loved food so it only make sense that I’d find him relatable. However, this recent version of Jughead has made me much more interested in the character.
A lot of the fantastical elements that have been showing up in the new Jughead comic are just that: fantasy. The last two issues have had Jughead falling asleep at some convenient time in order to go on some incredible journey. It’s actually ridiculously entertaining, but I’m weirdly on the fence about having this comic be solely about Jughead’s adventures as a time traveler or a teenage spy. I am, however, of the belief that there’s something nefarious going on with Principal Stanger.
Like Mark Waid, Chip Zdarsky also adds reprints of old Jughead strips in the back of his comics (although Mark’s forwards are a bit more entertaining). This week’s gave us some insight into Jughead’s dealings with Pops, as well Jughead’s illustrious family history.
One thing from the older comics that I’m holding out hope for is Jughead’s Uncle Herman. That guy was a certified mad scientist, and I think he would fit quite well with the current run. Come on, Chip Zdarsky, bring back another classic!
UPDATE: According to Comicbook.com, the Archies are getting a TV show on the CW! I cannot begin to tell you how excited I am for this. Where do I need to go to follow casting news? I need to know everything!
OMG, I finally understand what’s going on in Cyborg! Or rather, I can finally tell where one arc ended and a new one began. So, I obviously don’t know shit.
In Cyborg #6, Cyborg finally figures out how to take out the Technosapiens, and he does. A few of them get away, but it looks like most of the people who were infected on Earth were able to be cured.
When I tell you that this was the most confusing arc I have ever read in my life? That thing required a forward that DC was not providing. Maybe it was me. Maybe I just couldn’t fully understand. I wanted to though; I definitely tried, but I just could not understand. And the inclusion of the Metal Men didn’t help. Lord knows that that Justice League cameo at the end was just to say that the crisis was global, but I would have been perfectly fine if it wasn’t.
I feel like I need a DC primer after that, because I just could not get on board, but I hope that that doesn’t hurt the Trade Paperback sales.
In Cyborg #7, Cyborg gets a visit from his mother, and the government takes a visit to Detroit S.T.A.R. Labs.
Here’s a question that I’ve never thought to ask: who owns S.T.A.R. Labs in the DC Universe? Is it Harrison Wells? Is it Barry Allen? Are the different locations owned by different people? Is it all just a conglomerate of genius scientists with doctorates? Let me know what that deal is.
And how come Cyborg couldn’t get a made up city? I feel some type of way about that.
I appreciated the appearance of Cyborg’s mother, although the way in which she appeared is a bit heartbreaking, but it’s nice that Vic gets a little bit of closure. It’s nice that Cyborg gets to share his new secret with someone besides his cat, but I wonder if it can be used against him since the door is left open by more appearances from Mrs. Stone.
One thing that scares me a bit is the US Government’s investigation into S.T.A.R. Labs. Because they are now able to seize all of the cybergentics work that Dr. Stone had been working on, that also means that Vic has become a target. That worries me. Black men in the hands of the government – with a skeevy guy at the head – is never a good look. I may not have clicked with the first arc, but this new one has me very interested.
Ultimately, I hope it works out for Cyborg. I know it’s a multiverse, but I wouldn’t him to die. Again.
Speaking of the multiverse- you know what? No. I don’t want to know.
Elsewhere, in a slightly more cohesive part of the DC Multiverse, Starfire has been hanging out with her bae, Dick Grayson.
So I’m going to take the time to tell you all why I’m not too happy with Dick Grayson at the moment. I’m aware that he and Starfire have always had a history, and I am also aware that Starfire broke it off with him in an earlier Teen Titans run because Dick had a lovely habit of going between Kori and Barbara Gordon. Kori wasn’t here for it.
So imagine my shock when Dick Grayson pops back up in Starfire #7 for a mission, and somehow manages to cockblock Kori’s date with Sol. At first I was like, OMG my OTP is back together! Only to find out that he did the same thing to Barbara in Batgirl #45 . I don’t actually follow Batgirl, but I happened to see the panel in one of my Facebook groups, and I was not amused at all.
I cannot be bothered with Dick Grayson and his indecisiveness. He either needs to be Kori’s boyfriend, or no one’s boyfriends, but he definitely won’t be stopping that Barbara Gordon/Luke Fox action. No sir. Not on my watch
In any case, Starfire #8 picks up after the boat crash in #7. Dick Grayson has a continuing mission going on in the Florida Keys, and he and Kori have a conversation about their kiss. Atlee and Stella talk about their planned trip to Atlee’s hometown, and Kori makes the decision to go forward in life.
I don’t know why DC continues to play with my heart when it comes to Dick and Kori. They’re meant to be. Just because you all don’t want to go back to the Kingdom Come timeline, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t still respect it. Why does Kori need to always be left behind by Dick Grayson? Why does Dick Grayson have to sacrifice his life and happiness for Gotham? Why can’t you just let me have my OTP? I don’t think that I’m asking for too much here.
Sigh. Maybe I am asking for too much, but I still don’t like to be ship-baited.
In any case, Kori looks like she’s okay with moving forward with her new boo Sol. And apparently something wonderful will be happening in the next issue. Whatever it is, it can’t be more wonderful than a Nightwing/Starfire wedding.
Moving on to a slightly more relevant to whatever might actually be going on in the Grayson comic – because there’s no way that adventure with Starfire could have been happening during the Robin War – we move back to Gotham with the We Are Robin movement.
We Are Robin #8 serves as both a follow-up to the Robin War and an opening to the Rise of the Jokers. We check in on all of the Robins, and get a to know a new character named Smiley who happens to idolize the Joker.
We Are Robin has a always been super heavy for reasons I’m not quite sure of, but, for some reason, it never bothered me too much. Being a teenager is hard, you know? Yes, being an adult is worse, but adulthood comes with the end of puberty and all of those cute little hormones finally calming the hell down. Combine the stress of puberty with horrible family issues and the normal drama that comes with life in Gotham, and you’ve got a catalyst for a good soap opera.
Honestly, DC should just skip Teen Titans and let We Are Robin be their next TV venture. It’s been a break out hit, they have to know that.
In any case, Duke finally finds his parents in a psychiatric ward, which is good because I forgot that that was even a part of his story. Foster care was not a good look, and I was starting to wonder where the hell he was staying. There’s also the romantic moment he had with Riko at the end of the Robin War, but that’s just not as pressing. Izzy’s family situation is still . . . depressing, and I think Dre is running around being a Batman knockoff.
I’m beginning to feel like Travis had the best life out of all of them, and he’s dead.
This kid Smiley though? Ooh, Lord. I’m not even surprised that he turned into a Joker fan after what his parents have done to him.
I expect Rise of the Jokers to be a We Are Robin event, mostly because a Joker toxin is what prompted Duke’s decision to join the Robins in the first place. However, I think it’s possible that Damian might pop in for a bit. The Joker toxin seems to be a Gotham-wide issue that has been steadily going on in the background, and I think it’d be weird if Gotham’s other crime-fighting friends didn’t take notice.
Then again, their absence was the whole reason that the We Are Robin movement got started.
Whatever, we’ll see.
So Marvel has been going through quite a few big changes, and I am not sure I’m too happy with a lot of them. On the one hand, I hate the idea of the X-Men being shafted for the Inhumans, but I do like Lunella, from Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur, who is very much an Inhuman. One the one hand, I don’t like that Sam Wilson had to be Captain America to get his own ongoing series, but I do like what they are doing with him. Of course, that doesn’t mean that I’m fine with Marvel’s other decisions in regards to the FalconCap debacle.
But let’s talk comics.
In Captain America: Sam Wilson #4, Sam is unfortunately still wearing the CapWolf face that he got saddled with in issue #3. It’s a bit of a hassle, but he expects it to wear off sometime soon. In the meantime, Serpent Solutions, formerly the Serpent Society, is taking off, so Sam goes to see an old friend of Steve Rogers’ to get some intel. It does not end well.
So can I just say that I absolutely love this idea that Marvel and DC have about bringing back old characters to make better use of, as well as adding new ones? I personally don’t mind retconning older characters – provided that they aren’t minorities, because we really don’t have enough – but it’s so much easier to mix the old with the new.
I like that the Serpent Society was an old Captain America foe that was low enough on the totem pole to not be iconic, but high enough to warrant a revamp. I like that they are now entrenched in and making use of corporate America. I like the idea of Diamondback is perfectly happy for the new wave of heroines, but has no interest in changing up the bad girl persona that she’s cultivated. I like that she had no qualms about having to become a stripper to pay bills.
I love it. I love everything about it. I even liked Clare Temple showing up, though it did make me just a little bit fearful that Marvel was integrating its comics with its film and tv worlds. Take a page from DC, guys, and let your comics do their own thing.
I do feel like this comic is hella political. It works, surprisingly, but I still had to comment on it.
In Captain America: Sam Wilson #5, we find out a bit more about Diamondback’s motivations. The proposed new Falcon, Joaquin Torres, does his first act of heroism, and Misty Knight gets to kick butt in the lobby of an office building.
No joke, Misty Knight’s appearances in this run have just been her being a complete badass and saving Sam’s life. Unfortunately, that lobby fight had her a bit too tied up, so Joaquin had to fly in.
Originally, I was not okay with their being a new Falcon, because I felt in my heart that they were going to let Steve Rogers be Captain America again. So what happens to Sam if he can’t be Captain America or the Falcon? Steve Rogers has a whole other superhero name to fall back on, why does he need to be Captain America again?
Indignation aside, it does make sense for Joaquin to be the new Falcon. The boy has literally been spliced with a falcon. Although, I do feel that he needs to go ahead and put in his application for the Young Avengers. And who’s idea was it to give Redwing vampire blood? Regenerative capabilities are cool, but I don’t see how this won’t come back to hurt them.
Speaking of vampires, why the hell is Sam still CapWolf? It’s been three issues; surely it could have worn off. Or are VampFalcon and CapWolf supposed to go on a horror monster adventure first? Is that why Steve Rogers gets to be Captain America again? To stop the horror movie heroes? Is Blade going to get involved?
Marvel needs to sort their lives out.
In The Totally Awesome Hulk #2, we catch up with Amadeus Cho mid-fight with Red Sonja. She-Hulk and Spiderman (Miles Morales) have also come along for the ride, and we get a little bit more of an insight on what happened to Bruce Banner.
To be honest, I don’t really care what happened to Bruce Banner. Admittedly, I am big fan of Bruce Banner’s Hulk, especially when he’s intelligible, but I am not the biggest fan of Bruce Banner’s need to get rid of the Hulk. That being said, I would have been absolutely fine if the reasoning behind Amadeus Cho becoming the new Hulk was the backstory for what created the Hulk world in the Battleworld’s Planet Hulk run.
I like Amadeus Cho. I’ve liked him since Planet Hulk and World War Hulk. I liked him when he was running around with Hercules. I personally like Amadeus Cho better than Rick Jones.
Listen, Rick Jones was unfortunate, but you’ll never get me to care about that guy.
Amadeus is a little bit more relatable to me, because he obviously likes his Hulk and want to be the best Hulk ever. Will he be a better Hulk than She-Hulk? Who knows, but his general enthusiasm makes him a better Hulk-counterpart than Bruce Banner so that has to count for something.
I like that Amadeus’ sister, Maddy, is running around chasing monsters with him in a tricked out food truck. Although, I do have to wonder what their parent situation is like, since I’m pretty sure that neither of them are 18.
The inclusion of Miles Morales’ Spiderman and Red Sonja are also a plus in my book.
In Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur #2, we get to know just a little bit more about Lunella Lafayette and her motivations. Devil Dinosaur decides to cause some havoc in the middle of New York, and the Killer Folk pick up some New World habits.
I started this series in November because I liked the idea of a little black girl running around with a dinosaur. I have since come to find out that she is an Inhuman working to find away to stop the change that is brought on by the Terrigen mists. As much as I don’t like the Inhumans, this is something that I can get down with.
While I don’t like that Moon-Boy had to die, I like that Lunella’s designation as a legacy character comes from her acquisition of Moon-Boy’s Nightstone (the Kree Omni-Wave Projector) and Devil Dinosaur. It pays homage to the old comic, whilst still giving credence to Lunella’s existence as a new comic book hero. I also like that Moon Girl is the main character of this series, and not Devil Dinosaur.
I don’t have an issue with Devil Dinosaur, but he can’t talk. That might not seem like much of a sticking point, but you can’t tell me that you didn’t start to like the Hulk better than you liked Bruce Banner once the Hulk began to speak intelligibly. Two separate personas went on there, and I liked the big green guy better.
One thing I absolutely loved about this comic in particular is the appearance of the Killer-Folk. I like that they took the time to observe human behavior before “acquiring” clothes. This tells me that the Killer-Folk are much more intelligent than we first believe. The way they process new information and then immediately begin to make use of it is astounding.
While I don’t expect the Killer-Folk to become the next Serpent Solutions, I can’t wait to see what they’ve turned into when we see them again.
In Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur #3, Lunella and Devil Dinosaur have a run in with the Killer-Folk that has them losing the Nightstone (because Kree Omni-Wave Projector is way too long of a name). Lunella suffers a life of being too smart and misunderstood, but makes up for it by saving the day. Amadeus Cho’s Hulk also makes an appearance.
Because my review of the first issue of this comic is unable to be retrieved properly from the Twitterverse, I’m going to have to reiterate a point I made about Lunella almost two months ago. Lunella Lafeyette stuffers from having an unstimulated mind. She’s smarter than her teacher and her peers, and is considered misunderstood because of it. Her parents have neither the time nor the resources to help her, and Lunella unfortunately comes off as arrogant because of it.
If something is not done about Lunella’s educational and social situation soon, she WILL become the next Reed Richards. No one needs that.
Actually, Lunella is a bit reminiscent of a lot of Marvel’s favorite geniuses. She’s as arrogant as Reed Richards, as inventive as Tony Stark, and loathes a part of herself just like Bruce Banner. And it’s that last part that I think this series will explore.
Now, I have selfish reasons for wanting Lunella to find a cure for the Terrigen mists: I want the X-Men to come back to prominence and be fertile again. The X-gene is a human genetic trait, so the Terrigen mists are essentially stunting the growth of the human population.
Plus, anytime Marvel rolls out a new Inhuman, I feel both targeted and offended. Anything that stops that Inhuman train is a good thing in my book. Why do I feel this way? Read the scene with Jean Grey in Extraordinary X-Men #2, and you’ll understand where I’m coming from.
Moving on from the baby Inhumans, we take a trip to the past with Captain America and Bucky Barnes.
In Captain America: White #5, we conclude Steve Rogers’ reminiscing over his time with Bucky Barnes. As the Red Skull holds Bucky hostage over the Paris skyline, and the Howling Commandoes are betrayed by an ally, Steve Rogers must make a decision. Is one life worth risking millions of others?
Bucky Barnes is an interesting character in the Captain America mythos, because you can’t be a fan without having an opinion about Bucky. Was he like a son to cap? A brother? A best friend? Something more? I don’t think that Marvel will ever go that far, but it’s pretty obvious that Bucky Barnes holds a special place in Steve Rogers’ heart.
What I like about Captain America: White is that Steve gets the chance to mourn his friend whilst also giving some insight into his World War I adventures. Whether Marvel always intended for Cap to be a virgin during his first go round remains to be seen, but it definitely gives him a reason for having a roster of girlfriends after coming out of the ice.
In this new age of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the relationship between Steve Rogers and Bucky Barnes has suffered a ton of scrutiny, most of it by fangirls. While I don’t believe that Marvel will ever admit to, or even outright hint at, the bisexuality of one of it’s most iconic characters, I do think that it’s recent penchant for telling Cap and Bucky stories is somewhat baiting.
None of us expected Cap to seduce a teenage Bucky, but I think Marvel is aware of what counts as ship fodder and what doesn’t. In one of the earlier issues of Captain America: White, there was a scene where Steve drew a picture of Bucky in his notepad so that Bucky could see the Grand Canyon. Whether they meant it to be or not, that was a completely romantic scene. And don’t even get me started on the Battleworld’s Planet Hulk miniseries. That was the most platonic Stucky I’ve ever read in my life.
I say all of that to say, I see you, Marvel. I’m not missing a single bit of it.
All in all, I’ve appreciated this month’s round up of new comics. Cyborg is finally in an arc that I can understand, Marvel is finally doing something outside of the MCU, and the newer Archie comics have become so popular that the CW has ordered a pilot. It’s been a good month in comics, friends. Let’s hope the trend keeps up.
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All images courtesy of Archie Comics, DC Comics, and Marvel Comics.