You know what I just found out? Archie Comics puts the designation for whatever Variant cover you might have picked up on the bar code in the back of the comic. I’m about to start my third ongoing comic from the New Riverdale lineup, and I collect The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina for my cousin, but this is the first time that I’ve ever noticed this.

You learn something new everyday.

Now Archie Comics, doesn’t always call them variants on the cover, but the bar code designation will say whether it’s cover A, B, or whatever. Cover A being the main cover, and anything else being a variant. Midtown comics also lists the different covers that way on their site, along with the artist’s name.

In any case, here’s Last Month in Comics – the July edition:

Archie (2015), #10

archie-issue-10-13
Cover C by Sandy Jarell with Kelly Fitzpatrick (Photo Credit: Archie Comics)

I guess it’s a good thing that I’m starting with Archie since it’s what I began the whole post with. However, I also just had to remind myself that Q comes before R, so I really should have started with Aquaman. I’ll be fixing that going forward.

In this issue of Archie, even the best intentions can be heavily misconstrued, and Archie’s never been great at sorting things out. The Riverdale election heats up when Veronica unintentionally gives her father a big boost. July’s throwback comic continues to give us more insight into why Betty Cooper will never win.

Now, listen, I have always been in the Veronica Lodge camp for reasons I am not quite sure of,  because 9-year-old me had an entirely different thought process. However, I would be remiss if I didn’t point out that Archie Andrews is a terrible boyfriend.

Seriously, he’s been back and forth between the same two girls for 75 years. He has regularly ditched both of them for other girls more times than I can count. I like to say that his true love is Valerie Smith, but that’s because I stan for any black girl, even in the Archieverse. I know very well that Archie can’t choose. There’s a reason that Life with Archie is two parallel storylines that are ultimately based on whether he marries Betty or Veronica (and a smaller one where he marries Valerie).

What I’m saying is, if Mark Waid decides that Betty and Sayid is what we’re doing, then I will stan for that crap forever. Why? Because Betty Cooper deserves to have someone who appreciates her for who she is and who she wants to be. And if Archie Andrews couldn’t appreciate Betty Cooper in makeup and a nice dress, then he doesn’t deserve Betty Cooper.

Riverdale is going to be a ride.

Aquaman (2016), #2 and #3

 

If you haven’t been paying attention to DC, you probably aren’t aware that a few of the new Rebirth runs are bi-monthly. Aquaman, Wonder Woman, and Nightwing being some of them. Batman and Superman are also bi-monthly, but there’s no reason to make my stack any bigger than it already is.  

In July’s issues of Aquaman, Black Manta does some damage, so Arthur has to clean it all up. Except, most of the Atlanteans aren’t here to play nice. Neither are the Americans.

So, correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t Black Manta’s father kill Arthur Curry’s father, originally? Because I feel like DC is retconning the story by saying that Black Manta was the one to kill Arthur’s father, making Manta the father’s death a mistake. Now I’m not saying that this is a bad retcon, I just want to know if it is in fact retconning.

I like that we’re clearing through Black Manta’s storyline so early, but I love that it has its repercussions. Say what you want about Black Manta, but I am definitely a fan. I love that we’re doing something else with his Aquaman hate though. Better for him to concentrate on other shit, that to just be constantly plotting Arthur Curry’s death.

I like that issue #3 was titled, “Mr. Curry Goes to Washington”, because I am, lowkey, a James Stewart fan.  I don’t like that the Atlantean government doesn’t have a protocol for these types of things, or wouldn’t have someone at their embassy at all times, but I’m sure that there is a point to all of this.

I expect that issue #4 will have better answers.

Betty & Veronica (2016), #1 

Cover J by Genevieve F.T. (Photo Credit: Archie Comics)
Cover J by Genevieve F.T. (Photo Credit: Archie Comics)

One of my best friends is an Adam Hughes fan. Everytime I see his name, I’m always asking her, “is that the Hughes guy that you like?” Because one time there was an artist named Hughes with a booth at Comicpalooza, but he wasn’t the guy that my best friend liked. So you can kinda understand how I could be a teensy bit excited when it was announced that my friend’s favorite artist, Adam Hughes, was writing and drawing the new Betty & Veronica run.

In the inaugural issue of The New Riverdale’s  Betty & Veronica, Riverdale’s favorites are trying to save Pop’s Diner. Except the person they’re trying to save it from is Hiram Lodge. That’s not a good look.

So I’ve never quite understood how two girls could date the same guy at the same time and still manage to remain best friends (even though this was the case with two of my best friends in the fourth grade). Some would call this polyamory, but that implies that the whole thing was always amicable. None of the classic Archie comics that I’ve seen have ever clarified when it was that Archie moved from blowing off Betty for Veronica, to mutually dating them both. Mark Waid has already stated his disdain for the love triangle, and Chip Zdarsky is seemingly staying out of it. Adam Hughes, however, has the chance to tell us how it really is.

Honestly. I’d prefer if Betty and Veronica ditched Archie for each other, but I doubt that that will be a thing beyond the second season of Riverdale. Yet and still, I think that the best way to make the most of their already polyamorous relationship would be for both girls to be bi, and into each other, as well as Archie. If everyone liked everyone romantically, no one could be left out, right? Right?

I don’t know. Even with Jugghead recently outing himself as an asexual, I can’t see the nice people at Archie Comics going that far. Still, they have to talk about it at some point.

They should also talk about why Betty and Veronica have to be friends with each other, along side being rivals, and can’t get their own separate books.  I personally don’t mind, but it’s still something that I wonder about.

Black Panther (2016), #4

Cover by Brian Stelfreeze and Laura Martin (Photo Credit: Marvel)
Cover by Brian Stelfreeze and Laura Martin (Photo Credit: Marvel)

You know, sometimes I think about giving up on Black Panther. It’s more of an epic than anything, and I think that it would do better in novel form. However, this issue really made me change my mind.  

In Black Panther #4, the enemies of T’Challa begin to think about being friends. A new player enters the stage, and poses a question. Finally, T’Challa says that the time for talking is at an end.

When Ta-Nehisi Coates said that Black Panther wouldn’t be joining Civil War II, I rejoiced. It just does not fit the narrative that Coates is building in Black Panther for T’Challa to go join someone else’s war while he’s going through his own civil war at home. It’s bad enough that his people don’t think that he cares for them. T’Challa doesn’t need the situation to get any worse than it already is.

I don’t like the idea of the Midnight Angels joining ranks with Tetu. I get why they rebelled, but I don’t think that Tetu is the place that they need to go. Like, I want everything to be smoothed out at the end of it, but it’s mostly because I can’t reconcile the idea of the Dora Milaje breaking away from Black Panther.

I liked this issue. I think that the world-building that Coates has been doing really comes together in this one, and I can’t wait to read more of it. I feel like, instead of Civil War II, we are getting the Wakandan Civil War. That sounds so much more interesting.

Captain America: Sam Wilson (2015), #11

Cover by Daniel Acuna (Photo Credit: Marvel)
Cover by Daniel Acuna (Photo Credit: Marvel)

In July’s issue of Captain America: Sam Wilson, Sam is asked to pick a side. Things have gotten a lot more messier than they were before. Rage and the U.S. Agent make small appearances. I continue to be a fan of this run.

I was actually spoiled for this comic a few weeks back because I just happened to be listening to Comic Book Boom Boom. Apparently, one of the guys on that podcast is just as excited about the use of older characters as I am. So I knew about these minor appearances ahead of time.

That doesn’t mean that I didn’t enjoy every single one of them. 

I like the Shazam parallels with Rage. Having him be kicked out of the Avengers due to his actual age mirrors the Justice League’s issue with Shazam’s membership during the second season opener of Young Justice. The fact that Rage had been able to join a more age appropriate team, that was also the catalyst for the first Civil War, makes him even more interesting.

I’m not sure what life is like now that Rage is the right age for his body, but I’d be interested if he returned.

The use of US Agent makes me happy because he used to be a Captain America. You’ll remember that when they did the 75th anniversary of Captain America special in issue #7, I said that they should have named the other Captain Americas besides Sam, Steve, and Bucky. This isn’t what I had in mind, but it works for the moment. I’m very interested in seeing where his story goes.

However, I would be even more interested in reading a Captains America book if that were possible. I’m just saying, a Captain America Corps would be awesome.

Captain America: Steve Rogers (2016), #3

Cover by Jesus Saiz (Photo Credit: Marvel)
Cover by Jesus Saiz (Photo Credit: Marvel) 

Steve Rogers can’t help but be Steve Rogers. This is a fact that even the fangirls can’t let go of.

In July’s issue of Captain America: Steve Rogers, Steve’s still a Hydra agent, and Kobik has done an excellent job of seeding that into his memory. There’s a bit of a rumble in Bagalia, and those that we thought were dead are apparently still alive. And Steve Rogers can’t help but be Steve Rogers.

It’s hard for me to talk about this without spoiling it, but I’m going to have to eventually let go of that since I’m reviewing these comics a month after they were put on sale. Still, I’m beginning to think that Steve is starting to break that Hydra retconning.

Or rather, he’s not breaking it, but Hydra, like Captain America, is really just a brand: It can’t change the person wearing it. Steve Rogers is a nice guy, he is going to do nice guy things, and that includes trying to save a few lives whilst also advancing Hydra’s goals. He can’t help it, that’s who he is.

Unfortunately, that’s not what Hydra is.

In other news, I’m a Stucky girl for life, but I’m not going to sit here and pretend that Sharon and Steve aren’t a force to be reckoned with. I am here for Steve always feeling a way about losing Bucky, I’m here for Steve and Sam being great guy friends, but this Sharon/Steve stuff is really too cute. They are too much alike.

Rick Jones has his uses, but I continue to wish that he was the one pushed out of the jet instead of Jack Flag (whom I keep calling Rick Flag).

And again, with all of these patriotic superheroes running around, it’s a shame that we don’t have a team Captain America book.  

Civil War II: Choosing Sides (2016), #2

Cover by Jim Cheung, Justin Ponsor, Declan Shalvey, and Jordie Bellaire (Photo Credit: Marvel)
Cover by Jim Cheung, Justin Ponsor, Declan Shalvey, and Jordie Bellaire (Photo Credit: Marvel)

I’m not going to lie to you: I only picked this up because of Jeremy Whitley. He is the whole reason that I ship Misty Knight/ Iron First. I wish Marvel would just let him have that.

In Choosing Sides, we have quite a few characters reflecting on the recent events in the current Civil War. America Chavez, Monica Rambeau, Misty Knight, and Ororo Monroe reflect on the death of James Rhodes. Thomas Foster makes the choice to stand up, in honor of his uncle, Bill Foster. Nick Fury decides to masquerade as Moon Knight.

I was supposed to get Choosing Sides #3, but my bank account, and a mistake in my subscription order, made that impossible. Now I’m wondering if I should have just picked it up anyway. I really want to see where this Nick Fury storyline is going.

The reason that I picked Choosing Sides #2 is, as I said earlier, because of Jeremy Whitley. I knew he would be doing a story with Misty Knight in it, and I wanted to read it. It’s a bit of closure for her relationship with Danny Rand, but one can still hope. It was also nice to see Storm and Monica Rambeau take part.  I am now more interested in seeing what Monica and Blue Marvel have been up to because of it.

I am honestly of the belief that Marvel owes me more Monica Rambeau and Blue Marvel. They owe me more of the Black Superhero crew.

The Discipline (2016), #5

Cover by Leonardo Fernandez (Photo Credit: Image Comics)
Cover by Leonardo Fernandez (Photo Credit: Image Comics)

Man, if you’re still into The Discipline, bless your heart. I’ve got one more issue to read, but I’ve already stopped my subscription. No one can say I didn’t give the first arc a try.

In this issue of The Discipline, Melissa gets taken to meet the council. We find out that Caesar and Cleopatra were once part of the scheme, and Melissa gets her first mission.

I am too ready to be done with this book. I just don’t get it. I’m five issues in and I just want to kink shame the hell out of Peter Milligan.

I’m just going to give up and admit that this was not for me.

 

Insexts, #6

Cover by Ariela Kristantina and Brian Valenza (Photo Credit: Comixology)
Cover by Ariela Kristantina and Brian Valenza (Photo Credit: Comixology)

Insexts will be replacing The Discipline in my subscriptions making it the first Aftershocks entry into my box at Bedrock. I say it like that’s something big, but people need to remember that comic books aren’t just Marvel and DC. I haven’t read anything from Dark Horse, and IDW hasn’t quite caught me yet, but that’s still no reason for me to not subscribe to smaller publishers.

In July’s issue of Insexts, they’ve finally found the hag and it does not go as planned.

We finally get to know Lady Bertram’s first name: it’s Lalita. I don’t know why it took six issues for me to be aware of this, but such is life.

I feel like this story could have went on a little longer. Like Lady Bertram should have spent some more time warring with her in laws, and we probably could have had a few more adventures before finding the Hag. It might have even been nice to spend more time with the cynos (the wolf guys), but, you know, here we are at this climax.

Honestly, I wouldn’t even have much of a problem with this pacing if the next issue wasn’t called “The Final Act”. I’m pretty sure that there’s a good five issues left of story here. Surely, someone could have told me that it would be ending before I added it to my subscriptions.

Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur (2015), #9

Cover by Amy Reeder (Photo Credit: Marvel)
Cover by Amy Reeder (Photo Credit: Marvel Comics)

Lunella Lafayette is the smartest person in the Marvel universe, but she’s not so great with making friends. It’s understandable; she’s been an outcast her whole life. However, at some point she is going to have to grow up.

In July’s issue of Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur, Lunella begins what looks like a new arc. Or rather, Captain Kree finally becomes a playable character. Also, Lunella is starting to gain a few fans.

Lunella is starting to get used to life as a baby superhero. She’s not here to step on anyone’s toes, she just wants to protect the block. That’s fine. Captain Kree on the other hand? He wants to show the other Kree that he’s capable.

Both of them have a lot to learn, and it doesn’t help that neither of them are good at making friends for totally different reasons.

I think the best part for me was when the kids in her class could clearly say that Lunella was Moon Girl, and she kept trying to pretend that she wasn’t. Why wouldn’t they know, Lunella? They named you, and you’re not doing much to hide your face.

She’s still young, though. She has time to learn.

Nightwing: Rebirth, #1 and Nightwing (2016), #1 

Ever since I found out that there was more than one Robin, I’ve been a Dick Grayson fan. So basically, I’ve been a Dick Grayson fan since Teen Titans, the animated series.  And I’m not going to lie to you, it’s mostly because of his relationship with Starfire. Admittedly, Chris O’Donnell’s run as Robin in the ‘90s was as Dick Grayson, but I didn’t know enough to care right then. Imagine my shock when I found out that Robin changed his name when he got grown enough to do his own solo superhero run. I was not ready.  

In Nightwing: Rebirth, Dick Grayson closes the chapter of his super spy life, and goes back to being a superhero. In Nightwing #1, Dick begins his new life as a double agent in the Parliament of Owls.

So basically, this has a lot to do with the way that the Robin War ended. Since it’s been a good six months, I have no issue with spoiling it. The Robin War started because the Court of Owls wanted Dick back in Gotham. Damian was originally supposed to take Dick’s place, but Dick wasn’t about to have Damian hand over his childhood like that. However, the Court of Owls apparently planted a bomb in Damian’s head to keep Dick in line.

It’s a lot, but you should really read the Robin War for all of it’s Robin goodness.

So I’m already in on this Nightwing run, because I think that Dick Grayson is bae, but I’m not here for Dick/Babs. You have to understand, I stan for Starfire. Until such time as a new love interest is presented, I will only see it for Kori and Dick. So Dick doesn’t get to be with anyone else. Barbara Gordon can go be with other people, like Luke Fox.

That being said, I am interested in seeing what’s up with this Raptor guy. He’s supposed to be Dick’s new Parliament of Owls appointed partner, but I don’t see them working out anytime soon. I can only hope for the best, but we’ll see what August looks like.

Patsy Walker, AKA Hellcat! (2015), #8

Cover by Brittney L. Williams (Photo Credit: Marvel Comics)
Cover by Brittney L. Williams (Photo Credit: Marvel Comics)

In Patsy Walker #8, Jen Walters is in a coma.  

This damned Civil War! How dare you come in here, and kill my Rhodey, and now you put my She-Hulk in a coma! Who are you to destroy my heart like this? Who told you you that this was a good idea?

Listen, I have been enjoying the hell out of this Hellcat/She-Hulk friendship since I’ve started the series. To have it taken away from me so forcefully is unnecessary. I am still mad about Rhodey, why would you take Jen too!  

I’m hurt.

 

Power Man and Iron Fist (2016), #6 

Cover by Sanford Greene (Photo Credit: Marvel Comics)
Cover by Sanford Greene (Photo Credit: Marvel Comics)

On the one hand, I now want to cuss out Jen Walters, but on the other, I need to know what happened between Misty and Danny. There seems to be a lot of unanswered questions out here.

In Power Man and Iron Fist #6, the Heroes for Hire have decided to sit out of the second Civil War for personal reasons. However, there’s a crew riding around town beating up former criminals, and that just can’t stand.

I feel like Marvel is taking a stand against profiling. With Civil War II, the Americops, and now Preemptive Strike, there’s a narrative going on here. Profiling is bad. Just because something could happen, doesn’t mean it will. To single someone out because they statistically seem to be more likely to do something only shows your prejudice. Is that not the whole point of Iron Man’s stance in Civil War II?

Marvel is out here commenting on real life. Are you listening?

In other news, Iron Fist and Jen Walters had an almost thing, and I am not here for it. Y’all think I’m playing when I tell you that I stan for Misty/Danny. I’m really not. They were building a life together. They need to be put back together.

Please, and thank you.

Also, I am really curious as to how issue #7 is going to play out.

Spider-Man (2016), #6 

Cover by Sara Pichelli and Jason Keith (Photo Credit: Marvel Comics)
Cover by Sara Pichelli and Jason Keith (Photo Credit: Marvel Comics)

Can someone please explain to me why teenagers are being asked to participate in this new Civil War? I’m happy that Lunella is being left out of it, but the addition of Miles and Kamala has me worried. Shouldn’t there be an age limit? Does the Young Avengers team need to be reinstated? Who do I lodge my complaint with?  

In Spider-Man #6, Miles has a conversation with Tony Stark. Then he has a conversation with his dad. Miles’ mother has a conversation with Jessica Jones.

This can only end badly. Seriously. Miles has no business in this fight. Jessica Jones has no business telling Miles’ mom Miles’ secrets. Carol Danvers and Tony Stark should not have let their issues get this far. Why is Tony always inciting new civil wars? Surely someone else could have been on the other side this time?

It’s so much.

Also, I feel like Bendis is out here trying to have conversations about race and friendzoning, and I’m not quite sure that he’s the person who should be talking. That’s just my opinion though.

Titans (2016), #1

Cover by Brett Booth, Norman Rapmund, and Andrew Dalhouse (Photo Credit: Midtown Comics)
Cover by Brett Booth, Norman Rapmund, and Andrew Dalhouse (Photo Credit: Midtown Comics) 

I really need to DC to figure themselves out about the covers they put on their website. That’s not even the variant cover! Why do I have to go to Midtown Comics to figure out what’s what? Why don’t people ever have a link to their variant covers on the website, like Archie Comics? Having to look elsewhere for the correct cover is frustrating!

In Titans #1, Wally gets a new suit and Linda gets a new lead. Roy talks about his past, and Abra Kadabra wakes up.

So I almost didn’t see it for this team. I don’t care for Lilith or Garth, and I’ve never really seen it  for any of the Wonder Girls, but this frat boy look that Roy has going on really takes the cake. It is a testament to Oliver Queen’s inability to be a good role model that Roy is out here looking like he just came fresh from the ‘90s. And that tattoo? Good lord, it needs to be removed.

But then he started talking about that drug habit that he used to have, and I suddenly cared about Roy again. I am personally a major fan of Roy Harper the father, but Roy Harper the reformed drug addict has always been compelling to me.

Also, I noticed that there was someone with wings on the cover. Is that supposed to be Bumble Bee?

The Totally Awesome Hulk (2015), #8 and #9

I was going to let this order stand, but I realised that the ‘the’ in The Totally Awesome Hulk is an integral part of the name, so it counts alphabetically. Therefore, Titans will be after The Totally Awesome Hulk, going forward. Also, it’s kinda weird that we got two issues in July, when TTAH has always been a monthly comic. More than likely, it’s because of Civil War II.  

In The Totally Awesome Hulk #8, Amadeus tracks down an influenza-ridden Bruce Banner, and has a bonding moment with team Hulk. In The Totally Awesome Hulk #9, Bruce Banner is dead, and Amadeus Cho reminds Carol that she couldn’t touch him even if she tried.

As someone who is not following the main Civil War II storyline, The Totally Awesome Hulk seems to be jumping all over the place. I’m thinking that I’d come back to Amadeus dealing with Jen Walters being in a coma. Instead it’s the aftermath of Hawkeye’s decision to murder Bruce Banner. I don’t like where this is going. I want Carol to fail. If this continues on the way it is, someone is going to take her and her pet project out.

And I don’t understand how Black Panther is showing up in the next issue of TTAH. He has his own Civil War to stop. Some of these crossovers are really unnecessary.

I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t talk about my hate of Rick Jones. He can die and stay dead, and I will only rejoice in his exit. You want to talk about the most useless character? That guy. The Hulk never needed a sidekick, so now Marvel is stuck with a character that they should have killed off and left in the grave years ago. How are we losing so many great characters, but Rick Jones is still walking around? How, Sway? How?

Wonder Woman (2016), #2 and #3

21 comics, 17 titles, and here I am ending with the woman whose musical theme is the best I’ve heard in years. I am honestly looking forward to the Wonder Woman movie. Say what you want about Suicide Squad and Batman v Superman, but I am excited about the future of DC movies.  

In Wonder Woman #2, we begin the alternate storyline, “Year One”. Diana and Steve Trevor go through life never having met, until something finally brings them together. In Wonder Woman #3, “The Lies” continues when Diana encounters her old friend, Cheetah. Steve Trevor encounters a kidnapper and a mysterious forest.

Some people consider Woman Woman as bisexual character, but I never cared to look into because I never really cared for Wonder Woman. Yes, it would make sense that there be quite a bit of lesbianism on an island that’s only inhabited by women, but, again, I never cared enough to think about it. Now I’m just sad for all the girls Diana tosses to the curb for Steve Trevor. Even if they weren’t serious, that doesn’t mean that it didn’t hurt.

I need to know what happened with Barbara Ann. How in the hell did she end up with a Hyena hybrid? Who allowed that to be a thing that happened? I am also suspicious that she too was one of Diana’s lovers, which makes it even worse.

I probably won’t know for a while though, Wonder Woman #4 is part two of “Year One”.

I originally thought that this would take about 3 days to finish, but perseverance, and four cases of bi-monthly issues, made it possible to be done in 2. I’m interested in seeing where DC is going with this Rebirth stuff, and I feel like Brian Michael Bendis is using Civil War II as his own way of doing the profiling subplot of Robin War with Marvel’s group of minority teen superheroes.

Probably not, but that’s been a big theme this year.

I’m going to take this time to say that I have also seen Suicide Squad, and I actually liked it. A lot of the characters are ridiculously stereotypical and some of those lines could have been better written, but I had a good time and I would personally like to see a sequel. Would I have been happier with a TV show? One the one hand, yes because Diggle would have been leading the team. On the other hand, no, because it would have been part of the Arrowverse, and no one needs that.

So, as I have said before, I am now excited for the future of the DC universe. Man of Steel was  a solid movie, but, to me, it was an extension of Smallville with different actors. Batman v Superman was a Justice League prequel, and not the Man of Steel sequel that it was supposed to be. Suicide Squad as the first time that I got to see DC characters on film outside of Batman and Superman, and I actually cared about where they could go from here. So yea, I want more of it.

And I especially want my damn Shazam movie. What’s the point in announcing The Rock as Black Adam, if you don’t have someone for Shazam? Chop chop, people! Dwayne Johnson won’t be young forever.


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All images property of Aftershock, Archie Comics, DC Comics, Image Comics, and Marvel Comics.