Monthly Archives: January 2016

Captain America: Sam Wilson #4 review (mostly spoiler free-ish)

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A year ago, while talking with a friend, I said, “I should never be allowed to write a Captain America comic. The first thing I would do is bring back the Serpent Society, and I’m pretty sure that’s a really stupid idea.”

Turns out I was wrong- so far it’s an absolutely fantastic idea. Though I’m certain my story still would have been bad.

OK, so I realize I’m a bit behind on my Cap reviews. The holidays came ’round and beat me face up pretty bad, so I’ve been waiting for things to die down. Now that they have, and with issue #6 right around the corner, I have some catching up to do. No time like the present.

Captain America: Sam Wilson #4 comes out swinging as a ballsy “hot topic” type of story. Yes, it’s one that is coated to look like a super hero comic, but like many Cap stories that came before it, we are clearly going to get some controversial points thrown across while reading it. This is, of course, something that writer Nick Spencer has shown us he knows how to handle.

We have super villains in the form of the newly revived Serpent Society (or Serpent Solutions, as they are calling themselves now) who are pretty much pimping themselves out to high-paying corporations, doing the “dirty work” so the companies can reap the rewards without getting involved. In a world where heroes and villains wander the streets on the regular, kind of seems like this would be a logical step. I mean, getting a costumed criminal to do illegal things for legal reasons…I’m actually surprised it took this long to get here.

The snakes are lead in their new venture  by the original ringleader of this circus- Viper. No, not Madam Hydra. The guy she killed. Yep, somehow, some way the original Viper, Jordan Stryke, is back and he’s as sleazy as he’s ever been. The former ad man is pulling the strings behind the Society, and man he is good at being evil.  In the previous issue I had a problem with Spencer making his villains too jokey, but I can safely say Viper doesn’t follow that same pattern. Yeah, he’s funny, but in a creepy serial killer kind of way. Like if you don’t laugh, well, you’re pretty much dead. Viper is definitely presented as a viable threat, even he though he doesn’t do any of the dirty work himself. Huh, seems to be something to that.

Now I know what you’re all thinking- don’t I normally whine about “retreading old characters”? Well yeah, usually, but I’ve really missed the Serpents and they are so freaking awesome that i want more of them. I’m allowed to be a hypocrite. Shut up.

Besides, we haven’t seen them in years, especially Viper who’s been dead since forever ago. And I’m glad to see characters like Rachael, aka Diamondback doing something again, even if it’s not really what you’d have thought. If her story doesn’t break your heart then you’re a monster and I hate you.

To be honest my only major gripe with this issue was that Sam Wilson, our titular hero, doesn’t get that much attention. He’s still a giant wolf, and obviously he’s the main character, but this is very much the Serpent Society’s issue. Which, again, isn’t a bad thing, but I’d like to see some more of Sam interacting with his posse. I mean, has D-Man even do e anything since the first issue?

Acuna’s art was oddly absent this time out, with Paul Renaud taking the helm. He does a great job of stepping in to the point where my wife didn’t even notice there was a different artist until I pointed it out. As such it pretty much goes without saying that Renaud ‘s illustrations did a great job pairing up with Spencer’s wacky style of writing. A good thing since he’ll be doing the art for the next issue as well.

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Happy Blizzard Day, New York!

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Art by Skottie Young

For those being beaten down by Winter Storm Jonas, just hang in there! Stay inside, warm and safe! Good luck to the emergency workers who need to be out there!

Marvel Announces the Return of Steve Rogers in All-New Ongoing Series, “Captain America: Steve Rogers”!

Look who’s back. Back again. Steve is back. Tell a friend.

While watching ABC’s “Captain America: 75 Heroic Years” special last night, I was caught off-guard when towards the end of the show they sort of casually announced ” Oh, and this summer Steve Rogers, the original Captain America, is coming back in comics.” Immediately I rushed to the interwebs to find out as much info about this as I could, but unfortunately I couldn’t find anything.

This morning, however, I can’t turn a digital corner without bumping into some sort of news regarding the return of the classic Star-Spangled Avenger. Not that I’m complaining.

Here’s the scoop:

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The original Captain America returns this summer!

 

Steve is somehow returned to his correct age. That’s right, his CORRECT age (don’t get me started). After the events of Standoff, Marvel’s soon-to-be running comic crossover event, Steve, now fully rejuvenated, will reclaim the mantle of Captain America and continue to fight the good fight against evil and tyranny in Marvel’s new series “Captain America: Steve Rogers” written by Nick Spencer and illustrated by Jesus Saiz.

Spencer comments on the newest chapter;

“Without spoiling too much of Standoff at this early date, something happens that restores Steve to full vigor, which will obviously greatly impact his own mission and his standing within the Marvel Universe. The biggest part of that? He’s Captain America once again.”

And even though we all know a major factor in Steve’s return is his return to the big screen this summer in “Captain America: Civil War”, Spencer explains why it makes sense in the comic continuity as well:

“The country is as divided as it’s ever been, and Steve is one of a kind; he’s a unifying figure, someone we can all look up to, [and] someone we can all put our faith in,” Spencer states. “It’s no secret the Marvel Universe is about to enter a period of serious conflict with Civil War II looming on the horizon, and as such, it feels like the perfect moment to bring Steve back into fighting shape.”

But just because Steve is picking up the shield again doesn’t mean Sam Wilson, Rogers’ long-time friend and current Captain America, is putting his down. Spencer explains:

“It means we’ll have two Captain Americas. When Steve handed the shield to Sam, it didn’t come with any caveats. It’s his. Steve respects and admires what his old partner is doing, and wants him to carry on. There are enough problems out there, and enough bad guys, to keep both of them busy. They’ll have very different missions; Sam will continue fighting the battles no one else will go near, while Steve is faced with a resurgent threat from his past: Hydra is back, and stronger than ever.”

So for those keeping track, this means starting this summer fans will have two Captain America books to read- one with Sam and one with Steve, both being written by the same guy, who, in my opinion, has been doing a great job with the current book.

“For me, it’s great, because I get to tell two very different kinds of Captain America stories. If you’re liking what we’re doing in Captain America: Sam Wilson, with a more topical, of-the-moment take, we’ve got a lot more of that coming your way,” the writer said. “But if you’re looking for that classic, timeless version, the one that’s steeped in the Greatest Generation with Cap fighting the face of true evil, now we’ve got that for you as well. I think they’ll complement each other nicely.”

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Cap’s new look takes some queues from his cinematic appearance. 

But with only one indestructible vibranium shield in the world, Steve’s gonna need some new equipment if he’s to face off against evil once again. From the cover of issue #1 we see that Steve is getting new duds, designed by artist Daniel Acuna, and a brand-spankin’ new shield. Artist Jesus Saiz fills us in with some details on Cap’s new gear.

“Its shape is similar to the original shield Cap had back in the 1940’s, the pointy one, but this one has two main innovations: its tip can deploy an “energy blade” so Cap can cut into things, and the shield can be divided in two, so Steve can use both halves, one with each arm. Both modifications will help us see a completely different set of moves for Captain America, moves that we [have] never seen Steve use before, in terms of hand-to-hand combat.”

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A demo of how Steve’s new break-away shield will work.

I’m excited to see where we go over the next year with Sam and Steve, and glad to see Steve will be joined in his new adventure by his best gal, Sharon Carter (AKA Agent 13) and his life-long buddy Bucky, the Winter Soldier. Be on the lookout for more news regarding Captain America: Steve Rogers #1 in the future!

New Cap Themed Marvel Super Hero Mashers

This week on eBay a whole bunch of new auctions started popping up for new figures in Hasbro’s “Marvel Super Hero Mashers” line. While I haven’t seen any of these guys in stores yet, I am excited at the prospect of adding more variety to the collection.

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First up is the Winter Soldier. We saw this guy a while back at…uh…Toyfair? Comic Con? Well, wherever it was, we knew he had been produced. Looks like ol’ Bucky has finally started to make his way out into the world. What’s interesting here, though, is there appears to be a second version of the Winter Soldier out there in the form of a deluxe figure with extra accessories.

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Check out the severed Cap head and the disc launcher! What makes this version really extra-special cool is that awesome vac-metal arm!  I’m a sucker for vac-metal.

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Next up we have a new version of The Falcon, or, as Hasbro is legally obligated to call him, Marvel’s Falcon. This is an odd choice to me as it’s a repaint of the original figure done in a color scheme that, quite frankly, isn’t a thing. They could have gone with Sam’s original green and orange look, a more modern Falcon look, or, hey! I know! Maybe a Sam Wilson: Captain America repaint! All I can say is that I sure hope that last one is in the works.

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Next up is something completely out of left field but absolutely awesome- Captain America in his Ultimates universe WW2 outfit! I didn’t even know this one was coming out, but I won’t complain! While I would be more excited to see more of Steve’s supporting cast making their way into action figure form, this figure is just too cool too overlook!

And while we’re at it I want to point out that while looking at all these new toys the other day I did discover a certain someone who hasn’t made an appearance yet on eBay but does appear on the backs of several other figures’ packages.

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Yup, Red Skull! Well, Iron Skull, as he’s called in…um…somewhere? Well, whatever. They can call him “Rosehead Menaceman” for all I care, so long as I get this figure! Again, he hasn’t popped up on the “Bay” so Shmidty here probably hasn’t been released yet, but here’s to hoping he shows up soon in stores! DIg that Cosmic Cube!

Now Hasbro, seriously, Sam Wilson Cap.