The Importance of a Super-Hero Diaspora…

That’s a rather grand title. Rather than some deep analysis of why super-heroes should be based and from all over the world, this was just inspired by the fact that a). three super-heroes (at least) have re-located, and b). New York and Gotham have become ridiculously over-populated by super-heroes in Marvel’s and DC’s lines.


New York City, while I love it, has become rather ridiculous in terms of Marvel’s super-heroes. I remember at least one comic picking up on the fact that you’d have to be a moron to try to be a (super-)villain in the Big Apple, given the sheer saturation-level population of super-powered, tights-wearing do-gooders. There are the ever-expanding Avengers teams and their various off-shoots and allies. Given how often the city is destroyed, one has to wonder why they decided to locate their headquarters right in the middle of America’s most densely-populated metropolis. Thankfully, though, Marvel seems to be doing something to add some variation into the mix. Namely, The Punisher and Daredevil are leaving the city. This last one is particularly noteworthy, given how important Hell’s Kitchen and its surrounding neighbourhoods are to that book’s and hero’s identity – not to mention the rest of the city. As it happens, these have been my two favourite Marvel titles ever since I started reading them (in the same week, as it turned out). Greg Rucka and Mark Waid have done a great job with writing duties, and the artwork for both books has been stunning.

So, here are some details on the moves, both of which are part of the All-New Marvel NOW! Endlessly-Extending Prefixes Strategy…

Punisher-01ATHE PUNISHER: Moving to LA

“Frank Castle’s one-man-war on crime continues… For years, the Punisher has called New York City his home – keeping a watchful eye on the city through the sight of a gun. But when a lead on a major source of drugs, weapons, and more leads Frank out west – he sets his sights on Los Angeles. And the City of Angels isn’t ready for a devil like the Punisher! But not everything is as it appears, and Frank will soon find himself toe-to-toe with a highly trained military strike force known only as the 131! Who are the mysterious 131? And why are they out for the Punisher’s head?”

The new Punisher series was launched in February 2014. Greg Rucka’s relatively short run on the series was absolutely superb (I recently finished it off, thanks to a 99c sale on ComiXology): not only was Rucka’s writing and story gripping and appropriately gritty, but Marco Checcheto’s artwork is stunning. The new series is written by Nathan Edmondson (whose Ultimate Comics: X-Men and The Activity were pretty good). Artwork will be by Mitch Gerads. It’ll be interesting to see how the character adapts to his new environment – although, given that he has travelled abroad before (including in Rucka’s run), it probably won’t be too different. Nevertheless, I really hope Edmondson manages to maintain the quality – it’s a great character, and the extreme shades of grey in which he operates allow for some pretty great/powerful storytelling opportunities.


Variant Covers for #1 (Larocca) and #2 (Opena)
Palm trees! He still looks miserable, though…


Daredevil-01ADAREDEVIL: Moving to San Francisco

“Gifted with an imperceptible radar sense, blind lawyer Matt Murdock patrols the streets with a Billy club and a passion for justice. Only this time – it’s a brand new city, with even more dangerous foes. Join Matt Murdock as he journeys from the dark streets of Hell’s Kitchen to the sun-drenched boulevards of San Francisco.”

In March 2014, the Man Without Fear will be relocating to beautiful San Francisco. It’ll be interesting to see how he manages in the new city – his approach to vigilantism has always involved an awful lot of swinging and leaping around New York’s high-rises, so… Yeah. It’ll be interesting to see how his approach changes. (To be fair, I don’t really know much about San Francisco, but I get the impression it’s not too built up…) Mark Waid will continue to handle writing duties, and Chris Samnee will still be producing the artwork. I’m really looking forward tot his re-boot (call it what it is).



It’s not just Marvel characters, though. Gotham City is home to the extended Bat-Family and ever-extending Rogues’ Gallery that have plagued the Dark Knight on-and-off for decades. Last year, however, Dick “Nightwing” Grayson departed Gotham City for the Windy City in issue #19. Here are some excerpts from CBR’s interview with writer Kyle Higgins on Grayson’s move…

“I made the decision that if Dick was going to change cities, it needed to be story motivated. It couldn’t just be because of emotional fallout and state of mind… He’s heading to Chicago to find the man that killed his parents. As far as he’s concerned, that’s the only reason he’s going and once that’s over, he’ll be heading back to Gotham City. We’ll have to see how the story plays out, as to whether or not that will happen, but as far as Dick is concerned initially, that’s what he’s headed to Chicago for… Chicago has its own mythology and its own history that we’re tapping into and it’s definitely going to be playing a big part in Dick and Nightwing’s life moving forward.”

I’m quite behind on Nightwing, having not read any issues after the end of “Death of the Family”. I’d like to pick it up again, though, at some point.


Of course, one thing that still needs to be addressed (and there are some signs that this is happening, for which we can only be happy, and hope for continued progress). Let’s hope we get a little more diverse than just re-locating a Justice League team further north into Canada (which, actually, I do think could be rather cool), and explore countries outside North America and the UK as more than just mission destinations…

The Ultimate Avenging Spider-Men Review (Marvel)


I’ve been doing a fair bit of comics-reading the past couple of weeks, but I haven’t been reviewing much. Therefore, I’ve decided to clump some of them together. This time, as the title may suggest, I deal with some Spider-Man series: Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man Vol.2, Spider-Men and Avenging Spider-Man Vol.1. A mixed bag, but overall some good stuff on offer for fans both new and old.

Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man Vol.2, “Scorpion”

UC-SpiderMan-Vol.2Writer: Brian Michael Bendis | Artist: Chris Samnee (#6-7), Sara Pichelli (#8-9) & David Marquez (#10) | Colors: Justin Ponsor

A brand new chapter in the saga of Miles Morales, the all-new Ultimate Spider-Man! The new Ultimate Scorpion is introduced! Still discovering the limits of his skills and powers, Miles must learn how to be a hero from… Peter Parker?

Collects: Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man #6-10

In this second volume of the post-Peter Parker Ultimate Universe, Miles Morales is still figuring out how to actually be the new Spider-Man. He’s had the nod from the Ultimates, who also gave him a pretty cool new outfit (something he realises needs washing a lot).


The main thrust of this book is his continued exploration of his powers, as well as his continued struggle to juggle his normal life (at a boarding school) and his family life. Mostly, though, he seems to be having a blast, figuring out his limits.

His uncle Aaron, though, has guessed what’s going on and what has happened to Miles, and has decided to make himself a part of Miles’s life, and isn’t above blackmailing him. Miles must also face off against the Scorpion, a crazed criminal boss from Mexico, who has come to New York seeking out Aaron for retribution. It’s not pretty, but there is a ton of action.

Perhaps too much action, actually. I think more time could have been spent on Miles and his attempts to balance his life as a school kid and son, and being Spider-Man. There is some of this, of course, and that includes lots of nice touches – this is a a modernized version of the Spidey origin story, basically: he’s at a special boarding school, has a smart phone, and so on. It’s quite well done. I like his parents, too – they feel very natural, dealing with a young teenager going through his own… Issues.


The artwork in final issue is my probably my favourite, but I also have a soft-spot for Pichelli’s.

Generally speaking, a good follow up to the first collection, and this continues to be a series I look forward to continuing with.




Spider-Men-TPBWriter: Brian Michael Bendis | Artist: Sarah Pichelli | Colors: Justin Ponsor

It’s the ULTIMATE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN EVENT OF THE YEAR, as Spider-Man comes face-to-face with… Spider-Man! Can even Peter Parker and Miles Morales – the Spider-Men of two worlds – defeat Mysterio, the Master of Illusions? And what happens when Miles encounters an older, wiser version of his inspiration, Peter Parker? Guest starring Nick Fury and the Ultimates!

Collects: Spider-Men #1-5

Overall, this isn’t a bad comic. I do think it’s a little too gimmicky, though. Given how much Spider-Man and Peter Parker history it goes over, I think it may probably only be a must for real Spidey-fans, who are familiar with the long back-story of the various Spider-Man related series (as well as Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man pre- and post-Death of Spider-Man story arc). I knew some of it, of course, but I don’t think it had as much effect on me as it could have if I’d read a whole bunch of Spider-Man comics.


I chuckled a few times, as there are some moments when the two Spider-Men are getting familiar with each other, and as other people get used to the idea of Peter Parker, grown-up, back in their lives (even if temporarily).


Mainly, though, I enjoyed the artwork: Pichelli is a superb artist, in my opinion; able to keep things fresh and bright, filled with nice details and small touches throughout to keep us looking at the panels. Bendis’s story isn’t bad, either, but… Well, I’ve read much better Spidey stories.

This was, ultimately, a novelty and sadly a tad thin in the end. One for die-hard Spidery fans, but perhaps that’s it.



Avenging Spider-Man Vol.1, “My Friends Can Beat Up Your Friends”

AvengingSpiderMan-Vol.1-TPBWriter: Zeb Wells | Artist: Joe Madureira (#1-3), Greg Land (#4), Leinil Francis Yu (#5) | Colors: Ferran Daniel (#1-3), Wil Quintana (#4), Sunny Gho (#5) | Inks: Jay Leisten (#4), Gerry Alanguilan (#5)

A brand new Spider-series that teams the wall-crawler with some of the greatest heroes in the Marvel Universe! Spider-Man and new Avengers teammate Red Hulk kick things off by taking on a Moloid army during the New York Marathon. Spidey and Rulk raise and lead an underground army in this action packed extravaganza – but when Red Hulk falls, only Spider-Man stands in the way of the Subterranean invasion of Manhattan!

Saving the best for last, we move on to Avenging Spider-Man. This series was always meant to be one that focused on team-up stories. The first three chapters feature Spidery’s quite hilarious team-up with Red Hulk (and, in a way, Mayor Jonah Jamieson); the fourth is with Hawkeye, offering quite an amusing intro for the marksman; and the fifth is a surprisingly heart-warming story featuring Captain America.


The Red Hulk issues had me laughing out loud a couple of times. It’s filled with amusing quips, asides, background details and more that had me at least smiling all the way through. There story is pretty crazy, featuring a lot of bizarre underground shenanigans, as the Moleman and his little goblin-esque minions capture the Mayor during the start of the New York City Marathon. All is not as it seems, however, as something else – something bigger – has been pulling the strings, and wishes to come in and taken over the land above and below. A great introductory story-arc for this series.


In chapter four, Hawkeye is pretty arrogant. I haven’t had much experience with this character beyond the Avengers Assemble movie, and a few other issues here-and-there, in which he is part of a larger ensemble cast or peripheral at best. The issue starts as a simple team-up, with Spider-Man having to suffer Hawkeye’s constant bragging and posturing (as well as a moment of honest vulnerability as he explains why he is constantly training) as they are sent on a mission. It morphs, however, into a very good ending, in which Spidey shows readers why many consider him the heart of the Avengers team. (I thought it was very touching, actually.)

The final issue is a heart-warming story with the Avengers, but really focuses on Spidey’s relationship with Captain America. Again, we’re shown the role Spider-Man plays as team mascot and heart. Peter helps Cap loosen up and remember (fondly) some of the more nerdy interests and passions of his youth. This was a really good issue, with some good action-scenes, but what really made it for me were the sweet and endearing final couple of pages.

The issue marries some very good, zany humor with a good amount of depth. It’s not too nuanced, but there’s an obvious love for the characters and medium on display throughout this book. I think it works really well, actually, making this not only a a great Spider-Man series, but great series overall. I’m really happy I picked it up.

(The sixth issue of the series is a tie-in to the “Omega Drive” storyline that was also in Greg Rucka’s The Punisher and Mark Waid’s Daredevil – which is how I came across Avenging Spider-Man in the first place.)