A new Star Trek book hit the shelves! The line is just being referred to as “Star Trek”. Not “Star Trek : This new series”, or “Star Trek :That new ship name” and I’m of two minds about that. Usually a title that’s just ‘ol Star Trek refers to TOS or ’09. You know, Kirk and company. This on the other hand is an ensemble book. It’s a team made up of characters from various series and incarnations, including Captian Sisko, Commander Data, Dr. Crusher, Lt. Tom Paris and Mr. Scott. I can see why it might defy catagorization, yet, I almost feel like I’d like some specific identifier for this series.
Sisko is back from the Prophets, and off on a new mission. He’s assembeled a special team aboard an experimental starship and off we go in search of dead gods.
The book itself is okay. I don’t care much for the new uniforms and don’t understand the current need to give each ship it’s own uniform (Perhaps it’s just because it’s an experimental one, like the Protostar on Prodigy, but it’s still a peeve). Not sure how I feel about Sisko’s return (Even if he is my favorite Captain). And I basically just want to slap the Vulcan. He’s a jerk. I’ll hang on for a few issues though. I’m curious to see where they’re going. Comics often get Star Trek right – sometimes even more so than TV.
I also picked up issue 3 of The New Champion of Shazam. I could swear I mentioned this book a few months ago – it’s a Mary Marvel book and it’s been fairly well done. Giving her some intresting character and really delving into her. That’s kind of nice to see considering the “naive little princess” routine DC had been doing with her up until the New 52.
Issue 3 starts off with a funny bit on social media.
I liked this. I laughed. Not just at the position it puts Mary in, but also at her flustered response. It’s a good point too – what do we call her? We’ve changed Captian Marvel to just…”Shazam”. Well, actually we kind of changed him to no name at all. But then how do we address Mary, who’s always been “Mary marvel” (The worst code name ever….after Kato that is….) Lady Shazam has a nice ring to it….
And then book went full She-Hulk.
Once again, the fans are the problem. They’re all critics and trolls and I’m just so tired of it. Fandom is Toxic and if you criticize a gender swap (which neither this nor She-Hulk were, and which NO ONE WAS DOING regarding these characters) then you’re the bad guy of the book. Forget it. I’m done with this title. a shame too because the bits with Darla (and especially the Bunny) have been gold.
One of the things I like to tell people is that I was a fan of George R. Martian before it was cool. I’ve never gotten into Game of Thrones, but man, I absolutely devour Wild Cards. I had the trade back in the day and I’ve been absolutely loving the series that Marvel has been publishing. (That’s
another one, like Shazam, that I swear I’ve mentioned before but don’t see anywhere on the blog!). We’re up to issue four and I feel like I’m getting a different on-the-ground perspective than I do in the old Epic Graphic Novel or the books. We’re walking through the release of the alien virus, the creation of the mutants and heroes and getting reacquainted with some old friends like Doctor Tachyon and Jetboy and the Sleeper. If you’re a fan of this series from the late 80’s early 90’s, it does the property right. If you are intrigued and just looking for a jumping on point, this series is perfect.
Speaking of great jumping on points, there a new Guardians of the Galaxy book out. In a lot of ways, the buzz and momentum for the Guardians has basically ground to a halt, in no small part to both the too-long wait and gap between film entries, and also the news that James Gunn has jumped ship from the MCU over to DC. We may have always understood that Guardians of the Galaxy was always meant to be a trilogy and that Gunn would be bowing out after the third film, but still, this announcement definatley knocks the wind out of Marvels sails. So to generate some interest, they’ve
started pushing a one shot holiday special on D+, as well as the new ride at the Disney parks and that makes this the perfect time to release a book that helps to draw you in – especially for a new crop of readers/viewers, who wern’t properly around for the MCU’s Phase two when the original film was released.
Guardians of the Galaxy : Cosmic Rweind is named after the ride but it’s really more of a getting to know you story focusing on the movie lineup. No tagalongs like Iron Man or Thor or Venom or Kitty Pryde here… just the core team in a generic battle that’s really just an excuse to visit with the crew. We get each character taking turns doing an interview bit schtick while the flashing back and forth to the fight. It’s fun, and it ‘s charming and it’s a great intro to these characters if you’ve only just heard a bi
t about them and want to check out the larger world.
Over in the Punisher #7 we’ve got Frank facing off with Daredevil which is always a good time. Well at least it SHOULD be a good time. And I mean, those parts of the book are. They really are. The big problem with this story is the flashbacks.
I first called them out on this way back in issue #3
The writers here (and there’s three of them listed, so I don’t know who’s contributing what) have decided to rewrite Frank’s backstory – or at least, reinterpret it . It’s not something I like – this attempt ot make Frank more…evil. More bloodthirsty. It’s distasteful to me. That’s not who the Punisher ever was. It’s certinally not how he started out, and yet, there we have it back in issue three. A portrayal of a young Frank, already a killer. Already a psychopath.
That’s not the Frank Castle I know. And this one they are trying to portray in this issue? I don’t know this guy either.
When the series began it’s run, everyone was freaking out about the change of the Skull logo and removing Franks guns and how that would ruin the character LOL! I was largely dismissive of that sort of alarmism. This was never going to be a permenant change, so just treat it as a limited series and if you don’t like it, wait for the next relaunch and #1. It was never anything to really be worried about.
This on the other hand, is EXACTLY what we should have been concerned with.
When you make it so that Frank was a psycho BEFORE he went to war, BEFORE his family was killed, then you miss the point. The Punisher is a man pushed too far. It’s a theme we still understood in the 70’s an 80’s. You would still see it in things like the Death Wish films. Even the novel
– written by a stauch, proud “bleeding heart”
liberal, manages to understand and explore it, despite having an opposite philosophy. In 2022 however, we suffer from a modern sensibility, a belief that we’ve evolved past such things and such highly evolved beings could never be corrupted like this unless they were really damaged from the start. Like I said, they miss the point and misunderstand the character – especially because in modern America, the very though of a character like this is “problematic”. As such, what is being written here is a vandalization of the character, and I fear it just might do permanent damage.
Need a palate cleanser after that? (I sure did) Deadpool is relaunching again with a story that is extremely okay right up until it kicks in to high gear on the very last page. I’ll be casually keeping an eye on this one for the time being. And then, just because I can’t stay away, I peeked a look over at She-Hulk #7 this week. All I can say is if you just do MORE OF THIS (and less of everything else the title is doing) you’d have a perfect book.
Also over at Marvel is that ongoing Spider-man series. Look, I’ll admit I’m not sure how I feel about Spidey on a Goblin glider and the whole working for Norman Osborne is just weird. The kinda murky status quo still honks me off, but here’s a real positive I have to grant. Zeb Wells is REALLY leaning into that supporting cast. He’s building up the rest of the background characters from Black Cat to MJ to Betty Brant and Ned Leeds. he’s got all of these resources and he’s using them to make it feel almost like old times. It’s cool to see.
Also like old times, is spending just a bit of time leaving the Hobgoblin a mystery, with misdirect on top of misdirect, leading to a fairly shocking cliffhanger at the end of this book that really left me wanting the next issue RIGHT NOW. That’s some talent there, taking a book that alternately interests and frustrates me but keeps me coming back for more. I feel like I’m back in the Ultimate Spider-Man days again.
I also dipped my toe back into Damage Control. The book left me REALLY unimpressed with the first issue, but I wonder if I was judging it to harshly. I’m pretty sure I was expecting something different, but either way, It looks like they really hit their stride now with issue #3.
The thing is, while the overall story is fine – throwaway and kind of forgettable, it’s the background gags and visual humor that really make this thing pop.
Things start off with a story about Thor fighting a giant monster in New Jersey, swings over into an insurance fraud plot, and ends with a kaiju and giant guinea pig. It’s exactly the sort of loony stuff I used to enjoy from titles like Ambush Bug or (1990’s)Slapstick. Seriously, go pick up this book.
That’s it for this week. I’m encouraged that I’ve got a couple titles that really have me wanting to come back to them next time. Hope you’ll be here too!
I’m a fan of Shazam of old. The Superman archetype always appealed to me and he was one of the few characters that had more improvements than missteps in DC’s New 52 reboot. That’s what this film is based off of, but there’s so many easter eggs scattered through this thing that you can very much see it respects the history it comes from (The Rock of Eternity has to be seen to be believed. It’s EXACTLY as I always pictured it).
The film opens with our villian’s backstory, and I’m delighted to see John Glover once again playing a supervillian’s father. It’s just enough to give us a glimpse of what Billy has in store for him while setting up Doctor Sivana’s grudge against the wizard Shazam. Still, the film gets us to Billy Batson quickly enough. He’s not quite as squeaky clean as old fans may be used to, but his edge comes off as roguish and charming rather than gritty. Billy’s superhero obsessed foster brother Freddy Freeman is actually the best version of the character I’ve ever seen and steals every scene he’s in. The chemistry between Billy, Freddy, Mary and the other foster kids is well done and the laughs come often. It’s not the comedy formula we’ve come to expect from Marvel, this is definitely it’s own thing and still dishes up some dark and terrifying monsters just to remind you this is a DC film, but they’ve remembered to bring the fun as well. There’s heart, action, and great pacing. Clocking in at two hours and twelve minuets, I never looked down at my watch once and was genuinely shocked to see how fast the film goes.
If I have any quibbles, it’s that the character of Doctor Sivana is misused. Instead of being an evil genius Lex Luthor type, they power him up into a demonic fisticuffs adversary. It’s enough to make me wonder if this role had actually been written for Black Adam and had to be reworked when Dwayne Johnson couldn’t accommodate the shooting schedule. It’s okay. This villian is visually interesting, with good motive and storytelling as well as being a genuine threat. It’s not the Sivana I know and love, but I dig him for what it is.
The movie is just great. It’s my favorite superhero film in a long time and it feels good to finally see DC hit one out of the park. Go see this. Seriously.
Shazam opens on April 5th, and I’ll be heading back that day…and this time I’m bringing my family with me.