Thursday, December 31, 2015

Key Issues - The Brave and the Bold Volume 1 (1955)

Brave and the Bold #28 Cover by Mike Sekowsky and Murphy Anderson

I may not have mentioned it before, but some of the coolest stories in comic books are "team ups." Typically the story goes like this, our hero is in the middle of an adventure/investigation/fight when another hero shows up. Often there is some confusion and the heroes tussle amongst themselves while the villain escapes.  Once clearer heads prevail, they join together to defeat their common enemy.  The rest of the plot is just window dressing so it's interesting that such a simple storyline has led to quite a few popular series.

Brave and the Bold #59
Cover by Gil Kane
Fans enjoy these stories for a couple of reasons.  First, we get to see two or more of our beloved heroes so there's already more bang for the buck, but the story also puts together two heroes that we don't typically see interacting with each other. Maybe more important is that the stories are somewhat throwaway. Because the story is not taking place in either of the main character's series, there is less effect on the long term development of the characters. It appears that writers have a bit more freedom in these series to experiment, introduce new characters, and tell a contained story without the burden of too much continuity.

There have been multiple great "team up" series over the years including Marvel Team-Up, DC Comics Presents, and Marvel Two-in-One.  I may be biased because of my affinity for Batman, but I think the best and perhaps earliest incarnation of the team up is DC's, Brave and the Bold series. It didn't become a team up series until issue #50, but it spawned lots of fantastic stories and introduced many beloved characters. This series featured great writers like Bob Haney, Gerry Conway, Len Wein, and Mike Barr.  It also had character redefining artwork from artists such as Neal Adams and Jim Aparo. Below is the list of key issues for this series.  As always, let me know if I've missed any.

Brave and the Bold #1 - 1st appearance of the Viking Prince. 1st appearance of Golden Gladiator. 1st appearance of Brian Kent (Silent Knight).
Brave and the Bold #23 - Origin of the Viking Prince.
Brave and the Bold #25 - 1st appearance of Suicide Squad. 1st appearance of Rick Flag.
Brave and the Bold #28 - 1st appearance of Justice League of America. 1st appearance of Starro. 1st appearance of Snapper Carr.
Brave and the Bold #54
Cover by Bruno Premiani
Brave and the Bold #30 - 1st appearance of Professor Ivo. 1st appearance of Amazo.
Brave and the Bold #31 - 1st appearance of Cave Carson.
Brave and the Bold #34 - 1st appearance and origin of Silver Age Hawkman. 1st appearance of Silver Age Hawkgirl. 1st appearance of Byth. 1st appearance of Thanagar. 1st appearance of Midway City.
Brave and the Bold #35 - 1st appearance and origin of Matter Master.
Brave and the Bold #36 - 1st appearance of Shadow Thief (Carl Sands).
Brave and the Bold #50 - First team up issue.
Brave and the Bold #54 - 1st appearance of the Teen Titans. 1st appearance of Mister Twister.
Brave and the Bold #57 - 1st appearance and origin of Metamorpho. 1st appearance of Simon Stagg. 1st appearance of Sapphire Stagg. 1st appearance of Java. 1st appearance of the Orb of Ra.
Brave and the Bold #59 - First Batman team up issue. 1st appearance of Time Commander.
Brave and the Bold #60 - 1st appearance of Wonder Girl. 2nd appearance of the Teen Titans.
Brave and the Bold #200
Cover by Jim Aparo
Brave and the Bold #61 - Origin of Starman. Origin of Black Canary.
Brave and the Bold #62 - 1st appearance of Silver Age Wildcat.
Brave and the Bold #73 - 1st appearance of Nuidis Vulko.
Brave and the Bold #78 - 1st appearance of Copperhead.
Brave and the Bold #80 - 1st appearance of Helgrammite.
Brave and the Bold #81 - 1st appearance of Bork.
Brave and the Bold #85 - First appearance of Green Arrow's new costume and goatee.
Brave and the Bold #143 - Origin of the Human Target (Christopher Chance).
Brave and the Bold #166 - 1st appearance of Thomas Tresser (Nemesis).
Brave and the Bold #200 - 1st appearance of Katana. 1st appearance of Halo. 1st appearance of Geo-Force. 1st appearance of the Outsiders.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Deadpool Red Band Trailer and 1st Appearances

Though the prices are skyrocketing into bubble territory for all of these first appearances (several of these were in the $1 box just a year ago), I wanted to make a list of them just to highlight the awesome red band trailer for Deadpool.  I'm almost as excited for this movie as I was for Star Wars The Force Awakens.  In case you don't know, Deadpool was written by Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick who wrote the the funniest zombie movie ever, Zombieland.  The director, Tim Miller, doesn't have a long list of credits behind his name, but he did direct the opening sequence of Thor: The Dark World which is incredible.  Red Band Trailer (NSFW) below followed by the list of 1st appearances.

New Mutants #98 - 1st appearance of Deadpool. 1st appearance of Copycat posing as Domino.
X-Force #19 - 1st appearance of Copycat as Copycat.
Morlocks #1 - 1st appearance of Angel Dust.
Deadpool #14 - 1st appearance of Ajax.
Cable #3 - 1st appearance of Weasel.
New X-Men #115 - 1st appearance of Negasonic Teenage Warhead.
Giant-Size X-Men #1 - 1st appearance of Colossus.
Deadpool #1 - 1st appearance of Blind Al.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Cullen Bunn Just Made My Day

Teaser Image by Greg Land

For those of you like me who have CompleX feelings about Marvel's direction for the X-Men after Secret Wars, we were offered an additional glimmer of hope today.  I say additional because I already have high hopes for Cullen Bunn's Uncanny X-Men.  As revealed over at CBR, the Uncanny X-Men roster will include Monet St. Croix and what I hope is the real Archangel.

As much as I loved Rick Remender's X-Force run, the only thing I disliked more than the Fantomex 3-way split was the transformation of Archangel back to the uncannily vanilla Angel.  I couldn't understand why a character with such conflicting motivations was reduced to a shell and then put on a shelf.  If I remember correctly, he had maybe two or three appearances in Wolverine and the X-Men and was never heard from again.

Regardless, it appears that our Archangel is back.  I don't really care how.  I just want interesting multi-dimensional characters and it appears that Cullen Bunn does as well. Otherwise, why would he have chosen this group of dual-nature mutants with the some of the most interesting and heartbreaking backstories.

I've mentioned before that his Magneto series is/was the best book that Marvel has published over the past year and a half. Is it because it is vastly different than everything else Marvel is publishing?  Not really.  Is Magneto just that awesome no matter who writes him?  Definitely not.  I think it's primarily because Cullen Bunn really understands what makes Magneto work.  He is a villain for sure, but he's also been a victim.  Though in his own really messed up way, he is a hero. Maybe not by homo sapiens standards, but if you were a mutant kid being bullied by humans, you'd probably look up to Magneto. During the series, Bunn also chose to show us Magneto's acknowledgement of his shortcomings. This allowed us to empathize with Eric the same way we would with a Tony Soprano or a Dexter Morgan and suddenly half of our brain cheered for the bad guy while the other half told us you shouldn't be cheering for the bad guy.

Maybe this series will be cathartic for those of us with a CompleX.  Just like the mutant kid who idolizes Magneto, we'll be rooting for these Uncanny X-Men to take on the humans, the Inhumans, and Marvel itself.

Finally, just in case you're thinking I forgot that the blog is called Key Issue Comics, here's a list of the first appearances for Cullen Bunn's Uncanny X-Men:

The X-Men #1 (1963) - 1st appearance of Magneto. 1st appearance of Warren Worthington III (Angel).
Ms. Marvel #16 - 18 (1978)  -  1st Appearance of Mystique.  This one is tough to judge. Mystique cameos in #16, disguises herself as Nick Fury in #17, and makes her first full appearance as Mystique in #18.
New X-Men #128 (2002) - 1st appearance of Fantomex.
Iron Fist #14 (1977) - 1st appearance of Sabretooth.
Captain Britain #8 (1976) - 1st appearance of Psylocke. Her first appearance in US comics was New Mutants Annual #2.
Uncanny X-Men #316 (1994) - 1st appearance of Monet St. Croix.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

All-New All-Different Marvel: The Good, The Bad, and The Confusing

I finally made it to my local comic shop, Twilite Zone Comics, today and picked up a handful of awesome books and got my copy of the All-New All-Different Free Previews Magazine. I already knew what was in it based on the leaks from earlier this week (Imagine that Axel Alonso, I saw the leaks and still went to the local comic shop).  However, I wanted to reserve judgement until I had a physical copy in hand in case there was more to it than just the leaked images.

The Good

  • As I mentioned in a previous post, it's awesome to see a new series for Dr. Strange by Jason Aaron. Though I guess it's a given based on the movie coming out in 2016.
  • We're getting a new Deadpool. Or is it the old Deadpool?  If you remember from Deadpool #250, he died during the Incursion of 1610 universe.  Not sure how a healing factor brings you back from that.
  • Ultimates #1 - I've heard lots of good things about Al Ewing though I haven't read any of his work, but I'll buy this purely for Kenneth Rocafort art.  His work on Teen Titans is fantastic.
  • Cullen Bunn still writing Magneto in Uncanny X-Men.  His solo Magneto series is the best book that Marvel has been publishing over the past year.
  • Jeff Lemire and Andrea Sorrentino on Old Man Logan.  Not only are we getting in my opinion the best version of Wolverine, but we get it from this creative team.  These two put out an incredible Green Arrow book at DC.

The Bad

  • Everything comes with a side of Inhumans. Do you like Avengers? Cool, you'll also like this Inhuman that we added to the team? Is Beast you're favorite X-man? Great, check him out in Uncanny Inhumans. Want an edgy character that wears a hoodie? Super, you should read Warren Ellis' Karnak. Who? Oh he's this totes awesome Inhuman guy. Do you love it when the X-Men are down and out?  Word.  Now they're not only underdogs but now their entire existence is tangled up with the Inhumans.
  • The O5 X-Men are still here.  I liked the concept originally because I thought it was a cool way to bring Jean Grey back without some crazy retcon.  I had assumed that somehow Secret Wars might be used to save her and get rid of the rest.  Instead, they appear to be in the Mystery Machine solving crimes.  I'll pass.
  • Iron Man is the face of Marvel.  Let me just offend lots of people right now.  I don't like Iron Man. 616 Tony Stark Iron Man is boring.  I would guess that most people buying an Iron Man comic these days assume that Robert Downey Jr. is in there somewhere.  Unfortunately, he's not.

The Confusing

     I mentioned above that I don't quite understand how Deadpool is back.  He was killed during an Incursion.  In the main Secret Wars series, Dr. Strange explained that Doom saved what he could and that is what became the domains of Battleworld.  If that is the case, then wouldn't it make sense that the new Marvel Universe can only come from Battleworld?  We know some characters make it out to the new Marvel Universe: Old Man Logan, A-Force, Miles Morales.  However, from these handful of covers (granted, it literally is only a handful of covers) doesn't it seem like the 616 Universe was just recreated? Based on the Battleworld map, the only part of the 616 that survived is Manhattan and the Monster Metropolis.  Did every character in the 616 make it to Manhattan?  Will Reed Richards feel like a dumb ass when he hears about this and realizes if he had just stayed in the Baxter Building that his wife and kids would still be alive?
     Maybe this will all be explained in the last four issues of Secret Wars.  Though I have a feeling it won't be entirely resolved. We'll all just read Silver Surfer #16 where Norrin Radd will say something like, "With the Power Cosmic, just make everything the way it was, you know, before the Beyonders started messing with us. Oh, and save the remaining souls on Battleworld that are marketable and haven't been killed by Doom."

Monday, June 22, 2015

Jason Aaron Writes Dr. Strange = Awesome!

     Entertainment Weekly announced this morning that Jason Aaron and Chris Bachalo will be bringing back Dr. Strange this fall as part of the All-New, All-Different Marvel.  This news along with Old Man Logan making it out of Secret Wars are the greatest bits I've heard so far about the Marvel Universe reboot.
     For those of you who didn't read Original Sin (completely understandable that you didn't, it started strong, weak middle full of delays, so-so last issue), one of the highlights was Aaron writing Dr. Strange as he worked with the Punisher to solve the murder of the Watcher.  The wit and sarcasm in that dialogue was exactly what I want to see in this series.  I'm always on the fence about Bachalo's artwork, but the preview designs in this article look pretty good.  The article is here:

Marvel announces Doctor Strange comic series

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Key Issues - The Uncanny X-Men - Part Three

Uncanny X-men #428 by Phillip Tan 

I finally got around to finishing the third part of the Uncanny X-Men key issues list.  Parts one and two can be found at the respective links.  We've reached #400 - #544 and I had to dig deep to find key issues.  In this era of the X-Men a lot happens without anything really happening at least until you get to Brubaker's run starting in #475.  At that point lots of great storylines come out with Messiah Complex, Messiah War, Nation X, Second Coming, etc.  I was planning on ending this with #544 but with #600 announced to come out in October 2015, perhaps I'll do a part 4 that includes, the two Uncanny volumes, Wolverine and the X-Men, and All-New X-Men just to tidy things up before the new Marvel Universe debuts in September.

Uncanny X-Men #401 - Banshee forms X-Corps.  1st appearance of X-Corps.
Uncanny X-Men #404 - Death of Sunpyre (Leyu Yoshida).
Uncanny X-Men #410 - 1st appearance of Sammy Pare (Squid Boy).
Uncanny X-Men #411 - 1st appearances of Annie and Carter Ghazikhanian.
Uncanny X-Men #415 - Revealed that Iceman will permanently mutate into ice.  Northstar has a crush on Iceman.
Uncanny X-Men #417 - 1st appearance of Maximus Lobo.
Uncanny X-Men #493
 by  Billy Tan
Uncanny X-men #420 - Angel revealed to have healing abilities.
Uncanny X-Men #423 - Deaths of Bedlam and Skin, they were crucified by the Church of Humanity.
Uncanny X-Men #428 - 1st appearance of Azazel.  Azazel revealed as Nightcrawler's father.
Uncanny X-Men #429 - 1st appearance of the Neyaphim: Ginniyeh, Jillian, Kiwi Black, Ophis, and Ydrazil. 1st appearances of Maryin Hannah and Sanji Yamamoto.
Uncanny X-Men #435 - 1st appearance of Earth-A She-Hulk.
Uncanny X-Men #437 - 1st appearance of Julia Cabot.
Uncanny X-Men #444 - 1st appearances of the Weaponeers, Rogue's Advocate Squad: Boggart, Naiad, Pinpoint, Trovao, Umbra, Xenon.
Uncanny X-Men #445 - 1st appearance of the Fury.
Uncanny X-Men #455 - 1st appearance of the Hauk'ka.
Uncanny X-Men #462 - 1st appearances of Flight Leader and Sky Captain of the Captain Britain Corps.
Uncanny X-Men #466 - 1st appearance of Colonel Miguel Reyes.
Uncanny X-Men #526
 by Terry and Rachel Dodson
Uncanny X-Men #467 - 1st appearance of the Shi'ar Death Commandos: Black Cloak, Colony, Devo, Hypershot, Krait, Offset, Sega, Shell, and Warshot.
Uncanny X-Men #468 - 1st appearance of Flaw of the Shi'ar Death Commandos.
Uncanny X-Men #475 - 1st appearance of Warpath's vibranium knives.
Uncanny X-Men #478 - 1st appearance of Korvus Rook'shir.
Uncanny X-Men #493 - X-Force is reformed to track down Cable and baby Hope.
Uncanny X-Men #500 - The X-Men relocate to San Francisco.
Uncanny X-Men #526 - 1st appearance of Transonic.
Uncanny X-Men #527 - 1st appearance of Velocidad.
Uncanny X-Men #528 - 1st appearance of Idie Okonkwo.
Uncanny X-Men #529 - 1st appearance of Teon.
Uncanny X-Men #542 - Colossus becomes the Juggernaut.

Key Issues - Uncanny X-Men - Part One
Key Issues - Uncanny X-Men - Part Two