Did you know that Phil Coulson was first introduced into comics with the nickname “Cheese”?

Well, it’s true! In a slightly strange story called Battle Scars, penned purely to add elements of the Marvel Cinematic Universe to the comics, both Coulson and Nick Fury Jr, who just happens to look like Samuel L. Jackson, are introduced to readers. However, to preserve the surprise of who these characters really were, they had different names until the final pages of the last issue, and, up until then, Coulson is known as Cheese!

Battle Scars #1, Christopher Yost, Matt Fraction, Cullen Bunn & Scot Eaton, Marvel

~

James, The Wonder Witch

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New Issue of the Week: Paper Girls #10

Paper Girls is a fun series written by Brian K. Vaughan, the author of classic series like Y: The Last Man, Runaways and Saga, so automatically you should realise that this series is worth a read. No slight on the art either, Chiang and Wilson do an exceent job of bringing the world to life. The story centres around a group of young girls in the late 80s, on their paper round, where they find… Well, I can’t just tell you, you’ll have to read it for yourself! But this issue is the final part of the second arc, and the last issue for a few months, so now is the time to start catching up!

Paper Girls #10, by Brian K. Vaughan, Cligg Chiang & Matt Wilson, Image

~

James, The Wonder Witch


What’s the first thing that catches your eye about a comic?

Is it the title in big bold letters?

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Is it the main character splayed out across the cover?

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Is it a big action sequence told in brief?

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Well, the answer to all of those questions is yes. Because, really, the answer is the cover.

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And if there’s one person who does covers better than basically anyone at the moment, it’s David Aja.

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His covers are bold, they’re eye catching, they are simple and yet at the same time complex.

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They are true works of art.

~

James, The Wonder Witch

Character of the Week: Jaime Reyes, the Blue Beetle

In the middle of Infinite Crisis, a supercharged scarab is flung around the world in an explosion, and is found by an unsuspecting young Texan called Jaime. That night, it bonded to his spine, and he became the superhero known as Blue Beetle.

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Blue Beetle vol. 8 #0, by Keith Giffen, Tony Bedard, Ig Guara & J.P. Mayer

 

But let’s backtrack for a second! Jaime isn’t the first person to take the name. That would be Dan Garrett. He was the original owner of the scarab, and he had a lot of adventures in Foxy Comics and Charlton Comics. Then Ted Kord took over the role, and whilst he didn’t get the scarab till later, it didn’t have any effect on him, and he fought crime regardless. He had no powers, and was basically a bright blue, tech-based Batman, who also adventured in Charlton Comics before transferring to the DC Universe with a bunch of other heroes in Crisis on Infinite Earths, where he lived for a while, until he died in Infinite Crisis. You got all that?

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Blue Beetle vol. 7 #1, by Keith Giffen, John Rogers & Cully Hamner

 

Back to Jaime then. There was a big explosion when Ted Kord died, the scarab was sent flying to Texas, where Jaime found it. At first, when it bonded with him, he thought it was magical in origin, but quickly he found out that it was actually alien technology, from a race called the Reach, who fought the Green Lantern Corps. In fact, after his first fight in Infinite Crisis the scarab teleports Jaime home, away from the Lanterns fighting with him, and accidentally time jumps him forwards by a year. Life for his family and friends had significantly changed in that time, and, unlike many heroes, Jaime was very open with them about his new identity as Blue Beetle.

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Jaime in Young Justice

 

The Reach weren’t best pleased that Jaime’s scarab, a weapon with which they would invade Earth, was in possession of a human and seemingly malfunctioning, so they came into conflict. It was during their ongoing fights that Jaime joined up with the Teen Titans, eventually becoming a member of the team after overcoming confidence issues. (This relationship was also shown in the DC animated series Young Justice, before it was unfortunately cancelled.) But then, as these DC tales always go, Barry Allen messed with the timestream, and things got broken.

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Blue Beetle vol. 7 #36, by Matt Sturges and Rafael Albuquerque, cover by Cully Hamner

 

His origin was changed, as Infinite Crisis no longer happened, but he was still attached to a Reach scarab. This time, the scarab was broken, allowing for Jaime to remain uncontrolled when the Reach try to attack him. He teams up with Kyle Rayner to save a planet being attacked by the reach. But, ultimately, not much happens, because Jaime was criminally underused in the New 52, which is something I’m not at all happy with DC about.

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But, with DC Rebirth, Jaime is back. Interestingly, so is Ted Kord, and they are currently teaming up to fight crime. Two generations of the same hero, fighting alongside one another. Now that is a legacy hero. Not Batman with his legion of sidekicks that have gone on to outshine him, not Superman and his son – though that is hella close. No, this is a hero who died, coaching and fighting with the hero that took his mantle. And I love it.

~

James, The Wonder Witch