Well, that’s what happens in Morning Glories. Okay, so I just spoiled the end of the first issue, but hey, big whoop, you’d have gathered that anyway. But yeah, this is an extremely prestigious boarding school, that drugs you so that you don’t know where it is located…
That tries to influence you through strange, barely seen images…
That encourages parents to give you independence, to pretend that they don’t know you so that you don’t talk to them or the outside world…
And if they don’t like it then, well…
Yeah. And that’s not even going into the creepy sci-fi wonderful-ness of it
Morning Glories #1, by Nick Spencer & Joe Eisma, Image
Alex Ross is well known for painting for many series, from classics like Kingdom Come to the covers for the current All-New All-Different Avengers run, but Marvels is, for me, his best work.
Maybe it is how well his work portrays classic scenes in a new light, maybe its how his writing fuses perfectly with Kurt Busiek’s incredible writing, maybe it’s how he makes every panel pop with both energy and grace simultaneously, but there is just something about that makes it work so well.
There’s a chance it is just nostalgia, but there is just something about seeing panels like this, where classic images are shown through the camera lens of a humble reporter, re-enforcing the fact that Marvel Comics exist inside the Marvel universe as historical documents and records of events, that just blow me away.
Marvels #1-4, by Kurt Busiek and Alex Ross, Marvel
The current Detective Comics run has been excellent, and this is to be the last issue of the current arc, before a crossover with Nightwing and Batman begins. The ongoing story is that Batman and Batwoman have set up a team of people that they think can, with a bit of training, fight crime to their level in Gotham, and that team is made up of Orphan (Cassandra Cain), Spoiler (Stephanie Brown), Red Robin (Tim Drake) and Clayface. Yup, Clayface. As you would expect, a team with two Robins, two Batgirls, and six badasses is as excellent as it sounds, but then factor in that they are fighting a team of men in armour that are training to become Batmen, and the series climbs to new heights.
This is a very dramatic conclusion to the arc, and I have no doubt that if you like the characters then you will stumble across big spoilers for the end of the issue, but I absolutely recommend it to you all.
Detective Comics #940, by James Tynion IV, Eddy Barrows & Eber Ferreira
Kyle Rayner was a graphic artist. Yup, he drew comic books.
Automatically, that means he is pretty cool. The fact that he then got given a Green Lantern ring makes him even cooler.
Hal Jordan, the first member of the Green Lantern Corps to come from Earth, got possessed by Parallax, the fear entity. His city, Coast City, had just been completely destroyed, so he was, shall we say, susceptible to its influence, but then he went crazy, see totally insane, killed a good few Lanterns, see basically all of them, destroyed the main power battery, yadda yadda. The Green Lantern Corps was gone. So Ganthet, the last remaining Guardian, gave the last remaining Lantern ring to Kyle Rayner.
He wasn’t exactly ready for it at the beginning, but he managed to defeat Mongul, which is pretty damn good, right? Except, his ex-girlfriend, who he had confided in and just got back together with, got killed by Major Force and stuffed in a fridge. Yup, that’s where the phrase “Women In Refrigerators” comes from, Kyle Rayner’s girlfriend that died purely to make Kyle take his role as a Lantern seriously. It was a pretty embarrassing move on DC’s part, and one that Gail Simone will never let them forget.
For a time then, Kyle was the only Green Lantern. To us now, and to readers at the time, this was a new thing, there had been an entire Corps for a long time, and even just on Earth there were frequently three separate Lanterns. But Kyle carried the name solo. He briefly joined the Titans, and joined the Justice League, taking the roles that all previous Lanterns before him had. He also set out to restart the Green Lantern Corps, and even took host to Ion, the parasitic entity of willpower, though he gave up the near-omnipotence of the powers to remain human.
Then his mother is killed. Yet another tragedy has befallen Kyle, and seemingly it is once more at the hands of Major Force. So, knowing that Major Force is immortal, Kyle rips his head off and throws it into space. As you do. This was during the events of Green Lantern: Rebirth, and Kyle then brings Hal Jordan’s body back to Earth, where it is quickly given back Hal’s spirit, and the original Lantern is resurrected. You’d think that at this point Kyle would lose some of the spotlight, I mean, Hal is back, Guy Gardner is a Lantern again, most of the Corps is back, so Kyle will disappear, right? Well, a little, but he is handed the highest honour by the Guardians. They give him the title of “Torchbearer”, as he was the only Lantern to still represent during their darkest time, and brought them back when they were needed most.
Once more, Kyle became Ion, taking the parasitic entity back, which Sinestro forcefully separates from Kyle at the beginning of the Sinestro Corps War, so that Kyle can play host to Parallax, like Hal Jordan did before him. Hal frees him from the influence, and together they defeat Sinestro. Shortly after, the long prophesised Blackest Night comes to pass, and Kyle is killed in action, whilst blowing up a power battery to stop hordes of dead Green Lanterns, reanimated as Black Lanterns on Oa. His love for fellow Lantern Soranik Natu led to him being resurrected quickly by a Star Sapphire, and he was able to rally with the multitude of other Lanterns and heroes on Earth to beat back Nekron’s Black Lanterns. Kyle also participates in the War of the Green Lanterns, taking a Blue Lantern ring in an effort to stop the rogue Guardian Krona.
And then the New 52 happened. Rings of every colour seek out Kyle, along with an angry member of their Corps, and Kyle becomes the first person to simultaneously wield all seven primary Lantern rings. Admittedly, the rings disintegrate after a couple of minutes, but the team that he then heads up, containing a representative of each Corps, is then instrumental in stopping the Archangel Invictus from destroying the Vega system and the sole Orange Lantern Larfleeze. The team disbands, but Kyle begins to learn how to channel every colour of light, eventually becoming a White Lantern with the help of a new team, featuring big names like Carol Ferris of the Star Sapphires, Atrocitus of the Red Lanterns, and Larfleeze, using his powers to stop the Third Army on Zamaron, and aid in stopping the First Lantern Volthoom on Oa.
Most recently, Kyle has appeared in The Omega Men, aiding a rebel group in the Vega system against their tyrannical leader, but I don’t want to spoil a series that has finished so recently for you.
So, that’s his history, but what sets Kyle Rayner apart from any other Lantern, green or otherwise? For me, it’s twofold. First off, his creativity lets him do things with his ring that no other lantern can, such as create giant anime characters to do battle with his enemies, with the only limit to his powers being his imagination. Second, it’s his personality. Rayner will always, absolutely always stand up for what is right, and if an action seems wrong then he will question. Even if it is one of his friends doing it. And yet, he always believes in the goodness in people. When Hal Jordan was evil, Kyle knew that he could be relied on to give his life to save Earth. Kyle has a truly indomitable spirit, and, if you’ll excuse the cliché, his light shines brighter than basically any other in the universe.
It’s not the cops that can make remarkable deductive leaps that make bugger all sense but end up to be correct. It’s not the perfect timing of the guy who realises what is happening at precisely the right moment so that he can break down the door of the right building mere seconds before the hostages die. It’s not even the incredible amount of patronising snark that every single pathologist seems able to smear onto thei sentences when talking to a detective. In fact, it’s not even the police themselves.
Its the victims who get asked to describe the face of the person they saw committing the crime, and then are actually able to do so in enough detail that the artist’s impression looks exactly like the person it is meant to be. Seriously, how can people do that? How can they just reel off every characteristic of a person’s face? I’d be a total mess!
“What was their hair like?” Erm, long-ish and brown. I think. Could have been a dark blonde? “What colour were their eyes?” Dunno mate, wasn’t paying attention. “What about the shape of their face?” Yeah, it was pretty face-shaped, you know? Like, a pretty average face? “Well, were there any defining features?” His nose was massive and he had a spot on his chin, but he’s probably popped it by now, it was pretty ugly.
As you can see, my descriptive skills are pretty limited. However, in Chew you meet someone who can descibe stuff so well that, well, you’ll see. But some background on the book first. Chew is an Image title about a detective for the Food and Drug Administration called Tony Chu, who is a Cibopath. Basically, he gets a psychic imprint from anything he eats. The book gets a little weird, as solving murders related to food and drugs can get a little bitey, but issue #3 introduces a character with the best power in the world. I’ll let the page describe it.
Don’t lie, you would absolutely love to be able to do that. It’s the power to describe things like a TV witness, but about food. It’s the coolest superpower! And you can also have some fun with it, as Amelia found when the first wave of complaints came in from people who had thrown up at her descriptions of disgusting food.
What is the worst mistake that has been made in the Marvel Universe?
It’s a pretty big question, and one big answer is undoubtedly the creation of Ultron. Not necessarily the idea of creating artificial intelligence, as there is inherently nothing wrong with that, it is just that it happened to be Ultron. The decision weighs pretty damn heavily on Hank Pym, as Ultron has been a threat to the entire planet on multiple occasions, but at least he has the birth of Vision as a direct consequence of Ultron’s creation to allay some of his fears that it was purely a bad decision.
But if you think that making Ultron was bad enough, not making Ultron is actually worse, and it is shown in Age of Ultron. For the first few issues, we see a dystopia where Ultron has taken over, and it is… Let’s leave it at bad, and point out that She-Hulk and Luke Cage, two damn-near invulnerable heroes, both die. Bad doesn’t quite cover it, does it?
And a plan is made to stop this. So Wolverine and Sue Storm go back in time, and kill Hank Pym.
Oh Wolverine, you couldn’t be more wrong. Stopping the creation of Ultron meant that Morgan Le Fay could take over the world. Pretty big mistake Logan, pretty big mistake.
Age of Ultron #6, by Brian Michael Bendis and Brandon Peterson, Marvel
You look at the authors, and if you know the names then you look at a preview. And this is exactly what I did with Tokyo Ghost. It’s written by Rick Remender, who is well known for Secret Avengers, and Uncanny Avengers, and a slew of other excellent independent comics like Low and Black Science and Deadly Class, so that was a big plus, and the colourist is Matt Hollingsworth, who has worked on Hawkeye, Daredevil, and many other big titles, so I was drawn to it. And then I saw the art, by Sean Murphy, a name I didn’t really know, and I knew I had to read it.
There’s a good amount of nudity, a good amount of swearing, a sci-fi story that focuses primarily on the characters, and a great art team. Basically, it’s a Remender book, with classic Remender scenes like this:
Tokyo Ghost #1-3, by Rick Remender, Sean Murphy and Matt Hollingsworth, Image
In a week where the main Batman and Superman titles are released, as well as some of my personal favourite series in Moon Knight and Green Arrow, having a title like Flintstones up here might seem like a joke. I mean, it’s the Flintstones, it’s just going to be a childish, all-ages romp through cheeseville.
Of course there’s a bit of that. But not too much. Especially not when the issue features pages like this.
It’s not all like that, don’t worry, but this series is looking to be a surprise hit
Flintstones #3, by Mark Russell and Steve Pugh, DC