My previous post listed the DC comics on my current pull list. Here is what I'm reading from Marvel:
All-Winners Squad: Band of Heroes # 1-2- This 8-part limited series is set in World War II, so it's right up my retro alley. A group of super-powered heroes join the army and are led into battle by Captain America. These include Timely heroes The Young Avenger, Invisible Man, Merzah the Mystic, and others.
Even Slow Motion Jones returns. He was the African-American sidekick of the Whizzer back in the Golden Age. He previously appeared in the first issues of USA Comics and All Winners Comics in 1941. In those days Slo-Mo was a racial caricature, but is now re-introduced as an intelligent super-speedster, faster than the Whizzer himself. His re-introduction is handled much like that of Whitewash Jones, renamed "Washington Carver Jones" in The Young Allies 70th Anniversary Special published in 2009. The Golden Age appearances of these African-American heroes are explained as the fictitious comic portrayals they really were, effectively striking the earlier versions from Marvel continuity.
The new All-Winners story is told in retrospect by the alter ego of the Young Avenger, now in his 90s. He explains how Timely Comics was employed by the U.S. military to write fictional propaganda about his army buddies. The latest issue has a scene taking place in Martin Goodman's office as he sends for his nephew, Stanley. So cool! I love this series.
FF # 1-6- I heard great things about Jonathan Hickman's run on the Fantastic Four, but I didn't want to jump into the middle of something I knew nothing about. So with the first issue of FF I thought this might be a good jumping on place. I wasn't completely up to speed with the threads that had apparently carried over from the Fantastic Four series, but I was piecing things together through the first five issues. I was especially sold on the Steve Epting art in the first three issues. I love it when artists draw people who look real. Epting's versions of Spiderman and Susan Richards is how these characters should always be drawn. By the fourth issue, however, it seemed that Barry Kitson had taken over the art chores. I wasn't as crazy about his art, but it's been growing on me.
So along comes issue number 6. What? The FF doesn't even appear in this issue. It centers on an alien race called the Krees and the Inhumans who descend from a segment of the primitve homo sapien population of earth gentically engineered by the Krees. When the Inhuman city Attilan was attacked by the Krees, led by Ronan the Accuser, the Krees were defeated by Inhuman leader, Black Bolt who subsequently became ruler of the Krees. Black Bolt has since died, but FF # 6 is the precursor to his return.
What this has to do with the current storyline is that Attilan is one of the four cities among whom four Reed Richards of alternate earths are trying to incite war which will (somehow) enable them to return to their own dimensions. The Future Foundation (FF) has assembled the most intelligent of the Fantastic Four's enemies in an effort to stop the Reeds.
Issue 6 has yet another artist, Greg Tocchini. I wish this series would settle on an artist for the sake of consistency. According to Marvel's website, I can look forward to Steve Epting's return in issue # 8, but only for one issue since # 9 lists Daniel Acuna as the artist. The revolving door of artists is driving me crazy, as did the major departure of storyline in issue # 6. But I'm giving this title every chance before I give up and drop it. The characterization and dialogue are indeed above average.