Each week, ComicsAlliance’s Chris Sims and Matt Wilson host the War Rocket Ajax podcast, their online audio venue for interviews with comics creators, reviews of the books of the week, and whatever else they want to talk about. ComicsAlliance is offering clips of the comics-specific segments of the show several days before the full podcast goes up at
The CW’s superhero series Arrow re-imagines Green Arrow for a TV audience as a tough, often ruthless vigilante bent on setting things right in his home of Starling City by punishing the wicked. ComicsAlliance’s Matt Wilson will be following along to see how he fares.
This week, The Huntress returns (ugh) and kidnaps Laurel (double ugh). Also: Heroism is sort of weirdly defined.
All Hail The King is a short movie -- a "one shot," as Marvel calls them -- about what happened to Iron Man 3 character the Mandarin (Ben Kingsley) after he went to prison, written and directed by Iron Man 3 co-writer Drew Pearce. It's light, it's funny, there are some good lines and a neat twist. For the most part, I liked it.
One thing left a bad taste in my mouth.
If you haven't watched the Marvel one-shot/short movie All Hail The King, released a supplemental feature with Thor: The Dark World on Blu-ray/DVD, and you haven't watched Iron Man 3, and you want to see either of them unspoiled, skip the rest of this post. That's your spoiler warning.
Q: What does Batman's 75th Anniversary mean to you? -- Caleb, via e-mail
A: That's a tough question. I mean, as you have probably noticed if you've spent more than five or six seconds browsing ComicsAlliance, I've written about Batman before. I've written about Batman before today. That's how much it happens. But to be honest, I don't really think of things in terms of big anniversaries as much as I think of them as slow, ongoing processes that see those characters change. It's the long-term view that I like, where you take a look back and see what stays consistent to form the core of the character, rather than trying to fit it all in at once.
So really, I guess that's as good a place to go with this as any. Batman's 75th Anniversary (with his first appearance in Detective Comics #27 in 1939) marks three quarters of a century of Batman's evolution as a character, from those pretty sketchy beginnings all the way to today, refining what works best to make the character. And really, it's that evolution, compressed into 75 years by hundreds of creators and corporate interests working to refine the character, is pretty fascinating to think about.
Listeners of the ComicsAlliance Podcast will know that the other staffers and I have been particularly impressed with the variety of visuals currently offered by Marvel Comics. In the best way possible, it's become practically impossible to describe "Marvel house style," with the publisher staffing books with artists as talented and diverse as David Aja, Adrian Alphona, Michael Allred, Esad Ribic, Chris Samnee, Declan Shalvey, Phil Noto, Mitch Gerads and many more besides. Many of these fly far afield of what you might consider traditional superhero art, and that's a fact that's made so many "All-New" books so fun to read.
Given this recent history it was not surprising to learn that Mike Del Mundo was to draw a new Elektra series written by Haden Blackman, whose résumé includes Batwoman with JH Williams III, making this new series about the beautiful and deadly assassin one of the most appropriately staffed of Marvel's current line.
If our weekly Ask Chris column isn't enough of definitive comic book (and pro wrestling) opinions for you, good news: This week, we're launching Here's The Thing, a series of videos where you can join our own extremely opinionated senior writer, Chris Sims, as he sits in his living room under a framed portrait of Destro, drinking a cup of coffee and sharing his opinion on comic books.
This week in the debut episode, Chris tackles the question of what the greatest single issue of all time is -- or at least, his favorite, same thing, right? -- and declares it to be Mark Waid and Humberto Ramos's Impulse #3 from 1995. Check out the video to find out why!
With the wrap-up of writer Joe Keatinge's multi-artist "Strange Visitor" epic in Adventures of Superman last week, the series is nearing a full year of weekly, digital Superman stories. It's easily been the best, most daring Superman title DC Comics has been publishing in 2013 and 2014 (and not just because Superman gets to wear his real costume in it). Edited by Alex Antone, Adventures of Superman invites creators from all strata of comics to put their own stamps on Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster's original American superhero, free from the aesthetic constraints of the publisher's main line of New 52 comics and continuity. We like it so much, Adventures of Superman ended up on our list of the best comic books published in 2013.
We thought it would be a good idea to look back at the series so far, so I've compiled the following list of stories that readers unfamiliar with the series should go back and catch up with if they want the high points of the past year. At a dollar a pop, they're all well worth it.
Listen, I realize that I'm a little late to the party when it comes to Echiro Oda's One Piece. It's literally the best-selling manga of all time, but I've only just gotten into it over the past few months, on the recommendation of former CA writer David Brothers. I was hooked right away -- the book's signature mix of action, character, slapstick comedy and insanely over-the-top violence was fantastic right from the start, blending in a way that I find completely irresistible.
Then I got to volume 10, and the characters arrived in Arlong Park for a single fight scene that literally lasted for over 250 pages. And as someone who loves fight comics, I can say pretty confidently that it is quite possibly the best fight scene I have ever seen in comics. Not in manga, in all of comics. And believe me, I've seen a lot of 'em.
The new trailer for X-Men: Days of Future Past is out, and it's full to the brim with exciting surprises and hidden clues. Other websites didn't spot them, because those guys are not real fans. You probably didn't spot them either, so you should probably feel really embarrassed.
But we spotted them all, because we're amazing, and we're sharing our observations with you, because we're generous too. True fandom is all about spotting minor trivia and lording it over the heads of other people! Hurray! So here are X things we spotted that you didn't, you goon.