Monday, June 27, 2016


Writer/Artist: John Byrne | Colorist: Glynis Wein | Letterer: Michael Higgins
Editor in Transit: Bob Budiansky | Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter

The Plot: While Johnny and Sue tend to personal matters in New York, Mister Fantastic, She-Hulk, and Wyatt Wingfoot deal with Terminus in Arizona. The gigantic alien discards a scout who was part of his armor, and Reed questions the dying alien. The scout, a brilliant scientist from his own world, reveals that Terminus is a galactic pillager, traveling from planet to planet, enslaving their peoples and stealing their resources.

The alien passes away and Reed quickly jury-rigs the crashed jet in which he and She-Hulk arrived to react with Terminus and send him down to the center of the Earth at unfathomable speed. Though Reed suspects Terminus will return, he makes plans to be ready for him next time.

Sub-Plots & Continuity Notes: Alicia Masters visits Johnny at his still-unfurnished loft apartment. (Side-note: Recall that Johnny first found the place in issue 257. Issue 263 declared that four months had passed since #262. Johnny is sure taking his time getting his new house in order!)

Sunday, June 26, 2016


Crazy how things work out sometimes. Last month I received nothing in the mail, hence no Unboxing for May. But this month, it's a wealth of new trade paperbacks and one long-awaited hardcover, as well!

We'll start with DC, since I have one single item from them this month: the LEGENDS 30th ANNIVERSARY EDITION. LEGENDS is a story I've wanted to read for years. My knowledge of DC history is a little spotty, but I understand this to be the very first crossover in the post-CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS DC Universe, and the story by John Ostrander, Len Wein, and John Byrne pits DC's heroes against Darkseid and the forces of Apokolips. I think this will make a nice companion to my collection of Byrne's SUPERMAN: THE MAN OF STEEL trade paperbacks.

Now it's on to Marvel. First up is the AVENGERS EPIC COLLECTION: UNDER SIEGE. I have an old printing of this storyline, but it only contains about half the issues presented in this volume (and it predates Marvel's standard restoration practices, so it's pretty ugly to boot). Unless I'm mistaken, thanks to this book I now own the entirety of Roger Stern's classic AVENGERS run. I look forward to reading the whole thing sometime soon.

Friday, June 24, 2016


Though originally published under the simple title of ROBOTECH, this mini-series was retroactively named FROM THE STARS with the release of the trade paperback edition.

Story: Tommy Yune | Script: Jay Faerber
Art: Long Vo, Charles Park & Saka of UDON* | Letterer: Jenna Garcia
Assistant Editor: Kristy Quinn | Editor: Ben Abernathy
Special Thanks to: Tom Bateman, Erik Ko, and Sandra Hofman

Wildstorm's inaugural ROBOTECH mini-series, masterminded by the franchise's creative director, Tommy Yune of Harmony Gold, functions as a prequel to the 1985 animated series, filling in a great deal of backstory for one of the show's major characters and his world.

The story begins in the year 2015, not long after the conclusion of ROBOTECH's first segment, "The Macross Saga". Captain Rick Hunter, Veritech fighter squadron leader, takes some time to reminisce about his late friend, mentor, and surrogate "big brother", Roy Fokker. We then jump back in time to the year 1999 as Roy leaves the flying circus run by Rick's father to enlist in the armed forces as a pilot in the ongoing global war. Six months later, Roy witnesses the arrival of a UFO on Earth in the South Pacific.

There's another time jump and six years later, in 2005, Roy returns to the circus but is quickly convinced by his former commanding officer, Admiral Hayes, to come back to the service as a test pilot. Roy arrives on Macross Island, where the UFO crashed, to find the new United Earth Government developing all manner of hi-tech vehicles and equipment. Under the command of a former mercenary named T.R. Edwards, Roy becomes the lead test pilot for Project: Valkyrie.

Monday, June 20, 2016


Writer/Artist: John Byrne | Colorist: Glynis Wein | Letterer: Diana Albers
Editor: Bob Budiansky | Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter
Science Advisor: Larry Niven

The Plot: Wyatt Wingfoot, one-time ally of the Fantastic Four, is out on an ATV near his Indian reservation when a red energy beam shoots down from the sky, slicing a path through the ground nearby. Later, in New York, the FF receive a call from Wyatt explaining the situation just as a similar beam strikes New Jersey. After a short call from the president, Mister Fantastic and She-Hulk depart to rendezvous with Wyatt.

As they cross the U.S., they see that several such beams have struck the country in bizarre patterns. They reach their destination and are nearly knocked out of the sky by a crashing spaceship. Upon landing, Reed and She-Hulk meet up with Wyatt and some of his tribe. Reed programs satellite imagery of the markings left by the beams into his universal translator and learns that they spell out a message: “I claim this world – Terminus.” Then, on cue, the gigantic crashed spacecraft opens up and an enormous armored being emerges.

Sub-Plots & Continuity Notes: Wyatt is about to become the new chief of his tribe. As he mulls this over, he finds himself thinking about the adventures he shared in the past with the Fantastic Four.

Sunday, June 19, 2016


Once upon a time, I was a ROBOTECH fanatic -- though not so long ago as you might think. Even though I was a child of the eighties, I missed ROBOTECH the first time around, when it debuted in 1985. It wasn't until thirteen years later, in 1998, that I tried the show out when it joined the Toonami lineup on Cartoon Network. I fell for it hard, and within a year or two I'd picked up and read all the novels and many of the comic books, which stretched back to the mid-eighties across multiple licensees.

Mostly, this ROBOTECH "expanded universe" was consistent across all platforms, notwithstanding some awful deviations by Antarctic Press's comics in 1998 or so. But when Wildstorm acquired the license in 2002, it was decided by ROBOTECH licensor Harmony Gold to reboot the franchise, and the company's creative director, Tommy Yune, took on this duty.

In 2002, I was a bit miffed to learn that all the stuff I'd just finished reading "didn't count" anymore, but it didn't take too long to buy into Yune's new vision for ROBOTECH. In truth, he kept a lot of what had come before while dumping some of the more questionable aspects presented by previous writers. I eventually came to really enjoy Wildstorm's ROBOTECH comics, and was disappointed when the license lapsed into inactivity only a couple years after the relaunch.

Friday, June 17, 2016


Storytellers: Jeph Loeb & Tim Sale | Colors: Dave Stewart
Lettering: Comicraft's Richard Starkings | Design: Comicraft's John Roshell
Production: Idette Winecoor | Consulting Editor: Richard Starkings
Assistant Editor: Jon Moisan | Editor: Mark Paniccia | Editor-in-Chief: Axel Alonso
Chief Creative Officer: Joe Quesada | Publisher: Dan Buckley
Executive Producer: Alan Fine | Captain America created by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby

Last year I wrote about the original three Marvel "color" series from Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale -- DAREDEVIL: YELLOW, SPIDER-MAN: BLUE, and HULK: GRAY. I've loved the first two of those since their original releases circa 2003 and they're still very special to me, while GRAY has always left me a little cold. Unfortunately, CAPTAIN AMERICA: WHITE falls closer to the GRAY end of the spectrum than the YELLOW or BLUE end.

WHITE, which originally received a #0 issue back in 2008, finally saw the remainder of its installments published in 2015. Considering the circumstances, it's a remarkably consistent read; I can only assume the script was written entirely in advance. Where the previous three "color" books featured the title characters mourning the losses of the great loves of their lives, WHITE is about Captain America, recently awakened in the modern day, recalling his relationship with his partner and best friend, "Bucky" Barnes.

The story, set in World War II, follows Cap and Bucky on a mission to Europe as they meet up with Nick Fury and his Howling Commandos, then head into Paris to investigate the Red Skull's presence there. In France, the group teams up with a resistance fighter named Maryline, a.k.a. the Gypsy, and her band. Cap stops the Red Skull from destroying the Eiffel Tower and killing Bucky, then the Americans leave Paris to continue their war while the Gypsy and her people remain behind to carry on their own battle.

Monday, June 13, 2016


Plot: John Byrne | Script: Mark Gruenwald | Pencils: Mark Bright
Inks: Mike Gustovich |Letters: Phil Felix | Colors: Petra Scotese
Editor: Michael Carlin | Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter

The Plot: Ten lunar orbits ago on the Moon, while the X-Men fought for the life of Phoenix, observers from the Kree and Skrull empires began their own private war in the Moon’s Blue Area. Eventually the Watcher pulled them to his home to receive communications from their respective leaders, the Kree Supreme Intelligence and the Kree Empress R’Klll. The leaders ordered Bel-Dann the Kree and Raksor the Skrull to continue their war as proxies of their entire empires. The winner would determine the victor of the eons-long conflict between the Kree and the Skrulls.

In the present, the Fantastic Four arrive on the Moon for the wedding of Black Bolt and Medusa of the Inhumans. But the ceremony is interrupted as the battles between Bel-Dann and Raksor begin to damage the foundations of the Inhuman city, Attilan. The FF and Inhuman royal family investigate and battle the warring aliens, who escape.

Later, Mister Fantastic hatches a plan to overcome the aliens, whose fighting has gotten dangerously close to Attilan’s nuclear power plant. He and Black Bolt enlist the Watcher’s aid and then confront the aliens again. Bel-Dann and Raksor defeat the Fantastic Four and Inhumans together, and the Watcher decrees that both empires have won, for only by unifying their forces can they ever bring an end to their wars. The Watcher teleports the two aliens back to their empires, then the Inhumans and FF resume celebrating.

Sunday, June 12, 2016


Hardcover, 2012. Collects 1991-92's UNCANNY X-MEN #281 - 293, material from X-MEN #10 - 11, and X-MEN #12 - 13.

I have to confess -- I like the issues collected in this book. Its contents were released when Marvel relaunched the X-Men franchise in 1991, alongside the latter portion of the X-MEN BY CLAREMONT & LEE OMNIBUS volume 2. But, though that other material features Chris Claremont's final three issues on X-Men and continues without him under Lee as plotter and artist, I have a real soft spot for these contemporaneous UNCANNY issues instead, plotted by Lee and Whilce Portacio and drawn by Portacio with scripts from John Byrne and Scott Lobdell.

The book is laid out in about as straightforward a manner as possible: We have a direct run of UNCANNY X-MEN issues 281 through 293, then a two-part backup serial from X-MEN #10 and 11 (omitted from the Claremont/Lee book due to lack of involvement from either), and then the run of issues wraps up with X-MEN #12 and 13 in their entirety.

These contents may seem a mish-mash, but there's logic behind their inclusion. The book gets its name from UNCANNY 281 - 288, which introduce time-displaced mutant Bishop and follow his path to joining the X-Men. I believe at one time in the nineties, there was a trade paperback called BISHOP'S CROSSING as well, which contained only these eight issues. But for this hardcover edition (and its upcoming paperback reprint), Marvel has seen fit to include issues 289 - 293 as well, thus filling the full gap of UNCANNY issues between CLAREMONT & LEE volume 2 and the X-CUTIONER'S SONG collection (which we'll look at next month).

Friday, June 10, 2016


Writer & Penciler: Alan Davis | Inker: Mark Farmer
colorist: Matt Hollingsworth | Letterer: VC's Clayton Cowles
Assistant Editor: Jon Moisan | Editors: Mark Paniccia with Wil Ross
Editor in Chief: Axel Alonso | Chief Creative Officer: Joe Quesada
Publisher: Dan Buckley | Executive Producer: Alan Fine

(You know you're writing about a modern marvel comic when it takes ten minutes just to type out the stupid credits. Anywho...)

As far as I know, this 2014 story arc is, to date, Alan Davis's most recent work for Marvel in the writing capacity. And it's about what you'd expect of Davis the writer: some good old-fashioned classic Marvel action and adventure. Note that of the Davis works I covered over the past few weeks, FANTASTIC FOUR: THE END, while set in the future, presented the most iconic versions of the various Marvel heroes within its pages. THOR: TRUTH OF HISTORY was set in the distant past and featured the characters' original Jack Kirby looks. It's pretty evident that, given his choice, Davis will always go for the most classic visuals he can, and it's a shame that Marvel has drifted so, so very far from the best visual representations of their characters that in order for him to do so, he must set his stories in the past or in alternate worlds/timelines.

But! Much as I love to comment on the myriad failings of current Marvel comics, I'd rather spend the next few paragraphs singing the praises of Alan Davis. As noted above, this tale is set in the past; around this time, Marvel launched SAVAGE WOLVERINE and SAVAGE HULK, a pair of out-of-continuity series intended to chronicle untold adventures from their title characters' pasts, and each series received an opening arc by a well-known writer/artist (see my look at Frank Cho's opening SAVAGE WOLVERINE arc here).

Monday, June 6, 2016


Chronicler: John Byrne | Colorist: Glynis Wein | Letterer: Jim Novak
Editor: Bob Budiansky | Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter

The Plot: While the members of the FF sit with Sue in her hospital room, Doctor Octopus lashes out in the waiting area. Bruce Banner changes to the Hulk in preparation to fight him, but Reed, steeled by grief, breaks things up and orders Octopus to voluntarily return to prison. Octopus agrees.

The Human Torch and She-Hulk return to the Baxter Building, where the Torch spends a few hours showing his new teammate around. Later, in the FF’s “trophy room”, the mask of Doctor Doom comes to life and begins flying around, blasting at the Torch and She-Hulk. Mister Fantastic arrives and deduces the mask is being controlled from outside the Baxter Building. He seals the building against exterior signals and examines the mask. It should not have been capable of the feats the FF observed, leading Reed to consider that Doctor Doom may yet live.

Sub-Plots & Continuity Notes: This story takes place during a period when Bruce Banner has control over the Hulk, however Reed notes that control is not as strong as it had previously been.

Friday, June 3, 2016


Writer & Penciler: Alan Davis
Inker: Mark Farmer | Colorist: Rob Schwager | Letterer: VC's Joe Carmagna
Assistant Editor: Alejandro Arbona | Editor: Warren Simons | Editor-in-Chief: Joe Quesada
Publisher: Dan Buckley

I'm not sure what I make of this story. Written and drawn by Alan Davis in 2008, it begins with a pair of scholars drawn and named to resemble Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy as they debate the nature of the Sphinx in Egypt. Stanley believes the fabled statue originally had a different head, which was resculpted into the visage we know today. "Olivier", meanwhile, stands by conventional wisdom which says the entire thing was created at the same time.

This leads into the main story, set "less than 4,000 years ago," as Thor and his allies, Balder, Sif, and the Warriors Three, fight off a clandestine incursion into Asgard by agents of Nedra, Queen of the Frost Giants. The heroes learn that Nedra has, in violation of Odin's law, opened a portal to the Earth which leads to Egypt. Volstagg of the Warriors Three falls through the portal, so Thor and Volstagg's partners, Fandral and Hogun, go after him. In Egypt, the Asgardians battle a half-animal slavemaster and travel to Giza in time to save Volstagg from being sacrificed to a fire-breathing griffin at the order of a mad pharaoh. But the pharaoh is slain when the griffin gets loose, then Thor defeats the beast and brings rain to Egypt.