Posted in Books, comic books

Recommended Reading: Invincible Iron Man

screenshot_20180720-223147You may remember hearing about a 15-year-old girl taking over as Iron Man in the the the Marvel Comics Universe a couple of years ago. Well, if you want to be technical, Riri Williams goes by Ironheart even though her stories appeared in the pages of Invincible Iron Man.

With San Diego Comic Con happening this past weekend, every major publisher ran nice sales on parts of their digital comics backlist through Comixology, so it was a good time to catch up with titles that you had wanted to check out. (The Marvel Best-Selling Collections sale is still running through Thursday, July 26, 2018 and there are plenty of amazing books priced around the same level as an individual issue.)

Anyway, I picked up Invincible Iron Man Vol. 1: Riri Williams and Vol. 2: Choices and I read them this weekend. Brian Michael Bendis and Stefano Caselli are doing some nice work with a character created by Bendis and Mike Deodato.

screenshot_20180721-155138Williams is a super-genius who came to Tony Stark’s attention by being able to build her own suit of armor. With Stark in a coma as a result of the Civil War II storyline, Williams is left to take his role as Iron Man with the assistance of an A.I. program Stark sent to her based on his personality.

The two collections focus on Ironheart’s first adventures and the events that made Williams decide that she wanted to be a superhero. And they are a lot of fun. Bendis writes some great scenes with Williams interacting with the Stark A.I. and with Pepper Potts, who she looks up to as a hero. Ironheart wants to make the world a better place, and she hasn’t gotten caught up in worrying about what she “can” and “can’t” do yet. I love how her biggest fear in these stories isn’t whether some supervillain can beat her… it’s making the wrong choice when she has to decide whether to set up shop with MIT, Stark Industries or join a team of young superheroes.

I do wonder how Ironheart’s story might have been different if it were written by a woman or a person of color. Bendis is a skilled storyteller, but it would have been cool to see a different perspective.

What comics have you been reading lately? Do you have any recommendations for me?

Posted in Autographs, comic books, Lego, Odds & ends

Borough Con 2018

Yesterday I went to Borough Con, a second-year comic and anime convention being held at the Brooklyn Expo Center in Greenpoint. After a successful first year at St. John’s University, the show organizers hoped to transition to the new space and unfortunately, the crowds did not exactly follow.

There were a couple of dozen people waiting to get in when the doors opened a little bit before 10 a.m., and it took just a few moments to wander the show floor since the majority of the vendors and artists were still setting up. So, panel time… I went to “You are not the father,” a Maury-style examination of familial relationships in Dragon Ball, Naruto and Yugi-Oh… which ended up being a fun way to start the day.

I got to listen to Jim Starlin, Ron Marz and Fabian Nicieza talk about creating some of comics’ best villains Thanos, Parallax and Deadpool (yes, Deadpool started out as a villain until he got crazy popular.) That was fascinating, but it pivoted onto a topic that is sadly always relevant – what happens when you change a character in a way that pisses off some fans. At least when Hal Jordan became Parallax, it was before social media was around to amplify negative reactions to the degree it does today.

Then it was time for the one panel that I’d been planning to attend — Whoprov NYC: The New Adventures. Whoprov NYC is exactly what it sounds like – a Doctor Who-inspired impov group based in New York. And despite the group members outnumbering the audience, they put on an amazing show with two original “episodes.”  One was built around bubble tea, garlic and linoleum. The other featured Weeping Angels and alien chickens. Steven Moffat and Chris Chibnall might not have much to worry about, but they were good fun in the spirit the sillier classic Doctor Who serials.

I went to one more panel before lunch, “Life as a Professional Cosplayer,” just because I was curious about how people managed to turn their hobby into a profession. This was the only panel that pretty much filled the room, which seemed like it could accommodate around 20 or 30 people comfortably.

The panel turnouts should have been a clue, but I was surprised how empty the show floor still was after I’d had lunch. I bought art prints from Jim Starlin and Mark McKenna, found a polybag to add to my Star Wars Lego collection, and looked at what everyone else had to offer.

By looking through the tables I discovered just how far out of the anime scene I’ve gotten… I think KonoSuba was the newest show I’d watched, and that’s from almost two years ago at this point.

I hung around for the media guests’ panel in the afternoon, which again was lightly attended. According to the BoroughCon program, the lineup was originally planned to feature Hale Appleman (Elliot on The Magicians), Isaiah Mustafa (Luke Garroway on the recently-cancelled Shadowhunters), and Jamie Chung (Blink on The Gifted.) As it turned out, only Chung made it to the convention. She was joined by Daniel Newman (Daniel in The Walking Dead.)

The panel was planned as a Q&A, but Chung and Newman ended up having a conversation with each other for most of it. And they were awesome. Chung told us about buying comics when she was a kid. She picked based on the cover, then put them away in plastic unread because she didn’t want to mess them up. Since this was the Death of Superman overproduction era, it’s probably pretty safe to open them up to read now.

Chung saw my Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 t-shirt with Groot on it and told us about going for the part of Mantis in the movie. She didn’t get it, but she said she’s ok with that because she’s friends with Pom (Klementieff). I ended up with a unique inscription on my Blink photo when I got Chung’s autograph after the panel.

It ended up being a fun day… I got to see panels I wouldn’t have been able to go to at a larger convention and talk to guests in a way I wouldn’t have if there’d been a bigger crowd. It was a very nice change of pace from New York Comic Con, but I’d have to guess it will be tough to get vendors, artists and guests to come back next year based on the small crowd numbers.

Did you do anything fun this weekend?

Posted in Musings & Rants, Star Wars

A few thoughts about Star Wars #2 (spoilers)

I think I loved the second issue of Marvel’s new Star Wars series more than the first.

We start out with the first real face-to-face meeting between Luke and Vader, and Vader is clearly not impressed.


And that feels right – Luke had a few minutes of lightsaber training with Obi-Wan on the Millenium Falcon, and whatever he managed to figure out on his own after the Battle of Yavin. It’s more remarkable that he hasn’t accidentally cut something important off than it is that he’s completely useless against someone who really knows how to use the Force.

It will be interesting to watch Luke develop even the minimal Jedi skills he possesses at the beginning of the Empire Strikes Back with no teacher to rely on.

Continue reading “A few thoughts about Star Wars #2 (spoilers)”

Posted in Musings & Rants, Star Wars

A few thoughts about Darth Vader #1 (spoilers)

The first issue of Marvel’s second Star Wars title came out yesterday, though Darth Vader’s solo book didn’t garner quite as much hype (or as many alternate covers) as the first issue of the flagship book.

There was a lot that I liked about Kieron Gillen’s story, but this book didn’t capture the “feel” of Star Wars quite as well as the first two issues of the main title.

Continue reading “A few thoughts about Darth Vader #1 (spoilers)”