The Best Kelley Jones Batman Covers #2

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Today’s article continues the countdown of the ten best Batman covers of Kelley Jones. After a stint as the cover artist for Detective Comics, and then the Batman title, Jones eventually took over interiors of Batman. These runs, along with some various side projects, constitute one of the most dramatic looks the Dark Knight has ever had.

To get caught up on the countdown, check out 10-3 here:

Number 10

https://detective651.wordpress.com/2017/07/26/the-best-kelley-jones-batman-covers-10/

Number 9

https://detective651.wordpress.com/2017/08/02/the-best-kelley-jones-batman-covers-9/

Number 8

https://detective651.wordpress.com/2017/08/09/the-best-kelley-jones-batman-covers-8/

Number 7

https://detective651.wordpress.com/2017/10/04/the-best-kelley-jones-batman-covers-7/

Number 6

https://detective651.wordpress.com/2017/10/11/the-best-kelley-jones-batman-covers-6/

Number 5

https://detective651.wordpress.com/2017/10/18/the-best-kelley-jones-batman-covers-5/

Number 4

https://detective651.wordpress.com/2017/10/25/the-best-kelley-jones-batman-covers-4/

Number 3

https://detective651.wordpress.com/2017/11/10/the-best-kelley-jones-batman-covers-3/

And now the second best Batman cover by Kelley Jones is:

2. Batman: Unseen #2

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The second issue of this mini-series that re-teamed Jones with his Batman collaborator, writer Doug Moench, has the Dark Knight facing off against an invisible foe. Leave it to Jones to depict an invisible man who fades away in layers.

As in sections of the book, here we see Dr. Nigel Glass as only portions of his body’s interior. This is as innovative as an approach to depicting an invisible man as it is gruesome. Which, of course, is right in Jones’ wheelhouse.

Above, Batman is crashing through a window right at him. This is a great Jones depiction of Batman. Here his hands are very claw like and the ears of the cowl are very long, but probably not the most extreme of Jones’. My only complaint here is that so much of the cape is in shadow, that we are robbed of his great detail within it.

Behind them is a mad scientist’s laboratory straight out of James Whale’s Frankenstein. Hearkening back to Jones’ use of older sci-fi elements for mechanical equipment, as discussed previously in this list. The stone walls ascend upwards with the window in the background. Even the container that Glass is raising, filled with a boiling potion, fits in well here.

Unfortunately, the woodcut style moon Jones has depicted here is cut short by the title. While the title graphic and other text on the cover utilize a good choice of fonts, old-school horror/science fiction themed, it is disappointing that we can’t see more of the moon outside.

There is also a great use of color here. The red of Glass’ figure and the title are complimented well by the shades of green in the background. The laboratory equipment with its green variations, along with the olive tone of the stonework behind, help to make this an eye-catching piece.

The blue and yellow of Batman’s costume is also well thought out as these colors are also spread throughout the equipment and the “Mad Science!” text blurb. Therefore, the colors of Batman’s uniform don’t demand your attention and distract from the overall scene. Instead, they work with it and still present an identifiable Batman for the viewer.

Jones really excels at drawing monsters and here is a great example of it. Especially with an “invisible man” character that has been done ad nauseum over the years. While there are some examples in this series of Jones depicting a more traditional or “Universal Monsters” invisible man, they feel more like homages, and less “rip-off”.

All of this helps to make this the second best Batman cover produced by artist Kelley Jones.

Now, while there is only one more cover to go on the countdown, I will probably post a list of honorable mentions that almost made the series first. So be sure to check back to see those and the greatest Kelley Jones Batman cover!

 

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P.S.A.: New Schedule

So, if you’re reading this and were expecting a new post, I apologize. I have been trying to post Monday through Friday again with varying success. Right now though, I have some other commitments that are going to be taking up my time. I have some commissioned work that I need to complete and some other projects I want to work on right now.

In the past when this has come up, I have simply quit posting here. I don’t want to do that this time since it then takes me forever to get back into writing on here again. Along with the aforementioned projects I also work a full-time and part-time job. Therefore, something has to give. While this may seem self-indulgent and silly, I wanted to let you know what was going on.

For the foreseeable future, I plan on posting every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Hopefully this will be a reasonable pace that I can maintain while doing the other things that need done. Afterwards, I should even be able to tell you about what else I am working on!

In the meantime, if there are any kinds of articles you have enjoyed reading here, let me know, and I may do some more like those. As always, feel free to comment here or reach out to my twitter account @detective651.

Again, if you check in here daily, thank you, and be sure to come back Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Thanks for reading!

Captain America #695

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Today I am looking at the first Marvel Legacy issue of Captain America with #695.

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SPOILERS

After writer Mark Waid, and artist, Chris Samnee’s run on Daredevil, there was no way I wasn’t going to pick this up. This is the title that caught my interest the most with Marvel Legacy. I couldn’t wait to check out their take on Captain America, and I wasn’t disappointed.

Following a flag-themed credits/recap page we are given a one page origin recap for Cap. Then, we are thrust into the middle of a fight that Cap had shortly after his return. Facing off against terrorist organization, Rampart, in a small town in Nebraska, Cap saves the day.

Cut to 10 years later (present day) and the town of Burlington, Nebraska now has an annual celebration dedicated to Captain America. Cap arrives in town in his civilian identity of Steve Rogers.

Steve interacts with the residents of Burlington at the fair and hears tales of his exploits as Captain America and what he means to the people there. Astonishingly, Rampart, the group from the flashback, have returned to seek revenge on the citizenry of Burlington. As to be expected, Cap makes short work of them and reveals that he had intelligence that Rampart was looking to strike again, and that was his purpose in coming to town.

The story ends with the townspeople thanking him for saving them once again, and Cap counters with an inspirational speech about how they are also heroes.

This appears to be a done-in-one tale, but the title on the cover reads “Home of the Brave Part 1.” On the last page it reads “the end”, so I’m unsure if this is one story or part of a larger one. Again, don’t confuse me if I’m reading part 1 or something else, Marvel. The letters page shows that he next issue features the Swordsman, so I feel like that is a new story.

At the end of the issue, there is a 3 page origin by Robbie Thompson and Valerio Schiti. While I have enjoyed these in the other Marvel Legacy issues, it seems out-of-place in this one. Remember Waid and Samnee did their own origin retelling on page one. While Thompson and Schiti take 3 pages to tell essentially the same information here.

The Marvel Value Stamp that is included with this issue is of Iron Man. I believe that the binders for these have now been released, but I’m still not sure what the endgame with collecting these are. Unless, Marvel assumed comic collectors really wanted to collect stamps also.

All in all, this is a great issue. Waid and Samnee together again telling a great superhero story. Plus, they are telling it about Captain America. When I was growing up, no one thought Cap would ever be a character that was “cool” or anyone would really care about. Not like they did other top characters of the day. The fact that Marvel has been able to turn Captain America into a meaningful character (and movie star!) over the past decade and a half is an accomplishment.

This will be a book that I continue to pick up, probably for the duration of Waid and Samnee’s run on the character.

Check back later for my take on another Marvel Legacy title.

 

The Best Kelley Jones Batman Covers #3

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This post is continuing my look at the ten best Batman covers of Kelley Jones. After a stint as the cover artist for Detective Comics, and then the Batman title, Jones eventually took over interiors of Batman. These runs, along with some various side projects, constitute one of the most dramatic looks the Dark Knight has ever had.

The number three cover is:

3. Detective Comics #663

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The final entry on the list from the Knightfall storyline, Detective Comics #663, is a terrifying cover. “Batman in the sewers” is a scene that has been depicted on Batman covers almost since the beginning. None of those other covers were as horrifying as this one though.

Being swept away by the water, with his head barely sticking out. What little of him that is above it is crawling with rodents. As awful as that would be, what really stuck out for me with this piece originally was the water running into his open mouth. I can’t recall another comic cover that has a character where this specifically is happening. Of course there have been numerous depictions of characters in danger of drowning, but none so visceral as this. Everyone can relate to the feeling of losing their breath underwater and the panic that sets in.

While it’s not uncommon to see rats in sewer scenes, Jones has made the innovation of having them climb all over Batman’s face. As if almost being drowned wasn’t enough, Jones decided to add to the distress by having the only part of him above water crawling with vermin. Keep in mind that there aren’t one or two, Jones has placed 6 rats that we can see here. Presumably, there are a couple more on the other side. Struggling against the sewer water, gasping for air, and rats, climbing over each other, on his head.

With the rats covering his face, the rising water (which is taking up a majority of the cover), and the darkness beyond, Batman’s fate looks grim. By only showing the face, it’s left up to the readers to determine what is happening with the rest of the body. What condition is he in here? Is he bound? Paralyzed? Whatever the answer, it appears that he is almost done for here. While even the least jaded reader can assume that is not the case, Jones’ cover makes a compelling argument for it.

The specific situation that Jones has constructed here is relatable to the viewer. While, hopefully, none of us have ever, or will ever, be in this predicament, we can all relate to it. The fear of drowning and the danger of rats is something that almost, if not all, of us can associate with. This is not some far-flung, elaborate death trap. This is a scenario that you could possibly find yourself in, and is all the more terrifying because of it.

Only 2 covers to go!

If you want to get caught up on the countdown, check out the previous entries here:

Number 10

https://detective651.wordpress.com/2017/07/26/the-best-kelley-jones-batman-covers-10/

Number 9

https://detective651.wordpress.com/2017/08/02/the-best-kelley-jones-batman-covers-9/

Number 8

https://detective651.wordpress.com/2017/08/09/the-best-kelley-jones-batman-covers-8/

Number 7

https://detective651.wordpress.com/2017/10/04/the-best-kelley-jones-batman-covers-7/

Number 6

https://detective651.wordpress.com/2017/10/11/the-best-kelley-jones-batman-covers-6/

Number 5

https://detective651.wordpress.com/2017/10/18/the-best-kelley-jones-batman-covers-5/

Number 4

https://detective651.wordpress.com/2017/10/25/the-best-kelley-jones-batman-covers-4/

 

 

Inktober 2017: Week 4 Part 2

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Finally closing out my drawings for Inktober 2017 with this final article.

If you want to check out the previous weeks work, they are here:

WEEK 1

https://detective651.wordpress.com/2017/10/12/inktober-2017-week-1/

WEEK 2

https://detective651.wordpress.com/2017/10/17/inktober-2017-week-2/

WEEK 3

https://detective651.wordpress.com/2017/10/23/inktober-2017-week-3/

WEEK 4 PART 1

https://detective651.wordpress.com/2017/11/06/inktober-2017-week-4-part-1/

Now onto the final entries.

DAY 27

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This is a random monster that I drew on this day. I couldn’t come up with a good idea, and the prompts weren’t helping. At this point, the month-long exercise was starting to wear me down. Drawing this was sort of a palette cleanser and helped me get something out for this day.

DAY 28

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The theme for this day was “fall.” Now, while they might have meant the season, I instead decided to depict the “fall” of Bruce Wayne into Batman. Showing him in the cave he fell into as a child, bats swirling above him. I like how this one came out, but like most of them, I feel like it would be better if I had more time to develop it. That’s really the hardest part of Inktober, the daily deadlines.

DAY 29

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CROOOOW! Last year, I drew Tom Servo and Gypsy from Mystery Science Theater 3000. So, I decided I should draw Crow this year. I thought it would be fun to show Crow in his seat in the theater with the movie being projected overhead. This may be a concept I go back to, showing the others in the theater as well. This one was also my most liked on Twitter this year.

DAY 30

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I had been watching Dr. Gangrene’s YouTube channel all month as he had a daily countdown of horror anthology films. Since I had drawn horror host, Svengoolie, last year for Inktober, I thought I should do Dr. Gangrene this time. When I posted this on Twitter, Dr. Gangrene himself liked it, so I’ll take that as a compliment for this one.

DAY 31

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The theme for October 31 was “mask.” As soon as I saw that I knew what I would be drawing, Batman. I started the month with a Batman drawing and wanted to end it with one. I wanted to use techniques I had used over the course of the month. So, the inkwash, red ink, and white out pen all came into play with this one. Even though I was tired at this point, I really wanted this one to come out well and end the month on a high note. I feel like I accomplished that.

Well, thanks for putting up with me and checking out my drawings for this year’s Inktober challenge. Hopefully, you enjoyed it and it wasn’t too self indulgent on my part.

If you want to see other things I intermittently work on, you can follow my Twitter account @detective651. Occasionally, I post other projects I’m working on that may not be viable for an article here. Also, sketches and other random stuff when I’m not smarting off online.

 

Brian Michael Bendis Goes to DC

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Yesterday, via Twitter, DC Comics announced that longtime (17 years!) Marvel writer, Brian Michael Bendis has signed an exclusive contract and will be working for them.

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Bendis later confirmed with this.

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I am a huge fan of Bendis’ run on Ultimate Spider-Man with Mark Bagley and am looking forward to see what he does. So far, nothing has been announced in the way of what he will be doing for DC. Of course, I have no inside information on what Bendis could be writing for DC. Therefore, I am listing 5 projects I would like to see Bendis do at DC. I’m aware that this isn’t the only website doing this right now, but here are my picks.

5. Plastic Man

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While not as high-profile as some of the other entries on this list, I think it would be interesting to see what Bendis could do with Plastic Man. During his tenure on Spider-Man, Bendis showed how he can write a fun character. That is a necessity for a book starring the malleable hero. Plus, a character that doesn’t have a supporting cast or rogues gallery that is set in stone could be a blank slate for Bendis to create. Since there was talk of Ethan Van Sciver doing a title starring Plas a few years ago, I say team them up together on this book.

4. Vertigo

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Bendis has long maintained a number of creator owned projects, and you have to assume he is still interested in concepts that he has created. I’m thinking of a new concept along the lines of Jinx or Torso that could fit in under the roof of Vertigo. Even though he seems to only be interested in working with Scott Snyder right now, I would suggest Greg Capullo as the artist.

3. Batman

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It seems unlikely that if Bendis is jumping ship to DC for a multi-year deal that he won’t cross paths with the Dark Knight eventually. Dan Didio has stated before that he uses the appeal of Batman to bring in new talent. Perhaps that’s what he did here. Bendis’ long run on Daredevil surely shows that he is up to the task of taking on DC’s premier vigilante. Frank Miller spoke in an interview about his time on Daredevil, that occasionally, Marvel would shoot down an idea because that was a “Batman story.” Surely someone who worked on Daredevil as long as Bendis has many Batman stories to tell. Perhaps we would also get some new, memorable villains from him. Since I have suggested him previously on here, I would choose Howard Porter as the artist for this hypothetical title.

2. Justice League

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After his lengthy run on Avengers for Marvel, it’s a no-brainer that Bendis will tackle the Justice League at some point. It also makes sense that DC would want him on a high-profile book when he comes over. At DC, it doesn’t get much more high profile than the JLA, especially with the new movie coming out. For the artist on the book I would select Stjepan Sejic. With the amazing art he is currently producing on Aquaman, it would be a waste if DC didn’t move him up to bigger projects over time.

1. Booster Gold

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Yeah, I said it, Booster Gold. Look at what former Marvel-writer-turned-DC Geoff Johns did when he got ahold of the character. This could be fun, fast-paced book that explores the entire DC Universe. Allowing Bendis to play with loads of characters he may not be able to otherwise in a solo character title. Sort of a time-travelling take on his Ultimate Spider-Man run where Peter teamed up with other heroes on a regular basis. Speaking of Ultimate Spider-Man, I would choose longtime collaborator, Mark Bagley to helm this with Bendis. After DC’s mishandling of Bagley during his time at the company, he is deserved a do-over. Working again with Bendis on a lighthearted adventure book would be a good way to go.

As I said above, I have no idea what Brian Michael Bendis will be working on for DC Comics. Hopefully, he will be a good fit for the company and be allowed to create. Given the right circumstances, there’s no reason he couldn’t stay at DC for the next 17 years.

Black Panther #166

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Today’s I fall further down the Marvel Legacy rabbit hole with Black Panther #166.

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SPOILERS

With the upcoming solo film for Black Panther, aided by some awesome trailers, I figured this would be an issue that Marvel had a lot invested in for the future of the character.

Right off there is a great cover by Brian Stelfreeze. I’m a big fan of his Batman covers from the ’90’s. That lead me to wonder why he’s not painting these covers like the did those, back in the day. This technique is fine too, but I am always going to wonder how it would look if he painted it.

Inside is the standard Marvel recap and credits pages. Here, though, everything is presented in a stark black and white. These two pages are the best I have seen so far from Marvel for these intros.

Now the cover lists the title of this story as ” Klaw Stands Supreme Part 1″, but inside the story is “Avengers of the New World Part 7.” So is this part one of a new storyline or part 7 of on already in progress? Don’t kick off your jumping on point for new readers by putting them in the middle of a tale, and then confusing them even further. According to the credits here, this issue is written by Ta-Nehisi Coates and drawn by Leonard Kirk and Marc Deering.

The story starts off with some flashbacks about Klaw and his sister. In fact, that is the majority of this issue. Klaw is shown robbing an A.I.M. facility and setting up his current scheme. Interwoven are snippets of the abusive childhood that him and his sister had.

Interestingly, there is a reference to Klaw’s first appearance in the Fantastic Four title. Here the caption box informs readers to check it out on Marvel Unlimited. This is the first time I have seen that done in a book. Since I have a subscription to it, I could totally do that and get more on Klaw that way. I didn’t while I was reading this, but it is a sign of changing times that Marvel would include that in the physical issue.

There is also some setup for Klaw’s antagonistic relationship with Black Panther. However, there is no Black Panther in this issue until the last page! For a book that is supposed to be a jumping on point for new readers, and getting them interested in the title, that seems like an odd choice.

Why would I be interested in Black Panther after reading this? If this were a book starring Klaw that would be another story. This single issue does feel like it is part 7 of a larger storyline with this part focusing on Klaw, but why make that your intro issue?

 

I’ve heard good things about Coates writing on this series, but give me more T’Challa to read. Despite being a classic Marvel villain, Klaw is not going to be enough to get me to pick up another issue.

Following the main story, there is a 3 page origin by Robbie Thompson and Wilfredo Torres. These 3 short pages tell you more about the Black Panther than the rest of the book does. Again, it would be nice if Marvel could figure out some way to incorporate these with the intro recap/credit pages in the front. You can’t tell me that the majority of comic book readers aren’t skipping over pages of text at the beginning, especially if it’s info they already have from previous installments. Make them more interesting by combining them with these origins.

This installment of the Marvel Value Stamp here is Black Bolt. Again, no bonus digital book that you get with this one. Perhaps that incentive is over now.

Overall, this is a decent issue. However, it is seemingly one chapter in a larger story that the reader comes into in the middle. Along with the bare minimum of Black Panther in this makes this title a pass for me. If you want a good Klaw story that gives more background on him, then pick this up. That’s not enough for me to get another title though.

Check back later for my take on another Marvel Legacy title.

Inktober 2017: Week 4 Part 1

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Wrapping up this year’s Inktober challenge, where a participant draws something every day for the month of October, here is the start of the final week for me.

If you want to check out the previous weeks work, they are here:

WEEK 1

https://detective651.wordpress.com/2017/10/12/inktober-2017-week-1/

WEEK 2

https://detective651.wordpress.com/2017/10/17/inktober-2017-week-2/

WEEK 3

https://detective651.wordpress.com/2017/10/23/inktober-2017-week-3/

Now onto the last week.

DAY 22

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For this day, I decided to depict a zombie wrestler. The Walking Dead season premier and the WWE pay-per-view, TLC were on that night, so I  mashed them up into this. I didn’t want to draw a faceless crowd. Instead, I decided to show a far off door in the distance. Putting the viewer in the path of the zombie, with escape far away, through the darkness. I wish I had done more to make him sickly looking. More gray tone in the skin maybe. I chose the wounds on his face from old wrestling stories. The forehead gash of wrestler’s cutting themselves with razor blades to produce blood during a match. Also the dangling eye, from a story Mick Foley told in his first book, about old-time wrestlers dealing with people in bar fights trying to take the wrestlers down.

DAY 23

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Next, I drew Mr. Freeze. Another Batman themed piece, I got the idea after seeing my Funko Pop Mr. Freeze on the shelf. I liked the idea of Freeze in a snow drift. Also, I wanted to make the snow blowing through the air with a dry brush. Looking back, I should have reworked the lighter section on the bottom of his freeze gun. It looks like four fingers holding the gun, when it’s actually a part of the mechanism. Now that’s all I see.

DAY 24

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The theme for this day was “blind”. Therefore, I chose to draw the blind superhero, Daredevil. I had a few different ideas on how to depict him. Then I had the idea of his coming up behind Kingpin. When I was envisioning the scene, I thought it would look good to show the point-of-view from within the fireplace. Here, Fisk, unaware of Matt Murdock stalking him, is also “blind”. I really like how the flames and the shading came out on this one.

DAY 25

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Probably due to all the hype surrounding the Thor: Ragnarok movie and having just read Thor 700 (my thoughts here: https://detective651.wordpress.com/2017/10/26/mighty-thor-700/) I chose to do a picture of Thor. I really like how the lightning came out here. I wasn’t sure if it would work the way I wanted. Also, the pose as I had originally envisioned it, seemed boring. Looking at this now, I wish I had depicted him with his mouth open, teeth gritted. That’s just how he looks when I glance at this now, and I feel he should be doing that.

DAY 26

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I’m really enjoying The Orville. As far as I’m concerned it’s the best Star Trek show on now. Even though it seems to be pretty divisive between Trekkies, I think it’s great sci-fi. I decided to draw Bortus from the show here. While I was not going for a strict likeness here, I wanted to give more of a caricature of the character, I feel like I should have gotten closer to how the actor looks.

Next time, I will take a look at my final 5 entries for this year’s Inktober drawing challenge.

 

 

DIY MST3K Halloween Marathon

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With Turkey Day right around the corner, but not near enough, I present a selection of Mystery Science Theater 3000 episodes for a hypothetical marathon. I will be working on Halloween, but that shouldn’t stop you from bingeing MST3K and rubbing it in my face. These picks are meant to be appropriate for the day, but hopefully won’t rush the Halloween season.

5. Revenge of the Creature #801

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This inaugural entry from the show’s time on the Sci-Fi channel is a great start to a marathon. Featuring one of the great monsters from Universal, this one was a shock to appear on the show at the time. This movie isn’t terrible and is a great episode in general. A good way to ease into a day of bad movies with Mike and the bots. Right now this episode is available to view on YouTube.

4. The Killer Shrews #407

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A small band of people are stranded on an island under attack by huge, mutated shrews and not costumed dogs, honestly. This calibre of movie is closer to the typical fare for MST3K. It’s also a good one with monsters for the spirit of the holiday. A solid outing for the Joel era on Comedy Central. Hulu and Shout Factory’s site both have this one. It also seems to be one that runs regularly on the Pluto app, so maybe you’ll luck out.

3. Werewolf #904

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Another Mike show about a bunch of “totally American” archaeologists and Martin Sheen’s brother being hunted down by of course, a werewolf. This is a highpoint of the Sci-Fi run. An inept take on a classic monster archetype. You can see this one on Netflix.

2. Bride of The Monster #423

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The “classic” Ed Wood film about mad scientist Bela Lugosi and Tor Johnson and their crazy hi-jinks.  A great episode from Joel’s tenure on the show. Basically, this is the kind of movie you picture when you think of Mystery Science Theater 3000. The show was really hitting it’s stride during these years and it shows here. Currently this is also on Hulu and the Shout Factory TV site (which is free, btw).

1. Yongary: Monster From The Deep #1109

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After alternating your day with classic Joel and Mike shows, finish up with one featuring the new host, Jonah. Among the newest season, this is a highlight. A Korean take on the Godzilla theme, this is a fun one. Since this one is on Netflix, watching it might help towards getting another season! Have a great time and help to ensure future episodes of a great series.

If you manage to watch all these together, I hope you will have had a good time. There are other episodes that are “scarier” or maybe fit better with a Halloween theme (Hobgoblins), but I think as a group, this is a strong series of shows.

Of course, like Turkey Day marathons, I have decided to alternate between Joel and Mike ones and now Jonah. Hopefully, this year’s (I presume) marathon will take a similar approach. In the meantime, this should be a good warm up for you and hold you over until Thanksgiving.

Mighty Thor #700

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Today I wade further into the depths of Marvel Legacy with the anniversary Mighty Thor #700.

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SPOILERS

Renumbering for this title seems inevitable as the book climbed to number 700. Towards the back of the book, on the page with the digital code, there is a breakdown of how the numbering works here. I’ve heard online that the math doesn’t really work out for this, but I’m not going to double-check it. I feel like there’s a conflict with the ’90’s Journey Into Mystery series, like there’s some overlap with that numbering and Thor’s. Not sure how that works out.

Issue 700 here is written by Jason Aaron and drawn by a slew of artists. Way too many to list here.

Inside, is the typical recap page detailing how Jane Foster is the current wielder of the hammer and her recent troubles with Malekith. There is also mention of how Jane is currently battling cancer. The title of this storyline, “The Death of the Mighty Thor”, does not bode well for her character.

On the most recent episode of the Campus Comics Cast, Scott Reed, one of the co-hosts, pointed out that Marvel tends to not treat the Big C lightly. This may be leading up to Jane Foster being gone for real following this tale. If you would like to check out the podcast (and hear my great voice), it is available here: http://www.burgcomics.com/

The story starts with a big splash page of Walter Simonson’s Thor. This is a great way to kick off this anniversary issue. Simonson had a great run on Thor and to include so many artsits, precludes his being involved. If not, his absence would be noticed.

“Classic”, but currently “Unworthy” Thor is talking to Karnilla, Queen of the Norns, about the threat of Malekith and other recent events. Honestly, this portion of the story is filled with things that relate to what has been going on in the book. I have not been reading Thor, so a lot of this is going over my head and is hard to keep up with. (Thor has a dog?) While this is probably relevant to the monthly readers, it’s not really convincing me to be engaged with this title.

There are several other plots running through the issue. The one that stands out, and should, is Jane Foster Thor fighting She-Hulk. She-Hulk, now grey and covered in glowing green cuts (?) or wounds of some kind. It is an interesting look for the character, but definitely not the classic She-Hulk I’m familiar with.

It turns out that Jennifer Walters was in the same hospital that Jane Foster was receiving her cancer treatments in and hulked out. Jane then has to convert to the mighty Thor and stop her rampage through the streets. Plus, seeing Daniel Acuna draw this section just makes me regret DC losing him after his great run on the Flash.

This is the best story in the book. My problem is that it should have been the focus of the issue.  I realize that this is a milestone issue and they want to celebrate that. There are subplots of other “Thors” throughout.

Apparently, Volstagg has gained the hammer of the Thor from the now defunct Ultimate universe. When he wields this Mjolnir he transforms into the War Thor. It seems that things went bad for him with this and he is almost addicted to the hammer. Similar to how the One Ring affects characters in the Lord of the Rings. I am a big fan of Ultimate Thor and so it’s cool to see that hammer here, and it seems to be something interesting for Volstagg.

Another subplot centers around a younger version of Thor with some fun moments. King Thor from the future and his granddaughters make an appearance. Galactus, now fused with the weapon of Gorr the God Butcher, has a great fight with Ego, the living planet. Loki spends some time with his biological father, Laufey. Malekith and Thanos both check in near the end to be all foreshadowy. Notably, Thanos is shown in love with Hela here. This seems to confirm rumors about their roles in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Throg, the frog Thor, has his own story that ties into Jane Foster’s fight with She-Hulk. In the end, Throg comes to Thor’s aid.

Unworthy Thor Odinson fight a whole mess of monsters and during the course of the battle, there is a nice two page spread of hints to upcoming stories. What readers online seem to have picked up on is a new uniform for Thor Odinson, with a shiny new gold arm and Mjolnir.

The gold Mjolnir reminds me of Beta Ray Bill’s hammer, Stormbreaker. Speaking of which, where the hell is the horse-faced alien? With all this focus on alternate Thors, why is he absent? I’m not sure what his current status is in the Marvel universe, but at the least a flashback. And why no Eric Masterson? Again, even a flashback if you have to.

Speaking of things missing, with all of the artists involved, where is Chris Samnee? Samnee had a great run on the short lived Thor: The Mighty Avenger a few years ago. This was one of my favorite runs of the character and it would have been nice to see his work here. One of the issues of this run was featured here as my first Breather Book. https://detective651.wordpress.com/2016/04/11/breather-books-thor-the-mighty-avenger-4/

Aaron’s story ends with Volstagg, again War Thor being drawn to Mangog, the threat alluded to in the Marvel Legacy special. Sidenote: Mangog kills Toothgnasher, the goat, and that is not cool. Again, a beloved character being killed off just to heighten the threat of the villain.

After the massive main story, there is another 3 page origin by Robbie Thompson and Valerio Schiti. The pages tell Jane Foster’s backstory and how she came to be Thor. It is done in a great, concise way that tells the reader all they need to know about the character. I know I’m starting to harp on about this, but these should be the opening of the issues. I know they’re not going to do it. I also know that I’m not going to shut up about it.

The Marvel Value Stamp that comes with this book is Spider-Man. Again, it appears that there is no bonus digital book that you get with this one. At least, there is not another one listed like they typically do.

This oversized (and pricier) anniversary issue has a lot for longtime Thor fans. It celebrates the multiple iterations of the character and sets things up for the near future. However, I was really hoping for a bigger page count for Jane Foster. This is the version that I keep hearing about and was hoping to see more of here. Unfortunately, it appears that her days are numbered so that may be why this is the case.

I haven’t picked up Thor on a regular basis for awhile. In fact, I think the last time was the above mentioned, Thor: The Mighty Avenger series. If Jane Foster is on her way out, there’s probably no reason for me to pick this up again.

Check back soon for my look at another Marvel Legacy title.