Markley’s Fevered Brain: Hodge Podge

Wayne Markley

Wayne Markley


by Wayne Markley

As a general rule of thumb when I write this blog I try and focus on a specific theme, or creator, or even a publisher.  Not this time. This blog I am going to review a mix of things, some new number ones that just came out (and have gotten to number two so far) but I enjoyed so much I wanted to talk about them. A miniseries that is almost done by the time you read this but again it is so good I wanted to point it out and sing its praises and finally an odd book, that is for younger readers (recommended for 8 and up) but can be enjoyed by anyone. It is also a hybrid of a graphic novel and a prose novel as it uses both text intermixed with sequential comic book pages to create a unique story that is very charming and entertaining.

Avengers #2

Avengers #2


I must admit I have not been thrilled with all of the Avengers titles over the last ten years.  I find there were too many and none of them really thrilled me like the original series did back in the day.  I loved the Roy Thomas/John Buscema and the Steve Englehart runs, as well as Roger Stern’s.  Over the years it seems to me the whole team spirit of the Avengers was lost or diluted.  (Not that there have not been occasional good story arcs.)  Recently Marvel once again started the Avengers over with a new #1. For the record, I have hated this constant restarts of titles, and Marvel may be the worst one at this. But, alas, they have made me eat my words as I love this new version of the Avengers.  It is written by Jason Aaron and drawn by Ed McGuinness and Mark Morales.  It is only two issues in so far but it not only looks amazing, it also has all of the aspects of the Avengers I love.  The first issue is basically Tony (Iron Man) Stark, Steve (Captain America) Rogers and Thor sitting in a bar drinking and discussing what the Avengers were in the beginning and what they should be. While this story is being told once again an earth shattering cosmic threat starts to happen. With the second issue more of the new team is introduced. They are not at this point a cohesive team yet, but all the parts are nicely laid out. The concept of the team is defined, the players are introduced and the Earth needs saving.  This book has rocketed to the top of my must read list with only two issues.  The first issue sold out immediately and went to a second printing so you should be able to still find it.  If all of the Marvel relaunches are like this then I will put away my grudge against them and welcome the new Marvel with open arms.  I should note on the cover of the new issues in the corner box where it says #1 it also has in very small print LGY #691 (Legacy #) for us dweebs that want our original numbering kept around. Well done Marvel.

Analog #1

Analog #1


Analog is a new book from Image from the creative team of Gerry Duggan and David O’Sullivan.  Once again there are only two issue of this book out so far, but I love it, largely because of the premise, but also because of the way the story is told.  The basic story is in 2024 the internet is only for pornography (and how is that different than it is now?) as all secrets, email, documents, everything has been dumped so nothing is saved online any more. This leads to the return to the use of paper and pen to send information and to protect that information, there are “Paper Jockeys” who will deliver your information safely and privately for a price.  Jack McGinnis and his partner Oona are two of the best of these paper jockeys, even though they find themselves constantly being beaten up.   This is the bare bones description of the story as it is far more complex and evolved than my summary.  It is sort of a futuristic crime story, similar to Blade Runner, without the futuristic setting.  As a general rule I have always enjoyed Duggan’s writing, even his Deadpool, a character I am not that fond of, but Duggan’s writing I found to be very funny and creative (well until issue #300 which went too far). Analog is different from his other work as there are no superheroes to be seen.  O’Sullivan’s art is a little less polished than I traditionally like but it works for this story.  There will be a trade collection with the first five issues (which I am guessing is the first story ark) out in the fall. A great read that is a change of pace.

Barrier #1

Barrier #1


Barrier is a five issue miniseries comic by Brian K. Vaughn and Marcos Martin and colors by Muntsa Vicente.  This book was originally published on line by Panelsydicate.com but Image is collecting it into print with this miniseries.  Image has said that these five issues of the comic book will be the only way this book is ever published and will not be collected into a hardcover or trade at any point, which is sort of sad as this is a fantastic story with amazing art and the coloring is as important as the word and lines.  I would love to see a nice hardcover collection in the same format as Vaughn’s and Martin’s also great Private Eye HC.  As with Private Eye, this book is length wise so you have to read it sideways but that in no way takes away from the joy of the story.  Half of the story is also in Spanish which at first glance makes me think you are missing out on a lot of what is being told, as my Spanish is not very good, but the storytelling is so good that even not knowing half the dialogue you can still fully understand what is going on between the two lead characters. I cannot praise this book highly enough and I strongly encourage everyone over eighteen to go buy this book and enjoy the trip.  It is for mature readers due to nudity.  I should also point out I have not discussed the plot at all as I do not want to give anything away.  The meaning of Barrier seems to change with each issue as what I thought it was with issue one had completely changed by issue three.  If the final two issues are half as good as the first three then I think this story will be a true classic. Once again there is nothing (so far) resembling superheroes in this book.

Atomic Frenchie: Sit. Stay. Rule.

Atomic Frenchie: Sit. Stay. Rule.


Next is a book by my old friend Tom Sniegoski and Tom McWeeney.  It is called Atomic Frenchie: Sit. Stay. Rule. This is a young reader’s book, but I think that is for classification more than content, as an old man I thoroughly enjoyed this story and found the story to be very entertaining and a great read.  It is also a bit different as it is mostly prose, like other books in the category, like Diary of a Wimpy Kid, but throughout the book the prose shifts to traditional comic book pages. There is a reason for this and I do not want to give it away. There are also spot illustrations throughout the text sections, and all of the art is in full color. The basic story is about Atomic Frenchie, a French bulldog who has plans to take over the world (don’t all dogs and mice dream of this?) and his plans are thwarted by pesky superheroes.  This book is a fun and light read that will be enjoyed by young readers as well as their parents, or any adult.  Tom has written a number of young adult books, as well as comics, going back to his first foray into anthropomorphic stories, the Swords of Shar-Pei and the Guns of Shar-Pei, comics based on his dogs at the time. As with his earlier stories Tom uses his home turf, New England, for the setting, which he is able to capture perfectly. This is a compact (the size of a traditional young adult book) and a full color hardcover that makes a great gift or just a fun read if you have younger readers or an adult looking for something different for a change.

This is it for this month.  A mix of a little of everything.  From a traditional superhero book to an intended online only book that made its way into print, to a creator owned futuristic tale to a charming and warm all ages book about a villain.  As I opened with, there is no real theme to this blog, except that are all great. As always, I would love to know what you thought of these books. Have you read any of them? Did you like them?  Is there something I am not reading that I should be?  Please let me know.  I can be reached at MFBWAY@AOL.COM or on Facebook at Wayne Markley.  I would also like to offer a tip of the hat to my editor, Roger Ash, for his contributions to my last blog on Disney. He was very helpful with some details I was unaware of and offered invaluable help and he deserves a big thank you. I do not think anything I have written here reflects (or offends) any member of the Westfield staff and all of these words written here are mine and all mine.  As always…

Thank you.

USER COMMENTSOne Response

We'd love to hear from you, feel free to add to the discussion!

  1. Jim Burdo Says:

    You misspelled the panelsyndicate.com link.