Markley’s Fevered Brain: What’s New?

Wayne Markley

Wayne Markley


by Wayne Markley

Every month there are a batch of new number ones being released. Almost every publisher is trying new ideas or concepts. Some of them take off and find an audience and some die a quick death. Every once in a while I like to stop and look at these new releases. I should note that all of these books are new releases, not nessarially a new character or concept. Also almost all of these books have no more than four issues out at this point so they are very early in their runs and books I have not cared for may turn around and become great books. I have found books I loved turn south and end up dropping as, over time, I did not continue to enjoy the title. As there are so many new releases every month, even week, this is just a tiny selection of all of the new number ones.

Ghost Rider #1

Ghost Rider #1


First up is Ghost Rider. Now this is at least the fifth (likely more) relaunch of the Ghost Rider character, since Johnny Blaze first appeared as the flaming skull hero in Marvel Spotlight. (Ghost Rider was first a western character dressed all in white, from head to toe, in the 1950s from Magazine Enterprises). The Johnny Blaze Ghost Rider was a stunt motorcycle rider (inspired by Evel Knievel) who makes a deal with the devil to save his girlfriend’s father. Since then there have been at least three other Ghost Riders (and the origin has been revised over the years), all whom have been possessed by the Spirit of Vengeance. Since the early stories, this has become what makes the person who is Ghost Rider who they are, even though the devil still plays into the mythos. The current book revolves around Johnny Blaze, the current ruler of Hell, whose power is being challenged by almost everyone so he has to find new ways to fight off the hoard of challengers. Also, Danny Ketch, the second Ghost Rider, has his own issues. This series is written by Ed Brisson and beautifully drawn by Aaron Kuder. This is a series I am sort of on the fence on, as there are moments of greatness in these early issues, which depends heavily on Ghost Rider’s (Johnny Blaze) recent appearances in other books leading up to this series. The most recent Ghost Rider series prior to this one featured Robbie Reyes, who has not played part of this new series so far. I will keep reading it for now, as it is only four issues in, but in the long term I am not sold on it, at least not yet. A couple of other side notes, Ghost Rider (Robbie Reyes) is also a member of the current lineup of the Avengers (and is far more powerful than ever before) and he was also featured in the fourth season of the TV show, Agents of SHIELD, which was great by the way, and easily the best season of that show.

Metal Men #1

Metal Men #1


Metal Men is a current maxiseries (12 issues) from DC Comics. The Metal Men are a group of five robots built out of specific metals (Gold, Tin, Mercury, Iron, and the only female character, Platinum) built by Wil Magnus. They are lifelike and have personalities and powers that relate to the properties of their namesake metal. They first appeared in Showcase in the mid-1960s followed by their own series that ran till the early 1970s. Since then they have been revived and guest starred in a number of different books and series, none of which really stand out to me. The one exception is the collection of stories from the miniseries Legends of Tomorrow that was written by Len Wein and drawn by Yildiray Cinar. The current series is written by Dan DiDio and drawn by Shane Davis. This series once again focuses on the five metal men and Doc Magnus and introduces Nth Metal Man from the Dark Universe, from the Metal miniseries. I have enjoyed this new series so far as the characters feel like the comic I read in the 1960s and is very much an action packed comic. I do not care for the ties to Metal as I really did not care for that story, even though the events in Metal have defined the modern DC Universe. Thankfully, the Metal aspects of the story are fairly small. My once criticism of the book is it is it feels stretched out and easily could be a six issue series instead of 12. But alas, that is what modern comics are.

Thor #1

Thor #1


Marvel may lead the pack when it comes to new series. Well, relaunching characters over with number ones. One of the most recent character to be relaunched is Thor. After Jason Aaron’s amazing run on the God of Thunder, Donny Cates and Nic Klein have launched a new take on Thor. While I would think following up Aaron’s run would be a near impossible task, Cates has taken Thor in a very different direction, but well with in his wheelhouse. The story opens with Thor as Galactus’ herald. Over the first two issues that are out so far, this is a great book. It is nothing like the preceding run, and I have no idea how we landed up where we are, as Cates drops the reader in the middle of a whole new world for Thor and has not explained any of it yet. But the story so far is action packed and entertaining. I am sucked into this story and I cannot wait to see where this story is going and how it got here. Plus, I really enjoy Klein’s artwork which captures that grandeur of a cosmic story of this nature. A fun read.

Everything

Everything


Finally there is a book from Dark Horse called Everything. It is written by Christopher Cantwell and beautifully drawn by I.N.J. Culbard. This is a series of miniseries (five issues) telling a story of a small town where the center of town is the megastore where you can get everything. (Thus the name of the series, and it is not so loosely based on WalMart). This story tells about the inner workings of the massive retail enterprise that is filled with twists and turns you would not expect. It is a great mix of social commentary and science fiction as there is far more to this retail business than what you see on the surface. I really enjoy this book, even though the sales are really poor. I wish more people would try this book as it is unlike anything currently being published. The writer, Christopher Cantwell, is also the creator and show runner of the television show Halt and Catch Fire.

Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen #7

Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen #7


That is it for this time. There are also a number of other books I should have mentioned but space is limited. I would suggest that you do have a look at DC’s Jimmy Olsen maxiseries by Matt Fraction and Steve Lieber. It is a love letter to DC’s comics from the 1960s while telling a modern story in one of the most creative fashions I have seen in years.

As usual, I would love to hear from you as to what you think of these four books. Have you read them? What books am I overlooking? The first month of 2020 has just concluded and I am sure there are tons of more number ones to come. Based on these four books (even though most of them started in 2019), I am optimistic about the future of modern comics, at least in terms of good reading. All of these thoughts are mine and do not reflect the world of Westfield Comics or their employees. I can be reached at MFBWAY@AOL.COM or on Facebook at Wayne Markley if you wish to disagree with me or make some suggestions! As always…

Thank you.

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