In this post, from Marvel Comics: Avengers Arena #14 and Young Avengers Volume 1 and from Vertigo: American Vampire: Anthology #1. And you were worried that American Vampire was going on hiatus so Scott Snyder could work on The Wake. And by you I mean me.
Avengers Arena #14 by Dennis Hopeless, illustrated by Kev Walker, cover by Mike Deodato
Genre: Fiction, superheroes, violence, action
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
This issue of Avengers Arena was touted in its description as the start of the final arc of Season One: “Boss Level.” Whatever that means. Since when did comic books get seasons? Will it be taking a break after this issue? Is it going on a hiatus? Is Arcade making this into a reality television series for villains everywhere and this is the end of Season One? Gah! Comic book industry, why must you confuse me so? But seriously, thanks for the New 52 and the Marvel Now idea, I’m getting to access whole new comics that I wouldn’t have even considered before! So good job, but stop with this terminology.
Anyway, the kids are in their 28th day stuck on Murder World and they are in obviously poor spirits because, you know, most of them are probably going to die. While some use this as an advantage to swim in the ocean and have pre-marital sex, still others like Bloodstone are disheartened and seem set on fighting to live. Enter Bloodstone’s tragic backstory and a mysterious mist which will lead lead perfectly into the newest arc. Who will the kids be forced to fight in the Boss Level? And who will be strong enough to survive what’s coming next? Answer: probably a lot of them, because they can’t kill everyone. Right? Right!?!
Young Avengers Volume 1: Style > Substance by Kieron Gillen, illustrated by Jamie McKelvie, cover by Jamie McKelvie
Genre: Fiction, superheroes, action, humor
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
The first thing that drew me to the Young Avengers was the color story, at least on the covers. Fun and minimalistic like Hawkeye but with a distinct hipster vibe that made me think, “Oh, it sure would be fun to read about a group of young superheroes dealing with puberty AND secret identities.” And boy was I right. In this first arc, Wiccan, the son of the Scarlet Witch brings his boyfriend Hulkling’s mom back to life and everything goes to Hell. It turns out she’s actually a parasite who can mind-control all adults, even the Avengers and that doesn’t bold well for our young heroes. As if parents weren’t bad enough, now they’re trying to kill their children in a misguided belief that “parents know best.”
Also in the rotating cast of characters that are part of Bill and Ted’s not-so-excellent adventures are Kid Loki, who uses bacon as a form of divination and says fabulous things like, “Loki’s the bad guy! Sauron multiplied by that anti-Dumbledore guy cubed! His alignment is totally chaotic evil!”, the highly powered Miss America, Hawkeye (not to be confused with Hawkguy) and Marvel Boy (Noh-Varr) the sexy space alien who loves girl bands and attempting to appropriate earthen slang. It’s all pretty awesome. Bonus: the recaps are written in the form of Tumblr dashboards complete with ridiculous tags. Hold me, I think I’m in love!
American Vampire: Anthology #1 by Scott Snyder and etc., illustrated by Rafael Albuquerque and etc., cover by Rafael Albuquerque
Genre: Fiction, vampires, horror, action
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
American Vampire is currently on hiatus, but that didn’t stop author Scott Snyder from putting together this anthology of short stories set within the AV world by comic book powerhouses like Becky Cloonan, Gail Simon, Jeff Lemire and Francesco Francavilla. Seriously impressive. And they come armed with good stories and artwork to match, filling in the gaps Snyder (and Stephen King for that one arc) created with their mythology. You don’t need to have read the rest of the series to understand it, but those of you who have will probably get a little more out of it.
As expected, everyone’s favorite badass vampire Skinner Sweet is there along with your non-American vamp or two but the stories are pretty across the board in terms of subject matter and timeline. We get a possible explanation for empty colonies like Roanoke (no ‘Ghost Shark’ nonsense needed) as well as get answers to some questions in the main series. For example, how does Sweet get lured from the Wild West to Los Angeles, how did vampires come to be involved in the Hollywood film industry, why did Hattie choose to become what she did and that age old question, can a man give himself a blow job? Thanks Gail Simone! I should have known a story of female empowerment would come from your pen.