Friday, August 19, 2011

Christos Gage, Avengers Academy And More

In Trouble
In my opinion the Avengers franchise is in trouble.  Brian Michael Bendis took it upon himself to extend his artistic license into the realm of a complete retcon or reboot.  That "Oral History Of The Avengers" running through some of the Avengers titles was absolutely rife with errors, mistakes, oversights and complete flubs.

One camp is arguing that he's simply trying to leave his mark on the title. Fair enough, however I counter that with Frank Miller's run on Daredevil.  Did he completely re-write Murdock's history?  No.  He wrote good stories...and that's all Bendis had to do. Come on Bendis...I've read Torso, Goldfish and Jinx. You're better than this.

It feels like 75% of Marvel readers don't read anything other than Marvel or DC so when I bring up these titles most people don't even know what I'm talking about...and those books are his best, most amazing amd imaginative stuff out there.  This Avengers crap, which seems to be flying off the shelves, is fluff...and lining the pockets of people insulting your intelligence. And The Hood with the GemstonesSeriously? Instead, he twisted everything around to make it fit what he had in mind, and Romita Jr. has been mailing in all that horrible art.  I hear someone else is coming on board but to quote a famous prince, "The play's the thing".  It's Bendis' storytelling that I need to be good enough to drop close to a fin on the table to buy and read.  And right now, they're 50 cent bin books.

Enough bashing...there's so much good stuff out there right it's a great time to be reading comics.  From Skullkickers to Walking Dead, from the brand new Hickman title Red Wing to Gladstone's, from Venom, Punisher & Thunderbolts to Morning Glories, The Mission, Haunt and Chew.  Not to mention the astounding Moon Knight (even though it's Bendis), Batman: The Dark Knight and PunisherMAX, Uncanny X-Force to the upcoming new DC titles.

Prominently pictured Moon Knight and Nova
But there's one single title out there right now that has quickly risen to the top.  When I was drowning in a sea of crappy JRJR art in 1,499 different Avengers titles I tried to pick one with the coolest lineup.  I read them all but Secret Avengers seemed like it was going to be the best.  Promsing Moon Knight & Nova (just look at the cover) yet left completely disrespected and sparsely used.  I'm an Avengers guy before anything else (in the MU at least).  Not X-books.  Avengers.  So I was quite saddened by the current quality yet excessive quantity of Avengers titles.

One day I happened upon issue number 1 of Avengers Academy.  Man, oh man was I happy to see that.

Obviously this book stuck out from the rest just because it didn't have some boring, retread cover by JRJR.  But the most important factor that made the book pop off the shelves to me was the writer, Christos Gage.  You may know Christos Gage from his Avengers Initiative run. Christos Gage picked up Initiative after Dan Slott, yes THAT Dan Slott who is currently writing one of the most epic ASM storylines of all time.

Anyway, I picked up Academy knowing I'd be reading the origins of some future heroes (and villains) of the MU.  And I knew those origins would be complex, written with heart and realism like no other writer right now - and I've been hooked since.  Collecting variant covers, seeking out signatures and basically decorating my office with Academy books.  Yes, it's that good, imo.

Nicole Sixx from Womanthology & with Christos Gage.
Christos Gage is incredible.  From his work on video games, to Law & Order to independent works like Absolution which was friggin amazing the guy simply doesn't dissappoint.

He doesn't know how. It's not in his make up and it's not even in his vocabulary.  His Home Front tie-ins to Fear Itself are outstanding...if you've followed Robbie Baldwin, aka Speedball aka Pennance then Home Front is for you as well.

Even if you haven't, Gage's writing stands on it's own, he could be writing about anyone and he just nails it. Pick up stuff with his name on it. It's impossible to be let down.

And that's a promise from me...Comics Nut.  Everyone knows my word is gospel.

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