Archives for July 2013

The Paragon of Animals – A review

paragon-animals-scott-bachmann-paperback-cover-artby Aaron Einhorn
The Paragon of Animals is the debut novel by Scott Bachmann, an Ohio native author. On the surface, the story is quite simple; a “Freaky Friday” set-up where the Paragon (this world’s Superman pastiche) meets with his greatest fan, one Liza Lang, and the two end up switching bodies. Liza and the Paragon both must figure out how to get back into their own bodies, all while maintaining the fiction that each one is who they’re pretending to be.

Sounds simple, doesn’t it? Goofy even. There’s a reason that when this kind of story is made into a film, it’s usually a screwball comedy, and the differences between the two swapped individuals is as extreme as possible, all to play with audience expectations. And it’s no great stranger to superhero stories either. Body-swap stories show up in comics and cartoons all the time. In fact, the current Ultimate Spider-Man cartoon has done it more than once in its three seasons.

What Bachmann does that is unexpected is that he doesn’t play it for laughs. Oh, there are comedic moments, to be sure. Liza’s first experience trying to use the restroom as a man is both funny and deeply uncomfortable, and several of the characters (most notably the fire-wielding Cinaed) have a wonderful dry wit. But the story is not a comedy.

To begin with, Liza’s discomfort is very real, and she quickly realizes that lives are at stake. It might have been tempting for Bachmann to write several scenes where Liza’s inexperience with using her powers leads to disaster and destruction, but he avoids this, fortunately for the denizens of his world. Instead, Liza struggles to learn how to be the best possible hero, and the audience follows her along on this journey.

Just as significantly, Bachmann plays against expectations with the character of John West, the current Paragon. He’s the current Paragon because there have been two Paragons before him. The power of the Paragon, unique among “Outlier” abilities (Bachmann’s term for superpowers) is one that can be passed on from one person to another. But West, while he may fit the “Paragon” archetype, is no hero. He fights crime, stops disasters and saves lives, but he is also manipulative, deceitful, rude, petty, chauvinistic and completely untrustworthy. No member of his team can consider him a friend, and in fact many members of the team actively dislike the Paragon.

Liza quickly realizes that there is much more at stake than simply trying to return to her own body, and finds herself literally trying to save the world, and the audience get swept up for the ride.

The Paragon of Animals establishes a larger world with super powered individuals, which Bachmann has continued to explore. There are two comics that expand on this world, Raymond Hardcase, which tells the story of the Defense Force following the events of the book, and Our Supermom, which shows us where Liza ends up a decade or so after the novel. Both comics have print editions available, with trade paperbacks collecting the runs expected this fall. There is an RPG manual (authored by myself) in the works, and a sequel to The Paragon of Animals is due out in the fall of 2013. You can examine these other works at ScottComics.

Now, all this praise aside, that doesn’t mean that The Paragon of Animals is a perfect book. Bachmann’s writing can be clumsy in places, and transitions are often not as clear as they should be. His grammar and punctuation are not the cleanest, and the first edition of the novel (it is currently on its Second Printing, with a Third Edition slated to come out at the same time as the sequel, To Thine Own Self Be True) had numerous typos within the book.

Bachmann is also still clearly an inexperienced novelist. The pacing of the book is somewhat uneven, and some characters never rise beyond the level of stereotypes.

All of these criticisms aside, The Paragon of Animals is an incredibly fun ride, and Bachmann shows promise as a writer. The issues I mention above are ones that will be corrected with experience, and never keep one from enjoying reading the work. So, while it may be a flawed novel, it’s one that should excite the reader to see future works from this author.

The Paragon of Animals is available in both print ($7.49) and for Kindle ($2.99) at Amazon.com.

Disclosure: Scott Bachmann is a close friend, which probably biases my opinion. On the other hand, I have other friends who are writers whose work I have not enjoyed. Scott did not ask me to write a review, nor did he have any preconceived expectations of a positive one. I was not compensated for the review, although I did receive a copy of the book as a gift.

What Comes After Nobody’s Hero

by Aaron Einhorn
If you don’t know me personally, but have just stumbled across this blog somehow, you may not realize I’ve written a superheroic novel titled Nobody’s Hero, the story of Delia Blake, the daughter of two of the world’s greatest heroes who desperately does not want to follow in their footsteps. Hiding her own super abilities and keeping secrets from her friends and her superpowered ex-boyfriend, Delia has to learn to accept her own role as a hero before the heroes of her parents’ generation are wiped out.

It’s been read by several of my friends, and the response has been good enough that after I get some edits back, I’m going to begin shopping it around to agents and publishers. But while I wait for editors to return Nobody’s Hero, I’m trying to determine what to do with the sequel, because I really need to be writing something right now. I had originally thought I would do a different book for each member of the “Teen Trio,” (who will need a new name now that Delia is a part of the group), meaning I would next do a book from Mandy’s POV, then Jack, then Rob. I’d also considered writing a book focusing on Joe and Glitch. But ultimately, I think that sticking with Delia as a narrator would be better for series potential.

My problem being that I can’t figure out what the central conflict of the book should be about. Because “Nobody’s Hero” isn’t about the superheroic fights. It isn’t even really about who is killing the older generation of heroes. That’s just the backdrop behind Delia’s acceptance of herself as a hero, which is what the book is about. In much the same way that Nero’s defeat is a foregone conclusion in Star Trek, once Kirk has claimed the mantle of leadership and united with Spock; the defeat of the villain in Nobody’s Hero is a foregone conclusion once Delia has accepted herself as a hero.

So, writing the heroic action for the sequel? So not worried about that. I can create a villain and write some good action scenes. What I need is to figure out Delia’s journey for the book, and that’s what I’m just not sure about.
I kind of think that if Book One is about accepting her role as a hero, Book Two needs to be about finding out who *she* is, not defining herself as her parents’ daughter, or as Jack’s girlfriend. She needs to be Delia Blake, Miracle, not the child of Bobby Blaze and Winged Virtue, or the significant other of Jack Flash; which possibly means looking at graduating High School and deciding on college – especially since that’s the topic of discussion in the epilogue. Having her *personally* dealing with the challenges of superheroic life, the excuses, the missing classes and appointments, etc., will also have to factor significantly.

So, I’ve got lots of ideas, but I lack that central thread to tie it all together. Ah, the joys of being a writer.

Nightcrawler Returns in Amazing X-Men #1

AMAZINGXMEN_1_COVERby Aaron Einhorn
So, in additional post-SDCC news releases from Marvel, a new X-title has been revealed, Amazing X-Men #1, from the creative team of Jason Aaron and Ed McGuinness. In and of itself, this is kind of cool. Aaron is a hell of a writer, and McGuinness has a nice, solid, unique style that is a fan favorite. I’ve always dug it on some books, even as I’ve hated it on others.

The team line-up for this title is ok, consisting of Wolverine, Storm, Beast, Ice Man (and more). I’m not thrilled about other X-team that is focused around Wolverine, but considering he was just kicked out of the Avengers (at least for now), I can live with that. Storm should be busy enough in Brian Wood’s X-Men, and Beast and Ice Man are certainly not being underused in All-New X-Men, but fine, whatever.

But the the plotline kind of, I dunno, irks me.

So, the team is going “beyond the grave” (Marvel’s words) to reclaim Kurt Wagner’s soul (and to presumably bring him back to life). The press release goes on to say:

When Nightcrawler sacrificed his life to protect mutantkind in the cataclysmic Second Coming, a hole was left in the X-Men’s rank that has never been filled. Not a day goes by when any of the X-Men does not mourn the “heart and soul” of the their family—and now they’re going to do something about it!

The heart and soul of the X-Men? Really? I mean, don’t get me wrong, Kurt was well-loved. Heck, I love him and have even considered doing him as a costume down the line. But the heart and soul of the X-Men? Couldn’t that term be equally applied to, I dunno, Jean? Or the Professor? If one of the team deserves to have a team mounted to assault Hell in order to bring him back, I can’t honestly believe that Kurt is at the very top of that list – especially with Wolverine leading the team.

If it’s up to Logan? It’s Jean. It’s always Jean. And right now, with Scott becoming Magneto and not-quite back together with Emma (but I think it’s going to happen), and with teen Scott and Jean running around, now might actually be an interesting time to bring Jean back.

I don’t want to totally trash this book. There’s a lot of potential for good here. But I can’t quite bring myself to be excited about it.

Amazing X-Men #1, written by Jason Aaron, with interior art and a wraparound cover by Ed McGuinness, will be in comic shops November 2013.

Venom Returns to Challenge Otto Octavius in Superior Spider-Man #22

SUPERIORSPIDERMAN_22_COVERby Aaron Einhorn
Marvel just sent out a press announcement telling us that November’s issue of Superior Spider-Man (specifically, issue #22) will bring Venom back into the pages of Spider-Man as the Otto-possessed Peter Parker clashes with the infamous symbiote.

I can only find myself wondering how we’re supposed to react to this. Dan Slott says “Venom always brings out Spider-Man’s dark side, and we’re taking that 10 steps further in this latest arc. You should probably read this in a sunny, well-populated area,” which sounds good, but I have to ask how true it is.

First off, the history between Peter Parker and Venom really shouldn’t apply with Otto in the driver’s seat. Otto doesn’t care about Venom. He’s pushed Mary Jane away, and Aunt May is out of the city, so why would Venom have any particular significance for him? Heck, if anything, Venom should be the one who finds the encounter troubling.

And of course, that doesn’t even touch the question of which Venom? Mac Gargan is back as the Scorpion, and was just recently seen in the pages of Superior. Eddie Brock, last we saw, was powerless and hunting symbiotes down, having successfully eliminated (at least for now) Hybrid and Scream, and having been briefly bonded with Toxin. As far as I can tell, fans are still enjoying seeing Flash Thompson as Venom, and in addition to his own title, Flash has been quite active in Thunderbolts. So, if it’s Flash, why would he be fighting Spidey (even the Otto Octavius version), and if it’s Brock, well, then that sucks for fans of Flash-as-Venom.

I’ve never been the biggest fan of symbiotes. I enjoyed Venom when he first appeared, as a dark mirror to Spider-Man, but hated it when he became a sort of anti-hero and they were forced to use Carnage to actually be darker than Venom. And I won’t even get started on the proliferation of symbiotes that came out of the various Venom miniseries. That said, I am a fan of Flash and seeing what they’ve done with both the character of Flash Thompson and the use of the symbiote suit itself. I’m not really eager to see that come to an end, especially not just to restore the status quo of Brock-as-Venom, and especially not right now with Otto already serving as a dark reflection of the Spider-Man we know and love.

Of course, I’m a regular reader of Superior Spider-Man, and a big fan of the creative team of Slott and Humberto Ramos, so it’s not like I’m going to suddenly stop reading the title because of this announcement. But I am very skeptical of where this storyline could end up going.

Superior Spider-Man #22 comes out in November, 2013, written by Dan Slott, with interior art and cover by Humberto Ramos.

My Date With Lois Lane

kidderby Aaron Einhorn
Well, perhaps “date” is a bit strong of a word, but I got to meet Lois Lane today, or more precisely, I got to meet Margot Kidder, who while she wasn’t the first actress to be Lois Lane, she will forever be the Lois Lane in my heart.

There have been numerous Lois Lanes through the years, from Noelle Neill and Phyllis Coates to Kate Bosworth and Amy Adams in the films, and from Phyllis Coates to Terri Hatcher to Erica Durance on television, with countless others providing voices to the intrepid reporter/love interest to the Man of Steel.

But in 1978, Margot Kidder appeared as Lois Lane in Superman: The Movie and from that point on, she has been my image of Lois.

Today, Packrat Comics hosted their second Annual “Not at Comic Con” Comic Con, and Ms. Kidder was a guest. I brought my girls out, and we stood in the rain to get inside, only to finally meet Ms. Kidder. Cordy and Mira wore their costumes from Disney, appearing as Tinkerbell and Snow White, and I wore the Superman costume that is responsible for getting me into costuming and for introducing me to the Heroes Alliance.

220px-Superman_ver1I joke that ever since my Superman suit ended up in the pool at one of the Heroes Alliance events, it attracts water, and today was no exception. We had a nice little thunderstorm while I was in line.

The store was crowded, although the atmosphere was fun, and as has become all too common with celebrity appearances, the rules about what you get with each purchase were a bit less clear than they should have been. But none of that changes the fact that meeting “my” Lois Lane was totally worth it.

I still mourn the fact that I never met Christophe Reeve. There are few celebrities who I actually cry over when they pass, and the two I can immediately think of are Jim Henson and Chris Reeve. Jim Henson taught me to believe in magic, and Chris Reeve made me believe a man could fly.

I’ll never get to shake his hand and tell him what his Superman meant to me, but today I at least got to do the same with Margot Kidder. I am extremely grateful for that.

margot

2013 Walk For Wishes Columbus – Heroes Alliance Ohio Event Report

Heroes Alliance Ohio returned once more to Huntington Park to help out for the 2013 Columbus Walk For Wishes on behalf of the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Captain America, Catwoman, Spider-Man, Superman, Wonder Woman and Zatanna were on hand to meet and cheer on the friends and families of children who had been recipients of a Wish from Make-A-Wish, along with those who helped raise money for them.

The heroes met with many of the wish families, cheered walkers on as the walk began, and greeted and congratulated them upon their return. This is the team’s fourth time supporting Make-A-Wish with one of their Walk for Wishes, and it will certainly not be the last.

Special thanks to Stephen Blanzaco and Tom Bolenbaugh for out-of-costume support and for picture taking for the event.

The Make-A-Wish Foundation exists to grant the wishes of children with life threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy. Last year, over 850 wishes were granted by the Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana offices. The Foundation is supported through local donations from individuals, corporations, small businesses, civic organizations, churches, schools, social and service clubs, fund-raising events, memorial contributions, foundations, and pay-roll deduction programs as well as their own special events. You can learn more about the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana at http://www.makeawishohio.org/

A little bit of Star Wars fan-fiction

StarWarsD20RevisedThe following is a character background I created for a character I’ll be playing in an upcoming session of Wizard of the Coast’s Star Wars Role-Playing Game. The game is set during the time of the Rebellion, and our players will be a team sent to assassinate Darth Vader. I can’t imagine this will go well.

I’ve been given permission to play the lone Jedi for the game. Our characters will be Level 6, so in my case, I’m a Miralukan Fringer 1/Jedi Guardian 5.

Enjoy!

“You’re not going to die. It isn’t allowed, do you understand? No dying on me today, Kevan!”

Delia slapped a medpack against the soldier’s chest, covering a nasty looking blaster burn that exposed the bones of his sternum. Delia tried not to think about the amount of blood she could feel spurt out under her hands, or the burns that could be seen on the interior organs.

Well, that’s not true. She did think about them, but, she tried not to worry about it.

There is no ignorance, there is knowledge.

Delia shut out her awareness of the battle raging around her, ignoring the blasts directed her way from the Stormtroopers who had boarded their transport.

There is no chaos, there is harmony.

Sending her thoughts through the Force, Delia examined Kevan’s injuries, adjusting the flow of blood and reknitting injuries with her mind as the medpack did its work. The powers of the Force combined with the best medical supplies the Rebel Alliance could scavenge, and the injuries began to reverse under her ministrations.

But even as new flesh grew under the burns and severed arteries reconnected, the trauma proved too much for the soldier’s system, and his lungs gave out.

Delia wanted to cry, but could shed no tears. Beneath the dark goggles she perpetually wore, Delia had no eyes, just like every other Miralukan. Her inborn connection to the Force more than made up for the lack of optic nerves, but did mean that she had a distinct shortage of tear ducts.

There is no emotion, there is peace.

Kevan had been her closest friend. The Corellian soldier had welcomed her when she first fell in with the Rebels at the age of seventeen, during the raid which had led to the death of her mother. Someone must have informed the Imperial Forces of the existence of a Force Healer out on Excarga, and the agents sent to take her and her mother were swift and deadly. Word had reached Rebel Agents at the same time, and although they arrived too late to save her mother, Kevan had led a group of soldiers to the rescue as Delia had been fighting them off with her father’s lightsaber. A stray shot had destroyed the weapon, and Delia was in danger of being taken when Kevan saved the day.

The human had been three years older than Delia, and had been the one to suggest she replace the typical blindfold used by her people with a pair of goggles, increasing her ability to appear human and not draw attention. He was the one who retrieved her mother’s lightsaber and presented it to her. He had provided the blue hair dye that she used to mask the long, flowing black hair she inherited from her parents, and the two had become lovers, despite the difference in their species. That was two years ago.

Now Kevan was dead, and knowing that his essence had joined her mother and her father in the Force was little comfort.

There is no death, there is the Force.

But his killers were still here, and advancing on her and the other members of her squad.

There is no passion, there is serenity.

Dispassionately, Delia stood, and with a flick of her mental energies, called her lightsaber from the open pouch of her medkit into her hand. She allowed her fear, her anger, her hatred all to flow out from her the way she would wash a wound of its poison, and filled herself with the battle-surety of the Force.

Her lightsaber snapped to life with a hiss, and the amber blade hummed as she held it before her.

“If the only way I can save lives is by ending yours, then so be it,” she said as instinctively she brought her blade up, deflecting a bolt that had been fired her way, and reflecting it back into the squad mate of the one of the troopers. With that, she rushed forward, bringing the blade down through the blaster rifle and forearm of the first trooper.

* * *

Nineteen years earlier, her parents had been happy. Both members of the Service Corps, their talents with the Force were weak enough, and their love for each other were great enough that neither advanced on as a Padawan towards the path of the Jedi Knight, but instead found contentment in serving within the Jedi Temple on Coruscant. Her mother worked in the Medical Corps, while her father served in the Educational Corps. Both were content, and were eager to meet their child when she would be born.

Until Order 66 happened.

Darth Vader had led the troopers of the 501st Squadron in to the temple, killing hundreds of younglings, padawans and others who served the Jedi. Delia’s father died that day, and Delia’s mother fled, with only her husband’s lightsaber, a handful of datachips taken from the archives and the unborn child in her womb to remember him by.

She managed to flee the temple grounds and get to a space port where a transport was bound for Excarga, and away she went.

* * *

As the years passed, Delia began to show more and more aptitude for the Force. By the time she was fourteen, Delia was a better healer and more adept with a lightsaber than her mother. Delia’s mother realized that she had little left she could teach her child.

“You need a Jedi Master, my daughter. You could, and should, be a Jedi knight. But there are no Jedi left in this galaxy. No Knights who can take you to right wrongs, and no Jedi healers to teach you the deeper mysteries of the Force. All I can give you are these.”

At the age of fourteen, Delia had never seen the data chips her mother presented before. “In the absence of a Master, a holocron would be better, but we could not save one of those. What we have here are the basics of training of a Jedi Guardian, and you will need to study on your own.”

“I will, mother,” Delia promised.

* * *

Her skills as a healer hadn’t been enough to save Kevan, and her skills as a Jedi hadn’t been enough to save her mother, but still Delia did her best to serve the Rebellion. After Kevan’s death, Delia began to move from one cell to another, putting her skills to work on a variety of missions for the Rebels, always keeping her ears open for word of another who had been trained in the Force. Delia knew that she had learned nearly all that could be gathered from the library her father had died to protect, and that only with instruction from a Jedi Master would she be able to truly become a Jedi Knight. She might have been born for the role of a Jedi Healer, but that path was likely forever closed to her, and all because of the work of one rogue Jedi nineteen years prior. Anakin Skywalker. Darth Vader.

“Delia,” her commander began. “I’ve got a new squad I need you to work with, if you’re willing. They’re going on what might be a suicide mission, but it is of utter importance to the future of the Galaxy and the Rebellion.”

“Of course, sir, whatever I can do.” A suicide mission didn’t scare Delia. Most of the missions the Rebellion undertook could, in the most charitable of scenarios, be described that way. But if the Galaxy would be freed from the yoke of the Empire, accomplishing the impossible was both necessary and becoming routine.

“What’s the mission?”

“We have had limited but significant success on most of our tasks. Our troops are the equal to any of the Empire’s forces on a good day. Our pilots and soldiers make up in passion what the Empire has in resources and training, but that all changes when one of the Emperor’s lieutenants appears. We need to level out the playing field. We’re sending a hand-picked team to start evening the odds, beginning with one of the biggest trump cards in the Emperor’s sabaac deck.”

Delia’s heart began to race. He couldn’t possibly mean…

“We’re sending the team in to kill Darth Vader.”

There is no emotion, there is peace.

Delia wasn’t excited about this.

There is no ignorance, there is knowledge.

Delia knew exactly what the risks were. Vader had been a Jedi Master nineteen years ago. His skills were considerable.

There is no passion, there is serenity.

Delia considered the enormity and importance of the task with a calm mind.

There is no chaos, there is harmony.

Delia knew the team would be carefully assembled, to mix the best possible group of skills for optimum chances of success.

There is no death, there is the Force.

Well, “Lord” Vader would have to be the one to let her know about that, now wouldn’t he?

A slight smile came to Delia’s lips as she answered her commanding officer. “I’m in, sir.”

Weekly Comic Round-Up, July 17, 2013 Edition

Welcome back! If you’ve followed me here from Comic Hero News, or going even farther back to Underneath My Mask, than you probably remember that one of the regular features I had was a review of the comics I’m reading that week. Full disclosure: This is not everything I read, and it’s not everything that hit the stands this week. It is, however, the books I feel merit being talked about, either because they were awesome or because there was something really, really wrong with them.

So, here we go. What came home with me from The Laughing Ogre? Read on.

all_new_xmen_14_c01All-New X-Men #14
Brian Michael Bendis has done something really remarkable here. In a world where Jean Grey is dead, Hank McCoy is dour and depressed, Ice Man is a grotesque monstrosity and Cyclops is Magneto, he’s given us a world with the original X-Men.

This week’s chapter has the newly-discovering-she’s-a-telepath Jean Grey scaring the beejezus out of her team by pretending to go all Dark Phoenix on them, in an attempt to scare off Mystique, Lady Mastermind and Sabretooth who are busy trying to buy Madripoor.

This is the X-Men the way we like ’em. Serious stories, but light-hearted and fun. Bendis has really caught what made these characters enjoyable, and if you’re only reading one X-Men book, make it this one.

batman_66_c01Batman ’66 #1
Something that will quickly become apparent if you stick around here – I am not a fan of The New 52. I’m not a fan of dark, gritty stories. I want heroes to be heroic and inspire me to want to be a better person. The 1966 Batman television show was, perhaps, a little too light-hearted and camp, but it was still fun. So, if nothing else, I wanted to send DC Comics that fans of their older stuff are still around, so I picked this up. And I’m glad I did. It’s an utterly light and silly Riddler tale with a guest appearance by Catwoman. Will it change your life? Absolutely not. It’s entirely as easy to consume as an episode of the television show.

But then, that’s what we paid for. The cover tells us what we’re getting, and Jeff Parker and Jonathan Case delivered.

batwoman_22_c01Batwoman #22
One of the few books I’ve been completely happy with since the New 52 has been Batwoman. I wasn’t sure about seeing JH Williams III move from artist to writer, but the book has seemlessly picked up from where the Detective Comics run with Williams and Greg Rucka left off.

This issue gave us a whole lot of Bette/Flamebird, preparing to attack the DEO with help from the Colonel, all in an effort to “free” Kate. Meanwhile, Kate is hitting up villains to figure out how best to defeat Batman.

I don’t really want to see Batman enter Kate’s title. It can’t go well for her, and that weakens her character in my opinion. But if it’s going to happen, this seems to be the best way to manage it.

thunderbolts_13_c01Thunderbolts #13
I’ve picked up Thunderbolts ever since the very beginning, regardless of what Marvel has done with the title. This current team of ‘bolts, led by Red Hulk/General Ross and featuring Venom (Flash Thompson), the Punisher, Deadpool and Elektra, with the Red Leader and now Mercy has little relationship to the original concept, but that doesn’t mean it hasn’t been fun.

That said, I’m kind of glad to see a change of the artistic team on the title.

This issue wasn’t really about the team – it was really the origin of Mercy and how she ended up on the team. But that story was creepy enough, and I eagerly look forward to seeing what the team’s next mission ends up being.

ultimate_comics_spiderman_25_c01Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man #25
There’s a lot of controversy over whether or not Miles needed an “Uncle Ben” moment, but in any case he had one. Two issues ago, Miles lost his mother, and New York lost their Spider-Man. Again.

It’s taken three issues and a lot of badgering by the people in Miles’ life, but finally we get him moving and agreeing to be the hero he was born to be. And from the looks of things, this is where we will begin seeing a lot more of Gwen Stacy, Aunt May and Jessica Drew.

We’ve also got a Miles who is growing a little bit older, and that’s not a bad thing either.

This is another Brian Michael Bendis book, and it also has me hook, line and sinker. But then, I’m a sucker for Miles.

what-if-avx-2_c01What If… A vs. X #2
What If… has always been Marvel’s escape valve. The real secret about major comics events is that, at the end of the day, the status will remain quo. It kind of has to. But in What If…? All bets are off.

We know that the world won’t be destroyed in A vs. X.

We have no such assurances here.

That’s not to say this is perfect. Much like the original A vs. X, the pacing flies by too fast, and some characters are too broadly painted. Magneto, for instance, is just this side of growing a long mustache to twirl. There are also some weird continuity issues. I’m pretty sure that the modern Nova wasn’t a part of A vs. X. Still, it’s worth checking this out.

Meanwhile, in A + X #10, Fantomex and Black Widow almost team up to steal a McGuffin while Scarlet Witch and Domino team up their probability powers to stop a Celestial Roomba from destroying the planet, Avengers #16 continues to be an incomprehensible mess with lots of powerful superhumans coming together to stop something, Batman Beyond Unlimited #18 introduces us to Batgirl Beyond while Terry and the Metal Men save Gotham, and Green Lantern New Guardians #22 has Kyle get abducted by Relic who uses Kyle’s ring power to learn all he needs to about this universe he wants to destroy.

Thoughts? Disagreements? Want to offer up ideas on what books you’re reading this week? Let us know in the comments!